Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010!!!

Time to say goodbye to 2010. I have a drainting (that's what I call my cross between drawings and paintings) that I am working on and that I intended to post for my final post of the year today. But, it's only half done. That pretty much captures a good portion of the year - often rushing, usually behind, and rarely getting things done the way I had imagined. But, that's alright. There were some really good pauses in the midst of it all.

I heard on the radio that there was an intense tornado in Cincinnati, Arkansas today. A man was pulled out of his bed and carried across the street by the force of the storm. He said he kept his eyes open the whole way because he wanted to see the end coming.

Are your eyes opened?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Slow going

Yikes. It's been almost a month since I posted. And what do I have to show for it? Not much. The good news is that I sold two of the sheep - and the Badger Face Welsh Mountain sheep is headed for New Zealand! That made me feel better about letting him go, since he is my favorite. I also have a few new followers to this blog, a couple of whom I am not sure who they are. Welcome one and all!

R. and I spent Sunday afternoon working on our holiday cards. I managed to cut out about two pieces of paper in the time that she made seven cards. It turns out that making good pictures out of cut paper is a lot harder than it looks. It's also not true that adults can concentrate longer than kids can. I think ADD is the new 40.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Optical illusion

My sheep pictures are snugly hung in the Providence Optical gallery in Providence, Rhode Island (that would be like another country for you European readers). I think you can even see one of the paintings, up on the second floor, through the window just above the One Way sign. The show opening was last night and people actually showed up! (as evidenced by the legs shown below.)

Here are my paintings standing up under close inspection (Pamela didn't even notice that the label on the Greyface Dartmoor is starting to peel off because I painted over it to dim its whiteness after I glued it on. Whew!):

And here I am with my good buddy Taleen below, the curator for this show who has been my friend since back in the J. Crew days. And I by "back" I mean back before they sold bronzed leopard cardigans and when the models actually combed their hair.

Taleen's mysterious encaustic painting called Fossil is on the wall behind us. I am still thinking about that one!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The flock is gathered

I have gathered my herd and will be shepherding them to Providence soon. (I am not trying to be clever, it just really seems like there's no other way to say it.)

I mentioned to my boss that I was staying home from work today to finish my sheep paintings. He said, "You are making more than one? Don't all sheep look the same?" I said "Actually, no, they don't!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baa baa black sheep

I am making progress with my sheep project. It's much slower going than I would have thought! My crack-like sunflower seed addiction is definitely not helping.

I took a break this afternoon and saw my "Little Sister" R. today. We went to the Roslindale Open Studios, which was surprisingly rewarding in some weird way. When I was driving her back home, I asked her what her favorite artist or favorite artwork was. She said "the guy who made furniture". This surprised me, because she was mostly flipping through the stacks of photos while we were at that house, which was shared by a photographer and a furniture maker. I was the one asking the guy how he inlays tiny strips of wood into his tables - she was showing me the photos she liked. We looked at many photos together, but only one chair, so I thought she wasn't interested or paying much attention to his work.

My favorite was the 83-year old man with the neck brace on who took her by the hand and brought her to another room to show her his easel and his palette and how to take cheap brushes and cut them into whatever shape you need while stuffed birds and stone buddhas gazed down at us.

Just goes to show you, you never know what a kid is paying attention to or what is making an impression on them. Maybe it was just that the furniture maker had apple cider and Oreos for the taking.

My mother is always surprised by what I remember from when I was a kid. It's never what she remembers. Right mom?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I wish I could say these patterns are mine, but actually they are a study I did of the textile designs of the inspiring Lucienne Day (1917-2010). It was fun to recreate what someone else's hand and mind had created.

Not only was Lucienne Day an interesting person, she had a cool name. Thinking of her name reminds of a boy who was in my class at college whose name was Lucien Snow. I thought that was a good name, but he turned out to not be as likable as his name.

