Sunday, December 29, 2013

Twenty years from now....

 will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

This quote is on the cover of a card I received some years ago and have had it hanging above my desk ever since.  It's the perfect reminder to me as we enter yet another new year. (hard to believe 2013 is nearly over!)

At the end of a year I always find myself reflecting upon what all happened within that year...and of course, like most folks...I consider what I'd like to see happen in the upcoming new year.

A few things on my list....
~start a new chicken flock to keep up with the demand of farm fresh egg sales
~relaunch the blogtalkradio show "Art Speak" (
~attend the 4bridgesartfestival in Chattanooga
~paint bigger paintings (like maybe 6 of them)
~invest in a small solar panel to continue offsetting utility costs
~sled on the whitehouse tubing hill so can experience to new STAIRS that were built this summer!

What's on your list?

Be safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

ya'll gone and done it now!

Thanks Dave Granlund!  Dave Granlund has been an editorial cartoonist, published in daily newspapers since 1977. And I totally agree with his depiction of this situation.  "Phil Robertson done gone and shot his own foot."  (Any celeb or politician or media known will tell what you say or it will effect your bottom line).

I'm sorry but I just have to comment on the recent events regarding the statements made during an interview by GQ's Drew Magary in the article titled appropriately "What the Duck".  Then of course there's the video that's gone viral on youtube.

I saw the hubbaloo in the news about it.  Shortly after I'd just finished watching season one of Duck Dynasty on Amazon Prime and liking the show!  Yep, this show is pretty dang entertaining...funny...and sometimes a  But when I heard about the news craziness going on regarding Phil I thought....what is this about and where is it coming from?  So I went looking for the facts. What did Phil say exactly? I read the entire GQ article and then watched the whole 50 minute video (in parts) posted on youtube by "ourbereachurch".

This isn't a free speech issue. It's just not. Ok, yes, you can say whatever you want to say in America but freedom of speech comes with some ramifications too.  According to "Freedom of speech in a self-governing society demands that citizens act with moderation, respect, and responsibility."

But hold on one second.  In the land of free speech, how can we forget some other famous folk who got themselves into hot water by their words.  Remember Mel Gibson? No one can forget Mel Gibson telling a policeman during his 2006 DUI arrest that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."  And how about Paula Deen? She practically lost her business empire and was fired by the Food Network after she found herself caught in the middle of a racially charged controversy. Then there was Michael Richards.
During a 2006 performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, the former "Seinfeld" actor shouted racial slurs to black hecklers in the audience, used the "n" word several times, and even referred to lynching.  And I don't remember anyone rushing to shout "free speech, free speech" during those controversies.

Then there's the issue of credibility. Sure enough...I cannot argue the credibility Phil Robertson has regarding duck calls and duck hunting. The man's clearly an authority on this subject.  But why might he be considered anything close to an authority regarding gays?

One might argue because he's "quoting the Bible?"  Really?  Does it say what he says it says?  Phil picks and chooses here as to exactly what the Bible "forbids".  Here we go yet again...the topic of Bible and context.  (Yet another broken record.)  Used yet again to make a point while at the same time exhibiting bigotry for the sake of "I'm better than you" bible taunting?  Come on.

Best article I've read on this issue....check it out titled "Everyone is a Biblical Literalist until you bring up Gluttony".  What?????? No you didn't just say that Rachel Held Evans.  THANK YOU for bringing up the topic of buffet lines and the Bible.  Truly a brilliant read and extremely well articulated from someone who understands the whole of the real issue.

I won't question for a second that Phil knows what he's talking about when it comes to hunting ducks...but you want to declare yourself as an authority regarding what the Bible supposedly says?  "Heartless, faithless, ruthless, senseless?" And yes, since this all has come out in the media a joke around our home now has become "we invent ways of doing evil....on a daily basis" Um, yeah that's my MO every day. Sure.

This is all just dumb. Ignorant. Dumb. Stupid.  And I'll say again this isn't about freedom of speech.  Because yep, anyone is free in America to say what they want...but when comments turn derogatory words become harmful.

So what is the issue here then? This is a Golden Rule issue.  Matthew 7:12 states, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." And Galatians 5:14 says, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."  Words "do" too. Words can do harm.  Shouldn't we consider this when we consider the issue of free speech?

We can't go into any store and not see something that is covered with images of Duck Dynasty right now.  And when I see these I can't help but be reminded of this whole debacle. It's just sad. And so goes tv.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

what are those??? and Merry Christmas.

Just in case you don't know...these are "Buckeye Candies".  Which also happen to be a Christmas favorite in Ohio.
I mean...if you're FROM know what a Buckeye is...and you've probably eaten a BUNCH of the candied version as shown here.  So of course these candies are a huge favorite to gift at the holidays.
I'll break it down for you...basically you're looking at a homemade version of a peanut butter cup.  Primarily because these are made from peanut butter, confectioners sugar, butter and chocolate.
NO Christmas is complete without them. And are tons of fun to make actually.  Send me a message of you want the recipe. I'll be happy to share.  rachel(at)racheldickson(dot)com.

And a joyous, VERY merry Christmas to you!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

announcing...exciting stuff for an artist!

