Monday, July 29, 2019

My Evolution

Look at that face.  Do you think I had any aspirations of being an explorer, a traveler, a rebel!  I think back then I might have.  I do know I was a handful, according to my parents.  They said I would be getting my little hand spanked grabbing for something on a table, but that it didn't phase me as I was grabbing for something with the other hand.  

Mother told me that I was always running off and getting lost and hiding in stores.  It got to the point that she decided one day in the Sears store she was going to teach me a lesson.  That lesson, was to let me get lost where she could see me, but I could not see her.  That little lesson scared me for life, and to this day I have a horrible fear of getting and being lost.  I know she meant well, but this little prank made a mark that has taken a lifetime to try to over come, and not successfully.  That fear has morphed into a fear of not wanting to get into trouble or get lost.  Hence the fear of airport security sort of like a principal's office, not that I've EVER was in that kind of trouble.

Two days before my little sister was born (I was 3 years old and brother was maybe 16 months) I climbed up on a television that was sitting on a high cabinet and pulled it over on myself.  My first stitches, and you can sometimes still see the scar in my eyebrow.  I don't think my brother or sister had too many, if any stitches, broken bones or sprains in childhood, but I certainly did.  I even have a huge scar cross-ways on my tummy from sliding off the back of a car onto a metal license plate which slit my belly open.  That only took a home visit from the doctor (they did that back then) and band aids to hold it all together, no stitches.  I could swing really REALLY high on the swings and jungle-gym bars, not afraid of falling at all.  When does fear start taking hold?  Where does fear come from and why in some people does it become a problem and for others not influence them at all.  Very curious that question.  
Look at those big brown innocent eyes.  That's my first grade picture and when the big fear thing started coming on.  That's when we had to move to Arkansas for daddy a job.  The move was scary and I had to leave my friends and my favorite teacher, Mrs. Rhodes.  Making new friends was difficult and my first teacher there was a WITCH or BITCH if you want.  She was forced into retirement the next year and there were good reasons why.  I watched her wash a boys mouth out with soap in the classroom (we had our own bathrooms in the room.)  She would paddle, and I mean PADDLE in front of the classroom.  I never wanted to get in trouble in her class for sure.  That would break you and I think she did break a lot of children.  I wet my pants in front of the whole classroom while standing at the chalkboard, just because I asked to go to the bathroom one day, and then had to ride the bus home with urine soaked clothes.  I went from having the nicest, most wonderful teacher ever, to the worst teacher that year.  Plus I was witness to my parents struggle financially and with their marriage.  I know sister was too young to remember and brother may remember some but he was only 4.  The school bus ride alone (my first time for that) was kind of harrowing because we rode the bus with all ages, from 1st grade to 12th.  Those boys were mean, MEAN!  

Living in Arkansas allowed us to meet all kinds of different people and experience family lifestyles that were totally different than ours.  Lots of poor people, more poor than we were for sure.  My friend Sharon from up the road and around the corner was from a family of about 8 kids.  They had no electricity or running water, but they did have a pet raccoon.  That family was as good as gold though and she was my savior on those bus rides back and forth to school.  This was also a time when my daddy got sick.  They really didn't know what was wrong with him but he was CRAZY, and Momma just couldn't cope.   She even left him and Granddaddy made her go back, telling her that Daddy was sick, that he needed her.  This was after we finally found out what was making him so sick.  

I have a very vivid memory of us being at my Granny and Granddaddy's house, the house my father lives in now, and where I basically grew up.  The memory is of my father sitting on their bed, that is now his bed, and him sobbing in his hands, SOBBING.  I had never seen my father cry before.  I don't know if it was because he found out about his illness or if it was from mother leaving him, but he was crying.  

We moved back to Oklahoma for him to have surgery, as a family.  Daddy had a benign tumor on his thyroid gland and he had 2/3rd's of his thyroid removed.  They basically cut his neck from ear to ear to get it out.  I remember going with him to the doctor visits and that he had to stay on thyroid medicine for the rest of his life.  The tumor, even though benign, did a nasty job on his emotions.  He was up high, high, high and kind of mean, and then down, down, down.  At times through the years we could tell when he didn't take his medicine but after awhile he never missed a dose, thank goodness.  

