Monday, March 2, 2015

all moments

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace." Frederick Buechner  Life Itself is Grace

My son got a new job! We celebrated with a sushi lunch. Savoring the moments, and sketching in the moment on my Samsung phone Sketchbook app.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Byzantine Art exhibit

Icon of Christ Pantokrator late 14th century
We visited an historic exhibit of Byzantine Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was told by an art historian friend not to miss this because the entire collection is from Greece and most likely will not ever be exhibited together again.
And I usually take my sketchbook with me and balance it on one hand while furiously sketching out my impressions with the other as it makes me really look long and deeply.

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections presents 63 superb artworks from the early Christian and Byzantine eras. Originally exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the exhibition represents major artistic holdings from Greece—many of which have never been exhibited outside that country—consisting of shimmering mosaics, architectural fragments, manuscripts, luxury glass, silver, personal adornments, liturgical textiles, and painted icons.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

the long downward trajectory of winter

As I was driving errands on a cold day  I saw this winter hardy goose standing in a resolute pose by the side of the road.
I write the most depressing posts in the winter. Every year I ask myself why do I live in the Chicago area when I hate cold weather so much? Why?
Well, I know the answer. I do it for love. Love of my family, no better reason.
I began the month of January with a show of courage and hope. This year, winter will  not get me down. Mid-January I am still feeling okay, I can do this, I'm coping with the snow and ice.
A month later, mid-February, all the bravery and fortitude is gone. Used up. I can't take another below zero day. This year, no relieving visit to Florida either.
February is almost over and it has been a long hunched-shoulders head down slow slog.
Complaining does not change a thing, we look forward to spring and know that the struggle to get there will make it all lovelier.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

on the train returning from a day in the city

This lady noticed me drawing her and pretended not to notice while I pretended not to be glancing at her and drawing her in my sketchbook. How could I resist her? She was so splendidly dressed and put together even after a long day in the city. (Which I heard all about as she called various people on her cell phone during the ride home).
As we were approaching our station she turned to me and brightly remarked that she "admires people who can just draw effortlessly like that".  Ah, so she did know I was drawing her. She then wanted to tell me about her two talented children who are able to "draw just so well and perfectly".  I congratulated her on the brilliance and talents of her children and that was payment enough for her modeling grace.
How about that cheetah print handbag, love it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

on the train into the city

People watching on the Metra to Chicago.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Every Sunday I drive my mother-in-law to Church. I sit with her and often want to sketch her because of her interesting gnarled features. Rather like gazing for a long time at an old weathered gnarled tree. She would hate to hear me say this. Fortunately she doesn't see my blog.
Today's Scripture lesson was from the Gospel of Mark 1:29. 29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. A tiny detail in a much larger story about Jesus healing the mother-in-law of someone he was visiting. And then she got up from her bed and began to cook food for them!
 Put this in my sketching in church category on my Sketchbook for Android app.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Gerhard Richter said "One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do. Then it is best to leave it alone. For basically painting is total idiocy". 
I found this quote here. I have also seen others artists use this on their websites so it must be commonly used. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

on the bright side

Okay, I will admit this a bit grudgingly. I don't always hate winter and it isn't really all ugly. In fact as many people have pointed out to me, (after I wrote this post) winter can be very beautiful.
I sketched this from memory after returning from a long walk on the Illinois Prairie Path which is right near my home. I had my warmest snow boots  and my trusty companion dog with me. As I returned home, I was struck by the golden lights on the snow as the sun was so low in the sky on a winter day. Contrasting this with the long blue shadows crossing the path in front of me.
This is almost exactly the spot and scene I painted and sketched here and here last fall.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten discipline #1

February 18th is Ash Wednesday.
Carnival, Mardi Gras, good times are over for 6 weeks. I already ate my last square of milk chocolate.
I post this every year, here and here, I really enjoy the season of Lent. It is a time for solemn contemplation and I always want that kind of time. I need that kind of time.
I also need my contemplation time in the studio painting and I am struggling to get what I need.
Lenten discipline: stay in studio painting. (paint with joy) (stop the busyness and contemplate)
Now that I have discovered the joy of painting in oils, I can't stop thinking about what to get to next.  Is it a discipline if you enjoy it? Or, am I fulfilling my act of discipline by giving my full attention to a long awaited gift of my God-given art?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

my valentines

I admit I used photos for reference. Sketches made using my phone Sketchbook app after visiting with my two grandchildren.