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Friday, December 2, 2016

Re-gifting a Blessing

...That's what I feel is my job this morning.  Blogging was not on my list of things to do this morning.  The list looked more like: clean and tidy, wash and fold, decorate and run errands.  Familiar, right?

But as I went through the morning’s email, I stopped to read one from Steven Purcell of Laity Lodge.  It had a link to a video.  As I followed the trail, I watched one then another and yet another powerful, artfully crafted video in a series called The Box Canyon.

    I took this in March - It's the Frio River, upstream from Box Canyon

If I could only choose a few words to describe the place and ministry that is Laity Lodge, they would be: hospitality, quality, authenticity, and gift.

And part of that gift, I discovered this morning, is this video series.  I encourage each of you to take 3 ½ minutes to view Box Canyon: Attending to Place, as your introduction to the video series and as your gift to yourself today.   Don’t skip the commentary below the video screen either, as it contains a wonderful definition of sacred space, as well as this: “To discover the universal, we begin by attending to the particular.” For more delights, visit  

Thank you for taking time out of your day to look at this post.  And please click on the blue "follow" box so that I know I'm not just writing to my sweet family!

Friday, August 26, 2016

These Three Things

Today I have three things to share with you:  my newest painting, a yummy salad recipe, and a link to an unusual, humorous Vimeo by artist Tom Sachs.

My family and I spent two weeks in New Mexico and northern Colorado recently, and I was able to some plein air painting while there.  Now that the kids are back in school, I have been able to put in some good studio time.  This is my first finished painting of the fall, and it's of a magical spot near Alluvial Falls and Horseshoe Park, in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The weather was perfect this particular day, and I was sorely tempted to tell the family to leave without me and just come 'collect' me before dark.  It was one of those perfect hours in life.  You know how they feel: your body and spirit are at ease and your surroundings have just the perfect amount of warm, cool, and breeze.  The land and waters sparkled.  We were almost alone.  Perfect.

Back at the Ranch, as they say, I tried a hearty yet super-fresh tasting salad from "The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: by America's Test Kitchen. I really love knowing the 'why' to the recipes, and that's what America's Test Kitchen does.  Complete Vegetarian Cookbook

I'm not a vegetarian, by the way, so maybe you fellow omnivores won't be afraid to try this:

 Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Peaches and Pecans 
1 tsp grated lime zest plus 2.5 Tbsp juice (2 limes)
1 tsp honey
1 sm. garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp xtra virgin olive oil
Whisk the above, minus the oil, in a large bowl.  Slowly whisk in the oil.  Set aside.
 Add the following:
2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
2 peaches, halved, pitted, and chopped coarse
3 oz. frisee (I used spring mix), trimmed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1/4 C. red onion, chopped fine
1/4 C. pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 C. fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine

I assembled the salad ahead of time, leaving the nuts and peaches out until the last minute.  I think you'll like it!    

Last thing:  If your sense of humor is such that you really "get" Monty Python and/or Wes Anderson's movie "Moonrise Kingdom" Moonrise Kingdom Official Trailer,  then you might also like this quirky "Ten Bullets The Studio Manual" by Tom Sachs:Tom Sachs Ten Bullets  
Thanks to Austin Kleon  Here's his link for his newsletter which pointed me to the Tom Sachs links!
There were a few bullet points I'd like to implement here at the house!

That's all for now.  I hope something here enriches your day or week.  Please share this blog with friends who might like it. Thanks, and Blessings on your day!



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One Week 'Till Showtime!

Hello, Friends!  Today is the one week mark until my exhibit of new paintings opens at the administration building of my church, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on the corner of Windsor and Exposition here in Austin.  Even though it's a do-it-yourself affair and not a solo show at an art gallery, it is still exciting and even a bit intimidating to put it all out there and ask my small world to either come see it or view it on line.

Having an opportunity to put my work 'out there' is truly a blessing and a healthy boost to productivity.  I have loved painting these past months as much or more than I ever remember.  I am restless to get back to the studio and hungry for more material.  The daily views I come across in my routine somehow appear to have more possibility to me than they do when I'm not actively painting.


Since my blog is nicknamed "The Painter's Garden", I might mention that Spring has already sprung on Central Texas and I have bluebonnets and many other happy harbingers of Spring in my Garden.  I also have legions of weeds, so that a typical morning involves hand weeding some little patch of ground before I put on my painter's hat (apron) and get to work.  I'm anxious to put in some tomatoes at the very least, and add compost to the hungry soil.  But that will have to wait one more week.


Thank you for viewing this blog.  I'll post some photos of the opening of my show next time.  


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thinking About Creativity "Hacks"

Thinking about and sharing creativity "hacks" with others is one of my favorite things to do.  It doesn't matter what sort of creative endeavor it is, really, because there are some common denominators. And the more I share ideas with other creative people (everyone is creative, by the way), the more strategies I can try on for myself.

