Waiting For Spring

In Wisconsin the weather changes daily. This week is a good example. It was 60 degrees on Wednesday and on Thursday we got over an inch of snow. Crazy right? People were wearing shorts and flip flops then expected to put their winter parkas back on. I’ve notice that for some, once the shorts come out they don’t go back in the drawer. If it is at least 40 degrees it’s time for shorts until Thanksgiving!!!

Not me. I’ve always been more cold blooded. I recall it snowing on my birthday which is in the middle of May. That was kind of a bummer. The unpredictability of weather here does get frustrating at times, but you get use to it. Let me point out that “getting use to it” does not apply to driving in it. Every first snowfall people still forget how to drive. Let me just say this…”we do not use our cruise control when it is snowing – never!” I know some won’t remember.

Anyway I had to stop thinking snow and start thinking spring. My absolute favorite time of year. So these adorable baby ducks caught my eye. I told myself they will be my next painting. The original photo was taken by #stillwaterranchmontana a company I follow on Instagram. They gave me permission to paint from their photos. ❤️❤️❤️

These baby ducks are a cross between Kahki Campbell and Blue Swedish. All I know is they are adorable with the cutest web feet that are black with orange tinted flesh between the toes. ❤️

So spring is coming I’m sure of it even though right now it is snowing. 😎

“Waiting for Spring“
12x12x1.5 acrylic – $100

Coming of Age

The terms bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah “bar” is used for a boy, while “bat” is used for a girl. It is the coming of age for 13 year old boys and girls. I’ve been to a bat mitzvah, a niece of my daughter in-law. I so enjoyed the readings, rituals and overall. ceremony. The food afterwards was pretty awesome too. So why am I talking about this coming of age event? It’s why I was asked to do this commission.

This commission felt like “meant to be” kind of thing. So one day a few months back I had stopped at a medical supply store. Not my favorite type of store, but while I was there a woman came up to me asking about my shoes. You see I was wearing my painted Sylvester and Tweety bird canvas shoes. She noticed. She asked who painted them. Me!!!! I tell her, I painted them. She said she just thought of a painting idea but didn’t know any artists to ask. Then here I am working into her office.

She explains that her son loves basketball, loves Space Jam and this June he will have his bar mitzvah. They are throwing a party and she wanted something special. I get special.

She describes a 4’x3’ clear plastic panel that she wanted painted. She has a huge light box to put this panel in. She wanted the Space Jam logo in the center and instead of Labron James she wanted her son Henry. On party day, guests will autograph the panel with well wishes. I have never painted on a big piece of plastic before, but I love a challenge. I did some searching on the internet and putting acrylic paint on plastic is a common thing.

Like any new endeavor it turned out more challenging then I expected. It takes several coats of paint before it looks right. The more I painted on it the more I loved it. At the end I was excited to see what Henry thought, what his patents thought of what I did. I felt joy at the end of this project.

That’s why I paint. It’s for the rush. It’s for that feeling I get when I put my heart into a painting. I feel all warm inside and I’m smiling. 😎

Henry
The light box sitting in my basement.

Why Sheep?

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.

Title unknown. Hard to read the artist signature. C. Van Lelv…….?