Take Advantage of Every Good Thing!

Last summer’s trip to Rialto with Steve and Linda popped up again…I live in a Gorgeous Place!

There’s some kind of saying about living…or dancing…as if there were no tomorrow, and even though I’m convinced that the comfortable world that I’ve come to know and love is finite, I keep making stuff (Outsider Artist at Heart), eating great food (Moose pate with truffles from Central Market) and spending time with the people I love as often as I can.

We gathered in Seattle with our cousin, Holly and her husband, Bill. This is Doug and Amal’s finished back yard…they’ve lived in their house maybe 15 years and worked on it the whole time.

My back yard…I love working on it a little bit each day

Holly and Bill at dinner at Doug and Amal’s…second marriages get it Right!
David’s neighbors sent over Drunken Chicken…Yummy!
Thanks to David, we hit as many Seattle high points as possible in one day
Bill treated us to lunch at a French Bistro in Pike Place Market
Seattle cooperated at its gorgeous sunny best
Beach in Ballard…sailboats cavorting out on the water…the Sound?

I finally received my official invitation (I applied last June) to serve as a volunteer on the city Planning Commission…that will be my way to serve, along with selling my art work incredibly cheaply and giving it away. From my reading and observation, I’ve concluded that an individual without a lot of money and political connections has very little (no) power in this country/world. However, I WILL continue to research, send emails, VOTE…and read and eat good food and make art and be outside and with loved ones.

Ah, back to normal October, with rain pouring down

Some work accomplished on the Sketchbook Project (left) Practice (right)

I strive to have No Expectations and to Be Kind…and thankful to all those who are working hard to take care of Everyone and Make the World a Better Place. From Sapiens, which I finished last week, I see that the myths that we use to make sense of our lives are vital to our well being…pick your myths carefully!

High School Years…when I practiced mothering on my 2 youngest brothers (they both turned out well) and decided I didn’t need to have children of my own.
Sketchbook Project version

I’ve started more dolls, and the quilt for my new grand nephew is progressing.

Diane Jacobs lecturing about her Artist Books (very political) at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum…Amazing Construction! Yes, this is a book that she has her hands on.
Also at the museum, a show by Mike McCollom…I have the honor to own one of his pieces, and his wife was one of my yoga teachers.

Lots of Joy and Thankfulness for Everyone!



I made myself an Everything pizza last Sunday…all the major food groups in one package.

I’ve been reading Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, watching the PBS series on the Vietnam War–my high school to past college time; prompted by the Palestinian faction of my family to read Zeitoun about a Syrian family in the New Orleans flood, news of three major hurricanes and disastrous fires in Northern California that are impacting people I know…my consciousness is soaked with disaster.

Fall color comes to the Northwest in the form of imported maple trees; and I love working in my stone and native plant back yard on sunny October days. I try to be outside at least half an hour every day. Nature heals, too.

I’m attempting to walk a line between Buddhist non-attachment and doing what I can to make the this world now, a more Humane place. I feel that the more I read and think (and stay away from divisive harangue), the more I may understand…what’s going on and why…maybe…and maybe help here and there in a world that seems to be reverting to the original aggressive us-against-them side of Homo Sapiens versus needing to cooperate in order to survive.

Reading Woman, mixed media collage…fun to put out a couple of drawing/collages as a break from the Life Review
A 1937 photo inspired this collage…no point in hoarding materials…go ahead and use them!

I have three close friends, in different parts of the country, who have ended up in Emergency Rooms since the beginning of the month. I feel that the stress is getting to us. As always, making Art is my answer…all kinds of Art. I’m back to Life Review…it’s something to do. Interesting to see how the natural world, woods and water, have played major roles in my life.

I lived two separate years in Northampton, MA, for Kindergarten and Second grade
The Sketchbook Project version…any story can be told numerous ways.
Cedar Hill, great woods and Hudson River, and we were allowed to roam and explore.
Not so different for the sketchbook project
Canandaigua, NY, still a beautiful little city by a Finger Lake
The Sketchbook Project version. I got a room of my own in that tin can house. It was so cold in winter, we dress over the heat vent. Good to see that the town appreciates the park-like setting. I later studied Buddhism.

