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.

An Update on Lee, The Cost of Holidays and Me

I took Lee for a drive after company left for home. Christmas day was hard for him. He became confused with all the goings on and just put his coat on and went outside. He stayed in his shop with our son for several hours and then returned in better spirits. Too much change from his routine is very difficult.

He also became concerned that we might lose our home and that we were financially struggling. This took a couple of days to make him understand that we own our home and the land it sits on. I could also show him that we have money in accounts to take care of any problems that might arise.

One of the things that helped was showing him the sketchbook I made of the building of this house fourteen years ago. I recorded every step and the cost of each item and labor that went into building the house. I turned the pages very slowly and pointed to the different things that were drawn in. He calmed down and felt good that we can stay here.

Sometimes lately he asks who I am, but not often. When I tell him we have been together fifty-two years he smiles and wonders how that is possible. Frankly I do too. We are very different personalities but it has worked and I am the only one who can get him through this very unstable time.

Today I put on a pot of chili for his lunch. It is amazing what the smell of something cooking can do to make a person feel safe. It is a dreary day of damp rain.

I wish I could find a way to send this weather to Australia. I worry about friends down under and fear for their recovery from such horrific weather full of heat, wind and fire.

A friend from there is just starting to deal with dementia in her own husband. My advice was to find a small room and into a corner of that room, whisper the foulest words that come to mind. (I chose two favorites and just repeat them over as tears fall). Then I wipe my face and get on with it.

When friends call and only talk about all the things they are doing, I am relieved that they don’t say, “How are things, really, Sandy?” Depending on the time of day, Lee’s anxiety, how deep I have dipped into self pity, I can always just change the subject or say “It’s fine.” or find a reason to ring off.

I am glad for the blog outlet this morning.

And I have gotten back to my Bush Book but just enough to get an Eastern Bluebird, Copperhead snake and a good start on a box turtle. Later today I will get some more done…that’s the plan.

But here are the last four days of Drawing a Day with Haiku.

A carved wooden box

slides open to reveal

some hidden compartments.



rattle to hold and shake and

feel my own power.

( I made this many, many years ago and love the clunking sound of lumps of copper I put inside.)

It took some time to

draw Polly Adams Sutton’s

cedar bark basket.


Another basket

of raffia, reed, hide by

Theresa Ohno.


And finally a picture that is what I strive for when I get through using this corner in the bathroom for blue language. It will be my new facebook picture.

Til later.

Drawing A Day Catch Up for December

I kept up my practice each day while company was here for Christmas. Here they are with the haiku.

Patrick likes this cup

for a very large serving

of Turkish coffee.


Very tiny bowl

shaped by the inside patterns

of a southern gourd.

Does anyone use

these Christmas mugs if it’s not

the Christmas season?


I think that this mug

is crying out for some hot

cocoa and bourbon.

These plastic boxes

just sit in the cupboard and

wait for leftovers.


I’ll only have one.

One piece of cheese and only

one crispy cracker.

I ate some of these

red grapes much more quickly than

I was drawing them.


These small mandarins

are so easy to peel and

so easy to eat.

You brush it on first

then scrape all the tiny bits

with a spatula.


A tool that opens

several bottles of beer.

Some good and some bad.

The chestnuts roasting

by an open fire won’t help

the bad flavor.


There’s candy and nuts

still in the bowl just waiting

to be eaten up.

Friends and family

told me to keep my phone close

wherever I go.


It is a good thing

for me that I’m right-handed

and can use this glove.


Okay. That’s it.

Til later in 2020.

Happy, Happy New Year.



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.