So we were back to Oklahoma.  I didn't live with my family during the week because we didn't have the money for a house yet, and Momma needed help with us, and Daddy.  I stayed in our small town with Granny and Granddaddy during the week so I could go to school, while my brother, sister and parents stayed with Grandma and Grandpa in the country.  I started the second semester of 2nd grade at my old school and I had to remake friends, yet again.  Luckily I had another great teacher but I certainly struggled, and by third grade I was nearly kept back if it weren't for my teacher, mother and the principal.  As I am writing this down I am now seeing what those years did to me.  I am realizing all these upheavals took a major toll and changed the course of the person that I started out to be that fearless, gutsy little girl.  

I was a much quieter person who struggled internally with just being around people.  Honestly 3rd grade was so hard for me in all kinds of ways, so much so that I don't have any memory of even being in the classroom with Mrs. Nolan.  That's very strange because I have memories of every classroom I was ever in, except for that one.  I almost have a dark hole there in my memory.   I didn't even have friends then but 4th grade rolled around and we got new neighbors, and my world got brighter.  Jean Ann and Mike, twins, moved in next door and the fun began.  
From the moment they moved in next door Jean Ann and I became inseparable.  Oh my goodness we had so much fun, and she was a bit of a bad girl, a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, like I used to be.  It was a breath of fresh air.  My, I miss her so much.  Jean Ann's life turned out to be so tragic, but I won't go into that here.  We had about 3 years of great childhood fun and joy before my world again came crashing down.  

Have you ever wished for something and it came true.  October of my 6th grade year (it's funny that my life is not calculated by years, but by grades in school), just before Halloween, my wish came true.  You see (I've written about this before), at school, we had been playing a lot of hopscotch on the sidewalks at recess.  My aunt was babysitting my brother, sister and I (her first and last time for us) one evening while Momma and Daddy went to a school something.  I really I didn't need a sitter, but they did.  The night before this, sister and I were laying in bed (we shared a bed and bedroom until I got married and moved out) just talking and I made a wish.  I wished I could break my leg because I thought it would fun and cool to walk on crutches.  (Auntie, if you are reading this IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!  I knew better, I was old enough to know better, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!)

I built a hopscotch board in the middle of the living room out of newspapers and Daddy's socks and when it was my turn, I had to take a hugely long jump, but I landed on a newspaper, and that newspaper was like surfing on carpet.  I slammed into the wall at the end of the living room and I BROKE MY LEG!  I got my wish, and let me tell you CRUTCHES ARE NOT COOL OR FUN!  
Those damn crutches ruined my life at that time.  I had no aspirations or desires to do anything or be anybody at that time, I just wanted to have my friends in school and that broken leg ruined my social life.  For one thing IT HURT!!!  The other was that I could not go to school.  I was out of school until January of the next year.  I didn't finish the semester in the classroom, but my teacher was my tutor and I stayed up with school work because she came to the house once a week and helped me stay a part of the class.  I passed with straight A's.  What I did miss out on were my friends.  At that young age memory and friendship are fleeting.  Because I could not be around Jean Ann everyday anymore, she moved on to other friends, and I was just not a part of her growing social life anymore.  Jean Ann was a friend, but we weren't besties anymore.  I lost my friend, my happy, my joy, and the loss continued on to the junior high years, the WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE, YET AGAIN!   
It's funny, I tried to find some photos of my junior high years and I only find a few of me  

Yep, those are bell bottoms that Momma made. 
This picture I think I'm turning 13.  That's me all the way to the right.
Junior high years, ages 12-14 when puberty raises it's very ugly head.  I had no friends by the time 7th grade started and Jean Ann all of a sudden began to DEVELOP and I mean develop, so did I, but my personality had been beaten down with the broken leg fiasco.  She became extremely popular and I did not.  In JH you went to different classrooms and we were also segregated into sections.  Jean Ann was section 7-3.  I was section 7-5, the lowest one with some of the nerdiest, most unpopular, quirky people.  I can distinctly remember standing in the hall holding up the wall, trying to become the wall in between classes when a girl came up to me an started talking.  Her name was Sharon and Sharon became my life-line out of becoming that wall.  We became best friends and still are to this day with about a 20+ year  Junior high, especially 9th grade, again I will say was horrible.  I don't even know how I got through school except for Sharon and art class.  9th grade brought my period, huge boobs, boys, my first kiss, my first formal and a chance to take a trip.  

