WELCOME!!! This a monthly Art Challenge for anyone who wants to participate. Each month, I will post a poem written by me, and one or more photos relating to that poem. The photos will serve as reference photos for your artwork, which will be posted on WINDOWS TO THE WORDS ART. See complete guidelines on the right hand side bar. ENJOY!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August Challenge... COSTA RICA BIRDS

Many of you all know I lived in Costa Rica for 3 years...and left a bit of my heart there in that enchanting country. This month I thought I'd present a few of the birds of Costa Rica for this month's challenge. Paint any or all and submit them to me by September the First. But don't forget about the "Pooch Portrait " Exchange which also runs throughout August.

First, my corny little poem.....

Wings Over Costa Rica

Tiny Costa Rica...
Is a land of sheer delights,
Volcanoes, mountains, jungles...
A thousand wondrous sights.

From the parks in San Jose,
To the rain for
est canopy,
There's a technicolo
r air show,
Flying high from tree to tree.

In a tall, majestic palm,
Green Parrots squawk and tweet,
While below, a playful toucan,
Shows off its dazzling beak.

A Scarlet Macaw
sits spotlighted,
On a brilliant tropic da
Every color of the rainbow...
It takes your breath away.

A Harpy Eagle roosts on high,
Its feathers ruffed like froth,
Alert with eager eye it waits,
For a passing, h
apless sloth.

The birds of Costa Rica,
Are just part of this land, so free,
"Pura Vida" as the Ticos say..
"Pure Life"...as it's meant to be.

Now the Reference Photos.....
Green Macaw

Chestnut Mandible Toucan

Harpy Eagle

Scarlet Macaw

Happy Painting!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Double Header - DOGS and FROGS

The "Reflections" challenge of June wound up with some marvelous submissions...which you can view by clicking HERE. Thanks so much for participating...the check's in the mail.

The first challenge for the summer is "Dog Portrait Exchange" which I have expanded to TWO MONTHS (dog photos accepted until August 25....BUT....entries
MUST be in by Labor Day). This will be an ongoing challenge during those two months...as I get two photo submissions, I will pair them up and send the reference photos to the two participating artists. I have paired up the photos I have already received and will post the finished "poochtraits" on WTTW Art as received. So come on...join in and send your pup's mugshot in. Here is a sample of the pooch photos I have already received and sent out.
Be sure to check out the July (Summer Challenge, Part 2) Challenge...FROGS...following my corny little dog poem....

I Will Follow

I have a sacred mission,
I will follow where you go.
From sun-baked a
rid deserts,
To barren, ice-pa
cked snow.

My hair grew short or long,
To accept your way of living,
My goal is just to be with you,
My intent is based on giving.

You needed me to b
e quite smart,
To guide your sheep and cattle,
In war I had to be
so brave,
And follow you in battle.

Your lady and your children,
Needed me to primp and cuddle,
And I took an indoor life st
Tho I often lef
t a puddle.

You needed me to h
unt for you,
You needed me to guard,
You needed me to talk to,
Without a returning word.

If you take the time to hold me,
And look deep into my eye,
You'll see the love
and loyalty,
That money just can't buy.

DOG is such a simple word,
For a marvelous creation,
Spelled backward, DO
G is GOD,
Could it be a divin
e relation?

July Challenge (Part 2) FROGS

For those who might not want to join the Dog Portrait exchange, I have posted 4 reference photos of one of my fav
orite subjects...Frogs. Feel welcome to participate in both, if ya want to. Frog submissions need tgo be received by August 1. Following the frog reference photos, is....you guessed it...a corny frog poem!!!!


Every time it rains,
The plants and trees rejoice,
But rising over all,
Is a loud and stronger voice.

It's a woodland symphony,
When the frogs join in the chorus,
Ribbits, croaks and chirps,
Resound throughout the forest.

It's really quite amazing,
That a creation made so small,
Could muster such a volume,
That would fill a concert hall.

