Monday, December 28, 2020



The phrase "it's for the birds" has long been one of derogatory meaning...something that is worthless, not to be taken seriously, no good. Well, that sure is NOT how I feel about birds, as many of you know.

To my thinking it is a good thing that Laguna Beach is designated a bird sanctuary. . Their very presence so often brings joy to so many--from feeding the pigeons and gulls (which should not be done) at Main Beach to following the flight of an osprey to watching the antics of an armada of brown pelicans just offshore. 

Birds seem to play a part in my own joy and often appear in my artwork in myriad forms.From the onset of twittering birdsong at dawn right on through midnight hooting of owls or the crazy trill of a nighttime mockingbird nearby, I am filled with the joy provided.

Then there is the soft cooing of doves, the laughter of gulls, the scurrying of shorebirds, the near-constant caw of masterful black crows and the the shrill, harsh cry of the occasional scrub jay.

And flight--what of flight? We have soaring hawks on alert for prey in our many canyons. Evening brings the migration of large numbers (yes, murders) of crows up through these same canyons. 

The aforementioned brown pelicans either swoop low over the ocean or fly in formation high above the cliffs, then comically dive with a graceless splash to obtain some morsel below. There is even the occasional roadrunner clumping along before catching a current to ride down canyon from the fire road. It's almost possible to feel the soar in your own bones.

Each year I eagerly await the sighting of pairs of black oystercatchers with their red-orange bills and loud, piping call. These can usually be spotted on the rocks below Crescent Bay Park and I find myself listening for their sounds as I walk that direction. It's that joy thing, right?

Just outside I watch as a territorial Anna's hummingbird, with its wings beating oh so rapidly chases off an intruder from the feeder. And I think to myself...there are so very many opportunities for joyful moments if we stay tuned in and watch for them.

If you're just not into the bird thing as I am (in fact, think my thinking is for the birds) well what of a child's easy laughter? Or the baby's soft smooth skin, the very miracle of its being? What of the sound of water gently rushing over rocks or lapping at the shoreline--joyful music for sure? The mysterious beauty at the very center of so many flowers and so many other of nature's bounties are wondrous (and joyful) to behold.

I need not go on, right? Get going. Just do it. Choose joy (yes, again!)

Saturday, December 26, 2020


Dear World,

Hard not to be hopeful with this kind of beauty around. Call me a Pollyanna if you will for the stereotype of young girl with infectious optimism does not insult me at all. If my optimism, my hopefulness, my own joy in life extends to just one other person in the world I can be glad.

2020 has without a doubt been a truly rough year and more so for some than for others. Still, out of this year have come many beautiful stories of hope amidst struggle. I choose to hang on to those stories. 

There is much to hope for on the horizon. We have vaccines beginning to be approved and administered and, while it may be some time before the full effect can be felt...well, how hard is it really to wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, etc? When the going gets tough.... We ARE tough, and the toughest have found ways to work through. The future is pretty bright after all.

Life has thrown us a big curve this year, but we cannot operate well ruled by fear. It takes an attitude of joy and hopefulness to surmount the tough days along with gratitude for all that we do have, however little it may be. Choose joy. Choose beauty. Choose gratitude. Choose awe. Choose hope and optimism.

Love, Pollyanna

Wednesday, December 23, 2020




"Hope rises with our collective realization that humans imagine these systems that are killing people and the planet, and that we can imagine our way out of this mess." (Brooke Larsen)

The beauty of the vine seen on my morning walk two weeks ago has changed drastically. This got me thinking. Change is always with us. And, yes, this simple and indisputable fact and give us hope.

Reading the children's book There Must be More Than That by Shinsuke Yoshitake only served to further my thinking on this. The scenarios in this fun book are reassuring while being at times ridiculous. As is stated on the flyleaf,"'s often just a matter of choosing hope over hopelessness, and seeking an affirming alternative to challenging situations."

While that is exceedingly difficult in these trying times, perhaps we can consider the possibility of good. Change is always with us...always a possibility exists. Grab hold.

