Rescuing The Failed Work

Sometimes you create a thing, and the thing is DECIDEDLY WRONG.

And sometimes you can SEE RIGHT THERE what is wrong.

Sometimes you can fix it. And sometimes you cannot.

I have paintings that have a flaw, that I cannot fix. I have the SKILL to fix it, and I have the knowledge of what is wrong.

But when you finish a painting, and clean up the paints, it is often really scary to go back again to correct something. It is HARD to get the paints mixed right, and if they are wrong, the correction might just be WORSE than the flaw you are trying to correct.

More times than I can recall, I have chosen NOT to repair a flaw, because the risk that I will completely destroy the painting is so great I just can’t make myself do it.

Sometimes though, it can be done. It isn’t always worth it with a really bad flop, but often it is.

Corrections, it seems, are full of “sometimes”.

I spend part of yesterday correcting two paintings. One had glitter glue that ran into the wrong area, so I had to paint over it, and then re-glitter it. Easy enough if I can match the paints and the glue, and I could, well enough.

The other required some creative modifications. It is BETTER, but not sufficient. I shall have to correct it again. This one also has glitter. So I need to paint, and then glitter. If I can get the color right.

One more waits, and it is a major undertaking. Matching the colors is only part of the equation, and I could entirely ruin it by trying. But it is not a work that has value as it is, so correcting it is the only thing I can do. The risk MUST be taken.

Meanwhile two half-finished paintings with oceans in the middle, and seashell framing are waiting to be finished. So I struggle to balance the time. Correct the old, or finish the new?

And how can I just do both?


This painting just did not make much sense, because you cannot see the outline of the flower well enough to differentiate it from the background. I feared touching it up, because I was afraid I could not match the colors.


Gave it a try anyway, and failed utterly to match the warm reddish tones of the original colors. The color I used is a bit too orange. Fears realized. Not sure if the painting is better, or worse. But you CAN see that it is a flower, even at some distance. The color difference otherwise, between the two, is just camera color issues.

A Love Affair With Seashells

I’ve always loved seashells. You never find them, you know, you always have to BUY them. So I did. But only a few, it is all I could afford. A few trips to the beach where I gathered some sand dollars, and some fond memories of a close friend, and my husband and small children.

They were one of those things that were lost in the Great Disaster, and it is only now I can restore anything, and what I have now is NOT what I had then.

I’ve NEVER been interested in seashell crafts. But painting them seemed an option, and that lead to Shell Paintings where you paint everything but the shells, and you glue those on. I gave it a try.


I wasn’t unhappy with it. So I tried again. This time painting ON the shell.


Next, I did a painting with a wreath. It took me three days to paint the shells, paint the painting, and then glue it all together.


Various other shell items, such as painting on oystershell, followed. Then I learned to make Magnolia blossoms, Rose blossoms, and Water Lily blossoms from seashells. I kinda like the look! And instead of selling them as individual crafts, I wanted to put them into a painting.

The first effort is finished, Magnolias with an impressionistic background.


This one is a set of three paintings, very small. Because the shells were small, and the blossoms ended up small.

I still have quite a few things lined up, and more to learn. My love of seashells has taken a new turn though, and I only have one rule – I combine it with painting, and not just painting the shells. I have some exceptions, because some shells, it is all you can do with them.

About the only way I can get the shells is in mixed lots, and you get what you get. You know you may get a lot of a particular type, but the big ones are always a gamble. You just have to work with what you get, and learn to USE the shells one way or another.

So the output is somewhat irregular. But it is a lot of fun.

My entire production is available for sale, on

Knock It Off With The Sales Tax Fraud

You know, Amazon is NOT required to collect sales tax on all sales. They aren’t. They run a Mall, with multiple vendors, who come from all over. THOSE vendors are responsible for the sales tax, and Amazon isn’t even legally responsible to give them an interface where they can collect it.

So when I shop at Amazon, I am defrauded if the ACTUAL SELLER is not located in Utah (where I live). Because Amazon does not have outlets here. And the Seller (who is either Amazon, NOT HERE, or another seller, RARELY HERE) is almost NEVER required to pay sales tax on MY purchase (pass through tax, remember?).

