Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Edge of the planet

I haven't dropped off, but I've been very busy going back and forth between training at the postal academy.  This is not me giving up on the remodeling or other things I have been doing - but an extension to what will be a one-day-a-week guaranteed income to balance against the variable income.  And it is something that could grow with time, to give us health insurance and retirement.  So, it is something that I had to apply for months in advance, be ready to jump when they were ready, and then after all the training (which is 2 weeks straight) it drops back down to the one day a week or so.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Life With Catahoulas #4 original webcomic

They think he is cooking something huge, maybe a T-bone steak, when it's just a hamburger.
And Rex, the German Shepherd puppy, really was holding his bone in line the other day while everyone sat around smelling the food cooking.  

Life with Catahoulas is a weekly webcomic of the antics of four Catahoula Leopard dogs, a bluetick, a German Shepherd puppy, four cats and a goat, on a farm in Tennessee.  It is drawn by Marie Lamb, an author and artist, wife, mother and plumber.

Come see us every week for a new comic, 'around Monday', between Sunday night and Tuesday, depending on what's happening in this busy life!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January Journals 16

I wish I had put this in my sketchbook I sent to Brooklyn Art Project, it was very fitting.  It was shoved in a cubby in my desk apparently from months ago.

Now Alice, my dear
you have made your steps,
each one of them so winding...
Shall we go into the castle
with its high walls of crumbling stone
and find out who lives there?
Before they burn down the world.

Wow.. I guess I couldn't think of any good imagery for that. I can, now.  Maybe tonight I'll update here and try to sketch what it should have been.

all I had time for, really, today was this
 bits in the margins of my lists and notes

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January Journals #15

So we are now about halfway through January.  I've kept up, mostly - the comic counted as a sketch that day.  This is my attempt again to draw the hill by Byas Road and Macedonia, near McKenzie TN.  This is a summer photograph I found via Google Maps.  It still doesn't have the same perspective that piques my interest - and maybe I'll get out there with a camera one day soon and capture just the right angle - not to mention the red grass that is so stunning right now against the black leafless bark.

Were coming further along on the remodel - hope to be done very soon.  Lots of little details and finish work. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

January Journals 14

Simba Learns a Lesson - available here

The automatic drawing style is something not a lot of artists do.  It involves putting pen to paper and scratching out a few rough lines, without any idea of what will come from them.  Then, the artist will sit back for a moment until the faces or bodies in the picture become apparent - and trace out the shapes between the lines to make a whole picture.

The drawing above is done in the automatic drawing style.  The parts that showed through in the original few lines were the mouths of the lions, the beak of the bird on the right, the curve of the rock and the wings of the bird above.

Each of these automatic drawings is truly one of a kind.

Twenty minute memory drawing - trying to remember what that scene looks like by the red grass hill near the Rolls Royce house on the way to McKenzie.. every time I pass it I wish to get a photo but the perspective I see can only be captured from a place where there is nowhere to park or stand.

Monday, January 13, 2020

January Journals 13

waiting room
They took another tooth out at the dentist today.
This is a bit of a vision I had while waiting afterwards.. of peach and green lines encircling and taking the pain out of my head and away and back around

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January Journals #12

a quick little sketch of a painting I saw in a dream..  it turned out cute enough to warrant more work.
but not tonight.. very tired

Took Esme to the Star Wars movie, and now it not even quite 8 pm and I am ready for bed
They are taking out one of the last of the nerve exposed teeth tomorrow
and I hope my cabinet has arrived

Automatic poetry

Hope in the Thicket

For all our yesterdays and all our tomorrows
we call you here before the roses
to dream of what could be a
and to see the path before you
not as a stumbling between the thorns
but as a gathering toward the light
that is revealed at the end of the thicket
for it is only a few more dark steps
here in the undergrowth
before we emerge again

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Life With Catahoulas number 3 webcomic

Honey?  I think it's really cold outside.
How can you tell?
It's just a hunch.....

Life with Catahoulas.. and a German Shepherd puppy, and cats.... everyone on the couch!
Help support our dog crew by investing in some of their favorite toys for yours!

The Kong toys are the best thing ever, they bounce and you can put treats inside to keep your dog occupied.  You can even put frozen ice cubes in them in the summer for a very special treat!

Painting progression,


The Comfy Chair
painting progression showing how the details come in
7 inches by 14, wrapped canvas with blue edges

Finished this last night, inspired by a chair I saw in a magazine, and my own cat muses lounging around our house.  I guess it's even Caturday!

Friday, January 10, 2020

January Journals #9 and #10

I drew this one yesterday and put it up on my Facebook page but then I ran hard all day doing things and never did get it up here.