Saturday, December 19, 2020



While I know my version is a bit the situation across the US and the world seems only to worsen, we could probably all use an angel in every corner to watch over us.
Please, everyone, stay safe and care for each other (to help out those angels)

Thursday, December 17, 2020



Sweet time... as in "They took their sweet time about it." At least that seems to be the usual way we view the two words.

But sweet time can be something entirely different. Seems like there might be myriad possibilities for sweet time. Where would my own "sweet time" take me?

Clearly, it would often be outdoors. Beautiful, sunny December days beckon and I can think of no better way to respond than to put on my walking shoes, grab a bottle of water and a mask and just get going.

Birdsong and crisp morning air greet me each day as I step out the door. No rules. I can go anywhere I choose. And, in fact, it seems that during this enduro-pandemic that most of Laguna and a few other shoreline vistas have been explored on my sweet time, either alone or with walking companion, Catharine.

Post walk the days drift along, filled with household and gardening chores, time to read, card-making and other small art projects. No rush, no push/pull, no sense of must do or shoulds. Taking my own sweet time is just that and all about the beauty of simply being.

Sweet time stretches out like a long, soft ribbon floating on the ocean breeze. Absorption in the colors of the season, the warmth of the sun, and the cool touch of a breeze fill the sweet time. Treading along familiar roads and hidden pathways the time is filled with reminders of the beauties of our coastal town and how really fortunate we are to be here.

So often we are told time is of the essence. Perhaps so. Also, though sweet time IS the essence.

Friday, December 11, 2020

HO HO HO!!!!

 It's that time of year, covid or not, and so the hours are busy with making holiday cards to send. They are definitely a bit irreverent this time around, but levity seems needed of late.

Hoping all of you are staying well, staying home as needed, and choosing joy whenever possible.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


 ...just stops you in your tracks. Such was the case over the weekend as I walked in an alleyway north of town.

I pulled out my phone and took a thirty-second video of the amazing colors dangling over the wall. It somehow seemed such a shame to have such beauty so hidden from usual view.

This screenshot is a bit blurry, but I think one can still see just how glorious this sighting was. I am grateful and so happy to share. 

For the video you can go to Instagram and cherrildotystudio

Enjoy...and always CHOOSE JOY!

Saturday, December 5, 2020


Sometimes it is necessary in this blog to veer off course just a bit. This is one of those times. Let me tell you a bit about a giving project that is going on...

Picked up the first set of kits yesterday for the SAEF WorkshopTo Go project. When all are collected there will be a total of eighty kits to go to the military families. Each kit has all materials and instructions or a link to an instruction video included.  

Three local artists put together these kits that are offered to the military at no cost to them. The artists get paid well for their efforts and SAEF is able to gift the kits. Win/Win.

The Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund (SAEF) is a philanthropic effort that supports education of the public about art while providing a hands-on experience to underserved populations. As one of the trustees of the fund, I have found the rewards of serving to be many and am grateful for this opportunity.

This year has been a challenge for SAEF as in person classes were not a possibility. We kept holding out hope, but realized at some point that we needed another way. Thus was born the Workshop To Go concept. Three artists stepped up and pushed to create the kits and the trustees appreciate Rosanne Nitti, Brynne Cogorno, and Erin Proctor for their hard work.

The response from the military was overwhelming once we posted flyers and we thank Diane DeBilzan and Che Ward for their assistance in getting this part done. It really has taken a village to get this done. SAEF trustees want to acknowledge the Festival of Arts Foundation for the grant that got this going, the artists for their diligence and, Diane and Che for their work in linking us up to these great families at Camp Pendleton.

Such a great project! I'm pretty sure there will be more Workshop To Go projects going forward.

Thursday, December 3, 2020


This one really got me wondering: How could it be possible that both of the chair halves would not be on this card any longer when it arrived?? And after all my whole-hearted support of the USPS too.  Hmmmmm

And to take it a step further, is this some sort of omen? Does this mean that our two political parties will not be able to sit down together to work things out? So far the two sides don't often even seem in the same conversation, but.....

I remain hopeful. At least until I am not.

