Sunday, November 25, 2012

Princess girl portrait

Here's another portrait I drew of Hannah wearing her princess tiara. She is about six years old here. She'd been to a store in the mall called Libby Lu, where they dressed up, got their hair fixed really cute, donned a tiara, and got some sparkling dust sprinkled all over her. She had a blast. Happy memories for us! Anyway, I'm working on a couple more right now, but I realized I hadn't posted this one yet.

We've had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving weekend. I hate to see it end, but am thankful Christmas vacation is just around the corner. This was probably the first time in several months I've seen John truly relax, especially on a weekday. We had some very nice family time, which is always a good thing.

I've also begun oil painting. I'm still on track to paint oil portrait commissions, as well as these pencil drawn ones. My first oil portrait (not commission, just an assignment I gave myself) is coming along nicely. I'll try to post some more soon.

All for now,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sassy Girl portrait

This portrait was so much fun to draw! I call it Sassy Girl, with the blond-headed model looking over the top of her sunglasses with a "you lookin' at me?" quizzical expression! The paper is Canson Mi-Tientes, which is archival (acid-free), and the color is violet. It looks particularly nice with a mat and frame (not included here). A departure from the usual grey or white I've been working on, but I'm having fun experimenting with all sorts of colors and art supplies (graphite, colored pencil, pastel, etc.)

I'm probably going to start a new blog solely for my drawing/painting, highlighting my commissioned portraits. I've had five requests this past week since I posted my availability for 7-8 more before Christmas on Facebook, so I'm very excited! We'll see how many folks actually follow through, but I'm glad there's definitely interest! A client has already sent one photograph for a commission.... hey, it's a start!

All for now,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Here are three portraits I've done in the past month or so. Freehand. (The girl with the purple shirt, which I call Girl With a Secret, I traced her main features lightly to get them right, but otherwise it's all freehand.)

I'm excited to say that my art teacher said the other day that we are going to "fast track" my portrait drawing because my dream is to draw people, and I am interested in taking in commissions as I improve my techniques and style. I've been working hard, several hours a day sometimes, so as to improve and hopefully at some point bring in a little $$ so John doesn't have to work so hard. Yes, I know MOST people work several hours a day! ha! But drawing and painting is different, at least in the eyes of my chiropractor--she does NOT approve of all the neck strain as I pore over my drawing board! ha! But I think it'll get a bit easier when it's not so new...

Sorry to not be as faithful with my blog as I used to be. I just don't get online nearly as often as I used to. It's almost impossible to do much with our dial-up at home, and so it's been difficult to maintain any sort of regular blogging. At some point, I may just switch to a website or something, as I build my art portfolio over the next weeks/months/years. I imagine I'll keep this for friends and family though, at least that's the plan!

I can't believe it's almost November! September and October were a blur of many, many volleyball games and practices for the girlie!

Here are some shots of her at work and play!

All for now,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well, our girlie is officially a 7th grader. I was glad yesterday (orientation, getting set up with lockers, etc.) went really well. And this morning one of the girls (classmate) she kind of knows came up and gave her a hug. I saw the relief and happiness in her eyes and I must say, I felt the same way. She got a big hug from another girl yesterday, too. 

The teachers all seem nice. She's all set up with backpack and athletic bag for P.E. Binders. Pencils. Paper. Folders. I still need to go get her a calculator later today, they were all sold out at Wal-Mart. 

She had a hard time going to sleep last night, so we had a nice long worship. SHE read to me. In the back of her Bible, there are pages that say, "What to do when..." and then say "if you're afraid," or "if you need comfort," etc., and have verses you can look up. She looked them ALL up! ha! It was a lovely time and I'm so glad He is the one she turns to when she's afraid or nervous. 

I asked her what specifically she was nervous about and she said not knowing what her schedule is. So I found the "parents packet" they gave us and gave her a copy of the schedule. She felt lots better after that. See, they only get 3 minutes between classes! But the building is small, so I think she'll be fine. 

