Monday, July 4, 2022

Cabin Time

 And yet I know that hope is not a default, it is a choice, it is daily intention and action. Writing a better story is not a given, it is an intention, it is how we lean into the next great turning.

Carrie Newcomer

There is an amazing "aura" about time at the takes about a week for me to "fall" into the ambiance of a the new-old ways of cabin life.  Ever so slowly my metabolism slows down and I begin rise and wake with the sun again.  To hear the frogs and birds more closely to smell the lake and breathe more deeply.  To smile over the smell of cinnamon French toast in the morning, to sit with my book in late evenings and watch the wild storms sweep over the water.  To really "see" the verge flowers along the road again.  

Time on the deck with my sketchbook letting my breathing go slow again...following the flow of the ink and waving at friends at boats going by.  Smelling the woodsmoke, sharing stories over wine and feeling the sun on your back.  Intent on writing a better story* (based on the old memories).  Welcome to summer at the cabin. 

*Having my two daughters with us this week has been SO delightful. 
I can't thank them enough for a wonderful week together.  Great food, great stories, great memories, wonderful help, laughter. As we "lean into the next great turning." 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Officially Summer

It was a lovely weather day on Saturday for the Urban Sketchers to gather at Wingra Boats on Lake Wingra.  Very festive...lots of families celebrating with balloons, people out padding on various rental boats available, sitting out on the patio or putting their boats in at the public launch.  
    I was drawn to a small building just at the edge of the walking path which was labeled "Hobbit House" and wondered how it is used.  No clues were given and it might just be a storage place.  But I had to include it.  Along side it were stored many of those new paddle boats that people stand on while they paddle about on calm days.  The darling "fish" sign was really quite large by the way...several feet long and wide.  Brightly painted.  Many kayaks to rent, of course, and a duck paddle boat I'll have to sketch another day.
It was our 32nd anniversary this week and so after the sketch time we went out to eat strawberry waffles.  Yum.    


Sometimes it just nice to sketch a "moment in time".  A quiet little half an hour after supper one evening just off the sun room here at our apartment complex.  It has been VERY warm with dramatically hot day time temperatures close to 100 degrees.  So being outside for awhile in the evening in a shady spot seemed just right.  The signs on the pots tell which of the residents maintain their "pot garden" and the pole is called a "peace pole".  They are also resident created.  (Mine is in another garden.). 

This week we'll take a short trip to Poynette to visit family and see our great grandson, Ollie, who is sprouting up like a summer plant!  He's 7 months old already!  Then on the weekend more family gatherings to celebrate the beginning of summer and a birthday party too.  

We are headed off the cabin next week over the 4th and through the month of July.  So I will no doubt be posting some cabin thoughts and sketches from up there.  

Friday, June 17, 2022

Lovely June Days in Madison

Today was a sketching opportunity day.  It was, first off, a lovely June day in the low 80s with tons of sunshine.  No storms heading our way.  (We've had a lot of scary ones in Madison lately).  

So that was good.  But also it was our 32nd anniversary!  Our wedding day that long-ago June was lovely too.  Lucky us.  This morning University Woods had "Donuts for Dads" which was just a fun little Happy Father's Day weekend deal...good time for visiting and catching up with folks.  Then I took a short walk in the woods afterwards and sat under the lush green trees for an hour and just listened to the birds!  

Then after lunch we attended a darling little Model A car show in the Heritage Circle and I couldn't resist this one.  

A nice weekend will follow with Urban sketching at Wingra Boats in the morning, pancake lunch for our anniversary meal (at our age you get to do whatever you want) and then am hoping that there is time for a Face Time visit with my sister later in the afternoon.

About a week until we leave for the cabin again.  Lots to fit into that including lots of family get togethers.  Hope your weekend is good wherever you are!  

Sunday, June 5, 2022

June in Wisconsin

View of Mush Gush Island toward the north end of Lake Tippecanoe
wc in sketchbook
The 9 days at the cabin over Memorial Day were not the best weather for sure.  LOTS of rain, pretty cold, and lots of mosquitoes and ticks. But we've been going there in May for a billion springs so this was not new news.  But one always "hopes" for a miracle.  Still we had a good week and the drive up and back went just fine (although it cost a fortune in gas just to drive 4 hours!).  This sketch on Memorial Day from Betty's shore line shows how our little island are diminished more each summer by high water.  There were gray gray skies that day and gray gray water.  Later in the week we got high winds and huge whitecaps on the lake.  Kinda scary in a woods.  Let's hope things look more summery when we go back up the end of June!  


