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.  


Saturday, October 9, 2021

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

One of my favorite fall sketches (so far) was a walk along the road sides up north near the cabin on the 28th of September along Tippecanoe Lake.  Autumn comes early in the north woods and sometimes almost 2 weeks ahead of central and southern Wisconsin.  The pines lose needles too and there is a soft layer of yellow pine needles on the roads.  We had such fantastic weather all week prior to the closing on Monday, Oct 4.  A lot of hard work the last few days but my step-son appeared and helped out.  

Then, just before we left, Julie and I took one more talk and I found a Solomon's Plume that had striped itself in a way I'd never seen before.  One berry left and two minuscule berries.  

Then a couple quick little tiny sketches in my carry-in-my-purse notebook at two of the evening concerts here this week at University Woods.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Little Visit at the Turning Point of Autumn

Autumn warmth is lingering here in Wisconsin in a long string unexpected sunny days.  Although I've pulled out the sweatshirts and jeans...I am only wearing them now and then.  I feel almost guilty when I know there are so many places that are having fires, floods, volcanoes, and hurricanes.  And yet, idyllic day follows day after day.  What an amazing gift.  I'll try to remember this in January!  

Yesterday's drive from Madison to Monroe through the farmland was idyllic...barn after barn with those "barn quilt" paintings on them and the corn just that brassy yellow as it just about ready to be picked.  Pumpkins and gourds out on the roadside stands and late summer asters and mums by the houses in towns.  Not a lot of color in the trees yet..just a few tinges here and there.  

 The Art Show on the square in Madison this weekend got FANTASTIC weather.  I hope we can go next year.  I hated to miss it.  

The model train show was fun...we hadn't been to one in a long time and Greg was so happy!  I worried that not very many people were masked...they left all the doors open and Greg and I WERE masked the whole time.  Life is still so scary around the pandemic.  I have bad dreams now and then.

Our friend Angie (up north) has tested positive (luckily we haven't been with her in months) but she apparently exposed a LOT of people during the last week.  She is double vaccinated and that is even a bigger worry.

So lots of folks are now on a "watch" and keeping quarantined.  She found out she was positive WHILE traveling from WI to NC.  So they are going to drive straight through from this point on and try not to endanger anyone.  Her husband tested negative.  So he'll do the driving and pick up food.  

Folks here at our campus location will get flu shots and boosters this coming week while we are gone.  THAT is a disappointment to miss it!  But they have a repeat October date.  So we will have to wait for that.

I am packing as we leave for the cabin in a few hours...and I sent out the October Chat this morning as I have better internet here.  I am taking my Inktober Challenge (for October) with me. See below.

You can see I've penciled in 31 small areas for the challenge tangles this year (9 x 12) sheet of Fabriano hot press WC paper.  So it is just a small sample of each one.  The hard part is finding the tangles...many of them are not familiar to me!  BUT you get to learn something new in the process!!!  

Greg and I have signed up for a 12 week class here at Oakwood called "Active Care" and it's all about healthy living, exercise, nutrition, prevention, etc etc.  I decorated the cover of my booklet (of course).



Monday, September 20, 2021

September Sketching and Zentangle®


These two little rough sketches were done during an outdoor concert here this late summer at University Oaks.  We had several of these great little musical events over the summer.  Super lovely weather.  

A lovely mid September Saturday the Madison Urban Sketchers spent an afternoon at the Madison Zoo.  Gorgeous weather again!  Almost too warm!  8 of us gathered to wander around and sketch a few things.  

On September 18 my daughter, Julie, rode her bike down from her house and joined me in the woods to sketch the flowers and listen to the birds and just have a delightful couple of hours. Who doesn't love the prairie flowers in one more open section of the woods...beebalm, Joe Pye weed and Chinese lantern.  The leaves are just at the edge of turning here in Madison now.  We saw 16 ducks, 2 wrens, a murder of crows, and 3 turkeys too!  

I taught a Zentangle class here at Oakwood on the 15th.

Water-soluble graphite sketch to describe my new pencil AFMAT PS10 which makes a L-O-N-G pencil lead which I love for sketching and drawing.  Some folks use a razor blade or a knife to do this but no way do I want to tackle that!  

I can't remember if I've posted this sketch in Julie's garden.  Her sunflowers are 10' tall at least now.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September: the End of Something and the Beginning

Oh my's September 1.  I'll bet you said the same thing this morning.  I am at the up north cabin this morning remembering all those many Septembers I have had...and it's a lot of them.  And all the many many memories I have of them.  (Retired school teachers are like that you know).  

