Monday, November 05, 2007

IF- "Hats"

Illustration Friday's theme this week is "Hats"
"Whooooo" is one of my first fabric collages I did about a year or two ago? I actually knit the stocking cap- on about #0 knitting needles- don't know if it offers enough "wow!" to make it worth it. A friend of me encouraged me not to put so much stuff in- less lets you really look at everything and since I have made an effort to limit the "stuff" in a given illustration- so what is there can be appreciated.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween @ Battle Rock

This year- Halloween fell on Wednesday,the day I teach art at Battle Rock Charter School. The cottonwoods along McElmo creek are in blazing yellow and the foliage below them in brilliant orange, set against the red sandstone of the canyon walls and the blue, blue sky- it was an awe inspiring drive.

Once at the school, I was met by superheros, and faires, monsters and princesses, in all shapes and sizes as school across the country were host too.

What is a little different about Battle Rock is it is just few miles from the Utah border and the Navajo Reservation- so we had a few unique spooks- including a very scary Navajo Grandmother- in a raggedy broom skirt and scarf complete with turquoise jewelery.

But once she was done scaring everyone- she gave us all a extra special treat- Fry Bread- yum! Pretty much at every festival or function around these parts, you can find a stand of Navajo ladies, stirring up dough and than slapping out a disc of flour and water- which is fried in a skillet of lard.

Cousin to the sophapia or funnel cake- fried bread is best eaten in the first few minutes of its creation and is yummy with a little honey,powder sugar or for the base of a Navajo Taco with all the fixings!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

IF...Trick or Treat?

I confess- this is "Re-illustrating"- kind of like regifting- but I wont have time to get to a new illustration done and since Halloween is like my least favorite holiday- check out my Oct. 2006 archive to know why- if your curious, I guess I am not very motivated. This one, from last year works well- the theme around Halloween was "Ghost"- i.e. no feet-
So have a blessed "All Saints Day" and enjoy the harvest- the light and views in my corner of the West are amazing right now- I was driving out near the border of Utah/Colorado yesterday, early in the morning and I actually thought I was witnessing a UFO- no joke- the sun was behind me, just coming up and there was like lights in the sky- like those square rows of lights at the baseball field. It would move around and then they all would turn off for a second and then turn back on- I actually slowed down trying to figure out what it was. What is was- was a flock of white birds with grey underbellies flying in formation. The sun was casting light off their backs and not when they turned their underbellies towards the sun, they disappeared from sight.
Such things are why I love the Fall- the changes in the light, the air, the trees and the animals.
But alas I am an illustrator, a teacher and a mother- I ain't getting away from Halloween- so here is my offering!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another history of a word...Nepotism

Thanks again to Wikipedia- here is an interesting "history of word"- Nepotism is a word that was created around the practice of Roman Catholic Popes appointing their nephews as Cardinals. Since they were celibate and had no children, a nephew was the the closest thing to family they had and I guess family pressure existed back there to get relatives in the "biz". You can read more about it at----

Nepotism is still alive and well in politics and Hollywood. Ever wonder why a motion picture has like fifteen assistant producers? Nephews, nieces, cousins- the more things change the more they stay the same!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

"You can tell a man by the size of his kitchen."

This past spring we did a weekend trip to Saint George, Utah, one of the first Mormon settlements in Utah.Right after the Civil War-Brigham Young picked this spot for its mild climate and directed the Saints to plant cotton, harvest silkworms and yes-grow vineyards- to make wine- to sell to the near by miners and use as a tithe to fund the building of a small temple and tabernacle.
Young also picked Saint George as one of his seasonal homes and today you can tour the pretty little Desert Victorian house on the corner lot, surrounded by pecan trees and grape vines, where Harriet Amelia Folsom Young,one of his few wives that did not have children, would usually spend the winter.
When Young purchased the house he added a fine entryway.The craftsmen ship is amazing-with faux painted pine- the only wood they had- turned into the finest grained oak set against the finest furniture and art. While there Young would oversee the churches affair, receiving visitors either in the front parlor or in his bedroom- a massive room with high ceilings to accommodate a canopy bed,with a sitting area next to a tall desk.
But I think you can tell a man by the size of his kitchen and to tell you the truth I was not impressed by the size of Brigham Young's kitchen. After taking the tour through the house and hearing of the entertaining the Young's did in this little house- I was expecting a spacious kitchen with lots of places to work and room to move- well it wasn't that- it was cramped and small. Granted-a hired girl did the cooking for the Young's and who knows what the kitchen looked like really- before it became a museum- but it made me start thinking and realize you can tell a lot about a man by the size of his kitchen. Take for instance- my great grandfather James Jenson.
Jame's parents emigrated from Denmark and settle in Freeborn county Minnesota, where my great grandfather and all his brother and sister were born. I don't know much about his younger days, but I do know when the rest of his family decide to migrate west to Montana- James decide to stay- because he had his eye on a young Danish girl, Christine- who had just come from Denmark with her family and was too young to marry-So James waited- and when she was of age- he married her and started a farm. At first they lived in a shack. Christine, pregnant and with little ones to watch - cooked in a tent- providing meals for the men working the fields. Coming to James, she told him she didn't have a platter big enough to server the breakfast meats and eggs on. James returned from town, that day, with a large pretty platter asking her if it would do. The platter is still passed around our families table today with stories of our grandfather James and how crazy he was for our great grandmother. Also proved by their thirteen children- in a time that when you were done having kids-you stopped- well....
Eventually he built Christine a proper kitchen- spacious with nooks and drawers for her cooking things- next to a fine dining room full of wood and a beautiful archway where she hung large paper bells each Christmas- near the staircase to the top floor where my grandmother remembers seeing her father sitting and crying- when his youngest son, barely two, died of dehydration.
Later in their life, my great grandmother,waking in her sleep,fell down those stairs and James would let no one else carry her back up and to her bed.
I have stories of my other great and great great grandfathers- stories of how important they thought they were and how they liked to rule over their households-but I have never heard those stories about my great grandfather James. Yup, you can tell a man by the size of his kitchen.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

