Words and Pictures

While I enjoy writing very much, it is the opportunity to sketch my characters in a poem or a story that truly helps them to evolve in my mind. Evolution is the improvement in form that helped birds and bats to fly, for fish to come up on land, and for some creatures to return to the sea that spawned them. We all want to evolve to be more than we were before.

It is still painful for me to recall the automobile accident that curtailed my potential artistic career. I thought I had truly said farewell to painting and sketching as a tremor kept my hand from the steadiness I had enjoyed in the past. Years went by; many years went by before I returned to sketching and eventually painting. While I can look back over the years of progress, I have made there is disappointment that I had so many years of not sketching, not painting. The pandemic that curtailed our lives in so many ways as forced me to exercise my hand to paint and sketch every single day for a whole year.

Time is precious and it did not take the loss of better than a half a million lives to make me realize that we should all seize the moment to do that thing we had dreamed of doing and talking ourselves out of it because it was frivolous or unessential. Now there is a word we have heard daily in life or death consequences’ essential. Being able to see ourselves achieving something in real life we had only allowed ourselves to dream of is affirming to our spirit. At least that is how I feel when a sketch or a paining becomes exactly what I wanted.

For me painting is the frosting on the cake as far as art is considered, unless it is iridescent pastels added to a watercolor pastel painting, then it is lustrous magic I have been pining for. Art museums are off the agenda at least until we can safely consider air travel. My collection of books on artists is how I satisfy that hunger, and Marc Chagall has been my coffee date for many days. Marc Chagall survived religious persecution, the Spanish flu, two World Wars, and gave us art to believe that dreams really can come true. 

My watercolor/pastel The Dream is on Arches cold press paper, drawn with Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle pastels and accented with Sennelier soft iridescent pastels.   

The Consequence of Riches

When I was a child my maternal grandfather would tell us Aesop’s Fable stories before bed. He would tell them not in the once upon a time but rather more as if the events were something he personally experienced or the characters were individuals he knew. That it is important to remember history or be doomed to repeat it has been said in nearly every generation. Recently on a few consecutive cloudy afternoons, a rarity in paradise I might add, I had the chance to reread H.P. Lovecraft’s version of the big frog in a small pond adaptation in his The Shadow over Innsmouth. Here on Sanibel we are approaching the beginning of rainy season when the chirping of amorous frogs is prolific in the twilight hours and so I have spun my own adaptation of the big frog in a small pond, this time the central character is female.

 Once upon a time there was a little girl born to parents who already had two sons and had named them after the father and grandfather. The parents Mr. & Mrs. Smyth-Simpson had wanted a little girl very much, not so much because that a daughter would fulfill their family, but rather a female was needed to bestow one of their children with the name of a great and aged aunt that owned several amazing pieces of antique jewelry and the ancestral estate. This great lady was Bertilda Octavia Oglethorpe. When Mr. and Mrs. Smyth-Simpson realized they finally achieved a daughter they named her after the aunt. The infant Bertilda Octavia had such a long name that the two brothers shortened it to Bessie.

The family went along happily without incident only they might have been a bit overindulgent with little Bessie. Harmony was the standard until the clash that occurred when little Bessie learned her initials spelled B.O.S.S. At the ripe old age of 3.5 years old she truly believed she was the boss of anything and everything. She demanded to wear the tiara that was in the family safe and to wear it everywhere to do just about everything. Her mother and father coaxed her down to only wear it on Saturday evening and only for dinner with the stipulation that they would buy her a wardrobe of plastic tiaras, which of course they did.

When Bessie entered kindergarten she did so with her most precious plastic tiara so that the ordinary children would realize her ancestors were in fact very important people. Bessie believed with all her heart her family were the kind of people who governed and ruled over all the little people who did little jobs waiting for the really important people to tell them what to do. Bessie was so important she continued to tell her teachers how to instruct, what the roles of the other children were in relation to her. In many ways Bessie had decided while wearing the real tiara one Saturday evening that she was in reality a displaced queen.

Queens don’t merely boss, they rule their subjects like objects on a chessboard. Bessie would at the beginning of each term decide what each of her classmate’s position was in relation to her and disobedience was not tolerated. She was Bertilda Octavia Smyth-Simpson her people were important and so her words were equally important, she was in charge she thought of literally everything. She told her brothers who they may date and even who they might marry, because she wasn’t having just any female  be a member of her family, what if they were even bossier than her?

