More Writing/More Drawing

Our son, Patrick, is opening that beautiful bottle of scotch from Kent. It is delicious.  Balvenie 12 year single malt. I keep up with filling pages of the Covid Coping Book 2.

It is what we all are drinking to get us through….no repeats of labels allowed.

Every couple of weeks I will get a package of labels in the mail from our friend, Marla, daughter, Amy, (always different teas) and her partner, Ben, who are using this time to clean out liquor cabinets and tea drawers. We have all become less particular during covid.

I forgot to photograph the previous days of Lee’s and my socks, so will put them in next time. But the last six pages of Drawing a Day Books are going to be covid masks.

A comfortable

covid mask from Medicare

is so wearable.


Safe Mate covid mask

purchased from Amazon Prime,

three colors, one price.


And another old journal writing about Australia.

Train to Ararat

I watch the land slip by and imagine how it was before farms and houses. The land barely lifts here and there are low valleys, low hills and everywhere it is dry and brown – a greyed brown. Eucalyptus are gathered in groups along the landscape. Old decrepit ones seem abandoned by their kind as they struggle alone to survive. My fellow travelers read a kindle and a magazine unaware and seemingly immune to the drama flying by our window. Tiny dust devils swirl upward here and there across the plowed fields in search of a cloud that may bring moisture and push them back down. I don’t see it happening today between Baran and Ararat, VIC. Just what are those cattle all chewing out there?

I can’t remember if I shared that one before…here is another…


Is there anything like a belly full of extraordinary food and wine – then locked up in a single cabin first class on the Ghan swaying your way into the Northern Territory and listening to the anti war version of Waltzing Matilda” I think not!

I am washed, lotioned and propped up in a space that is pie shaped, 24” at the pillow end and six feet down it is panning to 48”. My door to the hall is across from my daughter Amy’s cabin. A wash basin folds up not six inches from my right foot. All I need is here in this space.

A wonderful dinner with Aussies – full of politics, wineries and family talks and a promise to meet at breakfast. Then there is the window- more than a metre and open to the outback of Australia. What is out there in the dark? I know it is wild, mysterious and beautiful – nothing less. I will sleep through some of this and be sorry that I did. But I am older now than the last time and can trust Australia to be here when I wake. Good night.

And more from the other pages of books. Here I took pages from a John C Campbell catalog and then printed them using a gelatin plate, stencils and acrylic paint. They were bound into a book that serves no purpose other than to have pretty pages and I thought would be a good sample to inspire students in a printmaking class.

And you can see in my desire to have no waste, the folios are of different widths.

Two days ago I drew these lines in a sketch book. They are my matrix for the tether lines in the new poetry book.

After I photographed the sketch I put it into a photo app program to get more of what I wanted to use going from page to page.

I am going to stop and get some tea. And here is a poem about tea that I will use in the book.

Tea Leaves

I tilt the pot and pour

the last of my herbal tea.

Watch the leaves

settle in the bottom.


Wondering about

the hidden messages

of tea leaves,

I pull the cup closer.


It smells delicious.

And before I know it

I have altered what

they were trying to tell me.

til later…


Doing a Full On Catch Up

These are finished. And below are some stages of the little racoon who is a bit worried about how to get down.

And now the start of a fox.

And the last two days of drawings…

Some very dreadful

knitted scarves are now tossed in

the cat bed basket.


Drawing these two scarves

I understand why the cats

gave up their basket.

And now back to the book made for thinking through houses because it also worked to get the ideas surrounding a series of three boats.

And then the opening line of thinking about a series of boats.

This boat goes nowhere without assistance. Most often by way of his wagon chauffer. The boat either does not know about water or just is unaware of his primary function – which is staying afloat in water.

I think the story is about independence – going our own way and the supportive relationships that are there for us when needed. The boat will not acknowledge his origins of intention – to be on water – in water. The boat stays on land and takes every opportunity to see if this could be his place – can he belong here. How does it feel to be “a boat out of water?”

The next boat – deeper – more volume – less weighty looking – scrim over bamboo frame – plaster – Japanese lace paper on outside, matte spray, gesso.