One example from my past was posited by a friend and poet, Ripley Underwood.  He had learned that when his work was going really well, and he knew what he wanted to do next, it was a good time to stop!  Counter intuitive, right?  But when he explained it, I recognized how I could benefit from it in my painting.  Ripley noticed that what he wanted to do when his work was humming along nicely was to go, go, go until it was very late, he was tiring, and the inspiration was fading.  He saw that when he stopped his work at this stage, it was much harder to resume the next time he got back to it.  Kind of like a golfer having to start each new golf outing with the ball in the rough! 

I've used Ripley's strategy to my advantage, stopping my work session before I got lost or into really difficult decisions.  When my next opportunity to paint comes, I can step back up to the easel, resume my work with clarity, and then move in to the fine tuning with a fresh energy.

New year, new work: I have really enjoyed being able to paint frequently since late last year.  I'm preparing to hang an exhibit of small paintings for a show starting in March.  They will be on display at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church for about 6 months.

This is the smallest new painting, a 6"x 6" oil from one of our hikes in Colorado last summer.  And another one which will be in the March show is a 6"x8" view of a late afternoon near Lake Travis, TX.

Thank you for reading my blog, and happy new year!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Grief, Costumes, and Journaling

This month's painting time was absorbed by making costumes for my kids, grieving the loss of 3 terrific people I know who died too young, and clearing out the garden for the future.  The last act has been therapuedic, symbolic, and practical.

Costumes: Son Michael has been making cartoons of dogs and cats wearing Vatican-style vestments for some time now.  He decided he'd like to dress as a Vatican Cardinal for Halloween.  Guess what? There's not a big demand among kids these days to dress as Catholic (or any) clergymember! So I will count making his costume, including the chinese-food-take-out-box looking hat, called a biretta, as a creative endeavor. (Did I mention I had to do all this with no pattern?)

Grief: it has been a long time since death has felt as close as it has this month.  It is always painful to loose someone you are fond of.  It is especially heavy when that person is a bright light to others, with the potential of many more years walking the planet with us.  It just cannot be made sense of, even with my faith in a loving creator and the promise of an eternal life beyond this one.
Rhoda, Andrea, Rudy: you are sorely missed.  See you on the other side!

Journalling: If you keep a sketchbook, journal, personal notebook, or have thought you might like to, then please check out this video of Austin Kleon at Book People:
It's a creat crash course (or refresher) on many styles of journalling, and Austin includes examples from journals of many well-known artists and thinkers over time.

Thank you for reading this and Happy All Hallows Eve

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How long did that painting take you?

    How long?  That's a question most artists, composers, and craftspeople have fielded at some point in their careers.  Even though I am a maker of paintings and other things, and I know how difficult it is to answer this question, I still wonder about it silently when admiring the creations of others. I think it is just human nature to be curious about the hows and whys. 
    Whether the "how long?" question is answered with "my entire adult life" or "7 days, 4 hours, and 26 minutes", I'm just glad art is not priced by the minute or hour!  What if we all had taxi-cab-type meters attached to our easels (or desks), and we had to activate the timer when we sat down to work?!  Surely very little art would then be affordable!

 Here is the latest version of the painting I showed you on my last blog.  I was sure I would be showing a final version by now, but I was wrong.  This scene, with a working title The High Life, needs more refinement.  Then I will turn it to the wall while I work on other images.  Often this helps clear the visual palette, so to speak, and helps me see my very familiar marks with a fresh perspective.

Do something refreshing for yourself this week!  Thanks for viewing this blog.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Blade, the Fish, and Me

Catchy title, no?  
The blade to which I refer is the Paramount Theatre's new blade sign reproduction which is being officially lit this Wednesday, September 23, as part of the celebration of the theatre's 100th birthday.  If you can make it to downtown Austin, it should be pretty cool to watch as the 1,386 bulbs are switched on.  The street party starts at 6pm, and the lighting is planned for 7:15 to 7:45 (to allow for speechifying!)

The Fish?  Some of you know that I built a pond a few years ago, so now I'm a pond keeper. This involves periodic wading around to tend the water lilies and do some cleaning.  It's also a good time for me to hand feed and 'pet' my favorite koi, Key Largo.

If you like to see a wide variety of back-yard ponds from do-it-yourselfers like me, to professionally designed and installed ones, please plan on attending the Austin Pond Society's annual tours in June each year. Other great pond information may be found at 

And finally, me as painter.  I haven't managed to put in as many hours of painting this week as I'd like, due to some special events.  So I will have to show you the finished version of this painting on my next blog.  But here are some "in process" pictures:


Thanks for viewing my blog!