Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Early morning horizon line
As 2019 draws to a close I find myself pondering what there might be just on the other side of the horizon line. What do I want? What do I think is there?

Creative ideas seem to abound. Doubt there is anywhere near the time to fit them all in, but considering all of them is part of the process of choosing. And half (or maybe even more) of the fun.

On the horizon are some things over which it feels I may have little or no control. Still, how they are handled is an area where I hold the reins for myself.

And, speaking of choosing...healthy choices, on so many levels, are right at the tip-top of any list I might make for myself. Continuing with, and adding to, daily exercise. Eating those leafy greens and other good choices could be pushed even further. Blessed with good health, I am reluctant to squander it, that is for sure.

Enjoying more sunrises. Basking in more of the gorgeous sunsets with which we are blessed here on the coast, adding to road trips, more time with friends and family......the list goes on and on.

Bring it all on 2020! I guess I'm ready for you.

Sunday, December 29, 2019


Even as end of year thoughts and questions are being pondered in regard to what this next decade might bring, I find myself happily picking up previous unfinished pieces to work on.

This piece just wasn't working for some reason and then, as it languished, I somehow spilled alcohol inks on it. DRAT! So I merely set it aside to be dealt with later. Well, I guess later has come because I find myself longing to now complete this.

What does this mean for future work? Hmm. More to ponder, I suppose.

Meanwhile, back to playful creating!

Saturday, December 28, 2019


A post-Christmas morning view
"I am both happy and sad at the same time, and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."
(from The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Walking along the seaside paths in the early morning there is plenty of time for contemplation. This often includes sorting through feelings that arise from life's events. I am often surprised to find that there is a mixed bag of emotions seemingly occurring at one and the same time.

Can this be? Are glad and sad really in the same exact moment or are they flipping so quickly that one cannot tell?

Perhaps another morning walk with sounds of lapping sea and gulls laughing will provide the answer. Or perhaps...simple acceptance of the duality that appears.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


The owls have quieted and now the rain begins again. Softly, it falls on the rooftop (no reindeer hooves, for sure...not yet, anyhow.) 

The hour is late and peaceful. The day has been full, with sunshine and good news aplenty. My heart feels full, but I trust that tomorrow will fill it even more.

Yet, in the midst of this joy,I want to remember that there are others not quite so fortunate. There are those struggling with sorrow and loss, homelessness and hopelessness and more. Let us not forget them.

My wish for ALL is for a holiday that is merry and bright and the best it can be.

Friday, December 20, 2019


Why not holiday butterflies?
In the midst of working the early shift and dealing with what life brings into play, the holidays just seem to have taken a bit of a "back seat."

When I blithely said to a friend yesterday that maybe I would just have the ingredients on hand for a nice spaghetti dinner for Christmas day, she was aghast. "Wasn't tradition important to me?"

Don't get me wrong, I love traditions and place value on them.  But...when it comes right down to it, what really matters to me is not the tree, not the presents, not the wrapping, the songs, or the holiday baking. What really matters is having those I love near me, not only at this holiday season, but all the time.

So butterflies, spaghetti,...why not?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


A quick blog post before a busy day:

I hope in this busy season you are all taking a bit of time for laughter. Yes, it's a tough time for many of us, but laughter is just so darned healthy. 

Just do it. Find the things that can make you smile, laugh, grin, and enjoy those moments in the midst of whatever else might be going on.

Choose joy!

Saturday, December 14, 2019


It has been almost a year now since setting the goal to do two blog postings each week. I was surprised to see the number "100 pop up the other day when I had posted. Sounded like a lot.

If I am calculating correctly, that would mean that after this post I will be a mere three away from the goal with a full two weeks left in the year.  Hmmm. Pretty sure I missed one in October while on road trip. So.... 

It seems like even though I blew it (failures are not bad, by the way) at least once, maybe I played overachiever a couple of times as well. In any case, I am not at all displeased with the result this far. It has been a great challenge and has pushed me (at times when I did not want to be pushed AT ALL.