I will be thinking of her all day! I guess that's what it means to be a mama--your child is always in your heart. No matter where SHE is, or no matter where I am, I'm always thinking of her and praying for her.

Sorry for not writing on here lately. I don't know where the summer went! Our move to Keene went well and now we are settling in as much as possible. I have some art to share, but since we have no Internet at home, and may not for a while, it's difficult to get my photos up on here.

All for now,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Moving and Athletic awards

I thought I'd post some photos of Hannah at her athletic awards ceremony. She is pictured here with her coach, George Todd, who must be the best coach ever! He was very encouraging and always let the girls know what they did right and what they did wrong in such a great manner. I will always be grateful to him for helping Hannah grow so much, not only in softball but as a person as well. Like her mama (unfortunately), she can be a little perfectionist, but he was really good about "giving permission" to fail--because that's how you learn. He was totally inspiring! Maybe that's why our girlie got the Most Improved Player award! He said that she was the most dependable outfielder he had by the end of the season (said to us in private after the ceremony). They only gave out two awards, hers and Most Valuable Player. Way to go, Hannah!

In other news, we are moving about 40 miles south to Keene/Cleburne area. There have been several things that we said would need to happen for us to even want to move, and they've ALL happened. So... on our 14th wedding anniversary, August 1, we will spend that most romantic of days lugging our possessions from one venue to another! ha! But hey, at least we'll be together!

We have some leads on some places to live and I'm going down Friday to look at a 3-bedroom apartment. Ohhhh, I can't tell you how wonderful it would be to have a place to keep our home office and my art supplies! We are so crowded here! But, I will try to be content if we can only find a 2-bedroom place. Really. I will. ;)

I'm looking forward to being closer to family, both my parents, as well as John's cousins in Cleburne. We hardly ever get to see them with us being so busy...

John, Hannah and I toured Hannah's new school, Keene Adventist Elementary School, last week. We met some very nice girls and were able to visit with them and sit in on a couple of classes. It was sweet, several of the girls crowded around Hannah when we visited and started asking her questions, and even fought over her to sit at their different tables. Balm to her soul, I can tell you!

AND, Miss Hannah is already set to attend a 3-day volleyball camp this July so she can learn more about it for next year. The volleyball coach, who is 8th grade homeroom teacher and Hannah's math teacher, is really energetic and her excitement for sports is contagious! We figure Hannah can get to know more girls during that time too.
Well, there's probably lots more, but I guess I'll close. Sorry I've not written much. My computer, poor thing, is getting older and therefore it takes lots of time for me to get on here, to add photos and such.

All for now,

Hot Red Boots Girl

Here's a fun collage painting I just created. I used acrylic paints for the skirt. I used the method of blowing through a straw to get the thinned acrylic paints to spread out in "inkblot" fashion. The boots are created with watercolor paper I painted. I created the foliage by using the "netting" that my oranges came in. And lastly, I used a paper punch to create the border. There is some pen & ink work on the boots as well as the fence.

Hope you enjoy!

All for now,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Softball and... Egypt?

What do softball and Egypt have in common?

This past month, Hannah had her first softball game at Burton. Her team, Burton Angels, lost their first game, February 28, but WON their second (away) game, 8-7! So they are doing great! It was very exciting to watch my girlie go up to bat. Was I, uh, nervous for her? I'll say! I got some great pix of her. Oh, and she stole second and third bases, so that was pretty cool! And apparently she stole several more bases on her away game that I didn't attend.

I was shocked beyond measure when Hannah came home and said she wanted to play softball. It seemed to come from nowhere, but I'm SO glad she did! For years, she was this little girlie that turned her nose (politely) at sports. But this year has been a year of changes all the way around: she's been willing to try new things on, and I'd say she "wears adventure well!" Singing in public, joining an athletic team, and more.

