Last Fairway of the Day

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I never hit the golf course early in the morning. Teeing off to the sun coming up was not for me. However, playing late in the day is something I always enjoyed (except for the mosquitoes). Being on a course early and late evenings appealed to me. Especially when there was enough clouds and other particulates (great word, rolls right off the tongue) in the sky to make for a gorgeous prelude to sunset.

I often paint sunsets, I just love seeing them, and sometimes will paint them with a golf theme. This is my latest one and comes from many memories of being on the last fairway or last few fairways heading back to the clubhouse. It’s a soothing time of day. Yes, the shadows and loss of light did make it hard to see where the ball landed. But let’s be honest, we seem to have that problem even during the brightest time of the day. “Did you see where it landed? What do you mean, you weren’t watching?” Yeah, yeah.

Evenings often bring out sounds and sights you wouldn’t see during the mid-morning to mid-afternoon times. Families of deer nibbling grass on the fairways. Rabbits and (depending on where you are) foxes, coyotes, racoons. Birds are settling down for the night and singing their end of day songs. Stars are starting to light up in the darker areas of the sky. Colors are less washed out.

Even if you weren’t having your best day on the course, something about that last fairway when the sun is getting ready for bed makes it a little bit better. At least it did for me. Hopefully, for you too.

Birdie on the Back Nine

If you’ve been reading any of my latest posts, you will know that I used to play golf. Wasn’t great, wasn’t terrible, but loved playing. At the time I was a member of the Executive Ladies Golf Association and our local chapter played a lot all over Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. We also played in some regionals in other states to the north. Anyway, recently, for some reason, I’ve been thinking about those days.

Today’s topic? Birdies.

Birdies, for me did happen once in a while, but they were not the norm on my scorecard. However, because of where I played, I got to enjoy many birdies of the avian variety. Birds and golf courses. They go hand in hand.

One time when I was working as a volunteer for the PGA Tour when it was at English Turn in New Orleans, the foursome teeing off had to wait while a male duck chased a female duck all over the front area of the tee box. Both were quacking like crazy and everyone was laughing their heads off. Took several minutes for the crazed courtship to careen down to the wooded area next to us. The starter had some funny things to say which only prolonged the laughter and the delay.

All kinds of feathered friends live at golf courses. Ducks, geese, wild turkeys, and I kid you not… peacocks. Yes indeed! Imagine getting ready to hit your ball and a peacock lets loose with a scream. One of my foursome almost let go of her club on that swing. I believe that was on a course somewhere near Lumberton, Mississippi. Really pretty course. Have no idea if it’s still open and now wonder if the peacocks are still around.

I have to say, of all the birds found on courses, I do believe that I enjoy seeing herons the most. All kinds and sizes have patiently watched me play by. They are so stately and quite elegant when they take flight. Watching one always seemed to have a calming effect on me.

At least until I sliced my shot. Oh well. I’ll just paint them now.

Lone Star Series: #8

This is the last one of the series. Yep, I think it’s time to put it to rest. At least for now. This one is titled The Pond. If you are a city person, you may have never had the chance to “head down to the pond” for some good times. Ponds on many farms are not just for the livestock. Many are also the family’s swimming pool (or hole if you want to get real). In addition to possibly being a place to swim, many farms have ponds stocked with fish and which makes them “multi-use” additions to the land.

Anyhow that’s what we did in the ponds on grandpa’s farm. Fish. As a verb, not a noun. Fishing for perch and catfish. Those are what was swimming in grandpa’s ponds. Not people. Just fish, along with turtles, frogs, insects, and the occasional snake. Oh, the dog too. Throw a stick in the water and in he’d go! Grandpa’s ponds were mostly surrounded by wooded and brushy areas so lots of critters (other than, of course, cows!) could be found creeping around the banks looking to drink or for something to eat. If you wanted to get in the water, you went to the creek, not the pond. (That’s a whole ‘nother story which I wrote about a long time ago.)

There were no trips to the local bait shop out at the farm. We got our bait by taking butterfly nets and running through the fields catching grasshoppers for our hooks. We also got some of the biggest and best worms ever born by digging in the piles of old dirt, hay and cow poop behind the barn. Grandpa would handle the pitchfork and turn over the mess and we would dig in with our old spoons and all ten fingers. Can’t go fishing and be afraid of getting “earthy”.

Those were some good times.

Lone Star Series: #6

Here we go again! Number six in the series is simply The Creek. It’s in the gallery right now and I’m not sure if I need to bring it home and tweak it a bit. Like my painting, The Field, my gut is telling me it needs something. Maybe some cows! No, maybe the hint of some wildflowers. We’ll see.

The Creek (oil and cold wax)

So what inspired this? Well, when we aren’t in a low rain period, there are quite a few creeks around here. I like seeing them because I know that the wildlife will have a place to drink from. With all the dang development going on, habitat is being destroyed right and left. If you know me… you know how much I dislike seeing that.

