Archives for posts with tag: art

I’ve actually had fun attempting self-portraits in the past, and I still enjoy trying to draw myself from time to time. 

The urge most recently came about a few months ago when I decided to do a quick sketch from a photo to use instead of a photo of myself as my Avitar for a class I was taking. I liked how it turned out. 

This is a recent attempt that I decided to sketch because of two new things: my perm and new glasses. 

The glasses are inevitable. It was time, but the cost always hurts.

I’ve been wanting so much to come to the page, so I’m writing myself through it. I need to get back to my writing practice. Maybe I feel freer today because a class has ended, because the warm sunshine on my face as I walk to lunch energizes me, and because there is an end in sight to the busy season. 

It’s been at least 10 years since I last got a perm and I swore that I would not get another. I needed a change, a lift to my step. I plunged forward. The hair stylist, also owner of the salon, did a great job. She had done enough perms over the years, that I knew I was in good hands. 

Self-portraits have a tendency to reveal something we may have not noticed about ourselves in that moment that a regular photograph may not catch. Adding the color by mood and feeling adds another element. I love the process. 


An autumn day gives way to the feeling of winter. In the air the scent of someone cozy next to a warm fire. 

I look out the window waiting for my lunch, taking in the orange and yellow leaves against a perfectly grey sky. 

Rain shall come soon to wash away the impurities, wipe the slate clean to begin anew. 

Sitting amongst the birch trees,
I listen to the day fade in and out, as I put markings down on the page, coax an image that is enough for me to recognize this moment, eager to continue marking the days–marking the pages with, not only words, but real images. 

I sit here this morning against a backdrop of beautiful hills and a multitude of trees on the library grounds. Large art works, some familiar, having been here many years–permanent installations, others new to me.

The squeaking wheels of the mechanical pea cock titled the “Wheely, Whirly Peacock”, a crow clucks, small birds tweet in the distance. I sit here on the bench that faces the peacock, beauty all around, both natural and made by human hands.

As the sun warms my body, the breeze cools it down; lavender blossoms fill the air with their scent, carry in the wind and fill me with a sense of calm and of summertime.

I seem to have a slight addiction to page-a-day calendars, calendars in general, and of being surrounded by beauty–beauty in the way that this eye beholds it, anyway.

And so, I found myself on Amazon, searching for yet another calendar, even though I had already purchased two at a discount. I am happy with both, but I needed something more. I needed something visually beautiful to greet me every morning at my work space. I decided to go with the flowers again. A flower a day that could be in the form of a bouquet, a single close up, or flowering plants in their natural element.

While I was at it, I came across a wall calendar of glass art (I needed another to compliment the one I already have). I recognized this stunning art. The name looked familiar: CHIHULY. And then I was taken back to our visit to Las Vegas this past October and being inside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino to look at the autumn botanical garden display. When we walked into the lobby, we were greeted with the beautiful creation of Chihuly’s glass art. The interaction of the vibrant colors, shapes, and light was magnificent.

Amazon kindly brought to my attention that I might like to also purchase the Chihuly 2016 weekly planner. I usually pass on these temptations, then I thought about how nice it would be to see a different work of his art up close every week, and I also thought maybe I can use the weekly calendar to write a little something each day, a mini journal of my thoughts to highlight the day. It would force me to get to the page and re-develop a routine, keep the fire going–and it’s been great. I’ve only had the calendar a few days, but every morning that I see the calendar, I’m drawn into the pages by the pure beauty of its cover; somehow, it makes me want to reach for my pen and such an un-intimidating amount of space for each day; there are no excuses.

I love it and am happy with all of my new calendars; although, I do admit, that I may buy just one more page-a-day calendar to satisfy my funny bone.


Both photos snapped using my iPhone.


The page has been pulling at my sleeves,
with letters, words, sentences, but also with lines,
circles, and doodles. It’s a familiar feeling of wanting to draw something
to sketch my dreams and the images that form
from below the surface, yet as my cycle goes,
I have moments of glee and moments of frustration, disappointment.
It’s good for me, though; good to be challenged in a new way;
and when I surrender to the process, I feel something–

I see something speaking to me in a way that makes me want to know more.


Ink and watercolors


It was an ordinary Monday. I was on my way to work, grooving to the radio, stopped at a main intersection; Embassy suites on one corner, gas station and car dealerships on the other three corners, fast food in sight, along with other stores and intersections, then as my eyes are set in front of me, a large deer, maybe even a buck, galloped through, trying to find his way back to the hills, which are a ways out. He took quite a departure. My gazed followed him until my view was cut off. When the light turned green, I looked to the right; there was no sign of the deer. He must have kept galloping, hoping to find his way. It was a beautiful sight. I only hope he found safety.

Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite artist. I loved his work from the first moment that I saw it and I don’t remember exactly when that was, but it was a long time ago. Besides his use of color, texture, and movement, there’s something special about his paintings that is indescribable–

And so because Van Gogh has been on my mind. I pulled a couple of books with his artwork from a box in the garage and made a place for them on a shelf. Over the weekend I yearned to continue reading Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh. But the book that I have is small, the print is small and it’s uncomfortable to read. I set out to find it for my Kindle, but no they did not have it. Instead I found The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, which I sampled, then downloaded for the bargain price of $2.99.

Art has been on my mind. I even thought of taking another drawing course and actually trying to finish it this time. It’s patience I need. The irony is I have a lot of patience, just not with certain things. I know that I can teach myself to draw better. It just takes time. It takes practice. It takes self-motivation. I’ve always thought of myself as self-motivated–and I am to a degree, but then I fizzle away. Right now, I’m looking at a glass of pink and white carnations that I salvaged for another week from the large stems that had gone bad. They remind me of an ice cream sunday. They just need a red carnation on top. I can visualize myself making a sketch of these lovely flowers. Maybe later. I even took a painting class didn’t finish that either. At the community college level, the classes are long or they seem long. Two night per week for five months. I’ve attempted the drawing class twice. The truth is I got bored with it. I made it past the egg study and then I stopped. I don’t remember if I’ve ever made it past that damn egg! Over the years, I’ve continued to doodle here and there.

I realize that time is escaping me and that’s a good thing because I’m journaling my thoughts, I’m enjoying myself, yet I know that I have to cut myself off, so that I can get the day started and be on time to work.

But I’m not done quite yet.

Last week I took a walk around the reservoir and it there is always something new to notice or become aware of…and the beauty of this is that life is like this. Every day we wake up, it seems the same, our routines, our rituals, yet there is always something new that we can find to appreciate in each day, in each drive to work, in each walk around the reservoir. This last time I walked around the reservoir, I heard a flute in a Japanese style. My senses were delighted and I had an image of a flute with flowers and musical notes coming out of the holes.

The flute immediately transported me somewhere and to have nature as my backdrop–I was in heaven. There was a bench as I came around the corner and I don’t’ usually stop, but I wanted to listen to the flute some more and I still didn’t see who was playing it. No one was around. As soon as I sat down, the music stopped. I took out my notebook and began writing and then I drew a rough sketch of this flowering flute.

The image here is a very rough sketch I did using the Doodle Buddy App. It reminds me of a drawing I might have done in Kindergarten.


Yesterday I had an excuse to go the library. When I was searching the library database for a book, I discovered that I had two books that were overdue by a week. I usually watch for those email reminders, but I must have overlooked these. I happily pulled the books from the pile, snapping a photo of them because I wasn’t done with them yet! I was happy because I would return the books, then browse the shelves after collecting a book that I was in search of and knew was on the shelves.

After I self-checked in my overdue books, I pulled out my iPhone, and opened the email that I had sent to myself with the call number: 808.02 NAMING. I wound my way toward the back of the library, walking past tables of chattering teenagers. As I walked further and further down the narrow passages of books, I found myself at the end. I looked up and scanned the call numbers and there it was: Naming the World and other Exercises for the Creative Writer Edited by Bret Anthony Johnston. I took the book from the shelf, admired the red cover with a small image of a piece of art titled “Cockatoo and Corks,” a piece of art that is interestingly strange. I love surreal art.

Instead of going back down to the front of the main library the way I came, I decided to go over one isle and I found myself in the cookbooks. I turned left and right and saw that baking was on my left, so I started there. There was one cookbook that was displayed: Krystine’s Healthy Gourmet Cookbook by Krystine Crowell. I flipped through, and in the first several pages, I saw a nonfat whole-wheat blueberry scone recipe that caught my attention. I decided that I would take the book and I would make the recipe that night. All I needed was the yogurt and blueberries.

I turned to the right and eased my way down until I saw some Mexican cookbooks. I took two. I wanted to wander a bit, but as always, time slips right by me when I’m in the library. I knew that I couldn’t browse for too much longer because I had to get home and wash dishes and start on dinner. But I did make a last stop to scan the new books and that’s where I found The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson. I flipped through and knowing that I wouldn’t have time to read it now, I would have time to skim and I wanted to take my time looking at the different libraries that he included in his book. One sculpture in the book took my breath away. Titled “Psyche” it touched something deep within my own: A huge sculpture in the shape of a head, made up of roughly fifteen hundred small sculptures of books and butterflies, suspended in air.

That was my last book, I went to the self-check machine to check out the handful of books that should have only been the one that I came for. The machine beeped at me and said my card was about to expire and that I needed to go to the circulation desk. I took my books and walked up to the standing desk. The librarian asked how she could help me and I explained. She just needed my identification and my library card would be renewed for another three years. She looked up, as she was typing into her computer and said, “Your shirt is making me want to be in Hawaii.” I looked down at my deep blue Hawaiian shirt with large white flower blossoms. I looked up and smiled.