And they're really downright cute,
But some might disagree,
And although they're rather slimy,
It doesn't bother me.

So here's a hearty toast,
To the hoppy little frog,
Glad that you could join us,
On this month's challenge blog.

Good Luck. Take Care...and Keep Strokin' !!!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June Challenge - REFLECTIONS (And Setting Up for July)

The May Challenge of Flying Colors (Butterflies) really had some extraordinary artwork. I am overwhelmed with pride that I am so fortunate as to have such talent displayed on Windows to the Words Art. Thank you for participating and thank you for viewing....CLICK HERE. The cross pendant was awarded to Pat Koscienski by my panel of judges and Faith Te of the Philllipines willm be getting a Tiny Texas Treasures package.

The theme for June is REFLECTIONS...but bef
ore I present that, let's get set up for the July Challenge which will be a "Pooch Portrait Exchange". All during the month of June, those of you who want to participate, send me a clear photo of your favorite canine (nice, sharp head shot preferred). On July 1, I will EMail you a dog photo for you to portrait...that dog's owner will be painting YOUR dog. At the end of the challenge, it would be nice to have you all exchange your artwork. I'd love to see at least 20 doggie photos hit my inbox for a challenge of ten pairings (or more). Got a question? Drop me an EM.

Now then, REFLECTIONS can be a challenge to paint. So there it is. A reflected gleam of light on a bottle or glass can have a dramatic effect on an otherwise drab painting....IF it's done properly. I've prese
nted 4 interesting reference photos that exhibit reflections. Using all or part of the photo, see what you can come up with. I WILL RANDOM DRAW FROM THE SUBMISSIONS FOR A SURPRISE GIFT FROM DICK BLICK.

The Four reference photos are displayed beneath my corny little poem:


Light is a magician...
It leads our mind to wonder,
If what we see is rea
Or a spell it's c
ast us under.

A wine bottle now stands empty,
Its contents long consumed,
But in the midday sunlight,
A sparkling life resumes.

A '57 Chevy..
Its owner's life long prize,
With constant buff an
d polishing,
Chrome bumpers blind
the eyes.

Reflection is the basis,
Of the force that light commands,
Providing gleaming images,
That few truly understand.

As in gazing in a mirror,
At some odd times we react,
What hidden secrets lu
rk behind,
The face that's looking back.

Box of Rocks

Ladle Line-Up

Tabasco Fiasco

The Old Bottle Gang

Send your submissions to Windowstothewords@gmail.com by July 1. Happy ARTing!!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

FLYING COLORS - May Challenge

Whew! The April challenge of Flower Power is over. From California to Pennsylvania. From South Dakota to Alabama. British Columbia, Canada to Austin, Texas. Ohio, Tennessee. Moscow, Russia!! Manila, Phillippines!! New Delhi, India!! It is truly humbling that this little challenge blog has such far-reaching participation. And even more humbling, is the extraordinary talent of the participants. Please check out the remarkable artwork at Windows to the Words Art.

This month's challenge is "Flying Colors"......BUTTERFLIES

First, the words....my corny little poem:

Winged Blessings

There are still so many people,
Who think Earth's an accident,
They numbly don't
When things are heaven-s

Take the simple butterfly,
In a thousand different forms,
So many colors and designs,
So many graceful charms.

If God had formed a committee,
When the butterfly wa
s made,
You can bet it would be funny,
To hear what things were said.

There'd be a big discussion,

And a multitude of gripes,
"Do we need so many colors?
And why so many types?"

