July/August 2013 – Yellow Jackets and Paint Brushes

I just had to start this newsletter a little early because it is only when you are nursing a bunch of yellow jacket stings that you can really write about what happened.  For the love of beauty and a great painting, we have been clearing out a vine and weed choked section of land on our property.  I had sketched out a plan for flowering bushes and had purchased a couple of heavenly scented butterfly bushes to plant in the cleared area.  This afternoon, we had just planted one bush and were getting ready to plant the other one about six feet farther down the fence line.  Mark’s hole diggers had no more than grazed the top of the soil when I felt stingy bites hitting my legs and arms.  I am swatting at what I thought were biting flies when Mark hollered, “Yellow Jackets”!  That’s all it took.  I beat feet straight to the house and jumped in the shower so I could run cold water on my stings.  Mark is still surprised by how fast I moved.  He said that by the time he had turned around, the only two still there were him and our mini-golden doodle, Luke.  Wife was GONE!  He and Luke then did likewise.  Lucky for him, Mark only had one sting on his finger joint while I got stung eight times.  Thankfully only one on my arm and the rest were on my legs.  I mixed us up some Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer and applied it to our stings.  Ice bags made the stings a little more comfortable but it’ll  take at least until tomorrow before they stop burning.  That nest is a goner now. Tomorrow night will see its demise.  That’s how we can rate our dedication to our painting.  Not even a few yellow jacket stings are deterring this artist from her project.

This past Tuesday, July 23,  I took an art class  at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  The class subject was different styles of the painting of portraits and how, from century to century, the painting of people and poses evolved to the way we view current styles of portraits painted today.  We were fortunate to have on loan to our NCMA,  an art collection from the Chrysler Museum.  While looking at these European masterworks, we were able see how portrait painted progressed through the centuries.  We returned to the class work room and began working on our own self-portraits.  A few were beginners in this type of painting, myself included.  Our teacher was an excellent guide, motivating each student to push through to bring their painting into a familiar likeness of themselves.  As an instructor, I was impressed with the way she gave each student a personal evaluation and then guidance they needed from her to help them reach completion of their portrait.  She encouraged each of us to show our painting to the class as we finished.  Comments were both positive and motivating allowing each of us to enjoy a feeling of having accomplished our class goal.  My rating for this class and the teacher’s instruction as a 5 STAR experience.  I am eagerly looking forward to my next class there on July 30th.  Titled “Working in Harmony”, we will study organizing the use of line, shape, color, value and texture in composing our paintings.  I’ll give you all an update next week as to how the class goes.

Today is Saturday, July 27th.  Yesterday we celebrated my birthday!  My friends and family made the occasion absolutely awesome.  From having a surprise lunch brought to our home by a dear family friend to having our son and “daughter” and our three adorable grandchildren come over for an evening of food, fun and lots of cake, it was a perfect day.  One of the things I love about getting together like this is having a chance to share good stories and laugh out loud.  If there is anything wrong in our society today, it is the lack of healthy laughter brought on by things life hands us to do that wind up having a funny outcome.  Simply saying curse words and crude sarcastic statements isn’t real humor.  Bill Cosby, Lucille Ball, Jeff Foxworthy and Carol Burnette and her crew are what I think of when wanting to relate the meaning of humor to others.  If you are too young to remember them, then rent a DVD of their performances and prepare for a case of achy ribs.  Go check out movies such as Despicable Me, Despicable Me II and RIO. You may think these are only for children, but after watching them one time, you will want to see them again.  I am still laughing at Finding Nemo.  Ellen DeGeneres is awesome as “Dory” the little absent minded blue tang who delivers more belly laugh lines than I can count.   I ended my birthday evening with a whole store full of laughes, tons of love and gratitude to God for blessing me with the dearest of friends and family who made my day everything I could have asked to have it be.

Have a great month!

Dianna Carter