Friday, July 31, 2009

The Art and Life of Abbott Handerson Thayer


The Virgin

Winged Figure

Portrait of Raphael Welles Pumpelly


Girl Arranging Hair

I thought I would share one of my favorite artists with you. His name is Abbott Handerson Thayer. I am sure many of you have seen his work. The American Art Museum in Washington DC has quite a few of his paintings.

Abbott Handerson Thayer was born in Boston to a country doctor and his wife. He became quite fascinated with nature and considered himself a naturalists. He studied James Audubon's bird paintings and spent a considerable time practicing painting the barn life at home. He attended art school in New york and Paris. Came home and married. He settled in New Hampshire.

Life was good. He set up a portrait studio and painted Mark Twain, Henry James and others. Then two of his precious children died within a year of each other. His wife and the three remaining children became nomads for a while.

Abbott Handerson Thayer was probably so stressed at this time that his bi polar disorder became more than just an occasional oddity. He began to suffer from anxiety attacks which he called "frightful fits". Slowly life got back on track. His first wife died and he remarried. He often painted the girl they hired to help with the children and chores. He opened a new studio and also began to teach.

He was known for his beautiful wings in his paintings. They were thought to be almost life like. I am sure his study of nature had a lot to do with that. He also used his three children - Mary, Gerald and Glady's - in his paintings. You can see all three in his painting the Virgin. Also Mary is one of his winged angels. Glady's also became a painter when she grew up.

The thing that he is also noted for is camouflage. They call him the father of camouflage. He studied how animals and birds used there coloring to hide from predators and to help the hunt. He helped his son write the first book on this subject. They were known to "paint" their clothes to study animals and birds.

I am drawn to the rich colors that are sometimes muted, the soulful eyes of his models, and the lovely landscapes he uses as his backgrounds. I hope you enjoy his paintings.

Roses for Me

This is one of my favorite Rose paintings. It is by Abbott Handerson Thayer. I have a lot of blue pots in that style around the outside of my house. They always make whatever is growing in them so beautiful. In one of the biggest pots I have, a miniature rose bush grows. My children gave to me about fifteen years ago for Mother's Day. It too, blooms pink. Whenever I look outside I think of this painting, wondering whom the roses were for.

This is my Birthday Weekend. I will be doing birthday things, traveling a little and hopefully spending some time with those I love. Some in spirit and some in person. After my birthday weekend begins the round of family birthday's begin. I told myself today to start walking a couple times a day because there is going to be a lot of cake, pies, cookies, and ice cream in the next few months. Maybe some extra laps in the pool might help, also.

I am asking everyone I know to please do something unexpected for your self and for some one you may not know. Give that stranger an extra big smile, open the door for someone, pay for some ones coffee, leave an ATC in the bathroom at the library or work. Just some random act of kindness. You never know where it will lead.

Its My Party ....Freebies

Because it is my birthday weekend I decided to pick something that I thought everyone would are some French Postcards for you. I am thinking the thing they all have in common is hair things. My BFF sent me a box full of goodies - some of them were wonderful hair ornaments from when we were in high school. I still have the long hair so she sent me hers, they are FAB...silver , tortoise shell, yummy.

She looks dressed up for a party.

She looks like she might be the entertainment for the party.

She is the princess of the party!

What better way to spend a special day than with a friend.

Just too cute, love the ribbon in her hair.

The party is over she is ready to go home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SOARTFUL CHALLENGE - Owl - Magical nights

Last Saturday's challenge for Soartful Challenge from Art Freebies was this awesome picture of an owl. I was late working on it as I was out in the country listening to the crickets. I really love these birds. I have a Great Horned Owl that lives in this big old pine tree off of my driveway. Every afternoon right before dusk she comes out to hunt.

First, she sort of hops out of this large crevice in the tree. Then, a quick stretch of the wings and she is about six feet out on the limb looking around. Sometimes she will just sit there. Other times she will fly up into my neighbors very large magnolia tree. Just waking up and getting the lay of the land. Then she takes flight and soars across the front of my yard, across the golf course high up into another pine tree where she waits for dinner.

Off and on during the evening you can here her return to her nest and feed her two owlets. Some nights if I go for a late swim and lay still in the pool on my back, she will fly over me so quietly that I feel the air move and see her large shape. I think she is as curious about me as I am her. This year she left me the broken shells to her eggs on my patio. A gift.

My collage is about young love and the things that go on at night. The owl in his painting represents the hunt that all people go on to find their mate. The courtship - flowers, first date, first kiss...Thank you June for such a wonderful image.
p.s. all the images in my collage come from June's Art Freebies blog.

original image

I Won a Give Away

How exciting I won a give away that Belinda Spiwak was having on her blog Altered Belly. I won a cool bag from Trader Joe's, a signed copy of CPS with Belinda's article - Mixed Media Collage Tiles using fabric, Smoochie paint, and a pack of the Metallic Gelly Roll pens. Belinda had posted on her blog how she had been using these pens on fabric. I am always interested in new techniques and this one sounded easy and fun. Can't beat that.

