Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Would you like that Gift Wrapped?

you tube by silachan
Michael W. Smith - “Christmas Time”

I somehow always manage to cram myself into the smallest space in the house to wrap gifts. This makes no sense. There is plenty of floor space in our house, but even when I set up “shop” in it, I somehow barricade myself into one small area by surrounding myself with boxes, wrapping paper, peanuts, piles of ribbon and whatnot.

My plan is that it will all be in reach - and I can sit in one spot on the floor and dive into the task!
It never fails that as I wrestle the weirdly huge box onto the unrolled paper, careful not to pierce said paper with the corner of the mysteriously sharp box, that I cut it too too too long … or one micro nano inch too too too short. Patch jobs (for those micro nano inch too too too short deals) offer an opportunity to create an extravagant ribbon/bow cover-up ensemble (wink). Too too too long deals mean I cut off a looooooong strip to save for some tube-shaped gift (which hardly ever appears on the Christmas scene).

More often than not … and maybe it is because I am a tiny person … the tape is always just out of reach. I assure myself that I will set it down near to my right hand the next time, so I will be able to quickly reach for it (without much adieu or peeking) in the general area of my right side in the wrapping floor space field of play… but it somehow ends up under the pile of whatnot about ¾” beyond my best stretch.

Scissors… well, they are more often than not under me when I need them. You would think this would be obvious, but I am learning to look there first now when they ‘go missing’ mid-wrap.

I suppose there is a great metaphor in all this. “The best laid plans…” and all that… blah-blah, and blah-blah.

I hope you are listening to the song in the you tube clip above. It makes sense when nothing else does.

When paper is cut too too too long or ridiculously close, but too too too short… When scissors are lost and tape is just beyond a comfortable grab… When great intentions are consumed by piles of whatnot and the phone rings (also under a pile of whatnot, just out of reach and to the left) and you have both hands in a “Twister” game position of right hand/red dot, left hand/green dot - along with right foot/yellow dot (toe pointed holding down the fold of a nicely creased end wrap) … and you feel you can’t let go, but you must… so you do and it is only a machine calling to say your new vehicle warranty has expired and you don’t even have a new vehicle…

When all the best laid plans - aren't…
There is, beyond it all, a Greater Plan that is never too long, too short, out of reach, or buried in stuff…

~joy in the journey,
Psalm 103

Ring Christmas bells ~ Ring them loud with the message bringing Peace on the earth ~ Tidings of good cheer. Come carolers ~ Come and join with the angels singing “Joy to the world ~ Christmas time is here again”.
Children gather around and listen … you'll hear the sound of angels filling the sky telling everyone “Christmas time is here”. Ring Christmas bells ~ Ring them loud with the message bringing Peace on the earth ~ Tidings of good cheer. Come carolers ~ Come and join with the angels singing “Joy to the world ~ Christmas time is here again”.Loved ones close to our hearts … and strangers in lands afar ~ Together share in the joy: Emmanuel !To tell the world He has come to dwell ~ The time is near~ With one voice ~ Let the world rejoice Christmas time is here! Ring Christmas bells ~ Ring them loud with the message bringing Peace on the earth ~ Tidings of good cheer. Come carolers ~ Come and join with the angels singing “Joy to the world ~ Christmas time is here again”.Children gather around and listen … you'll hear the sound of angels filling the sky telling everyone “Christmas time is here again”.

Isaiah 9
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Romans 10
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Time is Here

youtube created by Picardy

2.5" x 3.5" artist trading cards

(also available as a reproduction greeting card)


~ joy ~

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The aesthetics of being alive ...

“Sometimes the world tries to knock it out of you”
~ August Rush

Some people just don’t "get it" - I feel as though they are walking corpses.
I am grieved, but at the same time I am joyous at those who do "get it" ~ knowing I am not alone.
And knowing it is there for anyone who wants to get it. too.
Follow-Up: I saw August Rush (the reviews were mixed btw) - but I cried several times in the movie and will see it again.
Yea, it was sappy and had unrealistic situations that left-brainers struggle with...I understand that.
I felt the movie though ... I got it.
I get it.
There are times I struggle in my heart with those who do battle in life - and still do not get it.
They miss it ... those 'walking corpses' I mentioned.
They think a better parking lot will keep people in their pews so-to-speak (as opposed to simply telling people the truth). They fight against the wind and blame the wind.
Whether church, or family/friends, or job - - it isn't about the stuff, or the programs, or anything other than the truth.
You either 'hear' it or you don't.
August Rush is a metaphor.
I hear it. I get it.
It is a relationship restored with the Creator of the uuniverse. By His mercy - I get it. On days when I seem sad - I just realize I want everyone to get it.