I also like creeks because they can be a fun thing to explore. Provided you are wearing the appropriate footwear. Birds, frogs, interesting rocks, reptiles and interesting weeds or wildflowers are often found along the edges. Truthfully, I haven’t explored any for a long time. Growing up, I was an avid and eager explorer of such things. I have tons of memories of fun times exploring creeks, streams (wet and dry), rivers of all widths, and lakes. It’s what you did before cable and electronics took over a person’s childhood. If it weren’t for so many foot and ankle issues, I’d still be attempting it. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Happy exploring!

Lone Star Series: #7

More cows! Not much to say about this painting other than I felt the need to do another one in tribute to all the cows that have been moved (or moooved) out of the area. No, I won’t get on my soapbox this time about development. Also, cows are popular, and this one was larger than the first one for this series.

Cows II

I realize this style is not realistic. It’s not supposed to be. It’s representational. However, let me tell you, “representational painting” of bovines (or any animal) is not easy. I won’t admit to how many times I have had to scrape away a cow and try again, on a number of paintings. Anyway, it’s all about the illusion of the cow. Repeat after me… “I see cows. I see cows.” Keep saying it. You’ll see them.

This is another palette knife painting using oils and cold wax. It’s titled Cows II. Yeah… not very imaginative, but I need to reinforce the illusion. Ha!

Lone Star Series: #5

Moonlit evenings. I love them. There is something about a bright moon shining over a landscape that moves something deep within my soul. (Now if scary music starts playing… my feet may get moved!) Many times driving back from my daughter’s home to mine, I have had the pleasure of being presented with a beautiful moon softly bathing the landscape below. It was such a night several years ago as I was driving the backroads from Celina through Prosper to McKinney that has stayed in my mind… and inspired this painting in my Lone Star series.

Have you ever seen something like this? I sincerely hope you have. Nights like this, no matter where you are, should be treated as a gift. Nature is full of such gifts. You just have to look and appreciate the moments. (And not drive off the road if you are behind the wheel. Safety first, appreciation second.) On the other hand, if you are a huge fan of werewolf movies… well, never mind, you probably know about garlic and silver bullets.

In conclusion. I hope you get as much enjoyment from moonlit nights as I do. As the song says, “the moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are free”.

Artists and Their Muses

What is a Muse?

Image by Michael Drummond

According to the dictionary, a muse is:

  1. (from Greek and Roman mythology) each of nine goddesses, who were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences.
  2. as a noun, it means a person – usually a woman – who is a source of artistic inspiration.

Artists and creative persons have, for centuries, referred to their muse either with great affection or with great despair. It all depends on whether the creative person is having a good day, week, month… or not.

Muses, it seems, can be very fickle.

Do I Have a Muse? Do You?

I think all creative people have someone or something that inspires them. So, yes, I think I have a muse… probably more than one. Are they female? Are they real or spiritual? Do they show up in human form or in the form of an animal? Is it in the form of nature?

I am my own muse, the subject I know best.
Frida Kahlo

Nature’s my muse and it’s been my passion.
Frans Lanting

I have, for years, told my cats that they are my muses. When I’m painting, one or more finds the need to watch what I’m doing or curl up and nap somewhere near. Having them around when I’m painting does, in fact, relax me and that feeling lets the creative juices flow… until they start wrestling with each other, which leads to at least one getting pissed off, which does tend to interrupt my artistic flow.

That’s when my muses get the boot from the room. At that point, they have ceased to be “musing” or “amusing”.

Clear Your Mind, Let Your Muse In

Whatever your inspiration is or wherever it comes from, you won’t hear it or be inspired by it if your mind is cluttered… and we all have been feeling the effects of “mind clutter” since this darn Covid 19 came on the scene.

I read the comments of many other artists in various social media groups. Often I see that people are not feeling motivated (inspired) right now, but that happens even in the best of times. Clear your mind. Find your happy place. Let your muse in.

Three Muses 2020

Your muse or muses, your sources of inspiration, have NOT left you. It’s just hard to hear them right now.

Probably because they are wearing a mask.

Hang in there and focus on hearing what’s being said. Your inspiration is still speaking to you.

Trees Are Your Friend

“Just go out and talk to a tree.” “Make friends with it.”
– Bob Ross

Trees. I love them. I admit that sometimes they don’t make the best neighbors… like when they fall on your house, or spread their roots under your foundation, or find their way into your pipes. But, other than a few instances where they cause a problem which they don’t do on purpose, trees are a wonderful gift of nature and actually do provide a unique type of friendship to those that appreciate how special they are.

Sister Trees by Karren Case Art

Yes, trees are your friend.

