Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Art of the Summer

Our summer was busy. Fun and busy. Relaxing and busy. I thought I'd do a whole lot more painting, but somehow I didn't have the peace of mind to sit in my studio much. But I did manage to finish a few paintings and one big commission I worked on for a long time.
This beautiful Ganesha painting below was a commission I finished this summer. I learned so much painting it and I am immensely grateful for the experience!!  

The two abstract pieces came together while we were doing renovations on the house and had to live in our guest room for two weeks. Doing a little art helped me manage to stay relatively relaxed while all was chaos around me... (Those two abstracts might become part of an animal painting.

The elephant below also was to be an abstract piece, but I saw the elephant in it and here it is.
Now my studio is almost put together again after painting it and putting in laminate flooring and I can't wait to paint, paint, paint!!

I hope you all are doing well! We are waiting for fall here, but so far it's still warm and very humid and mostly overcast and often rainy. Not the best weather, but we are hopeful that soon it will cool down!!


Friday, August 28, 2015


I took all these photos at the Chihuly Museum in Seattle this summer. It was spectacular! 

I can't believe that our summer is almost over. Daniel starts teaching again in another two weeks and already our days are getting busier with things that need to get done.
During our summer we painted, we read, we relaxed went to the movies, met up with friends, celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and traveled to Seattle to see some wonderful friends. We enjoyed every minute of it.
We also made plans to do a few renovations on the house and were getting busy with the prep work after we got back from Seattle when one of our pine trees close to the house was hit by lightening.
The lightning jumped to our outdoor spotlight and from there through some of the electrical wires into the house. We and our pets are all fine, although we were all shaken from the loud bang. And we lost quite a few appliances and electronics despite surge protectors, which need to be replaced.
But that's the ebb and flow of life - periods of free time to relax followed by busy times that keep us hopping. With everything we have going on this fall, we'll have to block out some time each week to relax and recharge.
Well, speaking of the ebb and flow of life.... lately I've been reflecting quite a bit on this next phase of my life I am entering: peri-menopause (sorry to any guys reading this. TMI, I know!). And while I kind of thought it would all be happening in my body, there's a lot going on in my mind, and my emotions are all over the place.
I'm definitely feeling this transition. It's sort of like going through puberty again (right down to the the increase of pimples in my face), but puberty was accompanied by great anticipation of being grown up and independent, with all the dreams of the young.
This now feels much calmer. In so many ways I have the life I have dreamed of. And I still feel anticipation of all this next phase will bring. At the same time I'm feeling just a little unsteady - not quite here anymore and not quite there yet.
There are days I feel confident and full of energy and others when I cannot find my place at all. I don't feel old, but I'm also not young anymore.
My body is changing, which I have trouble adjusting to. I used to be rail thin and skinny and now I am suddenly curvy. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but somehow I got it in my head that - for me - skinny is good and curvy is not. I know that's total nonsense, but it wormed itself into my thinking and it's taking me a long time to learn to be kind to my changing body and to still see it as beautiful.
I always thought that I would not ever have a problem with getting older, but... that was when I was young. When you are young you can't see things from an older person's perspective. But I do now. And while I have no regrets whatsoever about the choices I have made in life so far, and while I love my life right now, I still have to adjust to this new version of myself.
So, last night when everything felt a little chaotic with all the things we have going on right now around the house and life in general, I was wondering what I could use as an anchor of sorts. Painting has become sporadic and that won't change for the next few weeks. And then it occurred to me: my blog! I need to write again. I need to share. I need to go through my day and take photos that I'd love to put in my blog. I need to document this transition time for myself. I need to write! For me!

And if you are here reading what I write, even better!!

With much love and gratitude,


Friday, May 29, 2015


Even though it's only May, summer has definitely arrived in Georgia! Daniel is finished with teaching for the school year and we are looking forward to long days spent relaxing in the backyard, painting, reading, enjoying good food, spending time with friends, going to the beach, and much more. It'll be a time to take care of ourselves, unwind, renew and recharge!
And I'm doing something I have not done since I started this blog in 2009 - I'm taking the summer off from blogging. I may check in with a post here or there as I feel inspired, but then again I may not. I am planning to simply follow my joy and see where it takes me. 

I wish you all a beautiful summer with time to play, weather to enjoy and plenty of whatever makes you happy! 

