Wednesday, April 7, 2021

In the Time of Daffodils.

As spring moves forward here in Madison (for our first spring here) we are fairly amazed how it has gone for -12 to 80 in such a short amount of time (or so it seems to us).  I do think Madison is having an unusually warm early April.  I was back in my Florida sandals yesterday!  

It won't hold.  I know that...I see rain ahead (much needed here) and then temps drop in the highs back to more normal like 50.  Still it pushed the flowering trees ahead and tons of sleeping daffodils in the area woke right up!  A sea of bright yellow everywhere.  Bloodroot popped up in the woods near the apartment here.  Forsythia bushes are yellow too and I can see the fruit trees pushing pale blossoms.  So now I pray temps don't drop down TOO far and injure any of them!  

We were out in the conservancy a few days that point still a sea of tans and browns...very little green.  But that will change soon with the rains and warmth.  The mother goose is on her nest and we saw a wild turkey ambling about.  A pair of wood ducks on the pond too.  I expect some insects will arrive too...I must remember to get some repellent.  Friends write from the cabin that the ice went off the lake this week.  

We are fully vaccinated now and University Oaks is offering vaccine to our families!  Julie and Mark and one of the grandkids will be over here getting their first ones tomorrow! 
I am signed up to participate in an art project on Thursday that involves dye and silk.  Wish me luck as this is way out of my comfort zone.  I'll let you know.  


Monday, March 29, 2021

Spring in my Studio

 I've re-organized the little studio AGAIN and keep trying out different ways to make the space work for me.  Gradually it is coming together. I bought a used bookcase this past week (out of the photo) but that has definitely eased up the storage.  It's important to know WHERE things are (of course) and be able to get to them rather quickly.  If I need a black permanent pen or a flat acrylic brush or carbon ink for my fountain pen, or have run out of opera watercolor...spending half an hour locating it in the middle of a project won't do.  You don't want to be grumpy in your studio which is a "happy place".  Tons of article are written about "how to organize" your work place or the "advantages of organization" etc.  I know this is not new news to anyone who makes art!!!  I am in the process of doing some "labeling" which helps.  AND I have purchased a small comfy chair which will, I hope, tuck itself into one corner.  That is something I had in Florida and strangely I miss that a lot.  

This week's botanical art included saying good bye to my beautiful tulips who have given us two weeks of lovely blooms but are finished up now.  And sketching the milkweed that Julie brought over on her visit on Saturday.  Am thinking the seeds should go into the prairie that we have here on campus!

This week's online workshop was by Karen Knudsen on the Dillman's Facebook page.  It will probably be up and viewable for awhile.  Be sure to take a look as it's quite fun and if you have some acrylics it doesn't take anything very unusual to complete.  She's teaching up there in late May.  

Off to my yoga class.
Have a great week.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Potpourri of Art Activities over the weekend

Sketchbook Revival again (4th year) sort of drew me in.  Of course my life is not totally my own right now...although we are making progressing as weather improves in Wisconsin we are to get out and about more.  

But in-between I am trying to squeeze in a little art and the mini lesson on stamp carving and then layering the printing seemed to hit the spot for me.  I want to play more with that!  

 Then as we "spring forward" I started a new "mini journal" page in a new journal all together!  I got my clock up in the studio...comforting to have the old clock up there.  And then Marlene knit me some Bernie Sanders mittens which arrived just in time for the snow!  So I got to wear them!  

And Greg and I are nursing a lovely pot of pink tulips on our window sill.  So pretty and so helpful as we wander our way through the fickle and mired weather days of Wisconsin March.  

And then Zentangle is starting Project Pack #13 which is VERY different than one I've ever includes water-soluble graphite and a brush and a clear glaze pen.  The leaf shaped background is made with diluted graphite and a brush.  

My chop is an inverted V (for Virginia) and and S for Stiles. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Pulling together Thoughts of Transition During the Pandemic

 It's been quite awhile since I finished a "tiny journal" page. This one had a few "oversized" entries.  I mean bigger than 2" x 2".  In actuality only the mask made for Mardi Gras is the original size.  I think it seems like a bit larger-than-life month for Greg and me.  