Where does Egypt come into play? Last week, Burton had Spirit Week, where each day of the week has a certain theme (cowboy, international, etc.). She dressed up as an Egyptian with full headdress, thanks to her Aunt Pam who actually bought the costume at the base of the pyramids in Egypt! She has always loved the gift, but there aren't that many opportunities in life to wear that sort of thing, so Hannah was thrilled.

She was also happy to have won THIRD PLACE in the junior high costume contest. Many of her 6th grade classmates believe she should have won first place, since the voting members of junior high SA are mostly made up of 7th graders (a 7th grader won first place). But nepotism aside, she was happy. Besides, I know in life, it's better to win third place on occasion--if you win first too often, you're rarely satisfied with second or third.

John and I made a trip to Granbury, TX, Tuesday of this week. The drive over was simply lovely, and we saw the first bluebonnets of the season! We rarely have the time, energy, money, all at the same time, to go anywhere together either as a family or as a couple, so that was special. It was also special because Granbury was a town we used to visit as a couple years ago, pre-Hannah.

The best of all was that John took me up on my "request" that he go play golf on Monday. Poor guy, NEVAH gets to have any fun. If he has the money, he doesn't have energy. If he has money and energy, it rains... well, you get the idea! So when Monday morning shone bright and beautiful, I pleaded with him to go, and after hemming and hawing around for two hours, he went! yay! (Sorry, no pix of golfing.) John said he didn't know who was happier about him being on the fairway--me or him! ha!

All for now,

Tiptoe through the tulips

This one turned out fun. After I painted it, I created some more details with pen & ink. The bottom flower is a little wonky looking, but the top tulips looks pretty good! I'll take what I can get! Mostly, I just hope I am improving! I know I won't paint "masterpieces" for quite some time, I'm sure. But as long as I continue to learn and grow, I'm happy!

All for now,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby Beach Bum

This little guy is having a terrific time digging in the sand. He has no intention of taking a nap at all!

Oil painting
February 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Are you hungry yet?

Hi guys, I was listening to this awesome speaker, Ravi Zacharias. He is possibly one of the best Christian apologists of our time. I then decided to read some of his blog. This was such a fantastic read, I thought I'd share. I highlighted the portions that were especially meaningful, although the entire text is good stuff! A very nice pick-me-up--read to the end!

The Hungering Spirit

I have pondered long and hard the question of why people turn to God. I remember a woman from Romania telling me that she was raised in a staunchly atheistic environment. They were not allowed to even mention the name of God in their household, lest they be overheard and their entire education denied. After she came to the United States, I happened to be her patient when I was recovering from back surgery. When I had the privilege of praying with her one day, she said as she wiped away her tears, "Deep in my heart I have always believed there was a God. I just didn't know how to find him."

This sentiment is repeated scores of times. More recently, I had the great privilege of meeting with two very key people in an avowedly atheistic country. After I finished praying, one of them said, "I have never prayed in my entire life, and I have never heard anyone else pray. This is a first for me. Thank you for teaching me how to pray." It was obvious that even spiritual hungers that have been suppressed for an entire lifetime are in evidence when in a situation where there is possible fulfillment.

Although I agree that the problem of pain may be one of the greatest challenges to faith in God, I dare suggest that it is the problem of pleasure that more often drives us to think of spiritual things. Sexuality, greed, fame, and momentary thrills are actually the most precarious attractions in the world. Pain forces us to accept our finitude. It can breed cynicism, weariness, and fatigue in just living. Pain sends us in search of a greater power. Introspection, superstition, ceremony, and vows can all come as a result of pain. But disappointment in pleasure is a completely different thing. While pain can often be seen as a means to a greater end, pleasure is seen as an end in itself. And when pleasure has run its course, a sense of despondency can creep into one's soul that may often lead to self-​destruction. Pain can often be temporary; but disappointment in pleasure gives rise to emptiness—not just for a moment, but for life. There can seem to be no reason to life, no preconfigured purpose, if even pleasure brings no lasting fulfillment.

