Saturday, December 11, 2010


Unexpected Guest, acrylic/collage, 30 x 40
Elizabeth W. Seaver

The holiday rush is upon us, and I have been creating busily in my elvish workshop.  I've made magnets and ornaments out of my little collaged birdies, designed and printed two new holiday greeting cards, done lots of teaching, hung a show, had an opening of another show with two friends, and worked on this commissioned piece.  What I haven't done is blog.

I am happy to report that Put Upon has a new home besides my studio.  It was purchased by a person who has bought two other works from me.  See it below.  It is entirely too yellow in the photo.

Put Upon, acrylic on board, Elizabeth W. Seaver
30 x 38

The following pieces also found new homes this month:

Moonlight Serenade, acrylic/collage, 6 x 8
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Greeting the Morning, acrylic/collage, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

So life is good in the 'Burg.  Thanks, everyone, for your visits and comments, and I want to extend a warm welcome to my new followers.  All of you are much appreciated for your support and interest.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"And Then HE Said..."

"And Then HE Said...," collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

There's lots to be grateful for at the Thanksgiving table this year.  My top three are: the love of family and friends; the blessings I receive daily getting to do work I am passionate about; to have had the guiding love of my father for 51 years.

I wish you all much happiness for the day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wistful (Wishful) Puffin

Wishing for Spring, collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

There once was a puffin named Martie
who, when invited to party,
said "I'm saving my coins
and girding my loins
'Cause I'm leaving this cold, frozen Arctic."

As usual, I have taken liberties with the facts in my painting.  Atlantic puffins head for northern climes during warmer months to breed and actually spend the winter at sea.  This makes it hard for scientists to study their winter behaviors and habitats.  Puffins have waterproof feathers and can drink seawater, which I find amazing.

You can learn more about Atlantic Puffins here.  They are not yet endangered, according to the site, but they are threatened.

I am not like some of you hardy folk who relish bundling up in layers of clothing and setting out to frolic in the snow, the deeper the better.  Nah-uh! 

There once was an artist, Elizabeth,
Who, when exhaling, could see her breath.
She dreamed of the sand,
frozen drink in her hand--
 frozen feet, instead, had Elizabeth.

Stay warm, everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who Knew...

  • That I would be able to set up a blog all by myself?
  • That I would still be blogging after TWO YEARS?
  • That I would find such a great community of fabulous people who were also blogging?
  • That I would so enjoy sharing the process of my art and my writing?
I had no idea what I was getting into on November 17, 2008.  But I know now!

My world has expanded, and my life has been enriched in many ways. Thanks to all of you for the advice, companionship and the great blogs that you write.

 (What did I do before I was a blogger?)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mother and Child

Mother and Child, acrylic, 5 x 7, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Do you suppose a mother royal penguin feels guilt about failing her child?  I don't really imagine that she does.  Her life is too hard and too full of all it takes to survive.  Of course, her offspring's survival is the main goal of her maternal role, and she is, after all, a bird and not a human.  

Nonetheless, it must be nice to be free of guilt and worry about the moral and ethical development of said child; does he/she need glasses for all these years (and the mother not know it, for pete's sake!) --and anxiety that time is running out to do all the teaching a human mother is supposed to do.  Now, I'm lucky because I have a human father in my child's life to help in the nurturing of my not-so wee-ones.

That's one of the cool things about these penguins, as you may know.  They mate for life and shift the egg-child and the responsibility for its warmth until hatching back and forth for 35 days.  They rotate 12 day shifts.  

They also share the babysitting duties, the father often taking the first 10 to 20 days while the mother brings them both food.  (This sentence reminds me that my husband got right put out once when someone asked him if he was babysitting our older child.  M.H. responded, "I'm not babysitting; I'm parenting.")  Go, M.H.!

I love the fact that penguins are colonial animals, meaning they live in large groups together and often share care giving in nurseries of sorts. We do that.

One big difference between our children and a penguin child is that after 65 days a penguin chick has its adult feathers and is ready to fend for itself.  Our servitude is considerably longer if we're lucky and terminally long if there is failure to launch.  

If, from my more or less random musings on the life of the royal penguin, you have been left with the impression that I'd prefer her life to mine at the moment, consider that it is college application time at our house.  

We will survive it.  (I know this because we've been through it before and lived to tell the tale.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Papa Bird

Papa Penguin, acrylic on canvas, 5 x 7, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Ran out of time for story today, but here is a new painting.  I'm working on a number of small paintings to be ready for our small works show in December at LibertyTown. 

