Archive | June 2015

100-Day Project 78-81

days 78 79 80 81

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back    may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

–Lucille Clifton, “Blessing the Boats”

Lucille Clifton was an African-American poet whose straightforward and unembellished words spoke deeply about women, family, and social issues.  She also wrote children’s books.   Nominated for a Pulitzer 3 times, Clifton won the National Book Award for “Blessing the Boats”, and served as the Maryland poet laureate from 1974-1985.  You can read more about her here:

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You can see all the 100-day project posts here:

Spirit of the Beehive

I found this abandoned beehive a few weeks ago and have been pondering how to paint it. It’s a beautiful object of nature with its three levels. It has a pungent smell and is stinking up my studio room so yesterday I dove in. I drew in a wasp as I think that’s what may have occupied it, but I’m not sure. Even though it smells I don’t think I can throw it out. Maybe a layer of acrylic spray would seal it. Anybody know what kind of bees lived here?
Here is the nest: 


Random Drawings from Last Week


tabby comp

Tabby on the deck…he comes and goes.

across the street 1

The super across the street takes a break from sweeping to have a conversation.

flowers june 15 s

I bought some flowers.

guitar comp

The theater was very dark…how do you do it Kirk? (

Rainbow Bridge

rainbow bridge s

between earth and sky
a bridge of light    opening
in transformation

My rendition of an old medical drawing of the human heart

I haven’t posted anything since the visit to the retinal specialist. My husband had some issues arise from that and one of the issues led us to the cardiologist’s office. He had a beautiful old poster which I wanted to steal right off the wall. I could only take a quick picture of it and try my hand at a medical drawing. My conclusion: I’m no Frank Netter. Still, it was fun to try even though it’s just colored pencil. I’m fascinated by the chordi tendinae, those jellyfish looking things that support the valves of the right and left ventricles of the heart. The heart is a miraculous pump supplying blood throughout the body. P.S. He had an echocardiogram and it was normal. 

Jean Ritchie 1922-2015

jean ritchie 1s

My pretty Saro:
Now is the cool of the day.
High hills.  Shady grove.

Like many growing up in the 1960’s, I spent hours in my room listening to music and trying to learn to play guitar.  I don’t remember the spark for my interest in folk music, but Jean Ritchie was among those singers of traditional American songs that taught me their words and melodies.  She often sang her ballads a cappella, but she also used a mountain dulcimer as an accompaniment to her voice.  I loved the sound of it, and eventually I bought my own.

jean ritchie 2s

Oh little sparrow,
Riddle me this:  black waters.
The unquiet grave.

When I heard she had died a few weeks ago, I pulled my dulcimer out of the closet for the first time in many many years.  I had to look up the tunings, but once it was in one of the minor modes of Aolian, I surprised myself by remembering how to play “Shady Grove”.

jean ritchie 3s

Jean Ritchie came from a large rural Kentucky family known for its singing, and one of the gifts she left for us were the songs and hymns she learned as a child.  I still love those Child Ballads.  Her simple and direct renditions are among the best.

Blue Part 2

blue done s

On the one hand, if you’ve seen the original, you would recognize this as a rendering of the iconic “Blue” album cover.  On the other hand, it doesn’t really resemble Joni Mitchell.  But this exercise was all about process anyway.

Nicola at Artistic Adventures has been documenting the evolution of her images when she paints.  This one in particular caught my eye:
She said she photographed each step while waiting for that layer of paint to dry.  I don’t usually paint in such a logical way, but I wanted to try it, and the “Blue” cover seemed a good choice, as I would only be using one color so I could really concentrate on the layers.

blue comp

Often I don’t do a sketch at all before I start to paint.  Sometimes I use a very light color to just paint in a general feel for the image, and sometimes I just plunge in.  But this time I did a sketch, photographed it, and then photographed steps along the way.  Even though it’s definitely layered, my work lacks Nicola’s planning and precision.  But you can still see the image forming, which is kind of cool.

Positive:  It’s good to let layers dry before painting on top of them.
Negative:  I found it distracting to stop and start.  But maybe part of that was taking photos.

Not a bad result, although I wish it looked more like the real thing.

100-Day Project 72-77

days 72-77

songs are like tattoos
You know I’ve been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away

Hey Blue, here is a song for you

72 blue green s

I know, I already used Joni Mitchell for green.  But “Blue”…wow, what a song.

I listened to it many times before the images really registered…

74 blue orange s

songs are like tattoos…
Ink on a pin
Underneath the skin
An empty space to fill in

75 blue red s

Well there’re so many sinking now
You’ve got to keep thinking
You can make it thru these waves
Acid, booze, and ass
Needles, guns, and grass
Lots of laughs lots of laughs

77 blue purple s

Everybody’s saying that hell’s the hippest way to go
Well I don’t think so
But I’m gonna take a look around it though

Blue I love you

postcard shell 1

here is a shell for you
Inside you’ll hear a sigh
A foggy lullaby
There is your song from me

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You can see all the 100-day project posts here:

Patterns (Unfinished Project #2 )


patterns 5s

Up a narrow flight of stairs
In a narrow little room

Perhaps you remember “Unfinished Project #2”?  Let me recap:  another Sketchbook Project, first due in January, but with deadline extended to March.  Yes it’s almost July.

basquiat music s

“Patterns” combines three inspirations:  Jean-Michel Basquiat, for the idea of using sheet music in a collage

patterns 10s

There are patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath

Paul Simon, for the sheet music and lyrics of his song “Patterns” (

jenkins 3s

and Paul Jenkins, for the beautiful layered colors of his paintings and prints.  I had been wanting to stitch those layers of colors.

jenkins 2s

So it took me a year to complete, although there were large gaps in my devotion to it as a project.  And I actually intended to finish it by the deadline and send it in, but I became disenchanted with the Sketchbook Project for a number of the usual reasons:  too big now, too expensive and inflexible, too focused on self-promotion and profit.  I understand:  you have some success and publicity, you want to cash in.  But it’s grown beyond my resources and desires.  So I’m opting out, and this sketchbook will remain with me.

patterns 15s

Like the color of my skin
Or the day that I grow old
My life is made of patterns
That can scarcely be controlled

The idea behind The Sketchbook Project remains valid.  I had fun with this, and I like the results.  It gives me lots of ideas to investigate further.  And I hope to continue doing sketchbook explorations , but in my own time, and in my own way.

patterns comp

For more about Jean-Michel Basquiat:

For more about Paul Jenkins:

To see the rest of my Sketchbook Projects:

jenkins 4s

Miriam Schapiro 1923-2015

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Miriam Schapiro’s influence hovers over my work, even when I’m not consciously making the connection.  Above is the page from the “Art I Like” sketchbook I did which is based on a Schapiro fan.

Schapiro's "Freya Miriam"

Schapiro’s “Freya Miriam”

To see my posts including Schapiro’s work and influence:

and the collaboration I did with Marcy Erb:

Schapiro's "The Garden"

Schapiro’s “The Garden”

and to read more about her remarkable life: