The place I grew up was heavily wooded. It offered a place to escape, play, build forts and feel free. I had a route that I followed through the woods. In the winter it led to a frozen swamp that I skated on. In the summer I went to an outcropping of huge rocks that tilted towards each other to make a cave. It was one of my many secret retreats. I would always leave something in the cave like a button or ribbon. When I came back the next day it would be gone! Someone, animal or person was taking my cave offerings! Pretty sure it wasn’t a person.
This doesn’t look exactly like my cave but it’s close. Plus I can’t really remember seeing any purple trees in upstate NY. http://sales.penzart.com
I THOUGHT the choice of grocery store was “today’s challenge.” You see, I shop for my 99 year old mother a few times a week. She has her favorite store where she knows all the brands. She’s 99and get whatever she wants, even though I’m not a fan of the store.
So, with list in hand, I walk into “that” store and pick up her huge bag of oranges. She eats tons of them; maybe that’s her secret to longevity. Also on her list: eggs and ice cream. And even though it’s not my favorite store, I thought I might as well pick up the sponges since they were on sale. Wait a minute! They have sparkling water in glass bottles on sale! I stuff four bottles that clink noisily in my cart. Add one avocado, and now I’m fully engaged in the shopping trip.
I paid for mom’s first, which fit into one plastic bag and then paid for mine which stuffed a large canvas tote. Trudging out to the car with my slightly off balanced bags, I was thinking random thoughts like: I can’t believe I found stuff at this store! And, it’s a bit chilly. I looked at the sky to see the beginnings of a storm. The thoughts continued, maybe I’ll be able to make it to the wine store and home before it really starts to pour, the sky, that is, not the wine. Glad I wore my waterproof hiking boots, wool leggings and velour dress. If it does start to rain I’ll be warm and ready!
With that last thought, I felt the shoelace on my left boot snag one of the lace hooks on the right boot. “Sh**t!” I yelled cursing as I was going down. My knee hurt or was it my hip, or both? I didn’t want to get up. It was kind of nice down there on the pavement and I wasn’t done swearing yet. Good thing I had my mask on because it slowed down the flying expletives, but not much!
A little grey haired old lady came to my rescue. She helped me get up and collect my groceries. Damages? First, my favorite wool leggings were torn at the knee – very unhappy about that. Mom’s huge bag of oranges – only one was split open! But the eggs! Why is it always about the eggs? How is it that the avocado and the glass bottles went up in the air and landed with nothing squashed or broken? But the eggs? Half the box was oozing yellow. Omelets, anyone? If I wasn’t hurting so much, I’d still be on the ground laughing. Of course I fell while carrying eggs, of course! Eggs, meet earth. Earth meet…you know the rest. I was a walking, tripping cliché!
The little old lady quickly grabbed the bag with what was left of the eggs and ran inside. “They’ll replace them!” she shouted. “I’ll be right back.” Wow, hooray for little old ladies! I’m going to be like her when I grow up!
Lesson learned from this event – How about, tie my shoe laces? The store wasn’t so bad after all.
Yes, a little corner of the paper it torn, the paint comes over the edge, and my corners aren’t square. I’ve always had trouble with perfection. Perfection requires patience, which apparently I don’t have 🙂 Having said that, how can there be life with no cracks, torn corners or smudges? It’s unnatural. So the question is, do I just not have the right amount of skill, talent or control over my art? Maybe I’m making excuses for not being good enough to pull off a perfect piece of art. Or do I like imperfection, like the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi? It’s probably a combination. It might be time to explore this more deeply. This is a painting on mat board sales.penzart.com
This is an unframed botanical watercolor, acrylic and colored pencil painting. It is floating on an 8×10 mat board.
I wrote a sweet little children’s book and am trying to decide what medium and style to use. It would be nice if the backgrounds didn’t overwhelm the main character – a cat. I’ve tried pen and ink and it was just a little too boring for a kids book for this particular story. Colored pencil mixed with graphite has captured my interest lately but I’m not totally convinced. Without knowing the story I can’t really ask for thoughts but I’d thought I’d share what I’ve been working on.
