Making Paradise

Evening Skies Nov 06 2016

I like being near my happy place.

My passport is a nice cup of tea.

My transport is a venerable settee. 

I believe “it’s five o’clock somewhere”.



Favorite Place



Children’s Voices Blessed Noises


Asian Dragon 3 marked for Word Press March 2018
Four children played a game, “Dragons and Hunters”. Some were Dragons swiftly flying arcs in the kitchen. And they swooped, both arms outstretched as powerful wings, claws at-ready. Dragons snarled imaginary fangs and unleashed bursting fire in puffing breaths.

Fearless Hunters hurled challenges at the Dragons and tossed their make-believe lassos at the flying beasts. Dauntless Hunters pursued their prizes and bragged of the fame they should have as Dragon Riders. Oh, such glory gleamed in their shining faces.

The circular chase and mayhem was thunderous in the children’s imaginary world of flying beasts and brave pursuers. The noise levels rose to the roof when the Hunters cornered the Dragons.

An older woman, a grandmother, finely dressed for an evening gala shushed them, “Such noise, be still, your mother will go deaf.”

The children knew to do as told.

“Children’s noises,” the Grandmother scoffed at their game; she was senior mother after all.

“Children are only little for a short time. I will miss children’s voices when they grow up then leave home.”

“I said noise.”

“I know. I chose a better word.”


This is protected intellectual property. It is solely mine. Karma is fierce. Do not take what is not yours. If you see my protected intellectual property and would like to talk contact me. c 2018, c 2017

Vintage Manual Typewriters, Captivating


    Typewriter Olympia SM9 frontal pic1

For writing I chose a portable manual typewriter.  The venerable writing machines are captivating old technology that still convey messages and data to others. Typewriters of this ilk are productive with only human power. The use of these machines has given me new insights into my writing process.

I do not reject the “instant”, the digital, nor the have-it-your-way-now world. I watch as words develop instantly on the monitor. I enjoy digital spell checker. I add new words to the computer’s dictionary my way. I still produce documents with typos.

That is my feint in making comparisons. From my view there are no comparisons I find compelling, digital versus manual. In short, I am a different writer when I use a typewriter.

There it is, the human aspect of humane letters or writing the latest RSVP. I could text my response to an invitation. “Write and sent. Done and done,” next task please, “and done”, very efficient, slightly cold and clammy.

I chose to type or hand write a reply since the sender used an envelope and a stamp to get my attention. I responded in kind. Also, I am engaged in a different way.

I might ride a motorcycle or I might ride a horse. I love them both. I go from point A to point “” however I can. I am a different rider on a large sentient animal than one astride a large engine connected by two wheels.

The differences make me different, that is captivating.

Wonder is a Verb



Wonder is a verb. What makes me wonder;  ponder, think, cogitate, be in awe, marvel, or imagine? Wonder leads to discovery.

My neighborhood is filled with attention grabbing this-and-thats which fuel my wonder. The hills and woods are chocked with of wonder when I arrive. Creek banks and islands reached by hand-built boats propel my wonder to new and delirious heights.

My Library is the penultimate source of wonder. It offers access to the entire world, even to the known universe. Information is at my finger tips waiting to be discovered, organized for me to find, for whatever course I chart.

“I’ve seen and done some stuff.” I heard that sentence in my voice during a congenial conversation made even better by a shared meal.

Our banter covered hieroglyphs and illuminated manuscripts, dinosaurs and sailing ships,the solar system and satellites, and animals and plants, and the northern lights.

Then, for a moment we were silent and laughed when we realised what nerds we are.  We are simply folks, neighbors, school chums, and new friends, ready for the quest, primed to leave home to navigate the farthest shore, and ready to see wonder in the world.

When I cannot board a hover-craft to the Amazon River I get some Library materials and instantly I am in awe.

I am one of the usual suspects I am a Wonderer. I have a Library card and I love discovery.

A Branch While Hiking


In my neck of the woods a branch is a small tributary to a creek or larger waterway. Whilst tromping through the woods and glades many ditches, creeks, and branches flowed. The created fetching sights or lovely gurgling sounds. These watery places were part of the adventure and a place to cool off during the heat of summer.

On many occasions there was nothing for it than fording a branch to get to the other side. In warm weather it was off socks and boots and pile the gear high out of reach of the water. Minding the slippery rocks and curious fish I waded. This was my preferred maneuver to cross a branch.

Sitting on the far shore drying in the sunshine gave me time to admire the flowing water and to imagine stories the steam might tell of its course.

My favorite character, Ratty in the Wind in the Willows advised “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”  I have always admired Rat’s view of that world.

