The Porch Swing

6/30/2009 03:52:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 3 Comments »
Well, I'm still somewhat recovering from my bout with pneumonia, and I did this wee painting in my sketchbook. I'm not pleased with it - it's just too ..... well, it's too .... let's just say I'm not happy with it. BUT - the thing is, I did something other than crossword puzzles, eat, read, eat, roam around the house, and did I mention eat? I wouldn't mind sitting on that swing today, but it's kind of rainy, damp, and cold today - not at all good for hanging out on the porch. So, without further ado, here it is.

Home Again

6/24/2009 03:33:00 PM Posted In Edit This 7 Comments »
Well, our trip to and from Nashville was wonderful. We got to spend time with our wonderful grand baby at the zoo (just the 3 of us), while Ben and Sarah went out to lunch and to a movie. We had a great time, and it's so amazing how fast children grow and change. Clyde is truly a joy - he's sunny, funny, really cute, and so smart! .... OK, enough of the grandmotherly bragging.

Unfortunately I got sick when we arrived home, finally went to the doc on Monday to find out I have pneumonia. I guess that would explain my lack of energy and motivation to spend time here. I haven't done anything artistic for far too long (it's probably why I got sick! lol), but I thought I'd share another old trick of mine to use when I'm having trouble getting started on something.

I like to tear out pages from catalogs that have interesting colors, textures, patterns, etc. to keep in one of my stash drawers. I use my 1" square punch to cut out little squares that I then put together in various ways to form some sort of design. Often just manipulating the paper and moving it around frees my mind to move on to other projects. Here is an example of what I'm talking about.

On The Road Again

6/10/2009 05:26:00 PM Posted In Edit This 6 Comments »
Friday morning we are leaving for Nashville to visit our son Ben, our dil Sarah, and Clyde, our wonderful grandson who is 1. Clyde is our only grandchild, and of course, we think he's just the best! We think that because He Is the best!!! We drive (about 9.5 hours), stay for the weekend, and then drive back on Monday. It's an easy and pretty drive, and pit stops and gas are the only reasons we stop. We take food (always the same - sliced apples, peanut butter, sliced cheddar cheese, crackers, chocolate, cookies and water) and eat while we drive. We usually listen to an audio book (this trip will be "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle", by David Wroblewski). I'm very excited about going, as you can imagine, but there is just one wee thing that gives me a slight pang. Her name is Abby.

Abby is our old Springer Spaniel. We don't know how old she is since she is a rescue dog, but the vet thinks she's probably around 13. She's very active, curious, and busy when she's outside. Inside the house all she really wants to do is be adored - she wants to sit on your lap (she doesn't know she isn't really lap dog sized), be petted, and be fed dog cookies at every opportunity. We don't take her with us to Nashville for several reasons, so that means we put her in a kennel while we're gone. The one she goes to (Brady Kennel in Fowlerville, Michigan) is wonderful. The people are really nice, the facility is very nice, and they clearly love dogs. We tell Abby she's going to camp and that we'll miss her, but I don't think she really buys the story. Her things are all packed in the trunk of the car, and I'll take her tomorrow morning. She'll probably throw up in the car. We finally got her accustomed to the car and she stopped doing that for years, but for some reason she started doing it again about 2 months ago. ..... that's probably a part of the story you didn't need to hear, right? So, I'll drop her off, then I'll go on about my business, and when I come back home the house will feel entirely different. It won't even look the same to me - it's so strange how that works! Fortunately my son has a really cute little dog (Monkey) that I keep threatening to kidnap - I love that girl, that's for sure! Here's a drawing of Abby sleeping in my studio without a wee clue that she's about to be taken to camp .... poor baby!

The Value of Doodling

6/05/2009 10:43:00 AM Posted In , , Edit This 10 Comments »
I've talked about being blocked before (what artist hasn't?), and one of the ways I use to get myself going is to doodle. I really try to complete a drawing every day. Some days are much easier than others - both in the matter of time and in coming up with an idea. I joined the Everyday Matters online group ( ) in part because there is a list of suggestions of different things to draw each day. It's a wonderful group that was started by Danny Gregory, author of several books, including "Everyday Matters" and "An Illustrated Life". I highly recommend his books, and his website is a great source of inspiration. But even with these helpful prompts, I just can't always put myself where I need to be in order to draw.

So, out of mild desperation, I've given myself permission to let doodling count as a drawing. At first this seemed sort of like cheating on my commitment to myself, but then I realized that the door to the right side of my brain doesn't always open easily without a bit of oil on the hinges. For me, doodling allows me to ignore my inner critic and not worry about the outcome. Since it isn't supposed to look like anything, there is no chance for failure. It has the added advantage of being able to stop at any point - it can't be unfinished .... it just is! The last thing I like about it is that because it's so mindless, it's easy to get lost in it, and voila - the right brain door swings open!

Something to ponder

6/01/2009 09:16:00 PM Posted In Edit This 3 Comments »
"News of the woman's hello, in electrical form, races along the neurons of the auditory nerve and enters the man's brain, through the thalamus, to a specialized region of the cerebral cortex for further processing. Eventually, a large fraction of the trillion neurons in the man's brain become involved with computing the visual and auditory data just acquired. Sodium and potassium gates open and close. Electrical currents speed along neuron fibers. Molecules flow from one nerve ending to the next. All of this is known. What is not known is why, after about a minute, the man walks over to the woman and smiles." Alan Lightman