Tuesday, May 19

Fairy Tale Tea Cup Tree!

Here's my entry for this fortnight's Creative Tuesday's challenge...and it was indeed! I used a medium I've never tried before — gouache paint, outlining everything with an India ink paintbrush pen afterwards. Funny thing is, we thought we had bought watercolour gouache actually, which I've also never tried, but in fact it was acrylic guoache. It didn't even occur to me until after putting the painting away and scanning this piece for here. (Ha, no wonder my work in progress didn't pan out like the learning video we watched a week prior.) The discount box of paints must have been thrown in with the watercolour sets in the bargain bin. Lesson learned: I need to pay more attention!

Well, regardless, another medium experimented and overall, I'm happy with the results. That's a relief, really, as while painting it Sunday afternoon I almost gave up on it. However, Alex encouraged me to take a break and go back to it Monday afternoon, which is exactly what I did. The extra washes of colour and line art really helped.

Now, my only thought is, I wonder which cup Toadie will jump up to and reach for next? I like to think he does drink tea too, not pond water! :)

Thursday, May 14


Anyone who truly knows Alexandra, knows she is the very definition of the title above. Just being around her, one would never realise the number of horrific life experiences she's not only survived but truly overcome. Some she's shared, some she's not been able to...yet, all the while longing to model for others that they too can be overcomers. Rather than becoming defined and ruined by her past (or present), she's learned that with self-will, determination and a faith in things to come, the sky's the limit!

Sometimes the road's been dark with little support along the way but even then through it all she's found a way to keep pressing on in spite of the circumstances. In fact, it was this very quality of hers that unexpectedly came into my life at my lowest dejected point which slowly provided me the example I needed to rebuild my hope and find my own pure grit determination to keep on going in spite of the utter loneliness and heartache I myself was in the midst of. Just like she's now doing with her brother (currently living with us), she believed in me when I didn't believe in my own strength to survive, never having imagined finding myself unexpectedly thrust into such a desperately dark night of the soul. It was overwhelming, long, agonizing and arduous with a myriad of deep losses and set backs but, you know, look where things are now! Not only can I truly smile again, I've discovered my perfect complimentary match! Even now when dealing with the pain of residue loss, Alexandra continually shows me her own example of not being held back by life, or others, for that matter.

From being strangers in the art world, to acquaintances, to friends, to praying confidants, to years later starting to actually date when I took that tentative plunge, needing to love again, we were engaged within half a year and now here we are married for just over 18 months. Through it all, I've come to learn that not only does Alex have my back but she truly is a woman of genuine vision, strength, courage and admiration. It is with those same qualities that she finally received on Tuesday her 2 yr. Associates degree (majoring in Psychology), graduating Magna Cum Laude, Phi Theta Kappa, and crazily enough, also going to be recognised as the school's "most successful scholar of the year!" I write all this to show that, like her, we ALL can do far more than we imagine if we can only learn to see it that way ourselves. Faith is the cornerstone.

Perhaps for some, an Associates in your 40's may not seem that exemplary itself but when considering the obstacles getting there, it is no small wonder. You see, Alexandra has had to drop out of college 4 times along the way. The first was shortly after high school when enrolled in university she chose to leave to take care of her devastated father during her parents' proceeding divorce. A few years afterwards, she was back in college only to then again be sidelined, this time by a serious liver tumour (another side affect of her upbringing), requiring surgery and a lengthy recovery.

After returning to school once more, now to a different campus in Illinois, she slowly worked her way up to being just about a semester shy of graduating with her bachelor's when life again took an unexpected blow with her family. Knowing a drastic change of life and scenery was in order, she started applying for jobs within her company elsewhere, eventually transferring here to Colorado, a place she had never been to before, other than for her interview. (Mind you, if Alex had known that the company would not uphold their written promises allowing her the flexible schedule to complete her degree, she would never have come out here! And so, again she found herself having to put college on hold.) Buoyed though by what seemed like a promising job and the chance to truly break free from a toxic family environment, she made the jump to head out west, not really knowing anyone and giving away almost everything she owned to drive here with only what she could fit into her car.

With her work far from what was presented to her and losing old credits with each passing year, she bravely finally quit her job with nothing else lined up, deciding to once more take the plunge and go back to school, hoping perhaps to find some work on campus. When her paperwork was mishandled in the transfer and with it her school aid, she could have decided to just give up on her dream of pursuing higher education altogether but while tempted, she did not.

As many of you know, Alexandra did manage to re-enroll in college, full time no less, but all that suddenly ended with the horrendous car accident she was in where she once more had to drop out of school (losing her job too) and taking incompletes in order to heal physically and mentally. (Thank God we were recently married by then or I'm not sure how she would have survived otherwise, being unable to continue paying rent with a roommate as done before.)

Over the summer, she began slowly making up her incomplete grades and last Fall also enrolled part-time online, finding herself still unable to handle a full course load, let alone now with no car to get there anyway. Through all this though, she dug deep, found her ingenuity, and delved into her art as able, selling works along the way while finishing up her studies this semester to end up where's she's at now: on the mends and, yes, finally graduated! :D I couldn't be more thrilled for her. In her own struggles, I've repeatedly witnessed Alexandra's resolve, force of character, positive affirmations, love given freely to those around her, and that brilliant hope in a brighter day even when sometimes again tempted to give in.

At least from my perspective, this might as well have been a doctorate in overcoming. Her concentration then is surely inspiration! (It is in my book.) And so, here we are once more, another chapter closes and begins in life's unexpected but incredible journey — this one shared.


Monday, May 4

WET dog!

Perfect weather these last few days and more rain and thunderstorms expected through the week! Makes for a poor Scottie though, let me tell you. Brendel, our doggie, gets so prissy when having to go outside in the rain. Poor chap.

I think this piece would work well as a "Thinking of You" card, and to think it only took me 10 minutes to sketch up and paint. His eye isn't exactly as I wanted—the paint blob was too big—but other than that, I love it when things just click. The idea of it, anyway.

OK, time to see what the rest of you did for this "Wet" Creative Tuesday challenge....