IF-"Open Air"

The only way to see the amazing island of Maui is in an "open air" Jeep!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

3:10 to Yuma?

I love Westerns, movies that is. They are by far my favorite "genre" because usually they are a "morality play", the setting is beautiful and who can resist a man on a horse!
So, this weekend-needing to be on the "Front Range"- i.e. Denver- for business and near a mega-plex movie theater- I took the opportunity to go see the new movie "3:10 to Yuma" with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.
The movie is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard and the new film is a remake of a Classic Western with the same title, starring Glenn Ford in the role of the outlaw.
Okay- "get real!!" I watched this movie somewhat dumbfounded. Yes the movie was pleasing to the eye,the setting beautiful in Southern Arizona, Bale and Crowe are good at their parts- BUT!! Where do I start!

-Cowboys don't cuss in front on a women- yes they cussed up a "blue streak" otherwise but it was words like "dam" not "f**** and sh** and if the fourteen year old son of a farmer did it in front of his mother- his father (i.e. Bale) would make sure he did not sit down for a week.

-okay- when you lose your entire foot in the Civil War like the farmer(Bale) did- you will have a noticeable limp! And will probably not be able to run as fast as the outlaw(Crowe) through the streets of Yuma as bullets fly.

-If you were shot in the stomach- in the West- you were facing a slow and enviable death- Doctors did not have the knowledge to take care of a "gut shot"- you did not lay on a doctors table and hold still for him to pull out the bullet with a long tweezers and then hop on your horse to ride off and catch the bad guys!

-When someone starts shooting at you at night- you should extinguish all light sources- i.e. kick dirt over the campfire, like John Wayne would- and go out and sneak around in the dark yourself- Not huddle in the light of the fire, looking around!!

-Noise travels very far in the desert- and Cowboys listen- and Indians listen- and usually know when they are being tailed- not in this movie!

-Bullets travel really really far and there is no reason to be two inches away from the bad guy to draw your gun on him- even if it makes a cool "shot" as in movie shot-because he can knock the gun out of your hand-

- the West was and still is a dangerous place where life and death was established by two things- water and transportation- there are "lagistics" like losing your horse- that seemed to have no consequences in this movie- just keeping walking and you will find one around the next bend in the road- and the dangers of the Apaches that have been building in the script will turn into China men blasting tunnels for the railroad and your horses will be waiting for you! Oh and you can get electrocuted with little or no effect too!

It just seems like the "laws of physics and life" are getting more and more suspended- granted they always have been to a large degree- the roadrunner/coyote syndrome- fall off a thousand foot cliff and get up- but if Consequences are not part of the Western- we are losing a large parts of what makes the "genre" so special-
Because reality is the West is unforgiving- it still is- your "gut shot" you die- not ride a horse the next day- someone would and could by law hurt you bad for cussing in front of a woman- and when you have dodged bullets through the streets of Yuma and finally are successful in getting the Outlaw in the prison car- you don't expect the bad guys to give up and stop shooting- and turn your back to them- unless you are at 120 pages in your script and have run out of money!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fabric Collage @ Estes Park Art Show

Please note correction- "Lines into Shapes" is a National Show-not International (my typo and apologies)

132 artist will be featured from 31 States in several catagories including painting and sculpture.

click on "Lines into Shapes" in the links list to view the 2007 show

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

IF- "Rejection"

"She wanted to be the flower girl,but she wasn't invited to the wedding.Someone else took her place."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Did you Know....

The term "vandalism" has come to mean senseless destruction as a result of the Vandals' sack of Rome under King Geiseric in 455.Vandels and Goths were tribes from the north that brought down the Rome Empire. We got Gothic from the Goth- think the Vandels got a raw deal- look what they are still known for today!

Of course the above is from

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I had grandiouse plans to have a tibbit on here everyday from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which I attended in the middle of May at the YMCA near Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Well this is what I got to look at for a week

Longs Peak rising up to over 14,000 feet.
And this is what I got to come home to-

the mountains near Telluride- I actually see the other side of them, along wiht the Blues in Utah and the La Platas rising up in my backyard.
Compared to these I got nothing to say- other than He is God, I am not, and Wow! What a awesome and wonderful Father we have to plop us down on a magnificant creation of this earth-
if you haven't had the opportunity as of late to go sit at His feet on top of a mountain, at the seashore, in the wind swept plain, or in a quiet desert- I highly encourage you to- then shut up and listen- he will speak to you, show you what is missing in you and it all, everything, comes back to Him.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Higher You Are...