Saturday, November 28, 2020



On this Thanksgiving weekend with all it's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Stay Home, Wear a Mask, and political confusion, don't forget that the small businesses in your community really need your help. 

Shop art and other artist-made items at the Sawdust Art Festival, open for business from 10 to 4 on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Or check out downtown stores.

These words on gratitude are gentle reminders of all that we do have.

Sometimes we just have to go on that scavenger hunt to find the things for which we can be grateful, even in the midst of this terrible pandemic.

For me, today is a beautiful day in which to be grateful for sure, as I spend it in the garden, planting more produce (especially those leafy greens) that will satisfy for many a meal.

When done, some art is waiting to be finished on my workbench, some bills need to be paid, Barack Obama's A Promised Land awaits, a bit of exercise, and perhaps a well-deserved nap is on tap.

Meanwhile...grateful for so very many things.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020



Something always enjoyable to create with is adding textural play as the underneath layer...start with it as the first layer and just build from there.

For this sunflower piece, the texture began with medium texture paste spread on the substrate. Then, after swishing the paste around to create a bit of texture, briefly press a stencil into the paste.

Now, once dry, there is some great textural relief to build upon.

Here, it was followed with some fun paint and paper play. What would you do?

Have some fun with texture!

Saturday, November 21, 2020


 As traditional celebration hopes dwindle, there is still so much for which to be thankful. Just look at this wonderful natural fissure at Crystal Cove beach and the ocean and clear blue sky beyond.

Not everyone is this fortunate. This is not lost on me. At risk of sounding like some sort of Pollyanna each time I celebrate the beauties that surround us...they do bring great joy. Still, there is constant awareness that all is not right in the world right now. There is certainly no need for me to enumerate the negatives. We all know they are there.

And yet....I firmly believe there is room for gratitude in all of our lives. We just need to find it and hold on to it as tightly as we can.

Friday, November 20, 2020


The changes over the past four years have certainly not all been what I hoped for when creating the mixed media series A Celebration of Women.

Here are some pictures of a few of my favorites from that series.

And here is what I wrote about the series at the time:


The presidential election of 2016, while divisive on many levels, seems to have catapulted women into joining together in action on many fronts. Following in the footsteps of many honored women before them--and creating some paths of their own--these women are marching...speaking up...speaking out...standing together...demanding many long-needed changes...showing unquestionable courage, strength and determination. This series is in honor of all those women and the many others who still have no voice or who have been silenced.
Change is in the wind.

While many of the hoped-for change did not occur, the unrest is still there...the need for even a greater realm of inclusion into those that need exists as never before.

There is much to be done.

The series that followed this one showed women without the dark glasses. Guess that wasn't enough.

There is much to be done.

Then I seem to have moved on to a series of Crows. Perhaps that reflected the darkness some of us were beginning to feel casting a veil over the hopes.

There is STILL much to be done.

AND I still celebrate women and what they can accomplish. To paraphrase a certain shoe brand, "Let's do it!"

Saturday, November 14, 2020


Author Pam Houston asks, "How do we mourn and be joyful at once?"

We have some pretty glorious sunsets here in the west. Whether standing on the shore or driving westerly we can be mesmerized and entranced by the stunning beauty. Sadly, all too often the glories are due to the weather fallout from fires or other dirty air contributors.

How do we navigate through both the love and the sadness? What of the losses that contribute to all this beauty, whether from fires or pollution or other outcomes of our ever-changing climate?

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in acceptance, at least the acceptance of allowing for the questions and the pain of those questions and then doing whatever we can to alleviate, to move toward more positive change. Is this a dangerously naive stance to hold out this hope? Acknowledging my own lack of knowing and still keeping my heart wide open to this glory is a start, even while a small one.

During this year of 2020 with all the political upheaval and covid-19 concerns, to see the beauties of our wonderful planet is certainly a blessing. Hopefully, it is one we can allow to continue. Whether the beautiful sunset, the lush green of a meadow, the screech of a hawk, the hooting of an owl in the starry night...preserve and protect...and love it with all my being, even knowing so much is being systematically destroyed. Challenging.