So when I order from Amazon, I am being defrauded 99% of the time.

It is now much worse than that. charges me sales tax. For a business in another state. They tell me they are required to do so. They are lying.

The Commerce clause in the Constitution PREVENTS one state from collecting sales tax on sales outside their own state. Internet sales are judged by the Supreme court as having taken place in the ORIGINATING STATE for the seller, not the buyer.

No sales tax due. Not ever. But SO MANY businesses are doing this.

In fact, if you charge sales tax on all sales on your website, you are committing Treason. Yeah. Legal definition is broader than just trying to bring down the government. If you violate the Constitutional rights of people on a large scale, it is Treason.

What we find though, is that NO STATE tells people they have to do that. When sellers charge sales tax on out of state sales, it is ALWAYS fraud. They pocket it, and smile.

And you pay a dishonest merchant to commit Treason.

Sadly, some of my favorite vendors are falling prey to this.

It is also a favorite scam within corporations. Someone sets it up. Someone OTHER than the corporation collects the money, siphons off the excess sales tax. But make no mistake, THAT corporation is still on the hook legally, because the fraudulent funds are being paid TO THEM.

Yeah. I’m ranting. But it’s still a major problem, and my legal info here is still true.

No, I’m not a lawyer. If you don’t like what I said, go hire someone. Go study the Constitution yourself.

Incidental Details

Raising kids can be an unpredictable adventure. Now they are gone, I have time to muse over some of the things that occurred, and to figure out just what went wrong.

Betsy broke her hand. She and Adriene had asked to go to the Library, and had permission to walk the four blocks down and back, together. Of course, they did not interpret it that way. They figured they had permission to GO.

And I would not have minded if they had taken their bikes and gone. What they did NOT say was pretty important that day.

They did NOT say, “Hey Mom! Can we tie one of those little bitty scooters with the tiny wheels to the back of Adriene’s bike so she can ride and I can go fast enough to keep up while we book down that gravel road to the library?”.

Trust me, I WOULD have said NO!

But smart kids that they are, they learned NOT to do that, and it only cost a trip to the ER, and a trip to the Bone and Joint clinic, and six weeks in a cast, for them to learn it. For Betsy that is. Adriene just felt ALL THE GUILT!

If they had only just TOLD ME.

That Gamey Smell

He called about half an hour before Kevin got home. Better than half a deer. Skinned and hung. Did we want it?

Of course.

But wild game is never convenient. You take it when it comes in. Even at midnight (no exaggeration, it has happened!), even when you are enjoying company. Because that is the only way you get it!

Kevin worked half the day (his usual day off), and when he came home he was tired. But after lunch, we went and loaded up the deer. The front half with one backstrap missing, and one back quarter. Tossed onto a sheet of clear plastic in the back of the van. Halfway home the smell of it has come to the front of the car, and we know there’s a deer back there. Not strong. But definitely wild.

Into the house, and onto the floor, on that same sheet of clear plastic. We cut it up on a low card table, with Kevin sawing up the carcass and boning out the meat, me trimming and cutting. This time we just boned it out, chunked it (plus some steaks), bagged it, and put it into the freezer.  We’ll thaw it and chunk it to can or grind into burger when time is more flexible.

Six small backstrap steaks went into the fridge, to cook an hour later. I go back to working on the computer. My hands smell of deer, even after washing up. Not strongly, but enough that I notice.

Dinner is fettucini noodles and deer steaks. Fried in butter, with Real Salt Seasoning Salt.

Just a little chewier than I prefer, but not gamey at all. Tasty. Meaty.

That smell. In the car. In the house. On my hands.

More than just one meal. Thirty odd pounds of meat, which will save us the cost and trouble of shopping for beef, for a few months. Gratitude seems an inadequate word for our appreciation.

That smell, and the backache that always goes with processing an animal.

It is worth it.