Acrylic on canvas: 16 x 20
Hydrangas, Mixed Bouquet, White Lilacs

I did bring back some paintings I had stored at the cabin over the years...all painted in Florida over the 12 years we lived there.  I have never hung them together before.  I was amazed that I picked cobalt blue for the background on all 3 which is nice as it makes them look more like a grouping!  I thought they make a cheery summery setting in our dining room here in Madison.  Right in front of flowers from Julies' lovely garden!

Ink and Watercolor sketch in 9 x 12 notebook
from photo of Venice

This sketch and watercolor was done this afternoon during an online streamed class with Brenda Murray at Studio 56.  She supplied the photo that she took in Venice.  And she talked about 35 of us through it over the space of about an hour and a half.  A very nice afternoon.  

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Courage Cards and Hope

May 14th in Julie's garden in Madison, WI
Her garden in early spring is to die for.  
Really...I can't paint fast enough.

These are birthday and graduation cards.  
Well, the ones on the left and right are birthday book marks.
Zentangle on tinted paper with white shading using white charcoal pencil and white pens.
The center one is a grandson's graduation card.  

This is a 2 part online zoom class called "Courage Cards" 
given my Esther Piszczek.
I've just finished Part I so these are just the beginning of the project.
Esther is a Zentangle® artist. Here's her link.

Back side of the cards in design of your choice.  I used spatter watercolor and also some stencil prints as well as Gelli prints glued onto the back of the cards. (about 4 x 6)
It seems appropriate to be talking about courage in these dark time.
The entire world has been affected by wars and mass shootings and pandemics and loss.  We need music and art more than ever before to sustain our souls and give us courage.  

Greg and I are up north at the cabin for a week now (in the rain mostly unfortunately). Of the 4 days up here in Lac du Flambeau it's rained 3 days.  Sigh.  

But it's that time of year when we try to get things open and ready for the summer to follow.  Hopefully it will follow!  It's a sleepy time for baking cookies and looking for the jigsaw puzzles and cleaning cupboards and we had hoped to do a little raking but apparently not this time up.  We'll be back up the end of June and through the month of July.   


Friday, May 13, 2022

Reminding you to Pay Attention

My Mother's Day gift is a surprise!

Julie took this photo right after I opened the amazing gift card to a local art store here in Madison.  I may have been a bit extravagant in my reaction but stuff is just a lot of fun and it was a lovely gift.  And thinking about how to spend it will be VERY fun.  My kids are really quite something and I am crazy about all 3 of them.  (Beth is in CA, Rick is in Lemont, IL and Julie lives 3 miles away here in Madison.)

When friend, Bill, recently asked me "what's your blog about". I think I said "mostly art stuff" which is true.  But when I look back over the blog posts over the many years I've been doing's surely more than that.  It may "revolve" around art as a theme but it's about my attention to life in general.  Flipping back through posts is a little like a journal of what was up with me at the time.  

It's about what I pay attention to.  You can see if you read the little "bit" by Mary Oliver under the title of my blog that "paying attention" is totally what I'm all about.  And using art as a focus for that is very helpful.  

The Cards

The latest excursion on May 7 that the Madison Urban Sketch group made was out to the Pinney Library on the East Side.  Members of the group suggest places and the leader (Deborah) makes the final decision and usually "hosts" the gatherings unless she can't be there.  Some "urban" groups call themselves "expeditionary" artists.  I think that's kind of a fun term.  Off on an "expedition" sort of says what we hope for.  These are often to places we've never been to before.  Sketching at a library was a first for me.  But sketching anywhere is obviously the name of the game.  
This was a small group...can be up to a dozen or so.  
At the end of a few hours we throw down our sketches and visit a bit about them afterwards. 
I am hosting the group the first Saturday in June to our 9 acre woodland walk here at Oakwood.  Crossing fingers on good weather.

The walks in our Oakwood nature preserve in spring are amazing.  
And right now (after a week of way above average temps) everything is popping out like crazy!!!  I hope to get out there again today to see what's up now!  

One last photo taken this past Tuesday...this is the gravesite of my mom and dad at Oakhill cemetery in Lake Geneva.  On this grave plot are also my grandparents and their infant son who died at 2 days old. AND my great grandparents are nearby.  Lake Geneva holds the roots of my mother's side of the family.  She was born here in an old house on Water Street that still stands.  And I have lived within this southern Wisconsin town most of my adult Fontana, Williams Bay and Elkhorn. And I taught school in Lake Geneva for over 30 years.  It's the "home place"   And this old cemetery is now on the historical register.  