What is that old adage?- "The higher you are-the harder you fall?" Well, I'll let you know on Friday what elevation I am at. "Lab in Poppies" will be sold to the highest bidder at a fundraiser for the Sacred Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Now,I will be taking a walk when it comes up to be bid on- with strict instructions to my husband to Not tell me the play by play details if it is not flattering to my ego.
I have to come up with a starting bid- no idea- took me about six hours to do, cause I sat down at six tonight to get it done and now it is midnight, Yes- I have known I needed to do it for, ohhhhhh, three months!
I like the image, might do some more and try and sell them as cards.
Off to bed!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Day One

This is Day One of my travels to the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference at the YMCA in Estes Park, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Somewhere on the mind numbing eight hour travel- that today took more like eleven- I-70 was mostly one lane due to construction and had to sit twice for twenty minutes as they blasted the road ahead- I thought I would do a daily online journal of the trip.
I listen to eleven hours of radio- NPR, Christian, Country and Rock- did a lot of scanning as I weaved in and out of canyons and over mountain passes and this is what I have learned today-
-Jerry Falwell died today- I have no doubt the man loved God but had to agree with one of the commentators- "He did not represent all Evangelical Christians", he certainly did not represent me.
-For every newborn baby put up for adoption in this country, there are ten families who want the baby.
Here is one for the stupidity prize- forget the moral arguments. Doctors are going to great extent to make women pregnant ( news clip was about the success of egg donors and the "etiquette" of including them in the baby lives)- at the same time doctors are killing unborn babies.... So we as a society are trying to create and cruelly destroy life at the same time- seems like if we could encourage women to give their babies nine month and then put them up for adoption, then we would solve a lot of problems- it was a heated discussion between me and my radio.
- Some big investment company bought Crystler Auto Maker and the Auto Union is very upset.According to the experts- we are out of the era of job security, benefits and worker privileges- to the extent that the big Detroit Automakers can't afford to do much research and development because their workers are sucking them dry- the oldest retiree still getting benefits if 110- So the Foreign makers are taking the market. That is about as far as this artist/writer wants to know about finance and business, but thought it was interesting.
-Apparently, according to Denver DJs- there are people who are surprised when hitting a bullet in a vice grip with a hammer, actually makes the bullet explode? Interesting.


This past Saturday my husband endured the Twelve Hours of Mesa Verde Mountain Bike Race. Solo, Duo and Four Man teams- rode relay style for twelve hours on a fifteen mile single track route through sage brush,and dirt. Not only did Jon survive,( on one of his loops, he sacrificed about ten minutes to scoot a rattle snake off the trail), but his team placed third in their division. Very fun day and at the same time we mountain bikers had the lower half of the fairgrounds ( where the bikers started and ended- but there was a junior rodeo going on above us- so it was a funny sight- horses and bikes co-existing!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother's day memories are centered on following my mother and grandmother around the nursery, usually with a card board flat in hand. The green house at the nurseries always had a musty warm smell and there were plenty of puddles in the crunchy gravel to navigate. I would watch each of them, picking out the six packs of flowers they wanted,deadheading and picking off yellow leaves on their own choices as well others. Both didn't necessarily like petunia but always got some for their abundant blooming ability- as a filler for the more glorious flowers.
Conversation would be on the different gardens, the shade garden, the cutting garden, which roses would need replaced and their "hardy rating". In her latter years, my grandma went to more pots, on her porch, clustered by the gate in the back.
Geraniums have always been inside my mothers home-African Violets always were in my grandmother-never remember them buying either- each was expert in slipping a new shoot and getting it to grow- a skill I will never have.
I enjoyed a visit by my mother a few weeks ago- we did go to the nursery. She bought my a geranium for Mother's Day and I bought her a rose, with a very good rating. Before she left, she helped me pot the new geranium in my Jardiniere pot- which was my grandmothers- one of the last things she gave me before she died.
The pot was her Aunt Mary's who's husband went off to fight in the Civil War- Under the pot is the birthday plate- that held the birthday cakes for my mother and her siblings when they were little- wonder why the birthday plate was demoted to hold the Jardiniere pot? There is no crack in it or anything?
This Mother's Day I won't be at the nursery- two days later, I'll be heading to a writer's conference and a week away from the garden would not be good.
Plus the talent of growing beautiful things was not pasted down to me- I try- but my studio and writing pull me away- from being in the garden, but I can appreciate their love of it, having the same love for a different medium, one that consumes my thoughts and plans, just like my mother and grandmother's garden is for them.
So Happy Mother's Day, Mom and thank you for teaching my to love the simple and the beautiful.

Monday, May 07, 2007

When things were simple

A young couple boarded the shuttle bus as it made its way up into the narrow canyon of Zion National Park. They were part of a group of young climbers, none of them could be older then twenty four or twenty five and the group bantered back and forth across the shuttle which climbing route they would try in the morning and where they should go to eat in town that night. All the time, the young man had his arm around her. I smiled when I saw the wedding ring on his finger,sliver or platinum.
In our day it was gold and there was a time, when my husband's arm instantly went around me the second we sat down somewhere, but now his hands are so often filled with other things, other responsibilities. Responsibilities that have directly sprouted from that simple time when we were first married and in love.
Now there other hands to hold, other then mine and other voices to listen to, much sweeter then mine. There are puddles and "fairy places" to investigate,rocks that need climbing and little legs that need encouraged to get back to the head of the trail.
As I watched the young group of climbers get off the shuttle, each of the couples with their arms around each other, their fingers tucked in the back pocket of the other, I wondered if I had savored that time enough,If I knew it wouldn't last and enjoyed it as much as I could.
Later in a rare quiet moment I asked my husband, he had a simple answer-"No, you never do," He was right, we never savor the good that we have until they are gone and those days are gone- the simple days of young love, but the days of savoring my children and my seasoned husband are here and since my memory is continually slipping I will write it down and sketch it, so that I might remember.

