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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Monday, November 21, 2016

GIANT, MIXED MEDIA TIGER - UNIFIED IN OUR DIVERSITY


Tigers - United in Our Diversity

Years ago I was at a speech competition in Dallas, Texas.  The students had made a giant, mixed media collage of all sorts of found and ordinary objects.  I loved the idea and decided that I had to try creating our school mascot, a tiger, using unusual objects with students.

We started this daunting project years ago.  Each panel is a section supported with an 8" x 10" canvas board and each panel was created by one or more students over the years.  This piece actually has been stored, unfinished in a closet in my art classroom but we recently dragged it out and got it finished.

Since we first began this piece, our school has drastically changed.  We have gone from a very White student body to one of the most diverse in our whole region.  My current students decided they wanted this piece to celebrate our multi cultured population so they titled it "Tigers - Unified in Our Diversity.

Close of the tiger ear created as a relief with nails

We used all sorts of media and objects in our project - some traditional art media and others are found objects.  The goal was to create the correct, dark and light values of a simplified, tiger face.  The piece is made of (1.) Mosaic, Glass Tiles, (2.) Yarn, (3) Nails, (4) Acrylic Painted, Aboriginal Dots, (5) Glass Beads, (6) Curled, Telephone Wire, (7.) Black Ink Text, (8) Wax Relief Scratch Art, (9) Fabric Batik, (10)Collage, (11.) Bathtub Caulking with Acrylic Wash, (12) Embossing Tin, Dr Peppar Cans and Bent Silverware, (13) Glass Marbles with Tiger Images Glued to the Back, (14.) Sharpened and Cut Colored and Charcoal Pencils and (15.) Sequins.

Beads, Telephone Wire, Scratch Art and Fabric Batik


Some of the glass marbles have images of tiger faces behind them


I love the section made with sharpened charcoal and colored pencils

This section features text about high school

Acrylic Painted Aboriginal Dots

Mosaic, glass tiles

Glued Yarn

Sequins

Dr Pepper Cans, Embossing Tin and Forks

Saturday, November 19, 2016

THE SAFETY PIN MOVEMENT - MY WATERCOLOR PAINTING

I've thought long and hard about how to express my feeling over the past week.   I teach in a very rural high school with over 75% of my students being immigrants and refugees.  They are terrified and anxious.  My former students are also worried.

I grew up and graduated from the school where I teach.  I've seen my community go from one of the whitest places in America to one of the most diverse.  It's been a huge transition thanks to the establishment of an international pork processing plant.

I always dreamt of going to exotic places and working with diverse people across the globe.  I never dreamt they would come to me.  I am amazed everyday by the strength, ambition and courage of my students -  many are our top kids, go on to college and do exceptional things despite language and cultural barriers.

Since the election I've seen first hand harassment and bullying of my minority students.  I've been troubled to learn that some of these amazing people have had their families threatened in our small town.  I hurt for them.  I love them.  They are my kids and they impress me daily.

I have embraced the safety pin movement which first started in England after Brexit when minorities started getting the same treatment.  I knew I wanted to express myself through the beautiful simplicity of the safety pin.  So I set about selecting symbols of the people I want to protect and support.  This is my result.

My watercolor features a group of charms and beads.  All these objects hold significance for me.  I chose a heart shaped bead strung with the colors of the LGBT community.  I added a tiny clock at the bottom of the string with the time deliberately set to my husband's birthday, 10/10.  I want to say that it's time to accept that love is love.

The next string starts with a globe bead and a charm of the female symbol.  I am blessed to live and work where I do but I still see mistreatment and inequity for women at home and  around the world.  Women's rights continue to be sought and protected and as the mother of three incredible daughters and grandmother of four amazing granddaughters, I believe women's rights are precarious.

Next I selected a turquoise ribbon holding two feathers.  I live in an area of the country rich with Native American traditions and people.  I believe indigenous people are still under attack and discriminated against.

The next strand has four earth colored beads holding a Monarch butterfly charm and a tiny bell.  As I said earlier, my students come from all over the earth.  The Monarch butterfly survives by migration and has come to symbolize migrants and refugees.  I added the tiny bell because I think we need to make more noise and stand up for these people who are simply trying to build a better life for themselves and their children.

I struggled with how to represent religion and faith.  I thought about creating a whole trail of religious symbols but decided to simply use the universal word "Faith."  I am a believer and have a strong faith but I also have dear friends and students who are devoted to different faiths.  I added the tiny peace symbol at the end of this strand because so much hate and destruction has come from differing faiths and I pray for peace daily.

Finally I created a tiny key for kindness.  It's such a simple expression but when everything is boiled down I think kindness pretty much covers it all.

I posted this painting on my other social media and immediately was asked to make prints and cards available.  I was humbled that others were moved by my artwork.  So prints and blank greeting cards of this painting are available for purchase at My online, watercolor Etsy Shop

Friday, November 18, 2016

ONE-ACT PLAY COMPETITION



My Husband giving notes to his cast after rehearsal

Each fall my world is totally consumed with our high school one-act play competition.  I am married to the drama coach so I am his set designer, make-up and hair designer and anything else he asks me to do.  We typically start casting and rehearsing in August and finally close the show the first of November.  
One-act play competition for high schools involves creating a production that can be performed in in 45 minutes - which includes setting and unsetting the stage as well as performing the show.  We live in a very remote area of Oklahoma so we have to travel our show to regional and hopefully, state competitions.  So the big challenge is creating an interesting set that can be loaded in a trailer, hauled across the state and set up and taken down in just a few minutes.

"Middle Ages White Guys"
My husband chooses his shows based on the talent he has from year to year.  This year he decided to direct a little known show called "Middle Aged White Guys."  It is a parody about conservative brothers who meet yearly to remember their dead girlfriend at the city dump.  So my job was to create a giant junk yard.  Since the show is pretty goofy, I decided to paint the scenery in a cartoon style.

By the time I was finished, I had painted over 400 square feet of scenery.



Backstage ready to begin our production at state

Our production won second at our regional competition and then took fifth at state.  Our last performance was back at home for families and friends.  After all this work, the scenery is now torn down, partially stored or discarded.  

As a teacher, the biggest reward of doing this crazy, draining, ridiculously challenging activity is working with some terrific people.  I loved this group of kids.