UALR 6×6 Event

It all started when…

Emily Wood Facebook messaged me – “Interested in donating to the UALR 6×6 event?” – or something like that.

Six by Six Invitation

All pieces entered are 6×6 inches – hence the “6×6” title. I decided that prints would be the best way to go, so I tore some paper and mixed some ink (pewter, red, and white). I did test prints first to make sure the cropped images were strong compositions.

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This was a happy accident from rolling out the red ink.

Once everything was printed, I stopped by Hobby Lobby on the way home from work the next day and got the pieces matted – which felt like a complete rip off at $5 per mat! They didn’t even let me keep the matboard scraps they cut from. Yikes was I mad about that.

“The Dancer”

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“The Lady and the Musician”

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“Dinner Guests” (which is its actual size)

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I put the Paper Opera stamp on the back and signed the print.

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M and I went to the UALR 6×6 event and had a nice time! It was a silent auction – where all of the pieces are placed on the tables and people walk around and bid on them.

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I was happy because all of my pieces got bids.

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At the end of the event, there were speeches and thank you’s and lots of clapping.



Hanging Art with Kelsey

Kelsey texted me to come to Grace Church and bring some art to hang. M and Ein came along to help. We looked through each others work and started placing our work against the walls to see what would look good where. The wall was such a dark brown that only certain pieces worked in the space.

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We shifted and looked, shifted and looked and so on until we were satisfied of what piece we wanted where.

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We pulled out the hammer and nails and just eyeballed it. We didn’t use a tape measure or a level…basically a big “hanging art no no.” Why didn’t we call Ephraim!

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All of the work went well together in the end!

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Kelsey was a lot of fun to hang art with. She was just really relaxed and open to many different options. It made things very easy.

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Thanks to M for driving, carrying art, taking pictures, and general advice. Thanks to Ein for sniffing everything and being cute.

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The Great Banjo Expedition

I started taking banjo lessons with Bill Nesbitt in February 2014. He was letting me borrow his banjo during this time.

Because I love playing the banjo so much and we had started using it in recordings and writings songs on it, M and I decided we should get our own banjo. In June we started “The Great Banjo Expedition” – which was basically a search on the internet to see what we wanted for a specific budget. We have a separate “band account” that we deposit any money we get from our digital albums, shows, and the KUAR Arts and Letters radio program. Our “band account” had been earning more than spending for almost a year, so we decided it was time to actually GO on this “The Great Banjo Expedition” to Nashville, Tennessee – known for its love of music.

We would have weeks to plan the expedition, and there were four shops we had in mind to look at and play from their banjo selection: Gruhn Guitars, Carter Vintage Guitar, Corner Music, and Nashville Used Music. That was the extent of our plans. The night before we left we used Hotwire for our hotel, which is a site that gives you a cheaper price than the actual hotel, but you only know the location of the hotel and not the actual hotel until you pay (nonrefundable). As far as food, we just looked up places on Urbanspoon and had some advice from friends.


When we first arrived in Nashville we stopped for lunch at Fido.

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After a delicious burger and key lime pie, we started the banjo shoppin’. We went to Gruhn Guitars first. We bought some finger picks and starting trying out some banjos. There were so many banjos, but around 5 in our price range to choose from. I immediately liked the feel and sound of the Recording King R35.

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M played some guitars – there were so many beautiful instruments to look at!

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Carter Vintage Guitar had a beautiful mural on the outside wall. There was a smaller banjo selection here and there was only one in our price range.


I wanted to take a little break from playing all of those banjo’s at this point, so we went to Crema for coffee.

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Corner Music was rockin’ and they had an acoustic guitar room that I could play banjo’s in – away from the rockin’ overhead music. I didn’t like any of the banjos I played there.


Last stop was the Nashville Used Music, which was basically a music pawn shop. The music was so loud I couldn’t hear what any of the banjo’s sounded like. Also, I couldn’t be certain what condition the banjo’s were in, so we didn’t stay too long.

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We went to the Millennium Maxwell Hotel to check in. We didn’t get any chocolate covered strawberries on our pillows, but they gave us a room with a view for M’s birthday. We talked banjos for a bit and did some research on the Recording King R35. We decided we would go back to Gruhn the next day and purchase the RK.

The plan, which we made up right then, was to go to dinner and a show at the Grand Ole Opry. After discovering that parking was $25, we skipped dinner and had a leisurely walk with free parking. Once there, we got some corn dogs and enjoyed live performances by The Whites, Daryle Singletary, Sarah Darling, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Connie Smith, Jason Crabb, Chris Janson, and Mel Tillis.


The next morning we went to Hermitage Cafe – a local breakfast diner for a $4 greasy delicious breakfast.

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We headed back to Gruhn Guitars to get our banjo!

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We had decided on the Recording King R35 – which we bought from Calvin.

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When we got home, we were so inspired by the music and entertainment in Nashville we wrote a song with a little twang called “Fishing at Midnight” for our new album – “The Umbrellas Here.”


Art for an Anniversary

M and I have been going to the Mary’s Homegroup with Grace Church since 2011. Doug and Sue Mary work with Family Life and so their specialty is marriage studies. They have been great to M and I and have invested their time and prayers in the lives of the couples under their leadership. The Mary’s have been supportive of my art, even coming to my University of Arkansas at Little Rock Master of Arts exhibition in December 2012.


They have been supportive of my mission trip to Romania in June 2014.

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I fact, they have us in their home every two weeks providing dinner and a space to spiritually grow.

Their 40th anniversary was this year on July 18th and I wanted to do something that would be special for them. I asked them to send me a picture of their wedding day.

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I started working on a painting for them.

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Once finished, M and I went to their house to deliver their anniversary painting.

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Happy Anniversary Doug and Sue Mary! Thanks for all you do for your community.



A Wedding Song

The Damsels in Distress were asked to play a song at the Lockehart wedding at Grace Church. M and I decided to play  “Mr. and Mrs.”, from album, “Spinning Plates.”

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“Mr. and Mrs.” was originally titled “Mr. and Mrs. Epperson.” We wrote the song in response to being asked to play a song at the Epperson wedding. We later shortened the title to “Mr. and Mrs.” so that it could be used in a more general sense for many wedding lovers.

“Mr. and Mrs.” is about the wedding and the marriage of two lovers.

Mr. and Mrs.
Your lovely heart’s bold
To love someone like me
Who sees this life in the only way to be free.
“I do” forever.

We’ll make the changes.
We’ll say what needs to be said.
And then we’ll do them in our hearts and our heads.

With this ring, I thee wed to be true love to be true.
With this ring, I thee wed to be true love to be true.
To be true.

So would you join me?
Soon our flesh will be one.
We’ll live together forever and forever.

“I do” forever.


Our friends Doug and Sue Mary from Family Life took this video and sent to us. Thanks Doug and Sue!