So this page represents the new beginning of our life "back in Wisconsin".  The sweet little clock from my daughter, Beth's home in St. Charles, ILL, represents the "interim time" between Florida and Wisconsin.  She put us up for about 5 days as we waited for the moving truck to arrive.  

We arrived at University Oaks in Madison at EXACTLY 10:51am on January 28.  We had to take a Covid test and so that name tag stated the time of the test.  It marked the exact arrival in an amazing way. Such a bitter cold two months...with windchills like -27.  Huge shock to two Florida refugees.  

It was hard to exactly pinpoint which of the many many things that have happened between January 28th and March 11th should be documented.  I usually just let the chips fall where they may on these things and it usually works out okay.  Moving left to right you'll see a welcome basket from my daughter and son in law, Mark, who live in Madison (with wine) and then the lovely old Sycamore tree which caught the snow on it's little fruit (seed) balls like little elf caps.  Giving our new home on 4th floor the name "Sycamore Tree House".  Then Mardi Gras mask making, and then our Covid Vaccination record card...we got our second shots on March 3, 2021.  And then the long awaited new sofa arrived making our little apartment home cozy along with a desk that we ordered unassembled AND put together OURSELVES (talk 8 hours of construction!). 

Then the brave step I took in upgrading my MacBook Air to Big Sur which is the latest upgrade to MacOS system.  All by myself!!!  And then finally our new WI driver's licenses and back into my new studio with some new ink pads for an upcoming project.  

This page completes this particular sketchbook.  A year long project overall, started Jan 12, 2019.  So it is my Pandemic Sketchpad.  I am guessing we'll all will have some memory like or sketches or something that we will hold in our hands and remember the strange amazing year. Something we'll pass along to our great grandchildren and try to tell them how it was.  And I know it's not over yet.  I am praying that we see the light now.  

But we lost so much.  I am praying that we learned some things too.

I look back at the last theme...about the butterfly who "has time enough" and I pray for all of us that there is "time enough" in your life too.  


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Botanical Zen: A Relaxed Approach to Nature Inspired Patterns: A Zoom Class

Botanical Zen: A Relaxed Approach to Nature Inspired Patterns

A Zoom Class offered on Sunday April 25 from 1-4 pm


Here's a little information about the Zoom class...

It's being offered in conjunction with Olbrich Gardens in Madison, WI and registration costs $16.  Information and supply list is available on the following link.

I am co- teaching the class with my daughter, Julie, who is also a certified Zentangle® teacher.  

You can find out more about Zentangle at or by clicking the Zentangle link above in the header on my blog.  Julie and I will be teaching from Madison, Wisconsin, of course, but due to the joys of Zoom it doesn't matter where you are!  Come and celebrate spring with us and learn more about the joys of relaxing and meditative Zentangle.  

Naturally, we love working with students in person best and hope that it won't be too long before we can do that again.  In person classes in Zentangle generally run about $35/person including supplies.  So we are happy to offer this virtual class at a big discount so that you can get started enjoying the benefits of celebrating spring in a new way!  

No drawing experience is required and the supplies are simple.  You will need two 10" x 10" sheets of wc or drawing paper...smooth paper is best.  I recommend Canson Montval wc paper or something similar to a 140# paper (or drawing paper).  A fine line pen such as Sakura Micron .01 or PN (plastic nib) pens or Faber Castell Fine.  A extra-fine Sharpie can substitute but is not my favorite.  And a cardboard tortillion blender.  These can be ordered on Amazon or found in any art supply store or sometimes at Michaels.  They often come in a bag.  Pick small or medium.  

If you have any questions about the class you can use the comment section below in my blog or email me directly at  


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sycamore Tree House

I guess I have a little excuse for not blogging much we have just moved 1500 miles from central FL to central the middle of January!  

We love our's airy and bright and roomy.  2 bedroom and 2 bath and a "great room" which encompasses a living room/study & dining area and kitchen.  All freshly carpeted and painted.  The master bath has a built in laundry.  Wow.  So convenient.  

