Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, December 31, 2017

"Dare to be wise; begin! He who postpones the hour of living rightly is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses." -- Horace

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, December 24, 2017

"The first step for creating a home with good vibes is to achieve some clarity, both literal and figurative. Clear away the dust and dirt and the dead leaves, remove any unpleasant sights, sounds and smells, and purge any sources of bad feelings, memories or associations. Let the light in and take a good look at what you need, what works for you, and how you want to live." -- Justina Blakeney

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Three Days of Misery

This photo was taken while the snow was still coming down with no signs of stopping. At this point we "only" had 10 inches of the white stuff. It just snowed, and snowed and snowed!
  You're right, faithful readers, the Thought for Sunday, December 10, 2018 was indeed missing. And no, I hadn't forgotten to post it. It didn't appear because we had been slammed with an epic, unpredicted snow storm here in Georgia that dropped almost 13 inches of snow on our county! Trees toppled like toothpicks under the weight of it, taking power lines along with them. Our power went out just like everyone else's. The electric company worked feverishly to restore service to thousands of homes, while people like me went in circles trying to cope with the loss of our computers, TVs, heating and lights.

Just as soon as the electricity was restored, our telephone land line and Internet service went out. It seems we were among 120+ homes in our part of the county whose U-verse service had gone on on the fritz. But not for hours or even a day. Nope, it was out for three whole days. Talk about going stir crazy!!! Besides posting that Thought for Sunday, I had a ton of work I needed to do on my web site and Etsy shop. Instead I could do nothing but think about all the stuff I should have been doing. It was a real bummer. By the time AT&T managed to get U-verse up and running again I was almost ready for the funny farm.  Sure, I could communicate and surf the internet using my cell phone but the keypad on that cell phone is so tiny it takes me multiple tries just to enter a number or letter correctly.

All is well now. Everything is working the way it should. My blood pressure is back to normal. Three days of electronic deprivation taught me that I'd benefit from joining a computer withdrawal support group. It's obvious that I am addicted to my computer. As addictions go it's probably not as bad as addiction to drugs, booze or sex, but still, it's an addiction. To address it, I'm rationing my computer time and unsubscribing to all the junk I never read that clutters up my inbox  I'm going to be much more careful about how I spend my time. So this week's Thought will remain unexpressed. Next Sunday's Thought will appear as usual. Oops, my time's up!  See you soon!

Text and image ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, December 3, 2017

"True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier and better for our living in it." -- Pliny

Monday, November 27, 2017

Why I Paint with Acrylics

I once encountered an oil painter who, upon asking me what medium I used, rather pompously sniffed, "Acrylics are for beginners." Little did she know just how ridiculous -- and misinformed -- her statement was. Having been an acrylic painter for almost 17 years, I strongly disagree with her assertion that it's a mere entry level medium. On the contrary. At the risk of drawing the ire of oil painters everywhere, I contend that acrylic painting is more difficult to master than oil painting.Let me explain.

Oil paints dry v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y.  An oil painter can take his or her time executing a particular passage because oils remain wet and workable seemingly forever. Acrylics are just the opposite. Blink and they're fully dry and ready to varnish. Their "open" time is measured in minutes. An acrylic artist who goes off to have a quick cup of coffee in the midst of a painting session can return to find his brush welded to his palette and the paint on it hardened into an immovable blob.

Fluid acrylics, used here in a scraping technique, dry even faster than heavy body acrylics and soft body acrylics.

Their fast drying time demands of artists the ability to make split second decisions, and be able to successfully blend, scumble, and otherwise work the paint skillfully and without hesitation. For this reason I firmly believe this medium forces you to become more adept as a painter. The clock is always ticking when you're painting with acrylics.

The number one complaint of beginning acrylic painters is, "They dry too fast." The number one complaint of longtime professional painters trying to switch from oils to acrylics also is, "They dry too fast." Both groups are absolutely right. It's unquestionably the most frustrating aspect of using this paint. (Thanks to recent advances, there are now a number of ways to overcome this. More on that in a minute.)

Another challenging aspect of working with acrylics is learning the differences between and mastering the use of dozens of specialty acrylic mediums that produce an endless array of effects not possible with oils or watercolors. Each medium's unique properties call for experimentation with the myriad of ways it can be used. An artist could experiment with a different acrylic medium every day for a year and never run out of new techniques to try.

Then there's the issue of familiarizing oneself with the extensive number of acrylic types at one's disposal: heavy body acrylics, soft body acrylics, open acrylics, fluid acrylics, professional artist acrylics and student grade acrylics. (There are also acrylic craft paints but they're better suited to making crafts rather than fine art.) No other medium offers so many choices that call for acquiring such a broad base of knowledge. If you want to paint with acrylics, expect to do some homework.

More than a few would-be painters decide it's too difficult and give up. But many more don't give up. They persist and reap the rewards. What are those rewards?  Unlimited freedom of expression. The ability to innovate. To achieve a level of visual depth in a day that would take weeks to achieve if rendered in oils. Easy soap and water cleanup as opposed to smelly solvents. Very low toxicity. A lack of fumes. A huge range of colors that's continually expanding. Compatibility across most types and brands. Unmatched versatility. The ability to make an acrylic painting look like an oil painting. The list of benefits could go on and on!

