Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beach Bums and Wild Things

If you are looking for original drawings and handmade cards, check out my Etsy collection called Beach Bums and Wild Things. Cards may be personalized with special designs or messages upon request at this e-mail address:

If you like homemade, but you'd rather have someone else do the work, you'll love Etsy. Please check out my shop "AnfinsenArt" at

Making Plans

I don't know which is more fun, the excitement of making plans or the actual participation in an art show event. Our art league is abuzz with plans ranging from serving wine or margaritas to what we should wear as we scramble to put the finishing touches on paintings that will vie for people's attention and pocketbooks.

Trying to start a new league in a new location has been difficult. The turnover in artists has been significant. At last, we have enough cohesive members for the quantity and the quality necessary for an impressive show. Downtown Fort Myers will be awash in artists from all over the world, but we will blend in with the best of them and share our talents and our hearts with the community.

If you are nearby (Fort Myers, FL), please join us at Ponce d'Leon Plaza and Hendry (near Centennial Park) for Art Walk, February 5-6, and every Friday and Saturday throughout the month of February.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nature's Lessons

Nature is a good teacher. When a spider's web is torn down either through weather or malicious intent, the spider rebuilds. When an ant hill is crushed or flooded by rain, the ants work together to rebuild it, grain by grain, lifting more than twenty times their weight in the effort. Even after devastation by forest fire, nature starts over. Nature begins again.

Why do we humans expect any less? Of course tragedies happen, homes get destroyed, marriages crumble, but we are resilient; and like nature's creatures, we can start again.

Perhaps it's complacency on our part that lulls us into thinking that nothing bad can happen to us; or perhaps it's thinking we know it all, and that we deserve much more than we get that hinders our ability to plod along without complaint when the going gets tough.

My life changed drastically many years ago. I was floundering in a sea of contradiction and emotional confusion. If there was a way to rebuild the shambles of my life, I couldn't see it. Outwardly I kept things together, but inwardly I was drowning and gasping for relief.

And then it rained. It didn't just rain, it poured. The downpour flooded our lawn and filled the window wells. Our basement had recently been renovated and repaired so we were safe from ground leaks, but the basement windows were another matter. We scrambled outside and began bailing water from each and every window. Through the glass, our newly laid carpet seemed to mock our efforts.

Drenched to the bone, heaving bucket loads of water out as fast as it came pouring in, I was energized. I gave the crises every ounce of physical strength I could muster. At last I was dealing with an enemy I could see -- the rain, and I was fighting back. Even though it turned out to be a losing battle, I was exhilerated.

The carpet was lost, at least a major portion of it. And we had a major lawn excavation ahead of us, but I felt whole. If I could fight this battle and remain standing, then I could fight the unseen battles within. Like nature, I would stand my ground and begin again.

"Inez Ibis Flies Again" can now be ordered directly from the artist at  along with "Beach Bum" and "Wild Things" cards. Prints are also available upon request.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Doggie or Pet Portraits

Do you love your dog?  Why not capture his personalilty and appearance forever?  Doggie or pet portraits may be commissioned online by e-mailing the artist with 2-3 photo attachments of your pet and a description of your pet's personality and preferences. 

Select your preferred background, either a favorite pillow or toy, or the great outdoors as a backdrop. Choose portrait preference:  a sketch or drawing (less cost); or acrylic or oil canvas painting, and size of portrait, either 11x14 $199 +shipping; 12x16 $249 +shipping; or 16x20 $299 +shipping. Costs are approximate and negotiable.

Attach photos, description and preferences to artist's e-mail:

Battles within Battles without

I moved to Florida to avoid cold weather as did many others. A few nights ago we had the coldest night on record, and our power was out for almost four hours. This would have been a piece of cake when we lived up north; but now that our blood has thinned, we felt that cold like a knife.

Sitting by candlelight wrapped in blankets does have its advantages. If nothing else, it helps put your life into perspective. You think about and pray for those who are less fortunate, for those who experience cold and hunger on a regular basis; and then gratitude sets in to warm your heart like a furnace.

Let's face it, life is hard; some of the time if we're lucky, and most of the time if we're not. The one thing we can change is how we perceive it. When we try to face our problems head on, and tackle them all at once, they can overwhelm us. They can beat us down in a minute. But if we tackle "one crises" at a time, we eventually "see the light at the end of the tunnel."

The first house I owned after I left home had a cement floor with tile on top. In the winter that floor was freezing cold. The kitchen and hallway had black and white squares that were so yellowed with age and wax build up I was afraid we'd have to tear it up. Instead, I decided to scrape the yellowed wax off which turned out to be a daunting task.

I used a razor blade, and hand scraped each tile in the 12 x 16 kitchen and extended hallway. Overwhelmed can't describe how I felt. I decided not to worry about how long it took or when it might be finished, and focus on the task at hand. I set a goal of scraping four tiles a day -- that was about one square foot. On good days, I tackled more. Using that simple formula, I completed the kitchen and hallway in just a few months.

That lesson has always stayed with me. When you tackle one crises at a time and you focus on a goal, a blank canvas doesn't seem so daunting. A child's wedding or a community program for which you are responsible doesn't have to overwhelm you. One day, one hour, one moment, one piece, one square or four; the work gets done, not just talked about, and a nasty habit or addiction is overcome.

