Wednesday, April 30, 2014

that wonderful town

I had about three hours in Chicago to scamper about and see as much as I could at the Art Institute, eat lunch, and meet our group at the Field Museum.
I did so with the help of a handy little tourist map, given to me by a helpful Chicagoan (in general, I found the people of Chicago to be lovely, nice and helpful)...

…and my scribbled plan from before. Since the museum didn't open until mid-morning, I explored, found coffee, went to the art store, and then made my way over to where there was a long line forming down the steps of the museum. It was a festive feeling, even in the gray rainy cold of that early April morning. A museum guard was entertaining a little girl in line in front of me. Her family was visiting from Milwaukee. "My family's from Milwaukee," the guard said. "Great town."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

filling notebooks

Occasionally I feel anxious about filling this page or that page, using space in a notebook.
Is this worth putting down? I think.
Then I remember a story that I heard once told by Terry Tempest Williams, that haunted me. As I remember it, right before dying Terry's mother told her that she wanted her to have her journals, but not to look in them until she was gone. There was a great row of them on a bookshelf, volume upon volume. 
So Terry waited, and then after a period of time she took one down to look in it. Now I will know, she thought. Now I will hear her voice
The book was empty.
So was the next one, and the next.
They were all empty.

And I resolve to fill the notebooks, fill them all (because I'm going to buy them, there's no question about that). Fill them with whatever fills my fancy.
There will not be a row of empty notebooks when I am gone!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Today on the radio I heard some poets talking about poetry. Poetry, they said, is musical words. It is words as words. It is making. It is paying attention. It is allowing the words to carry the message, to be the message. "When I was young," one of them said, "I wrote poetry. Now I am a poet. There is a distinction between a person who writes poems and a poet. One is writing his feelings, the other is trying to make something." 

Like anything, I think it depends on how you look at it, where you stand, where you want to go.

I guess I would be closer to a person who writes poetry. 


Hey! I made rice!
And I wrote a poem!
And I fended off thoughts
that threatened to hem
me in!
star-studded success,
never before seen!
Tonight there'll be dancing
and song:
hymns to the stars.
Maybe a drawing
to honor the heady events
of today!


written on the edge
of the sink
next to the compost
and old coffee grounds
in one hand a pen
in the other
a chicken leg


There is a dance to be done around the apartment.
There is an order to things.
Whether it's this thing, or that
or just a small corner
ready to be ordered and swept.

I will keep to that order.
I will follow that order,
And sweep, and be swept.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

happy easter

For some, Easter is about flowers. For some, it is about irrevocable change. Aren't they the same thing? Once a flower exists, it cannot un-exist. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

train painting

Taking a three-day tour of the greater Chicago area with a great group of kids and teachers - musicians all - does not leave a whole lot of extra time for drawing or painting. But you take the moments when they come! Jazzmin, Liza, Casey and I spent a few wonderful minutes, as a train sped us from Chicago to Wheaton, painting and drawing in a Strathmore art journal with a large, floppy (some would say "useless"…ok, that was me) paintbrush we nicknamed "The Mop", plus a smaller, sleeker brush, a box of little squidges of watercolor paint, a graphite stick, and a fountain pen.

Later on, Liza and I used The Mop again, in the dim light of the overnight train, to create 2 more pages. Her new sea turtle made from stone, which she bought at the aquarium, is featured in the corner of one of them:

Here's a diagram of our trip, with a tree by Daphne:

Wish I could have fit that all on one page, but it was too big...

Thanks to my fellow artists!
It was so much fun painting, traveling, and playing music with you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

st jordi's dragon

Though it's a bit early, I thought I'd post this little drawing of St. Jordi's dragon, from whose blood sprang a rose tree…

St. Jordi's Day is actually April 23.