Yes, acrylics are for beginners, though not in the sense that the aforementioned oil painter intended. Would-be painters would be shortchanging themselves if they didn't learn to paint with this medium. They'd miss out on one of the most thrilling and exciting experiences making art can offer. Are you looking to learn to paint? Go forth and take a class in acrylic painting. That spark of creativity you hope to encourage will become a roaring flame.

A drop or two of Open Medium added to fluid acrylic, heavy bodied acrylic or soft body acrylic provides extended working time.

And those solutions I mentioned earlier for slowing the drying process? Adding glazing liquid or open medium to heavy body, soft body or fluid acrylics slows their drying times quite effectively. Special lidded palettes fitted with absorbent sponges can extend the paints' working time, too. Within the last several years a leading manufacturer, Golden Paints, has introduced a new line of professional level acrylics. Golden's Open Acrylics remain wet and workable much longer than any of their counterparts, no additives needed.

I don't have any affiliation with Golden Paints or any other manufacturer; I'm simply sharing what I've learned and experienced after years of using this wonderful medium. Should you, too, decide to explore it, you'll find it to be as fascinating as it is creatively fulfilling.

©2017 Lynn Edwards 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, November 26, 2017

"I hate housework! You make the bed, you do the dishes -- and six months later you  have to start all over again." -- Joan Rivers

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, November 19, 2017

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." -- Cicero

Saturday, November 11, 2017

4x6 Cards Do Double Duty

It's great when you can kill two birds with one stone. (Not literally, of course. I love birds and would never harm one.) Nope, I'm speaking of art rendered on 140 lb. watercolor paper cut to 4x6 inches.

I draw, paint, collage and doodle on these 4x6 cards in my spare time. My primary purpose for them is to work out potential compositions and color selections for large future paintings. They're small "studies," if you will. Once completed, I scan each one and store the image on my computer's hard drive for future reference.

A 4x6 "study" turned into a notecard. I sell these art cards in my Etsy shop.
Then I affix the piece of original art to the front of a blank 5x7" note card, re-scan it, and list it for sale in the Art Cards section of my Etsy shop. A clear, acid free bag protects the card and its matching envelope. The recipient not only receives a thoughtful message from the sender, the card can be framed to be enjoyed for years.

Here's a couple of framed "studies" made with my own hand painted collage papers:

I just love it when something I create serves a dual purpose. It saves both time and effort -- and the birds are happy too.

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again." -- Joseph Campbell

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, October 29, 2017

"It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction." -- Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

UWSC's Grand Opening Was Fabulous!

©2017 Lynn Edwards

Lots happening in my life these days...including a wonderful grand opening at the Upper Westside Connection this past Saturday. The showroom was decorated to the hilt with amazing Halloween items, the mimosas flowed and the crowd enjoyed every minute of it. The mini-originals I had created to give away to visitors went like hotcakes, and the smiles they elicited made all the hours spent creating them more than worth it. If you were one of the shoppers who took one home I hope it brightens your day in some small way. They sure were fun to make. I made a few extras to leave in public places for people to find as part of my participation in the Art Abandonment Project. So keep an eye out. You never know where one might be hiding!

Text and image ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Next to the dog, the wastebasket is man's best friend." -- Anonymous

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, October 15, 2017

"The United States is the only country where it takes more brains to figure your tax than to earn the money to pay it." -- Edward Gurney

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, October 8, 2017

"The best way to realize the pleasure of feeling rich is to live in a smaller house than your means would entitle you to have." -- Edward Clarke

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, October 1, 2017

"If you sleep till noon, you have no right to complain that the days are short." -- Thomas Fuller

Monday, September 25, 2017

Save the Date!!!

              ©2017 Upper Westside Connection

 If you haven't yet visited the amazing Upper Westside Connection -- the metro area's newest and very impressive center for art, antiques and interior design -- you should definitely mark your calendar for Saturday, October 21. That's when UWSC will roll out the red carpet for its official Grand Opening in conjunction with an extravagant Halloween bash. Everyone is welcome to attend; you need not be a member of the trade to come join in the fun!

UWSC's showroom is already filling with all manner of Halloween treasures, from beautiful blown glass pumpkins to a life size devil peering down from his ceiling-high vantage point. The artists UWSC represents -- myself included -- and dealers will be offering guests all kinds of giveaways, promotionals and prizes.

A peek at some of the "characters" you'll meet at the big Halloween bash. Maybe it's the bandana, but something about that skeleton reminds me of Willie Nelson!        Photo ©2017 Upper Westside Connection

Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on a collection of mini-originals which I'll be giving away to the first 100 people who stop by the gallery area to check out my art! Each mini is one of a kind, rendered in colors that are sure to make you feel happy!

With entertainment for the entire family, plenty of refreshments, and 25,000 square feet of designer furnishings, accent pieces, lighting, glassware, mirrors, pillows, hand painted furniture, artwork and gifts (UWSC has some of the most unique gift items you'll ever see!) be sure to allow plenty of time to see it all. It's a lot to take in, but I promise you will come away with your mind spinning with ideas for feathering your own nest!

So here's the info to remember:

What: Upper Westside Connection's Grand Opening and Halloween Extravaganza
When:: Saturday October 21, 2017
Where: Upper Westside Connection, 2060 Defoor Hills Rd., Atlanta, GA 30318 (at the corner of Collier Rd. and Defoor Hills Rd., between Howell Mill Rd. and Chattahoochee Ave. NW)
For more info, directions, etc: 404-239-5831

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, September 24, 2017

"There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talent, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age." -- Sophia Loren

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, September 17, 2017

"The tongue is more to be feared than the sword." -- Japanese proverb

Artist Tip: The Unlimited Versatility of Cradled Wood Panels

There are so many choices for artists when it comes to supports: canvas, cradled wood panels, wood panels without cradles, watercolor paper, bristol board...the list seems endless.When choosing supports, an often overlooked issue is whether there's enough space in the studio to store them.

A small collage affixed to a cradled wood panel

A side view. This particular panel is two inches deep, allowing the collage to be displayed  on a shelf , mantel or table as well as on a wall.

The back side of the collage shown above. Cradled wood panels also make fine shadow boxes.

I love to use cradled wood panels for my work. But my studio is limited on storage space, and cradled panels -- even the slim, three-quarter inch deep ones -- do gobble up a lot of space. The solution that works well for me is to first create my paintings or collages on heavy (140# or 300#) watercolor paper or matboard. I then decide which of them is worthy of being mounted on a cradled panel. Those that don't make the cut are put back in the drawer.

In my studio, one drawer of a storage cabinet is dedicated to storing works on paper. The works are  stored flat with sheets of freezer paper (and sometimes wax paper) sandwiched between each layer. The shallow drawer can easily hold dozens of finished works, whereas, if I had painted all of them directly onto cradled panels, several linear feet of shelf space would be needed to house them.That's storage I simply do not have.

Affixing only one's best works onto the panels keeps costs low because fewer panels are needed. Why have money tied up in inventory unnecessarily?

Cradled panels offer artists an extraordinary degree of flexibility:

1. When turned over, the recessed area in back can function as an attractive shadow box to hold assemblages and other dimensional art.

2. An unframed canvas, a smaller cradled panel, a work on MDF or other substrate can be mounted within the recessed area. The effect is every bit as appealing as having something professionally framed, but at a fraction of the cost.

3. Unhappy with a painting done on a cradled wood panel? Just sand it off and start over!

4. Deeper versions make wonderful drawer dividers that are heavier and more economical than typical plastic dividers. They do a great job of holding socks, jewelry, ties and other wardrobe accessories.

I find cradled wood panels to be easier to work with than canvas.They're much sturdier, and therefore are less susceptible to damage or rough handling when art must travel to shows or be shipped to remote destinations. Mounting watercolor paper to canvas is certainly do-able, but it's a more tedious process because the canvas must be supported from beneath as the paper is applied and a brayer used to press out any bubbles in the glue. Made of fabric, canvases can be punctured or torn all too easily.

So how does one adhere works on paper to a cradled wood panel? My next post will reveal everything you need to know, including secrets for achieving a flawless, professional-looking finish. So stay tuned!

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, September 10, 2017

"If in the last few years you hadn't discarded a major opinion or acquired a new one, check your pulse. You may be dead." -- Gelett Burgess

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, September 3, 2017

"The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." --- Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Artist's Tip: Open With Caution

Over time those soft plastic bottles of acrylic paint can build up pressure within. When the cap is removed, the resulting splat! can ruin a painting if a blob of airborne paint lands on its surface. To avoid this, always open those soft plastic bottles with your back to your canvas.

©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, August 27, 2017

"The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." -- William Wordsworth

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Eclipse: An Alternative View

While most of the America was busy looking UP this afternoon during the eclipse, Hubs and I were busy looking DOWN. Since we had neglected to buy special glasses to view the eclipse safely, we weren't able to gaze upward to observe the moon blotting out the sun. Instead, we enjoyed quite a show on the ground beneath our feet! Take a look:

What amazing patterns the eclipse cast on these flagstones!

Its light patterns on the gravel driveway

These resembled ocean waves
The curvature of the moon obscuring the sun's corona created the arcs of light.

My studio, seen here at the beginning of the eclipse when the light is just starting to change. We were able to see the beautiful light patterns on the ground because we're surrounded by woods, as you can see. The trees provided enough shade for the light patterns to be visible.
Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Justice: A decision in your favor." -- Harry Kaufman

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, August 13, 2017

"It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't." -- Martin Van Buren

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Favorite Brush Cleaner

When I started painting 16 years ago, I dutifully bought the brush soaps offered through art supply stores and catalogs. These soaps worked well enough but were extremely pricey. I dirty a lot of brushes when I paint, so I found myself flying through those bottles of brush cleaner faster than a speeding Ferrari. Being thrifty by nature, I started searching for alternatives.

That's when I discovered Murphy Oil Soap. I had a huge bottle of it on hand for general cleaning so I decided to try it on my brushes. Eureka! It cleaned them just as well if not better than those expensive brush soaps. Worked well into the bristles, it cleaned them of acrylic paint with ease.

