Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This was in an email sent from a brother today:

"It is sad that Israel is bombing Gaza City. It is sad that the children were killed in the last Afghan bombing.

You know I went to church ... yesterday, and the preacher never mentioned the plight that so many areas and people of the world are in today.

It is so sad that such a venue is not used to solve the problems of the world. Never once did he say - 'Wow, can you believe the problems global warming is causing.' ... 'We need to lobby for alternate means of transportation so we can all sell our gas guzzling cars.' Or, 'Can you believe what happened in Gaza City? We need to unite and work to put an end to such action.' He didn't even say - 'Wow, can you believe the killing going on in the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan? Let's take a moment and pray for those people.'"

I responded to my dear brother (somewhat indirectly and off-topic):

"A wonderful friend from Brazil, was giving me hell during this trip over Christmas to Rio--for being a hypocrite:

Despite my being an agnostic from about my Junior High School days-- I have gone to Mass fairly regularly/irregularly through the years, have been a Parish Council President (Father Rayner Dray in Tifton asked me to run for this office during a church-building period, despite his knowledge of my "agnosticism") and I taught Middle School CCD ("conservation and development of sustainable community") here at at Our Lady of Guadalupe for 15+ years, etc., etc.. (I am a "Catholic"; it is a part of my software--since Mom, with Dad's support, saw to it that we were produced in that cultural tradition; and I feel comfortable participating as a "sinner" and "lost soul" in my church ... at our local Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, and in the larger sense of "Church".)

I do recognize that I can be/am very hypocritical--but I also recognize the hypocrisy of others ('Christians' who support War and Capital Punishment; 'environmentalists'/'Greenies' with big homes and automobiles--and conventional-air-conditioning; 'conservatives' who don't really support conservation; folk who de facto don't seek real solutions to poverty, problems in our educational systems, and the serious troubles we've been in since the advent of capitalism and the industrial revolution; those who 'Hope/hope' only through prayer and not through scientific knowledge, critical/creative thinking and action; etc.; etc..

I do think it is important to discuss this hypocrisy ... ours and that of others!"


[This is something from several years ago which Robert Cruz--a friend since childhood--asked me to send him ... after discussion of a multitude of things during a long phone visit yesterday. It is summary of a 20-page report and related thoughts, which I might post herein later (after a bit of editing).]
¿Es Cuba?* ¿¿O …, Es el Mundo?
(Pavel Martinka’s draft of an essay written after his "recent" 2006 visit to Cuba: Stories for his children and theirs—and for others who might significantly help to change the world in which they live)
Major Impressions

A Model for Realizing Sustainable Community?? Cubans are living a very low input life-style that is peaceful and relatively crime free, and that has a great foundation of holistic education and adequate health care for all--and that is developing urban and organic agriculture. It is of course highly significant that their premier politician has gained the honor and respect through the Revolution of most of the Cuban population, and he does govern as a dictator and the system is totalitarian . Therefore, there are well-enforced limits to consumption, movement and development by humans. As I listened to my primary host (Dr. Rafael Ojeda) in Cuba in June of 2006, walked the streets of La Habana, watched the Cuban television channels, and participated in the meeting on Desarrollo Local, I could not help but think that this is perhaps a type of system much of the world may have to utilize to curb consumption, population growth, and anarchy in order to achieve maximum protection of our essential natural resource base and relative equity and justice for all, i.e. what might be called Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology (PEACE).

Respect for Fidel and the Revolution. Cubans-- … like Brazilians, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Poles, Ukrainians, and US citizens, ... --are beautiful and imperfect people using a functional but imperfect socio-political/economic (ecological) system in an attempt to achieve quality life. A huge majority of those over fifty who were the have-nots during the Fulgencio Batista years and previous years of U.S. colonization (the have-nots were by far the majority) have a tremendous respect and loyalty to Fidel for all his wonderful efforts. Younger Cubans may have respect for and loyalty to Fidel, but are more likely to overtly complain, to want considerably more, and even to attempt to flee Cuba. (For instance, I recently had a young Cuban student, Lisette, in my biology class who is probably in her early 20s. She credibly painted a very dark and deprived picture of her starving childhood in Cuba.)

What Right Does the U.S. Have to Decide for and Punish Others?!! It really is a
“ mortal sin” (or part of our/U.S. children’s “original sin”) to exert power over nations with economic/trade sanctions, embargos , , attempted assassinations and invasions, and trumped up-charges against alleged terrorists --all of which stifle charitable assistance and serve to “ostracize” the government and people of Cuba—truly creating a tremendous hurt to the flesh and stomachs--and hearts and souls--of millions of innocent people. We should work hard at lifting economic sanctions against Cuba and at serving up justice to all the Cuban people, including the Cuban Five.

What We Might Do That Would Be Positive for Both Cuba and the U.S.? We could learn from Cuba a considerable amount about education, health care, organic and urban agriculture, living a low-input, energy-conserving lifestyle, and dealing with crime and terrorism. And since they are a nation with a biocapacity – ecological footprint deficit, they could certain benefit from some of the 33% of the world’s resources we (the U.S.) exploit and utilize (greedily--as 5% of the world’s population).

Thursday, December 18, 2008


LBJ said "The only thing worth being is a teacher, a preacher, or a politician!"

We are all ... all of these.

I would hope that we do them ethically and well (which I suppose is redundant).


We're off to Rio, and will be a couple blocks from Ipanema Beach.

I'll try hard not to stare at "the girl":

"Olha que coisa mais linda
mais cheia de graça
É ela menina que vem
e que passa nun doce balanço,
caminho do mar...
Moça do corpo dourado,
do sol de Ipanema
O seu balançado é mais que un poema
é a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar...Ah!
Porque estou tão sozinho Ah!
Porque tudo é tão triste Ah!
A beleza que existe
A beleza que não é só minha
que também passa sozinha Ah!
Se ela soubesse que quando ela passao
mundo sorrindo
se enche de graçae fica mais lindo
por causa do amor
por causa do amor
por causa do amor ... ."

"Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah
When she walks, she's like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh(ooh)
but I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her I love her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at me
Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely
The girl from ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, I smile -
but she doesn't see (doesn't see)
(she just doesn't see, she never sees me, ...)."

2008 was one of my best years.

Wonder what 2009 will bring?


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Have some great days these last two plus weeks of December 2008

I'd like to wish Winston and Woodlandpixie et al. some fantastic last days for the wonderful year of 2008!

Thanks for the invite in this year of 2008--to contribute to BBC. [I'll try and spend some time doing a bit of writing tomorrow; however, we will be traveling to the other Rio (de Janeiro! ... We do also spend quite a bit of time in my wife's old homeplace, Rio Medina.) next week, and stay for 10 days. Therefore, my postings will continue to be relatively "few and far between".]
I especially appreciate all of you who voted for Barack Obama, ... as well as you who didn't but are now supportive of him in his tough challenge as a world leader. His/our work is really cut out for him/us, especially after the fix previous world leaders (and particularly George W. Bush) have gotten us into as a result of inattention to ecological principles and processes, and the resultant incapacity to think critically.

