Daddy's Christmas Angel

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Z is for Zealous Heart #atozchalllenge

"Zealous Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Z" is for Zealous Heart for the last day of the A to Z Blog Challenge. This is the final heart on my painting, "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air".

A zealous heart can have many meanings. A person might be super active and vivacious to possess this heart. It's an exciting and colorful heart to have.

This is probably the strongest of the little heart paintings on this 24" x 48" canvas, and it is located at the far bottom corner. Not a good thing artistically. As the last painting, it is pulling into the canvas or is it pulling away?

The painting has more of the acrylic gel and Golden acrylics. It is upbeat and fun.

Next week, we will revisit the finished canvas. I hope you will tell me what you think.

Thank you, everyone who has visited this project. Thank you, all the folks who have made the A to Z Blog Challenge possible again this year.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Y" is for Yellow Heart #atozchallenge

"Yellow Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Y" is for Yellow Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge. This heart is painted with gel medium and Golden liquid acrylics.

My Yellow Heart is not that of a coward. It is instead the beautiful yellow of sunshine. Yellow is my favorite color, so it seems an appropriate one for a heart at almost the end. It is a happy heart.

Notice the shadows of people watching this bright heart rise up. After the aching heart and the broken heart, this heart represents light and happiness at the end.

What do you think about a Yellow Heart? Can it be a heart of gold?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"X" is for Xanadu Heart #atozchallenge

"Xanadu Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"X" is for Xanadu Heart as we near the end of the A to Z Blog Challenge. After so many tragic and sad hearts, the Xanadu Heart is a green, happy, growing heart. It is fertile and inviting in the midst of magic.

For artists and writers, Xanadu has conjured up a world of fantasy and intrigue for eons of time. An opium-induced dream inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge to write a poem about Xanadu. Olivia Newton John, one of my favorite singers, made a movie in 1980 that featured the song.

"Xanadu your neon lights will shine," the song claims. Perhaps the background of my Xanadu Heart depicts the feel of neon lights. Perhaps it depicts sunshine and happiness.

Love and magic live in the fantasy land that is named Xanadu. Would you like to travel there?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"W" is for Waning Heart #atozchallenge

"Waning Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"W" is for Waning Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge. This is truly a waning time in the Challenge, so a Waning Heart seems most appropriate.

From when I first chose the 24" x 48" canvas and blocked out the 26 spaces, I had a butterfly fall in place. The butterfly is a found image that I had encased in leveling gel a few years ago. I found it among items on my painting table and on a whim impressed it against the canvas. It remained where I put it, and I kept looking at it and wondering when or where I might move it. However, it stayed in the same place--the spot for the "W"-- and now is part of my Waning Heart.

How appropriate, I think now. Isn't a butterfly a sign of new birth? Perhaps this is a symbol of new birth for a waning heart. After all, the butterfly is emerging from it, solid and shiny from the dull (dying) blue.

New birth. A waning heart. I like the concept. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"V" is for Valentine Heart #atozchallenge

"Valentine, Be Mine" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"V" is for Valentine Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge. What could be more appropriate for a "V" heart entry?

On February 14, school children in the United States celebrate Valentine's Day by making cards for parents, teachers, and friends. Handmade cards sent by lovers flourished in 18th Century England. Mass-produced greeting cards came about in the 19th Century.

The decorative potential on today's handmade cards is limited only by the imagination of the creator. Often lacy doilies are incorporated into schoolroom-crafted Valentines.

Many Valentine hearts represent love and often include little messages such as "Be Mine." Those messages also are found on little heart-shaped candies.

Today's heart has texture built-up with heavy gel medium. It also has a piece of white doily collaged into the background.

What's your favorite Valentine message? Do you like handmade Valentines?

Monday, April 25, 2016

"U" is for Ultramarine Blue Heart #atozchallenge

"Ultramarine Blue Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"U" is for Ultramarine Blue Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge. This is one of the last six hearts for the large Challenge painting.