But God, in all His wisdom,
Said "Here's the nitty-gri
They're a special gift to mankind,
So I want them downright pretty!"
....James Parker

This is an AWARDS Challenge!!! Here are the four reference photos. Use the butterfly, but you can substitute your favorite flower, or go with whatever background you think works....remember....on your canvas, you're the boss! Paint one or all and submit em to me by June 1st.
Tiger Swallowtail

White Admiral

American Painted Lady

Red-Spotted Purple

Now..the awards for this month's challenge are special....
My little crew of judges will choose their favorite
, who will receive the world famous and highly coveted little grab-bag of "James' Tiny Texas Treasures" !!!!! Then...my sister, Margaret, and two of her friends, Lucy and Linda, will choose their favorite, who will receive their choice of a fused dichroic glass pendant or cross wall hanging from her shop... Mag's Marvels on Etsy. (you can click Mag's Marvels to visit)

Sneak Preview.... June's challenge will be challenging....reflections. BUT the
BIG JULY EVENT will be a "POOCH PORTRAIT EXCHANGE". July being the month of flag waving and Hot Dogs, get your favorite photo of your dog (past or present) ready to send in for an artist
swap...you will receive a photo of another artist's dog to put to the painted pet portrait test. Should be a bunch of fun....more later.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


March's challenge, "For the Birds" was absolutely super!!! With 42 submissions, the range of skill and effort ran from very good to fantastic! I thank each of you for sharing your time and talents. At the end of this post, I have a few words on challenges I would like to share with you.

And the Winners Are.... This challenge was for a subscription to Birds and Blooms magazine, a little painting from me , and a pound of birdseed. My group of artist/buddy/judges will meet this weekend (April 4) and tackle the tough job of selecting and I will post them right here on April 5. (p.s. I'll change the birdseed to M & Ms for the bird feeder.)
First Place...Dean Haven's Bluebird. Second ...Faith Te's Bluebird. And Third...Angela Sullivan's Wood Thrush

busting out all over Central Texas and the hills are alive with sweet sights and aromas. The flowers and greenery are magnificent. So.... it's only natural that this month's challenge should be Flowers..."FLOWER POWER". I narrowed the field of possibilities from 6000 to 6, and those reference photos are posted below. Paint one or all and submit them to me by May 1. But first, my corny little poem

This Bud's For You

The icy blasts of winter.
Have made their last retreat,
The snows are
almost melted,
And the air is
clean and sweet.

A hundred shades of green,
Dapple awakening countrysides,
And a warm breeze comes to hug us,
After crisp, cool Springtime nights.

And soon the show begins,
To soothe a w
orld so tense,
A carniv
al of color,
A wonderlan
d of scents.

The Flowers take the center stage,
When buds and blooms burst forth,
A gift of miracles sent to us,
Courtesy of God and Planet Earth.

A special note about blog challenges

It seems like today's world gobbles up time like a beagle on a porkchop. So why take time for an art challenge? A challenge can take your art efforts to places you might not have chosen yourself. This can lead to a "self-discovery" of hidden talents and directions you may not have known about.

Two, challenges allow you to compare your skills and progress with others. You should never become vain or bitter in your art career, because there will always be greater and lesser talent than yours. Learn from those ahead of you, and help others behind you if they seek it.

Three, a challenge can develop relationship and camaraderie...and a good forum for learning. Feel free to visit other contributors blogs...and LEAVE COMMENTS. A comment is like a little business card that says "I came and I care". A great example of a close group that sprang from Karin Jurick's Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge is "The Flying Moleskins"...click HERE to find out more.

Fourth, If a challenge presents fairly popular subject material and good reference photos, you can wind up with a finished product that you may be able to sell, or proudly keep or give as a gift.

Fifth, a challenge (this one especially) requires you to use a portion of the reference photo in your art, but welcomes your imagination to embellish in your own style, For instance, in this flower challenge, you can take one of the flowers and place in a sculptured vase....turn an excercise into a masterpiece.

There are probably a dozen more reasons to participate in at least one or two challenges a month, but the bottom line is HAVE FUN. So do just that...and "keep strokin". Any questions drop me an E-M
........................ James

Sunday, February 28, 2010


The Line-Up
of Feathery Little Rascals

Eastern Bluebird


Broad-billed Hummingbird
Wood Thrush

And now my corny little poem....

