Friday, May 25, 2012

GIVEAWAY ~ Mary Jane Q Cross ~

Today I bring you a giveaway from Mary Jane Q Cross.

Mary Jane is not only a talented artist, but a wonderful friend of mine. Growing up in rural New Hampshire, Mary Jane lived nearby and was a mentor to me and has placed many good memories in my life. Her prints grace my home and many of my guests cannot believe that they are the product of fingerpainting. In Mary Jane's own words:

I am a painter of beautiful women, not just on the outside but the beauty of who we are as women in our spirit as well. It is not a surface and cheap beauty but one of depth, respect and elegance, I am still, as an artist, painting the woman I long to grow into.

You can find Mary Jane online at: (landscapes)

Beloved Hope ~

Missy: How long have you been painting?
Mary Jane: How long I have been an artist is fun because I have known I was a creative personality since a very young child (I loved finger painting at 6 years of age). Even though I did not know the word artist was attached to it until I was around 11, at age 8 I did know I was drawn to beauty in so many areas. I also knew to have beauty around me, I would likely have to make it. I am happily still doing so.

Missy: What are you most excited about right now? 
Mary Jane: Right now as of 2011 in July I have had the honor of being designated an Associate Living Master by The Art Renewal Center, the largest online museum in the world. With 6 to 7000 of the past dead masters represented there were only 65 designated living Master’s as of July. Of this 65 only 9 of us were women. This site has 20 million visitors every 4 to 6 weeks. The Renaissance of the Classical Realism movement is gaining rapidly. I have seen it coming and waiting for it while I have worked quietly against the tide of expressionism and modernity, to finally see what I had longed to create in paintings as a young girl. I am excited about having an appreciative audience in the ARC for the Allegorical, and Biblical subjects so wonderfully received. It is my great honor to be a part of this respectful group. (Mary Jane's Gallery Page)

~ Tranquil Companion ~ 

Missy: What is a rewarding part of your work?
Mary Jane: Story telling in paint is a natural for me and having something worth while to say as an artist, in artwork that will hopefully be around for 200 years, that is applicable emotionally and spiritually to today and not just gratuitous beauty, is a particularly rewarding part of my work. It has been building steadily for nearly 40 years.

Missy: Where has your work been exhibited? 
Mary Jane: My work has been exhibited in the Oil Painters of America International Competitions winning awards in Allied Artists of America, Academic Artists, and the American Artists Professional League. Recently it has been recognized in the 2011 ARC Salon Exhibition. My work is also accompanied by Poetry that God has graced me with. My book, "Poems of a Painter, Paintings of a Prayer," is in it’s second printing. Most of the poems are prayers. Below is the painting Breath of Heaven with it's accompanying poem.

Breath Of Heaven

A soft warm current, that I may touch
Air on my skin is speaking much
A small wind, a sacrament, Thy Breath bestows
Rippling through fingers, my hand doth close

Holding fast in a moment of knowing
Invites me through, to where I am going
This draft, a benediction, to receive thy favor
This moment, this morning, my soul doth savor

My guided path You gently lay down
Wind swirling this day, to turn me around
Your Presence in the top, of the balsam trees
Divine’s the trail, as I sink to my knees

Showing me always to where You are
I know I am small, and the journey far
But You draw us this life, to walk, to say
Igniting, awakening, tracking the way

Thy Spirit, Thy sacrament at our fingertips
Ear to Heaven, Thy Name on our lips
The homing beacon You sow in Your own
On the Breath of breeze, winging us home

Mary Jane Q Cross, Copyright 2010

Missy: What has been challenging in your work? 
Mary Jane: The detours along the way have had a way of refining my own spirit and talents in ways I never could have foreseen. I took a popular medication for only 19 days in 1993. The side affect was a pronounced and permanent right sided tremor, leaving me with difficulty with motor skills and the ability to continue my art work with brushes.  It took 5 ½ years to relearn skills to use tools and then to paint with my fingers. So all of the art work you see is 95 to 98% fingerpainting. The 2 to 5% that is with a brush is with prosthetic devices that I have invented.  My work is different in that before it was classical and perhaps a bit academic and cold. Now it is much more filled with pathos and emotion as never before because I am aware how easy it is to loose what may be taken for granted. As a Painter I am a Romantic idealist, always finding the ideal and unique beauty in my subjects. My hope is that when you see my work, that you might be encouraged to cope with what you cannot change.

Missy: What type of paint do you use? 
Mary Jane:  I work with the new generation of water miscible oils that clean up with soap and water.

