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Meet Lars


    Meet Lars! Isn't he lovely? Hehe, I have quite the reputation for painting bearded men. I think its fun, and adds 'instant boy' to any figure. My husband has quite the beard, and when my daughter draws him, she is very insistent about adding it to her little figure. I guess we just like them around here!


   I love the look of florals painted against a black background. And while they are undoubtedly a feminine touch, I liked the idea of painting them around a very refined looking gentleman. I also love poppies-- and I painted this on Memorial Day Weekend, which I thought was fitting since poppies have become a sort of sign of remembrance after World War I.


   Lars ended up being sort of a fair red head with a sprinkle of freckles. I love painting freckles. As someone who sports her own collection of freckles, I've come to like them. I think they add character, and in paintings I think they are a sweet little detail. And we all secretly wish for red hair, right?


  Well, I hope you like Lars! I think I'll show him at the RAW artshow in June (please come if you're in Tulsa!) but I think he'll make a fantastic print too. I'm working on a couple of other little paintings, and some other in-the-works projects, but I hope to have some new things to show you soon :) til then, there are several new original paintings in my shop if you'd like to take a look.


   Alright....well, off to start the day! We had a thunderstorm last night (I'd almost forgotten what a storm was like!) and we're expecting more at the end of this day. My garden seems to be sighing with relief. So thankful for the rain!


~H

~A Portrait~


   Good morning---
            It's clear and blue out today, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some rain clouds to come scuttling in. Last night I painted well for the first time in a few days, probably because there was lightening and a little rain. Evidently I can't work well when it's too nice outside.

         I wanted to show you the last in a grouping of custom portraits I worked on at the beginning of the month, they all are now safe in their homes! This portrait was for the lovely blogger and mother Lycke, who you can visit at her blog Til Vidas Ara. Lycke shares images of her beautiful home in northern Sweden, and what a magical place it is. I was happy to paint this for her, showing her in her cozy little house with a beautiful Swedish winter scene outside. I hear that she very much likes the painting, and that makes me so glad!

    I know today is Tuesday, so technically it must be Tasha Tuesday :) Oh, it always is, whether I post or not! That's the magic of it. I've been contemplating taking a summer hiatus from it, and I think I might do that. It helps keep the entries fresh. But never fear, it will be back!~!

   Well, off to start the day, I finished a nice bearded man painting last night, and am anxious to share!~
~H

2012's St. Lucia

 
The other day I put the finishing touches on this year's Christmas St. Lucia painting and I'm happy to be able to show it to you now--- although yes, it's a bit early for Christmas! But here she is, with her procession of little helpers.
   I think this painting will round out my series of Swedish inspired Christmas paintings, and its my hope to be able to offer a nice little postcard set of them all when we get a little closer to Christmastime. What do you think? Would you like to send your friends and family a little Swedish Christmas cheer?


   Well, it is still May, so you've got time to think about it! But til then, hope you like this one...
~H

Little House Originals in Etsy



    Good news for my fellow Little House fans-- I've just listed three original paintings from my Little House painting series (including the one above) for sale in my etsy shop! They are ready for new homes, so I hope that you might take a moment to browse through and see if there's one that you like!


   Things have been pretty busy around here art-wise, I just finished a large 1930s era style painting of three girls, and am putting the finishing touches on a new St. Lucia piece. I'm looking forward to sharing them all with you! 


   And as June approaches, I want to remind you all that I'm still taking submissions for my Project Art Fairy. If there is someone in your life who is special or priceless, or someone who you love who is going through a difficult time who could use a little random art fairy magic, let me know!  I'm happy to report that April and May's recipients were all happily surprised by their unexpected art arriving at their door, and both of their stories were so lovely and special. To be honest, I didn't expect to be as moved as I have been to be part of the project. I considered myself a sort of 'middle man' between someone who does good in the world and the people they love. But I have been really moved and also inspired by the stories of those submitted. It warms my heart and makes me know that there are little ways, every day, in which we can make a positive impact on the world.