I say, “believe me, absolutely there is this one thing, so much worth doing, that is simply messing about in branches.” For me, maybe, more so than messing about in boats with apologies to Ratty.

Unraveling Fabric



Fabric banner tartan 2

The loom arrived in crates. In an attempt to follow the assembly plan in half a day I nearly lost all my religion. My efforts did not resemble a loom. I noticed what made sense when the thin paper plans were reversed, so I taped the instructions to the glass patio door facing backwards.

The loom went together and I finished it for the person I loved. Money would not have bought my time. I guarantee it.

Cloth poured from the loom. Cotton, wool, flax, and linen went in straight to the clickety-clack of the weaver’s creative rhythm and the machine made cloth one row at a time.

There was hand woven cloth for useful linens, and warm blankets, and lovely patterns the fulfillment of the basic necessities for clothing and for Art.  The weaver and the loom put food on the table, brought happiness to the home, and bonded people together in the community one at a time.

Before there was cloth there were fibers. Before the fibers were the plants and the animals all in some way making the raw materials for cloth. Before the plants and animals were their tiny invisible genes.

Genes have the double-helix which is composed of four parts repeating, woven together to make a protein like a loom makes cloth.

A weaver makes cloth, but actually transforms what was there all along like an alchemist weaving proteins into tweed.


Being ready by Design

Whenever I am in the notion to work I do not want to have to struggle with tools, find things I need, clear off messy work surfaces and do double work type work to make something. I am a one person shop-studio- en plein air Artist. It is up to me to give myself every advantage I am able.

Junk in Plastic Boxes

Containers on a shelf. Like things with like things. 

On the bus I have my tools in a neat vintage Lands End™. One zipper and a snap I am ready to read or sketch. The other places I create are fairly organized, but just. I can wander between projects and return to the easel over many days. Tools line the drawers and parts and pieces fill bins, containers, and the occasional peanut butter jar.

I make it a rule to finish projects– they may not be perfect, that doesn’t matter, I complete my work. Work I’ve promised by a deadline gets to the person before the deadline. If something is needed by Thursday and I get it Monday the piece is ready on Wednesday before 5 p.m.

Because I’m cool? Nope. Because I don’t like things hanging over my head. Besides it’s my word that is worth more than the project I’m working on. If I lose my good name, even if it’s not my fault, then I cannot buy it back.

Brushes cleaned and ready

A process of brush care at the end of a session.

So I keep tools, materials, and work spaces ready for work. I won’t win any awards from minimalist decor folks. I can find anything and I can usually remember where I have filed most of my stuff. That’s my test. Keep like things with like things; label the drawers; use clear containers with labels; put up things as I go and simple processes like that. This keeps something like a mess from hanging over my head.

As I typed before, I admit I won’t win at perfection, zero mess, just a bit of wisdom in the seeming madness. I have a shop-vac, several brooms and dust pants, even a magnet on a rope when needed.

Note I didn’t say “rules”. When things are ‘supposed to be’ done a certain way, or controlled this way, or filled with judgment I usually baulk, or “buck-up” as the Aunties used to say.

Rules are fine but if I make a process that functions well, it will not be perfect. I might leave my acrylic paints all out, in trays that go into a cabinet when I’m finished, but I want to see my materials. It’s like when I get new color pencils–that excites me. I can’t wait to use the new pencil. I’ll even start a new page just to incorporate it into the composition or just go crazy mono-chrome.

Leaving an organized neat area dedicated to acrylics, or oils, or wood-block, or just my easels helps me organize my day-week-month. It’s like my “visual-control” for my project management. I can manage what I see and I “go-and-see” continuously as “walk-around-management” of myself. Big job.

Raygun Build Parts

Selected items ready for  a project.

I know by working with materials on a daily basis, seeing them regularly, and monitoring my progress what I need to replenish. I don’t have duplicated materials, nor do I run out of 20% gray pencils at 3:00 am Sunday morning. I don’t waste time looking for materials and resources; I don’t have waste in duplicated items–6 pounds of “sinker” nails is more than I need for this project–and I keep a re-order list and make a time to order as needed. I also keep a list of items to trade, give away, or sell.

These concepts help me keep my spaces ready to work. Organized for production is what I like to call it. It’s also a fun way to engage with the materials, to bring an idea or inspiration to the front and spring-board into the work.

I have to make the most of every opportunity I make or every time I get the chance to make something that I think is cool. When I’m ready to get busy I am more motivated to do just that.

Going to the shop or to the studio not a struggle, it’s a pleasure.  By design.