Riches and Rhymes

The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines

Month: September, 2013

Flowers in a Vase


bloghydrangeasI was going for hydrangeas here. I had a hard time getting the colors I wanted with the paints I had. I stopped by Walmart after church today to pick up more white paint (used a lot to mix colors; I was out of that one first). And apparently acrylic paint is CRAZY cheap. I was able to buy several colors for 57 cents for a 2oz bottle. AND I went a little hog wild and bought some fun stuff like glow-in-the-dark paint, gold leaf paint, silver glitter paint, and some kind of crackle finish stuff, hehe. I also bought some small 8×10 canvas boards, better quality paper, and some spray that makes it dry fast and also makes it easier to layer colors — WHICH I really could have used last night with this painting. I wanted to go all out and buy some paint pens, stencils, and neon paints, but I resisted.

I almost regret the black edging I added. I think grey would have been better, more subtle. BUT I was out of white to mix with the black. And I almost didn’t add the blue background slashes, but I’m glad I did. Seems to give it some depth. I had wanted the vase to be a much lighter aqua/teal, but couldn’t get the color with what I had. I attempted some little highlights on the vase, but they didn’t show as brightly as I thought they might. And it could use some more leaves. Actually I don’t think this pic photographed very well compared to the original. I would like to frame some of my pics. Couldn’t find frames at Walmart. I know they have them; I just didn’t look very hard.

Anyway, still enjoying painting, surprisingly. And the mistakes seem to be no big deal. Several times I thought I had really messed this one up beyond repair, but in the end, it’s all good. I’m sure I could learn alot, but don’t know if I’m motivated to really apply myself with this. We’ll see. For now, it’s all about the fun and just enjoying the creative process. 🙂

© September 28, 2013
Asheville, NC



My latest…


I saw a cardinal this afternoon which inspired me to paint this picture. It was the first one I had seen at this house. It was perched on the chain link fence in the backyard, not far from the deck. In fact, I think it had been sitting on the wood railing for the deck, but Tequila, our cat, spooked it away. I’m glad it didn’t fly too far. It was quite a sight — the stunning red against the green/brown backdrop of nature. I didn’t see any other birds nearby.

I do not have any bird feeders up at the moment, and it made me think I need to get some birdseed. I love to watch the birds, but I’ve been hesitant to draw them closer because of Tequila.

For the picture, I chose to have the cardinal resting on a branch. I thought it would be easier to draw than a grey fence. I’m pleased with how this one turned out. I think the proportions are nice. I had wanted the beak to be a brighter orange, but I could not get the color I wanted with the paints I had. I am using acrylic paints on paper. This took me about an hour to complete.

One thing I’ve noticed with painting is that I’m often initially afraid to commit to the page with the paint. It seems so permanent and what if I mess up? And yet, usually the brush will take a surprising curve of its own that turns out to be just right. In all senses of the word, I am just “feeling” it. I have absolutely no formal art training or knowledge. And while my work is amateurish, it pleases me so much. I am thoroughly enjoying the process from beginning to end — and really that’s what matters most. 🙂

The music that I listened to while painting…

“Benedictus” by 2Cellos

© September 24, 2013
Asheville, NC

The Muse II

Oh, she’s a tease
And if I could only please her!
She wants constant words and wooing.
The nymph won’t let me loose
And come out from her game — hiding
In some shiny netherworld
Where she laughs at my unknowing.

I call her name
And she may coyly glance.
It is not enough.
I lay gifts at her altar,
And it is not enough.
I may play the trick on her
And she is unmoved.

But alas, if I give her a sacred space,
A secret time and place in my heart,
She is stirred and speaks to me
In wisp-like wonder — a language
I begin to utter,
Finally showing me her full beauty
Face to face.










***This poem is a metaphor for creative inspiration.

© September 13, 2013
Asheville, NC

If I Could Play the Guitar

If I could play the guitar
You would find me by the lake
On a cool Saturday morning
Giving voice to the grey
Mist upon the water
Just a soft, quiet strum
To sanctify the still sacred air
Of dawn


© September 7, 2013
Asheville, NC


Painting this morning…


© September 5, 2013
Asheville, NC

I have had an artistic burst lately. Bought myself some paints and brushes. I confess I’ve been reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron — a GREAT book, but I didn’t foresee this little adventure. I haven’t painted in forever, and even then, it would have been when the kids were young. Art has never really been my thing. Maybe I have a small crafty bent; I did needlepoint growing up and I used to make fabric-covered photo albums, but I rarely indulge it and my artwork is so amateurish. I don’t think I have a natural talent for it, but I’m pleased with how this painting turned out. I always wanted to take art in high school, but I was too busy singing in chorus and I wasn’t willing to give that up.

I was inspired to do this painting as I had actually seen a few hummingbirds the night before at my friend Sarah’s home. I used to have a special feeder up at my old house, and I have missed seeing these tiny birds up close, so this was a treat for me. A few years ago, I remember taking the kids to see a professional catch, take measurements, band, and then release hummingbirds at The Bird Watcher by the Mall of Georgia.

This painting was done with acrylics on drawing paper. A lot of it was an experiment and there are things I would do differently, but overall, I hope it’s a glimpse of good things to come. I hope to do more. In fact, I have signed up for a pastel class this Saturday. This was before I painted this picture. It would be cool to be able to illustrate my own poems. Right now, that seems impossible, but who knows? I’m open to it.

When I finished, I sent a pic of it to my mom, who is a very talented artist, but she hasn’t painted in a very long time. She was surprised and loved it and then said I should frame it and send it to her. SHE should be painting and then sending them to me. She has true talent, and I hope I have inspired her. She could easily be doing things like this and so much more. One time, her own mother painted a whole set of fine china that is very lovely.

My youngest daughter Elizabeth has a natural gift for art. I hope she will keep drawing and painting and pursuing her talent. I think it’s important to have a creative outlet and to develop your skills to be really excellent at something. She could be great. I’m not seeking to be a great painter necessarily, but it’s another fun, creative expression to have in addition to writing and music. Who knows — maybe I will write a poem to accompany this one someday.