Friday, December 12, 2014

It's a freight train Christmas!

Life has been a whirlwind tour here the last few months!  I've been learning the ropes of a railroad conductor since August and have had to put down my paint brush for a while.
I desperately want to draw and paint some trains as that's mostly what I've been seeing here lately.
This imagine is a perfect example...not sure who the photographer is but this was taken near Wauseon, Ohio recently.
I'm not looking forward to the heavy snows that will soon be on the ground here in Northwest Ohio but I do have the gear to work in it now.  Bought my first pair of flannel-lined pants and wow are they fabulous in the cold temps! And the art of layering is most definitely an art!
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! Most wish for a white Christmas...I'm wishing for a sunny one. (it's ok if it snows, I can roll with it).  In the mean time, watch for updates here as I have plenty to write about. The chickens are doing well, the turkeys are beautiful (they were happy to learn they won't be on anyone's dinner table anytime soon), our family is doing very well. Lots of stories to pass along.
Stay tuned...and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy FALL!!!

This image makes me smile EVERY time I look at it!

It's FALL which brings cooler temps, beautiful color changes in nature, awesome smells in the air, halloween parties, and tons of other such fun stuff.

May your fall be full of fabulousness!!

In the something creative.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Water Emergency Toledo, OH area

Toledo, Ohio was tested today...starting long before the crack of dawn.

The facts were released sometime around 1:00am...and before 6am in some places....bottled water supplies were knocked out.

Toledo area city water supplies supposedly come from Lake Erie and today the microsystin level apparently was measured at an unsafe level for drinkability. Which then of course flows over into all sorts of other avenues such as handwashing and showers and produce/vegetable rinsing and the like.

Even sites such as quotes the incident.

Needless to say, things have gotten a little interesting around the areas that this directly effects. Restaurants were closed in the Perrysburg, OH area today.  And who knows how long this may persist?

It feels like a storm has hit the area based specifically on the limitations of water usage. Regardless, it's not fun.

Want to know the latest visit

Sunday, July 27, 2014

signage art...but not just any signage.

If you're an NPR radio listener that you likely already know of this ... but I couldn't help but share this story!

So here's the synopsis...

Willie Baronet is an artist...and bought signs from various homeless over a 31-day period of time for an art project called "we are homeless."

Just think of all the ramifications of this project. My thought was .... "HOW COOL!"

According to "the average price he has paid for a sign is $12, but he has paid as little as $4 and as much as $40." I found myself wondering about all individual responses he received when he offered to buy the sign of someone standing on a street corner like this?

Anyhow...yet another cool idea that created all sorts of amazingness.

Want to read more about this? Check out Willie's blog by clicking here

Here's the link to the original story at

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 5 of 10. BBQ

I certainly don't consider myself a bbq connoisseur after all I'm mostly a veggy eater. However, one of the things on Chris' bucket list when we return to Chattanooga is to stop by Shuford's Smoke House for some bbq.

Chattanooga certainly isn't known for it's bbq like the Memphis area, but Shuford's ranks up there pretty high on the "holy smokes" list of bbq joints.

I dare say that it's ambiance somehow adds to it's allure. Just a hole-in-the-wall sorta place, you can zip in, buy a 1/2 pound of smoked pork, beef, chicken or turkey and ribs too of course (for their complete menu click here) and skiddaddle. (take it with you to dine on for a few meals).

Shuford's Smokehouse has such a stellar reputation they were featured on Turner South's "Blue Ribbon Best of the South." (click here to view the Blue Ribbon video) It's a must watch video that'll give you a good look into why this place should be on anyone's bucket list when visiting Chattanooga.

And yet another reason for's on our way to the Cumberland Trail hike off of Suck Creek Road.

So after checking Shuford's off the bucket list, a HUGE billboard along I-24 caught Chris' eye advertising Sugar's Ribs. You can also see Sugar's Ribs from I-24 as it sits high atop Missionary Ridge overlooking Chattanooga. In the spirit of chasing good bbq, we added this to the bucket list and off we went one evening to give it a try.

As SOON as you walk in the door you're hit with that well known bbq aroma! Sugar's Ribs is definitely more of a touristy place (depicted more by the prices on Sugar's menu). Chris ordered pulled pork and I ordered lamb (I'd been wanting to try lamb and since the opportunity presented itself I gave it a try. Can't say I dug the flavor much, but hey...I got to try it)
Our conclusion...Sugar's was worth the view overlooking Chattanooga and the experience of it was cool, but the food offerings weren't anything close to Shuford's. So we'll cross this one off the bucket list and return just to Shuford's the next time.

