Civil Rights in American History

Duh, really?

Civil Rights

I grew up in Hawaii and in our schools there was no extensive study of the founding fathers and the creation of American Civil Rights. Our level of education generally wasn’t the greatest. So, I am taking a free course online at Hillsdale College to learn about them now.


The first lecture was, “Why Civil Rights Matter“. It introduced me to begin considering things I have never really sat down and thought about.

The second lecture was, “Civil Rights and the American Founding.” Now, I have to bust out the dictionary to keep up but the effort is well worth it. It kind of explains the different types of rights involved. I am learning about American politics and how things are supposed to work.

Before being confronted the next time, maybe you too, would like to be more informed. How is our government supposed to work? Hopefully, the next confrontation with an excited liberal will be less stressful. I want to be able to talk calmly and intelligently about truth, instead of reacting to inflated emotions?

I’d suggest that you take this course. In fact I wish all Americans would.

“A” Basin, Baby-Time Ski Hill

A Basin in Colorado
A Basin

Long long ago my baby-time ski hill was Arapahoe Basin or “A” Basin in Dillon, Colorado. Isn’t it beautiful in the Fall? A Basin is where I learned to fall and get up, then turn and finally ski like a bandit. Time spent on this hill with my Dad and family created lots of fun memories in my heart. I remember a one armed lift operator there which I realize is a strange childhood memory.

Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin in Colorado

I am so utterly grateful that my folks did what it took to allow me to learn this wonderful sport. Because, the mountains are still my favorite place during any season. Truthfully, the possibility of skiing makes me look forward to snow arriving every winter.


I recently discovered an added caveat while having some extensive heart and vascular repair surgery. The doctors commented on the unexpected strength and size of my heart muscle. Well, while standing at the base of “A” Basin the sign says 10,000 foot elevation. No wonder my heart muscle grew so big and strong. I spent my winters above 10,000 quite a bit of the time skiing my heart into shape. Wow. Skiing may be what saved my life this year, along with a great team of doctors. Just saying.

Dream Inspirations

Jesus Focus With Dove
14.5″w x 17″h pencil on sketch paper. Jesus focus is embodied in rays illuminating out of His left eye, as he beckons us and His dove with his right hand.


A lot of my images are gift inspirations from my dreams. A vivid dream occurs with an image or sound and even sometimes words spoken, and if I am lucky it flashes through my mind right as I wake up. Then I run down to the studio to put it down on paper before it fades away. This pencil sketch is one of those dreams.


I went to bed worried about the state of the world asking, “What am I going to do Lord?”. You know, one of those times when the world’s troubles monopolize your mind making it impossible to feel any serenity.

Be careful when you ask the Man Upstairs for advise, cause you usually get a real direct reply. This was a reply with Him standing in the wind saying, “Don’t loose your Focus!” as He reached out to me and right then, a bright white dove returned home to sit on His hand. His eye had a great sparkle that extended out making everything bright. Right then I knew everything would be alright.

Jesus Focus With Dove 1
Progress shot showing beginning layout with facial features.


Steps to do a pencil rendering of that dream. I first sketch out a very preliminary layout moving items here and there to get the basic idea down. I begin to search my image files and the internet for references for the hand position, and the facial expression. Next is a search for a flying dove image in my reference books and online. With the help of Photoshop I am able to build a layout to work from that fits what I remember.

Jesus Focus With Dove 2
His right hand extending toward the viewer is rendered.
Jesus Focus With Dove 3
The background shading reveals the dove’s flight.
Jesus Focus With Dove 4
With the hair in the wind and other background surfaces shaded it comes to life.

Facebook Exodus


a mass departure of people

the second book of the Bible, which recounts the departure of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, their journey across the Red Sea and through the wilderness led by Moses.

After witnessing the absolute insanity of the election allowing “blatant cheating” I am feeling low and looking for a ray of hope. So, what did I do? Check-in with Facebook. Since Facebook screens out any viewpoints that express non-agreement with the left there was not even one ray of hope to find. There is no allowed different point-of-view. The foul-mouthed left that is predominate has become a reliable dose of hate, gloating, and stupidity that burns up any goodwill my heart used to feel. Honestly, it has become quite apparent;

Facebook is a waste of time!