It's here it's here!!! The Pantone Color of the year (2014) has been announced! And why does this matter you say? for the soon to be released decor in stores. Watch for clothing colors and jewelry colors coming soon.  You will see a lot of this color...or tones of this color.  And naturally as an must paint accordingly so as to match the trends!

Pantone Color of the year 2014
Radiant Orchid

Since Lowe's carries paint samples in many Pantone colors and most definitely the color of the year I now have this color to paint with!  Super abstracts on the horizon with Pantone Radiant Orchid as the theme.

Stay tuned....

Where the Wild things are...

I feel most at ease outside.  So when the snow falls like it did over the last 48 hours here in Northwest's understandable my auto-response is to be a little stir-crazy...coated with a bit of needing to get outside.
And it's an added blessing when you do get outside and stumble across something wild, doing what wild things do...yet lingering long enough for you to see a glimpse into their world.
This happened Saturday morning.  I was waiting by the back door for the dogs to do their business. It was snowing (there was already probably close to 6 inches on the ground) and was hazy...sorta foggy-ish.  When something caught my eye all the way through to the other side of the yard and into the adjacent cornfield I saw a group of something moving around on the hill.  Deer I thought at first...but then...they moved different than deer.  Then I heard it...a familiar mweh mweh mweh mweh sound.  TURKEYS!
Why this matters most is because this past March we had purchased a tom turkey who was roaming the yard...and after a wild flock of turkeys paid a visit to the surrounding cornfield and woods...poof, tom turkey went missing and hasn't been seen since.  We assume he joined that flock.
Fast forward a few months and we purchased 2 more turkeys, this time a hen and a tom.  So you can imagine my dismay when I see and hear this wild turkey flock wandering the field directly behind our barnyard!  Don't wanna lose these 2 to the wild ones too! I grabbed boots, hat, coat and dashed out to the barn to check on our birds and see whether said wild turkeys were putting on a show and inviting ours to join up with them on their "what the wild things do" adventures.
I smiled when I peeked around the barn and saw our hen and tom. Hen was chirpin away inside the fenced barnyard at the wild flock and tom was all poofed out as if to encourage his girl to stick around and ignore all those "other" birds.  Wildlife cracks me up sometimes.  Very simple, mostly peaceful lives.
After feeding our turkeys (yet another move to remind them both why they should stick around) I watched in admiration at this flock of wild turkeys appeared to be playing in the snow. Running around chasing each other darting single file through the cornfield towards the woods.  It wasn't too long before they were out of sight but I could still hear the echoes of mweh mweh mweh coming from the woods.
Wonder when the next time is they'll come through for a visit?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bad day for Puff-Daddy the rooster.

Well, the era of Puff-daddy (the greatest yard-guard rooster ever) has come to an abrupt end.
But need to know a little more about why this matters.
Two years ago on new years eve day...after having heard the notorious sound of urr, ur, ur, UR URRRR around 3am that morning and wondering if I was hearing things because we didn't have any roosters at that time....discovered that this rooster had in fact just randomly showed up in our yard...and chose to called it home.  (Maybe he took a liking to our hens...although over time...our hens developed a love-hate relationship with him).
The kids promptly named him "Puff Daddy" partly due to the fact that he puffed out his neck feathers when he was in attack mode in the back yard...and also very loosely after the American rap artist with the same name (I think mostly just for the fun of it).  The name stuck.
It quickly became a common occurrence when I went out to the chicken barn to feed and water and gather eggs that pdiddy came zipping around and usually he and I had a quick sparring bout that would wisely end with him backing down.  (You would think he would catch on that I was feeding and watering his harem).  He was quite the backyard patrol officer.
There were a few times when Joe-Joe the pug would innocently be wandering through the yard and out of nowhere BAM, pdiddy would run up, pop poor unsuspecting Joe and then wander off back to coral his hens.  Joe of course would skiddishly look around with a look of "what did I DO?" on his face...and sheepishly retreat back to the house.
Once a year we clip wings so that the hens can "fly the coup" and then wander out of the yard.  About this time of year...the wing feathers have grown out enough where they all can "fly the coup" and a small group of hens and pdiddy would wander across the road seeking wiggly treats in the brush in the field.  Day-after-day we could hear pdiddy across the road crowing in delight doing what he loved, protecting his girls.
We didn't think much of them crossing the road because none of these birds are "darters".  They one by one would gingerly cross the road in a manner that if by chance a car would approach, there was plenty of time for the driver to see these birds and slow down long enough for them to cross.
Well, apparently last Sunday someone didn't slow and woop...bird-down! bird-down!
Ironically, the energy in the barn has changed.  The hens seem to be a bit happier that their mostly oppressive patrolmen is no longer roaming the yard.
He did father some chicks while he was here. Only two of them remain.  One a beautiful black hen and the other, the now-moved-up-in-rank, rooster who was aptly named "pdiddy junior" (which I'm sure more stories and photos will follow here).
Pdiddy has in fact earned a place in the pet cemetery and will be buried amongst the animals that made us smile the most.  Rest in peace Puff Daddy.  Although...I can walk the yard with a much broader sense of ease now.  No risk of getting popped.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things that make you wanna throw your hands in the air...