I woke up to 45 degrees this morning up here in the Northwoods...whew that's a tad chilly!  And heavy fog completely obliterated the lake for awhile.  Now at 7:30 the sun is shining and slowly it is burning the morning fog off.  It's magical with the wisps of fog now hanging just about 10 feet up off the water and slowing melting away minute by minute like magic.    

None of this has anything to do with the sketch above, of course, except that I did do it last night up here in the north woods looking at a photograph sent to me by my granddaughter who is in law school in San Francisco!  This is "her view", she says, from the building where she is taking classes across from the Civic Center.  I cannot tell you why it caught me up and I felt the need to sketch just came over me.  Same with the one way to say why these things happen.

So with this sketch I was visiting my step son and his wife in Waukesha back on August 14 and everyone was busy with some project and I drifted away down the street to a construction site about two blocks from their home where a new Quik Trip was being built.  It's about the oddest subject I've chosen lately. But something about the big old construction equipment caught my eye.  It was a gorgeous summery afternoon...the kind of day you'd pour lemonade and sit on your front porch and watch the hydrangeas grow, you know?  Quiet on that afternoon...nothing happening on the site.  I opened my sketch chair and fell into the project for an hour.  The owner of the house behind me got curious and came out to see what I was doing.  A nice guy (Mike) and offered me a cold drink and we had a lovely visit while I sketched.  

In other news...I've been doing a little prep for a class I am actually not teaching until next spring.  But Julie and I are doing this advanced Zentangle class together and we had to write up the description of the class for the promotional materials.  So I had to at least try out a few of our ideas to get the "feel" for what we want to do.  Frames, Dingbats, and Cartouches will be the subject matter.  The classes will be on Zoom and sponsored by Olbrich Gardens in Madison.  But of course offered to anyone, anywhere.  They run $15 a session and there will be a beginner class on Sunday April 3 (1-3) and advanced class on Sunday May 1, 1-3. You might want to pencil them into your calendar.  I'll let you know later when registration opens.  

Here's a Cartouche of an interesting button.  

We are headed south back to Madison on Friday morning.  Lots of fun things to do there, of course.  I'll be prepping to teach a beginner Zentangle class at Oakwood on September 15.  

We'll be back up one more time to close the cabin the first weekend in October.  The snow could be flying by then up here.  

As the title of this blog post suggests: now the end of something but always that leads to the beginning of something else.  It's a spiral.  Fall in Wisconsin is quite amazingly beautiful...and something we have missed being in Florida.  I look forward to the colors, the apple picking and the cider...the chili and the football games.  

I feel an odd sense of bewilderment as the holidays ahead show up on the calendar.  Will we be safe enough to celebrate together this year?  Will we all have a booster this fall? The news each night is full of seriously sad and difficult happenings.  Our in-person church services have been cancelled again until Nov 1.  Everyone is battling the fatigue of being harangued by worry, angst, fear, and sadness for so long.  Art has been a real steadfast friend for all of us who love to has given us needed reprieves.  Hang on, everyone.  We can do it.  


Sunday, August 8, 2021

So It Goes

I finished up this page in my illuminated journals today.  A jumble of experiences and memories.  Starting on May 25th with grandson, Mike's "virtual" graduation from 8th grade and ending with Greg's new glasses.  

In between a full month at the Northwoods cabin where one magical late afternoon we "swam with the loons".  Seriously...they just appeared among us while we were swimming on a warm windless afternoon at 5 in the evening.  Swimming in and around us and making small clucking noises.  We all went still with amazement.  They brought their baby.  What a magical moment.  I'll never forget it.  Loon whisperers.  And then, after about 10 minutes they dove down and were gone.  

The intricacies of a fancy fishing pole...the tongue in cheek sketch of a mouse trap (I set 12 every time I leave), the beauty of found feathers and a new bird, the calmness of an afternoon "tea time" on the dock with the grandkids, a farewell to an old boat that served us well for many years and now resides in Minnesota, the canoe rides in among the islands, and the BIG storm that took away our electricity for 24 hours with 6 people in the cabin!  Oh my. The remembrance of so many puzzles done on the summer porch, and then the sadness of having to have a tooth removed that was cracked and infected and unsaleable.  Gosh I had it for over 70+ years.  I hated to lose it!  And concluding with Greg's much needed new glasses!  

It was a good time.  We came back to Madison exhausted.  But are resting up and will go back up for 10 days the end of the month.  Not so long this time.  In between other family members will enjoy it.  

