An Enthusiast in Life

Spring Floral Fantasy Watercolor 11×14

An Enthusiast in Life.

I LOVE this quote by Roald Dahl, and it sparked my enthusiasm to paint boldly and brightly and enthusiastically in watercolor recently.

“Listening to my father during those early years, I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald

I feel a bit out of practice as I’ve been doing other projects lately, but it was fun to splash watercolor again.

My daughter-in-law, Colleen and I are enthusiastically embracing a new project, which I’ll update you on as we go, but we are expanding our McKinneyX2Designs space at the local gift shop where we display our products, Berry Vine Gifts in Bradford Woods.

For today, however, I hope you will consider this quote, and enthusiastically embrace whatever YOU are passionate about!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Painting Spring

Bold Pink and Peach Spring Tulip 11×14 Original Watercolor

Painting Spring.

It is March,
and the temperatures
are still
below freezing
where I live.

But we are
“Springing” ahead
this weekend
to daylight savings time.

Longer days,
warmer temperatures,
birds singing,
flowers blooming….

But for now,
all I can do is
paint
Spring.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Antique Card Catalog Makeover

Antique Card Catalog Makeover.

If you are anywhere near my generation, you might remember those old card catalog files in the school and public libraries.

They were these massive cabinets with a zillion drawers that numbered and alphabetized and catalogued all of the books in the library.

As I recall, we even had lessons from the librarian on how to use them to find the books we wanted (or needed) to read or use for research BC (before computers)!

Isn’t it hard to imagine a world without computers and smart phones?  Yet – many of us have lived in such a time – and amazingly survived!

My Dad and I were talking recently about “the good ole’ days.”  We refer to them often as “good,” but there are really things that are made so much better today by computers and smartphones and technology.  Unfortunately, every good and upside thing often has bad and downside typically because of abuse and overuse and addiction…..  but then… that could be a whole different topic for another day.

But – oh – back to this glorious card catalog!   Hubby actually found this beaut at a yard sale we were passing this past summer!

I recall we were driving to dinner, when he took a back road to drive by a sale he had noticed signs for, but didn’t mention to me.  We drove by, and I didn’t really notice anything (likely had my nose in my phone – GAW!).  Then Hubby hit the brakes and backed up.  I asked what happened.

He said, “You’ll see!”

We pulled into the driveway of the yard sale, and there it was…  in all of it’s gloriousness in the middle of the yard!   An antique card catalog unit!

Here is what it looked like.

Does it bring back memories?  Can you smell the wood and the little index cards?

We ended up finding out that the yard sale homeowner had just retired as a shop teacher from a school district I attended and graduated from.  When the library was getting rid of these card catalogues, they apparently threw them in the dumpsters!  Thankfully, this guy rescued one and used it for years in his shop classroom storing saw blades and nails and screws and other supplies.    Upon retirement, he decided to sell it, and I became the lucky new owner!

Hubby knew I’d been searching for one, and we thought this was a steal at $100.  It also carries sentimental value being from my school.

It sat in the garage and basement for months before I finally got around to chalk painting it.

But I finally did a few weeks ago, and I love how it turned out.

The drawers were a bit tedious (hence my procastination!), but oh so worth it in the end!

I had no idea where I was going to put it.  Hubby had his mind made up it was going in my art room to store supplies.  A GREAT idea – don’t get me wrong!  It could definitely serve a worthy purpose there, but guests rarely go to that room, and I kinda wanted to show this beauty off.

I tried it in several spots in the living room and dining room, but it really didn’t work.  It is pretty big, and our first floor is pretty full given that our back wall is all glass and fireplace and one other whole wall is built in bookshelves.

So, up to the art room it went.  And it really is right at home there!  I can’t wait to fill it with supplies, but I also couldn’t wait to share.

At the Annie Sloan chalk paint store near me (the Backdoor Furnishings), they had these adorable knobs that I knew would be perfect, and I do love them.

I used Annie Sloan Old Ochre paint and clear wax to do this project (along with lots of sand paper).


I’m looking forward to filling it up and enjoying it in my special place!

And now on to some more projects.  (Hint – one is a beautiful dressing table from 1935 that was a wedding gift to my cousin Rob’s mom that I am going to paint up for my granddaughters’ bedroom at our house.)

What projects are you working on?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

My Second Book is Published! Lucas the Lucky Lion

Lucas the Lucky Lion and his Fun Rhyming Friends

My second book is published!  Lucas the Lucky Lion and his Fun Rhyming Friends is now available at Amazon.

Some of you may remember my first children’s book, Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales.  I had so much fun creating it, much in part to the encouragement of this fun blogging community.

This second one was created as a follow-up to Klaus the Mouse in a way, as it evolved from friends asking for, and then me creating, characters based on my besties’ grandies similar to the watercolor paintings and rhyming stories in Klaus the Mouse.  It was a labor of love to honor these friends and their special grandchildren.

My first book was dedicated to my first granddaughter.  This one is dedicated to my second.  They are two of the greatest loves of my life!