Do I look happy or scared.
My art teacher Mrs. Sue Brown taught me so much.  I took her class 7th, 8th and 9th grade and don't know why I didn't go on in high school.  The summer after 9th grade was finished I was given an opportunity to go on a dig.  I loved Archeology and wanted to be an Archeologist at that point (or a veterinarian).  Mrs. Brown gave me some info on participating in a dig somewhere in southeastern Oklahoma, WITHOUT MY FAMILY.  OMG, I wanted to go so badly, but was scared out of my mind about doing it by myself.  I had never been away from my parents except to stay in Jay, Oklahoma with my greatgranny or at granny and granddaddy's overnight.  I just could not get my brave on to do it.  But you know what, I don't think I even asked my parents about it to even see if they would let me go.  Possibly it was money but in reality it was probably because I was scared, scared to death, and that feeling has persisted in my life since then.  Oh, I've ventured off a few times in my life but it takes a lot, A LOT of bravery for me to do it.  

By the time high school rolled around I was just the same old wallflower kind of person, but a wanna-be-hippy.  Oh man, I wanted to go to Woodstock so bad, but that desire was certainly kept hidden and I just recently verbalized it.  The people who attended were definitely not my kind of people...they were rebels, druggies, free-spirited and much older but that didn't stop my desire to go.  I was a wanna-be hippy, a faux hippy.  

I grew my hair long, wore bell-bottom hip-hugger jeans, no bra and a bikini occasionally.  I like acid rock music, actually all kinds of music (without the acid).  I pretty much just rolled along all through high school and graduated with decent grades, lots of dates and a bit of experience in kissing.  Fell in love and cried a lot of tears, lot's of tears but it was okay, I survived without becoming the wall again.  

But I knew that I had no future.  I had no hopes or any idea of going to college and without really trying in high school I knew that the only thing for me was working for my father in the machine shop, getting married, and have kids.  I was stuck in that town with absolutely NO FUTURE but I still had deep-seated hidden desires and dreams, but I lacked the knowledge, bravery, or support to attain those dreams and desires.  

I dated a bit but one guy called back the next day after an impromptu meeting.  Usually, I would have a date, and because I had boobs they thought that I easy but found out pretty quick, I WAS NOT!  Just because I had boobs does not mean I want that.  So they never called back, but The Hubby, well, he called the next day, the next, the next, the next...and now 43 years later...I think he's sticking around!!!
My dreams have changed for sure.  I did get married and have kids but I found new dreams to make happen.  

I went to college and got a degree.
Without planning on it I've sort of fell into a new dream, to become an artist.  At first it was just to deal with the loss of Momma, Gail (my best friend), our dog, being an empty-nester, turning 50, and more,  but as I developed the art connections, got better and found out what I could do with art, well, slowly I made new goals.  

I wanted to be accepted as an artist, to be recognized among my art peers here locally and nationaly.  I've had a magazine article done locally on me.  I've won ribbons!!!  That was exciting because I've never won a ribbon for anything.  I've entered some shows that were a jury process and got in, local ones.  And now I've entered in a couple of national ones, and GOT IN!  That was a biggie for me.  There are a few more goals or dreams in this art journey but one thing at a time.  

At first I was afraid to enter in these national shows because I MIGHT HAVE TO GO to them, but I just bit the bullet and did it and thought, well, I'll figure it out if it happens, and it did!  I got in and I AM GOING to New York with The Hubby.  I probably won't win anything but I already won by be accepted into the show.  It will be an awesome experience and I may never get the opportunity again to experience it, so why not go.  Yeah, look at me strike out.  