   Well, my American friends, I hope you have a great holiday weekend-- stay safe! It promises to be sunny and dry around here....I sort of wish for a good holiday thunderstorm ;) but I'm difficult like that sometimes!


   Have a good weekend all,
~H

*Custom Portrait*


   Not too long ago I received the most lovely little goodies from over the ocean in Sweden. How perfect it was because that very day I'd also sent out this little portrait to my new friend Sara-- a portrait of her in celebration of her new jewelry shop opening!


   Sara is a kindred spirit because she loves old things and she wanted her portrait to convey this about her, as well of her love of layers and pattern. I've painted her here with some old portraits and paintings behind her (one is inspired by a photo of her grandparents that she recently talked about on her blog) and an old doll house. She is holding a red apple inspired by her new shop Snovit's Apple (Snow White's Apple). If you'd like to see some additional photos of the piece, and see it in her adorable little place in Sweden, you can visit Sara HERE. I'm so pleased that it arrived safe and sound at its new home and that she loves it!


   As for me, I just finished a large format painting for the RAW show in June. At the moment I'm not quite sure how many pieces I'll be asked to bring, but I thought I should have a few new things to share at least. I need to seal it and then it will be ready to show you!


   Another project I've been exploring has been crochet! I've decided its something I really want to learn since there are things you can do in crochet that are easier than in knitting. I also like the idea that its more free form. I am terrible at precise patterns! I checked out a few books at the library and have been slowly practicing. Its hard to be able to knit pretty nicely and evenly and then start a new type of needlecraft and it be all wonky and silly looking. But practice makes perfect! I've seen some beautiful granny square blankets that are more modern looking in their color schemes and I'd love to make one. Might as well dream big, right? ;)


   Well, I suppose I must start the day! Hope you enjoy this latest little painting!~
H

Tasha Tuesday



    And here we are again, another Tasha Tuesday! Hope you are well and enjoying this turn in the season-- in some places you seem to be still deep in spring. Around here we seemed to be saddling up to summer. Temperatures rising to 90 degrees, not a drop of rain in sight. Still, things are green and growing!


    Whenever you think of Tasha Tudor, aside from her world famous books and illustrations you also think 'garden.' And while her cottage garden was much loved and photographed, she also grew a fair amount of veggies and herbs, and this year I am doing my humble best to do a bit of the same.


    I am proud to say that I already have some teeny tiny little tomatoes on the vine! This is quite the accomplishment since last year it was so hot, I never had one single tomato. I hope this is a good sign for the season. And what a different season we have here on the plains than they do in Vermont! Alas, no matter how much Vermont Country Blend coffee I drink, this ain't Vermont. This is the land of big sky and big weather extremes, and a long hot summer. I often wonder what the first settler women must have thought about this place when they arrived. I imagine there were a lot of rolled up sleeves and stripped off petticoats! I can't imagine living here while wearing the clothes of those old days.


    They also had the weather to deal with, which must have been a shock for people used to a more mild climate. With modern weather technology, we now know in advance when monstrous storms are approaching, there was no way to tell those things a hundred years ago. No matter if the sky is calm and dapple blue in the morning, come evening it can be a whole other black-skied story. Did you know that the bigger the hail stone the more likely the chance there is for a tornado? That's what the weather man says, at least. But it must have been such a shock to those early people here, when things started so calm and uneventful and turned into a thunderstorm or snow storm.


   But anyhow....Even though this isn't Vermont, I still find lots of gardening inspiration in the home of Tasha Tudor. I love that she painted her garden and used her flowers and plants for muses. I need to use more flower motifs too, I think. And I hope to do a little painting today.


   Hope you have a bright and sunny Tuesday. Are you growing a garden this year? What are you hoping to harvest? My garden is mostly tomatoes, various bell peppers, some fun gourds for Audrey and herbs for cooking. We also planted some Russian Giant sunflowers the other day and they're starting to pop up out of the ground! I cant wait to see them in all their golden glory!


