December 31, 2011

a new year

10 x 10, oil on canvas

Deepak Chopra says "babies bubble in bliss." And research supports this notion with the revelation that, unlike adults, the majority of a baby's sleep is spent in a deep, dream-filled slumber known as REM or rapid eye movement. Without the "noise" of language, infants have no labels, no judgments, and are never awake all night worrying about the future or regretting the past. Instead, a baby's world is filtered through the five senses. He learns to roll over, hold his head up, advance to sitting, crawling, standing. toddling--all in a matter of a few short months! With each stage of development, he acquires a brand new perspective --not just on January 1st, but in every moment, as each new situation becomes an opportunity for growth and discovery.

Children have so much to teach us about how to live and what is important, don't they?

~Wishing YOU
the innocence of childhood
fresh, new perspectives
with a dash of bliss,

And no matter what each new day brings your way,
may you find yourself wrapped
in a blanket of courage and hope,
blessings and light~

December 27, 2011

peace on earth

10 x 10, oil on canvas

as we welcome the coming new year, may we...

"have the opportunity once more
to right some wrongs,
to pray for peace,
to plant a tree,
to sing more joyful songs"
William Arthur Ward

December 23, 2011

Christmas Cheer

8 x 10, oil on canvas
"LOVE is what is in the room with you at Christmas
if you stop opening presents and listen"
Bobby, age 8

December 18, 2011

comfort and joy

6 x 12, oil on canvas
"He who has not Christmas in his heart
will never find it under a tree."
Roy L. Smith

Based on the above truth, wouldn't it seem logical to conclude that "he/she who has no Christmas in their heart January through November will never find it in December"? Or is it that the spirit/love/energy is just a little more "contagious" this time of year? Perhaps it is a case of "joy rising" as Oprah would say? Or yet another example of Jill Bolte Taylor's sage advice to "be accountable" for the energy we bring into each space (including the space in our hearts as well as that under the tree?)

December 14, 2011

Good Tidings

10 x 10. oil on canvas

"We who walk on this particular planet are dealt one 24-hour day at a time.
It is an arbitrary span,
like the opening and closing of a flower,
a time-lapse bloom of its own.
Creative people understand this temporary blossoming
and learn to take advantage of it.
Every precious day is yet another opportunity to serve--
to carry further wonder to the world."
Robert Genn

December 12, 2011

be a geranium

12 x 12, oil on canvas

I planted red, peach and hot pink geraniums in urns just before Derby Day this year (that's the first weekend of May to anyone not from KY). They were lovely all summer, and as fall approached they became much more magnificent and bountiful with the cooler weather. Still, I knew the first frost would zap them. But, slightly sheltered by the front porch, they not only survived Halloween, but Thanksgiving came and went as well. So this weekend, I said adieu and placed the last cuttings in a vase, again thinking they would quickly wilt--but no, they continue to remain beautiful and "posed" for this painting yesterday. I guess you could say they bloomed well past their season simply because they didn't "know" they couldn't. All of which begs the question...what if our children grew up in a world where no one spoke of perceived limitations and challenges? What if no one told them they were not good enough, wise enough, tall enough, talented enough...? What if we stopped telling ourselves those things?

What if we chose to be bold and joyful like the geranium, and flourish in all our seasons?

"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination;
never limit others because of your own limited imagination."
Mae Jemison

December 9, 2011

We Three Kings

We Three Kings
5 x 7, oil on canvas

"I'll tell you
how the sun rose
a ribbon
at a time"
~Emily Dickinson~

November 19, 2011

Miss Ashlyn

"Miss Ashlyn"
22 x 28, oil on canvas

This painting was a commission, painted from a photograph supplied by the owner. I have never met my subject, but I am told the blue shirt you see her lying on, is her security blanket. The cozy softness holds the scent of her beloved owner and offers comfort whenever he is away. Even though I have never formally met Ashlyn, I know her well. She is every dog I have ever loved, cherished, and adored. One look into her soulful eyes and you feel adoration, unconditional love and devotion.
Neuroscientist and author of "My Stroke of Insight", Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, recounts how a massive stroke at age 37 shut down the left side of her brain--that is the thinking, analyzing, language side that allows us to name, code, categorize, and judge our experiences, people, places and things. Once the left brain was quieted, she was left to experience the world through the right brain and the five senses: rich with images, symbols, colors, patterns and light. While recovering, she recognized this "shift" and requested that her caregivers "take responsibility" for the energy they brought into her space. She noted that there are two kinds of people--those who take energy from you, and those who bring you theirs. Wow. Shouldn't we all be taking responsibility for the energy we bring into the spaces we enter? It would require us to leave behind the baggage of worry, anxiety, anger, resentment, ego--and just Be Present. Right Now. In THIS moment....And, isn't that exactly the way dogs negotiate the world? They constantly read our energy and emotions. They bring joy, curiosity and enthusiasm into our "space" - Just look at how ecstatic they are to see us when we walk in the door, regardless of how long we have been away! Without language, they don't understand the actual words we say, but instead, they zone in on the energy behind the words: our tone of voice, and the look in our eyes. They have no clue what it feels like to be burdened by a grudge, a judgement, or hatred.
There are no woulda, coulda, shouldas--just this moment. And you can see that in their eyes.