And thinking of Lucien Snow's name got me thinking about one of my all time favorite names: Neptune Frost. Neptune Frost! What a name! Neptune was a black soldier who died at the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, which was the fight that triggered the start of the American Revolutionary War. He is buried in the old burial ground in the middle of Harvard Square, Cambridge. I mean, he's right there, 20 feet from a bus stop! There's a sign on the fence to let you know that he and another black soldier from that war, Cato Steadman, are buried there. What a wonderful name - Neptune Frost. It just makes you want to write a book, or a song, or simply rejoice in the presence of poetry.

What's your favorite name?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wool Week

Did you know that Britain and the Campaign for Wool has deemed October 11-17 "Wool Week"? They want to educate people on the advantages of wearing, wrapping, knitting, decorating, and living with wool in order to support sheep farms, endangered breeds of sheep, and the production of wool.

It's so gray, windy, and rainy today that it's definitely a good day to wear some wool or stay under your wool blanket. My most worn and most loved wool item is the fuschia wool scarf I got in 1983 when I took the train into Boston with my friend Maria Garcia (where is she now?) and went shopping at Filene's (out of business). The highlight was trying on some Girbaud jeans (do people still wear these?). What's your favorite wool thing?

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been wanting to make some pictures from my trip to Ireland, and Queen Medb's Cairn on the summit of Knocknarea Mountain in Strandhill was my first choice. (She is also known as Queen Maeve if you anglicize her name.) Queen Medb's got an interesting story, a mixture of potential truths and a lot of mythology. But, what really surprised me is that it turns out she was killed by Furbaide with a piece of cheese. Yes, cheese. He used it as a missile to kill her while she bathed in a pool. I figure that part must be true.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I am trying to be artistically productive, but it's not going that great. My painting of Queen Maeve's megalithic tomb looks more like Queen Maeve's pile of spinach in a field.

Drawing this twig made me feel better. In fact, I am thinking of drawing it again.

But what I really want to say is, I wish I needed more keys, ant traps, or Whiffle ball bats, because the two guys working at the West Roxbury True Value Hardware are unexpectedly rocking it in a "I ride a bicycle and raise my own chickens" kind of way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Some things I found while riding my bike home from Cambridge yesterday. Except for the piece of china, which I found at low tide in Maine on Labor Day weekend. I am glad I had on my cargo shorts. You never know what little things you might come across and want to carry home. Seriously, why don't more mammals have built-in pockets? Did kangaroos get them because it's hard to jump and carry a baby at the same time?

Friday, September 3, 2010

More little things

More memories of Sweden. Frida from the bookstore, called Bok Skapet, is my stripe hero!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Waiting for Earl

It's so hot and humid I feel like my eyelids are a pair of tight vinyl pants.

The edge of Hurricane Earl should be here tomorrow and with it, cooler temps. I am half thinking of staying up all night just to greet its arrival and set off fireworks and cheer like it's midnight on New Year's Eve.

I found this picture in a neglected sketchbook when I was poking around today. I drew it when I got snowed in at my friend's house several years ago and had to stay over because the roads were impassable. It's hard to imagine such a thing could happen here - inches and inches of snow? What I wouldn't give for a snowflake to fall down the back of my neck right now!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Little things

Gothenburg, Sweden lends itself to little pictures. Everywhere I looked, there was some small, delightful thing. They even use children's book illustrations for their postage stamps! I could hardly believe it. It's like they knew I was coming and wanted to make sure I would not be disappointed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm back!

I have returned from my excellent trips to Ireland and Sweden. Lots of walking, talking, looking, exploring, collecting, making, eating, drinking, and let's face it, shopping. It was wonderful to meet Camilla Engman and spend time making things in her studio with other like-minded women. I highly recommend Angela Ritchie's Ace Camps to you if you want to go on an adventure and explore a topic of interest and meet creative and fun people! I'll post more pictures over this week, but for now, here's one of the temporary collages I made with a cup I got at the flea market in Gothenburg, Sweden and a rock I found in on the beach in Strandhill, Ireland.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Something to try

Let me know how it goes!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

O Canada!

I am back from my trip to Quebec City. I had lots of good food to eat, saw many historical sites - including an underground bunker with water seeping through the walls and spiderwebs in the gun holes - and had a lot of laughs with the family I stayed with.

