Friday, February 17, 2017

He Will Haunt My Memory - Part One

When I walked into the court room he was the last person I noticed. In fact, until the judge introduced him to us I didn’t even know he was there. He was a slender man seated at the table next to his attorney, his hair was cropped short and he wore a dingy white dress shirt, his skin almost the same color as his shirt. His eyes were sunken deeply into the eye sockets and he kept pursing his mouth into a pout, sort of like he was sucking on a piece of hard candy. He looked hard, like someone that had suffered in his life and instead of time and life having mellowed him, they had hardened him and his features.

You wouldn’t think that someone so nondescript would stay on your mind for so long. Maybe it wasn’t him, instead it was the reason for meeting him and his story. Regardless, his memory haunts me…this is the story of Mr. Chriss.

Last week I was called in for jury duty. The last time I went was in 2008, you can read about that trial here…it was a doozy! Once I finished with that trial and I wrote that post I was over and done with it and never gave it a second thought…this one won’t be so easy to forget.

This one was unique. Not a criminal trial, not a civil trail, instead this one was a civil commitment hearing for an individual who is considered a Mentally Disordered Offender or MDO. We 60 individals, had been called into the courtroom to go through the process of choosing a jury to decide three things:
1. Did the respondent have a Severe Mental Disorder?
2. Is the Mental Disorder in remission or able to be kept in remission with further treatment?
3. Is the individual a danger to the general public?

It was our job to make those decisions and they had to be unanimous, either all true or all false. We could not say numbers 1 and 2 were true but not number 3. All or nothing!

If you’ve never been to jury duty I strongly urge you to go next time you are called. It’s such a great learning experience. It’s not easy to know you hold the future of someone in your hands, but it’s such a privilege to know that no matter what you do, in our country you will have your day in court and you will be able to tell your side of the story.

I had hoped to not be chosen for the jury only because there was so much going on at work and I felt guilty dropping it into the lap of my coworker. But it’s not as easy to get out of being on a jury as it used to be. I had no real hardship. The company I worked for respects our duty to complete jury duty so they pay us our regular pay. 

After two days of voir dire (a preliminary examination of juror by judge and counsel) I was chosen as juror number 6. That was Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was the day the attorneys had a chance to give their opening statements, to call witnesses and to present their case.

Unlike a civil or criminal case where you have a plaintiff and a defendant, in this case you had the petitioner which was The People of The State of California, represented by Attorney Caves and the respondent, Mr. Chriss who was represented by his counsel, Attorney Kendall. The burden of proof was on the State of California, who had to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the three questions above were all true as regards Mr. Chriss.

Caves gave his opening statement first. A very handsome young man, very soft spoken. I would have been happier if he had looked us in the eye more and spoken with more authority. He also introduced Mr. Chriss to us and explained to us what the judge had already told us multiple times, that we had to base our decision only on the evidence and the evidence is only what was said by the person on the stand. He said he would provide a witness that would give us the medical facts that we would need to come to the agreement that all three of the questions that we were to deliberate would and could only be answered as true.

Then Kendall gave his opening statement in which he also told us what we had to base our decision on and he informed us that Mr. Chriss had no burden of proof, it was not up to him and Mr. Chriss to prove to us that any of the three questions were either true or false, that was the job of Mr. Caves. He proceeded to tell us a little bit about Mr. Chriss.

Mr. Chriss had been sent to prison for physical assault on an individual. It was never made clear to us if he did his time in prison and then was committed or if he was committed after a second physical assault on an individual, but for the past nine years he had lived quietly in his unit at the Coalinga State Mental Hospital. He had a job at the hospital as a janitor and lived his life quietly, causing no further problems.

Part two to follow...(this was just getting too long)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Confessions From My Inner Artist

So I've continued to Art.

A few things have not turned out as I hoped, but I learned something from them anyway.

Some things have turned out so tremendously well that I honestly can't believe that I painted that.