I haven’t yet found myself actually talking to one, but I have often thought to myself “What things have you seen? What stories could you tell?” while I have stood and studied their uniqueness. I’ve climbed them, fallen out of them, planted them, watched them grow and watched them (sadly) die. I feel a kinship with them and appreciate how special they are as well as their contribution to my well being. I could not live where there weren’t any. It also causes me pain to see them cut down for the sake of putting in another development. I’d rather see trees than more cement and buildings.

When Mr. Ross made his statement, I’m pretty sure he was telling his audience to not be intimidated when painting a landscape involving trees. If you’ve tried (other than grade school) to draw or paint them, trees can be a challenge. I admire those that do them in a realistic manner. Me, I prefer to do them semi-real or in art talk, “representational”. At least that way, the trees won’t be upset that I didn’t paint them accurately. I would not want to offend them. They are my friend. (Truthfully, it’s also how I paint just about everything.)

As an artist, I find that the different shapes, sizes, foliage colors, and changes of trees throughout the seasons to be, in a word, fascinating. I believe this is why they are, and have been for centuries, a popular subject for painters, photographers, and others. Unlike other models, trees don’t charge a sitting fee and they pretty much stay where you want them. They are also easy to find.

Even if you are NOT an artist of some type, get up close to a tree and look at it’s leaves, it’s limbs, it’s bark. That tree’s life, what it has experienced, is often right there if you look hard enough. You can see the good times and the bad times it has experienced. Again, what stories could it tell you. Stories about storms, the stress of drought, the secrets of families in the houses around it , changes to the area before you came along, and stories about those pesky woodpeckers that keep showing up!

Trees are indeed your friend. They do much for us and ask so little in return. Their biology is amazing. The aren’t just wood. Next time you are close to one, say hello. Listen to the sounds they sometimes make. And if you are so inclined, hug one.

Walk This Way: Following Your Path.

Walk This Way

When I was younger, I loved hiking. I actually still do, though my stamina is really crappy now. Anyway…. not the serious gotta have a backpack, camping gear, GPS, bear repellant, etc. kind of hiking. I’m talking about the kind where you just go out and follow a path or two through a state park, local park, or the woods behind your house. There’s something freeing about venturing forth, water in hand, to just explore where the path leads you.

Life is full of paths too.

Following Your Path: Have a Plan

Here’s the thing with me and maybe with you too. I don’t blindly forge ahead. I make sure that the path I want to take is doable. I don’t want to get lost or hurt following it. So I plan… usually. Yes, it’s exciting to step off the path and see “what’s over there”, as long as you keep a firm eye on where you were, so you can get back on it. Lost is not a fun thing to be.

Following Your Path: Keep Moving

Your career, your hobby, your art, your hike in the woods should never be stagnant. Not moving gets you nowhere. Enjoy the stops to rest, explore, enjoy the view…. but keep moving forward. When I look at my artwork from years ago to where I am now, I see all the paths I took to get here. And I see how I kept moving forward. Occasionally, I see where I got off the path, but I managed to get back on it. I didn’t give up getting to where I wanted to go and I’m still exploring as I journey on.

So… follow your path, plan for new ones, take a break if needed, but keep moving.

Painting Like a Child

The Fun of Whimsical Painting

I was at the LAST Art Gallery in historic downtown McKinney (TX) today when a customer walked around and mentioned how delighted she was that we had a young child artist’s work on the wall.

Excuse me???

Well, the artwork she was referring to was NOT that of a young child, but was produced by a respected, long-time artist that (as a member pointed out) is just young at heart. Much of this artist’s work is whimsical paintings, drawings, and collages. If she had been there, I’m sure she would have laughed. Because that’s what the intent is. To make you smile or to make you laugh.

Camo Dog

Whimsical Painting is Letting Your Inner Child Come Out to Play

We ALL have an inner child. Some hear it calling and some don’t. I have to admit that I hear mine calling pretty often. Okay, daily. I hear it daily. I also admit that I give in to it. Not so much in public, but definitely at home. And in some of my artwork.

I also have to admit my inner child is quite spoiled from getting it’s way so much. From some of the artwork that I have seen at various art shows… it’s pretty evident that others give in to theirs as well. And the results are often delightful.

Painting Like A Child Isn’t Child’s Play

Whimsical, silly, artwork might sometimes look like a child did it, but in truth, it is quite often done by someone with a practiced eye for composition, color, mark making, and all the other technical stuff…even though they’re bending and blending the rules. It’s also popular. Not everyone wants a serious portrait, landscape, or still life. Some of us still enjoy high fives with our seven year old selves.

I do want to say one more thing.

Artwork of any kind actually done by a child is a precious gem from a treasure chest and I hope you let them know how much you appreciate what they created. Encourage, praise, nurture. You never know… they might grow up, become an artist, and have someone say how delighted they are seeing the “child’s” artwork on display in a gallery somewhere.