We just returned from a week at San Jose del Cabo where the Sea of Cortez and the light of the morning sunrises inspired me. We love to travel, but I discovered that while I could pre-post my paintings for each day while I was gone, it was impossible to visit the blogs of others while we were in Mexico. Also, I got behind in visits before we left just because there was no time for them. I have always enjoyed making new friends during this month, so now I know a vacation in April doesn't work well for me with the Challenge.

When I first started painting, ultramarine blue was one of the essential colors for my oil paint palette. Over the years, while I have gotten away from some of my earlier tubes of paint and I have switched from oils to acrylics, I have always kept bottles and tubes of ultramarine blue close at hand in my studio. It is a cool blue that mixes well with titanium white for pastel shades.

Thinking about the Pacific Ocean water flowing into the Sea of Cortez at the tip of the Baja peninsula, I chose ultramarine blue for my newest heart. It reminds me of the beautiful dark waves that licked the sandy shore. They sounded like multiple hearts beating in synchronicity to remind us of the power and the vulnerability of our planet Earth.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"T" is for Trembling Heart #atozchallenge

"Trembling Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"T" is for Trembling Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

What's the difference between the Quaking Heart and the Trembling Heart, you might ask. Not much, I would have to respond. I do believe the trembling heart is less traumatic than a heart that is quaking.

"He made her heart tremble," the romance writer says.

"When she looked at him, her heart trembled," another author writes.

I don't think you would use the word quake in either instance. As a writer, what word would you use?

Friday, April 22, 2016

"S" is for Shattered Heart #atozchallenge

"Shattered Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"S" is for Shattered Heart in the A to Z Challenge. A similar heart could be splintered.

In romance writing, we sometimes say, "Her heart was shattered." We mean that some action has crushed her emotionally. A shattered heart might be more difficult to repair than a broken heart. Which do you think is worse? Are they equally traumatic.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"R" is for the Reckless Heart #atozchallenge

"Reckless Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"R" is for the Reckless Heart in the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge. Sometimes it's all too easy to have a reckless heart. I recall the name of a soap opera that might still be running, "The Young and the Restless". The name might just as well have been "The Young and the Reckless".

Young people are often fearless and participate in dangerous behavior. The have reckless hearts.

This is my version of a reckless heart. What would yours be?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Q" is for the Quaking Heart #atozchallenge

"Quaking Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Q" is for the Quaking Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge. We are now a few letters past the half-way point in the Challenge.

Everyone is fearful at some point. As children, we are afraid of the dark and the unknown. As adults, we still fear the unknown and what might lie in store for us. Those fears might mean a quivering, quaking heart.

Have you ever had a quaking heart? Perhaps heart palpitations?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"P" is for Pitiful Heart #atozchallenge

"Pitiful Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"P" is for Pitiful Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge for 2016. According to Country Western music, pitiful hearts do exist.

In this little section of the acrylic painting "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air", the neutral-colored heart is caught between the dark fray and the fire of life. The heart is confused and saddened by its life experiences.

Will it ever recover? That's hard to say.

Monday, April 18, 2016

"O" is for the Opulent Heart #atozchallenge

"Opulent Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"O" is for the Opulent Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

I suppose everyone would like to have an opulent heart. After all, a heart full of abundance must have lots of good qualities.

An artist could spend hours adding jewels and other opulent signs to this heart. If you have time, please create your own beautiful opulent heart, put it on a card, and send it to a friend.

My heart is a little messy and has one bit of collage in it. I would love to see some of your creations.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"N" is for a Needy Heart #atozchallenge

"Needy Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"N" is for a Needy Heart in the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge. For one reason or another, there are many people out there with needy hearts. They might have physical needs, but more likely their needs are emotional.

In today's segment of "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air", we see one lonely, confused and needy heart standing above the crowd. This is a little like the Dramatic Heart except the needs are very real.

Have you ever had a needy heart? Do you know someone who does?

Friday, April 15, 2016

"M" is for a Magic Heart #atozchallenge

"Magic Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"M" is for a Magic Heart in today's A to Z Challenge Blog. I'm not sure how magical this looks because life keeps getting in the way this month for this project, and I'm not able to spend the time I would like on each one of these new hearts.