"We have the power to choose ,
moment by moment,
who and how we want to be in the world."
Jill Bolte Taylor
(to hear her TED presentation, click here)
Happy Thanksgiving!

October 4, 2011

an open mind

10 x 10, oil on canvas
"I suggest that the only books that influence us
are the books for which we are ready,
and which have gone a little farther down our particular path
than we have yet got ourselves"
E.M. Forster

September 28, 2011


8 x 24
"Living is like tearing through a museum.
Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw,
thinking about it, looking it up in a book,
and remembering -
because you can't take it in all at once"
Audry Hepburn

September 17, 2011


8 x 10, oil on canvas
I first met Cleo about 10 years ago. Nobody really knows how old she is, but we are fairly certain she will still be around with the roaches when Wall-E becomes a reality. Not everybody "gets" Cleo because she tends to be kind of bossy and, shall we say verbal, especially in the wee hours of night. Or, perhaps it is her Georgia drawl that makes "meow" sound like an opinionated "NOooo!" that is often misinterpreted? Either way, she and I see eye to eye, and over the years, we have developed a close relationship grounded in our many deep and meaningful discussions - like this one:

me: "hey, Cleo, these chocolate chip cookies look great! Mind if I have one?"
Cleo: "NOooo!"
me: "Ok, thanks, by the way, I'm thinking about getting my hair cut a few inches shorter. Do you think I should?"
Cleo: "NOooo!"
me: "Well, what is your opinion about these jeans? Do they make me look fat? Cleo? C-l-e-o? Hey Cleo, where did you go? come back, I have more questions..."
Cleo: "NOooooooooo!"

August 28, 2011


8 x 10. oil on canvas
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate,
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date..."
William Shakespeare

August 18, 2011

three sheets t' th' wind

9 x 12, oil on canvas
"Three sheets" be 'n an ol' seafarin' term referrin' t' th' ropes holdin' th' bottom of th' sails in place. If nay securely fastened, th' sails were likely t' thrash about like a drunken sailor - thus th' phrase came known t' be a measure o' the sailor's seaworthiness! Betcha thought sheets referred to th' sails instead a th' ropes? Nay, 'tis an educational blog we're runnin' here matey!

And since three be me favorite number o' th' day; here be nay one, nay two, but three birthday quotes fer ye ponderin' sort a sailor...
~ ~ ~
"Youth be th' gift o' nature, but age be th' work o' art"... Scallywag Garson Kanin

"Knowledge be speakin', but wisdom be listenin"... Matey Jimi Hendrix

"At twenty years o' age, th' will reigns;
at thirty, th' wit;
an' at forty, th' judgement"
...Cap'n Ben Franklin

(Yo, ho,' a bottle o' rum!)

August 5, 2011

sea of inspiration

12 x 12, oil on canvas
When asked what is the driving force behind his creativity, Sir Paul McCartney responded:

"It's simple -- I really enjoy what I do.
I have quite a few passions, as you might have noticed.
It really is just when I have a minute and when a particular passion hits me.
I love to paint.
I love to write poetry.
I love to make music.
So it's not really hard work for me,
and if I have a strong urge for something,
then I just go and do it."

~What I love most about Sir Paul is that he embraces life with such gratitude, humility, grace, joy, humor and insight. He is worth an estimated $750 million, could live anywhere/buy anything; and yet - he chose to go on the road and share his music with 1.2 million of his "closest" friends this summer. He doesn't call it work because he loves what he does. He has learned to just be. BE, as in, be open to innovative ideas, be in alignment with what he is most passionate about. He says it's just that simple.
May we be as a sailboat gently floating on the sea, ever ready to hoist our own sails. And may Sir Paul's timeless words and music continue to illuminate the world, inspiring all to "just go and do" our part to spread the light~

August 1, 2011

a day well spent

12 x 16, oil on canvas
"Twenty years from now
you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do
than by the things you did,
so throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Mark Twain

July 28, 2011

something blue

8 x 10, oil on canvas
This Double Arch has been gently molded and shaped by the forces of nature, while the distant mountains serve as Something Blue; overlooking, sheltering and working in harmony with the surrounding gorge.
And in the same way, we are shaped by those we meet, and our hearts are sheltered by those we love. Congrats and much love to Jen and Carson.