  Til next time, Happy Tasha Tuesday,
H

   This afternoon when I went to water some of my plants, I found this butterfly. It was having a hard time figuring out just what to do with those big beautiful wings, I imagined it might be just freshly out of the cocoon. I couldn't resist gently scooping it up and trying to sit it on the smorgasbord that is my hollyhock patch.  It flittered and flopped. I suppose waking up one day and finding you have wings is a bit of a shock. I hope it learns to fly with the best of them very soon.


   I'm feeling a bit between metamophosis stages at the moment myself.  Feeling like I need to try some new things. I'm thinking of dabbling in watercolor this summer, since I'll have Audrey home with me for the next few months and water color is so much more portable with less *stuff* needed to carry around than what I have now. I envision sitting out on the back porch with a painting board and a little box of watercolors while she plays. We'll see if it all works out!


   And thanks so much for your congrats to be about the show in June! It's all very exciting! I'm looking forward to it, and hoping my art fits well with all the other great stuff going on there. I'll let you know more about it as I find out--- and of course if you're in Tulsa on June 21, get a ticket and come on down! 


  Well, back to working on some things, and perhaps getting my wings...
~H

RAW- Exciting News!

 I've got some really fun news, my friends! As of yesterday, I have been invited to be a featured artist at the first RAW Natural Born Artists showcase in Tulsa on June 21.
    I was so thrilled to be selected for this show, and even more so when I found out more about what RAW is all about--- mainly showcasing and promoting local talent, and helping artists and performers branch out and promote themselves, which is sometimes hard to do. 
   I just signed on to participate yesterday and I already have a profile up on the RAW website. You can see it in all it's fanciness HERE.
   I love that while RAW in a national (and soon to be international) endeavor, each city event is run by local people who have their finger on the pulse of their own city's art scene. That's why it was so special for me to even be considered for it. To be honest, I rarely feel 'hip and with it.' I am just squirreled away in my little house making things that I personally like, and so when I find that other people like them too...well, it's always so lovely. And now in June I'll be part of a show featuring everything from painting to jewelry to performance art to fashion shows....now that's fancy!



This show is called SOLSTICE and will take place June 21st at 33Forty, which is on Brookside in Tulsa. Tickets to get in to see the show are $10, and if you'd like to come, I would appreciate it so much that you purchase your ticket online through my name (Heather Sleightholm), because artists are rewarded for selling tickets to the event. I'll also know to expect you and look forward to seeing you so we can chat and enjoy the art together!


   Now I need to get busy selecting which paintings will go to the show and what new ones I'll paint to go with them. I'm not sure yet how many I'll be asked to present, but I know I'll want to take as much as I can!
   It's just all very exciting, and I hope if you're in the area and free that night, that you'll come! It sounds like an amazing time. You can find out more about this Tulsa show HERE. And if you're interested in being a RAW artist, you can visit their main site HERE.


   Thanks so much!~ Now off for more painting...
~H

Hello, summer




   Well, like it or not, summer seems to be here! Last Friday was the last day of school in these parts, and so we've been adjusting to a new summer schedule, me with the girl at home, trying to stay busy and trying to get things done. We'll see how it works out--- but so far, it's going pretty well!


   Although we haven't had much rain lately, the garden is doing terrific. Look at those hollyhocks! Tasha would be proud! I also managed to get a little Audrey Eclectic work done today, I refreshed the stock of prints at Made in Tulsa--- if you're heading down to MayFest in Tulsa this weekend, you should saunter down to the Philcade Building at 5th and Boston and check out this adorable local shop! Even the building itself is gorgeous...I took a photo (above) in the entrance hall, in all it's opulent art deco glory. Down town Tulsa has some amazing building and beautiful architecture from the 1920s. The gorgeous Trinity Episcopal Church is also just down the block. I love hearing all the bells from all those old beautiful churches around there.