I'm slowly overcoming my fears, even if I backslide occasionally, that's okay.  One step, one flight at a time.  Here I am at 63 years of age and I'm making some new dreams come true.  You are NEVER too old, trust me, NEVER!  

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


I've been watching on YouTube a series called "Portrait Artist of the Year," out of Britain.  Apparently, it began in 2013 with some lapses in the years.  I believe there are 2013, 14, 17 and 18 and there is a series on landscapes that I will look into eventually.  Goodness, I'm obsessed yet again on something to watch.  First it was the British baking show and now the portrait series.  I've devoured 2017 season and part of 18 then will go back to 13 and 14, eventually.   What this has done is to make me obsessive for portraits, in particular self portraits.  
A couple of weekends ago I sat out on the screened porch at the cabin and sketched this lovely, it was incredibly inspiring and fun.   
Then this past weekend we stayed in town and I pretty much stayed out on the porch (not screened, damned mosquito's) from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening.  It was hot but honestly I go outside to get warm this time of year and LOVE IT!  I brought home from the studio my drawing supplies and set up shop, so to speak at the table, sketched and read an entire 350 page book.  MY kind of weekend.  
This sketching and self portrait videos has brought me to an idea that I think I want to try.  Can't seem to get a flower painted lately so portraits it is, self portraits. 
I've gone through my life in photos and came up with a few that I want to capture, and maybe make it a self portrait show somewhere, "The Evolution of Carla."    I sketched one of me crying but can't find it on my phone and it's at the studio but I've sketched the one below of probably my first selfie, so to speak.  It's of the baby me in my daddy's arms.  I love this photo and will work on it to make it better.  Then today, after scraping off some flowers I've been working on, I had that uncontrollable itch for the selfie thing.  The above photo I can almost give you a roundabout date of July of  2007.  The year before, 2006, was the hardest year of my life.  We became empty-nesters, we moved, I lost my best friend, lost my mother, our dog died and I turned 50, all within 7 months.  So, that photo I took of myself at Lake Austin Spa.  I had decided that it was time, that I had dreamed of going there and I made it happen.  Plus, I so needed a break because I was not in a happy place in my mind.  There was too much loss and I needed a place to go away and try and heal.  So, that photo represents me trying to come out of a dark place.  It would take a couple more years after that, with a bit of therapy to finally, FINALLY find my happy again, and that happy place is creating, drawing and painting.  
It has been 10 years now since I started in this crazy world of creating images.  I really had no idea that I would take my new endeavor down this path that I have but I would not change a thing.  My next blog post, I hope to delve into something that has been rolling around in my head about dreams, wishes, goals in know in my head stuff.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Allied Artists of America

Yesterday morning I received such exciting goods news. I didn't tell anyone I entered this national art show and for the past few days I kept checking and checking knowing the announcement would not be made until Tuesday sometime.  I checked and checked off and on all morning long.  Linda, my art studio partner was in the studio doing some work and I was finishing a little dog painting but checked and checked, then...I opened the website once more, typed in my password,, I saw a tiny green circle.  I'm used to seeing a red circle with a black X but this time it was a green circle with a check mark!!!!!   WHAT!  I screamed, "LINDA." I know I scared her but the green mean INVITED!  I had juried into a show that has been around for 105 years!  OMG!!!  I cried, I'm telling you I cried.  I've entered in a few national shows but only the red circle showed up.  THIS IS A BIG DEAL guys.  I juried into one of the oldest and biggest shows in the country.  You have to know too that these entries aren't cheap.  Sometimes they're $25 to $75 dollars a image or for 3 images and I've done several for a few years.  
My painting, "Morning Glories" juried into the Allied Artists of America show that takes place in September in NEW YORK CITY, at the Salmagundi Club!!!!! Allied Artists of America has been around since 1914, very prestigious and I am very honored to be a part of the show, my first national show.
 My first thought was, "Oh no, I'm not going to NYC!" But you know, it's tempting.  One fear conquered at a time please.  Just don't think I can manage it anyway because I may have to be in LA for the newest granddaughter's birth at the same time.  But guys, it's the The Salmagundi Club and that is extremely prestigious in the art world, I may have to...

Oh, I'm so excited and over the moon.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

I Don't Want To Be INSIDE!

