Monday, November 28, 2011

The Family Tree

For years, I have worked countless hours researching my genealogy along with that of my husband.  It has been a passionate hobby of mine.  Somehow, in my mind, the act of discovering a name or a date brought meaning to the lives of these forgotten generations.  In reality it doesn't take long and the memory of your life is easily wiped from the face of the earth.  In James 4:13-15 we are told "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."  A cemetery marker, a census record or a vague certificate filed in court house is usually all that is left.  Yet somehow when I discover them it brings their life back into focus and while their are few that have great accomplishments, they make me who I am and their blood flows through my veins and the veins of my children.  This makes it important for me to document as much details as I can about their lives and share their stories with everyone that will listen.

My newest painting really has little to do with this subject except for the name that I have chosen..."The Family Tree".  This pair of cardinals have taken on the awesome responsibility of being a parent.  They have picked a strong and safe location to build their nest, high up in the branches of this oak tree.  Doing what parents of all kinds have done for generations, providing safety for their young and perpetuating their kind.  I hope that as you enjoy this painting that you will think about your own legacy.  It is never too late to say a kind word or make a memory.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blogger in training

I've felt a tugging in my heart to take blogging seriously and begin in ernest to regularly record my thoughts and things I have learned in regards to painting and my Nevada adventures. Of course one has to get out of the house to experience adventure. This isn't an easy task for me because I'm such a home body. So to get me better informed about the whole blogging process I've been reading books on the topic. I've skimmed the book "Blogging Bliss" by Tara Frey and also "Problogger" by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett. Both books had really good information but the non-techy person that I am finds a bit of struggle with all the information. The one really tecky thing I had previuosly accomplished was getting this blog to link right over to my Facebook notes but this week Facebook announced they were ending this feature. Go figure.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Road Going Somewhere

12 x 36  Acrylic- Pioneer Dreams

I have always been intrigued when I see a rocky path or road heading off into the distance.  Where does this go and who has traveled this way before me are just a few the questions that race to my mind.  The explorer in me wants to head up into those mountains in search of beautiful scenery or some old mining ruins.  Nevada is full of just such adventures.  I think that is why I love this state so much.

This painting reminds me of just such a road heading off into the distance.  We actually found this stone structure as we were exploring Central Nevada.  Check out this link if you want to see the actual location:

I'm certain that as long as I have the energy to climb into our truck that I will feel that impulse to follow that unknown distant trail leading off into the horizon.  This makes me mindful of my life and the choices I have made.  We are all on a path of some kind and we need to always remember the one who directs our path.  "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  Psalms 16:10

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Tribute to My Dad

Gerry Warner Diveley
February 8, 1940- January 27, 2011

My dad was a man that certainly lived his life outside the traditional structure of what most in society would consider essential... a job for one. He started out young in life as a cowboy riding in the professional rodeo circuit. I believe he was mostly a bull rider but sometimes he would ride a broncos and even a buffalo now and again.

An interesting side note to this was that in his youth, my dad ran around with the famous rodeo clown "Buddy Heaton" and even rode "Old Grunter" around for him. Buddy Heaton also died of this year.

Somewhere along the way, as a young man he decided that being a gambler was the best way to provide for his family. Now while I wouldn't agree with that decision, it was his to make and as his oldest daughter I didn't have much input in the decision. There were certain difficulties and sacrifices we were called to make because of his chosen profession, but again...we didn't have much input.

I do know he love his kids and adored my mother.  In August, they celebrated their 50th anniversary just a few months before he got really sick.

He passed away in January 2011, and I found that God had me use painting as a vital part in my grieving process. So far, I have painted several pieces in his honor. The most recent painting I call "Wild Ride" and it is inspired by this photograph taken of my dad while riding a buffalo.

Within just a few weeks of his passing I painted "The Cowboy and His Little Girl". The boots in this piece are the special ostrich skin boots my dad always wore.

I miss you terribly Dad...We're all doing our best to take good care of mom, but it sure isn't the same without you.


Your Daughter

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Neighborhood Watch Committee

I finished this piece in early August and really like how it turned out. Brad and I enjoyed almost a week of vacation this summer in Central Utah, in the small town of Marysvale. During one of Brad's walks, around the area, he came across this house that had a very effective alarm system...You guessed it-three very noisy geese.

We owned a duck once and that one very ornery fowl would fly into frenzy whenever little screaming girls would enter the backyard. He would flap his wings, attack their toes and chase them right back into the house. Our teenage sons would have to act as protectors and carry the little girls out to the safety of the trampoline.

