Friday, September 18, 2009

Daily Paintings

I am struggling with my daily routine. I have always gotten up early to steal a few hours for myself. Even as a teenager. I love my prayer time, then exercise or take a walk, then do a painting........ But lately I choose to sleep! It is a good relaxed, stress free sleep too. Never have enjoyed it before. I tell myself "I am just a peace," and "it is good to rest," but I wonder if it isn't just laziness too.

So I am trying to only sleep in for an hour or so, and still get up at least an hour early, but that hasn't been working, I just don't want to get up! Then I never get the chance to have my quite time and I get grumpy through the day.

I think what I miss the most is my Daily Paintings. They are suffering! I am not doing the quality or amount of work I did so regularly. But I am doing commissions, which I love! If I post my work consistently at, I gain such a great following, and when I don't post often, then I lose many of those who had been following my progress.

I love all the new features at DP too. ( You can change the preferences to a mosaic layout, which enlarges many of the smaller paintings. You can also change the background to black or white.

So I have to get myself back into shape and see where it takes me. No promises, but I do think I am more aware of it all, so some changes are certainly on the way!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Not too long ago, I was struggling with the economy, like everybody. Art sales were slow, and art classes not filling up. I was thinking about going back to work at the public schools, at least subbing until a teaching position opened up.....

But Robert doesn't want me too go back to work, and I really feel like I am suppose to stick with selling my paintings on-line. So I prayed and asked the Lord to send the right people my way, to bless my paintings and help me learn to market and sell things better.

As I prayed I felt like God was asking me to not sell certain paintings. (Like my little angel paintings.) Then, when I started to put a few paintings on ebay at lower prices, I felt it strongly in my spirit that that was not the way to go. So I prayed again and asked God to help me understand, because it made no sense to me. It seemed like His leading was not a very good strategy at all!

"Lord Jesus, I really need to make some money if I am going to be able to pay my bills and order art supplies!" was my cry, but who am I to question the Almighty? So I was obedient to how I felt He was leading me. On some of my paintings I wrote "contact me for availability" instead of the normal price with a "Buy Now" button.

The very next day, after changing some of my sales to 'Not for sale', or 'contact me for availability' I had an inquiry about an angel painting. Normally I would have sold a small one for a hundred dollars, and that would have been the end of it. But once again I felt like God said "that painting is for me, I don't want you to sell it!" I was thrilled that my Father in heaven likes my paintings, and I was beginning to understand that they have great value to Him. I responded to my new client in a way that I never had before. I simply told him that I would love to paint a similar painting for him in a different size!

This lead to several new commissioned paintings. Now I get new inquiries almost every day! I have never been this busy! I love being able to stay home and work in my studio, and I love my job! What a great blessing!

I am working on 3 to 4 paintings at a time, working on one while another one dries. I also have some large works that have been ordered. I just keep thinking that I could have missed the whole thing! I would be selling a few small ones for very little, in hopes of getting people to see the more expensive pieces -- paying more fees to try to make a few sales...... I also would have sold the little angel painting, and that would have been the end of it.

I am so thankful, and so amazed at Father God's grace and goodness. Who am I that He would hear my prayers? Even in our selfishness and complaining, He still loves us and helps us!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Positive feedback from satisfied customers

Dear Fawn,
I'm writing to let you know that "Endless Song Too" arrived today and in great condition. I'm very pleased and it's everything you said it would be like.

I'm very excited about this next painting too.
Take care,

I got the painting and it is beautiful! Thank you so much.
Rob Allen

Thanks so much for the beautiful painting!!!!! It arrived last Saturday safely and without problems.

Hi, Fawn:
I just want to let you know that your paintings arrived in perfect condition and that I'm delighted with them, as usual!

Thank you so much!

Hi Fawn!
We had a beautiful Christmas and trust you did too. I had the lavender paintings framed with double matting, dark purple closest to the paintings, and light lavender for the dominant mat, with a bold rich rounded cherry/mohogany frame. I had them framed together as a themed piece. It sits against our Dove Gray walls beautifully. My hubby was surprised and thrilled and that makes me very happy.
Happiest of New Years to you and your family. May The Lord continue to have mercy on us all.......God bless you,

Hi Fawn!
Just a note to let you know the painting arrived today and it is absulutely stunning!!! The colors are fabulous! We will treasure this painting forever!
Take care, keep in touch, have a wonderful holiday season!!