We have given the apartment a name and a theme even though we have been here in residence for only 16 days.  It's name is Sycamore Tree House.  On the 4th floor we feel we are "sitting" in the middle of a great old American Sycamore just outside.  

I think you can sort of see the "bird" theme (in the nighttime photo).  some of the birds are stained glass and some are those darling "stickies" that go on walls, windows or wherever.  These look like they have been watercolored which was just what I wanted.   Although it appears that Greg is sitting there day and night...really that is not the case.  No daytime TV for us unless it's sports or now and then a movie.  

The daytime photo was taken before I put the birds up.  

 The weather since arriving has been stunning for us.  So cold!!! We left central Fl on January 19th in 75 degrees and arrived in St. Charles, Illinois 3 days later and it was 5 degrees.  Yikes.  We had clear roads and sunshine almost all of the drive and are so lucky as for the following weeks ice storms began to slam into the midwest and really frightening road conditions arrived!  We missed all that!  But for all of our life here the temperatures have been almost all below zero!  Wind chill is -27 here on Valentines Day night!!  

I have just this past 3 days started to unpack my studio which has been really not accessible to me since Christmas.  It was so good to see my things again!!!

From over 70+ boxes I am down to two.  That's pretty darn good in my book. Now not everything that was IN them has found it's proper place of course.  But that will come.  Poor Greg does nothing but cut down boxes and haul them away!  

My friends on the south end of D floor (about 10 apartments) each got a little Zentangle book mark today. That was about all I could manage at this point.  

We are excited to see that NEXT weekend we will be in the 30s.  And then some of the huge piles of snow should start to melt.  We have a heated underground garage for the car...that is very nice too.   It's all relative of course.  When I mention 34 to friend in Florida they cringe with the idea of the cold that means.  They are in the 80s again down there.  We already remember the agony of waiting for spring in Wisconsin.  ESPECIALLY this year!!!  

Hoping to get back into some art soon...we have some furniture shopping to do, need to get our WI driver's licenses. get a new primary doctor, and then do our taxes.  

The best way to describe an independent living apartment complex like Oakwood Village is that is like living on a cruise ship.  We are pretty self sufficient right here..."on board".  But we are also anxious to find out more about Madison and learn to get around here.  It's a pretty interesting town.  So that remains now for better weather.

I'll keep in touch as we more acclimated.  And see where my art journey here leads me.  I am already booked to do a gallery show here at Oakwood next fall!  

Keep touch everyone.  

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Moving Day

 That day is coming around finally.  Moving Day.  

I wrote today to my children...

There are many times in my life when I’ve been “on the cusp”.
You know…not actually totally in one place or time but moving onto something else…sort of “on the edge” of being or doing or moving from one place to another.  This is definitely one of those times.

It’s a very “human” thing to be on the cusp of something…as we are all making changes all the time.  
I think of it almost literally in terms of height or width.  Sometimes “the cusp” image makes me think of being up high, stepping carefully so as not to slip.  Or I image it as a wide place…as in a meadow with lots of high grasses so that you have to take your hands and make a path through them not really able to see the destination…just knowing you need to move in that direction with the sun at your back.  Like the prairie in Kendra’s beautiful Seno Nature Center.   

This morning at 7 am our home was encased in deep fog just before dawn broke.  Mysterious and quiet.  Like being on the cusp of day.  I could not even see the other side of the pond for awhile.  Then the sun broke on the horizon as the earth moved round it and the fog burned away in less than 15 minutes and a glorious blue and white sky appeared with gorgeous grass shadows and the beautiful reflections that come up on the tree trucks in a kind of revolving barber pole of shadows that move round and round the trunks reflected off the water.  This lasts for at least an hour until the sun’s angle changes.  

It is Thursday and the movers come Monday…4 days counting today.  
I live in a sea of cardboard boxes and will live in them at the other end too.
I hope to have a few moments to sketch some of them into my sketchbook today.  
It’s a “cusp” moment that I need to record.

In the cusp moments in the next 4 days we have to legally close on both houses, finish the packing, and load the car.  Then we prepare to go cross country into the midwest in mid-January that is quite a bit different than our usual May trip.
We had to add anti freeze to the windshield washer fluid and we bought a snow scraper.  
Through this trauma we are saying goodbye to friends we’ve made over the last 13 years we have lived here…going through a kind of “grieving process” which has passed denial now and is into a gentle ache of sadness.  