We'd certainly recommend you visit both Sugar's and Shufords if bbq is your thing. Then you can be the judge.

Here we are enjoying the view from Sugar's patio. Obviously from the looks on our faces we liked the experience.

To check out Sugar's Ribs online click here.

To check out Shuford's Smokehouse online click here.

....and stay tuned for 5 more excerpts highlighting our adventures during our recent visit to Chattanooga.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

the technical behind what makes great art...

The golden ratio isn't a new concept. Has been around for ages...but definitely not something that's really talked about amongst artists and art collectors much.

Here's Ronald Swanwick explaining just how this works.

Click here to view the video.

Our eyes are training to see this concept in everything that's around us...especially in nature.

Maybe this is why nature is such an inspiration to us all?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Toledo Art Walk, TONIGHT, June 26, 2014!

ART WALK Tonight from 6p-9p.
Like original art? Looking for something fun to do tonight in the Toledo, OH area?

Thursday, June 26, 2014
downtown Toledo

Click here for a map of participating galleries and art walk venues.

Be sure to visit #3 on this months map.
Truth Gallery located at 1811 Adams Street
downtown Toledo, OH
I'm excited to have my artwork featured at Truth tonight!

Also note that street parking is free after 5:00p.

I'd recommend you park over near Adam Street and visit the venues on that side of town, then park over near St. Clair Street and walk that strip. Those two areas are where the highest concentration of participating venues and galleries are located.

Be sure to print the map and bring it with you so you don't miss and stops.



Monday, June 23, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 4 of 10. Adventures on the Cumberland Trail.

It was finally time to get out into the woods!!!

There are two hikes that Chris and I REALLY like to experience when we visit Chattanooga.

Chickamauga Creek and a section of the Cumberland trail that leads to North Suck Creek (which Chris has aptly named "the death march").

Unfortunately we learned this day that Chickamauga Creek was closed until mid-July (it appeared they were making improvements to the parking area) we went to go see what condition the suspended bridge over North Suck Creek was looking like.

If you take Suck Creek Road up Suck Creek Mountain (opposite Signal Mountain in Chattanooga)...there's a wooden staircase that comes down to the road off the mountain on the West side (this is where the Cumberland Trail crossing the road). And just to the East of this the trail continues across a wooden bridge (over South Suck Creek) up to the top of a ridge-line...across the ridge and down the other side where you'll find one of THE COOLEST suspended bridges that crosses North Suck Creek.  This was our destination today.  The distance from the road to the bridge is 1.4 miles and takes approximately one hour depending upon how fast or slow you walk it.

I'd brought Chris to this trail once before so she knew what to expect (as far as the climbing and the descending). Although I'd forgotten how jungle like it can be hiking in the woods in East Tennessee in June. It was overcast so it didn't get really hot which was nice...and we managed to predict the weather well because it didn't start raining until after we'd returned to the car (yeah us!) We also had the dogs with us...and I was a bit concerned what their reaction would be when it came time to walk across the suspended bridge. (Carrying the dogs across was the first plan of action). 

I'd hiked this trail no less than a dozen times since 1993 and I'd seen the bridge in all different states of repair. Kudos to the Cumberland trail maintenance crew whoever you are...the bridge on this day had recently been repaired, numerous foot-boards replaced. Guessing by the yellow tape you'll see in a few photos below that before these repairs the bridge had become unsafe to cross.

Adventures of the "death march."

Chris having hiked this trail before...was nervous. I could feel it. I could see it in her face. And I was nervous for the dogs and about crossing the bridge...and the fact that I was taking my three most favorites into the woods and might be presented with potential dangers (heights and poisonous snakes primarily). But in the spirit of we went...for the adventure of it. (spoiler alert...all ended one hurt, all safe, adventure stories to tell!)

This section of the Cumberland trail is one of my all-time-favorite hikes on the planet! It has a steep uphill climb for the first 20 minutes or so...then a flat jaunt along the ridge at the top for about 20 minutes then the decent down the other side which takes about 20 minutes with the coolest creek and bridge as a destination.

Reese HATES bridges, (our black and white toy fox terrier) and Dodi LOVES to swim (our white with a little brown toy fox terrier). They both love to run a I figured they'd generally come out smelling like roses, likely have gathered up a few ticks along the way (which proved true) and would be pooped the rest of the day.

We arrived at the suspended bridge in no time and Dodi was the first to explore the bridge. His foot slipped through one of the slats so that was my clue that to carry both dogs would be the best thing.