Ever had that feeling of just wanting to throw your hands in the air in a celebratory "hell yeah!" sorta manner?
We all have had these moments...but for me...often these moments are simple...little things that make me just go "YEAH!"
There are two of these "little things" today that I'm dancing around saying "YEAH" about.
First and foremost, the corn is down. I know, I know this sounds like such a trivial thing...but when you're home is surrounded by an 8 foot wall of corn for 4 months...change is good. And now...we can see for MILES again!  (one of the many awesome things about the flatlands of Northwest can see forever...when you're not surrounded by corn that is.)
The second thing that has my hands in the air jumping we are going to visit a potential new addition to our family today.  His name is Theodore and he's a miniature rat terrier just like Reese.
Chris found him on Craigslist.  From the sound of it, his owner works long hours and can no longer bare to have him cooped up at home for hours on end.  (We can certainly remedy that!)
sidebar: One thing I truly love about our family is that loss doesn't keep us down for long...and we welcome new members rather moping around here.)
I'm a little nervous as to how receptive Reese will be with Theodore as Reese has been a bit of a queen around here since she arrived from the Ft. Defiance Animal Shelter.
But...hey...we think Theodore will like it here. He can chase chickens for the first time!
Check back for updates...bring on the adventure!

Monday, October 14, 2013

...the passing of's reminder of how living things move us.

Pets.  Often time we take them for granted...until they aren't here any longer.
Today marks the passing of two family pets in three months...and serves as a reminder to me as to just what these lil guys mean to us.  Their absence serves as a reminder to me as to just how powerful their simple presence is.
Rest in peace Joe Joe. The family pug...who lived a very long and good life passed today from health complications that were escalating.
I was reminded today of another moment in "petland" that I remember was mind-boggling to me.  Some years ago I found myself in a place where I wasn't in a place where I could have a dog, or a cat or the "traditional" pet but was able to have a fish. Yes...a fish.  And I was AMAZED at what the presence of another living thing in my personal space did for my peace-of-mind. I was totally blown away as to what a simple fish brought into my life.  Not surprising that fish lived for a VERY long fish years. 
Let us not take for granted our little animal friends.
RIP...Joe Joe and 3 months ago...Lito.  Illness is a sad thing...even when it strikes our pets.

Monday, September 16, 2013

ahhhhh, it's almost time...for the corn to come down

The corn has grown TALL this year. Clearly this year's corn will bring much larger yields than last year. Which naturally brings a happier mood to the surrounding farming communities of Northwest Ohio.

Northwest Ohio is unique when it comes to seasonal changes. I am referring mainly to the fact that there are thousands and thousands of acres of farmland full of soybeans, corn and wheat. Wheat was harvested some months ago...but we are just weeks away from corn harvesting season.

Combines, tractors with trailers, trucks pulling combine attachments and so forth will slow the local traffic a bit as they move from field to field throughout the process.

But oh the smells!  Cornfields have a distinct smell which changes throughout Spring to Fall. It's a good smell! And corn being harvested? Now there's an awesome, memorable smell that fills the Northwest Ohio air throughout late September and October.  Not to mention the view changes.  When homes are surrounded by a wall of 6 to 7 foot corn and then all the sudden that wall is gone, the view improves.

So happy pre-fall everyone! While we here in Northwest Ohio smile at the upcoming corn harvest.

Monday, August 19, 2013

this is for the birds...again

It's been a good last couple of days in the art studio. A couple of cute little birds flew out of the woods and right into some new paintings!

Check them all out here:
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (click here)
Red-winged Blackbird (click here)
Pine Warbler (click here)

As an artist I am constantly amazed at how some paintings just fight you and others are smooth and flow and are completed lickity-split.

These three paintings each were flowy pieces. It was as if they wanted to be seen by the masses because there was no struggle at all.

Each of these paintings are about the size of a cd case, so if you're looking to add to your art collection but think you don't have room, think again!  Everyone has room for a painting this size in their home or office.

And the idea to paint a Pine Warbler came from a discussion I had with a local bird enthusiast who informed me that just down the road is one of the worlds greatest places to view warblers as they migrate to Canada. Who knew??

I have to of the MANY benefits of painting these little learning a little bit more about them.

Want to see more?  Visit

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Observation #4,503

Music = Art = Music = Art + repeat

It's true. Or at least that's been my observation. Isn't that how scientific experiments are quantified? By visual confirmation (evidence)?  Anyway, I'm talking about music and art.

Test my theory.  Go to any art festival...and there will be music.  Go to any music festival and there will be art.  I think maybe you can't have one without the other.  Yet another piece of evidence would be and the main categories that can be found on the homepage.  News, Art, Music...and in that order too (from left to right that is). 

I myself have music playing while I'm no doubt that music is influential in my creative process. But I wonder if any musician has ever played while looking at art?  When you attend an art art opening is complete without some kind of music playing (which of course you can also say about shopping...who wants to shop without having some music playing in the background).

Just like a bottle of wine can be paired with a fabulous meal, music can be paired with great art and visa versa.

