Monday, December 13, 2010

And the winner is.....

The Artist's Magazine 2010 Student Competition
1st Place, Landscape/Interior

This is the write up in the magazine:
A simple watercolor landscape painted while entertaining his grandkids was the start of Robert L. Nelson's art journey. To his surprise, his daughter framed and hung the piece on the wall. After that, he began painting lessons, only to suffer a heart attack a few months later. "Feeling very mortal", this 67 year old teacher of hearing impaired children now takes lessons and workshops to learn everything he can.
The impetus for the painting, Imperial Point, Grand Canyon was a rare scene he and his wife, Judy, witnessed--the Grand Canyon from the north to the south rim during a soft rain--which Judy captured with her camera. Nelson wanted to render both the atmospheric perspective and the foreground detail. " The biggest surprise in painting the scene was the resulting drama in the clouds," he says, "and I'm pleased with the effect of the fog over vegetation and land forms." Nelson describes his quest to keep improving. "There's so much more to painting than the mechanic of putting pigment on canvas."

Here is the link to the progression of the painting on my art blog:

I do have a few of the limited edition giclee' prints available. Contact me for prices.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Metaphor of the Grazing Horse, or How to Get What You Want

One hot afternoon, while wearing his halter with the lead line still attached, my horse was grazing. He handled the loose line carefully. Most of the time keeping it out of the way, or carefully stepping over it. But all that grass was distracting, and he stepped on the line with his hind foot. At that point he decided to try another patch of grass and started walking away. The rope tightened against his nose because his weight on it wouldn't let the line drag. He didn't panic, fight, or become upset in any way. He just kept quietly walking. And bent his neck and head around to the side to accommodate the line's restriction. Three steps he took. Then, in the normal course of the walk, his hind foot came up, releasing the rope. He carefully pulled the line aside and made it to his new spot as though nothing had happened. Life is like that. Sometimes we find ourselves with restrictions or obstacles when we least expect it. Like my horse did. We could get mad. Or let our feelings become hurt. We could fight. Usually, little is gained that way. Or, like him, if we are willing to be a little flexible we can reach our goal without even slowing down.

Then, a short time later, he was again distracted by the tempting grasses, but this time stepped on the lead line with his fore hoof right up near his nose. He continued eating all he could reach, and again did not panic or fight. When he had finished all nearby grass, he simple changed his stance. And he was free again without restriction. No fuss, no pain. Life is like that. Sometimes we get bound up tight by people or events around us. All we have to do is change our stance. When we are willing to change the way we stand on issues and problems in life, change the way we look at things, sometimes the grasses (rewards and solutions) become much more plentiful.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A New Experience

I had an opportunity to take a workshop on portrait painting. If you are interested in seeing the progress through the week's work, go to my Art is at the right.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I work best supervising others . . .

Monday, late afternoon, Judy discovered the sewer backing up into our basement. Called a plumber, who after 5 p.m. is very expensive. He looked at things and said it is not a plumbing problem but a sewer line problem. We called Roto Rooter. They actually came about 8 p.m. He was able to get our line open again, but couldn't get his snake beyond about 184' and our line is closer to 300' across two neighbors' yards. We dug out a second closer clean-out valve (see picture above) Tuesday, and he returned today with a snaking camera to find out what was wrong inside the line. We found the line has been crushed and only about 2" of space was letting water through. We are going to have to dig down about 5' in one of the neighbor's yards to repair the line, maybe taking out some sidewalk or street to do so. I am expecting a 2-3 thousand dollar expense out of this.
It is good I have a job. This is how you win friends and influence neighbors.

Then Katie observed. . .

Katie watched me as I placed out the materials for our next lesson, chin cupped in her hand, elbow on the table. Then she asked, "Why is your ear growing a beard?"
Ohhh, the changes time has wrought.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Katie came in . . .

Katie came in from recess, just a rubbing her nose tip in circles with her palm very vigorously.

"What's the matter, Katie? Do you have hayfever?" I asked.

"No. Just a big booger in my nose that won't come out. And I tried to sneeze, and sneeze, and everything, but it still won't come out," Katie replied. "Like this . . . " And here she demonstrated the ol' farmer's handkerchief trick of blowing one's nose with the thumb and index finger, the hand upside down, with the palm facing forward, and leaning over.

"Well, there is a tissue in the box in the corner if you want to try one," I said.

"Okay." Taking a tissue, she held it up with two hands to her nose and blew. Then held it down and inspected the contents curously.

Her face just lit up with joy! "I guess I just needed more pressure," she exclaimed!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And then Katie said . . .

When I am happy, it is sunny.

When I am sad, it rains.

When I am shy, it snows.

When I am mad, it is stormy.

(She paused and thought, then said . . .)

I guess I can change the weather.

More Katie

While working on more vocabulary, the word "size" came up. Checking her understanding of it, I asked, "Katie, do you know what size you are?"

"Yea, I'm a small, sometimes a medium."

Then after surveying my gut for awhile, she said, "But you have to be a large."

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Old age brings interesting changes. Inability to sleep is one. My body hurts (fibromialgia) and I'm tired from 6 high stress weeks at school. But unable to sleep even with a sleeping pill, I got up and participated in the sacred routine of dunking cookies. It is a ritual. In this case lemon iced cookies in chocolate milk. Raised in the Great Depression, my dad used bread and milk. Principle is the same: mediation.

Question arose in my mind regarding the purpose of life. It has been said we are here to be tested. With decades of testing under my belt, both administrating and receiving, my conclusion is that testing is one the shallowist means of measureing an individual possible. Surely our God can do better than that. If our eternal happiness and progression is based on passing a test, then our God is not a very effective leader and teacher. Reasons of this conclusion are many, if any care to ask.

What is the nature of life's so-called test: pass/fail? Many frightening people cling tenaciously o that one. That is popular right now. How about multiple choice? A segment of society find that apalling, as they should. An essay, written by our lifes? Better, but some of us are not good writers. Multiple choiec? Many curdle at that thought as being too ambiguous. So the question becomes even more what kind of test, if we have any hopes of passing it. The older I get, the more I doubt passing a test is the primary purpose of life.

Though I may present few answers, I hope to present some thought proking questions to those who are mature enought not to be frightened by searching queries. I do have a testimony, but that will be shared after the questions to follow.

Good night for now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Frightening Thought . . .

Although spring around here can be cold and dark, the bright spirit and thoughts of young students can be refreshing:
We were reviewing a vocabulary list and the word was 'drive'.
"Katie, do you know how to drive a car?" I asked.
(Katie is a ten year old deaf girl I tutor.)
"Not really", she wistfully replied. "Just a toy car on the sidewalk and grass and stuff."
I replied, "Well, when you are sixteen you will learn to drive an adult car." I paused. Then said, "That is a frightening thought, isn't it?"
Katie thought it over a minute, then said, "You don't have to be afraid, Mr. Nelson, 'cuz you'll be dead."