   And finally....painting a bit :) I decided to try a new St. Lucia scene for this year's Christmas collection. So far, so good! I thought you might like seeing it in this rough phase. I like to paint my canvas or wood surface completely black and then make the painting on top of that. I think it gives it a richer look, especially when I rough it up and age it.


   Well...perhaps I should get some more painting done! I have lots of ideas! Hope your week is going well~
~H

A family portrait


   I wanted to share with you all this little custom Mother's Day painting I created recently. I think it came out really sweet, I love family portraits. I hear that she liked it, and I'm so pleased to hear it!~


   Also wanted to remind you all that the Project Art Fairy is still open (there is no deadline to it, you can submit at any time) so if you know of anyone who is doing something special, or is a special part of your life-- submit them! You can find out more about this project HERE (or on the sidebar of this blog.)


   April and May's Project Art Fairy prints are going out today! I love the idea of the recipients getting this unexpected surprise. All of the submissions I've gotten so far have been wonderful. It really inspires me that in so many ways, you can do good for people and it leaves an impression. The people who were chosen might not even know what joy and love they're putting out into the world. It's high time they knew, don't you think? I only wish I could be a fly on the wall to watch as they open it!


Well, off to run some errands, perhaps clean this wrecked house (I just couldn't bring myself to do it on Mother's Day!) and then finally, plan some new paintings! I'm eager to start!


Have a great day,
~H

~*~




   It's been a quiet and leisurely Mother's Day weekend so far. Gray and cool, always looking like its about to rain. That didn't stop my girl and I from heading to the antique mall first thing, though! She is very pleased with her purchase of a large doll-sized horse and I found lots of interesting odds and ends, like this old embroidered cloth. So far, from the shape of it, I'm really not sure how the piece was used. The bottom is scalloped and embroidered, and the top isn't as wide and is flat across, sort of shaped like an apron might be. How would this piece have been used? I just loved the embroidered girl though, she is cute! I'm thinking she's perhaps from the early 1930s? Any guesses?


   I also received an English translation of Agnes Cecelia in the mail, it comes highly recommended by my Swedish friends! I think this gray and misty day will be perfect for a spooky tale! Can't wait to start, especially since I just finished up The House at Riverton last night and am feeling a little reflective and a tinge melancholy, as her books are wont to do. But they're so, so good. I honestly wonder if the creator of Downton Abbey didn't use it for inspiration for season two....there are heavy shades of Downton in this story, although I know the book came first! It was a bit heavy though, so I'm looking forward to something a little lighter, although I still like a spooky element!


   In other outdoorsy news, I am quite happy with the slight jungle effect of my back porch! My husband came home with a hanging basket for me last night, he know's the way to my heart! The little desert garden on the patio table is doing nicely and has become home to a few stray praying mantis babies that were born on the porch the other day! At some point in the fall, a mother praying mantis made a nest on the side of one of the patio cushions and I had no idea until I went out to straighten things up one morning and found at least 100 tiny baby praying mantises all over the chair! I was relieved to hear that they're good bugs--- people sometimes even purchase their nests so they can let the babies into their gardens. Praying Mantises eat other bugs, so they are sought after for natural pest control. I put the chair and cushions in my veggie bed so they could 'go be free' but a few timid little souls decided to stick close to where they were born, and that's fine by me. 


   Well, that's about it for the moment. Bugs and old embroidery :) and brownies cooking for a picnic tomorrow....and scheming up new art. 
   Have a good weekend,
~h