Hmmm, maybe that should be my next painting...a visual of what music and sound LOOKS like in color? I'll bet I'm not the first artist to think about this.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Well, I did it. I painted with pink paint.  This may come as a surprise to some of you.  But then again, maybe I'm the one making such a big deal about it.

After visiting a friend of mine who has decorated her house with a very classy, hip color palette (bright green, hot pink, black and silver) I got to can be VERY COOL!

So here is my latest abstract work...this time using pink, aqua, black and silver acrylic. 

Measuring 6 inches wide by 13 inches tall by 3/4 of an inch thick, this piece is painted with acrylic on wood and is about the size of two cd cases put together.

Affordably priced at $45.00 you too could add the flair of hot pink and an original painting to your home decor.

Click here to view this painting in more detail  or to view others like it.

And hey...only a few short weeks of Summer remaining!
Get out there and pack it full!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Toledo's downtown Artwalk coming up on August 8th, 6p-9p

Old brick buildings, sidewalks and fine art!

619 Monroe Street in downtown Toledo will be the site among many sites for Thursday's (August 8, 2013, 6p-9p) Art Walk hosted by the Toledo Art Commission.

To view the map of all participating art venues from the previous event click here.

Come on downtown Thursday evening and stop by what's listed as #13 (Hannon's Block, 619 Monroe Street, Toledo, OH) on the art walk map and check out some of my newest art work that will be on display and for sale there.

The 2013 Thursday Art Walk series celebrates the 6th year of the program. Art Walks will take place on the 2nd Thursday of each month, June through September. Remaining 2013 Art Walk dates are August 8, and September 12. Art Walks are free to attend and open to the public. There is no official starting point for Art Walks, guests are invited to come Downtown, download a map in advance or pick one up at a participating venue, and then walk, bike, or drive to explore the wealth of creativity and great local businesses that make Toledo a vibrant arts center.

Toledo Art Walk (downtown)
Thursday, August 8, 2013

Click here for a map of participating art galleries and locations

See you there!

For more info about Rachel's art visit

Joe COOL with a twist of pink!

I've known many artists who paint exclusively commission work for their clients. Pet portraits are just one category of commission work, others consist of family portraits, architecture (homes or business buildings) and the like.

But let's talk about pet portraits. I used to say and think that the true art of nailing a commission piece (creating a stellar painting versus one that's crap) had to do with capturing the "essence" of the dog or cat or bird.  What I meant by that at the time was that I thought the artist must have had some magical intuitive sense that enabled them to capture this lil pup or cat or whatever and depict it in a painting as you might see it in real life.  "That's my BOO!"  Turns's SOO much more than that!

I have a WHOLE new appreciation for pet portraits today.  My opinion began to evolve the moment I started painting this piece.  Funny how when you paint something coming from a place of what you "used to think" your philosophy adapts as the painting unfolds.  (This is one of the MANY things that I adore about being a painter...spills out into life itself.  Life reveals itself to you in a completely different manner when you're a painter. You view things in color tones, shadows, depth, focal point, framing, etc.  Your view of the world as it unfolds changes completely!  Or maybe it's just my perspective that's changed?)

Well, there's a whole lot of gibberish about painting psychology. The fact of the matter here is...this painting was FUN!!!!  I'd been aiming to paint a piece for my dear friend and dog extraordinaire, Lori Eberly.  Lori has owned and raised Brussels Griffons for as long as I've known her. And I wanted to give her a painting as a gift because she has and continues to be such a fabulous dog sitter for Reese (our miniature fox terrier). We refer to Lori as "Aunt Lori".

I was nervous when I took this piece over to give to Lori.  Was she gonna like it? Are the colors true to a Brussels Griffon puppy? Did I get the beard right? Did I get the ears right? Well, good news...she loved it! Which was naturally a huge relief to me.

This painting is about the size of a cd case, painted with a hot pink background and lots of browns and grays.  I have since explored the Internet for other images of various dog breeds wearing goggles. FUN!

Lori suggested that I paint portraits of other peoples dogs.  Sounds like a fun new avenue of Rachel art! We will see where this adventure leads?

Want to purchase a painting as a gift for a friend or for your own collection? Shoot me an email and let's get started!  rachel (at) racheldicksondotcom

Monday, July 22, 2013

hot Hot HOT out of the studio!

Yes. It's been very hot here....BUT this had led to some COOL new paintings! Hot out of the studio, I've just added these new paintings to my online gallery so be sure to check em all out.

click here or visit

Happy Summer and onward and upward for the arts!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Big Red!

Hot off the press! Or maybe better stated, fresh out of the artist studio.

Yep, I've been at it again. This time painting another American Robin. I can't help it, I like Robins. These red-breasted birds signify Spring and Summer to me.

And for some reason, this season I've seen a lot of these pretty birds raising their young. So without further ado...I bring you "Big Red."

This acrylic painting on wood block measures 4.75 inches by 6 inches by 1 inch (about the size of a cd case) and is a perfect size to hang on the wall or display on your table top (as shown here).

This piece is now available to purchase online (click here) or visit to view more paintings like this one.

Onward and upward for the arts!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grand Rapids, OH and ART!