I made this card thinking about valentines day. I reflected on what that first dizzying few years felt like. It was floating in our own orbit, not much mattered but the magnetic pull between us. Even with rough times the pull was, and I guess, continues. This picture could also be I the last picture in my book the Glass Bottle. sales.penzart.com
Another card entry with description @ sales.penzart.com
For decades I was lost in my own head trying to figure out what life was all about. Why was it so difficult, and why don’t I feel like I belong? After a lot of reading and tons of meditation I figured it out! It’s all about opening up the heart chakra. Really! When that one piece is open the world opens. I found I didn’t have to struggle as much with judgmental relationships. As it turns out I was the one judging. Opening the heart allowed me to go with the flow and just live in a gentler place.
Love should be an easy thing to write about, but it has so many moving parts. Our marriage has been pretty steady over the past 18 years, but it’s a balancing act on a roller coast all in slow motion. It’s subtle. Weird sneaks up out of nowhere and then dissolves with a laugh, a talk, or a walk in the woods. As soon as we can focus on each other for a few minutes, all the feelings of safety and warmth comes flooding back.
This one painting has gotten so much attention that I thought I post it on my sales website and share the story behind it. This is what’s written in the description of the painting. sales.penzart.com
A whimsical painting if crows had a bar. I imagined my own experience at bars and night clubs (many decades ago). As an introvert I’m usually observing. Expressions, body language and big gestures were fascinating to me. This started with a small soft sculpture of three crows on a branch. On the branch are martini glasses and beer bottles. Eventually it turned into a painting. The outer frame is roughly 23″ x 19
President-elect Joe Biden has said “Wearing a mask is not about making your life less comfortable or taking something away. It’s to give something back to all of us — a normal life.”
Indeed wearing a mask has so many positive side effects, that I’m not really sure what the fuss is about.
Take me for example. At age 64, my self-evaluation can best be summed up by the late ‘70s band The Monks and their song Nice Legs Shame About the Face. Yup, that’s me in a nutshell. l have my father’s skinny legs, long neck, not-a-lot-of chin, and punctuated by a large nose. Add to that, since Covid I haven’t gotten my hair cut or dyed. The total effect is chestnut brown hair plus a smattering of silvery grey ( ok, maybe slightly more than a smattering) which hangs several inches below my shoulders. Basically I looked like a goose with long hair. So when you add a mask, here is positive side effect number one: I lose 25 years, a larger than life nose, and a sagging jaw line! What more could I ask for?
Wait, there’s more! Did I mention my big nose is always cold? I guess because it sticks out so far in front of me it loses body heat. So positive effect number two: when I walk the dog in the woods behind my house, I’ll put the mask on for warmth.
My nose warming has an unintended positive effect number three: when a runner or bicyclist shows up on my path, they all of a sudden develop a conscience when they see me and quickly yank their mask into place or at least give me a wide berth. Good, right?
Nothing else to do but isolate in my studio while waiting for a covid test result for my 98yr old mother. I had just visited her and she wore a mask that was way too big. I spent maybe 10 minutes adjusting her mask and discussing her laundry that I was dropping off.
The test was negative! I kind of liked spending deafening alone time. Door closed with nothing to do but paint. The 24 hr wait was a little unsettling. I two big thoughts. Food. Who would feed me? My husband is not into food at all and I am 🙂
The other thought was that I felt sorry that the family would be burdened with all my artwork if I were to die. Lunch first though!
August 27th. That’s s Might’s’Well Day. Never heard of it? It started about 40 years ago, fourteen miles off the coast of Maine, on an island, on top of a mountain, in a cabin. Max and I started it that day as we lazed around watching the sky for eagles and the ocean for seals. “Should we go down to the water and get some mussels for later?” I asked.
“Might’s’well,” was Max’s answer.
You can guess where this is going. With every adventure and question asked or suggested, the answer was the same.
“Let’s jump the rocks (huge boulders line the coast)!” I said with bucket in hand to get the mussels.
“Might’s’well.” Max said in his casual, hippy way.
“Go swimming, have lunch, take a nap, walk to the quarry?” All questions were answered the same way. By the end of the day it became official. Somehow through all the years, no matter where we are, August 27th remained “Might’s’Well Day!
Just ask any question on that day and see what response you get.
