Saturday, September 1, 2018


Virtual Paintout re-opened with a tour of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Who doesn't love sky-blue water and white sand? Even better, the Google Street View people took their cameras down for strolls along the beach and rides on the water.  Plus no dealing with crowds, or traffic, or crabby customs agents groping through the underwear in one's luggage. Only thing I missed was the flavor of tropical fruit and the scent of freshly grilled seafood.

Anyway.  After spending a whole evening virtually wandering about I chose three locations to capture on watercolor paper. 

The first painting I did was of a location along a long sandy stretch looking out over the water with sailboats in the foreground and an incoming storm.  No worrying about rain ruining my painting though.  Another advantage of the virtual experience.

The second spot looked like a place to get food and rent beach stuff at an area called Rainbow Beach.  I loved the mango and lime color of the building and the fun idea of cruising around the island in that open off-road auto with the big tires.  

The last location I chose was from a water tour into a bay full of boats and ships.  I was able to stop the ride right where I wanted to set up my painting tools and get to work.  Nobody complained about me making them wait in the hot sun while I captured the scene.

These paintings are posted at Virtual Paintout just one down from the top here--Virtual Paintout U.S. Virgin Islands  and they can be seen with a more of my paintings for sale at my Etsy site.  

September's location is Amsterdam!

Saturday, August 18, 2018


It’s August and time for the annual Madison County Fair which takes place just two blocks from our house.

This year the weather was perfect, low 80’s with a light breeze.  We went in the morning while the crowds were still small and the food was fresh.

No carnival rides--with safety standards open to interpretation and sketchy operators--this year.  Almost everything was bouncy.

 The grandson was in competition with a young lady in the next lane to run against a bungee to slam balls into a hoop.

 She was a serious challenger!

 My favorite is always the barns with the 4-H animals.

 There were cages and cages of champion chickens of every kind.

 There were bunnies and goats…

 …and ponies and donkeys, all under the watchful care of junior owners.

 Granddaughter was making friends with a shaggy baby yak.

 My very favorites are the dairy cows.  I entered prize-winning heifers from my mom and dad’s herd when I was a youngster.  One year our pickup truck was unavailable when it came time to take my girl to town.  So mom and I took the back seat out of our car, covered the floor with spud sacks and loaded the calf in.  She loved putting her nose out the window to sniff the fields of alfalfa and wheat as we drove.

 In the small indoor arena an auction was going on to sell the show animals.  After months of work and grooming the young farmers were cashing in.  This sheep went for almost $300.

 This champion steer brought enough money to pay for a new car.  After his owner subtracts his investment of purchase, supplies, feed and time he may have enough to buy another calf and a new pair of boots.

 Our next stop was the pig barn.

 They were also getting groomed for their turn in the auction ring.

 Just don’t say “bacon” or “sausage.”  It’s difficult enough for some of these young people to give up their animals after months of care and concern.

 From there we went through the home crafts,

The art and photo entries,

 Checked out the antique tractors…

 …and the vintage cars.

 After all that we had to go back to the food booths and get some nourishment.  Nothing like deep fried scones with honey-butter to finish off a visit to the fair.