We really feel now that we are “living temporarily in someone else’s home”.  
Barely anything, except the view out the windows, is familiar.  Cupboards are bare and furniture is not where it used to sit if it’s here at all.  We are down to two chairs, two beds, a dining room table, a couple book cases and a file cabinet.  We plan to start over in Madison.  

I chose brown for the font today because I feel even the print should look different and muted.
Greg woke up with a big grin this morning and a cheerful laugh.
What would I do without him.  He makes me laugh too. 
Why not?  He is perennially cheerful about each new day.  

So I look for lots of “serendipity” moments in the next weeks as we close the door here the last time…leaving the pack of warranties and instructions on the counter and handing off the keys. Wending our way north with the sun on our backs.  
Remember that time is a spiral, not a straight line.  And so there are no corners to turn…just a gentle sweep into the next part of the story.  Stay tuned for the new chapters ahead.  

That sort of sums things up I think.   

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Final Two Weeks in Florida

Imagine my delight when a gorgeous bouquet of flowers arrived as a thank you from the Art Club!!!  So huge I had to divide it up into two lovely bouquets.  And it's lasted a long long time!  I was so pleased and surprised.  I am going to miss my tribe here at Hawthorne Park!  

One of the ways I've been keeping sane while packing up my life to move from Florida to Wisconsin in the middle of winter during a pandemic is to tangle.  Daughter, Beth, sent me gorgeous sparkling watercolors to play with so I've enjoyed incorporating those into my tangles too. 

And then there is Neurographic Line Drawing.  Sort of on the same quiet relaxing side as Zentangle.  It's suggested that the original lines be done with the non dominate hand.  That's kind of fun.  See instructions here if you'd like to try it out.  

We are 17 days and counting now until the moving truck shows up at our door.  The packing is coming along pretty well.  But there are always interruptions and issues and decisions and unexpected events.  

Our first buyers backed out!  THAT was a big one. But then it went back on the market and sold again in two days.  So that was helpful.
But now we have to go through inspection again!  Sigh.   The last minute events are now beginning to loom...things that just had to wait to the end. Next week is a big week for those kinds of things.  

We are watching the horrific storms charge across the mid west that makes us nervous too.  Our moving van will have to get through those and we will too, of course.  We expect to be "on the road" on January 19.  We'll keep in touch along the way.  


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Resilience and Facing Forward


Today is Thanksgiving Day 2020..I hope you are okay, safe and well.  I pray that we all are.  Here's a song for reminding you about that.  

The chapters in our lives...each one takes a kind of resilience and a kind of courage.  Right now our whole world is taking on a LONG and complicated chapter that affects everything we know and love. The pandemic combined with political change, racial tension that surely needs addressing, and terrible weather events that have affected so many people. So many economic fears and people trying hard to keep their heads above water.  Food uncertainty and schools in crisis.   

It's easy to get down as this goes on and on, isn't it?  Trying to find the positive things to keep us moving forward...looking for people with the resilience and the hope and the character that makes us feel that there is a future and that it will be better than the one we're living in. 

And we all know that our own awareness and attitude will keep us on the path.  But now and then we lose our way.  At those times I sit beside the path and take deep breaths, read a poem or two, find a tree to hug, a Zentangle to tangle, spend a quiet morning on our patio in the warmth and shade of the bottlebrush tree listening to the fountains.  

And right in the middle of this coping, Greg and I decide to add another layer of personal uncertainty...foolishness or bravery...we are not sure.  When the independent living apartments in Madison, WI where we have our names on a waiting list for three years suddenly calls...we are left breathless with a decision that needed to be made quickly.  So we said yes and within a month, had sold our home here in Florida and had closing dates there and here, hired a moving van, and started "burning our bridges" as we moved forward into a new reality for our personal lives as well.  