Take my new header above. This was my first venture into using palette knives!

I have to confess that I was scared to try this. I don't know why, it's not like the Art Police are going to come to my house and claim my first born if I paint something that is crappy right? 

It's not like the canvas I am painting on has cost me thousands of dollars and is stretched on the frame using the unblemished skin of a billion butterfly's just canvas from Michaels, bought with a 40% off coupon. Hardly breaking the bank right?

Is is the fear of failing? Of not being good enough? 

Now that I type that I realize that's probably more the reason I get scared than anything else. It's failing that scares me. 

I haven't failed that many times in my life and I'm not used to it. But maybe the reason I haven't failed very often is that I haven't pushed myself to try things that I can fail at.

It's easy to never fail if you never try!

So I'll keep going and trying, painting some things that I love and learning from the things I totally mess up!

In the meantime I am having the time of my life painting. I wish that I had found this years and years ago. But then again maybe it was my time to find Art.

Or maybe Art found me...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Will Not Go Off Alone

Photo Credit -
Today I spoke with a friend whose Grandma had passed away last week. He’s heading out of state tomorrow to the funeral with his wife and children. Grandma had lived with them for the past 7 years. She was a young grandma, only 76 years old, so they weren’t expecting her death.

Grandma had started passing hints to them that her time was coming. They didn’t really notice until she actually died and they compared notes. Grandma had a premonition that her time was close. I find that amazing…but wait…there’s more.

The evening of her passing Grandma asked her granddaughter to fry her some eggs, she was too weak to stand at the stove and fry them herself. Grandma was very self-reliant and never asked for help (she reminds me so much of my mom). The granddaughter thought it was odd and called the grandson to remark to him that Grandma had asked for help and she NEVER does that, but she made her the eggs and didn’t think about it again.

The grandson called Grandma’s son and asked him to just stop by and check on his mother as she wasn’t feeling well. The grandson finished up some work at the office and when he got home Grandma’s son was there so the grandson went to go lay down for a bit as he had a headache.

He got up a bit later and went down to grab a bite to eat and came back to lay down and as he was laying there the dogs started making a racket and barking like crazy. He shot up and ran out of the room and saw his niece and asked her what was going on? Was someone at the door? And the niece said no, it was just the dogs barking at Grandma who had gotten up to go to the bathroom. 

He thought that was weird as they had never barked at Grandma before but he went back to go lay down. Not much time had gone by and the dogs went crazy barking again and again he got up to see what was happening and ran into his son who remarked that the dogs were barking at Grandma who was heading back to her room. They both said that was weird, but things settled down and they both went back to what they were doing.

The niece happened to walk by the bathroom a bit later and saw that Grandma had left the light on and that there was a light under Grandma’s bedroom door so she peeked in thinking Grandma probably fell asleep with the light on as she often did.

Grandma was sitting in her chair, with her eyes open and was unresponsive. The niece screamed that something was wrong with Grandma and they all ran upstairs. The grandson and his son picked Grandma up out of the chair and laid her on the floor so that the granddaughter could begin CPR. They called 911.

Police arrived first, and then the EMT’s and they also began life saving measures on Grandma. Eventually they EMT’s told the family that they were sorry, but there was nothing else they could do. Grandma was gone.

The grandson remarked that it was weird that they had not noticed how much weight Grandma had lost. When he and his son picked her up to lay her on the floor they almost dropped her as they expected so much more weight than what she really was. How did they not notice? That troubled him.

He remarked that he was also troubled about her dying in the house, in that room. I told him, “You know what I think? I am comforted by two things, one that she died at home and not in a hospital or on her way in an ambulance. She had a delicious meal cooked by her precious granddaughter, she saw her son and she knew all the people she loved best were at home and safe. 