This is where Greg and I will someday settle down like in "Our Town" above the lovely old town that is in my history and not too far from Beloit/Janesville where Greg's growing up memories lie.  His mom is buried in Clinton.  We stopped to put flowers on her grave on Tuesday too.  And we visited his mother's sister's grave in Shopiere..Aunt Corkie who lived to almost 102.  What an amazing woman!  

Now we begin plans for the garden at Julie's...celebrate some family birthdays and graduations coming up. And plan for some time at the family cabin up in Lac du Flambeau later in May.  Wishing you all a great month of May!

Our 12 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren keep us busy.  Here is Greg's lovely grandson Eric who will graduate from Luther college and head off to seminary.  We hope to stream the graduation which is in MN Saturday morning!  



Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Odds and Ends of art fun in April

Walking through the 9 acre woods here at Oakwood brings just the tinges of the first spring flowers and mother goose on her nest in our pond.

An Easter card for my sister in "cartouche" style Zentangle.

Grandson Patrick's 16th birthday card in Zentangle Framing.

A little fun with cards for Easter envelopes 
using Dingbats style Zentangle

My favorite Easter Sketch using Zentangle framing.  This was done during a commercial being filmed for University Woods 
at Oakwood on April.  


Sunday, April 10, 2022

March and April in Wisconsin

What's up in March and early April?  I can't believe I haven't posted in an age or two.  Sorry about that.  Let's catch up:

Greg had an open house for his train layout in February.  I made "boarding passes" for friends here at Oakwood so that no one would have to wait to get in to see his trains.  So much fun and a good turn out.

Here's a series of pages from my small sketchbook.  This ink and watercolor black and white sketch from a recent April concert here on stage at the Oakwood Art Center.  

This sketch is from a March walk in the Oakwood conservancy.  We had a crazy warm day sneak in on March 21 and we went coatless (for one day).  Then reality came back.  

This sketch was a March concert at Oakwood but I had fun just sketching some objects on stage instead of all the people.

This is part of Project Pact 17 with Zentangle.  I really got a little carried away with it at the end and just wanted to have it look "unique" and so I painted the center gold, trimmed here and there, added some white on black and it's called "kaleidoscope".  

It's back to my bigger sketchbook and a trip to Garver Mill here in Madison on the East Side which has been renovated into a venue for shops and entertainment.  The Urban Sketchers all went together last Saturday for the afternoon.  Much fun.

All is well here in Madison. Spring is taking a LONG time coming this year but we had nice sunshine on Palm Sunday (about 50) and so we can now see the daffodils and crocus peeping up.  Really, it magical how fast they arrive from nothing one day and 3-4" the next.  We'll have two more days warm and then a drop of 20 degrees again for Easter.  Such a shame.  Maybe they are wrong?  Well, we'll survive.

Once it does come it'll be euphoric for us.  The robins are nesting and the goose is sitting on eggs by the pond.  It can't be too much longer.



Wednesday, February 16, 2022

What's Up in February

I cannot believe how long since I've posted.  I do apologize. There's nothing wrong except being side tracked into doing other things and just not getting to it.  I think all bloggers go through this and all of sudden 3 months with no blog.  Or more.  

I've been teaching Zentangle here at University Woods...samples of the Valentine Theme from Feb 3 above.  AND below you'll find a photo of the new set up for that with my document camera and an 80" smart TV which makes "charts" obsolete.  

The online class I signed up for by Pat Southern-Pearce was very fun although his particular subject matter was not attractive to me and I was sorry she picked this for the class.  But you get the "idea" of her work which is very multi-media.  No water involved.  Crayons, pens, markers, cray pas, and watercolor pencils (with no water).  

So here are a few better examples of  Pat's which I think highlight her work better.  She always works on toned paper.  Google her name and find a few YouTube videos featuring her.  She's a British artist. 


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Happy New Year to All

Well my sure took a long time to finish this journal page. I started it back in August.  Just goes to show the my life is pretty eclectic these days and with the pandemic, the holiday, and lots of activities to partake of here at University Oaks...I am not in the studio all that much!  

This was the wreath that decorated our apartment door for the holidays.  Nothing like a little Zentangle for keeping calm.

One afternoon I helped make some gingerbread houses to decorate the common rooms.  THAT was messy but fun.

These two little books were gifts to my first two great grandchildren who live in CA.  More about them another day.  They were wrapped and sent back with their grandmother, my daughter Beth, earlier this week.  I covered them with my hand painted Gelli-print papers.  

Just a note about my new "set up" for teaching Zentangle here at Oakwood...I wear a head set mike, and have a document camera attached to my computer and am able to project on the TV screen.  That makes it pretty easy to follow instructions!  I've taught two classes and have another scheduled for February.  