We are so disappointed in the Covid rise again that we just do not have words to express it.  It's actually even more complicated now because we feel conflicted about those people who have not been vaccinated that are putting us all at more risk.  So there is a sense of frustration and even anger involved now.  Facing masking and isolation again?  We are so sick of it.  Especially when it might have been prevented. 

The usually routines and fun activities which come with being in a lovely setting here at University Woods are in jeopardy too.  With gatherings being limited and masking again in common area.  There is a huge problem with hiring workers too.  We have not had enough servers apply for work here to open the restaurant.  That makes for more isolation for the folks who live here!    

We try to be out in the beautiful surroundings here as much as possible. As that helps the mood.  

Praying for safety and better days ahead.  


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Sketching Over a Mono Print

We've had a couple of rainy days at the cabin this week.  Adding some gloom and darkness to the repertoire of summer days.  We've been SO lucky this month of July to have day after day of sublime weather that it feels unfair to have to endure rain and wind. 

It's about 66 this morning but will be warm and the weather man hints that this will blow off later this afternoon and give us back at least part of the day for outdoor things.  

It is the weekend of the Northwoods Art Tour so having a rainy Saturday is really ill-timed for that.  But hopefully we can enjoy that later in the day.  

We are blissful in the quiet between two sets of guests...all as welcome and delightful as can be.  BUT having some quiet time is essential for both of Greg and me.  So I wander down to the pier/dock area by the lake to listen to "loon chatter" on the lake and do a little therapy of sketching.  

I remembered that I had glued one of my gel-plate prints into the pages of one of my larger journals.  I really had no idea how I would respond to the pages later but this week I was inspired (in the quiet) to try an ink and water soluble graphite sketch on top of the muted print.  

The original print is acrylic on deli paper (which as a tiny bit of wax on it).  I wasn't sure how ink would respond to that surface.  Actually the ink went on fine but wetting the graphite was interesting and there was a little resist to that. 

It's a common view for folks here at the cabin...the lake was off to my right and I was sitting on our deck.  The boathouse is actually a center of activity for playing at the lake as it houses all the fishing equipment, boat supplies like oars and paddles, life jackets, hammocks, a small sailboat, swim noodles, goggles, and swim fins.  It seemed right to immortalize it that day. (note, the old clock on the side is forever running out of is now permanently set for afternoon tea time now at about 5:45 pm).  


Working with the gel prints reminds me that I haven't done any for quite a long time but when I was cleaning in the studio last week I came upon a stash of "first drafts" that I left here years ago.  

For those of you not familiar with mono is quite common to take first prints or ghost prints (2nd prints) and then re-purpose them with another layer or two of prints or stenciling to complete them. 

So I think that most of my mono-printing will now be done at home in Madison, I am taking all the first drafts back with me and hope to get inspired this winter to go down to the University Woods art studio and spread them out and finish them!  

We have about a week left here (with fun company) and then back to Madison for two weeks.  We hope to come up the end of August again.  

The first acorns are falling on the cabin roof now.  

We had 8 loons visiting on the lake this week!  (very common in July) but all but our pair have gone now.  This summer the loons raised a baby which has been fun to watch.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Happy Days at the Northwoods Cabin

The month of July has been hazy but not lazy.  Weather here at the Northwoods cabin is splendid.  Absolutely NO complaints about this at all.  One day of rain the whole 19 days we have been up here!  Temps in the 70-85 range every day and cool nights for sleeping. Who could complain????  

All our guests have been happy and helpful and fun.  The wine on the pier in late afternoons has been glorious.  Who can say that about all the guests?  Many of listed "projects" are getting done (although a few have popped up that I didn't have on the first list.  You know how THAT goes.)  One thing leads to another.  A leak in the roof needed fixing that we did not know was there...stuff like that.  

I found a new bird (King Bird), we were able to gift our old boat to someone on Craig's list that was happy to have it, and the loons have a baby this summer.  I must report they are behaving very oddly.  We think there is another loon trying to use our lake.  The birds are very territorial and so they have been "wing paddling" in agitation all over the lake.  You can see videos that on google if you look up "loon behavior".  It's quite amazing and we have never seen it before.  We hate to see them distressed but apparently it is normal behavior for agitated loons.  

I've been out canoeing several times, swimming, and enjoying lots of puzzles and card games.  The guests have been doing most of the cooking so no complaints there!  We are about half way through this first vacation time.  We hope to come back several more times this summer in August and September!  

