Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bombs of sunflowers

Like many others like us, without a yard or with a small yard, we belong to a community garden. It's only our second year in the garden, but we are getting it. Each year when I'm planning out my veggies, my son is planning out his sunflower & snap dragon flowers. 
He loves his flowers, but will not openly admit it. 
He loves sunflowers and snapdragons best because they are "good pollination for the bees." 

He has a style to planting these  sunflowers. He forms the seeds into mud compost balls, so called "seed bombs" and he strategically puts them into the ground. So far, both years he has had great success with his sunflowers.
Evening Sunflowers (2017)
18x24 Mixed Media

Morning Sunflowers (2017)
9x12 Acrylic 
Mexican Sunflowers (2017)
10x10 Acrylic 
So far, he has the ability to successfully turn bombs into beautiful drops of sunshine. 
-Cheree 



Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's too hot for life and air conditioning...or the time we bought a minvan

Every-time I sit down to type this story, I end up stopping because  I still can't decide if I find it funny yet. 

Last month, we headed to northern Wisconsin to spend vacation in a place called Lost Lake up by Minoqua & St. Germain, very close to the Canadian boarder. Quite lovely living up there. 
This year, instead of flying to Wisconsin, we decided to take the Subaru, so we could hook our bike trailer and haul all our bikes, plus save a little bit of money by not flying (this little irony is important later). We spent a wonderful week up there enjoying fishing, biking, tennis, swimming, a small bit of antiquing, and napping. Our children each made some new friends and both got much better on their bikes. The little one mastered her 2 wheel pedal bike (no training wheels)! 

A great vacation, well spent. 

We packed up the Subaru and headed on our way back on our 2 day road trip back to Colorado. 
Somewhere, close to the Iowa/Minnesota boarder, in 95 degree weather, the Subaru decided to up and die. Die! Right there on the highway, close to nothing! That's right, we were stranded, with our car packed full, bikes on the back, in 95 degree weather, sweating...sweating so much. 
"What's going on with the car?" (me)
"It's dead...I told you we shouldn't run the air conditioner. That's probably what did it." (angry peacock)
"I'm sure it wasn't the air conditioner. It was only on for an hour. And I'm too F@#*ing hot, I needed a cool down." (me)
(Now I'm about 80% sure that something along the lines of "It's too hot to have the air conditioner running that long." was said. But it could be that "it's too hard on the car to have the air conditioner on"...either way...It's too hot for life and air conditioning and our car...obviously).

Long story, but we finally get ourselves and the car moved to a repair/dealership in a small town in Minnesota. They tell us the car is totally done, engine is done, gasket heads...oil leaking....antifreeze something or other...basically all the running parts of the car don't run... but... it's NOT from the air conditioner...just sayin.  

We're trying to figure out how to get ourselves home with all our crap plus our bikes and the bike rack. I should also mention here that I STILL haven't removed the ski rack from the top of the car, so we have that too. The closest car rental place is an hour away and they are not answering their phones. It's coming on 5pm and we've been stranded now since 2:30. 

So, I got this van I could could sell you.....

WHAT!? I say to the peacock. We aren't going to buy a minivan today, in the middle of Minnesota. That's insane! I don't want a minivan. 
Well, it'll get us home, with all our stuff....and who knows, you might like having a minivan. Help you haul the kids around with all their stuff.
[Daggers are shooting out of my eyes at the peacock now]
I don't want to drive a minivan, it's too big and will it even fit in our parking spot (yes, it did....barely. But it did not clear our speed bump in the garage very gracefully). 

So, we bought the minivan (and for those wondering, yes, a minivan is more expensive than 4 round trip tickets to Wisconsin, but it will haul 4 bikes, the bike rack, 4 suit cases, 1 family, 2 car  seats & 1 ski rack). We drove the rest of the way home in the van WITH THE AIR CONDITIONER ON!!
We got home & prepared to sell it. We owned it for 2 weeks.  
And you think the story ends there.  However, when we were getting ready to bring it out of our garage for a test drive, the peacock was pulling it out and there was all this broken industrial glass on the street in front of our garage and he popped the tire on the way out...I'm serious. I literally can't make this crap up. So there we are with a guy ready to buy & a flat tire. This is why we owned it for 2 weeks instead of one. 


