I just finished a new painting, which is going to be another in a series- kind of like I did with the native wildflowers on the gourds. These are actually on canvas, instead of a strangely shaped object, so I can make prints available as they are finished. I’m not yet ready to sell the originals yet, but maybe later.
I have to be careful how I present these, so as not to get sued for copyright stuff. So I can’t share with you any lyrics or song titles. So… I’ll just let the art speak for itself.

If you’re a southern rock fan, you should be able to hear the lyrics just looking at this painting. 🙂

This was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager, go out and drive all night (buying gas didn’t require taking out a second mortgage then), listening to music and look for a road with a particular number of bridges on it. I found one that almost fit the bill, down in Devil’s Elbow once. It lacked the Spanish moss in the trees, but it did have a fair amount of Virginia Creeper growing over everything, so almost the same ethereal feel. It also didn’t have the right number of bridges.

I looked up the actual inspiration behind this and there are claims that it is Woodley Road in Montgomery Alabama, although some debate the validity. Wherever it is, it’s always reminded me of warm summer nights, driving with the windows down, the scent of honeysuckle, water and deep green everywhere. Moonlight, stars and Spanish moss in trees. Fireflies and whippoorwills. It always made me yearn to break away, get out on the open road, explore and be in touch with earth and nature. I wanted to put that road on repeat and just drive it forever. I’m in Missouri, but I believe I’m a southern girl at heart. If I ever leave this farm, I swear it will be for a cabin on stilts out in the bayou somewhere. Maybe I’d sell my truck and buy a fan boat.

Anyway, here’s the painting. I have prints available on Fine Art America. They put it on everything from posters and blankets to t-shirts and bags. The next one I’m working on has a bullfrog in it. And maybe some grapes… 🙂

Gourd Series

I’m currently painting a series of birdhouse gourds featuring Missouri wildflowers.

I grew these bottle gourds in our garden year before last. I made a post here about making birdhouses from these, in which I said, “Remember all those birdhouse gourds?” And I just realized that I never actually posted them on Dirt, only on Dirt’s Facebook page, so unless you followed that, no, you don’t remember. I just knew I’d posted them somewhere.

Yay! Many gourds!

These have been hanging in the utility room now for a year and I’m finally getting around to painting on them. I started out with violets- just because- and decided to make it a thing- a whole series of paintings featuring different wildflowers from Missouri.

Violet! You’re turning violet, Violet.

I’ve got several more ideas in the works. My daughter suggested black eyed susans. I’m starting one of redbud, prickly pear cactus and butterfly weed. I’ve got 3 more to come up with an idea for and probably eight more to prep.

That’s just dandy, lion

Dogwood no clever title

What’s your favorite wildflower?


Last Table Finished

Finally finished that last TV table I was working on. Had to take a 3-week hiatus, my kiddo brought home Omicron from school and shared with the whole family. I’m still fighting with my lungs trying to get them back to where they were, last time we had Covid it took almost a month and a half before I felt myself again- that was back in 2020.

I still have to get three of these coated with epoxy, but the painting is finished. I’ve moved on to working on birdhouse gourds, so I can get some inventory back on the website before spring hits and I’m living in the garden for 3 months. Last year, my daughter threatened to build me a little house out there so I could just live with my plants. (Don’t tempt me kid) We’re talking/thinking/considering building a greenhouse at some point, but that has to be after I fence in the field behind the garden. I’ve been promising her we’d get her a horse and I’d like to make it happen before she’s 45. Best time to get those post holes dug for gates is just after “mud season” has passed. When the ground here is still soft, not glops of heavy mud but not near-concrete clay either. I have topsoil here, which is a new experience after years of living at Lake of the Ozarks, but it still only goes down 6-8 inches before you hit clay.

Anyway- I get distracted. I blame this week’s full moon- it’s got me crazy. Couldn’t hardly sleep last night and I’m SO ready for warmer weather. I must have woken up 20 times last night. We’ve been watching Supernatural, and I was dreaming about Castiel, guess I have a thing for angels… in trench coats… with black tattered wings… LOL
Ok, I’ll just leave that there.

