Still Isolating?


I am. I’m in Northern Va and it’s still deadly out there! However, I am taking this time to become addicted to wine and making cards. Please buy cards to mail to your loved ones and SAVE THE USPS! go to: https://penzart.square.site/

I’m also selling painted grow bags for your balcony container garden 🙂

By the way, is anyone else feeling deadly afraid at the least little cough? I’ve had the worst ever allergies, unlike ever before, and they come with a sore throat and upper respiratory congestion. I don’t want to “open up,” and go out, I want to isolate further until there is a fix, and yet I want to connect, go shopping and see my kids, friends and 98 year old mother! Tough emotions, tough times.

This is a sample of the newest versions.

Stuck


I started this embroidery a long time ago and decided it needed something. Fun but, meh, who cares.

It was just wrong. So I cut it up.

It’s beginning to have a little intrigue. Should I make it into a book, a sculpture, a mobile or a framed piece. Like I said, I’m stuck. Help!!

You’re allowed to say throw it away, or spray paint it black and go with texture instead of color. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Thank you 😁

Stinkbug Season


              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.   

 

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

Trying to be Random


Sometimes the camera on the cell phone turns on by itself. If I were paranoid I’d say someone was watching me through that innocent little lens. An actual picture is rarely taken but sometimes I’m feeling a little exposed (pun unintentionally intended). I’m sure it’s just my clumsy handling of a delicate piece of technology, like a butt dial. Is there a name for that like a cheap shot or something?

In any case, some of the random shots were intriguing enough that I felt the whole shoot-at-will thing needed some more study. What I found out is that being “random” on purpose is really hard! It was almost painful to not compose the picture, not adjust the surroundings and so on. Could it be that I just can’t let go of my “eye” and the need to make the shot right? Maybe that takes a certain type of personality. Someone that can let go of control. And here I thought I was just that loosey-goosey-artist-type that could do that. Nope, apparently not. But I’m going to keep try until I get bored with it.

I will be trying this again. Standby….

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!

Kids Book #3


This book is an easy reader. I really don’t know if they are any good or not but I loved doing it! My stories don’t have a lot of conflict and definitely no violence. They are just for fun. I think my excitement at finishing this one is with the illustrations. I’m beginning to feel a little more competent as an illustrator. It doesn’t come easily for me but here we go!

Amazon has them:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=penny+ross+burk&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Sketchbook


Just some fun pictures in one of my books.

Well, apparently when you post from your phone the pictures come up on the right sidebar…Not a techy, I don’t get it. But, if you click on the pear and the little arrows, that’s where the other sketchbook pictures are.

Me and my guy


It’s that time of year again. Inktober.  I’ll try to do more as the month goes on but I’ve finally figure out how to illustrate my latest story: The Glass Bottle. It’s a mythology or folklore, something like that. I’m excited about it! Maybe I’ll post a couple of pictures as I finish them.20181004_155953

Muggy Walk


The perfect word for this weekend. Swampy, maybe that’s because of tRump, but it actually has been. I had to wear my Wellies for the morning walk. Mosquitoes buzzed around my head. I swatted, to no avail, so I let them do their thing and kept on.

When we first got my dog (a rescue) he couldn’t believe I would allow him to go in the puddles. Now he doesn’t even ask anymore if it’s ok (he use to look at me questioning if he could actually get wet and muddy). His hair long is a problem for me when he wants to get back in the house (with ac) but not for him. He likes to plop in the creek too. He doesn’t swim, he just plops and slurps. 20180610_170754.jpg

The Big Reveal, over and over.


True story and sorry no pictures for the pervs out there!

What I Wore:

  1. Dark blue, baggy, linen, button down tent dress,
  2. Pair of dark blue Capri leggings (meant to be taken off as the day got warmer),
  3. Pair of orange (maybe coral) espadrilles,
  4. Cross-body pocketbook (is that what it’s called?), and
  5. Big tote bag full of stuff to do (but never seem to get to) while waiting for the car to be tuned up.

How Many Events:

  • Three with one repeat

Where Disaster Struck:

  • Car dealership and several techie stores my husband had to go into and finally Costco

When:

  • Same day

Continue reading

Two Nona v.s. One Sexagenerian


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

To Art


I’m gearing up to do the annual Spring Art Show in Great Falls. May 5th and 6th. I was reluctant at first but with some encouragement and incentives I’ve decided to go for it. They want to set up a time for me to read my children’s book. I’m not sure which one, maybe both? If enough kids show up, that makes it more of a community event rather than a sales event. I also have a dozen or so watercolors to hang up. I’ve been matching the paintings up with fabric and scraps of paper, like this:

20180403_182717

Some are more elaborate than this one but they’re already under glass making it harder to photograph. All but one out of the dozen or so, are in an 11 x 14 black frame with the same off white mat-board. Hopefully it will look professional and enticing. Of course there’s always insecurities but I guess I just have to suck it up.

 

Looking Down and How to Ride the Subway – Two Stand-Out Life Lessons


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

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!

Continue reading


I’ve had a busy few weeks. First was a studio tour last weekend. The kind of event where artists open their studio for people to visit and drive from one artist’s studio to another. They came to my house; mostly older women dragging their husbands. Continue reading

Nose to Nose


If you ask an older person how old they feel on the inside, they might tell you they feel like they’re 35, sometimes younger like 25 or 18. Walking with the dog today, I realized that if I answered that question it somewhere between nine and twelve years old.

All my mind can handle right now is walking the dog, drawing and painting, meditation, cooking and making yummy things like chocolate and a few other basics. When I go beyond that, I begin to have anxiety attacks. I don’t know how to handle dissidence.  As a nine year old are you expected to understand why people don’t just get along? This is where I am during tRump time.

All I want is harmony, birds chirping, the smell of damp woods, honey, thoughtful discussions and laughter, my dog, a crackling fireplace on a cold night and rolling down a hill in summer. Is that too much to ask?
nosetonose

Aprons, yes or no?


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.

Continue reading

The Swim


Just a thought….

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Meet Clever!


I used to make up bedtime stories for my kids.  One story that we all loved was about a a very smart Macaw who adopted a family and then takes them on an adventure to find his home. “Clever” was one of those stories that  survived the test of time (about 25 years since my kids were little). My eldest requested an illustrate version of the story so that she could share it with her children.

Clever is available on Amazon as a softcover real book (remember those?) or as a Digital Download. I hope you enjoy!

Written and illustrated by me!!

 

Who Flirts With A 60 Year Old? What Happened On Day One


I didn’t think my first day as a 60 year old would make that much difference. Yes, I had the normal amount of anxious thoughts. For instance, does “old” start now? Am I now decrepit?  I wondered if my body was going to start breaking off piece by piece, like in that great movie Death Becomes Her. Or maybe it would be more like Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knight is being hacked to pieces and he’s left with no arms, no legs and continues to insist “it’s just flesh wound.”  I’m already beginning to feel a little bit like that but that’s not the point.

So, the birthday was great, family, gifts etc. Then the next day, it’s off to workout. The gym is not my kind of place. I’m a loner and sedentary at best, so when I go, I hide behind my earphones and close my eyes while on the elliptical thingy and pretend I’m not really there. No one bothers me and that’s all I ask while I suffer through my exercises.

After warming up, it was now off to lift weights and there the problem
presented itself. I was happily lifting away the old-lady-flabby-arm-parts and doing those squatty-lungie-things while holding a stupid amount of weights, when I realized too late that I had made a fatal mistake. I had taken off my earphones and was left open to not only the whole world but to the man that was one bench over pumping iron like his life depended on it. He looked at me. I quickly looked away but I could feel “it” coming. It was like the electricity you feel just before the storm. You can see the dark line of cumulus clouds rolling in straight for you but it’s memorizing and we’re just to transfixed to move out of the way. Not only that but in this case there was nowhere to run to. I just had to resign myself that I was about to get dumped on.

I paused for a second and thought about my rights to be there, in the weight room, even though there were mostly macho-dudes and intimidating equipment. I stood my ground and watched as the storm came in. His name was Joe. He hadn’t seen me here before but boy did I look fit! (Could I say f*** you now or did I have to take more?) He looked to be in his late 70’s and all of a sudden I got dizzy. This is who I’m attracting now that I’ve turned 60?!!? I turn 60 and I lure octogenarians?  He told me to enjoy my work-out after a little more ogle, but the damage was done.  I was shaken and could only stretch for about 30 seconds more before feeling the need to flee. Most of my exercise came by sprinting out of the rec. center with downcast eyes so as not to attract the attention of any more senior citizens…like me. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! Such was day one of being 60. Do I now have to be thankful that I got flirted with at all? Jeez.

 

Rabbit Goes Piggyback


RabbitanddogOdd little painting but I love it…

Waiting for Vacation


Long haired puppy waiting patiently for the trip to Maine. Blending with the couch helps him pass the time.

Lastic

Blue Fun


Watercolor and ink…blue monster fun just for Max (3.5yrs old).

MonsterforMax

Winter Trip 2016


We always go south in the winter, just for a week.Water and islands seem always to be involved. It felt so good to be warm, snorkeling in turquoise water and the smell salty air. I fell in love with the island of Dominica. “Why aren’t we living there?” I keep asking anyone that will listen.

