Tuesday, February 25, 2014


This still life is full of memories... the old letter is from my grandmother, Annie Pope, written to her mother, when Annie was a young wife and away from home for the first time. The cup and saucer was a gift from my sister, Dorothy, and the silver letter opener is an antique that I bought for myself.

The gold locket is an antique that a friend gave me many birthdays ago, and the hand painted china tray was from a girl that worked for me for years. The tray is part of a dresser set.

The dried flowers were from someone I loved very much. It's all sitting in the middle of my bed while I play with memories.

Back to my website : www.maryjhicks.com


This gray, dreary morning makes me long for the warm days of summer, well, spring at least.

I look at this photo I made several summers ago and I can feel that golden warmth on my face. I remember how good the sun felt on my back.

Until I'm reminded of why I'm hunkering in the shade with my camera, looking out to the sun on the grasses. It was hot! It was almost a hundred degrees at five o'clock, that perfect day on a Texas ranch...my shirt was wet and my back burned like...

Looking back seems to blur our vision and soften the harsh realities of mundane days—and that's okay, every now and then, blurred vision works to our good. It helps us enjoy our days—those behind us and those before us.

So, here is to smiling at the days behind us, and to those ahead of us. :-)

Have a happy day and keep God in your plans . . . :-)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

CREATIVITY at it's best...

I was asked if oil painting was hard to learn. I said, "Yes, it is."

Now those of you who know me, know I could never stop there.

Me, the person who loves information dumps, whether giving or receiving them. But the question made me think hard about it. The person who asked the question, Karoline Barrett, is a writer with a new novel, The Art of Being Rebekkah, it's hot off the press. If you like woman's fiction, check it out at her site— http://karolinebarrett.com/

Several of us, as yet unpublished writers, were telling Lizbeth ( aka, Karoline Barrett ) how happy we were for her, and we teased that we were green with envy. ( Really, we were just teasing... )

Lizbeth came back and said she wished she could paint like I do—and asked the question about learning to paint.

It shouldn't matter whether a subject is hard. Life is hard. A love of learning, time for study, and with a strong desire, any given subject can be learned.

Meet my young art student, Lesly King.

I really don't teach much anymore, but I couldn't say no to Les. He's eager to learn and is willing to erase and make changes as many times as needed to improve his work. He never whines or complains.

Les is ten-years old. He may decide any day that something else is more exciting than art lessons, and that's the way of his age—it's what growing up is all about—learning,  making choices and exploring. It's an exciting time.

But, as adults, we can have the same excitement and spirit of learning as children do. And if you don't have that excitement to write, paint, photograph, sew, garden or whatever you choose, every single day ( there'll be days you must do laundry ),  then maybe you should take a lesson from the kids—search for that thing that excites you. You'll know when you find it, cause' when you do, it won't let go of you. :-)

Yes, it's hard learning to paint, to write, and all the above mentioned.  But, if you really want to do it, you can. And who knows, you may end up with something really nice.

Like Lesly did with this pastel painting. Les is a man's man, and he not only draws well, he sometimes leads singing at church on Wednesday nights.

God's blessings on all your efforts,

Monday, January 6, 2014

Looking Forward to 2014

A whole new year lies ahead. I feel it in my bones, it'll be a good year. I didn't make my usual resolutions, instead, I 'intentioned' several goals. Here are a few of them:
  • Diligent Bible study
  • Healthy eating
  • Honesty in sharing my thoughts on writing ( and everything else! )
  • To listen carefully to the people around me... 
  • Do paintings for my book covers
These are the important ones, don't think you'd be interested in the others.

I intend to remember that old saying that variety is the spice of life. That makes sense. I enjoy the variety of wearing  different colors and different styles throughout the week. And I like Mexican food one day, Italian food the next, with beans and cornbread worked in about Friday evening. 

Life is made up of good and bad. A friend used to say, 'Chicken one day, feathers the next'. I'll embrace the bad as well as the good, knowing this is natures balance. I'll Laugh at things that go wrong and celebrate even the smallest victories, like when I shuffle through the mail, I frown at the tax notice and smile big at the card from a friend... yep, variety is good, important. 

The unpleasant stuff makes me appreciate the good. I smile at bad.

In 2014, when I get a rejection letter instead of an acceptance on the manuscript I slaved over, poured my life's blood into, created characters I loved and lived with, went through trials and disappointments with them, and finally, after months or years of sitting hunched over the laptop, I'm able to guide my precious people down the road of 'happiness ever after', all the way to, 'The End'...