The magic for this heart is that more hearts are following the major image. What can be more magical in this time of political turmoil than gaining more followers? Perhaps that is magical enough.

What is the most magical thing you can imagine for your heart? Would a magical heart be red?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"L" is for Loving Heart #atozchallenge

"L" is for Loving Heart in the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge.

In today's heart addition to "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air", it's good to stop and consider what is a loving heart? My mother used to say, "He has a heart of gold." I thought about her words as I considered how to complete this little painting. That's why I added more texture to my heart and then covered those ridges with gold acrylic paint. Today's background is more mystic as well.

What do you think of a heart of gold? Is it a loving heart?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"K" is for the Knowing Heart #atozchallenge

"Knowing Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"K" is for the Knowing Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

What is the Knowing Heart? It is the heart of the mature person who has learned much through life's mistakes as well as successes. It is the heart that is beyond the dramatic and the chaotic. But it is a heart that still aches and suffers from fragility.

Do you have a knowing heart? What do you consider a knowing heart?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"J" is for Joyful Heart #atozchallenge

"Joyful Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"J" is for Joyful Heart in the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge. This is Day 10 and my "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air" canvas is growing ever fuller.

With many sad-sounding songs written and performed such as the "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus, it is refreshing to consider a Joyful Heart. Has anyone every written a song titled "Joyful Heart"? I don't recall it. Perhaps a church hymn? However, watching the youtube "Achy Breaky Heart", it is obvious that joyful hearts were abundant during that performance.

When you are listening to popular music, do you prefer sad songs or joyful ones? Which are the more memorable?

Monday, April 11, 2016

"I" is for Indigo Blue Heart #atozchallenge

"Indigo Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"I" is for Indigo Blue Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

Sometimes artists mention the color "indigo blue" when talking about a work of art. Sir Isaac Newton included indigo in his rainbow color wheel. Besides indigo, his color wheel had red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet--the primary and secondary colors of a standard color wheel.

The word "indigo" refers to the plant used for thousands of years all over the world to dye fabrics blue. While the color violet (or purple) is created by mixing equal parts of blue and red paint, indigo contains a higher amount of blue in its mixture.

A to Z ChallengeAn indigo heart, painted with acrylics and gloss gel, seemed appropriate for the many hearts dancing on canvas project. Are you familiar with indigo blue? I probably use that color in my paintings more often than I realize.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

"H" is for Healing Heart #atozchallenge

"Healing Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"H" is for Healing Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

When I see someone wearing the color purple, I always think they have on a healing color. Then, I wonder if they know it's a healing color. If they do, did they wear it for a reason?

Everyone needs a little healing sometimes. How better to do it than with a therapeutic color for the heart?

This is another heart added to the "Hearts Dancing in the Air" project. We are almost a third of the way through to the finished 24" x 48" acrylic painting on canvas.

Broken hearts, aching hearts, fragile hearts--they all need a little purple. What about you? Do you wear purple sometimes?

Friday, April 8, 2016

"G" is for Glowing Heart #atozchallenge

"Glowing Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"G" is for Glowing Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

As writers, we often point out descriptive details such as "her heart glowed with pride." The author and the painter in me loves the thought of a glowing heart. But how do you show it?

My painting for today will probably need a little tweaking when the canvas is complete and full of "Dancing Hearts". For some reason, the gold paint is showing as white in this post, so you are not seeing exactly what I painted. I liked the idea of gold glowing around the red heart filled with bits of other colors. Perhaps there should be many more colors. A rainbow of color flecks would surely glow. Probably, I could have experimented a little more, but I was stopped by an exceptionally busy week.

Do you use words like "her heart glowed" in your writing? Is that pushing the descriptive image a little too far?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"F" is for Fragile Heart. #atozblogchallenge

"Fragile Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"F" is for Fragile Heart, my post for today's A to Z Blog Challenge.