Ever thine,
ever mine,
ever ours.
Ludwig van Beethoven

July 22, 2011

something borrowed

10 x 8, oil on canvas
Trees burrow in, cheerfully sharing their bright colors of autumn amid the welcoming grey cliffs. And the unions of friendship, support, and comfort are celebrated by gifts received, as well as those extended. Something Borrowed celebrates those reciprocal bonds...

is the condition in which the happiness
of another person
is essential to your own"
Robert Heinlein

July 15, 2011

something new

8 x 10, oil on canvas
a young pine tree miraculously sprouts up between the boulders...
and Something New ensures optimism for the future...

"The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step."
Lao Tsu

July 11, 2011

something old

10 x 8, oil on canvas
Switching gears to landscapes for the next couple of weeks -
There are more than one hundred natural arches at Kentucky's Red River Gorge, and this one represents Something Old For Continuity...

Music creates order out of chaos:
for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent,
melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed,
and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongrous."
Yehudi Menuhin

July 7, 2011

seven eleven

12 x 12, oil on canvas
Today is the seventh day of the seventh month, so I wanted to share an old joke:
"If Seven-Eleven is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why do they put locks on the doors?"...
At first glance it is merely a humorous insight, but doesn't it also serve as a gentle reminder that each path we choose carries its own tempo and flow; and the only "locks" are the ones we imagine, or place there ourselves?
No? Uh...ok, sorry...maybe that was just an extra shot of caffeine talking...

"Getting started,
keeping going,
getting started again-
in art and in life,
it seems to me
this is the essential rhythm."
Seamus Heaney

July 1, 2011

young gardeners

12 x 12, oil on canvas

"How sublime to look down into the workhouse of nature,
to see her clouds, hail, snow, rain, and thunder,
all fabricated at our feet!
but, tho' an old man
I am but a young gardener."
Thomas Jefferson
As our country ages, may we choose to remain young gardeners, planting seeds of harmony and peace with each encounter.
Happy Birthday America!

June 25, 2011

Essere Italiano

12 x 12, oil on canvas
This is another study from the workshop featuring the gorgeous turquoise shade of blue that Dreama often speaks about. And no, she isn't really my cousin. And if you must know, George Clooney isn't either. But I am Italian! Actually I'm sort of Italian. Kinda. Somewhat, that is. Well uh...more or less...

"be a singer
be a lover
pick the flower now before the chance is past
Be Italian, Be Italian!
live today as if it may become your last"
Fergie ("Nine")

June 22, 2011

cousin daisy

12 x 12, oil on canvas

I recently had the honor of painting for a few days with my Kentucky cousin Dreama Tolle Perry (she would tell you that "our people" hail from Italy). In addition to painting, we share a love of writing, reading Deepak and Dwayne, keeping up with our kissing cousins George and Johnny... and did I mention all things Eeeeetaly? I would recommend her workshops but because her calendar is already filling up for next year, I'll just say please save a space for me...

"We've had cloning in the south for years!
It's called cousins"
Robin Williams

June 5, 2011

perpetual mornings

10 x 12, oil on canvas

"To those whom elastic and vigorous thoughts
keep pace with the sun,
the day is a perpetual morning"
Henry David Thoreau

Henry D. had me at hello. I fell madly in love with him during my 17th summer, and his timeless words still "blow my mind off" (as my favorite little muse would say).
How could I keep from falling for a guy who savored all that is magical and ethereal about summer mornings, nature, and life?
"Perpetual Mornings" that last all day? Oh, YES PLEASE! Sign me up. I'll take mine with a cup of tea, a fresh bouquet and an inspirational read. Cheers to the extra hours of daylight that have f-i-n-a-l-l-y arrived in time for new discoveries, new paths, new insights. And cheers to all the Henry D.'s who inspire us to keep pace with the sun.

June 1, 2011

the color purple

9 x 12, oil on canvas

"The Infinite has written it's name on the heavens

in shining stars,

and on Earth in tender flowers."

Jean Paul Richter

May 28, 2011

the sum of all colors

8 x 10 , oil on canvas

"A mentor is someone
who allows you
to see the hope inside yourself...
As you become more clear about who you really are,
you'll be better able to decide what is best for you -
the first time around"
Oprah Winfrey

May 20, 2011

plays well with others

6 x 12, oil on canvas

Since reading Lucinda Rooney's book Bouquets With Personalities, I will never again see my garden flowers in quite the same way. She cleverly notes how flowers exhibit a variety of personalities both in the garden and floral arrangements, and asks us to consider that some flowers are bold and exhibit "type-A" personalities that demand center stage (birds of paradise come to mind). Meanwhile others, she explains, serve as "peacemakers" and "team players" because they support the stars with their shape, color, texture, and variety that enhances the overall harmony of the design. And still, there are a few unpredictable "troublemakers" that are difficult to control, but when used properly, offer a unique richness all their own.