When one says, "Grand Rapids", everyone automatically assumes Michigan. And yet, there is a best kept secret here (well, sort of). There is a Grand Rapids, Ohio.

This town has recently become one of my favorites to peruse. Not only is there a very nice walk along the Maumee River (just so happens that this quaint little gem of a town borders the south side of the Maumee river), but also there are bunches of very fun shops and some fab galleries to peruse too!

Angelwood Gallery is one of these fab little art galleries located in downtown Grand Rapids, Ohio. Home to some very talented artists work from Northwest Ohio and happens to be VERY affordable art too! Yet why am I talking about this?  Well, it makes me smile to say that my artwork will now be on display and for sale amongst the many other talented artists work there.

The next show being featured at Angelwood is called "Fabulous Fibers 2013" which is the 6th annual fiber show hosted by Angelwood. Fiber works from Ohio artists as well as many other States will be on display and for sale from June 20-July 21 with the opening reception corresponding with downtown Grand Rapids' "Girls Night Out" Thursday, June 20 from 6p-8p.

In the mean time, go, be, DO!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

When neither choice is the one you want to make.

This morning's topic springs from lingering odors of last night. "Making choices. When neither choice is one you want to make." 

So last night while closing up the chicken barn for the night, the evidence was clear. Small piles of dirt from recent digging and odd sounds coming from under the shelving unit in the corner of the barn. And that all-too-familiar-musky smell faintly noticeable in the air. My heart sank. Skunk.

The chickens were all perched for the night looking on curiously as to what I was doing in the barn with the light on at this hour (it was after 10 o'clock). I was standing still, Remington .22 in hand and waiting and watching. And I'm in a quandary.  I've have run-ins with skunks this wasn't new for me...which is most likely why I was in this quandary.

Skunks smell. And if you are in the mere vicinity of a skunk...that special little cologne they wear somehow permeates your clothing and even your hair! I'm standing there watching the shelving unit that this little guy is digging under. I can't see him yet, but I hear him moving around and he doesn't even seem to notice that I'm nearby (which I think is quite interesting because you would never come this close to a squirrel or a raccoon or a rabbit and they not take note that a human is close by.  Must have something to do with the fact that they don't fear much? I mean, why would they...they have that awful smelling musky spray on their side!)

Thoughts that are rushing through my mind at this point range from, "Oh crap, the chickens are gonna all smell like skunk," to "I really don't want to have to do this", to "I hope there aren't other skunks nearby (but there probably are)", to "Damn it! Here we go again with the skunks bothering the chickens" and everything in between.

So I wait. I wait for this skunk (which at this point I haven't seen how big he is or even if there is more than one because he is under the very bottom shelf) to emerge and hope that it doesn't get ugly. The dogs are in the house for obvious reasons. The chickens are all looking on tossing out a quick comment here and there.  I opt for the choice of having to do this. Regardless of the fallout, good, bad or otherwise.  (I don't even want to begin to imagine the dogs getting sprayed, the cats, the chickens, the kids. Ugh.)

Probably about 3-5 minutes have passed (which is a REALLY long time when you're standing still in a barn watching and waiting for something you really don't want to have to choose is about to take place). And yet, something was about to happen that I would have NEVER predicted.

The moment of truth came and went in a flash! In all of about 10 seconds the choice was made. Three shots later (because I can't bare undo suffering) I hear from behind me my name being called. ???

It was Isaac, our ten year old. He was standing in the doorway of the barn.  Now this was the LAST thing I wanted at this moment, for several reasons. One, Isaac is very compassionate when it comes to animals.  Two, I knew that the musk from the skunk was likely to intensely permeate ALL the air in the barn in the next few minutes and we both needed to get out of the barn quick. Three, the first question Isaac asked was, "Did you kill any chickens?" Which  made me realize I was going to have to give a very long and detailed explanation that I really didn't want to have to give.

So in less than 10 minutes the very simply task of closing up the chicken barn for the night became loaded with choices that I really didn't want to have to make. Life is like that. Unsuspecting we go about our daily details and BOOM, here comes a moment that we really don't want to face, but have no choice but to move through that moment doing the best we can with what we can best predict the outcome from those choices will be. And sometimes things come at us like rapid fire. Yet I have learned ESPECIALLY in those times, to trust your gut.  Our knowers know deep down inside what needs to be done. We just have to find the courage to do what we know to do.

Like walking through a dark woods with a flashlight, we can only see to the edge of the light. Yet as we walk we make our way out of the dark woods one step at a time. Arriving on the other side better for it. Better for the experience of it.

So the smell lingers, actually, the barn wreaks this morning. But life goes on teaching us about ourselves.

Friday, May 24, 2013

somethings I just don't understand

There's something that is very core to my being that when I see the opposite of rattles me. The record screech stop and stare sort of rattle.
Disrespect or unkindness exhibited by one human being toward another.
Parents towards children, children towards parents, co-workers towards co-workers, students towards students, etc etc.
I just don't understand it. It's the very fabric of who we are..human beings...and yet, abuse and misuse is everywhere.
And yet it's as if we are teaching each other these to or how not to act and behave and live and inspire, or not.
This is a dangerous thing...that seems to be chipping away at the "kindness factor." A smile, a kind word, a thank you, an act of gratitude, a "yes mam" or "please" or "what an outstanding job you did"...I hope and pray that these parts of our humanness never make the extinction list.
And yet, I too need to be reminded of expressing kindness to what's around me. So today I raise my hat to the billboard reminder. Be kind. Just because we are human.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rooster politics and other fun observations from the chicken yard.

