Today's Devotion...

... from the Upper Room this morning. I found this to be so touching...

EVERY Christmas Eve, my father would slip out of the house and head downtown. My sister and I never realized what he was doing until years later. Apparently, he was shopping the stores for items he could repair or refurbish. Most shop owners were happy to make a few dollars on defective products, worn demos, dismembered toys, and such. My dad, always a good negotiator, whittled the prices down to almost nothing. He would hide these soon-to-be Christmas gifts in the garage. After we went to bed, Dad would sneak out to his workshop, often staying up all night to fix the gifts. I never owned a completely new bicycle, wagon, or baseball glove; they were all items that Dad had reclaimed. With an even more loving heart than my dad's, God is also a repairer: of torn lives, splintered families, and shattered hopes. All that causes us pain, God yearns to heal. Prayer: Dear Lord, you have mended our lives so many times. Help us minister to others in the same way. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What God restores becomes better than new. -- Charles E. Harrel (Oregon, USA)

PRAYER FOCUS:Those Who Are Brokenhearted


My Love Affair with... LE-THAAA!!!! (Leather)

I have a thing for good le-thaaa! Ever since I was young my brother David would relish in good leather, too, and would say it that way and make Carole and me smell and EXPERIENCE it. Well, I have become much that same way with gorgeous, Italian leather shoes (that smell just SENDS me!), a good leather, studded belt, great leather purses, etc. I bought last year two leather, studded belts from Stowe Provisions. They sell thru Free People, but the guys are really great! Read their story here. One is from the twin cities, and I talked to him directly about my buckle when the belt came in with a different one than what was pictured. They just sent me another one - no problem.

Me, with my Italian leather strappy sandals from J Crew. You should've smelled them upon opening the box!!!

This belt says, "Here Comes the Sun" with a sun on the back center and hand-painted clouds on each side...

This one just says, "Peace" with hand-painted flowers.

Their belts are like the ones that Railroad Bazaar sold in my hometown of Athens, AL. I LOVED that store when I was young. It was so 70s with everything leather to be made and sold - like belts, leather bracelets with your name on it. Carole and I got one that we both LOVED until mine came off my wrist and sunk into the Tennessee River. I WAS SAD! We got another one made, but it just wasn't quite the same. Lastly, I just bought a beautiful leather purse from the Ruehl store at 40% off. Sadly, all the Ruehl stores are closing January 30, 2010, but I'm glad I was able to nab one of their finest.

What can I say? I just LOVE Le-thaaaa!!!


Happy 75th, Dad!

Wow, my Dad turns 75 TODAY! I cannot tell you what an inspiration he has been to me all my life and has been such a great father to me and my siblings. He really encouraged Carole and me to pursue art as he saw so many great artists in his own family and thought artistic talent had trickled down to us, too. I'm so glad for his encouragement! He has been a great business man all his life and my brothers followed in his footsteps having him as their mentor and inspiration. I miss being able to be around him on a daily basis as I've lived away from him and Mom for almost 15 years now, but we stay connected and I always feel his love for me from
1000 miles away. I send you a virtual hug and kiss!

Happy birthday, Dad, and I wish you many more!



Oh, I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted work! I cannot begin to tell you how busy life has been with 3 young kids and the dog, so I get done what I can. I have done several encaustic paintings lately that I am going to be posting that are small in size.

Encaustic requires the artist to be flexible and make decisions quickly in the process. Seldom do my original ideas come to fruition the exact way I intend with this medium, but I do love it nonetheless once I get over this fact. You kind of have to go with the flow of the paint and torch and watch colors melt and blend in such beautiful ways. I had toned this one in reds and burgundys with the intention of almost completely covering the background in blues. My students loved the burgundy tones as I did as the process went, so I decided to keep some that toning showing thru. This is "Fishy!'

