Wednesday, December 31, 2014

roots and plants

Ansel brought me some beautiful light green bok choy from the market this weekend. They were hydroponically grown by a farmer in the city. Each one had a little block of soil at the bottom, filled with tiny roots. "I think if you plant them, you can grow more bok choy," Ansel said. 
"Wow, neat, great idea!" I said, and went on to do other things. 

A little while later I thought of it again. "Maybe I should plant them now," I said, turning around to find them. 
And there they were already, rooting in a glass.

2 others, in a bowl

And a profile of Ansel :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

happy xmas eve!

Loads of things to do today, but this little guy showed up on one of my to-do lists:

Good thing, too, because it had been a while!
Happy Christmas Eve to everyone, Happy 3-days-after-Solstice, Happy Wednesday, Happy Last-night-of-Hannukah. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

watercolor abstraction

I love doing these abstractions. I love how the water and pigment interact, and how the colors interact with each other. I love watching it happen. I love how the different areas are like different lands, with topography that my eye can wander around in. I love how sometimes there are paths between them. I love discovering different events (shapes, colors, lines), preconceived and un-preconceived.

Monday, December 22, 2014

happy advent

Advent is a time of preparation. Things are coming. They are not yet here; we have to wait.

And yet Advent is also a time of movement. If we only wait for joy, then we may not know how to receive joy when it comes. Perhaps Advent can also be a time of practicing the art, the habit, the skill of receiving, creating, accepting, making space for, cultivating, and propagating joy.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

pears, no partridges (yet)

Here are some earrings I made for a friend...along the fruit-and-vegetable theme...

Monday, December 15, 2014


Here's my friend Casey and her cello, waiting on stage for a concert to begin. I had fun trying to draw her in different poses, trying to catch her before she moved again...

Finnish fish

Good morning! I figured there was no better time than a Monday morning to introduce you all to a toe-nibbling fish:

He comes courtesy of my friend and colleague Marja, who told me that her sister used to torment her with stories of this creature. Marja drew the front-and-center foot. 

Then, unrelated (or perhaps not?) there's me, up top, dreaming of the ocean...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Happy December!

I've been doing a lot of painting lately, on canvas, not in my sketchbook. This morning though, as the snow fell thickly past my window, I thought it was time to put some color in my sketchbook again, and here on my blog!

These leaves of my baby split-leaf philodendron were right in front of me. I painted them with acrylic gouache, which I love because of how thick and matte it is, and how definite. It was exciting, too, to make some more indefinite marks with such a definite medium.

Monday, December 1, 2014

happy thanksgiving!

I spent Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his wonderful family. They are the kind of people that say, when you bring over a celery root to put in the stuffing, "Wonderful! But let's draw it first."

So we did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I am continually fascinated by leaves and their shapes, and how they grow.
These I doodled on the back of an envelope while talking on the phone:

When I got off the phone I decided to do them more justice by drawing the whole plant, and its environs:

It is a baby split-leaf philodendron. I am hoping it will grow up to take over the entire kitchen :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

hallo, cupcake!

Because "Hello" is probably trademarked :)

This was an experiment with using acrylics more like watercolors. The result makes me laugh...and I'm dedicating it to my friend Christina, maker of cupcakes!

Monday, November 17, 2014


This weekend I found myself in an audience a lot. 

I got an opportunity to quick draw this harp, before the orchestra filed on & obscured my view...

and captured these cute little violinists in their Suzuki group class, as well as a bit of a large window, a tree outside and a car.

(the curling vine trying to wind around one of them is actually another drawing showing through from the previous page)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

of radishes and earrings

It's been a little while! I've been busy doing all sorts of things, but one of them was making these earrings, a key part of my Luna Lovegood costume which I premiered at our school's Halloween party:

Here's the other side (those are toothpicks on the stems):

I got into the spirit of radishes with this drawing:

And here, perhaps a vision of things to come: 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

und noch etwas

me, on viola, tonight.

man who mistook his wife for a hat the working title for this song, which I wrote about 2 years ago. 

Do you like having the words to the songs? If so, let me know and I'll include them here.

Like the man who thought his wife
was his hat, I sing my life
to keep me in the flow
of what I know, what I know

And like the girl who tumbled down 
a rabbit hole, I've noticed how
a fall downstairs 
is nothing now, nothing now

I am bound to know 
how far love can go

And like the man who didn't kill
his father, I was standing trial 
with nothing more to say
unless you asked a different way

I am bound to know
how far love can go

Like the girl whose father went
crazy, I have always spent 
too much life and time
trying to prove that I love

But nothing will become 
the something it came from

Like the man who lost a life
to enemies, I'm building mine
with treasures that I've found
underground, underground

I am bound to know 
how far love can go

Friday, October 10, 2014

happy birthday!

My blog will be a year old tomorrow! I never thought that I would have a blog like this, or paint or draw or sing, so I thought a fitting tribute would be this song, which is all about possibility. It's called Elanor's Moving Castle, and I recorded a version tonight. It's been a while since I've played or sung it, so it might be a little rough, but that's all part of it I guess! The words are below just in case you want to follow along.