Hang in there. Be kind to yourselves and others.


Spending Time (on Art and Life)

Small Collage art making inspired by my signing up for the Art Flea Market in Port Townsend. I made a bunch of  new small pieces, and it was FUN!
Part of a label from a can of crushed tomatoes, red checked tissue from take out.

We each have a finite amount of time to spend in this particular place…usually we don’t know how much time…Time is Money, but is Money Time? Once we spend the time, we can’t get it back.

I trace figures from my life drawing sketchbooks onto thin Japanese paper and apply them to gessoed pieces of mat board, add colored pencil, paint, gel medium, papers, marks.
I still LOVE stitching, too. This one is part of the 5″x5″ series, just scraps from by the sewing machine…a piece of shell with a hole already in it for attachment, shell discs.

I think of Outsider Artists as spending time on Art, without worrying about money; although looking through Pinterest, we see that many of them have been discovered and marketed…who is getting the money? Does it matter?

Boxes of collage materials, so much fun for Art Play.

The Making and the Marketing are two very separate tasks…and I re-discovered my Inner Outsider when I decided on the spur of the moment Monday to participate in an Artist Flea Market at Fort Worden to benefit the Port Townsend Art School.

Inexpensive materials help me to be fearless. Try something else. I got some serious Artist compliments.

My 30 years of making a living doing craft shows were shouting, “Danger! Danger!” but I went ahead and did it, anyway. $40 for the table, a day, and $10 gas. My main goal (I try to be clear with myself and clear-headed about my expectations) was to get rid of some of the stuff I can’t seem to stop making. I was also curious about possible differences between Port Townsend and Sequim shoppers, an event billed as Artist and Flea Market, as opposed to Holiday and Shopping (the show Katie and I are doing again in December).

I traced the figures onto thin Japanese paper with a fine brush pen…these are all under 8″ in any dimension. Fun to play with different papers and color schemes.
I can’t stop working with old family photos…back to the Sketchbook Project this week.

Not a very scientific study, of course, but interesting…I’m happy I spent my time doing this research and getting rid of stock, and I have about the same chunk of cash I made last year at the Holiday show, less stock…like an outsider artist, I’m ridding myself of Expectations of what my time is “Worth”…not very much…

Low, low prices…I’m working for joy…and to share, rather than to get rich.
I have work in a fiber show at the Museum and Art Center in Sequim. This is one of the seats from the original Boys in the Boat racing skull…face inspiration.

One of the last really nice, sunny and warm days of fall today. I can see the Strait and the cloud bank over Mt. Baker from the southeast corner of my deck…why not sit out there and read Sapiens, the book I just downloaded to my kindle? The mountain came out. I made myself a pizza and finished my weekly blog.

My plan for aging: try to make each moment–making art, getting it out to the public, making myself a homemade pizza, spending time with friends, exercising, learning…spend each moment with as much awareness of its preciousness as I can.

Sunrise Thursday morning…I don’t have to get up in the dark any more, but sometimes I just want to be up and doing things…and look outside.

Make Time for Enjoyment

Self-portrait, printed on silk  of an altered Polaroid with fiber and beads on one of my prepared 5″ panels. Stitching is SO therapeutic to me! I started another panel this week.

My brother and his husband and their child/dog came over this weekend, so I stopped doing photographs for my blog on Thursday or Friday, because Friday I had tea with Diane and then an impromptu dinner with Anita….who said I got out of healthcare at a good time. I agree…Starting Fresh might be the only fair answer, but not too likely with so many financially-interested parties.

Started a blue suede journal Katie gave me…dedicated to blue

I continued to work on the Sketchbook project and general art making and quilt making…for the grand nephew coming in February. Monday Katie and I went to check out Blondie’s Place…a hot not-so-new restaurant in a church in Sequim.

On the right, the practice version of living in Albany, NY, starting first grade, learning how to sign my name and getting a library card. On the left the slimmed-down version for the Sketchbook Project…is brevity the soul of wit? Getting my library card was a high point in my young life! My first Chapter Book was Heidi.