I'm super pleased that I didn't add any adjectives like "good" or "interesting" or "scintillating" to that goal. That would have pulled in an unnecessary judgment call. Looks like the goal will be reached, with a small glitch or two, and I am happy with just that.

What shall the next goal be? Hmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Love it!
This week Merriam-Webster announced the word of the year. "They."
I'm all for it and find the emphasis a definite sign of the times that will prove useful to so many.

But my favorite word? A new one to me (seen to the right.) I love the sound of it and I love what it means. I find myself wanting to use it all the time. It represents something I love, something I long to have more time for.

I suppose I could supply the definition, but that takes part of the fun out of this wonderful word. I hope you will look it up and be as enthralled with the mere thought of it as I am.

(Thanks to Kelsey Paprocki for the mug and the word.)

Saturday, December 7, 2019


Rain's remains

The raindrops remained on the leaves for so many hours after the downpour had stopped. It got me thinking about how everything has something that remains, often long after the event itself.

It has been a month since my mother's passing. What remains? Memories, of course, but what of her, what of her essence is still here?

I ponder this as the rain again begins to fall on yet another rainy day. It may take me a while to form clear thought on this.

We shall see.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Robyn, her angel, and angel's dog-angel

Robyn's daughter, Kelsey, scheduled this fun Sawdust Art Class with me as a surprise. Nine of Robyn's friends and family shared a fun evening creating, eating, laughing, and simply enjoying.

They were a really diverse-seeming and enjoyable group. Gotta say I love teaching these classes anyway, but this was a really special group.

Next class of Whimsical Collage Angels is December 14th at the Sawdust Art Festival.

Anyone can join in the fun.

Some of the angels created

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Nuff said
As the end of this Thanksgiving holiday nears this image brought to mind how thankful I am for the opportunities.

I may never use the good china because I rid myself of it long ago. I don't really like cake, but love sweets and try as often as not to eat them first. The trips--many of them documented here--are treasured. Love late movies and books and opt for some of those chances. Time with friends and family are special options I try to take as often as possible.

Time...treasured and spent, rather than measured and banked...go for it!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Just thinking, as we come upon Thanksgiving, that I am grateful for so very many things, not least of which is laughter in my life. So, as the time is very busy and I find myself cold and tired tonight as I write this, I thought to share a small part of the laughter with all of you...for whom I am also eternally grateful.


Saturday, November 23, 2019


It's all coming sooooo fast. Can't believe it's Saturday already.

Spent a fun afternoon with daughter Jenna making fused glass ornaments with artist Maggie Spencer. J had mentioned several times wanting a "special" ornament. We had even stopped at Christmas specialty stores on several of our past road trips...with no luck. So I thought...maybe making her own.

Don't know if the result will be what she was after, but it was a lot of fun and a bit zany. So, we shall see.
Meanwhile, hope you all will be surrounded by your family, unlike the turkey shown :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Cleaning find
As we enter what is for many the busiest, most hectic time of year, I find myself pondering this old art piece found while cleaning.

Time is not a line, but a series of now points.__Taimen Deshimaru

"Now points" brings me into the moment more with clarity. Can we try for this, rather than stringing ourselves out ahead with all there might be to do? Can we just be?

Now points...the warm sunrise in cool morning air on my face.

Now points...the lap of the sea on the shore--gentle, steady, calm.

Now points...two ducks scouting on the low water as they drift along near shore in clam beds.

Now points...focused watching as a blue booby goes through his grooming ritual

Now points...the cracked caw of a crow sounding nearby.

Now points...shadows and diamonds that glisten on a wave, shaped by the slant of the sun.

Now points...the rising sun chases the waning moon across the morning sky.

Now points...what are some of yours?

Saturday, November 16, 2019


RR Journal page section
Early morning. Fog shrouding the canyon, its moisture dripping from the eave. The first waking sounds of small birds....I love this time of day. Lying wrapped in sleep's leftover warmth, considering the day ahead.