Then I learned I could raise the dead with Murphy Oil Soap. Not literally, of course. I'm speaking of dried out, paint encrusted brushes I had failed to keep wet. Suspending them in undiluted Murphy Oil Soap brings them back to life. Depending on the type of brush and the amount of dried paint in it, immersion can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks to be effective.

Artist brushes aren't the only brushes it restores. I've used it to clean and revive large house painting brushes with great success. This included a cherished nylon trim brush, loaned to and left out in the sun by a careless workman. The latex house paint clinging to its bristles was as hard as flint when I found it, but after several weeks in a "Murphy bath" the brush rinsed clean of paint and was good as new.

(Please note: I can speak to the use of Murphy's with acrylics and latex paints only. I've never used it with any other types of paint.)

Murphy Oil Soap won't break the bank, either. It's a real bargain compared to those "artist's" brush soaps. You can buy a 32 ounce bottle of it for under four bucks. Compare that to the "artists" products which often cost a dollar an ounce and up!

It's also readily available. You'll find it at big box stores, grocery stores, hardware stores...just about everywhere.

Just to be clear, I'm not being compensated in any way by Murphy, nor am I connected in any way to this company. I offer my commentary for the sole purpose of convincing fellow artists that it's not necessary to spend a bundle to make art. Often less expensive items can be substituted for "artists" products, without detrimental effect,. Murphy Oil Soap is one such product. Buy a big enough bottle and it might well last you the rest of your life!

©2017 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50." -- Edgar Degas

My Work Is Now Available Through Atlanta's New Design Center!

Exciting News Department! My paintings and mixed media works, art jewelry and accent mirrors are now being sold through the Upper Westside Connection, Atlanta's new art, antique and design center!

This impressive 25,000 square foot facility is located at the corner of Collier Road and Defoor Hills Rd. in the city's unique Upper Westside area. You can't miss it: a brightly colored mural featuring the Atlanta skyline and a huge locomotive envelops the exterior facade. The latter is a nod to UWC's proximity to a soon-to-be-developed section of the Beltline, a former rail line now given over to outdoor recreation. Drawing thousands of runners, walkers, bicycle riders and other sun seekers as it revitalizes surrounding neighborhoods, this future section of the Beltline is directly adjacent to one side of UWC's building and is scheduled to be completed within the next three years

Fortunately you don't need to wait three years to shop UWC! Open to both the public as well as the trade, UWC is fast becoming an important resource for interior designers, home staging firms and the film industry. Inside you'll find a tremendous selection of furniture, lighting, works of art both original and reproduction, sculpture, mirrors, rugs and much more ... everything you need to create a stylish, comfortable home or office. With an emphasis on furnishings and accessories that are one of a kind artisanal creations, finding that special piece becomes a thrilling adventure at the Upper Westside Connection.

One of my small accent mirrors, now available through UWC. It features my own hand painted papers. Can't you see this in a gallery-style grouping? Or adding some flair to a ho-hum bookcase??? ©2017 Lynn Edwards

In future posts I'll introduce you to some of these amazing finds and the artists who create them. Meanwhile, considering treating yourself to a field trip. Come check out the UWC and see it for yourself. It's open seven days a week, and there's plenty of free parking. You will not be disappointed!

Upper Westside Connection
2060 Defoor Hills Rd.
Atlanta GA 30318

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, July 30, 2017

"None are homely who smile." -- Robert Half

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, July 23, 2017

"You have not converted a man because you have silenced him." -- John Morley

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Artist Tip

If you have any concerns as to whether a material you've used on a painting might smear when you  apply varnish, treat the painting to a light coat of spray varnish first. Allow this to dry thoroughly before applying more varnish with a brush. Or, you could skip the brush on varnish completely, and simply build up a couple more layers of spray varnish. (When varnish is brushed on textural surfaces it creates unattractive bubbles which can mar the work's appearance. Textural paintings are best treated with spray varnish only.)

If you choose to use both types of varnish on the piece, make sure they're compatible with one another. Check the manufacturer's web sites for guidelines, or call their information hotlines if you're not sure.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, July 16, 2017

"You cannot create prosperity by law. Sustained thrift, industry, application, intelligence are the only things that ever do, or ever will, create prosperity. But you can very easily destroy prosperity by law." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, July 9, 2017

"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." -- Colette

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, July 2, 2017

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable." -- Helen Keller

Friday, June 30, 2017

Yes, Virginia, There Really Is a Place Called Toad Suck!

If you're a fan of the TV series "Law and Order" you may have laughed yourself off your Barcalounger when a recent episode referred to "Toad Suck, Arkansas." After nearly choking on their Cheetos, most viewers probably assumed the name Toad Suck was the fanciful product of some script writer's imagination. But they would be wrong: Toad Suck, Arkansas does, indeed, exist! Not only is there an actual community called Toad Suck, a festival and a nearby state park bear the name as well.

Each year as we've made our cross country trip to visit family in Oklahoma, we've tried to snap a photo of the Toad Suck exit sign on westbound I-40. And each year, we've driven past it before we could get a picture. But this year, with cellphone camera at the ready, Hubs captured the elusive sign as we headed back to Georgia on eastbound I-40. (Don't worry, he wasn't driving so there was no threat to public safety.)

