May 31, 2010

Pity Party Crashed

I was glad to see this weekend come, I mean who doesn't enjoy a three day weekend.  But now, on Sunday night after two days of keeping company with myself, I'm feeling a bit blue.  Well, at least I was.  Once again I found myself alone at my large dining room table with a cup of coffee, a couple of magazines, some books and my "new" sketch book.  On most days this is a lovely little setting I really enjoy.  But today, I was a bit lonely.  I've only been in St. Louis for two years and am still adjusting to life here.  It's so different than my life in California.  Most weekends were filled with cooking out, going to Disney, or just meeting up.  My life was far from perfect there, but from my point of view, alone at my kitchen table, it seemed fairly perfect and so I could feel the pity party beginning.  "Poor me" having to sip coffee alone in this pretty tea cup that my girlfriend gave me..."   Then I smiled remembering her, and how I loved these tea cups.  They're extra special because they're old and when she gave them to me she knew I would love them... and she was right.  I looked around the room and saw all kinds of gifts and reminders of friendships - old and new,  past and even present.  I have so many lovely things either given as gifts from family and friends or purchased on a fun outing.  Yes, I'm alone... but only for the moment.

May 30, 2010

Discovering Artists on the Web

Occasionally I do a little web surfing to see what the other artists out in the world are up to and I just love to share their work.  I mean, sure I do what I do, but it just tickles me pink to see what others create.  So, this is Andrea Joseph you can get to her blog here.  And she does these amazing ball point pin sketches.  BALL POINT PEN!!!!  I don't live to draw, drawing is just a means for me to get to the watercolor.  But her art and fun perspective really encourages me to work on my drawing.  I just ordered my first "Zine" from her Etsy shop and can't wait to get it.

Then there's Geninne's Art Blog.  I love her spirit, her calender collages, her birds and how she seems to make every day a special moment.  There seems to be nothing mundane about this artist.  Because of her I now own a bottle of white ink.  I'm learning to be more adventurous and playful with my art.  Sometimes it seems like every piece I paint is a "WORK OF ART"  and not about playing, learning and trying new things.  Thanks Geninne for reminding me to play and explore.

May 25, 2010

Ranunculas... again

Well, what do you expect...  if you love a flower you can never paint them enough.  The season for ranunculas is long gone.  I never seem to get enough of them though.  I did this mixed media early this spring it includes watercolors (of course), Chinese Sumi ink and Conte crayons. (You can learn more about the painting here.)   I had to post something happy because I lost my sketch book on my flight last week.  I've been looking for it over the weekend and finally had to just face the fact that I left it on the plane.  It must have fallen out of my bag.  I called the airline this afternoon to see if they've found it.  I'm crossing my fingers.  It's not that the art is extraordinary in these little journals.  It's just they go with me everywhere and I collect quotes and ideas and I love doing little watercolor paintings in them.  Some of which I share with the blogging community like this one or this one.  Over the years I have accumulated 22 sketchbooks and this if the first one I've lost.  Oh POOO!!!!   If you found a painter's sketchbook would you keep it?

May 23, 2010

A Lil' Bit of Beauty

Many years ago I had a friend who told me that when she was having a bad day she would call a friend - usually one she hadn't spoken to in awhile to catch up and see how they were.  I think this is probably one of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard and have used.  As Anne LaMott wrote, "A sick, worried mind can't heal a sick, worried mind."  But sometimes the hardest thing you can do is just get out of your own head.  Another friend said to me a couple of weeks ago that my mind was like a bad neighborhood and I shouldn't go there alone.  Or,  at all...  I love my funny, wise friends.  I owe them so much for keeping me laughing and sane and showing me a different way.  Then, I can move forward and help someone else get through that bad neighborhood.  I think that's primarily why I blog.  Sure I like showing you what I paint.  But I have found that painting not only makes me happy but it also makes others happy.  And for some reason that's really important to me.  There's so much in the world draining us of our creativity, energy and joy, we really must find ways to put some beauty back.  And if it's as simple as drawing a smiley face in the dirt on your car window, painting a vase of roses or walking through a bad neighborhood with a friend, it's a good thing.  It's important.  It matters.

May 20, 2010


Sometimes, heck most of the time you have no choice but to wait.
Wait and see...Because really, do you have as much control and power as you think you have?  I am not a patient person when it comes to myself and all I want to accomplish in this life, with my days or even in my moments. I'm great at preparing the flower beds, planting the seeds in nice little rows, but waiting for the flowers to grow... that's another thing.  And, there's nothing I can do but wait, because flower seeds don't care how I feel or what I want.  They will sprout when they sprout.  I'm learning patience because really I have no choice.  Yelling at the flower seeds, getting mad, throwing a fit doesn't make the flowers come any quicker.
I did this picture of Noah and the animals waiting on the ark awhile back but I still love it, it's a calm reminder that I need to accept that waiting is part of life and maybe even find something to enjoy about the "wait".  Eventually the water WILL recede and the flowers WILL come.