Here’s the end result of the table I started in this post:

My reason for doing this one was two-fold. I wanted to learn to do rays of light coming through the trees and I wanted to learn tree bark texturing. The grass on this was SO freaking labor intensive. I’m not overly happy with the turkeys. The light turned out ok, I’m fairly content with the tree bark. I think the violets, dandelions, Star of Bethlehem and Queen Anne’s lace in the field are the best part of the whole painting- the violets made that log pile look like it wasn’t just floating in the middle of the picture. I had fun, I learned stuff. These tables are ours, they aren’t for sale, so I used them to experiment with techniques and things I’ve been wanting to try out. I’d rather do my learning on something like this than an antique saw blade and mess it up.

I have a wall of gourds to work on, so that will probably be my focus for a while. I’m thinking of doing a series on them of different plants… I like those scientific drawings you see of trees and plants where they show the plant in all its various stages. I’m kind of wanting to do something in that style of different Missouri wildflowers. I’m working on violets right now; I’m thinking maybe dandelions next. Yes, I know many people consider it a noxious weed, but I love them. I pick them here and blow wishes all over the yard. The bees love them too.

Aside from flowers, I’m probably going to have to do something with rainbows on it too- because I heard that Rolling Stones song the other day- “She comes in colors everywhere… she combs her hair… she’s like a rainbow” and I can’t get it out of my brain. Yancy once told me to sing “Love Shack” if I couldn’t get a song out of my head, but She’s a Rainbow is persistent, the B52’s aren’t touching this one. So I’ll paint it. Maybe if I pay homage to it, it will go on its merry way. LOL

Here’s a shot of all the tables together. SO MUCH GREEN. You think I like green a bit?
That said, the dark, moody horse sunset picture is my favorite. I will likely do a saw blade at some point with something similar on it.

I have to go clean house and get some stuff together for this weekend. I’m teaching a crafts class on Sunday. Next month is going to be BUSY, not sure how much I’ll get accomplished- I’ll be running back and forth to Sullivan twice a week again for PT on my neck. It is much improved since my trip to St Louis, I’m hoping therapy will help as much as it did last year, I have SO much I want to get done in the garden and I don’t want stupid pain slowing me down.

Will post some gourds later.


Almost Forgot!

I shared these on Facebook when I finished them and I think even as they were in progress, but I then I forgot to post them here. (I am the worst when it comes to keeping this site updated, truly.)

So this is the continuation of the little TV tables that I was working on, I purchased this 4 table set from Amazon the first year we moved here. None of us eat sitting at an actual dining table. It’s never really been formally discussed, we just don’t do it. I don’t have fond memories of sitting around the table at family dinner. I won’t go into it here, that’s a story that will likely end up in the fiction I’m working on, but suffice to say, I could care less about having the formal dinners sitting around a big table in the dining room. We prefer to eat dinner watching Netflix in the living room. For visitors we drag the 4-H folding table out and throw a sheet over it. Real fancy I know. Whatever. It works.

Anway, I bought these TV tables on Amazon. The frames on them are pretty well put together, they are solid wood and the hardware is actually holding up- but they were covered in a kind of Formica type stuff that started peeling on the edges the 2nd year we had them. So I peeled the finish off with a razor blade, put a coat of bonding primer on them and started painting scenes on them. The first was the barn scene I posted earlier with the cows and Merle border collie.
The second was the bridge at Meramec Springs- the one by the pump house and the fish feeding area that EVERYONE takes pictures of. I have done this same painting twice before- once on a small saw blade, that is on our Etsy Shop. I did a less detailed version on a thin sheet of plywood a couple years ago for our 4-H float. This one is on our TV table and is the most detailed of the three. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about light and shadow, so I’ve started playing with that in the trees here.