Secondly, the fact that the dogs were barking leads me to believe that they weren’t barking at Grandma, they knew her, they never barked at her; they were barking at someone that came to take Grandma and show her the way.”
He was quiet for a moment and then he said “That kind of bothers me to know there was an entity in the house.” I told him that to me it was a comfort, because it means someone gets sent to show us the way. The dogs saw this person and that’s why they were barking because they didn’t know the person, but animals see things sometimes that we don’t. Grandma was not scared, she may or may not have known this person was there, but she wasn’t scared. 

He again sat there quietly and said, “It was her momma, her momma came to get her, and you know what Alicia? I didn’t tell you this but last night Grandma’s brother died. Grandma and her momma went to go get him.”

Before he left he told me that he found great comfort in knowing that Grandma didn’t go off alone to some new place, someone that loved her was sent to guide her to the right place and when it’s our time, someone will come to guide us…maybe Grandma will come for him. He left comforted and I feel comforted too because I know that when it was my dad’s time someone, probably his beloved sister Olivia came for him and someday someone will come for me as well. We will not go off alone.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas Made Easy with my New Hobby - Painting!

I've been getting so many great comments on my blog and on Facebook about the artwork we displayed at the Art Reception in December. In case you missed it you can read about it HERE. Thank you all so much!

One of the best things about my new hobby is that I can share it on my blog and it also made Christmas gift giving a bit easier. 

If you're a regular reader you know that my sister and I have a good friend named Lupe. The three of us get together at Christmas time and we go out to a nice dinner and we exchange gifts. Lupe gave me a beautiful set of Wine Glasses which I desperately needed and Lisa gave me a beautiful Scarf, which I desperately wanted! 

To Lupe I gifted this Christmas decoration/wall hanging that I painted. 

I tried to make it in colors that if she wanted to she could leave it up all year and not have it look like a left-over Christmas decoration but yet if she only hung it at Christmas it fit in. I was very happy with the way it turned out!

I also wanted to do something special for my co-worker Angelica as she and I always make it a point to have a nice lunch somewhere special and exchange gifts as well. She gifted me something spectacular that I had been wanting forever! 

Not the Calendar, although I really needed a new one for 2017 an who doesn't want a whole year of Las Vegas???

No, I mean the Wax Warmer with the Butterfly on it. You plug this baby in and add a little block of scented wax and all day long you have a delightful scent wafting through the air. I thought it would be perfect to put in my bedroom but so far I've been enjoying it so much at the office that I've decided to leave it there. Thank you Angelica!

I wanted to do something special for her and she knew that I was going to paint something for her. She had actually hinted that she would like something Parisienne but it was too late because I had already painted this for her.

The photo doesn't really do it justice since the background was a much more vibrant yellow. Here's a photo she posted on Facebook that's much better than the one I took. 

Since it was so much fun to do that one for her I decided I would do a family Christmas painting for each of my brothers and my sister Lisa.

Here's the one I did for my brother Fred and his family. I loved painting the white dots around the picture and doing those ribbons on each ornament and using glitter! 

This is the one I did for my brother Jaime and his family. I loved this one because Jaime's wife Connie was the one that came up with the color theme for my mom's surprise 80th birthday party of black, red and gold, so I painted this one in those colors just for her!

The one for my sister of course was my favorite one to do because I wanted to do a camping theme for her and her husband since they love to go camping and have really nice trailer that we get to use when she and Lupe and I go camping for our girls weekend. 

So I found a sort of retro camper and came up with this design which is done in a photo program called PicMonkey.

This was the end result. I ended up not adding as much Christmas decor in case they wanted to hang it up in their trailer they could leave it up all year.

I wish that I had thought to take pictures of them when they were all framed nice and pretty. Lisa's looked especially nice because I was able to find a white frame for hers. These are all painted on 11 x 14 picture boards which makes them easier to frame. I meant to take pictures of them as they opened them but you know the chaos that is Christmas and the whole family was there so these will have to do.

