Sunday, July 31, 2016


These are very small rough approximations of layouts for this broadside.  Nothing final, just thinking.  I need to do about a dozen more.
Watercolors for some value studies--
Trying to place the poem--
A little too crowded--
Too much like 'three men in a tub'
Still lots to do.  Meanwhile I like the beginnings of abstraction with the people.  This one is on two pieces of watercolor postcard paper;  hence the gap in the middle.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Two of today's drawings are monotypes that I finger and rag and stick drew into rolled out etching ink after the drawing of the post-4th of July people from, well, July 4.  This group of three semi-costumed people at a pizza restaurant has haunted me all month.  And then my friend L gave me a poem she was working on, and I knew we needed to put her poem and my drawing together in a broadside.  She had not seen my drawing, but her poem "night visitors" gives the drawing a whole new direction, and the two are greater than the sum of their parts I feel.
Here's another version, and below is the zinc plate with a ghost image after being printed.
Ultimately I plan to translate the monotypes into a woodcut, and we'll use letterpress for the poem.
Rounding out today's drawings are Jesse next to a puddle in the driveway and the first Indian pipes of the year on Jones Mountain after the rain this afternoon.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Just the small herd plus a flock of birds, moving mysteriously as a unit, with a few dissenters resting in the sweet green grass.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dried Chamomile

I dumped out a little jar that I've been tossing chamomile blossoms into in order to dry them for tea.  Painted them while listening to DNC! 👍

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Good Sign?

M and I on the west river trail early-ish this morning, setting out in the only warm fog I've ever encountered.  We saw a pair of greenish five-pound hand weights on the side of the trail-- I imagined someone trying to run with them and dumping them in despair; ( and then along came a woman who bent down and picked them up and said she dropped them on the way and was now picking them up)-- small fungi growing in the cracks of the bark of a rotting log;  a slender snake with a bright orange neck ring (turned out to be a northern ringneck) on the path right in front of us; and then a crowd of fly-bothered cows in a muddy corner of the Muster Field, several maybe cooling off by lying in the puddles.  
And tonight P and I spotted a fat black snake on the stepping stones below the back porch.  Two nice snakes in one day!  Rebirth and renewal, creativity and transformation, says Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And Now Mosquitoes

Five minutes after P and I marveled at the lack of whining biting things this year, I picked up a dozen itchy welts while standing in the garden drawing these guys--

Saturday, July 23, 2016


The most interesting thing in the garden this afternoon was the miniature peapod-- a veritable homunculus-- at the base of a spent scarlet runner blossom.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Little Creepies

My friend C sent me a link today to a museum in Scotland that has in its collection eight small wooden coffins containing very small roughly-carved figures dressed in cotton clothing.  They were part of a cache of 17 little coffins found in a small rock cave in 1836 by boys hiking in the countryside.  If these intrigue you more than the news, check out

Thursday, July 21, 2016

After Flowers

Walking down the street on my way to Jones Mtn I noticed that green seed pods are forming from flower ovaries.  At the corner I could see, way across the valley, our sweet old campus rental house.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

West River Trail Diversion

Some more diversion for when you can't bear to watch the news.  Pretend that you're walking along a quiet woodland trail with a murmuring river on one side and hilly farm fields just past the trees on the other side.  Lots of cicadas and warm sunshine, smell of pine needles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Diversion

Ever since our beach trip I've been searching out caches of dusty, linty seashells from long-ago beach vacations.  The acorn barnacle is an astonishing 1 -1/4" across.  Biggest barnacle I've ever seen, not that I see very many.  But Nate and I collected about a dozen barnacle colonies that were on oyster and other shells, and none were bigger than 1/4".