The sketchbook has not been used as much as I would like and I've not been able to squeeze in time to join the sketch group up here as I hoped.  We are having more company than first planned and that's okay.  We love seeing everyone.  And it's fun to share the lake with folks.  So my sketching is somewhat scattered.   My list of "to do" is NOT getting done at all!  Sigh.  But we'll have about 4-5 days between guests later this week and I am determined to get onto some of my chores.  

Below is a Zentangle I did before I left.  I can't remember if I posted it before.  I probably did.  But I found it on my desk top where I leave things for the blog and so I'll just include it in case.  


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Playing With a Variety of Drawing and Painting Materials


I am fairly sure I posted this photo on top of the "peace pole" project here at University Woods but I did take a photo of it after it was placed in someone's garden.  They are randomly placed around the grounds in the gardens and planters.  Look very cool.  Acrylic.  

The Tiger Lillies are blooming all over campus now and around the Wisconsin area.  And Lillies of all kinds.  It's just "Lilly season" now.  they are such a pretty waxy vibrant.  These are just outside on the patio here at University Oaks.  Watercolor and ink. 

This is one of those sketches you do when you are waiting for something.  I was down in the Oaks Community Room the other day and waiting for something...can't even remember what for at the moment.  But I do like the lamps and the furniture in our center.  Sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright theme.  Ink and white charcoal.  

Graphtint pencils by Derwent.   I got the initial box of 6 "tints".  They are a water soluble graphite with just a hint of color.  I think I am going to enjoy using them.  They do also come in 24 shades but I am thinking that I'll play with these 6 for awhile first.  

They are different from "watercolor pencils" which do not contain graphite.  I used 3 tints in this sketch...a dark indigo shade, a Mountain gray shade and then just a touch of Ivy green around the label.  It's quite lovely for studies like this.  I hope to put them into my sketching bag and try them more.  So easy to use with just a water brush to activate.  Here's a look at the tints:

Friday, June 11, 2021

What's Up in June?

This page seemed to just design itself...taking me from mid-April through early June.  From temps in the 50s to temps in the 90s!  We are having a veritable heat wave in Wisconsin in June...quite startling as it is hotter here than in Leesburg, Florida!!  AND very very dry.  Worrisome drought.  And as I write this on the 11th of June no rain in sight.  My mini memories above carried me through the lovely spring flowers blooming in the woodland forest here next to The Oaks with everything I've always loved (see below for more on that) and through graduations and shared lunches and garage sales and art projects and two lovely books.  The feather theme appeared midway with several quite nice turkey feathers from our woods as well as song bird feathers.  And led to my reading When Women Were Birds!  

I did these tiny sketches standing in the woods and briefly stopping to see what I was looking at. Three different dates in April, May and June.   Many of them were labeled by friends of the woods!  Some I looked up on app on my phone!  Others were old friends.  Jacob's Ladder and the Golden Alexanders were new.  

This beautiful foxglove is from Julie's garden just along her patio.  Such a beautiful one.  

And here's my Peace Pole around in a garden here at University Oaks among the many flowers and vegetables growing in the amazing heat. I am not sure how many there are but surely 15 or so at least scattered about the campus.   Someone located mine for me and I took my first trip up to visit the it the other day and found Ian who was gardening near by and gifted me with some delightful fresh lettuce!  Lucky me.  

June is seeming to slip through my fingers...meeting new folks and sharing histories.  Katy was here for lunch this week...we visited the lovely bistro salad bar for that!  We plan to visit a neighborhood garage sale tomorrow (as the heat is supposed to abate slightly for Saturday).  Really 90 is over the top for garage sales for me!  Whew.  Father's Day weekend Beth will come for a visit and we so happy to have her too!  Our first overnight visitor!  

Just a few weeks now until we go up to the cabin for the month of July.  Greg is especially excited about that!  And it will be fun to cozy up in the reading corner again...enjoy the lake front and hopefully enjoy some family visits.  

There's an outdoor musical event tonight here on campus...I plan to take my sketching things.  What a lovely month is June in Wisconsin.


Monday, May 24, 2021

the joy of ordinary days.

"A quiet moment in the University Woods conservancy at the Settling Pond on a May morning near the Lady Slipper"

Madison, WI

"A quiet afternoon beside Tippecanoe Lake in Lac du Flambeau"

The United Church of Christ devotional comes to my inbox each morning.  About 3 paragraphs of "thoughts on a scripture passage" and in true UCC fashion always a little bit of a push to think on the message a little outside the box.  

The message today had to do with "ordinary time" within the church setting, but more than that... in our lives period.  The the difficulty of keeping "the wonder" in our lives present and glowing when the tasks of ordinary time flow back in.  Even post pandemic when we should be more than sensitive than ever to the absolute amazing wonder of doing ordinary things.... again we forget.  