We all need to help in an effort toward Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology, or Conservation and Development of Sustainable Community.
Everyone be careful during your days off. And we'll meet down the road.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Working Toward Community Gardens (Local Food/Holistic Education) in the Seguin Area

1. We will continue to develop the grounds at Sample Society, 607 Jefferson Ave., Seguin in collaboration with the owners/directors:

· We have the small garden which was planted last year, which will be better planned and replanted in the early spring. (This might become a perennial herb and perennial flower area.)
· I've plowed another area (hard and with lots of caliche) around the back fence using an organic grower's tractor and turning-plow, and will have some chicken manure/"compost" delivered this winter for building up the fertility of this soil--at the poultry producer's convenience. (Also, we hope to get some organic matter from the "local" fish hatcheries next week.)
· Tentative plans are to disk the manure in and broadcast a late winter/early spring garden of turnips & mustard greens--and some chard, spinach and lettuce.
· I'll ask the city to deliver some more chipped mulch--and we'll do lots of mulching and employ use of plastic for soil solarization weed control.
· Around the inside perimeter of the garden (area not plowed) and other areas of Sample Society land, we'll plant some perennial fruit and ornamental trees, bushes and vines--into a weed-guard mesh.
· We'll attempt to get folk involved in assigned/first come-first served raised-bed plots on the west side of the plowed area. (Folk might use their production in their home, or sell at the Downtown Farmers Market.)
· In the east area, I plan to plant calabacitas (easy to grow and produce from early spring 'til late in the fall, and in demand by Mexican-Americans), okra (easy to grow; harvest is the problem), tomatoes, and chiles, etc. (I might plant some poppies also. Grew them years ago down at the Farm in Stockdale, and they're not hard to grow and harvest. ... And I love poppy-seed kolaches and pie--and cake!)
· And perhaps we'll get a small shade house built for raising transplants.

2. I do realize that we need to work hard on getting Master Gardeners and/or other organizations and governmental entities--and more volunteers--involved. ... I've been enjoying myself kind of piddling around, but realize we need to collectively plan and work together to make this concept of community gardens to really work here in Seguin.

(If properly organized, and if appropriate energy and critical thinking were invested, this effort could take off:

· A family et al. actively involved in community service ministry has a plot of land they are targeting for a garden area in Seguin near where they collaborate to distribute food to the needy (in addition to the garden they are developing in Stockdale),
· Pedro Schambon, Marvel Maddox (Siempre Sustainable Network), Tim Barr (TLU) et al. are working with the Guadalupe County Ministerial Association on "Faith Community Plots on Pedro's My Father's Farm".
· The pastor at Mosaic Community Church has a long-term interest for possible garden plots near the church and Seguin Community Health Center.
· There are plenty of "vacant lots" around Seguin (on school grounds*, near Christian Cupboard, etc.) that could be used for local food production and holistic outdoor/hands-on education.)
. Various other organic and conventional growers of produce in the Seguin areas should be a part of the planning and development of this effort.

*[I spent some considerable amount of time with various aspects of the political campaigns in 2008.

In 2009, I hope to spend a considerable amount of time working with teachers/activists, at local school board meetings, with folk at Texas State University, and with TEA, etc. in Austin, etc.--trying to develop a critical mass of folk doing some critical thinking and taking action towards realizing networks of small neighborhood schools with a holistic ecologically-based curricula.]

3. We'd love to get CLEAN leaves (preferably unbagged, but if you must bag them we'll take them) delivered to the spot marked "Compost/Abono" at Sample Society, 607 Jefferson Ave.

If this becomes overwhelming for us at the Sample Society location, Pedro Schambon at My Father's Farm, 14400 FM 725 (a couple of miles west of Johnny's Barbeque) will take all the leaves we can provide him.

[Rodney Burton, Siempre Sustainable Network, has suggested Pedro and I get on KWED to request delivery of leaves to our compost piles rather than let these nutrient laden beauties go to the landfill. ... We'll get around to this.

Also, I generally go around and pick up what bagged leaves I can in my neighborhood. Nevertheless, my family will be traveling to Rio for a wedding and be gone ca. 10 days around Christmas. Perhaps some of you in Seguin might search the streets and capture these jewels before they head to the landfill during this period?]

4. Pedro and I will work with Tim Barr and other appropriate contacts at TLU to obtain use of their cafeteria scraps for composting.

5. We'll need to work to get water lines to various parts of the garden area at Sample Society, and get ready to lay out systems of more efficient drip lines.

Thanks for indulging me in this outpouring of ideas for "community" gardens in Seguin.

(And we would appreciate your precious leaves--if you don't want them!)

paul martin
Siempre Sustainable Network

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What I'd Like for Christmas This Year

I have lots of stuff from living for most of my 62 years as a “have” in an Empire with considerable power. I never care for any gifts, because I think we all--kids and adults in most countries North of the Equator, and the "haves" in other areas of the world--consume way too much in a very unethical/"sinful" manner. ...

Moreover, I don't really care to give much to other than the truly poor in the world--and I wish that Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Yule, Kwanzaa, Umoja, … might be that type of Holiday for all folk (i.e., a time for giving to the truly poor, mostly South of the Equator, and time for truly achieving Peace--and weaning ourselves from the 200,000-400,000+ kilocalories many of us each consume per day).

For Peace and the sustaining of Nature and the Land, I hope that we might all consider giving--this Holiday season, in the name of our loved ones--to an organization like Oxfam International, ... .

Sunday, November 30, 2008


We've heard (repeatedly) George W. Bush's "empty" request after the 9/11 destruction and death, ... for us to go out and shop.
To our political leaders and their policy-makers and advisors, I have to say, "There you go again!"

These are times of crisis in our classical/conventional economic structure, but they are also opportune times.

Nevertheless, instead of calling for real change and for a transition to a Nature- and Land-conserving world-system based on ecological economics (involving ethical use of renewable energy), my perception (my reality--and that of most folks) is that leaders in all areas of the political arena are doing little thinking that is truly critical and creative ( ... thinking that is based on ecological principles and processes for moving toward sustainable community and livelihoods).

These conventionalists are crying for us to shop and consume, to continue to crudely rip through our natural resource base, and to keep on (unethically) rampantly releasing and transforming energy. They want the economies of nations of "haves" to grow!?!

These conventional economic attitudes and actions will continue to tear at the sustainable sociological and ecological fabric we might have remaining from past hunter-gatherer/sustainable agriculture-based cultures--and will rip away what is left of any real dignity we might still have.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some Reflections on Sustainability from Jan 2007 (After My 62nd)

Is sustainability necessarily of importance to the people of Seguin?

I think it is important to current Seguinites and to future Seguinites—and this includes all people and other species. Diversity makes life “interesting” and really worth living for all life forms. Without sufficient quality water, rich top soils, and effective capture of daily solar energy by photosynthesizers—diversity is limited. And diversity is a basic tenet of sustainability.

The Renaissance, the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment have long since taken place, and many decision-makers realize we have the knowledge, power and responsibility to change the human and world condition toward enhancing rather than destroying biotic diversity, toward sustainability, and toward quality life for all. In addition, we know that asphalt and concrete and glass and steel and plastic--and other components of artificially built structures and environment (which are spreading over or indirectly extracting from climax ecological communities)--do not sustainably grow food, fiber or shelter—and do not produce the oxygen needed for many life forms, but rather produce excessive amounts of carbon dioxide and pollutants. Science, common sense, and intuition tell us we need to make some drastic changes away from built and financial capital ... to natural, and social capital. And that important change must begin locally—and right now!

