Last week, my friend Stephanie told me of a wonderful photo op that we did--the homecoming of our troops from Iraq! It was said to be the largest number at one time to return to Huntsville. We were thrilled! We met so many neat people who were anxiously awaiting the return of the soldier. We saw children waiting on fathers, wives waiting for husbands, and elderly parents waiting on grown children soldiers. It was a very moving experience for me. It was hard, well, impossible to hold back the tears...How wonderful it is to have these men and one cute lady home safely. THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO and Welcome home!
NOTE: A DVD may be purchased by clicking the bottom right control button and clicking the "Buy DVD" button. The DVD will come to you beautifully packaged in a leather case. This Homecoming DVD is non-profit-priced at:
DVD $49 plus s & h
Extra Copy DVD $39 plus s & h
Digital Download MP4 iPod video $39
My gift back to YOU.
Sweet 'Mrs. Margaret' (in her 80s) commissioned this painting to donate to her church in honor of her parents. She came to pick it up yesterday, and we had such a wonderful visit together too. This painting will hang in the Presbyterian Church (Athens, AL) parlor. It is a 40 x 30 canvas....The scene depicts Jesus with the 2 on the walk to Emmaus (Scripture: Luke 24:13...). What are your thoughts?
We got to Jackson Thursday afternoon and met up with Kat and hung the show right away. We got the gallery ready and had our "Meet & Greet" with our students who were to attend the workshop on Friday. Exhausted, we went to Susie and Chris' home for the night. Susie had made such a great and simple meal for us. It was perfect! A huge salad, fresh bread for our turkey sandwiches.
The workshop began at 10 and went until after 4! The students' enthusiasm was amazing!
Bonnie Hurst from Decatur AL
Jennifer Day from Pace FL
Michelle Vandiver from Decatur AL
Ann Barker from Jackson TN
Susan Crocker from Alamo TN
Pat Findley from Jackson TN
Mary Evelyn Pafford from Jackson TN
Leslie Willard from Decatur AL
After our long day of painting, we all headed out for some amazing sushi at Sakura's. Man! You gotta go....
Day 3 - the Critique and Art Opening
Saturday morning those students who wanted to could participate in a critique session where Claire and I gave some pointers to each person about her painting. The students learned alot and felt they had accomplished a great deal during the workshop! We were thrilled with their talent!
Below are images from the art opening. It was beautifully done--Kat does it right--wine, exotic cheeses, fruit, nuts. We met some really nice people and appreciate all who came.
This is "Corky"-Susie's precious Mom. She is one amazing woman at 78. She reminds me of Katherine Hepburn with oodles of fun personality. She is a treat to know! I did a painting of her home for her, and she was thrilled!
One huge highlight of the entire weekend was when Elizabeth Dickinson and Frank Crafts showed up. They are all friends of mine and Claire's. We all went to Auburn together and most of us were Kappa Deltas together. Elizabeth was a KD by association--her identical twin sister Lynn was a KD with us and Elizabeth was an Alpha Gam. And, well, we all know that Frank is the best KD there ever was, keeping up with all of us and reuniting us in beautiful ways.
Day 4 - The Trip Home
On the trip back through the small towns between Jackson and Alabama, it was a glorious day--blue skies, temps in the 70's--a perfect day for a farmer's market. So we stopped in Savannah TN for a gathering of merchants of everything you can imagine. Right off the bat, we found Leslie some cool, leather cowgirl boots! Oh man, they were great! We got them for $8!! They are brand new...Got to love a serious bargain. Who would have thought amidst the baby dolls, rusty power tools, and figurines??
Aw, now this was awesome. I shot this for Todd since he would always sing that song after he bought his John Deere (that I didn't think he needed...).
Art at its best!
They were even selling live things! This is a 10 week old Chihuahua puppy. "No, Leslie. You can't take it home..."
For the week ahead, start it off with something totally awesome like the famous dance scene from Napoleon Dynamite. Claire and I had an awesome weekend in Jackson TN and will post some great images from our workshop and art opening. We really enjoyed our weekend staying with Susie and Chris Alexander--such awesome hosts. I'm paying homage to Chris' career wtih Blockbuster Video. This is a great movie. Make it awesome and dance YOUR way to a great week. Blessings!
For your weekend, you may want to pick up a great book--if so, check out my recommended reading list over on the right hand side of my blog. I have subscribed to a cool site called Good Reads. Check it out!
I was a little bummed upon arriving because I didn't know Rob was going to be in New York with Natalie Chanin for Design Week 2007. Natalie "Alabama" Chanin (Go all through this site!) is another cool story. She is a designer (among many other things) that began the awesome "Project Alabama" line of clothing that is all made in the South by some of the greatest craftspeople sewing fine stitchwork for one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing. They are each works of art and are now sold at renowned Barney's in NY. Though she is no longer involved with Project Alabama, her artistry has expanded to also include jewelry and home decor that is very earthy and made of beautiful raw materials by hand by folks in the USA. I hope she has done well in NY...below is a bracelet. Notice the awesome photography by Peter Stangelmeyr, Robert Rausch and others. I love the downhome Southern feel to all the images on their sites. See how you feel about them....