I'm still painting and practicing and thinking I am getting better with each new piece. If nothing else I am enjoying myself and de-stressing. I hope to be sharing new stuff in the near future. I know that I have promised Baby Jae that I would paint an Elsa for her so I need to find a simple yet pretty one for her. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Acrylic Art Class - Art Reception

Back in September I posted that I was beginning a Monday night Art Class for Acrylic Painting. December 12, 2016 was our Art Reception and the last night. It was bittersweet and we hated to see this class come to an end. But never fear, during the reception the head of the program came to attend the reception and to tell us that the Art Class has been funded again! Yay! We still don't know what kind of class but I don't care if it's painting with our feet using mud and glitter cause I am so there!!! I love ART! 

I want to share some of the artwork we completed and displayed but first I want to show you the piano that we painted for this class. I'm hoping this becomes a regular thing and that we get to paint and donate a piano each time. 

When I took my Beginning Drawing and Sketching class we painted this one. The theme for this one was Almond Blossoms and Bees.

For the most recent Beginning Acrylic Painting Class we painted this one and the theme was a Hispanic Culture theme. Our Art Instructor Alex, chose a popular game called Loteria. I would say this game is a Mexican Bingo and I remember playing it often as a child.

Here I am with some of my fellow classmates. From the left is Samantha, then me and then my sister Lisa and our friend Lupe. You can see some of our artwork that was displayed in the background.

The front has the obligatory roses. The City of Wasco, where the classes are held is the Rose Capital of the World! Our instructor Alex painted the amazing American Flag.

Here's a side view showing the Loteria portion of the piano. It was so much fun to do this and I hope in the next class someone donates another piano to us!

If I were to share all the artwork we displayed you would be here forever, so let me just share some of the artwork that I think was the favorite of each artist.

First, this was my favorite that I painted. It's a fireplace that I learned to paint by using an online tutorial from the most amazing teacher and Artist, Cinnamon Cooney aka The Art Sherpa!

Here's how I displayed it at Christmas for the Holiday. Isn't it lovely?

I think this was probably the favorite one that my sister Lisa did. She did such an excellent job and I love the eyes, they are just mesmerizing. Lisa has a natural gift and talent for art. It seems effortless when she paints!

I think this one would probably be the favorite one that Lupe did, at least I know it's my favorite that she did! So cheerful and love the big yellow umbrella!

This is my favorite of the ones that Samantha did. Samantha is a college student and the youngest of us all and she had a real "outside the box" way of doing her art which was refreshing and I was always amazed to see the way her mind worked!

We also had to each do a social experiment piece. Something socially relevant to us. Our instructor came up with the idea of doing this because of a this painting that he did.

Here is my social statement. Can you see my concept that we now see the world through the "eyes" of social media?

I loved Lisa's, seeing the world through rose colored glasses!

Lupe choose a statement as old as time, the Madonna and Child, it was just beautiful!

Here's our instructor Alex with a painting he brought to display. Thank you Alex for being such a great teacher, for your patience and guidance and for always being there on time with a smile and a word of encouragement for us each! You have an amazing gift as an artist and as a teacher!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books Read in 2016

It's that time of the year annual "Books I Read This Year" wrap up. I've been keeping track using the Goodreads website since 2009, you can click each year to see the complete list.

2009 - 24 books
2010 - 24 books
2011 - 29 books
2012 - 26 books - Goal set was 30
2013 - 18 books - Goal set was 30
2014 - 33 books - Goal set was 20
2015 - 19 books - Goal set was 35

In 2016 I once again set a grand goal for myself, one that I again didn't reach! My goal was 35 books and I only read 19. 

I'm not even going to make excuses because considering what a busy year this was and my new hobby of painting I'm happy I read that many! But I am make a resolution to turn the TV off more often and just read for an hour or so before I go to bed each night. Let's hope that in the new year I do better. 

So here's the cute little set-up that Goodreads does each year to keep track of statistics and the actual books themselves.

They keep track of the longest and shortest books I read and the average length. 

