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.

Turkey Buzzard Feather

Turkey Buzzard Feather

A month ago today Joanie suggested I create a new website with the capabilities I need.  I need a site where I can offer demos to remind my students how to push puddles of watercolor, draw with a dip pen and paint wet into wet….. among other fabulous techniques.  I need a website that presents simple, limitless galleries of paintings and drawings illustrating the diverse media, styles and techniques I use to express myself and the world around me.  I need a site where I can offer Color Scheme Game Template Kits, small paintings, online tutorials, online workshops, used art books and assorted used art supplies.  I need a site that is fun to visit, fun to explore and one that will be revisited over and over again.

I knew she was right…… I just didn’t want to start over again.  She convinced me.  That’s what good friends are for.  The new website is up and running as of late last night.  I will start filming my tutorials and demos in early January.  There are kinks to work out, but I love it.  Thank you, Joanie!

Please visit at its new home and let me know what you think of it.  Visit the new blog on the site and subscribe if you wish.  The focus of the new blog is Tools and Techniques of Drawing and Painting.  I will post three times a week and suggest a drawing or painting exercise on a weekly basis.  I hope you like it!

Pen and Ink drawing of a Turkey Buzzard feather: An old favorite of mine

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.

The weather in South Portland, Maine is spectacular.

Party Lights through the Kitchen Window

The day begins with coffee outside on the deck overlooking the marshes and Egan Cove.  The day ends with dinner on the deck, party lights and candles illuminating delicious food and wine.  Conversation with friends and neighbors lasts long into the night.  I will miss the laughter and exchange of ideas.  My car is packed and I head north in about an hour.


Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink, followed by watercolor.

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

Today is Dine’s birthday.  We celebrated with a Ladies’ Night Out at Circa in High Bridge.

A painting for Dine’s birthday

Dine is an artist, a photographer and  wonderful friend.  She nourishes my creative spirit through good times and bad.  Our conversations over coffee and foamed milk are rich, thought provoking, honest and heartfelt.  We laugh. We explore.  I am grateful to have her as a dear friend.

Happy Birthday, Dine!

Painting for Dine: Drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

(left to right) Judith, Bonnie, Sally, Chris, Dine, Liz

Holding a weekly meeting with myself appears to be working to achieve both short term and longer term goals.

A gift from Dine

I usually feel as if I’m treading water until I look at my list and see items crossed off on a daily basis. Learning Coptic Bookbinding was on my list for several years.  Last week, after making my first book, I showed it to to my dear friend Dina Buist.  This morning she gave me this incredible sketchbook made from watercolor paper and coptic bound with a leather, tie cover.  It had been a gift to her, but she thought I would put it to better use.  Dina is a remarkable photographer.

Watercolor paper pages with leather, tie cover

The sketchbook measures 13″ x 12.25″ closed and 24.5″ x 12.25″ open.  The paper feels to be heavier than 140 lb but lighter than 300 lb.  I’ll try it out tonight.  I’m still too excited to settle down and focus.