Writing & Art

  • Summer Solstice Is Upon Us

    Summer Solstice – (a poem in the Pantoum form)

    My legs are lolling over the arm of the Adirondack chair

    I sip lemonade through a pale green straw

    My book forgotten on the grass

    I stare at the leaves overhead as they sway in the air

    I sip lemonade through a pale green straw

    Wondering, dreamily, what this day will bring

    I stare at the leaves overhead as they sway in the air

    Will it rain today?

    Wondering, dreamily, what this day will bring

    My hands brush the tops of buttercups at my sides

    Will it rain today?

    Or will the clouds just drift apart and vanish?

    My hands brush the tops of buttercups at my sides

    I sip lemonade through a pale green straw

    I think I must look like a painting of summer

    My legs are lolling over the arm of the Adirondack chair

    Dragonfly Dreams

    You come to me in lucid dreams

    In that magical space betwixt awake and asleep,

    Flitting in and around my fantasies,

    Weaving your medicine

    Like a spider weaves her web.

    You glide along on the winds of change

    Bringing to me the wisdom of the Ages:

    This earthly life is all illusion!

    Lift me, transform me, into

    My true Spiritual self.

  • Art Continues To Sustain Me

    A question often asked of me and probably of all artists is: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Especially over these past few months I have had plenty of time and space to create a piece of artwork per day – many days I produce more depending upon what classes/lessons/free offerings I am pursuing online. My daily art journal usually has a prompt I receive online or think about as I arise in the wee hours of the morning to feed my pesky kitties looking for their ‘first breakfast’ at 3 a.m. I have the pages already prepped with Gesso and sometimes an acrylic color so I can begin straightaway. Here’s an example:

    Often I sit in front of an empty, white canvas propped on my small step ladder which has become the perfect easel for me to either stand at or sit in front of. On a small table nearby I have various acrylic paints, swatches of fabric and lace, pieces of paper, ribbons, feathers, magazine pictures, pages ripped from old dictionaries and books and a mason jar filled with brushes. The plain, white canvas is daunting so I start to glue on pieces of paper, music, lace and whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. I add whatever colors appeal to me and things start to take shape. In this particular painting I wasn’t thinking about a person but suddenly I saw her chin and the outline of a nose and realized she was looking up not out at me like my other Goddesses. I kept layering and redoing her facial features until this Goddess of the Waterfall appeared.

    This next painting is a perfect example of how an outside influence changes everything I thought I was going to create on the canvas. I started with stencils normally used for quilting and added colors and textures around them. I was listening to Peter, Paul and Mary on my phone and the song The Great Mandala (the Wheel of Life) came on and I said out loud ‘Aha! these are mandalas!’ Peter Yarrow wrote it back in the ’60s in protest of the Vietnam War, but when you listen to the words they ring true in today’s world. So, I offer this artwork as a representation of how the cogs of my ‘wheel’ and spaces in your ‘wheel’ fit together to mesh and turn and move forward as One.

  • A Quest For Real Mail

    I have to stay vigilant. My mail lady arrives at different times each day. Usually between 11:30 and 1:30 but this can be altered in an instant. Like the other day when I finally ventured out to pick up a prescription at Walgreens at 10:30 thinking it was safe to do so. But no! she is already on the main highway down the road from my street.

    A dilemma faces me. Should I speed to Walgreens and hope there isn’t a long line at the pharmacy or should I go back home and wait on my front porch? I decide to turn around and follow her to my street’s row of roadside mailboxes. This way I can find out how much mail other people are getting. How long does she stop at each mailbox? Are people getting lots of packages? I have become a calculating stalker in my mostly ‘stay-at-home’ solitude. Mail is my new lifeline to the outer world. I crave anything showing up in my mailbox: the Advertiser with supermarket inserts, hearing aid ads, real estate ads, gutter-cleaning ads, pest control ads, junk mail for people who lived at my address a decade ago. I cherish them all.

    I order things on Amazon almost every day just to have packages delivered on a regular basis to my mailbox or doorstep. I am highly disappointed when items are bundled together for easier delivery. I don’t want easier delivery! I want individual packages day after day after day.

    Today was a bonus day. The item I had ordered was broken inside the box.  Yay!  I have to package it back up, have it picked up by UPS tomorrow and then reorder the item to be delivered next week. Three transactions with a live person for one item ordered – heavenly…

    So, while emails and text messages and Facetime are sweet at this time of social separation, I want Real Mail. Solid pieces of paper and cardboard. I want to feel the paper and cardboard – after wiping them down with Clorox of course, smell the paper and cardboard – after the Clorox dries of course, examine the artwork of the stamps and savor the card or letter or even the ad/flyer whether intended for me or ‘current occupant.’

