Monday, February 8, 2016

Never Too Late

 Sometimes I teach art classes (different than art history which I also teach) and I am always amazed by the range of students that I have. I arrange my classes to be a bit lecture/demonstration and then I let them work. I will go to students individually and help them work through ideas, questions, areas of confusion. I love it! This Saturday I had a class in which my students ranged from 13- retired. It was amazing to see so many people interested in making art.

 My younger students are wonderful because their futures are totally unwritten. They come with few excuses, ready to take on the challenge. Sure, they may feel insecure about their work, but ultimately they know that they are not expected to be pros.

My older students are different and I am not quite sure how to put my finger on it...some are there just ready to learn, but others are coming to art for the first time and feel embarrassed while others are coming back to art and want to explain why they left (life, kids, etc.).  When do we start doing that? Why do we feel we need to apologize for our level of skill? Isn't that bizarre?

Obviously I don't expect my students to be pros, otherwise I would want to take their class instead of the other way around. What would I have to teach them if they had it all figured out? Plus, I always learn something new when I teach. Honestly I feel for these students of mine. I too feel like I am a late bloomer...that I am just now finding a path that was laid out before me twenty years ago. Not that I am upset about that fact, appreciative that I took a few detours along the way. I am just so thankful to be in a place in my life where I can share art with others.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Quote: Not Trapped

Photo from Nat. Geo, alas I have yet to encounter the majesty of the manatee.

We are not trapped or locked up in these bones. No, no. We are free to change. And love changes us. And if we love one another we can break open the sky.
~ Walter Mosley

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I am teaching a class on painting with color and texture in acrylics today. I have been prepping for some time and now it is all ready. Well, in spite of a month of prep there is always some last minute scramble.

So forgive me a brief post as I attend to my last minute rush! See you on the other side.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Phone Photo Friday: 2.5.16

Let's do this phone photo phriday...

Working on a painting

This girl likes to play and play. Doesn't matter if she spent the last three hours playing, she will cry when she has to stop. Unless there is a snack.

We spotted a very happy man riding (and falling from) a unicycle in the snow. Probably a metaphor for life.

Intense Saturday morning cartoon watching.

Pelting my child with a snowball.

Eric opted to make a snow man

A story before bed.

More playing


Ballet girl. 

The whole crew came to watch ballet practice on my mother's birthday.

After ballet we went to a birthday dinner at a buffet in the mall. Then, just because we are solidly weird, we opened presents and sang Happy Birthday in the middle of the nearly empty mall. I also brought peanut butter cookies (birthday girl's choice) with a glow stick in lieu of a candle.

It was oddly normalish for our family.

Not sure what is happening here, but this was me at the mall.

Lucy in a bag

Elise in the bag.

Coyote in the back seat

Sisters in the snow

Cordelia got creative with the magnets.

Dog whisperer.

They asked me to take a band photo. Cordelia went all in and Elise just played dress up.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


 I used to consider myself a fairly confident and decisive person. I had a direction, even if it was changing. I knew where I was going. I did not do much second guessing of my choices and decisions. Then I became a mother.

Sometimes I wake up at night and I am filled with uncertainty. I will run through the events of the day. Did I say the right things to my children? Did I set a good example? Was I too harsh or too lenient? Did I give them too little attention? Too much attention? Did they have enough time to be just kids? Did they have enough structure? I can run myself to the ground with those types of questions.

I know I am not alone in that feeling. I know so many parents who worry about their parenting, trying their hardest to do the right thing for their children and their family. 

Recently I was talking with a friend, who works with a variety of families, and she was sharing with me some stories of neglect. I have no idea how she can hold it together in her position, but I am thankful that there are people who work to be a voice of kindness and reason in the lives of children who so desperately need parents to worry more for them.  

That night after talking with my friend I lay in the dark counting all of the ways that I may or may not have done right by the girls that day and I thought of the things my friend had told me. I decided to cut myself a little slack. I reminded myself that all I can do is try and be the best mother I can be for my girls. I also need to remind myself that there are so many other people in their lives that are helping them to grow in love. While I never get it right all of the time I can get it right some of the time and that will just have to be enough as long as I continue to try.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mother's birthday. You probably already know this because my mother is so amazing that it is basically a holiday, they just call it Groundhog's Day.