Welcome to my new followers!  Thanks so much for joining me on my creative roller coaster....

Friday, November 12, 2010

"I Said, Fly SOUTH!"

"I Said, 'Fly South!'" collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

As the day and hour of Fall Migratory Take-off approached, General Snortfeathers flew in tighter and tighter circles, anxious about this year's trip.

He bellowed in private to his wife, Clarissa, "This is the most ill-prepared bunch of silly geese I have ever had the misfortune to lead for migration!  In all my years of...."

"Yes, Dear, so you've said," Clarissa interrupted.  "Why don't you go read your new Tom Clancy novel and relax.  There will be little time to do so in the next weeks."

"Don't I know it," he muttered crankily as he threw himself into his recliner.

Finally the last preparations and packings were complete, and the day arrived for the squadrons to take off for warmer climes.  Dorcas was there to say goodbye and to ease the jitters of the recent graduates from Dorcas Bird's Fly the Sky Solo School.  She waddled back and forth among the V-Groups settling feathers and giving last minute instructions.

"I know it's thrilling to be traveling high above the earth and to go to places you've never seen before, but you do want to GET there, so remember to keep your V-leader in sight at all times," Dorcas admonished an excited group of this season's fledglings.

She worried about Elvin Twig, however.  He was, in fact, a lovely young gander, but he had his head in the clouds most of the time.  Dorcas had had to draw on her entire bag of tricks in the classroom to teach Elvin to fly.  He passed Migratory Navigation by the skin of his beak, which performance secured him the last position in the next-to-last squadron taking off that year.

General Snortfeathers always flew at the head of the final group, taking with him an experienced group of birds who had been trained to handle emergency situations handed on from any of the groups in the sky.

As he and Dorcas and Clarissa honked goodbye to the preceding flock, Snortfeathers noticed Elvin.  

"Dorcas, what's with that graceless, knock-kneed fellow who tripped on take-off just now?"

"Well, sir, Elvin is very special.  He writes the most beautiful poetry, and you should see his paintings!" Dorcas temporized.

"I just hope I continue to see his tail-feathers," the General harrumphed under his breath.

It was time.   

"All right, Group, get into formation.......take off!" he shouted.

In a thundering rush the Snortfeathers Squadron lifted into the air, each bird quickly finding his or her established place, leaving Dorcas watching and waving from the edge of the pond.

Before she had time to turn away, remembering the state of her nest, a lone goose flew right quack into the General's formation.

"Oh, Elvin." Dorcas sighed.

Very faintly she heard a familiar, martial bellow, "I said, 'Fly SOUTH!'"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tardy for Take Off

Solo Flight, collage/acrylic, 5 x 7, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Dorcas wasn't ready for Fall migration.  She had too many things to do.  The flock was going to have to leave without her on their way south for the winter.

"You know how it is, General Snortfeathers," Dorcas explained to her flight commander two days before takeoff.  "I am rushed off my aching webbed feet trying to get the last class of ducklings ready to leave.  Then, I have to clean out the refrigerator and sweep the down out of the corners to leave my nest just like I want to find it next Spring.  Remember what happened this year?  I got back to find the grackles in residence!"

Dorcas gave a shudder and shook out her tail feathers.  "THAT'S not happening again!"

"It's highly irregular, Dorcas.  We rarely leave one of our leaders behind," the old bird replied gruffly.

"I'll be fine." she answered firmly as she bustled out the door.   "You all just get started, and I'll catch up.  I'm in good shape after teaching six Basics of Flight classes this summer.  If we have a bumper crop of fledglings next year like we had this year, you're going to have to hire another instructor!"

General Snortfeathers shook his head as he watched her waddle away.

"I hope she takes time to stop by and get the flight plan from Major Whistle," the General quacked quietly to himself, "Or we're going to have to hire TWO instructors next year."

To be continued

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bird in Footwear

Bertie Goes A'Courting, collage/acrylic, 22 x 28
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Bertie is not lazing on a Sunday afternoon, but he does bicycle every Wednesday evening and is bound to be proposing on a Saturday night (for you Queen fans out there!)  Here, he is taking a posy to his sweetheart...well, don't you put on your spats when taking an important bike ride?  He can't quite reach the pedals, but his Prius, which fits him much better, is in the shop. 

In Bertie's world it is still summer, and I have to say "hooray" about that.  Perhaps that is the most fun thing about being in the creative arts--you may compose your own universe out of thin air and imagination (and I do expect thin air adds much to imagination.)

