Our son Chris loves animals. He works for the Humane Society of the U.S., in charge of state lobbying for laws to prevent inhumane factory farming practices like cramped caging of chickens and pigs. Last year they sponsored Question 3 in Massachusetts, which prohibits such practices and passed by 70%. He and his wife Angela are vegan.

Chris has always loved crows. Crows are really smart. If you listen to them, they have an incredible number of vocalizations to communicate with each other. This painting is for you, Chris.

Coffee shop

After I finished this sketch, I realized that I had inadvertently omitted the book the woman on the right was reading. We all tend to make up stories about sketches we see. How might your story about this woman change if she were reading a book instead of staring into her coffee cup?


Inspiration is everywhere if you keep your eyes open. I saw a painting of tree trunks at Crate and Barrel a couple of weeks ago. I snapped a photo of it, and made my own version, adding the shadows. The different textures and colors of the bark is what interested me.

Following the Red Bird

Our daughter Kate has written a book which will be published in June! Following the Red Bird is a personal and beautifully written story of her journey to a God-centered life. Publisher’s Weekly reviewed it last week: “Rademacher’s memoir is an honest portrayal of the confusion of discernment and the comfort of abiding and trusting in God.” See a photo of Kate and learn more at At the bottom of the page, you can pre-order the book, which is helpful as it boosts online ratings.

The picture the publisher chose for the cover is the vermillion flycatcher, coincidentally the bird I saw for the first time and painted in Mexico.


Here in New England the weather likes to play games with us. Yesterday was a high of 84, and we had Easter dinner on our back porch. Tomorrow, the high will be 52. But the brave tulips are coming up, so we know that spring will finally arrive for good!

Vacation for the Brain

In Betty Edwards’ classic “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” she teaches that speech, logic and math all occur on the left side of the brain. Intuition, holistic thinking and drawing are on the right side. When we take a break from the left-brain thinking which occupies most of our day, it feels like a mental vacation. Here, Bruce and I were touring the Museum of Science with our granddaughter Lila like month, and I took a break, between the planetarium and the exhibits, to have a cup of tea and sketch in the food court.

Treasure of an Ordinary Day

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” — Mary Jean Irion, courtesy of our daughter Kate

A Favorite Story

One of my favorite art memories: One sunny day a couple of years ago I sat down on a bench at the playground in West Newton, to draw the swarm of kids and parents on the slides and climbing structures. An older Asian man sat down next to me with his six month old granddaughter in his lap. His eyes were glued to my sketchbook. I did a fast loose sketch which took 10-15 minutes, and the whole time his eyes never left my paper. When I was finished, I dropped the sketchbook onto the ground and took this photo. Then I ripped the picture out and handed it to him; he still didn’t say a word. As I walked down the block, got into my car, and drove away, I looked back at him several times. He was still staring at the sketch.

The Magic of Watercolor

Oil and acrylic paints are great, but for me nothing beats the transparency and unpredictability of watercolor. This little painting of distant hills across a lake, painted from my memory of vacations in Vermont and New Hampshire, shows how watercolor bleeds and puddles and  blossoms. This magic is why watercolor still fascinates me after 20 years of painting.