My Sketchy life – dinosaurs and dames

22 Oct

My Sketchy Life – wonky, wacky & wobbly

13 Oct

Ten days into walking like a drunken sailor without the drink or the sailing.  My husband drove me to art class.  It was nice to get out of the house.  The vertigo is much better but I’m still a bit wobbly.

At first, looking back and forth from the model to the drawing pad was a bit disorienting and I was very tired after class – probably because my brain was working hard to compensate.

The focus for this session was using brown wrapping paper, black and white charcoal.




"Food for thought . . . "

“Wobbly is the least of her worries . . . She’s always been wonky & wacky . . . “


Dizzy blond and I ain’t even blond

2 Oct

Friday: Spent all day and evening in the ER.  I was EXTREMELY light-heading, threw up, missed my art class and spent 24 hours in bed thinking I’d feel fine in the morning . . . WRONG.  

Saturday: In the morning the  room was moving and I wasn’t. Every time I moved I threw up and there was nothing to throw-up since I hadn’t eaten anything (You have probably created a nasty picture in your mind . . .  just make it even nastier).  


Pencil sketch

The ER was even more fun.  Throwing up,  drawing blood, 2 CT scans (to make sure it wasn’t a stroke . . . it wasn’t) and finally, after 4 different anti-nausea medications and drips, I stopped throwing up. 

Sunday: I’m still dizzy and have to hold on to things to walk (it’s a bit wonky to type) but the good news, the GREAT news, is I’ve not thrown up.  The bad news is I’m still dizzy . . .  and  grey-haired.

"Such drama . ."

“If she thinks walking is hard she should try swinging from trees . .”

To my friends and acquaintances who suffer with Ménière’s disease. . . I have new compassion for you!

P.S.  For those of you I confused . .  I don’t have Menieres just plain Ditzy.




My Sketchy Life – scritch, scratch and stretch

28 Sep

I have little energy and my hip is sore .  Usually, I stand at the easel when drawing but my hip is so sore this week I sat.  I’ve been stretching my hip and back every day but scritching and scratching at the art.



When the teacher saw this she commented that it looked like someone sitting at a bus stop!  She said it kindly and  I agreed.  So I quickly scribbled, skritched and scratched over the original.  At least now it looks like the bus has just arrived. 



This was an exercise on finding reference points in the room to draw the figure.  I spent so long finding the points that I didn’t have time for the figure!

I was fading fast and so were my drawings!



Hopefully, next class, instead of scritch and scratch I’ll stretch with the art.


Shower yourself with doodle art

26 Sep

This is one hot shower!  

“Third Man Records is pleased to share the genius surprise gift they received from their friend MICHEL GONDRY. On his own and without anyone’s knowledge, the legendary filmmaker shot a video for “City Lights,” which he sent them the other night. The video is Gondry’s fifth visual collaboration with The White Stripes. “City Lights” was written for The White Stripes’ GET BEHIND ME SATAN but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008.”

Music video by The White Stripes performing “City Lights” (Audio) from Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016. (C) 2016 Third Face, LLC

Director: Michel Gondry
Producer: Raffi Adlan
Camera/Editor: Brooke Palmieri
Special Thanks: Tilly Pederson, David Gritchen
Production Co: Partizan


My Sketchy Life . . . Albee it

17 Sep

Edward Albee died the other day at 88.  He was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright.  He intensely disliked it when asked what his plays were about but finally explained:

“If anybody wants me to say it, in one sentence, what my plays are about: They’re about the nature of identity. Who we are, how we permit ourselves to be viewed, how we permit ourselves to view ourselves, how we practice identity or lack of identity.”  Edward Albee

Most of the models in the life drawing classes have been posing for a long time.  They come equipped with props and pillows and strike dramatic poses that I defy anyone in “real” life to take . . . unless you’re an exotic dancer.

Graphite pencil sketch

Graphite pencil sketch




Charcoal sketch

Art teachers explain that drawing isn’t about what the hand is doing it’s about training our eye to see what it actually sees rather than the internal image of what we THINK we see.

Right now my drawings are about trying to learn to view shapes and shadows, lines and limbs . . . and hopefully have my hands follow.  Someday, it would be nice to say the same thing Edward Albee said . . . that my drawings are about the nature of identity.

Laughter is the best medicine

13 Sep

The weather is changing

my body rearranging

Help! I’m in a fibro flare

Everything hurts

including my hair.

