Red Bird in the Moonlight



This hardy Cardinal’s brilliant red feathers are illuminated against the backdrop of a full Winter’s Moon.  The blustery wind out of the North Pole has kicked up the snow flurries into a swirling vortex, adding a chill to the air.   No need to worry though, this red-bird has a tight grip on the tree branch and an abundance of berries to snack on throughout the night.

This is the third painting that I have completed since starting back in early November.  This time, I found a picture on line and did what I could to re-create it without instruction.  Initially the canvas was supposed to be for a Bob Ross landscape, but it wasn’t working for me so I took a color and covered the canvas with a dark background to blot out my first attempt.  Because I don’t want this to be too expensive of a hobby considering I’m just starting out, I wanted to be able to re-use it.

When my mom said she liked it (mothers always do), but then hung it up on the wall, I knew it had to be half decent.   This painting served a dual purpose and I also made it into my Christmas Card design.  I took a picture of the painting and then put it decoratively on a card.  

Part-time Passion for Painting

I’ve started painting! I’m not good at it, but I started ! Here are my first two projects.  Up to last year, I still wanted to learn how to paint and was saving up to get the Bob Ross starter kit I saw for sale at Hobby Lobby.  Saving up was going to be one big obstacle as the kit was $100 and some of his other tools and brushes at least a quarter of that.   I’d like to say that my inspiration to paint comes from channeling my inner Michelangelo, Da Vinci or Raphael, but that’s not the case.  (yes I know I just named the Ninja Turtles).  I probably couldn’t even identify any of their paintings and do not hang out in art museums.  In fact one time I had to apologize to a co-worker of mine one time when I said that I ‘hated art’.  It was more of a mis-understanding of certain concepts of art. But Jared was such an art fan that to make it up and prove that I wasn’t a jerk, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Renwick Gallery, and the Portrait Gallery to show that I could appreciate art.  I found several pieces at each gallery that I could identify with.

So I guess, if I had to pick a favorite painter, it would be none other than Bob Ross.  I grew up watching him on public television and was amazed at the beautiful landscapes he could create in such a short amount of time.  I always wished I could do that too, but seemed to always take my creativity into different directions.

There was an offer on Groupon for a deal on a session at a local art studio that taught painting.  Teaching is a loose term because it’s more of step by step instruction to create a painting they chose. I was ecstatic when I found this offer and jumped on it.  I didn’t want to wait around for the right design… I wanted to go right away and signed up for that weekend class.  My friend Lisa joined me and I was happy she did.  It was so much more relaxing to have someone there to take the stress away.

This was the art studio in Sussex, WI called Uptown Art.  


This is the painting we were learning to do.  It’s called Autumn Walk in the Park by Karen Tarlton




Mine didn’t turn out quite the same way.  I was ok up to the point of the trees and the grass and the people.  I wish I could paint over the bottom and try again.  But all and all I’m not that disappointed and I didn’t get as frustrated as I thought I would.  Normally I’m the type of perfectionist that it has to look like the sample or its wrong.  I’m learning to get over that.  



So after saying that Bob Ross is my favorite painter…. what do I do, but go on my own with my first unassisted attempt, I paint something that is very “not Bob Ross”.   I had planned on going back again to Uptown Art, but I got my dates mixed up and I missed signing up for this Van Gogh style Tree.  



So I went to the crafts stores and assembled all that I would need to paint at home.  I think I came pretty close.  I did’t quite get all the swirls in and I decided not to put dots on the spheres, but I’m happy with it.  


 If I don’t make it back to Uptown Art this year, I did borrow a few Bob Ross instructional DVDs and I think I will try one of those next. 

Stay tuned for future art projects! 








Vincent (Starry Starry Night)

In this section, I have begun featuring song lyrics and other music related topics that I find are really compelling and meaningful.  At least they serve a purpose in my world.  Beyond that, because I do not listen to much mainstream music, I thought it would be a great way to share some of the lesser known songs with others.  That seems like a totally irrelevant statement because what I’m posting today is Don McLean and Don McLean is by no means a lesser known artist.  It’s just that I don’t know ANYTHING of his other than American Pie.

Tonight while I was at “the ranch” (that would be VideoRanch 3D a virtual 3d world on the internet where live musical programs are brought to you by 3 different hosts, as well as musical performances that occur in realtime, attended by a virtual audience (YOU) from all over the world.  – brought to you by your favorite Monkee Michael Nesmith) I heard a song that was new to me.  That’s what I love about spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at VideoRanch.  I not only can dance in a way that I don’t look freakish, and chat with friends, but I am exposed to soooo much new music that every week, I’m finding myself looking up an artists’ catalogs for the songs.

Tonight’s “DoonTube” featured Don McLean’s song Vincent (Starry Starry Night).

The song is basically made up of two things that I really don’t fancy too much- Poetry and Art (because it’s hard for me to interpret the abstract thus those two topics become frustrating).  I feel that McLean was trying to explain the art of Vincent Van Gogh to me so that I could understand his paintings and not be frustrated by it.  I like it when a songwriter can make their music so visual and tell stories in their music, and I think Don McLean did an amazing job with these lyrics.  I’m not familiar with Van Gogh’s background, so the significance of some of the lyrics are lost to me, but that doesn’t make me appreciate it any less.  For some reason, this song stuck to me like a band-aid and I really really like it.

This video from YouTube was put together nicely (by someone other than me) and fits the song well.  Please enjoy as I have.

Starry, starry night
 Paint your pallet blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
 With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land
And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now
Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds of violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of China blue
And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
Perhaps they’ll listen now
For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you
Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the stranger that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow
And now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will