The most popular book and the least and also the average rating out of 5 stars that I gave to each book. And also the book that I read that had the highest rating on Goodreads. It was once again a Jodi Picoult book. I think she's always my favorite, love her books!

And here's the complete list of my books. The Hummingbirds Daughter was pretty good.

So here's my pledge for 2017, I'm going to try to read one more book than I did this year. That shouldn't be too difficult right?
 2017 Book Challenge

How about you? Happy reading in 2017!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

There Aren't Enough Shopping Carts

As I sit here at my desk at work on a daily basis I have a view to the outside world through my window. I’ve sat here since 2008 and just the changes to my little section of the world have been significant. But nothing has changed more than the people that walk by.

We are not too far from a high school, so I see lots of students walking to and from school. Sometimes a cross country running team will run by, I see school buses. We’re in a business district so I see people walking to and from work or walking by to pick up something from the local restaurants for lunch.

Across the street there are apartments and homes and a retirement village, so I see people of all ages out walking their dogs or doing yard work, just carrying on with their normal day to day routine.

In the past couple of years one thing that I have noticed more and more of, that I never saw before, are homeless people with shopping carts filled with all their worldly treasures and items like cans and bottles that they can recycle for a little bit of money here and there. Sometimes alone, sometimes with a mate, very often with a dog.

Today as I looked across the street I saw a tall, thin, young man walking slowly, pushing a shopping cart busting at the seams with “stuff”.  My mind instantly went to the thought that I constantly have about how lucky I am to have my job, my family, my family’s support, a roof over my head and the heads of my children and how that could just as easily be me.

It could be me. Like everyone else I’m just a few paychecks away from poverty. What would I do if I lost my job and I used up my savings? Would I have to be homeless? Would I have to get a shopping cart and what would be most important to me to fill my shopping cart with? 

That led me to think about everyone else and the Apocalypse and how that poor man is already living the Apocalypse. What will we do when we all have to start living like that? Where will we each find a shopping cart? There’s a huge Vons Grocery Store right across the street and around the corner, but there are barely enough shopping carts for all of us employed in this building alone. If we all took one where would the other people get theirs?

Now my mind is really racing. People…there are not enough shopping carts in the world! If things don’t get better and we are all out on the street…there aren’t enough shopping carts, what will we do?

I’m normally a positive thinking person, but every once in a while things like this hit me hard and scare the crap out of me. Don’t they scare you? How sad that I have come to this point in my life where I am actually concerned that I will have a shopping cart when and if I am homeless.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mom's Surprise 80th Birthday Party

Mom will be turning 80 this year in December, but she doesn't do winter well. As soon as the temperature dip below 80 degrees she hibernates! She doesn't go out other than to morning Mass and to pick up prescriptions at the drugstore. You can't get her to go out for dinner or even Christmas Shopping! She's really happy that I've helped her to do her shopping online.

So knowing this we felt that it would not be a good idea to try to schedule any type of birthday party for her. We knew if we planned a party on her actual December birthday in her home she would insist on cooking, cause that's what she does! So we tricked her, we tricked her good! We scheduled a surprise birthday party for her on October 22nd! 

Her daughter in law Connie has a birthday on October 19th so we told mom that Connie's family was throwing a surprise party for Connie, we were sure that she would go to that because the weather was still nice. And we really surprised her! Here's the video of her coming in the door at the ballroom of the hotel where the party was held.

You can see she was very surprised. That is me trying to get in behind her. I'm so glad that my nephew sent me this video since I was behind her I didn't really see her expression!

Here's the dress she wore. I post this not only because she looked gorgeous but because there is a whole big story behind this dress and some drama as well! Although she does look gorgeous doesn't she? Mom has always dressed very elegantly and she's so tall and slender and regal....she makes me feel like an Oompa Loompa!