Living in the country has its benefits, one of which is being able to have our own chickens. Some folks are annoyed by the sound of a rooster crowing (and contrary to the old Warner Brother cartoons, roosters don't just crow when the sun rises). But for myself, the sound of roosters crowing and chickens cackling makes me feel right at home.

I grew up with chickens being a part of daily life. Feeding, watering and gathering eggs were just a few of the chores we completed on a daily basis. While I did grow some chickens for meat to raise money for a school function as a preferred version of chicken are egg-layers. I'm not picky about the variety of hen...just lay eggs. Oh and of course it goes without saying here too, chickens are hugely entertaining to watch.

Like every living thing, chickens have their own language. They alert each other to potential dangers, they announce freshly layed eggs, they communicate where the latest bit of savory food is located to each other and on and on.

Roosters on the other hand are a whole other ball of wax. When humans are present some roosters are very protective of "their girls" and others are very skiddish and evasive.  Shown in the photo above is our "main-barnyard-attraction" Mr. P Diddy. (Named by one of the kids because when he is in his defensive attack mode stance his neck puffs out...hence the name Puff Daddy or P Diddy for short...also loosely named after the rapper of the same name.)

P Diddy is especially comical to watch. He is most certainly a type-A personality rooster (if there is such a thing). This guy is busy, busy, busy ALL the time. Telling his girls about food he just found, or keeping a close eye on where everyone is in the barnyard, or keeping the other rooster (since we have two) at a safe distance and on and on. He's quite territorial and even has gone so far as to square off with me when I enter the barnyard (Not sure why he hasn't caught on that I'm there to just feed and water them. Bite the hand that feeds ya?).

If P Diddy were to run for political office...I am confident that his voice would sound EXACTLY like Foghorn Leghorn from the old Looney Tune Cartoons.
"pay attention son this is for your own good..."
If you need a reminder of what Foghorn Leghorn sounds like go here:

Yep, barnyard politics are alive and well amongst the chickens. I'm sure I'll be sharing more barnyard chicken stories in the near stay tuned. Oh, and I certainly will be painting some works that feature P Diddy and P Diddy Jr (the other rooster).

In the mean time, onward and upward for the arts!

Monday, April 29, 2013

ahhhhhhh, that art show feeling!

Grand Rapids, Ohio has become my local "little favorite-downtown-scene-town." It's got that little shops scattered about downtown thing going just behind main street flows "the muddy Maumee" (the maumee river) as its referred to around here.

Ahhhh. I miss being near bodies of water...especially mountain rivers. So, the maumee will have to do in a pinch. But I digress.

There's an art gallery located amongst the shops along Main Street there in Grand Rapids called Angelwood Gallery. Chris and I stumbled upon this little gallery last year while walking from shop to shop one afternoon...which then led us to attend an art opening which since has led us to attend Saturday evenings art opening there at Angelwood.

It's SUCH a joy for me to be around art in the art-opening-sort-of-setting. The buzz and hub-bub that goes along with art shows is unmatchable. Like a shot of art energy right into the arm! And to experience this buzz with Chris is even more enjoyable for I think she now has caught the art appreciation bug too.

Julie Beutler, owner of Angelwood is a potter. So naturally her work is on display and for sale at the gallery along with other local artists. But Saturday night was a show celebrating 20 years. (The celebration was actually two-fold....20 year anniversary or gallery and also of Julie creating pottery). In gallery years...THAT is a BIG DEAL! 20 years?? You know you're doing something right if you can make it 5 years let alone 20.
It was a joy to join in the celebration and attend Saturday night. And Chris and I also added to our personal art collection a similar piece of what's shown in the image above, a "homey". (Thought it's cute that Julie named this series of clay houses, "Homeys".) We now have a one-of-a-kind Julie Homey in our art collection!

Which I will just go ahead here and say...there's just nothing more fun than collecting art from favorite places and sharing in that experience with your life-partner. It truly is a pleasure to mutually appreciate art!
And a big high-five to all of you who have discovered this joy.
Go, be, buy art!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A walk in the woods...taking the paintings for a hike and other fun adventures

I might be just a little bit crazy...(have been called worse things) but it seemed to me that a few of the finished paintings hanging in the studio were BEGGING to get out! And if you know me...I'm always up for an adventure...trying out something new.  So, I carefully put them into my backpack and off we went into the woods.

Each piece truly seemed to appreciate getting out! After all...who says paintings don't experience "cabin-fever" too? And the nearby wildlife was like..."Hi, there! Welcome to the woods."

Mr. Cardinal and Mr. Owl smiled a the warm breeze and sunshine smiled down on them.  Was only about a 2 hour adventure...but they seemed super-appreciative! And now hang again in the studio awaiting their new home.

