fine art side 
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This page is dedicated to my friend, Shirley Cox and her husband, Kermit

How Do I Worship?
by Mrs. Shirley Cox

How do I worship?
Let me count the ways.
Who do I turn to
In my darkest days?

What is my life line?
What do I believe?
Who do I turn to
When I have the need to grieve?

There is one simple answer,
On this earthly road I trod
In that every darkest hour
I always turn to God.

Question how do I worship?
Or even ask me where-
Open fields, the backyard deck,
I feel His presence there.

When thing occur mysterious
And lately I've had some;
I used to kinda wonder,
Where does my strength come from?

The loneliness overtakes me,
As winter nights get colder.
When things seem almost hopeless,
I have an An-gel on my shoulder.

At first I kinda questioned this,
And said how can this be?
But I knew within my heart
Someone was watching over me.

What a blessing, what a comfort!
This is with me every day.
When I need some love and guidance
The that's the time to pray.

And if I feel defeated,
Or even say who cares!
I may not see it right away
But there are answers to my prayers.

How do I worship?
Well I worship every day.
It's when the war gets over.
It's because we stopped to pray!

Angles Among Us
By Mrs. Shirley Mae Cox

There are Angels among us
Believe it or not.
Asking us to be thankful
For all that we've got.

The list would be long
And not just tangible things;
There is peace, there is love,
There are angels with wings.

There is always an ace card
You can have up your sleeve.
The most powerful gift is faith
And the fact that we believe.

Every one of us are different,
As we go about our day.
Except the strength we feel
When we stop to pray.

A Prayer for the Graduate
By Mrs. Shirley Mae Cox

Let us take a moment To give our students praise.
To acknowledge their accomplishments And wish them Happy Days.

Let us pray for guidance on this worldly road they trod,
When you go out into the world, May you always go with God.

We pray you find your destiny, we hope your future is bright.
Prayers can help you on your way, things will turn out alright.

Give praise to those who helped you; your folks, your friends, your teacher,
The church, the whole congregation, and guidance the preacher.

Your faith will sustain you; no mountain too steep to climb.
You will reach your summit, its just a matter of time.

May God bless your graduation.   Our children are so great!
The step is a very big one; the one you take to graduate.

May our thoughts and prayers be with you; may the sun shine upon your face.
May you make your mark upon the world, in so much style and grace.

You will look back on your graduation and say, ""Oh, just remember when?""

We ask this all in God's Name; God bless you and Amen.

Best wishes to and God bless all of the graduates.

Birds of Winter
By Mrs. Shirley Mae Cox

When summer days are in the past,
Soon we'll feel old winter's blast.
Then we'll see the falling snow,
All summer birds, down south they'll go.

The winter birds will take their place,
My back yard deck becomes their space.
I filled my bird feeders today
To welcome the birds, as they come my way.

From the kitchen window I view their plight,
Their color is such a beautiful sight.
The bright red of the cardinal on the fallen snow;
There is not a more picturesque sight I know.

The greedy blue jay steals the food;
The other birds think this quite rude.
I think I like the snow birds best;
Upon my deck rail, as they rests.

This bird watching is so fun for me,
I love that little chick-a-dee!
I just can't put this joy into words,
But I sure thank God for all the birds.

Memorial page to Kermit for my friend,

Shirley Cox

During my travels and adventures as an artist, I met a wonderful lady.
I've dedicated this page to her.  My mom asked me to do a little sketch for her boss, Les, as a Christmas gift during October in 2002.  Then she emails me this beat up, fuzzy file of a photograph to work from, and I'm thinking "how am I going to make this look good?"

The photo was a little crumpled up thing depicting Les' uncle.
It was taken sometime in the 1950's.  This guy is standing with his truck out in the cranberry bogs of Warrens, Wisconsin.  But there was a certain charm to this picture.   The truck had been severely overloaded with logs, and was tilted up on its axles by over 30 degrees.  If I recall the story correctly, he'd actually broken the wheel rims and he had a pretty bumpy ride home that day.   But this guy is smiling from ear to ear in his old overalls, and you can just feel the mischief rolling out of the picture.   This picture was an absolute joy to draw and that is how I met Kermit.

