Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Art on the Go – BusPainting

I posted this last week on my Home and Garden blog, but wanted to repost here.  I love Kathleen’s work and it is just another example of artistry inspired by our surroundings.  I believe she paints peoples stories, just as writers write them.  The medium is different, but the passion the same.  I hope you check out her work:)

I was so excited when my mother-in-law Pat introduced me over the internet to artist Kathleen McElwaine from Leander Texas.  Kathleen does beautiful watercolors and on the bus! 

She commutes on the bus into Austin twice a day and began a series of watercolors entitled BusPaintings.  She says, “Early on when I began taking the bus, I did do some character studies of people riding the # 983 Express. But then I became hesitant, thinking that perhaps I might be imposing on a near stranger's personal space -- one's mobile sanctum. As a representational artist I constantly look for character … What are the distinguishing characteristics of people … plants and animals… skies or, landscapes?"

She now has an Etsy store and besides selling her beautiful artwork, she will create a watercolor profile picture for you to use on Facebook.  She did my profile and I love it. Better yet my husband loves it.  He thinks she captured my friendliness in the painting.  That was sweet of him to say, I’ll have to bake him some brownies.  Anyway, I want to share my picture with you.

wp_kara_facebook_rlface047I love it!  The picture I sent her was one of me with no make-up, wearing the John Deere sweatshirt my father-in-law gave me.  I think she captured my spirit wonderfully.

Please stop by her Etsy store or her website to look at her work.  I’m already thinking of some Christmas gifts and maybe a few profile surprises for a couple of friends.

Thanks Kathleen!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting Sucked In


So on Thursday I showed you this picture and asked you what you think happened.  I loved your responses.



T. Anne thinks the black hole originated here.  Definite possibility.





W Wendy Paine Miller’s theory of a golf cart full of javelin throwing fighters crashing through the house brings stories of time travel  to mind.


Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist story is priceless: “So, the wall of the house was being remodeled and it was covered in a temporary plastic sheet. Then some neighborhood kids got the idea to use it as sling shot, right? They loaded up everything they could find into the plastic and pulled it back deep into the depths of the house. Except, turns out the temporary wall was not made of plastic and made instead from a magical rubbery substance that was in the process of drying. BY the the time the kids pulled it back to launch all their stuff in the sling shot, it had frozen into place!

You all did great.  When I first saw this house I imagined some sort of horizontal tornado that tore through the building. It is in Houston after all. Maybe a tornado spawned from a hurricane that spun onto land, bounced itself sideways and took off.

But the real story is in 2005 the Art League of Houston used these two houses to teach classes in.  They were going to demolish them to build a new center, but first handed them over to two artists to make them into a piece of art.  Pretty cool, huh?  You can read more about this project here.

Sometimes we just need to get sucked into a new place, whether it is through pictures, artwork, or reading, and when we do our creative juices get flowing.  Your ideas may never form a novel, but they do allow you to open up to new possibilities. 

Thanks everyone who participated!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Happened Here?


Sometimes a place or event can inspire a story. 

Tell me, what happened here? 

On Thursday I’ll tell you what I think and where WB took the picture.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Are You Watching Me?

I don't hate going to the gym because I don't like exercise, I don't like to go because there are people watching me! There is something very vulnerable about walking up to a new machine and trying to figure it out while sweaty men wander around flexing their muscles. The women don't bother me, I feel a sort of kinship with them. Most of them. Not the ones that look like they have been sculpted from marble and never birthed any children. Those I try to avoid.

My husband looks at me kind of strange when I tell him why I hate the gym.

Nobody is watching you, he assures me.

Really? But I watch everyone. Like that guy over there that every few minutes whips his towel in the air with one hand to quickly wrap it around his palm so he can wipe the sweat from his face. He must have grown up lassoing cows on his family's ranch. His parents sold the land to a developer to retire to Tahiti leaving their son to find a boring job sitting in an office. He no longer gets his exercise on the range so he must come to the gym during lunchtime to stay in shape. The towel roping is his only reminder of what used to be.

Husband shakes his head. Where do you come up with this stuff? No one is watching you.

Really, because everyone here has a story. Like that 80 year old man over there on the weight machine. See how he is working the circuit. He does a machine for a few reps, then stops and rests. Then does a few more. He spends about 10 minutes on each machine then slowly moves to the next and sits for 5 more minutes before beginning the new one.

And why is that? My husband looks at me skeptically.

Because he is a widow and lives by himself. His wife had a long battle with cancer and he spent nearly every penny of their retirement savings paying for her medical treatment. In desperation he made some risky investments and when the stock market crashed he was left with very little.

So he comes to the gym to drown his sorrows?

No, no. Because this is the hottest time of day. He can't afford to run the AC during the day, so he comes here. It is air conditioned and he can stay cool. Oh, and his shower is broken too. Don't ask, that's another sad story. So when he is done in here he goes to the showers in the locker room. Then he heads home in the late afternoon when his house will begin to cool off. But not before stopping by the grocery for a free cup of coffee that seniors get and to check out the samples for a little snack.

It's a wonder you even have time to worry if people are watching you? I promise people are not watching you!

Your wrong. See that guy in the very back corner on the treadmill?


He's a writer.

How do you know?

Because he has positioned himself in a place where he can see everyone in this gym. He's not walking very fast and looks more bookey then bulky.

I don't think bookey, in that sense, is a word?

Whatever. He is a writer and right now he is trying to figure out our story. It's probably along the lines of Beauty and the Beast...

People watching, it's what we writers do. Where is your favorite place to people watch?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Passionate Pen

This weekend our priest gave a rousing homily.  He felt the need for the first time in 30 years to preach politics at the pulpit.  The passion could be heard in the deep timbre of his voice and the empathetic gesturing of his robed arms. He ended with a heartfelt cry of “God Bless America”.  Maybe not everyone agreed with his homily, but no one sitting in the pews listening doubted the passion he had for his topic.

It got me to thinking about how I write.  I want to write with a passionate pen. My hopes is that people will read my writing and feel.  Feel happy, motivated, sad, inspired, or maybe angry. I just want them to read my words and feel the passion for which they were written. 

Have you ever read a book that was just words on paper?  It might have had a plot and some decent characters, but when you put the book down you never thought of it again.  I don’t want to write a book that is forgotten on the shelf. I’d like to write a story that moves the reader to laughter or tears.  One that will stay with them long after they’ve finished.

What kind of pen would you like to write with? 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Break



The summer is flying by and I find myself enjoying all the small moments that surround me. In the evenings I gaze at the storm clouds building on the horizon as the setting sun paints the clouds with vibrant colors.


I’ve been cheering on  not only my husband, but my oldest daughter, as they compete in Triathlons.

DSC03738I’ve been dreaming of baby booties, since my little sister is expecting her first baby around Christmas.

I’ve been writing and reading in the car, in the doctor’s offices, and during bath time.

But I’ve been absent from my blog and from visiting yours.  I’m hoping to catch up after the 4th of July holidays.  Sorry for my absence, but life is trying to fly by.  And I’ve been trying to catch and hang on to every little moment before it gets away.

Happy 4th of July everyone!