Mom's favorite color her whole life has been red. She dressed all her children in red as often as possible. She wore red all the time. When she sewed clothing for her grandchildren she made them red. Red, red, red! But the day came when she felt that she was too old to wear a bright red color and she started wearing a burgundy red instead, but we all loved that she loved red so much. The color theme for her party was Red, Black and Gold. So we all wanted her to wear a beautiful red dress and it became my duty to make sure she found the perfect red dress.

But mom is very stubborn and she didn't want a red, red dress, so she found a burgundy dress that was quite beautiful but it was not red! I could not talk her out of it, she loved her dress. So my sister tried to talk her out of it and mom came to me and begged me to make my sister let her wear her dress, so we gave up, we decided to let her wear the dress that made her happy.

The dress she loved was purchased in a vintage dress shop, so before she felt comfortable wearing it she took it to the dry cleaners. Guess what happened? The dry cleaners ruined it. The dress had a silk ruched waist that draped beautifully but the dry cleaners for some odd reason flat ironed it so it just laid there perfectly straight and it ruined the line of the dress and there was no way mom could wear it. 

She decided she was going to fix it because she's a wonderful seamstress, but I talked her into going to look for a dress again just one more time and you have no idea how much arm twisting it took to get her to try that red dress on that she is wearing. She still was not very happy with it, but I talked her into taking it home just in case she couldn't fix her burgundy dress. When she came home she remembered she had a beautiful red sequined kimono-like cape and she put it over the dress and the rest is history, she fell in love with her dress! And we were thrilled because it was red, red, red!

We were so happy that her brother Tino who is 86 years old was able to make the trip from Arizona. It'a about a 10 hour drive, no small feat, but my cousins made sure their dad was there. Have to love family!

Here's a picture of mom with her brother Tino and her sister Casi. Tino is 86, Casi is 82, mom is 80 or will be in December and there is one more living sister named Maria who was unable to come. I'm not sure of her age, but mom is the baby of the family.

Lots of other family members made the trip to celebrate with us and we were so happy to have them come to show mom how much she is loved.

We are so blessed and lucky to have this wonderful lady with us and we hope to all be able to gather to celebrate again when she gets to age 90!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is Faster Better? Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

I recently found an interesting blogger that I’m liking, Betty from A Bench With a ViewHer most recent post that I read was titled Self Check-Out and you can read that post HERE

I thought it was an interesting post and I left her a comment that said: “Recently I purchased a new car that has a little icon that comes on every time the tire pressure isn't absolutely perfect, which means that I have to find someone to check my tires because it terrifies me to put air in myself. I feel I'm going to overfill and they will blow up in my face! It prompted me to think about those days when I first started driving and I'd pull up to the gas pump and a friendly attendant would come running out and he'd clean my windshield and check my oil and my tires, I really miss the good ol' days! I don't do self check out! I already feel like the stores have made me do too much work in making me bag my own groceries, the least they can do is make an effort to have a live human taking my money! Great post!

This post made me stop to think about a recent shopping trip with my daughter April. We went to a Ross Store and I bought a few painting supplies and April bought a few clothing items. As usual at Ross you go to the cash registers and there’s a rope barrier that you wait behind that loops snakelike until you get to the front to wait your turn.

It doesn’t take very long as the line moves quickly. The reason that the line moves quickly is that Ross Employees are timed on how quickly they can get a customer taken care of.

When you get to the front and it’s your turn they still have the previous customer in front of them trying to gather their purchases and secure their wallet in their purse and they are already shouting “Next on Check-Out #4!”

I feel rude when I walk up and the previous customer is still standing there, helplessly trying to gather everything up!

When it’s my turn the cashier is polite in saying “Hi, did you find everything you need?” But you can tell that they really don’t expect a response, they don’t really care, they are already looking to the next customer!

Once they were done checking me out, they handed me my bag while I was still trying to get my ATM card situated in my purse and they ask me to please take my receipt. There is even a sign there asking me to take my receipt, they don’t even bother to hand it to me.

I once asked a Ross Cashier why they do that and she said it’s part of their process to get us in and out quickly so we don’t have to wait in line. I guess it saves them a few extra seconds of not having to make eye contact with you while they are yelling out for the next customer!