We have about 7 weeks left to finish up the good byes, decide what to pack, get Greg's DBS battery surgically replaced up at Shands Hospital, have a garage sale, try to prepare for -15 degrees in mid winter Wisconsin in January.  All the while trying to keep safe and well.  Just like lots of other people.  All without the physical support of family and friends available as we must stay isolated.  Lots of emotional support...just no one here to help pack the boxes or wrap the dishes in the bubble wrap.  (I sound a little whiney, don't I?). Really I am not worried about that.  We have plenty of time to do this slowly and with purpose.  But it would have been fun and give us closure to have done it with share the experience.  But it's the same for everyone.  We carry on.  We do it so that next year we can be together again.  

The word resilience comes up a lot in my world right now.  I thought the photo above was a good image for it.  I am sitting outside as I write this...on my favorite swing sing in the shade.  It is about 82 degrees here and it smells of flowers.  A bright little wren just shared the patio with me for awhile.  Anoles flit about hopping from tree to plant.  There is a slight breeze.  Soon (with masks) we'll join another couple across the street to have our turkey with the trimmings...outdoor on their patio.  We watched the Macy Day Parade on TV.  I made the traditional pecan pie.  A little bit of tradition.  We'll do a family zoom tonight with our loved ones.  One of our children and one of our grandchildren has had Covid.  But managed to recover okay with no hospital involved.  

Let's dream together of a new world we'll have when this is over.  Let's dream of us all doing it together.  So let's carry on.  Someone wrote:

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. ...Itʼs a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;
I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open Iʼll focus on the new day and all the happy memories Iʼve stored away, just for this time in my life.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Keeping pens and pencils and brushes alive in October!

I am doing little bits a pieces of my life these days...I sketch while Greg gets his haircut and after I get mine done.  I've put a little bit of diluted black ink into a watercolor aqua brush.  It makes lovely back grounds and shading!  


The Hawthorne Sketch group met on the 14th down near the pool in the picnic pavilion. This is an "interpretation" of how it looked there using crayons, white charcoal, white ink, cray pas, watercolor pencils.
All on black drawing paper.  Kind of fun to mix up the media now and then.  

I've shown my work for the Inktober project as I went along, but it is now finished.  31 prompts for the 31 days in October.  Everyone has the same prompts and it's just amazing to see all the wonderful interpretations online on the many Face Book groups that Zentangle lovers join!  

Monday, October 5, 2020

Wild and Wooly Art of All Kinds

This past week we all finished up with the Zentangle Project Pact #11 and it was fun.  Not my most favorite project pack but still interesting. It heavily leaned on finding the "golden mean" or the compositional spot that is the best for the center of interest AND introduced the new tangle tile size (3 x 5) called Phi.  

I am doing Inktober challenge again this year.  I have found the tangle version to be more fun for me.  31 suggested tangle patterns.  
    There is also an Inktober version which gives you "words" and then you invent sketches to go with the words.  This is fun too but takes MUCH more time.  It's not that I don't have time during a pandemic...but just not the "inclination" or incentive.  There has been an online raucous debate about the Inktober event this year and I decided to stay clear of it for now.  The founder has published a book and there is some sort of entanglement about copywriter infringement going on.  It has spoiled the event for so many people.  
    I love this Zentangle adaption of the tangle event (which is not tied to the previous one in any way).  Small bits of each of the tangles suggested.  These are the first 10 days.  

The Hawthorne Community Outdoor Sketch group met a few weeks ago down by the iconic garden gate.  I started a little pencil/charcoal sketch.  It didn't get too far but it was fun.

Each month beginning in October I do a 30-40 minute talk show on the local in house TV station here in the community. It is devoted to Fine Arts and I always interview someone in the community who has produced some art that we can then hang in the library for the rest of the month. Each month I give a 5 minute "art tip".  If you would be interested in seeing the art tip and the interview you can click here.
      In the month of November I am going to be giving a tip about card making using tape as a masking tool.  I beginning to put together some samples that I can present at the Nov show (First Friday).  
These are the first samples.  Some with watercolor, some with gouache, some with liquid watercolor sprayed on.  I have some other ideas too.  Watch for more coming later.  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Drawing in the Sweet Spot

 The "Project Pacts" are free to watch on YouTube.  1-10 are completed and each series has several videos to watch.  They are pretty much intended for experienced tangerlers who have already had at least one class with a CZT in person or on Zoom.  However, having said that, it is mesmerizing to watch Rick and Marie and Marie's two daughters complete the ink drawings before your eyes no matter what your experience.  