Sharon Bonin Pratt is a writer, an artist and a dear friend.  I think she also is psychic.  I’ve been not feeling great and the subject of her last post was just what I needed.  AND it’s dedicated to ME!!!!  What an honor!

Shari inspired me to look for a smile (SEE THE VIDEO).  

Here’s a sample from Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare:

“Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.”

Read her entire post –  Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare

My sketchy life – failing my way to success

11 Sep

Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.  She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).

When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.

“What have you failed at this week?”

I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father.  Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success.  She went on to say:

“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”

What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.

“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”

I read her interview just before my life drawing class.  It was liberating!!  I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.  

Graphite Pencil Sketch

Graphite Pencil Sketches



My new motto:  Fail Away! 

 . . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.

I fail to understand her conclusions . . . that must make me a success . . .

She never fails to confound me . . .


My sketchy life – equal opportunity nudes

3 Sep

It’s been called to my attention that while I post drawings of female nudes front and rear I don’t post male nude drawings full front.  

I am  so used to seeing women bare it all in the media that I don’t think twice about my female drawings.  I wonder if, deep down, I’m actually a prude?

Charcoal sketches

Charcoal sketches



Graphite pencil sketch


Graphite pencil sketch

Here’s to woman’s liberation and male, dare I say, penile picture poses!


My Sketchy Life – Back to school

27 Aug

New semester for art classes just started.  Here are my best sketches (you didn’t think I’d post my worst, did you?).  I particularly am pleased with the first as I managed to catch the likeness of the model.


Charcoal drawing


Charcoal, scribble drawing


Charcoal warm-up drawing

"Obviously she hasn't learned to draw hands or feet . . ."

“Obviously she hasn’t learned to draw hands . . .  or feet . . .”

Cuddle Fish

22 Aug


“The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 900 meters (2,950 feet). The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish. Rossia pacifica”


RATS! We Inhaled

18 Aug

At Judy Formato’s Painting on the Patio (POP) art group the topic of marijuana came up.  

Several of the woman, who shall remain anonymous, (we are all well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) admitted to inhaling in their youth.  It was a pertinent topic (for those of us well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) relating to pain medication for maladies that come with maturity.

Is this a coincidence, or what? . . . I came home to read this new medical marijuana “MIND” study:  

Researcher Staci Gruber is “. . .  trying to determine the long and short-term impact of medical marijuana on cognition, brain structure and function, quality of life, sleep, and other clinical measures. 

“People drive two to three hours sometimes to get [here for] the study,” Gruber said. “They’re really committed. They really want to know what effect this will have on them.”

“As they wait for long-term results, MIND researchers have made a few interim discoveries. They have found, for example, that marijuana could possibly ease symptoms for people with bipolar disorder and that a medication for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease may reverse the cognitive effects of chronic recreational marijuana use.”

Perhaps our POP group could volunteer – we can drive and are VERY committed women.

I think we qualify.

Oh, by the way, here’s what I painted at POP.

Water-color on Yupo paper

Water-color & pencil on Yupo paper


I wonder why they don’t use rats for this study – they use them for all the others?


Stealth Sketching

11 Aug

I knew about people who do travel sketch books – instead of taking photos they sketch.  I knew about plein air painters who set up their easels and paint nature.  I didn’t know about the groups of artists who take to the streets all over the world and sketch.

They call themselves Urban Sketchers.  The supplies need to be portable and compact – small sketchbooks, pencil, pen and watercolor seem to be the main tools of the trade.  People and buildings are the main focus. 

You have to be fast and just capture the essence of what you see.  People move, get up, leave.   Sometimes I draw the arm of one person on the body of the other, furiously freeze a tiny moment in time hoping people don’t get up, come over and demand I stop staring at them.  Then I “clean up” the mini sketches – erase lines, add a splash of color.  

At the POP (Painting on the Patio) gathering yesterday I couldn’t get inspired to paint so I pulled out my mini sketchbook and “cleaned up” some of my sketches:  





Can’t call myself an Urban Sketcher cuz I don’t sit on street corners or stand by light poles.  I sketch people while I wait for doctors’ appointments, get my computer fixed or tires rotated.  

Since I live in the suburbs it seems a bit pretentious to call my self a suburban sketcher.  Stealth Sketcher is much more like it.


Frankly Freddie – Dog Days of Summer

9 Aug

My human has been laying around the house all week.  You’ve probably noticed she’s not been commenting on her blog or responding to e-mails.  She overdid it at her last workshop and has been dog-tired ever since.  