The Prisms Of My Perceptions

I did a “painting” today. It was Oil Pastel, so it isn’t exactly a drawing, it is more of a painting.

I copied it from the work of another artist. His painting was rough, but elegant. It had subtle colors throughout, and I wanted to intensify that effect some.

I certainly did that. Because Oil Pastels have the colors they have. You don’t get to mix custom colors. You can blend them, and overlay them, and come up with something similar, but they are just the colors they are, for the most part. I have three sets, to make sure I have “all the colors” I am most likely to need. More than 80 of them. You’d think that I’d have a periwinkle blue, and a burgundy in there, right?

So I painted. And it came out so different than his. The media is part of that, because his palette knife oil painting WOULD just be different than something done in Oil Pastel. But it was SOOOO different.

I am made to ponder. Why is it that I sit down to paint a thing I’ve already studied, and I’ve already worked out how to do it, to get a similar result, but when I finish, it is NOTHING LIKE the thing I started to create!

The brushstrokes are smaller… Or larger. The colors refuse to cooperate. They want to be something OTHER than the colors the other artist used. The paper curls, the canvas pulls at the brush, or the crayons are hard and refuse to blend (Oil Pastel is a crayon).

I am struggling with subtle colors. Mine are more garish, less elegant than the ones I admire. The colors of paints have changed, and they are now FAR harder to work with. The texture of the paint has also changed, and the brushes I used to use are now very hard to get. It just makes the process that much more difficult than it should be. I do remember having to LEARN to use these things… but I do not remember it being so HARD to get them to be something predictable.

But I think, even if they WERE the same as what I learned with years ago, I’d still struggle to get my mind and hands to create the thing I see in someone else’s work. I think the real challenge IS my hands, and my perception. It just filters their work and runs it through a rendering engine that makes it something other than what I envisioned. Or what THEY did!

I have had to learn to just WORK the painting until it becomes SOMETHING that looks good, whether it is as I intended or not. This time, that meant keeping on fussing with the water until it looked like water instead of a colorful ditch full of dirt.

This is named Meander. It is not as I intended. But I am coming to terms with what it IS. The name seems somehow appropriate for how it was created, as well as what it is.


Busy, Busy, Busy

I’ve been cranking out the artwork. It has been fun. Somewhat outrageous.

I made a decision to make what I am intrigued by. To paint what thrills me. To engage with what interests me.

The results have been somewhat surprising. Nothing EVER turns out like I planned. I am wrestling with colors, warring with shapes, and just agonizing over textures and brushstrokes that do not want to do what I need them to do.

Everything has changed. The brushes, the paint colors, the paint consistencies, the mediums entire performance.

I use a range of mediums and styles. If I love it enough, and think I CAN paint it, I do.

I paint in oil, acrylic, and watercolor, using many methods and techniques. I make paintings with oil pastel, chalk, colored pencil, and felt pen. I sketch. I do line and wash. I’m experimenting with several other methods.

Two recent works:

This is Dark Fall, and it is a textured oil painting. Unfortunately, the camera DESTROYED the coloring, and it does not show the texturing. But the overall image does show what I painted. Based on the works of another artist.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is Blossom Melodrama, and making WAS kind of a melodrama. I put in purple, and then hot pink, and then chose the closest lighter pink that I had that might work. It was a somewhat salmon pink. The thing colored in SCREAMING ORANGE! But I worked it anyway, it is a strangely cool flower. There is no purple in it anymore, the orange blended the purple to a near black. But the camera, once again destroyed the painting, and added in neon PURPLE.  This “painting” (they are all paintings, you know), has no white. It is all colored. The highlights are just lighter colors. It is a fun style to work, but painstaking, and very meticulous.


I’ll have more, as soon as I roll up my sleeves and load my palette. I have works in progress which I am motivated to finish, and works I just really want to do, all lined up ready to slather with paint or glue, or ink, or crayon.

You can find these works at:

No One Goes To Wyoming For The Changing Of The Leaves

I was taking my daughter to work in Laramie, driving her there in the morning, driving her home in the evening. One hour each way. Sixty full miles, because that is how Wyoming is.