Thank you Bubby for encouraging me every step of the way to publish this book.  Thank you Jim for that first request of Alex the Alligator and Liz the Lizard that put this whole compilation in motion.  Thank you Jill for sharing your family with mine and supporting me no matter what I do.  Thank you Joyce for your love and creative inspiration and for sharing the best of what family is all about with me.

In this book, you will enjoy reading and rhyming along with Lucas the Lucky Lion, who of course scored the cover spot because of his good luck, all the way through to Mason the fickle, pickle-loving monkey who is sure to tickle your funny bone.

And in this book, I left two blank pages at the end where I hope readers will consider drawing their own character and creating their own rhyme.  And I would love if they will share with me.  My email address is mckinneyjodi@gmail.com.

Thanks to all of you for your ongoing encouragement and support.  You’ve really contributed to making my dreams come true!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

 

An Art Do-Over

An Art Do-Over.

Don’t you love a good do-over?

The opportunity to do something over?

I had a painting I had hung in our bedroom that I just didn’t love.  It was way overdone and needed a do-over.

It had some great texture on it that I thought might make a lovely rustic looking sign, so I went to work and covered the entire canvas with a gray acrylic paint.

Once that coat dried and the textures shown through, I went over that coat with a parchment color.

My intention was to sand it and stain over it using that texture to pull out a worn character look to it.

I then used stencils to paint the sign using black.  I really should have measured, but I didn’t, and it is a bit wonky, but oh well – makes it more “homemade” looking…..  Right?  Argh!

Once stenciled, I sanded and rubbed some more gray paint on.  Then I used some Annie Sloan dark wax I have for chalk painting to antique it up.

It’s not perfect, put it’s kind of fun.  A lot of our family and friends refer to our home as the McKinney B&B.  We love hosting and having stay-over company, so I hung this in our kitchen.

Now I have a big ole’ empty spot in the bedroom.  YAY! – I get to create or get something new for there now!  What project will be next?!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Happiest Happy of All

The Happiest Happy of All

I know we live in a world
that says do what makes you happy,
and I get that…

But the happiness you get
from making someone else happy
might just be the happiest happy of all.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  This photo is a section of a 3-foot tall piece of art I created for a special young lady who has a few of my other abstract pieces in her home and asked me to make another to complement them.  I can’t wait to give it to her and then see how it looks in her home.  I sure hope it makes her as happy as it made me creating it for her.

Mason the Pickle-Loving Monkey

Mason the Monkey 11×14 Watercolor

Mason the Pickle-Loving Monkey.

Mason was a monkey that many considered fickle.
Instead of eating bananas, Mason loved a sour dill pickle.

He would often pay a nickel,
and sometimes even triple

for that tart, tangy prickle
of a pickle on pumpernickel.

On tasting leaves and seeds, he was truly noncommittal,
for his taste buds and his palate, they simply did not tickle.

He loved the pleasant pucker, and he would often stickle
over anything that was even remotely artificial.

Dilled cucumbers he claimed to be the official
absolute favorite and most nutritional.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Mason the Pickle-Loving Monkey is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be special because it is going to feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Mason is the grandson of Joyce, son of Nikole, and brother of Ella.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you. 

Other fun products, like pillows, canvas prints, tote bags and much more are also available at our Mx2D Society6 Shop.

I will begin putting my book together soon and let you all know about it!  If you are interested in my first children’s book of watercolor animals and silly poems, you can find it here:  Klaus the Mouse and Other Silly Animal Tales.

Ella the Elephant

Ella the Elephant.

Even as a baby, Ella was an exceptional elephant.
Her charm and her wisdom were immediately evident.

Not only was she stunning and delightfully elegant,
she was also most exceedingly well-spoken and eloquent.

As Ella grew she organized an annual innovator’s event
where she spoke about the things she was going to invent.

Carrying a book wherever she traveled and went,
Ella could easily recite the most informative content.

She understood the principles of what democracy meant,
and she cared very deeply about the environment.

Ella had a backbone that simply couldn’t be bent.
She clearly was destined to be the President.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ella the Elephant is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be special because it is going to feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Ella is the granddaughter of Joyce and daughter of Nikole, and they are three very special ladies in my life, as are their guys.

I have one more special character to create before I begin putting this book together.  The poem for Mason the Monkey is already written, and I can’t wait to paint him.  Mason is Ella’s brother, and I’m looking forward to sharing him with you.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you.

Evie the Egret

Evie the Egret.

Evie was the cutest egret
you ever will have met.

The way her big blue eyes were set
was in a way you couldn’t forget.

Evie’s fluffy feathers, even when they were wet,
created the most fantastic egret silhouette.

Evie was a part of an all-girl egret quartet
where she was featured playing the alto clarinet.

The other girls, whose names were Annette and Suzette,
played backup to the leader, a brunette named Claudette.

Evie was known to fret
and sometimes get upset

because her name wasn’t Yvette
or maybe even Paulette.

But Evie didn’t long regret
for it was silly to be upset

when you really were the cutest little egret
from the U.S. to Tibet.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Evie the Egret is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be kind of special because it will feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Evie is the first grandaughter of my bestie, Jill, and the second child of Jackie, my McHendy daughter, who first inspired me to start this blog.

I have two more special surprise characters to create before I begin putting this book together, so look for them in upcoming posts.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you.