* * * * * * 
In other news:

Zolo is an award-winning toy design company in our town.  It is the brainchild of the creative partnership of Byron Glaser and Sandra Higashi.  This month in the main gallery at LibertyTown, we have on display a selection of their toys for sale, plus a bit of their history as a design team and a company.   It is a colorful, fun exhibit.  Here are a few shots of the Zolo installation in the gallery.

These are the original wooden sets of toys, four of which are out of production.  Zolo 5 is the center one in front and is the current product.

You can see packaging here, as well as sample fun figures you can make from the various sets of interlocking pieces.  (Think Mr. Potato Head, but lots more fun and variety.)
The illustrations on this wall are from their first book, which was done before computer publishing.  Each page is an original, intricate collage, masterfully assembled.
Zolo deco is a set of wall stickers that can be repositioned.  Make your own kooky characters.  Each set has 47 different pieces to play with.

These are PupHats, a hat and a puppet in one warm, fuzzy head covering!

Close up of a piece of the original set of Zolo toys on display.
Check them out.  Books, fun toys, great price--what could be better for little and big people on your holiday shopping list? 

It'll be on my list for Santa, for sure!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cirque des Oiseaux

Cirque des Oiseaux, collage/acrylic, 15 x 30
Elizabeth W. Seaver

There once was a bird who juggled.
While up on the high wire he puzzled,
"Should I go on with the show?
Would anyone know,
if one of the oranges I guzzled?"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eat Dessert First

Eat Dessert First, collage/acrylic, 12 x 12
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Seemed an appropriate painting to show on perhaps the sweetest day of the year!  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Balloons Make Me Happy

Balloons Make Me Happy, collage/acrylic, 12 x 12
Elizabeth W. Seaver

My baby brother is 50 today.  Congratulations, John!

Well, dear friends, I have missed you.  I've been away visiting family, but I have squeezed in some painting time.  This is one of the pieces I've finished.
* * * * * *
Have you noticed that even when we get what we say we want, it doesn't make us happy?  Is it just that we need to decide to be happy, as in "don't worry; be happy, or fake it 'til you make it?"  No doubt we're looking at the wrong stuff to make us happy.  It definitely isn't the stuff that makes us happy.  Or other people.
It is a gift to be able to be unhappy constructively.  I mean, let's face it, we're not always going to be chirpy and bright.  That's just irritating.  So, how do we navigate through those darker times without unloading buckets of gloom on those around us?  Well, the bad news is, you have be a grown-up to be able to manage that.  And you must watch for happy moments...pounce on them...and throw a party.
So, let's hear it for trying to become grown up--without becoming old--and celebrating the joys of life as they happen.  Let's see what happens when we spend some time wallowing in that instead of the things we can't change.  
(If I sound preachy, forgive me.  I often talk to myself.....)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Special Delivery

Special Delivery,  collage/acrylic, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Soon, (but not too soon, his grandma would say) this painting will be on its way to Ohio where first time parents are awaiting the birth of their child.  "Grandma" is a great pal of mine in Fredericksburg, and she and Grandpa will take it to their daughter and son-in-law when the baby comes.  I sent it with best wishes to the mom and dad to celebrate their little "special delivery," due any time within the next three weeks. 

I wanted to make sure I spelled the parents' names right on the card, so I checked the spelling with my friend.  She asked me why I wasn't putting the BABY'S name on the card.  I had to stop and think about it for a minute.

And then I remembered.  I loved having my babies (well, not the pregnancy.......and, not the birth so much, but the baby itself--well, that was heaven!!)  But I did notice an amazing phenomenon at the moment of the birth of each of my sons.  In a flash, I went from being the sacred vessel of the hope and future of the family to "old what's her name."  And I wasn't looking any too swift, either, so they cropped in really close when they shot the pictures to ease out the hag and to make sure the new, cute one filled the frame.

So, I told Lynette that this was for the parents, because Riley was going to get lots of loot and oodles of attention.   

I can't wait to hold him so I hope they come for Christmas.  Before they get here, I'll practice saying Riley's parents' names, and remind myself to say hello to them, too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greeting the Morning

Greeting the Morning, collage/acrylic, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

You ever have one of those days where, no matter what great things have happened in the intervening hours between dawn and dark, there is something in there that drags you down?  You feel as if you have been to a dark place--you get bad news; argument #546 about that thing you and your mate argue about; the house is a wreck; the cat's puking and so is the washer; something moved in the back of your refrigerator, and you thought it was going to be tonight's dinner.  Whatever.

Sometimes, though I hate to rush the precious hours of my life, it is just nice to go to sleep and know that the morning is coming.  Waking up in a new day feels like a chance to make things right, to deal with the bumps in my particular road a little bit better this time.  What we call at my house "do overs."

