Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Often I am struck, and deeply touched, by how willing some people are to share their inner life with their blog readers. When I read posts such as Jude Hill's 'As a child I was very afraid', or Denise of grrl+dog's 'My Dad as a Voodoo Doll', I feel I have been given a gift.  A gift of trust. After all, how could you put yourself out there like that without a great amount of trust that someone would read it with an open mind, without making judgements? How can they trust that anyone is even interested in their most private, personal stories? These people, I think, are very brave.

I often feel that no one wants to know about my real feelings, as if even friends and family members are only thinking of what they want to say next instead of actually listening while I blather on. And this may well be the case. But sometimes I think that maybe I should try to be brave, especially when something happens in my life that makes it hard for me to carry on as normal. The death of someone very dear to me, who has always been there to love and support me since the day I was born, certainly qualifies as one of those events.

ingredients: vintage book covers, vintage ephemera such as stamps, book pages and handwritten notebook pages, ribbon, lace, vintage game piece, monotype, stitching

I made this piece two days after my grandmother's funeral.  It seems that making art is my way of processing things.

About being brave - I'm not very good at it.

The Summer Day 
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, March 31, 2014


I finished this piece over a month ago, but have had some issues with getting things photographed due to my camera not working and the weather not cooperating (to say the least!). It's hard for me to describe what this piece is about, so I'll just say it's about essence. I was going to title it Between the Veils, but maybe Essence would be a better title.

ingredients: vintage book cover, pages, and spine; image transfer, drawing, collage, stitching, feathers, watercolor pencils

by Mary Oliver


Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone


is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer's head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary


yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn't see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don't we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it


lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


It's hard to believe it's the third Thursday of the month already!  Though I've been anxiously waiting for signs of Spring - which I'm beginning to see, though none are yellow - time still seems to fly by.  Paradoxical, isn't it? Coincidentally, in fact, I believe today is the first day of Spring, also known as the Vernal equinox, when the sun crosses the plane of the equator, making night and day approximately the same length all over the earth. Here are a couple of graphics for you (sorry, not yellow):

Since I'm not seeing much yellow in my surroundings right now, I thought I'd start with some of my favorite flower photos from Glacier National Park, in the northwest corner of Montana.

Oh, yes, it's a glorious place!

Next, a selection of  some of my older pieces of art that prominantly feature yellow:

 Transformation 24


 Transformation 4

Icarus Reborn

And finally, here is what I'm dreaming of:

Head on over to Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's beautiful blog for more yellow!

Happy Spring (or Happy Fall, as the case my be), everyone!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


ingredients: vintage book cover and spine; monotypes, ephemera, ribbon, stitching                 7.5 x 9.5 inches

I seem to remember
bright flashes
of clarity
I could almost touch
before they dissolved
of a forgotten dream
moving through time
then vanished

Sunday, February 23, 2014

For Emma

For Emma
ingredients: vintage book cover, vintage lace, vintage book pages and ephemera, Derwent watercolor pencils, stitching

I found this written in a 100 year-old book:

Remember me when death shall close
These eyelids in their last repose
And when the wind doth gently wave
The grass that grows upon my grave
                                                   Emma K

I have no idea who Emma K. was, or what prompted her to pencil these words onto a page of this book.  But I tried to imagine her, anyway, and what she might have been like.  Maybe she loved butterflies, and lace.  Maybe she loved to sew.  Perhaps she read a book with a bitter-sweet ending, and it got her thinking.  She wanted to be remembered.  And so I made this for her, a girl I never knew, so we'll remember.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

RoyGBiv: Orange

What a wonderful time of year for orange! If there's anything we need more at this very gray and white time of year than a shot of orange (except Spring, of course), I don't know what it would be. Cheerful and bright, just the thought of zingy orange makes me feel a bit warmer.  I hope these photos will do the same for you. For even more orange, go to Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's lovely blog, where you'll find links to more Searching For RoyGBiv participants.

... this butterfly wisely chose the correct color when looking for a zinnia to drink from...

... a delicate orange shelf fungus on a log in the woods...

... a bright orange spotted salamander inside a hollow tree trunck...

... one of my favorites - a turk's cap lily from my garden last summer...

... fiery red-orange Indian paintbrush from my vacation in the Rocky Mountains...

... a variety of nice orange shades in this box of pastels...

...colorful sugar maples from a gorgeous past Fall...

... and this very brightly painted wall at the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen's gallery in Berea, Kentucky (the upper left piece is mine)...

Coincidentally, the outside of the gallery is also kind of orange!

Again, visit Jennifer's blog to follow the trail to more orange of all kinds!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's on My Easel

I promised to show you what's on my easel, so here goes.  The piece on the left is one that was already deemed "finished"- an illustration for my yet to be written book, called, "Crow Creates the Night".

Crow Creates the Night (version 1)

Even though I thought it was finished, the crow's beak really bothered me because I felt it wasn't shaped like the one in "The Separation of Heron and Crow",

The Separation of Heron and Crow
and therefore would be too inconsistent if I ever do finish the book. Finally I decided to fix it, and here's what it looks like now.

Crow Creates the Night (version 2)

Changing it was very difficult, and at one point I was sure I had ruined it, but I'm much more satisfied with it now. 

The piece in the middle of the easel is kind of a re-do of part of an older piece which just wasn't working. I don't have a 'before' photo of it to show you, but several things were erased and a few were added. Right now I'm putting a chaotic flock of birds in the sky, flying as birds do when they're startled out of a tree or something.  The idea is to create a sense of unease here, giving the viewer a feeling that something ominous is about to happen.  I can't tell how this one will turn out, or even if I'll like it.

The third piece is the next illustration for my non-existent book, entitled, "Heron Creates the Day." I hope you're able to see the outlines of the heron, which at this point is just a sketch on a piece of tracing paper.  Hopefully, I will get to this one soon.