Bessie needed to maintain her dominance of everyone all the time; she talked louder than anyone that might topple her rule, she belittled and bullied anyone that might think they were dare I mention it equal to her. For Bessie saw no person equal to her because she saw herself on an imaginary dais above others, always.  

Her brother Reginald went away to university out of state with fewer and fewer home visits. Her mother was concerned and they all got on an airplane to visit Reginald. Well, when they visited it soon became clear why Reginald had stayed away from home. He was in love with a girl and he dreaded having her meet his family. Lucinda was nothing to hide, she was an artist model, brilliant academic, and both her parents were esteemed professors at the university, so why had Reginald not brought her home to meet his family during the Christmas break?

Well Bessie took one look at this statuesque female that had a radiant complexion and lustrous thick dark hair and she marched over with her best imaginary tiara on her sparse dishwater blonde head to tell Lucinda she needed permission to associate with her brother.

Lucinda had evidently been schooled to expect this type of reception and bent graciously down to shake hands with Bessie and she said, “Pity you aren’t taller, you’ll be swimming in the bridesmaid’s gown. But perhaps the family tiara will make you feel taller.”

Bertilda Octavia Smyth-Simpson had the clarity and judgment to realize she had by traveling away from her hometown got out of her depth for the people in this community were completely unaware of her family’s significance, they thought her an average person of no importance.  Bessie could not associate with people that thought her average, or equal to them, she was heir to the Oglethorpe estate. Bertilda quickly returned to her home and lived to an aged state in a great house filled with cats that she cared for wearing the real tiara. Her brother Reginald and Lucinda married and Reginald took Lucinda’s surname of Baxter. They produced two children: Joseph Oscar and Julie Olivia Baxter and donated the family jewelry to a museum, where it continued to collect dust.  

The Ice Siren 3.28.2021

Beginning a new art notebook is much like those new school composition notebooks we bought at the beginning of a new semester. They were our passport to a new class, a new way of seeing our world from a different vantage point. Sometimes we may have drawn small sketches in the corners, I know I did. When the semester wound up it was those little sketches that reminded me of the people I sat next to in a class or the teacher that taught it.

Finishing an art notebook is much like reading a novel; the people we were when we began are not necessarily the people we are at the last page. The last page of some novels is the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ moment, in others like The Hobbit, it is the bridge for an even bigger adventure story. The Ice Siren is a watercolor in the next to the last page of a small notebook I have taken with me to Las Vegas, Nevada, San Francisco, California, and London, England.

As the pandemic stretched longer and further all of my supplies were held as vital resources. A few years ago I would have flipped through it and smiled at some of the sketches but now with everything having to be ordered, I count every single page. One day we may look back on this time and feel relieved that we are living a normal life, finally but I know I will look at my art notebooks as a treasure trove of ideas and images that I was afforded the luxury of time to work and rework ideas and images.

While social distancing and confinement has limited me to my own supplies, my own library of art books, it has also given me space and time to think about the paintings I want to paint in acrylic and the true commitment of time; oil. I have had days and days to explore soft pastels, oil pastels as well, and yet it is watercolors I use to explore a concept first. The other mediums provide their own light in the color white, while watercolors achieve their luminance by the sheen of white paper that lies like a ghost underneath the translucent color.

I still feel when I began to sketch an image to paint, like a child learning cursive in Mrs. Jackson’s second grade class, in that every nuance of a shape is as important to telling this visual story as the way we cross our T’s or how wide we swing our capitol G’s. I still believe every chance to learn is an opportunity to improve and that attitude has sustained my creativity for this unusual time of imposed isolation.

I look forward to receiving the vaccine that will enable me to visit art museums, art supply stores, art galleries and the community of people we have been missing because a global pandemic shut us away from society. I look forward to dining out and to listening to live music. I look forward to seeing friends and family we haven’t seen for more than a year. I look forward because when you close one chapter of life, much like a notebook, it’s time to begin a new one. 

How wild are you?

Once while walking, I peeked into the greenwood;

I fear I saw what is greatly misunderstood.

For there were things both wild and free,

And these creatures had no thought of me.

They each pursued life with unharnessed vitality,

Each beast imbued with its own specialty.

I questioned my presence in this world so wild,

What is progress but turning the fine into the defiled.

We humans each have a choice in how we choose our lives,

The wilds have but one choice; it is us they must survive.

 I fear it has troubled me

Ever since.