Friday, November 30, 2007


and now a shameless promo for some affordable art...

Art CARDS - small pieces of original art to collect, trade or give as gifts

2.5" x 3.5" created on black art paper using Prismacolor pencils

Old World style Santas

Orignals available on eBay ...


Reproduction Greeting Cards coming soon!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Someone saved my life tonight...

by Elton John


"The Seven Deadly Sins"

Lust. Greed. Pride. Sloth. Gluttony. Anger (Wrath). Envy.

I just remembered -from English Lit- that "eggslap" was the acronym we were taught to memorize them by... envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, avarice, and pride.

A series of events led me to drawing these nasty little beauties.
Some events I observed ...

Some events were hurled into my life ...

Some were recollections of the past year or so and the behavior of friends and so-called friends... even my own mistakes in handling events...

After coming across some small stone gargoyle statues in a gift shop - depicting the seven, so-called ', deadly' sins - another artist and I challenged ourselves to creating a series of our own interpretations of the sins in some sort of anamorphic format -- and so, these Gargoiles (pronounced Gargoyles - but emphasis on 'goils' as a play on 'girls') were born.

Lust was first and came easily. She evokes the most emotional response from me because she seems so innocent to her victims... and her (allegded) rewards are instantaneous. The Elton John song you are playing (you are playing it - yes?) - captures this one for me... such a passionate song... so well done. She is indeed that "princess perched in her electric chair" ... that "dominating queen" ... that "butterfly" ~ fly away!

And by-the-way, please don't get all offended at my use of the feminine - I recognize "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - myself included. My artistic license has driven me to create these in the feminine form for better or worse.

With the little stone statues fresh in my mind - the flesh tones on my versions of these 'goyles is also stone-like and harsh.Each beauty measures just 2.5" x 3.5" (standard trading card size - known as ATC or ACEO). They have been created on black art paper with PrismaColor pencil.

Anger was really suppose to be Wrath. Afterall - anger in itself is no sin - "Be angry and sin not" -- It is the wrath, avarice, vengeance, and smoldering hatred that can follow that is actually 'the sin'. So, I wish I would have placed Wrath on her sash instead. *sigh* but I didn't - I was so completely into the doing of the thing - pencils flying... imagery crawling out onto the paper... it all happened quickly. I confess to having sinful thoughts while creating- recalling certain people and events and allowing myself to indulge in bitterness briefly. I stomped it out though - and chose forgiveness instead.

Anger is often tied up in passion and can cross-over into so many other areas of danger (visiting and mingling with these other ladies of darkness), but anger used to fuel what is good and right is a powerful tool in the human condition ...in which case such passion is a gift.

I hadn't intended for Envy to have green eyes - rather funny now that I see her there all unhappy with everything.

Poor Gluttony - her 'y' didn't even fit on her sash. Such a big title for a big issue. Never satisfied - with anything.

Pride - so confused. Isn't is good to be proud? Why is pride a sin? Look at her - all self-assured that she has no sin. That is it then - Pride is utter self assurance - no need of anyone and certainly no need of God. Pride has it all handled - completely.

Greed can never have enough - I think she and Pride may be twin sisters here. No one else exists. She will never know peace.

Sloth *yawn* - no big deal ... someone else will do it. She is not responsible. She is here for her - and so are you. You are here for her - you do it. It's your problem, not hers. That's how she sees it all.

The series will be available in print at a later date as a set.
The originals are at auction on eBay (the link is to the upper left).

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
~Romans 3:22-24

joy in the journey,
Psalm 103

Thursday, October 11, 2007



(youtube created by Dutchboyjr)

** play and sing along as a prayer for the one love in your heart - that someone you know who has those "sad eyes" ~~ let them know no matter what this world says - they are exquisite just the way they are - and that you love them and their True Colors **


You with the sad eyes ~ don't be discouraged
Oh I realize it's hard to take courage
in a world full of people you can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small
But I see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow
Show me a smile then, don't be unhappy,
'Can't remember when I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear
You call me up because you know I'll be there
And I'll see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful, like a rainbow
So, sad eyes, discouraged, now realize
When this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear
You call me up because you know I'll be there
And I'll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors and that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors, true colors
Cos there's a shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors, true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Beautiful, like a rainbow

~~ joy in the journey,
Psalm 103

(featured art: folk art fish signs on reclaimed vintage wood / driftwood -- currently in my eBay store using the link to the upper left)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

World War II (Ken Burns PBS)

Meet my Dad...
A young kid from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - who joined in to help stop the madness.