As many times as I've walked across this bridge...I ain't gonna's freaky. It sways a bit as you take each step and if more than one person is on the bridge at a time it moves about even more. It's freaky. And there's a pretty serious drop to the creek below. Yet this bridge is frequented by a lot of safety in numbers right?

Tales from the suspended bridge!

Notice the yellow tape I'd mentioned above. The boards that were used to repair the bridge had to have been hand carried in. Special kudos to whoever humped all that wood. and Thank you!

Here's Chris and Dodi about halfway across. It seemed to be easier to handle the freakiness of this bridge if one of us crossed at a time.

Bummer the creek was so low.
With all the rain that Chattanooga had been getting, I was surprised to see how low the creek was this day. (yet another fun thing about visiting this never know how high or low the water is going to be...but always plan for some fun swimming just in case). Needless to say, we still got in some good romp around in the water time. Dodi of course jumped right in and swam around.

No sooner did Dodi jump in the water than a snake juts out from the rocks and into the water.
The creek was totally clear so you could see this snake swimming around underwater and then turned to look back at us. I'd never seen a snake stay underwater like this one did. (We think this might be a small water moccasin).

Meanwhile, Chris and I are trying to figure out how to let Dodi swim with this snake lurking about. So I said, "maybe if we throw rocks at it it will swim down stream?"  No sooner did I say this than BOOM, Chris chunks this huge rock into the creek and this snake looked like hurricane Katrina just hit it in the face. It worked in-so-much that the snake moved down stream, but not before Dodi jumps into the water after the rock like it was a toy. (not what we planned). A few scary moments later (after he insisted on swimming to the opposite bank just to prove he could) I snatched him up out of the water before this snake resurfaced.

Needless to say, we moved up the creek a bit to let Mr. Snake have some privacy.

The water was COLD!  Typical of mountain creeks...but geez, I'd forgotten just how cold they can be. Hence the look on my face in this photo.

I had intended to swim and float around in the creek, but having hiked the return trip before soaking wet and not really enjoying that...I decided just to wade around. It was refreshing.

The dogs are always flitting about when we pause to snap photos so we never know who all will be in the photos. Reese managed to get captured in this one above.

Can't ever seem to get both pups looking at the camera at the same time...but at least you get the idea.

This photo above I thought was one of the best of the day. Hard to tell, but both dogs are in the background. And can you tell that this was toward the end of the hike? more nervous.

We did it! Hiked just short of 3 miles to the bridge and back. Success!!! We checked this hike off our vacation bucket list and returned to our cabin for some chill time on the porch.

Much more to come...stay tuned.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

HOLY Toledo!!!

Super excited to announce that The Truth Gallery in downtown Toledo, Ohio will be integrating my artwork into their beautiful art gallery mix of African wood carvings from Ghana!

I stumbled upon this gem of an art gallery while perusing the various locations participating in the Toledo Art Walk some two years ago. Just so happens that upon my last visit Chris mentioned to the gallery director that I was an abstract painter...and that led to a review appointment which led to being invited to show at the gallery through June!

If you're an art lover and want a fabulous experience stop by and visit the Truth Art Gallery at 1811 Adams Street in downtown Toledo. This piece below titled "Keepin it Real" will be one of many abstract paintings on display and for sale at the Truth Gallery now through the end of June.

Or stop in on Thursday night from 6p-9p for the June 26th Toledo Art Walk. I'll be there!

Onward and upward for the arts!

Want to know more about the June 26 art here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 3 of 10

I can't explain where it comes from...but it seems to be something some people are born with and others not-so-much.  The love of READING!!

I love to read...and I found a store many years ago when I was attending college in Chattanooga that filled the book void!  And OH MY how this store has grown since then.  I watched this store grow and grow over the years and still...I love to go there.

Naturally I would share my love of this place with Chris and her kids too. I swear there is something for everyone in this place.

McKay's Used Bookstore!!

With locations in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga Tennessee we can only get our fill of this phenomenal store about twice a year. And a visit to Mckays is a MUST when we road tip to Tennessee!
It might not look like much from the outside...but HOLY books, movies, cds, video games and even vinyl records are in this store! It's a buy, sell, trade sorta place so it's always hopping.
Aisle and aisles of books and it's very easy to burn two hours wandering this store and not even know it.

What might be some of our favorite categories to explore?
Cook Books
Art (the big picture book variety)
New Age
Green Living
Nature (for the birding books)
and on and on.

If you're a reader...and you live in or around any of the Mckay's MUST visit!