In years passed we have had many chances to take a behind the scenes tour of the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife animal rescue facility on Sanibel Island, Florida. It is a rewarding occasion to see how dedicated professionals and volunteers care for injured wild animals with the goal of releasing them back into their native habitat.

2020 has been a very busy year for C.R.O.W. as more than 5,600 animals were in need of care for injuries sustained many times due to human carelessness. I look forward to having the vaccine that will help our lives to resume and because when we planned to live on Sanibel Island contributing and volunteering at our favorite animal rescue was a priority.

We can all help in little ways from avoiding collisions with wildlife while driving instead of looking at our cellular phones, to aiding a box turtle to cross a road to reach its nesting grounds when spring does return to the north.

A healthy wildlife population is a barometer to the compassion of humans and the environment. While red tide (Karenia brevis) has been around for centuries, habitat loss has increased the urgency for some species of animals to find places to feed. Karenia brevis can affect the central nervous system and in humans it may cause dizziness, muscular aches; in animals it can be far more disastrous resulting in seizures and tremors which is why wild life rescue is all the more imperative. 

Covid-19 has stretched our global economy to the very limit threatening crucial charity work that is essential to survival whether a food pantry for humans or a wildlife hospital.  We may easily contribute to help others and a donation to a favorite charity is always the right color and generous is always the right size. I love my birthday cards when I open them and I read: A donation has been made in your honor to Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on SanibelIsland, Florida. I know that is a gift really worthy of giving.

Sanibel is renowned for its protected lands and the wildlife preserves. Wild happens every day here and even from our lanai while reading a book I can watch turtles, tortoise, bobcats, osprey, hummingbirds, and listen to the young coyotes while they yodel for their dinner. Paradise for us isn’t about a grand house or a motorboat, no paradise is a place where technology takes a backseat.

Lives in Waiting…1.28.2021

Eleven full moons since we all heard the dire need to self-isolate, lockdown society in hopes that separating from each other will slow the spread of Covid-19. We have not heeded the scientists and pleas of healthcare workers to the devastating losses of more than 4000 deaths a day in the United States. I think back to the terrible day of September 11, 2001 and how people wanted to show their patriotism by helping with contributions and attaching an American flag to their motor vehicles.

Financial contributions are nearly always beneficial; I do not really see how waving a flag helps. Anybody can wave a flag, anybody. It takes sterner stuff to quote William Shakespeare to go Once more into the breach, day after day, week after week, month after month. Healthcare workers are fighting the pandemic every single day and risking their lives to keep others on the way to recovery. If we haven’t woken to the fact that we’re fighting a war against a virus then fiddling away our lives tracking down conspiracy theories will not save Americans, but wearing a mask will.

I am of a certain generation that had vaccinations for polio, small pox, mumps, and measles and with that went a sense of patriotism that we were putting an end to the spread of diseases. I cannot fathom someone not having a tetanus shot to potentially save their life from lockjaw for fear of a chip being administered to monitor behavior.  Americans already have a handy tracking device to monitor their actions and whereabouts it’s called a cellular phone.

I am, like about seven billion other people waiting for some type of normalcy to resume. If tetanus or rabies could be spread as easily as Covid-19 I cannot imagine a resistance to immunization. People, I would like to believe see the sense of closing off new infections. Participation in the betterment of society and the human experience are why people collect for the needy and send food and clothing to areas devastated by natural disasters. Waving a flag seems silly in front of people who have had to make the final arrangements in the wake of a loved one’s death.

I just want to clarify patriotism in my family stretches all the way back to the beginning of America; and they didn’t wave flag, they put on a uniform. Healthcare workers are donning their armor a.k.a. uniforms of their profession far and beyond what they envisioned when they went to medical school. That kind of valor and bravery is far more patriotic than waving a flag, I mean don’t cheerleaders wave flags at sporting events or at parades and auto shows?

If we choose to call ourselves patriots then we should also remember that the Pledge of Allegiance begins with, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation…” We as Americans can’t pick and choose our principles like apples on a tree; we have to accept the entirety like all the thousands of healthcare workers caring for people who refused to wear a mask. The doctors, nurses, emergency technicians are all waiting for us to remember we’re Americans and to be united against the pandemic, not each other.       

The Full Moon, the Boy and the Harp 12.29.2020

What a tumultuous year 2020 has been and as we prepare to close with the last full moon I thought something different would be beneficial. Here is a little story that has absolutely nothing of what this year has come to mean for millions of people around the world. I like to think of it as a delicate slice of pound cake with a dash of whipped cream after the disgrace of a contentious and riotous meal. We all could do with a bit of an emotional dessert after this rollercoaster of a year.

