Subscribe via email

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

On My Nightstand, On My Easel 8/16/22

On my nightstand:

We sat at the table 

in silence for awhile.

A beam of light from the window 

fell across the table,

and I watched 

little particles of dust

float around in it.

They looked so bright and detailed.

Like some kind of kinetic art.

Beyond that I saw the lemon halves

still lying on the counter.

Not yet squeezed.

—Katherine Ryan Hyde, Chasing Windmills

On my easel:

To Know This Now for the Jewel It Is
4.5 x 6" two-page sketchbook spread; acrylic, ink, and oil pastel

Monday, August 15, 2022

On My Nightstand, On My Easel 8/15/22

On my nightstand:

The Offering

August 21, 2015

These woods
on the edges of a lake
are settling now
to winter darkness.
Whatever was going to die
is gone—
crickets, ferns, swampgrass.
Bare earth fills long spaces of a field.
But look:
a single oak leaf
brown and shining
like a leather purse.
See what it so delicately offers
lying upturned on the path.
See how it reflects in its opened palm
a cup of deep, unending sky.

                            —Laura Foley

On my easel:

I am suffused this afternoon with the fullness of life, the single oak leaf, the art and creative experimentation of Michelle Burns.

I've returned to the sketchbook I hand-folded from a single sheet of paper earlier this month. Got going with an idea on the first two-page interior spread only to see that I've unwittingly set myself up with challenges I hadn't anticipated. Fun! Eager to discover what this piece has to teach me and how I might resolve it.

4.5 x 6", work in progress on paper

Friday, August 12, 2022

On My Nightstand, On My Easel 8/12/22

On my nightstand: 

Just hold still. 
Feel yourself breathe. 
Feel your beating heart. 
If it wants to break, 
let it break.

That is all.

    Jan Frazier, from a forthcoming book

On my easel:

I circled back to an exercise started ten days ago. In short order my brain shifted from left side to right. Love when that happens. Every single time it happens.

You Do Not Have a Road Map to Guide You
7 x 7.5";  acrylic, ink, collage, and oil pastel on sketchbook paper
abstract landscape

Thursday, August 11, 2022

On My Nightstand, On My Easel 8/11/22

On my nightstand:

The implied belief is that we are wasting our time/materials/resources if we are not working towards a product, a finished piece. This belief, so ingrained in our daily lives, is probably one of the most challenging habits of mind to break. And yet I know that if I am trying to make good art, I make mediocre contrived, superficial art. When I get absorbed in a visual inquiry, absorbed in process, allow myself to go "off-topic" or make a mess or try combining ideas to see what happens ... this is when the good stuff shows up. 

Jane Davies

On my easel:

Carol Edan, thank you for sparks of ideas flying through your recent blog post. I grabbed a brush, a few tubes of paint, and covered a sheet of 9 x 12" drawing paper a few days ago. With select folds, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick, I created a simple 3 x 4.5" sketchbook with front and back cover, and six interior pages to play with. Today I developed the covers using a uniball ink pen.

9 x 12"; acrylic on drawing paper

9 x 12" page of drawing paper
folded into 3 x 4.5" sketchbook

sketchbook covers, work in progress

Friday, August 5, 2022

A Summer Story

On June 18, 12-year-old granddaughter Emmy sent me a letter. The first I heard of it was about two weeks later when she and her family drove up from VA for the 4th of July weekend, and she asked if I'd received any mail from her. I had received nothing.  

Emmy explained that she'd come up with a painting challenge for us but didn't reveal any details. We thought the letter would surely arrive while she was visiting.

Nope. Not then, not the next week, not the next. 

Thinking back to a mail carrier tractor-trailer accident earlier in 2022, I knew full well that mail can go irretrievably astray. As summer continued to unfold I figured Emmy's letter was long gone.

But … just kidding! 

It arrives August 1st!

The envelope shows not one sign of wear or tear. It sports a postal bar code but otherwise has not one clue as to its adventures over the past six weeks—the stamp is uncanceled; there is nary a postmark.

Inside, intact and patiently awaiting my attention, sit my marching orders.

Hi Gma! NEW CHALLENGE!!!! I want you to re-create a Claude Monet painting and please attempt to finish it by the time I leave from the July 4th trip. Once you're done, choose ANY artist and send a note back. I'm thinking we could do this over summer?? LOVE YOU.


(When we see the other's painting we could have to fine the painting they re-created?)

With a second planned visit from Emmy and family just three days ahead, I kept news of the arrival of the letter to myself, put aside all other studio projects, and got myself in high gear!

Watch out, Claude!

Dotty and Claude Have F - U - N Painting
9 x 9" appropriation of Monet's Yellow Irises with Pink Cloud
acrylic and oil pastels on drawing paper


Yellow Irises With Pink Cloud
Claude Monet
42 x 42 inches
oil on canvas

Thursday, August 4, 2022

On My Nightstand, On My Easel 8/4/22

On my nightstand:

Copy the masters not to copy their styles, but to read their minds. Let them teach you how to see in new ways, to see the beauty in real things, to explore new forms and open new vistas.

Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

On my easel: 

work in progress, unfolding

work in progress, unfolding

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

On My Nightstand, On My Easel 8/3/22

On my nightstand:

Then comes the Great Aha! of creativity. Suddenly, without warning, the moment of insight occurs, often while the person is in the middle of ordinary activities. Individuals have reported sudden rapid heartbeats and a profound sense of "things coming together," even before conscious verbal awareness of the solution. It is perhaps a moment when the whole human brain is suffused with joy.

Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

On my easel: 

I know, I know. I keep jumping from one thing to another. Welcome to the happy twists and tangles of my creative energy making themselves known. 

Yet another start today. But this one has a destination. And a story behind it. 

Witness the unfolding. 

And stick around for storytime.

work in progress
9 x 9" on paper