What does this have to do with art? Not a thing. Consider it your complimentary chuckle for the day. If you want to visit Toad Suck, you'll find it in the vicinity of Conway, Arkansas. Check out Wikipedia's listing on Toad Suck to learn how it (possibly) acquired its curious name. And be sure to follow the link in that same Wikipedia article to "unusual place names." A word of advice: do it before you put those Cheetos into your mouth!

Text and image ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, June 25, 2017

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home-grown tomato." -- Lewis Grizzard

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Art Lessons from a Garden

Returning home from a cross country trip to visit family, Hubs and I stopped at a Visitors Center on Interstate 40 in western Arkansas. In front of the building there was a lovely garden, an oasis of beauty in the midst of concrete. While Hubs went inside to pick up a map, I grabbed my camera to join several other travelers snapping photos of the garden, one of the prettiest I've seen. Later, as I uploaded the photos to my computer, it occurred to me that this little garden had helpful lessons to offer visual artists. In addition to its visual beauty, like all good works of art it exemplified some of the elements and principles of design, bringing them to life in an arresting way.
A view of the garden from the parking lot

Warm colors predominate among the flowers in this section of the garden, but a closer look reveals the subtle influence of cooling purples and lavenders to the left

Here the spiky leaves of iris serve as strong counterpoints to the rounded forms of the shrubs and annuals

An interesting selection of colorful blooms points the way to the garden's center

In the garden's interior there is a dry creek bed made of native stone -- a visual surprise for the observer. Note how it, and the silvery leaves of the dusty miller, lead the eye toward a curve to encourage further exploration

Intense shades of red, rose pink and bright yellow catch one's attention first in this colorful vignette. The pale pink and light yellow flowers play supporting roles. The cluster of brightest colors is the focal point in classic position using the "Rule of Thirds."

Rough-hewn stone contrasts with soft ground covers and rounded shapes, while spiky and upright forms leaves offer variety, contrast and movement

A closer look yields more visual information. See the dainty purple flowers just beyond the daylily in the foreground? To the careful observer they're a reward for taking the time to study the garden closely, just as a good painting offers surprises to viewers who look beyond the obvious.
My thanks go to the state of Arkansas for providing such a nice welcome to travelers on I-40. The staff at this visitor center were most gracious and helpful, and the facilities were very nice as well. The garden out front, however, was a grace note that turned stopping in for a map a delightful experience for the soul and the senses. For creative types like myself, discovering a gem like this on a busy interstate is serendipity of the most gratifying order. It restored my road-weary psyche and lowered my blood pressure after hours of nerve wracking driving in "survival" mode. It also made me want to get home to my studio and re-introduce myself to my paints! If only there were more gardens like this one to soothe harried spirits, perhaps our world would actually become a kinder, gentler place.

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, June 18, 2017

"What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard by posterity." -- Jean Paul Richter

Monday, June 12, 2017

Another New Series is Underway!

As my readers know, I've been creating a collection of mixed media pieces that I've titled the Dust Bowl Series." These are larger works that demand studio space to complete. But I also wanted a project that was smaller and readily portable so I could work on it almost anywhere. And so my other series was born. Here's a sneak peek at one of these little gems:

 Though it appears rectangular here because of my scanner bed's dimensions, it's actually 12x12 inches, still small enough to be both portable and comfortable to work on. My goal is to create 24 more related pieces before moving on to something else. Meanwhile, the "Dust Bowl" will continue to absorb my attention. I've got some plans for doing some photography that I can hardly wait to shoot!

Text and image ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, June 11, 2017

"No man is a failure who enjoys life." -- William Feather

Monday, June 5, 2017

Do You Recognize the Artist?

If you love a mystery, here's one for you: Who created these four pen-and-ink drawings? I found them a few years ago in a church thrift store in Marietta, Georgia. They were a fantastic buy: just $10 for the lot. Each is an original on heavy watercolor paper. Two have been tinted with watercolors, two have not. They've all been signed by the artist but unfortunately I can't decipher his or her name. Nor can anyone else I've shown them to. Although I can certainly enjoy them without knowing whose work this is, I'd really, really like to know who created them.

Here's a closeup of the artist's signature:

And here are the four works that he or she created:

This one bears the notation "Quebec - Petit Champlein."

This scene is identified as "Porte St. Louis -- Quebec."

This one is marked  "Notre Dame -- Quebec." I used the signature from this one to make the large image of it at the beginning of this post.  Unfortunately the scanner couldn't capture the entire image, causing the top of the steeple to get cut off. Ooops!

This one is titled "Rue du Forte -- Quebec."

The drawings were done on 16x11 inch heavy watercolor paper. There are small paint smudges on the backs of two of them, and one still bears what looks like a round price label with ".25" on it. The other three appear to have had similar labels at one time but they have been removed. I can't imagine original works this lovely and this large being offered at a quarter apiece at some yard sale, but that may be what happened. I suspect the ridiculously low price convinced people they were reproductions and buyers passed them over. They probably ended up being donated to the church thrift store at the end of the yard sale, along with any other items that failed to sell.