What new-to-you place have you been lately?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Not done yet

I am still working on my drawing and might not be able to finish it today (time to get ready to go watch the World Cup!). So, I am posting it in its partially completed state because I kind of like it like this...and it's possible when I add in the night sky it'll get wrecked or won't scan well enough to be legible/visible. So, this might be as good as it gets!

What have you seen lately when you looked up? Yesterday, for me, it was 3+ inches of rain in 45 minutes!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lunchtime walk

I have been working on a small drawing this week, but since I am only doing it in hot and sweaty 10 minute increments every morning before work, I am not done yet. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it up this weekend and post it. In the meantime, here are some things I saw on my break today. Can you see the baby robin in his nest?

Boy, taking pictures is so much faster than drawing pictures - I feel like such a cheat!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July weekend!

A three-day holiday weekend with not a single drop of rain in the forecast! How often does that happen? This is what you wished could have happened last time it didn't. So now you got your wish. What will you do with it? What exciting thing do you have planned?

I am going camping. But first, breakfast.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New pencils

My new Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils arrived this week. I tested them out to see what the colors really were. The little swatch on the "eraser end" of the pencil is a pretty inaccurate indicator of what's going to come out the other end.

Making this color test page reminded me of a thought I once had when I was trying to decide if I could rightly say "I am an artist". I had the horrifying realization that, "I am not a real artist...I just like art supplies".

What is surprising to me is, not everybody does!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


As much as I like interpretations of reality, sometimes reality is interesting enough on its own.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Last day of Spring!

When I was making this Today I Saw postcard, I had an internal debate about whether to add color or not. I really liked it just as a simple line drawing...but was also curious about how it would look with color. For a while I thought I had to do it one way OR the other, which was really bothering me because if I added color, the line drawing would be lost forever and I hated that I would have to sacrifice it. Then I realized I could just make two cards, one in each way. But then I told myself I couldn't do that and I just had to choose one solution. Then I asked who decided that? And my other brain said "those are the rules". And so I asked "who made the rules?" My other brain said, "I made the rules." But then I said, "yes, but you are me so I also get to change the rules if I want." SO, here you have the outcome of that argument. Two postcards, one black and white, one color. Which do you like better? Why?

If that's too easy of a question, how about: What rule or belief are you living by that isn't really helping you - or anyone else?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday with no sun

It's been a gray weekend here in Boston, so I thought I would post some blue skies to make up for it. This is the view from my apartment to the house across the street, up to the left a little. And yes, that bird, or one like him, is pretty much always there. What can you see when you look out your window?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Postcard swap

This blackbird flew right in front of me as I rode my bike through the Arboretum on my way to work yesterday. I am participating in a postcard swap, arranged by my blog-friend Jill in England, of Today I Saw fame. She's the inspiration for the Today I Saw postcards I have done, and she just completed a full year of daily postcards. What an accomplishment! As a parting note, she has arranged for a swap between the various fans of her site to exchange their own Today I Saw postcards. Mine will be headed out tomorrow to Trine in Vanlose, Denmark. I hope it survives the trip! When I receive my postcard, I'll post it so you can see it too.

Please do check out Jill's year of postcards. They are all delightful!

As usual, I am wondering what YOU saw today...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's that time of year

The mosquitos are back. The experts predict an onslaught of mosquitos this summer, due to all the rain and flooding we had this spring. Here's a body map of my bites after a particularly bad, oppressively hot, sleepless night in a room in Philadelphia with an open window and no screen. I lost the battle. It's amazing how much damage such a small, weightless thing can inflict on a person. One bite is peculiarly satisfying to scratch - but 25 is enough to make you nuts.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Say it with pictures

Whenever Pete takes a trip, I try to keep track of things that happen while he's gone. That way, after he gets back from riding camels in the desert, I can show things were equally exciting right here at home.

(I think if you click on this picture you'll be able to see it a little bigger. I'll have to test that! Let me know if that works on your end.)

What was interesting about your day today? You can let me know about that too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Good Bugs

This postcard soon will be on its way to my good friend, and former VW Beetle owner, Taleen in Providence.

The Today I Saw project is inspired by the creative and curious Jill. She's almost at the one year mark of making a postcard every day for an entire year. What a great accomplishment! I am impressed.