Meramec Springs, original acrylic Belle Cordes

My third table is so far my favorite. My daughter suggested painting something with either a sunrise or sunset in it and I wanted to try doing some reflections on water that wasn’t moving. I used several photos for inspiration. I liked the idea of the trees almost in full silhouette without any green showing in the leaves at all, but instead reflecting the dark orange and red light of the sinking sun. Sometimes it almost looks like the woods are on fire here when the sun goes down, especially in winter.

Winter sunset in our yard

The deer most often show themselves at this time around our place, so it seemed appropriate to add a deer drinking from the pond. I wanted the buck in velvet, as I imagined this in late summer, early fall, just before all the leaves begin to drop from the trees. I’m playing some new techniques I learned here from a YouTube artist that paints very detailed tree and water scenes, although a lot of the mid-point detail here is lost to wash of color from the setting sun, I still spent a lot of time working on the tree leaves, especially the big one that the light is coming through. Tom bought me a new fan brush for Christmas and I used it in the water and the plants in front.

I think my next one is going to be softer light, maybe something wooded with turkeys? These tables are really good practice runs to play with new techniques and ideas, since they won’t be sold. I just primed the last table this afternoon, so I’ll probably drag my laptop out and do some research this evening while we watch Supernatural. My kid is now obsessed with that show. I have to admit, Jensen Ackles is very easy to look at. 😊

Later gators. –==<


New Paintings

Finished the lake scene with the boy and the dog. I decided to go with blue denim on the hat instead of red, it felt like the red became the focal point of the whole scene and I didn’t want that.

Boy and puppy

This next one is the 2nd snow scene I’ve done. I’m really liking how the trees came out in this one. It’s a lot of very fine work and I wasn’t sure until I added the snow whether I liked it or not. I added some sparkle here and there. This was on a bit bigger blade, probably about 9 inches.

Fresh snow

I had to rearrange this scene slightly from my original sketch, since the hole in the saw would have fell right in the center of the barn.

Not sure what I’m starting next. I may work a bit on our next TV table.


Feeling better FINALLY

Still fighting this upper respiratory garbage I’ve had since before Thanksgiving, but after a round of prednisone this week, I’m finally feeling better. Weird ass dreams that seem to go on and on, but otherwise better.

Going to try and get some things done up front today before the dreaded Walmart trip. I’ve been working on a saw blade past couple days for a friend and before that an “emergency” border collie ornament request. We only had one on the shop and she wanted two- by Christmas- she asked on Friday. ><

Also just had the kiddos band concert, 4-H projects, visits to doctor for my neck and the ongoing battle to keep the cat out of the tree (which is like every 5 minutes). SO, healthy(ish) and busy. 🙂

My friend had this photo from her family of their old Homestead in the hills of West Virginia. She’s been pulling sawblades out of her basement and giving them to me for the past couple months, I now have all new stock to paint on. Anyway, she found a Skil blade a bit larger than the rest and wanted to know if I could paint the barn from their old Homestead on it.

Barn photo

I went and took at a look at a nearby address on Google Earth, it was really easy to find these buildings, all I had to do was zoom out a bit and look for red roof. I wanted to see the surrounding terrain. This place looks like it sits on the edge of a ridge, overlooking hills.

Actual barn from above

The viewpoint I had was looking east, so I decided to have the sun coming up behind the hills. I took a little creative liscence with the foliage obviously, but tried to keep to wildflowers actually found in that part of the country. The Google pictures were all taken in winter, so the landscape was pretty stark, while her photo was in full overgrown, weedy summer. I tried for somewhere in between.

Finished sawblade

This one isn’t for sale if course, since I did it just for her. I am currently working on a boy/puppy dock scene on one of my smaller blades. After that I have another barn, this one in snow, that I think I may like to try.

Unfinished lake scene

I want to state start working more people into my landscapes, but I’m to say I’m not great at portraits is a serious understatement. I’m surprised the boy in my school mural turned out as well as he did. If he’d had to be more realistic, I’m not sure I could have done it then.