May 15, 2010

Kathy D Inspires Me

... no I'm not going to rap or write a poem today.  This is just a little "shout out" to a creative whom I've seen grow - and shrink a great deal since meeting her in 2002.   I wrote out this recipe because it's my favorite for blueberry muffins - it's yummy, it's easy and it's from scratch - the way cooking ought to be.  As I was working on this I thought of Kathy D - she doesn't use recipes, she doesn't have to.  She's one of those creative souls who cooks with her heart and  her senses and loves the hunt for the freshest and best ingredients.  Then, when she has created something that make her heart sing - she gets to eat it and her tongue and stomach applaud her newest creation.  Yes, that happens on a daily basis.  She feeds her tummy, her heart, her soul with her creativity.  Sounds just perfect doesn't it.  Well, it's not.  Not by a long stretch.  The hard part for Kathy D is that she has to support herself by working retail.  And as you all know, retail is brutal.  For me I think it's brutal because people in general can be quite rude and unthinking about their words and tone.  I've worked a million different jobs and really wish people (including myself) could be more mindful of how they treat one another.  It all matters.  Really.  Once several years ago, I was pretty down and out - no money, no direction, just FULL of desire. So, I went to McDonalds.  (I realize for some, that could make things worse, but I like McDonalds and I could afford that little pick me up.)  The lady at the counter who took my order for my double cheeseburger and chocolate shake told me she really liked my dress and it looked very pretty on me.  I almost cried.  I needed that more than the double cheeseburger.  I'm not advocating tossing out random compliments.  I'm just here to remind myself and you all to keep in mind that creative spirit you cross paths with everyday.  Most days Kathy does well and is able to create in spite of her circumstances. Still it's not always easy and I think the miraculous part is creating, being and moving forward no matter what the world around you - including spouses, bosses, the public is yelling at you.  So today - I raise my fork to Kathy D - she's creating no matter what because it's in her soul and I know she'll be just fine.

May 13, 2010


You can almost here her purr can't you?  I know I maybe a little bit crazy cat lady-ish.  But she's my buddy and has been for ten years.  I'm her best and ONLY friend, so I take that very seriously.  Besides, she loves to pose and sits still for a pretty long time when she knows she's being painted.  In fact, when she was just a young thing, she would sit in the middle of my still life's that I would set up on my dining room table.

Crazy attention seeking thing... I created a diva by painting her too much I think.   But I have to say, she's in my top 5 things I like to paint.  So, I will probably continue to paint Her "Fluffiness."

May 12, 2010

Snot Bubbles of Gratitude

This past March I received an e-mail commission from the daughter-in-law of an acquaintance. I would like to say friend, but I had only spoken to this woman a handful of times, like her lots, but really didn't know her well. So you can imagine what a surprise it was when her daughter in-law contacted me requesting a French flower shop picture for her mother-in-law as a gift for Mother's Day. I was happy to oblige, especially since I just LOVE painting French flower shops. The final painting is the one you see above. I sent it off and well, forgot about it. So this past Monday, I received the nicest thank you phone call. And I must say, it just made my week. This woman was so happy, so surprised and liked it so much that she cried - yes, cried!! And I quote, "I cried so hard there were snot bubbles." I was completely floored. Now, I realize that said "snot bubble" watercolor above may not be cry worthy to you, but when you think of all the hearts of love that went into it, you might just cry too. She had a daughter -in-law who payed attention to her interests and loved her enough to plan this gift ahead of time and her entire family pitched in to buy this original. And my small part was to paint something for her that her family already knew she would love and cherish. I'm just honored to be a part of the process.

May 9, 2010

Lafayette Square in St. Louis

For those of you who don't know much about St. Louis, Lafayette Square is a hidden gem - and my favorite place in the city. A little edge of the city that feels like Europe and yes there is a fabulous cafe that makes the best chocolate croissants in town Rue Lafayette. You almost expect people to be greeting each other with Bonjour as you stroll down the sidewalk. The entire park is enclosed by intricate rod iron gates. This is a fairly large painting at 22"x30". I hope to get it framed this week - something French of course. Bonsoir

May 4, 2010

Peonies Galore

I could hardly let this day go by without a quick watercolor of peonies from "my," yes, "MY" front yard. You see, I haven't had a yard of my own for nearly a decade and these are a glorious celebration for me in many ways. I'm just so thankful that the previous owner planted so many. When you walk by them, you think someone sprayed a little too much perfume. Or if you enter a room where I've put a few in vases you might ask who lit a candle. How I wish there was a scratch and sniff link so you could smell them. Then this past weekend I picked a little miniature bouquet. Again, it was nice to pick them from my very own garden. Nearly 8 years ago when I first moved to Southern California I was blown away by the flowers - all the time and everywhere. So many people with yards and flowers that seemed to take over. Did these people know what they had? You really don't understand and appreciate flowers until they're gone or you have to experience winter again. Though I don't love winter, I do think it's a necessary part of really feeling grateful and thankful for Spring. Anyway, late at night I would wonder my California neighborhood and well, um, yeah, steal flowers.... I know its wasn't exactly up and up. But some how I justified it by saying the rose bush really did need a pruning and at times I really felt my sanity was at stake when I first moved to Los Angeles - alone, single, unsure of what my future held. Today my friend Judy said that my Peonies were hope. Yes, flowers do remind us of hope and I think that's why I paint them constantly and never grow tired of them. We need hope as much as we need flowers.


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