“Oh, you’re a Cancer she said,” looking down at my identification. “I’m a Cancer too. My birthday is on the 20th. I see your on the cusp.”

“Yes, I’m right on the very end, but I am a Cancer.”

It was refreshing to have someone actually bring up their own astrological sign, someone who was older, and relate to me. So many times, I’ve done the same.

“Have you been to Hawaii before?”

I thought about this because I knew I had, but it was so long ago I had to remember one island or two. “Yes.”

“Which islands?”

And so, we continued our brief conversation, two friendly Cancers, as she processed my library card renewal. She told me how she was married in Kauai and what a beautiful island it is. I mentioned how I had heard many good things about it, but that’s one of the islands I had not been to.

We finished up and instead of going to the self-check machine, I had the librarian check my books out. She was such a kindred spirit, a nice change from dealing with machines and others that are too busy or who aren’t’ as friendly.

And this friendly exchange was all thanks to my expiring library card and my Hawaiian shirt.

After dinner, I told hubby that my plan was to bake, then study. He looked at me and said you should study first. I said, “I need to bake first because it relaxes me! Then I’ll study.”

I did make the blueberry scones first and they were different. They looked pleasing. They lacked a little flavor, especially after coming after oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars. With a little dab of butter, I think they’ll be almost perfect.

“Untitled (Cockatoo and Corks)”

“Psyche” – Sculpture at the Main Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

Blueberry Scone Recipe

I heard my name through the intercom. I left the bookshelf and walked to the back counter to see what the offer was. I wasn’t expecting much, maybe three dollars for three small bags of books. I set my expectations low, knowing anything more would be a bonus.

Twenty-two dollars–not bad.

I saw my stacks of books there. I felt a slight pang and wanted to reach for them and take them back. No, I reasoned, it was time to let them go. And there would be more in due time because there are books for keeping and books for giving up. The buyer looked at the one nearest me.

“Did you read this one?”

I placed my hand on top of the slender book.

“This one? Yes–in parts. I probably didn’t give it the attention it deserved.”

Where did this come from. I had read it, but it was so long ago.

“It reminds me of–” He rattled off a few unknown names, more independents. She wanted to reach for her notebook, so she could jot them down and look them up later. Instead, she nodded, listened, saw the excitement in his face.

He turned back to his register to complete the transaction.

“I really like the cover art,” she said.

“Yeah. It’s beautiful. Reminds me of a friend’s book. He was in an MFA program and this cover reminds me of one of his.”

“Ah, I actually found this one at the Berkeley Museum of Art’s bookstore. They had a small section of books that were on sale.

“Oh, yeah–really?”

I signed my name and took the receipt to the middle of the store and cashed in on the books I sold.

Those hummingbirds–that book–that I did read: one poem contained within its slender, white casing–a rumination that I read so long ago remembering the beautiful jacket cover more than the words inside; though, from flipping through the first few pages, just before saying goodbye, just before placing it inside the bag, just before placing it back out into the world–the words were ethereal, they beat like the wings of a butterfly and shimmered like the coat of a hummingbird, now out of my hands, but in memory–as a bitter sweet parting.

Any type of creative expression, whether the end result is “good” or “bad” is healthy for our whole being.

I am reminded of an older woman that I met years ago. Our paths crossed for one brief summer and then our paths separated and we went our own ways. She was a great woman and had quite a mind—she was a visionary, a rebel—a strong spirit that was ahead of her time. She was a retired teacher and high school counselor, jobs she both loved, yet you could hear the disappointment in her voice at not being able to make real needed change and commitment within the faculty. She was also a writer—not published, but she wrote prolifically to her muse. Toward the end of our short relationship I became drained. I realized that though I enjoyed being a sounding board for her, learning from her, and understood and empathized with her, I was becoming depleted. Her unresolved energy was rubbing off on me, and left me feeling sapped and cranky.

Though, a fond memory that I take from our short acquaintance is when I shared my artwork with her one day. It was a mandala that I had been working on. I used drawing pastels on a blue midnight blue background. A healing energy emanated from it. She took it from my hands and admired it. She wanted to draw something too. She wanted to use her hands and imagination, reach into herself and see what would happen. Her beautiful crystalline blue eyes widened. I told her to go for it.

Several days later I saw her at the coffee shop. We said our hellos and started talking. She pulled a folded piece of paper from her bag and said she had something to show me. She unfolded the page timidly and there was a picture that she had drawn. I remember a sun and I remember liking her picture very much, but most important, I was proud of her for not being afraid of how childlike or how “bad” her drawing might have become as she set out on the blank drawing page that was new territory for her. She was willing to try it, rather than say, I can’t do it, I’m no good, or I can’t draw.

If we tell ourselves we can’t enough times, we will start to believe it.

We can do anything we set our minds to.

A large part of the joy for me is in the doing—coming to whatever task it may be, standing at the threshold, and taking that first step.