I’m playing hooky from painting because we’re still in Chapel Hill with family for Thanksgiving. I can’t resist sharing this photo, passed on by my dear friend Bev, with this caption:

Two of the most overlooked qualities in life are wisdom and patience.


Bruno Our Gorilla

Bruno came to live with us when our son Chris, now in his 30’s, was nine. Mr. Big Toyland was going out of business, and Chris used his paper route money to buy Bruno at half-price for $40. Bruno joined a menagerie of half-alive animals (not stuffed) and companion animals (not pets). The latter included our dog Charley, cat Otis, rabbit Sara (who, after impregnating a visiting rabbit, was found to be a boy), three snakes (Stanley, Ralph and Kirby), two parakeets, and various tropical fish.

Chris is now an animal rights activist at the Humane Society of the U.S., coordinating legislation to protect farm animals from the abuses of factory farming. HSUS sponsored Mass. Question 3 which, a year ago, won 72% of the vote and will prevent cruel caging of pigs, chickens and calves sold for meat in Mass.

Bruno continues to live happily with us, and emerge from the basement whenever we have underage visitors. Last week two-year-old Everett, grandson of our neighbors, sat in is lap. Despite his size, Bruno is very gentle.


Learning a new Medium

I did no art at all until the age of 49. I can’t even remember taking art in high school or college. At 49 I decided I needed to get out of my head and do something to connect with the beauty of God’s creation.

Since then, I’ve done only watercolor. I adore the lightness, the transparency, the portability of watercolors. But it’s time to expand my horizons, so this fall I’m taking a class in acrylics. It’s amazing that you can “erase” what you’ve done and do layer on top of layer! And it’s helping me overcome my hesitancy to use darks.  Here’s this week’s effort.

Sketch Where You Are

Last weekend I was privileged to attend a conference in D.C. for social service agencies serving young women at risk. The Crittenton Foundation, which organized the conference, was co-founded by my great-grandmother, and two of our children, Kate (who is on the Crittenton Board) and Andrew, spoke at the conference. One of the panels was Native American women who had vigiled at Standing Rock to stop a pipeline being built across sacred land. While listening to the panel, I did this sketch.

Fast or Slow?

Last Saturday a dozen painters, members of the Newton Watercolor Society, sat on the banks of the Charles River trying to capture the scene. For over an hour I labored over a painting which turned out less than mediocre. Finally, in frustration, I dropped the painting on the ground and picked up my sketchbook. This took only ten minutes, and it’s not great, but I like it a lot better. Sometimes we try too hard.


We are in Colorado for ten days, visiting family and enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains. What a gorgeous state! It’s tricky conveying the receding layers of mountains, with snow on the highest and farthest peaks. Here’s my fourth try.

The Red Bird

Our daughter Kate’s debut memoir about her faith journey, “Following the Red Bird” officially launched last week! Foreword Reviews wrote a beautiful review here:  The book is for sale on Amazon and from other online sellers or you can order from your local bookstore. You can also read more on her website: Kate and I are in Chicago at the ALA book convention, where she is signing her new book!

Crabapple, and thank you!

It’s been slow this year, but spring is finally coming to New England. Today the first hummingbirds, both a male and a female, appeared at our feeder! Here is a branch from our neighbor’s crabapple tree.

Thanks to the generous friends and neighbors who donated to my successful 37th Walk for Hunger yesterday! One lesson that is reinforced for me every year is how one person + one person + one person etc. really adds up. Each year friends and neighbors give me $25, $50, $100 each for the Walk. It doesn’t seem that much by itself, but yesterday I raised $5,000! Thanks for putting a spring in my step and food on table for many hungry families!

Filling those extra minutes ….

I hate being bored. Whenever we fly anywhere, Bruce teases me because my carry-on is filled with more than I could ever accomplish in a short flight — a book, iPad, sketchbook, and more.

So when I was in NYC last week and went to the Guggenheim, and found that I had to wait in line, I just pulled out my sketchbook and Pentel brush pens. I was happy while everyone around me was impatient. Seven minutes later when the line moved, I was left with a loose sketch and a memento.

Continue reading “Filling those extra minutes ….”

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?

Lila’s Paintings

Our 11-year-old granddaughter Lila is on school vacation and has been visiting from North Carolina this week. We have been having fun painting together. On Tuesday we went together to my art group and everyone thought the flowers below were painted by me — but they were painted by Lila!

Socks as Inspiration

After working hard on Monday’s painting “Selling Baskets”, inspiration for today’s sketch was hard to come by. Then I looked at Sylvia’s socks, the woman next to me in yoga class. What great colors! After taking a photo of them, I made this little painting. It’s interesting how much more attention you have to pay to something when you’re drawing or painting. This is why it’s easy to compare sketching to meditation.

Sketching People at Starbucks

These little sketches were made with a Pilot G-2 pen, which bleeds when water is applied with a waterbrush. 

Several people have asked for prints of the Women’s March sketch from Wednesday. If you would like one, let me know by clicking “reply”. The cost is $40 for a matted 11″ x 14″, or $30 for a matted 8″ x 10″, plus $5 for S & H. Both are ready to slip into a standard sized frame.


This is the first sketch I emailed to a small group of friends a year ago, three days after I had both my knees replaced. I was following the admonition, “Sketch what’s in front of you.” Anticipating a couple of months of being laid up, my question to myself was, “What little thing can I accomplish in 15 or 20 minutes a day which will help me connect with friends?” And so these sketches began. I continue to love painting and sharing with you.

I’ll be traveling of the next 12 days, first to Washington DC to protest at the Inauguration on Friday and the Million Women’s March on Saturday, then to Kentucky to help my sister-in-law Jerry who is getting her knee replaced. I look forward to doing some sketching, if not in DC, at least in Kentucky!

Wild Iris

Our wonderful local library has a stream next to it where wild iris are blooming now. Today I got a chance to sketch them. Sitting on the grass in the sunshine drawing these lovely flowers felt like a little bit of heaven. 🙂 Lynn