Of course a major problem is that a significant percent of humans in the world do feel that at some level, they do have quality life—and they are satisfied, even addicted to the fossil-fuel dependent built-environment, and current political, social, cultural, and financial systems. They get more than their share of abundant calories and have the potential to select appropriate nutrients. They live, work, travel and exercise in a relatively comfortable temperature year-round. They have the muscle and power of wheels with more than one hundred horses (and some artificial horses can even be employed to give them needed exercise with a moving road or water stream). Entertainment and “education” is electronic and remotely controlled with their fingertips. Moreover, under these artificial conditions, they tend to forget and distance themselves more and more from Darfur, Afghanistan and Iraq; favelas, slum and ghettos; the horrific (non)living conditions of other cultures and ethnicities; eroded Land, air and water pollution, species extinction, desertification, Global Climate Change; or even the spiritually empty Mother, Father or Child next door. This is despite the fact and because of the fact--that it is right there on the radio or TV screen in their own little isolated and falsely “secure” industrialized home.

And it is these satisfied people with the power … that have The Power.
Nevertheless change toward more equity and humaneness for all humans and other species must begin locally and globally—and in the very immediate future. Perhaps it won’t be easy. However, it is doable--and can be fun.

Therefore, deep down, intuitively, using our common-sense and critical and creative thinking capacities and involving science, we know we need to change, and that we must start immediately. I (and many others) have some sound ideas for short-term and longer-term actions in Seguin (and for south central Texas, the U.S., the world).

These proposed actions (mostly attempts at getting us to conserve as a local and world community--and to make certain that "'ours' are sustainable livelihoods"!) are really nothing new. However, I do hope to personally work harder at realizing them myself until I pass away. And I hope others will really join in, and help to spread active lifestyles of “Conservation and Development of Sustainable Community” or “Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology” long after I and they pass.

Buy Nothing Day

Remember that November 28th is "Buy Nothing Day" (November 29th internationally)!

Why not work toward extending it to "Buy Nothing Weekend" and "Buy Nothing Week", etc., etc.?
We've got to curb consumption in order to protect the natural resource base and Nature (and Homo sapiens et al. within it).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

George Bush should walk home (to Connecticut)

When I got in touch with someone I went through navy boot camp with, I thought it would be a good thing.

I even invited this person to contribute to this blog.

But "Salem" mistakenly figured I was in here as (nom de plume) a cigarette brand, obviously missing the fact that I was taking on the character in George Orwell's "1984," a banned book in some countries that is essentially about banned lives.

So he chose the name, "Salem."

No problem ... I get the joke.

Salem declined to contribute posts, instead sending me emails that are "baits" about why I should become a member of the absent-minded conservative party in the United States.

I tried to call this person a while ago, and he didn't have time to talk to me.

But the emails continued, and one recent missive was a reference to an article about how World Criminal and U.S. President (the worst) George Bush was being unfairly treated.

Here is a copy of my reply, and his subsequent analysis of my personal philosophy, of which he knows nothing.

RE: The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace


I couldn't read all of this story, will have to try later at home.

But I couldn't disagree more with the headline.

As far as I'm concerned, George Bush should have to pay for his own Secret Service protection after he leaves the office he has disgraced for eight years.

And he should be forced to walk home from the White House.

Not back to Texas, but to Connecticut where he originally is from.

George Bush is no Texan."


"I must assume you consider yourself to be liberal. I know of no other group so unforgiving. I think of you as a smart person and believe that if you herd another person as firmly anti anything as it appears you are you would wonder how and why. I would like to get together when we both have time and talk at length. I don’t expect to convert you to anything but would like to truly understand."

This is me, WINSTON, again with my "LIBERAL viewpoint.

I apologize (not really) if this is confusing ... but I am incensed that someone from the same country, even the same state, wants to brand me a Liberal because I want George Bush to walk home, to the state where he is actually borne FROM: CONNECTICUT ... not TEXAS.

I am a TEXAN ... George Bush is not.

Don't brand me a Liberal until you get to know me.

Until then, I'll proudly call myself a liberal, if you must attach a label to me.

And yes, I voted for Barack HUSSEIN Obama, and I'm proud of it.

Understand that.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Here we are at THE END of the 7 weeks of a painting a day- 5 days a week. Thank you all for the encouragement and advice you've given and for following along with this blog. I hope you've enjoyed the artwork and that it's encouraged you to pick up a pencil, paint brush,or something, and go create your own works of art. For me, it's been a great learning experience, and an exciting, exhilarating, grit your teeth, nerve tingling, challenge that makes me both sad and relieved to see it come to an end. Several times, in these past 7 weeks, when life was rushing too fast, I thought I was going to have to bail out on my goal, but, somehow kept putting one brush stroke after another until the difficult times passed. I've gained a good bit of speed since this series started, I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, and have 35 more paintings than I did before we started!
I'll be (leisurely) working on the 4 unfinished paintings (the Alamo, The Riverwalk, Gateway to the West, and Strutting his Stuff) Monday and Tuesday and will post them as soon as they're completed. The kids will be out of school for the Thanksgiving holiday and I'm going to spend some time with them. After that, maybe I'll start a new goal?
For all you artist's out there, Austin is having a tour of studios this weekend. I don't have the details on it - google it if you want to go too. My youngest daughter and I are going to go check it out.

Today's painting, Gomez and Mama, are some adorable donkeys that my husband's friend has and she sent a photo for me to paint them. Thanks so much for sharing the photos, Teresa!
I'm grateful to all of you for joining me in this part of my journey. BBC writers, Only Grrrl, mayahuel, Winston, paul bain martin, Enrique, pineapple, and Salem, thank you most of all. Now you've "got the ball"!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Season's Bounty is something for the upcoming holidays. It's a 6"x6" acrylic. I aranged the pumpkin, gourd, and corn on the desk beside me to paint this still life.
How time flies! We're almost at the end of our 7 weeks of "a painting a day" series with only tomorrow left. BBC writers, are your fingers ready to dance on those keyboards??? I'm going to take next week off and spend some time with my kids and grandkids. My son has been telling me he misses me, because I've spent too many evenings painting straight through. Then it'll be back to work (fun) as usual, although the artwork will be larger in size and they probably won't be completed in a day. Hopefully this fast paced painting has been like a speed drill for a typist. Now it's time to focus again on details and getting everything just right.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I took a chance today and did a 1 day portrait. Didn't know how it would turn out, but figured I didn't have to show the picture that it came from if it wasn't similar enough. My son had been in one of his guitar lessons and I was sitting around waiting from it to end when another instructor, Johnny, picked up his guitar and started playing. His music was awesome and while I listened it occured to me that he'd make a great painting subject and,I happened to have my camera with me. Johnny let me take his photo and gave his consent to let me paint his portrait. I showed it to him today, before it was finished, and he seemed to like it. Here's both the photo and the painting.