And so this little birdie reminds me about fresh starts and new intentions.  There were great things about yesterday after all.  I feel grateful again for the people around me and for my life--puking cat and all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bird Song

Bird Song, 6 x 6 framed, collage
Elizabeth W. Seaver

I put this little guy on the wall in my studio yesterday, and it sold within a couple of hours.  It's so nice when a piece "flies" out the door like that.

It occurred to me that I had not ever posted about the opening of my public art piece, I Should Have Turned Left at Albuquerque. It was unveiled on July 2nd, and my parents and sister were able to be there.  I have some pictures of the actual event, but I need to scan them into the computer.  Here is the finished panel.

I Should Have Turned Left at Albuquerque, collage/acrylic
42 x 59 public art panel, Elizabeth W. Seaver

I'm recapping this event because just today I got commissioned to paint a 30 x 40 canvas as a Christmas present for someone who loves the one downtown.  Pretty cool!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nosy Neighbors

Nosy Neighbors, acrylic/collage, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

You'd think that these two would have a close relationship of a different kind, more in the "I'm-scared-you-might-eat-me/Are-you-poisonous?" vein.  But all of that worldly worry is pushed aside when there is good gossip to be shared.

"Did you hear that Missy Muskrat got so mad at Arabella Arachnid that she tore her best web and scared way all her dinner?" whispered Camilla in her softest caterpillar voice, not in the least interested in bringing the attention of the rampaging muskrat down on herself.

"No!" gasped Darsey, "What had Arabella done to her?"

"Well!  Missy found out that Arabella had been using one of the back tunnels of Missy's burrow to lay her eggs...."

...and so on in the timeless way of back fence chat.  

There is no end of delicious "dish" right under the sprouts and shoots in our own gardens, if we but take the time to look and listen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Should you be able, this moment in time between neighbors may be viewed up close at LibertyTown Arts Workshop in October.  The show is about the world in tiny view, no larger than 6 x 6 x 6.

Camilla Caterpillar and Darsey Dove would be so honored if you stopped by.

Speaking of being honored....I'm so pleased to welcome my new followers.  Thank you so much for joining this riotous ride and for your many comments which keep me fueled.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Illustration Friday: Old Fashioned

 The Gift, Panel A of Two Panels, collage/acrylic
Elizabeth W. Seaver

I am re-running a fairly recent painting because it is my entry for this week's theme.  It may surprise you to know that there is a story associated with this lady.

*  * * * * * * * * * *  *
In days gone by (way by) a gentleman, smitten by the woman of his dreams, wished to shower her with presents.  In those days, a lady did not accept presents from just anyone, but, as it happened, and to his delight, she returned his affections. 

To mark the occasion of their betrothal, they strolled together to nearby gardens where local vendors hawked their wares.  There, he helped her select a new parasol to keep the sun off of her fancy bonnet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Visit to the West

Cowpoke Cupcake, acrylic/collage, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

No, I haven't travelled to Wyoming.  I stayed home.  But my cupcake has a much more highly developed sense of adventure than I do.  Most of my creations do.

I have been to Wyoming, however.  It was many years ago now, my children, when I was a small girl.  We stayed on a dude ranch near the Crazy Woman Creek.  It was owned by my dad's cousin, and his operation ran horseback trips up into the mountains.  My guess is that their customers were mostly city folks who wanted to have an authentic western experience.  

We kids were judged too young to go on next pack trip which coincided with our visit to the ranch.  We were feeling forlorn at being left behind and a bit envious of my father who got to go.  Grown-ups have all the fun.  Dad was a last minute addition to their number, and since the horses had already been assigned, he was to ride a pack mule.  I remember watching my father, vacationing clergyman, disappearing up the dusty trail.  He was just managing to stay on the mule's back, I think, and not too enthusiastic about making this trip.  He tried to sketch us a sweeping farewell with his hat and spooked his mount, who lurched forward suddenly, making my father drop his hat.  One of the young riders had to retrieve it because no self-respecting cowboy goes on an overnight ride without his hat, and Dad had all he could do to stay perched on the fractious mule.

During our stay at the ranch, we camped alongside a stream which provided our water, swimming, bathing, and fishing.  My brother, an avid fisherman, provided lots of little bony fish for several meals.  Mom rolled them in cornmeal and fried them over the Coleman stove--with the heads on.  

"You will eat this because your brother caught it!"  

Well, I get the whole if you catch it, you eat it thing, and I agree with it in principle.  But, friends, let me tell you, I had a hard time eating something that was looking back at me from my plate.  And all the bones!  How could such a small creature have so many bones?

