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….

Back On Track – Well Sort Of

Walking the trail each morning is a good thing. Here are some scenes from there these past few days.

Bambi, his mom and Thumper having breakfast.

And this morning Thumper with another companion.

And those drawings a day with haiku.

A found wildflower

growing near the storage shed

perfect for drawing.


I think it must have

hurt the crow to lose this part

that keeps him aloft.


Feathers collected

over the last few daily

walks along the trail.


One feather, one leaf

and forty-five short minutes,

they are now captured.


I returned to the studio and looked over the mess at the pieces I started last year. Remember Sandy, Printmaker?

I just plain quit on the overly complex Sandy, Traveler. But yesterday it caught my eye and some ideas started formulating. So even though I have not moved it to a work space, I did start some adjusting. And started liking it again. Not just the memories of places traveled but the layering of different mediums to take it further.  It was a good idea to come back.

These two are waiting for me to get the traveler finished so they, too, get a chance at my attention and intentions.

Sandy, Writer and Sandy, Homemaker.

When I finally finish all four I think they should be placed in individual large cloches. I did find a company that carries the large size that would be needed….19″ inside height and 12″ inside diameter.

Then when I get older I will have them lined up on a shelf across from my chair or bed and be able to say, “I used to be….”

And the shelf below them will hold all my travel journals and sketchbooks. And within reach will be, earth pigment watercolors, papers, brushes, pens, pencils, erasers and books and pads with blank pages.  And some cloth and thread and needles. This sets the priorities for clearing things out.

And if I actually am in the final chapter of a really good book, I might as well make the most of it.

Today it is a look on the bright side.

With a keen awareness that some days are just going to be like this.

Til later.


A Reckoning

Warning…..just pretend you are the priest in the next booth or skip this post altogether.


What is it like to be surrounded by the physical evidence of memories? Things piled on top of each other, obscuring some other ones. The other ones that are temporarily less important.

Most of them are silent, passive. They have given up on my frenzied passion to bring them up to the surface and push them around – so we can sing together of what mattered. What might still matter in this silence of being lost.

I tried just now to resurrect an artist book – only just started and then put down – waiting for me to come back. My watercolors of place were opened. A soft brush first in water, then in the pigments. Brushing along the edges then further into the surface of each page – the memories come back.

And with them comes the breeze, the smells, the companionship. It is too much.

I put the brush down. Find this yellow legal pad and a waiting pen. I write what I see and how the vision of it all feels.

And you know what it feels like? It feels like the last chapter of a book that had such promise of going on forever.

There are days I should just stay out of the studio.

When I buried so much artwork outside this studio I should have thought to bury what inspired it in the first place. I should have tossed these bits and pieces that were collected, assembled together so as not to forget, and put them in the hole as well.

If I had only filled my head with thoughts of making pieces that looked nice, pretty, appealing to the eye. If I had done that and ignored the cries of work that knocked at my doors. The slightest crack and these thoughts took over by dragging in all the parts that made them come alive.

Those ideas have pushed their way into every crevice of this big, far from empty space I used to love to come into. This space, this big room should have had organized shelves and boxes and drawers of the bits I could assemble into something nice, pretty and maybe even interesting.

I actually did that at times. Made stuff that had no meaning and mattered so little I would rush through it – just to get it over with – get it ready for a show based on sales.

It’s a formula. Black, beige, old scraps of things that look like they might have mattered to somebody. Push them around until there is a nice design – add a bit of indigo blue or dark red – not too much. Put it in a frame or use it as a sample to show workshop students and encourage them to make more of the same.

Making work like that does see things used up. And if you don’t collect more, then eventually the studio space empties – even the memories can slip out the open door.

But this!

This place holds the evidence of an artist reluctant to let go. Holding onto the wispy threads that connect to memories or just plain trail off into an emptiness.

If you have stayed with me this far, thank you.

There is absolutely no one else for me to talk to – you are it and you have been more than kind in your understanding. And most importantly you are there.

It is a reckoning. I am doing a hard calculation of my time left for waiting. Waiting to see if it is another dug hole or simply sorting and putting most of it away.

Something will have to happen to this space before I come back with any intention of making something.

Boxes with lids. The kind you can stack on top of each other. The kind of box that you can write “stuff” on before the stuff is put in.

I will start there.

Til later.

A Holiday Weekend – For Who?

Lee and Sadie are getting naps. It is Labor Day.  I am trying to hurry this along before Lee wakes up. Earlier today he wanted to go home again. He seems a bit more lost and does not know what to do with himself. I had him sample the goulash and had him dry the pots and pans….then we had lunch. When I went back to reading our book, he dropped off.  Now he is asleep on his porch swing.

Here are the last six days of drawings.

What causes the feathers

to fall from the bird’s body

and settle in our path?


This trail collection

was spotted and gathered up

to draw on this page.


It is difficult

drawing white trumpet shaped blooms.

Where are the edges?


A freshly fallen

pine cone spreading it’s petals

to release it’s seed.


Some of these feathers

from Rufus sided Towhee

one from mourning dove.


Giant goldenrod

growing along the driveway

are very golden.


There was some time to work on the fairy book.

And the acorn brothers collecting frogs.

And this below some root…an opening for hanging laundry.

All for as I need to get this posted….be back in a couple of days.