The thought of facing three larger, noisier and more aggressive birds doesn't really appeal to me. No matter how feisty they were, the picture was adorable and I knew the minute I saw it on our camera that I was going to have to try and paint it.

If you're interested in buying this piece you can buy it now through the Paypal button below or you can contact me at I would love to hear from you.

"Neighborhood Watch Committee"- Acrylic 16 x 20 gallery wrapped
$250 + Shipping

Monday, August 8, 2011


I've been a bit distracted the last few weeks, so my current painting that is on my easel is taking a bit longer for me to finish.  I thought I might just give everyone a peek preview...I think I'm going to call this 12x16 acrylic painting "Seasons".  When I was in Utah a few weeks ago this idea came to me to paint the life cycle of an oak tree and have all 4 seasons reflected in one painting.

Now, at this time I have a bit more detail to add but I think you can see composition from this photo that this piece is full of bright colors that draw the eye to the spouting acorn.  I love the rays of sunshine that work their way through the branches to reach the new life below.  You can see in the branches transition for budding in the spring, to the last leaf of the season clinging  and finally giving way to the winter snow. 

$200 + shipping costs

Monday, July 25, 2011

An Apple a Day

"An Apple a Day" is a 16 x 20 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas that was inspired by our regular September trips to the Bradshaw's End of the Rainbow Apple Orchard near Caliente, Nevada.  This trip is an annual family favorite of ours.  As I began this piece, I couldn't help but remember all the family memories that are reflected by these three simple apples ripening on the branch.

In the painting, the warm sunlight reflects through the branches and seems to  kiss the apples with a warm glow of yellow and orange.  I know if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the warm afternoon breezes rustling through the leaves as you strain to reach for the really good apples that hang high above your head.  If you ever have a chance to take a drive out on Nevada Highway 317, through the "Rainbow Canyon", and it is during apple picking time you have to stop in at the Ranch, grab a bucket and head off through the tall grasses to hunt these beautiful treasures.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hiking Buddies

"Hiking Buddies" is a special painting that I created recently and is inspired by my adorable grandson Gavin.  He is such an energetic 3 year old who loves adventure.  Brad and I have had the pleasure of taking him on an overnight camping trip to the near by mountains.  When we went on a hike he insisted on caring a walking stick just like Antie Laura.  His mother sent me this picture a few months later when they were camping and he had remembered the fact that he needed a walking stick.  I love the photo and could see in my mind our little doggie Cookie as his hiking companion.  In my painting you can see dad is patiently waiting for his two little hikers to catch up.  When you are an curious rat terrier or a busy 3 year old the world is full of exciting things to look at along the trail.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Study on Rocks

I had the pleasure of spending a number of days this week on vacation in the beautiful state of Utah.  I can say that as for rock formations you would have to look long and hard to find a more stunning example of color and variation in the rocks than my neighboring beehive state.  I spent hours this week just studying the rock cliffs and formations that surrounded the area of Marysvale.   As I have stated in my last post, Rocks are an area that I seem to struggle with in my paintings.  My tendancy is to make them all uniform, outlined and smooth and as we all know if you have looked at rock that isn't what we see. 

When I returned to the studio yesterday I was determined to conquer my deficiency.  Armed with a number of new brushes that I purchased at the local Hobby Lobby store I set out to rework a painting I did last week called Hiking Buddies.  This painting is special to me because it is inspired by my little 3 year old grandson, Gavin and my very active rat terrier, Cookie. 

As you can see there are plenty of rocks in my painting but again I feel that they lacked depth and variation.  I find they are a distraction to the focal point of my painting, which of course are the two adorable "Hiking Buddies". 
No I have worked on the rocks by adding more variation in color and shading.  I have also brightened the trees and the dead branches, which I now feel direct the eye to my intended focus.  I also tried to create more contrast by adding lighting highlights on the rocks that would be facing the sun.  While I'm sure that many improvements could be made I feel that I'm heading on the right path when it comes to rocks.  Practice is the key and I'm currently working on a piece inspired by my stay in Utah that contains a number of cliffs and large boulders. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011


From as early as I can remember I have LOVED rocks.  I might have gotten this from my grandmother who thought lining her very long driveway in Swedeborg, Missouri with alternating painted pink and blue SPONGE rocks was a legitimate landscaping accent.  There might also have been a few truck tires painted white serving as flower planters...You can't take the hillbilly out of the hills.   You can ask any member of my family and they will tell you that on almost everyone of my travels I have brought home "pretty rocks" to add to my growing front yard collection.