My job was to wash the dishes in a tub on the metal camp table we ate around.  There exists a stellar picture of me, biddable child that I was, looking like I have just cried a river and the storm clouds were still hanging around.  I didn't want to do the dishes!!

We went on at least three of these month-long car trips on my father's vacation each July.  On this particular trip we also saw Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons among many other fabulous sights in the western US.  I know those trips must have been hell on my parents.  But they took us to see some of our amazing country, and we traveled the only way we could afford to, in a Rambler station wagon with all our camping gear inside.  I'm so glad they bothered.  I've got some indelible memories.

There was the time our Rambler, underpowered for the mountains we were climbing (it was a coastal plains car, after all!) got slower and slower as we approached the crest.  When we finally got out on a straight stretch of road and looked behind us, there was a line of cars following us for as far as we could see, not having been able to pass us. We did not check the local radio stations to see whether we'd made the traffic report.

One long, rainy, long, travel day, the windshield wipers gave out.  My mom got soaked leaning out the passenger side window pushing the wipers with a wooden spoon, so my dad could see to drive.  We finally stopped and my father tied a string from the driver's side wiper, threading it through the window into the back seat.  My brother, sister and I took turns pulling on the string to make the wipers wipe.  Seems like a simple job right?  Well, the wiper puller had to pay very close attention NOT to get the string hung up on my dad's glasses.  We drove five hundred miles that rainy day.  

Boy were our arms tired!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cross Patch

Get Offa My Grass, acrylic/collage, 4 x 4
Elizabeth W. Seaver

The season for itty bitty works approacheth.  I have 10 small paintings, the largest is 6" x 8", awaiting distribution to various upcoming shows.

I am also awaiting delivery of some furniture which should organize the artist a bit better and make the studio a little neater looking for visitors.  I must make room for it.  It is a good feeling to go through piled up stuff to find the pearls and let the chaff blow away in the wind (oh, if it were only that easy!)

Welcome to my new followers, and thanks to all of you for joining me on my strange and circuitous artistic journey.  I love hearing from you and look forward to seeing what's new on your easels, too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Marla Tumbles

Tightrope Walker 5, Marla, collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Marla eased out onto the high wire and moved into her first pose.

She checked out the evening's crowd.  It seemed to her that every seat was filled to double capacity.  The heat from their bodies rose up to meet her where she perched nearly at the top of the tent.  When had this stopped being fun and begun to be a job?

Marla had felt it keenly as she watched her daughter, Darla, and her friend, Banks, performing tonight.  They glowed with life and energetic youth and....something else.  What was going on there?  Marla wondered.

"Best put that aside to think about when I'm not five stories in the air," she said firmly to herself.  

She hoped her lips hadn't moved as she ruminated.  She was still amazed that the audience could see her mouth move from way down there.  But it had been mentioned by her boss in her quarterly review.  It would not do for anyone to think she'd gone 'round the bend.  Good grief!  She wasn't even forty yet.  She was seasoned,,,skilled...a bird that fledgling performers could look up to and learn from.  

Marla was no stranger to the dangers of circus life.  She had come from a long line of circus workers.  As she was growing up, there was never any doubt in the minds of her family that Marla would follow in their footsteps.  When she was twenty, she'd fallen in love with an elephant trainer and not too much time had passed before she'd laid an egg--her Darling (Darla, for short).  

But, as is true even in the happiest of stories, tragedy struck.  No one really knows what happened that day so long ago now, but Darla's father met an untimely end when an elephant he was working with sat down on him.  His squawks for help went unnoticed, and soon it was too late.  

"Extinguished in the prime of his life," Marla always sighed as she told the story.  Darla rolled her eyeballs behind her mother's back, in the way of teenagers when hearing an oft repeated tale.

And so, there had been no question when Darla was half grown that she, too, would continue the high wire legacy.  It was beginning to dawn on Marla, however, that Darla was not a happy bird.  Her mother knew she had dreams of dancing ballet, but had discounted it as a passing fancy.  Just like her own mother had when Marla had announced her goal of becoming a librarian.

"Well," Marla mused. "Perhaps the time has come to..."

The music swelled, surprising Marla, whose thoughts had wandered so far afield.  It was time for her split.  

"Oh, dear, I'm off the beat!"  she panicked.  Quickly she slid down to the wire.........and toppled right off.

"I'm too old for this shit," she said as the ground rose up to meet her.  This time she was sure her lips had moved.  And sound had come out.  And everyone had heard it.