The above tiles are from Project Pact 11 or PP11 as we call it. 

Sometimes Rick and Maria put out a Christmas series too.  Totally fun with lots of cute ideas of how to incorporate the drawings into cards, ornaments, decorations, etc.  

We then tend to share our drawings online in FaceBook groups or Twitter accounts, etc.  And it's SO inspirational to see what different ways the tangles go as creative people design them!  

They are signed with a "chop".  Designed by each arts out of your initials.  Mine is an upside down V (Virginia) and the S for (Stiles) inside the inverted letter.  

The designs above are 4 different tangles.  Two mono tangles and then one where I've incorporated two different tangles together.  This particular pact is designed to offer ideas and suggestions about the new  3 x 5 size of Zentangle Tile.  Up to now we've had circles, triangles, and 3 different sizes of squares.  This is the first rectangle shaped one.  

The focus this time around is designing for the "golden mean" or the sweet spot in every painting or photo which makes the painting satisfying the artistically complete.  Note the little red square in one tile denoting this spot.  It's the spot an artist wants your eye to go first.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Lots and Lots of ideas floating around!

 This is a small painting (5 x 7) egg tempera on Aqua Board.  It is my response to reading a book about Andrew Wyeth for the Library Book Group at the Leesburg Public Library.  (We meet on Zoom on the 25th of September).  The novel is historical fiction by Christina Baker Kline called A Piece of the World.  Andrew's most famous paintings were done in egg tempera.  I got curious about that.  You can find recipes for it on line (of course).  There are various ones.  You should have "pure pigment" to add to your egg yolk but I didn't have any.  I have watercolor tubes, acrylic, gouache and ink.  I decided on tube watercolors for now but I think I'd like to dry powdered Derwent Inktense.  I have the bars of that and I could scrape the powder into the palette.  Anyway...I separated the egg yolk, and then you have to puncture the yolk sack and let the pure yolk run into a cup.  You add some white vinegar, some distilled water, and pigment.  It dries quickly once on a the board and it is very hard and permanent.  It was a fun experiment. 

The subject is from a photograph a few miles from our cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, taken in late August.  

As you may remember I am compiling a small accordion sketchbook of scenes from around my home here.  It was a suggestion recently on a blog I follow.  I liked the idea of having a memory of my home here and so am slowly moving around the house recording my favorite things.  Great for a rainy afternoon.  Below is the guest room which doubles as a hobby room for Greg.  

I am moving into several prompt groups now for fall.  One is a project pack for Zentangle.  That just started.  Zentangle has just introduced a new sized tile that is 3 x 5".  So the project revolves around finding the "golden spot" for this tile.

And I am prepping for Zen-tober which is a month long prompt for tangling during the month of October.  This time I am picking up on another idea of how to manage this rather quickly without taking up too much time.  This is 10.5" square and it has 31 blank spots.  The tangle list has been published and the idea is, of course, to complete one each day during the month of October.  I'll be publishing that on the blog probably every 3-4 days.  So be watching for that in October.  

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A potpourri of sketches: odds and ends in my sketchbook this week

The story on this tiny sketch is that a friend stopped by with this little tiny molded drink coaster holder the other day. All wrapped up with a ribbon.  "Thanks for the Chat" she said!  "Saw this and thought you might enjoy."
People are so nice!  Anyway, I decided to put this little kindness into my journal as well.  

Below are some "tangle fun" from my journal this week. These are NOT original designs.  I loved all 3 of them and found them on a great FaceBook Zentangle group that I love called Square One. On the group there is a weekly challenge and this week folks could just pick their favorite tangles.  

The group is highly talented and these examples are derived from basic tangles.  I love the idea that I can show beginners that once you learn a basic tangle you can go wild and crazy and creative with them.  
Obviously these are MY interpretations of their ideas but I can't really take credit for the idea.  I just wanted to keep them handy were I can be reminded how to do them. 
Plus they were very meditative to do.   