Thursday, November 12, 2020



There seems always to be such a great deal to love about Sunday Studio Workshops...even in these difficult times. Women coming together to create in a playful, joy-filled way warms my heart. And this group on the past Sunday was all that and more.

Pre-covid we added potluck into the mix and I have to admit that was even better as recipes were exchanged and exclamations were pronounced over certain flavors. Grazing would go on throughout the five hours and, often, a bottle of wine would be shared at some point.

Still, even without the potluck, the camaraderie was present and art play was plentiful as postcards were created by all. (We strive to do our very best to save the postal service.)

Not sure when another Sunday Studio Workshop will be possible even with the careful social distancing, but I am ever-hopeful it can be soon. Meantime, take care of yourselves and wear those masks.





Great work, all of you!!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Oh, happy blustery days!! A new, civil president has blown in on the horizon.

And, Sunday's second Studio Workshop during Covid is happening with another intrepid group. Social distancing, masks, etc and lots of fun creating mixed media pieces for four full hours.

Got the idea for split images from artist John Arbuckle who got it from someone else and am hoping that students will have as much fun with it as I have these past few tense days.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020


 On this morning following a contentious election (oh, yes, again!) am wondering about the constant labeling of all democrats as "left-wing radicals." Had been denying this with great force for myself and then suddenly this morning thought, "Well, perhaps I AM radical."

Radically opposed to sexual harassment and inappropriate touching.

Radically opposed to blatant and prolific lies.

Radically opposed to denigration of others for whatever reason.

Radically opposed to corruption.

Radically against cheating.

Radically at odds with mismanagement of our precious environment.

Radically disgusted with misuse of power.

Radically disturbed and frightened by flagrant wearing down of democracy.

...and I could go on, but guess you can get my drift. In these things, I am PROUD to be a radical democrat.

Saturday, October 31, 2020



Commuting has certainly changed with Covid-19, hasn't it? Many of us are now using Zoom to work and meet and otherwise commune with others.

Is this helping with the negative impact other things Covid-related are having on our planet? Sadly, kinda doubt it.

Maybe we could take some of the down time and think of how our individual actions impact--climate, environment whether land or sea, and more. What might each of us change when this is over? Or will we be so desperate for a return to what we call "normal" that we will hop in a car or on a plane, travel, consume, etc. that it will just start up all over again.

Can we, in fact, save our planet? Hopefully, this election will go some distance toward a return to working on that. We'll see.

(Have had a lot of fun with these silly frogs in art cards lately. Thought this was gonna be a fun blog, but what was on my mind seems to have taken over. As Reese's says though, "Not sorry.")

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


 Covid-19 brought with it a lot of changes to how we all spend our time. As those who read this blog already know, vegetable gardening became one of my go-to activities.

The problems were several, though. The slope of the yard. The really poor soil. water run-off. Crows and other critters wanting to partake. Measures were taken to do the best possible and good crops were harvested (and some in pots still are coming on strong.) 

Still, big changes needed to be made. Thus, the Great Wall of Laguna began to be formed. The wall will actually be several levels when complete, but the low first wall is now in place. The work has crowded all the pots to the sidewalk against the house, but they are thriving still...and the wall system continues.

Fun stuff. More posts on this as we go forward to keep you abreast. It's all kind of exciting...and certainly useful going forward.

Friday, October 23, 2020


So glad that was the last of the debates.  Head hurts. Tried to keep up with staccato speech on the one hand and fact check on the other and just overwhelmed. Kristen Welker did a great job though of keeping on track. Kudos to her.

Now it is just a waiting game. Art play will hopefully work for sanity through it all.

Fingers crossed, anger in check for now, breathing.


Monday, October 19, 2020



The screech of the hawk reaches my ears as it circles overhead on a cool fall morning. It seems to be asking, "What will this day bring?"

Well, I can't speak for that predatory creature, but for me it seems that a lot of Zoom time is on the agenda.

Whatever would we do without this marvel that seems to have reached its apex with Covid-19?The uses seem endless and, while not all of the ways that it gets used appeal to me all that much, it has definitely opened doors that might not have otherwise even been known.