The Full Moon, the Boy and the Harp 12.29.2020

Once upon a time there was on the far western seas there was a boy who lived by his wits with his winning comrades of the sea. Life was simpler as the wheel,bane of the wilds and essential for war and domination, had yet to be conceived.

The wheel lay like a spinning orb in the nocturnal dreams of wild creatures that knew when it rolled the land it would indeed rule the land. The forest and the sea would be at the disposal of those two-legged creatures that until this moment had only achieved fire and sharp sticks to wound and maim.

The boy swam in the seas with seals and avoided the great white sharks that would hunt him the way a fox would stalk a rabbit. The great white shark had an enormous advantage that is until one of those pointy sticks that the humans made fell into the sea and then the boy had power, he had a weapon. He no longer swam in fear but grew bold with the pointy stick daring the shark to come for him and then he would rule the lagoon.

The shark was much older than the boy and he knew this sea-pup was feeling audacious but as the shark also knew that the seals enjoyed swimming with the boy so he would hunt further away, where the seal pups were learning to swim. Much time went by before the boy had cause to use the pointy stick.

The full moon was approaching and the boy swam out to where the sea was brightened by bioluminescence and it was magical. The full moon reflected off the brilliant luminous sea and the stick in the boy’s hand was lost. Down the boy swam to the coral reef where dazzling anemone spawned and an octopus waited for a crab to stroll by.

The boy searched in vain for his pointy stick, but the only thing he found was an odd piece of wood. It was heavy and he tugged and tugged to free it from the octopus’s grasp. The boy found a crab for the octopus and when the octopus captured the crab it released the wooden sphere. The boy seized his prize and swam with it to his lagoon.

The object was laden with water and was heavy to bring up to the beach, but it shone so in the light of the moon the boy worked harder to see what this contrivance was. Strands of metal as thin as a hair were laced from one side to the other, was this a net to catch fish? The boy held it up in the moon light and brushed his fingertips over the metal cords like strings which hummed drops of water that flew away and landed like sparkling gems.

The boy smiled and grew adventurous to see what sounds he could make with this mysterious device. As he strummed his fingernails over the metal cording a song came to his ears over the surface of the water, he sang along and continued to play. He sang with the Sirens all night until the moon set. As the sun’s first rays came like fingers reaching over the horizon they lit on the harp and it became soft in his hands and slipped through his grasp into the sand. Only the drops of water that were diamonds lay on the sand twinkling in the new dawn.

The boy gathered them up and put them in a cockleshell. He would wait and see what these gems would become when the moon was once more full and bioluminescence made the sea radiant with life.

The Full Moon, the Boy and the Harp is an original watercolor painted on Fabriano watercolor paper with Sennelier watercolors. Golden accents achieved with van Gogh metallic watercolors.

All the very, very best for a wonderful New Year!

Gratitude 11.30.2020

November is the next to the last month of the year and what a year 2020 has been! How many times did I reminisce about the terror of Y2K that turned out to be such an overblown fear?  We have all learned a great deal about ourselves, our families and a lot about living safely in the time of Covid-19.

November’s full moon for me is a time to think about what I’m grateful for. While I miss our friends and families, it has been the sea for me that has heralded my spiritual balance. I am awed my grandfather’s baby sister Katie and only girl with five brothers had the courage to make the leap of life on Piney Ridge in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania to eventually retire to Honolulu, Hawaii. With a role model like that in my family, setting the goal to live on Sanibel Island did not seem so far out of reach.

I am grateful Jacques Cousteau brought the wide blue ocean to our living room via television. With those images floating through my dreams, it was easy to be inspired to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. To walk amongst the rock pools at low tide in Pismo Beach, California and to be amazed at the actual sea anemones I had seen on television and at aquariums. To take lunch alfresco beside the harbor in Morro Bay, California and to watch the sea otters with their meal as we had ours was a spectacular memory.

I am delighted by Gustav Klimt’s vision and his imagination to create his magical golden paintings. I am thankful for the Gustav Klimt paintings that did survive the Second World War. We can all see thousands of artwork today that the Monuments Men risked their lives to preserve for future generations, housed in museums around the world.

