Friday, December 24, 2010

Another Year at the Maryland Yocum House

A year of accomplishments and firsts.

Les (now 602 years old) joined the tech firm that for years he had been freelancing into but continues producing paintings in his spare time at home. He had several small gallery shows and taught classes in logo design and oil painting. He mingled with top-flight artists at Illuxcon and renovated his online

gallery. He now works with older gentlemen in the local church after 5 years of teaching religion to high school students every morning before school (kudos to those awesome students!).

Tam (now 29, again) continues to keep us all sane and on track while also continuing to inspire and motivate teachers of 1-12 year old children in several local churches. She has now passed 10 years of service at Doc-Side Veterinary Center in Baltimore and is highly respected there as well. She gets better looking all the time and still has her high school figure, unlike her husband, whose high school figure disappeared centuries ago. She also continues to enjoy her horse Runwish as well as our pack of smaller critters at home. She shepherded Isaac into finishing his Eagle Scout requirements and remains our muchly-loved earthly root and core and center.

Lindsay (a beautiful 23) also continues her work at Doc-Side (year 9) and is highly valued there. She is responsible for the rats and guinea pigs taking up much space in her room while also taking horse lessons and maintaining her love of drawing and playing the computer. She is also still into fantasy characters, art, and games.

Ben (19 and the tallest person in the house, so far) finished his sophomore year at Brigham Young University, continuing his run of stellar grades. He is home now, working and getting ready for his mission to Guatemala City North. He leaves for the Provo, Utah language training center on February 23, 2011 for two years of no girls, no TV, no movies, no partying, learning Spanish, all to tell folks about Jesus Christ. A marvelous young man.

Isaac (17 and trying hard to become the tallest person in the house) got his first vehicle, a 1997 Ford Ranger, from a family friend. It looks and runs great and is the ideal first vehicle for a young man. He is a senior in high school now and searching with Mom for the ideal automotive or avionics school to start at next year. He is also continuing his paper routes (four of them!) and working at a self-service automotive repair shop. He worked hard to plan, organize, and execute everything needed to clean a badly overrun cemetery, which was his Eagle project. Thanks to his willingness, Tammy is very much looking forward to putting another "I’m proud of my Eagle Scouts" (emphasis on the final “s”) bumper sticker on her car.

Our family friend Sasha (now 23) returned in July from her mission to Brazil and jumped right into employment and college. She is studying art, photography, film, and anything else she can get her hands onto and is looking to expand her Portuguese language skills. She is trying hard to not become too Yocumified while also adding joy and opportunities to our household. In her busy social life she labors to control her steady tide of handsome male suitors.

Yes, it's been a great year. We are very blessed. Thank you much for your love and patience. May you prosper much in the holidays and in the coming year.

- Les, Tammy, Lindsay, Ben, Isaac, Sasha, Princess, Oreo, Runwish, Hershey, Carmel, Remy, and Mo.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mission Call

Last night my son Ben has received his call to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). He will serve in the Guatemala City Guatemala mission, leaving February 23 2011 for three weeks in the Provo Utah Mission Training Center. He will then spend an additional two months in Guatemala at their local training center learning Spanish.

Ben, 19, put aside his studies at Brigham Young University for the two years of service. He is excited to go, although he says that Spanish was the one language he hoped he would not have to learn. High school Spanish classes were a struggle for him, even though he did well. If I could learn Chinese for my mission, he'll ace Spanish. He'll be awesome!

We had quite a time with friends and family last night, taking the envelope out of the mailbox so that Mom wouldn't know it had come (she saw right through us!) and "accidentally" misplacing it. When everyone had gathered around the dinner table we opened the letter from the Prophet. Mom and Sasha were the most excited; Ben tried to be matter-of-fact about it. Yeah, right!

Here is more information about what it is to be an LDS missionary. Here is more information about Guatemala.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

IlluxCon 2010

I have just finished enjoying IlluxCon 2010 in Altoona, Pennsylvania ( This was its third year and my third time to attend. An amazing array of high-power artists in the fantasy world. I was impressed by their talent, genuine humility, and interest in others. Definitely raised my perspective once again of what I can do with my art.

I started out by attending the marvelous exhibit at DC's Smithsonian exhibit, "Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg" ( Artwork to catch your breath, make you guffaw, and even bring a tear or two. What power he had to influence lives. Whether it was the real world or not, it was the world we wanted to have, and the world many of us would love to return to.

Then to Altoona, where I got to jog the hills and learn much. The demos were most impressive but I spent too much money--prints, books, the hat, the tee shirt. Belt-tightening time at the Yocum house for a while, now. But it was worth it.

Most impressive: The book, "The Legend of Steel Bashaw" by Petar Meseldzija ( Wow. Petar signed it at the IlluxCon showcase. The artwork is breathtaking. Once again, an impetus to upgrade my work several notches. Excellent!

Next: Illustration Master Class ( Many of the artists at IlluxCon also teach at IMC. A tough but marvelous time. Looking forward to it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

While Mary Sleeps

An expanded version of the original. Oil on canvas, 2009.

"For a few moments, Mary -- mother of Jesus, daughter of God -- rest. I will lay aside my preparations for the day and comfort the infant son of God. For a while longer in the beauty of the early day we will enjoy our time together, the Babe of Bethlehem and me. For a while, Mary, sleep."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Painting: Orcs in My Forest!

Quelthias reacts as he and his dwarf companion, Brudrunis, discover orc footprints near the river that borders the sacred elven wood. From a story by Lindsay Yocum. Oil on canvas, 30x40".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Morning Note to My Wife, 18 Feb 2010

Beautiful Mom:

Thank you so much for doing so much good for so many people. Thank you for bearing with all of us in our weaknesses. Your patience and endurance has helped us reflect on and see our own shortcomings and weak points and given us the desire to do better.

I love you. I pray that, even in this busy day, you find peace and joy. There are many whom you deal with each day that are grateful they get to know you.

I love you.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

To My Wife on Valentines Day

To my gorgeous wife
whose breathtaking thoughtfulness
and endless labors for all of us
are the foundation of our family
here and in eternity
I thank you
I love you
I appreciate you
God bless you

Will you be my valentine
now and forever?

- Your husband