Sweet Tweets

The wondrous things of nature,
are too numerous for counting,
Clovered fields and pearl lagoons,
Dark green forests..snow-capped mountains.

A spotted fawn lies in the grass,
As his mother overlooks,
And two otters play their fun and games,
In a nearby gurgling brook.

A furry raccoon waddles by,
A squirrel runs here and there,
Two foxy kits play hide and seek,
Without a worldly care.

But the forest comes alive in color,
When the birds fly through the trees,
And spread their joyful tweets and trills,
On the awaiting summer breeze.

Without the gift of our feathered friends,
What a sad world..... drab and blue,
So take the time to listen up,
Their song is meant for you.

The February Challenge of Kids and Pets turned out some really delightful artwork, and you can view it by clicking HERE. I thank the artists who took time to participate. When I started this challenge, it was intended for fun, fellowship and, of course, a bit of a challenge. It was also my intent to try to post reference material that was of a universal appeal...that might be suitable for sale or gift after the challenge. So that's why you won't see city rooftops and such. That type of reference is good for developing certain skills. But this challenge is just for fun..mostly, animal, kids and nature. Although, I sure think that by painting something you enjoy painting, it brings out skills you never knew you had.
This challenge for March is "For the Birds" featuring the four reference photos above, provided by Birds and Blooms magazine.
If I had to choose a favorite magazine of all time, it is Birds and Blooms. Playboy, Mad, Artists, Omni, Time, Southwest Art, Popular Science, and TV Guide all take a back seat to Birds and Blooms. B&B displays the most exquisite photos, the most helpful information, the most ingenious ideas, and much more in a delightful, friendly, homey format, at the most reasonable rates I have ever seen. Please check it out on the internet www.birdsandblooms.com If you like nature even a little bit...you will be supremely ecstatic. And...they have monthly games and contests like building the neatest birdhouses and feeders, photo contests, caption this photo and lotsa other cool stuff..it's great!


So ruffle your feathers and get in the SPRING of things and try a little tweeter portrait. First place gets a year's subsciption to Birds and Blooms, second place, a little bird painting by me, and third, a pound of birdseed. Send your entry to windowstothewords@gmail.com by April 1.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A NEW YEAR - A NEW WTTW - January/February Challenge

Well, I hope everybody had a happy and safe holiday season!!!! A new year has snuck in the back door and is rolling right along. With each new year comes changes, and so it is with Windows to the Words. The photo and writing parts of the challenge never caught on, so I removed them from the challenge. I left the blogs (photography and writing) still up but inactive. Windows to the Words now consists of the HOME page (which is where you are now) and the ART page where the submissions for each challenge are posted (click HERE). This is simpler and any other details can be found on the sidebar at the right.

This month I've extended the deadline through the month of February because I'm a bit late getting started and because this should be a real neat, fun challenge. Submit your art to me (windowstothewords@gmail.com) by February 28.


First...my poem:

This earthly life we're given seems to be an endless quest,
Of the things that make us happy...Of t
he things that we love best.

But of all the worldly treasures, that are worshipped and sought after
There's nothing quite so precious, as the sounds of children's laughter.

And though we all were young once, it's easy to forget,
But many childhood m
emories involved our family pet.

"Old Rover" was a true friend, who could never tell you lies,
He wanted just to love you, and
it it showed in his bright eyes.

Although he's crossed The Rainbow Bridge, in my memory he's still a part
Of that very special friendship that remains within my heart.

And the reference photos... (These were sent to me by the world-renowned artist and overall nice guy..Edward Burton
The above photos are just 3 of the 7 photos you can choose from. See the rest on my WOW blog by clicking HERE.

And Lastly....My holiday gift to you. A simply beautiful and enchanting video called "When A Child Is Born". Please click on the cute little young lady below. Please take just a moment to watch it.