Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Good Silver

Christmas is over.

It was wonderful and stressful
and full of family. I am blessed with
kids and in-laws and grandkids who
all like being with each other. We ate
too much, sat by the fire and played
games with the little ones. We missed
our relatives who were with other loved
As I set the table for Christmas Eve, I
was reminded of my Mom. She was very big
on saving the "good stuff" for special occasions.
The china, the silver, the crystal were rarely used.
I never did figure out what constituted an occasion
big enough for the "good stuff".

I followed her advice until 6 years ago.
I was moving again.
I put the Pottery Barn stainless flatware in the kitchen drawer.
I got the big wooden box full of beautiful old sterling flatware
ready to store in the china cabinet.
I opened the box to admire the sterling.
The graceful curves, the weight
of the handles and all the fancy pieces.

I decided it was time to live every day as a special
occasion. The stainless went into a box and the
sterling into the kitchen drawer. It goes in the
dishwasher daily. It has a beautiful patina now
and I never have to polish it because it's being

It makes me smile at least once a week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Itchy Fingers

I have painted my fingers off this last year.
 My first love.
I am surrounded by my stuff as I paint.
 Walls of stuff.
Years of collections. Stuff I could not resist.
It's been calling my name.

I rearranged the studio into different work stations.
A jewelry area
a collage area
a salvage junk work space.

It's so cool.
And just as messy as before.
Why can't I create and clean up at the same time?

I am now a more diverse artist.

I move among the stations and voila - different art appears.
I  make jewelry.
Funky upcycled photo/recipe card holders.
And magical little villages from scraps and crumbs of
other eras and lives.

Working in different mediums gets me very energized
in a creative way.
Can't resist going back into the studio at night to look at everything.
It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

I decided to take my words to paper. Out of the pictures. Just the words.
Plus I love playing with calligraphy and alphabets and making up my own fonts.
This observation began with my granddaughters. I have three beautiful and talented ones.
No bias here....
There is so much noise in the media today - even media that 6 year olds are exposed to - that screams how important "pretty" is.
I hope that they learn that their value is in who they are, not how they look.
I sold many of these at the Country Living Fair.
My favorite buyer was a nice grandfather who was buying it for his 12 year old granddaughter.
He was concerned that she was already too focused on clothes and appearance.
I hope it helps. It can't hurt, right?
When I finished the drawing, I noticed that the final art was sitting on the sketchbook that generated the original idea.
From start to finish.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chicken Dreams

Every time I paint " I'd like to quit my job and raise chickens" - I sell it within the first few hours of the show.

Someone always connects with the idea or has a friend who voices that wish for a different life.

Personally, I love the fantasy of a beautiful and funky chicken coop in my backyard. Eating fresh eggs from your own hens is supposed to be an out of this world culinary event. (I have high cholesterol so I couldn't eat them. Just sayin'.)

Plus there's the part where, for whatever reason, I might have to actually pick up a chicken. I imagine it would be flailing about with it's pointy/dangerous beak. Maybe they don't flail. I wouldn't know. I grew up way too close to NYC.
However, I totally appreciate the idea of an escape fantasy. We all should have one.

It's the dream of where you'll go when life gets too tough or raw or sad.

Mine usually includes a bucolic farmhouse and acreage.

Enough land for all of my family to build a homestead if they want

Just not too sure about those chickens.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I've been thinking about talismen a lot lately. I should probably look up the meaning in the dictionary.
I know what they mean to me. I have a lot of them.

Today I wore my Grandchildren talisman. It's a necklace that was a gift from my youngest daughter. It has 3 concentric discs, each disc has one or more of the names of my precious grands. Luke, Brayden, Mackenzie, Nicholas, Ella, and baby Alice.

I have place markers on the chain because I know there will be more to come.
I always feel special when I wear this one.

Being a grandmother is one of those life gifts that just gets better every year.
I am so grateful to be able to hike up a canyon with them /dance in the kitchen like a fool
and play every game they want. Except football. I draw the line there.

I have a necklace that is my mother. When I need her strength and protection, I sling
this one around my neck. The original gold chain and wedding band was a first anniversary
gift from my Dad. I added all her childhood charms to it after she passed.
This one comes on plane rides with me and scary business meetings.
I know she's always got my back.

I also have some makeshift talismans. My daughters and I share a crudely crafted leather
thong that has a whole bunch of saints and icons. This is one for general travel safety.

I have a large pebble on the floor of my messy mini-van.
This one is a gift from Ella Ann when she thought rocks were the best things.
They were everywhere, free, and a lot of them are sparkly.
What could be better?