Latest Adbusters: Growth, "Socialism" and Redistribution of Wealth

Check out the latest edition of Adbusters , especially the piece on Herman Daly (born in Houston and graduate of Rice University before he moved on to "bigger and better")--

"Big Idea: A Steady-State Economy
The growth economy is failing and we have to attempt a steady-state economy. The steady state answer is that the rich should reduce their throughput growth to free up resources and ecological space for use by the poor, while focusing their domestic efforts on development, technical and social improvements, that can be freely shared with poor countries. "

Ms. Sarah

I received a letter from Sarah Palin today, ... inviting me to come visit Alaska!?! (I never receive anything from Alaska!)

I'm certain this mailout from the governor of the nation's largest state had the sole intent of helping her tourism constituency in Alaska. Surely this letter wouldn't have anything to do with Ms. Sarah's political ambitions and current attempts to maintain visibility and continue to capture limelight?
Ms. Palin will probably fizzle out.

But perhaps not! This is a strange country with some crazy voters. ... A bunch of them voted a couple of times or more for George W. Bush!??!
(I used to think about visiting Alaska. Palin's damped those thoughts.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Mr. Turkey is back for the holidays and strutting his stuff in this stylized oil painting. I like this one, but am going to rework his tail feathers and then replace the picture here with the reworked one in a couple of days. I've already wiped the entire tail off once this evening and repainted it but, don't like the second one either, so it's getting wiped it off again as well and will be "fixed" in a couple of days. In case you're wondering, I cut that part of the photo out. :D Couldn't stand to show it.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A fellow artist and his wife invited us to attend a reception, talk, and display on Chocolate, with them at the Sand Antonio Museum of Art last night, and it was as DELICIOUS as it was interesting! There was lots of wine and luscious, decadent, incredible, chocolate samples there for us to enjoy. The company and the reception was wonderful! So, with thoughts of the discussion(s) , the enjoyable art, and the lingering taste of sweets on my mind, comes today's painting The Flavors of Color.

Friday, November 14, 2008


This painting is an 8"x10" acrylic of a blond maned horse up at my neighbor's ranch. She's such a beautiful animal that I slow down and take a good look each time we pass by. She doesn't especially like being stared at though and too often turns her back to me when the camera comes into sight. Well, it's Friday night and hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This is painting #29 and it's an 8"x 10" acrylic of a cat we used to have. His name was Butterscotch and he was an incredibly loving, beautiful cat inside and out. Today was a great day to paint his portrait and now he's immortalized. Tomorrow's painting will be another surprise. Hope you like surprises!


This scene is a micro sized cityscape from Santiago Chile and was inspired by my husband who, with his childhood buddy, used to swipe tomatoes from the old shop keeper not far from his home. I'm still having a hard time picturing my husband stealing anything since he's Mr. Honesty, but I guess we all have our moments of doing something we shouldn't have at one point or another. :) Anyway,he CLAIMS they were never caught but told me that after I had already started the painting and I left it as is. It's more interesting like this. My hubby's dad told us the old man is still there and took a photo of him and his shop and sent it to us.
This is it for the Cityscapes for this week. I've run out of good photos and don't have the time to go take some better ones at the moment. The rest of this week and all of next week will be surprises.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The St. Louis Gateway is a huge, stainless steel, arch that stands by the Mississippi river at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial park in St. Louis, Missouri and represents St. Louis’ role as the gateway to the West. It stands 630 ft. tall by 630 ft. wide at the base and is supposed to be the largest monument in the U.S. I just found out that there is a tram system in the hollow insides that carries people to an observation deck on top of the arch. I've driven by that arch at least 6 times and never knew that you could go inside it! Thank you, Internet! This is an 8"x10" oil painting for the "painting a day" series.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This week's painting subject is cityscapes and todays' is of the San Antonio Riverwalk. It's such a beautiful place with so many sites just begging to be painted. I'm not sure if I'll do another San Antonio scene this week or not yet. This one isn't quite finished and, although I painted all weekend long, the Grand Canyon and the Alamo from last week are still waiting for me. The one of the Grand Canyon is getting close though. Tomorrow I'll be painting the St. Louis Arch and a part of the river along side of it. We only have 2 weeks left now of the 7 weeks of "a painting a day". Last Monday I was begining to think that I wouldn't be able to make it all the way through the series. Now I'm confident that I can paint the last 9 paintings and then I'm going to really enjoy taking a break. :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008


One of my aunts and a bunch of cousins live over in Albuquerque and we've gone to visit them many times, but we have only seen the Balloon Festival once - eight years ago - and it was a sight to see! We got lucky that time because some guy was giving tethered balloon rides to kids of all sizes. All my family got a ride in it except me, and, I was too embarrassed to go take the space that an actual kid could have had, and passed it up. The rest of them raved about it. I'd really like to see it again but with a better camera than the one I had then. My family has been watching the progress on this painting and the younger ones are saying they can barely remember it - if at all. Mark your calendars for September if you enjoy big balloons. Old town Albuquerque is a neat place to visit too and, if you can, plan a little extra time to drop down south a bit and see Karlsbad Caverns while you're in New Mexico. I saw the caverns when I was a kid but all I remember of it now is that it was also an incredible sight. If you go, take a few extra pictures for me. :D

Thursday, November 06, 2008


This was an awesome sight that I probably didn't quite do justice to. We were there 18 years ago, paid for a motorized raft ride around the coast line and, this fantastic sight was waiting for us. We moved along the coast and also saw some nude bathers, but, I didn't think you'd want to see that. :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Today's painting is the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln memorial, and, since it's election day, thought it would be a fitting subject since he was the one who did away with slavery so that all men could be equal. Too bad it wasn't for the women at that time as well. Way back when I was a kid of 12, my brother, Mom, and I went and saw this site and I remember standing at the base of the statue, looking way, way, up to into the face of that colossal man and thinking he must have been the greatest man ever to have such a towering monument made of him. This morning I read that the sculpture, Daniel Chester French, positioned Lincoln's fingers to form the letters L and A - possibly because he signed a federal legislation giving Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf, the authority to grant college degrees and the sculpture had a son who was deaf. The National Park service claims that is just an urban legend though. Henry Bacon designed the statue and Daniel French and two other men did the actual chiseling. What an amazing job!
This painting is (basically) finished. After the paint dries I'll touch up the face and make it look a little more like Lincoln's and then ad the words, "In this Temple, as in the hearts of the people, for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever", on the wall behind his head, as it is in the monument.

San Andrés Semetabaj and San Juan La Laguna--and Other Spots Around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Excerpts from--Toward Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Sololá Department, Guatemala: Report on Workshops During the Week of 10/12/08

Summary. Sustainable livelihoods and quality life in sustainable communities are a desired goal for the Sololá Department of Guatemala--or any region of the world. Production and the marketing externally of high value organic vegetables and oil crops using integrated pest management in a sustainable agroecosystem, and agriculture education and other cultural exchange is a means of increasing income and quality life. However, it does seem that for both the short and long-term, … robust and healthy agrotourism—and associated cultural exchanges--have more potential for introducing hard cash into the local Sololá economies. (Of course there are always risks of tourist-related social ills if wealth in local economy is not regulated and is not distributed equitably. Moreover, I do have concerns that agro- and eco-tourism are not really appropriate for developing truly long-term sustainable livelihoods and communities, i.e., ones that are ecologically sound, socially just and humane—and “forever”.) ...

