Counting the days until I find myself back in the Bay Area!

Orbs No. 22 - 22" x 30" Watercolor and Collage

Orbs No. 22 – 22″ x 30″
Watercolor and Collage

In the last week, I hung one solo show and dropped a dozen paintings off for the Sawmill Gallery Invitational that opened on Friday evening.  Both shows look fabulous.  The exhibit at Blue in Portland, Maine just ended.  All of the paintings for the upcoming exhibit Orbs, Science & Healing at the Bouras Gallery, Overlook Medical Center, must be framed and catalogued before I leave for California next week.  No wonder I haven’t been posting on my blogs lately!  In the middle of it all, a very dear friend reconnected, inspired and provided the fuel for the energy I have needed to produce and market this exciting new body of work!  Life is wonderful, to say the least.

If you live near Santa Rosa, please check out the workshops I will be teaching September 26, 27, 28 & 29 at RileyStreet Art Supply, Santa Rosa, CA.  Calendar of Workshops and Events

Painting:  Orbs No. 22, 22″ x 30″ watercolor with a tiny piece of handmade paper added.

Dedicated to Wayne and Dolly.   I know….. three months haven’t passed and I’m posting here again.  What I needed was to clarify the purpose of each blog.


After discussing the ins and outs of blogs with X this morning, I realized I would miss the opportunity that Third Time Around gives me to share who I am and what I care about outside the periphery of actually painting and drawing.  I would miss the journaling of odd but meaningful thoughts and experiences that I want to make note of. As I took my two-man tent of of it’s stuff sack for the first time in more than two decades, I remembered exactly why I started this blog and why I call it Third Time Around.

I turn 62 in October.  I’m at the beginning of my third phase of life.  With the experiences and knowledge I’ve acquired during my first two phases, I have most of the tools I need to make my third phase unbelievably wonderful ….. as long as I stay healthy.  But there’s no time to waste.  I have to start doing all those things I told myself I wanted to do when I grew up.  Some of those things I no longer care about and I’ve crossed them off the list.  I’m finding ways to do the things remaining on the list as well as constant additions to the list.  One is taking workshops with instructors whose work I respect and admire.  Another is wilderness painting.

I’m registered for Susan Abbott’s workshop at her Vermont Studio in early August.  I’d rather take two workshops and camp in a tent than take one workshop and stay in a hotel or B&B.  So that’s what I’m doing.  Camping in August will be a test run for camping at Mount Diablo in California at the end of September.

Why is this post dedicated to Wayne and Dolly? Because this is the tent I bought so that I could go with them to the Brandywine Fiddle Festival more than thirty years ago.  The moon was full, the fiddlers played all night long sipping moonshine and dancing with a feverish energy I’ve never again witnessed.  I felt alive …. incredibly alive.  I was thirty years old and entering into my second phase of life.

It’s as if this tent waited for me to be ready to invent myself yet again.  There are no holes in it and it doesn’t smell nasty.  I’m looking forward to get reacquainted.

In early January I traveled to Asheville with my friend, Pete Lutz, to shoot a few trial art demo videos.  I totally froze in front of the camera, couldn’t even say my name comfortably.  Pete sent me the footage a few days ago and I couldn’t stop laughing.  Here are a few of the many bloopers……

Since then I purchased an ipad and I’m making my own little clips.  After the photo shoots in Asheville I realized I needed to become comfortable in the company of a camera.  Thanks, Pete!  You helped to make the giant leap into art video demos.  As soon as I edit the rest of the footage I’ll post the best of what we filmed in January.

Perhaps my maternal grandmother brought this creepy doll back with her from a journey across the seas on the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam during the 30’s or 40’s.  The jollyboy Sailor doll, created by Norah Wellings, was available as a souvenir on the ocean liner owned by the Holland America Line.

Sailor doll souvenir from the 30’s or 40’s S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam ocean liner

When I visited Kathleen in Maine, I saw the same doll on a shelf in her house.  When I asked her about it, she told me her family originally had two, but one was lost.  Most likely, the one we found in my father’s attic is the missing doll, though we have no idea how it ended up there.  I wonder how many other dolls sleepwalk.  Perhaps that’s what happened to Nicole and Alexis’s dolls, Petra and Prendergast.

Sketchbook Drawing: Family Treasures No. 33, Creepy Sailor Doll – drwn first with Vintage Sheaffer Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s black ink, followed by watercolor washes.

Phil whisked me away to her cottage at Chapman Lake to review the experience of the first Color Scheme Game Workshop.

Forks, Fountain Pens and Friendship

We spent twenty four hours walking, talking, knitting, drawing and eating ice cream.  Standing in a meadow late at night, we gazed up at the Milky Way.  The autumn colors are beginning to show on the trees surrounding the lake.  The cottage has been in her family for decades.  It will soon belong to a new family who will create their own memories and history of summers and weekends swimming, boating and eating ice cream.  Though most of the furniture remains with the house.  The forks will stay with Phil.

Sketchbook drawing: Drawn with a vintage, Sheaffer Fountain Pen, later painted with waterbrush and peerless watercolor papers. Link to the painted version on my Creative Color Blog.

A lone, petunia seed found its way into a package of zinnia seeds.

A petunia thinking it’s a zinnia

When the flowers began to bloom I was startled by the odd petunia in my flower bed of zinnia.  It has grown tall and strong among its peers, perhaps, as the swan thought itself to be a duckling, the petunia thinks it’s a zinnia.  Never have a seen a petunia grow so tall and upright.

I am reminded of the inspiration and standards set for me by my fellow artists and the significant mentors in my life.  I am so much stronger thanks to the example they set for me.

Kathleen and I have been friends for fifty-nine years!

Tea Cozy Hats

Another way to wear a tea cozy

Kathleen is now Captain Kathleen, the proud captain of the boat “AS IS”.  We walked to the shipyard to pick it up after having had it’s engine repaired.

Captain Kathleen

We took a quick spin around the cove before bringing it back through the marsh grass to its mooring.

“As Is”

The trick to arriving safely at the mooring without hitting the rocks hidden by the high tide is to count six trees along the bank, make a sharp left and head straight for the flagpole.

Count six trees and make a left … painted at low tide when the rocks are visible

Next morning, when the tide was high, we took the boat out to explore the waterways and test the engine.

Testing the engine at full throttle

Testing the engine at slow speed

And …. when we didn’t have a chart to indicate where the rocks might be, we took turns rowing the boat.

Rowing in uncharted waters

Spotting a Blue Heron

On the way back from our adventure we noticed a multitude of boats in the harbor.  It was the annual Harbor Fest Day.

Schooner in the Harbor

We arrived just in time to watch the Tugboat Muster.

Tugboat Muster, Portland Maine 2012

Two tugboats go bow to bow.  The winner is the tug that forces the other to move backwards.  Following the muster, four tugboats retreated to the far side of the harbor and raced back to the other side.  A great way to end an adventure in a boat is to witness a tugboat race!

Being the two ladies we are, we stepped out of the boat and into Kathleen’s garden where we took shears in hand and  played the part of Edward Scissorhands.  A lovely Weeping Cherry had disguised itself as an unknown ball of a bush.  After a little trim here, a lopping off there and careful snips everywhere, we unveiled the beauty of the tree.  To celebrate our success, we brought two chairs from the deck to sit beside the tree and toast to our successful day.

The pruned Weeping Cherry Tree

Wine Spritzers

A toast to two ladies in a boat, friends forever.

Sketchbook drawing:  Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor using the tiny altoid tin travel kit shown on the previous post.  This little sketchbook is made from old paintings that I tore into pages.  The background of this sketch is the paint from the original, unsuccessful painting.

My children have fabulous friends and I’m fortunate that they share them with me.

Flowers from a loving friend

Tom and I sat in the backyard.  We raised our glasses to all those we love and have loved.

A UPS truck rumbled up the driveway.

“The coffee!”  Tom anticipated the arrival of another giant bag of beans from Chick. Tom was repairing Chick’s coffee bagger when his heart rebelled.  Chick watched over Tom the entire week he was in the hospital in Long Island.  He continues to keep us supplied with coffee and Tom still keeps Chick’s machine humming along, one of the few coffee customers whose baggers he still services.

Tom returned to the table with not one, but two boxes.  The second box was a long purple box, obviously flowers.  It was addressed to my son, Michael, whose father passed away on Saturday.  Flowers for the living!  Flowers for and from loving friends.  The cheerful daisies survived their voyage in the cardboard box and have now recovered, bringing smiles and hugs across many miles to touch not just Michael’s heart, but my heart, too.

Thank you, dear friend!

Painting for Michael:  ink and watercolor, drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor, followed by a few more lines drawn with the fountain pen.

Posting this image after returning from Robert Wood Johnson Hospital is oxymoronic, yet in many ways quite appropriate, though only a very few, older folks might understand.

Pumpkin Disguised as Female Nude

The phone rang at 2 pm….

Sad news.

I stopped working on my new website and drove to the hospital.  KLA and I met when we were eleven years old.  Our friendship was sporadic, but true.  As I sat holding her hand, alone for an hour, I focused on the better memories.  I let go of her hand to draw her … a drawing I will never post.  I held her hand again.  When the nurse asked me leave, I said bid farewell.

The plug will be pulled at 5 pm tomorrow evening.

She would have liked this post.  She was an amazing photographer who lost track of the path she once walked.

Image: Watercolor and pastel

Fabulous visit with an old, younger friend this afternoon. I feel like a proud mother.

Flopped Over Peas in Bloom

As I recall, today is really Memorial Day, May 30th.  I thought more today about the men and women who died serving the United States Armed Forces than I did yesterday as I ate my deviled eggs during the legal holiday.  I believe all, or at least most, legal holidays now fall on a Monday or Friday for the convenience of a three day weekend.

Back to feeling like a proud mother.  Beth Brader, after going through a terribly scary episode in the local hospital, has awakened her artistic soul.  She covered her hospital room walls with drawings when she wasn’t catching flying tennis balls. She begins every day and ends every day with drawing using a bic pen and markers.  The work is incredible!  Klimt, Beardsley and Matisse all come to mind, yet her work is not derivative. Her drawings are uniquely Beth Brader.  Had Beth not made it through her crisis, the exquisite drawings I saw today would not exist.

I returned home, drank half a bottle of wine on an empty stomach and drew my pea plant monsters in my sketchbook, still feeling the thrill of Beth’s return to her art.  I think about the tragic loss of musicians and artists who died fighting wars.  I think about the loss of all those whose lives were cut short.  Yes, they died fighting for our freedoms.  A greater contribution than one’s life cannot be given, yet I wonder …… what art, what music, what inventions do not exist today because the inventor, the creator, died in combat before the contribution could be made.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor, followed by white gel marker, followed by dip pen in ink.

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