Now you would think that with my familiarity and long love of rocks that as an artist I would easily paint them but I just keep coming up against a ...."ROCK WALL".  I am determined to conquer my "Rock Deficiency" into a "Rock Proficiency".  I thought you all might want to come along as I practice, struggle and SUCCEED to paint beautiful and realistic rocks.  Remember I would love to hear from you.

Here is a couple of early examples to show just how much I need to learn:

As you can see, my rocks are uniform and lack shape and color variation.  They appear to be very smooth and rounded like the whole earth was made of polished river rock.  I certainly have my work cut out for me and since I am publicly discussing my deficiency, I would like to also publicly critique my successes.  Stay tuned as I "LEARN TO PAINT ROCKS!"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just Another Snowy Day

Beautiful Kawich Mountains East of Tonoapah, Nevada

Clifford Mine- just off US6 before you head up into the mountains to Bellehelen

The ruins of Bellehelen

I'm the type of person that you could classify a planner...I often stress over the details and worry too much about the small things in life.  You can probably say I have a need to be in control of my environment.   Occasionally, God just steps in a throws me a curve ball..or in this case... should I say a SNOW BALL.

For months, I have reserved vacation time to add to the already 3 day Memorial Day weekend so that we could make the trip to our favorite remote camping spot far in the Kawich Mountains, east of Tonopah, Nevada. I don't know many people that would drive of 245 miles just to spend a couple of days of solitude and relaxation but that is what Brad and I like to do.

The camping spot is perfect for us and to our great pleasure we found the creek that has been dry on our other visits, flowing with water from the snow melt and so we were greeted with a symphony of bull frogs.  For a Missouri girl, transplanted to the Nevada desert this was sheer music to my ears.  My artist eyes drank in the beauty of the mountains, rocks, trees and abundant wildflowers.  Painting for me, in that setting was pure joy and I found myself hesitant to stop even though I was obviously getting sun burnt.  But it was only Saturday and I had another full day to enjoy my new plein air experience, so I made plans to spend the next day painting at the ruins of Bellehelen ghost town. 

But now to the God sized snow ball part of my adventure.  First kink in a perfect camping trip is a sick rat terrier throwing up all over the camper at midnight.  There is just something about sharing small quarters that bring a family close together but when you are in a 23 x 8 foot box and 1/2 of it is covered with greasy dog vomit you find yourself questioning many things in life.  Like, why didn't I secure that bacon grease in a better location?  Why didn't I put the dog in the crate like I do every night?  Why did I bring the dog in the first place?  Okay...I can deal with this.  I just cover stuff up and wash the disgusting stuff of my right foot because I didn't have my glasses on and stepped on the wrong 1/2 of the camper floor.  Just a little extra effort on my part and I'll be painting away again before too long. 

The sunrise found me with a resolve to tackle the tasks before me and get that camper whipped into shape so that my day would be as I had planned.  But low and behold..I open the camper door to find that 6 inches of wet, fluffy snow was covering everything.  Now I might be from Missouri but I moved to Nevada when I was only 16, so driving in the snow is something I have only experienced twice and both times the experience wasn't exactly positive.  I was frankly, very nervous and the idea that we were beyond any human assistance and we're now faced with the possibility of having some real issues to get back to the safety of civilization. It was hard not to think about how just a few weeks prior, the news reported the story of a Canadian woman that had been stuck in her van in Northern Nevada for 7 weeks living only on melted snow, trail mix and candy. 

I felt the panic welling up and I just said a prayer and decided that I just needed to trust my Montana husband to get us out of this situation that we found ourselves in.  With the wonders of 4 wheel drive, my husband was able to pull us all to safety.  This experience makes be mindful of the scripture found in II Samuel 23:20  "Benahiah, son of Jehoiada, a VALIANT fighter from Kabzeel (is that in Montana), performed GREAT exploits.  He struck down Moab's two mightiest warriors.  He also went down into a pit on a SNOWY day and killed a lion."  Brad might not have been a fighter, a warrior or have killed a lion, but he sure was my hero on a Snowy Day!

5-6 inches of fresh snow that fell surprisingly during the night
Heading back to Las Vegas-My Montana husband saves the day!

