Thursday, January 14, 2021

First Robin of Spring

 First Robin of Spring / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping! 
Please email me at if you'd like to own this hopeful little painting

I HAVEN'T SEEN spring's first robin yet this year, but this week, I heard the songs of spring birds, sweet and warm on a sunny, frosty morning. 

Last week, I saw snow geese high above, calling to each other as they soared. I haven't seen a field full of them yet this winter, but I always look. It is such a miracle. 

And in the theme of bird miracles, there are two hummingbirds still in town. Honestly, I thought I was losing it a little when I caught a swoop out of the corner of my eye, but the homeowner came along and said yes, a pair of hummers was seeming to spend the winter in Wachapreague. Some trees and bushes still are flowering, and though it's been cold (to my now-wimpy-Southern but former tough-New-England-girl self), I guess it's not been cold enough to do them any harm. I hope they don't get trapped here and damaged by an Arctic blast. 


"Change your thoughts and you change your world." 

- Norman Vincent Peale

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren / oil on black canvas/ 4x12 / $88, including shipping
Please email me at to buy this little gem! 

MY DAD IS 92, and right now, is in the hospital in Tucson. He has aspiration pneumonia - not covid, according to four covid tests, all of which have been negative. 

Sunday, he was doing better, sitting up, watching football. Today, he can't swallow. 

He is 92, and before this, was doing well. A couple days pre-pneumonia, he and his wife went out and walked a mile, and Dad said he was feeling great. Pain that had plagued him for the past few months had gone away, the day was beautiful and he was happy. 

He has had a good life, and neither he nor Paula, not any of us, is ready for it to be over. Who among us ever is? I am concentrating on how strong he is, what good genes he has, how remarkable his optimism and resilience are, and how he cherishes his life and his wife.

So, think a good thought, say a small prayer, hold your loved ones close and live every moment as fully and richly as you can. 


"Life isn't about getting and having; it's about giving and being." 

- Kevin Kruse


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Two Roses

Two Roses / Oil on black canvas / 8x24 / $300 plus shipping

HAPPY 2021, FRIENDS! Isn't it great that 2020 is over? No matter what the new year brings, it is a new year, and I meet it with new hope and energy and an outlook of gratitude.

A couple of collectors who have become friends sent me a Christmas card with a letter containing a list of thoughts they'd happened upon in 2020. These include: 
  • We really like each other, and enjoyed more time together. 
  • Americans are heroic.
  • Even though we love our work, retirement looks pretty good after our dry run. 
And about 15 more, all thoughtful and insightful. 

Their list made me think of my own list, and I will share some of my thoughts from 2020. 
  • Dogs really are great company. 
  • It's good to have some chocolate every day, and it need not disrupt a diet. 
  • I guess I will never be a truly neat housekeeper, since I have all the time in the world and still don't vacuum enough. 
  • Good coffee is worth whatever it takes.
  • Grocery stores are really sort of amazing! 
  • (This next one is borrowed, completely, from my friends): Social distancing from some neighbors is a good thing. 
  • Eating healthier really does make me feel better.
  • I truly only use three of my pans and two of my baking sheets, and I get very tired of washing them. 
  • I need lots and lots of time alone, interspersed with short, deep doses of friends.
  • Television is miles better than it used to be. 
  • Turquoise is an amazing color!
  • It is OK to go to bed at a ridiculously early time, and wake up at a ridiculously early time. 
  • Without Peter, I am lonely, but my friends and my family do great and generous things to sustain my mind, body and heart. 
  • Hard work is a wonderful distraction.
  • I am very, very lucky. 
What would you put on your list? Please add your thoughts in the comments below (you have to go to the blog to do that), or email me at


The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

- Harold Thurman



Thursday, December 10, 2020

Eastern Mockingbird

Eastern Mockingbird / oil on canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


DURING THE SUMMER OF THE COVID, I was lucky enough to be part of a group that had yoga sessions outdoors, under a tree on the front lawn of a church in Pungoteague. 

I loved it, I think we all did, this small community of older women practicing yoga - OK, old women practicing yoga (and here is a question that just popped up for me: Why are "older women" younger than "old women"???) 

In one session, as summer turned to fall, a mockingbird began to sing. He sang and sang and sang, for the entire 90 minutes of yoga, dozens of songs, one after another, a bouquet of joy and sunshine. 

I was telling this to someone, though, and they asked me if I didn't think it was sad that the mockingbird didn't have his own song. 


"The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through." 

- Jackson Pollock


Wednesday, December 9, 2020


 Nor'easter / Oil on black canvas / 11x14 / $250 including shipping

Please email me at if you'd like to own this piece

THE STORM WOKE ME at 3, a few mornings ago. It was the wind, wailing, yelling, slamming against the windows and the walls and the trunks of the trees. It was the rain, smashing against the metal roof and the windowpanes. And it was the strength and power of the storm itself, the first nor-easter of the season, the line storm, marking the passage from autumn to winter. 