I have known Belinda through some swaps, some different Yahoo Groups, around the internet so to speak. She is one of those personalities that when she gets into something - metal - fabric - etc. she is not afraid to experiment with anything and everything. Then share her experiments. I think we all need obsessiveness, this immersion to be able to become really good at something.

Thank you Belinda for having this give away. I will use my bag, treasure, read and gleam from CPS and I am off to experiment with the Metallic Gelly Pens.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doggy Treats - Muttballs

I took presents when I went a visiting this weekend. Dogs are much needed companions on the farm. Although my poor pup passed away a few years ago I still love dogs. Scooby Doo next door is my pal. I went to our local Pup and Kitty bakery and found this cool book of recipes for treats by Stephanie Mehanna. I thought I would share this easy recipe I adapted from hers. It was a big hit. The hounds kept an eye on me all weekend.


1 pound ground or minced chicken
5 ounces of dried bread crumbs or crushed crackers
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 egg

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a greased baking pan.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven. Cool. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
These can also be frozen for up to six weeks.

Theme Thursday - Stripes - ATC

I have finally gotten around to Theme Thursday's Challenge. This past week it was to make an ATC and the week before it was Stripes. I decided to just combine both themes and go for it. I googled stripes - big mistake. There are a lot of striped things out there. I got sidetracked for a few hours looking at stripes. I decided on the cross walk and this adorable girl all dressed in stripes. With a bit of manipulation I was able to get this dear girl surrounded by stripes. She has a bit of an attitude - hurray lets go do something fun - shop for more stripes!

Digital Collage - 12 layers - After the Fire

The yahoo group Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art is having a digital challenge. Use 12 layers in a digital collage. This is my entry. I took a 1906 photo of St. Patrick's Cathedral after the big earthquake and fire in San Francisco. I found this whole box of earthquake photos on a trip to San Francisco several years ago. I scanned and enlarged them and have started playing with some of them. I really like the shell of this church. It has been rebuilt and is really quite lovely now. I took some time last time I was there to visit it. They had several of the same photos that I had posted in one area. Click and enlarge this one. It is pretty fun. See if you can see all the layers.

The Grey Barn

Here is one more barn for you. The Grey Barn is almost hidden by the corn. The corn is taller than the door. I fell in love with this barn. The way it just peeked out at me.

Country Roads - or How I Spent My Weekend

This weekend I was invited to go stay on a friends farm and take pictures and relax. I have been thinking about where I want to move and the type of life style I would like to have. I have been talking a lot about it with friends and family. This particular friend is fifth generation farmer. I have known their family for some time and have always appreciated all the time and energy it takes to live this life. They are quite fortunate as their great or grand parents started a bank after the depression for farmers so this helps in the "bad" years.

I got to stay in one of the "older" restored farmhouses on the property. It was such a treat. The smell of grass and animals was something I had forgotten. Here I smell the salt of the ocean. Everywhere was motion. The corn was swaying, the chickens were pecking in the ground, the insects were pollinating. It was so full of life.

One of the things I enjoyed was how good the food was - so fresh. I went into the garden picked and then cooked. Something I haven't done in a long time. I will say that it is a lot of work to run these farms. Always something that needs to be done. I was amazed at how so many of the small farms were being bought up or rented by large corporations. People we need these farms.

Not the time to get up on a soap box... I really enjoyed being out in the country. The long drives - seeing no one for miles, the old barns and houses, the friendliness of everyone. The crickets at night...I hope you will enjoy some of my pictures.

Sunday Morning was spent at the family church. I love this old place. The church has these high ceilings and aqua blue stained glass windows. When you drive up you see all this fine white sand and the whole front of the church yard has these immense Willow Oaks. Some are twisted by the wind, but all give off this wonderful cool shade. These trees have been here for a long time. They hold great secrets I am sure. After the service when you walk out it is so refreshing. We came early so I could walk around the cemetery and take pictures. Southerners really like their cemeteries.

Everywhere you go you see fields of crops. The Tobacco is just starting to turn. We have had bumper crops of everything with all the rain we have had. I love how as you drive down the roads with all the windows down and the air conditioning on full blast you can smell everything growing. The barns are just roofs above everything. Here is a picture of a field of Tobacco and am old drying barn.

Here in North Carolina we grow all sorts of things - cotton, tobacco, corn, soy beans and wheat to just name a few. This is another Tobacco drying barn on the edge of a hay field. We believe in the rotation system here. Grow one thing one season, then re enrich the soil with something else another. Your crops also might depend on the livestock you maintain. In a month or so this field will be cut and rolled for the cows this farmer supports.

These mail boxes just caught my eye. For miles all I could see were soybean fields - then these two mailboxes. I asked my friend about them and was told that they were there to hold the lunches of the men who worked these fields. At a certain time their lunch was delivered. The rest of the weekend I noticed many of the fields had mailboxes or newspaper holders at the entrance to the fields. I am supposing these were drop off points.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Four Letter Words - Save

Thursday, July 23, 2009

ATC's for Zetti Swap

I finally got some time in my studio today. I have had out of town company, then one of my boys and a friend showed up wanting home cooking and offering to help do some yard work for me, Yeah! and then a quick trip out of town to see a friend. Whew! it felt good to have an art day.