Let me just share a few of my paintings that have snow as a focal point.  I love to painting snot but as you can see by this story I'm not to fond of spending much time in the cold, wet stuff.  If you like my work and would like to see more, please visit my website at  These paintings and many more are featured there.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lurking Just Around the Corner

Yesterday, rather late in the afternoon, we decided that a walk was in order...Brad and I are the type that appreciate the rugged desert to the urban jungle we call home.  So we grabbed the dog and Laura, a couple bottles of water and headed out just to stretch our legs.  Our favorite quick get away is about a 20 minute drive to a rugged area, towards Lake Mead, that we call Pabco Road.  For years we have run out there to visit Gypsum Cave or explore the Old Spanish Trail area, but this time I simply wanted to look at rocky cliffs and get some exercise.  I have been painting a number of pieces lately that have rocks as a main focal point and felt that what I really needed was to get some first hand inspiration.

The area was more rugged and beautiful than I remembered from my past visits.  I was completely absorbed in the surroundings.  The jagged cliffs, the shadows and caves high above my head, the sounds of the birds that build their nests high in the cliffs, the colorful flowers and the dry desert breeze. A number of ideas for future paintings flooded my thoughts.   Reality was quick to take over, when a strange sound broke the magic of the moment.  This was a sound that I had never heard in the past, but it was a sound I will never forget and I knew instantly what it's source was.  It was the angry sound that a rattlesnake makes to warn you of his close proximity.    This experience has made me mindful all day how we can go as usual..and yet danger lurks just around the corner.

I have no idea how Laura and the dog make it past that spot without running into the danger that waited there.  They were about 100 feet in front of us and yet in her inexperience she didn't know of the creature that lay on the rocks just a few feet away.  Our dog Cookie, with all her energy and reckless playfulness, didn't notice either.  Surely any sound or motion would have drawn her attention.  Yet, they were protected and for that I am thankful.

My lesson here is that you can never take Nevada for granted.  A simple walk can be treacherous and caution needs to be the norm...  Water, a first aid kit, sturdy boots, a gun and the dog leash need to be present at every outing.  I also need to remember who my Protector is and give thanks daily for His mercy...especially to little red headed girls and spotted rat terriers.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Small World

I was just thinking today about when you are almost 50, as I am soon have an interesting perspective on the world.  I have clear memories of my youth when technology hadn't yet expanded our neighborhood to include the entire planet.  Yet, I'm young enough to be somewhat comfortable with today's technology.  For example.. I love my smart phone, my social media connections like Facebook and twitter and of course, as you can see here, I am trying to be a blogger.

What a contrast to the the days of my youth when I traveled to school in a horse drawn wagon...(Just kidding) but in the minds of today's youth it might as well have been because they just can't imagine a time when the main communication consisted of mailing letters and waiting weeks for a reply.  And who can forget the telephone party line.  In Eldon, Missouri we didn't just share the phone line but we also shared phone rings.  At my house we answered the phone if it was a long and a short ring, but we could also hear the neighbors phone ring.   Maybe it would be two long rings or two short rings.  Believe me when I say, there were no hour long teenage phone conversation allowed.  The world at that time was small and the ability most of us had to impact that world was equally small.  

Today, I'm at lunch, when I received an IM from my Facebook account from a young girl in Saudi Arabia that likes my paintings and is anxious for me to see her newest piece.  Can you believe it... I'm actually encouraging a young artist in a completely foreign culture to my own, with thousands of miles separating us and many years between us and yet... there she is talking to me excitedly telling me about her new painting...Yasmeen, you did a beautiful job on your painting and without knowing it you have greatly inspired a middle-aged, American woman learning to fire that passion for art in her own life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Road Maps

I have always loved to take a desert road that heads off to some unknown destination just to see what interesting things are just over the next hill.  Nevada has thousands of miles of just such dirt roads.  Some are no more than a wash but they are still reflected as little blue dashes heading somewhere.  I love looking at the topographical map of Nevada.  You know the huge map book that has Nevada divided up into 71 or 72 separate squares.  The map that 1" equals 4 miles. This weekend was just such a Nevada adventure.

