Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year 2009

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Christmas holiday! My family's holiday was very quiet. My parents and in-laws are deceased and brothers and sisters are busy with their own families, etc. so Christmas Day was very quiet for us. We had our family gathering a couple of days after Christmas on Saturday.

It is now New Year's eve and tomorrow will be the first day of 2009! I really don't make new year's resolutions because I rarely keep them more than a few weeks. So I will just hope that 2009 will be a better year for my family than 2008. We have all had some health issues, job issues, and various other problems. I am going to begin the year with the positive mind set that 2009 (The year of the Ox) will be a better year for us in general. I know that there are many families that have had it worse with the state of the economy and the high unemployment rate. Our state of North Carolina has had the highest job loss in the country and predictions are that more jobs will be lost in our area. My husband lost his job last February and fortunately he was able to go ahead and retire. If I lose my job I would not be able to retire and I know it would be a difficult job search and probably impossible to replace the salary I presently earn. I am truly thankful for each and every day I have a job to go to.

I took a nice long Christmas vacation and do not have to return to work until January 5th. I had some projects I wanted to complete and have been successful so far. I cleaned my son's closet out and reorganized his room, going through all of his clothes and boxing for Goodwill the ones that he had outgrown. Believe it or not that took a full day. I then cleaned my closet out and reorganized it and boxed up clothes that I no longer wear and delivered both boxes to the Goodwill store last night. I have a couple of other projects I would like to complete and of course the Christmas decorations will need to be taken down and stored.

I have also continued working on my artwork and have completed another OSWOA and started on a new one. The one I completed is below:

Barnyard Friend

By: Lori Talbert


It is colored pencil on smooth bristol board. The new one I am working on is a still life. Until next time!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Chistmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas! Christmas seems so hectic anymore, that we sometimes lose the meaning of the season. Please spend time with family and friends and enjoy the holidays!

This is an old drawing that I did for a Christmas challenge a couple of years ago and I wanted to post it here as a Christmas card for everyone:

Still working on the OSWOAs. Hope to complete several during the holidays. This is the latest:


By: Lori Talbert


It is colored pencil on bristol board. I also have an ATC to work on for a trade.

Once again, Have a great Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ready To Work

I finished the piece I was working on. It is a different type of work for me. I usually do animals and this is more of a landscape. It was definitely a learning process for me as I had some problems to work out but overall I am pleased with it. 8x10 Graphite on smooth Bristol Board.

"Ready To Work"

By: Lori Talbert


Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Sale!

I have been creating artwork for many years but have never actually sold a piece. I have given many works away, created artwork by request, and have had people ask me what amount I would sell a work for, but something just stopped me from charging for my work. I would think of all of the hours of work I had in that piece and even if I charged minimum wage I believed they would be shocked at the price I would have to name so I just told them it was not for sale. Usually, I actually did not want to sell these pieces as I had put so much time and effort in them. However, it has always been a secret dream of mine to actually SELL something!

I discovered the OSWOA website a few months ago, read the rules, decided to create a few and put them up for auction on Ebay. The ones I have created thus far have been shown on this blog. The website recommended a minimum price of $9.95 per OSWOA so I decided to start there, put four of the pieces on Ebay and last night I sold one! Not a fortune but someone actually wanted to purchase one of my works! I am so thrilled! Hopefully I will be able to sell more as time goes on.

I am also currently working on a piece now that will take awhile to complete. It will be 8x10 graphite on smooth bristol board. It is of a stone barn with an antique wooden wheelbarrow that has a metal wheel standing in the doorway. There is a pitchfork with one of those incredibly long handles that books used to call "widow-makers" because the user would have to "heave his guts out" to use it. The photo came from Morgue-file. I will post it when complete if it works out as I want it to. I also want to work on some more OSWOAs.

Until next time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And Again!

I guess I have gotten on a bird kick as I have completed another OSWOA of a bird. This one is a cardinal. I keep working on something until I have it the way I want it and I am working on the colored pencils and bristol board. I experimented with illustration board but liked it even less. Anyway this is my latest:

Fence-Sitting Cardinal

By: Lori Talbert


Monday, December 1, 2008

More OWSOAs!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Holiday! I enjoyed mine even though there was the usual family drama that I won't bore you with here. It seems there cannot be one family holiday that there is not some type of drama occuring. However, I did find time to complete a couple more OSWOAs over the Thanksgiving Holidays. This is the first one:

Yellow Bird

By: Lori Talbert


I also was not satisfied with the Bluebird drawing I had previously completed. The bird faded into the background unless you were looking at it under very strong light. So I took another try at it and came up with this version:

Bluebird 2

By: Lori Talbert


I am more satisfied with this version. I made the bird a little rounder so it looks less predatory, darkened the colors of the bird and lightened the colors of the background. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Second OSWOA Completed

I finished my second OSWOA (original small work of art). It is of course 4x6 on smooth bristol board. I wish I could find another firm surface that accepted the colored pencil better. It almost comes out like watercolor. I cannot get the colors as dark and rich as I would like. If anyone has any suggestioins please let me know.