I woke, the dogs woke, and later in the day, I found that many of my friends had also woken, all around 3, nudged into consciousness by the wrath and muscle of the wind and the rain. 

Sleep took me back, and on the way, I vowed to paint the feeling of the storm. My note says that I must paint it BIG (I wrote the word in caps) and this one is not BIG, but it is the storm - and perhaps a study for the BIG one. 

I hope you like it. 


"Every time we say, 'Let there be!' in any form, something happens." 

-Stella Terrell Mann

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

House Sparrow

House Sparrow / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68

IN MY MOST RECENT POST, I WROTE about writing morning pages as instructed by Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way." 

Today, I'm sharing another idea from the book. Make a list of 20 things you like to do - and then write down the most recent time you've done each. 

Interesting! As I thought about doing this, I wondered if there even were 20 things that I like to do, and I pretty much convinced myself that there weren't, and so why should I even bother to make the list? My life is so empty and I am so driven that of course there aren't 20 things I like to do. Twenty? Are there even 10? Even five? Two? 

This sort of response comes from what Cameron calls the critic brain, the part that tells me that I suck, that I am a terrible artist, that I shouldn't even begin to attempt the painting that I'm making because it will certainly be a disaster, that I don't even have the idea of the skills that I need - and on and on and on. 

We all have the critic brain, and it can be paralyzing. Writing the morning pages helps me shut up that voice. While I'm painting, I quiet the critic brain playing Netflix or Prime.

 The show or movie needs to be vaguely engaging - but not something that I need to look at, or listen closely to. I've replayed "Gray's Anatomy" any number of times, and "Silent Witness" a few times. Right now, I'm playing "Midsomer Murders," which does require a little more attention than I generally give it, so I often replay parts of it at night - but it does the job. 

So - 20 things you like to do, and when you did them last. And then, see if you can make a plan to do one or two of the ones you haven't done in the longest time. 


"Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage." 

- Claude M. Bristol

Monday, December 7, 2020


Pachyderm / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping


THERE'S A WONDERFUL BOOK called "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron that I encourage you to read, even if you're not an "artist" in the traditional sense of the word. 

While the book is about finding, feeding and encouraging your inner artist, it's really about finding, feeding and encouraging your soul - the creative drive that is in all of us. 

It might come out in baking or cooking, it might come out in the way you decorate and keep your home. Your creative soul might be in your garden, or in your appreciation of poetry, or in your relationships with your family or your pets or the night sky. 

The book is intended as a 12-week course to help people get unstuck, or unblocked, or find the courage to take the next creative step. These are not issues for me, but the book has been immensely helpful anyways. 

Its main idea and task is to write "morning pages." That is, get up every morning and write three longhand pages, about anything. Even if you have nothing to say, and you write, for three pages "I have nothing to say," the point is to do it. Write your day's plans, your shopping list, the movies you want to watch, the friends you miss, and see, even there, I've slipped from the mundane into the more heartfelt. So, watch for that to happen - and it will. 

The point of the morning pages is to get the crap out of the way. Writing about the stuff that worries you, or the stuff that you're not even aware is worrying you, well, it takes that stuff out of the way. It could be something as simple as you needing to remember to have the car inspected - write it down in the morning pages, and you won't find yourself reminding yourself about it 20 times an hour. Think that repeated reminding gets in the way of creativity? You bet it does. 

Since I started writing morning pages years ago, my creativity has blossomed, my vision has sharpened, and the creative force in me has grown stronger and stronger. 

And you don't show these to anyone. No one. You don't even have to go back and read them. The content is not the point, nor is the style, the word choice, the spelling, the grammar, the handwriting, none of that. It's the transfer of stuff from your head to the page. The emptying of the critic brain to free the creative brain. That's where the magic is. 

I hope that some of you will try this, especially in this time of solitary existence and isolation. Who knows what you might find? 

Next time, I'll share an interesting exercise from the book. 

The Woody Show

I MIGHT HAVE WRITTEN about this already, but it continues to amuse me, so I will post it again. Woody, who is about 15, and mostly blind and deaf, moves his bed several times a day, by scratching and scratching with his forepaws while backing up. The other night, in my bedroom, he moved his little bed from the doorway (where he'd put it earlier) all the way across the 5x8 rug, and then along the wood floor at the foot of my bed to the side where I sleep. 

I think his point in all of this is to place his bed in spots that the other dogs and I have to pass, or step over, when we enter or leave the room. Since he can't hear or see very well, I think he relies on feeling the vibrations from our footsteps, to know that we're leaving. And leaving the bedroom - or the living room, for that matter - means it's time to go out, or to have a meal, both of which are big events in the life of the house here at 18 Bayview. 


"Experience, even for a painter, is not entirely visual." 

- Walter Meigs