Over and Over

Changing just one thing can make a difference.

Over and Over, 18" x 24", Mixed media on paper
“Over and Over,” 18″ x 24″, mixed media on paper

You know how a tune gets locked in your head, an “ear worm” they call it. I am particularly susceptible to any kind of “worm” whether a tune or a behavior. I seem to get locked into action or inaction.

I have been trying to discover how we free ourselves from repeating behavior that we know isn’t good for us, whether it is obsessing over a problem or just painting in the same way we always have. One suggestion was to change just one thing. In my yoga class the instructor often says something similar. She suggests moving the right arm out as you lift the left leg or putting the arms in front rather than behind in “child’s pose.”

I normally paint on deep wood cradles with a highly textured substrate. So I decided to paint on paper. It appears to me this one change has made me focus more on markings, which may well be a good thing.

Oh, I guess I did change two things. Instead of my classical or new age music, I listened to a bit of country. Go figure.

Perhaps you might try changing just one thing in your art or your life—or two?


illumination72 copy
“Illumination,” 7.5″ x 14″, mixed media on deep wood panel

I spent the morning with my grandson. After almost two weeks, it’s almost like seeing another child. While much of what he does remains the same, so much changes. He still doesn’t have a long attention span at four, but he will spend about 30 minutes painting, and he loves to see what marks can be made with my different “tools.”

Watching him making marks with a wide brush, a soft brush, an old membership card, a small roller, and a yogurt container he had saved for art was illuminating. It is difficult to remember if I had this same observation and clarity with my own children, but the process made me remember a small painting I did a few years back. It was a period of breakthrough—a big step toward abstraction, a journey I enjoy every day.



Landing, 10″ x 10″ on deep wood panel

As I watch my grandson do a somersault, is where he lands more important than how? I’m not sure. Perhaps being ready is the most important and the hardest to predict.

So in this painting I leave you with softness, bright color, and a few places picked out just in case you aren’t quite ready to land.

Art Can Change Attitudes

Art is even more important as we age.

“Breathing Ground I,” 36″ x 15″, a celebration of marshes

 We all know art is important, but I believe it is even more important as we age.

Reason #1 It Makes Me Happy

When I pick up a brush and put paint on paper or board, I loose myself. I forget that the world is messed up, that my knees hurt, that the young person at the check out looked past me and not at me. When a couple hours have passed the world looks more hopeful, there’s even a spot of yellow or red I can see in the distance. My knees… I can still walk. And that young person at the checkout, could it be that they were just having a bad day—a car payment was late or they didn’t sleep staying up late with a small child.

(To Be Continued)

Fitting In

“Fitting In”

It is something we all try to do at some—or at every— point in our lives. We want to belong to family, to neighborhood, to school, to our country at large. According to the author of Quiet, research suggests that we can only truly belong by being ourselves and by not trying to change who we really are.

But we can occasionally cross boundaries if we remain authentic. We can even compromise. (Is this word still used today?) When we do compromise, we still must remain true to ourselves and to our values.

I think art is very much the same. We can experiment with new techniques, colors, materials, but in the end, we must remain true to our own nature. After 30 days of experimenting, it will be interesting to see what takes hold of me permanently.

“Fitting In,” 8″ x 8″, mixed media on deep wood panel, $150



We all know life isn’t a straight line. But I am always amazed at its circular patterns whether in nature or in fashion.

It seems to me though that it is at the intersections that we have the most to learn—that we need to stop and take a breath.


10” x 13,”mixed media on board

unframed, $85


Seeking Permanence


Seeking Permanence
Seeking Permanence

My grandsons get excited about every new thing: They both had a hard time waiting for Christmas, and the youngest jumped up and down for several days before a 4th birthday party. On the other hand, the world often seems so chaotic to me that I would like everything to just stop and remain the same.

Of course, that isn’t possible. Perhaps my longing for permanency is part of growing older. Do I really want that younger self? Sometimes I do. But she could certainly be impetuous and foolish.


Seeking Permanence I

14.5” x 10.5”

acrylic and collage on canvas paper, $100