Rainy Day Options

Two days ago I walked home from the gym in the frosted  grass of the meadow. Invigorating!

Today it is going to be a day of rain. The cats are happy to wait it out.

Maybe tomorrow they can get back on the porch where they love being so close to the flitty little birds who like being near the small pond. For myself, I am trying not to pass through this door with a bowl of popcorn to watch a British crime series. Tempting though it is on this dreary day.

Instead I am staying in the studio to work on the pretty-much-finished base drawing for the dragon scale book.

I have taken elements from my photos of the river near here.

Just pass this stump in the water there is a moss/grass bank that drops off into the river as it flows to the end of the scales on that side. Left to right.

Now I need to cut the drawing in the sections to fit into the exposed folded folios. So it will be one 11″ x 9+” for the first and the rest cut into 11″ x 1/2″ strips. as I go along. The drawing here is dark enough for me to see through the sumi paper and duplicate it on the page before coloring with colored pencils. That is the plan.

After that side is all finished, I will make another drawing of an underwater river scene that will read right to left when all scales are flipped off to the left. Only then will I decide how to bind it. I am not keen on doing the traditional rolled up version. That creates too much memory in the curve of the pages and would make it difficult to see the expanse of the image on either side. So binding it in a landscape book board seems the only way to keep it flat. But something else might come to mind as I work on it and actually see how flexible it is.

I also have a need to get back to poor little Burke and Wills. They have been stuck in their sketchbook waiting for me to figure out how to write the text of the story. Rhyme seems appropriate. But I never wrote anything in rhyme. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it…just that so far I haven’t.  Robert Frost makes it look easy. So I will use him for inspiration. And stop reminding myself that Beatrix Potter just told her stories of small sweet woodland animals with no rhyme.

The mail lady just drove right past my mailbox! Nothing today to get wet for.

So off to the big cut for the first drawing transfer. Isn’t it funny how easily we think things will be just because we can see it in our heads? Well I suppose that is exactly how things get done. Just follow the steps to get to what you see in your head.

Til later…



Early Sunrises

It is now light enough at 6:30 in the morning for me to walk to the gym. Here I am at the end of my street ready to step into the meadow and cross to the gym with the light in the window on the edge of the picture. It was a beautiful morning.

I went off to buy different ferns for the mostly shady front of the house.  Now they are in pots by the garage door and under my windows of the studio.

Still waiting for my yard man to schedule the stone pavers between driveway and grass and mulched areas and grass. I would love to find a stone Japanese garden rabbit. Mostly they are the smaller cartoonish ones. Not what I was hoping for but will keep looking.

My walks have been mostly around the neighborhood and visiting with neighbors. It is so interesting to live among people. The other day I accepted an invitation to join some of them for wine. It was fun to listen to women chatting away and stroke the hostess’s cats while sipping a nice red. They found me entertaining and will ask me back again.

In the studio I have been working out how to color the delicate paper of the dragon scale book about the river. Watercolor bleeds too much and would be seen through the translucency of the page behind so I think colored pencil is my only option. It stays “soft” looking. I have also cut and pieced a paper the exact size of the spaces where the river scene will go with its opening page and all the half inch strips added on to the right. On that I will do the base drawing and then cut off to fit between the pocketed pages to copy the drawing onto the pages to be colored.

It takes several different layers of different colors to get the dimensional look needed for the river scene. So i have pulled all the colors I will need from the various boxes of pencils and placed them into a large cup to select from when I actually start the coloring of the drawing on the scales.

And a bit of catching up on the Sticks and Stones Book.

There is not much else new. I will spend the weekend on the usual. Laundry. Vacuuming. Cleaning counters.

Speaking of cleaning, I purchased an old fashioned (but brand new) Fuller brush sweeper to pick up the endless supply of cat hair gathering on floors and carpets. It is smaller than the ones from the fifties but works amazingly! I no longer have to “moon walk” on the carpets collecting cat hair as I walk backwards to a corner where I can pull it off my rubber soles to toss in the bin. This little sweeper picks it up as well as the tracked cat litter that ends up far from the litter box. And it grabbed up my crumbs from baking brown sugar oatmeal cookies yesterday. The vacuum cleaner is getting a well-needed rest since the Fuller arrived.

So off for a walk, maybe to the river and back home for some libation before a dinner of vegetable juice and a savoury scone.

Til later…

Walks and Ferns and End Results

The walk to the river a few days ago.  And then a few trips to the nursery resulted in planters and ferns.

The purple finch just flew off but I did catch the goldfinch staying to check out the dogwood blossoms.