The day would be a full one, even as I fight off a wanting-to-be head cold. After a good walk along the shore and a hot shower, I head off to a couple of scheduled meetings. Then, that taken care of, I can apply myself to finishing this month's Round Robin journal entry.

I had lingered too long over this one as my injured finger healed. Once the bandages came off after eight weeks, would I even then be able to draw and paint and freely create what I wanted to do?

Well, after the first shock of not being able to bend the finger, without manually helping it.... And, now, a week later, finger things are mostly back to normal, thank goodness. So I begin the play. Crazy little bird creatures, that I think of as wizards popped up. Then, a lovely quote from Jean Houston: "At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities."

Seems just about right to me. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


I thought maybe I would impart just a bit more of my ideas about teaching and what it means to me:

In my mind the doing of art should be simple. A piece may end up with layers of complexity to it and loads of meaning, but the doing can be just, well, simple.

Teaching is the same. I seek to simply commit to the students, to provide a supportive environment for imagining, dreaming, exploring and being venturesome outside their normal bounds. 

Above all else, I commit to a place where play is essential, for the soulful creativity is found there in that place, I believe. When creating, it is important to feel like the child stringing beads in kindergarten--happy, totally absorbed, and quietly putting on one bead after another.

Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." I would go farther, the problem is how to remain at heart a child and that is what I hope to bring to each workshop I teach.

Simple, right?

Saturday, November 9, 2019


Morning fog
Ah...a walk in morning fog along the coast...what's not to love about it? Fog creates contrasts unseen in normal light. Colors are both muted and more vibrant. Sounds are muffled at times and yet, at other times, seem to carry farther. And, overall, the fog creates a lovely meditative state, at least for me.

And, so, on this morning walk, I could hear the sharp sound of black oystercatchers somewhere in the grey, but could not see them. The sounds of a Laughter Yoga group carried much farther than usual, it seemed. The stalk of a century plant seemed to stand out in sharp contrast rather than the usual blending in. Yellow hibiscus seemed radiant in the shroud of grey.

A wonderful start to a beautiful day!

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.__E.L. Doctorow

Sometimes, seeing only as far as your headlights is just perfect.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


While admittedly not much of a fan of the early darkness since the time change, I have to say the early morning walks are spectacular here along our coast.

The other day I was up and out early before light and walked along the shore's edge in the sand. The sound of the water's movement and waking bird life filled me with joy. What a way to begin a day!

All of life is not easy. Things don't always go the way we might like. Political upheaval and rancor eats at us.
We lose friends to horrific disease and age. And yet...yes, there is the chance to choose joy. Starting the day with these wonderful walks is my way to do just that. Hope you can try it.

Friday, November 1, 2019


Workshop fun

Shave and a haircut two bits
 Leftovers can be for more than just dinner remains. Here are some borrowed funnies from other Halloween blogs.

Hope you enjoy these...and they won't make you fat (or satisfy that sweet tooth either...darn!)
Witch humor

Art teacher treats

Black humor

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Would they be left behind?
Last time I wrote of things left behind like footprints in the sand. With the many fires and threats of fire in California, the phrase "what is left behind" has taken on new meaning.

With a to go bag of important documents packed near the door at this threatening time, while not actually threatened yet, I find myself pondering just what would I leave behind?

We have been through this in the past, throwing things into trash bags and grabbing at items probably not even needed or much valued at all. Cats yowling in the cars, we have driven off, likely leaving important things behind.

So now I am trying to be really mindful, while not being a worrier at the same time. What needs to go? What cannot be replaced? Down from that a bit is the question of what would just be a big pain to replace. The books above, along with probably hundreds more that we own, would likely not make the cut. It would be a sad loss, but.......

What would you leave behind?

Saturday, October 26, 2019


Footsteps in the sand
This morning in the dark of pre-dawn, as the chirping of rising birds sounded outside, I found myself thinking of not only what we leave in our wake, but also what is left after something like the recent road trip taken with daughter Jenna.

