The Weather Is Cooler – I’m Staying Inside

Lee needs to spend time outside every day…regardless of the weather. Here he is re-stacking his rocks down below. He is constantly rearranging them. Keeping an order to something is very important.

By the time I got back from the gym this morning,fixed his breakfast and filled the feed buckets for him to feed the birds and deer, we had this sunrise. It quickly turned cloudy and dull.

So this morning I decided we should cook up some meals for the freezer. Lee is still fairly good at chopping up vegetables and pulling chicken off the bones. So a big pot of chicken soup, a meatloaf, lots of french toast cooked up and placed in waxed paper before freezing, and the start of a puttanesca sauce to finish Sunday. The house smells wonderful.

Last week we had two meals from four chicken thighs over dressing.

Pure comfort foods.

I also had time to work in the Bush Book. A mole and Canadian goose were added to the bear pages.

And a good start on the next section.

There is a bobcat, hummingbird and tufted titmouse joining the skunk and cardinal. I have now drawn in all but the last double page with all the critters on my list. Then I went to the studio and cut all the sections for the next book that will have wildflowers painted within the marks. It is a bad time of year to make contact prints, but I will use what I have here in the yard. I don’t think it is a worry to get good images…just some suggestion of place through marks.

And of course the Drawings A Day with Haiku.

I cut the basket

short in this drawing because

I ran out of room.


From Indonesia

a small and intricately

woven container.

Another hand-carved

wooden box from the kitchen

holds some essentials.


A basket-like box

waits to collect small odd bits

that then go nowhere.

Two chickens pecking

away at nothing with strings

below being pulled.


He raises his axe

and slams it down on the log

with little result.

I am going to do all the kinetic toys that Lee and I collected or made. Such good memories of us working together in the shop. Me coming up with ideas and Lee cutting out all the parts. A carver in Ann Arbor made the wood chopper and the next two I will draw. He had a distinctive style. Then I will move on to the ones we made. I must say that holding the paddle and swinging the weight below just to hear and see the resulting action is very satisfying.

I might bring them all back upstairs for both of us to play with.

Til later.


A Very Good Few Days Here – Bad Days for Australia

This artwork was accepted into the Waterhouse Exhibit at the South Australian Museum this past year. My goal with the work was to press home how very vulnerable Australia is to climate warming. Using the book, Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, I cut several Eucalyptus leaves from the pages. Then colored them with the watercolors made from the soils of Australia and finally burned all the edges. I made a dust pan for them to be swept into.

When I left this beloved country last April I gave several of these leaves to friends there and then placed the rest in and among Eucalyptus leaves in some of my favorite places.

I weep for the country and all the suffering to be endured by some of the most resilient people I have ever known. If you can make a donation of any kind to those working so hard to help, please do. I chose the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales and intend to give more to other charities covering the losses of their people and wildlife.

Here at home it has been a good several days. I was thinking that Lee might become too confused with having a student here for a day of white line printmaking. I was afraid that I would have to end our sessions but instead Lee was looking forward to Kent being here and greeted him in the driveway with an offer to help him bring in supplies. I even did some of my own work while working with Kent. A good day indeed!

Also I am keeping up with the drawing a day and haiku.

I had to have this

African incised gourd from

the Smithsonian.


Baskets by Lee Cole

can trigger a return to

beloved Australia.

I knotted in all

my African beads and bronze

while dressing this gourd.


This gourd end has been

turned into a percussion

rattling instrument.


And the Bush Book now has two more double pages.

A bluebird, copperhead snake, box turtle and katydid.

One very big bumble bee.

More later.

Tonight I will make Lee and me some tomato-bacon soup to go with leftover quiche.

I will have some Australian wine and think of the friends there who still may not know if their homes survived.

Til later.

Christmas Break

Our doctor friend loaned us some puzzles to work on. So we started with this 1000 piece one with loads of tiny figures working out in a very large gym. Then I took breaks to the studio to work on the Sandy Heads. Marla helped me put the bases together that go with each of the four heads. The printmaker Sandy head was finished a while ago, but not the base. Now it is.

Here are the other bases.

The starting pieces of the writer Sandy…..right and left brains still to be worked out.

Homemaker Sandy collecting a whole lot of parts.

And my present project is Explorer Sandy.

First I carve out each side of her head to put her bits and pieces into. The left side is a collection of bottles of pigments and other collectibles from places. The right will have a deeper hole for all the bits of things randomly collected.

Then I collaged old maps all over her head of the places I have been. I think there will be a boat sailing around between the places….maybe lots of boats.

Her forehead has Australia front and center….Tasmania just to the right of the compass.  I put Australia here because it is always on my mind regardless of where I am.

This morning my son Patrick cut out a top part of a very large dictionary, three inches down from the top and four inches deep. It will be laid across the writers head after I fold over some (many) of the pages to make it stand out like “hair”.

I am going to post the really great gift from Marla of the old book turned into a sewing kit. We all got one from her this year.

I just think it is so clever!

Also here are the Charles van Sandwyck books that I received for Christmas. This first one was a used in perfect condition and is hard bound. The others have luscious soft covers.

And another one that is just gorgeous!

And inside it.

And the owl one.

And inside the owl book.

And because it looked somewhat familiar….downstairs tucked in between some other Nature books I found this one that I must have bought in Vancouver many years ago.

They are all such an inspiration as I work on my Bush Book.

It has been a great holiday. Our favorite masseuse David is finishing up the last one of us to get a full body massage. Our three guests head home tomorrow. Lee and I do laundry and put the beds back together and then just get on with things.

The puzzle took two days to complete.

Til next week or whenever I need to talk/share.


Lots of Drawing This Week

This is how the book looks so far. It took a couple of days to do the very large toad. On the next page I have sketched in a opossum that is about the size of the rabbit…then I will return to birds and more small things. Here is the toad….he was so much fun to do. I love how his fore legs hide under the leaves.

The other day a friend in Australia told me that my drawings like this reminded her of the work by Charles van Sandwyk. I had to look him up. If you like this type of illustration take the few minutes to look up his you tube videos. They run one after the other and are simply wonderful. Here is an image of his that I downloaded.

When Lee and I were wrapping presents yesterday he got very sad because he said he could not remember where he put some presents that he bought me. I knew he hadn’t done this as he would have no way of being able to do it. So after he kept going on about it I told him we could find something on Amazon that he could get me. He wanted it to be something that I really wanted badly. So we looked up books by Charles van Sandwyk and found three available on Amazon. He was so happy to see how much it would please me to have just one but insisted on getting all three. So lucky, lucky me. I will keep them close as I continue working on my Bush Book.

Also lots of Drawing a Day and haiku. Here is a catch up on those.

A ladle with holes

is good for getting things out

of some hot water.


Cleverly made tongs

for gathering up salads

to serve hungry guests.

This is a tool for

brushing dirt from mushrooms

in need of cleaning.


A cake tester brush.

Whoever bakes that many

owns a bakery.

Maybe the whisk broom

is not named for its cleaning

but the sound it makes.


Dust pans used only

to be handy and willing

to carry messes.

These herb chopping tools

are something we never use

when we have a knife.


I reach for this knife

and use it for every

cut and slice needed.


So that is all for the week. It is dreary and damp today. I will go up and check on Lee and heat up some chili for lunch. Heating soup-like dishes and lighting a candle have the same effect….it makes you feel warm all over.

I will get another post off before our family arrives a week from today. Then it will be after Christmas before I have time again.

Til then.