I have a handmade plastic bead bracelet hanging from my rearview mirror.
It spells out "Mimi" - Ella's name for me.

I have a friendship bracelet hanging in the house from my beautiful Mackenzie.
She's 9 and makes them for all of us. All 16 of us, whenever we're together.

When I can't have the ones I love to hold my hand, I have their gifts to keep me strong
and feeling loved.

Life is good. I've been saying that a lot lately.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reflections on My Dogs

I sit here on Holy Saturday night, recovering from an ugly attack of bronchitis, with dogs at my side. Dogs at my feet. Dogs behind me.

And a cat in the studio, but that's beside the point.

I was looking at the photos I have on file of my art. Lots and lots of dogs.
At one point I decided to create Dog Shrines. I loved doing them.

I used architectural salvage pieces to build each shrine -
vintage painted boards, ceiling tins, dog tags and other found objects.

Each dog was painted with a prayer of gratitude for the gift of dog companionship.

Dogs are the kindest and simplest of creatures.
They hold no grudges; have no master plans for their lives.
(Thank God.)
They are always, always happy to see you.

They are grateful for each and every kindness.

Plus they love to cuddle.

My dogs are happiest when I curl up on the couch, turn on the TV and relax.
This is their cue to find a cozy spot on me or near me and fall asleep.

A life with dogs is an extra blessing.

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anatomy of a painting

I have been working on a new style of painting for a while now. My background is in precise illustration. Extra points for being able to draw 10 circles in a row that are the exact same size....

That "tight hand" has carried over into my painting. I would like my images to be free and loose and full of fantasy. It's been many many years since I drew like an illustrator.I don't think I will ever lose that element in my work.
But, boy, have I tried.

My friend, Bailey Jack/artist extraordinaire/ taught me her system: black ground and chalk outlines.It's just an awesome way to paint and has loosened my tight, cramped little hands enormously. I don't know where this path is leading. And that's fine.
I love the new work and how it enables me to focus on shape and color instead of pencil lines.
The images are bolder and looser and BIGGER! I have struggled with making big paintings for so long.

I just finished "Paradisio".
It's 2.5' x 4' - gigantic for me.
So I took pictures of the process.
I thought it would be interesting to see how it took shape.
I have a lot of sketches of this tree in my books.
I try and sketch/doodle every night.Lately it's been birds and trees.

The original drawing was edited a couple of times. Balancing the color was a challenge.
I love the final painting.It's now at Galerie Matilda on Canton Street in Roswell, awaiting the grand opening. And, of course, I downloaded the jpegs in reverse order so you see the final painting first. Of course.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunnyside Up

Watching the Grammys.

Fascinated by Lady Gaga.

What drives a person that way?

Incredibly talented. She seems incapable of taking a breath. Or a vacation.
Having a regular day. A sweatpants kind of day. No meat dresses.

If I had that kind of drive/focus, would I sell more paintings?

I'm not sure I would want that level of success.
I am sure I wouldn't want to pay the price for it.

We all make choices along the way.
I chose family, children and home a long time ago.
Painting and creating were a fortunate discovery that popped up in mid-life.

The ability to paint and draw has been a blessing and a salve in good times and bad.
Maybe that's the difference between me and Miss Gaga. ( As if there are any grounds for comparision...:) )

My creative blessings weren't my only focus.
I chose what was most important and grounding for me early on.
I needed the balance.

Art was the frosting on the cake.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Not even for an egg vehicle or a meat dress.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's About Time!

I'm thinkin' that 5 months between posts is probably NOT the best way to build a blog following.

Just saying...

In my defense, the end of 2010 was really really busy. I bought a new house, moved, did shows, shipped orders and co-hosted 15 family members for Christmas. All of it was great, wonderful and positive. It left me with little energy for cheerleading my work on the internet. Most days I just wanted to move the furniture around and feather my cozy nest.
The house is the best thing ever. Perfect upstairs for an empty nest family and breathtaking downstairs for an artist with just too much stuff. I cannot begin to verbalize how amazing my basement studio is. A medium size family could live there in comfort. Kathleen Taylor Studio et al ( Violet the Studio Cat, tons of junk i can't part with that will find it's way into my art and every orphaned piece of furniture that doesn't fit on the first floor ) has taken up residence.I am so happy every time I go down the stairs - feeling very blessed.

All the grandchildren will have their own mini studio next to mine.
Best of all, two of them are within walking distance.

Still deciding which shows to apply for in 2011. I am excited and a little bit nervous about my big project for this year. I'm illustrating a cookbook for an inspired author and my dream publishing house. The same publisher that does Mary Englebreit's work. A fantasy come true. I can't wait to get started.