Thursday, August 27, 2020

HOME: a theme for sketching

It seems like whenever I start upon a "theme" for some journal work, I like to have some sort of special place for it to reside.  It need not be a whole new could just be a section of a journal.  BUT sometimes it's just fun to "make" a little quick and easy accordion folding journal to keep the theme in.  Giving it a title and it seems to help "the set up" for inspiration.  "Home" seemed like a good one.  Simple, to the point.  

I added a title (in Zentangle®, of course)

This theme (which some of my community friends are taking on with me this fall) is about recording the place where I have lived for 12+ years and which I know will not always be my home.  Life happens and I know that at some point, Greg and I will head back to Wisconsin.  This will be a nice memory of a home I have truly loved and represents many of our retired years.

The idea is based on a Tuesday Tip sent by Koosje from Sketchbook School this past week. Her idea (since many of us continue fairly housebound right now) is in fact to embrace this.

I decided to put a cloth tie on this little journal (accordion folded).
I just used some of my gel print papers for the front and back cover and glued in a bit of a cloth tie.  Voila.  

Here in Florida the days continue in the high 90s and also extremely high humidity.  So sketching outside is not very comfortable as of yet.  It should not be too much longer.  We are praying now to get through the hurricane season well.  Then on to slightly cooler and more enjoyable weather for outdoor things. 

 There are about 25 small pages.  I just taped the cut watercolor paper with my home made washy tape at the edges.  
Wishing you all a very happy and healthy and safe Labor Day weekend.  

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sketching Indoors in Hot Weather

While central Florida steams under 95 degrees it's just too crazy to try to be outside sketching.  You just melt.  

So while just trying to keep my pens working...I went to my jewelry box.  This is a crocheted necklace. It is handmade and I bought it at a craft fair a number of years ago.  Made from a collection of multi colored buttons!  

Struggling with this blogger format now as Google (who should be #1 in computer programming) is making a huge mess of the current upgrade. Really, it's causing no end of issues with all of the bloggers who may be switching to Word Press soon.  A shame.  It has so many nice features.  

The middle of a pandemic when everyone is stressed to the limit is NOT the time to start revamping a blog site.  

Hoping to get to more art this coming week.  Been making birthday cards for the grandkids, writing long letters, and learning how to moderate Zoom meetings so I can start up the book club again.  
Hanging in there.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Project Pact #10 in Zentangle

Periodically Zentangle (Central) offers a series of "project pact" videos to just fire up the Zentangle groupies everywhere.  The idea is that you will buy the "kits" from Zentangle and then tangle along.  The kits include the pens and papers and etc that you need to complete the videos that are offered free on YouTube.  Just google "Zentangle Project Pacts".  Each one is a series of videos.  
If you wanted to buy a kit go to

BUT you do not need to buy the are encouraged to make do with whatever you have around your studio in order to follow along.  They often provide a pdf as a supplement so that if you want to run them off, it will help you with doing it on your own. That is always the way I've approached them.  If I were going to use them in teaching Zentangle I'd never expect students to "buy" a kit.  (The kits range from $10-$30 each).  

So anything you see here printed off is a pdf that I have cut out and glued into the project.  Most pens and materials can be either improvised or purchased separately from art supply sources or local art stores.  

I just happened to have a small 4 x 4 notebook that I picked up somewhere (garage sale?) and it fit the bill perfectly.  I've had to draw all my own strings to fit the book, of course,  but that was a fun part of the challenge.  The 20 sided die I still had from a previous kit BUT they are for sale inexpensively on Amazon.  

Here's an example of one of chapters in the project (there are I think 12 chapters).  Only about half of the tangles are demonstrated for each of the days.  Then you are encouraged to use some your favorites to finish it off.  With 20 tangles per day...there is no way I could finish this "as we go along".  So I just start with drawing the strings based on the video and then fill in some of the tangles that I like.  This section above is based on "textured tangles" and "drama tangles".  Drama meaning a lot of black/white contrast.