Humans are cute, not very smart and take a lot of patience on our part.  Just when I think she’s trained she gets loose and I have no idea where she goes or what she gets into.  All I know is she comes limping home. 


Picture by Rona H.

She looks a bit dog-eared.

Usually she can pick up the scent and find her way back but if you see her loose on the street don’t call human-control, just bring her home in time for my dinner.


Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Certified Canine Therapist, RET

“Befores” and “afters”

5 Aug

Judy Formato collects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. Yesterday I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for 3 years to paint, chat and share resources.

Most of the women were doing water-color.  I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches I had done in class. 

The afternoon was topped off with wine and snacks.  Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food company Formato Brothers.

Here are my “befores” and “afters”:


“After” – pastel


“Before”, Charcoal – 1 minute sketch


“Before”, Charcoal,  1 minute sketch


“After”, pastel

Hmmmm . . . looks like they are all "afters" . . . after drinking

Hmmmm . . . looks like all the drawings are “afters” . . . afters drinking wine . . .

The HeART of Spirituality – Journey from Dark to Light

1 Aug

The theme for July is “Journey”.  Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday.  The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.  

People could share as much or as little as they chose.  It was a wonderful group of women.  (All you men, where are you?!!!!)

Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!

To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!


Process painting, Journey from Dark to Light



“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith


Mini journal – 2- page spread

Sneek a peek into my sketchy life – peanut butter and landscapes

23 Jul

The last life drawing class for this semester.  Everyone brought food for a potluck – dips & chips, chocolate, cookies, cake, fruit – it was quite a spread.  We’ve had this model before.  

After staring at her flat abs for 3 hours I disciplined myself and only ate the fruit.  


One of the students saw the above drawing laying on the floor on its side and said it looked like a landscape.




I came home feeling out of shape and deprived.  So I ate 3 peanut butter and honey sandwiches (needed protein after all that fruit).

Can you tell what this is?

19 Jul
  1. A technique of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. It was developed by Georges Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of color.

    Click HERE to see if you were right!

Sneek a Peek – back to back basics

16 Jul

The general consensus among my women art classmates is they prefer drawing female curves rather than male muscles.  Next week I’ll ask the men.   One of the women said her husband was VERY upset she would take a class where the focus was staring at nude men.

For these sketches I threw muscles to the wind and just drew.  I took a few liberties (like cutting off the models head because he was wearing a ridiculous helmet which I refused to draw and beefing him up a bit to match my own fantasies . . .)

I’m only sharing the back views I drew . . . don’t want to upset any of YOU that I’ve been staring at full frontal nude men . . .


15 minute pose, charcoal sketch


5 minute pose, charcoal sketch


20 minute pose, charcoal sketch

The HeART of Spiritual POWER

11 Jul

Want to see more collaged Contemplation Cards?  The theme was Power. Click here The HeART of Spirituality





Sneek a peek into my sketchy life – jugs and jugs and . . .

8 Jul

Been doing and redoing drawings to amuse myself.  These were originally quick sketches from life drawing.  I “colorized” them trying to teach myself how to use pastel.  It’s easier to practice on sketches I was going to throw away because there’s nothing to lose!!




The pinnacle is the climb, not the mountain peak

5 Jul

A lovely reminder of what our souls know but our minds forget.


Gabrielle Garcia Marquez

Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in theSpanish language, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Frankly Freddie

4 Jul

Dear Linda B.,

Thank you for sending me a video of Jumpy the dog.  All us canines can do all this, we just don’t want to.   We prefer to conserve our energy for healing rather than performing. 

Sincerely yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Sneek a Peek into my sketchy life – nudes and buts

21 Jun

Sorry, I’ve been blogged-out for so long.  I know, I know, yet another sorry-I’ve-been-gone-for-so-long-post.  

BUT I decided today is a brand new beginning.  “BUT” literally and figuratively.  (For those of you who are squeamish scroll down to the nude part because I begin with the BUTT . . .  mine to be exact.)  

Just had a colonoscopy. The bad news – I didn’t have a very good day yesterday.  The good news – I lost 4 pounds.  The bad news – I have wasted today sleeping.  The good news – I don’t remember a thing.  

Now that I’m squeaky clean it’s time for a new start – Going to go back to cutting out (maybe down) on refined sugar & carbs and cutting up on the internet.