My Dad, Smitty, is on the far left - he said he and the guys sometimes rotated positions, but mainly he was the waist gunner. This B-17 is "Sack Time Sioux". Next to him are Strehlow and Croner.

Here is the entire crew... pictured in Deopham Green, England - where their bomb squadron, the 728th, began their missions.
Dad was part of the Mighty Eighth's 452nd Bomb Group.

Dad on the remains of the day.
German fighters spotted the squadron flying into Russia and came back with reinforcements for a bombing run which left our boys with nothing except a long 'walk' back home to England via North Africa and other places never before imagined by this steel mill boy.

Decorated and back home safe after 35 missions - my Dad.

If you missed Ken Burns 7-part film called simply THE WAR on PBS, please find it and watch with your children. God Bless America and our military and those who remember.

joy in the journey,


Psalm 103

ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT (c) 2007 by the Smith Family Archives / Blueyeduck Studios

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


~ 1884 salvaged wood ~


~ ELO ~

This song never fails to make me smile. The concert footage in this video is part of an excellent performance best viewed in a dark home theatre setting- on high volume!

~ 1884 salvaged wood ~

In keeping with blue skies, happy colors, and all things bright and beautiful - I am transitioning here to some folk art I created over the summer from a harvest of Lake Erie driftwood and some antique salvaged wood.

I have dozens of fish and text signs on eBay (live auctions and buy-it-now items in my eBay store)

~ 2007 Driftwood ~

Most of the wood was collected last spring - I remember one particularly cold and windy day when I was certain I'd frozen my ears off.

The color and texture on these is so rich and fun - most difficult to see in these small images. These Cirque du Soliel style fishies are really fun.

It is simple ... enjoy the music ... enjoy the folk art.

To see more (and I hope you will look) - check out "MY ART FOR SALE" in the link to the upper left.

joy in the journey,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love ...

and some happy folky fish (wink)

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him. ~ Psalm 32:10

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. ~ Psalm 33:5

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in You. ~ Psalm 33:22

I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal Your love and Your truth from the great assembly. ~ Psalm 40:10

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ~ John 13:34

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ I Corinthians 13:13

featured art: original Folk Art sculptures (available by clicking the link to the upper left "MY ART FOR SALE") ... created on Lake Erie driftwood with acrylic paint. Enjoy!



psalm 103

Thursday, August 16, 2007

JOY in the journey


Contemplating joy...

it is not an emotion - it is a state of being regardless of emotion

Some of you that know my writings and postings on eBay will see I sign out with "joy in the journey" or sometimes just "joy".

Here is the song that reminds me to always "forget not the hope that's before (me)" and to "remember the hopelessness when (I) was lost"...

in happiness....joy
in pain...joy
in grief...joy
in devastation...joy
in death...joy
in celebration...joy
Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You.

now you know...

joy in the journey,


Saturday, August 11, 2007

BOTH Sides of the STORY

Joseph’s story … your story … my story…

2.5" x 3.5" Acrylic & Watercolor Painting ~ POTiPHAR

Both Sides of the Story - Phil Collins

As I was thinking about some art cards I painted … representing a very different time and place (Potiphar’s Royal Household in ancient Egypt) -- I was hit by a brick in the side of the head in the form of this song.

Joseph is my Biblical hero for lack of a better way to put it… they don’t come any more loaded with integrity or purity on a human level than him in my recollection.
Joe was a favorite son with big dreams. His Dad gave him a nifty colorful robe which made his brothers jealous…plus, he simply annoyed his brothers.

He was a dreamer…
I mean a REAL dreamer.

He dreamt that his brothers would one day bow down to him. What we know now that they didn’t know then in full, was that the God of the Universe had a big plan and all these things were part of it. It has even reached down through all this time to make my life what it is.

The brothers decided to do away with little Joe. They tossed him in a pit and tore his colorful robe and splattered it with animal blood, explaining to their devastated father that Joe was killed by wild beasts. That was their side of the story. They actually spared Joe’s life and sold him to some travelers. Joe ended up in Egypt where he, as a young kid who just lost everything, had to learn a new language and new culture and make a new life.

2.5" x 3.5" Acrylic & Watercolor Painting ~ POTiPHAR'S WIFE

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!"
But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

2.5" x 3.5" Acrylic & Watercolor Painting ~ JOSEPH iN Egypt

When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. "Look," she said to them, "this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger. Joseph's
master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

WAIT! It just keeps getting better….

Joe’s brothers back home were starving and set out to seek help from Pharoah’s House. Their brother Joe now held the power to save them. They didn’t recognize him…
The story continues with amazing details and twists and turns! I wish there was an epic movie - and Charleton Heston could be Joseph. It’s big… it’s a BIG story. God's side of the story always is!