OH!! and one OTHER really cool thing!! I TOTALLY ran into Equality while I was in the woods! Yet another reason I LOVE to get outside and wander amongst the trees.

Thank you nature for your blessings!

To learn more about these art pieces visit

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Most Useless Place (an excerpt from my June 2012 newsletter)

I tend to ponder a lot. And my most recent ponderable that of (as Dr. Seuss says in his book "Oh, the Places You'll Go") "a most useless place. The waiting place." Here's Dr. Seuss' full description of the waiting place.

"The Waiting Place......for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or the waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. 

Everyone is just waiting. NO! That's not for you! Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing."
(an excerpt from Oh, the Places You'll Go)

As I pondered this topic, my thoughts morphed more into holding on to things of our past. Memories, experiences, standards of various sorts, daily routines, etc, etc. A different type of waiting I suppose...waiting for it to happen again?

I'm reminded of a couple I met once. They each described their lives previously being about international travel and career related encounters...and they described it in a manner of "that's who we were...and we're feeling a bit out of place right now because we are retired and we aren't those people any more." Which of course screams of a yearning for the past, a sort of holding on and unwillingness to move forward. Attachment to external experiences in a "who we were" sort of manner. I wondered if I would ever feel that way. Is this feeling maybe more to do with being proud of who we were in those instances? Those instances of feelings of belonging?

I have since found myself pondering this topic because I have arrived at what I'll call life's crossroads...or life changes. It certainly takes some adjusting and some allowing and some embracing. It also takes trust. Trusting in yourself to not falter or waiver from the deeper part of yourself...of who you really are. For the sails of your sailboat to catch wind like they're made to do.

I'm coming to learn that lingering in "the waiting place" for very long can be debilitating. Which is why we MUST keep moving forward! Don't linger for long. You might miss your next greatest thing while clutching to that last greatest thing. Let go and allow.

This same phenomena occurs during painting too! I often reach a place in a painting and it doesn't feel quite right, doesn't look right. The colors aren't working together, or the canvas feels out-of-balance. Sometimes I walk away and return later to segway right into the next needed brush stroke. Other times I stand determined to push through, moving forward and soon a new finished work of art appears out of the mist.

Waiting can be show-stopping. Holding-on can be crippling. Allow, breath, embrace. All will be well. Vita et Fiducia!

What do you think?

Peace to you,


Monday, March 25, 2013

DIY and projecting...repeat.

GoodNESS I've been on such a projecting path of "re-use, re-purpose and re-organize" of late. I make myself laugh some days because I add to my own "honey-do list" WAY more than my honey does.
And thanks to the BEST Christmas gift EVER (kudos to Chris and yes I DID ask for one)...a Dewalt cordless drill...I'm a projecting mo-fo! Amazing to me how having the right tools to complete a task makes life SO much easier!
I absolutely LOVE creating new things...and projecting is kinda-sorta creating depending upon the project. Some of my most favorite things involve decoring in the house such as painting, hanging shelves, hanging artwork, rearranging furniture and the like.
Although sometimes these things may have a price if we don't take the necessary precautions to do things safely and in a common-sense-sorta-manner (pointing finger back at myself).
It's been FOREVER since I've have to visit the E.R. so I guess I was due a trip. Needless to say, cutting plastic shelf-bracket-housing with smith-and-wesson pocket knife and slicing big gouge into left hand, dumb. And yes, much trucker-like-language poured forth from the closet where I was attempting to hang that shelf. A visit to the E.R. and four stitches later...Ouch! Yep, I do dumb things. But as we long as we LEARN from said dumb things...hopefully we won't repeat them. And now, along with the scar on my left hand, shelf is hanging all purposeful and new.
Yet another DIY project I'm very excited about is re-constructing the layout of the inside of our animal barn to house our new flock of laying hens. Chickens yeah! Chris and I had loads of fun wacking away at the previous wood stall fencing with the sledgehammer and now we're working on re-building new stall fencing more functional for small animals.
I'm sure you'll see me writing much more about our chicken adventures here in the near future as these feathered friends do some of the most hilarious things in the barnyard. (Barnyard politics are alive and well too...which I'm SURE there is MUCH to learn from there.)
In the mean time, I'm confident that many of you are jumping into spring and re-organizing and cleaning and freshening up your space in preparation for summer! What DIY projects are you into? I'd love to hear about them.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I think this might be typical behavior

It's February and this isn't any really big news.  However, maybe it can be better described as "cabin-fever-season"...or "PLEASE bring on Summer already season".

So I thought it appropriate (and Chris suggested this actually) to paint a robin. And WoW what fun this Male American Robin turned out to be! I swear I could smell cut-grass the whole time I was painting this piece! (all the while it was freezing rain outside. hah)

Check this out in full array. Just click here.

In the mean time, stay warm...and bring on Summer!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sites and Sounds of Owls!

Shown here to the left...the Eastern Screech Owl. Also the most recent wild bird that I've opted to paint.

Let's face it...owls are cool! They're like "the Fonz" of the bird world. Well respected in nature (probably because they can do some serious damage to rodents and other birds) these mysterious birds are worth researching.