Here’s my latest sketches.  I start with my favorite:


10 minute charcoal sketch


20 minute charcoal sketch


10 minute charcoal sketch

Sneek Peek at my sketchy life – 2 bares and a nude . . .

11 Jun

 . . . or 2 nudes and a bare . . .  or 3 nudes . . . or 2 bares and a bear . . .

at any rate, none of them wore clothes.

Bare 1

Bare 1, charcoal 10 min sketch

Bare 2

Bare 2, charcoal 15 min sketch

Ink Flare Pome By Shari Bonin-Pratt

You bared your soul.
The woman bared her bottom.
The monkey bared his soles.
Your sketches really got ’em

Bare 3

Bare 3, charcoal 3 hours & 15 min sketch . . . (he wouldn’t sit still)

A Sneek Peek into my sketchy life – drawing

4 Jun Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose

 You’ve not heard from me for a while.  It’s not that I’ve forgotten YOU it’s just that I’ve had nothing inspiring me and for those of you who have followed my blog for a long time know it’s ultimately ALL ABOUT ME.

Yesterday I started a summer art class – life drawing. Drawing still-lifes and such (you know the kind where the instructor wants you to draw a block of wood, a vase with an artificial flower and a porcelain doll who stares straight ahead with malice in her eye) just isn’t my “thing”.  I’ve got nothing against still-lifes mind you (my life has been still on more than one occasion) but I prefer real flesh.

Here’s my first foray into real flesh since my one life drawing class in 1966.  I was pleased . . . with the drawings, of course.

Charcoal, 10 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 10 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 10 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 10 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose

Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose                    THE END

Baltimore, the Snowy Owl

25 May

No energy to write my usual pithy posts . . . but here’s a Snowy Owl worth the visit:

“We followed a young owl named Baltimore’s PRECISE route from a beach in Maryland to an island in Canada.”

Adding insult to injury

12 May

I woke this morning feeling like a truck hit me, threw me onto the train tracks where I was run over by a locomotive.

AND lo and behold . . .

. . .  today is National Fibromyalgia Day.  I’m in no mood to celebrate but the Fibro-Fiends that dwell inside me are having a ball!

I’m too tired to write an entirely new post to post on this post so I’ll just post part of a post of a post that I posted sometime ago.  . . . .

Judy's Journal, Mixed Media, Collage

judy’s journal, collage

“I look normalI act normal (relatively normal).  However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating.  Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor.  After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.”

“I don’t even care anymore what you call itFibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time.  I push through it otherwise I’d have no life.  But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.”

There’s a free on-line Fibromyalgia Summit.  If you’re interested in hearing the presentations click here:


Confidential:  Send me your prayers because tomorrow I’m leaving for an Unitarian Woman’s Retreat where I’m facilitating 2 workshops.  (I am not planning on taking my Fibro-Fiends with me.  Please don’t tell anyone because if the Fiends get wind I want to leave them home they will be angry . . . very angrrrrrrrrry . . .)

Everyday is Mother’s Day and Everyone, each in their own way, mothers

9 May

On Mother’s Day Reverend Kent Doss at the Tapestry Unitarian Church began his sermon with a poem.  I found myself tearing up.  After the service I shared my response with other women who all said they, too, had to fight back tears.  

Reverend Doss’ heartfelt delivery can’t be duplicated but I encourage you to read it out loud.   


If you have carried a child or children, whether or not they came to be born, we see you.

If you have fervently wished to do so, and circumstances of fate made it impossible, we see you.

If you love children we cannot see, whether because of death or estrangement, we see you.

If you never wanted to be a mother, we see you.

If you are happy to mother other people’s children, as an educator, an auntie, or a foster parent, we see you.

If your mother hurt you, physically or emotionally, we see you.

If you had no mother at all, we see you.

If your mother is or was your best friend, we see you.

If your gender says you are not a mother, and yet you take on the role of nurturer, we see you.

If you wonder whether your mothering has been enough, we see you.

And if yours is a different truth altogether, we honor your unspoken story.

There is room for all in this circle. May it be so, today and always.

 About the author: Lisa Bovee-Kemper



Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life

5 May DSCN6500

Did quick sketches with colored pencils in class.


I ate my model . . . ouch!


The HeART of Spirituality & Wisdom Workshop

3 May DSCN6493

My computer crashed the day after our last HeART of Spirituality at Tapestry Unitarian Church. I’ve been cyberless for days.  I tried using my husband’s computer but it drrrrrrrrrove me crrrrrrrrrrrazy.  If I didn’t have the correct attitude it did weird and unexpected things.  I never realized how spoiled I was on an Apple MacBook.  