I am honored my grandmother taught me the stitches that she embroidered on doilies and pillowcases. I am grateful that while other children were learning the alphabet my mother made sure I knew how to mix watercolors to make new colors and how to hold a paintbrush. I am humbled by my older brother’s skill of metalworking and that he allowed me to observe him at his lathe while he crafted timeless jewelry in sterling silver.

I am grateful my partner in life, my husband Mike appreciated my desire to travel and to see European Art, the blue of the Caribbean Sea, and the big Pacific Ocean and he fulfilled those desires. That he learned to navigate the Paris Metro system with only a background in classic Latin is a testimony to the lengths he will go to see me happy. 

Most of all I am grateful for those moments of joy we shared with our friends and families that we have had to hold on to those memories through this long and deadly pandemic. Because of those good memories we can also have the faith that we will see them again.

My colored pencil drawing Aloha is on 20” x 26” Fabriano Tiziano pastel and charcoal paper made in Italy. Pablo pencils are by Caran d’Ache made in Switzerland.

Quelling Darkness

We lived in Hampton, Virginia until I was four years old and then we moved temporarily to Huntingdon County Pennsylvania. My older brothers had been there before so they were prepared for the mountains bringing twilight early compared with the lowlands of the Tidewater Peninsula. The transition in my young mind was like stepping from golden sunshine near a sparkling sea to the shadows of a cool and mysterious cave sheltered by enormous fir trees. The threat of bear attacks punctuated with a reminder that mountain lions could be hiding in every shadow was a reminder not to be out after dark. In Hampton, enormous predators were sharks and unless you waded too far out at the beach sandspurs were the biggest terror.

Reading Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel Dracula reminded me in the first few pages of Jonathan Harker’s journal what it would be like to travel from the comfortable familiarity of established London to the mountains of remote European villages where language was yet another barrier. Here too was another similarity, for while my parents grew up Huntingdon County their language was a bit different than the Tidewater dialect I was accustomed to from our neighbors and my classmates in Pre-K. I was told I was the one that talked funny.

Old barns had Pennsylvania Dutch Hex symbols painted on their facades and buck antlers hung in rows on the wall of an old smokehouse of the ancestral home of my maternal Grandmother’s family. Her people had been living and farming on Piney Ridge since the early 1800’s, and here too I felt about as old as a six week old kitten in a foreign land.

Reading the novel Dracula magnified the fact that though we have all seen film adaptations of this particular novel over the course of film history beginning in the age of silent films, few of these filmmakers ever troubled to bring out the true heroine of the novel; technology and scientific advancements. Beginning with the Kodak Camera used to photograph Count Dracula’s property in London to convey something of his newest acquisition to the blood transfusions to attempt to save Lucy Westenra from a mysterious wasting disease; technology is the best weapon against their unseen foe. 

Being the only daughter in a family with four sons I was reminded often what a girl can’t do, and yet even in the latter 1800’s Bram Stoker was so generous as to create a modern heroine in Wilhelmina Murray. He allows her, an unmarried woman, to travel un-chaperoned to the distant and mysterious Buda-Pest to collect her fiancé invalid Jonathan Harker who is suffering with brain fever and unable to travel alone. Dracula was published in March of 1897.  Women did not receive the right to vote in England until 1918 and that was with the stipulation that they be over the age of 30 and the owner of land. Mina Murray was none of these.

All the horror associations around the novel Dracula were more inventions of film than the work of the epistolary novel, because it was with science, technology and teamwork they were able to defeat a vampire fiend and coincidently these are the tools we need to defeat a pandemic too.

And now for something completely different

Unless you have been stored away in the empty caverns of some distant cave in an abandoned mine you will be very aware of all the political upheaval of last night. Let us take a step away from contemporary society to something bigger than individual human beings; let us take a moment tomorrow night and gaze at our shared heavens, at our celestial partner our Moon. October begins tomorrow and is heralded in with a big beautiful full moon. October 2020 has two full moon events and it would be foolish not to at least pause and appreciate our bounteous heavens in spite of the disorder here on Earth.

What seems sometimes like another lifetime ago I was a girl in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a resident of Newport News.  As such we wouldn’t miss a glorious full moon to sit in candlelight and tell a fabulous goblin tale. Modern life on the peninsula was surrounded by history and the past. Evidence of the American Revolution, and the War Between the States sometimes dwarfed modern life. There was no ignoring the past, a ride past  historic Fort Monroe on a trip to the beach was a reminder that once upon a time Edgar Allan Poe also called Virginia home. A bicycle ride in forgotten woods would reveal ancient house foundations belonging to lost settlers was always possible in Virginia; if there be graves than there might be ghosts too. Tomorrow take a moment to escape the media to sit down and take in the night sky the way humans have for thousands of years. There will always be political strife, but two full moons in a single month is a rarity, that’s why they’re called blue moons. 