~Custom Portrait~


     Good Morning!~
             I am very pleased to be able to share with you one of the secret projects I've been working on! This was a custom painting I was asked to create for a mother of two little girls who just received her college degree after lots of hard work and determination. 
             My little family knows quite well what it takes to achieve a college degree while also working and raising a family since my husband just received a bachelor's degree he needed for his job this past winter. It means lots of focus and lots of time devoted to studies when you'd rather be doing a thousand other things. I admire those that can pull it off!
            This particular graduate is a fellow Oklahoman and this painting is meant to capture a bit of our history (a little bird told me she was a lover of Oklahoma history!) and so I've got the little farm house in the distance and oil derricks in the far-off fields. The scene revolves around the sharing of a book (touching on the theme of learning and teaching as a mother) and since this particular little family raises chickens-- there is a basket of eggs and tiny little figures of chickens in the farm house yard.
        I hear it was a hit on graduation night, and it always makes me so happy to know that something I made has brought someone joy. Really, that's the point of all this--- creating connection and meaning. I was so happy to be part of such a special occasion in such a unique way!
    As time goes on and special dates are met and paintings delivered, I'll be able to share with you more of my custom work :) thanks so much to those of you who have asked me to make something special for you, or have chosen some of my art from my shop to create a memory for someone in your own life. That is amazing! I truly believe its the little things in life that make it beautiful~


~H

Vintage Loveliness from Sweden


      There is something completely magical and marvelous about receiving a special package in the mail, especially one that has traveled over and ocean and across half a country to get to you. So I was very excited when I opened my mailbox yesterday and found a package all the way from Sweden, with many beautiful treasures inside!


    Sara from Snovits Apple sent me a gorgeous old locket with a beautiful collage of an old doll and tiny doily inside, along with all these special little extras-- beautiful bits of jewelry, dollies and these sweet little paper cut outs. The locket was nestled in an old handkerchief and there were also some old vintage postcards, sent long ago to people in Stockholm with such fine and pretty hand writing. For a lover of old things, it was a beautiful gift to receive! And I loved it all very much!


   Sara shared with me that the inspiration behind this necklace is the Swedish novel Agnes Cecelia, which involves ghosts, a haunted house and a very old doll. Talk about perfect! I just ordered a copy of the story translated into English, and I think it will be perfect for lazy day summer reading. Because any time is a good time for a ghost story, in my opinion!


  You can read all about Sara's lovely creations and her life in Sweden (where she makes jewelry and works in an antique shop!) on her blog and also visit her shop to get your own lovely vintage jewelry. I love that all her pieces have a story behind them and the packages she sends them in are like little works of art themselves-- I just love the box my necklace came in! Just beautiful!


   Thanks again to Sara!~ And I hope you all are having a lovely day and week....summer is nearly upon us!
Til next time,
~H

Tasha Tuesday


       Yesterday I was excited to see that my hollyhocks have started to open up! They're special to me because they're Tasha's Hollyhocks-- the seeds for them came from Tasha Tudor's garden. I ordered them a couple of years ago from the Tasha Tudor and Family website and they've really taken off in my front flower bed. When they're not in blooming season they pretty much stay green and last through the winter as a low leafy mound.


   I love the bright pink color and the lacy look of the beautiful flowers. They remind me of the flowers my great-grandma used to grow. Hollyhocks are some of my favorite perennials, and these are hardy little flowers if they can thrive in the heat of Oklahoma just as well as they can in the cool of Vermont. If you would like to have seeds from Tasha's garden, you can order them online. I may have to get more-- those lettuce poppies are amazing!


  How about you? If you could grow anything from Tasha's garden, what would it be? I wish I had her talent with peonies, I have one little shrub and it always seems to have something unfortunate happen to it! 


   Well, maybe I'll have more luck next year, right? That's the mantra of a gardener! 
Happy Tasha Tuesday,
H

 


Popping in....


   It's been a busy past few days! Topped  off with a field trip to the zoo with a busload of Pre-Kindergarteners. It was cloudy and cool though, so it was a nice day to ramble about and we saw lots of interesting creatures and came home exhausted. I'm missing my painting table though. Looking forward to curling up with some artwork and sharing with you. I know I havent shared much painting with you lately, and that's because its all been commission work! But I will share that with you eventually, and also start on some new projects! Anything in particular you'd like to see?