I am taking an on-line art class from Pat Southern-Pearce in January.  Really looking forward to it.  Look her up.  She works almost exclusive on toned paper in multi media.  

We were able to see many of our family over the holidays...We hosted two parties here at our apartment and that was great fun.  And we attended some parties with our families.  We are triple vaccinated but at our age we know we are vulnerable.  Our church is meeting in person again at least for now, masked and distanced.  We are so praying that everyone will be vaccinated soon so we can maybe get this under control.  Everyone is so weary of the pandemic.  

Please everyone stay safe in the New Year.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Five Days Before Thanksgiving

This is probably my last "sit down" sketch of 2021 in the Oakwood nature preserve.  Temps are sliding on down there now with daytime highs in the 30s and 40s.  If the sun's not too bad if you dress warm.  So we'll see how it goes.  Night times we are down in the 20s now and we've had one "cat-tracker" snow.  Most of sycamore tree is leafless now.  Still some brown and yellow leaves hanging on.  The countdown to Thanksgiving today is 5 days.  The east coast may get some "real" snow next week.  

November is my birthday month and it has been a lovely celebration this year with many cards and calls and emails and dinner out at "The Old Fashion" restaurant on the capital square.  The Christmas bell is a reminder of "A Wonderful Life" radio play that my grandson Pat stared in this month!  What a nice trip down to Lemont, IL to see the family there.  Earlier on the page I celebrated the closing of the cabin for the season and the last leaf walk there along the roadside.  And also there is a tiny picture of the Wind Phone that Julie has procured for folks to share their thoughts with anyone they missed talking to.  Have you heard of this?  Click here.  There are several interesting videos about wind phones too.  She and friends did a go-fund-me and raised the money to buy a Wind Phone for Madison.  

University Oaks celebrates it's residents birthdays with fresh flowers. What a nice thing!  

I wish you all a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. 
We'll be down in Lemont again with my son's family.  


Sunday, October 31, 2021

November Comes with Yellow, Russett, and Gray.

10" x 10" hand painted collage papers and graphite

Tomorrow is November 1.  It is my birthday month...Thanksgiving Day and in the "olden" days it would be parent teacher conferences.  A month of muted colors following October's wild autumn bowing out.  November's pale faded golden corn left in the field rustles in the wind sounding (if you walk down the farm road) like a kind of orchestra of brushes.  Forests and grass turn yellow and brown and along with some dusty blue-grays of the last grasses and with dark hulls and black/blue seeds flying in the wind.  Everything is muted.  You smell woodsmoke.  You search for your mittens.  A fuzzy robe feels super in the morning with your hot coffee.  


We streamed church AGAIN today but are going to be in-person for communion for the first time in I cannot even remember when come next Sunday! After church Zoom coffee discussion group today we talked about "thin" places in our lives.  Ya know thin places?  


After  a busy week  we'll head down to Lemont, Ill on Friday after my class to see our 16 year old grandson, Pat, perform in his school play that evening.  A radio play adaption of It's a Wonderful Life.  What a nice way to start the holiday season.  Just a quick trip down (about 3 hour drive) and my daughter, Julie, is coming too.  We'll stay over and come back Saturday morning after brunch.  I am bringing my mom's favorite coffee cake for the brunch.  We'll be celebrating Mike and Marie's October birthdays too.


Next week Julie and Mark are taking us out out to dinner to celebrate MY birthday.  The restaurant is called The Old Fashion.  I love an old fashioned brandy sweet (once in awhile).  Come to find out that was mom's favorite cocktail too (my sister tells me).   



Saturday, October 23, 2021

First Frost Thoughts

I know, I know.  The 31 days of October are not yet over. But it always happens that when I am within 6-8 days of the end...I can't stop and I just keep on going.  

This year was not my favorite group of tangles.  Or maybe I just was not "in the mood" as normal.  But Stephanie just didn't pick very fascinating tangles, to my mind.  There are probably 3 that I would draw again.  

Julie and I have been rock painting on and off this month.  These are about 4" across.  

I've been doing a lot of reading this month too...which uses up my time as well.  I need to get back to my journals which I am missing.  

Greg and I got our booster shots and flu shots this week.  We had no reaction (other than a little sore arm).  But that just last one day and we were back to normal.  Now I wish this for everyone!   I am just SO tired tired tired of this pandemic.  I am sad for the losses.  Sad for those who can't seem to see the need to help this get done.  

We had our first frost this week in Madison.
Time for the baked apples and the pumpkin pie.