This is why I believe that the intertwining of pain with pleasure is at the root of the human dilemma and at the core of the hungering spirit. People in pain may look for comfort and explanations. People disappointed in pleasure look for purpose. But this is where, I believe, the West has lost its way. In our boredom, we may search for an escape in the strange or the distorted, while God has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

Only in the Judeo-​Christian worldview is every person understood to be created in God's image, for God himself is a person. Likewise, each person has relational priorities that are implicitly built in, not by nature but by God's design. Consider the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Even in that stoic culture, where community rises above everything else, each one who wept was grieving the loss of their own loved ones: They were not grieving just for the total loss of life but also for their personal loss. This is real. It is not imaginary. We stand before the individual graves of the ones we love more often than we stand before a graveyard in general.

But there is more. Personhood transcends mere DNA. There is essential worth to each person. In Christianity, the essence of each and every person and the individual reality of each life is sacred. It is sacred because intrinsic value has been given to us by our Creator, who has revealed himself in the starry skies and upon a nail-scarred cross.

The more I reflect on my own life and interact with others, I am fascinated to see the design God has for each one of us individually, if we would only respond. The truth is that I have known people who in the peak of their success have turned to God, and I have known others, drowning in pain and defeat, who seek God for an answer. Either extreme leaves haunting questions. God alone knows how we will respond to either.

God has created us for his purpose, and relationship and worship are built into this design. God alone can weave a pattern from the disparate threads of our lives and fashion a magnificent design. Perhaps today, if you will stop and reflect on it, you will see that Christ is seeking your hungering spirit.

All for now,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hannah sings first solo for church service

We interupt this normal blog reader's schedule to announce that Hannah Rose Williams sang her first solo at the Grand Prairie Seventh-day Adventist Church February 18, 2012. Williams sang Someone Worth Dying For (artist/band: Mikeschair) as special music for the 11 o'clock service. The Burton Adventist Academy junior high drama club was presenting a skit for the congregation and Williams was "volunteered" by her drama coach, 7th grade teacher, Carlos Rodriguez.

"He just pointed to me during drama practice," the 6th grader said, "and said he'd volunteered me for special music. I blushed and said okay."

Asked if she was nervous during her performance, the 12-year-old stated, "My knees were shaking so badly, I was afraid everyone could tell!" But many church members, who shook the junior high schoolers' hands as they filed out of the sanctuary, remarked on Williams' great composure as she sang, and complimented her on her voice, and using it to serve Him.

Perhaps the proudest people in the room were, of course, Williams' parents. "I cried like a baby," Mrs. Williams admitted. And Daddy Williams? He just beamed and beamed as he videotaped from the back of the church.

"We're looking forward to the next time she sings," said Mama Williams, smiling through her tears. "We love hearing our daughter lift up her voice for Him."

byline: Tricia (Mama) Williams

Birthday girl is 12

Well, I thought I'd share some birthday photos--our girlie turned 12 years old February 8. Hard to believe! I had thought maybe she would feel having a birthday cake (Photo #1) with candles was too "little kiddish." My mistake. She looked a bit crestfallen when I said I wasn't sure if we would "do cake." Boy, oh, boy, did I remedy that! ha! I guess everyone, at every age, pretty much likes cake. Lesson learned! :)

We had her good friend, Adam, over for the celebration (the day before her actual birthday). He's always been such a good chum for her. Instead of trying to figure out which girlfriend to invite to our smallish apartment, I decided to just invite Adam over instead, to change things up a little. You can see in Photo #2 we had a great time!

Then on her birthday, our dear friend and neighbor, Darla, brought Hannah some wonderful gifts. She found Hannah an I Love Lucy Monopoly game! What fun! We were all excited about that one. She also created the coolest gigantic tissue paper flower (Photo #3), and on the inside were goodies--candy, chapsticks, etc. Kinda of like a fancy pinata that you don't hit with a stick! ha!

