Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I just began working part time at a little main street gallery--a good, charming, quiet place. It's been around for 30 years so everyone knows the owner and loyalty abounds. Already I've run into people I have not seen for a long time, so it will be a fun place to be, especially over the holidays. Personally, it's a good diversion from my VERY empty nest, but I hope to make a contribution to the business with attentive service, artsy touches and a warm welcome to all. 

Yesterday I helped open the shop. It's fall and the leaves blow into the foyer with this glorious mosaic floor. Everyone needs to be welcomed in by noticing the art upon which they trod, so I attempted the first (of what will be many) sweepings of the mosaic foyer. 

Why is this even worth a blog post? It's for me, actually, so I will remember and capture the feeling of sweeping the entrance of the shop in the morning. It takes me back to Bellagio, Italy and other small towns in Europe. Every morning the shop keepers sweep and wash the entrances to their shops. They take great pride in tidiness and welcoming in the patrons, who more likely than not, are long time customers and friends. It's a way of life, sweeping the sidewalk and opening every day for business. 

The sweeping reminds me of baguettes at the bakery in Paris and the handmade trinkets in Bellagio. And the stern German fraus who take pride in cleanliness and tidiness, through whom one must look long and hard for the love and warmth hidden inside. Shop keepers who sweep and wash the community sidewalks don't rush at our 'modern pace.' They harken back to the health of community and making time to stand around for a chat, about the weather or the neighbor's begonias, or the new dog that seems to have shown up begging for scraps. This is what I thought about when I was sweeping... 

In our lives filled with meetings and speedy devices and So Many Important Things, taking time to sweep away the leaves from the entrance of the shop seems inconsequential and a poor use of time, especially if the town will (eventually) do it anyway. We are quick to abandon these small things, are we not?  Things than contribute to community and remind us that life need not move at light speed all the time. Maybe someone will create at app called "Sweep." It won't do the job a broom and a tidy shopkeeper will do, that's for sure.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bits of Squam Through My Lens

Home from chilly New Hampshire where I spent four delightful days by Squam Lake. Rustic surroundings. Moonlit nights. Delicious food. Abundant art. Delightful people. Rain. Sunshine. Fires. Stars. 

I hope to return. 
Ann Wood handmade. Check out her Paper Mache Ships 

Elizabeth, brainchild behind this thing… You go girl! 

Ann Wood mushrooms. What fun we had making these! 

Mine.  Fun, aren't they? 

Trail Magic

I'm a hiker and am well aware that "Trail Magic" defines the delectable gifts bestowed upon faithful AT through hikers! However, I choose to temporarily adopt the term as it also applied to the trails (not far from the AT in the Whites in New Hampshire!) at the most recent Squam Art Workshop.  

Oh, lucky me! I am basking in the delight of having spent a few days with 100+ artsy types traipsing around the woods, enjoying art classes, meeting new people and trail magic. As I hoped, other 'Squamies' (is that what they are called??) are a lot like me! Creating little natural tableaus in the woods for others to happen upon is simple, creative and infuses delight in the simple act of walking along a trail. Smile.  

I'm a serial collector of feathers and acorns and leaves and stones and shells. The natural world offers us abundant resources to feed our souls and I was happy to take it all in… and contribute a bit of my own magic, I might add.  Next time my wand will hold even more secrets now that I know what to expect!  

On a whim, I grabbed a few of my little ceramic houses as I loaded the car to leave. I'm glad I did. This small magic tableau brought a few smiles to the grown ups among us.  Two little girls came along as I was taking this photo and asked me "Do you think they are REAL?"  "Why, yes, of course they are real," came my reply. A moment to savor and make that small effort totally worthwhile. They then asked if they could make some trail magic as well.  "OF COURSE!" Create your own magic next time you are OUT THERE… 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

12 Dancing Princesses

If you've made your way over here from Carla's  Sonheim's blog, welcome.  I was delighted to contribute to our Year of the Fairy Tale course call for some fancy schmancy princesses!  Carla does a great job inspiring us and encouraging us. These online art classes are wonderful and I could easily take 12 at a time, though I know better….  My dad and I are going to begin a sketching class together this fall. We are a couple thousand miles apart, so how fun is that do something artsy together?  But, I digress.

