Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Taste of Spring

I know it doesn't look much like Spring when looking at these snow topped mountains, but the temperature today was outstanding for the end of January. With so many people still digging out from the last big snowstorm, we were certainly blessed here in the Roanoke Valley. The storm missed us and we haven't seen much snow this Winter. I love seeing the mountains with that little touch of snow leftover from our last snowfall.

It was a pleasant day to walk the yard with the temperature warm enough to be out without a coat or jacket. The birds had a lot of fun playing in the trees and feasting on the food I have out for them. As much as I love Winter, I must admit this Springlike day made me yearn for the real thing. Soon. The finches don't normally let me get very close. This guy was the exception. It almost seemed like he was posing for me.
It was a glorious Sunday.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Winter Day

These robins are managing to find some tasty worms in spite of the temperatures.

It's always easy to spot a male cardinal in the Winter because of his bright red coat.

There is beauty even in the sparsity of the trees.

This wonderful home with the large lone tree sits on the top of a hill with little around it. It is a beautiful sight.

Gorgeous Winter berries.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Constanza !!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It is still January 25th here, but in Indonesia it is January 26th ~ a very special day! In the land of Indonesia
they sing and dance today.
There's a special celebration
that makes them swing and sway.
An illustrator who lives there
has a heart filled with dreams.
When she manages to fulfill them
her face lights up and beams.
Today is her BIRTHDAY
a special day indeed.
I'm gathering special wishes
and sending them Godspeed.
Happy Birthday dear Mita, my beautiful witch friend.
My wish for you is this ~ that this year will be filled with special things ~ love, friendship, joy, special surprises, adventure, and much success in all you do.
love.... audrey

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Friday, January 21, 2011

A Fun Birthday and A Beautiful Sky

Seeing all the Birthday Wishes on Facebook added to the joy I felt this Birthday. I received many wonderful wishes, cards and gifts from friends and family. Thank you, everyone, for making this a special day for me.
I am sharing photos from the beautiful sunset we had this evening. It was SO pretty!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Friday, January 14, 2011

DeMeng Class

TIME!!! I am still trying to find some extra time to squeeze in a little creativity. Mom has had several health issues that took us to Urgent Care and the ER over the past couple of weeks. Needless to say, that was priority ~ it looks like she is finally on the mend. My Christmas tree is still up. I didn't get my Christmas cards done, so I bought New Years cards and they didn't get done. Would you believe I am still wrapping Christmas gifts? My sister and brother-in-law are coming tomorrow ~ we will be celebrating Christmas a little late. I am just getting over a cold that I was dealing with through all of the above, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Michael DeMeng's online class started on Tuesday and finally at 11:oo pm the past two nights, I started to watch the videos and play with paint. I don't have much to show you yet. Just a couple of panels I experimented on with Michael's guidance. I am so excited to do more already and the class has just started. He is amazing and very very funny! I think he should be crowned the King of Color!!

More to come.

Monday, January 10, 2011


A few days back, the snow was coming down in the biggest flakes I think I've ever seen.
I went outside to investigate and decided to play with my new Macro Lens.
As it turned out, those inch sized globs falling from the sky were not snowflakes per se, but large masses of many many snowflakes all stuck together.

As you can tell from these photos, I have some reading to do in order to know how to use my lens correctly.
You can see the definition of a few snowflakes, and I actually like the photos with this look of abstraction.

Once I know what I'm doing and how and why to change the settings on this thing, I hope to have some clear shots of a snowflake or two. Just from this first attempt, I can see you have to be quick and know what you're doing. Snowflakes tend to melt real fast.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mathematics and God

There is a lot more to this ~ a lot of mathematical drawings and multiplications that all add up to numbers that would interest and amaze you. They would, however, take up a lot of time to post and a lot of time for you to look at. So, I'm going to share with you only this part. I think you'll like it:


A =1 B=2 C=3 D=4 E=5 F=6 G=7 H=8 I=9 J=10 K=11 L=12 M=13 N=14 O=15 P=16 Q=17 R-18 S=19 T=20 U=21 V=22 W=23 X=24 Y=25 Z=26

H A R D W O R K = 98%
8 + 1 + 18 + 4 + 23 + 15 + 18 + 11

K N O W L E D G E = 96%
11 + 14 + 15 + 23 + 12 + 5 + 4 + 7 + 5

A T T I T U D E = 100%
1 + 20 + 20 + 9 + 20 +21 + 4 + 5

Then look how far the LOVE OF GOD will take you:

12 + 15 + 22 + 5 + 15 + 6 + 7 + 15 + 4 = 101%

Then, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

While HARD WORK and KNOWLEDGE will get you close, and ATTITUDE will get you there,
it's the LOVE OF GOD that will put you over the top!!

Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Sparrow at Starbucks

The song that silenced the cappuccino machine

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbuck's shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.
For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbuck's location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments.

We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked. "No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" To my delight, she accepted my invitation.. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?" "Well. ... do you know any hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one." "Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one." "Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?" My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one."

She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing. Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come? The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion. I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"
"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said. "Why is that?" "Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song." "Really!" I exclaimed. "Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."
I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?" She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it. God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that God could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting God and singing the songs, everything's gonna be okay.

~John Thomas Oaks

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Haven't done this for a while, so here's one that will make you do some serious thinking:


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Shout Out and Busy Blue Birds

I have to give a Shout Out to Corrine of dosfishes. She recently became my 100th follower. Besides having a very interesting and colorful blog, Corrine has one thing I would love to have here at my home in the mountains ~ a lake!! She has stories to tell about the birds and the fish at her lake. The above photo is a portion of a painting she did and it's a beauty. To see the entire piece, make a visit to her blog ~ you'll enjoy it!!

I took the birdbath in for the winter. It was a wedding gift from my DH's sister and I don't want to take any chances on the freezing weather damaging it. I put this sad looking plastic base from a planter out to replace it just in case the birds get thirsty. Sure enough, the blue birds were out today making good use of it.

The blue birds were busy at the bird house today. Every now and then I see them out there at the opening to the house, flapping their wings, going in and out of the house. I'm not sure what this ritual is all about. I would be interested to know. Whatever it means, they were doing it for quite some time late this morning.

Monday, January 3, 2011

DeMeng 1-11-11 On-Line Class

Since I'm determined to be creative this year, I've signed up for Michael DeMeng's ART LABORATORY On-Line Class that begins on 1-11-11.
Michael says that by the end of the class, we will have a library of art methods at our fingertips. Sounds good to me. First thing we will focus on are color washes and how to create specific results.
I have to thank my friend, Anne, of El Milagro Studio, for posting the information on this class. It grabbed my interest and I decided to JUST DO IT!! I've been wanting to take some on-line art classes for a long time but you can always talk yourself out of things. You know how that goes.
Now I'm eager for the 11th to arrive and get started on this. I need to get supplies together, so off I go....
Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 1, 2011