Take a listen to my most recent audio blog where you can hear sound bites of the Great Horned Owl, the Barred Owl and the Eastern Screech Owl.

To view and purchase "Patient in the Woods (Eastern Screech Owl) click here.

To learn more about artist Rachel Dickson visit

To listen to Rachel's audio blog click here.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

who Who WHO!

It's often the things we haven't seen before, or something that we rarely see that excite us! As if the world has smiled down upon us and hand-picked us to be the one to witness something. Like a deer approaching us in the woods and gets so close we can actually reach out and touch it. Or like a flock of birds that swarm some pattern in the sky but only for a split second.

I've had the pleasure of witnessing the wild in ways that made me feel like I was the only one on earth who had seen such.  (And then of course you want to tell the whole world what you just saw!!)

Owls fall into this category for me. I've only seen or heard a few in my lifetime, and I cherish each and every memory of owl encounters. These birds are amazingly quiet and to actually SEE one with your own eyes is rare.  To HEAR one is the most amazing experience too!

For me, owls carry a sort of mystique in the woods. Probably why they have a reputation as depicted in the entertainment industry as wise, (you know...the wise-old-owl theory) as if they hold some secret knowledge of the world we live in.

Not until I began to research the various species of owls did I learn that there are a LOT more versions of these birds than I ever imagined!  (Painting material for a very long long time!)

For my first owl painting I selected the Eastern Screech Owl primarily for its size and color.
Titled, "Patient in the Woods" this original acrylic on wood painting measures 6 inches by 4.75 inches by 1 inch (just slightly smaller than a dvd case) and is affordably priced at only $37.00.

Click here to learn more about this painting.

And what does an eastern screech owl SOUND like? Well...I'll save that for my next audio blog posting.
Until then...get out in the woods and keep your eyes open! You might just see an owl.

to learn more about Rachel Dickson visit

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sounds of the red-headed woodpecker

I love seeing woodpeckers in the wild and it seems that it's almost as rare as spotting an owl in the wild.  The red-headed woodpecker is a beautiful bird so naturally I wanted to paint one!

"Static Cling Red-Headed Woodpecker" is currently still available for purchase and affordably priced at only $37.00!!
see for details

Want to learn more about the red-headed woodpecker? I did, so I recorded this newest addition of my audio blog complete with the songs and sound clip of an actual red-headed woodpecker!

Check it out!

Resources used in the recording of this audio:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


 It's HERE!!! I've been wanting to start working with audio again in an effort to create more substantial dialogue with art fans...and FINALLY it's HERE!

Click this link to listen to the first addition of audio. (It's less than 2 minutes long)

 As depicted in this first edition of my new audio blog I recently took a jaunt in the woods with my little side-kick Reeses Pieces. We hiked the Horseshoe Lake trail at Oak Openings Metro Park.

If you listen real close to the audio (by following the link above) you can hear my boots crunching in the snow...and if you listen EXTRA close you might even hear sounds of Reese running up and down the trail too.

I was pleased to see that many had walked this trail before much of the snow was packed tight making walking pretty easy (even for Reese).

We found this cute little snowperson someone built and left on display on top of a tree trunk next to the trail. It stood less that ten inches tall. Thank you for whoever shared their snow fun with those of us who followed.

I find that wandering in the woods clears my head and fills my soul as I seek new inspiration to create new works of art. Nature always accomplished this! Never takes...always gives.

On this particular trek in the woods, Reese spent most of her time running ahead and looking back at me as if to say, "come ON! hurry UP!"
She makes for a GREAT trail buddy.

 Here is more evidence of Reese waiting on me. It took a couple tries for me to capture this shadow image of us both on the trail. Reese of course is in the lower right hand corner of the photo looking back at patient.

So here's to my first installment to the audio blog!! and to walking in the woods to rejuvinate and inspire!

Onward and upwards for the arts!!

To learn more please visit

Friday, January 4, 2013

Art do-overs?

High-tech x-ray imaging has proven that some of the old masters simply painted over paintings. (click here for an example

No different than music, some songs take to the public and some don't. Art is no different. Some catch on, some don't. Knowing this, I decided to revivify a few paintings I have in my studio. This one here being the first.

Originally titled "Static Cling" the added red-headed woodpecker fits into this name still, perfectly! I love how these woodpeckers cling to trees with ease as depicted here.

"Static Cling" measures 7.00 inches by 5.50 inches and is painted on recycled wood for a rustic flair. And yes, the bark you see is original to this piece of cherry wood. VERY affordably priced at $37.00, this piece would make a fabulous artistic addition to your collection!

Click here to see more about Rachel's painting "Static Cling"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

well, that's a wrap.

I've seen these cool word-art images around before...but not until a few days ago did I find Which of course got me to thinking how I could utilize the tool on this site to create a word-image.

2012 is officially a wrap. And since we're now into 2013, naturally my mind went to a place of pondering and wondering how 2013 might play out. So I put down some words that I'd like my 2013 experience to reflect and then entered them into wordle and poof, out came this cool image.

As an artist...I tend to always be thinking about the next creative word-art is now another fun way to create images. the mean's back into the studio. Time to paint!

Go. Be. Create!
And a very Happy 2013 everyone!!