Saturday, February 16, 2019


Lately I had been thinking about the column I used to write, Chasing Down the Muse. Vague plans to peruse the many columns and pick favorites to form a compilation roamed around in my mind. Then, too, what about resurrecting some for use in this blog?
Well, when I encountered Boston friend, Jan, this morning on my sunny day walk and she said she missed the column...well, it just seems time to act. So here is one written in February, 2011:

The announcement had been made the day before. It was not as if it were something we had anxiously been awaiting, but as the group of friends sat around the table playing with clay, making ceramic birdhouses together, the subject came up.

As so often happens in these settings, conversations twist and turn in many directions as the focus stays on the work at hand of this case these birdhouses.

"Did you hear that Merriam-Webster announced the word of the yeat?"
I don't know whether we were all just specially tuned in that week or what, but somehow we had all heard the news. The announced word of the year for 2010 was, not surprisingly to any of us, "austerity."

We batted around our thoughts on the choice and what it seemed to mean to each of us. We even considered what our choice might be for 2011.

"Civility!" I blurted. "I vote for civility to be the 2011 Merriam-Webster word of the year."

....How we speak to and about each other says a lot about each of us--much more than it says about the object about which we speak. If we are to have any self-respect, then the civility we show others is not a choice but a command. Emmylou Harris said it:"...if we don't get our civility back, we're in trouble."

How? Where do we begin to gain or regain civility, respect for others and their rights? How do we create an environment that can help grow peace rather than one that is open to violence and hatred?

Graciousness, kindness, common decency, consideration, respect--each wrapped up in civility--are these just empty words? When we disagree, we certainly can do so respectfully, without attacking the character of another.

Can't we?

Shift to today...February 16, 2019. Eight years have passed. Are we any closer to embracing civility? Or, as I fear, have we gone entirely the other way?

Several years ago the shut down after two years of trying. They had reached out to politicians and others to participate. They asked participants to sign a pledge that contained just three items:
1. I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
2. I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
3. I will stand against incivility when I see it.
How hard could it be? At that time a mere three politicians signed--Sen. Joe Lieberman and Reps. Frank Wolf and Sue Myrick. Not one governor took the pledge.

Where are we headed?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


I do LOVE Mineral Blue. Coupled with the light green, some white, and a touch of red...well, this nighttime sky just comes alive for me each time I look at it.

Looking at this piece, i can hear the hoot of an owl in a nearby tree. I can imagine faeries dancing in a nearby clearing even as nighttime critters move about on the carpet of leaves below.

Color brings on so many imaginings.
What do you see/think of when looking here?

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Finally! In creating a new angel to add to the collection I finally slowed enough to remember to document the steps.
Materials ready!

The first step was to gather some magazines and, of course, my trusty scissors. Since this was to be a Valentine angel I knew I would need some great reds. And so I began.

The first pieces are usually the head, arms, and legs. Often, the hair is the very last, but this time a special piece just called out to me.

Now all the pieces are gathered. The wings and several other pieces were found by perusing an art catalog. Time to decide just how to place them.

This is the first placement. As I attach the various pieces some things tend to change, but placing the parts on the watercolor paper to start at least gives me a general idea of where I am going.

The pieces are all adhered now. Sometimes I use glue, sometimes matte medium. If using the medium, I recommend spritzing with a bit of water and using a brayer (I use a brayer to smooth pieces as I go in any case.) 

Now to the final step, which is to outline with a fine pen. I like Faber Castell PITT artist pen SX.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Daughter Kendall
Oh, the joys of parenting and grandparenting!
I know some of you might put a question mark there instead of the exclamation, but I choose to linger on the joys even while knowing there are times when it feels more like struggle.

Today is oldest grandson Christian's 14th birthday and I choose to not only remember the joyful moments, but celebrate him here today.

Star-bellied sneetch Christian

Blue seems his color

Two years ago--some middle school madness?

So here's to Christian--also known as CEMA...and here's to the JOYS to come!

Happy 14th Birthday!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2019


One of my favorite things is to lose track of time while creating. Wish I could say that is why this blog post is a day late, but.....

Last week's Sunday Studio Workshop, though, was a delightful example of losing track of time. In fact, as so often happens, the day sped by without awareness of the passage of time at all.

While we focused on playing with creating faces, it was not at all mandatory. Joelle took the opportunity to create a paper city--something I, too, love doing. Pretty neat, don't you agree?

Thursday, January 31, 2019


WOW! Where the heck did January go? It feels like it was swallowed whole. The 31 days have just disappeared.

I try to think back over the month to figure out what the days have held...if anything, since it seems all so fleeting.Hmmmmm

Well, meetings of the Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund. We had the task of choosing a program facilitator (and we got a good one!) to help with the scheduling, especially of the many classes offered free to the military and spouses.

Mid-month husband Mike had back surgery. Thinking back on the time in the hospital (2 weeks, including rehab) I can see where that took a good deal of the time. It also contributed to make it seem sort of surreal time.

Last weekend's monthly Sunday Studio Workshop was full and fun as we played with the human face and a variety of views to ways to create it. Most were loose, free, quick, and with no judgment (or so we hoped) just to get a feel for where features would be and how they relate to each other. Some of the students got some really fun faces (and I forgot to take photos as happens all too often.) Everyone worked in a journal, which they took home for more chances to practice.

Quick and loose

February's workshop has not yet found a focus so we will likely work on the usual techniques. February 24th from 11 to 4. $65 covers all materials. Fun! Won't you join us?

Friday, January 25, 2019


As I said last time, a big oops for forgetting to outline and show the step by step on this one. But here is the verbal step by step: I first chose a magazine image of a dark skinned woman, tore it out roughly. Next, after lightly sanding the image, I applied a light coat of white gesso.

Then, though she had beautiful eyes and lips and perfect eyebrows, I took the liberty of choosing some new ones for her. The black collar pieces and green succulents backed by text pieces for hair...a few flowers and leaves and some rosy cheeks almost complete things.

The very last touch...a few words from the great Mary Oliver. TA-DA! Just a whole lot of fun in preparation for Sunday's workshop.