Sketchbook Project version of our ride back to VT from Spokane…I have a wealth of old family photos.
Playing with scans of Grandma Bick’s wedding 1918, my first Photoshop Project at Women’s Studio workshop…I’ve always liked additive techniques.
Playing around with collage/paint/drawing…FUN!

There has been rain and sun, bright and dark…nice to hang out in my big room with the two men and dog, play cards, win some, lose some, eat a lot, joke and play.

This was just strange…a large bug on the outside of my bedroom window…does this kind make a last gasp before the Dark Days
Trying out Blondie’s Place with Katie…food can be more fun shared…although I do appreciate my own delicious meals!

Don’t forget all the Important People in your life–Time with them is a treasure.

Onion Rings at Blondie’s…with kim che relish. I like the style of rings at Delux Burgers in Edmonds, but especially fun to share with a friend.

Thanks to all my Wonderful Friends and Family…and to my niece, Ally, who finally let me pet her.

The Luxury of Following Tangents

Some early drawings of mine that my mother saved…thanks, Mom! We lived in Spokane for a year for one of Dad’s first internships, I was 4-5. I really like these drawings.

One of the things I love about retirement is the freedom to follow tangents and learn new things…of course the Internet is the biggest classroom ever invented. And now it doesn’t matter if I don’t eat breakfast until noon. And it probably doesn’t matter that I don’t remember what I learned last week when I wrote the first sentence…All Knowledge goes into the richness of ME.

Current work, when I noticed a takeout container in my recycling looked like a face.

The political stuff is horrifying and fascinating and frustrating all at once…I sign petitions and try not to get caught up in issues I can’t affect, try to enjoy, while I can, a visit home from my best friend in a break from her care giving.

Lake Crescent Lodge, sitting by the lake in Adirondack chairs
Me, walking among the tall, tall trees

Madrona Bark and the curving, moss-festooned branches in the dense forest

We have so many wonderful natural places to go around here. She loves Lake Crescent, which makes me remember summers at Shadow Lake in VT, where we were allowed to go in the water if the temperature hit 70. Adirondak chairs say cozy days without Responsibility. I’m doing a drawing from a photo of me, my brother Steve, my cousin Owen, and his sister Bonnie Lynne, all in one big wooden chair with slats, early 1950’s.

Practice version of our living in Spokane and Mom saving my pictures. Dad took us from VT to the West coast by train for an internship when I was 4 and Steve was a baby

I’ve been caught up in my ancestor pictures and stories and the Sketchbook Project. It feels like a good long Life Review…appropriate at 70…and I Always Need Several projects to keep me going. Some people love knitting or crochet, but I Love Stitching. I’ve started a quilt for my Grand Nephew, who will be born in February….red thread stitching.

This is how I translated the information above on 8″x8″ to the Sketchbook Project on 5″x8″

Find the Art Work that is soothing to you and do some Every chance you get…and Be Kind!…to yourself and others…maybe we can start an Epidemic!

Jumping from 1952 ish to 2003, my extended trip to the West Coast to take classes, teach, try to sell, and practice being on my own for 6 weeks…Live Your Dream!


What Good is ART?

Totem and flowers in Sequim last Sunday. We are slowly learning to celebrate the art of the cultures that were here before us, and the other cultures that are here with us.

As I put my blog together this Sunday afternoon I’m listening to a call-in show on Canadian Radio, talking about whether Shakespeare and other classics should still be taught in High School…Engagement of the younger generation seems to be one of the keys…and the Universality of the ideas that are imparted by visual art, literature, music and all the rest.

Art of photography helps us to appreciate the natural beauty of our surroundings…the art of scientific study, how to preserve Port Williams and our many beaches.

I believe that one of the duties of parents is to civilize their progeny, teach them about their duties as part of the family, part of the community, part of humanity. As Fredrick Douglass observed in the 1860’s, humans are the only picture-making animals. Pictures in every form, from poets to painters, prophets, musicians, reformers, inventors, scientists… create new ideas, new discoveries and examine old ideas, like slavery or women’s position in society, for continued relevance.

