Tag Archives: women’s lives

A Week in Denver



Cait and I just spent a week in Denver visiting Elizabeth and Christian, and my beautiful grandson, Cabrin.  The weather was very warm, several days of 100 or more!  So outside time had to be managed a little, but we still found plenty to do!   One hundred or more doesn’t seem as hot as 100 in Portland.  Its very dry in Denver, so not much humidity.  (Our week was dry and warm, no thunder storms or rain.)  We went to markets, fairs, the aboretum, parks, creeks, antiquing, shopping, and spent hours on the deck talking and playing with Cabrin who will soon be three-years-old! 

 Riding in his covered wagon at the Farmer’s Market, Dad pulling the wagon.

Trying to make a giant hula hoop work by picking it up and running in a circle!  Hmmmm? 


“What’s going on here,”  he says.


 A small treasure for Mairwen Rose, who couldn’t come with us — she just got a new job!  Yay for her!

A small treasure for me!  A rusty, broken, and old, kitchen utensil! 


Sisters!  Cait (on the right) and Elizabeth.

 This was a fun day!  It was too hot to stay outside for long, but I found a seed pod(green) from a tree,and it has a green pea seed inside.  I can’t remember the name of the tree – it was so hot that day my brain was addled!  And a little black  seed pod from a Hyacinth bean plant!  The flowers were so beautiful, I hope I will be able to grow one next summer from this seed!

Lilly pad with flower at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  I wish I could say I took this photo, but I didn’t.  Elizabeth is our talented photographer in the family!  Visit her website here http://www.elizabethsizemore.com/



A “Cookie” in a wheelbarrow!”

A boy in a wheelbarrow!

A boy on a tricycle with a funny helmet!


An “extra-terrestial” in a cup of milk.  Hmmm?  What’s going on here?  “Mama, ET is stuck!”

Auntie Cait and Cabrin in front of his home.

Elizabeth and Christian (my son-in-law)and Cabrin (making a silly face).

Wearing “Mimi’s”  glasses and looking a little unfocused!

Wearing my glasses again!  He says, I see two Mimis!

A little wild bunny in the back yard.

Denver was a lot of fun, but time to get back into the studio and make some art.  My first project is to put together my travels in Denver book for 2011!




1888, Daisy Winchester


1888, Daisy Winchester

18×24 inches, acrylic, charcoal, collage on canvas. 

I started this painting by gluing down a piece of dressmaking pattern tissue and letting it wrinkle and crease, and then covering it with gesso.  Then I sketched in the head and shoulders and glued down some paper ephemera;  a page from an old school book, a catalog page of old clocks, and a bird.  I wanted to use green in the background because it’s a color I seldom use, and I was thinking of the outdoors in the background.  After I finished this painting I decided to glaze with a light brown to give it a sepia tint.  It didn’t work and she looked like she probably had malaria jaundice when it was finished!  I went back in with titanium white and burnt umber and tried to “fix” it – but it was probably better before I fooled around with the glaze.

 Daisy Winchester was my grandmother.  Of course I only knew her as an older woman, but when I was about fifteen I saw a photo of her taken when she was about nineteen.  I remembering being so amazed that she looked like another person when she was young!  It was a challenge to paint what I remember of the photo – of course I’ll never know if I have come even slightly close to what she looked like – but I like to think I have.  She was born in 1888 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma.  She told me once that her parents rode on one of the last great land runs in Oklahoma and she accompanied them.  She was about twelve at the time.  She told me that she sewed her wedding dress while riding horseback during this long ride, even though she had no idea who she would marry.  She said it was just something girls did in those days.  I am imagining that it might have looked like the dress I’ve painted in the painting.  She told me it had lots of tucks and pleats and was made of white “flannel” (very lightweight wool).  She sewed all her own clothing and taught me to sew on an old treadle sewing machine.  I used to make her an apron for every holiday.  She always wore a clean apron over her dress – it was just part of getting dressed for the day.  She had twelve children, ten survived.  One died after only 24 hours, and one died of a gun related accident at the age of fourteen.  She raised them all during the great depression in the Oklahoma dust bowl.    She was a no-nonsense kind of person and only attended school up to third or fourth grade, which is why I used the old textbook pages in the background, however she was not illiterate, and always read the newspaper every day, and taught me how to spell and write my name when I was about 4 years-old.  She quit school  because she was needed to help her family with the farm.  She spoke with an old-fashioned cadence, using words such as thee, and ye. She loved farming, and the outdoors.  That’s why I chose the color green for the background. 

The sketched in painting.

“Fiona: A Cautionary Tale”


“Fiona : A Cautionary Tale ”        11″x14″ Canvas 

Acrylic, light modeling paste, Collage papers, charcoal, graphite

I think I put too much texture on the under surface of this painting – but these last few paintings have been purely experimental.  I like painting over the straight edges of paper underneath, the modeling paste got a little too built up and made for a lumpy complexion.

I had my own reasons for painting this particular subject; just some things I didn’t want to forget.