Like everyone else during corona time at home, I’ve been cleaning and de-cluttering. Above our garage is my studio with three closets, a stack of shelves and a couple of vertical files for photos and paintings. All of these storage nooks and crannies are packed with 40 years of art supplies, books, and with a trillion hiding places. If nothing else, all of this adds up to the insulation of the room above the garage.
As it turns out, those trillions of small hiding places are perfect stink bug motels. I’ve concluded these noisy, little beasties are not only dumb, but I think they might not have totally evolved into their full potential. Yes, they’ve picked a warm place (probably because of all the insulation), but there’s nothing to eat up here for a stink bug, and all they have to drink is dirty rinse water from paint brushes. Occasionally a stink bug will be floating in my tea but not often. Those few times are usually from a mistaken nosedive miscalculation, like the kind you see in a cartoon.
So it turns out that my studio doubles as a stinkbug graveyard. I found many dead bugs inside leftover material at the bottom of a bin of fabric. Or they’re in rolled-up reams of paper, in between books and inside drawers. If I move one thing on the floor, like let’s say a box filled with wrapped up paintings, underneath will be no less than 4 or 5 dried bugs. Who knows how many will be inside the box!? Admittedly that one box is pretty big. Is there such a thing as self-vacuuming floors, because that might solve my dead bug problem? I swept the stairs leading to the studio today. Five, overnight, all dead!
When the weather hits about 65°F, I have a jars ready, all over the house to swipe up the little buzzing things. It’s the first thing that has to happen in the bedroom too. It’s a drag getting dive-bombed by a stink bug just before falling asleep. Or worse, what about when your spouse gives a well-meaning smack in the head in his effort to catch a bug? That happened the other night. He thought I wouldn’t want to deep breathe a stinkbug while I slept, so I was rudely awakened by a swat! He caught it with no passive aggressive intentions on his part, just concern. They hide in the folds of the curtains too and in the blinds. We have a window seat in the bedroom. I’m kind of afraid to look under the cushions.
When I catch one alive, I always set it free outside. I’m sure someone will discover that stinkbug stink is the cure to covid 19 and I’ll be dubbed a murderer for my bug-trapping-studio-morgue. It’s got to be a karmic setup, I’m sure of it. An enlightened monk or shaman will come along and tell me that I housed, but did not feed and ultimately killed thousands of stinkbugs that could have saved a million covid patients. Therefore, in my next life, I will probably suffer some horrible, physical malady and the only thing I’ll be allowed to drink is dirty paint brush rinse water and an occasional cup of tea.
I’ve never been much of a group person. In fact one time I almost turned and ran in the other direction when I had to take college classes (on-line) with a bunch of other people. If I didn’t have to share my opinion or my work that would be one thing, but they wanted me to be a people person and participate with enthusiasm. Why does everyone want you to be a people person? I swear the world is run by extroverts. They want you to belong to a group and not only contribute but do it with gusto!
Obviously I’m an introvert and that’s just a small part of my introvert/extrovert rant, but thank you for listening. However, now that I’m semi-retired, I have started wondering if there would be a benefit for me to be in a group. Mostly because “they” (the experts who are probably all extroverts)keep saying you live a better, fuller, longer and healthier life if you have friends to engage with. So, I thought I would at least look into it. It would be my anthropological study (that’s’ how I was told to get through life as an introvert). Sit there, study everyone else, speak only when approached but do it with a big friendly smile. No one will know there’s terrified shy person lurking inside.
Can I tell you a thrilling aspect of corona induced isolation that you might not have considered?
Two pieces of background you need to understand the thrill. First, you have to know that for decades I’ve worked as makeup artist in film and television. Second, to understand my perspective you would either have to be a woman, a tv reporter, tv correspondent, an actor, or a television pundit.
Ladies first: Have you ever gotten your makeup done at a department store and your artist smelled like he or she had eaten a pile of Roquefort cheese from the compost pile? No. The answer is no you have not! They are a scrubbed cleaned and polished lot, always hyper aware of their personal hygiene, their appearance, smile, and whether there is any possibility of emitting offensive odors. It’s a thing. This is for obvious reasons especially so we don’t turn off any current or potential clients because of a slight miscalculation from a night of pungent odor producing debauchery. Before work it’s an intense workout of showering, and the heavy lifting all the various personal cleaning products needed for the kind of clean, freshness required to be in close proximity with others.