Encaustic on cradled board, 6 x 12", $150 s/h $12


There's just SOMETHING about my school (AUBURN UNIVERSITY)

Well, after 20 years since I graduated from Auburn, I STILL break down in tears when I see the Auburn games on tv especially if they are played in Auburn. I haven't known why, exactly, that I get so touched to tears with such a sense of pride and joy about Auburn. Well, I figured out a big part of why tonight after receiving this email from my dear friend Diane from a friend of hers who attends Opelika Baptist Church right outside of Auburn. Here's a great story below:

from a friend....... I received this blog this morning from a young lady who goes to Opelika > First Baptist Church . This sweet, life changing event happend on Thursday night. I wanted to share it with each of you...God is working everywhere...and it just gives me chills. Wish I could have been there to witness the Holy Spirit at work once again. Tonight at church we were SO BLESSED with the opportunity to watch the following four men be BAPTIZED by their team chaplain:

Walter McFadden
Antonio Coleman
Eltoro Freeman

T'Sharvan Bell

Recognize those names? Yeah. It was awesome. He had a hard time
lifting some of them out of the water, they weigh three times as much as he does! Yet with tears in their eyes and soft hearts as big as the room, they stood in front of hundreds and confessed their faith in Christ. Following them was a steady stream of high school boys who looked like miniature versions of them, big shoulders, dread locks, goofy grins... following in their footsteps, committing their lives to Christ, choosing to stand up for Christ in their schools despite their less-than-ideal backgrounds... it was so cool.

It was such a fresh reminder of how active our God is in Auburn and
how capable He is of moving mountains. I underestimate Him and put Him in a box far too often! God allowed those boys to come to Auburn to play football here with this very purpose in mind, and don't you know He was celebrating with His angels to night as they professed their love for Him? This is such a huge part of why I love it here! This is what happens when you routinely hire a Christian crew of coaches for our football team. This is what God can do in the lives of those men who, outside of football, often have nothing else to hope in. This is just the beginning of what He is capable of on our campus, and it is so exciting. Antonio Coleman finished out the service by telling us his story and had the whole place in tears. He finished by saying, " Auburn is a special place, it is such a special place", and I couldn't agree more. Auburn IS a special place. God is moving here. Next time you see them on TV, just smile and know that they are living for so much more than football.

Walter McFadden (above)

I broke down just reading the email of this letter, and I realize that my soul continues to be stirred by stories like this coming from my school. I felt God's present so strongly during my years at Auburn in all that I did - the girls in Kappa Delta sorority, the Auburn tennis team, philanthropic activities on campus and late nights drafting for quarter end projects for interior design.

It truly IS "great to be an Auburn tiger!"

Chette Williams is the Auburn team chaplain. I read his book, Hard Fighting Soldier, and it was an amazing story. Great for anyone wanting to see God's work of perservering in the lives of those who seem to having nothing or nothing to hope or live for. AMAZING!


A GREAT idea!

You don't often see good news stories on the news or in the papers,
but today there was a great one!

Find out what a Pastor of a Woodbury, MN church did to inspire service
in his congregation! We could do this on our own with our kids - a great way
to creatively think of ways to give to others and be of service!
Click the link below for the inspiring story!


Is ITALY Calling YOU???

Painting Ladies,

Is Italy Calling YOU???

We are so excited about our upcoming trip to Italy this September to stake out our next
C&C painting journey!

Carole and Claire are now taking reservations for the few spots in our Italy painting journey week in the Tuscan town of Cortona September 11 - 18, 2010!
Cortona is a most charming walled town that Claire spent the summer of 1994
studying drawing and painting for her Master's degree.
The town dates back to 500 B.C.!!! Read more in the link above.
The experience was life changing!

The painting journey will include several hours of daily painting and instruction by Carole and Claire, creative spirit time, shopping and sipping cappucino along Via Nationale (Cortona's lovely main street full of boutiques, antique shops, dress shops, perfumerias, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.), and a day trip to Florence to visit the wonderful Uffizzi Museum and to see Michelangelo's David! We will stay in the heart of Cortona with wonderful accommodations. Cortona is a walking town and boasts a gorgeous park and a 2-mile walk around the town giving you the most breath-taking
views from every direction that you will ever see!

This journey is limited to only12 spots.
It will be first come, first serve by submitting 1/2 of the total fee due by
November 30, 2009
balance due August 11, 2010.
Total fee will be $2900.

We will be planning a detailed itinerary in the coming weeks once we visit next month!

CORTONA, ITALY 2010 (at a glance)
September 11 - 18, 2010
Fee: $2900
Key Date: 1/2 fee due by November 30, 2009
12 student limit
2 instructors (Carole & Claire)
Lovely accommodations
Breakfast each morning
Evening dinner
All painting supplies
Shipping of your work back to the U. S.