Objectives. Encourage Guatemalan campesinos and associated collaborators to focus on the relative importance of insects in local community, … and then branch out to introduce processes of integrated pest management, sustainable agriculture and holistic management. Then in a facilitated participatory, site-specific, hands-on (and hopefully empowering) manner, explore means of realizing sustainable livelihoods/communites for all (including other species) for a long period of time. ...

Field Activities. ... In the workshops given over four days, a PowerPoint presentation was used (primarily as a handout to all of the audience members) in a participatory manner with the following captions, points and questions (translated and paraphrased herein) included along with various illustrative photos and illustrations:

# Name five types of living organisms. (Illustrating that we humans commonly focus on mammals, rather than bacteria, protists, plants and/or fungi—or even insects?)
# What is the dominate form of life on this planet? (Humans) Where do the most dominate of these humans live? (“The North.”)

# What do we mean by a “sustainable livelihood?” (“A livelihood comprises people, their capabilities and their means of living, including food, income and assets. Tangible assets are resources and stores, and intangible assets are claims and access. A livelihood is environmentally sustainable when it maintains or enhances the local and global assets in which livelihoods depend, and has net beneficial effects on other livelihoods. A livelihood is socially sustainable which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, and provide for future generations.” . “ The sustainable livelihoods approach … is a way to improve understanding of the livelihoods of poor people. It draws on the main factors that affect poor people's livelihoods and the typical relationships between these factors. It can be used in planning new development activities and in assessing the contribution that existing activities have made to sustaining livelihoods.”

# What are the major challenges in your life? What are major “pest” “problems” with which you have to deal? How do you manage these challenges?
# Some integrated pest management strategies.
# Certain insect ”pests” are edible, and various human cultures, (including just north of Guatemala in Oaxaca) do eat them. [They can be a good source of lipids and protein—and Nelson Diarte (Project Coordinator, Guatemala Food For Progress) and I demonstrated the "enjoyable" eating of worms found in high numbers on broccoli foliage. … They actually tasted like broccoli.]
# Major edaphic, hydrological, energetic and biotic community components of agroecosystems which affect “pests”.
# Techniques for sampling for “pests” and their natural enemies in crops. (We went to the field at every workshop and demonstrated egg collecting, the use of sweep nets, and the use of hand lens and microscopes. Moreover, we made general insect identifications and discussed the fact that most insect are not pests—and that many are beneficial in various ways.)
# Examples of insects and insect life stages found in samples. Examples of insect parasitoids and predators.

# Basic integrated pest management of pests: Prevention; monitoring; action thresholds; cultural, physical, mechanical, biological, genetic/plant resistance, chemical, and legal control; evaluation, analysis, replanning, … .
# Holistic and ecological approach to integrated pest management. (The focus is not on the pest(s), but the ecological whole.)
# Sustainable agriculture. (Long-term protection of the natural resource base for quality life for all humans and other life forms.)
# Sustainable livelihoods and sustainable community. [Targeting the poor with education and socio-political/economic (and ecological) power over resources/capitals--in a participatory, site-based manner, with short and long-term strategies and tactics which yield real and sustainable results.]

# Ecology: A simple food web.
# Ecology: The energy pyramid and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
# Managing ecological succession sustainably and for sustainable livelihoods and community.
# Ecology: The nitrogen cycle and other mineral cycles (conventional vs. sustainable agriculture).
# Ecological knowledge must be used to modify human social systems toward sustainable livelihoods and quality life for all—including other species.

# The area around Lake Atitlan is a beautiful and agriculturally rich area of the world! Consider agrotourism, especially for the “short” term. (Sololans can sell their cultural and ecological knowledge, and help their own community--and tourists--to better live with “pest problems” … in concert with Nature. … The mission of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M is "to employ agricultural science to feed the world's hungry, and to support equity, economic growth, quality of life and mutual respect among peoples." Therefore, I propose(d) that Sololans might do well in to improving quality life and achieve sustainable livelihoods, by selling their agricultural knowledge—both traditional and newly- acquired ecological, including knowledge of the beautiful morphology/physiology and life histories/ecology of regional insects.)

# Although it can be precarious to introduce numerous domesticated animals into an area, do consider some increased home use of chickens, pigs, sheep and goats, and cattle, etc. in your agroecosystems of the Solola Department. ...

I have traveled in a number of areas of Latin America, including in Nicaragua, Oaxaca and Tabasco and other areas in Mexico, Bolivia, and Brazil. Nevertheless, Guatemala was particularly striking and novel to me in many positive and some negative ways. In this area around Lake Atitlan the volcanic soils are beautifully deep and rich; the lake and volcanic mountains, and diversity of agricultural crops including coffee are fantastically scenic; women’s blouses (huipilles)and skirts (cortes) are beautifully colored and patterned, woven and embroidered; kids' kites are creatively made out of recycled materials; and folk work hard at cutting and back-carrying wood up steep inclines, or carrying other products/materials on their wonderfully erect feminine heads, or in getting around the mountain roads by bicycle or foot. The mixture of indigenous Mayan languages and Spanish (by the same person in the same phrase) is interesting, very different and enjoyable to hear. And everyone graciously greets you wherever you meet them! … Finally, it was refreshing to look over Lake Atitlan and environs during the evenings at Hotel Pa Muelle, San Juan La Laguna, while eating Nelson Diarte’s homemade vegetable salad made from ingredients from an adjacent public market (and having some enjoyable verbal exchanges with Don Alvino, the hotel manager, and watching his grandkids and young empregada play futbol).

On the other hand, the villages of Sololá are far from my desired goal of Zero-waste for my home of Seguin, Texas. Trash is prevalent of the streets of villages--and mounds of waste are dumped on mountainsides, and pollutants are leached out and washed down into the lake. Buses and trucks spew black fossil fuel pollutants into the local atmosphere. And wood-burning fires are used by all, with the air above the villages (and homes) commonly filled with smoke. This practice has also resulted in substantial deforestation. … Finally, during the evening I was packing for the trip back to Texas, I became mesmerized with a televised interview of Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchú, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize. This wonderfully-thorough interview made me much more aware of the deep scars from past, and the socio-political/economic challenges (and holistic ecological challenges) Guatemala and the Sololá Department face. (Subsequently, I listened to some music/a video of Enrique Franco about Rigoberta Mencha —and it made me think a bit more about our North-Central American connections, and especially Texas/Mexico-Guatemalan connections.) ...

Some Concluding "Soft-Suggestions".
Local indigenous people should be more and more involved in coordinating the TAMU Borlaug Institute programs and decision-making in the future.
2. Continue to primarily target poor women and children (including with microenterprise loan programs?) .
3. Continue to research activities of previous Farming Systems Research-Extension work , efforts of CLADES , Sustainable Livelihoods and Local Development programs, Holistic Resource Management , and Natural Systems Agriculture , etc., and attempt to apply the appropriate components of these works--in a grassroots, site-specific, participatory, hands-on, and empowering fashion--in the Borlaug Institute’s Guatemalan programs toward quality life for all.
4. Consider attempts at facilitating more cultural and socio-economic (sustainability) exchanges of Spanish-speaking Mexican-American small farmers/entrepreneurs from Texas and indigenous campesinos from Guatemala. … Use these complexes of farmers to investigate processes for making robust, economically-viable, and socially-just and ecologically-sound agrotourism develop in the Sololá Department of Guatemala.