Using up my time that can be spent better elsewhere, anywhere else. Facebook is now in my circular file drawer and I do not intend to share my life with that program anymore.

Unethical ONLY If You Are Caught

Already Apprehended Sketch
24″w x 18″h pencil on paper. A window sill with a saying, “It is only unethical if you get caught.” Accompanied by a kerosene lantern on top of a bible.

Sketching About Unethical

Serendipity or is it just part of the plan? Yesterday I completed a pencil sketch of items noticed on my window sill and desk in the studio. Three items just happened to be right in front of me and it was a little freaky because….they made me think.


First off, that saying really caught my eye because it s a thought I have had a lot of lately. Next to this contradictable saying sets an old fashioned “source of light” (God). A light source that lights our way when the electricity is out at our home. You can see that both of these items rest on top of my bible lying on the desk.

Unethical is Unethical

Noticing Items Around My Desk

unethical messageMade a discovery while noticing random items setting on the window sill and the edge of my desk this morning. I was admiring the sky and little layer of snow and then Bingo! There it was.

Setting on my window sill there is a little saying page turner thing, that I turn to the next page each morning… most of the time it gives me a chuckle. This morning it said something that made me think about our world.

“It’s only unethical if you get caught.”

That sure is relevant today.” My next thought was, “Why is it that politicians get away with unethical acts, are exempt to the laws?” It is so screwed up, and then my thoughts began to spiral.

But, before things can get out of hand, I notice the beautiful light outside thinking, “That kerosene lantern makes a wonderful warm light.” And, then my eyes drift down and I see my bible laying there. And a revelation ensues.

Someone already knows ALL of what we do!

If it is





God Works In Wonderful Ways, doesn’t He?

I am going to do this ink sketch over in-pencil today to just let this thought sink fully in.

Cooking TV Dinners

Lasagna & Enchiladas
Lasagna & Enchiladas

Here is a TV dinner preparation in the Woelk house. A couple pans of lasagna and a couple pans of enchiladas. Next step is bagging and freezing and we have quite a few dinners that can be heated up in the microwave.

I spent a large majority of my life working more than one job while raising two kids as a single parent. This taught me to do a lot of cooking on my day off so we could have meals real easy when we got home. I still do this when I can, even though it is only Pete and I now. I guess old habits die hard.


Great White Heron Watercolor

Great White Heron photograph
Great White Heron photograph by
Elise Beattie.

I have been working on different approaches to rendering this Great White Heron from a photograph by Elise Beattie who teaches, “Fearless Painting” classes. The first post about this is a pen & ink study.

Step-By-Step Watercolor

Great White Heron Sketch
Layout Pencil Sketch

While studying the picture, I kept feeling as though the best part of the picture was missing. What would that be? Well, the reflection of the bird on the water. Being an artist allows me to go ahead with adding the missing piece in as I render this subject. I believe it is called the artist license.

Render Sun Reflection

Background Sun Reflections
Background Sun Reflections

Watercolor requires that you start with where you want to reserve white, then begin laying down lightest colors first. In this that will be where the sun is laying on the water.

Background Reeds

Heron 03
Heron 03

I start to lay in the reeds behind and am careful to avoid where my Great White Heron is. Must preserve a pristine white area to work on later for the center-of-attention character.

Heron 04
Heron 04

As I add in the reeds on the right side additional lily pond type leaves are added to help the composition move in a circular motion.

Render Water

Heron 05
Heron 05

Using royal and cerulean blues I begin to put the ripples of the water in.

Heron 07
Heron 07


A reflection is simply the original image turned upside down on the water. After turning it we need to take into account that the surface reflecting the image is not flat. As in this water scene with it’s many ripples that cut-up and distort the image. The more I apply the reed reflections and water colors I begin to lose the heron reflection so I apply a soft gray there that helps me to see it better.

Heron 09
Heron 09

This next step is scary as I apply a wash over all the water using ultramarine blue.

Heron 10
Heron 10

At this point I am darkening reflections and making details and adjustments. I should be able to finish this image this week. When I complete it I will be sure to post it so you can see it. Happy painting.