Category Archives: Journaling

Finding My Way Out (of un-ness)


Journal page – 8.5 x 11 – oil pastel, gouache, watercolor, pencil

I’ve been reading some fairy tales lately, well not, “once upon a time,” but  a book called “Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters” by Kathleen Ragan.  I think this is going to influence my art for a while, content wise anyway.  I love the idea of being able to fly – it is such a mysterious thing; only allowed birds, fairies, and angels (and insects).

Journal page – 8.5 x 11 – oil pastels, gouache, watercolor, pencil.

This is where I’ve been sitting, thinking, and reading.  Watching the hummingbirds visit the salvia, and dreaming about big beautiful paintings!

There’s the Madonna of the Marigolds, no  marigolds this year, but she is carefully watching over the seedling japanese maple that Cait gave me from her backyard, there’s a larger version behind her to the left, I bought that one last year at Farmer’s Market in Hillsdale, just a walk away from my house.  I’m going out to rearrange things today – the larger Japanese Maple is getting too much direct sun, I can see the leaves are being burned, so strange since I was only complaining about the lack of summer weather recently – apparently its enough to crisp delicate growth!  Beginning to become less un.

Oil Painting…un-ness


untitled and unfinished 5 x 7 inches – oil

I went and bought a very inexpensive set of water soluble oil paints – okay – really cheap set!  I just wanted to see how I liked them, and I’ve got to say, I really don’t.  I don’t like the forever drying time, I don’t like how if you aren’t very  (read extremely) careful the paint all smooshes around and gets muddy.  I can’t find my way around a canvas with oil paints.  I see a spot I want to work on, right then and there, but I can’t without losing the good part of that spot when I change the not so good part.  So I am probably not going to experiment further with oil painting, I guess.  I still like the idea of it, but it takes so long to dry – I am trying to change my way of approaching painting.  But is it worth it?  This is an example of a small canvas I was working on with the oils.  I do notice the luminosity of the skin tones, but I think I can duplicate that with acrylics.  You will probably notice I tried not to use my usual blues in this little oil painting, that part I liked.

I’ve been stuck in this sort of in-between state all summer.  I’ve tried to nudge myself along – and I’m blaming it partly on the Portland summer, or lack thereof.   Summer comes late to Portland.  Usually after the 4th of July, we have a few record breaking dry days, like maybe nine in a row.  This usually prompts some panicky weather predictions; like measurements of last winter’s snow melt, lots of finger pointing at dry curb sides, predictions of coming water shortages, maybe drought, probably pestilence… and what the heck, throw some starvation in there too – it might raise the ratings!  Anyway- I’m just sayin’ – I have to find some reason for my lack of painting interest.  I thought it was good that I tried the oil paints – but I’m still un.

What ….? Un-ness.


I don’t know what I’ve been doing.  Waiting around for some kind of inspiration to kick in.  Its been weeks, and I still haven’t got much going on in the studio.  I haven’t really been busy.  I went to Denver a couple of weeks ago, but other than that I’ve mostly been waiting…. and I’ve got nothin’.   I bought a can of chalk paint to paint my bookcases – but the can is as yet unopened.  And it cost a lot, and I really wanted to paint them white, they are currently black, but – well – the paint is still unopened.  I went downstairs and dug out some canvases that I had stored away – not old paintings, just blank canvases.  But so far, nothing has happened and they are growing dust waiting for me to get going.  I’m waiting for the summer – but in Portland, summer is just an idea that has its own time – kind of like my creative-ness – or un-ness, right now.   Even the journal is not filling up like it should be – that’s the thing.  “Should.”  I “should” be so happy to have the time I’ve never had before I should be more creative I should be painting a canvas everyday I should just jump in and get going…I should….. I know, I know, I know.  So here are my journal pages – strange meanderings of the un-ness.



I dreamed of a baby horse


I haven’t been working on any art projects lately, but I had a dream some nights ago that stayed with me.  It was about a baby horse and my desire to take care of it; to protect it and keep it safe during the night.  I sketched out a very quick illustration and used a transfer technique with packing tape to place the words  of the dream over my sketch.  The type should have come out a little darker, but I did it several times and that’s what I got, a gray typeset, almost like a watermark, which would be very nice in some situations, but I wanted the words to be foremost for this, since my sketch was so crude.  It’s a journal page, right?  Doesn’t have to be perfect.

Here’s what it says:

I dreamed of a baby horse that needed my care.  In my dream, someone told me that I should find a safe hiding place for it during the night – maybe make a nest in “the bushes.” as its mother would do.  Cait was walking beside me, and I said to her, “I would never leave a little horse all alone in the bushes all night.   Anything could happen.  “If I had a motherless baby horse to take care of I would take it right into the house with me at night.”  Suddenly we were walking together toward an old farmhouse and I was carrying a foal in my arms.  I seemed quite strong and very able to carry the horse and walk the long distance to the house without any trouble at all.

Journal pages – Imaginary People I Might Know


I know these are perfectly ridiculous – but I have nothing to say for myself! (haha) It was fun.  I was telling someone I couldn’t draw animals…and then I thought, but this is in the realm of “what if”, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t know exactly how an animal looks – these are imaginary people I might know!

It’s been cold (actually turned the heat back on) and rain, rain, rain here and I’m tired of it!  We had two days of spring weather last week – nothing more predicted!  Thought I would entertain myself with a few whimsical drawings for the fun of it.

 “Simon Hausparrow, Rainy on Monday”   Oil pastel, gouache, watercolor on journal page.

“Mlle Minou – Ready for the Dance” Oil pastel, gouache, watercolor on journal page.

“Bunny, a Girl With Questions” Oil pastel, gouache, watercolor on journal page.

Rusty Hearts – revisited


2010. Rusted Hearts – Warning:  Objects may appear closer than they really are.

Collage on paper 9×12 inches

I feel hateful today and my throat is sore.  Its very dark outside, raining in fact, which isn’t much different from most winter days in Portland.  Possible snow mix this afternoon.  I was drawing but every face I drew came out with an oversized head and mean eyes, so I gave that up.  I’m going to read instead I think.

I went to the store yesterday and noticed that men were lined up six deep at the valentine card display; in frantic realization…..

I also saw an ancient woman wearing a full length fur coat (real fur) with the sleeves ripped out.  I wonder if she got that coat 60 years ago as a valentine gift and later had a fit about something and ripped the sleeves out.  I thought about asking her, but she was moving fast for an old woman.  Maybe she had a valentine stashed in her pocket and needed to make a fast getaway.

My aunt once cut all the sleeves out of my uncles shirts and sport jackets, she cut the pants off too, so when he opened the closet all that was there were sleeveless sport jackets and very short suit pants.  He was having an affaire.

I won a valentine drawing contest in the first grade.  I drew a capital R and then I made it into a bride with a long white veil,her one eye suitably cast down.  She carried a bouquet in her hand that showed – since she was made from a capital R she was in profile and only one hand showed.  I drew colored hearts three rows deep around her, with a blue sky in the background, and big red hearts in the corners.  There was no groom, not even a capital R one.

I once put vinegar in my husband’s aftershave, but I don’t think it was valentine’s day.

I sent my beautiful grandson a handmade valentine and a funny faced koala bear which he spent long minutes introducing to his other stuffed animals, saying each of their names and hi, how are you and holding out their paws to each other.  The koala bear’s name is eucalyptus – what else?