Friday, October 19, 2018

Cloudy with Bursts of Sunshine

I am feeling befuddlingly off-stride, out-of-sync, disconnected, scattered, and unfocused.

I haven't even unpacked my art supplies in the five days since our trip away, a trip during which painting—to my surprise—didn't settle into my bones and heart.

Nor has painting jumped back into my bones and heart since our return.

However, here's a little piece I made just before we traveled that wants to show itself off.

I took one of my Monhegan Island watercolor paintings that felt decidedly awkward and clumsy in the creating.

And look! It turned into a dazzling accordion-fold pocket book! The pages are tucked into the pockets, where the excerpt copied onto them from a children's picture book becomes an exquisite little prose poem that reveals itself one line at a time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

An October Wednesday

Today unfolded as a string of embodied engaged moments of presence for which I feel tremendous gratitude. Today was a day out of time, a day of grace.

Late in the afternoon, the urge to paint beckoned me for the first time in days and days.

My lived experience of this Wednesday in October expressed itself in color-mixing and mark-making and brushstrokes.

work in progress,
16 x 20"; acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dish of Milk

A frequent dessert when I was a young child was chocolate pudding prepared in individual bowls and served with milk poured on top. My dad would often carry my bowl from counter to table, saying, "Here's your dish of milk, Dotty!" I'd laugh and laugh, dip my spoon below the layer of milk, and prove him wrong by lifting a scoop of pudding.

Except for the time when he actually did give me a dish of milk.

Cruel, I tell ya!


When prepping for my recent West Virginia vacation, one item I packed was the hand-painted anniversary card I'd made for Dave—another card made from a painting started on Monhegan Island in August.

On the 11th, I pulled it out to perch at his place on the table.

Turns out that, although I carefully wrote his name on the envelope and carefully placed the envelope in a protective folder for safe travel, I left the card itself under the cover of our scanner at home.

Dish of milk!

anniversary card
4 x 5.5"; watercolor, acrylic pen, and water-soluble pastels on canvas paper,
mounted on card stock

Monday, October 15, 2018


The day before I went on vacation to Virginia and West Virginia, with all sorts of packing and other last-minute details and tasks crowding my every moment, I popped down to the basement to add a bath towel to the wash I'd just started.

Discovered an unfolding event. A jumbo-sized container of liquid laundry detergent had fallen to the floor, landing on and shattering its cap. I arrived to see a mess of concentrated (2x the power!) detergent spreading viscously onto and soaking through a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet, the 'lake' already larger than the circle I could make with my arms if I stretched them out.


A welcome juxtaposition: making a card using a watercolor-turned-mixed-media exploration from my time on Mohegan Island in August. Sweet!

birthday card
4 x 5.5"; watercolor, acrylic pen, and water-soluble pastels on canvas paper,
mounted on card stock

Friday, October 5, 2018

Crossin' the Mason-Dixon Line

By the time you read this post I will have crossed the Mason-Dixon Line for one of my favorite vacations of the year.

Dave and I have headed south to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We'll enjoy five days and nights at a West Virginia State Park—replete with simple cabin built in the 1930's, big ol' stone fireplace, all the firewood we could want, and miles and miles of trails to hike—way out in the middle of nowhere. Bookending our time in the wilderness we'll hang out with our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Virginia. Doesnt get any better than that!

I've packed a travel art kit but, as was the case last time I vacationed, I don't know what shape these vacation days will take—will I paint? what will my wifi situation be? will I post online?

Once again, heading to Don't Know!

Below, a placeholder until I return.

color study on unstretched canvas

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Changes in Elevation

Dave and I will be doing miles of hiking in the mountains of West Virginia next week. I will love all the hiking … but I'll love the level parts of the trails more than the steep parts.

Meanwhile, I've done plenty of steep with this bookmark.

Remember when I said I didn't do a trial run with the masking fluid ahead of time? Because, you know, I was impatient?

Joke was on me.

Turns out I did three trial runs—directly on the bookmark itself.

The first time, the masking fluid was poorly mixed. I rubbed it off after it dried. No harm, no foul.

The second time, the masking fluid was well-mixed but awkwardly applied. Ugly mark-making. I rubbed it off … and it took with it most of the text I wanted to protect. Sigh.

The third time, with repairs made, mark-making to my liking, and negative spaces painted, I rubbed off the masking fluid, only to lose key collage bits once again.

So much to learn.

Several more uphill climbs and one sweet downhill run later, however: a bookmark!—the third and final in my BrenĂ© Brown Dare to Lead series.

Thornton Isn't the Only Place Anymore
1.5 x 6"; acrylic, collage, and oil pastel on watercolor paper
abstract bookmark

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Just Enough Time

Very busy day—again!—with another long list of tasks.

Made time to go to my studio anyway, knowing I'd only have a few minutes but happy for whatever I could get.

Notice the differences between where I left off yesterday (left) and where I left off today (right).


Turns out I had just enough time to get myself … nowhere.

I tried my hand at using masking fluid I'd purchased some months ago. Impatient, as always, I did so without doing any kind of test run.

I did read and follow the directions, which included the instruction to rinse the applicator clean after use. To the sink I went.


Inside the bottle I saw not the clear thin fluid I'd applied but a thick coagulated substance that looked like liquid 'foundation' makeup (and well you might ask how I would know what makeup looks like).

Sooooo. I'll let the bookmark dry and see what sense I can make of things tomorrow.