My sister and cousin both recognized it.  It is a memory drawing of my mother's house when I was growing up in Grand Rapids, Minnesota
My microscope tool came today, and I tried it out with one of my small Micron pens.
It's kind of like word jewelry.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

January Journals #8

A plan for a wall mural.. but I'm not sure if this will be the dragon that will go there, yet.
Did a lot more today at the tile worksite on very little sleep... time to sleep tonight soon and up and run again tomorrow This is a wonderful little tool for the price - we did more than 3/4 of our cuts at the tile jobsite the past few days with this, and it was nice to not be sprayed with water in 30 to 50 degree weather for every single cut.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

January Journals #7

Daffodil Hill, Mixie,  Tennessee
The colors shining through the trees here, and the cascading of the light - I saw it as potential for another drawing or painting.  It also reminded me of the brindle on the back of a dog or a marbled cake.  I loved the way it ended up being the same direction as the moon in the blue sky, too.

We were out doing tile again today, getting closer to being done with that part of the job.

The best PVC cutter I own, will do up to inch and a half drain pipe, strong blade

mallard in the automatic drawing style

Monday, January 06, 2020

January Journals sketchbook #6

Ephesus Church and Hwy 77 near Paris, Tennessee
working from memory
will try to work from a photo next time, the frost on the hill and the way the sunlight came over was what I really wanted to capture, but without a color photograph it is hard to get the right colors from memory

journal today:
I want to remember t he way the sun looked over the fields coming down over the hill with the treeline dark and scattered and the sunlight over the frost in the  distance.  How the sun looked coming through red leaves and evergreen on the way to Camden this morning.  Red shining and the green soaking it in, spiky and assured.  All the little bits of rays of light coming in between.

and a challenge to see how your studio is set up at the moment...

I found it a little eerie I didn't mean to set up my paints into a color wheel, but they are.  But as always, my sense of the color wheel is not quite the same as others?  One artist tells me ROYGBIV but I see white into yellow, then of course yellows into greens and blues, and then because the purples are simply mixed, it goes to the reds, and the reds to black... and you can make brown across the table two ways - green and red or purple and yellow.. and then there is orange and blue which is usually a dark umber color or a way to mix gray if done just right.


Remodel being done by Shower Dash (

 Design Plan


Sunday, January 05, 2020

Life with Catahoulas web comic #2


Rex, our German Shepherd puppy, wants to play with all the toys. 
 Everyone else says its time to sleep.
Help support our dog crew by investing in some of their favorite toys for yours!

The Kong toys are the best thing ever, they bounce and you can put treats inside to keep your dog occupied.  You can even put frozen ice cubes in them in the summer for a very special treat!

January Jumpstart Day Five

The best pencil box ever

This is the most amazing pencil box, ever.  It has a useful easel and three drawers with lots of partitions and little locks on the side.  If I needed to I could lock everything down, grab it by the handle and go.

vintage books and vintage sewing patterns
I've posted these books and sewing patterns on   A 1963 fishing book with amazing illsutrations including color fly fishing lure plates and knot tying.  

Then there is the McCall 7302 sport dress from 1948, of which I made the skirt once and loved it.  It can be very hard to find those patterns in the larger sizes of today - and this one is bust size 38.  

And Simplicity 6824 girls size 7 wardrobe which has a wonderful pants pattern, that can be made into shorts, and a short or long sleeved shirt.

We read this Total Money Makeover together last summer and it had a lot of really good information. 

Did some little paint sketches tonight on some loose hexagon tiles

january journals #5 calico at sunrise

The morning light has come upon us. The birds are shrieking like cats out in the cedar trees. My calico is watching them, telling me the jerks and tells of their heads with her eyes. A silent pastime fit for a winter morning bundled within our nest

Morning whiskers claiming my scissors, my pens, every angled surface as her very own, rubbing her chin down along each line and purring loudly.  She jerks her head back as a blue jay swoops down into the leaves in the yard.  Small quivers happening at her jaw as she wishes to warble but does not want the prey to hear.  A tightening of claws on the edge of the seat and back legs start to pump.  Tail twitches.  The bird takes flight.  A shared glance between us, and she resettles to her claim.  Calico at sunrise in winter light.

I have an idea for the sunlit attic scene in one of my short stories to think about today - see if I can get it started.  I have to schedule something with a contractor for tomorrow - hoping he will call me back.  But for the moment it is off to get ready for town and then after church the rest of the day will come as it will.

I am still very glad that the injury from dropping the tile was not bad.  In fact, my hands hurt as much from carrying it as my foot does from dropping it.  Another thing to be thankful for.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

january journals 4 sketchbook

automatic drawing sketch

Picked up a lot of tile, worked on a blanket, talked to customers and did a lot of writing in the morning... time to sleep!

