In Memory of My Mom, Janie Sills, 1942-2019

I’ve been taking a few months off from social media and my blog as my mom passed away on May 8th, and I have been busy with family, and quite honestly, I just haven’t felt up to writing or painting.

I took a three month break from painting, but I am back in the studio again and feeling inspired. I know my mom would want me to continue to create art as she was one of my biggest fans. I miss her so much. She lived in Oregon, and I live in Southern California, so I would text her pictures at the end of each painting session so she could see my progress. She would always respond with words of encouragement.

One of my favorite photo;s of the two of us – And we are in our nightgowns! 🙂

Another favorite, just a few years later 🙂 at my Niece’s wedding.

She was born in December on the family farm in Nashville, Arkansas. This is is the first picture of her, she is about 3-4 months old.

She was the youngest of four children and was definitely the baby of the family. Just like I was… 🙂

She was quite the little farm girl. You should have seen all the pictures of her with cows that I saw while I was looking for this family photo. 🙂 She named all of the animals on the farm.

I believe she is 11 in this next picture. She is holding her first “store bought” doll that her sister, Jo bought for her.


She was a blonde when she was a little girl. She is the little one in the front with the black ribbon in her hair.

Her teen years, the 1950’s.

She graduated from Ashland High School in 1959, Ashland, OR.

She loved animals, especially cats!

She married my dad, the love of her life on her 18th birthday. They were married for 58 years.

Our family… I am the redhead on the left in both pictures. My sis and I are 11 months apart, and we had the greatest childhood, growing up in a small town (Hilt, Ca) right on the border of Oregon and California.

This picture of the four of us was from a couple years ago.

My Mom was a secretary and could type faster than I could talk! I used to dictate my term papers for high school and college to her. She was the secretary for the First Baptist Church while I was growing up and then she worked at the hospital and for a radiologist office before retiring.

She loved social media, especially Facebook. If I didn’t check for her posts during the day, within a few hours, she would be calling me to say… Did you see what I posted? 🙂 I really miss all of her posts and comments.

My mom had an incredible singing voice, she sang alto and could harmonize with anyone and really enjoyed singing in church. We grew up singing in the car, even if it was just a short five minute trip, we managed to sing at least one song. This is her performing in a musical at church.

Purple was her and my dad’s favorite color. It became our families favorite (especially their granddaughters), so there was plenty of it around!

She had four grandchildren and was a wonderful grandmother. This is her with my daughter, baking her wonderful chocolate chip cookies.

I took this photo on a visit to Oregon. My grandmother is pictured here with my aunt and mom. My mom is holding my nephew, Brandon and my aunt is holding my daughter. Their cousin Rachel is down in front.

After a long day of shooting (with film), I had a few shots left on the roll. Mom and dad were visiting, so my husband took this picture of the three of us,

With her two oldest grandkids when they were little, they now have young children.

At the Oregon beach with her oldest granddaughter

With my sis…They color coordinated in this one! 🙂

She had four grandchildren, five great grandsons and the sixth great grandson was just born a few weeks ago. We were fortunate to have our mom with us for many years, even though we wish she would have stayed with us a lot longer.

Here she is having fun playing with one of her great grandson’s.

And snuggling with another.

Below is a copy of the last page of her memorial service announcement. The Oregon coast was one of her most favorite places and she spent many summer vacations at Harris Beach, in Brookings, OR, with family and friends.

Our mom’s voicemail message always ended with “I probably love you.”

Thanks for reading and indulging me with my memories. I am looking forward to getting back to blogging about my art process and catching up on reading everyone’s posts on WP.

Have a wonderful, creative, day, –Janell

A Jewelry Gift Honoring Our Grandmother

My grandmother had a collection of thimbles that she gave me a few years before she passed away.   They have been in a drawer in my jewelry box for about 10 years.


I was looking through them a few months ago and found one that had a hole in the top of it.   thimblecharmneck2B

I think my grandmother must have used this one so much that her needle went completely through the top of it.  I had seen a few thimble necklaces on Pinterest, so I thought it would be fun to make a necklace for my sis for Christmas.  I began with this thimble and then added other things that were special and sentimental to our family.

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I also have a wonderful vintage button collection, so I added some of them to the necklace and made a separate shorter necklace that could be worn with the thimble necklace.  I used one of my mother of pearl buttons.  (Beautiful button, but did not photograph very well…)


I made another button necklace for my niece out of some fresh water pearls and a mother of pearl button from my stash.    MotherofPearlButton2B

For Christmas, My Aunt sent me one of my other grandmother’s thimbles, so I am going to make a thimble necklace for myself.   I just loved the one I made for my sis.  Now I am totally hooked on button and thimble jewelry!

Have a wonderful, creative day, Janell


Portraits of Mothers and Children – Moments to Cherish

I decided to take a walk down memory lane and share some of my favorite portraits of moms and children.  I operated a portrait commission business for many years and loved capturing these beautiful sweet moments.   I love pictures of mom’s with their children and learned early on how important it is to have a photograph together (see below).  A few of these date back to the early days of my business…some of the little ones are now teenagers.  Oh how time flies!  The last two photographs are of me and my daughter (a few years apart.)

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JazMomGetty411w When my daughter started preschool, she really missed me at nap time and her teacher asked for a picture of the two of us as a comfort item.  She said, “since you are a photographer, I am sure you have lots of pictures of the two of you.”  Well, when I got home and started looking for a picture, I was shocked that I couldn’t find one that was very recent. The last one of us together was when she was a baby.  Being the photographer in the family  (which I think a lot of mom’s are the official picture taker of their family) I had tons of pics of her and her dad, but very few with me…We shot some that night.

This experience made me realize the importance of having photographs of me with my daughter at different stages of our lives.  Thankfully, I learned this lesson early on.  Since then I have always made sure to hand my camera off to someone and “get in the picture” for a few shots.  Or, like the last picture above, hold out my camera and shoot the two of us from arms length.  As a daughter, I cherish the photographs of me and my mom.  My daughter tells me that she cherishes the ones we have together… even if they are on her phone! LOL

I hope mom’s everywhere have a wonderful special day and have a picture taken with their children if they are together.  I’ll be missing my mom and daughter this year, My daughter is away in college (but we will be SKYPEing) and my mom is in Oregon celebrating with her two great-grandchildren! (Taking lots of pictures for Aunty Janell to see :))

Happy Mother’s Day!

Have a wonderful creative day, Janell

A Family Portrait for the Holidays

Even though I have retired from doing photography portraits, over the holidays I did do a few sessions for some dear friends that I have been photographing for many years.  Here is a family that lives just a few minutes from me.  I can’t believe their children are all grown up!  Whitehead141

We had a fun shoot in their beautiful back yard and our Southern California weather was cooperating — we had a beautiful sunny day!  Actually, almost too sunny, we had to do the session pretty early before the sun got too high and too harsh, you can see we had some pretty strong light to work around.


And yes, their puppy Buster almost stole the show.  He is so cute!

Wishing you a wonderful creative day!  Janell