Missy: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
Mary Jane: “There is a contentment in doing what I am born to do, what God fashioned me for, I am not thankful for affliction, but I am very thankful in it, God has brought forth more than I ever could have imagined.”

Prints of Mary Jane's work are for sale through her websites.
Contact her for exchanging credit info and local pickup. --

Prints are $80 (plus $6 shipping). They are matted to 16x20 standard sized.

Framed Prints are $170 plus shipping.

The Book "Poems of a Painter, Paintings of a Prayer" is $50.00 (plus $6 shipping).

"Poems of a Painter, Paintings of a Prayer"
37 paintings, 47 poems, and 9 essays

For today's giveaway Mary Jane is generously offering the following print:

~ The Contemplative ~

In addition, Mary Jane is offering all readers 10% off all PRINTS for the month of June. Mention this blog post when contacting Mary Jane.  

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Thank you to Mary Jane Q Cross!

To enter, please leave a comment in today's post. Comments will close Sunday, June 3 at 5pm. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced here in this post Monday. Please make sure you leave a link back to your website, email or another way to contact you in your comment.

 Comments Closed! The winner is...
I really enjoyed this interview. I would be interested to know where Mary Jane studied art or if she is self-taught, and if she uses live models or photos... I'm really inspired!
Posted by: Laurel Sprenger

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fromage Blanc

Fromage blanc - a French, white cheese that is easily made in a day. It is wonderful for spreading on toast, using in stuffed pasta shells and melting on top of frittatas. Making this at home is a great way to have fresh, organic cheese at a fraction of the price of store bought cheese. My friend Jean taught me how to make this using a cheese culture from The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. All you do is heat up a gallon of milk to 86 degrees, sprinkle on the culture, stir and let it sit for 12 hours. Strain out the whey and you have a wonderful cheese!

{milk after 12 hours}
{cutting the cheese}
{ladling the curds into cheese cloth}
{cheese curds}
{hanging and draining}
{cheese ready for adding herbs and spices}

We've been enjoying this on toast for breakfast with some herbs and salt in it. So yummy! And I save the whey in the fridge for making homemade bread.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fairy Slipper Orchid

Ben found a beautiful orchid, the Fairy Slipper orchid (Calypso bulbosa). This tiny orchid is so aptly named, especially when compared with the larger Lady Slipper orchid.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Heirloom Carrots

Yarn: Mystery orange variegated yarn and Cascade 220 Wool 
Needles: US 5 and Crochet Hook G

I am starting to anticipate a visit from Pieter's cousins in July. Time to get some more veggies into the play kitchen! Here is a start with some heirloom carrots. Quick and easy to knit up, stuffed with some sheep wool and the tops were crocheted by a friend of mine. Now on to the next veg!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cement Ridge

{The flower of South Dakota: Pasque flower, Anemone patens}
{Shooting Star, Dodecatheon pulchellum}
{Prairie Star, Lithophragma parviflorum}
{photo by Pieter}
{Prairie Smoke, Geum triflorum}
{photo by Pieter}

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In our garden

The strawberries are coming along in the garden. Little green fruits are making their appearance alongside the beautiful blooms. Oh, I love strawberries! And my little boy is enjoying them, too!

Friday, May 11, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS
{Morel, Morchella}

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Forest Friends

A new flannel blanket for Pieter and a few friends to keep him warm at night! I finally got these sewn up this week after the project sitting on my table for most of the spring. Pieter liked ripping up the wool roving that we used to stuff the animals with. He is almost as excited about the "sheep wool" as he is about his new friends.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In my kitchen

{hot cross buns, again!}
{cultured butter}
{a gift of morels}
{lemon roast chicken}

Things have been busy in the kitchen lately. We will be out of town for a bit of the summer, so we've been catching up on our milk share, giving me an extra gallon a week to use in cheese, butter and yogurt. This week I finally made my first batch of cultured butter and who would have known it was so easy to do? I used two quarts of raw cream from the farm and got a pound and a half of butter and quart of buttermilk. 

On Monday, I caught up on my sister-in-law's blog and saw hot cross buns. Before I knew it we had some rising in the oven. Nothing like the power of suggestion. 

But best of all, a delightful gift of morels from our friend Mark. What is happening in your kitchen?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cook Lake

We explored Cook Lake, Wyoming, on Sunday. A lovely hike and a promising place to take the kayaks. Pieter has been requesting camera time lately and the resulting photos have been so much fun to see. For once we actually took lots of photos of us. I hope you like them!
{photo by Pieter}
{photo by Pieter}
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