Page 65 on my map book followed state highway 375 that runs through Rachel, also know as the extraterrestrial highway and the closest public highway to the infamous area 51.  I wanted to see the site on the map called Tempiute, which I presumed was a ghost town or some past mining effort. The road that headed up into the mountains was a solid line road rather than blue dashes.  The key stated this was a MAJOR ROAD.  The only problem is that in Nevada there are very few road signs, so when I saw the mileage marker that said that the town of Rachel was 20 miles I knew I must be close to my turn off.  I use a real exact and precise measuring tool when exploring... the size of my index finger and middle finger together looks pretty close to one inch to me, so when I measured 5 of these finger lengths from the Rachel back down the line that represents highway 375, I knew that this must be the right road.  So because we are true Nevada explorers...we took it. 

It was a great road heading into the mountains.  We found great places to bring the trailer in the future and go camping.  Just shortly after we got on the road, we passed by a truck that appeared to be driven by a local rancher, complete with a cow pony tied up in the bed of his truck.  We waved as we passed by. We had a wonderful picnic lunch and so about 3:00 in the afternoon we decided to pack it up and continue on.  We headed up further into the mountains, all the time I'm following along our trail on my trusted map.  Completely isolated from anyone we are surprised to find that we are being followed by the same rancher we had passed hours earlier. 

Brad prefers technology so he always brings along some sort of electronic contraption to fight and be frustrated over. No matter what the item is, it never fits properly in the dashboard holder and is always flying out and falling on the floor at the worst moments. This time he brought his hand held Garmin GPS thing that has the 3 x 3 inch screen that I can never figure out.  As we are driving, Brad keeps mentioning that the road we are on is called the Cold Springs Road and that there is a road up a head called the Mail Summit Road..all the valley and mountain names that he keeps blurting out are no where to be found on my map.  As it gets closer to 5:00 I'm getting pretty frustrated because I'm not exactly sure where we are or where to go to get back to the highway.  True explorers would never want to turn around and travel a road they had just been over.  Where is the thrill of discovery in that?

At about 5:30 I decide to flip the page over to page 66 in my map book.  Boy was I shocked to find Cold Springs Road.  I'm so lost that I'm not even on the right page and now I can see we are heading off into the vast emptiness of the Nevada core.  Well at least now that I know what page I'm on I can develop a plan to get us back to some pavement.  We chose to take the Mail Summit Road to Highway 318 just North of Hiko.  We travel 15-20 miles when low and behold we meet a truck on a especially curvy portion of the road.  Would you believe that it is the same rancher that we had seen twice before is now traveling the opposite direction.  He has lost the horse and added a trailer.  Amazing that we would run across this man 3 times in our travels that day.

We breathed a sigh of relief when the highway came into sight.  While I don't like not knowing where I am exactly, I can't help but compare that same lost feeling to so many lives.  We had all the right tools at our disposal.  Detailed maps and electronic gadgets but we weren't using them correctly.  We have the same tool available in the Bible.  In there we have a detailed road map for our lives.  We can learn how to handle our finances, our relationships and how to live a life full of peace and joy.  It all depends on how you use the tool.  Are you guilty like I am so often of just picking it up on my way out the door to go to church or do you really depend on it and study your road map?  Is it part of your life or an object taking up room on the shelf?    I'm going to commit to reading my Father's map book on a regular basis so that I won't get lost when I have a trial or a temptation come my way.  What about you?

Desert Exploring

Awesome old windmill

Nevada is OPEN RANGE country

I wanted to show you some of my own unique Nevada artwork.  Painting scenes from this wonderful state is something very special.  You can check these out in close detail along with many of my other works at my website at  Leave me a comment below to let me know what you think.

Here are just a few:

A painting  I did of a ruin at Clifford  off Highway 6 between Tonopah and Warm Springs 
This is very near one of our favorite camping spots in Nevada.  We love to exploring this area and painting the ruins and desert scenery is something I love.  Check out more information and photos of Clifford by following this link:  Clifford Ghost Town

I call this piece "Casting out the Darkeness"
 There is absolutely something special about the sunrise and sunset in the desert.  I'm not sure what it is, but they are more beautiful than almost any place I have been.  I hope I captured this sunrise with this colorful piece.

"Doorway to the Past" is a piece meant to make you consider the strength of those that tried to make Nevada home.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nevada Exploring

After a time I find that living in Las Vegas becomes smothering and I have to get out of town. I find myself pouring over the topographical map thinking about this road, ghost town or mountain. Today is just one of those days.  When church is over, I'm packing a quick picnic lunch and we're all loading into the Ford to go exploring.  I'm hoping to get some good exercise and new material to inspire some paintings.  Maybe we can find a great camping spot for future camping trips.  I'll probably find a pretty rock and with God's protection we will come home dusty, tired and sunburnt.