Til next time...
~H

Return from the Renaissance





  Well, this weekend I attended my first renaissance festival with some friends-- can you believe I'd never been? I wore a new shirt I got from the sale racks of Anthropologie with an attached lace cape and cut some branches from the boxwood and some fennel in the front yard and voila, renaissance hair! I also wore some of my favorite pieces from Parrish Relics. If you've never seen the jewelry made by artist Jennifer Parrish, you should check out her shop, her work is amazing! It really captures the romance and beauty of the Renaissance era.
   When we got to the festival we were lucky to find weather cooled down by a passing storm but no rain, and the people watching was unsurpassed! Turkey legs were eaten. Jousting watched. I even bought the most interesting tea cup. Lots of intriguing things to do and see at the Renaissance fair! And I was exhausted and ready for a bath by the time the afternoon was done :)
    Have you ever been to a Renaissance fair? The one we attended in Muskogee, Oklahoma was large and rather impressive! They do all sorts of events throughout the year, and are holding the Renaissance Fair every weekend in May. You might even see the queen, pictured just above in her carriage!


 Happy Weekend~
~H

On a Wednesday



   Good morning! It's a nice warm and sunny one here on the plains, and I've already been out to buy tomato cages. I'm cautiously optimistic about this year's garden. Most of what I'm growing is tomatoes, peppers and herbs. Oh, and some flying saucer gourds because...well, they sounded cool ;) and like something a 5 year old would be excited about harvesting! So those will be Audrey's. 


   Enjoyed a nice little Swedish breakfast this morning with some Lingonberry preserves that I got in Lindsborg and thought I'd show off Audrey's little dala horse with her name painted on it. They make these cute little hand painted wooden horses in-house at Hemslojd-- Audrey absolutely loved it and it was her favorite thing she got while we were there in town.


   Also, I have been deep in the novels of Kate Morton and got the last available book of hers yesterday. I can't wait to get lost in The House at Riverton, but dread coming to the end! I finished up The Distant Hours last week and I tried to make it last, but it's difficult. They're just too good! I've heard she has a new one coming out in October, so I know I'll have to find some other good books to bide my time. I've read some reviews of Susanna Kearsley online, and her work sounds similar and equally old-timey so I'm thinking I might try her next. Have any of you read her novels? What did you think? Or do you have any book recommendations for me?


   Well, time to get a little painting done! Thanks for coming to visit me today :) Always nice to have you stop by....~
~H

Tasha Tuesday


      Hello there~ and Happy Tasha Tuesday~
          I'm glad to wake up to find this Tuesday morning calm and blue-skied. It stormed terribly last night, one of those big storms that the plains are famous for; tornadoes touching down in the north, and me stumbling out of bed at 3 a.m. to rescue hanging baskets from hurling to to their demise from the porch. Luckily, nothing but the debris of blown over patio furniture cushions in the yard today. The rabbits are safe in their hutch, and the garden is a little windblown, but intact. I think it will be a good day.


    Another thing to make it a good day is the new newsletter from the Tasha Tudor Museum. It's such a well made newsletter--- all color and packed full of info. This season's newsletter talks about the latest exhibit at the museum-- "For the love of frocks" in which many of Tasha's prized dresses will be on display. Happily, you don't have to be in the U.S. or even on the mailing list to receive a newsletter--- they're all available to read online, visit HERE to see.


   Like Tasha, I can appreciate a nice vintage dress, but you'll never find me painting in one. I know Tasha worked in watercolor, which is more clean-up friendly, so maybe that's why she dared to paint in antique frocks. I always look more like I'm ready to go work in the yard! I've got several go-to pieces that are already splattered in paint that I tend to wear, and I think it's highly unlikely they'll ever wind up in a museum :)


   I would love to see this show at the museum though-- it runs May 4 to October 20. Perfect for a summer trip if you're ever near Vermont. I'd love to go someday. Someday! I think volunteering at this museum would be a complete dream come true too. I'm so glad it's happened, and that Tasha and her work will be remembered for generations. She was a complicated woman, no doubt. But her talent and vision are without question. 


Happy Tasha Tuesday~
H