Mt. Zion

In the bible, "Zion" is another name for Jerusalem, a Holy City, where God resides.
I can see why the name came to mind when it was time to name Zion National Park, in Southwestern, Utah.
On both sides of the road,piles of massive red rocks squeeze the valley shut until walking in the Virgin Creek you could stick your hands out and touch each side of the canyon wall. By that time the walls on each side are like glass and rise a thousand feet up. When flash floods come there is no place to go and people die in the slot canyon.
Down in Springdale commercial outfitters "outfit" the tourist with wet suits, heavy tread boots and large sticks to walk into the narrows, where the water levels can be anywhere from a few inches or up to your waist.
Power, shear power is what I kept coming back to when I looked up at the massive canyons etched out of the hard sandstone by a trickle of water.
I always feel so small in such a large place like Zion, and wonder how anyone can stand here and not know there is a God!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Lament

I am doing what I told myself I would never do- lamenting over a "rejection." Having been waiting over a month and a half for a publisher to decide on a picture book manuscript/illustration package- where if they bought it-I would of then did all the illustrations. Idea was just sketched out at this point-I started to get "cocky"
Well as the weeks went by and I received personal notes from the publisher along the way- somewhere in my head, I must of decided I got it- because my thoughts went to book tours and awards- I thought my ship had come in, that I had drawn the "Treasure Chest Card" that lets you go around the whole Monopoly board, with a get out of jail free card and hands you your two hundred dollars- I thought I had just been waved to the front of the line- of want-to-be published writers and illustrators. I thought finally my money will be where my mouth is! That this "what if" and "someday" would be now- I would be paid for what I love to do- I could stop feeling silly when some one asked me what I do- so much more easy to just say- I am an author/illustrator, instead of a want-to-be.
Well when the email came last night- My "Treasure Chest Card" was replaced with a "Go Directly to Jail Card", My ship was sunk and I would have to continue to give a "round about" answer to the question- what do you do? And I could see myself-almost at the front of the line- being directed by a big burly bouncer to walk back to my allotted place at the back of the line- which is fine- I really knew in my gut this was to easy- to get something that big now- in fact fear gripped me wondering if I was ready to produce 32 illustrations in six months- I have a lot of other stuff in the mix and will develop the story at some point because it is a good story and to confess I want the publisher who rejected it to have a "I could of had a V8" moment when he sees it the "Caldacott" book of the year.
What really scares me- terrifies me- is not "Can I write-can I illustrate", I know I have the skill, the tool, I know composition and story structure- what really scares me is "What if I am in the wrong line?" Like the running joke of standing for hours in the farm machinery line at the DMV- only to find out when you get to the window- What if my ideas, my stories are so "odd" and "strange" that they will never ring true with the general public. What if I think so differently- that there is no audience for what I have to say. Someone once said "It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought a fool, then to open it and remove all doubts"
So here I sit- in the back of the line again, wondering what to do.
I will always write and illustrate, it is like breathing to me, my head would burst if I didn't. I know God gave me a gift and I will hone it and use it. But he also wants to teach me something through it and that is the hard part- Nothing comes easy, never has and if it did- would it be worth having-
But this morning, I just wonder how long the line really is for me- and hope and pray that when I finally get to the front of it- someone will ask me to autograph my book instead of what piece of farm machinery would I like registered.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Can You Hear Me Now!"

I was walking the dog in Dolores and had to laugh. On the side of the road was a nice car, a too nice to be around here car-mainly because it was Not a 4wheel drive. Inside- in front of the wheel was a women and next to her- in the passenger seat a man talked on a cell phone. The women and I exchange a knowing smile. I could relate.
She had probably been instructed exactly where to pull over and stop so that he would have a signal, where roads dip up and down into deep rock canyons where no signal could find them.
Many a times on the ride over to Moab- I also sit and watch life go by while my husband finishes a business call- we know exactly where the signal will be dropped- and a dropped call to a judge is a big no no.
Kudos to the technology that allows us to live where we do and allows my husband to come out of his office and be with his family instead being tied to a desk 5 days a week. Sitting on the side of the road allows me to contemplate the people who chose to hack out a life in the "backwash" of the West and coffe shops where he can check his email on his laptop are usually filled with interesting characters.