While describing the trip in brief to friend Maggie I realized I was mostly leaving out the "left behinds" like joy and laughter that come from shared moments with a loved one. I was leaving out the exhilaration of a completed hike. I omitted the feeling of awe of standing atop a white sand dune while others stretched out seemingly forever. The musical notes still singing in my head from Jenna's huge collection of song was yet another, vast, lingering thing.

Memories and more........

Monday, October 21, 2019


Silver City mural

Mexican Trestle

Rio Grande

Animas River

Grand Mesa lake
Home from yet another great road trip and all I want to do right now is sleep, sleep, sleep. So, for now, I will merely share a few pictorial highlights from the road. Clearly, Jenna and I are enamored of rivers and trees...and the very bluest of skies. Our agreed upon highlight was the day in Las Cruces when we first hiked in Cloudcroft to the Mexican Trestle and then visited the phenomenal White Sands National Monument.

All in all, a wonderful trip with daughter #2 (wish I could get #1 out on one of these) filled with sights and sounds to remember, but not enough wildlife sightings, though we saw a handful of deer here and there.

It was a great break and when I am finished with catching up on sleep there is much to do here with a full week ahead. Back to reality, I guess.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Sorry no pictures this time. Having to do blog from my phone and in a hurry. Daughter #2 and I are still on our road trip adventure, having gone through Arizona and New Mexico and arriving today in Colorado. There will be plenty to share , but the highlights are time together, rivers, and great hikes. More to come 
Signing off for now. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Beauty at home
It is that time again--daughter Jenna and I hit the road each fall to explore. We start out in a direction that could very possibly change as we go. This year it will be easterly as we head to our first stop in Arizona. After that...well, it's anybody's guess. I'm leaning toward heading for a bit cooler, like elevations in New Mexico? We'll see. Wherever we go, it will be a great time spent with daughter and her music and some good hiking thrown in, of course.

My intention is to try and keep up this twice a week thing on the road, but there are few guarantees. Goals are just goals....


What do you see?
Pareidolia...what a mouthful of a word! It refers to the fact that our brains are always on the alert for possible patterns in the world around us. Logic need not apply.

When you were a kid (and possibly still) did you see images in the clouds? in the wallpaper? in the intricate designs of a carpet? Well, then I guess you are already familiar with pareidolia. 

Daughter Jenna and I are off on another road trip soon and perhaps there will be many opportunities for experiencing pareidolia. I hope so. Meanwhile, with 82 blog posts complete for the year, I hope to figure a way to continue my two a week commitment while on the road. And I'm behind this week as I have been too busy with other things so expect another post probably today. Crazy, right? But goals is goals is goals...

Friday, October 4, 2019


Coastal currents
Dawn broke to the soft hoot of a pair of owls in a nearby tree. For a while I simply stayed snuggled in bed and just listened. Eager to get the day started, I was nevertheless mesmerized and a bit to warm to want to leap out just yet.

Once up, though, I slurped down my large mug of Sumatra coffee, got dressed, and headed out along the coast for my morning walk. My goal for the day is 12,000 plus steps so I knew I wanted to get to it. 

Once at the shore's edge, though...well, more being mesmerized. What can I say?

Once the trance lifted and I was well on my way, my thoughts turned to the annual road trip daughter Jenna and I will be taking soon. Weather has turned our intentions around and around and there was even a point where I was frustrated enough to wonder whether we would even pull it off this fall.

Finally, we have arrived at our dates of travel, but destination is the "whether" and controlled mostly by "weather." I suppose as the day draws nearer we will get it all together. There's not really much to decide except which direction to go as we always fly by the seat of our pants, serendipity and luck.

Happy travels for us abound no matter the direction or the weather. Stay posted.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


It was a small group this time, but we had a lot of fun. The mood seemed to be wanting to go toward Halloween imagery, but as you can see from this piece, I couldn't quite get there. 