Stay tuned....there's much more to come.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 2 of 10. ART!

As avid art lovers, Chris and I both love exploring Chattanooga's Frazier Avenue (known as the Northshore or North Chattanooga because it's on the North side of the Tennessee river) and shopping the art galleries and cool shops from near the Veterans bridge to the Market street bridge.
However, this time we'd also found a new gem! (the mural shown above can be found at the parking lot of the Chattanooga Workspace building on 6th Street).  It was an accident how I found out about the first Friday Open Studio night at Chattanooga Workspace, but a fabulous accident at that.  Fortunately I'd written down the address of the place and off we went to find it. Open house was the evening of the Friday we arrived in Chattanooga from 5:30p-9p.  That same night was also the opening of the Emerging artists show at the AVA gallery on Frazier and also just so happened that In Town gallery had an opening too! So off we went to explore the local art flavors of the city!

The photo above is the building that houses Chattanooga Workspace. A renovated space used by individual artists for studio space. Super COOL concept! And once a month (the first Friday) they have an open studio night. Four floors with multiple studios on each floor.

Upon entry we were greeted and given a brief synopsis as to what this space was about and then instructed to ride the elevator to the 4th floor and work our way down. VERY cool how artsy this experience was. Even the elevator was decorated in an artsy way! The chair below greeted us as the elevator doors flew open on one of the floors.

We met some really cool artists at the workspace that night. Donyale Grove being one of them (which now one of her acrylic paintings hangs in our kitchen at home...LOVE it!) We also learned that many of the artists who have studios at the Chattanooga Workspace also show during the Chattanooga Market on Sundays (naturally this makes sense because the Chattanooga Market is who is behind the operation of both spaces). Stay tuned for my next posting where I will talk about our experiences at the market!

With plenty of time to spare yet, we zipped over to Frazier avenue and walked down to the AVA gallery. This was more of an art museum experience with installation art pieces not really our cup of tea...but we enjoyed the cultural experience of it anyway. After all in the land of's good to see many different types of art.

A few doors down is In Town Gallery (a cooperative gallery so many artists were present this night for their opening reception). Chris and I always enjoy walking through In Town gallery to see what's new there.

By now it was nearly 9pm so we opted to end our evening on the Northshore with a stroll across the Walnut Street walking bridge. This bridge has a distinct and memorable smell to it as it's made from wood similar to a beachside boardwalk and there's always a lot of walkers, bikers, runners and so forth trafficking this bridge.

This evenings exploration of the local art scene in Chattanooga went down as one of our favorites of the week...but yet...there's MUCH more to come.

Stay tuned....

Monday, June 16, 2014

What a difference a roadtrip makes! Excerpt 1 of 10

Chattanooga? Yes, please!

Chris and I and our two toy-fox-terriers just returned from a week long visit to Chattanooga, TN. I cannot talk enough about the joys that being in that part of Tennessee does for us all!

Over the next few days I will be posting updates here as to what we got to see and do and experience. Much swimming (yeah Tennessee River!), hiking (snakes included), art (found a new gem in the Chattanooga Workspace) and food (Chattanooga has some KILLER bbq!) adventures.

The photo image above is by one of the fabulous area photographers we met named Steven Llorca. You can view his work by clicking here.

So stay tuned as I will be posting 10 different excerpts covering our Chattanooga adventures in detail.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sugar Pea and Honey Fly...the continuing turkey saga

Meet... "Sugar Pea"...(and of course that's our tom all poofed out there in the background) named this past week as she is now officially declared herself part of our growing flock of farm birds.

If you've read previous blog posts here about the wild tom turkey who came around for a week or so flirting with our domesticated female turkey and challenging our tom for days on end...(he finally quit coming around after running him off a time or two with our toy-fox-terriers joining in the chase).

But day out of the blue little Sugar Pea showed up.  At first glance I thought it was Mr. Wild thang coming back for another round of flirty flirt and fighty fight with our Tom...but at closer look she was much smaller than he was...and of course she had that turkey-girl look.

Minutes later, what unfolded in our yard was rather fascinating. At first is was pretty obvious that our female turkey wasn't real pleased that she had some competition. She puffed out and jumped and jolted at our new visitor. But if being trained by the best...misses wild turkey knew just what to do to be invited to stay for a while. She was interested only in our Tom and preceded to do the traditional wild-turkey-dance. Circling then sitting down on the ground with head low. Seconds later...she was one-in-the-family so to speak. And ironically our female turkey (who Chris has since named "Honey Fly") and miss wild (now "Sugar Pea") have become the best of buds.  It's as if our turkey hen has been lonely all this time.  They chatter and trill and talk to one another as they walk the yard.