We passed Rock River each day, and there is a creek with trees running down it. We had been in to Laramie on Sunday, I forget why, and the trees were GREEN, all the way to the top. This is somewhere about September, in Wyoming.

Monday morning, the tops of the trees are just starting to yellow. It was kind of cool, they were just pale greeny yellow. By evening, they were bright yellow.

Tuesday, the tops of the trees are starting to brown, and the upper half is all yellow.

Wednesday the bottoms are green, the mid section yellow, and the tops are fully brown.

Thursday, the tops are starting to shed, the upper middle is brown, the lower middle is yellow, and there is barely any green left at the bottom, and it is kinda yellowy. If you were to paint a picture of Autumn in Wyoming, this would be all the trees.

Friday morning the trees are just barely yellow at the bottom, and the top half of all of them is completely bare. By the time my daughter comes home from work, the trees are branches, and there are no leaves on them.

Five days, from yellow green tops, to fully bare.

There are no golds, there are no oranges, and there are no reds. Just greeny yellow, bright yellow, brown, and bare.

There are no avenues of golden aspens either. The aspens do the same thing. Corridors of trees that go from yellow tops, to bare, in just a few days.

No splendor. No grandeur. Just an unbelievably rapid decline and fall. You can almost hear the “Whump!” as the trees shed their leaves and they pile upon the ground.

No, no one goes to Wyoming for the changing of the leaves. Even if you could predict JUST the five days in which it will occur, it happens so fast it is anything but lovely.

The Face Of My Art

There’s a thing in painting and drawing. Sometimes there are “artifacts” in the work, that were unintended. Sometimes we use color artifacts to create effects, but the thing that distresses me is that with the shapes that occur in art, sometimes they add up to something.

It was an ocean scene. Nothing but water and one rock. When it finally resolved at 6 ft distance from it, into a sea-like order, I was pleased. When I saw a face in it a few days later, I was NOT PLEASED!

A gargoylish face. Once seen, it could not be UNSEEN. My enjoyment of the painting was gone. It has not returned.

Waves and water are famous for forming faces. Rocks do sometimes too.

I don’t mind the wailing ghost in another wave scene of mine. It is fairly benevolent.

But when I created a moody and turbulent waterfall, and stood back from it, there was such a face in it that I could not tolerate it! A monster with a twisted scornful scowl. And it consumed so much of the painting that I could no longer love the waterfall that contained it.

I dragged it out again a few days later and inflicted my own torment upon the beast. I tugged and teased at the mouth, and shadowed the nose, and blotted one eye. My efforts were not in vain, the scowl turned to a quirky grin. (It also appears from a certain angle, to have a hellacious booger hauling out of one nostril.) Sigh.

It was a really nice painting! I promise you, it was! Until it was possessed by a demon who refuses to leave.

I’ve also discovered a second face in it. In the rocks. Gorignac lurks amidst the cliffs.

I’ve seen such things in the works of other artists. I’ve grieved as a painting I loved turned to a thing I could not bear to look at. And here am I, bullied into their ranks by a monster I cannot banish from my painting.

I’ve got a few more paintings lined up to complete. None of them have faces in them. I’ll be praying that my brush does not uwittingly invite them. They are not welcome there!

This is the Painting, it is called Cascada, and you can find it at:


UPDATE: I sat down that very evening, to study out another waterfall, painted by another artist. Right there, in the middle, sat Rip Van Winkle. Scowling and creepy looking. Above him, a space man with glowing eyes perched on a cliff. A Shrieking Eel wove its way up beneath the Spaceman, and Cat Man Do grinned from the opposite cliff. Einstein hid next to  Cat Man Do, and Mr. Squeers lurked above them all. Uncle Tolberg howled from one side of the painting, and Rostafario peered from under his dreadlocks on the other side. Lippy the Puppy sort of merges with Wilford Brimley, and Wallace’s Friend and the Wispy Ghost decorate other spots in the painting. Falkor, a Neanderthal, the Woolly Bear, Jabba’s Cousin, and various other visages make their way out of the cliff faces every time you stop to study any area. There are several that are not distinct enough, or not unique enough to deserve mention. Just when you think you’ve caught them all, there’s Sammy, with a large glossy eye, a short curled nose, thick lips, and a full black beard. I’ve never seen a painting with so many facial artifacts in it, and especially when they are so identifiable as something familiar to us.