This is the piece:


By: Lori Talbert


Monday, November 24, 2008

Completed First OSWOA

Definition: An OSWOA (original small work of art) measures 6" x 4" or 4" x 6" and fits into a standard 6" x 4" photo album sleeve or can be matted and framed and can be any medium.

Anyway I have been looking at some of these on various websites and wanted to try creating an OSWOA for myself. It would be bigger than an ATC but not as large as the last work I created.

This is the result:

Owl Portrait

By: Lori Talbert


It is colored pencil on smooth bristol board. I wasn't that happy with the bristol board. It made it really hard to blend the colors possibly due to the slick surface. However I wanted a firmer surface than regular drawing paper.

I am currently working on a second OSWOA and should complete it soon. Hope you like it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

First Artist Trading Card Exchange

I recently participated in my first artist trading card exchange from Let's Make Art. An artist trading card is the same size as a regular trading card; about 2.5 x 3.5 and is supposed to be traded with another artist. Although many of them are sold on Ebay, etc. the original purpose was trading among artists and not selling.

Anyway, I created my first one and sent it off in the mail last week. It is colored pencil on watercolor paper. Since the recipient has acknowledged that they have received it, I will now post it here.

Fall Fruit

By: Lori Talbert


Can't wait to receive mine and see who it is from! I really enjoyed doing this and hopefully another trade will begin soon. It would be nice to eventually have a trading card from all members of the forum.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Graphite Drawing Completed!

Finished the graphite portrait of my husband and son. I put a lot of hours into this but I really enjoyed working on it. Just needs a couple of touch-ups, spray fixative, matting and framing and it is ready to wrap for Christmas! Below is the completed result! I'm satisfied with my efforts on this portrait and I believe my husband will like it also! Hope so anyway!

A Good Time

by Lori Talbert


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Finally Drawing Again!

Well, I have finally started drawing something of note again. I have a photo of my husband and son that I love because I think you can really see the love between them. I planned to do a graphite drawing from it for my husband for Christmas last year but never got around to it. Portraits are not usually my best subject and I was a little afraid of tackling the project. I purchased a book by Lee Hammond "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs" and studied it. I guess I have been drawing the portrait in my mind for a year and that helped. Anyway this is the reference picture:

I am still working on the drawing but this is what I have so far:

I am pretty pleased with the results. The scan didn't quite do it justice, a lot of the shading did not show up. I plan to mat and frame the portrait when finished and give it to my husband for a gift this Christmas. Will post the finished results!

Don't anyone tell him!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Lost Classmate

I wrote earlier about the high school reunion I attended where I learned of a classmate that had cancer. I had not thought of this classmate in years as I have not thought of many of my classmates in years. I do have some memories of her from that time and I had added her to my prayers after I heard of her illness. Yesterday I was sorry to hear that she had passed away. Although we were not close in school we shared years of the same history. My thoughts are with her family. Rest in peace, Carmen!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Neurologist Update

Promised an update on my son after we visited the neurologist. We were told there was nothing physically wrong that had caused the seizures. All physical tests, CT scan, blood work, MRI came back normal. However, his EEG showed "definite abnormal" brain activity from the right front temporal lobe area. We had two options, to medicate or wait and see. The Dr. recommended not medicating at the present time and that is what we decided to do. My son asked him about having another seizure and the Dr. said right now he had a 60% chance he would and a 40% chance he would not have another seizure. If my son goes six months without a seizure his odds go to 70% he will not have another seizure and 30% he will. Every month he goes without a seizure improves his odds of not having another. If he goes a year without another one he will probably not have anymore because it is very rare for someone to go a year and then begin having seizures again. If he has another seizure we will begin medication and if he makes six months without one we will do another EEG and re-evaluate at that time.

Many people around the world are praying for my son and my family greatly appreciates all of the prayers and good thoughts!

High School Reunion

I attended our 30th high school reunion on Saturday. The last reunion I had attended was our 5th year reunion and I had not seen many of my classmates since. As I pulled up to the location and saw people going in my first reaction was "Wow! Who are all these middle-aged people?"