These ATC's are for a Zetti ATC swap that Marion Bockelman is having on her blog. You are to do three and get three back. I was able to get nine from the hand painted sheet I made. I really like to do a series of nine - they fit in the protector sheets so well - when I do ATC's. I am not sure if I will send them all, but at least six will be going. I really like to do Zetti. Plus, I got to use my new pink leopard spotted tape. Isn't it great? Check out Marion's blog ....there is still time to join in the fun.
p.s. the Zetti images are from some of Teesha's collage sheets. They are great fun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Collage Sheet - Joyeux Noel

Hey all I have been lost in the land of "out of town guests" and when they leave "jet out of town for a couple of days". I am setting this as an automatic post. Hope it works. Be back tomorrow!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Freebies - Christmas in July

Some freebies for all. On some of the yahoo groups people are talking about working on their Holiday cards, Christmas projects, etc... I say "Wow". I am never that organized. So to all you people who are thinking Christmas, Holidays, the spirit of giving.... here are some vintage images for you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Digital Collage - Jenny May

This collage was done with just two photos. The background is of a local girl's tombstone that has always touched me. The weeping angel is one of my favorites. It just sort of says it all. I was going to use this for the Soartful Saturday Challenge, but decided to just post as is. This could be my second entry.



The sky is crying

This is my entry for Soartful Saturday Challenge over at Art Freebies. The theme is Angel tears. How sad is that? We were allowed to use any images we wanted to represent this theme. I have a vast collection of cemetery angels photographs I have taken all over the world. So that made it a little hard. This angel is from the mountains of North Carolina. I took this photo this spring. The tears are from a 1500's woodcut of rain that I have collected over the years. Somewhat crude yet effective. And of course the phrase is from Stevie Ray Vaughn's song of the same name. A tune that brings tears everytime...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Art Creations Friday - He loved....

This week for Art Creations Friday we were given this adorable little boy to work with. I believe it is one of Hermine's personal images. I thought he looked so cute with those chubby cheeks. The badminton racket is also another sweet touch. It is almost as big as he is. I thought back to my boys at this age and they were into riding things and throwing things. Add the racket and what do you get? Balls! we are....

The original image

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This is my entry for the Soartful Saturday Challenge that June over at Art Freebies puts on. The digital image we had to work with was way cool this week. June called it Seacaves. I don't know what it is but I really like it. I took the image and inverted it then added my own spin to it. My images come from that great children book illustrator Warrick Goble. I liked the idea of the princess out taking a stroll in the early evening with her cats unaware of all the fairies around her.

The original image

The Farm

This is a photograph of a farm I took this past weekend. The trees in the background remind me of Maxfield Parrish's trees. I manipulated the color with color bucket in photo shop. I am still trying to figure out how it all works. I blew this up very large and I must say it is so different.

Second Freebie Collage Sheet - Swans

The second Swan Collage sheet as promised. Please do something nice for someone else today. Who knows it might mean more than you ever know.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RAK's and more.....

It all started with a picture of a swan. Two people found they shared a love of just not art but of swans. An internet friendship begins. That is how this story begins. Today I went to my mail box and there was this box waiting for me. I took it home and opened it. Much to my surprise was a wonderful Swan picture all stamped and colored. It is beautiful. Not only that, also wrapped in lovely material and an antique hanky was a swan inchie ornament, and artfully woven a delicious smelling bundle. It was so random and sweet it brought tears to my eyes. So, thank you so much Patty - Magpie's Nest -I am sending out this collage sheet of swans I made. I know you will find a use for it. And... tomorrow I will post the second one. Thank you so much. See what one kind gesture can start.

Freebie Collage Sheet - Swans

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Yard Sale Finds

Don't you love this apron pattern? I love how they show it in several patterns and the pretty ruffles and pockets. Pockets are essential to life.

I like the orange swirly dress. Dresses like this always make me feel pretty. I remember wearing dresses like this as a pre-teen. I always felt so grown up.

Can you say Jackie O? Right down to the pill box hat. I bought that stole thing last year to go with this killer suit I have. Now I guess that just goes to show that Classics are always in style.

So, the girl in pink with the big sunglasses could have been me on the cruise I took with my parents and a whole fraternity when I was thirteen. I swear I had that outfit. Wish I could go on the cruise with the fraternity again......

Love the black and white here. The faux pockets are so cute.

I remember these inset dresses, but mine was definitely a mini. Oh those were the days. So fun to see so much of it back in style.

Thought I would share - slowly some of my yard sale find's from yesterday. Everywhere you looked there was a sale. Rummage sales, church sales, small flea markets, yard sales, it was heaven. I bought these patterns from a lady who could not get rid of her mother's things fast enough. Very sad in a way. The patterns were 10 cents each - buy five get one free.

She also was selling her mother's jewelry - everything 25 cents a piece. Buy 20 get one free. I bought 20 and the jewelry box. I will share those on another post. Don't worry Mom I won't be out in the front yard hocking your stuff!!