This boat is like

A nest

A bird

A cloud

A feather

An egg

This boat is afraid of nothing. It likes to be in the air. It takes things away – not toward – to be in the boat is to be on your way to an adventure. The boat’s companion will likely be a kite – an assistant for his airborne travels. It is the reverse of a rock.

Small pamphlet books fill the boat front to back – each signature cut in the shape of the boat belly. Papers of rusted vellum and laser ink jet office – also stitched with occasional gold metallic threads that extend beyond page and therefore stick out of the boat – slightly above the pages that are just above the boats sides/height.

I am surprised that when completed it was about returning and not leaving as planned. I feel very good about this piece, it has my mark all over it.

It sits well and can be hung to rock slowly in the air. The metallic gold paint over the plastered and gessoed and then Japanese papered surface is coated with earth pigments from here and then heavily shellacked, has a look of old bronze. A very good feel to the hands. I am titling it, Return Voyage of Recorded Memories. Gold threads represent the threads of recollections and their fragmented way of coming back to us.

And built in envelopes to hold samples of materials used…

Finished the original boat – wheels, sail and rudder attached.


Another boat that does not get wet! Roots on oars – rock as anchor. Branches of dead Japanese maple as sails. Boat filled with lichen moss. Boat body is canoe-shaped of bamboo frame then cloth/shellac- all covered with a scrim like fabric that has been dyed with tea. It was a curtain in a previously owned house.

The boat is anchored to the land – very much about the land and Nature. Unlike the boat with wheels this boat cannot move – it has a ghost like quality. I love the proportions – this one may be my favorite so far. The big one floats in the air, the next one rolls on wheels. This one has a sense of wanting to be in its place. Not one that has been abandoned to the elements.

There are still blank pages in that book but I am through using it. The only reason it did not get buried with the houses is because I liked to remind myself of how I can think an artwork through…get all the messy bits out of the way and keep control of my intentions.

And now for something I wanted to follow up on.

Putting words on a page…

I am not writing a short story or a longer piece of fiction. I am not writing a memoir…but I do wonder what starts the flow of words onto a page.

And after giving it some thought, this is how the following piece came to be.

I am alone with no interruptions.

A cloudy day helps…sparkling sun brings distractions I think.

A legal pad and pen are blank and right there waiting.

I wait until I see something or someone in my imagination that needs looking at, needs listening to…

And then it is all down on that pad…in separate lines…almost breathless.

It is not biographical…I am just paying attention.

I like the words. I like the image. It is like a short, very short, film.

Sometimes the character is so strong that they will be there later with more of their story.


If You Looked


If you looked

you would have

seen it in her face.

The way she looked

just now.


A glance in your direction

before she looked away,

back at her hands

holding onto each other

in her lap.



You would have noticed

how much was said

just then

in the way  she would not

return your gaze.


And saw how

her mouth was set,

her shoulders tensed,

how she pulled back

when you spoke.


If you looked

you would know

that you will stay on

the other side of the wall

and out of arms reach.


Leave her now

and let her go back

to the place

behind the door

that has no room for you


She will not look back at you

and does not want to hear

what you remember.

And you would have known that

if you looked.


Yes, I know. I could be visited by a little boy and his puppy. But his feelings and ours, for that matter, are plastered all over facebook.

But if that kid ever wanted to tell someone how much he really wanted a cat, he will let me know.

Til later



It Is Not Over Yet!

We still do not know the official count to declare a winner for President of the United States! And who couldn’t see it coming that the worst president ever would want to contest the outcome? We are a sick country to elect this man in the first place.  Maybe by tonight he will find some graciousness and admit it is over. Of course, that is wishful thinking. My champagne bottle is ready when the winner is officially declared.

The other morning on the walk and with the change in light, I found this owl for the Fairy Book.

I have been working on that book but just got side tracked with stitching. After I finished this moth I told myself to stop for a bit and get back to other sketchbooks.

Speaking of which, when I finish this new blank journal for pen sketches and writing, I will continue to make more just to use up book board and papers. It is daunting to see what all has to be packed up in this studio and I need to start thinking of my next stop.