Hi Fawn,
I received the painting a few days ago and had it framed already. It is BEAUTIFUL and I am so excited to give it to my husband. In fact, it has become difficult not to give it to him early. The oranges look so natural in the painting, like they were always there.
Thank you again for doing the touch-ups and for shipping so very quickly. I will definitely keep your work in mind for future gifts and pieces for our home!


Hi Fawn,
I got the painting today and it is just as lovely as I knew it would be. You really do potential buyers a favor by offering nice high-resolution images of thepaintings on your site!
I will definitely keep an eyeon your site. Thanks for sending the painting so quickly, and have a great summer down there in Florida!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Grace happens too

So my sister has been upset with me, my car is not running, and my days are filled with painting porches and signs instead of my daily paintings to post for sale.......

I got kind of down for a few days, and then my kids kind of disappointed me. So I am planning nothing for mothers day, and I guess I was feeling unloved. Robert let it get to him too, my downward swing. I felt bad about that because he has been doing so well now.

So today I began to thank my Father God for all the good things and started feeling better. Then I asked Him to help us get through this rough financial time, to have the money to fix the car, and finish some of the major projects around the house. This evening I got over $500.00 in the mail, for art related endeavors, and will be able to get my car up and going again!

I took the time to finish a couple of paintings too, and now I am looking forward to what good things are on the way next!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life is good

Nothing like walking through death valley for months to make you see how wonderful things really are. Every little thing is a big thing now. A smile, a walk for only half the distance you thought you could go, but we got out and walked! Or a message on your phone from a voice of someone you love. The voice of someone who couldn't even use the phone.

Robert is full of wonder and everything is something to talk about. He says, "what has gotten into me? I just keep rambling on. I say, "please keep rambling!" After months of silence, now I hear every word and understand the deeper meaning behind it all. He is just so expressive now! Everything is beautiful to him, everything is funny, everything is appreciated so deeply. He feels so intensely, hurt as well as pleasure. Hot and cold too. Used to, he was not affected by very much.

It all amazes me. Like reliving when we first met, and the world was such a happy place. I know, it will get old and it will fade, most likely, but I am enjoying every minute of this part of our recovery!!!!!

We have had a cold, a cough all night kind of cold. We have never been sick at the same time before, and we have never had a cold that we didn't just shake off. This cold is really tough to get rid of. More than a week now, and Robert holds his head and hollers when he coughs. He says it feels like he is blowing the top of his head off! I can't imagine how much it must hurt to sneeze or cough with a shunt in your head. My head hurts these days, especially after a coughing spell. I wish I could take it from him.

But in spite of all that he is still in a good frame of mind, still not back to depression and heartache. I pray that is gone for good!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Freezing in Florida!

Yesterday morning I looked out my kitchen window, and to my surprise there were 4 men in a small boat huddled up with fishing poles in hand on the canal. It was 30 degrees out! I got my binoculars to see what kind of brains it took to go out at sunrise in freezing weather! These guys had on big heavy coats, winter hats, gloves, leg warmers . . . I laughed. I thought " it must be pretty bad at home or these guys have no common sense at all." The fish live out there all day, you do not have to go early in the morning to catch them. We catch them at noon, or late in the afternoon . . . These poor guys, 4 of them, not one or two as you might commonly see, 4 freezing guys hunched over with coffee thermoses and fishing poles (and no room to move around), sat out there in one spot for five hours! Most fishermen keep moving, they go up and down the sides of the canal and keep finding new places to catch fish. I never saw them pull up anything! Every time I looked out the window I just laughed again. You know they went home to tell a miserable tale!

We have had cold spells, once it even got in the lower twenties, ice and all! It was Christmas eve and Christmas day and everyone hoped for snow. The power company had to shut down every hour for 20 minutes or so to keep up with the demand for heat. That was back in 1989!

This past October, yes I said October, we had the first round of frost warnings, and again in November, for most of the month off and on it was in the forties most mornings. Sometimes the thirties. The week before Thanksgiving we had frost and freeze warnings again. It warmed up some for Christmas and New Years, This past week it has been in the forties most mornings. Now it is very cold, upper twenties this morning, thirty degrees yesterday morning and tomorrow it is to be in the upper thirties! For Florida this is just way colder for way longer than usual.

Not complaining, just wondering what happened to the global warming I keep hearing about???!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Painting Violets, step by step

Prime a small piece of hardboard, at least two coats then sand lightly with fine sandpaper. Or use a primed canvas and sand it lightly with fine sand paper to make it smooth. Take pictures at different angles of the flowers you want to paint.

