Win, Win…Auction Results

By now, most folks are used to the competition Tim (The Forester Artist) and I have with our original art donation to the Sierra-Cascade Environmental and Resource Fund annual education auction hosted by the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. Up until last year, Tim kept coming out on top, but then I smoked him when my piece, Off-Highway Hauler, brought in double what his piece, The Fellers, did for environmental education in 2017. I had bragging rights for the year.

This year, we both received a special request for pieces.

Back in the fall, Tim was presented with an old photo of Buzz Eades. Buzz, a local legend in the timber industry, had contributed much to the forest products industry. Since Tim first met Buzz while working at LaTour Demonstration State Forest in 1984, it only made sense that he would do the painting.

Buzz Eades 1976

Buzz Eades 1976

It was looking like no requests would come in for my piece, until shortly after Christmas. One of the local foresters provided a shot of a heel-boom loader. The story was that John Miller, another local legend, of John Wheeler Logging, Inc. was the operator back in the day. The images were taken in 1975.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 2.53.14 PMThe race was on. I needed to paint the machine from the opposite side in order to show the operator. The Northwest Model 41 wasn’t a symmetrical beast, so I need more references. I reached out on social media and Eric Cole of The Rusty Grapple came to the rescue. I managed to track down a copy of “The Story of Northwest Engineering Company” it also helped for authenticity.

Tim was on his own mission trying to locate references for the saw Buzz used back in the day. Also using social media, Neil Gould, the son of logger Del Gould who used to cut with Buzz confirmed the model of saw used. The final detail was in place.

Finally, our finished pieces were ready. They were on display at the Red Tail Publishing booth across from conference registration up until they were whisked away for the auction. I could tell which painting was generating more buzz by the reactions of the people coming to see the art. It was going to be close.


Dueling_competitors.jpgBuzzin’ the Pumpkin and Timbermaster side by side on auction night.


Tim snapped this shot of the dueling art pieces just before the auctioneer took the stage. Our items were numbers 24 and 25. They would auction off together. The high bidder could buy one or both pieces at the high bid number. If they only chose one, the loser would go back out to auction again.

The bidding took off and quickly surpassed $5000. It was a nonstop climb to over $10,000. A table in the back of the room pushed through to over $12,000. People were craning their necks to see who the bidder was with such deep pockets. It wasn’t the usual suspects for stratosphere bidding. The gavel dropped at $12,500. A group of names was read off of a conglomerate of folks pulling resources to purchase their chosen art. The litany of names ended with the buyer’s consortium finalizing their purchase by rounding it off to $15,000 for Buzzin’ the Pumpkin in honor of environmental education.

Buzzin’ the Pumpkin was carried through the hall to the table where Muriel Eades, Buzz’s widow was seated. As they presented her with the piece honoring her beloved Buzz, warm memories permeated the banquet. Muriel thanked everyone who contributed profusely and asked for the artist. “Where’s the artist, is he here, I want to thank him.” She needed to search no farther, Tim was there to greet her.


Left to Right: Zane Peterson, Neil Gould, Muriel Eades, and Tim Livingston with the winning art, Buzzin’ the Pumpkin.

In the afterglow of the winning art, the losing piece was put back on the auction block.

Timbermaster opened bidding at the midrange and quickly hit $8,000, bounced around and climbed to $9,500, then $10,000. I motioned upward, hoping against all odds that we could get the crowd rolling again for a higher number, the stall held.

Timbermaster sold for $10,000 in support of environmental resource education. Not too bad for the loser’s bracket. I’d call this a double win for environmental education.

Environmental and resource education is near and dear to our hearts. Tim and I find ourselves in good company. Timber people are good folk who look out for the future of environmental resources. All in all, the night brought in over $150,000 that will be used for scholarships and other educational opportunities through the Sierra Cascade Environmental Resource Fund.

Kudo’s to Tim for an exceptional piece. Hopefully, next year, you’ll get the loser’s report from Tim.