What did you see today?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Just in case you were wondering.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The green-ness has arrived

I don't spend much time longing for my past. I have many good memories, but I don't usually wish I could return to a previous time. But this afternoon, I wished I was back in high school. I think it was because I left work early so the sun was higher than it usually is when I head home and the day had turned unexpectedly warm and sunny and I was taking the T home at the time when all the high school students where getting out. They were talking too loud and laughing and bumping into their friends and high-five-ing, doing secret handshakes, and fiddling with their hair. In the swarm of all this youthful energy, while I was waiting for the bus, I felt like I usually do, like I needed to GET HOME. But then I suddenly channeled my high school self and thought, "What's the big hurry in getting home?". The contrast between hanging out with a gaggle of friends and my usual solitary trek home from work, made me feel too grown up, boring, and lonely. What I really wanted to do was blow off my homework, wander around, and see if I had enough change in my pocket to buy a blue raspberry Slush Puppy and some Swedish Fish at the convenience store. But I didn't have my best friend with me, which is an essential component to goofing off during that wonderful suspense of time between being at school and home. Today I really wished Cynthia was there so we could find a patch of grass and look up at the sky and enjoy the sudden re-arrival of spring. We would discuss what other friend might be home and decide to walk to their house to see if they were. No cell phones or texting of course - we would just walk however many blocks it took, ring the bell, and see what happened. If they weren't home, onto the next thing. Maybe we could nonchalantly wander by Bob's house in case he happened to be mowing the lawn without his shirt on. Nothing to do and nowhere to be. What freedom!

Where would you go if you decided you didn't need to get somewhere else?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today I saw...

Today, on the subway, I saw the living embodiment of this sculpture. The young woman - she was probably no more than 16 - had a physique that defied the laws, or at least the odds, of nature. I mean, she was wearing Uggs and they looked ~small~. She was stunningly beautiful really. I don't think she understood that - I felt like she was trying to hide herself, which was impossible for her to to do.

Note: If I am violating copyright laws by using this photo, I want to let the Museum of Fine Arts know that I am right down the street and I am open to negotiation. Go west on Huntington, then south on the Jamaicaway, take a few more lefts and rights and you'll be here. My doorbell doesn't work, so just yell up or throw pebbles at the second floor windows. If using this photo is a problem, I'll take it down - just as soon as my 7 followers have seen it!

Monday, April 26, 2010


I didn't think I would like using water soluble crayons as much as I do. Now I wish I hadn't been so conservative and only got the box of 10! They are so fun, and I half wonder if I'll ever take out my watercolors again. My four week "Vivid Journaling" class is over and it led me to make pictures unlike what I usually make. And write more than I usually write. I think this is a good thing, but I still like to look closely at the little things I come across. I saw a ladybug on the sidewalk last Friday...very close to where I saw the katydid last year. Those bugs sure like Charles Street, even if there isn't a lawn in sight. I think a crayon is too thick to color a ladybug, so I suppose I'll still be friends with my watercolors too.

What did you find on the sidewalk today?

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I'm experiment with making collages and experimenting with not concerning myself too much about how they turn out. But I cheat a bit on the second half of the experiment. I actually do try to make it come out in a way that I will like - but I am truly trying not to try so hard that it keeps me from doing anything at all. For now, I am happy to have found something to do with the pictures I am drawn to, and save, but never know what do with them.

What could you do if you let go of worrying about how right you get it?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mopping up my thoughts

I started my Vivid Journaling class on Tuesday. It's technically a writing class, but I am making it into a drawing class as much as I can! My mop drawing came from the first 30 minutes of class. Today the sun is so bright and the temperature so warm it's hard to imagine that just a few days ago we felt like the rain would never stop and each day was an exercise in wresting with the wet.

I told my class instructor I finally decided to sign up for his class because I was intrigued by his name: Kendall Dudley. I figured he could go one of two ways with a name like that: grow up to drink fine wines and own a boat and wear sun bleached Nantucket red shorts, or join the Peace Corps and grow up to wear turquoise rings, stay curious, and teach interesting classes about exploring with writing and color.