Written by Talitha Arnold this short "reminder" got me to thinking hard about my last two sketches above.   Both of them are dear to me in different ways.  One done in my new "home setting" in Madison and then in the home in my "get away setting" at the north woods cabin 4 hours north of Madison in the forest by the lake.  But both are celebrating ordinary time.  

To be fair, my journals ARE and have always been my way of celebrating ordinary time.  The absolute wonder of it.  The absolute joy of it.  Both sketches are out of doors but sometimes I wonder about things inside too. 

So have a wonderful ordinary day.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Spring Garden

 Not too "wordy" today blog followers.  More just "the picture tells the story."  We met at Julie's cute little home on Gately Terrace this week to celebrate our grandson Ben's 23rd birthday and for Greg to get his seeds into the plot that Julie is gifting us.  I did a little helping in the garden...(I am the seed sprinkler).  

Then while other things were happening I snuck out back to do a sketch of some of the purple flowers out in her garden.  I was drawn to that color.  Then decided that it might be fun to put Julie's home there too.  Afterwards we joined together with the neighbors for an outdoor pizza picnic followed by a large pan of my Blueberry Buckle...Ben's favorite cake.  (I think you can find the recipe on Google if you type in Ginny Stiles Blueberry Buckle.). I'm famous.  Hahaha.  

We are off to the cabin for the seasonal opening next week...about 5 days.  I'll take some sketchbooks with me. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Be Like the Bird

Woke up at the unGodly hour of 4:30 a.m. this morning and made myself a cup of “sleepy time” tea.  Which really does work by the way.  I finished reading a classic book (written in 1991...which is NOT in the olden days) called A Life in Hand by a wonderful journaler/sketcher named Hannah Hinchman.  I am always inspired when I read through this which I have several times.  Her powers of observation are joyful. 

Anyway.  Then I saw on my art table the teensy little feather that my friend Sharon had recently mailed me...An honest to God real envelope and stamp full of poetry, hand made book marks and then this little feather.  (I seem to be in a mood for feathers right now) as I had just sketched in my journal the enormous turkey feather that we found on a recent walk in the woods.  It is so hollow at the stem you can almost see right through it.  

So then this tiny little feather falls out of the envelope only a day or so after I find the turkey feather.  From a woman whose last name is Feathers.  Julie would call this serendipity.  The universe is sending me a message about birds, feathers, the lightness of birds, OR the freedom to fly is maybe calling to me.  I tend to want to think it's about the “freedom to fly” now (or the courage to do so.)  I feel like my move to Madison is a kind of leap of faith and in doing so had so many endings and beginnings I am slightly overwhelmed.   Victor Hugo’s words came to me right away: 

Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.

Then I remember that my dear English friend, Mary Sollars, would always stick her found feathers upright into the ground when she found one on a walk promptly saying this will improve the weather!  That memory makes me smile. 
So in the wee hours this morning the tiny feather itself (not a drawing of it) got glued into the illuminated journal and the bits of the story behind it, just enough to remind me of the serendipity, written around it with a Zentangle® aura around it.  AND a wee drawing of the book about “noticing” and “recording”.  (Sharon says it is a chickadee feather, by the way.  And Julie says there is a book I should read called When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams.)

I did fall asleep then until almost 8 am!  And now this all brought me round to the new day with a wonderful sunshine just glowing into our eastern windows. Everyone gets messages from the universe it’s just that not everyone hears them.  

Notes from Sycamore Tree House in May.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

April and May Memories Begin to Pile Up.

What a lovely day the Madison Urban Sketchers got for the first seasonal outing at the UW Arboretum on Sunday afternoon.  We had 11 people show for it. the lilacs were blooming and all the crabapple trees were a riot of color.   
    See me at the far left in the first photo and my daughter Julie kneeling front right in the second photo.  We got a historically warm day...84 degrees...which is pretty amazing for May 2 in Wisconsin!  

This is Pat Wafer's sketch of the tree that I was sitting under...see me in the shade to the left! How fun.  Thanks Pat!!!

Here is are my "smallies" so far (since April 11).  Note in the second row to the left is the trip to the arboretum and at the bottom left a remembrance of my granddaughter's college graduation that same morning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa which we watched streamed!  It is the Coe College "seal" and the big bell that each senior rings as they leave the campus for the last time. Abby graduated as a nurse and is off to TX to begin a new life!!!
    The big glass pitcher memorializes our first garage sale of the season on Friday.