So imagine this; for the last 40 some years in tv and film I was one of those conscientious stylists. Out of respect for my guests (sometimes called victims – playfully of course) I wouldn’t eat garlic for dinner the night before or heaven forbid at lunch during a shoot! And if I did happen to eat the pungent herb(bulb, vegetable?) during the week, or a Sunday night, I would apologize profusely the next day as I did someone’s makeup at arm’s length (hard to do). I’d lightheartedly say, “I’m sorry, pardon my garlic hang-over.” They would laugh and say: oh I don’t smell a thing, but that would be because I would be holding my breath in between eyelash applications.
Now for the first time in decades because of isolation, I am using far less products, mostly just soap, shampoo, modest amounts of deodorant and…fanfare please…I can freely eat as much garlic as I want!!! I’m so excited for the first time in years I can really reek and I don’t have to apologize!!!
I never thought about this before but now I can eat garlic anytime I want because of current mask-wearing-etiquette. My clients will think I’m just being politically correct! Genius, thank you covid 19, you just made a huge change in my life, that is if I ever get my job back.
Without testing in Fairfax County Virginia, I’ll never really know for sure but I believe I have (or had and am now on the upswing) covid 19. I had all the symptoms like the flu with a very dry heavy chest. I’d like to share some things with you if you get the virus and what helped me.
I’ve been careful about my diet. A lot of fresh fruit, veggies, carbs and protein of some kind, and of course very dark chocolate is – a necessity in my world. I also tried to include things like spirulina, zinc and elderberry, olive leaf, l-lysine and monolaurin. The point is, that nothing except the zinc felt like it had much of an impact. Toast was my friend too as was Turbo Soup (that’s another story).
The most powerful change came last night when I did some creative visualization. I had just watched the movie The First Wives Club. At the end they sing the song, You Don’t Own Me, which I decided to dance and sing to the virus the way the ladies sang to the men in their lives. It actually felt empowering! I felt like I had a foothold in a raging viral river and wasn’t being dragged along anymore.
Continuing my visualization, I set up a wood stove in my chest and put a wide pan filled with sugar. My thinking was that everyone and everything likes sugar. As the sugar melted the virus came and jumped right in. By the way, the virus in my mind were luminous blue blobs. They were quite beautiful actually as they floated around and down into the pan of bubbling syrup. It was working! Once I had them in the pan, they were pretty much done for – cooked. In case there was any question in my mind, I pour the melted virus onto a bowl filled with ice cubes. Now the sugary mass froze into a solid virus candy which I buried deep into a hole that I had imagined. Done? Not quite.
I still felt like I had a rock on my chest. Through all this meditation only way to breath comfortably was to lie at an incline, even then I had to breathe into my abdomen because my chest felt so heavy. Visualizing continued. I imagined what the weight on my chest looked like. I gave it shape and color and lifted it off my chest. It was really heavy but I felt some relief! I asked it what it wanted from me and it replied, “strength.” I thanked it for the lesson and put it in the hole along with the candied virus.
I think I fell asleep after that and dreamt about caring for baby tigers that the zoo could no longer handle.
Except for not having enough air to speak at full volume I am feeling better.
I think the strength the rock was talking about is to offer my help. If I can help you with some easy ways to meditate and visualize, feel free to get in-touch (leaving 6ft of course). Calling right now you’ll get a whispered response. Stay home and stay well xoxo.
A weird thing has been happening since staying home to avoid the corona virus. In my effort to not angst about the spread, I’ve strangely stopped caring too much about my appearance, maybe just to have one less thing to worry about. This might be partially fueled by the giant pimples I keep getting at the end of my nose. One goes away and another appears. What’s up with that? Who did I wrong in a past life to get end-of-nose-pimples at age 63? Continue reading →
It all began on a farm hundreds of
years ago miles from town. There was the farmer, his barn and workshop, the
chicken coop, and his chickens.
One cloudy day in the summer while
feeding the chickens, the farmer looked at the sky and said, “Glad it’s going
to rain today, the fields are dry.”
