All the Way Down to Earth


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!

Me

                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.

Wabi-Sabi


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.

Which Medium Will Do


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.

Connected


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

Open To You


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.

Crane on Paper


Birds have always fascinated me. When I was about three or four years old I very clearly remember asking my mother when I would get wings so that I could fly. She said she was sorry but people don’t get wings. I thought to myself what use is a body that can’t fly? I asked her if I could get rid of this body that felt like a lead weight and get a body with wings. She was not at all happy with that idea. I was crushed.

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Mask Upside


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?

Momentary Quarantine


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!

Might’s’Well Day


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.

The New More Odoriferous Me


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.

Defeating the Virus with My Inner Shaman


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.

The Pimple and the Plague


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

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?


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 paid.

Riddle solved!

Lessons From the Art Studio Tour


I’m so honored when friends stop in to support me at the art show and say hello. But boy am I uncomfortable selling my art to them. Don’t you give stuff to friends? I love my friends and want to give to them, not take their money. . It’s the way I give gifts, which I don’t otherwise give. I really suck at gift giving. So this is really perfect…isn’t it? They pick out what they like, I give it to them – everyone’s happy!! When I explain that, the thought and sentiment behind it, is brushed off.

Then to top it off I had one young lady fall in love with a painting. When she asked how much I wanted for it she lost it. “That’s too low!” she gasped “It should be at least double what you have marked here!” …and then proceeded to pay the lower price. ( -.- shrugg). oh well.

Okay big lesson – add ten dollars to each tag. ok, $20. but that’s as high as I’ll go!

The top picture and at the bottom of the other pic, is a new little kids book I’m working on. It’s about an Ant and an Elephant. Before it’s even done I’ve gotten some interest. Actually someone wanted to buy that unfinished little sketch book. Wohoo! They also like the one about the seagull that gets kicked out of Bologna cartel. He then gets a kid to help flood the market with bolgna to ruin his former comrades. Once that’s done, he starts a new gang that seeks out and hords peanut butter….something like that.

My Pass at Potty Humor


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!

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