Home now and there was beautiful flurry of snow dusting the roads and grass this morning. That was nice too. Viewed, of course, sipping coffee, curled up next to a cozy fire.

 

Con-graduations!


To all the high school and college graduates in my life. Yay!

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The Glass Bottle


I love taking an object or a photograph and using it as inspiration to write a short story. This is very much a children’s story.

20150210_112150The bottle looked empty but was sealed with a cork, wax and an old tattered ribbon. When Harmony found it on the beach, it was hidden between rocks where it had been resting for some time. At ten years old she was absolutely delighted with the object that fit so perfectly in her little hand. Her first thought was to show her father the new treasure, so off she trotted over the rocky shore like a billy goat. Continue reading

Getting Punchy


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From the brain with a concussion and way too much time alone. Painting was fun, exhausting but fun. The caption reads – this is embarrassing but here goes –
I find you absolutely radishing!
Then there’s one on turnips, lettuce, sweet potatoes and yams. It’s the Vegetables In Love series. I know… Going bananas over here.

5 day – 5 Bl&Wh photos


I’ve been challenged (all my life). This time by a photo opportunity. It’s five days with one black and white photo a day. Day 1 and I had several choices I wanted to post but this one struck me. Shooting both inside and out (freezing out there) this is the one that felt like it created questions or had a story to go along with it.

P1020364

Beasties of Burden


Framing my watercolors and embroideries has become too expensive. I can’t seem to sell everything either, so I’m left with a lot of framed pieces with no home. I thought of a way around this problem and still be able to continue doing my stitching. That would be with my little flying moths and birds which I’ve shown in previous posts. However, I felt like they needed a purpose or a story. This is what I came up with, as a small tag that would come with the critter:

Beastie of BurdenOttomanGuy9978

When my children where little and didn’t feel well, I would tell them to give their sore throats and tummy aches to Henry. He was a puppet that hung from the ceiling. They imagined their illness, no matter what it was, all balled up in an imaginary sack. Then they would give that bundle to Henry. He would fly their burdens to a distant place where illness and worry would turn to dust and disappear. My Beasties of Burden are just like Henry and come in all shapes and sizes. They are sure to fly your troubles away! They actually work beautifully for adults as well as children. All it takes is a few minutes and a little imagination.

MothaWashington9966Okay, thoughts? Are there any marketing people out there that would like to give an artist some free advice? Even if the advice is to stop trying to be an artist…I can take it…really.

Rusting


Max was the consummate rust collector. For as long as I can remember my Uncle collected rusted objects from his island in Maine and brought some of  them to his stone courtyard in NYC. I’ve gotten the bug too, always looking down on city streets or in junk piles hoping to find the coolest rusted shape buried and thought of as trash. Thus the reason for some of my embroideries embellished with rusted bottle caps and other chunks of oxidized metal. Here is only one out of hundreds of pieces in the courtyard. Not only is the piece itself engaging but the rust running down the white makes for a complete story of texture, color and shape. I’ll post more one at a time….:

Coils Against Brick

Art Opening = fear/excitement/on the defensive.


It’s a frightening thing for an shy introvert artist to show off what’s inside of her, what makes her tick, relax or find comfort. I can’t believe I’ve been talked into doing this again. Am I ready, is my stuff mainstream acceptable enough….Do I want my stuff to be mainstream acceptable? Do I have enough to warrant making the trip into the city? Jeesh…..I can’t think about it any more. I’m in it now and there’s no turning back….so here’s the link….if you’re in the Washington DC area.

http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4d7a67794f54597a4d7a413d0d0a&blogview=true 

A Powerful Meditation


Something different. I have used meditation to survive daily stresses but for many years I  have had some profound experiences with it. This is one of those experiences:

Indian Summer – 11/20/2000

 Surrounded by six elderly Native American women, I am in the middle, nestled, safe and protected by two powerful elements – age and wisdom, yet no one speaks, there is no need, we just drift in silence. Staring beyond the many miles of wrinkles, sun browned skin and snowy white hair, a tunnel of trees brush by us as our canoe is expertly guided downstream. The sun is behind clouds and we are all wrapped in faded wool blankets. It must be early in the morning but I am not told why I am here or where I am going. The trees still have leaves but I can see my breath and my cheeks feel the cold air. Continue reading

fluid movement


fluid movement

color play sorry about the flash, I will take a better picture later. I’d love to hear any thoughts. 24″ x30″

2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Steampunk-ish


I had no idea that’s sort of the style that I’ve created until my daughter said something:

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