All that YOU provide:
Your fun spirit!
Air fare to and from Florence
Tickets for train and other activities
and lunch

Let us know ASAP as we expect spots to go fast! Questions? Call or email Carole or Claire.

We hope you can be a part of this fabulous, life-changing experience in your painting journey!

Carole & Claire

Carole's phone: 256.232.2521
Claire's phone: 651.983.2743


When Harry Met.... US!!!

I finally met Harry! Harry Wallace! He's the 4 month old baby (GORGEOUS baby) of my friend Hillary who I met last year. She painted with me last fall, and then she delivered Harry in March. We have not gotten together until today, and what a fun time we had catching up on things, talking photography, and watching Harry make us laugh! He is so quick to smile which I love in a baby, and he has an amazing disposition and the most beautiful blue eyes (can't tell in these B&Ws). Not surprising knowing Hillary and her husband. I so enjoyed out time on the porch in this rainy Friday just sitting and visiting. The girls loved holding Harry, too, and making him smile. Thanks for such a fun time,
Hillary and Harry!

... a sufficiently worn out Harry! Sweet dreams!

When Things Just CLICK!

Things just clicked today! Wow, I got this thing painted in just over an hour! I painted this for my Dad who worked for Volkswagen while he was in college, and he owned a Karmen Ghia that he just adored. I was driving down Ford Pkwy. the other evening a few cars behind this one, and I thought, "OH, that is a great looking Karmen Ghia! I'm going to try to follow it to shoot pics for Dad!" Well, the guy pulled over and parked, and I parked right behind him and asked if he minded my shooting a couple of pictures of his car (telling him about my Dad...) he was happy for me to, so I did. Got them and chose this angle. I toned it thickly with a palette knife with raw umber and painted with oil on top. I was in my groove today!
I'm giving this to my Dad... ;)


Plein Air Painting at Dodge Nature Center!

What a great time and a most gorgeous day we had with plein air painting today at the Dodge Nature Center! We could not have asked for more perfect weather - sunny with those big, puffy clouds and about 75 non-humid degrees! This painting is from across a pasture toward the garden with beautiful trees behind it. The view offered so many greens with spruce trees in the background offering a touch of blue green to the more earthy greens of the trees in front of them. I LOVE a sky with these puffy clouds (cumulonimbus? clouds). I wanted keep this as loose as possible by using only one 1/2" brush for this 6x12 painting. I love the feeling of it!

6 x 12", oil on board, $99, $12 s/h SOLD


RIP Michael!

We have lost the best entertainer ever, and I for sure feel the pain. In my teens I treasured my Off the Wall and Thriller albums and loved Michael so much for his dancing. I learned how to do all the dances from his videos. I helped choreograph the Thriller dance for our senior class play in 1985, and We Are the World was our class song. I was so moved and mesmerized by the way he moved, spun and moon walked! He broke boundaries and raised the bar with his music, videos, humanitarianism, and love for life and people. I have to admit, tho, that I had not kept up with him in recent years and was shocked on June 25 to hear of his death. So many of us had written Michael off as a "freak" with all his plastic surgery and efforts to look white and abandon his black features. Yes, I thought he was so beautiful as he was before any of that. Also, the weird antics like hanging his child over the balcony in Germany that time to give the crowd a glimpse of his son and all those weird disguises he wore in public. Bottom line is we shouldn't judge him as few of us really know what it would be like to have been robbed of a "normal" childhood the way was. He even wrote a song about it. See the video here. See the lyrics below.

On Dateline the other night, they showed a clip of the video to Michael's song entitled Childhood where he sings about his lost childhood. It tore my heart open!

While the curtain has closed on Michael Jackson's earthly life, I know he's celebrating his lost childhood in heaven and blessing everyone with his huge heart, singing and dancing! Rest in peace, Michael...!

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for the world that I come from
'Cause I've been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart...
No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities...
'Cause I keep kidding around
Like a child, but pardon me...

People say I'm not okay
'Cause I love such elementary things...
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the ChildhoodI've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates and adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me,
Look within your heart then ask,
Have you seen my Childhood?
People say I'm strange that way
'Cause I love such elementary things,
It's been my fate to compensate,
For the Childhood I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like fantastical stories to share
The dreams I would dare, watch me fly...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
The painful youth I've had

Have you seen my Childhood....


