With Jim being retired and bent on making every day vacation, then my cancer diagnosis, I have neither sought out or taken many commissions this year.

But I recently finished one. Referred to me by my Facebook friends in my former town of Medford, NJ, it felt like a good one to do.   A lovely picture to work with, the dog had a sweet face, and the three words they gave me to describe her were, childlike, empathetic and loving.

For a few days, the finished painting graced my studio.  The Noodle Stage I call it.  Letting it sit in a prominent spot, where I will review it as I walk by.   Waiting to be certain, there’s nothing more I feel it needs.  Waiting to be signed, photographed, matted, and shipped.

But, frankly, I found myself wondering how that painting got there.

I have a system, a checklist. Drew my sketch.  Stretched the paper.  Transferred the drawing.  There’s even a scrap of paper with color combinations and notes on which combinations would give me the zing I wanted.  But did I really just paint that dog? Or did it fall off the brush?   Almost as if someone else snuck in, wielded the brush and painted while I vacationed in creative land.

For me, when I paint in the best possible of situations, a shift occurs.  Nothing else is there.  A life of it’s own, a concentration. A freedom. Dream like.  Intuition as to where to go next.    Hardly remembering any of these decisions, there was now a complete painting in my studio.

Painting is such wonderful gift.    When I looked at the painting I was happy.  Happy it felt good, happy I have the gift.

Hoping the wonder of the Season is filling your days with happy also.

“Did You Art Today?”


So Good


Finishing my #AutumnArtChallenge hosted by Miriam Schulman with another child painting.  Today’s theme was food.

Continuing with the story theme, an apple would have sufficed.  People and children, especially, are not my normal subjects.  That’s why I gave them a go.  This is a challenge, correct.  Once again, I am grateful to Paint My Photo and Allanka for generously allowing us artists to use their photos.

Not my favorite all time painting.  But again, this was a challenge.

My last surgery for the lymph node sampling was done with DaVinci robotics.  I was hoping that his inspiration would have magically appeared in my paintings, since we’ve now had such an intimate relationship!

Oh well.  I’ve been contacted for a commission this morning, so I will hopefully, be continuing my painting once again.

Feels “So Good”.

“Did You Art Today?”

Love ’em or Hate ’em


IMG_1496Day 4 of the #AutumnArtChallenge sponsored by Miriam Schulman.  Today’s theme was woodland creatures.

They’re everywhere.  My husband hates them.  In NJ, they would steal bird food from the feeders, gnaw on our shed, and just make a general pain of themselves.  Here in Florida, they will scamper across the top of the lanai screen as though they were tree tops.  Almost like flipping the bird to my husband!

I’m pretty ambivalent about them.  Always interested in how people find them cute versus their cousins, the rats.  Guess that fuzzy tail is the grab.  I’ve seen them figure out how to open trash cans, hang on a guaranteed squirrel proof feeder that spins them like a merry-go-round until the battery wore down.  Watched them climb up the legs and back of people who used to feed them in South Lido Park in Florida.  Clever little things that have adapted and survived.

But finding this picture on Paint My Photo by Sandy Scott, really made me want to paint one.  For this challenge I have been thinking about the story aspect of art.  We can all paint a squirrel, but what story does it tell?  My two paintings this week of the child with the pumpkin and the child throwing leaves have universally brought comments of memories or grandchildren.  They told a story.

What story do you see here?  One content squirrel is the story I see.


“Did You Art Today?”


Raking Leaves?

IMG_1493Day 3 of the Autumn Art Challenge hosted by Miriam Schulman.  Our prompt today was trees and leaves.

There are few leaves falling here in Florida.  Leaves are in fact one of the many reasons we moved from New Jersey.  Our beautiful home sat on a heavily wooded lot.  The yearly shedding of the little devils would consume our weekends, clog our gutters and make the hot tub work harder than it needed to, soothing sore and aching muscles.

Once again I am reminded of the beauty of being an artist.  Pulling out some bad pictures of Jim’s grandkids visiting us one weekend we were raking.  Remembering the day down to the earthy smell.  Every kid has jumped into a pile of leaves, rolled around and made a mess.  While my reference photo was kind of blurry with a pile of dull brown leaves, my photoshop paintbrush can make those leaves whatever color I want.  Oh the magic of painting.

Timing on this challenge couldn’t have been better.  Life is blessedly getting back to normal.  To quote a dear friend, “Retirement everyday.”  Reminding me also of the many  reasons I paint.  To be in the moment, to live, breathe and capture the joy that life can bring.