Not sure what will come of this odd little pairing. Whether we will have pullets soon or maybe next year as Sugar Pea appears to be only about a year old.  Interestingly, Sugar Pea won't perch in the barn at night with the other birds as she seems to trust more in her wild upbringing and perches WAY up in the tree behind the barn at night...nothing short of 50 feet off the ground (ain't no coon gonna snatch her at night when no one's girl).

I would have never thought that a wild turkey would join a domesticated turkey pairing (although they are the same species of turkey which probably helps with this).  But she is welcome to stay. Now if wild tom telling what may happen.

The saga continues...stay tuned as the story unfolds.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Music and art inspiration...

omg!! What a difference a mic makes!!

Click here to listen to the newest audio blog where I introduce a new music group named "Sylvan Esso" and how music inspires artists!

Visit my audio blog page at to learn more!

Leave a comment below and let me know what inspires you.

It's here!!!!

Taking the advice of a media friend (thank you Ron Haney!), I ordered a new studio mic...and it just arrived!!

Meet the techno-babble behind upcoming new audio recordings, the CAD U37.  Not sure I dig the gold color...but'll do.

Stay tuned for some cool sounds right outta the art/audio studio!

In the mean time, check out previous recordings by clicking here.

Peace out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Downtown Toledo Art Walk time!

The fourth Thursday of May-September downtown Toledo gets ARTSY!
Thursday, May 22 from 6p-9p , the Toledo art walk is a must attend.
Be sure to put the Glass City Cafe on your "TO VISIT Tomorrow" evening list!

Click here to download a map of all the participating galleries and venues at Thursday's event!

The Glass City Cafe is located at 1107 Jackson, downtown Toledo.
Check em out online at or better yet, come down for a visit May 22.

Special thanks to Steve for including my artwork at their venue tomorrow as well as introducing local artists Trish Kohn, Danielle Hererra, Jill Posta/Sew Magician. Live music by Tim Oehlers and local vendors DecorWear and Black Swamp Metal Arts. Also offering a full menu and a sidewalk BBQ weather permitting.

SEE you there!!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

not to continue to beat the drum but...

if the best television show of all time (Sunday Morning) does a story on it...then it at the very least rocks the "COOL CHART".

So check this out...aired May of 2013.
(Biggest Week in American Birding, Northwest Ohio, 2013)

definitely WORTH a watch!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Biggest Week in American Birding, what is that?

It was actually rather accidental how I discovered this. Last fall while displaying and selling paintings at the Toledo Art Walk a gentleman who saw my bird paintings suggested that I attend "The Biggest Week in American Birding" and went on to tell me that we live in what's been deemed the Warbler Capital of the world!

What? Why had I never heard of this before? After researching this a bit it turns out, Northwest Ohio is smack in the middle of the flight path of migratory songbirds.  I had never even considered what might happen to all the songbirds we have around here in the Winter...they migrate south of course and return in the Spring!  So what is this "Biggest Week?"

The Biggest Week is organized by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, with support from co-hosts at Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center, Lake Erie Shores and Islands (Ottawa County and Erie County Visitor's Bureau, and Destination Toledo (Lucas County Visitor's Bureau).

Here's what the has to say about this phenomena...

Why come to Northwest Ohio in May?

"Because it is quite simply the best place to witness spring migration of songbirds anywhere in North America. The southern edge of Lake Erie acts as a barrier that the birds are reluctant to cross during migration. The birds tend to "pile up" in the woodlots surrounded by marshland on the lake's southern edge to rest and refuel before crossing the Lake. The timing of their arrival is early enough in spring that the trees have not leafed out, there are no bugs, and the birds are incredibly low and accessible. No such thing as "warbler neck" around here! We get HUGE numbers of birds, much like a fallout, only better! Fallouts occur when a weather event pushes birds down, and what birders find are the weary survivors. Here in NW Ohio, we get the same huge numbers of birds as you'd see in a fallout, but the birds are active and vibrant, and by the time they get to this latitude, the males are actively singing!"

Certainly sounded like an event I wanted to learn more about!
This year's event is taking place now through May 15th. Chris and I went to Maumee Bay State Park yesterday to check it out and is most definitely a hotspot for bird watchers and extremely educational too!

Next year's event is set for May 8-17, 2015.

Want to learn more about Northwest Ohio birds and the Biggest Week?

You can also download and view this year's Biggest Week visitor's guide by clicking here.