Whether we want to admit it, all of us from time to time have a fragile heart. We are hurt by something someone says or does. We are unhappy about a perceived lack, real or unreal. The list goes on.

I would love to show a heart of china, but that would take artistic abilities and patience beyond me. A pale blue-green acrylic paint represents fragility.

Do you have a fragile heart? Do you know someone who does?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"E" is for Expanding Heart #atozchallenge

"Expanding Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"E" is for Expanding Heart in today's A to Z Blog Challenge. Every mother knows how her heart expands with the birth of a child. She has love she never expected, and her heart grows to include that love.

A to Z ChallengeHow do you demonstrate a heart of expanding love? There are many ways, I suspect, and all of them might work as an artistic statement. This is my version--one of my thoughts on the expanding heart. This is acrylic and is part of the "Hearts" project on the 24" x 48" stretched canvas. Please see what you think.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"D" is for Dramatic Heart #atozchallenge

"Dramatic Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"D" is for Dramatic Heart in the A to Z Blog Challenge. This heart is quite different from my earlier ones.

Probably, most people have encountered a "drama queen" - someone who always has a great crisis occurring in her life. Even the smallest detail can become a performance spectacle that is spelled out with theatrical flair.

That's what my dramatic heart is portraying. It represents a very different kind of heart, one that is more aloof and beyond all the others.

A to Z ChallengeDo you know a drama queen? How would you represent her with a heart?

Monday, April 4, 2016

"C" is for Chaotic Heart #atozchallenge

A to Z Challenge
"Chaotic Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"C" is for Chaotic Heart on day 3 of the A to Z Blog Challenge. As a writer and reader of romance, I know that the chaotic heart exists. This traumatic heart often confuses the heroine of books. Perhaps something happens in the story to cause her to believe the love of her life has found another love. Her heart is troubled and she faces chaos. It is a dark turn for story.
"From my sketchbook - pastels" ©Mary Montague Sikes

I have a sketchbook to help me plan the hearts for the 24" x 48" painting I am working on during the A to Z Challenge. This is page one of the pastel sketches that I am using very loosely for the little paintings on the canvas. Today's painting did not turn out quite as planned. I had already created a strong under-texture for my heart, and painting small symbols and designs over this base did not seem quite right. Having little working drawings is a big help though no matter how far I might depart from them. This is fun, and the big painting is developing.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

"B" is for Broken Heart #atozchallenge

Broken Heart ©Mary Montague Sikes
"B" is for Broken Heart in day two of the A to Z Blog Challenge. In romance writing, there are many broken hearts, and the pain is great.

Painting so many images on one large canvas is going to be a real challenge, but it's fun to try it. Last year, I created 19 new paintings during the Challenge. They were for an art show created by Farrah, the heroine of my novel, Evening of the Dragonfly. Creating many new paintings was probably less of a challenge because each one stood on its own. Painting 26 individual heart paintings on the same large canvas is definitely harder. The reason for that is I don't want all the colors to be too similar. That would be boring. However, in the end, this painting might not work the way I hope it will because of all the diversity. We'll see.

I love painting hearts, so there will be something different to view everyday. So far, I'm using acrylic paint with surface texture created with regular gel medium. For some sections of the painting, I might use some found objects and other collage materials.

A to Z ChallengeWe will see what happens. "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air" is and will remain a work in progress.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"A" is for Aching Heart #atozchallenge

Aching Heart ©Mary Montague Sikes
"A" is for Aching Heart. As a writer of romance novels, I find nothing more important than the human heart and what it symbolizes in our lives. Trials of the heart are a big part of country western music, and who can ever forget the heart images found in art?

When I decided to create a heart art painting for this year's "A to Z Blog Challenge", I selected a 24" x 48" canvas for the project. I also pulled out a large art pad and planned the art hearts for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Today's heart, painted with acrylics on canvas, is the first of those creations for "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air". I'm excited and looking forward to a big new painting different from anything I've done before to be finished in my studio at the end of April.

I apologize to visitors who were expecting travel blog posts here. The call to create art was far too strong, and I could not resist it.

A to Z Challenge