Perception Is Reality

The world isn't really any better today than it was yesterday.
But I feel it is!!!!!!!!! It is really great to be alive! ... It is a better world than it was yesterday.

(Sorry. But--as a U.S. citizen--I do feel considerably better today than yesterday. ... And aren't these paintings herein BBC absolutely wonderful!!??!!)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

THE ALAMO - also unfinished!

Well, I was thinking yesterday must have been some kind of fluke or something (me not getting the painting completed) because I really felt like Super Woman then and did again today. So, I painted another 11"x14" today - and didn't get it finished either! The Subject is the Alamo and it seems to be much simpler than yesterday's Grand Canyon so maybe the size difference is the make or break factor. I'm packing it in for the night. The lines on everything in the painting still need to be straightened, colors deepened, the trees are still missing and so are the people. I'm going back to the 8"x10" or smaller sizes from here on out until the 21st. Too bad. I don't like painting small. This is going to be one very busy week getting them all finished!

The Alamo is something that every Texas painter must do at least once or their status of Texan is seriously questioned. This is my first one. Since it stands for independence and fighting for what one believes in, It seems fitting for today - voting day. Did you go make your vote count? I voted for the first time in my life today because of an e-mail that went around a few weeks ago about the suffragists fighting for women's rights back in my grandma's time. Reading about what few rights women had back then was sickening and shamed me into going to vote - even though I'm not too sure just how much our votes count these days. I did it for my grandma, myself, and for all women.

Winston, glad you're enjoying yourself down there. Can't drive by the newspaper office here without thinking of you and wondering how you're doing.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day: Hope You Voted

I took the Yahama out and revved it up and down the highway here for awhile. Wind coming off the Gulf of Mexico was a bit too cool for Hawaiian shirts, but that's the risk I'm willing to take.
Stopped in at the Gaff for a Killian's red, and eavesdropped on a conversation among fishing boat deckhands who helped a client land a 350-lb Mako shark. Every other word was effing this and effing that.
Hit the local VFW and watched a 3-ball pool tourney, where the winner walked away with a grand total of three dollars and some quarters.
Then we walked across the parking lot - I left my bike where it could collect some more salt air - and listened to a local folk singer.
I was amazed when she asked for requests.
I asked her if she could play a Uriah Heep tune.
Sure enough she came up with "The Wizard."
She must have been reading my mind.
She found it in some old scribbled notes.
I then asked her to play something from Ten Years After.
Again, she came up with what I was thinking: I'd Love To Change the World.
Third time around, I asked for something by Melanie.
She didn't have a song sheet handy, but she tuned in one on her computer.
She told me about a pirate who lives on the beach.
After this election is over (I'm covering it locally) I'm going to find Blackbeard.

Keep up the great works, Terrie.

Vote as many times as you can, everyone else would, if they could.

In fact, I voted via absentee ballot, and would have no qualms about doing it again.

They say that if the Washington Redskins won Monday Night Football, John McCain would win.
And if they lose, Barack Obama would take the prize.

Does anybody know the final score?

I was too busy listening to a rendition of "The Night They Took Old Dixie Down."

Can you hear them singing?

La, la la la...


Today's adventure is an oil painting of the Grand Canyon. Apparently I bit off more than I could do in a one day sitting though and will have to work on completing it in between the other paintings I'll be doing this week. That's right, it's not a one day painting. :O I should have taken a hint from some of those other "painting a day" painters and made a little 3"x4" of an orange or an egg, or something else very simple, but I felt like Super Woman today. So what happened??? Famous landscapes will be the painting subject of this 5 day set. Next week's topic is cityscapes.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

PLAY WITH ME! - # 20

This little guy is actually a girl. Her name was Leia - after the princess in Star Wars (only spelled differently)- and she was our dog for 13 years. She was part Corgie mix and part Australian Shepherd and sure was a beauty! She was also incredibly ornery. After someone asked me to paint a puppy I started looking through our old photo books and that sure take me back a ways! I would post the original pictures to share with you, but, we had a lousy camera back then and the photos are too hard to see -or is that just that I need new glasses? We had 7 fat, fluffy, rolly polly pups then and wanted to keep them all. We found homes for 4 and kept 3 of them. :O
I've spent the afternoon working on ideas for this weeks paintings. If you have anything you'd like to see me paint in particular, please let me know.

MOUSE ATTACK! - painting #19

I've spent the last few days making room for a couple of family members to move (back) in with us and nursing a 3 day splitting headache. I did paint, but couldn't stand looking at the computer screen long enough to get them posted. Sorry.

This puppy is modeled after one of our dogs when he was little. There's a wind up mouse that's driving him crazy and he's loving it. Someone asked me to paint this little guy, so, here he is!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This little pooch looked so cute I had to paint his picture. I changed my thoughts on the background and was going to change it around a little, but the paint is too wet to do that just yet. Maybe later. After looking at this puppy, I dug out my photo book and looked up our dog's baby pictures. That could be tomorrow's painting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


These are a couple of characters that wandered onto our place a few years ago and never left. They've eaten most of my flowers, torn up most of the fencing around here, try to eat the magnetic signs from my vehicle anytime I forget to remove them, and have rubbed their horns on a few nice cars, but they kind of make up for the mischief they've caused by their friendly, lovable, personalities. They don't care much for being looked at through the camera lens though and it was tough getting some good photos of them. Now you can see how adorable they look as well. This is a 9"x12" oil painting.

Monday, October 27, 2008


A blue iris for Iris. This is painting #16. It's an acrylic 9"x12" and one of my favorite flowers.

Not doing the math

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Benevolent redistribution of wealth to benefit the relatively powerless and disfranchised in societies is obviously a very difficult and constant work in progress. It's especially difficult because many of the really powerful and wealthy want the redistribution of wealth and power to continue in their direction--as easy-to-generate "funny money" which can be used to exploit Nature and poor humans, and used to stoke the fires of "new" growth from Natural Capital, ... and do it on the backs of poor Human Capital (disfranchised and relatively powerless).

Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress after this 2008 election could be a great step toward curbing rampant conversion of sustainable Natural Capital to inappropriate Built Capital (e.g., war machines/tools/infrastructure; equipment to "Drill, Baby, Drill"; a luxury wardrobe for Sarah Palin; ...) in the U.S. and the world, and toward the effective building of sustainable Social Capital and robust Cultural Capital.

(See for some great and truly positive presentations by Dr. Cornelia Butler Flora, Director, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Iowa State University.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Local-Global Community Activism

I have several "personal pieces" I've started as contributions to this blog site. ... But with travel to Guatemala, precinct chair responsibiliites, and other commitments--I've been guilty of submitting nothing to BBC for days. (I'll try to finish these incomplete blog contributions and submit them in the near future!?)

I did come across two wonderful contributions (below) from two great social activists while doing a bit of work for a graduate student who is working on a thesis dealing with "conflict resolution, global community activism, campesino-globalization challenges ... and sustainability":

From --

"Shared – dare I call it – WISDOM

(These were compiled in 2005, based largely on my university and international development experience over the past 60+ years, as possible ‘testing questions’ for all theory & practice.)

• Ask of all theory & practice – what is it in the service of? – before supporting or copying it

• Work mostly with ‘small meaningful achievable initiatives' vs. ‘Olympic-scale projects' (most of these are abandoned or fail, & have numerous negative side-effects)

• Don’t get stuck in endless ‘measuring studies’ (‘monitoring our extinction’) – these are often designed to postpone change that is perceived as threatening to existing power structures

• To achieve sustainable progressive change, focus (at least first) on enabling the ‘benign’ agendas of others vs. trying to impose on them your own ‘benign’ agendas

• Focus on enabling the potential of people, society & nature to express itself – so that wellbeing, social justice & sustainability can emerge (in integrated, synergistic ways)

• Collaborate across difference to achieve broadly shared goals – don’t end up isolated, alone in a ‘sandbox’

• Don’t let ‘end point’/goal differences prevent possibilities of early stage collaboration

• Outcomes are only as good & sustainable as the people creating & implementing them – so start with the people; & remember that we are a relational/social species!

• Use the media – let me repeat – use the media! – such ‘political’ communication is key to change

• Work with business & the public/community; government will always follow, but rarely lead!

• Celebrate publicly at every opportunity – to enable the good stuff to be ‘contagious’

• Keep working on & implementing – especially with others – your (shared) benign visions

• Most of what is remains unknown – which is what wise people are able to work with; so devote most effort to developing your wisdom vs. your cleverness, which is just concerned with the very limited pool of what is known (Einstein was clear about this!)

• Always be humble & provisional in your knowing, & always open to new experiences & insights

• Take small meaningful risks to enable progress, transformational learning & development

• Devote most effort to the design & management of systems that can enable wellbeing, social justice & sustainability, & that are problem-proof vs. maintaining unsustainable, problem-generating systems, & devoting time to ‘problem-solving’, control, & input management

• Work sensitively with time & space, especially from the position of the ‘others’ (ask: who, what, which, where, when, how, why, if & if not?)

• Act from your core/essential self – empowered, aware, visionary, principled, passionate, loving, spontaneous, fully in the present (contextual) – vs. your patterned, fearful, compensatory, compromising, de-contextual selves

• See no ‘enemies’ – recognise such ‘triggers’ as indicators of woundedness, maldesign & mismanagement – everyone is always doing the best they can, given their potential, past experience & the present context – these are the three areas to work with

• Be paradoxical: ask for help & get on with the job (don’t postpone); give when you want to receive; give love when you might need it, or when you might feel hate

• Learn from everyone & everything, & seek mentors & collaborators at every opportunity"

From --

"Rules for Radicals

In 1971, Saul Alinsky wrote an entertaining classic on grassroots organizing titled Rules for Radicals. Those who prefer cooperative tactics describe the book as out-of-date. Nevertheless, it provides some of the best advice on confrontational tactics. Alinsky begins this way:

What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.

His 'rules' derive from many successful campaigns where he helped poor people fighting power and privilege

For Alinsky, organizing is the process of highlighting what is wrong and convincing people they can actually do something about it. The two are linked. If people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, they stop thinking about it.

According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a bad situation. Alinsky would say, 'The first step in community organization is community disorganization.'

Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a 'mass army' that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals.

Alinsky provides a collection of rules to guide the process. But he emphasizes these rules must be translated into real-life tactics that are fluid and responsive to the situation at hand.

Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. 'You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.'

Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. 'If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.'

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. 'The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.'

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, 'Okay, what would you do?'

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. 'The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.' "

Friday, October 24, 2008


Painting #15 finished! It's an elf who's found some tiny fairies in the dark woods. This is one that I've thought about painting for a while but only today got around to doing it. This is a 5"x7" acrylic. Hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Here we go once again, back to the land of long ago (or, fantasy). The knight looks as though he's going to be toast, but will he? Maybe he's related to Indiana Jones and will take the chain that's hanging on the other side of his belt (that we don't see) and toss it up around the dragon's head, distracting it just long enough to make it to the trees? Or perhaps the damsel in the castle has sent her falcon to distract the dragon so her love can escape? How do you think the story goes? Would you believe that I saw this at the Renaissance Festival? This painting is a 6" x 6" oil.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today we dive into the realm of fantasy and oils. The Lovers are a pair of elves that are so completely captivated by each other that they are oblivious to the world around them. It was inspired from a couple that I saw at the Renaissance Festival's 1001 Dreams theme this past weekend. There was a lot of really cool things there and there's nothing like a bit of fantasy to refuel the imagination. Wait until you see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today I painted another watercolor floral and thought it looked kind of pretty until I put it on the computer. It appears that this one needs some adjustments too. How humbling! This watercolor floral combo thing is really getting on my last nerves. Not sure how much longer I'm going to stick with it.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Someone asked me to paint some watercolor florals when I first started doing "a-painting-a-day" so,that's the plans for this week - although, I may end up yelling "uncle" and switching to oils instead. Today's painting is called Autumn Floral and, as you can tell, it's not finished. Ahhhhg! Yes! It's supposed to be a finished painting but it seems that my second watercolor in this series has beat me as well. I feel like digging in and working in this medium until I can turn out some decent ones, but am not sure if I want to do it right here in front of God and everybody all week long. I've worked on this painting since this morning. It needs to dry a little bit before going back over some areas to ad more details and/ or color but I just can't hang any longer this evening. I'm going to have to re-post it tomorrow. In the mean time, feel free to click on the word "comment" below here in micro print and tell me what you think of it so far.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hatemongers for McCain


This little guy is thinking his dreams are finally coming true. We all have dreams that we'd like to see come true. Monday voting starts, and because of a dream some women made come true back in 1917, all women now have the right to cast their vote. How many of you know of the "NIGHT OF TERROR", Nov. 15, 1917? That's the night that Alice Paul and 32 other women, who were arrested for demonstrating against President Wilson in front of white house, were thrown in jail and terrorized to make them behave. Women still weren't allowed to own property then either. If you don't remember reading or hearing about the Women's suffrage movement and this Night OF Terror, you should check out this link:
Hope to see all you ladies out there at the polls this coming week!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Fair day! Try your luck at the games! Who can resist them? It's the thrill of chance and the feeling that you're sure you're going to win! Did any of you happen to wander over to the Home Arts area at The Guadalupe County fair last week? I entered 1 painting, called Passing Glances, (it's on my website) and got a champion ribbon. What a sweet surprise that was! Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I read somewhere that to paint well you have to be in the daily habit of painting at a certain time each day and, as time goes by, you one day you find that you're doing more than just painting. You're slipping into the right brain creative mode and are exploring, learning, and growing without even realizing that it's happening.
I'm wondering if a person should jump right in with both feet and paint from the imagination alone to expand the right brain creativeness or if we should still work on the "rules of drawing and painting" as we go along? Last Saturday my son and I went to an art district at LaVillita in San Antonio and checked out the galleries there and it was energizing to see all the different styles and types of art. Ok, it was energizing for me, but for my son, he was happy with the hot dog, pop, and mood ring he got. I wanted to come home and paint some of that bizarre, yet intriguing, art. That said, today was not that day. :D
Today's painting is my own driveway. Yes, it looks as though we don't own a lawn mower, but we do, and sometimes we even use it. Afterwards I'm always rewarded with a great case of poison oak - something there's plenty of here!
This is a 9"x12" acrylic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This little Pie Bald Fawn is being raised by my vet and is so adorable and friendly that I thought she'd make a good painting subject. Doesn't she look like she's smiling? Have you ever seen a fawn with this much white on it before? She was inside a building when we took her picture, but, this sunny outdoor setting seems more peaceful and natural to me.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Monday! Monday! This was an incredible site down Hwy 123 south of Seguin back in the Spring, but, my painting today didn't do it justice. It's a watercolor and is one of those "boo boos" that occasionally happen. I wasn't going to post anything at all today, but then what about my goal of 5 paintings a week for 7 weeks? So, here it is anyway. Maybe it can be saved with more work on it this weekend? Maybe I'll repaint it until I get it right. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Today's Quote

Imagination was given to us to compensate for what we are not; a sense of humor was given to us to console us for what we are.