Rough Draft for The Story of my life. The family home on my mother’s side was a character in the family drama for  several hundred years and now houses the local museum
This is how I translated the idea to page 6 in The Story of My Life for the Sketchbook Project

I’ve been working with images of my ancestors, to figure out where I’ve come from and what I’ve inherited, as well as what I want to change. My fame in doll making is based on realizing that image and form making can be used to change minds and attitudes…and to examine history…Doll Making as a Transformative Process.

Practice page about Dad. I scanned a self-portrait he did as a youth. His parents, then mine, persuaded the artistic child to learn a practical vocation, too. The Army made him a doctor, my parents made me an OT.

Through Art, we learn how others have resolved problems that we face today…Shakespeare and all the other untapped cultures that we have previously ignored in Western Education…all the unrecognized work of women. Love, Honor, Achievement, Family and Country are still and will be life issues that we ponder.

The three big September hurricanes become a collage
I like the combination of drawing and collage…used lots of layers of medium on this one, submerging and unifying the elements with fine pumice gel
My 8’x8′ daily book lends itself to gessoing and working on two collages at once. I did the drawing of the woman from a photograph onto a Japanese paper that seems to disappear when attached with gel medium. I traced “Leonard Homestead” (above)  onto this paper as well. My brother showed me this trick.

Be Aware of the beauty that surrounds you: Flowers brought by friends to my latest tea party and interesting textures from yesterday’s Farmers’ Market.

I realize that the term Political Correctness has gotten a bad name of late, but isn’t it still important to continue to remind ourselves, through All forms of Art and Language, that we haven’t yet succeeded in teaching our children and ourselves to see Everything in the World as broadly as possible…Art is Very, Very Good for that!



What is Truth?


“A truth warrior in a time of Chaos.”…I’ve been reading so many different blogs, who knows where truth lies, and what effect one action will have on Everything Else? Michael Moore is arguing for Inclusiveness, rather than Separation, and I agree. Our country and the world have such complicated problems, how can we solve them if we’re so busy blaming each other? I suppose that could be a distraction technique.


Our fears are inflamed by “pundits,” too much information, social media, by natural disasters, by feeling powerless to find decent jobs or access to affordable health care and clean water and food. We need to work together to solve these problems, and chances are no one of us is going to get ALL of what we want, even the richest guys in their bunkers who think they might be able to turn the rest of the world into expendable serfs and retreat to their bunkers to ride out every challenge nature throws at us


OK, back to life-saving Art Work! I find that the more I draw and collage, the better I get, and I really do enjoy bright colors and trying out all my different kinds of markers, glues, and finishes…and bits of stories.

Yesterday Jan and I went to an Artist Book talk at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum, we stocked up at Artists’ Edge in Poulsbo, and got excited about making new book forms…well, Jan did, but I don’t think I’m neat enough in my work to make real Artist Books. I do want to try using a metal box I have, to hold translucent sheets, so the next part of the story shows through each page…Will I ever get it designed??? Stay Tuned!


Mother Nature presented yellow smoke and difficult-to-breathe air from forest fires on three sides of us. I had to stay inside with the windows closed. By the end of the week, I needed to get out, parking downtown by the water, the city pier, and the ferry dock to eat my Frugal’s cheeseburger and fries. I didn’t get much Art accomplished.


Finally some rain! Wonderful patterns of rocks, fence, grass, buildings, trees.


Abstract patterns of plants and rocks (the gold one is from a new load) in my back yard.


Another pin for the holiday show…repetitious stitching always makes me feel better.


Round Headed Dolls, and another pattern for you. These are quick and fun, especially in lots of different fabrics. Change the arm and leg styles to see how they will look.


Drag the pattern to your desktop and print it 7.5 inches wide.

I hope to accomplish more art work next week. I will function better if I can go outside and move around, not cough, not be too hot. This week I got the last of the antique family Artifacts sent to Vermont…a load off my mind. Now that I’ve put the basics of our genealogy onto computer, the younger generation is more interested. Great Family Stories, so I need to get back to the Sketchbook Project: Story of my Life.

Friends have joined me in feeling that they want to preserve their family history, but don’t know how to do so…the local Historical Societies are grateful…individual “regular” people make up a big part of history…nice to preserve.

Keep Making ART and being kind to each other…find out what other people think. Look around you and figure out what you can do to help…if we each do a little…