It also was weird . . . I missed YOU –  bloggers, subscribers, cyber friends – more than I missed the computer.

Now that I’m back on-line I can show you the Contemplation Cards everyone made.  Here’s a sample and if you want to see ALL 9 cards click here:

The HeART of Spirituality & Wisdom:




Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking)

26 Apr

Dear Human Beings,

Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, believe everything you read.   This article is a case in point:

New research shows why dogs don’t like hugs.

Staff writers

“PET owners beware — new research has revealed that dogs don’t like hugs from their owners, which can make them (the owners?) more stressed out.”
“According to new research published in Psychology Today, Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, said dogs respond differently to humans who seek comfort from hugging others.”
“Coren, who studies canine behaviour, analysed a random sample of 250 pictures of humans hugging their dogs that he could find online through Flickr and a Google image search.” (skewed data – he left out Pintrest and Instagram where the animal pictures are more photogenic)
“In using photos where the dog’s face was easily seen, he looked whether the dog appeared to be anxious or distressed, relaxed, or showed a neutral response to being hugged.”
“He found that around 82 per cent of the photographs showed “unhappy dogs” receiving hugs from their owners or children.”

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

He said that dogs show signs of distress when they bare their teeth (called a smile when humans do it), turn their heads away from something ( just being bored and looking around), or they partially close their eyes (doesn’t everyone close their eyes when ecstatic?).
Another sign of anxiety is when a dog’s ears are lowered or “slicked against the side of his head”. (Stanley, it’s just our coiffure)
He also said that licking lips or licking a person’s face can also be a sign of anxiety, like yawning or raising a paw. (I lick when it’s tasty)
Coren said the fact that dogs don’t like being hugged can be explained by their behavioural nature.

As “cursorial animals”, (cursorial?  I swear I never curse) they are designed for swift running. When stressed, a dog’s first instinct is to run away.
It is believed that when they are restricted from moving with a hug, it can increase a dog’s stress level and potentially cause them to bite their owners. (or bite researchers)

It’s not the hugs that stressed the dogs out it was having their pictures taken WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT to be displayed for all the world to see.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Pulblished Poet

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Blogger

So hug away you human-beings and always follow-up with a treat for us dogs (you got your treat with the hug)

Frankly yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET, CDB

Canine Dog Therapist, Retired and Certified Dog Blogger


Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life

25 Apr Pastel Portrait

Here’s my semi-weekly Did you Miss Me!!!!!??????? post.  Lately, it seems like every other week I’m blogged-out.  As my energy (and attention) waxes and wanes so too my posting.

The last art classes produced these projects.  The first was sketching onto a plastic plate and then using water soluble color to print.

Left side - acrylic plate Right side - print

Left side – acrylic plate
Right side – print

Print with watercolor

Print with watercolor

In the portrait class we had 3 hours to create a portrait of a real live man.  And although I’ve been known to take liberties with the models . . . like adding arms where there are none . . . I didn’t make up his hair-do.

Pastel Portrait

Pastel Portrait

Bob Blobfish sez: ". . . I p"

Bob Blobfish sez: “Her artistic range is either versatile or erratic.  To be kind I’ll call it erratically versatile . . .”


A Leg Up – The Princess & the Pea

18 Apr

I sent my doodle cartoon to Sketchbook Skool & Doodlers Anonymous

and now I’m sending it to you.

The Princess & the Pea- Dispelling the Myth


The test of a REAL princess is tenacity and ingenuity, not vegetable intolerance.

Mess’n Around and Cutt’n Up

16 Apr DSCN6476

I know, I KNOW, you’ve missed me this past week (I do NOT want to know if you didn’t).  In my life long effort to be better focused I tried to cut down on my computer time . . . browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos, reading the news . . . AND posting.  It really worked except for browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.

With all the time I’ve gained by not posting I’ve been gardening and messing around with sketching.  I tried (tried being the operant word) to use my new pastels to do a realistic portrait.

The lady I drew (using a famous portrait as a reference) was so ugly I was embarrassed to show her in public.  So I just had fun and gave her a cosmetic make-up.  The background got to be so ugly and muddied I just cut it away.  She’s no beauty either but I had nothing else to post . . .

DSCN6476 DSCN6477

 Now that I’ve posted I’m on to browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.