And my beloved peonies? She notes that they, along with garden roses and ranunculus, embody a romantic "gentle strength" whether used alone or in a bouquet. Love that!

"When working with the distinct personalities of flowers,
try to relate even to the difficult ones with grace and candor.
Never try to force a relationship...
Flowers, like people, are wonderful to work with
once you know how to relate to and handle their individuality and purpose".
Lucinda Rooney

May 15, 2011

a place in the sun

6 x 8, oil on canvas

"In every moment of our existence,
we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.
If you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world in this moment,
we are contributing to the wounding of the world."
Deepak Chopra

May 9, 2011

dandelion princess

8 x 8, oil on canvas

a sunny sailor,
strong, spirited swimmer
and sculptor of sand.
a spellbound artist
in a splashy sea of pink,
and stylishly sequined shoes.
a sincere and soulful singer
in a swirling skirt.

self-confidant and strategic,
sensitive and supportive;
a spectacular speller,
snappy sleuth
and serious scientist.

a shamelessly silly
supervisor of scout,
a sister in september.
a snugly sugarplum
and softhearted smiling star.
six going on seven.

May 8, 2011

Pomp and...

Mother's Day Roses
8 x 10, oil on canvas
Happy Mothers Day to all my mother/sister/daughter/friends who make the world a better place each and every day.
And best wishes to all the hard working graduates who are moving onto brand new chapters of their lives!

And a sprinkling of humor to keep it all in perspective....

"Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born"...Erma Bombeck.

"Children seldom misquote you. They more often repeat word for word everything you shouldn't have said." Mae Maloo

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me. But I think she enjoyed it." Mark Twain

"Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated."
Garry Trudeau

"Your families are extremely proud of you!
You can't imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing ~
This would be a most opportune time to ask for money."
Gary Bolding

"A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep"
W. H. Auden

May 6, 2011

Roses for Rosie!

8 x 8, oil on canvas

Saturday's Kentucky Derby will feature 23 year old jockey sensation Anna "Rosie" Napravnik; only the 6th woman ever to make it to there. She says her mom, who is an avid, accomplished horsewoman in her own right, taught her everything she knows. Look for Rosie at the starting gate (in the middle of the pack in her pink and orange silks) aboard Pants on Fire.
And let's hear it for the girls!

"Every decision you make impacts your career....the sky's the limit"...Anna Napravnik

May 1, 2011

May Day! May Day!

8" x 8", oil on canvas

April showers brought
and flooding.

And yet...
the flowers outside my window
have courageously popped their heads up
in search of the Sun...
begging us
to follow their brave example.

April 14, 2011

All In All

12 x 16, oil on canvas

The grey skies of winter have lifted -amen!
The trees and flowers are putting on a show -achoo!
The studio windows have opened -again!
And the jockeys are ready to go -at last!

March 28, 2011

portrait artist

I was most fortunate to have my portrait rendered this weekend by an artist simply known as A. Although this artist has never taken a drawing class, never studied color theory, and is not the least bit concerned with the "rules" that govern shapes, values, composition, line, form, and function; I can assure you that, at age five, she understands all there is to know about the creative process. Eliminating judgement and worry that her work may not be "good enough"; she intuitively understands the importance of rendering the essence of her subject.
My artist began by pointing out what she sees in me (my love of painting, the fact that my favorite red lipstick is more pink than red, how my eyes sometimes look blue/sometimes green depending on what I am wearing, and last but not least, how we both agree that the most important criteria for choosing a great skirt is whether or not it "twirls" when you walk). If you look closely at her depiction of the painting on the easel, you will see that she has drawn the two of us holding hands, and simply written "you/me" - an economy of words that say everything. The best artist for the job may not be the one with the most technical skill or years of study under her belt. She will not be focused on the shape of your lips, but on the warmth of your smile. She is the one who always "gets you" - and the one who sees and paints your spirit.

"Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe,
a moment that will never be again.
And what do we teach our children?
We teach them that two and two make four and that Paris is the capital of France.
When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them:
Do you know what you are?
You are a marvel.
You are unique.
In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you.
Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.
You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.
You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
And when you grow up, can you then harm another, who is like you, a marvel?
You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children"
Pablo Picasso

March 23, 2011

a trip down memory lane

"Walnut Grove" for JCP
6" x 12" oil on canvas

My sister, brother and I played among these walnut trees as children and relished the boundless magic endemic to our grandparents' home and farmland.
Just over the hill was a fragrant apple orchard - the thought of which always reminds me of this wise old Welsh Proverb:

"A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible"

...and this most enchanting observation by Rabindranath Tagore- who surely knew a thing or two about magic, wonder, and the infinite charm of nature:

"The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar,
making it break out into ineffable music...
The trees,
the stars,
and the blue hills
ache with a meaning
which can never be uttered in words"