Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

    Thanksgiving brings up a lot of different things for different people.  I've always  loved and I guess romanticized the Thanksgiving holiday a little bit.  I know there are arguments about how the history of it is taught in school and of what really happened.   For me, Thanksgiving was a time to spend time in the kitchen around generations of women in my family.  Having them share recipes passed down and loved by people they loved.  Hearing stories about family members I never had the opportunity to know any other way while learning to make desserts, homemade rolls, and casseroles. I may not miss the tension from having "too many cooks in the kitchen," but I do miss the rest of it.  My family has become much, much smaller in the past few years, and now Thanksgiving consists of invitations from friends to dinner (which I must say is so very welcome) or having dinner at a restaurant with a handful of family members.  It really isn't the same, but I am grateful.  Thanksgiving for me now, I suppose, is more a time to really bring into focus what I have to be thankful about in this moment, this time in my life.
    This year has been a year of change, and loss.   I have gained perspective and realized things about myself that I had not before, both good and bad, and lost some things precious to me.  In the job club that I go to on Tuesdays, the wonderful woman that teaches the classes read us the following as a Thanksgiving gift, and to remind us all to be hopeful.  The story may not be accurate, but it was inspiring, so I thought I'd share it.   Happy Thanksgiving!

 "Thanks-giving" (Davidson Loehr)

Thanksgiving is a holiday especially for people who have lost a lot and need to know how to go on. If everything in your life is just swell, and it has been just swell for as far back as you want to remember, Thanksgiving will just be another swell day, with turkey.

But if you have lost something this year, you need to lay claim to this holiday, because it is for you. I mean hard, painful losses: a parent, a partner, a child, a beloved friend or relative, even a pet you loved. Or a more abstract pain: a loss of innocence, outgrowing a faith too small to cherish you without yet knowing how to replace it. Or the loss of a job, or the loss of confidence, optimism and hope.

It was so long ago, that first Thanksgiving, it's hard to imagine it could still be such a big thing. It took place 382 years ago. Bach wouldn't be born for 64 more years. The founders of the United States - Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Washington - wouldn't be born for another century or more. The United States itself wouldn't exist for another 155 years. Charles Darwin was 200 years in the future, and the new world he would help establish wasn't even imaginable back in 1621 at the first Thanksgiving.

But one of the most enduring and life-affirming stories in our history was being lived out back then, in real time.

The year before, 102 Pilgrims had left to make their way to the New World. They started out in two ships, but one wasn't seaworthy, so they came over in just the one ship, the Mayflower. They left on September 6th; the trip took 66 days, they arrived on November 11, 1620.

They were greeted, after a harrowing trip across the Atlantic, by a brutal and deadly Massachusettes winter. Of the one hundred and two who left to come here; by the following summer, only 55 were left alive. Nearly half of them died.

Imagine this! 102 people leave their homes, say farewell to families and friends, say goodbye to a whole way of life, a whole world. They arrive as strangers in a strange land, and the land knows them not. It is cold, indifferent and deadly, and they spend a lonely and fearful winter freezing, starving, and dying. They bury nearly half of their number: one half of these Pilgrims buries the other half, and in the spring they plant crops and they hunt for food.

They had the amazing good luck to land near a village where the famous Indian named Squanto lived. Squanto probably spoke more English than any Indian on the continent, and he helped them survive and plant crops. Without him, they might all have died.

The crop is good. There is food here after all, there can be life here. I cannot imagine how they might have felt: the combinations of life and death, tragedy and joy, famine and feast. It was like all of life, compressed into one year. And by late summer, when they could at last celebrate a good crop, half of those with whom they had hoped to celebrate were dead.

Maybe that's why the first Thanksgiving lasted for three days. There was much eating, drinking, and merriment between the surviving Pilgrims and Chief Massasoit and ninety of his people. The menu for the feast was venison stew cooked over an outdoor fire; spit-roasted wild turkeys stuffed with corn bread; oysters baked in their shells; sweet corn baked in its husks; and pumpkin baked in a bag and flavored with maple syrup. The food was served on large wooden serving platters, and everyone ate their fill.

After dinner, legend has it that Chief Massasoit's brother disappeared into the woods and returned with a bushel of popped popcorn, which the Pilgrims had never tasted before.1

These are the bare bones of the story of the first Thanksgiving: we don't know many other details. It was the story of a small group of people who seemed to have both the character and the courage necessary to transform hell into heaven.

By all rights, all 102 of them should have been dead by spring. But they were not dead, and they proved it in a way that still beckons to us by its sheer magnificence of spirit. After the harvest, in the midst of a field dotted with the markers of almost four dozen graves, graves of wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters-in the midst of this field, they threw a party of thanksgiving. They invited over some new friends, had a sumptuous feast, they said some prayers to honor the still-warm memory of those they had lost, and then they did a simple thing so powerful that it freed them from despair, a simple thing so powerful that it can still do the same for us: they gave thanks.

They gave thanks because they knew that this life, even as it is punctuated with occasional pain, suffering, loss of life and loss of love, is still pure miracle, the greatest gift we will ever receive.

May we all, this Thanksgiving, find again that more adequate and more honest attitude toward life: that attitude that overwhelms us with the sheer wonder of it all. May we give a rest to our habits of complaining that the gift is not perfect, long enough to recognize that the gift is miraculous, and fleeting. And may we not let it pass us by without stopping to give thanks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Art Party

Well, art party for one at the moment anyway.  Just enjoying the afternoon/evening by just hanging out with Tiger, Dolly and Enya and playing with my art materials and seeing where they take me.  Words just don't seem to be able to cover what I want to express.  So... here it goes.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  - Misty

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beautiful Morning

I let my little dog, Tiger, have her breakfast outside on the back patio this morning so a certain kitty wouldn't eat it first.  It is such a beautiful morning with amazing weather.