Bidders stepped up with $10,000 for Timbermaster and $15,000 for Buzzin’ the Pumpkin.       This makes a 2018 total of $25,000 for our art in support of environmental resource education. We couldn’t be happier.



2014 Children’s Digital Book Awards with Mary A Livingston – Children’s Book Academy

2014 Children’s Digital Book Awards with Mary A Livingston – Children’s Book Academy.

I’ve joined the wonderful group of Blogettes over at Children’s Book Academy, let me know what you think of my first post.

Thankful Bliss

Gelett Burgess Award.

Kandis Lighthall, Mary A Livingston and Patricia Schetter sport their new book award bling. Percy Learns to Fly was awarded Gold in the Motivation and Inspiration category.

I couldn't have illustrated Percy Learns to Fly without loving support from my wonderful husband, Tim, The Forester Artist.

I couldn’t have illustrated Percy Learns to Fly without loving support from my wonderful husband, Tim, The Forester Artist.

Patty, author of Percy Learns to Fly (ABTA Publications and Products), Kandis, educational contributor, and I, the illustrator, received our Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award medals. I’ve already expressed how wonderful Kandis and Patty are to work with and how supportive my husband, Tim, the Forester Artist, has been, now I’d like to thank someone very special for his help getting me going with children’s illustrations.

Mark Mitchell of How to Illustrate a Children’s Book and Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks! online course was instrumental in my progress as a children’s book illustrator.

I started getting braver with art as I participated with the liturgical committee of my parish. During the summer of 2011, I stumbled across Mark’s website while I was looking for some artist resources for an illustrator of one of Red Tail Publishing’s titles. I bookmarked the page, and later, when I was alone, and no one was looking, I gave the site a good going through.

I so wanted to illustrate, but lacked the confidence. Typically, I’m a fairly confident person and don’t shy from a challenge. As the calling to art rose louder and louder, it terrified me. So I lurked and stalked the course website, I check out all the email updates.

I have always hung around, peeking over Tim’s shoulder, admiring the way his brushes danced across his canvas or how he could just sit and draw anywhere, with anyone looking. But I wasn’t brave enough to just jump in.

Then, finally, in the spring of 2012, I signed up for Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks! Tim was so happy, he bought me my own art table and new brushes for us both.

That May, I had my first critique. Angst swept in and consumed me. I had to listen to the replay because I was so overwhelmed during the live feed I could barely hear the comments. It was okay, it was encouraging. Mark and the critique group of my piers gave me wonderful tips and encouraging pointers to help me grow.

Before this course, I had been brave enough to pick up watercolors five times. This course demystified illustration and made watercolors feel like an extension of my heart.

While I was working on my own book for my company, I was hired to illustrate Percy Learns to Fly.

Percy Learns to Fly

Percy sports his award bling.

Percy Learns to Fly was the first book I illustrated as I finished it before completing No Place for Ugly Birds. Just image how thrilled I was to learn that Percy won a national award.

I can’t express enough how beneficial taking the Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks! course has been. I highly recommend it for anyone considering illustrating for children.

Thank you, Mark, for all you do for the children’s illustration community.

Next up a peek into Picture Book Academy.

Percy Wins Book Award!

Gold Medal Inspiration and Motivation Author: Patricia Schetter Illustrator: Mary A Livingston Educational Contributor: Kandis Lighthall Publisher: ABTA Products and Publications

Gold Medal
Inspiration and Motivation

I can’t even begin to say how excited I am. The more I worked on the art for this book, the more I fell in love with little Percy. It was the first picture book I illustrated, and I feel so blessed to be a part of its making. I worked with two wonderful women, Patricia Schetter, the author and Kandis Lighthall, the educational contributor from ABTA Publications and Products. My illustration group from Make Your Splashes – Make Your Marks was invaluable for critiques and points of illustration wisdom. And of course my wonderful Tim (The Forester Artist) is always encouraging. I just can’t stop smiling!

The ABTA Publications and Products children’s picture book, Percy Learns to Fly, has been awarded the 2013 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award for outstanding contributions to children’s literature. A Gold Medal was awarded in Lifestyle: Motivation and Inspiration category.