Monday, April 30, 2007


The sun has melted the snow off the LaPlatas and the Ute. Water has been trickling down into streams and creeks, making its way to the Dolores and Mancos Rivers and then into Summit Lake and McPhee, Naragwimimp and Totem. All bringing a change to the men of the valley. They go nuts. Men have shot other men over water, never heard of a women shooting anyone over water? I see them, the men, on the roads, with their tool- a shovel- in a pick up truck or an ATV- and most often with a dog. (there is a whole 'nother blog on what a determined dog can balance on- )checking the hay fields and head gates.
What is it with men and water? It's more then just each needs their allotted amount to water their fields of hay? Water has defined the West- without it there is no settling anything. From the beginning of the whites migration from east to west- Water was paramount- Ranchers would only have to lay claim to the sections that had water- of the miles and miles of land he would need to grave his herds of cattle and he then had all the land he wanted-no one else could sustain with out the water- often he would put his cowboys near the water holes to guard them from anyone else using them- the adage-"plenty to go around" did not nor does today exist when it comes to water. Water rights keep attorney's busy even today. In drought years it all has to do when your claim was filed and often the dates of the claims go back to the 1800's- if you have a new claim- filed in the 1900's- forget it-
There isn't enough to go around- and each claim holder wants his allotted share- whether he needs it or not- it seems- days are spent watching the pressure of the the streams of water spraying from the side rolls and moving them along the fields, hooked on to the back of an ATV. Valves are also checked on the head gates- either to open your values more then your neighbors or to make sure your neighbor didn't open his more than he should of-
And in good years- the valley is green and the ranchers might get three cuttings of their hay- and the reservoirs are splotches of blue on the horizon. On bad years the irrigation gets cut off in July and the fields turn brown and hay price will be bad for the winter.
Back to my question- what is it about men and water- today I think it is more-I think it is a powerful thing to think of ever year the snow comes to the mountains, the snow melts the water comes to the streams and rivers and will flow over this whole land until it reaches the sea and the whole process starts again- I think men are in tuned to that- and are drawn to put their hand in it and to control it- to "reclaim" the wild- it is what God proclaimed in Genesis and what must of been a great motivation to the man in the East who heard the call to go West.
I see it in them- when they are out in the fields, shovel in hand and they have diverted the might force of water to go where they chose and it flows out glisening in the sun- and then they stand there and watch for a moment what they have control of.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

IF "Remember"

I think this is the second or third attempt at fabric collage. Looking back at it I realize how much my "technique" has changed- dare I say "improved". My dogs have definitely changed and I think that is the last cat I have done. Making an account of my portfolio on my website- I have done 10 illustrations that have a dog- out of 17!One illustration has a cat. Hum? What does that say- and I don't think I am a "gagga" for dogs person? Well- okay right now my two dogs are right here- the big one on the floor next to the bed, where I will have to navigate over him to get up nd the little one at the foot of the bed surveying her domain out the window.
Why do I illustrate so many dogs? Cause they are expressive I guess- they come in so many sizes and shapes- and having a dog says something about who a person is-

people who "take their dog" places are a little bit more laid back- little bit less up tight- and I like those people, I like illustrating those people. Dare I say I am one of those people? The illustration I am working on right now? Aghhhhh? Has two dogs in it and a pick up truck- ( 5 out of 17 illustrations have trucks)Great I will be the illustrator of dogs and trucks- is there much need for that in in the children's literature market?

I love the West- the geographical location and the lifestyle and you illustrate what you know- if you drive the highways of the Southwest- you see dogs and you see trucks. Both say something about the people who make this place their home.

Friday, April 27, 2007

"Being part of an Old Couple"

I bumped in to an interesting blog today. Usually happens when I am trying to find images to help me draw something and then my curiosity takes over and I end up reading the websites where the images are. This blog was written by a young girl, must of been in college because she was saying she wouldn't be posting until her examines were done. Well the blog that caught my eye was her opinions on marriage. She sounded just like I did in college.
She said she would not even consider getting married until she was "independent and shrewed". Here is my "rebuttal blog" on why if she takes that as her criteria for marriage she will fail.
I might not know everything or much- but I have been married for sixteen years- I think, I always have to have my husband remind me what it is exactly- but then again he has to remind me exactly how old I am too.
I think her very modern idea of "being independent" is the kiss of death to a marriage. Sorry "modern women" - "Need" is vital. Marriage will not last unless both of you need each other. Companionship is not enough.
When I was in college- I worked in a nursing home as a CNA and learned a lot about life, death and marriage.
Amazing, most of the residence when their mind "left them" their thoughts went back to their childhoods and they would take about their mothers and fathers in the present tense- like a child. But there were a few exceptions- Minnie Brown would wander the halls looking for Mr. Brown- sometimes in desperation and only the reassurance that he was on his way would appease her.
There was another man, I can't remember his name. You could tell he had been a proud man,tall and strong in his younger day but since having a stroke he just sat in his room, not one to want to be out in the halls or involved in the activities- he was waiting to die, but it was going to take him a long time. He would not interact with the nurses and CNA when we would help him get dress and take care of the things he could not do anymore- sometimes "growling at us" in his frustration of not being able to even go to the bathroom alone. I knew he liked me because he wouldn't "growl" so much at me and I could usually get him to do the things I needed to.
His wife came to see him everyday.She would talk to him a little, but mostly she just sat with him. Sometime, I would walk by the room and she would be standing behind his chair rubbing his back.
But then she had a heart attack and died, so all day, everyday he sat in his room alone. Once when I had gotten him in the bathroom and was standing behind him waiting for him to finish, he cried and I rubbed his back for him.
I don't know what kind of a marriage they had, what their life was like together. But whatever it was, they stuck through it together. I could tell, as could everyone else in the nursing home-how much he loved and needed his wife.
You don't sit with the shell of your husband or wife everyday or help them with their "bodily functions" because you enjoy them as "a companion". In fact, that might not be a bad litmus test to decide if you are in love- "would you empty out their catheter bag for them the rest of their life." Well actually it is put a little bit more elegantly- "In sickness and in health, forsaking all others" in the marriage vows. Enough said on that!
On to the second half of my rebuttal- "not get married until I am shrewd?" - I had the same thought in my head as a young women- I want my husband to be this to be that- I want him to have this intelligence, this demeanor, even to the extent of his eye color, hair color, etc. Asked the questions young girls discuss- the what if's - what if he wants me to do this or that?
We define love the wrong direction- we thing we will love someone because what they do and who they are- True love is loving someone Despite what they do. And God has a sense of humor- my husband is such the opposite of all my expectations- and frankly sometimes he irritates the hell out of me- but he is a good, strong man and takes care of his family. The bottom line to everything, the thing that "trumps" being independent, shrewd or anything else- is when he kisses me- I melt inside. There really is nothing else then that. I love him enough to empty his catheter everyday- hum? maybe I should put that on our next anniversary card?