After I picked Hannah up from school, we went to Build-A-Bear where we bought some clothes for her bears. She picked some really cute outfits out, including a cute pink Rangers T-shirt for one! All in all, a fun time.

Still can't believe she's 12 (sniff, sniff). My baby. My precious. My love.

All for now,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hannah's essay

Just found a paper Hannah wrote for 6th grade Bible class. I decided to share. The content actually surprised me because she's never given any indication she would like to teach. And I don't think John or I have ever said anything, positive or negative, about teaching in the Adventist church. If she does choose this as her path 10 years from now, we will sit down and tell her all the good, the bad, and the ugly of what may lay ahead of her. But it will be her choice and we will stand behind her 100%! Ultimately, if she's following His guidance, she can't go wrong.

"What I want to be when I grow up is a Seventh-day Adventist teacher, teaching at an Adventist school.

The reason I want to be a teacher is because I'm pretty good with kids. I mean being with kids all day long can be tiring, but God would help me get through. With the Lord's help and guidance, I would be able to help, guide, and teach throughout the day.

Dear Lord,
Guide me as I go throughout my life in helping others. People keep telling me that I'm a good kid, but I know that, that's just You within me. Help me to honor and count my blessings. I want to teach for You, not just to teach to teach. I want to be a good, kind and loving person and teacher.

In Your Name I Pray, Amen."

Read this on the couch just now, feeling a little misty-eyed thanks to my nearly-12 year old daughter. Sooooo thankful for her.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Girl in a Purple Cloth oil painting

Here's an oil painting I painted this week. And of course, here's the photo of Hannah that inspired the painting. She is my daughter. She is my muse. She is my love.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Wearing my red shoes" girl

This is an oil painting I call Red Shoe Girl. I don't know if it's finished yet, but I've had fun with it, learning a little about oil painting.

All for now,

Monday, January 9, 2012

January musings on motherhood

I thought I'd share some sweet stories of Hannah, things she's said lately I thought were endearing:

Cute: The other day Hannah was talking about how a sweet lady we know, who recently had a baby, was looking really good. Hannah said she was impressed that the lady had "gotten back in fit again" so soon. She meant in shape, of course, but I thought, as only a mother can, that it was cute. I know she won't get her words mixed up like this too much longer, and one of the greatest pleasures of motherhood for me was hearing her get things "almost," but not quite right! ha!

Funny/confused: When Hannah and I were at Walmart the other day, we had just checked out. In the cart were tennis shoes for her, as well as a couple of inexpensive Barbies we'd told her we'd get for Christmas, but wanted her to pick out. Anyway, as I was leaving the cashier, I told her, "Okay, let's make sure I keep this receipt somewhere safe in case there's anything wrong with the shoes." Her response? Oh, it should be okay, mom, because I hardly ever have the Barbies wear their shoes when I play." I know I got a funny look on my face, and said, "No, I meant YOUR shoes." We had a good laugh at that, it was fun to see her laugh at herself on that one.

Sweet: Last night John was praising Hannah because lately she's done a lot better about doing her homework without being asked, or when she's asked, she just buckles down and does it. After he finished encouraging/praising her, she looked at him and said, "Well, Daddy, that's not me, that's Jesus in me."

That's my girl! I'm glad she gives Him credit at this age, that's what we all need to do. It's a lesson I am still learning, to be sure.

The above photos were taken at Christmastime at Lake Grapevine. I think she looks beautiful.

I took an oil painting class last week for fun. My watercolor teacher teaches it on Thursdays. I won't be able to go this semester because of our schedule, but I was just curious to see what it was like. I had a lot of fun. I am so grateful God has given me something I enjoy. I hope I can get better and better and perhaps get good enough to sell some paintings in the future, but for now, I'm having a great time just learning.

All for now,