She opened her wings, gave a mighty flex and gently landed on the straw covered floor.  The crowd clapped in appreciation, and Marla sketched a sassy bow.

She marched off stage and into the manager's office, flinging open the door.

"I quit!" she announced.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Tightrope Walker 6, collage/acrylic, 5 x 5, 2010
Elizabeth W. Seaver

If you keep track of details such as these, you may be wondering where T. W. 5 is.  She is, indeed, extant on a 6 x 6 x 3 shadow box, but the photograph of the painting did not turn out well.  I'm going to have to retake it.  Elmer Banks, eager for his presentation, wanted me to tell you his story.

* * * * * 

Elmer Banks  was one of the class of performer which made those in circus management, rapacious eyes trained on the bottom line, rub their hands with glee.  Daring, handsome and graceful, he performed with an irrepressible joy, commanding the rapt attention of the circus-going crowd.  With a nod to his popularity and box office draw, everyone under the big top just called him Banks.

Watching him from way below, one might think he had it all, assuming that the source of his buoyant spirit.  But, as is often so when we make quick judgments from shallow observation, the opposite was true.  

He had been a promising ballet student from a small boy.  His parents loved him dearly and encouraged his dreams.  

However, just three years before, his father had flown into an airplane engine on a cross country business trip.  In a strange twist of fate, that same airplane, making an emergency water landing, also killed his mother who had taken a short cut, late to open her dental office for her early morning patients.

Banks had a hard time of it.  He endured cruel whispers from other young fowl.
Two birds with one stone, they snickered slyly.  

He had many doting aunts and uncles who cared for him in succession and made sure he finished school.  His days as a dancer seemed so far in the past as almost to have happened to another bird.

At eighteen, Banks couldn't wait to get out on his own.  When the traveling circus came to town, he threw himself into the audition and was hired on the spot.  Training hard, he hoped one day to be chosen to walk the tight rope.  

Banks worked from dawn until long after sunset.  In his spare time, he followed behind the elephants, tigers and horses sweeping up poop.  He shoveled great mounds of it into piles for the local farmers to haul away for fertilizer.  His long wing span and stilt-like legs came in handy when it was time to move the circus from town to town.  Within the year, management deemed him ready for his dream job, and Banks put down his poop sweeper for good.

Banks certainly loved dancing on the high wire.  And it was true that the affection of his new circus family had begun to ease the lingering sadness caused by the death of his parents.  Lately, however, close observers had noted that his performances were shimmering with an extra, unaccountable sparkle.

Her name was Darla

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fishing Bird

 Fishing Bird, collage/acrylic, 5 x 5, 2010
 Elizabeth W. Seaver

When we went to the Outer Banks last month, my husband and I took a short trip down towards Hatteras Island by way of Kitty Hawk.  We stopped at a small lighthouse that was being restored and found a boardwalk trail out into the coastal marsh.  The elevated wooden platform out over a sheltered lagoon gave us an excellent view of the antics of the crabs.  Kingfishers, gulls and other shore birds flew overhead.

Looking out over the water from that height, we were able to watch several varieties of herons and egrets stalk their prey in the shallow water.  Every so often they'd go stone-still for a moment and then suddenly strike with their long bills, coming back up with some delectable bit of dinner.

That's when this fisher bird appeared in my head.  Perhaps he should have stuck with the more traditional fishing method for his species, since it looks as if he has fished all day and caught nothing.  And I'm sure his feet are hot, too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Put Upon, Revised

I have had my eye on this piece for awhile, just itching to rework it.  This week I finally got a round tuit.  I am afraid that the photo does not do it justice, having gone all mellow yellow on me, but you'll get a general idea of the changes that were made.  Here it is, sunshiny and new:

Put Upon, acrylic on plywood, approx. 30 x 39
Elizabeth W. Seaver

I really had fun transforming this odd group, which reminds me a little of those days when my children were small and I, foolishly, tried to have a moment to myself in the bathroom.  As soon as I closed the door, their need for me became intense.  "Mama....mama...Matthew has my book...Will hit me....Mama can I have a cookie?....Whatcha doin' in there?....Can I come in?"

So, I imagined this poor, put upon hippo, just trying to have a cooling dip in the river, only to have three nitwits land on her as if she were a rock in the shallows.  (Scary music) And the rock moved...

But that's another story.

Here are our protagonists before I went after them with some color.

Someone said that the old version reminded her of a chalkboard.  Hey, I was a teacher.  I LIKE chalkboards.  But I like color better, and I'm happy with the changes.

Now I just have to get my camera to catch a better approximation of the new painting.