  • Art in the Age of Corona (continued)

    May 2020

    Spring is finally becoming a reality out here at the lake. I have had a series of feathered friends flying into the windows of my front porch. First a female cardinal flew against the window as her male companion looked on. After she left, a male robin repeatedly collided with the glass. When he finally left 3 weeks later, I breathed a sigh of relief, but this  morning a little sparrow took his place. Even my cats staring at them isn’t enough to scare them away… So, of course, I thought about how these actions relate to what is happening in the world right now.  An unprecedented event in my lifetime anyway. Are we all just beating our heads against the wall trying to return to a normal that no longer exists and should not be returned to anyway? Spirit is calling to us to change our habits and ways of life that no longer serve us or the planet.  Will we listen?

    Over the past few months several Goddesses/Angels have come to me in dreams and visions, all of whom I have painted as directed by them. This first week of May which is celebrated by many cultures as Beltane, a time for planting seeds and the ripening of trees and flowers, brought forth Gaia to me. She symbolizes Mother Earth and brings forth abundance in nature. We must take care of our planet and honor Gaia and all the wonderful things she freely gives us.

  • Art in the Age of Corona

    Each week, as I sit staring at a blank canvas wondering what to paint next, the face of another Goddess/Angel starts to take form. I am realizing more and more that the image is already on the canvas waiting for me to acknowledge her. Her timing is always perfect. Zanna, pictured here, proclaims: ‘You are protected from all types of harm. The worst is now behind you. I ask you to relax and feel safe.’ The worst may be behind us, but that does not mean we are to rush back into our old lives. I believe we are to take this ‘time between’ what was before and what will be in a week or a month or even a year from now and find our place in this new paradigm we are being invited into by Spirit.

    I am also striving each day to create something new in my art journal. Much easier to do something small and easily completed in an hour or 2. I usually ‘sploot’ several colors of acrylic paint on a page, fold it over and press to create swirls and patterns that suggest something to me. Like the images in clouds, pictured here from a photo I took in Florida in March, suggest angels, animals, or waves on a shore, my blots of paint suggest images to me.

    Sometimes it takes a day of walking past the journal lying open on my kitchen peninsula before I have an‘aha!’ moment and wings and the outline of a faceand hands holding a sacred object start to appear.The picture is from a Susan Boulet calendar I have hadfor years and the my painting above mirrors her.

  • Art in the Age of Corona 2020 continued

    Today is Easter. It is a holiday/festival/ritual celebrated by many cultures around the globe. I have painted this depiction of Ostara the Celtic Fertility Goddess from whose name the word Easter is derived. She heralds Springtime, the time when our sun returns from the darkness of the Winter months. She also welcomes the seeds and plants to rejuvenate and resurrect themselves from the cold earth. The birds are returning from their hiatus south and the butterflies and dragonflies will soon follow. The world around us is fairly bursting with life.

    Easter is a time for rejoicing. In these troubled and uncertain times we can turn to Nature to see how the cycle of life continues ever onward despite extenuating circumstances. Let Ostara be our guide and mentor as she reminds us this is an opportune time to make life changes and prepare for new ventures.

    This picture is a recent page from my ongoing art journal. Even though Jesus is depicted as a baby in his mother’s arms, isn’t this where we all begin and end?

    Jesus called out for his mother at the end of his life…

    Michaelangelo’s famous sculpture Pieta portrays Jesus once again cradled by his loving mother.

  • Art in the Age of Corona 2020

    These are strange times indeed. My emotions swing all over the place day by day but my artwork has given me a focus and direction for these emotions and I have found my Muses, be they Goddesses, Angels or my Spirit Guides, have been coming through to me in dreams and visions. I am eager each morning to put brush to canvas and see who emerges over the days as they come clear to me.

    Here are a few of the Goddesses who have come forth as I contemplated my empty canvases:

    I painted Bridget a couple of months ago and just wasn’t satisfied with her facial features so I ‘Gessoed’ over her nose and mouth Tuesday and did not realize until I stepped back what I had painted – a face mask! Was this a sub-conscious thought or feeling coming through?

    Here is Bridget, re-imagined as of yesterday…a pleasant, warm smile on her face, apparently Coronavirus-free!

    I also decided to participate in the #518rainbowhunt phenomenon taking over my area and perhaps the whole country by now?  I wanted to paint something eye-catching and fun. So, while getting out of my car Wednesday, I spotted this angel which was originally all white and waiting patiently in my herb garden for me to notice her potential as a Rainbow of Hope.

  • Treasure Island, Florida 2020

    I traveled to Florida from February 28th to March 12th. Luckily was able to enjoy the sun, sand, water and sea breezes before the spread of the coronavirus cancelled or delayed events and flights, etc. I enjoyed many walks along the Gulf beach. Found many treasures washed ashore and stood one early morning between the full moon setting and the fierce sun rising.

    This photo is of the page I created in my journal of treasures that washed up on shore one morning.

    waves crashing on sand

    slip back into ocean’s fold

    leaving sea treasures

    Busy little birds along the shore at sunset.

    sandpipers scuttle

    surveying sand for supper

    spy savory snails

    Another day in paradise winds down…

    magic hour at dusk

    lone bird flies across the sun

    accent mark on sky

  • More short writing pieces

    When I facilitated a writing class at the Roarke Center in downtown Troy I posed the question: ‘How would it feel to be young again?’