This section is based on "crazy" or slightly "wonky" tangles.  You can take regular tangles and make then crazy. Or you can find tangles that were wonky from the beginning!  I still have 4 to go.  Wonky appeals to me.  You won't be surprised by this!

This section above was all about "spiral inspired" tangles.  A bit of a challenge on this one.  Remember there are 20 of each topic.  So this is just 10 on this spread.  There is another 2-page spread following it.  

The idea of the whole thing is that you toss the die and whatever # shows is the tangle you start with on your tile for that day.  The names of the tangles are recorded on another page.  It's a way to make a "random" tile without going through the step of "deciding" what you are going to tangle that day.  Most tiles require several different tangles to complete.  So you then pick a section and throw the die and off you go.  

Of course you always have a few preliminary decisions to make when doing Zentangle.  Size and shape of a tile, string, color or just black and white.  But once that is decided the little book and die can be employed to help finish it off.  It's also just fun to look through.  

I'll probably post a few more completed pages later on.  It's a nice project for keeping you meditatively inspired during the pandemic.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

July Art

When I did the composition on this I left room on the right to add a few more flowers.  So hopefully you will see this again....someday soon!  

A little sketch experiment done from a photo.  

The Hawthorne Outdoor Sketch group met the 13th.  We nearly melted even though we got down to the river by 8:30.  By 11 we had to leave.  95+ and high humidity. Whew.  But we had a nice time.  6' apart and when visiting we wore our masks.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Working to Find Hope

"Recalculating" (collage, ink, acrylic on paper) 8 x 8

Kenneth Samual writes this morning:  "Social grievance and angry protests across the country.  School systems thrown into quandary over online learning.  Stagnant business operations and economic growth. Racial tensions at boiling levels.  Political polarization and personal stress.  Over-zealous policing and under-funded mental health resources.  Mounting pressures imposed by an unabated pandemic. Social malaise spiraling upwards."

It seemed like a fairly good summary of what is up with life right now.  Kenneth is the pastor of Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, GA.  Great name for a church.   

Last night after I watched PBS's Amanpour & Company (my new favorite interview show)after which I turned out the lights and turned to reverie...I found myself silently weeping. Social malaise translates for many people like me into personal malaise.  

The show last night was actually a re-run of her May 8 show but I had not seen that one.   Her choice of guests and solid interviewing and her slightly distant viewpoint (from London) give the show a real poignancy.  She, and her 3 other interviewers, are smart and to the point.   Like taking a painting and placing it at a distance so you can actually see what is going on...weakness and strengths. 

She interviewed Jane Goodall for one.  (An amazing women to be sure).  Among many thoughtful comments Jane mentioned that she fears her beloved Chimpanzees in Africa will in fact get Covid 19 from humans at some point.  Jane points out we are all living too close together now and we've taken away the environments that kept us safe like the forests and wide plains and lost our ability to think in "the long view".  

Here in Florida, the pandemic is spiraling out of control AGAIN and now I have found that someone I know (from church) has tested positive.  She is young and I pray she won't be too ill.  She has a young child.  But who has she passed it on to?  Luckily I haven't been with her for months.  But I find it chilling as the circle draws tighter.  

I consider myself fairly stable person.  A fairly positive person.  But believe me, these days I am concerned. The fact is that the spirals of hurt and anguish keep coming over and over again so that our futures and hopes and dreams keep getting pushed farther and farther from us.  I see videos of a "normal a looking grandmother" doing a sit in in a grocery store because she was asked to wear a mask.  I think for some people the edge is a lot closer than for others.  And I am worried a little that I am getting pushed in that direction too.  

One of my friends suggests not watching the news.  I thought about that.  So just try to pretend that nothing is happening?  Well, I know they are just saying not to get "consumed" with the news which is so disheartening.  I understand that.  With so few distractions, a person can be overwhelmed.  I get that.  We limit ourselves to the New York Times Brief in the morning (online newspaper) and then PBS on TV at night.  

This Sunday night I will zoom with my great granddaughter, Violet Virginia,  in CA as she celebrates her 2nd birthday.  All the grandparents will be present (from Illinois and Michigan) as well as some of the aunts and uncles.  This will help bring me back into the focus of those I love so dearly.