One chicken heard the farmer and
was taken with the sound of his voice. She cooed and clucked along as the
farmer spoke. Indeed, she loved the sounds of the farmer’s voice so much that
from then on, she would travel from the hen house each morning to the farmer’s
house just to hear the farmer talk about the weather.
The farmer enjoyed the routine too.
Each morning he’d go outside, and wait for the chicken to make her way from the
hen house. It was quite a distance, but she made it every day. The farmer would
then talk about the weather and the chicken would coo and cluck along. After the weather report the chicken would
make her way back to the hen house where she would go about her daily job of
pecking and cleaning.
After so many years of this
routine, a very clear path was worn from the hen house to the farmer’s house.
When the farmer went to get the eggs each morning, he would also use the
chicken’s path, and eventually the path became the main trail leading past the
barn to the hen house.
Eventually, other families joined
the farmer each bringing their own skills. One family rented the farmer’s
workshop to fix wagons, and with time, the wagon repair shop became the busiest
part of the farm. The wagons would roll up to the workshop just behind the main
house. Once repaired, the wagons pulled passed the front of the farmer’s house
and went on their way back to town. Eventually, a path even larger than the
chicken’s path was created around the farm house by the wagons. That path soon became
the main road running through the property. With wagons going this way and
that, it was clearly the wagon’s road that crossed right over the chicken’s
path, not the other way around!
So you see, the question “Why did
the chicken cross the road?” should never have been asked. After all, it was the road that crossed the chicken’s
path. All this time the chicken has been wrongly flagged. It’s a classic
example of prejudicial gender targeting and ethnic profiling! If it had been a
rooster’s path, there never would have been a road in the first place. The
wagons would have been re-directed by the rooster with a toll collected by the
hens. The rooster crowing at the top of his lungs, would then declare himself
an expert urban planner and get paid double whatever measly sum the chicken gets
I am trying
to learn self-promotion. First question: how do I know I’m good enough to
promote myself? Originally the point was to get rid of art that I call closet
stuffers, or insulation. But, silly me, I doing the whole social media thing
with digital downloads which doesn’t help get rid of anything! So again, why
bother? I hate to say it but maybe I need the acknowledgment, or social
acceptance? Would I go as far as to say I need praise? Jeez – pathetic.
to me is so far from the artistic process that it becomes cumbersome. Like the sizing
and editing of prints in photoshop – pixels, inches, resolution etc. Yet here I
am putting my silly little paintings (cartoon-ish looking animals) on Etsy, and
Pinterest while promoting them on Instagram. Nauseating somehow, but necessary.
Wait, why is it necessary? I can’t imagine that I can make a living off my goofy
little digital downloads. This all must be in the hopes that people
(publishers) might explore further and buy (want to publish) a book or two? Yes,
I do write fiction.
Let me preface this by saying I dearly love both of these incredible women. Okay? Ready – read!
I took two nonagenarians to the grocery store. Mom is 96. Her sister, Aunty J, is 92 They’re both creative in their own way, energetic and with most of all their faculties. Silly me I thought going to the grocery store was going to be, well, like going to the grocery store. Easy, right? You go in, you get what you want, you pay and leave. Boy was I mistaken.
Aunty J was visiting for the weekend and decided she wanted to go to the store to get some fun things to cook for her older sister. Mom also wanted to pick up a few things. It was only after the event that my cousin told me she would never go to the grocery store with her mother and “0h how brave you were to do that!”
“What?!! I yelled in to the phone. “Why the hell didn’t you warn me beforehand?” Continue reading →
These two lessons came when my sister and I would visit our bohemian uncle in New York City. He was an artist and writer/illustrator of children’s books. During the week we were with our parents in Westchester County in a very remote, wooded area. It was idyllic and peaceful but for some reason we would end up in the city on many weekends and often during vacations. I loved the country and built forts and wandered in the woods, but I equally loved the city! Maybe it was because our uncle always seemed so happy to show off “his” New York. Daily outings might include a bagel, dim sum or some other treat. Wollman’s Rink was on the going-out-list, as was Times Square, Chinatown, Zabars and a host of other places to eat including the automats (ask your grandparents what that is). On any given weekend we might end up in Brooklyn to visit Gram. On all these excursions we would walk, take the subway, then walk some more. Taking a cab was for the “swells” not for artists. Continue reading →
We are staying in hotel with casitas. Each casita has huge sliding glass doors that lead to a little plunge pool.