I also notice that my Salvia Greggii is blooming like crazy.  That's pretty impressive since I may have watered it three times since June and we've only had one substantial rain since then as well.  I also noticed it has a little "rebellious" streak.  haha.  I knew I picked that plant for a reason.  :-)

  I'm hoping to do a little painting outside today.  Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Name Reflection Skeletons!

This was a cute activity that my friend Carin found.  She asked me to type up a little how-to for it, so here it is.

Supplies needed:

Plain white printing paper
Black construction paper
X-acto knives (depending on age group and detail wanted)
glue or glue sticks


Fold white paper in half and write your name in cursive in pencil on the folded edge, making sure that the edges of the letters touch the edges of the fold.  Use your pencil to make your cursive name into "bubble letters" by expanding the shape around your handwriting.

Keeping paper folded in half cut your "bubble letter" name out, making sure to leave it's "mirror" attached by not cutting on the fold where the letters touch.  You can, of course, cut the snippets of space out from between letters, creating something like a snowflake effect.  Once, you have finished cutting out your skeleton, open the fold and you have your ribcage.  With the leftover paper draw one arm, and one foot on doubled paper, then a pear shaped head on a fold, and cut them out.  You can decorate the face by cutting half a nose, one eye and half a mouth while the paper is still folded. Add any other decorations you want.

Arrange and glue all the pieces down and you have a Name Reflection Skeleton!  :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Got my camera working again... I took some pictures of my little painting buddy, Tiger. :-)

When I say little, I mean little.  haha! Isn't she the cutest!? <3

I'm also including a picture of a couple of little troupers.  I bought these two little dalmatian mollies back in July, not realizing how hot it was going to get this summer.  (HOT)  They are now enjoying the cooler temps, but I have to find a winter/fall temporary home for them soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Little Sunlight on the Subject

I decided to go outside on this beautiful morning and get some shots of my painting in the sunlight. Finally! It shows the true colors. I'm so happy with this painting! :-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Green II

I'm posting two images of this painting, because one shows the light colors better, and the second one shows the true colors of the greens better. :) This painting was inspired by the colors and brush strokes of a much, much smaller painting of mine called "Green" and I am thrilled with how beautiful it came out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting Closer

I'm getting closer to finishing my current commission. More to go, but I hope to be varnishing very soon. I'm loving the layers and mixes of color. (There is a lot more yellow/warm tone to the actual painting than this image shows.)

Also, this Sunday is Austin Museum Day. Free admission to over 30 museums around town! You can find more information on it at:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Building color

I'm moving right along, building more layers of color on the painting. I have many more layers to go, but it is already looking beautiful! :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Adding a little color

In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on a commissioned painting. I've finished laying down the underpainting and now I am beginning to add layers of color over it. In my original painting, the one called "Green" which is the inspiration for this work, I started with a magenta background so I decided to do the same for this large piece.


I like the energy that Magenta brings to it. Magenta represents universal love and harmony and just so happens to be the perfect color compliment for the greens I am painting with. There will of course be no magenta in the final painting, except for little bits peeking out here and there, like in the original. :-)


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Commission!

I received a new commission for a large painting last night. I can't wait to get started on it. There's nothing like a blank canvas to get me excited with possibilities. :-)

-AND ... check out my new huge brushes. They are so cool. The biggest one is an 8 inch brush. I love it!

I also did my very first pastel portrait last night. I have a lot to learn but I was pretty pleased with the result.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cheerful Part Two

I have several changes and adjustments to make, but it's coming along! :-)

Friday, September 2, 2011


I belong to a little Facebook art challenge group, and this month the theme is "cheerful." I'm up a little late tonight because I have been sketching ideas on canvas for the project. I almost always start out with a rough idea or plan and then just see where it takes me. I'm hoping this one stays cheerful and mayhaps gets fun too.

I know a couple of things for sure. I need to get a charger for my camera and I need my printer back, because it is madness trying to draw from life without a model or visuals. Hahaha... Hopefully paint will fix everything. :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Winding Down with Kitty Sketches...

Here are some practice sketches of my sweet kitty, Dolly, done before I went to sleep last night.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Same as having wings...

This is an abstract painting that I started in spring, but could not seem to finish. It is layered with colorful paints, glitter in acrylic medium, and iridescent papers and then varnished. I was inspired by the thought of a bird's eye view of 'Neverland.' - shooting stars, islands, magical maps, mermaids, pirates, and pixies. It looks wonderful anyway it is turned. Although some of the colors look dark in the photos, the colors are actually bright and fun. :-) It's called "Same As Having Wings." (30" x 40") As soon as I get some better pictures of it, I will post it on Etsy.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lots of updates!

Well a big "Hello" to all, and to anyone who might have been checking my blog... I'm apologize for such long absence. Things as they say, have a way of changing. Someone told me last December, that 2011 would be a year of changes, and boy howdy were they right.

With the school year over, at the end of June I went to Northwestern Univerisity to take a course in forensic drawing with Lois Gibson. I met Lois in November of 2010, at the TAEA convention in Austin. She was so enthusiastic about her profession and I knew that it was something that I would be able to successfully do right away. Now to work on my portfolio and 'wedge' my foot into some doors. :-)
While I know the job market can be tough for someone with my skill set; I am very hopeful that the perfect jobs and opportunities will come my way if I keep preparing myself and continue to network. I genuinely love all things art, and I hope that shows in my work.

I'm trying to build up some attention for my work on my facebook page, and my etsy shop so please if you haven't already stop by and "like" my facebook artist's page and suggest it to friends.

Also, pretty please, stop by and 'heart' my Etsy Shop!

** I have plans to have a showing of my paintings in town at the end of September. More information to follow.