Music room door colored pencil

I watch a lot of Bob Ross. 😀

He doesn’t do much BUT landscapes. Now that we have better internet, I may go look for some other artists to learn from. When frustrated with my limitations, I have to remind myself I’ve only been doing this a couple years. That school mural was my first EVER painting. I drew a little before that, worked in colored pencil, Photoshop, but never paint. Nothing like starting out small… I’m so glad Jeannie took a chance on me though, because I probably wouldn’t be painting now if she hadn’t. She’s one of those rockstar teachers that can make others believe they can shoot for the moon and ACTUALLY REACH IT. Amazing woman.


TV Tray

Finally finished up that TV tray I started a few weeks back. We have four of these, I’m planning on putting scenes on each and sealing them in epoxy when finished.

I originally bought these little TV tables on Amazon, they were decently framed, but the finish on them started chipping off only a few months into using them. 3 years later, they had paint on them (oops), glue (also my oops), scratches, chips… they looked ready for the dump.

My daughter helped me razor blade the finish off. I gave them all a thick coat of bonding primer and using acrylic to paint the scenes on them. The epoxy we’ll use is a marine quality that I used on the sink top in our utility room. It’s been in there over a year and it seems to be able to handle tons of abuse. So far it’s been impervious to water, soaps, cardboard stuck to it and scraped off. A damp rag and it’s beautiful again. I’m hoping it does as well on these table tops.

These four aren’t for sale, but if they turn out really well, I may do others and offer those. I’m thinking some kind of water scene and maybe a woodland thing with deer or turkey on another. I’m trying to keep them all farm/local themed.

I’m taking a break from tables to work on a gourd or two. I’ll post those as they’re finished.


Christmas ornaments

Hi folks,

Hope you all are at least TRYING to have a Happy Thanksgiving, in spite of all the crazy in our country right now. I’m going to miss our annual trip to the theater this year. Since my daughter was 3 or so, we’ve gone out to eat on Thanksgiving and then to a movie. All of the theaters here have been closed since March, so no movie this year. Our plan is to go to Country Bob’s, which is a local restaurant with a really great buffet and then probably home to Netflix… of course, I’ll be painting while watching TV.

Very seldom do I just sit and watch television anymore, I’m almost always doing some sort of craft, painting, drawing or researching the next thing I plan to craft, paint or draw. LOL

The past couple weeks I’ve been working on ornaments, trying to get as many of them up and listed on our Etsy store as possible before Black Friday, or at the very least before Cyber Monday hits since we’re an online only store right now. I’m also having to take a break from creative stuff to work on lesson plans for my daughter- who is going to start homeschooling in December- the school here just went “hybrid learning” for Covid and she wasn’t interested in doing that, so we decided to just homeschool- at least until the end of the school year.

Anyway, I’ve managed to get a few of these listed, a couple of them have been sold already- (Thank you Carina and Momma!) I have more to finish up and post in the next couple days.

So if you want to go check them out, they are here:
Look for the “Ornaments” section on the site.

The prices vary by size mostly. Some of them were on the smaller side of 2″, I grouped those in 3 packs, so you get 3 little ornaments for $15. Some of the bigger individual ones come with a free organic cherry chapstick that I made a few weeks ago. The ornaments are almost all different, some are very Christmas-y looking, others are just countryside or barn scenes. I did a couple with the Northern lights, the larger of those has been sold already. Since they are wood and I didn’t want them to stink like fresh paint, I put a drop of peppermint oil on the backs of them. Now my whole living room smells like a candy cane. I guess there are worse things it could smell like with 3 dogs. 😉

Happy Holidays friends, stay safe out there.


Alley Mill

Thanks to Covid I’ve been able to drag my daughter on nature adventures on her days off school, since every other form of entertainment is currently closed/off limits/frowned upon, etc. Our theatre has been closed since March, there were no parades or festivals this year. 😦
We have to be careful to find bathrooms before we go on trails, because most of the state park restrooms and facilities are still shut down, but the parks and trails give us something to do on what would be otherwise another day in front of video games or the tv. – which I am both thoroughly sick of. If I stay home and go outside, I feel like I need to be working in the yard or garden, so I have to get out and get away if I’m to just relax.