“Cecillia, a Token of Remembrance”



“Cecillia, a Token of Remembrance.” 18″x24″ Acrylic, collage on canvas.

I am having fun with this collage on canvas and painting portraits over the collage.  I like working fast like this and letting  whatever happens  happen!  I’m trying out all kinds of different techniques I’ve read about – like using a sanding block – that produced the soft effect I was looking for in this piece, which is sometimes difficult with acrylics.  I might have gotten a little carried away with the sanding, but it was fun.  I glued down several pieces of paper before I began and gessoed over them.  I chose to avoid painting over the handwritten date on one of the papers, ‘Friday, 6-48,”  as this was relevant to the time period of Cecillia.  I blocked  in the basic structure of the face and hair and then decided to add the saved piece of canvas (from another project) with the nude figure of a child and framed  it with pieces of  scrap papers to make a little  shrine to childhood.  I think the stairs in the background represent the journey out of childhood where we are essentially helpless to make life changes, into adulthood as we strive to change our lives for the better.


Cecillia was my best friend first cousin.  I have no photos of her, just my own memories of a soft brown-eyed girl with a dimple.  I used to beg my mother to let her come and live with us (forever)!  Cecillia had a wretched  life, and though I was too young to fully understand, I “knew” that she was a fragile child and I loved her all the more.  We kind of lost touch after marriage,kids and grown up life, and didn’t see each other as often as we could have. She passed away  in 1972 from complications of second-hand cigarette smoke.  She didn’t smoke.  She was 28 years old and the mother of three-year-old twin daughters. She grew up with both parents smoking  in the house, around the babies and children, and most other adults in our world did the same thing at this time.  No one really understood how dangerous it could be to their own health as well as their children’s health. Their house was tiny, and the smoke would hang in the air through the whole house, which was a converted garage in the middle of an oil field in southern California.  We used to play hide and seek around the grasshopper shaped oil pumps, and picked dandelion heads for wishing from between the railroad tracks than ran in front of her house.  We always wished for six new dresses each.  That’s how it was back then!



Sharon at 18, a Portrait


“Sharon at 18,” a portrait. 

Acrylic, collage, mixed media, charcoal, found papers, joint compound  on 18″x24″ canvas.

After I finished the last canvas, “Nyx,”  I really needed to loosen up and just paint whatever came into my head without worry about proportions, lighting, corrections.  I began this yesterday by gluing down odd pieces of paper including some copies of other completed pieces.  I gessoed over the papers and painted in some background color – still not really knowing where it was going.  I knew the hand in the upper right corner would be important.  I went back to the backgrounds late last night and drew in a profile with a charcoal pencil, then I added some outline hair.  I began filling in the profile, with white, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, payne’s gray, phthalocyanine blue, and burnt umber.    I worked fast and tried not to think too much about what I was doing.

Near the finish of the painting I “saw” the hand with a lifeline attached and this led to the image of a house, which I think of as a symbol for the soul.  I called it “Sharon at 18,” someone who is always in the background of my mind. 

Button, Button …Buttons on Tuesday


I have just recently discovered the amount of stuff available on ebay, new to this phenomenon, at first I was overwhelmed, but I am an old hand now.  This prolific amount of stuff is an amazement to me – all I have to do is say, gee I wish I had “some,”  insert whatever desire comes to mind, and I am immediately rewarded with hundreds, or even thousands of choices!  A few days ago while I was stitching on my Tattered Gatsby(s) I wished for buttons and voila!  A big bag of buttons arrived today.  But these are no ordinary buttons! 

Very old mother-of-pearl, still attached to bits of cloth, as if someone just cut the buttons off with a hunk of the garment still attached!  Which, of course, that is just what they did!  I love it when I find buttons with thread still in them, but with a scrap of fabric, oh my, its wonderful!  These do not require “aging,”  they are already quite aged, and actually dirty, which makes them even better to me.

Strung together for safe keeping.  All of these are mother of pearl except the very large white ones.  I love to imagine who strung them together, what garment were they taken from, and how many times were they used since their original removal?


Very large (1.5 inch) still attached to their original cards.  These probably aren’t so old, but they are really big and heavy mother of pearl.

They said it was about 500 buttons, but they didn’t say how old and neat they were – and  its way more than 500! Sometimes I am surprised that no one else wants what I want – no one else saw anything special in these!  No rhinestones, no fancy shapes, and it wasn’t mentioned that so many of them were the sought after mop!  A new term I have recently learned in the button world.

The yellowish ones are very old underwear buttons, either bone or “vegetable ivory,” another new term to me, and the little black and white one is a painted china – looks like a zebra, another new term in the button world!  The black faceted ones are glass.  The little greyish two holed one feels like its made out of rubber?

I will be able to fill up my glass bottle-shaped like a hand with tiny pearl buttons now.   Its taken me a long time to collect enough small buttons that will drop through the bottle top, but this found treasure  is filled with tiny pearl buttons!