In the mean time, this knew found birding knowledge has inspired me to paint more warblers like the Prothonotory Warbler original shown here.

Want to flit about my site and see what birding art is currently available?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

biggest week in American Birding...

Just so happens, that the biggest week in American Birding takes place just short of an hour's drive from where I live.  And...apparently...(who knew?) Northwest Ohio is the Warbler capital of the world.

Well then, I deemed it appropriate to paint some of these lil guys and gals.  Turns out Ohio is smack dab in the path of the migrational flight of these birds among others.

May 6-15, 2014 the "Biggest week in American Birding" takes place at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio.

Meanwhile, I've painted this lil fella, the "Prothonotary Warbler" on an ACEO card original. Measuring 2.5x3.5 inches on 140lb watercolor paper this piece is an ink and watercolor mixed media piece.

To learn more about this piece "Prothonotary Warbler" or others like it
click here.

To learn more about the biggest week in American Birding
click here.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nest building time...the American Robin.

If you're from anywhere in the'll know this bird.  The American Robin.

Most everyone knows this bird simply at "the Robin", however, if you do a search for it online you'll discover as I did that there is also a European Robin so apparently there's a need to differentiate.

So here's another of my attempts at ink and watercolor on 140lb watercolor paper cut to ACEO (Art Card Editions and Originals) size (2.5 inches by 3.5 inches).

To learn more about this little piece of art or to see others like it click here.

In the meantime...happy creating!
Happy ART!

new audio posted.

Just uploaded the newest edition of audio....sounds of the red-winged blackbird.

Click here to listen.

Happy Creating!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NEW artwork!

I've have had a fascination for pen and ink and watercolor mixed media art for a LONG time. And it finally dawned on me...duh...why don't you try this for yourself?

Viola!!  Here's one of four new pieces I've created. This one of a red-winged blackbird (welcome back to Northwest Ohio chatty birds now that it's Spring).

We started seeing the red-winged blackbird flitting about around here a few weeks back. There song is a pleasant reminder that warmer temps are finally here!

I uploaded a new audio blog post yesterday about red-winged blackbird complete with audio clip of his song. You can check that out here.

I will soon be posting some information about what ACEO's are and how they originated and such. (This little blackbird piece is an ACEO (2.5x3.5 inches).  ACEO stands for Art Card Editions and Originals.

Drawing has become such a fun practice for me...but now watercolor is a whole other ball of wax. Kudos to all you artists out there who master this medium. To me...not so easy...but I'm learning.

To see more new art click here.

Onward and upward for the arts!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

when the wild version of match dot com fails...

This is our lovely turkey couple. Only "Tom" here has a name (the bigger of the two in the forefront of this photo). We simply call them...turkey hen and turkey tom. We've had them for about a year now...and are hoping to maybe have some turkey pullets sometime in the near future. They hang out quite calmly with the chickens.

Yet, we have a couple of "flocks" of wild turkeys that have been circulating the neighborhood for about the same amount of time. In fact, the last tom turkey we had (about a year and a half ago) went missing and we suspect it was because he joined one of the local wild groups of birds.

Well, a strange thing happened this past week.  First of all, our Tom has been doing nothing but poof and twirl for his girl since the first melting off of snow. He spends most of his days all poofed out in all his glory showing off for his girl.  I'd say she seems meh...maybe slightly interested. But this week...out of the clear blue...this happens... low and behold...a dance-a-thon-of-sorts begins between a wild turkey tom and our tom. Wild tom shows up outta the blue and proceeds to challenge our guy nearly every day...yet ironically through the fence.  Quite the show I might add..  Lots of poofin and pecking through the fence and dancing around.

Miss thang looking on all sort of like " for it boys" in the background.
Until I start to realize...what's gonna happen here? Blood will be shed over this unless there's an intervention.


And over the past few days, we've been letting the chickens out to roam the yard and peck at bugs and grass and such...which naturally means the turkeys also are free to run the yard....until....Chris says to me one afternoon this week...

"Um, there are turkeys fighting in our yard!"  

Eeek!  I hop up and look out the window. Sure enough...both toms are going at it face-to-face.

This isn't cool. We assumed our tom might win any such face-off...however, he may be older...but is it fair to pit wild versus domesticated?  Our turkey is at risk of being punked!  Mr. young turkey has likely spent many hours wrestling with his young juvenile turkey buddies in the fields in prep for such mating season...but I certainly don't want our guy to lose an eye at the very least over a girlie dispute.
This photo here is one of Mr. wild-thang getting a bit of the upper foot on our big-ole-dude.  Not cool. Time for the intervention I spoke of earlier.