Happy Birthday to Us!

Yes, Carole and I have a birthday today - 42! This pic is from our 40th b'day celebration we had in our hometown of Athens, AL where we blocked off part of the square in downtown Athens in front of Carole's studio for our party! We had a blast with a great, rockin' band, dancing and mingling with so many great friends. What a great memory! My friend Eileen from St. Paul came home with me to celebrate! FUN!!!

Happy Birthday, Sis!


1st Student Art Show!

Claire Kayser Fine Art put on it's first student art show last night, and it was WONDERFUL!!! We kept it to our spouses and a few friends, had it catered by Lauri at the Golden Fig, and hosted by Jack and Kirsten Driscoll at Jack's historical, charming building. The evening was splendid in every way with gorgeous weather that allowed us to spill outside on the upper level deck, great h'ore deuvres. We raved over the students' work and talked about art, mingled with one another and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Thanks to my great students for allowing me to work with you and help you through your painting journeys!


What we've needed...

... a DRINK!

Yes, we finally have gotten some much needed rain over the weekend - a slow, steady one that has given our grass, vegetation, trees and flowers almost 2 inches! Yay!!! I've loved seeing the huge water droplets on the leaves of the day lillies out back. The peonies will be opening up, too - the second round. Just wanted to share a couple of images...


Summer Adult Plein Air Painting!

Hey Ladies!

We will be plein air painting on Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 pm, no need to commit to a number of classes as this summer is low key, come if you can on Tuesdays. Claire will be providing instruction in various settings around the twin cities. Email Claire or call Claire at 651.983.2743 at least 4 days in advance to get the schedule for that Tuesday's location and details. Cost is $50 per day and payment must be received the day of class or before. Claire will give you a supply list once contacted. Come on, bring a friend or daughter!

10 am - 12 pm (some days time may vary)
Pay by the class!
Fee: $50 (due day of class or before)
Get on the email list for the weekly schedule!
Call Claire at 651.983.2743 to sign up
Limited to 12, so hurry!
Get ready for FUN!



Wow, I can hardly believe that 2 more of my neices Madeline and Catherine Hunt are graduating this year! Living away from them it seems time has flown so fast as I still think they should be about 11 years old, STILL! Madeline is David's daughter, and Catherine is Carl's. They have grown to be such smart, compassionate, beautiful young ladies, and I couldn't be more proud. However, they both will be going to that other "university" across the state, but I still hold out hope that they will come to their senses and find, as Carole says, their way over to the loveliest village on the plains though, where sunsets are a rich, burnt orange and deep blue!
The proud Dads and Paw Paw!

Madeline, a grad!

Madeline and Catherine together!
(Photos by Carole!)



I have been reading all afternoon about UAPO (Uganda American Partnership Organization), my new charity of choice. After receiving an email from my friend Diane today who will be going to live and work with orphans in Uganda this summer after feeling God's nudge into this path. She is thrilled to be going and using her great spirit to work with these children. I know that Diane will be so loved by these kids, and God has given her the gifts of inspiration, love, humor, compassion for His light to shine brightly thru her. I can hardly express how proud I am of her! She is Grace's godmother, and I know I could not have picked a better disciple of Jesus to be that for Grace.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video on the Ranch of Jesus Orphanage. It's the first film on this page. I was moved to tears, and I plan to share it with my children, too. It's a great reminder of just how incredibly blessed we are to have the basic necessities of life that we take for granted each day.



There are still some spaces left in both KIDS ART CAMPS this summer!

kids ages 7-10
June 23-25
10 am - 12 pm
(1 spot left)

kids ages 11-14
August 11-13
10 am - 12 pm
Fee $195
(5 spots left)

We will study color theory, paint 2 canvases, learn special techniques,
and learn to critique work!

All supplies are provided including a snack!