No really though, my mom is a truly good person. She is so giving and loving in ways that are big and small. I don't think people often encounter a person like her and are surprised to realize how genuinely good she is. That isn't to say that she is simply and easily kind, she makes a real effort and many sacrifices for others. She works hard to be a kind person, even though it looks effortless. 

She is also funny. Really funny in a super weird way, the best kind of funny. She is adventurous and fun loving too!

I am a very thankful daughter!

Monday, February 1, 2016

A New Month

Today is February first and the start of month two of dedicated daily sketches. One month in and I can say that I have made some fundamental changes to how I live my life. Daily sketching, painting and yoga are at the core of these changes---all linked together by my real accomplishment a day planner. 

Fighting all of my natural instincts I have managed to keep a day planner for an entire month. Every single day. This is basically unprecedented for me. I am seeing many rewards, but it is also a challenge. I don't always want to know what my day holds, but I am trying to leave room for mystery. 

I am seeing new growth as an artist as I face down my weaknesses instead of hiding from them. I am finding new strength and flexibility in a daily yoga practice. Planning groceries for the entire week including all snacks for the girls is tedium, but I do it every Sunday because it is in the planner. The result is money saved. Sticking to a strict shopping list has kept us from three or more stops at the store for forgotten essentials...and random finds.

Forcing time for daily reading has been such a gift to myself. I usually do it right before bed as a way to unwind, instead of looking at nonsense on my phone. I have finished three novels, read poetry and essays and articles. My mind is alive with new concepts. 

Honestly on January first I was not sure how sustainable this hopeful process would be, but I decided to try. I have no idea what clicked or what has changed, but I feel new and invigorated. I am excited today as I open a brand new sketch book and start in on what is a new chapter in my life. I hope you are well today!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Quote: Behave

Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.
-Dr. Seuss

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Invisible Ocean

People in this part of the world claim that it is the wind and not the cold that gives winter here a uniquely unbearable edge. The wind intensifies in the fall and by winter it can knock down a grown adult if they happen to be a bit unsteady on their feet, or say standing on ice. I have developed a way of kicking out one foot as I unbuckle children from the back seat. I have learned, through black and purple bruises to my shin, that the wind can slam a heavy car door shut, sandwiching my shins between car and door.

Usually the wind is most intense for a few days leading up to a winter storm. Trees shake their leafless branches violently in the gusting gale. The lilac bush scratches wooden fingers on the side of our house. I imagine the yellow paint flaking off and blowing into the breeze. At night I lay in bed, listening to the wind howling and imagine my house right next to an invisible ocean. The blowing air sounds like  ocean waves slamming against a rocky cliff. All that is missing is the high cry of seagulls.

Then suddenly it stops. This morning I happened to be half awake when the howling of the winds simply stopped. No slow die down, but a huge last gasp of air and then nothing. It was silent for the first time in days. I lay there in the blue half light and knew that snow had started to fall.

The quietly falling snow is like cotton balls in my ears after the past few days. The relentless energy and sound of the incessant wind are gone, replaced with silence and slowly falling flakes, which gently accumulate over the hours. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Phone Photo Friday: 1.29.16

Hello! Happy week to you! I have some work to do so I am gonna get right to it today...

Bumblebee in the sun

Blue hair. While fun it was also kind of a pain to deal with. The dyed parts tangled easily. The girls still have a greenish hue after 3 washes, but it is nearly gone now.

That look I am not sure what it was about, but it was cute.

Speaking of looks, thanks for the look Sam.

Eric and my dad. 

A hug after their show! Too sweet.

This sign...
Two sweet baby cacti that I "rescued."

Grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled for 5 minutes. Try it, you'll like it.

The girls and I made and used potato stamps this week. It was really simple and fun.

Sometimes this is what life looks like. Homeschool, coloring and a cat who is definitely not allowed on the table.

Elise blowing, or trying to blow, giant bubbles.

Oldphelia or excuse me Ophelia


A sketch from this week. I am continuing on with daily sketching. I look forward to whatever amount of time I can squeeze in to sketch.

Bumblebee and Lucy in the sun. Any time there is sun the animals line up in the strip of light and doze.

Elise dressed as a pirate with pink heels, notice the cutlass in her belt. She later added monarch wings.

Have a great weekend!

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