I’m not a fan of crowds and some of the parks are quite a bit busier than I like them right now (Elephant Rocks and Johnson’s Shut Ins have been INSANE this year), but Alley Mill is less exciting, so therefore less busy than the more popular parks. It’s a few miles outside of Eminence, Missouri along the Ozark National Scenic Riverways park. This includes the Current River and Echo Bluff which is another of our favorite places to go, especially in summer. We didn’t go tour the mill because we had our puppy in tow and you can’t take animals into state run buildings- or so the signs said. We did go walk the nature trail that circles behind the mill and along the spring for about 1/4 mile before looping back to the parking lot.

I’ve seen SO many pictures of this place on photography forums and Missouri parks forums that I follow and after seeing it in person, I understand why. The mill makes for impressive photographs, especially if you have good light ( I didn’t, it was too bright and my photos look washed out because of it) and can capture the deep red of the mill against the spring’s turquoise water. Yes, the water IS actually that color in person, I did not ramp the color way up in these pictures AND they were taken in mid-day in full sun! There were some cool little caves along the path, though not for human exploration. They were gathering up a big group of horses for a trail ride when we first arrived. We stopped to look at the hoof-prints in the mud on the way out and chat with a couple whose toddler wanted to pet Bowie.

The trails were pretty calm, there’s lots to look at, if you want a quiet little daytrip with lots of photo ops, I’d highly recommend it. If you have busy toddlers that like to run from you like the couple at the end, I would recommend keeping them strapped to you on the trail- it’s high up, narrow and the water below is running VERY fast over some rather large boulders underneath. You don’t want to have to swim for your kid (or dog!) in it.

I recently did a painting of the one of the pictures I took on a saw blade. You can see it on Etsy here:

Acrylic saw blade painting of Alley Mill
It’s of that same iconic shot below the mill that all the photographers like to take.

My daughter loves to visit anyplace with water. Have any recommendations for us in Missouri? We’d love your suggestions!


Hiking Pictures

We recently acquired a new puppy from a friend. She’s a gorgeous little thing, part Malinois, part Border Collie- a mixed breed that they’ve termed online to be a Malincollie. We decided a Malincollie dog must have a Melancholy name, so we called her Lenore. She doesn’t live up to her name at all though; with two very high energy breeds for parents, she’s a very lively, very curious, very bouncing off the walls if you don’t walk her EVERY SINGLE DAY kind of puppy. My friend gave her to us because we were supposed to be moving to a place where there’d be lots of running room. That may or may not happen eventually… in the meantime I have to keep this puppy entertained so that she doesn’t eat my house or drive our older, EXTREMELY MELLOW by comparison, dogs insane.

I started taking her on walks every morning to the city parks last week. This week, I decided that I actually liked walking every morning. I haven’t been outdoors nearly as much as I would like this year due to house remodeling (again! sigh) and holding off on new yard plans due to possible move. It’s not given me much to write about on Dirt, as you can imagine. No yard, no garden, no posts. 😦

I was already bored with walking circles at the city park, looking at the same scenery and the same people that also go there to walk every morning. My husband would probably make friends. I’m not very social in that way though. I prefer a small circle of close friends to small talk with strangers, ALWAYS. I started driving out to one of the state parks instead this week. Ha Ha Tonka has a been a favorite haunt of mine for as long as I can remember. I was going there as a child to swim in the springs and walk the dirt paths long before it was taken over as a state park. Lenore needs exercise and I need something interesting to look at while she’s exercising, so I decided we would pick a trail each day until we’ve gone down all of them. I’ve explored 90% of the trails in the park and even some that aren’t trails anymore, but I haven’t’ visited every single one of them.

I went down Turkey Pen Hollow the first day and the views were spectacular, in spite of little rain this fall and the colors not being as vivid as usual. I took pictures along the way. It occurred to me today that I should be posting all these wonderful photos on here and share them with everyone, not just my friends on Facebook. These I’m posting today are of the Spring Trail, that main paved/board walked trail that leads from the parking lot down to the mouth of the spring.

Hope you enjoy the views as much as Lenore and I did.