-Mark McGinnis

BBC logo a collaboration with Brad Foster

When the Banned Books Cafe (BBC) opened on Juneteenth in 2006, talented fantasy artist Brad Foster was commissioned to design a logo.
What he designed to spec was the logo in the upper left corner of this blog. It's an image of Don Quixote in honor of Miguel Cervantes, one of the funniest writers of the ages.
My mission is to look for the annotated version of his novel and attempt to reread it.
However, click on the headline of this post and read about Brad Foster ... browse his web site and I guarantee you'll see something you will love ... one of my favorites was the above piece, which was prominently displayed in the BBC when it was open.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Whoo! Hoo! It's Friday and my 5th painting for the week is just now finished! Oh Yeah! I'm probably going to clean my "castle" before the kids and grandkids come over, and then...who knows. This flower is a close up of a wonderful Texas roadside plant that I took a bit of artistic liberty with. It's usually seen as a white flower with lots of pink tinge, but, I like it this way better. Hey, that's why it's a painting and not a photo, right? If the color really bothers you, go ahead and paint one yourself and then show it to me! Now - on to the weekend! Hope yours is a good one!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Ok, just for the fun of it (but, mostly because Winston asked about it again) I'm sticking this painting called Feathered Friends up here. It was in the Fantasy Feather show here in Seguin this Summer and won Best of Show. :) I had been racking my brain for something to paint that might be a winner and my oldest daughter started bugging me to paint a dragon (for her house) and, since the theme of the show was "fantasy" feather, this idea seemed to fit. It's 30"x40" oil. It was really fun working on it.


I see this horse almost every day on my way into town. Actually, it's my neighbor's horse and he has a field of them. They're all so beautiful, it's hard to pick just one. Horses are one of my favorite subjects to paint! They're so majestic and yet so naturally down to earth that you can't help but love them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


This painting was done from a photo that I took at Mustang Island on Spring break. The seagulls were so fascinating! We brought our lunch on to the beach and at the first sight of food the gulls surrounded us, seemingly hovering in the air, and squawking like crazy. It was a first and it was fun!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Painting #2 in goal of 35

Here's the latest one. The idea for this came from some sketches I did while brain storming for something special to paint for a competition this Summer. It is a 5"x7", Acrylic, called Angel of the Morning.

Clean Sustainable Communities All Over the World

We do have significant knowledge and scientific acceptance of “Natural Law,” i.e. physical and biological principles like: entropy, biogeochemical cycles and photosynthesis, evolution via natural selection, etc., community succession and trophic levels, carrying capacity, territoriality, effective local community communication and having real ecologically-sound fun, etc., etc.. Therefore, it seems almost impossible that there are folk who don’t realize the serious local and global problems of rampant conversions of Nature (e.g., somewhat it was like 10,000 years ago or even 150 years ago) to very artificial systems.

Nevertheless, there is a prevalence of: 1) ignorance about ecological principles; 2) superstition, traditions, imbedded cultural mores; and 3) technological fix mindsets which continue to facilitate the polluting, scorching and paving of earth (resulting in dead zones in estuaries, desertification, global climate change) —and contribute to continuing global poverty and war, … . Moreover there is the continued mantra that “technology will fix all the nasty socio-political/economic--ECOLOGICAL damage we’ve done”. [Many pseudo or wantabe conservationists/conservatives are technological fixers and are guilty of masking the continued energetic burn of the Natural World—and/or they are serving as catalysts for this burn through the promotion of processes of conventional/industrial organic agriculture, inappropriate biotechnology, and development of various energy sources such as fuel cells, nuclear fission/and even fusion?, and various “renewable” alternatives other than reliance on solar energy capture that is local and ethical.]

When we consider these social complexities, I would hope that ecologically literate folk (and I believe there are many of these folk—and many more who’d like to be) won’t become frustrated and cynical, and throw up their arms and give up. We must continue to support a conserving and sustaining process that includes 1) faith in the Natural World, 2) hope that as a community we can stave off the Seven Deadly Sins, 3) charity and love for all of humanity and the Natural World.

And it is of utmost importance that we must work hard (but with pleasure and celebration) locally to: 1) conserve topsoil, 2) maintain watersheds in a healthy and sustainable/Natural state, 3) protect and enhance biological diversity, 4) slow down our economic engine to the point that it runs sustainably on daily ethical use of the sun, 5) emphasize sufficiency more than efficiency, 6) utilize the appropriate technologies we already have in a sustainable way, vs. always searching for more appropriate technologies, and 7) recognize that health, education and welfare are all ecological concerns.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Here's the 1st painting for my goal of 35 in 7 weeks. It's another view of the Hydro Plant in Seguin, Tx. Let me know what you think of it and if you have any good ideas for a painting. Thanks!


I've set a goal for myself - a challenge - to paint 1 painting each weekday, 5 days a week, begining today and ending on November 21st. That will be a total of 35 paintings. I'm excited about it! I have a long list of future painting ideas, but the list isn't quite long enough. If you have suggestions on things you'd like to see me paint, blog me on it. I'd love to hear your ideas!
The painting that you see here is one that I did recently. It's the Hydro Plant in Seguin, Tx.
I'll add today's new painting on this evening after it's finished. Let me know what you think of it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ele (Meu Amigo Roland) Tem Razão!

We had an Earth Day planning committee meeting in Seguin’s city hall yesterday. Immediately afterwards I felt somewhat satisfied that we’re making some progress toward reducing our ecological footprint here in Guadalupe County and environs.

Moreover some folk in the U.S. feel a bit satisfied today after the action of Congress to band aid Wall Street and Main Street. And perhaps some feel quite satisfied that one or the other of the presidential candidates (or one of the candidate’s perky idiotmatic … sorry … idiomatic partner, ... with lipstick) will actually achieve energy independence by 2013 and a high input U.S. economic system run on renewable energy*.

Nevertheless, I am personally rarely satisfied for very long! And my friend Roland was right on yesterday when he “analyzed”, “Well it’s great that our city can plan an Earth Day event, but can’t even get started with planning a curbside recycling program-- that could benefit the poor, and be user friendly for this important sector of our population.”

Moreover Roland points out that no politician (presidential candidate or otherwise) is really dealing with the ills of our capitalistic economic system--a system which keeps us addicted to irrational exuberance, rampant consumption, big houses, conventional air conditioning, mal-transport, exotic imported foods, high inputs of non-renewable energy*, the military-industrial complex, and blaming problems in this ecologically extractive economy on the bogeyman … .
*”I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona. If you’ll buy that I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.” G. S.

**High artificial inputs of energy period are problematic, whether it involves renewable, or non-renewable, energy.