The sun was coming through the window on these violets in my kitchen. It made vibrant colors and strong shadows, so I thought it would make a nice painting. I put the image on my computer, zoomed it in and cropped it to this format.

Draw some rough thumbnails on scrap paper to get compositon ideas. I placed the flowers a little off center for a stronger composition. The photos had the flowers too centered which makes the painting less interesting in most cases.

I am using acrylic paints.

(Click on the images to see a close up)

Step 1: Rough in basic shapes with a medium to large flat brush. Use water to make the paint thin and easy to apply.

Step 2: Decide on a background. The photo was pale orange and white and the leaves did not show up well, so I went with blue. I also strengthened some of the colors in the leaves.

Step 3: Make corrections. I changed one of the leaves in the background and put some base color on the violets. I used redviolet, purple and ultramarine blue with white to get varying shades of colors.

Step 4: Lay in thick paint. I used thick amounts of color, first in the back ground, then on the leaves.

Step 5: Add details. I start using a small brush when I add details, but I am still using thick paint.
My attention here is on the violets. I want them to stand out the most and be the focal point.
Hint: Take a break when you think you're done, look at some other things and come back with a fresh eye. Turn the painting upside down, or look at it in a mirror to see the overall color balance.
Almost finished, but I need to fix the leaves on the right and the one just below the bottom flower. I also want to finish up the flowers with more details. After the corrections are made, I use a very small brush to add a few extra details and sign my name.
I put important information on the back (copyright, full name, date, medium used, etc . . . ) and keep the front with a small signiture using a color that goes with the painting.

Here is the finished painting:

6 x 6 inches
Acrylic on hardboard
By Fawn McNeill Barr

Click here for more painting tips!  Happy painting!

Doctor's report

Robert had a good series of scans, the shunt is working and the headaches are easing off. The Doctor told him he could wait until he is fully recovered to begin any radiation therapy or radio surgery. The tumor in his inner ear is very small and non-cancerous, and is growing very slowly.
In the meantime he is trying to get his strength back and keep food down. He has lost more than 13 pounds the last three weeks, because the headaches make him nauseous.

The shunt was put in November 21st, 2008. It has a valve that regulates the pressure in his brain. If the ventricles in the brain swell to much the valve opens and the excess fluids drain through a small tube that runs under the skin from the top of his head down into his abdomen, where his body absorbs the fluid. The valve makes a bulge under his skin on his head, and the tube runs through a small hole they drilled in his skull and through his brain into the ventricles.

It is all very amazing to me!

The ventricles usually drain fluids away through small channels in the back of the head. The tumor in his inner ear is close to this area and next to the brain. It can cause swelling that shuts of the normal draining process. This causes the ventricles to fill with excess fluids and the brain swells too. It shuts down the nervous system.

In the week before the surgery, Robert lost the use of his legs, his bodily functions, and his ability to communicate. I thought the brain damage would be permanent, and I am so glad I was wrong! He is making a full recovery! He does have tremors in his hands, which started about a year ago, but were very mild. now they are much more prevalent. No one seems to know why.

Some headaches are expected from the shunt surgery, (after all they drilled a hole in his head!) but these usually don't last so long and get better not worse. The other factor is that when they do surgery they tip your head way back and put a tube down your throat. Robert has an old injury to his neck that is really hurting now, and the headaches run up from the back of his head to the shunt area, then spread out.

The Doctor said they will probably come and go, but they should get better now, And his chiropractor has been helping with the neck injury.

On top of all this Robert has had shingles since September! I have never seen a more miserable thing happen to a person. After the blisters go away the nerves inside his body get easily agitated and he said he feels like someone has hooked him up to an electrical current. If I hit a bump in the car and don't slow way down, he grabs his chest and moans.

So I keep asking God, how much can one person bear? Why does he have to suffer so much? Well, my mother sent this book to me, called "The Shack," and there it is!!!! The answers to so many questions. It opened up my mind to new ideas and new understandings. I thought maybe Robert was so hard headed and so stubborn, that God had to let all these things happen to teach him a lesson. I am sure he will be forever changed and learn many things from all this, but my understanding now is that our own choices, our own independence that we value and declare to God so often (that we can do things on our own) can cause us to reap the painful consequences.

I have truly been challenged to the very core of my faith. I am selfish and demanding, and very impatient. I am so wrong to think that God wants us to suffer. Father God is faithful in spite of it all. He may answer "No" sometimes, and even worse, "wait." Yet so many times he does answer "yes" too!!!!