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Stitch in Time

I was enjoying the comments that were coming in on my IF "Go Green" and a lot of them had to do with how hard it must be to do collage in fabric and how much time it takes. So thought I would respond to that. First- I have tried so many other mediums-pen and ink, watercolor, paper collage and they all finished out looking like "crap" sorry can't think of another word.
In fact, other well known illustrators- one Caldacott winner who will remain nameless-
at a SCBWI conference- told me so. I tended to over work things. So finding a medium that I am successful with, even if it might take some extra time, is worth it. Beside when I get to the stitching stage- I can take it anywhere and it is very relaxing, often do it watching a movie in the evening.
The laying down the fabric really goes fast. While a painter is working in the texture in the sky, I just find some blue batik fabric and it is done in a matter of seconds. I'd say it takes four days to finish an illustration- and that is by no means a full day- that is having blocks of time to work on it- I am a mother, need I say more. One day to sketch and get a final pattern on tissue paper, a easy day laying down the the pieces of fabric- with iron on adhesive on the back, one to two days to stitch around everything and do embroidery and other details.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Go Green!

Although I had fun with the "earthness" of this illustration,sorry couldn't resist- the scene is looking at the Flat Irons ( rock outcrops near the town of Boulder, Colorado-near where I grew up) and it freatures "Granolas" ( the new hippy), the reality is we All need to Go Green and recycle. This is the only planet we have and we only have so much room- and we create too much trash.

I featured this illustration on my "How I Work Page" on my webstite if you are curious about the construction of my fabric collages.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Everything Goes Around

This is interesting. Henry Ford made cars in America. His counterparts were making cars in Europe for the elite. Ford decided to do it differently. He wanted to make cars as cheaply as possible,but the assembly took too long- then he had an idea and the modern assembly line was created-one person, would put the same bolt, in the same place, in hundreds of cars, the next person would have their repetitive job- cutting the time almost in half. Less time in production translated to cheaper cars and more cars. More cars needed more workers to make them. But then the work, itself is boring and Ford can not keep employees-so he almost doubles the wages- allowing the people who make the cars to afford the cars- and creates a "middle class in America-and the whole idea basically pushes us into the modern comsumer age-

Don't you love the history channel!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Battle Rock School

I haven't blogged anything for awhile-life has been getting in the way. This is a picture of the one room school house I teach art at, one day a week. Situated in Mc Elmo Canyon, very near the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizonia, Battle Rock School has been a place children have been learning and playing since I think 1911. A irrigation ditch waters the huge cottonwoods in the front and in the back of the school, is a rock slope, full of boulders and cactus- where the kids climb and play and amazingly the only serious injure at the school happened when a kid ran into the school too fast and tripped over the door frame and broke his leg! I have worked in school that had the teachers guarding every corner of the rubber playground and had more injuries!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Illustration Friday- "Sprout"

This idea "sprouted" when we were driving around the island with our friends. Maui will always be old mission churches, lush scenery, upcountry cattle and Matt and Wendy in a open air jeep (the view from our car.)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I have a quandry, they seem to find me rather easily or a least I have no problem finding them!
I am not computer savy and to learn what I have- scanning images, resizing images, building a website, figuring out the commands of a blog- has been a painful experience. One day scans are beautiful, one day they are not, one day I push keys and things on the computer work, one day I push the same keys and my computer hates me!
Well in the search for an easier, or maybe just more like my brain works- blog- I tried out Typepads service. And of course, somethings on typepad I love, somethings on Blogger I like better. Somethings on Typepad work easier, somethings on Blogger work easier!
But now after doing an Illustration Friday- have also concluded,becuase most everyone use Blogger- Typepad is a nuance to check out others sites-
Ahhhh! So being my flippy floppy self- am now wondering if I should return to Blogger- have 12 more days on my free trial offer to Typepad-
decisions- @#$#$@%^#@

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I have moved!

Over the weekend I moved my blog- so if you're looking for me- go to
see you there!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Illustration Friday....80's

Warning: There is a heavy dose of reminiscing- so if you don't know me- I apologize!
This was fun! A blast from the past! Got the email this morning and it prompted me to pull out my portfolio from art school! Started the fall of 1986- 18 and naive- I packed my bags and headed to Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado- ( funny just reminiscing about Durango in my journal blog this morning!
The pic is of Lauren and Michelle- the stars of the theater program at Loveland High School- I was the behind the scenes Assistant Director and Stage Manager and an aspiring art student- we would go done to Lake Loveland- and I would photograh them and Megan and Tom- ( which I am going to find some of those photos for the world to see!- Megan will "die"- but sa la vie- do you remember that from French class Megan!)
Well the four "cool" ones would be in front of the camera- and me the "geek" would be behind- which I loved- and we would take the most awesome black and whites- me reviling in being "artistic"- my step dad had a dark room in the basement and a "kindness" that let me develop as much as I wanted to- wow- got to find those black and whites!
Well when I head off to art school- I took them and used them alot in my freshmen design class- so here is the blast from the past and a few black and whites to torture my old friends- boy I wish I knew where Michelle was- she headed off to make her fame as an actress- think she is in Washington DC- last I checked- getting rave reviews in a play- if I remember right- might have to "google" her!