But there are additional questions surrounding these pieces. Two of the drawings remain untinted, though clearly they're part of a set or a series. Did the artist lose interest halfway through the project and failed to see it through? Perhaps the pieces lost their appeal to him or her for some reason. Maybe the artist became dissatisfied with them or hit a creative block and tossed them into a "to be donated" pile. Or maybe he or she passed away before they could be completed. Many questions, but no answers....!

If you recognize the work or signature or know anything about these pieces, please contact me. I'll be so appreciative if you can help solve the mystery. I'm hoping someone out there knows something and is willing to share what they know. Any information, however insignificant you might think it to be, is gratefully welcomed!

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, June 4, 2017

"Things do change. The only question is that since things are deteriorating so quickly, will society and man's habits change quickly enough?" -- Isaac Asimov

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Hearfelt Thank You to America's Veterans

When I count my blessings, at the top of my list is the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Think about it: we get in our cars and drive across town or across the country without having to obtain some government agency's permission. We're free to listen to or read or watch anything we want to, however bizarre, outrageous or provocative it may be. We the people elect our politicians, and we are free to cast our votes without coercion. We can live wherever we want, aspire to any profession we short, we can pretty much do whatever we want as long as it's legal.

Artists and other creatives in America enjoy extraordinary freedom of expression. If I want to create art with a scathing political message, I can do so without fear of being hauled out of my house in the middle of the night and executed because my message runs contrary to that of some despot who has been thrust into power by a military junta rather than elected by the people. If I want to create art with a religious theme or gay art or socially offensive art I can do all of those things without being censured. My art may not be appreciated, nor embraced by the public, nor receive anything but scorn and derision from critics, but in America I won't be imprisoned or tortured for having made it.

Freedoms like these are, unfortunately, not universal. In too many countries, to express a negative view or opinion about the current regime is enough to get a person killed. Just ask Cuban-Americans who fled to the U.S. to escape Fidel Castro. At Castro's orders, his henchmen rounded up and summarily executed thousands of "dissidents" -- ordinary citizens, many artists included -- who dared to criticize Castro and his policies. Ask South America's's museum curators and administrators who were forced to display only art that supported the policies of a despotic regime. If they refused, they were  replaced and punished. Ask Salmin Rushdie what it's like to be hunted down by religious zealots with a stone age mentality trying to assassinate him -- all because he wrote a book they didn't like.

Atrocities and injustices like these are all too common in countries that continue to deny their people freedom. Enjoying the freedom we know here in the U.S., it's hard for us to truly comprehend what it must be like to live under such conditions. We may think we know, or try to imagine it, but the harshness of having to live under oppression of that magnitude is simply beyond our comprehension.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I am grateful beyond words to the men and women of America's military who've sacrificed their lives so that we can continue to live in unparalleled freedom. Without their service and dedication, we'd be dreaming of freedom but certainly not living in freedom. History is rife with tragic examples of how very difficult freedom is to secure, and how easily it can be lost. It's good to remind ourselves that we are not immune to the latter. We must not subscribe to the notion that this amazing freedom we've been granted by the Constitution is "too big to fail."

Our service members are acutely aware of this, exposed as they are to other cultures and countries around the world. Most of us civilians, however, aren't privy to the same degree of exposure our service members have to cultures that deny human beings their freedom. Going about our lives here at home, few of us know what it's truly like to live under brutal oppression.

But our military service members do know, serving as they do in areas where people often suffer oppression. It's why America's defenders -- all of whom volunteer to serve -- willingly give their lives, when necessary, to keep that fate from happening to us. They're what stands between us and the unthinkable. So as I enter my studio to begin today's work, I am profoundly grateful to these selfless heroes. And I am reminded that as a citizen enjoying freedom's benefits, I, too, have a responsibility to help extend it to everyone and to oppose freedom's suppression wherever that suppression is encountered. This quote by Earl Riney sums it up best: "Freedom without obligation is anarchy; freedom with obligation is democracy."

©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, May 28, 2017

"We owe a lot to Thomas Edison -- if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight." -- Milton Berle

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Week to Remember

Wow, last week was incredibly exciting, with three opening receptions for juried shows coming on the heels of my participation in ARTucker! I was able to attend only two of the openings where my work is on display - those at the Booth Western Art Museum and the Downtown Gallery in Cartersville. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the opening for the "Hands" show at Roswell United Methodist Church's Charis Gallery. I had planned to go, but then found attending just wasn't do-able so, sadly, I had to miss that one.

The opening reception for the exhibition at the Booth was wonderful -- truly a first class affair. It was made even better by the presence of my dear artist friends Baba' and Kathy Woodworth, and a surprise visit from my cousin Rick and his wife Patty, who detoured on their drive from New York to Florida just to attend the show!

Dust Bowl Series: Cimarron County on display at the Booth Western Art Museum

Artist Michael Goettee and I discuss the process I used to achieve the look of aged painted wood on Dust Bowl Series: Abandoned
Conversing with friends Kathy Woodworth and Baba' and family member Patty Murphy
The Dust Bowl Series was inspired by a very special lady named Hazel Mills, who is a native of Oklahoma. Now in her late 90s, Hazel lived through the Dust Bowl, a series of horrific dust storms that struck widespread areas of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Kansas during the 1930s. These storms took a terrible toll on human and animal life, turning once-thriving communities into ghost towns and prompting mass migrations as crops failed and farms were foreclosed upon in the midst of the Great Depression.

