I’m pleased to post that for a second year one of my paintings will be on display in Eagle River, Wisconsin as part of their Artscape Program. What I like about this program is how easy it is to participate. I had to send a high quality digital photo of my painting or photograph to the coordinator. She then seeks sponsors who pay to have that image put onto a banner. That banner will hang on Main Street for the summer and will be auctioned off at a later date. All proceeds go to the community.
I love the concept of artists and photographers helping to make a community beautiful. We always need some beauty in our lives. People are dealing with some hard issues. The pandemic has not been easy for any of us. I am thankful that I’ve had a release in painting. While I paint I don’t have to think about all that saddens and worries me at the moment. I can take my brush, pick a color, and get lost for a couple of hours. I found my happy place.
I paint a lot of sheep. There is a reason. There is a story. Isn’t there always a story?
I’m not sure I can make this story brief. Seems like it loses some of its sparkle if I try. I really don’t want to tell you a dull and boring story. Since this story is about sheep I’m already at risk of putting you to sleep. So I’ll try my best not to make this a bedtime tale but a kinda, sorta of an adventure.
It starts at my grandma’s house. She had a huge two story, five bedroom farmhouse. It was once my grandfather’s childhood home. He was the baby of the family and the last to get married. He had inherited the house. He was an apple farmer with acres and acres of apple trees. He grew up in Hales Corners, Wisconsin which is anything but rural now. But back then there was land to buy and opportunities to be had. His parents came here from Czechoslovakia. I don’t know why and I never asked him questions. Typical kid. I so loved that house.
There were outbuildings that had bushels of apples ready to be sold. My grandma made some amazing apple desserts that I totally lost my mind over. She could do anything with apples including the cores. Remember red pickled apples? Yum.
As a kid I loved playing on the staircase in that house. Probably because I thought stairs were cool. I was a kid that grew up in a mobile home so anything that wasn’t in my home was pretty neat. The staircase was not straight but turned halfway up. It had a big landing. It was there I played with my dolls and studied my environment. On the wall was a big picture of sheep. I counted and recounted the number of sheep in that painting never coming up with the same number twice. I spent many hours of my childhood on the floor beneath that painting.
I even challenged my cousins in how many sheep there were. The struggle was real. The count always seemed allusive to all of us. But still it was my favorite painting. One day grandma said she had something important to ask me. She was working on her will and wanted to know what I would like. I instantly said – the sheep picture!!!! Grandma said “you don’t want that”, but I did. “No you don’t. You need to think about this.” I never changed my mind.
My grandma always hoped I would be an art teacher one day. I had other dreams. Grandma said I would change my mind many times before I grew up. I never changed my mind with that either. I would one day become a Wisconsin State Trooper. Grandma lived to see me get my badge. ❤️
When my grandmother passed away it was at my house. It was Christmas Eve. It was one of the saddest times in my life. I never went back to her house. I didn’t know if grandma had left me that sheep painting, but she had. I did get heirlooms from my grandparents thanks to my mom. But the picture was more then just a picture to me.
The sheep painting traveled a great distance to end up with me. It hung on that wall at their house in the same spot my entire life. It reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of my grandparents and all that they taught me. I miss them. So Varla’s Blue “SHEEP” art represents a part of my past. One of my loves. To remember them I paint sheep. I paint a lot of sheep. Now why is my business called Varla’s “Blue” sheep art! That’s another story.
So when you are entertaining grandkids it is important to engage them in low cost activities. Low cost like rock painting. First you find the perfect rocks. (We do discuss the merits of what makes a perfect rock.) We then have to wash all of the rocks we gathered. A good and long scrub is necessary to get all of the dirt off. It did seem I was doing more of the heavy scrubbing.
Once dried, we had to decide what design should we paint. You have to stare at a rock for a while before you can determine what it is destined to be. Can take a lot of time. ❤️ We painted a lot of rocks this summer and fall. Grandma learned that she needs to buy more cheap brushes and hide the good ones. 🤪 Rocks are hard on brushes or maybe it’s the dried on paint that gets them.
I was recently looking around my art studio and I saw a pile of leftover rocks. I decided I should paint a few. I still have many rocks left over. Maybe I should line them up over the tv and stare at them a while. It’s important that grandma stays busy too. ❤️