Making Brushes and Making Adjustments

These are the eight paint brushes that Lee helped me gather materials for and put together. I posted these on Facebook so if you saw that you can skip this part and move down. But I love these pictures and the marks made using the avocado ink I made awhile back.

Here they are in a mug/vase with the bottle of ink.


Tiny twigs, fennel seed stems, tip of dried butterfly bush flower.

dried bloom from a bush in the yard, cluster of wildflowers, tip of a squirrel’s tail.

Three turkey breast feathers and cluster of wild bird feathers.

The marks and where I brushed the remaining ink off.

I think most people who make these brushes use them for the fun of abstract marks or asemic writing. I think I am expecting more than that. I will try to make something legible with the brushes and inks I have made.

On another note, Lee and continue our trail walks each morning. It is cooler but the details of things is always surprising.

The other day Lee snapped off the latch that holds the battery in the leaf blower. He had no idea he did it. I found the parts and successfully glued it back together….only to find that it must have been put in place before the two sides were screwed together. It is a stupid design to not think that this might happen and therefore make one side the hole for one peg and the other an open track into the hole for that side.

But waking in the middle of the night I came up with a solution…a bungy cord! Still too much give to hold the battery in as far as it needed to go. So…..

A tightening strap, wooden pottery tool and some wrench I found that could also be wedged in. It started right up but only lasted a few minutes before loosening up. Now do I buy another leaf blower or just hire it done? I am leaning toward the latter as Lee gets more confused and again the next one could be broken just as easily.

Today marked the full year of drawings a day with haiku. I think I am the only one of my group to have lasted this long but feel good that I am inspiring some to get back to it.

Later trail walking

this morning brought out many

water-soaked feathers.


Feathery lichen

and some tiny fungus rows

grow along this branch.


Old, wet and tattered

are the things that easily

happen overnight.


Can you believe it?

I found the tip of a squirrel’s

tail this morning!


Well that about does it for now. I need to get ripping the writer’s head apart. She just had way too much going on regardless of which side of her brain she is using. I sure should have know that but just kept on making and sticking on. Now I need to bring her back to reality!

Til later.

Late September Days

This is what the day is good for. Just taking a nap.  I had every intention of going to the store early this morning but just did not feel well enough, so waited until the caregiver came. I got everything on the list and now it is all put away. Lee will love the rotisserie chicken that I got for dinner, and I am glad that all I need to do is some simple potatoes with broccoli and hollandaise sauce.

I am not up to working in the studio today….too dreary! But the other day I tried to paint a leaf from the October Glory maple tree in the front yard. This effort took over an hour layering the colors to get it exactly like the leaf and then it started curling up on me…so I stopped. The lesson here is that I need to go faster….but I did love doing it. I am so inspired by the botanical artists in Australia and one of them, Annick, showed the most lovely detailed lichens the other day on facebook. My goal is to keep working until I get as good as that. And Lee has no problem bringing me all sorts of leaves, feathers, sticks, and wildflowers that he thinks I might be able to use.

And I have been doing the drawings a day.

Lee finally found

a blue jay feather, tattered

with small companions.


Feathers, feathers, and

more feathers, along the trail

found their way on here.


Purple wild aster

picked with a root that refused

a separation.


Feathers and a leaf –

early fall gifts from above,

now caught on the page.


(I really loved the results of that tattered feather this morning)


Yesterday we received a bumper crop of personal mail.

Some from Australia, one from Kent’s cereal box and another one that Barbara sends to Lee on occasion that are “fun facts”. It is very kind of you all to do this. Another good bit of mail came earlier this week. A woman who made our walking sticks tried her hand at the avocado ink making from my post a while back and getting out an old nib, she wrote a many paged letter using that ink! It was a delightful newsy letter about her honey crop this year and other goings on in her life. It is beautiful to see that much cursive writing on lines and pages, not to mention the envelope. So thank you to another Barbara for that.

And the other day I was working on the Sandy Writer head. The small book cases are on each side for her right and left brain thinking and draped over her head is a part of a dictionary. I pulled out some of the pages to make some curly hair for her and while gluing them on found this phrase. How perfect is that….Sounds of Silence.  Silence is so necessary if you are going to be able to get into your head and meet up with whoever or whatever is in there and write about it. It was only by accident that I found this “curl” and I have no idea what context it came from in the cut pages from the dictionary. But I put it right in front. Both sides need a bit of silence.

I will post more pictures of her as I get further down the line. I think the left brain bookcase will have orderly books and the right brain one will just have a large waste bin with wads of yellow legal pad pages and some chewed on pencil nubs. I don’t imagine she will take long to finish up.

Til later.


A Quick Colorful Post

I have made the decision to not buy any more flowers from the grocery store. I only buy the ones on sale….three bunches of three for ten dollars. No more until Spring….unless I see Eucalyptus bunches on or off sale. I told Lee that we will now collect interesting fallen branches and put them in the large stag and pine tree pottery vase. That will be the center piece on the dining room table until it feels like flowers are needed. I really hate the professional bouquets from the florist. They seem so formulaic…so much like they were made for someone else and a call came in so they put your name on them after sticking them into the ubiquitous glass vase, put some gaudy ribbon on them and show up at your door shoving them toward you with a smile on their face.