Unlike many of their neighbors, Hazel and her family chose to stay put on their farm and tough it out. The determination and persistence it took to do this is beyond my imagination, but persist they did. Hazel and others like her who didn't give up in the face of nearly insurmountable hardship show us what the human spirit is capable of achieving. Hazel, who is related to my sister-in-law, was very much on my mind as I worked on Cimarron County (the first piece in the series). I plan to expand the series further, and hope I get an opportunity to talk with her while visiting family in Oklahoma this summer. Having been witness to one of the greatest natural disasters in America's history, Hazel's experiences and memories will continue to inspire and inform all future Dust Bowl works.

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, May 21, 2017

"I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent." -- Dame Edith Sitwell

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, May 14, 2017

"Only mothers can think of the future, because they gave birth to it in their children." -- Maxim Gorky

Monday, May 8, 2017

You Meet the Nicest People at an Arts and Crafts Show

If you're fed up with the climate of anger and hostility that seems to permeate our world today, and want to retreat from it all, may I suggest you attend an arts and crafts show? It has been said more than once that artsy people are exceptionally nice people...and I couldn't agree more!

Artists tend to be gentle-natured souls who strive in their own ways to make our planet a more beautiful, peaceful, happier place. (Sure, there are some whose temperaments and work are abrasive, but you rarely encounter them in this type of venue.) If surrounding yourself with upbeat people in a fun environment sounds better than watching talking heads duke it out on TV, hang out with artists. You'll come away feeling like there might be hope for humanity after all.

The artists I met this past Saturday at ARTucker exemplified the warmth, caring and generosity that characterizes the creative community. I didn't have a whole lot of time to make the rounds and meet everyone (setting up my display was more time consuming than I had anticipated) but those I did meet were truly delightful. One of these was Louanna Petti, whose booth was across the aisle from mine. We had a nice chat and found we had much in common. 

Just before the show closed, Louanna presented me with this adorable little watercolor painting she had made during the show of my jewelry display:

©2017 Louanna Petti

How sweet is that?!! I was so surpised and touched and appreciative of her thoughtfulness!

Throughout the process of setting up and taking down and everything in between, I couldn't help but notice how everyone went out of their way to help one another, holding doors open for those lugging gridwalls and boxes, and offering to carry stuff for others when they appeared to be struggling.

Paul Bamford, the pastel artist whose booth was adjacent to mine, had brought in a large cloth backdrop the morning of the show to conceal the unattractive wall behind our booths. He was so polite in asking if this was okay with me and of course it was, as the solid color backdrop he'd brought made my display really "pop." I was more than glad for the fine job it did concealing the wall, and gladder still that he didn't break any bones while climbing up to install it. 

I didn't get a chance to thank him before he departed (his display was a much faster take down than mine, and he was out the door in a flash at the show's end) so I offer my thanks here: Paul Bamford, you're a prince!

But it wasn't just artists helping fellow artists. Many visitors to my booth were equally helpful by sharing their opinions and observations about fashion trends and what they did or didn't find useful in choosing wardrobe accessories. One lady gave me a great idea for future necklace designs that I never would have thought of -- a priceless gift I can't wait to act upon. It's interactions like these that make all the trouble, work and effort of doing a show so worthwhile. And they reinforce my belief that artists and people who enjoy art are the very nicest people in the world!

©2017 Lynn Edwards


Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Art is the fulfillment of things dreamed." -- Gerald Mills

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, April 30, 2017

"When we know how to be at peace, we find that art is a wonderful way to share our peacefulness."-- Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Now Showing....

This month has been a whirlwind of activity, including the honor of having two of my new "Dust Bowl Series" pieces accepted into the Booth Western Art Museum's annual Guild Juried Exhibition!
Both are mixed media works on gallery wrap canvas:

"Dust Bowl Series: Cimarron County" mixed media on 30x24" canvas ©2017 Lynn Edwards

"Dust Bowl Series: Abandoned" mixed media on 36x12" canvas ©2017 Lynn Edwards
The exhibition opens May 16 and runs through August 20, with the opening reception on May 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. At 120,000 square feet, the Booth Western Art Museum is the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to Western art and is also a Smithsonian affiliate. It's located just north of Atlanta at 501 Museum Dr, Cartersville GA 30120. For info call 770-387-1300.

Also, I'll be one of 50 artists participating in next month's ARTucker, a marketplace celebrating local artists and their hand made creations on Saturday, May 6. This twice-yearly event is held indoors at the Tucker (GA) Recreation Center. Hours are 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and admission is free. I'll be showing my hand painted jewelry and original art greeting cards. I'll also be debuting my new line of clip on earrings at ARTucker. (These are NOT your grandma's clip ons! They're fun and funky with a Boho twist. Each pair is one-of-a-kind and just right for pairing with casual wear. I've included a photo of one pair below.) So if you're in the metro Atlanta area, come to ARTucker on May 6 and join in the fun! Tucker Recreation Center, 4898 LaVista Rd., Tucker GA 30084.