Author: Patricia Schetter, M.A., B.C.B.A., Woodland, CA
Illustrator: Mary A Livingston (ME :D) Anderson, CA
Educational Contributor: Kandis Lighthall, Redding, CA

Percy Learns to Fly tells a heartwarming story by Patricia Schetter of fitting in while being different. Everyone can see Percy is different. He tries hard to fit in with his friends and do well in school. Join Percy in this heart-warming tale with moments of disappointment, excitement and joy as Percy Learns to Fly.

A page from Percy Learns to Fly

A page from Percy Learns to Fly

Includes an exceptional Teacher and Parent section with resources.

Hardback ISBN 978-0-9844660-1-6
Paperback ISBN 978-0-9844660-2-3

Here are a couple of websites with the book:
ABTA Publications and Products

also at (discount for the Red Tail site is code BLOG15 edit cart in checkout 😉 )

Meet Percy

I’d like to introduce you to Percy. He’s a love. The poor little penguin is hatched to a pair of gulls. Don’t worry, Percy has heart, lots of heart.

Growing Percy

Percy is hatched to a gull family. Character development for Percy Learns to Fly. ABTA Products and Publications. Schetter/Livingston 2013

I met Percy through author/educator Patricia Schetter. Patty is an all around awesome gal who has followed her bliss. She is a Behavior Analyst and Autism Specialist and she teaches fellow educators. You can find out more about Patty here.

Percy Learns to fly was the first book I illustrated.  Lucky me! To study for Percy, I went to the San Francisco Zoo and observed the penguins. You see, we don’t have penguins in the wilds of Northern California, so the zoo was pretty much my best option for a hands on look at the movements and behaviors of a penguin.

In Percy Learns to Fly, Percy faces danger.

In Percy Learns to Fly, Percy faces danger.

As I poured over the story and got to know Percy, I fell in love with his personality and strong heart. Percy teaches a lot about persistence and how in the right environment, we too can soar.

So how about you? What’s your environment for bliss?

I’ll have more to post on Percy in the coming days…yes, that’s a tease, so stay tuned!

Mrs. Hatcher comforts Percy after a long day. Percy Learns to Fly

Mrs. Hatcher comforts Percy after a long day. Percy Learns to Fly

Pursuing Bliss

It’s been a pretty full summer as I have been pursuing bliss. Just over a year ago I signed up for an outstanding online course and critique group over at Make Your Splashes, Make Your Marks.  Through this awesome course with Mark Mitchell I connected up with Picture Book Academy.

 Growing in bliss is addicting!

One final plug about pursuing bliss, don’t miss Marsha and Mira’s Best Character-Driven Contest!!

Best of luck to you all!

Out of the Blue Bliss

Years ago while I was creating designs for my parish’s liturgy committee, I decided to enter a liturgical art contest.

My art didn’t place in the contest. Not even a mention. More than a year later, one of the images of my work appeared on the cover of a magazine owned by the company from the contest.

It was my first time as a published artist. It didn’t register with me at the time, even when I opened the magazine and saw my name for the cover credit. As I look back on it, I am glad I put myself out there by entering the contest. The experience fostered a seed planted long ago.

I am acquainted with several artists who volunteer their time to illustrate sacred stories. You never know where it will lead, for me the experience was far richer than getting notice on a magazine cover. In fact, I would describe it as bliss.

Cover art by Mary A Livingston  6'x9' in fabric

Cover art by Mary A Livingston
6’x9′ in fabric

PiBoIdMo 2012 – I did it!

Picture Book Idea Month 2012 – 30 picture book ideas in 30 days – whew! It was a lot of fun. I almost didn’t do it. Time is short and the “one more thing” gloomy bug started to creep in. Shooed that little naysayer away and signed up. I am so glad I did.
It never fails, ideas come popping in like unannounced company. Backs of envelopes, trimmed paper, post its, receipts and the like were commandeered to stand in until I made it to wherever the notebook was hiding.
I just kept entering without keeping track. I counted the last week to see if I made it. Thirty-six, really? Recount, yep, thirty-six! Funny thing, those little scraps keep appearing.
Perhaps next year, they’ll go straight to the notebook. Nah, probably not! I think my ideas like to free range a bit.