My princesses came about as I glommed onto some techniques I've been learning this year. When I clean up my hands from messing with my clay sculptures, I am enjoying making another kind of mixed media mess. I have a theme here, do I not:  messes.  (Another blog post)

Here are some Princesses In Progress.

I love my iPhone for trying out positioning in art projects.  These dancers found their way all over the canvas before I settled on the final groupings.  I can take numerous shots then scroll through them on my phone to see which pleases me!

Dancers close up.  Tissue paper on collaged background.  I used water color pencils and Caran d'Ache water soluble wax pastels for the colors.  Water soluble crayons??  What ELSE do I have to learn!

And then I just decided: They are done. Off to the dances and to Carla for publishing…

Thanks for peeking.  May you dance in today's sunshine (or air conditioning if the humidity calls for such drastic measures.) 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Squam and CREATE!

As the kids head back to school and my remaining 'kid' starts college classes again today, I am looking towards fall, my all time favorite season! (I had a quick conversation with an acquaintance at an art journaling workshop a couple of weeks ago... fall is her least favorite season and reminds her of death.  Honestly, I have never thought of it that way, even though my mom died two years ago in October.) Anyway. Late summer musings... 

Art and travel are lined up in my life again for September and October and this brings me more than a wee bit of joy!  I'm going to Squam for the first time! It looks like my kind of outdoors, campy, New England place and perhaps these will be my kind of people too.... though, I don't know.  I'm showing up alone, as usual, and I suspect I will be way older than most of the artsy, flowing dress, bohemian souls who show up. But, with white hair comes wisdom, yes??  I can at least offer that!  

The season brings an artsy shift with it for me too... less mixed media and more fiber.  Wool and thread and color and stitching and more creating. I am so thankful... 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Master of Fine Arts

It may not be 'official' official, but I am currently engaged in my MFA.  It's self directed, mind you, with online courses chosen BY me, FOR me.  I will, in fact, award myself with the appropriate degree at the end of my studies (whenever I decide that will be.)  If I really were the control freak this sounds like I am, I'd be in heaven!  I am learning a ton from instructors of varying skills from all over the world.  Who knew? 

In the absence of my children and their friends inhabiting our household, my empty nesting self is engaging my deeply embedded creative passions.  My interests are many and varied and quite unstoppable. Currently I'm diving into mixed media with clay "on the side." Soon I will be taking a live course at the fall Squam Lake Art Retreat with upcycling fibers and design as the focus.  I'm all in with that too.  

All that to say, it's time to take a clue from these artsy teachers who use their blogs to post short and sweet comments alongside photos of their current work.  When I figure out all the watermarking copyright details, I'll be back…. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rock. Paper. Scissors.

This month has been full of adventure, learning and happiness.  If we could all begin all our blog posts just like that, what a wonderful world this would be, yes??  I spent a month in Colorado in 2013 and ten days of it were in October. A cause for happiness indeed! And the ROCK in my title…

I went to Art Camp for Women. I dreamed of it for several years and took the plunge this fall. They will no longer be leading these awesome retreats so it was a particularly good gift! I was so thankful to get to participate in the last one! We had three great artists come teach sessions too.

Carla Sonheim and her drawing instruction, loosening us up with silly animals and many excellent exercises infused with joy, account for PAPER.  Becky Nunn showed us all sorts of tricks and techniques for jewelry and Sara Rockinger taught us Theromfax silk screening. SCISSORS used here.

For me, it was a slice of the New Earth!  Time for art with like-minded women eating delicious food looking out at fall in the Rockies, with a little snow thrown in. For me and my sensibilities, it does not get any better than that!  No high heels necessary… no excuses allowed… walking in between classes encouraged… photos all around. It was grand!

I would not have been able to fully engage in an event like this in the past.  Having a new cochlear implant made all the difference. How?  Stay tuned….