Minutes after this photo we brought in our two young fox terriers to chase mr. wild thang off...and that they did.  If we can have our little fox terriers chase him off every time he comes around hopefully he will lose interest here and find a nice young female somewhere else soon.

Never know what might happen next here in the country?  Can't say I ever would have guessed THIS to happen.

Meanwhile...might be time to sketch and draw some turkey.

Monday, April 21, 2014

there is absoLUTEly nothing that compares to....

watching talented (oh so talented) people collaborate and create something that seems to simply pour out of a place beyond themselves as if they are channeling something beautiful. Whether this be an artist creating a painting, a dancer following the rhythm, or musicians playing and singing to something beyond the tune.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about...

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by sensory input (smartphones, texting, facebook, snapchat, news media, and all other various sources of noise) I worry about not being able to just sit quietly and watch the birds soar overhead without "need" of anything. Just to be present, in the moment.

I know I've missed many fascinating details of moments that came across my path because I was distracted by something that was truly so much that the outside world told me it was important (such as to watch the Superbowl).

This is why I like to stand in the chicken barn and just watch the chickens interact with one another and with their surroundings...for in doing so I hope to not lose my ability to be still and soak in the details of the present moment.

I also find myself more and more simply standing with a cup of coffee in my hand and looking out the window into the backyard in the hopes that I might spot some wildlife out there that I'd not noticed before. Because this past winter with all the snow we had, it was pretty obvious to see just how much wildlife exists around us here for all the hundreds of deer tracks surrounding the house.  How could I miss them? How did I not see these deer with my own eye? There were literally feet from the back door of the house and I had no idea they were there. And now...I find myself more vigilant in being aware of my surroundings a little bit more. For this is life. I want to experience this presence. 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

time for the "name that chicken" game...

Here's a recent photo taken through the "chicken hatch" from inside the barn looking out into the barnyard. And as a side note here...the reason these gals are looking so inquisitive is because we had just let the new rooster we got last week into the barn and they clearly knew there was a "new guy in town" and were chickens do.

So anyhow...can you figure out which one of these gals in the photo here is name "hokey toe?"

the chicks are HERE!

I don't know for sure...but I'm thinking that the best birthday gift ever is a dozen chicks (thank you Chris). Which of course in a few months will (hopefully) turn into a dozen eggs a day.

Little baby chickens are SUPER fun to watch. Like juveniles of any species exploration, discovering, eating, sleeping and ..... are all part of the deal.

And I'd forgot that chicks have a distinct smell. Not a foul one (thankfully) but very distinct.

Looking forward to seeing how these little gals turn out...and what names they earn for themselves in the process.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Raccoon amongst the deer...

is what I saw tonight when I got out of my truck in the driveway at home to admire two female deer standing in the cornfield beside the house who were also staring back at me. my dismay..saw a dark blob wandering not far from where they were standing.
Blast! A coon. So I stood there and watched. No sign of raccoon activity in the chicken barn as of yet...but this is the second time in a week that I've seen this coon in this same place.
Some of the chickens are still perching high in the barn roof rafters due to the last raccoon I'm not too worried about them. Nonetheless, I don't want mr. or mrs. raccoon to be swiping eggs either. Guess I'll have to be a little more vigilant now I know there's another masked bandit in the neighborhood.
In the mean time...I did think it was most interesting that the deer didn't seem to mind one bit that that ole raccoon was meandering around in the same cornfield as they were.
Funny how nature gets along better than humans sometimes.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Refrigerator art!!

As an avid art collector myself...I totally get that we only have so much wall space to display these paintings in our homes. Yet we ALL have refrigerators that make great galleries for artwork too!

So here's some of my latest creations...check em out by clicking here.

Refrigerator art abstracts.  These little abstracts are painted with acrylic paint on 2 inch by 2 inch ceramic tiles with magnets attached to the back for easy display on the frig or anything metal for that matter.

The newest 6 pieces incorporate the 2014 Pantone Color of the year too! "Radiant Orchid!"  Who knew painting with pink could be so much fun?

To view more paintings visit

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Drawing some mail art...

I've officially been bitten by the drawing bug! Having always loved pen and ink pieces along with mixed media of pen and ink and watercolor...I'd finally decided, "hey, maybe I can do this."

So in the spirit of trying something's a few examples of what I've been working on. I thought blank envelopes would be a cool thing to draw on...and also easy to share with others.  As with anything art...the more you create something the better you get at mailing these to others forces me to have to keep drawing! Some of my friends have already been gifted with one of these drawing experiments thanks to a stamp and the delivery of the USPS.