Have a joyful Autumn day my friends.

“Did You Art Today?”


Sweet Treats

A little late to the party today for the Autumn Art Challenge, Day 2,  so I used the reference photo provided by Miriam Schulman at The Inspiration Place, who is hosting this challenge.   Not exactly very autumn related, but candy seems an appropriate subject tonight, as I hand out basically packets of  sugar to weirdly dressed children.

Painted a bit hurriedly, I cheated by using white India Ink, as I’d forgotten to save my whites.  Such a rookie mistake!

But, today was my last radiation treatment, and I’m thinking I’m going to save one of those treats for myself. 
“Did You Art Today?”



Between a cancer diagnosis, a hurricane and two weeks of travel, I’ll admit the studio has been sadly, quiet for too long.

We survived the hurricane, I have my last radiation treatment tomorrow, and the doctors appointments have stopped for a bit, so I’ve signed up for Miriam Schulman’s #AutumArtChallenge.  Five days of painting.  Should be a piece of cake for me.

We started this morning with computer problems.  I love when the major cable company  mails you a big box with a note telling you you have to change out everything or you won’t have internet.  And by the way….do it now.   Problem resolved eventually, and I went to my favorite reference photo site, Paint My Photo, to find a picture to use for our first challenge – pumpkins.   A plain pumpkin  would have been the easy way out.  Instead I wanted to tell a story.  Bonnie Sitter’s photo grabbed my attention.

And then the story changed.  I felt a bit nervous.  Like a beginner, I grabbed a small piece of paper….afraid to commit to anything bigger.  The sketch worked rather well, but I dithered and fretted as I loaded fresh paint on my palette.

My uterine cancer is gone, the radiation is a proactive approach to, hopefully, keep it from returning.  Other than the discomfort that comes from four surgeries this year, I have felt pretty well physically.  Emotionally, it has been a roller coaster.  And while the first radiation treatment was a bear, I only need three, and the second was much easier.  I will be finished after tomorrow. The timing on this painting challenge was perfect.

And there I sat.  Feeling insecure in what is my passion.  Had I changed? Could I still art?

Returning to my beginnings, I took a deep breath, asked the Great Creator for guidance for my heart, my head and my hands and I picked up my trusty “butter” brush.

I’m positive I’ve changed.  But I’m back to tell you I “arted” today.  Did you?

When the Going Gets Tough

And the waiting for Irma gets rough, creativity doesn’t stop.

My favorite brushes are packed in my “go” bag, my studio is buttoned up…but watching the Weather Channel is getting old.  Grabbing some scraps of paper and whatever brushes that are around (and believe me, there are plenty), I popped out some small paintings, that will probably be made into cards. 

Painting the angel was particularly calming.
“Did You Art Today?”

Dancing Pineapples



When we first pulled up to this Florida home during our home search, I was immediately taken by the two pineapple lamps on either side of the garage doors.  It was, indeed, an omen.

In our former living room in New Jersey we displayed a lovely appliquéd Hawaiian pineapple quilt done by a dear friend.  It was prominently hung on the wall above the sofa.

When we entered this home for the first time, I was taken by the view, the spaciousness, the Florida feel.  As we turned around to inspect the rest of the house carefully, I noticed the pineapple lamp in the entryway.   By this time, we were smitten, and the house had given me notice.

Having several other pineapple pieces, and a painting I did earlier, has cemented the feel of our home.   It’s my goal to eventually have a pineapple something in every room.  Not overwhelming, but ever-present.

My Florida guest room is done in yellow, orange and green.  Light and airy, I had painted some citrus fruit paintings for over the bed, it lacked it’s pineapple.  The large empty wall on the right of the bed needed something fun and bright.  The perfect place for some welcome.

Done in acrylics, my “Dancing Pineapples” just needs to be sealed and framed.  Not sure if we’ll go with orange, yellow or green for the frame.  But it will be one more room with  a welcome we always hope to impart on our guests.

“Did You Art Today?”






Bye Bye Smokies

The week started with a personal tour and much graciousness from friends that made our visit to the Smokies special.   Lots of hiking, mountains, flowing streams, beautiful views in between raindrops, eating, a visit to some beautiful enamelware art at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, shopping and lots of driving of twisty roads, giving me a new appreciation for an area much loved by many.

While, despite the rain, I didn’t paint or sketch as much as you’d think I might, I still “arted” a bit.

We’re headed south today.  See Y’all next time.

“Did You Art Today?”