Tom and Megan! wow does this not scream the 80's!
One of the boys had an old truck- huh-loved them even back then- old Fords and Chevys- and the Awesome Four!

Ahhhh Durango

Drove over to Durango yesterday- had a whole list of things I can't get done in the "boondocks".
What a treat- to be in a town so beautiful, so "professional". Walking into the printers- they totally knew what they were doing- to walk into wonderful stores with soooo many choices and such helpful people, instead of Walmart with whatever they have and not so helpful people. To chose from about four coffee shops with in walking distance. I was unrushed- browsing the wooden shelves of Maria's bookstore, chatting with others who wanted to recommend the book I had in my hand- strolling Nature Oasis Natural Food Store- buying more then I really needed. Went to City Market and the check-out people were the same- a little bit grey-er then they were when I lived there almost..... twelve years ago- it just hasn't changed, gotten busier maybe- a few stable resturants like Father Murphies and Clancys are no more- Carvers- the bakery has gone "high brow"- different stores downtown- but staples like Gardenswartz and the Needles are still there.
Driving home I pondered why we left- such a wonderful town where we could walk downtown with our dogs and stroll the streets, coffee or tea in our hand, a town where we fit a little bit more then we do here.
Then I remembered about becoming parents and how greatly our motivations changed- I will always love Durango- but sadly it did not offer- for us- the world of close friends and fellowship in a body of believers- as we are blessed with here- and that is why we left.
That and getting tired of pulling flyers off our cars for seminars on Goddess worship, hearing conversations about Jesus Christ channeling a manuscript to an author to write a book and the house next door to us that became a "bongo" factory- nothing against drums but to listen to them 24 hours a day gets old.
So Durango has turned into a very nice place to visit but I wouldnt want to live there again- well maybe when I am an old grey haired artist- adorned with silver and beads- and Jon is a old retired lawyer- just doing a few probonos on the side- we could live there- but now our attention is turned to Utah and Moab- a place as interesting as Durango in so many ways- so I dont know!
I did tell myself I need to get over there way more then I am- cause I really, really needed that yesterday!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


here are those that hide their imprefections deep within them with their back to the rest of us. I don't know why they do that- I do not think less of them because they are imperfect- but have recently come to the conclusion that they can think less of me-because of mine.

Never Mind the Wind

his Labor Day, I was a freebie attendee at the Telluride Film Festival. I got to spend the weekend rubbing elbows with producers, directors and other want-a-bes.
As a freebie attendee, I had to wait till the pass holders had been seated in the venues and "if" there was room then us "freeloaders" were allowed in.
One movie that I did get into see was Volver, starring Penelope Cruz. Set in Spain and with English subtitles- it is the story of three generation of women, trying to etch out a life, steeped in tradition, economic depression, lazy or no good men, and the wind- that never stops blowing.
The movie opens as the women of the village are at the cemetery-cleaning their family crypts- carrying on the traditions of their mothers and grandmothers. To an outsider- it seems like a hopeless pursuit- the wind faster in bring dust then the women can brush it away. But I understand this tradition- coming to the place of your family, reading the names to your children, laying flowers down for them. I have been doing this with my mother and my grandmother as long as I can remember- and now I do it with my children.
Memorial Day to many is the beginning of the summer- to get the boats out and hit the lake for the first time in the season, to join the long line of cars on the freeways headed to here or there for a much needed relaxing weekend. But to some- a few hours of the weekend is spent in collecting flowers- most seasons lilacs are spent by the end of May- but peonies should be glorious. In a good year- no store bought flowers will be needed, but in a cool spring- carnations might be bought, sometimes in bundles of red white and blue.
Then early Monday morning the grandchildren are lined up with saved small tin cans which have been rolled in foil and anchored with rocks- to build bouquets- under the instructions of their grandmother, mothers and aunts- who careful disperse the glorious flowers and encourage the use of the green leafed branches for fillers. The small cans finished, the buckets of Peonies, baby’s breath, daisies, columbines and bleeding hearts, clippers, canvas, and jars of water set in the back of the car- with a designated grandchild to watch that the buckets of flower do not fall over- we start our rounds, delivering the little bouquets of flowers- to old friends- discussions arise as to the locations of the graves- by that stand of pines? Second or third row from the road? Victory is given to the one who finds the marker first and in turn a little bouquet of flowers is placed carefully by on of the granddaughters with a history lesson of our family given by her grandmother, then it is off to the car, to find the next place to put the foil wrapped tin, already in the hands of the next granddaughter.
When all the tins are delivered- we drive to the newer cemetery- flat with out the moss covered weather worn tombstones rising up from the ground and navigate the narrow lanes, lined with other cars, their trunks up and their families carrying buckets of flowers to their loved ones, and park near the back. Our graves are easy to spot, five in a row, a small American flag marking the spot. Taking the buckets, canvas and water, we get to work, pulling up the vases that have sat underground for a year and been the homes to spiders and ants. They are carefully rinsed off and secured in their stands and then filled with water. The canvas is laid out and we all start placing the flowers- making sure each gets a bursting peony first. Daisy are abundant and given to the granddaughters to stuff where they please. Discussion is on how good or bad the flowers are this year and would Grandma approve. When the vases start to fill up, we ration out the Columbine, each granddaughter placing one in her great grandmother or grandfather, great great aunt or uncles or great uncles vase and we stand back to admire how pretty our vases look.
Why do we do it- because that is what we were taught to do- by our mothers, by our grandmothers- who's mothers taught them- like the ladies of Volver- it doesn’t matter is the wind brings the dust the second we turn our backs- this is tradition.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Geezers and Girlfriends