I met a good friend of mine there and the first 30 minutes or so everyone spent in trying to figure out who was who. My friend told me; "We haven't changed a bit but some of them have really aged!" I guess our mirrors show us what we want to see and not what is really there. I do believe though that the guys had changed (aged) more than the women, but maybe they just don't try to cover it up like women do. I was really amused to see that the guys that had the long shoulder-length flowing locks that they were so proud of in high school turned out to be pretty much bald! Actually most of the men were bald or balding and what hair they had was grey. There were very few men that still retained a full head of hair. To me most of the women still looked the same, yes they had aged some and most (including myself) had put on a few pounds since high school but in the face they still looked the same as they did then. The ones I did not recognize were ones that had completely changed their hair color and that made it difficult for me.

I felt kind of out-of-place but I am glad I went. It was nice to see my classmates again, although many of the ones I was close friends with then did not attend the reunion. It was also nice to see that the old "cliques" were no more. The ones that we considered snobby while in high school because they did not associate with us were very friendly and spent a lot of time laughing and talking with us at the reunion. It was good to catch up and share news with each other and see what everyone was up to. Of course jobs, marriages, children and even grand-children were discussed and pictures were shown off. People made jokes about the tough times they had been through and was able to share some laughs about it, and as always when middle-aged (can I really be middle-aged?) people get together their diseases, surgeries, and ailments as well as prescriptions were discussed.

We remembered lost classmates and our class felt very fortunate to have only lost three (that we know of) with one of those in elementary school due to an accident. The other two were lost due to cancer, and news was shared of a classmate that is currently battling that loathsome disease and seems to be losing the battle.

Games were played, laughs and fellowship was shared, friendships renewed, contact information exchanged and promises were made to keep in touch, but most of us will probably get busy with our own lives again until we attend the next reunion where we will all look a little older and go through it all again!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gas Prices

Friday my family went to the Central Carolina Fair and were extremely surprised to see that the parking lot had so many spaces available. Once we went inside we saw that there were some people walking around but not many appeared to be spending money. The game attendants were extremely aggressive trying to get people to play their games and I quickly found the best thing was to avoid eye contact. I guess they were getting desparate for people to spend money with them.

Saturday as we ran our errands (got groceries and went out to eat), the grocery store parking lot was practically empty and when we went to the restaurant (Mayflower) they had no business as well. A whole section of the restaurant had empty tables when usually you have to wait in line. My husband asked the cashier as he was paying if she thought the gas prices had hurt their business and she said it really had.

Yesterday I took our son to Wal-mart to get some pants for the upcoming cooler weather. As we drove through our small town and stopped at the stop light there was not another car in sight. It was really spooky.

I guess people are really cutting down on their weekend driving and activities. For some families it is very hard to purchase groceries and gasoline for their vehicles to go to work with the high prices and non- necessities have to go. I'll bet the high gas prices have hurt the movies and other leisure activities as well as the restaurants. You can really see how things are a chain and how one link affects another.

Oh, while at the fair I spent $7 playing the lottery at their booth and won $27! That was pretty cool, but then I spent $7 more and didn't win anything. I believe you can win enough in the lottery to keep you playing but in the end you don't get ahead.

We go to the neurologist on Wednesday, will let you know what he says.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why I dread September

September seems to be a particularly bad time of year for me. It seems that many bad things happen around that time of year. My mother passed away on September 5th, 2002 unexpectedly. My family purchased and moved into her house and exactly one year to the day of her death our central air conditioning system gave out and had to be replaced. The next year during the month of September we found out we had to replace our heating system (which was separate from our central air) and the next year in September (Labor Day weekend) our well went dry and we were without water until December.

You are probably starting to get the picture now. In 2006 we had to replace a large portion of the roof on the house during September which was expensive and in 2007 my husband had a severe case of bronchitis that he had a time getting rid of also during September.

This year the day after Labor Day as my son was getting ready for school he had a seizure. At the time we were not sure what was going on but we called the paramedics. About 2.5 hours later at the hospital he had another seizure which was what used to be called a grand mal and was apparently what he had at home. All kinds of tests were done and we were told it was not anything physical but so far we don't have a reason. He stayed in the hospital overnight and we were told that if he had another seizure he was going to be transferred to a children's hospital. He was released the next day and we were told he could resume his normal activities. So far so good but it is like waiting for the other shoe to drop. We have an appointment with a neurologist next week and hopefully we will get some answers or have our minds relieved then. Will let you know on that.

So.......... every year I dread September. It just seems to be too many coincidences and many of the happenings take place right around the anniversay of Mom's death. I wonder is she trying to tell me something?