Thursday I tried, oh how I tried to scoot off to the cabin, but alas, it was not going to happen.  By the end of the day I was pooped and didn't want to drive an hour.  Should have, but didn't.  That's really okay because I did fly off there early Friday morning.  It was so, SO very quiet once I arrived with Clayton as my wing-man in his crate.  My friend Peggy and her hubby Tom invited me to eat tacos with them and I very quickly said YES.  The Hubby wasn't coming until Saturday but that was not going to stop me.  I know tacos were not on the diet but there were no beans and a smidgen of cheese.  The kicker was that Tom bestowed upon me a ice cream drumstick because he knows how I LOVE those things.  I couldn't say no could I.  I happily ate it.  Saturday night (last night) we went to another cabin Lesa and John's for ribs (Tom cooked), potato salad (I made by the request of Tom - he LOVES my potato salad), baked beans and a nice gin and tonic.  It was a very nice evening with friends.  

The cabin experience has been so much more calm and quiet since the upheaval that happened this spring.  I won't go into it but IT WAS NOT A GOOD THING!!!  Now life is back to normal and I am back in my happy spot, my screened porch.  
This weekend I felt the need to sketch.  I grabbed my bag of sketching stuff from the studio and Saturday I sketched all day long.  It was quite fun and wonderful practice.  

Friday evening I took a golf cart ride to check out the water levels and they area still up, up, up but are definitely down.  We probably won't be able to get to the actual creekbank until August or September.  Sure ruins a kids summer of swimming in the creek with all the flooding.  The geese love it though. 
Oooo, found these lovely black-eye Susan's and hope to have another painting soon. 
Don't you love this gate!!!  I love the turquoise blue of it and want to incorporate it somehow into a painting. 
Then it was back to my happy place, in my chair, lounged back watching the bird feeders and the multitude of sweet birdies flocking in for dinner.  Gosh I love this screened porch.   
Sadly time for the bird watching, life contemplating, and general laziness comes to an end on Sunday mornings as I have to head back to reality.  As I climbed in my car and started up the road, the dappled light filters through the trees onto the road and I feel like I'm in a dream, a dazed dream of joy.  
The beauty our little heaven on earth has to offer is something I could never give up, ever.   
When we get there it's like I'm home, truly home.   

But sadly we do have to come back to life and the reality that we still have to work.  Someday we can stay past Monday, Tuesday...

As I got closer and closer to home I snapped a few shots from the car window.  I wasn't sure how they would turn out because I just snapped without looking!  A little cropping and they turned out beautiful.  In fact, may have to paint one or two of them.

I'm actually writing this on our porch at home because I don't want to go inside  I love being outside when the it's warm, I don't care how warm.  I go outside to soak up the fresh air and rejuvenate myself. 

Monday, July 08, 2019

Summer Fun

Sunrise, sunset, slowly go the years...
It has been a whirlwind of nearly two weeks celebrating and spending much needed family time with THE ENTIRE FAMILY!  My happy place with my most happy family rushed off to the cabin for the annual fireworks show and incredible sunsets.   

First, a quick update on Clayton.  He is doing so well and hopefully the bandages will come off today.  He's spinning for his dinner and has been caught jumping up on the furniture, sometimes not successfully.  Our little guy is on the mend.  He has been playing with his doggy friends Mondo and Vinny which was a great joyful surprise.  He is eating and sleeping like a champ.  I think we will have him around for a few more wonderful years.  
As I said before Af and Nick drove in from LA for a visit and a baby shower for the new munchkin that arrives in October. 

All the girls are here.  Three generations in attendance.

Time spent with their goofball dad... 

My wonderful, WONDERFUL girls!!!!!

Then, we as an entire family unit, scooted off to the cabin to enjoy the annual fireworks show (I don't enjoy anymore after The Hubby's fireworks accident several years ago!)  I was in charge of the four-legged friends, Clayton, Mondo and Vinny since the big guys have a bit of fear with fireworks.
We lounged...
We ate... 
We laughed and had a most wonderful time before the tribe grows by one in a few short months. 
My summer is complete.