Journal sketch with watercolor
St. Germain, WI 2017
Journal Sketch with watercolor
On the dock at Lost Lake, WI 2017
But, we got the tire fixed. Sold the van. And survived our first family road trip. 
I'm thinking in about 5 years I will laugh at this...for now I'm still cooling down with the AIR CONDITIONER ON! 
-Cheree 



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Live Fun Raising

About 2 months ago, I painted live for my son's annual fundraiser along with 2 other amazing artists.
Talk about nervous excitement.
This  was my first time to ever paint live. I did years of dance recitals and a couple of plays, but never painting. I am an introvert by nature, but I have always been able to "perform" & quite enjoyed it when I was younger without claming up. What makes painting live so nerve racking is the fact that I don't always have a "good painting day" &  I suppose that's also what makes it so exciting. You really don't know what is going to come out of you that day. Just hope it is something good.

I chose to paint a painting that I had done a couple of times before, but go a little rogue by adding some florescent acrylic paint, ink, collage pieces and oil pastels to this new vision. I had about two and a half hours to complete it, but the hardest part was knowing when to stop. When I paint at home I just stop when I'm stuck or want to think about it, and I just keep it up on the easel or raise it up on a shelf for like anywhere between 2 days to 2 weeks or until I decide what to do with it (I have a painting in a corner that I've been picking at since January).



Live art Clock Tower 2017
Mixed Media on canvas 12x24 


When you paint live, there is no raising it  up on a shelf to sit for 2 months. There's only getting it done, having some fun and praying to God that you're having a good paint day.

-Cheree 

-

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crushin it

A couple months ago, the peacock and I took a long weekend to Crested Butte to rest and relax and enjoy the large amounts of snow. The peacock loves to snowboard and I...well, don't. I honestly, have a bit of fear when I downhill ski. I prefer scenic skiing, with snow shoes on.

So for this trip, I decided this was my year to ski!
I rented ski equipment from the local shop & got ready to head up with the family to a T-bar lift in town called Cranor Hill. For those who don't know the area, Cranor Hill is NOT Crested Butte. It is a hill, one hill, with one Tbar lift. I figured that this was a cheap and fairly easy hill to learn to ski. Oh, and I planned to just teach myself by watching some YouTube videos. I've seen my son teach himself all kinds of cool things building Minecraft, so I'm sure my Youtube ski lessons will be similar. Plus, I did ski when I was 7, so it's like riding a bike....

except that it's not. It's not at all.

We got to hill and that's when I decided, there was no way I would get on the lift and make it down intact without acquiring some kind of "trick hip" or any other long term orthopedic consequence.  So, I'll just do some hike ups and plow downs. So up I hiked about 5 feet, put my skis on and down I went...slowly, slowly, slowly. Hike up, plow down, hike up, plow down...crushin the slopes.

Not long after I began tearin it up on the slope, wouldn't you know it, but one of my old high school crushes arrived with his family. Why I never run into any of my old crushes when I'm doing awesome shit, is beyond me. At this point, the peacock was no where to be found, leaving me alone on the hill. Crush.

Crested Butte Spring Break 2016
Oil on canvas board 6x8
I soon found my forever crush inside, feeding our offspring lunch. Doing awesome shit. 
And ya, I'm crushing on it. 
-Cheree

This is an older painting, from last year's Crested Butte trip. Just didn't have the words till now. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Survivalist

Many days I come home to our downtown urban abode to find the peacock intensely watching wilderness survival shows. These consist of Dual Survivor, Dude, you're screwed, Survivorman, Expedition Unknown & America Unearthed (the last 2 being a bit of treasure hunting/conspiracy theory...but still elements of survivaling during the conspiracy treasure hunt). 

We live no where near the wilderness, unless you consider the urban jungle a wilderness (and actually, my Dad finds city survival much more dangerous than the wilderness). I know after all these hours put in watching these shows, that if we are ever stranded in Downtown Denver, he could start us a fire, kill a wild boar with a handmade spear, and build a shelter. I have very little to worry about when I go out on date nights these days.

I have had many of lectures from the urban survivalist in regards to having yourself a solid "routine" that allows for calculated smart decisions based in logic. Always leaving the house with "wallet, keys, phone. Every single time." Seventeen mile bike ride commutes every day from work,  passing all the cars on I-25. Living to help the environment survive and thus a survival of the species. Working hard to better the survival of the family. Surviving those days when your children push you over the edge or your wife plans another musical theater date night.

The Survivalist (2017)
Oil on canvas board
6x6
Because it's those who survive that will go and retrieve all the treasure left behind...which could just be the children's Halloween candy while they sleep.
-Cheree

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Judge

Nine years ago, I birthed this amazing, witty, sensitive, intensely competitive...
Judge. 
I noticed it when he started keeping score with fair portions of treats between his friends and equaling out the numbers. He was always aware of whos turn it was for basically anything, who just had a turn, how many times it was their turn, and who is next. Very innocent, basic preschool fairness to an extreme. Then he got older and found sports, and well, the fairness went from extreme to intense. 