“More proof she’s losing it . . .”

Sneek a Peek – Art Stuff

8 Apr DSCN6472

Hot off the drawing board – from today’s art class.


Preliminary sketch



Sneek a peek at my skechy life

6 Apr

What did I learn today in class?  Drawing is just like life! 

I used to think that great artists, good artists got it right on the first pass.  It’s taken me 7 decades to understand that all artists continually make corrections.  Draw, adjust, erase, draw, redraw, erase . . . 

Luckily, it only took me 5 decades to figure out that life was about continually making corrections.  That reminds me . . .  I need a new eraser.

Here’s my sketches for today – One is loose and the other uptight



Graphite pencil, I shaved his head so he’d be more “hip”.

Vine charcoal

Vine charcoal, Dilly Dolly

Neuroscience – 4 easy & fast things to do to boost happiness

5 Apr

Brain research is both shifting and validating common knowledge. This article by Jon Spayde in the United Health Care bulletin is worth posting AND READING in it’s entirety.

How to get happy in a hurry, according to neuroscience

By Jon Spayde

“. . . blogger Eric Barker lists four rapid, in-the-moment ways to feel happy – he calls them “rituals” – based on recent neuroscience, and featured in a new book by UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb: “The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.”‘

“1. Ask yourself what you’re grateful for. A warm house, a pet you love, your success at Minecraft? Whatever. Gratitude, says Korb, boosts both dopamine and serotonin, the two most powerful neurotransmitter chemicals involved in giving you a feeling of calm and well-being. “Know what Prozac does?” asks Barker. “Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.” And don’t worry if you can’t immediately find things to be grateful for, Korb says. The mental search for gratitude alone will begin to elevate the level of those pleasure chemicals”.


One-liner doodle – WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

“2. Label negative feelings. Simply saying to yourself “I’m sad” or “I’m anxious” seems like a pretty paltry happiness strategy. But here’s what Korb writes: “…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled ‘Putting Feelings into Words,’ participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala [the brain’s fight-or-flight alarm bell] activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.”‘

“3. Make a decision. Just deciding to do something can reduce worry and anxiety right away. Korb: “Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals – all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world – finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.”‘

“But what about making the “right” decision? Isn’t that stressful? Korb counsels letting go of perfectionism. The “good enough” decision is…well, good enough to make our brains go into at-ease mode. “We don’t just choose the things we like,” says Korb. “We also like the things we choose.”‘

“4. Touch people (appropriately).One of the primary ways to release oxytocin [the pleasure-inducing ‘cuddle chemical’] is through touching,” Korb writes. “Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.”‘

“A hug is particularly effective, he says, mobilizing oxytocin against that alarm-bell amygdala. And if you don’t have anybody to hug, go get a massage: “The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels.”‘

United Health Care

Sneek Peek – sketchy sketches & monkeying around

4 Apr DSCN6462

In my drawing class we’re suppose to rapid sketch every day.  I’ve been rather lax so decided to participate (sorta) in the on-line #CreativeSprint to do something creative every day.   I figure if I do 3 sketches at one time it counts as 3 days for both the class and the sprint.  I’m ahead of the game!  Here’s 14 days worth:

These are not shitty FIRST drafts, they are the only drafts. 




AND TA DA the piece de resistance!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Any resemblance to the “artist” is coincidental)


"She has too much time on her hands . . ."

“The only difference I see is the “artist” has 4 more toes”.


Art & Creativity for Healing – Painting Hope

2 Apr 9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

Attended a painting workshop today at Art & Creativity for Healing a wonderful non-profit for which I helped facilitate workshops many years ago.  

Laurie Zagon the founder and creator of the Art4Healing® method has created a wonderful vehicle to express feelings using color.  It’s not about making “art” but about processing thoughts, feelings and experiences using paint.  Today’s workshop was “Painting Hope”.

The paintings are done very rapidly so that intuition rather than artistic skill is the focus.  And it’s hard to be skillful when make-up sponges and q-tips are used instead of brushes!

Here’s mine:#CreativeSprint


14 x 18 acrylic, Prayer of Hope

Please check out Art 4 Healing.orgTheir mission is to support emotional healing through art & creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear or stress.

There are on-line video workshops available to everyone, anywhere.  Proceeds go towards providing free workshops to organizations such as wounded veterans, Children’s Hospital and woman’s shelters.

9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

If you want to see my explanation of Prayer of Hope click here The HeART of Spirituality!