Where was I going with this...? Oh, yes. I intend to remember when I send my manuscript off, that life is more interesting with the variety of ups and downs. I expect downs. The down times stretch me to work harder, study more and learn to take it with a smile. It's called, 'Paying your dues', another part of nature. It's only after many rejections that a writer can truly appreciate that acceptance letter when it finally lands in the mailbox...

Wait, something is pricking me. Ouch, ouch, stop that!  

My conscience. I've fed it well and it won't let me stray, even for the sake of prose. It reminded me of my intention to be totally honest in sharing my thoughts in 2014.

To be totally honest, I want that acceptance letter. Now! I already work hard and stretch myself. I don't need the downs, I don't want any rejections, I'll take all yesses, please! And I'll take my variety in the books I read and the foods I eat and the friends I make.

Can I honestly say I'd be bored and unappreciative if everything I submitted was snatched up and my mail was flooded with double book contracts and large advance checks? No, I can't honestly say that—I can't even imagine it!

But I can honestly say, I love writing. The hard work and hours of study are pure pleasure. Everyone can always use a little more cash. But God knows me, He knows me very well, and He knows I'm being honest when I say that the main reason for the cash is because it's what validates my worth as a creative being. When another person likes what I created well enough to spend their hard earned money to own it, that tells me my work is of worth to that person.

I love giving. I'd be happy giving my writing away. But when you give something that your thoughts and hands have created, you don't really know if the recipient likes it, or if they're just being polite.

But when a person buys it, they make the choice of ownership and that proves that my writing has worth, at least to that person.

The experts say the number one fear for most people is public speaking, and that the number one craving or need for most people is appreciation and validation.

We humans are funny creatures.

Wishing God 's blessings on you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Thought I'd post a sample of some of pieces I'll be showing at the Canvas & Clay art show. It looks like the weather is not going to cooperate with us this year—most times we are blessed with wonderful fall leaves and cool brisk weather, without the storms and heavy rain.

We'll do the best we can and still be grateful for the rain that comes with the other. :-)

                                                                       'Texas Clouds'  

'What was that?'

'Deserted Cow Barn'

'Asleep For The Winter'

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beautiful Oklahoma

Wouldn't you love to look out your bathroom window and see this view? Sure you would. This is just one view that Jackie Anderson enjoys from her home. Jackie's entire yard—several acres it could be, I'm not sure, is landscaped just like this. Wherever you go, whichever way you turn, this is what you see.

Or this view from her bedroom window. Jackie shares her yard with the Garden Club members from time to time. I remember the first time I had lunch in Jackie's yard. My, my, my.
She has her own private hide-away and that's where the luncheon was set up. Who ever! ( I mean, really, who ever? ) Just think, your own private place to sneak off and read all day...

A large covered deck situated on a rise, caught the cool breeze. The breeze gently ruffled the snowy white table-cloths around our knees as we sat at the large round tables. Soft cloth napkins, pretty china and delicate stemware vied for attention over the flowers and trees spread out far and wide beyond the deck. It reminded me of  the movie, Out Of Africa. I pretended a little. Need I say that I enjoyed the afternoon tremendously. The food was delicious, the talk lively and the view, well, you can see for yourself.

I have to admit I was a little distracted. I kept glancing into the sky, knowing, hoping that at any minute I'd see a small speck. It would grow larger, then I'd hear the engine humming, and then Robert Redford would do a perfect landing in the trees and roll to a stop just below the deck and hop out of the cockpit and... oh, sorry, I got carried away. The garden club ladies were fun too.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

CANVAS & CLAY ~ Promo photo

Canvas & Clay art group needed a new promo shot. We decided to go casual. Our show is called Art in The Barn. We actually dress real spiffy for the opening reception. LtoR : Jan Bateman, Marsha McDonald, Dr. Leea Arnold and Mary Hicks.
We're a little far back—after all the show is about us and our work. Not the landscape.We'll crop in a tad.

Hmmm, Closer up. Easier to find fault. Maybe a different shot?

 Dr. Arnold doesn't have her signature smile and Marsha's elbow is nudging me out of the picture. Well, one more?

Come on girls, get serious! The pizza's waiting!

This will have to do! Problem is, this art group has too much fun ANYTIME they get together!
We have a great show every year—standing room only. Our guests seem to enjoy the show as much as we do. Anyone interested can email for more information and directions.