At the artists gathering, I met some wonderful people who are all tied in one way or another to Rob, the Muscle Shoals, Los Angeles, awesome photography, awesome design. Below is Sandi Stevens cool studio and frame shop that is around the corner from Rob's studio. I was amazed at her collection of great things she has found over the years and turned them into art pieces. Sandi owns a t-shirt company called "Can You Say Geronimo" and hopes to have it up online in the next few days. You'll have to check it out. Below that is Sandi talking to Leslie, my awesome assistant and Keith Sims, a media arts specialist.
Check out the fabric that adorns this doorway in Sandi's studio. She said that it came from Billy Reid who had some left over from his dress collection. Visit his site for some clothing designs that will knock your socks off. Reminder: He is from Alabama too! I'm so proud to live in an area of the country that is so rich in artistic and musical talent!
These are the doors that lead you into GAS Studio from a walkway from the street. I adore the verdi-gris iron and rich wood and the age of these. They are perfect for what you find inside--an eclectic mix of things old and new.
Below is renowned photographer Charles Moore who showed up with Mary Ellen Sandridge (who teaches photography at Athens High School) on his arm. It was great to see both of them.
Above is the inside of GAS Studio--not a great shot, but we were all around the kitchen area since there was great food and drink to share. But in the background, you can see a cyclorama that I've drooled over for years. I've always wanted one of those for the corner of my photography studio. The area of Rob's studo can accommodate cars driven in, etc.
In keeping with all this Southern culture is my band Sister Grace 's new CD--a very downhome Southern sound combining the talents of musicians from the Muscle Shoals and Nashville, TN! It is now available at CD BABY.
Be sure to visit all the links to these great people and immerse yourself into the rich artistic culture that exists in Alabama! My home state....
I received this email today from a young man in Texas, and it made my day knowing that something I had made and thrown onto the web to help people actually DID help someone. The rewards of sharing! Read his email below...
I am 31 years old and have had no art training at all. I was interested (I love looking at paintings) in giving painting a shot. I am a computer programmer (I build web applications for major companies) and wanted a hobby to help take my mind off work (hard for me to do). So being a “computer guy” I turned to the one outlet I know for where to start. I came across your youtube painting lesson. It just so happens that my niece has a paris inspired bedroom and would love an Eiffel Tower painting so I took an attempt to do a painting based on your youtube movie. I wanted to share with you the results of my efforts and thank you for a very inspiring/motivational movie. I hope you are planning to put together another movie of your process as that was very helpful to me and is giving me a starting point for something I find very relaxing… Do you have any suggestions on where to go (I live in Dallas, TX) on where to go to look for workshops or some fun classes?
Don't miss your chance to GET AWAY
and learn painting from
"the twins"--Carole & Claire.
We will be there for 3 days teaching
and showing our latest paintings.
Last chance to sign up is Monday afternoon.
Call Kat Semrau at her awesome gallery to get the last spots.
She's waiting to hear from you. 731-616-4644
If you missed the post about it, get all the cool info here.
For the weekend, you gotta pick up Mandisa's CD. I've been quiet about it too long. I've had it for about a week, and it totally rocks! Remember Mandisa on American Idol not last season, but the one before that--when Taylor Hicks won? This CD is Christain praise music raised to the next level!
With yesterday being my daughter Sarah's birthday, I spent most of the day cleaning up a bit at home and baking a cake for her party last night (It went so well and we had a ball!). Today I am in much the same mood for cooking since we have a covered dish meal tonight with our WOW women's ministry at church. My band Sister Grace is going to lead praise and worship music. Anyway, I'm on a roll in my desire to cook more. (Anyone know/have a good cooking blog? Leave it as a comment please) Today's dish is a pasta dish--rotini and macaroni in a light pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, sauteed portobello muschrooms, sauteed spinach and shaved asiago cheese. MMmmm!!! I sampled it for lunch. If your mouth is watering and you are a lady, you may partake of this dish tonight! In the background is the yummy cake we had last night--chocolate chip pound cake. The beautiful bowl is by an awesome potter, Conrad Lippert--you can purchase some of his pieces at Pablo's On Market in downtown Athens. Bon Appetit! Time to go paint....
Take a look, it's cool....
I have had the privelege of shooting Ashley a few times now, and she is so much fun! She always has the cutest clothes too--always fashionable and the clothes are always in immaculate condition, ready for a shoot. I love when clients come in ready like that to have a great time. The energy was hopping and happenin'! Here is just one image from our shoot. She will be featured on the gallery TV soon! Don't miss her there!