Puppy Power!

2 Apr

SoulPancake and Puppy Chow teamed up to share the #PowerofPuppies at a preschool, retirement home, and gym to transform an otherwise ordinary day. Share with someone who needs the power of puppies in their lives! For every video view, Puppy Chow will donate one pound of Puppy Chow Natural to Rescue Bank® (up to 500,000 pounds or until April 23, 2016).



A fish face to love, not to eat

31 Mar

A video of a diver in Thailand rescuing a porcupinefish caught in a net got my attention.  I posted it on The HeART of Spirituality to get your attention. (verrrrrrry clever)

It’s not for survival

when I take a drink

It’s for my revival

she says with a wink

This  is the black-blotched porcupinefish. These fish not only can swallow water and raise their spines to make themselves look bigger and fiercer, but they also harbor in their bodies a neurotoxin that contributes to self-defense.

Porcupine Fish

Porcupine Fish sez: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Take a look at a Porcupine fish being rescued while its fish friend watches.  Who said fish don’t have feelings!

Click here for the video!

“Some species are poisonous, having a tetrodotoxin in their internal organs, such as the ovaries and liver. This neurotoxin is at least 1200 times more potent than cyanide. The poison is produced by several types of bacteria obtained from the fish’s diet.[4] As a result of these three defenses, porcupinefish have few predators, although adults are sometimes preyed upon by sharks and killer whales. Juveniles are also preyed on by Lysiosquillina maculatatuna and dolphins. Wikipedia

And read about the nanofish cleaning out YOUR body here!

plus another pome . . .



Happy Easter Klatch Hatch

27 Mar

 Better to give life than eat it.

This watercolor by Kathrin Werner made me smile.   Happy Easter and beyond!


Watercolor by Kathrin Werner

Kathi also has the best blog series – She’s created an alligator with attitude named Benni:   


“As the landlord had forgotten to tell the other guests that Benni was a vegetarian, hardly anybody did sleep in that night.”

and you can brush up on your German when you read her blog:

“Außer Benni schlief keiner. Der Hüttenwirt hatte vergessen den anderen Gäste zu sagen, dass Benni Vegetarier war.”

Click here: KathrinsWorld

 P.S.  She even has an ETSY shop



Keeping the Beat

26 Mar

“Snowball’s public debut also caught the attention of two scientists at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, Calif. John Iversen and Aniruddh Patel were interested in the evolutionary origins and neuroscience of rhythm and music. At the time, there was no documented evidence that nonhuman animals could dance — or, in more scientific terms, that they could “entrain” their movements to an external beat. “We saw this video, and it really knocked us out — it was the first time we had ever seen this,” Iversen said. “As scientists, you love these kinds of moments.”’

“Iversen and Patel tested Snowball in controlled experiments, altering the tempos of his favorite songs and observing how he responded without any training or encouragement. Snowball danced in bouts, rather than continuously, but frame-by-frame video analysis confirmed that he adapted his movements to the match the altered beats. Soon after, other studies by separate research teams showed that numerous species of parrots could entrain to a beat, as could elephants. Monkeys, on the other hand, did not display much rhythmic talent in the lab.”

Snowball (TM) is a Medium Sulphur Crested Eleanora Cockatoo that dances to the Back Street Boys and other songs that he rates as having a “very good beat.” He came to Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service, Inc. (a 501c3 not for profit bird rescue and sanctuary) in August 2007 and continues to make us laugh with his fancy footwork. We are currently raising funds to build a bird habitat for Snowball and other birds like him.”

"She has too much time on her hands . . ."

“Unlike other ANIMALS we  dance only in A-list private labs”

Click here to read the entire article Beasts that Keep the Beat and watch a seal “keep the beat”.

DOODLEWASHing & Hairy Bird pome

25 Mar

Hairy Pome by judy

Have you not heard
of the elusive Kingfisher bird?
When it is hatched
it sports a moustache
Thank goodness there’s no beard
that would be weird

Watercolor by Charlie O', Kingfisher Bird

Watercolor by Charlie O’Shields, Moustached Kingfisher Bird

Read more about this birdie at doodlewash

The HeART of Spirituality – Renewal

24 Mar

Eighteen – count ’em, 17 wonderful women and one marvelous man, Reverend Kent Doss, created beautiful prayer/contemplation cards at the Tapestry Unitarian Church The focus was RENEWAL and making prayer/contemplation cards.