My yardman came this week and fed my winter-weary plants some extra food and trimmed out the dead wood. We talked about adding a stone path between mulched areas and grass/driveway. It would give it more of an Asian garden look and prevent the mowing men from doing wheelies too close to the mulched areas. He will also harvest some bamboo to make some short garden fence to place along the back side of the raised garden and pond out the window. Something that will say this is the end of my space and give a nice look behind the dogwood, etc.

This morning I unwrapped the two shirts I bundled with Eucalyptus leaves and pods. Gave them a good hand wash and ironed them.

Here is the pale grey linen one I made several years ago. More mottled look than leaf print. But more interesting than it was.

And then this recycled men’s shirt I bought from Aukje Boonstra several years ago in Australia. She had colored it with rusting patterns in a striped look here and there. So it was dark brown on a taupe tone cotton. Now this.

The leaves showed up better on this loosely woven cotton than the tight linen above. And the rust marks took on a greenish yellow tone.

Aukje’s shirt took on more of the iron in my bath to tone down the beige-ness of the washed out color it had turned into. I am happy with them both and am saving all the leaves used to add to fresher ones the next go round of contact printing. I could not resist buying four meters of a finely woven white linen for some more summer shirts. Maybe one of those will get the leaf treatment.

I know better than to print pants after a man at a nursery several years ago assumed I had fallen into the mud and wanted to offer assistance.

There have been so many opportunities to meet different people here in Hayesville. Sometimes I will walk around the block with a neighbor and get cooking tips or planting ideas. I am actually talking more to them than their dogs these days.

And the other afternoon one of the younger men at the ‘coffee in the morning’ meetings took me up on my offer for us to continue conversations here at the house over his favorite type of wine. We sat at the dining room table for over two and a half hours sharing opposite political views. When he returned home he messaged a thank you and a thought that he might be able to bring me over to the dark side. I replied that I was equally sure that I could enlighten him to a more generous way of thinking. We agreed that it would take another bottle of wine. I look forward to the next time. Maybe since he likes to cook and is Italian, I might get some lasagna out of it by having him cook a meal here.

I asked him over because he always thanks me for the conversation when he leaves the coffee shop. I think there is always more to say and more importantly ask….so he accepted my invitation. He is one year older than my daughter and seems to have well-considered opinions.

His taste in wine is a sweet moscato red that I was surprised how much like a bubbly Kool-aid it tasted. Don’t you just love our differences! I switched to a Pinot Noir while he enjoyed the sweet red.  The meeting ended in a hug. Can’t beat that.

Til later….


This box came the day before Easter. I ordered Eucalyptus from California and was so excited to get this!

Even flowers and tiny pods.

Quite a variety.  They all were plunged into a vase on the table.

They are so droopy because the natural position is drooping from magnificent branches on even more magnificent trees. I immediately took the sender’s suggestion of hanging a stem over my shower faucet in the bathroom.

Then I found a shirt that seemed like it could use a change of color. Bundled it as tight as I could and dropped it in the pot.  Next tried some strips of printmaking papers…with some a light weight kozo.

The shirt has been pulled out after two days to spend at least a week in a basket on the porch.  The papers were unwrapped from either a small PVC pipe or sandwiched between two tiles. Conclusion is I do not have the strength to get  a good contact but….somewhat usable.

The kozo paper fared the worst…too fragile and I was a bit impatient…fell apart in places. But I am thinking it will be good for chine colle in printmaking.

Today I got out a box of 32 lb cotton office paper and tried dipping edges.

I like the lavender grey of the liquid in the pot. and found another shirt to load with leaves and bundle up. Plus tried rolling up some sheets of paper around a small pipe to add in the pot. I am going to leave them there for a couple days and then they can join the rest on the porch until I have to take a look.

The good thing is my house now smells like a dye studio in Australia. Some of the leaves are still flexible but others have dried out and will find a place tucked in somewhere around here. The variety from the Etsy place (Tierramor) was so much more than the local grocery store gets in for their fresh flower assortment. I will order more from them when I miss the sound and smell of Eucalyptus.

The only other news is I found the perfect bunny to eat on Easter.

Marla is home from Australia and loved seeing the country in person. Can’t wait to see the artwork she bought while there.

So I am off now for a walk.  Sadie will hang out here with Dilly.

A poem on what aging is like that I wrote the other day…


I step into the line with only a few left standing.

And grip the shoulders of one waiting

its turn to falter and fall

like the ones behind.

I wrap my arms around it and hold on tighter.

Why didn’t I step in sooner?

Where was I when the

first fell forward?

One glance back and I know

to let go, step away,

and let it



Til later….