As we were leaving I mentioned to April that being rushed through like cattle to slaughter was the one thing that I really didn’t like about Ross. I fully expected her to agree but was very surprised when she said that’s her favorite reason for going to Ross, she can get in and out fast! I wonder what her generation would think about stopping to pump gas and having to wait for the attendant? Her generation is used to faster is better and they are not as concerned with etiquette and cashiers trying hard to build a rapport with you. 

Do you remember the good ol' days fondly or are you ok with self checkout and fast and unfriendly customer service?

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Artist in Me

So it's been a while since I've done a post and my excuse is I've been busy living life and having fun! When I do get some down time, I'm too exhausted from living life and having fun to blog, I just want to sleep!

One of the things that has been keeping me busy is my Monday Art Class. I love it! Oh my gosh! Where has Art been all my life? I thought writing was my calling! I thought I was going to write the great American Novel or at least be Blogger of the Year at a Blogher Convention someday! But I know that I am meant to be the next Bob Ross! Remember Bob Ross? I loved watching him paint, it was effortless for him and I knew that I could never do anything like that!

But I think I can! Well, maybe not be the next Bob Ross, but I think I can be a halfway decent artist. Well, maybe not "sell my art for a million dollars" kind of artist, but a happy artist that can create some nice little pieces to give as gifts to friends and family (if I can ever make myself part with them)!

I need to share some of these with you all.

First, my owls. I'm not an owl person, but somehow I keep getting owls in my head! I love these two little guys and the way they are cocking their heads. It reminds me of our dog Chorizo and the way she cocks her head when you ask her a question. These were drawn free hand from a photo. 

On the weekend of October 6th, my sister Lisa and I went to her semi-annual conference in Lake Tahoe. The last time we went was October of 2014 and you can read about that adventure HERE

I took my drawing pencils and pad hoping to get some time to sketch, but we made a stop at a Ross Store and I was able to pick up a set of Acrylic Paints, a set of paint brushes and (2) 12 x 12 canvases for about $20! One afternoon while Lisa was in her classes I set up a little paint studio for myself in the hotel room and came up with this pretty little background. I almost wanted to leave it like this, so bright and cheerful!

But that was not what I had in store for this canvas so the next day I added a bit more in the morning ...

and a bit more in the afternoon ...

I had not really had time to do anything further until last night when I finished this little guy up. I say little guy, but with those flirty lashes, this has to be a girl owl right?

And in keeping with the upcoming Halloween Season, I've done two more paintings. Our instructor wanted us to do something abstract, so I did this painting and then at the last minute added the pumpkin just for fun!

As I kept looking at it afterward it looked to me like a blue sky with a harvest colored mountain, so I added a witch flying through that beautiful sky.

And I loved her! Flying on her broom just enjoying the harvest night without a care in the world; but it looked a little bare. I needed something on the bottom and once I added some headstones I realized that she needed some flying companions and Voila! Bats!

My mom, who does not like Halloween things because they scare her actually loved this so much that she went Goodwilling and found me the perfect frame for it. This was so much fun! And the more creative you get, the more the creative juices flow!

This past Monday our instructor wanted us to paint a Sugar Skull. It's a two hour class and this is as much as I completed. He needs a dental visit badly, but other than that I think he's kinda cute!

The first picture is almost the completed project. I say almost because a friend asked me to try adding some white dots around the eyes. I was at work and didn't have the actual piece with me, so I used a computer program to appease him and he had a great idea because I loved it with the white dots. I don't have a picture of the white dots I actually did, but they are almost identical to the computer generated dots shown below.

You can see how that one detail really made those eyes pop!

So you can see why I've been too busy to blog. Not to mention that I have been taking a line dancing class on Tuesday nights as well and planning a surprise birthday party for my mom, plus a full time job! The job, I'm finding is really cramping my style! Can't wait for retirement!