What I want to know: do they still make those blue mops? A mop that was bright blue figures prominently in my childhood memories. Does anyone else remember those? Was it a Fuller Brush thing? Does Fuller Brush still exist? Mom?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What did you say?

This week at work I was struck by how much time is taken up just communicating information to other people - and then re-communicating about that same information to whomever didn't comprehend it the first time, or to whomever received the mistranslated version from the non-comprehender. Even though the people with whom I work most closely all speak English as their native language, it's amazing how hard it is for everyone to understand everyone else and for each person to take away the same impression from the same conversation. I had a meeting on Thursday where I thought someone had said, "let's do x, y, and z,"...which seemed a little excessive to me (and this is coming from me, little Miss Triple-check) and so I thought I must have misunderstood. So I said, "did you just say "let's do x, y, and z? Because I think just doing x and z would be enough." And the other person said, in a way that was hard to follow, "no, I am saying we should just do x and z." So I said, "okay, that's good. Let's do that." Then, the next day, I get an email from that person laying out the workplan that says "We are going to do x, y, and z." What?!

I am going to let it go, even if it'll take days more to complete the project which has already dragged on beyond belief.

So, I was finally on my way home on Friday evening, tiredly waiting for the train at the Downtown Crossing subway station. And there, singing on the platform, was a musician who always caused me to deflate whenever I realize she's there and I'll have to listen to her until the train comes. She's kind of trapped in 1972 and is always singing depressing social justice songs from that era - in a painful monotone voice and with an expressionless face. The word "joyless" comes to mind. Last night she was singing the Oasis song "Wonderwall", but still managed to make it sound like a song you would hear in a church basement during a Catholic folk Mass. Both the voice and the volume, bouncing around all the hard surfaces of the subway station, were painful. So I sat on the bench with my hands over my ears. I could see two people were walking down the platform, so I looked up at them as they were passing. When I looked up, I saw the man was looking at me, so I looked back at him. He smiled at me. I smiled back. I knew why he was smiling at me, and he knew I knew why he was smiling at me. Easy. Total comprehension, no words. Why can't it always be like that?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

At least I'm consistent

It's true. I really do like stripes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blue skies

I'll take the warm days and blue, sunny skies we had this weekend over the 10-inches of rain we got last weekend.

Other than that, I'm a little sad because I just found out that my all time favorite radio show host, Ray Smith, has died at the age of 87. He hosted Jazz Decades every Sunday night for the past 38 years and I have been listening to it for 15 years at least. Maybe even 20. A lot of interesting knowledge of tiny bits of jazz history died along with him. And, he had that particular Boston accent you don't hear so much anymore...unless you are talking to my dad! That accent is even better than the one you hear from the Car Talk guys. You can learn more about Ray's life and his show here. Thanks for introducing me to so much great music Ray.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Portrait Party!

I finally held my first portrait party yesterday and it was a lot of fun. All day the rain was pouring and the wind was blowing. Staying inside to draw and drink was the perfect thing to do.

This is Stacy's drawing of Peter B. Of all of our drawings of Peter, this one is the most unmistakably him. I can even tell what he's thinking! (but maybe I have an unfair advantage because he's my brother.)

This is Pete Y's drawing of me. I think he really captured my inner Muppet! :-)

Here's my drawings of Jessica. Her face completely changed from the 2-minute pose to the 15-minute pose. It was very interesting to see that happen and try to capture it.

This is Stacy, drawn by Jessica. I love how this picture captures Stacy's regal essence!

Here's Pete Y. drawn by Peter B. I like how he rendered Pete's glasses. Can you believe he's taken a 10-year break from drawing? Welcome back to the pencil, Peter!

If you want to know what a portrait party is, you can learn more about it at Rama Hughes' site. Try it, you'll like it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's coming!

You might think that people are the only ones who care what season it is, and are the only ones who get excited when Spring shows signs that it just might return again. But judging from the way the birds have been singing lately, I think they are pretty psyched too. I know, I know, I should not be fooled by a few warm days - it is only March 10 after all - but I am cheered by the thought of all the little seeds and little buds just waiting for their chance to sing too.