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mushrooms, Seashells Found Ages Ago

Yesterday late I went in the woods and found that in the past week mushrooms and purple phlox have taken over.  Today I dug through a bowl of seashells from a late 80s trip to the southern part of the Outer Banks.  These were completely different from the ones we found at the northern Corolla beach last week.  Not that exciting,I know, but maybe a diversion from the stuff on your newsfeed ( which is making me so anxious I can't stand to watch or read or listen to any more)!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Big Beach Trip Catch Up

I hatched a plan to help the eight road hours go by:  every hour I would draw what I could see as we headed east.  These first nine quick quick sketches are bumpy-road speed drawings.
  Immediately after a quick trip to the grocery we all ate dinner and then paraded down to the beach.  Nate and I started a shell collection, and above are some prizes from that first long twilight hunt!
 There was a historical park on the sound in Corolla.  At one time it was a big duck hunting camp area.  This was one of the short day trips some of us made.
The days really run together in a blur of intense heat and sunlight, playing in the cool ocean, building sand castles, shell collecting.  This guy was under an umbrella next to our beach camp.
Here he is again with a part of a horseshoe crab shell not really next to him.
Nate and Kerstin playing in the surf!  All nine of the kids were fantastic!
A ghost crab that Kerstin found on the beach. Nate and I tried to enlist flies and ants to clean it, but it was still too stinky to be allowed in Erik's car, so we had to be content with a drawing.
Here's Abby looking like she will in a few years.  At bottom are some houses as seen from our third floor deck.  And on the right are views of the sound that Mike and I found at the end of a boardwalk through a marsh.
At top left some marsh hibiscus flowers near the boardwalk.  On the right is the castle that David, Jacob, and I made.  The head on the left was part of the castle but is shown from the back in the castle drawing.
Detsils of castle building on the left showing a sacrificial altar at center on a cippa surrounded by scallop shells.  Pelicans fly but too fast for my pen.  At bottom right the extraordinary sunset in mist that Barnaby and Nate and I watched together on the third floor deck.
The house across the street, kitted out with the same amenities as our house and all the others on the street: pool, hot tub, basketball hoop, outdoor shower,etc.
A little wooden box from Mike filled with tiny shells;  Kate with her spikey toes drawn by Abby with help, soap that Nate made at soap-making camp.  And on the right, the first few drawings from the road home.
Fastest week ever.  A great reunion.  How can it already be over???

Friday, July 8, 2016


The scarlet runners are budding! Vermilion so bright I can see the five tiny flowers from down at the end of the driveway.  Also purslane has reseeded itself finally now that we're getting some rain.  Heading to the Outer Banks tomorrow to meet with our three kids and their families, 17 in all in one giant house. I'll be drawing but probably not posting till we get home in a little over a week--

Thursday, July 7, 2016

People and Food

A couple slowly eating outside in the rain under a narrow awning using their hat brims as tiny umbrellas.  My beautiful friend A at Think Tank this afternoon, and a half-eaten cinnamon roll.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Odd and Unexpected

Last night at an old and out-of-the-way  pizza restaurant that we went to because nothing else was open:  this threesome in festive 4th of July costumes.  At center top:  two unusual seed pods in the college native plant cultivation shed;  these were dry and empty, looked like speckled porcelain miniature calla lilies, if you can imagine that.
The enormous hawk landed on a tree in F's garden this morning while we were working.  The goldfinch is from the college garden but put there for size comparison.  At top right:  a completely unexpected trail-blocking puddle, hours after an unexpected downpour at early afternoon.
This tree door appeared on the east river trail a few weeks ago, and thegiant dung   beetle scurried almost across my foot   as I was drawing the tiny door.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Red, White, and Blue

I spent most of today reading Hamilton the book.  You need to read it.  Nothing has changed in this country--

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Road Trip to Greet Jacob!

When we learned that Jacob had a four hour layover in Atlanta on his way from Zurich to Asheville, his Dad and Stepmom and two stepsibs and P and I hit the road!  We had a rollicking adventure once we got to the airport, almost gave up connecting with him;  and then he got David's phone calls and texts and called back.
A half hour later we found each other.  He was completely amazed that we had driven so far to see him.  A completely surreal and satisfying reunion.  We had time to catch up a little over dinner before 
he raced back through security and his 7:15 flight and we wended our way past the 25 airport people who had given us [usually ] conflicting advice, rode the bus back to the international terminal where we had left our cars, and headed back home.  Worth every emotional roller coaster moment!  Welcome home, Jacob!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Guard Cat

Jesse protects us from ground hogs and voles, moles and squirrels.  Here he is on duty out in the backyard this morning.