Vacation Sketches

Couple pages from my sketchbook from our vacation in the Pennsylvania Mountains.  Love this little 6″ x 6″ sketchbook…..travels well and while it’s not heavy duty watercolor paper, it sure holds up for what I need.  Plus, the cover and back are the brightest orange….a color I rarely use!


The Magic Kingdom

We just spent a week on vacation.  No Disney involved.

Near a lake, in an area not far, but so completely different from our home on the edge of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.  It was a quiet, lovely week.  Reading, sketching, walking, watching the sunset, talking, laughing and enjoying the days despite some clouds and showers.  Capped by a spectacular dinner at a restaurant with a rather amazing waterfall to complement our dinner conversation.  Glass House Wine & Bistro Bar at the Ledges Hotel (See my Blogroll for a link).

We found a walking trail along a river near a small town.  Lush, verdant, freshly mowed paths were cradled between the hills.  The first pair of blue birds took my breath away. (Prior to heading on vacation, I had painted the above bluebird from a photo I’d found – synchronicity?)  A blue so stunning even my favorite Daniel Smith watercolors, fresh from the tube, seemed wishy washy.  Mesmerized, jewel-toned, the blue was so saturated I could barely keep the binoculars on them.  And, they were everywhere.  Blue streaks before my eyes like ribbons flew.

Baltimore Orioles, often perched at the tree tops against a blue sky background proving the color theory that complementary colors sing when placed next to each other.  Common Merganzer Momma in the river with her five babies appearing to walk on water trying to keep up with her in the current.  We watched from behind waist-high purple and white wildflowers, keeping our distance in order to not interfere.  Yellow warblers flitted through the trees like free canaries, calling loudly as we disturbed them.  Navy sequined Tree Swallows sparkled with iridescence in the sun as they returned to their nest boxes.  Orange butterflies, yellow butterflies, black and blue butterflies.  Colors so vivid, they put a graffiti artist to shame.  The sounds of river and birdsong more beautiful than an orchestra.

Inspiration, exhilaration.

Disney makes a fortune from the Magic Kingdom.  I am driven to make art.

The New “Regular”

Well, I’ve gone and done it.  Quit my regular part-time job.  You know the job.  The one that keeps you in art supplies.  Cut the cord to a “regular” paycheck, and “regular” hours.  As I am not the major breadwinner in my home, you would have thought this would have been a simple decision.  But the truth is, it wasn’t.

Not sure why it was so difficult.  Was I just so very comfortable in my “regular” job. The thought of being in charge of your own day sounds nice, but there’s no one to blame now.  No timeclock, no deadlines, no structure. Can I keep myself away from the window when the birds beckon, or when the whimsey strikes to do some weeding?  A notorious daydreamer, I’ve got a box full of ideas just waiting to be painted, made or cajoled out of a scrap of something.  Can I keep a “regular” schedule of painting and teaching? Is the creative spirit strong enough?

The last time I tried to pull off an art career, I wound up talking to the cat.  She is not nice.  The conversation stopped dead when I realized I was waiting for her opinion on an area of my painting.  Recognizing the craziness of that conversation, I found a part-time job.  Hoping this time the social interactions which come along with teaching will keep that problem at bay.

The other evening after my resignation, on a whim, I had a delightful woman read my angel cards.  She was very positive.  And, I have received another commission, have a possible new student for part of the summer, and have been requested to give a drawing workshop to a group of friends.  I honestly believe I can teach most anyone to draw if they want to learn.

So armed with good news from the angel cards, a renewed faith in my creativity, and my optimistic outlook, I am ready and excited for a new “regular” in my life.  And I am certainly armed with the knowledge that the cat doesn’t care about my paintings.

Drawing lessons anyone?



A check arrived in the mail today.  Unexpected, delightful –  like discovering a life list bird in your backyard.  The check was from one of my local Art Guilds.  A lovely note inside explained that my painting on display at the Palmyra Cove Nature Center had sold.  (A delightful nature center near the Tacony Palmyra Bridge on the Jersey Side).  It had been entered in one of the very shows I had whined about recently. 

A big thank you to my new collector.   Hope you enjoy it and the spirit in which it was painted.

The painting was of a snowy owl.  On the menu for me tonight is crow.

Lessons III – Young at HeArt

My youngest student did this drawing in class, then colored it in when she got her new colored pencils. Not not only did she do the drawing and change the background because she didn’t like what was there, she made up a whole story about the horse. If you look closely, there’s someone running down the road behind him, calling his name.  Well thought out and imaginative.  His name is Stevie, he’s running away to play with the dog at the barn down the road.  Her next drawing was the barn down the road, complete with the dog (named Russ, by the way).

Really….a horse named Stevie with a friend of another species?

When do we lose that imagination?  Does it get taught out of us, or does life get so serious that we become preoccupied with more important matters like paying bills and, for some, raising children?  Does it resurface as we age and perhaps have more time and wisdom?

Good art tells a story, evokes a response, makes you feel a certain way.  This ten-year-old has taught me  I need to remember to let the story out of the barn with my next painting.