If you'd like to receive one in the mail...just drop me your mailing address in an email and I'll be happy to send you one. Email your mailing address to rachel (at) racheldickson dot com.

Hopefully you've not been bored with my barnyard tales here on the blog and wondered what ever happened to my artwork.

More new art to come!  I will be posting soon about the mini-abstract refrigerator magnet art I've been working on too!

Have something specific you want me to draw? Send me your thoughts in an email.

Until then...onward and upward for the arts.

Monday, March 31, 2014

when the weather forecast reads "warmest day in months"...

one wakes up and says, "hell yeah!"

We haven't seen 60 degree temps in northwest Ohio in I can't tell you how long (and yes...I realize we aren't the only ones, I realize many of you relate to this...winter was rough in many parts of the country this year).  And when I read this weather forecast on my phone this morning...I laughed out loud and said, "hell yeah"!  Warmest day in months means forget everything else and get the hell OUTSIDE!!!  Don't to the woods!

So I snatched up the dogs (who also have been feeling couped up and over it) and zipped over to Oak Openings for as long a tromp in the woods as our bodies would let us handle.  (The only serious unfortunate thing was that Chris had worked the night before and had to sleep this beautiful day away. And to that I say...never forget the dedication of nurses who work nights...and how this is truly stellar for those who have relatives in the hospital that need 24 hour care).  Otherwise...she would have been along on this trek for sure!

Judging by the joy depicted in the above image (note both dogs over my left shoulder with that "Glee...omg this is freakin amazing look about them") was well worth the time today. We tromped through the woods with huge smiles on our faces...I talked to birds and squirrels and such...and then I laughed when the dogs ripped through the muddy patches on the trail...not caring the least bit that they were turning black in the process.  I get it. Couped up in the house warrants ripping through black mud.  I agree!

The air smelled good today. And I smiled especially to the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about doing a tick check upon return home.  Nope. Not today.

Huge smiles as Northwest Ohio wakes from an ugly winter. We made it. We survived what we call in our house "snakes on a plane winter 2014".....interpretation...if you've seen this'll know the line...."I'm tired....of these mother-F*cking snakes...on this mother-F*cking plane"...which we have chosen to apply to the snow...of 2014.  Yep...we grew tired of it...just like everyone else.

Welcome Spring. Welcome!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mouse relocation plan update...

Well, now that the temps are above freezing, clearly the mice aren't as eager to fall into a five gallon bucket in pursuit of whole corn kernels.  (If you're not sure what I'm talking about the blog post below which tells more details.)  Guessing that the remaining mice from the barn have wandered off into the wild blue yonder (the yard that is) since I haven't caught any mice since my last post.
The bucket still sits in its same spot...but no takers.
But...YEAH warmer weather!! Had I known that placing a "mouse relocation bucket" in the barn would have brought wamer temps...I would have done this WEEKS ago!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Barn mouse relocation program...

It's "day 4" of the "Rachel's barn mouse relocation program" and the total is Rachel 11, mice 0.
The idea came straight from a complete accident.

A few weeks ago when I walked into the barn for the usual morning chicken feeding...I realized that I'd forgotten to put the lids back on the trash cans that hold the corn for feeding.  Somewhat blind from sun/snow glare having just stepped into the barn from outside...I had to double-take when I looked down into the can to see the bottom of it full of gray little moving blobs. Must have been close to 20 mice in there!! zoiks!!

I didn't have it in me to "off" all these little fury guys so I just tipped the can down and like a stream of water they poured out and ran off into various nooks and crannies.  (Thankfully not up my leg) Yet...NOW knowing that TWO dozen mice are making a good living inside the barn starts to wear on my mind. I'm not really cool with mice wandering amongst our chickens and our fresh eggs.  So I decided to reenact this accidental capture in the form of a 5 gallon bucket plan.

It's working! While not capturing two dozen at a time...3 or more a day isn't bad. There's a certain spot down the road that I walk them to and upon tipping the bucket these little fellas run off into the field in one direction or another.  I'm just hoping they don't find their way BACK to the barn. I've thought about marking them in some way so I could prove whether or not I did recapture them again in the future...but that just seemed like a complication to a simple experiment.  So far it's successful. One, three, four mice at a time...who knows, maybe I'm fooling myself that I'm actually helping anything here?

There is a hawk family that lives nearby. If nothing else maybe I'm helping the circle-of-life?