Now, before I go on, don't get me wrong, he plays by the rules. Even more so, makes sure that YOU play by the rules and holds all refs, umpires, judges, etc. accountable for their interpretation of the rules. 

When he was 6 (three years ago) this boy wrote a letter to a home plate umpire in a regular season MLB game over a strike out to Troy Tulowitzki that was below the knees & clearly not fair...explaining to him how he got the strike zone totally wrong. He then informed him that because he was wrong, the game needed to be replayed for fairness. 

(I didn't know who to mail this letter to and it was somewhat illegible. I felt kinda bad, but he soon moved on to avenging the next bad call). 

When he was asked to "take a break" from football and soccer at recess this year, he found four square. You know four square, that game that you basically stand in one place and bounce a ball back and forth to each other until someone falls asleep from the boredom of this game...or misses catching the ball & is out. Ya, well, this "judge" has been suspended from 4 square, not once, but TWICE, for losing his shit. Arguing over the game and it's calls. 

"(insert adult supervisor's name) was completely out of their mind today. They called me out, when the rule is that you can't do big bounces and (insert other four square child's name) did a big bounce and it went over MY head, so he should be out...but NO! They called ME out, so I was trying to explain to (Adult supervisor) why they are wrong. 
Mom, the ball WENT OVER MY HEAD! That means it was a big bounce! And those aren't allowed. They called ME out!!! It's not fair! 
That person IS NOT qualified to judge 4 square!"  


Levi (aka The Judge) 2017
Oil on canvas board 6x6



God Bless my son's teachers and recess leaders...seriously, I owe (insert adult supervisor) a drink.
But the ump, who called Tulo out...When I find out how to mail this letter (and to who)....get ready to face the Judge.
-Cheree


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stuffed Animals

As I may have mentioned, I was born and raised in a small mountain town. I was raised by wonderful parents & from them I gained some good survival skills. My Dad grew up hunting and fishing, so actually.... I didn't really learn any survival skills from my Dad. But my Mom, she grew up sewing, reading and cooking & I can do 2 out of 3. So, for example, if I'm ever starving and need to kill a wild animal to survive and in the process of doing this I rip my clothes, I would be able to sew my clothes back together & then read a story about it. So, basically I will die of starvation if left in the wild.
(Which is why I binge watch Dual Survivor with the peacock to gain some much needed skills for dooms day). 

Anyway, when you grow up with a hunter, you have access to antlers, lots and lots of antlers. I grew up with stuffed Elk heads, fish, grouse feet (that my brother and I played with...I know, I KNOW...gross) and, well, antlers as the main pieces of artwork in the living room. My Dad rotated his dead animal crap around the same way I rotate my art and furniture around....frequently. Often times my Mom could not park the car in the garage because there was a dead elk carcass hanging from the ceiling just twirling around and around and around. When my Mom made my Dad finally move the elk head out of the living room and down to the local sporting goods store, my Dad would go down and "visit" his elk head, brush it's fur and stuff. I actually had to talk my Dad out of having some of my Prom pictures taken standing with his dead stuffed Elk head. True story. 

Many people would consider this "redneck" and maybe it is, but maybe not...I'm too biased to tell. But I've come to realize that it's a dying way of life. My parents to this day will use only what they need. They don't even know the word excess...unless it has to do with getting wood for the winter (but that's a Story I already told) When clothes get ripped...they get repaired. My Dad hunts and then has meat for months and shares it with the lot of us. One year I had so much elk meat in my freezer, I didn't buy any meat for almost a year! My mom cooked and baked quite a bit from scratch and still does. I rarely had any fast food growing up & I still don't eat it (excluding Chipotle). My little goldfish's favorite dress was made by my Mom. She made my 8th grade graduation dress and a homecoming dress. This was a life they learned from their parents and these are skills that were passed on (mostly...kind-of) to me and my brother. 

Urban Antlers (2016)
Oil on canvas 8x8
Skull & Bulb (2016)
Oil on canvas 8x8


So, to summarize, if we are in a situation where we duly have to survive, I will need you to do everything, as my only skill is basically finding my way home. 
And if I happen to die, just stuff me like a dead animal, put me in my prom dress (most likely, my Mom still has it) next to my Dad's elk, so he can brush my hair and take a few pictures. 
-Cheree