January Journals #4

It is the fourth day of January.  Does it feel sometimes like you have lived ten days in two?  It does for me, even more the more I create.  I have some copper thread I found yesterday that I want to use in my sketchbook, and I am thinking it might be a good idea to find a magnifier loop to pull over my desk for doing small work like embroidery and tiny lines and dashes in fur and feathers.

It's the one in the middle

This is what I have in my cart to try out.   And I will give a review here when I get it how well it works.   It looks like it would be great to hold on to things and that would give me an extra hand, so to say, as well.  Even with my glasses on sometimes I find it really hard now to focus in exactly the right place close up to the project.

I am working much more in my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Project.  It is like these little Kraft Notebooks.  When I finish up with it I might even miss the size and need to order some more of them.

Remember you can still purchase my book 'Time in December', as well.  It is only 99 cents on Kindle, but the paper copy was larger than I thought and it turned out beautifully.  I have gotten two very nice reviews saying it 'reads so much like poetry', and that they wished to dream the poetry when they went to sleep.

 I am working a bit here and there on new short stories for 'House of Sunlight'.  I hope to have that ready to print or send out to an agent in March.  I haven't decided yet - and some of the illustrations need to come to me.  The first one came in the form of the yellow house, and I have others in mind.  The illustrations that are in Time in December did not come to me until a certain point, when I did them all in a few days.  Sometimes art is like that.

I made a ten minute sketch the other day and just really wanted to put it on this canvas.  However, I know my perspective is odd with one eye far sighted and one eye nearsighted.  I also HATE working over scratched pencil lines on my canvas.  So - last night the solution hit me.  I had done this in the past when making murals on the wall from photographs.

It is the mathematical reference to making a canvas.   All you need is a calculator (or your phone) and a ruler that measures to the eighth (1/8) of an inch.

This is the painting I am working on.  I used the mathematical technique last night to transfer bits from the original drawing.  I measured across at twelve points

in the picture from the drawing, did the mathematical ratio conversion and located them on the canvas.  Then using them as reference points, I drew the perspective in until it fit.

The drawing dimensions were 40 percent smaller than the canvas.  Because of this every measurement I made on the drawing became divided by .4 to locate where it would be on the canvas.  For example - if a point was 5.5 inches across from the left on the drawing it was located 13.75 inches from the left on the canvas and so forth.

Sometimes you have to wear your mood right out there on your chest. 

I have a shirt that says 'Be Amazing, but first Coffee' and it always gets comments. 

Rex and his adopted mom and aunt

Can you tell that Minerva is his adopted Mom?  They have been chewing up the blankets this winter and Rex seems to think that all the toys belong right next to Mom's butt.  I have a cartoon almost ready for Monday for the comic strip - tune back then and see it :)

Rex loves! He ate several of the pretzels as a puppy and now carries his dumb-bell toy everywhere as his 'happy thing'. The Kongs are the very best - they bounce and can be carried and dropped down the stairs to great effect. If you have an aggressive nervous chewer the Kongs are really the best thing ever!

Friday, January 03, 2020

january journals #3

Continuing in the vein of January journals.
A few months ago I sat down and shared ghost stories with a friend, and somehow he dredged this one back up from my memory about a place we used to scare each other silly with in my youth.  I don't know if any of it is true, but this was the rumor and narrative we told around campfires and driving in the back of pickup trucks in moonlight back in the 1980s.

I am going to recount you a tale, a ghost story, from my youth.  It is not one I have found written anywhere else, and I will tell it to you exactly as I remember it.  It happened up in Northern Minnesota, on a farm out in Arbo Township.  There were two brothers, named Capeleddy, and they both lived in a two-story house down on the bend of the road just before the Civil War.  One of the brothers, the older one perhaps, went off to war, leaving his young wife alone at the house.  The younger brother was working in a logging camp, but then he came home to the family farm while the older brother was away.

It was said that the young wife and the younger brother fell in love and had an affair.  I could only wonder if they perhaps had wondered if the older brother was still alive after the war.  They were living in the house when the older brother came back from the war.  When he arrived back home he heard tales from other people of what had been going on out at the farm.  He arrived with a loaded gun, and without asking any questions, shot his younger brother out in the field behind the house.   He was supposed to have shot him through with a shotgun while the brother was defenseless.   Then he went up into the upper story of the house and shot his young wife, as well.  Then he shot himself.  The tale continues that if you go by the Capeleddy farm late at night, especially in the moonlight, you are supposed to be able to see spirits walking through the upper story of the house and in the field back behind it.

But, it was always told to me as a child not to look too hard, and never to let the spirit of the older brother see you, because he would chase after you Washington Irving style and try to pull you into their misery and you would never escape.  The building was completely abandoned in my childhood in the 1980s and falling apart.  Part of the tale could have been told simply to keep children from trying to go there and falling through the floors injuring themselves.  We talked a lot about the place but none of us ever set foot on it beyond the fenceline.

