Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Birds

Our little family moved into our current neighborhood a few years ago, and it was a new neighborhood, so we got to see all of the other houses go up about the same time as ours.  Shortly after we moved in, the neighbors to the back began to build their home, and since our house is a two story house, we could sit and watch out the back window everything that was going on. 
An older couple moved into the house and proceeded to turn their backyard into a very beautiful place to sit and enjoy the cool evenings. 
To add more life, they added bird feeders.  And then more bird feeders, and after that, they added a few more.
Consequently, this corner of the neighborhood seems like a set from an Alfred Hitchcock movie because of the many avian visitors.  At first, I was kind of perturbed, because of all of the droppings, etc. everywhere.  But, I have to admit that due to the crowd of birds that they have brought in, I am always fascinated with just watching all the life in our own backyard.  We also have birds nesting in our front yard each year which is so interesting to watch from my office window.  So much can be learned from just watching nature.
Nevertheless, even though I don't know my back neighbors well, I decided to paint them this envelope with a note tucked inside to thank them for the birds they have brought into the neighborhood.  It's funny the positive impact you can make on others as you try to make your own little corner of the world a pleasant place.

This was done in gouache and a little pen and ink:

Here's one of the little guys that hatched on our front porch nest and this is the first time that he "flew the coop" and began exploring his little world alone:

Saturday, June 16, 2018


There is a young man in my church who has been on my mind.  He often blesses and administers the Sacrament, something that has become vey important for me each week, and I’m grateful for the way he pronounces each word of the prayer, unrushed and sincere.  I painted this envelope to thank him for his service and for his goodness.   


Saturday, June 02, 2018

Wart Biter ...any takers?

This week I read an article about an insect, a cricket, that is on the endangered species list.  The name of this little beauty was what caught me.  It is commonly known as a "wart-biter."  Interestingly, back in the day, people actually would catch these insects and allow them to chew off their warts...WHAT?  The scientific name Verrucivorus derives from the Latin, 'verruca' meaning 'wart" and 'vorous' 'to devour."  NO JOKE, it is able to do this as it has very strong mouthparts.  Nevertheless, as I looked up various pictures of this insect, I was struck by how fascinating the creature appeared.  So ornate and armored!  Awesome.  

Consequently, this week's envelope was one of pure self-interest...not really intended to mean signify anything in particular.  Rather, I just wanted to doodle this guy and try my hand at painting this bug I don't have anyone in mind to which I will send this envelope, so, for fun, I thought I would offer it up to the person that can tell me, via comment, the most interesting cricket story that they have.  I'll read through those comments, post the one that I find most fascinating, and send this envelope out to them with a fun little letter.

Happy Story Telling!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Tortoise and Hare

Recently, a very courageous friend of mine, made a choice that showed a deep amount of bravery, despite how he may have been perceived by those around him that didn't know all the circumstances.  This friend had been working towards accomplishing something, a mission that would take two years of his time wherein he would be serving others.  However, as he entered into that task, he realized that in order for him to accomplish what he needed to accomplish, he would need more preparation.  On his own, he went to those that had helped him get there and expressed his need to return home.

It would have been easy for him to just give up on the dream, give up on the expectation that he had placed upon himself, but has continued to work towards getting back to where he could serve in a capacity that he has looked forward to serving.

I've thought a lot about him this week, and how his diligence, despite barricades and obstacles, has inspired me to stick to the task at hand regardless of the challenges.  My mind kept going back to the story of the tortoise and the hare, and how, despite challenges that seemed to doom the tortoises success, were overcome because of diligence, tenacity, and long-suffering.  I don't remember all of the details about the story...whether or not the onlookers of the race laughed at the tortoise for thinking he could win, or whether the hare, in belching self-confidence also made fun of the seeming unfit contender, but I remember that the tortoise won.

I'm grateful for my friend's example of continuity towards goals despite potential feelings of inadequacy.  Onto victory for him.

Here is the envelope that I painted for him this week, which carried a note of thanks for his inspiring race.

Done in gouache and pen and ink.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Anchor of Friendship

There is an elderly gentleman and his good wife that allow my son and I to visit them on a regular basis.  He is turning 89 tomorrow, but is as young at heart and as chipper as they come.  While completely blind, he still is out on the sidewalk every morning getting his exercise as he moves around his apartment complex greeting the neighbors.  He and his wife are like surrogate grandparents to me and my family.  Every time we come they have new stories, and we just laugh, enjoy each other's company, and I marvel at his good nature and happiness despite having been through so much.  He proudly served in the Navy during the Korean war and has great stories about his time on the sea, but I doodled this anchor and life buoy envelope, not so much for his service there, but because of the anchoring friendship and uplifting influence he has on me and my son as we go and visit them regularly.  Happy Birthday to him!  And I hope he'll be around a while longer so that I can keep hearing his amazing stories.

This was done in pen and ink, and gouache.

Wheat, not tares.

A few weeks ago I listened to a gentleman in my neighborhood, that I respect deeply, share with a group of listeners of how he had overcome a debilitating addiction.  I was so impressed with his sincerity and the yearning invitation that he made to those that he was addressing to be courageous enough to seek out the help that can come to those that are humble, honest and submissive to a higher power.  I continued to reflect upon his kindness, but also his remarks, and decided to do an envelope for him thanking him for the boldness, and transparency with which he shared his story.  I reflected upon the many times in the scriptures wherein the wheat and the tares are spoken of.  Both look similar as they are growing, but one bears fruit that is desirable.  I let him know that I appreciated the "fruit" he was bearing and his invitation for others to seek to do similarly.  This is the doodle I sent to him.  This is done in gouache, pen and ink, with acrylic background.

Another Digital Doodle

I haven't posted for a while, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy.  A couple of years ago, I made a goal to paint or decorate an envelope for someone every week, and send them a letter to accompany it.  Despite my inattentiveness to posting, I'm still keeping the goal on track.  This was another digital doodle that I did using the Procreate app.  I did this for my dear mother and sent it to her for mothers day.  She is the best mom in the world, patient, long-suffering, faithful, and she puts up with me...did I mention patient and long-suffering?