Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Sister's broken leg
Much of life is made of inopportune things, glitches in our plans. Far too often we say, "I don't have time for this!" 

As I struggled with my morning-cold fingers to re-thread the black cord through a pair of pants, these words came to mind. How foolish of me, though, really. Fretting over these glitches is not the answer.

On Sunday, my sister, who is my mother's primary caregiver, was in an accident that left her in the hospital with the contraption pictured here on her right leg. Three months without putting any weight on it. Inconvenient? You bet! Does she have time for this? Weeeelll.

As Pollyanna-esque as it may sound, perhaps there is a gift here somewhere. Whether a misplaced cord or a broken leg, resisting what IS is certainly a waste of time. Ranting and other angry responses serve no purpose. So, what if, instead, the newly changed circumstance is a gift? Just a thought. Something to ponder. 

William James said it well:"Be willing to have it so acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune."

Sunday, February 24, 2019


I have often remembered my friend Olivia saying something about, when creating, ask Madame Mistake to sit down beside you. So, when I saw this lovely quote in a book the other day, I was reminded.

Today, we will be playing (and inviting Madame Mistake as an honored guest) in another Sunday Studio Workshop here in my studio.  It may be cold, but things will warm up fast with the energy, fun, laughter, stories, and more as nine women create and create and create.

I am going to try to remember, amidst the fun, to take some pictures of their creations to post later this week. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Distant Mountains/Distant Memories
Some of us are more nostalgic than others, I suppose, but I do believe there is some need for looking back in each of us. Part of the richness of life comes from sweet or bittersweet familiarity that often inexorably draws us back into our past. For just a brief moment of time we can get to be four years old or fourteen and again be that someone special in someone's life--the favored grandchild or the first love or....

On this bitter cold winter day my mind takes me back to long ago memories of a childhood rich with sights, smells, touch, taste that even today can conjure special moments into the present time.

Times spent at my grandparents' home on the edge of a canyon in Redlands, California were always special. Wandering through the orange groves or picking avocados from a dozen trees or so, picking blackberries from the vines at the edge of a ravine in summer.... Crows circled overhead cawing loudly as they chased a soaring hawk; orange juice dripping down to elbows as I slurped through a juicy navel; purple stained fingers and bloody scratches on my arms from a foray into the vines...These and other memories of languishing with ease on a given warm day still are strong and present in my mind today.

"Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me...," my grandmother's flute-like voice sang the words, her body swaying to the music, eyes looking far off somewhere as she played the piano. There I sat next to her, taking it all in, my feet dangling over the edge of the rich tapestry cushion that covered the piano bench. Looking back, I wonder what memories had gotten her attention in those moments.

Then there were the evenings sitting in front of the black and white television as my grandparents watched Spade Cooley, Lawrence Welk, or I Love Lucy. Smoke from their cigarettes drifted up through the light from the lamp between their two chairs as I watched from my place on the oriental rug that covered the floor.

As one of four children in what often seemed a chaotic life, these times alone with my grandparents or just alone as I wandered their property were special. I felt a bond, both with them and with the land that has stuck with me through the years.

Every day we make new memories that become interwoven into the fabric of our lives. The present, past and future intertwine to form a life. Yet we sip at the memories from the past and savor them like fine, aged wine. For they are

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?