With love and gratitude, 


Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Summer of Choosing Joy

I am currently taking a class from the fabulous Kelly Rae Roberts, called "The Wear Your Joy Project." When I signed up, I thought it was about finding your own unique style in clothing, something I had wanted to explore ever since I became a full-time artist and found that my outside no longer matches how I feel on the inside.
Well, the class is about that, but about so much more. It's about connecting with what brings us joy on a daily basis, starting first thing in the morning with how we treat our bodies and how we choose to get dressed so we feel good about ourselves all day.
That got me thinking about the rest of my life and how I often don't choose what brings me joy, but rather what is practical or what I think I should be doing. But there is no reason why things can't be practical and joyful at the same time. Or why those things I really need to be doing cannot somehow be infused with something that also brings me joy.
So, with that in mind, I have decided make a practice of that this summer and am calling it My Summer of Choosing Joy (everything seems more fun and official when you give it a name...). Making that decision already prompted a few changes that I am implementing right now:

1. I am taking the pressure off my blog and am turning off comments. It's not that I don't love hearing from you (I do!), it's because with every comment I feel guilty that I don't visit your blogs more often and that I don't usually respond back to you. No more guilt. I am going to keep blogging because I love how it helps me think and how it keeps track of all the important moments in my life.
2. I will no longer do commissioned paintings. I will finish the few I have lined up and then I will delve into the joy of allowing paintings to surprise me again. While I have loved working on commissions, I find that I stop doing my spontaneous paintings and that is where they joy lies for me. Daniel and I are planning a joint exhibition toward the end of this year (yeah!!!) and I want to paint my heart out between now and then.
3. I will do some major weeding out this summer. There will be a sorting out of my clothes in conjunction with the Wear Your Joy class - everything that doesn't bring me joy or makes me feel bad in any way will be sorted out and donated if it's still in good shape or gotten rid of if it's not. I have a feeling that this will spill over into other areas of my life.
4. One major source of joy for me lies in the kitchen - cooking, baking and good food in general. The same goes for Daniel, so I am foreseeing us making some excellent meals this summer with him being on summer break. I will share recipes here of the really outstanding ones as we try new things.
5. Of course, I'll continue to share photos of our garden, the wildlife around here, and anything else that inspires me. A lot of my joy is found in the daily photos I take and share here, on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you so much for your visits and I hope you'll continue to find something of value in my ramblings about my life and the photos and art I share!

With much love and always in joy,


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Love Languages

Last week, I had an epiphany of sorts! It's amazing to me that I can be almost 50 and am still getting to know what makes me the way I am. I've been thinking about this all week and have to write this down, mostly for myself, which is why I am posting some beautiful garden photos for you to enjoy while I ramble on.
I always love when the amaryllis bloom on the side of the house.
They were one of my mother's favorite flowers and always seem to bloom on Mother's Day. 
Last week, Andrea Scher (you can find her Superhero Life Blog here) mentioned on Facebook how she is really bad at giving gifts and that it's not one of her love languages. What?! Love languages? How had I not heard about those.
Our jasmine in full fragrant bloom! 
I could so relate because I am absolutely horrible with gift giving. Always have been (I think most everyone in my family is challenged that way). The finding of something appropriate, the feeling good about what I've chosen or made, the wrapping of it, the sending it off on time if I have to mail it, the card that should be included - it is and has been a super stressful thing for me my whole life.
The oak leaf hydrangeas are magnificent right now. 
Not that I don't like to give gifts or receive them, it just doesn't come easily to me. That's why my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving - all the joys of cooking and getting together with family and friends and NO GIFTS! It is the only holiday I feel completely relaxed about.
A new hibiscus. 
So, when Andrea mentioned Love Languages, I took the test (you can find it here).  And guess what "receiving gifts" (and the flip side of that: giving gifts) is at the very bottom of the list of what's important to me. It is not one of my love languages. No wonder I have never felt like I knew what I was doing when it comes to giving gifts. It is not a language I speak well at all.
The gardenias are starting to flower. They smell so wonderful! 
What was first on my list? Acts of Service! And isn't that the truth?
The other morning, I walked into the bedroom to make the bed and came to find that Daniel has already done that for me. To me, that spells love! Or he'll clean the kitchen for me while I am at the store to get groceries. No gift would mean as much to me as that.
Last week, we were visited by a rare albino raccoon - it was amazing to watch!
Almost as high on my list was "Quality Time." And again, that rings so true.
And here a "regular" raccoon moving around in one of our trees. 
I love nothing more than to spend time with Daniel. Of all the people I know, he's the one I most love to be with. It was that way when we met 30 years ago and it is that way now.
That, too, is more important to me than any gift he could give me.
I'm knitting a summer top for myself with some stretchy yarn and a fun pattern. 
Somehow knowing about my love languages has brought me great relief! And it has made me truly aware that we all don't speak the same language when it comes to expressing love and affection. It's also wonderful to know that there are others who are terrible at the whole gift giving thing. That said, I do have friends and family where I suspect that giving (and receiving) gifts is one of their main love languages, which means I'll always keep trying hard when it comes to gifting because they are important to me.
A favorite moment from last Sunday - one of those that was just perfect in every way! 

With lots of LOVE,