My long term care insurance person who checks in regularly called the other day and I asked if she had time to talk. My concern is that Lee may have to go into a care facility sooner than I might have thought and I am not even remotely ready nor knowledgeable on how that all works. She was very helpful and encouraging, and advised me to start looking around to see what is close by. I am starting that process.

But then the question is, do I want to stay at the end of the road alone. I like the quiet of being here. I don’t like the idea of having to endure the life of living in a home attached to a care facility. The idea of sharing meals on command with strangers is not something I look forward to.

Maybe someone to stay out in the apartment just to check in on me daily would be a good idea….maybe not.

Anyway my lifeline on the end of that phone call was full of encouraging possibilities. There is no one close to discuss these things with. It is hard to talk when Lee is with me continually. But I will get back on the phone as soon as I finish this.

In the meantime I am learning to make crumpets. No reason other than to have another option for Lee’s breakfast in the freezer and ready to pop in the toaster.

I bought these cute molds because I had nothing else to use.

They are a bit dense but tasty! More practice.

And the drawings of scarves….

Large loosely-woven

shawl that was tie-dyed in browns

and bought in Bali.


I purchased this one

in China 2004,

all grey and golden.



Randall Darwall shawl.

The most luxurious silk

threads are beautiful


Elderly lady

Esther owned this scarf many

years before I did.


Some more excerpts from journals.


What’s extraordinary about an ordinary day?

The extraordinary thing about what we think of as an ordinary day is that we missed the opportunity to see it otherwise. How we let them go by without noticing the promise of what each day has to offer. New dawns bring new chances to take, fresh starts, a window to the next day. The ordinary day gives us the place of memory that we rely on tomorrow. You can’t get more extraordinary than that!


“It is the lives we have while living. Not the ones of any distinction but the kind that slip unnoticed one into the other and then follows us pulling like gravity to a place we’ve left behind. And sooner or later we slow down and let them have their way, grateful for a place to rest in the surety of no more forks in the road.”….I can’t remember where this came from.


And I think this Luna Moth is finished.

Til later.

Caregiving Considerations

Lee and I did not do our walk today. It was more than just the rain. He had a hard night of digestive problems and a very confused morning. I got him showered, dressed and back down for a nap. When he awoke he seemed listless, unstable and a bit ornery.

Thank goodness it was a caregiver day. I turned him over to her and made a dash to the grocery store. Our intestinal tract medicines were fifteen years past use by dates. Evidently I need to pay more attention to what is and is not in the cabinet.

By the time I returned a nurse who works for the caregiving company agreed to come out and check his vital signs. And the caregiver got him to take two sips of herbal tea. His spirits were much better but still wobbly. I might have to have a gate put across the stairs going down to my studio. He refused to use a walker and had another nap. The nurse came and checked him out. She also gave me some recommendations for supplements to ask our doctor about.

And I also realized that the only pants he has are jeans with buttons, zippers and belt buckles….so I went on Amazon to get some pull on track pants for the next time he has difficulties.

I bought myself two bottles of wine to add to my supply. Tomorrow I will make the Healing Soup of equal parts broccoli, asparagus and spinach with onion and chicken stock. It is so tasty and really does make everything better. Sort of like a visiting nurse in a bowl.

My daughter’s partner sent me a black squirrel tail that I had to try making two more brushes with, Very hard to hang onto those cut hairs….but I made these two.

I used a chopstick and a piece of black bamboo with loads of wrapped waxed linen and glue.

Here are the last four days of drawings.

It could well be that

most yard birds contributed

to this crude paint brush.


The tip of squirrel’s tail

made a very fine paintbrush!

So worth repeating!


Black squirrel tail hairs

were irresistible fun

for new paint brushes.


A bamboo chopstick

makes a great paint brush handle

for these black tail hairs.


There is not much else new. I had no time in the studio today but did manage to get it picked up quite a bit. Soon I will start packing some things away to pass on. Passing on was the best part of having private students here. But since that can’t happen between caregiving and covid, I will find another way to let these things go.

Til later when I can do more talking about other things.