Find out how the real Inez Ibis (photo above) overcame her difficulties.  Ebook at or for Picture Book

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ibis Fortitude and Announcement

A white Ibis with a crippled right leg lives in our neighborhood. She hops about on her good leg and drags her useless limb behind her. Like all Ibis, she pokes at the ground with her long curved bill foraging for food. Her bill is extremely sensitive to movement as she zeroes in on snails, lizards, crayfish and frogs.

Sometimes a flock of Ibis join her and they move from one lawn to another. She struggles to keep up. She watches the other ibis fearlessly cross the street while she waits, unsure. She seems on the brink of crossing. She hops out a few inches, hesitates, but then returns to the safety of the grass. I suspect an inconsiderate motorist is the reason for her fear and for the crippled leg.

One day I saw her fly away with a colony of Ibis. I couldn’t see her among the flutter of wings. Up there, she soared like any other ibis – glistening white against a cloudless blue sky. I thought I’d never see her again, but in a few days she came back.

For almost six years she has returned to the same place by the side street. Perhaps she comes to mourn the loss of a mate since ibis are sometimes monogamous, or perhaps to mourn the loss of her leg. I worry about her. I wonder about her pain. Could I catch her? Could I help her? Could the leg be repaired?

My concern turns to relief when I see her foraging with another Ibis that has stayed behind. They move as one over the grass. When her newfound friend flies to a nearby pond, she joins him, flying with grace and precision. Together they probe the muddy bank with their long red bills searching for food.

Watching them together, I feel relief. Perhaps she has found her prince charming -- the one who accepts and overlooks flaws. Perhaps they will mate and produce perfect young; sharing parenting responsibilities together, her small imperfection only an inconvenience in the greater scheme of life.

For a picture of the “real Inez,” and a picture book titled: “Inez Ibis Flies Again©, The story of a courageous ibis who never gave up;” go to these links:
Ebook at
Hard copy for sale at 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Window" -- Oval

This painting is another version of my earlier
"Window on Pine Island," except I painted it on an oval canvas. I like the up close details on this painting, but find ovals difficult to paint and hang.

Pine Island is a lovely, almost primitive part of Southwest Florida that is getting built up and populated all too quickly. I hope they keep parts of Pine Island in their natural state. There are several farms in the area, and a wonderful nursery that specializes in Japaneze art and bonsai.

Painting is an oval 16x20 canvas done in oils; $199 plus shipping through January; Giclees, prints, or cards are available at:

Creativity -- Where and How?

A question I'm often asked is "where do you get your Ideas?" Mine come from many places, but most come from inside my mind and heart when inspired by a "trigger:" a response to someone, somewhere, or something (an object, surroundings, a memory).

To put it another way, ideas can come from anything, anytime, anywhere. The secret is awareness. I try to be on the lookout always for something that will click inside my head or my heart that has substance and the potential for growth. A springboard, if you will.

My best ideas come when my hands are busy and my mind is left to wander. I try to keep a notebook in my purse, in my car, in my bedside table so I can jot down those fleeting ideas before they "get away." When people still ironed clothes, my best ideas came while pushing out wrinkles; a snippet of dialogue, a visual, a conflict. My family worried that I was in a stupor or disconnected from them, but I was really in the realm of imagination solving problems, creating dialogue, visualizing scenes for the corporations and photographers I worked with.

I know that If you wait for big ideas to come to you, they won't. Go after them by living your life, keeping busy, and staying alert. If you go on "auto pilot" for awhile, and people think you're crazy, tell them you're out chasing rainbows or that next big idea.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Skudeneshavn Norway

This special painting was commissioned. I understand the city of Skudeneshavn is approached by boat via the bay.  I only had a photo to work from and can only imagine how beautiful this place really is. My husband is Norwegian and still has relatives living there. I hope to see Skudenshavn one day and to record the beauty of that very special city where his grandparents lived and were married.

Painting is a 16x20 oil on canvas; SOLD; Giclees, prints, or cards are available at:

Human nature or stupidity?

The new year is a good time to
re-evaluate who we are and where we're going, but sometimes the process elicits more questions than answers.

For instance, why do we worry about the environment:  is it getting warmer, is it too cold, are the polar bears starving, are the oceans rising, is the air clean enough? And then we use our bodies as a garbage dump for every toxic element we can shove down our collective throats (or veins) in the name of fun, stress, popularity, intoxication or thrill seeking without regard to how it poisons and pollutes our internal environment.

Why do we blame society, the government, or the world when politicians (or sports idols) are caught cheating and crime gets a little too close to home? Don't we sometimes lie just a little, or speed when we think we can, or take a few pencils and papers home from the office, or delve into taboo behavior when no one is looking?

Why do we keep insisting that a little infidelity, a little pornography, a few indiscretions can't hurt, and then we're surprised when a friend or a neighbor suddenly goes berserk and shoots someone, hurts someone, or rapes someone? Remember the adage "what goes in, must go out?" What we put into our bodies or our minds will, whether we like it or not, effect a result.

Like a woodpecker pounding away at a tree, if we do it long enough, often enough, and hard enough eventually we'll get a hole. Bad habits and wrong actions have that same effect. They keep on Chipping away at us, weakening our resolve and our willpower until we lose all sense of who we are or what is happening to us.

It isn't the environment, or "global warming," or "climate change" that needs our attention. It's the "heart of darkness" that lurks within each of us. Input equals output. In the coming year, let's use balance, moderation, and common sense to change the world, the environment, the government, and our own health and well being.