Liebster Blog Award – Thank You!!!!

A “Thank You” shout out to Francesca at Flora’s Table for nominating my blog, The Backdoor Artist, for the Liebster Blog AwardFlora’s Table is a delightful cooking blog focusing on both authentic Italian cuisine dishes and traditional American dishes, suggesting appropriate wine pairings for each of them.Take  moment to stop by, you’ll be glad you did.

The Liebster Blog award helps spread the word about younger blogs, with fewer than 200 followers. I know, I know, takes time to respond to these things, but it is a great way to share some blogs with readers they might not otherwise find.

Are there new, young blogs, I hope others find? Yes. I can certainly think of more than a few. So…because I appreciate the efforts of inspiration out in the blogosphere, I will play and pass it along.

The adapted award rules for this one are the following: those who get nominated must answer 5 questions asked by the person who nominated them and tell 5 random facts about themselves.  Then, each of them is supposed to pass on the award by nominating 5 blogs with under 200 followers and ask them 5 questions. Note: It was 11, but I am joining previous nominees by limiting it to 5.
Considering the often overindulgence of this season, restraint is a good thing.

5 Random facts about myself:

I like bridges.
I was born on a reservation.
I treasure my faith.
I believe being a parent is the most important full time job anywhere.
I love my husband more each day.

My answers to the questions asked from Francesca

Q1.  What’s your favorite book?
A1.  It varies, usually the book I am working on. Right now, it is one about a young bird named Percy. More on him later.

Q2.  If you could live in the past, which historical period would you pick?
A2.  I have no desire to live in any other time than the present.

Q3. What’s your favorite drink?
A3.  Cold water with a squeeze of fresh picked lemon.

Q4.  What’s your addiction?
A4.  Fixing things.

Q5.  If you were a piece of clothing or an accessory, you would be…
A5.  Wedding ring.

My questions for the nominees are the following:

  1. If you could forever fund one single charity, which one would it be?
  2. What is your favorite volunteer activity?
  3. What surprises you?
  4. What is your silliest pet peeve?
  5. If you were a science fiction character, who would you be?

And the nominees are…

Making Rainbows

Shelley Wilson Art

Where’s Puppy

Divad’s Blog

Married and Catholic

Beautiful Blogger Award

Humble thanks to The Forester Artist for nominating my blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  I am blessed with his continued support and friendship He has a wonderful blog about “Creating art on the big canvas and the small ones too.”
It took me a few days to accept the nomination. You see, Tim is family. More on that upcoming in my Nov. 4 post, so stay tuned.


1. Thank the person who nominated you

Thank you, Tim.

2. Post the award image to your page (see above)

3. Tell 7 facts about yourself

I met my husband (my best friend) on a blind date 32 years ago.

We have 2 wonderful sons, one of whom, along with his beautiful wife, have blessed us with 3 precious grandchildren.

I am a retired professional photographer.

I love dogs.

I enjoy creating.

I like my eggs fresh, store eggs need not apply. (Same goes for tomatoes.)

I pray.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers, and let them know about the nomination

I chose the following bloggers because of how they inspire me in their recognition of beauty in the world. They may hesitate to accept publicly…believe me, I understand.  Whether they accept or not, I want you to meet them, these people who live their gift and thereby bless the world with beauty.

Artistic Expression by Felicia Lilley

Illustration Junky

Laura Miller

Tanith Larking

Bright Spirit Studio


Susan Clement-Beveridge

Painting with Pencils

Pam Tanzey


Violet Gallery

Mike’s Look at Life

Anna Cull

Drawing and Painting Hobe Sound

Thistle Dew Mercantile

Congratulations and thank you for your contribution to the blogging community.