This is the original painting:


This is my rendition:

KODAK Digital Still Camera


I Am Author

I am Author, Laura Wheeler. Amazon says so.

I have been writing since the seventh grade. Pretty sad stuff, really, until I began writing instructional materials. And then nothing to send out to all the relatives, just stuff that I wanted my clients to know. Viral books to attract new clients.

Now, it is everything. I write about everything. It spills out of my fingers as though I were talking to someone across the room, trying to get it ALL out in an organized manner. Sometimes instructional. Sometimes fanciful. Sometimes poetic or lyrical. Sometimes just a story that I am compelled to write.

I am never that good. Not really. But I am Author. It is now such a large part of me that it cannot be suppressed, even when I feel my worst. Maybe BECAUSE sometimes I feel my worst.

So now I write THIS. And frankly, it is not because I am in a musing frame of mind. It is more mercenary than that. It is because I am publishing. ALL the writing. ALL the art.

And all this really is, is a puff piece to stand there holding up the sandwich board that says, “Book shop! Come in and browse!”.

Amazon has almost all of it. What they do not have, my bookstore does, at Firelight Heritage Farm. That’s Dot Com to you.

Exploit On eBay – Breaking News Today

eBay is experiencing user account blocks, where username for an account is non-functional. You are greeted with “Oops, that’s not a match.“. This is NOT eBay’s error message.

You cannot login, nor can you do anything about it, because you cannot get past the username, and there is NO forgot username function anywhere.

This is a lockout exploit.

If you have an eBay account, watch for anomalies, and be careful who you deal with, and the details you reveal in order to resolve the issue.

Creamed Peas A’La Mode

It does not mean Ice Cream, it means “Of the trend”.

I don’t know what made my mother make creamed peas with dinner, she was never that ambitious about the vegetables. Oh, some scalloped corn now and again (and not even any bacon in it), but veggies were usually straight out of the can.

But she did. We ate them. We were like that. All six of us kids, and Pa too.

Pa finished dinner and left the table, and there were just a few of us left at the table. I think just April, Ma, and I.

I moved around to the end where Pa sat, and Ma was on the other end. April was right next to Ma, there were three seats on each side of the table.

I’m not quite sure what preceded the incident, but April apparently had it coming, at least a little. I must have been in Jr. High somewhere, to have the nerve, I guess.

She annoyed me some, and I was in a good mood. Decided to take my chance.

Loaded the tip of my spoon with ONE PEA. A saucy one.

Fired that pea, catapult style, at April.

That pea had no sense of proper direction, and hit my mother right in the middle of her forehead, just above where her eyebrows considered meeting up. She sat there stunned as that pea stuck, and then slid slowly down her nose, right between her eyes, and then took the slope to one side of her nose.

She didn’t say a word, she just got up and left the table. I was never sure if she went to laugh herself to tears with my dad or not… She does insist that I was the one who ended up doing the dishes that night. But I suspect it was my night anyway, she wasn’t the type to let someone else off the chore roster to punish another.

I don’t know how I escaped the wrath of mother wronged, but somehow I did. I remember that as well as I remember that pea sliding down between her eyes, and my own sense of horror at the retribution that I KNEW absolutely MUST follow such a thing! Food fights in our dining room were SIMPLY NOT DONE! No one would DARE!

April got off Scot Free, and seemed to do a lot of smirking that evening. I never again attempted such a thing, I knew that if I did, Ma WOULD NOT HOLD BACK! The shock that held her helpless this time simply would not be THERE a second time.

I remember telling this story to my own children. I had no fear in doing so.

You see, I NEVER made creamed peas.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.