Probably a factor was the issue of not having full use of my hand yet, but I could paint some, could tear napkins, could even use scissors and wield a paintbrush. So, while fine work wasn't happening, I definitely had a good time creating along with the workshop students. They did some great pieces, but I forgot to take pictures. Guess that's what happens sometimes.

Not sure where any of this fits with my series on what makes for a good workshop, but here it is.....

Saturday, September 28, 2019


With heavy air drizzling on the skylights, I find myself thinking of the final workshop of the month scheduled for tomorrow. What shall we do? What should the main project be? Of course, we will go over basic methods, but I'm looking for that something "special" as focus. With the students all being repeat ones, I don't hesitate to ask them what is preferred.

Some would like "oh, anything." Others would like to focus on collage figures. I had mentioned focus on faces, so that is definitely one possibility...and there are myriad ways to accomplish this.

So...What shall it be?

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Johnna did some fun tiles
The eight women showed up excited to begin the workshop in alcohol inks on Sunday. Five wonderful, fun-filled hours ensued, with beautiful pieces for each and every student.

After introductions (which kept getting stalled for some reason), we began with a brief demo and experimentation on a variety of papers. The energy was high and we ignored the heat as play was the most important thing!

I wish I could show all the fantastic work created here on this page, but you will just have to believe me when I say it was pretty phenomenal.

And as far as how a workshop should be conducted, well, I cannot speak so much to my own part, but on that beautiful, energy-filled day, the students stepped up to the mark on every level. They shared ideas and techniques as they tried new things; they laughed and shared stories; they shared the wonderful foods they had each brought; they shared about other classes they had or were going to take. These things and so much more made up for the perfect workshop for my money.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


Katherine's play
With an upcoming couple of workshops in the works for the next week or so I find myself continuing in the vein of questioning what I think it takes for a successful experience for all.

Safety of the space for experimenting and being oneself I think I covered last time. What else? 

Some of the nitty-gritty: 
Since I supply the materials, there should always be an ample supply.
Include optional supplies for experimentation.
A handout sheet of where to purchase and what to continue the playing.
A handout sheet that basically explains process, as there is always too much to simply remember.

Beyond these (and probably a few other things I cannot remember right now) instructor and student both should be present and respectful of one and all.

I'm off to prep for tomorrow's alcohol inks workshop with all this and more in mind.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


The long view
On my morning walk today I paused at this inspiring view to just sit and ponder. One of the things that showed up was an article I had recently read on contributing to the good energy of a workshop environment as a student. While there were aspects with which I could agree, there were others with which I took exception.

With two workshops coming up this month, I thought long and hard as I sat about just what I think makes a good safe environment in which to play in the fields of art.

As an instructor, it is always my primary concern that each student should feel safe to create in his or her own way as long as it is done in a manner that is not harmful to self or others. Beyond that, the students should feel that both they and their creations are accepted and enjoyed.

In the student/teacher relationship there is always the accepted expectation of some critique. Nevertheless, I strive to keep this to a minimum, often waiting to be asked. Students are not to critique each other unless asked.

In a nutshell, beyond this, I strive to create an environment for my workshops in which there is a lot of daring experimentation, laughter, story-telling, good food, and new friendships gained. It is, after all, Mixed Media Playtime, and the joyful play I seek to see is implied, I think.

Always, I am grateful for the many opportunities of teaching.

Saturday, September 14, 2019


Round Robin art journal fun
Luckily I decided to get down to it early this month and so the nearly complete entry shown here.

This was before I took a chunk out of my finger and needed stitches, which hampers me in too many ways. Now I just have to heal quickly before the alcohol ink workshop in a week.

Typing is another thing hampered so that's it for this time.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Recycled mailing envelope for art journal
Being a part of a round robin art journal is full of surprises and more often than not some pretty good art as well.