    Here is my answer.

    It depends upon how young? I always say I would never want to be in my 20’s again even though my health was the best then and I was fearless and inquisitive and knew everything about life there was to know. The downside was the uncertainty of where my life was headed, the heartaches over devastating breakups, the worry about how I dressed, talked, wore my hair. I was always worried about what others thought of me – ugh!

    My childhood was pretty great. It was fun growing up on a farm with animals, a pond with a raft on it, the woods to play in. We all had chores to do but when they were done life was carefree.

    As I grow older I look back with fondness on days gone by.

    I think with nostalgia of being 60 again.

    Another short fiction topic we wrote about was: ‘Who was Dorian Gray?’

    My answer:

    Dorian Gray was the penultimate ‘bad boy.’ He cared naught but for the pursuit of his own pleasure. It was an exciting, fun-filled life, in the beginning at least. With no purpose to his existence other than seeking what pleased him in the moment, Dorian’s life was losing its ‘punch.’

    He had to keep seeking new ways to feel excited: drugs, alcohol, visiting brothels, dating stage actresses with questionable reputations and finally having his portrait painted by a famous artist so he could stare lovingly at his young, handsome countenance.

    But, as inevitably happens, life caught up with Dorian. He aged. The young starlets no longer found him handsome and alluring. The drugs and alcohol ravaged  his face and body and finally his very soul. Even his painted self gazed back at him with dark circles under his eyes and sunken cheeks.

    He killed the artist thinking it was he who made him look ugly. He killed the actress who no longer found him handsome. With each murder he became less and less human and more crazy.

    Finally, he sought to end his anguished, downward slide by plunging a knife into the offending portrait thinking he would then return to his youthful self. However, the knife struck the solid steel frame, flipped end over end and stuck into his own chest.

    As he lay dying in a puddle of melting ice cream he hit on his way down to the floor, his portrait-self wagged a finger at him and admonished:

    ‘Bad boy. You got your just desserts.’

  • Flash Fiction

    In July 2019 I attended a Women’s Writing Retreat at Pyramid Life Center for a few serene, pristine, delightfully free-ing days in the Adirondacks.

    A group of women writers, singers, performers, playwrights, educators, yoga and Tai Chi instructors, gathered together to share experiences and learn new ‘techniques of the trade’ in whatever form that took during the week. We shared our stories and songs and poetry each evening.

    I took two classes: Art Journaling and learning to write Flash Fiction. The journaling class helped me unleash my creative side in words and form while Flash Fiction was a new genre for me.The idea was to write a complete story including plot, character development, scenes and resolution in 200 words or less! We began by just writing what came into our heads on a subject then spent the rest of the session editing it down and down again.

    Following is a short story (although not under 200 words!) and collage I created during the week.


    She sits at the piano letting her fingers flicker over the keys of ebony and ivory the word pianoforte coming into her mind. A few of the notes combine to sound like something she almost remembers..but no, the Cs,Ds and F sharps float away, unrecognizable, into space.

    Her gaze shifts down to her clothes. Pink satin robe cinched tightly over a corset. She hates pink – or thinks she does. As she twirls on the little piano stool she catches sight of a face in the wavy glass of the floor-to-ceiling window. She feels suddenly dizzy and fizzy and is frightened by the image of the auburn-haired woman she does not recognize peering back at her. As she slows her panicky breathing and racing heart the questions come flooding in: ‘Where am I?’ which leads to ‘Who am I?’ which, because of the strangeness of her surroundings, inevitably leads to ‘When am I?’

    As these thoughts race and tumble one upon another a young man steps through another floor-to-ceiling window and cries: ‘There you are! I was so worried when you did not return from your walk into town.’

    She whispers back, not trusting what her voice will sound like: ‘I lost track of the time and am just recently returned.’

    To herself she thinks: Hah! I have lost track of everything – time, place, names – except for Victor here. Ah! his name is Victor!

    She does not know who she is to him. Sister, wife, lover? so she treads lightly with her next question. ‘Victor do we have plans this evening?’

    ‘Oh Emily, my sweet, lovely, disappearing sister, how can you have forgotten we dine with Alistair and Mims at 8?’

    Emily gives her head a shake trying to clear her brain of the fuzziness she feels. Who are Alistair and Mims?

    Looking around again at the room which is decorated in heavy fabrics and huge gilded picture frames, and at the clothing she and Victor are wearing, she surmises she has awoken from her 2019 stupefying sleep into the world of Edith Wharton.

    What was it her 20th century psychiatrist called this ‘time traveling’ she keeps obsessing about each session?

    A Fugue state brought on by a traumatic, heart-wrenching event she does not want to remember.

    Better to live in the past, in someone else’s present time. Emily’s time.

    She rises from the stool and gives safe, reliable Victor her hand.