Monday, January 1, 2018


The simple grace of a tiny palette on a long  road trip

Each year, for as long as I can remember, I've chosen a word to define my goals or mindset for the new year. This year the word is grace. It's something I've been thinking about for awhile and intend to make it a continuing focal point in 2018. It has many definitions and should make for a year of interesting discoveries!

Grace(as defined by Merriam-Webster)

1 a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or
b: a virtue coming from God
c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

2 a: approval, favor stayed in his good graces
b: archaic: mercy, pardon
c: a special favor: privilege
each in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage —Rudyard Kipling
d: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
e: a temporary exemption: reprieve

3 a: a charming or attractive trait or characteristic Among disagreeable qualities
        he possessed the saving grace of humor.
b: a pleasing appearance or effect: charm
all the grace of youth —John Buchan
c: ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
danced with such grace

4 used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop

5 a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks

6 Graces plural: three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of
        charm and beauty

7 a musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura

8 a: sense of propriety or right
had the grace not to run for elective office —Calvin Trillin
        b: the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful accepted his advice
        with grace

and Grace(as defined by me)
1      unexpected moments and insights that make us draw breath and smile 

Friday, September 15, 2017

God Bless America

When tragedy strikes we Americans rise to the challenge. It makes me proud and grateful to live in this country. I've been asking myself why we can't, or won't, work together on a daily basis. We have the "the right stuff" and I pray we learn to use it on the smaller things. Hate is a spiritual tragedy as real as physcial ones. It's just harder to recognize in ourselves.
9/11 Memorial

Painted on Long Boat Key. That's Sarasota in the distance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Where Did Summer Go?

Time does fly when you’re having fun. Years ago I read French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano. It’s one of my favorite books. I love the change of seasons and all it brings, the changing light and color, in season foods, special holidays.

Fall always seems to be a new beginning for me. Maybe it goes back to all those years of starting a new school year. I also like the realization that the fall "new" year resolutions can get a reboot in January if necessary!

Goodbye fresh peaches, barbecues, and sunflowers. Hello, falling golden-leaves, pumpkins, and mums!
“Live in each season as it passes;
breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit,
and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Where in the World…

Where Have I Been Lately?

8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium photo from the final day at the General Logan Monument in Grant Park. Can you see me?

I can't believe it's been almost six months since I've posted here! The reason (or excuse?) is the same as my last post, only now the missions have been accomplished! The Ten Years Ten Classes program in Chicago was a success. Many thanks to our talented instructors and egar participants!

In July the 8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium was held in Chicago. I was honored to be part of the local Chicago chapter organizing team. We welcomed 570 sketchers from 34 countries who came to Chicago to learn, to sketch, to share, and have fun.
I gladly put my years of grahic design to use for the cause – logo, badges, banners, goodies!

15' x 8' Banner

24'' x12'' Banner

30' x 8' Banner

Just for size reference!

Where Am I Going?

It's even harder to believe that I started this blog over nine years ago with the intention of taking a deep breath and to get back to drawing and painting. I've come a long way. 

For me drawing and painting have always been the pause that refreshes. In this chaotic, hurried, bring me, buy me, get me, take me, I want, world I plan to draw, paint, and share those simple graces in daily life that remind me to draw breath and smile. Come along?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

One Excuse from Me and Ten Reasons to Join Us

I know it's been a long time since I've posted here. Between the 8th Urban Sketchers International Symposium coming to Chicago in July and  Urban Sketchers 10th  Anniversary Celebration  "10 Years 10 Classes" Program starting in Chicago on April 15, as an administrator for the Chicago Chapter, I've been a little busy! I do hope you'll join us in April and again in July if you can. It's going to be a great time!

We are inviting all sketchers celebrate Urban Sketchers' 10th Anniversary by attending 10 on-location Chicago classes with our knowledgeable Urban Sketching instructors and, in the spirit of Urban Sketchers, sketch our world, one drawing at a time.

10 Reasons to Register for 10 Years – 10 Classes

  1. Join with other sketchers from around the world in celebration of Urban Sketchers’ 10th anniversary. #usk10x10 
  2. Be inspired by other artists, tools, and styles. 
  3. Warm-up and brush-up your skills for the Urban Sketchers 8th International Symposium. 
  4.  Can’t make the Symposium? Join us here! 
  5.  Explore Chicago with a different instructor once a week for 10 weeks. 
  6.  Learn a new skill or two and practice using it. 
  7.  Receive personal attention from talented instructors. 
  8. Artists like athletes, musicians, and actors, need to practice to improve and hone our performance. 
  9. Become a better storyteller through sketching. 
  10. Show and share your world one drawing at a time. #usk10x10

Don't miss out! Mark your calendar!
Registration opens on Wednesday, March 15!
Classes begin April 15!

See the course schedule here:

  • All registration information will be posted here on this blog.
  • Registration and payments will be taken through the Bookwhen site.
  • There will be options to use a credit card or a PayPal account. 
  • Choose all ten workshops and a 10% discount will be applied automatically!

Look for updates and information about 10 Years 10 Classes in Chicago here:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Museum Sketching

In the Catholic church,  today is the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple. It reminded me of this quick sketch I did of one of my favorite paintings at LUMA (Loyola University Museum of Art), Simeon and the Christ Child by Thomas de Keyser, a 17th Century, Dutch painter. This is a sketch where I was concentrating on the facial expressions, but the colors in this painting are deep and rich. Sketching in the galleries at LUMA is encouraged on Tuesdays when admission is free!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Do Blue and Yellow Always Equal Green?

This Christmas I received a Pocket Palette. I've finally gotten around to filling it! Though the palette will fit a maximum of fourteen pans, I decided to use only twelve.That leaves room for one square pan that I can use for mixing

There are so many beautiful colors to choose from when designing a new palette it's hard to whittle the choices down to twelve. Hard to choose, but I had fun playing with the paint to see what combinations would give the colors that pleased my eye. 

I fell in love with Daniel Smith's Cobalt Teal but wondered if I could make it work in Chicago's light. Experimenting with it and Ultramarine, Verdifer Blue, and Quin Gold, I discovered, yes it can!  One of the things I love about watercolor is watching the colors run together with a little push from my brush (either end) and the water. This was a fun and surprising exercise. I share my squiggles and splotches experiments here.

This is how I decided to fill the palette:

  • Quin Gold
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Quin Scarlet
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Verdifer Blue
  • Cobalt Teal
  • Sap
  • Olive
  • Mauve
  • Opera 
  • Buff Titanium
  • Ultramarine
                              …at least for now!