A must read:
Genesis 40-47: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2040-47;&version=31;


When I am tempted to feel sorry for myself because I have been misrepresented or even lied about, I think of how Joe handled it. When I see people who have the truth and the lie set before them and they still choose the lie, I think of how Joe handled it. When I see people walk among the darkness because it is easier than coming fully into the light, I think of how Joe handled it.
Joseph’s brothers did bow down to him … and he had compassion on them. That is amazing.
He was hated. He was sold. He was abused. He was lied about. He was falsely accused. He was neglected.

Through it all he held his faith and was blessed…and it blessed those around him.
We see the amazing blessing and events unfolding as we look back on his life, but he didn’t know any of that was coming … he walked one step at a time just like you and I do.

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
~II Corinthians 5: 1-9

Studying Joseph’s life and the generations that followed takes us full circle into the greatest story of redemption the world has ever known ... All the way to me... And to you if you also know the Son of God.

The only side of any story that counts is HIS side of the story.

Joy in the journey,
Psalm 103


Click on the link to the upper left to view more of my art for sale

I can't stop loving you...

Sometimes we have no idea why people go away.

Sometimes people go away because they were never really "here" in the first place.

The really painful partings are the ones in which they take a piece of your heart with them... and they have no clue that they have.

So youre leaving in the morning on the early train

But I could say everything's alright and I could pretend and say goodbye

Got your ticket. Got your suitcase. Got your "leaving smile"

Oh, I could say thats the way it goes and I could pretend and you wont know that I was lying because

I cant stop loving you. No, I cant stop loving you. No, I wont stop loving you. Why should I?

We took a taxi to the station. Not a word was said and I saw you walk across the road for maybe the last time, I dont know.

Feeling humble. Heard a rumble on the railway track and when I hear the whistle blow I walk away and you wont know that I'll be crying because

I cant stop loving you. No, I cant stop loving you. No, I wont stop loving you. Why should I even try? I'll always be here by your side (why why why).

I never wanted to say goodbye. I'm always here if you change, change your mind.

So your leaving in the morning on the early train but I could say everything's alright and I could pretend and say goodbye but that would be lying, no... because

I cant stop loving you (cant stop loving you). No, I cant stop loving you (I wont stop loving you)No, I wont stop loving you. Why should I even try? Because I cant stop loving you (cant stop loving you). No, I cant stop loving you (thats all I can do). No, I wont stop loving you. Why should I? (why should I). Why should I? (tell me why). Why should I even try...

featured art: miniature painting and ink (business card size)
"Two are better than one"

But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of Me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life. ~ Luke 21: 14-19

Friday, August 03, 2007

booger DOCTOR

I received the Illustration Friday topic this morning and with it came a link to a nifty blog (who is by the guy that suggested this week's IF topic: missing). I visited said blog and got a smile - so, that is worth sharing. This nifty blog has some nifty cartoon work: http://blankenstine.blogspot.com/

The Lobster-Head cartoon cracked me up. It is me. I have been asked the very same MRI 'seafood' allergy question. They have assured me the "crash cart" they wheeled in next to me had everything they needed should I react to the dyes ... yea, sure ... now this is some fun.

One of my docs looks very much like muppet. I had to paint him. A couple years ago (2005) I did and then randomly showed up at his office and gave it to the receptionist (who at first was afraid of me - you know, who wouldn't be with me all stocker-y-looking at 98 pounds carrying an 18" x 24" painting... wink). After looking over the painting her concern turned to laughter ... and she abruptly ran around a corner out of view to show the other office people (laugh laugh laugh). Okay - they liked it ... ALOT.

The painting was inspired not only because the guy looks like a muppet and loves Los Lobos (you know, "La Bamba"), but especially because of this lightbulb thingy he wears on his head to cover his bald spot... Also because of a conversation hubby & I had with him once about hubby's snoring. The guy is an ENT and had historically handled our minor ear issues and did the whole antibiotic thing ... as well as being big on nasal sprays.

"VENTILATION ... the key is VENTILATION" he would always tell us.

This day he was suggesting hubby might need surgery.
Hubby asked "You do that, too?" to which Dr. Muppet stood a whole inch taller and firmly said "I' m not just a b00ger doctor, I'm a surgeon @ $ # % @ # $" -- which was very funny.

I went right home and painted it all.
Anyway - the blog I visited today with the Lobster imagery reminded me of this... so, I dug it out of my archives. Makes me giggle.
joy in the journey,
psalm 103