A pair of clip on earrings from my new clip on collection  ©2017 Lynn Edwards  

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, April 23, 2017

"The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves." -- Logan Pearsall Smith

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Piercing Question

Do you wear clip on earrings? If so, which fastener type do you prefer -- the ones that have a screw on the back so you can adjust them? Or the hinged kind that snaps onto the earlobe? Do you have a hard time finding clip ons that don't look like your grandmother's? Or would you be deliriously happy if you could find a source -- any source -- for clip ons, even if they do look like your grandmother's??

I know several women who wear clip ons, but I'm not one of them. I had my ears pierced many years ago and have never regretted it. Before I opted for piercing, though, I remember being utterly miserable whenever I had to wear earrings because back then, if your ears weren't pierced, you had two choices. You either wore clip ons, or you went around with "nekked ears." In my case, the clip ons caused painful cysts in my earlobes, making wearing them akin to torture. But at that age (late teens) going about bare-eared wasn't an option, either. 

My friends tell me since then, clip ons have become harder to come by. Apparently the majority of women in the U.S. have pierced ears, and the clip on crowd is in the minority. So many stores no longer carry clip ons, or have cut inventory down to just a handful of styles.

I'm curious: if you wear clip ons, where do you buy them? At retail department stores or discount stores? Antique stores? Flea markets? Or from that shadowy figure under the streetlight who used to sell watches? (Forgive the last one...just kidding!) If/when you do buy them, how do their prices compare to pierced earrings? This isn't a Gallup poll or anything, just curiosity on my part as to whether I should add this type of jewelry to my product line. If you'd kindly share your thoughts with me, I'd be very grateful for your input. And to the person whose input I find most helpful I'll send a complimentary pair of hand crafted clip on earrings as a thank you!

©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Surprise

Two years ago, we called in the pros to turn our lackluster front yard into a nicer looking landscape. One of the plants they installed was a rhododendron, sited in a corner to eventually grow tall and conceal the ugly box where the phone line comes into the house. (Can't someone design these boxes so they're not such eyesores?)

Anyway, for the past two years our rhodie has grown but didn't put out any buds. While it was getting established, I was getting antsy to see what those promised blooms were going to look like. This spring it formed buds (yay!), then, over the last three or four days, they s-l-o-w-l-y started to open.

And this morning, Easter Sunday, here's what we woke up to:

The blooms are as big as saucers! I don't know how long they'll last, but Hubs and I will certainly enjoy them as we eat our meals on the sun porch just a couple of feet away. What a lovely start to our day this was! Here's wishing you and yours equally beautiful Easter joys!

Text and image ©2017 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, April 16, 2017

"In school you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson." -- Tom Bodett

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Mixed Media Cards!

I love working large, but sometimes it's fun to downsize to projects that don't need vast amounts of wall space or huge brushes to complete. I really enjoy working on art that's small enough to travel in a tote bag, or work on using a lap desk.

Mixed media greeting cards fit those criteria nicely. Lately I've been stealing moments here and there to create a number of them. Below are a few I've made over the past few weeks. Some feature removable pendants that a recipient can wear on a chain, ribbon or cord necklace. Others don't have jewelry. All, though, can be slipped into a store bought mat and standard size frame, and hung on the wall as a colorful, original piece of art. These one-of-a-kind cards are now available for purchase through playingwithcolors, my Etsy shop.

©2017 Lynn Edwards Art

©2017 Lynn Edwards Art

©2017 Lynn Edwards Art

©2017 Lynn Edwards Art

©2017 Lynn Edwards Art

Text, images and card designs ©2017 Lynn Edwards Art

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, April 2, 2017

"If you can't do what you long to do, go do something else." -- Elizabeth Gilbert

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, March 26, 2017

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." -- Mark Twain

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Having Fun with Color Cards

It started innocently enough. I had dozens of ultra fine point Sharpie markers and a cute little pad of 4x6 watercolor sheets. So naturally, I just had to see what I could make with them! Below are some of the results.

I made these with the idea of trying out different color combinations just to see how well different colors worked together. My thought was to use them as color reference cards for future works.

©2017 Lynn Edwards

©2017 Lynn Edwards

©2017 Lynn Edwards

©2017 Lynn Edwards
©2017 Lynn Edwards

This little exercise yielded some pleasant surprises. For example, the last card had colors in it that bore no relation to the other colors whatsoever. It's the only card in the bunch where I used some new gel pens in addition to the Sharpies. I was trying out these gel pens for the first time, pulling colors from the pack of 24 willy nilly just to see how they looked and performed on paper.

Normally I wouldn't use pale yellow, copper, ultramarine blue, purple, baby blue, orange, dark teal, peach and mint green together in a million years. But when these unlikely hues were thrown together, as shown here, this offbeat "soup"somehow worked. Now I'm thinking I might try choosing colors blindfolded just to see how many more weird but viable pairings I can come up with. If they look good together in a 4x6 inch format, it will be fun to try them out on a much larger scale. So stay tuned, more adventure lies ahead! And if you've experimented with unusual color combinations, I'd love to hear what you did and what the results were.

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards