My last sketch last night before heading down the road to visit Tari and devour delicious German apple birthday pancake.

Toy Helicopter, watercolor sketch

I found four little helicopters, all in primary colors (plus green) at a nearby toy store a week ago.  They are perfect objects for color studies illustrating the color / value lessons I’m presenting on my other blog, Creative Color.

I want to thank everyone for their Happy Birthday wishes yesterday.  It was one of the gloomiest days of the year in terms of weather, yet my experience of the day ranks it way up there with the best days I’ve ever had.  Alexis and Nicole even called me from Iceland! I’m still smiling.

Helicopter sketch: drawn first with ink in fountain pen followed by watercolor washes.  Only one more page to go in my red sketchbook.

Friends, glorious friends.

We met when we were two years old

Kathleen spent the last weekend with us bringing her aura of love and joy, filling our house and yard with new found happiness and enthusiasm for life.  When we parted on Monday morning we laughed, having a new perspective on our current state of employment.  Kathleen is “Job Free”, working only two days a week and searching for better employment.  I am “Retired” but only from the business of art. Working four days a week at the Prop Shop allows me to paint selfishly instead of for others, in spite of the lack of selfish painting time I have.  Quality of time rather than quantity of time.  Job-Free and Retired, not bad at all.


Rain plays music upon the leaves outside my window and geese fill in with the vocals as they flap their wings overhead, arguing about whether or not to head South this year.  I sit alone sipping coffee and smiling, sometimes filling the room with my own uncontrollable laughter as I read Tom’s gift to me, “60 Alternate Definitions”, a list he created knowing my love for word play.

Oxymoron: laundry detergent for an idiot

Observe: to obey the mighty Ob

Accord: a quantity of cut wood

Zebra: what ze woman wears beneath ze blouse

Admire: to make muddier

Beard: having ears that are shaped like a ‘B’

Inspire: where bats live in churches

Solo: not as high

Hourglass: a drinking vessel that we both share

Birthday wishes pour in through my phone, email and the old metal box at the end of the driveway that holds what we now refer to as snail mail.  Old friends, new friends … the circle continues to grow with each passing year rather than diminish.

Dreams are coming true.  Alexis and Nicole are exploring Iceland together.  Mike and Monica are in Spain, perhaps reaching Barcelona today where they will enjoy the beauty of Gaudi’s organic architecture.  Travel helps illuminate both the similarities and the differences among us due to our environments and the way we, as humans, adapt ourselves to those environments.  Traveling reminds me how much more I want to see and paint, how many more conversations I want to have with people I haven’t yet met and how many more sounds, tastes, textures and smells I want to experience before I leave this life of being Chris Carter.

On this day, at 3:28 pm I turn sixty.  I am the luckiest person I know, thanks to my family and my friends.

Thank you all for being part of my life, for being part of my inspiration and my joy.

Tomorrow morning I catch a train into New York City.

Kathleen in New York City, 1969

In 1952 Kathleen lived three houses up and across the street.

Dad pointing out where the house would be built

My parents moved the family to New Jersey from Indiana in 1952.  I am wearing the blue snowsuit.  I had not yet met Kathleen.

Helping my parents build the house, 1953

By the time the seasons had changed and I was wearing red overalls, Kathleen and I had become friends.

Kathleen, June 1969

We had our ups and downs, as all relationships do.  Through it all our bond grew stronger in spite of the distance between us as we went our separate ways after graduating from high school in 1969.  Three days ago Kathleen turned 60.  The next three days will be spend together, laughing, talking, walking, drinking wine, eating chocolate, having adventures in New York City and celebrating life, love and friendship.

On Tuesday, October 19th, I turn 59 years old.


Nicole in Birthday Attire 5th Birthday?


Rather than receive gifts this year, I would like to send gifts to three people whom I’ve never met but who have been incredibly supportive by continuing to visit this blog and to comment on my posts.  They even wished me well during my recent trip to the hospital where I received my marvelous new hip.  Leslie, Linda and Rick have become cyber connections and I am grateful.  There are times that I didn’t feel like getting up early and posting a new image yet I did, knowing that they would be expecting it.

I would like to send each of you a small study from my sketchbooks.  I believe Leslie would like a fountain pen squiggle drawing.  I’m not sure what Linda or Rick would like.  Please, each of you, let me know.  I would like to be able to put a little matted drawing or painting in the mail to you on Tuesday.

Please let me know your pleasure and contact me with your address.  You can contact me through my website at

Thank you, Linda, Leslie and Rick, for all of your comments.  I truly appreciate them.