My mom presented the portrait, and I'd heard that it was well received by everyone in the family.
That is always really nice to hear.   Well, time went on like it always does, and I had not thought about smiling man in the bogs of Wisconsin for awhile.  One fateful day in late spring of 2003, I had come to a crossroads in life.   I was working two part-time jobs, and juggling my shop, and my family, and trying to figure out how to get all of my work done.   Something had to give and I was leaning towards chasing the dollar, rather than staying true to my dreams.

double-click on image for larger image of this digitally enhance photograph
Digitally enhanced photo of Kermit in his welding uniform at Trane Company
double-click on image for larger image of this graphite drawing of Kermit and his son
Graphite drawing of Kermit and his son

I'll never forget the moment when I opened the mail and found this fantastic letter and poem from Shirley, who is Kermit's widow.
I'd never met her before, but her words touched me deeply and helped me to make the decision to keep following the path of the artist.   She reminded me that God calls us to do more than simply survive.  He has a path for each of us to follow, and He gives us the tools that we need to walk where He wants us to.   I've always believed that I am meant to be an artist, although I've always managed to find a way to do other things.  So, I stepped out in faith that day, buoyed by a letter from a kind stranger.  I made the decision to let go of one of the part-time jobs and eventually let the other part-time job go too.   The Lord has blessed that decision and blessed my family richly.

Shirley and I began to correspond via letters and we finally met at Butterfest Days in Sparta, Wisconsin last summer.
She is such a sweet person.  I promised her that I would create this page and post some of her poetry and dedicate it to Kermit.  Unfortunately, I can't find that first letter, but I have included many of the poems that she subsequently sent to me.   .  I hope that you enjoy them and that they will touch you as well.

Here is a digitally corrected picture of Kermit's son.

Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder
By Mrs. Shirley Mae Cox

A tiny seed was planted;
It was nourished with sun and rain.
The flower that it developed into;
To my eyes, it was very plain.

As a rose bush it is planted
Along the garden wall;
The rose too has its seasons
As summer turns to fall.

O' to the eyes of the beholder,
As we pass by day by day;
Taking its beauty for granted
Until it is plucked away.

It's then that we miss the beauty,
Believing forever it would be there.
We raise our eyes to Heaven
Saying, "God, it isn't fair."

Just like the tiny seed twas born,
So was man, who made his mark on the world.
Grew into a well-liked man;
In kindness, was like the rose unfurled.

There is beauty all around us,
With every day that passes.
You can see the man - the rose.
You don't need rose-colored glasses.

Like flowers, people have their seasons;
which are Winter, Summer, Spring, and Fall.
There is one fact we know for sure;
Is that the Lord, God, made them all.

Searching for Respect
By Mrs. Shirley Mae Cox

Where has it gone, please tell me where!
As I look around in much great despair.

I can not find it in the places that I've checked;
A simple letter "R" that we call respect.

I remember well growing up as a child
A much calmer atmosphere -
You could almost say "mild".

Respecting your elders; you could find everywhere
To be kind and helpful, offer them your chair.

Hold the door at the restaurant when you're out to eat
And say a pleasant "Hello" to the people you meet.

It's not just the children; it's the grown-ups too;
A refresher course in manners;
There should be quite a few.

How soon we lose sight of the Golden Rule!
I was taught about in first grade,
at a one-room school!

"Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you!"
It's still the best policy, that is nothing new.

Will you help me to find it"
I hope that you can.
To be a nation of caring is part of the plan.

But I am making some progress
the last time that I checked,
I'm close to finding that "R",
The one called Respect

Quote from Lady-Bird Johnson:
I count my blessings with the flowers
Never with the leaves that fall.
link to galleries of work done in pencil, pastel, and watercolors

Click here to enter the main gallery.
Be sure to check out this large collection of portraits done in watercolor, pastel, graphite, and colored pencil. You can also see and order caricatures, murals, and original paintings and drawings.

Watercolor painting of the point in Lake City, Minnesota
Click here to see a larger image of this graphite drawing and collage
Graphite drawing of a good dog, who's name was Homey.
Graphite drawing and collage of a father and son farming team in Wisconsin