We decided the air and temperature was so delightful at night that we wanted to leave those doors wide open. In the middle of the night I heard something and saw the tail of a rather large animal jumping down from the kitchen counter. I woke my husband and with two small flashlights we searched the villa. We saw and heard nothing further and decided I must have been dreaming.
However, the next morning I noticed crystal powder on the floor leading out to the pool. Sugar? Then saw a tea bag(brought from home) that was in the sink but there should have been two more. There on the counter was the second. It had been gnawed open with tea sprinkled around as if it exploded. I still haven’t found the third tea bag.
Finally we noticed our two bananas were gone. The peels were left by the pool. One to the right of the pool and one to left. It must have been a party!We were told it had been raccoons or coati. Apparently they can open the refrigerator door if they think there’s something good in there.
In my silly mind, I wondered if we closed the door tonight, will they knock to be let in?
Anyway, the sun was just right for picture taking.
Do you have a building pass? The kind you have carry with you at all times. It either clips to your belt or hangs from your neck so everyone can see just how un-photogenic you are. Well, if you have one, don’t do what I did!
Welcome to Vinalhaven. Maybe I shouldn’t advertise it and keep it a secret… I mean moss covered pine forests edged with giant ferns, I mean, come on! Even the dog smelled fresh and hug-able after a few days here.
Do you wear an apron when you cook? I don’t. I have one, but I have never bothered to take the time the put the damn thing on. Why? Why bother? I run into the kitchen after work and begin. There is no dawdling; no pondering the situation, no gazing into the depths of the deep, dark, refrigerator. And no measuring devices will ever taint one of my dishes. Let’s just get the job done! First you open the freezer and check out the meats, and if no meats are being sacrificed, then move on to the vegetable drawer. Easy, sauces, pots, pans, a little of this and that and, voilá, we have a meal!
I’ve been told that I cook the way I paint – with no patience. When I got married, my husband was aghast at how dirty the kitchen became when I cooked. I’m still not sure what he was complaining about. I mean, I always put my ingredients away after I use them. But preparation is like conducting an orchestra. Things splatter, pop, sizzle and fly across the room. I have stopped throwing the spaghetti against the wall to see if it’s done, mostly because our ceilings are really high in the kitchen.
I was going to title this Why Drain the Swamp. But then I thought wait a second I wouldn’t mind draining the stinky, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, rotting parts of the swamp. Otherwise, what’s wrong with the swamp?
I don’t know, it was the color of the sky, the silhouetted shapes, the setting sun…the picture just had to be taken. It’s not great or anything but there was something whimsical about the berries and the stems they hung on and the rhythm of the leaves.
I’m not sure when I saw them for the first time. I must have been 12 years old. I believe Mick Jagger was on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, so it must have been soon after that I saw pictures of Jagger wearing really bold stripped pants. Iconic image, right?
For me, those pants became the foundation of a self-analyzing psychology. I was hooked on the music, the look, the whole free artistic lifestyle. Sex, drugs and stripped pants! In my young mind, that one article of clothing signified all those things.Continue reading →
If this is massage therapy, I’m a can of tomatoes.
Like any other modern day baby boomer, I’m a lover of massage therapy. I’ve come to appreciate a deep tissue pressure that will soothe my jangled nerves without registering a single bruise to my, um, baby soft skin.
This was not the case.
The guy was smooth, strong (too strong) and obviously hadn’t completed his zen preparations that morning. Perhaps I should have told him that I would support the political rebels in his country. Perhaps it was his way of slowly but surely punishing all Americans, one client at a time. Perhaps he had a rough childhood. I apologized for my existence. I pled for my life. I still came away mangled. Continue reading →
Not too long ago, this semi-famous-fat-wealthy-powerful guy was telling me that if I hadn’t “made it” by the time I was 30 then just forget it. Being somewhere beyond 40 at the time, I found that incredibly disappointing and became temporarily depressed. However, not being one to wallow for too long in my misery or to believe everything I hear, I began to question whether I had “made it” yet or not? Which led me to wonder, what does “making it” mean? Continue reading →