In other news, it's our last year of high school after 9 straight years. I don't mind telling you that I'll be glad to be graduating.  

Have a great day at school, Matt!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tightrope Walker 4: On Her Toes

On Her Toes, acrylic/collage, 6 x 6, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Darla wanted to be on the stage; she wanted to be a ballerina.  Unfortunately, her family followed the circus and needed her to perform there. 

"Oh, how I wish I could leave behind the smells of popcorn and cotton candy and elephant poop,"  she sighed.

Despite the fact that her mother wanted her to put on see-through tights and to hide her fluffy tail under a high cut spandex costume, Darla donned her floatiest shirt and swirliest skirt when she walked on the tight rope.

She blocked out the cheers, gasps, and echoing sounds of popping balloons under the big top.  She even ignored the silly carnival music.  In her head, she imagined the strains of the Nutcracker Suite.

And she dreamed of being a ballerina.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tightrope Walker 3: Blindfolded

Elizabeth W. Seaver, collage/acrylic, 6 x 6

The third in my series of "How Might You Cross a Tightrope?" birds,  this fellow definitely crosses the high wire with panache (and just a little cheating).  He does love the cheering crowds, the music and, most especially, the spotlight.

Thanks to all of my blogging buddies for your supportive comments on my last post, and welcome to my newest followers.  I'm going to get back to the fun of visiting all of your blogs after too long a hiatus.  See you here and there!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Night Owls

Night Owls, acrylic/printmaking, 18 x 36
Elizabeth W. Seaver

This is a renovation of this painting which in my February blog post was still a work in progress.  I was looking at it one day recently, thinking, "That's not finished.  I see owls."  I finally got around to painting them in.

I'm sorry about the long absence from blogging.  My beloved father died on July 24th. I went to Texas to help with funeral arrangements and to spend some time with my family.

From one moment to the next, the world is a completely different place.  He was a hero, not just to me but to many people. 

I miss you, Papa.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Minerva and the Girls

As the story goes on from the post entitled New Hat:

* * * * * *

 "Maudie?  Maudie!" Minerva honked at her friend's front gate. "Are you ready for the tea party?"

Maudie leaned out one of the front windows and called, "I'll be right there."

After a short wait, the door opened and Miss Maudie bustled out, shutting her front door firmly behind her.

"Oh, what a lovely chapeau, Maudie!" Minerva said immediately.

"And, you remembered to bake beetle brownies as you promised."

With Minerva leading the way,  they flew a short distance and found the other Bossy Boots Club members already gathered in Minerva's flower garden.

The Tea Party, collage/acrylic, 24 x 24
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Ellie Bird, Bella and Vivian flapped over for their huggie-huggie-smoochie-smoochie Bossy Boots hellos, then busied about arranging teacups, plates and napkins.  Besides beetle brownies, there were sweet corn kernels, waterlily shoots and sugared snails.

They settled in for a good gossip.

Monday, July 19, 2010


 Soft Sky, oil painting, 9 x 9, by Mary Maxam

Yesterday, I got an email from wonderful artist, Mary Maxam.  She drew my name from all of her followers to win the lovely painting above!  It reminds me of my home state of Texas with big sky and long, flat vistas.  What really appeals to me about her work is that it is impressionistic and lush with vibrant, pure color.  Check out this painting from her recent work.

Thank you, Mary.  Your generosity overwhelms me as your talent humbles me.  I'm so pleased to own one of your paintings.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Hat

New Hat, collage/acrylic, 5 x 5
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Miss Maudie had spent a happy week working in her garden.  She'd weeded, watered, harvested tomatoes and cucumbers and checked up on the zucchini.  (After all, she must be ready for next month's Leave Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch night on August 8th.)  She'd picked and plucked and prodded until her wing tips were sore and dirty.  Very dirty.  And now, she must get ready to go to Minerva's garden party.

Maudie scrubbed and scrubbed at the kitchen sink, with unsatisfactory results.  What could she do, for Minerva and all the other bossy boots would certainly notice and remark the evidence of her efforts in the garden.

"I know," she said to herself, "I'll buy myself a fetching chapeau, and perhaps no one will notice the dirt in my feathers."

And so she did.

Author's note:  I sincerely hope Minerva likes zucchini.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Tightrope Walker 2, series, How to Walk a Tightrope
Collage/acrylic, 6 x 6, Elizabeth W. Seaver

This piece follows in the series after this one which sold in my show at Bistro Bethem in Fredericksburg.  I did a whole set of drawings/sketches for paintings which just wouldn't gel as I was painting for the show.  It has been fun to go ahead now and do those paintings.  The lady and gentleman in my last two posts also fit into that category.