Giselle and the Pirate’s Ghost 9.30.2020

Giselle swam down in the shadow of the sperm whale until the glow of the moon was merely a memory and the only illumination was the bioluminescence of sea life. Down, down and still further to the depths of the sea until she could see the silhouette of the old ship. The once brilliant sails had all but melted over the decades until only threads hung here and there barely moving in the deep water. Crabs scurried about in the shadows seeking shelter from predators along the planks of the disintegrating deck. 

Giselle saw the low pulsing outline of an octopus tucked into a barrel settled onto the rotting berth. She easily swam down until it was blacker than any night on shore and here she saw the great trunk open and waiting. A smaller octopus sprawled over the gems and coins gathering silt from the sea. Carefully she swam in place and then she eased her hand under the octopus, its suckers tasting her as she did so knowing she was of the sea too. It lifted and shifted to a pail lying on the floor and then she could dip her hands into the treasure that sunk with the sailing ship.

There had been a terrific storm that easily flipped the massive ship about on the sea like a toy boat on river rapids. The ship sank and the crew were lost except for one chained to the chest to protect the swag stolen by conquest of the natives. Emeralds larger than the biggest pearl she had ever seen and plenty of gold chains and coins but they were worthless to Giselle as she wanted the blue gem. This one even in the depths of the sea still cast a blue glow as if a fabulous creature were locked inside. She held it in her palm and she watched as the blue light shifted and bounced off her hand and arm. It floated just above the blue gem and when Giselle held it up to her eye she realized she could not see through the gem but into the gem and there was a story to be seen here, however she was not alone.

The pirate tethered to the chest in life and in death would garner no treaty. Giselle placed the gem amongst the gold and emeralds and quickly removed herself from the phantom of the ship. She swam to the surface of the water where the moon reflected off the sea. She must liberate the gem from the chest for she was sure there was very special magic contained in the blue orb, but she must consider how to do so without paying the levy of the phantom.

Tales from the Sea

Images created with Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils on Strathmore black paper.

Art to Dream by

A1 if wishes were horses to share

As the global pandemic continues to unfold one thing has been clearer for me; the last thing I see before I close my eyes at night should be something to send me to a world of happy slumber. That may seem a little childish; however this whole daily risk of death was something I thought we had as a society left comfortably in the distant past and to use a new phrase I don’t want to adult all the time. Dreams are someplace safe we might take a little cerebral vacation from all the strife of our waking world, and I want to close my afternoon with things that will bring magical dreams rather than nightmares. So my new theme for the time being is Art to Dream by.

Now what I want to dream about may be different than what someone else chooses and the beauty of dreams is all the endless real estate to populate with beautiful images and even some really impossible feats. For example, we live in a modestly sized two bedroom condo and the reality of having a baby Asian elephant to care for is impossible to say the least, and yet I experienced a marvelous dream that we were in fact in a house caring for a baby elephant. The dream left me smiling all day while I took care of laundry just thinking of the roly-poly chubby cherub of a baby elephant to hose down outside and to tuck into its little crib at night was a joy to recall.

When I was a child I would have dreams of flying and I knew others who did as well. Thanks to Jacques Cousteau I could also dream of life in the great big ocean, sometimes swimming and sometimes on a submarine that looked more like a London double-decker bus. Of course I haven’t lost touch with reality but waking up after an especially amazing alternate reality is fabulous.  I won’t have to clean up after a baby elephant as in there’s no litter box, but it was a joyous dream.  Being an adult the nightly news may make us all wish we had something to smile about. I can only imagine what it is like for parents with small children, how to make our reality less scary?

And that is where my idea for Art to Dream by, as in the type of images that would be found in a children’s storybook only larger and with little or no words as to create an image that people can make up their own stories to slip off to dreamland. Because in a society where everybody has an opinion and wants to debate it on social media, isn’t it nice to know that our dreams are our own private kingdom and we can be royalty on a throne or we could have a baby elephant in a two bedroom condo; the choice is ours.

My gouache watercolor If horses were wishes then wizards would fly is painted on Arches cotton paper, iridescent accents achieved with Schmincke metallic watercolors.