uesday mornings,my girlfriends meet up at the "Olde Geezer" coffee house. No that is not the name on the door, it is really the backend of a craftstore/bookstore, with a row of cement blocks and boards with a combination of new and used books. Then there is a little bit of bulk coffee, a little bit of tea, a little bit of a lot of things hanging from the walls and on the shelves. But it is out in the "boondocks" near where we all live and most of us have no desire to drive the fifteen minutes to the larger town that has the nice, posh, coffee places- so it is the "Old Geezers" for us.
The Geezers are regular attenders, as rural westerners as you can get, their old pickup trucks lined in a row next to all our SUV with our cargo boxes and bike racks hanging off of them. The geezers take up the bar and the backtables, with their Carhart jackets over the back of their chairs, overall or Wranglers on, and chunky old boots- they "yarn" with Vern, the owner- as they have one ear caucked towards the girls conversations that go the gamit of our families to our faith, reading Vogue or traveling the world,as our cell phones go off-one after another.
We dont usually meet over holidays or breaks and today when we walked in, the Geezers cheered, glad for our return, having missed us over Christmas.
Why does this Tuesday morning mix work so well- because they all are sweet old man and we have seem to become a highlight of their week-

Monday, January 08, 2007


ell I have started off the "guideline" of an blog a day with a bang- check back in a month and see how I am really doing!! Thought about "sailing through" today with getting two up yesterday with my illustration friday entry! But really wanted to record how I came to this ephany!
It was all due to standing around a coffee/bookstore in Farmington New Mexico- waiting for a bagel to be made! Had to travel there for a meeting and found the most wonderful little bookstore- downtown- walls all painted bright colors, filled with wonderful books and earthly people. Next to the coffee counter was a card display and a line of cards of women with long faces, big hands and feet caught my eye- I started reading the captions and realized I understood this artists poetry- I dont know if she would call it poetry- but I did- Susan Mrosek is her name and her line of cards is called "pondering pool" - some of her phrases I dont get "yet"- I hope they will seep into me in time- the ones I do- so hit a cord with me- about the ways we as women carry our joys and our sorrows on us and in us- in such a physical way- that is what I love about her work- here is one to ponder upon-
" Slumber- I must say I am exhuasted!I've tossed twice over and once on my back. I've no room to lounge in this jumble of thoughts that crowd my bed." From her book Leaks
I love her work and it certainly inspires me- but what really hit me like a freight train was reading in her book and here I quote her again-
"It stands to reason.
I stand to reason.
I stand to write.
Writing helps make reason-
which is the reason I write."

Wow! I am an artist I create- I am a writer- so I should be writing- for that "Stands to Reason!"
to check her out- go to the pondering pool link in the side bar!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Illustration Friday- Buzz"

Poppies will always remind me of my grandma- behind her house on Franklin street. She had a field of poppies, and I can just see her standing in the middle of them as I came around the corner of her house on my bike.
As I do more and more fabric collage I am amazed at how little visually detail we need to identify what we know- the bees are just a small row of stitches- but the yellow/black certianly identifies a "bee"!

A Blog a Day!

ew Year Resolutions have always just been a mark of failure to me, as they are for many people. I seem to do much better sort of sneaking up on my self improvements,slightly adjusting the course till I surprise myself with being in a better place then I was.
On a long drive across Northwest New Mexico, I came up with some course changes- that if I do them more then I don't- I should be pleased with the results.
The first one was to-if at all possible-blog everyday,abandoning my daily paper journal-which I feel somewhat guilty about- for an online journal. Pondering the difference between the two, I came up some guidelines to follow- more times then not.
1. A paper journal is personal- really only for the eyes of the writer. Pope John Paul had his journals burned at the time of his death- always wondered if his assistants took a peek before striking the match. An online journal is universal- literally! Already there has been traffic on this blog from China, Portugal and even Siberia!! Two concerns arise- 1- What you might think of me- if I expose my thoughts and ponderings- "Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool- then open it and remove all doubts! (or something like that) and 2nd- the challenge of having the content be- more then it is not- something that will resonate to an universal audience.
I claim to be a writer, as I claim to be an artist- there is not a day I don't put my hands on something to do with my art- there are many days- I do not write- that is what I hope to change- someone once said "you have to write 1,000 pages of &%^&^#$ before you write anything good- well here is to getting 365 pages of %^%$%^&# out of me- and maybe a few good morsels along the way to!
Oh- and being a "universal journal" please feel free to comment- just click the comment button at the bottom of the post- and after a quick register- comment away- as long as my kids would be allowed to read it- I will post it for all to see- Here is to the journey- wherever it may lead!