Those of you who have facilitated workshops know that quintuple the amount of time of the actual workshop goes into creating the material, administrative stuff, setting up and cleaning up.  I knew I was tired when I got home because I ate everything that would fit in my mouth that didn’t require cooking, cleaning or chewing.

Here’s 1/2 of the pictures.  If you want to see the other half and more about the cards you’ll have to click here: The HeART of Spirituality

(verrrrrrrrrrry clever of me to get you to go to the other blog . . .).

Apologies to those of you whose cards didn’t upload. Some of the photos didn’t “photo” – a bit of blame goes to the glare off the images, a bit goes to my photography skills and the rest goes to my inability to “clean up the photos” on the computer.

Betty Blobfish sez: "Excuses, excuses excuses ."

Betty Blobfish sez:”Excuses, excuses .”

“Shitty First Drafts”

22 Mar Pastels

In art class we had a live model for the first time.  We were to do a fast sketch to acquaint ourselves with her facial features.  She was a striking young woman with distinct features. 

My initial 15 minute charcoal sketch looked like a wild animal had attacked.  I admit to being a bit embarrassed when the model walked by looking at all our sketches.  It’s one thing botching up a plaster cast and another maiming a live beautiful face.

"Shitty first draft", charcoal

“Shitty first draft”, charcoal

The remaining time in class was spent doing the model’s portrait in chalk pastels.  (Confession: The teacher helped me since I’ve never worked with pastels.)

I was not going to post either the initial sketch because it wasn’t “perfectly executed” nor my pastel since my teacher helped. 

Then Anne Lamott, the author, came to mind.  In her book Bird by Bird she talks about how the writer should just spill it all out, create the “shitty first draft”.  That’s how good writers get to the second, third and polished last drafts.


Pastel on grey paper

When I look at the portrait I see flashes of myself – mostly the pain I’ve been in.  There wasn’t time in class to finish . . . another work in progress, like me.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” 

Anne Lamott

Children’s art – the invisible made visible

18 Mar

“Syrian kids who passed through Milan’s Central Station last year did something very Italian: create artwork. While they waited for trains to take them to northern Europe, Save the Children offered them a chance to draw. They could depict whatever they wanted, says psychologist Vittoria Ardino, president of the Italian Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, who analyzed 500 of these images.”

Scroll down to last drawing to read one of Ardino’s reflections on the drawings.


“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. 
Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama



“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith


“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”

1 Corinthians 1:10

3_custom-b9349c6938c18b6c1abfcad0cd54da78596cbeb7-s800-c85 2_custom-3122908a651c02d91f714e2ac0642e3998375ac1-s800-c85

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you

If you do not act on upon them?”



Here’s one of  Vittoria Ardino’s reflections on these drawings:

“There’s so much happening on this piece of paper — which is maybe a reflection of the child’s chaotic inner world, Ardino says. A flying creature is part butterfly, a common symbol of freedom. But it’s also part gun. A plane dropping bombs is covered by a face that’s half-human and half-fish (or actually, a big fish devouring a smaller one). A flower droops over a series of squiggles, which Ardino believes represent human bodies. All of that points to a child feeling powerless — but “trying desperately to find light,” Ardino adds. The face is surrounded by sun, and an oversized ladder or staircase leads away from the houses. Ardino suggests this is the child’s attempt at answering a critical question: “How can I escape?”‘

Click here to read Ardino’s reflections on all 7 drawings.


Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

17 Mar

Now back to washing the dishes and the soapy water that reminded me to water the flowers in the garden which reminded me about this video . . .

Thanks Sharon M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it a good thing . . . or a sign . . . I can no longer remember when my attention deficit was activated . . .?

DOODLEWASHing & monkey pome

16 Mar

Want to monkey around?
just blow with your nose
to create a sound
that tingles the toes

However, it’s said
if a monkey you bed
your kids will be hairy
swing from the trees
blowing their noses
and hang by their knees

Whoops, WRONG picture

Whoops, WRONG picture.  Sorry Charlie O’ . . .

“Unfortunately, like many of this unusual creatures, this species is classified as endangered. Though an odd face, they’re generally good natured with each other, but due to extensive loss of vegetation, there are only about 1,000 of them left. The government of Borneo has instituted strict penalties for those who kill them in an effort to protect what’s left of the dwindling population.”

If you want to see the PROBOSCIS MONKEY’S picture you will have to click here: DOODLEWASH

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