When I wanted flowers for a friend who was my age now, I would go to the florist and ask if I could pick through the flowers in the cooler…pick my own bouquet. And when I had a fistful, ask how much and take them home to put my own tie on…usually a string or raffia. Then I’d take them to her in person, arrange them in her favorite vase and be sure there was enough time to sit and have a drink….best to always deliver them sometime after three in the afternoon. I don’t think they allow people to stroll through their coolers anymore. A shame really.

Anyway these on sale flowers are not lasting long and look like they would rather not be here. So enough! Sticks now with a wooden bowl full of Lee’s leaves.

He thinks I should draw each one he picks up and brings into the house. Much like I would draw his feathers. Dried leaves are hard to draw, and only the best can do them justice in watercolors. When I try to paint them they look like those contrived journals that have the leaf painted next to a well placed sketch of the tree it came from, it’s fruit, if available, and all with perfectly calligraphied descriptions curving around the painted bits.

Here are some details of the poplar leaf below.

How could any drawing improve on this back side. It is so beautiful and your imagination races with where any of these trails and river beds could take you if you were just small enough to travel it’s topography. So why not have a bowlful of these adventures sitting on the table?

And the past four days of drawings a day.

A leaf from a pin oak

mostly brown but hanging on

to a touch of green.


Late summer yellow

blooms on the tall and hardy

stalks of leafy green.


An almost white aster

with the delicate thyme-like

leaves on fragile stems.


I only know one

source of these three found feathers.

It’s a cardinal!


And this picture of dead leaves veiling the darkness along the trail.

I opened one of the many jars of Lee’s honey from a while back. Very dark but such a sweet dark flavor. I put it on his French toast this morning. Drizzled a bit on my scone. The flavor brings back memories of collecting and jarring the gift of bees. Lee does not remember.

We are saving the finale of The Silent Patient until tomorrow morning during loads of laundry. I sort of understand why it is a best seller…..but I think male authors…at least most of the ones who write fiction can do a good job of getting in the skin of a female character but as soon as he attempts to write the relationship between that female and her male counterpart, one of those characters will suffer. I just think women fiction writers are better at getting into both skins at the same time. You don’t find yourself saying, “No, he would not have done/said that!”, you don’t get tripped up correcting a character that you knew perfectly well when he was sitting alone on a bench pondering something, and now the author has his character flubbing his lines. And the author can just as easily have the female lead found wanting in places. It’s hard to describe so I am glad he is giving the female lead the rest of the story to handle for him.

That’s enough…I am going to place Sandy Writer on the work table and see what she has to say.

Til later.



Back To That Studio!

Yesterday I received a lovely gift of two linen towels. They are from a friend in Australia who said she thought of me when she saw them….each dyed with elements of that country. Instead of using them as T towels she suggested I cut them into smaller bits to do something else with. I love her idea and her for thinking of me. Aren’t they beautiful? Gorgeous linen!

I even love the soft brown wrapping paper that I might just cut up and add to a book I am making of her sister’s postcards sent last month. It is still sitting on that messy table waiting for me to “fix” it.

But! Because I had two consecutive days in that messy studio and kept looking over at the Sandy Traveler, I pulled it onto the table. And started making changes. First off remove the boats from the top of her head, then coat her severely with Australian soil watercolors. Next gouge out the slash marks, more watercolors to fill in. Then tiny black dots for travel lines. Next cover the neck with all the tea bags collected and drunk with friends abroad. Finally a good spray of acrylic to the head and the addition of more collected bits to each side.  One boat returned to the scene.

Today I finished her up and am quite happy with it. Here is a view from the right brain side.

And the left brain side:

Here are some details:

Right brain loose collections…just pick it up and take home.

Left brain, the need to organize the collected bits.

The compass in the front surrounded with soils.

The boat.

I am satisfied with this piece and glad I listened to it this week as it begged for my attention.

Next up:

Sandy Writer.

I will return to the dormer idea that I used with the Sandy Printmaker. Each side will have one attached to her head and the open dictionary on her head. The right brain will likely be wadded up yellow dog papers with stubs of pencils whereas the left might just get tidy blank pages or very short poems. This one will be fun to do and fairly easy I think.

Then only one more…Sandy Homemaker. It will be the hardest I think. I would love the left side to have a drop down table perfectly set for a dinner party. More engineering will be needed but I am up for it.

My caregiver company is working hard to find just one person to look after Lee three times a week instead of two with last minute substitutes. It bothers me more than him because he just likes someone different to talk to. And he forgets who they were as soon as they drive away.

I just want order….my left brain is trying to take over now that I can’t use my right side so much.

Right now I might just wake him up to read our latest mystery…The Silent Patient. Supposed to be quite the thriller. Then it is deep into a book about preserving the world’s largest owl along the Russian border. Talk about diverse reading. After that an English country novel.

And one last final word on those British 50s series. The clothes! How do they find them all? And in all the sizes needed? And the hero’s hair. Smartly parted on the left so that those waves flow off to the right and the back almost shaved to just behind the ears. It is a very tidy look….the way any decent poet would have his hair cut. Enough. We are near the end of Grantchester. Oh, and those trousers with suspenders, most appealing….fedoras placed just so and ties about one third the length of Trump’s. The 50s and the Brits make brown a desirable color.

More later….