The panda mailing envelope was sent by Cindy to Marla who then recycled it with a splash of paint and sent on to me. Inside the nearly finished cycle of entries I found many wonderful and inspiring journal pieces. From the simple to the complex each two-page spread offers up a piece of the artist who makes the contribution to what will become a completed keepsake journal.

While all of us are leading busy lives and once a month is often enough to work on one of these journals as they travel around, I sometimes find myself wishing the mailbox were filled with more.

If you've never done one of these round robin experiences, perhaps you should consider it now as fall opens up to new possibilities. It is not only fun to receive and to see others' artwork, but a great opportunity to try your hand at new techniques in this simple format. You might just be surprised at what shows up.

Saturday, September 7, 2019


Normally, I prefer to use my own images for this blog, but this one seemed to call out to me.  Perhaps it will to you as well.

Having created a space post-festival season to see what will show up, I have found myself spending many hours each day simply clearing out my spaces and ridding myself of long-saved yet unused pieces. Still unsure what will show up, I nevertheless move forward with the clear image that whatever it is will be pretty wonderful.

So what do I answer to the question of who? After a good deal of thought and with the creating space in mind, it suddenly came to me that I would need to sit down with myself. Who knows better what might lie ahead and who better to manifest?

So who would you choose to sit with for that precious hour?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Scrabble tiles
The Sawdust Art Festival 2019 has come to an end.  After 66 days of "live" I have to admit I am not feeling too lively. I'm pooped. 

One of the fond remembrances from the many days are the Scrabble games that sometimes went on for days with fellow artist Suzanne Esko. 

The passing of the box created a small stir with some of the artists--one even thinking we were passing a pizza box and not even deigning to share :)

As I strive to put things away and re-create studio space for the ahead I look back fondly on the shared times, the laughter, the music, and so much more.

I am now creating a space that I can fill with "new." Wonder what that new will be.Stay tuned.

Friday, August 30, 2019


Wednesday evening I was in conversation with a lovely young woman named Natalie. Evidently, she had seen the Celebration of Women series before and we got to talking about it and what prompted it for me.

The realization that came out of the conversation for me was just how pertinent much of the thought behind the work still is today...and will be as long as the current powers that be hold sway over our governance.

So it still behooves us, both women and men, who believe in what this country has stood for for centuries to speak up, stand up, resist, and hold fast to the ideals we have always believed in.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Beckoning road
All the local artisans are about to pack it up and hit the road, closing shop for another festival season here in Laguna Beach. It's been swell, but all good things need to draw to a close.

If you have not made it to the Sawdust Art Festival yet, we are open through September 1, 10 to 10. Great music, great art, great food, great classes, great fun....so why not?

Friday, August 23, 2019


Yet another older journal piece
As I write this it is the start of the ten-day countdown to the end of the 
2019 Sawdust Art Festival season. After 20 years I have many mixed feelings about taking leave.... I am both excited and a feeling a bit nostalgic at loss at the same moment.

What will be behind the next door? At this time I have no idea at all, but look forward to the adventure of not knowing.

For now, ten...nine....

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Long ago journal page
Alas! I think I am getting behinder and behinder as the summer winds down. Less than two weeks remain of the month and of the festival season. Getting to everything in this birthday week has been a bit of a challenge. 

Two blogs per week. That is my promise. Since this is the first one of this week and the weekend looms, guess I'd best get real busy.

A bit of a cheat perhaps, but here is the first of those blogs. Not much to it, but angst, but....
Well, I have to get to that journal page for this month and spruce up my booth at the festival for the penultimate weekend.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Camillia's journal
As the herd of goats bleats in the morning air across the canyon, I am mesmerized by the sound...until....

Whoa! It's past mid-point of this month of August and there is still much to do. Not least of these tasks is to get to creating something for my pages in this fun monthly Round Robin journal.

I have had several ideas for what will transpire, but of course, Bill Watterson's Calvin comes to mind with his words stating that last-minute panic is his inspiration. I will try to not let it go quite that far. Maybe after the weekend hullabaloo settles???

We'll see.