While the creative play continues here and the birds screech and hoot and titter around me, the Zoom opportunities open the world as well. All good and somewhat of a distraction as we wind down to the final days of this vital election.

Don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020



Seven breaths.

Reading the book Air Mail by Pam Houston and Amy Irvine, just out today. It is made up of letters between these two wonderful writers from March through May of this year of Covid and deals with not only the pandemic, but politics, environment and more.

At one point Irvine speaks of a video that deals with brain changes that take place when anger or fear or anxiety are triggered. "...the reptilian brain takes over...we cannot resolve conflict, cannot feel compassion, cannot create solutions." It goes on to state that taking seven deep breaths can put one back in the frontal cortex--area of reasoning, calm and empathy.

Wow! Knowing this in the past didn't matter. Reading it in the moment stopped me in my tracks. Too often of late I and so many others have been thrown into that reptilian goo by the daily news updates. Seven breaths. Could it really be this simple? Can the heart pumping upset be stilled so easily? Can I really let go of comments that send me into orbit?

This election year has seen an increase in that heart pounding angst like never before. Sure, it's tripled and then some by dealing with a pandemic, but.... OK. Seven breaths. Seven more, if needed. And even seven more. Would that others around the nation could follow this example...PLEASE

Sunday, October 11, 2020



Always a heavy reader, this pandemic seems to have pushed the usual parameters. Piles of books. Two or three going at once. Going on Zoom webinars for book discussions. And more.

Reading and books have become a seemingly larger part of each day. And my library extends waaaaaay beyond the piles. There are books on my Kindle. There are books on computer. There are books to be read on my tablet. And on it goes.

Mysteries. New authors. Books on gardening. Book recommendations from friends. On and on it goes.

And here's my big recommendation out of all this (nope, not a particular book.) Watch the Thursday evening series from writingxwriters.  These authors hosted by Pam Houston are wise and wonderful. The questions are interesting rather than the often heard trite questions of author series. And these hour and a half webinars are FREE. You may donate to help out with scholarships, but, otherwise, these great talks will cost you nothing. Sit down with a cocktail or do you stretching or....but definitely tune in. You will find everything from poetry to nature to travel to fiction to a bit of politics.

Gratitude to authors and others fills me up when realizing how much the many books enlarge life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


 Well, it took a bit of planning and schedule changing here and there, but at last an invited group of friends who had been deemed "safe" were able to get together at an acceptable social distance for creative time. It was awesome and seemed oh, so necessary. In an abundance of caution two of the planned participants stayed home after coming up with congestion and a fever, so we were just five. This made it exceptionally easy to stay six or more feet apart. We talked books, politics, state of the world, climate, and more and just generally had a great time.

Each participant had an array of pre-cut watercolor postcards, a selection of magazines, five paint colors, glue sticks, brayers, and more to work with.
Whimsy followed.

    GOOD FUN!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2020


For the final day of the self-challenge here is a flurry of flowers. Now it is time to finalize prep for an upcoming workshop where we will do nothing but create postcards to send. (Well, we will also laugh and talk a lot after not seeing each other for such a long time. 😀)


Wednesday, September 30, 2020


America...VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

 This card had me thinking of standing up tall. Enough said, I hope. Bits and pieces.

Monday, September 28, 2020


On Day #7 it seemed there was a need for an even bigger shift. Still bits and pieces, but student Katherine did this one. She did alcohol ink background in her favorite colors 😊 and then added the bits and pieces before outlining areas in white opaque pen. What do you think? I think it's a lot of fun. Maybe more student work is to follow. Seems like a good idea since they are some of the best.


Sunday, September 27, 2020


Thought the theme might have been getting a bit boring so here's a slight departure. In addition, the sparkly blue eyes seem so full of joy to me that resistance just could not be . Many of these young ladies have appeared in the cards, each with something special to say it would seem.


Saturday, September 26, 2020



This card, while similar to previous ones, has some differences as well. Can you spot them?

When beginning this set of posts of postcards there was really no direction, and probably still isn't, but the fun continues. The hope is that you are enjoying the outcome even a little bit. No question that I am.

More to come, of course :)