My family left to go back to Texas yesterday after a little more than a week's visit.  They came to see my show and to be there when the public art exhibit was unveiled last Friday night (more on that in a future post.)  We visited family, ate too much and watched fireworks shot into the air right over our heads in a celebration of the Fourth over Lake of the Woods.

While they were here both of my parents suffered from the indignities of growing older with its unpleasant pains and disorders.  My mom spent the night before they left in the emergency room, delaying their departure by a day.

All this is to say that through all of the bother and discomfort at the end of what had been such a fun visit, they continued to laugh and joke and plan and adjust to the changes that life inevitably brings to us all as we age.  It was amazing to witness.  I admire them both so much.

And my extremely competent sister comforted, consulted, packed, sheparded, and rescheduled all the travel plans with shuttles and airline (proving again that she is "the good daughter!") .  Together, they got home safely.

Here's what I think, after watching my family in action this past week--if you keep a laughing, loving, dancing spirit, you will never be old.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Now Her

The Gift, A:  Her, acrylic/collage, 24 x 36
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Here, now, is the object of his affections.  And you can see how he fell for her.  She's fluffy as cotton candy and sweet and cool like peppermint ice cream on a summer's day.

Alas, the two are separated for now because he is hanging in a show called Bird in Word and Image in the main gallery at LibertyTown, and she will be hanging in my studio for the next two months.  Thank goodness they are planning a short engagement.  Come September they will hang side by side where they may gaze at each other all the day long.  

But, will they ever make up their minds which parasol will be The Gift?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Story

 The Gift, panel B, collage/acrylic, 24 x 36
Elizabeth W. Seaver

In days gone by (way by) a gentleman, smitten by the woman of his dreams, wished to shower her with presents.  In those days, a lady did not accept presents from just anyone, but, as it happened, and to his delight, she returned his affections.  

To mark the occasion of their betrothal, they strolled together to nearby gardens where local vendors hawked their wares.  There, he helped her select a new parasol to keep the sun off of her fancy bonnet.

* * * * * * * * * 
This is the second panel of a two panel painting.  Why I started with him and not her, I cannot tell you.  She will be facing him with a third parasol, and her painting will be on the left of the one you see here. 

Here are a couple of progress pictures:

I'm going to let him sit and percolate while I begin on the companion painting.  Then I can see what adjustments might need to be made. 

It's nice to be back to work.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birdie in the Window

In the Window, relief print, 2 x 2, Elizabeth W. Seaver

As much as I love birds, I think I would have a conniption if I looked up to see this guy staring back at me from the other side of a window.  

This was a quickie demo for a printmaking lesson last weekend.  I like to create a block along with the student so that I do not hover as they work.    I printed it on fun papers to collage onto brightly colored cards that have a window cut into them.

* * * * 

The public art panel is finished and will be delivered tomorrow.  There will be an opening/ribbon cutting ceremony on First Friday, July 2nd.  I can't wait to see all six panels together.

I will never again underestimate the importance of a big brush.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Closer to Done

Public Art Panel, Beautify the 'Burg, Fredericksburg, Va
I Should Have Turned Left at Albuquerque, collage/acrylic
40 x 56

This will probably be the last of the pictures of the panel, even though it is still not finished.  I need to work on the cupcake and tweak details, highlights, shadows, etc.

Your comments about the panel and my show have really kept me going.   Thanks to all of you who stopped by.  

I want to extend a warm welcome to my new followers.  Hang on, "It's going to be a bumpy ride!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finally, the Panel

The first layer of paint is actually on the panel which is due by the 21st of June.  Since I will be out of town on the due date, I will have to deliver it early.

It has been so fun to paint this large--and the best thing of all---I had to buy new huge brushes to complete it.  (But then, I find just about any occasion is a good one to buy art supplies!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No Gullywashers, Microbursts or Hailstorms

 In fact, the weather outside was perfect, and there was a lot to do in downtown Fredericksburg for a Monday night.  Attendance was fabulous at my opening, and eight of my paintings have found new homes.

Thanks so much to all of you for your encouragement and good wishes during the birthing of the show. 

Here are some highlights.  Some of these were taken on my camera by my buddy Lynette Reed, who helped me hang the show.  Others were taken by Bob Martin, a photographer at our local paper, who, as far as I could tell, just happened by Bistro Bethem last night.  My camera was lying idle, and he picked it up and began shooting.  Thanks Bob!

Son, Will, helped me hang the show.