There's a story behind this painting.
My church background taught me to stay away from alcoholic beverages of any kind. (Trust me. This bit of information is pertinent.)
Othar & Barbara Moses are members of the congregation where my husband, David preaches. Othar's sister, Jane is married to Riley Donica. The Donicas run the Wild Horse Camp on several rugged acres in the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma. They sponsor an annual spring Rendezvous of Christians from across the nation, which our family has attended several times.
About four years ago, Othar had gone to visit Jane. (Did Barbara go?) Later our family went to Rendezvous. When we got back, Othar asked if we'd met Amadaeus. It would've been impossible to miss Amadaeus, a hyperactive, omnipresent Jack Russell Terrier, who not only brought you sticks to throw, but also ate rocks. That made an impression on my children.
Now, I should easily remember of what breed Amadaeus was, for my maiden name is Russell. But I slipped up when I was talking to Othar and Barbara and referred to the Donicas' “Jack Daniels Terrier.” I didn't catch my error. (Did you?) But Othar picked up on it & got tickled.
With eyes full of amusement, he queried, “So what do you [implied - “the tee-totaling preacher's wife”] know about Jack Daniels?” I was caught. We all had a good laugh.
Othar and Barbara are kind, gentle, gracious folks. But you can believe that Othar has never let me forget my faux pas, and even sweet Barbara gently joins in the ribbing sometimes. It's okay. I know they love me. I enjoy it. After all, it was pretty funny.
Well, I didn't care a bit about Jack Russell Terriers until I got the idea recently to do a drawing to send to Othar when he was in the hospital – a sort of reverse ribbing, a chance for him to rib me again – long distance. I had Abby find a book at the library about JRTs with photos. (I learned that Amadaeus was pretty typical. All JRT's are hyperactive. It's in their breeding.)
I had in my mind a certain picture of a doggie and cardinal looking at each other. (Barbara loves the beautiful red birds.) I couldn't make it happen with my colored pencils. Joel had earlier mentioned to me that I maybe could do watercolors, what with my “forced vacation.”
So I prayed, and I thought about it, and talked to David and the kids. And I decided to try the watercolors, a medium new to me. Long story short, it took several weeks because I was not going to get stressed about it. After all, the original idea about my resuming my artwork was to help occupy my mind and my time – to reduce stress, not create it.
This painting has been a long time coming, but all-in-all, I'm satisfied with the results. Well – not 100% satisfied. But what artist, (painter, quilter, woodworker) is ever 100% satisfied with his work?! They say you can overwork a watercolor painting, so I thought I'd better quit while I was ahead.
So, Othar and Barbara, I hope you like your picture of the JRT. His name is Daniel. (Grins.)
The card for the Moses' (also Watercolor)
*To be fair, I must tell you that this is not the first time I've handled a brush. My parents gave me a set of acrylic paints for Christmas when I was 15 and I experimentd with them a bit.
Then, when the children were small, my friend Melinda Wright taught me how to do decorative painting. (She painted and sold large quantities of country-style woodcut-outs, such as bunnies and farmers in overalls and geese.) Almost all the Christmas gifts we gave that year were woodcuts I had painted.
After that spree, I gave up the decorative painting. (Well, okay - I would briefly pull out the acrylics every 2-3 years for a special project or gift. Many times, the children joined me. But that was years later.) It was no fun to constantly be shooing away my dear little ones, afraid they'd bump my elbow or knock over the paint or smudge something. I just couldn't be a nice mommy and paint. So I said, “this is not the season of my life for painting.” And I set my sights on “someday,” when I hoped to learn watercolor. “Someday” has arrived. A little earlier than I had planned. :o/
I've always wanted to paint in order to express my creativity. But I can see now why some people do it to relax and take a “mind vacation.” Watercolors are tricky to master, but I've decided to simply have fun with them and see what I can learn as I play. I've had to drop my perfectionism. I limit my time and if I get tired or stressed before then, I put away the brushes. And I am having fun. As with everything in my life, I also do hope to glorify the Lord and bless people.
P.S. If you would like to try your hand at watercolor painting, I highly recommend WATERCOLOR FOR THE FIRST TIME: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE – copyright 2004 by Elizabeth Horowitz. It was just what I wanted. I like her realistic style (as opposed to the book by the Frenchman who admires impressionists and modern cubist art. He also likes people without clothing. All Ms. Horowitz' people are fully clothed.) I must note here that Ms. Horowitz would not be considered a purist - she uses a fine-tipped permanent black pen to finish some of her paintings. And some accomplished watercolorists might consider her style too tight, not spontaneous enough. But for now, I'm learning a lot from her.
The back cover says it well, “A foundation course for the novice watercolor painter, this book keeps both subject matter and instructions simple enough for any beginner to follow – form young students to retired people trying their hand at art for the first time. Easy, enjoyable exercises encourage readers to work at their own pace and develop their own style. Examples of beginners' art run through the book, showing readers how novices like themselves have succeeded in creating charming watercolor paintings.”
The format is uncluttered, easy-to-follow. Spiral bound, with hard cover even over the spiral. Lays flat. 144 pages, 7” x 10”. List price is $19.95.
There. How's that for advertising and promotion?! Maybe Ms. Horowitz will give me some commission!