Call me at 651.983.2743 or email me at claire@clairekayser.com



OK, you know how we sing lyrics to a song for years and not really knowing what they are? Now, with the world wide web, you can look up the lyrics to almost any song. I was singing to Benny and the Jets playing on KOOL 108 today and thought, "I don't know what in the world most of the whole first verse really is" and thought "I'm going to look them up when I get online again. Well, tonight, I looked them up and laughed so hard realizing, I've didn't know what in the heck I'd been singing for well, the last 30 years - and I realized that I've had about half the words all wrong! Check them out! Did you?

Hey kids, shake it loose together
The spotlight's hitting something
That's been known to change the weather
We'll kill the fatted calf tonight
So stick around
You're gonna hear electric music
Solid walls of sound
Say, Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet
But they're so spaced out, Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they're weird and they're wonderful
Oh Bennie she's really keen
She's got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine
Bennie and the Jets
Hey kids, plug into the faithless
Maybe they're blinded
But Bennie makes them ageless
We shall survive, let us take ourselves along
Where we fight our parents out in the streets
To find who's right and who's wrong

Was fun to see them and know what the song is really about...! I know Elton must've been on some serious drugs back then, but I still love those songs...!


April Wine and Paint FULL!

Thanks to all who have signed up for next month's Wine and Paint party! It's filled with 8 ladies who want to paint an Italian theme of charming villa windows with laundry hanging - such a common, charming site in Italy. It will be fun making our canvases convey that Italian charm!

I still have openings for May 6th one if anyone is interested! Call up a friend or two and come! You get $15 off for bringing a friend.

Email me at claire@clairekayser.com or call me at 651.983.2743!
Fee is $85
$75 for COLOR CAFE students!

Also, I have started the punch card for studio C that when you have done 5 Wine and Paint nights, you get your 6th FREE! Get started NOW!

Get on the "C list!" (the new A list!) at studio C!



Hey Ladies! We have the deal of a lifetime! Now you can attend Southern Palette for less than you thought. $699! This is a price that doesn't need much consideration. If you like to paint or THINK you'd like to paint in a getaway fun-filled weekend, then this is the weekend for you!
April 16 - 19
At Carole's Studio
Athens, Alabama
Historical downtown Athens Alabama in the springtime is a gorgeous setting. The dogwoods are in bloom, and there is an infectious energy all around. Carole and I have a great weekend planned. Check out the details at CaroleAndClaire.Com for a complete schedule of activities.
Want to know more about Athens? Visit the Spirit of Athens Site!
Read comments by those who have worked with Carole & Claire:

Carole and Claire came to Rosemary Beach to teach a few paint techniques to women, which they did. But they also spread broad brush strokes of joy, confidence, and effervescence. The beauty they brought to Girls' Getaway Weekend, on their canvases and in their smiles, was an integral part of the event. Their students left class glowing, happy with new skills and a masterpiece!
---Kim Jameson, Rosemary Beach, FL

"I've attended Carole and Claire's workshops and absolutely enjoyed them immensely. The ingredients that you can depend on in this "artistic" recipe are: relationship building, accomplishment, knowledge and most of all a large amount of FUN. Go, you will have the best time EVER!" ---Marcia Whitaker, Anniston, AL

It was such a joy to have you and your sister as our guests. Your artwork and sweet personalities were an inspiration to all! Thanks again...We hope to see you both again.
---Bev Sanders, Carmel, CA

Participating in the artist workshop was the best time I had all weekend. It gave me a chance to step outside of myself, in a fun and creative way. I met new friends that I look forward to seeing every year. And I love it when my friends in Atlanta visit my home and say "Did YOU paint that?" Then they want to hear about the whole trip and how then can attend one.....
---Sylvia Holler, Atlanta, GA


March Wine and Paint!

We had a great time last night painting Bessy the cow! Students did an outstanding job on what was their first paintings ever for a few of them. I demonstrated first as students sipped wine, water or coffee, and then they were at it putting paint to canvas. Toning, then drawing out the general shape of her head and blocking in with tremendous color.
Everyone's was so different and unique - strong in certain elements. I love that!
See pics of the evening!
Thanks, Heidi, Pam, Fred, Liz, Kate & Jenn!

Schedule for next Wine and Paint Nights:
April 8 (Italian windows and laundry line) (4 spots left)
May 6 (Girly Stuff)
Summer - TBA

7-9 pm
Supplies provided
COLOR CAFE students and previous students: $75

Do 5 Wine and Paint Nights, and get your 6th FREE!