Thank you all for reading, and being here with me.
(by the way, at Beate's suggestion, I put in labels for all my posts, so now they're searchable! You can find all my paintings and drawings of my coffee cup, for example, under the label "cup" :)  )


music playing

fruit trees
people sit



put your back
against a tree
look up at
the ridge with me
you will see
it's all as true
as true can be


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

the outside world

I passed by a girl on the sidewalk today. She was wearing a sweatshirt that said "I <3 dogs" (that <3 was of course a perfect little red heart). As we got closer, I saw that it said under that, in smaller print,

"It's humans that annoy me"

My little <3 felt a little sicker.

I am a human.

I am not, and never will be (in this lifetime at least) a dog, NY, yachting, or anything else that anyone might <3.

I am utterly, irrevocably, completely annoyingly human.

Life has been hard lately. People have annoyed me. I have annoyed other people. The people around me, the people I love, have been annoyed to the point of sickness by other people around them. 

Of course we're all annoyed by the people around us. They have opinions and habits that repel us. They get in our way. They say mean things, or things we perceive as being mean. We don't have the time or energy to deal with them, but we can't imagine a way to not deal with them.

They are hard to <3.

But that girl's sweatshirt, and the soul-sinking (to me) sentiment it expressed, reminded me that we all need to take responsibility.  The outside world, the world of other people, is not the only thing going on, even though we act as though it is. We are not at other people's mercy, though we act as though we were. We are thinking, feeling adults, with inner worlds that we carry around with us all the time. Taking all that stuff in, sorting it, reacting to it or not reacting to it, creating stories around it or deciding not to create stories around it, deciding what to think and feel about it. That is our responsibility.

Monday, October 6, 2014

a trip to the conservatory

On Sunday I rode my bike to Highland Park, where the lilacs bloom in May. Right now there is a spectacular range of greens: the vibrant pines, the deep green of rhododendron leaves, the delicate green of Japanese maple.
I rode my bike, slowly, along the paths and sketched as I went.
Then I rode over to the Lamberton Conservatory to warm up and spend some time among the inside plants.

Here perhaps you can see a guitar case in front of the bench at the right. There was a man playing flamenco guitar, nestled among the vines and palms. His feet were just visible to me, at left.

And there were turtles!!

Monday, September 29, 2014


We are having some spectacularly gorgeous fall days. Full of sunshine and stillness. This is the gatehouse to a reservoir at the top of a hill. This hill gets the last of the sunshine on any given day. I did this painting around noontime in full sunshine however, sitting at the bottom of the hill in the shade.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

apple time

I spent some time yesterday sitting on the grass between two lines of apple trees.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

bird watercolor

Nochmal DANKE an Beate, THANK YOU to Beate, who made the brilliant and exciting suggestion that I turn my bicycle sketches into watercolors. It is such an intriguing process, taking something mysterious and making sense (mysterious sense, of course) out of it, translating your own impulses.

If you haven't taken a look at her website yet, I recommend it - click here! She is such a fount of great ideas and beautiful images and textures.

Here's the first one I translated:

I don't think I was actually looking at a bird, but somehow this drawing turned out with one (I think it was a house of some sort). So in the watercolor there is definitely a bird:

and a doorway?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

leah's elephant

I don't know who Leah Samson is, but I know she is an artist. Her cast bronze elephant stands with a bunch of its friends in front of an elementary school in my neighborhood. There is also a dolphin, a lion, a dinosaur, and several other creatures, all with wonderful personalities. This spunky little elephant, though, has a special place in my heart. I often visit him when I'm out on my walks.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

bicycle sketching

I live in a great neighborhood. There are towering, shady trees. Beautiful houses, with interesting colors, trim, decorations, porches, plants, lanterns, flags...always something to look at. And on one grand avenue nearby, there are the old mansions of the Rochester city elite: George Eastman's, most notably, and those of all of his cronies and co-citizens, who vied to have the most elegant and elaborate homes.

It is a treat to ride around, run around, walk around.

Recently I rigged up a mobile sketching station on the handlebars of my bike.

Then I cruised around (helmeted, of course) and drew - whatever caught my eye, only as much as I could get while riding by. I was amazed at how much fun it was. The tempo and the situation meant that I couldn't get caught up in anything. It kept my intent pure, my focus pure. It was amazing to see the view of the thing I was drawing changing so quickly. There was flow, and the flow almost became my subject.

I found it funny how unrecognizable so many of the drawings were. And how recognizable elements of others were!

Here are just a few.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

sunday evening with plants

                                                    Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß 
                                                    sie nicht an deine rührt?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


A small friend of mine gave me this ring.

I have been wearing it assiduously ever since.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

funny face

There is an honesty in drawing yourself. It is unexpectedly hard, sometimes - looking in the mirror, looking back and forth at your paper, seeing all those features, hearing the things you say to yourself about those features - and unexpectedly rewarding. Learning about yourself. Learning how to see others through learning how to see yourself ("oh, the eyes go here, and they occupy this space with the nose, and the mouth...I see...").

This cartoon I drew after watching Funny Face again. The idea that Audrey Hepburn could ever be frumpy makes me laugh. And Kay Thompson is SUCH a ham!