You could see through the upper stories at night that the moonlight really did shine oddly through the building.  I'm sure it was just a trick of  the light.  I don't know if the story is true and the few times I ever tried to look up the name I did not come across anything.  But, who knows?  It could have just been a tale my older siblings made up to scare the pants off of me.  But everyone did refer to it as the Capeleddy farm, and that there were gravestones somewhere on it.  I do know that nobody ever lived there during the decade plus we lived a few miles down the road.

And a sketch in my Brooklyn Art Project sketchbook

  The Alice theme continues throughout the entire book

When you just have to hug a Mosasaur toys

When you just have to hug a Mosasaur, it is good to have one in reach.  Or a Spinosaurus, or a Brachiasaurus...  You know I like plastic dinosaurs, well I have a soft spot for those in particular, and they are scattered around my studio having all sorts of fun.  Having a few on my desk it is a bit like that scene in Firefly where Wash has them on his flight navigation console and is having a little mini episode while waiting for orders. 

This plastic one from Jurassic World has great jaw action, I have a very similar one on my desk that chews on pencils and fingers and just is a great thing to throw around while reading articles.  Esme even grabs it once in a while and tries to feed him a seashell when she is trying to get my attention.  The other is a plush and more huggable (but still has teeth!)  The teeth are very important for this toy and being able to chew on things.  And being plush it can more easily be tossed across the room in between episodes or during Minecraft excursions.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

january journals #2

again had some time to kill while I waited for a prescription

Journal (not related to the image)
It is for none of you and for all of you that the pear grows and the bird sings in the morning.  It is for all who listen, see and participate in the great circle of Nature.  It is for none of you in that it will continue to march its path when all of us are dust and your descendants cannot remember your names.  For that very reason we must do as much as we can to make sure we do not take it for granted, do not gather it all greedily in one place and set it to flame, and do not block the eyes of the children from appreciating there are wonders such as these in the world - that being in the world is precious - and a gift not given but received.

And I promised to do a sketchbook page every day - this is another one of the old farm, remembering when the skunks dug up under the house, Duke, and Mouse and the garden and the clothes on the line...

This paper was in my stack, just a few pages left, time to get some more.  It is extra-rough, which is tough on the colored pencils, but makes for a really great definition.  Take a look at the product below, and help support art!

a little automatic writing also done while waiting for the prescription -
A white soft veil of wind behind the tail of the fox that ran in front of us, its black legs hopping and uncertain to chase or be chased it ran off into the tall grasses without much more than a moment of indecision and yet it was seen by the eight year old with her hands and nose pressed up against the glass of the station wagon each patch of white on chest and stomach and tail memorized for remembering later with crayons and chalk

january journals

I had a lot of time to kill yesterday and I made a couple little journal entries in a new journal that I bought.

Here is the first one - very philosophical

The tree coming up in twisted branches, separating and reaching in two directions - then it decides as many living things do, to double back on itself, to change places. In doing so it may seem to some to lack direction but to me it is the essence of its beauty the assuredness of time spent alive, the faults and thorns and obstacles of life that make us bend with the wind and seek the light. The Beauty comes in the spaces we live in between all the certain things in life, and often, in spite of them.

And the second one - more fun, and hopeful, and silly.

The New Year has come and we all expected it but down in the cracks of my psyche I hear these words ‘twenty twenty’ and am impressed we have made it this far. It seems like such a huge numbered beast, out in its pajamas drinking champagne – something larger than we imagined with punk rock hair but still down to earth, not totally unfamiliar, as it was once described in our childhood.

We have found the monster from where the wild things are and set him down toast and juice and the morning paper, eyeglasses set upon his enormous nose as he tries to do the crossword with a tiny pencil. I imagine myself stealing glances at him through my eyelashes as I cut up my eggs and add more pepper to the tops. I am making sure I am not dreaming, and wondering about, honestly, how badly he will tear up the carpet in the rec room dancing to the Eighties Flashback or how long it will be before he puts out a knee going down the garden stairs carrying too much to the table.

Have we really gotten so old? Is it just that now we are more free to imagine these things give them names and take the risks to bring them nearer to everyday life than to the true fantasy? It is much funnier, when they are near to hand, and much more impactful, as well. In a morning still fading with the sounds of fireworks in my ears, I have let my imagination wander freely. And it is out there in the dining room fondling crystal paperweights and unfolding all of the guest towels with abandon. It is only a figurative guest, but one that brings a smile to my lips as the eggs cool and the coffee begins to sputter. And for this, I think that perhaps twenty twenty and I will get along, if we can just get past hitting our heads on the doorframes.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year

make a little more progress on this one tomorrow maybe..