Discovering my life Beautiful…one drawing at a time!

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I wonder sometimes if this word may become worn out. Like taffy pulled too thin, or chocolate pie eaten too much, we hear this word bantered around in various ways and forms. It’s always an exhortation, an encouragement, a command to be more thankful for what we have, where we are in life, even to consider being thankful for the not-so-good parts. When we hear something so often we can become calloused to the message, the intent behind the words, and it may go in one ear and out the other.


And if we do practice a daily awareness of all that we have to be thankful for, we might be left bereft of a language to communicate when we are truly, utterly, grateful beyond words. We may feel we have to resort to saying we are uber-thankful, over-the-top grateful, filled-with-excessive-thanks. A simple thank you ceases to carry the full impact we wish to communicate.


I find myself in this position after the Art Show that took place here in my little town on Saturday, November 22nd. I’m never prepared for the 3 hour revolving door of friends, family and new supporters. I can’t quite take in that others would want to travel distances to attend the show much less to own a painting or some cards of mine, one of my books, a knitted shawl or cowl. I’m left without words to adequately describe how I feel and thus resort to paint to somehow communicate the bubbling over gratitude that wells up after a show. I am simply…thankful…in all its grand and humbling feelings.


As human beings our default setting is not thankfulness. Perhaps I generalize too much here. I should say that it is not MY default setting. My default setting tends to be grumbling, not gratitude. And for me, I have to have a daily discipline of searching for things I am thankful for in order to counter the grumbles and hopefully nullify them.


So I’ll risk overusing this word. I’ll pull it as thin as I possibly can because in doing so, perhaps I’ll see through even the difficult things to the beauty contained therein. I’ll keep eating the chocolate pie of gratitude because it is in doing so that I sense a richness to my life that isn’t there otherwise. I’ll continue painting thankfulness in my everyday life so I can knit into the fibers of my being all the colors, lines, and shapes that make a life worth living.


May I just say, Thank you? To all who came out for the show. To all who support the art that I am well aware is a gift given to me. To you, dear reader, who tirelessly reads this blog and to those who kindly take time to comment. To all of you…thank you. From the bottom of my grateful heart.


“Big” Gallery in the Little Town


Twenty-five years ago, an Art Gallery began in Kernersville, NC.  Angie Jarman and her parents opened the gallery to showcase her father’s incredible artwork. Along with Harry Jarman’s work, Angie has showcased local artists, giving them a place for their work to have a bit of exposure. Angie has worked tirelessly to promote area artists, and I’m so glad I was able to join in the fun for the first time last year!

Sneak Peak Art Show

So once again, I’m having an Art Show at Southwinds Gallery, but this time is special in that I am sharing the spotlight with friend and fellow artist, Debbie Schiappa! She and I have been drawing downtown on Friday mornings for a couple of years now. We are showing several of our drawings and paintings from this body of work. We will also both have cards that we have made from our artwork. It should be a delightful event, complete with wine and hors d’oeuvres. You are ALL invited this Saturday, November 22nd, from 4-7 pm! Come one, come all!!

I call it a “big” gallery, for though it is quite small in square footage, it packs a punch with the amazing variety of fine art and craft that it offers. It is truly the perfect place for unique gifts and artwork of all kinds.


I’ve been giving sneak peaks at some of the items I’ll have there for sale. There will be 12 new artworks of various sizes and media. LOTS of sets of cards, two of these sets are brand new, never been offered before. All three of my books will be there and I will be available for signing copies to any who would like that. I’m also offering a variety of fiber pieces: hand-knitted and crocheted cowls, free-form crochet purses, and some other surprises for you to enjoy when you get a chance to come by the gallery. If you’re unable to make it on Saturday, Southwinds is open most days of the week so you can drop in and get ahead on your Christmas shopping.

I do hope I get to see you there on Saturday! It will be loads of fun!


The Measure of a Life


The true measure of  an artist’s life is NOT

*in how many drawings one makes

*nor in how “good” they are

*nor how much money they fetch…

…but rather in a stouthearted search for beauty in everything:

*in the little as well as the big

*in the mundane and the magical

*in calm as well as chaos

*in peace and also pain.

We wield our pens to draw out the lovely contained in anything, even d’un beau affreux (the ugly beautiful).



Recently, I sat with my husband on a crisp fall day gazing into our chiminea. I caught my breath as the flames revealed a beautiful labyrinth of lines etched into the burning logs. After running inside to get my pen and sketchbook, I tried following the lines to etch them onto my paper, mesmerized as I went along. I did not expect to find beauty in a chiminea.

Even in a furnace of affliction, beautiful lines are revealed as the fire rages. We need eyes to see it and a sketchbook to record it.

This is how I want to spend my life.

Measured or not.


Counting Gifts


On my walk, jewels mark my path as if Royalty had just passed by. Gold, ruby, emerald in every shade…pooled under trees, scattered across the sidewalk, huddled in patches along the street. Hovering gray skies served only to heighten their jeweled glow. I genuflect to pick them up, one by one. Each a different shape. Each a wonder on its own. Many, newly fallen, sparkle in their radiant color. Others, no less beautiful, lie brittle, tinged with umber. Pockets stuffed. Hands full. I cannot hold them all. Each one is perfect. Joy and wonder bubbles up with every bending. And I think–

*If I count each gorgeous leaf as a gift or blessing, I am rich indeed.

*Remaining upright is not always the best place from which to see Beauty.

*A life bent low allows for gathering gifts into one’s arms.



“When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full, and I “magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30 KJV), and God enters the world. What will a life magnify?”

Ann Voscamp. pg. 61. One Thousand Gifts Devotional.


“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. “

Camille Pissarro


What will you magnify (give thanks for) today?


Walk Together


Life should be lived walking through it together.

Burdens are best carried arm in arm with friends.

Joy breaks forth when many feet move in a common direction.

Love is felt when others choose to walk alongside us.

Yes. Yes. and Yes.

All of this, and so much more, I experience when we Walk for a Cure one Saturday a year in Winston-Salem, NC when a ribbon of people gather to walk with Type 1 Diabetic children and adults, all raising money for JDRF, all supporting the life these individuals live on a daily basis. Maddie’s smile beams all morning long as she is surrounded by friends who have chosen to walk with her. Conversation and laughter about everything BUT T1D peals through the crisp fall air.



Pictures are taken to remember the day, especially the favorite part of getting faces painted by an incredibly talented clown named Sonshyne. Randy and I relish the camaraderie of adult friends who have also set aside their usual Saturday morning routine to come and walk with us. We remember with amazement all the folks who so generously gave their money in honor of Maddie’s Mission, doubling our goal! Yes, doubling it!!


For all of this, we are so very grateful!



BackyardReds Cropped

Mondays come around with shocking regularity.

Don’t you think so too?

For some, the weekend is a time to slow down, to rest a bit from the work-week, to have a bit of fun. For me, weekends are hard, harried living. Oh sure, it’s all good stuff. But come Monday morning I feel I  need a weekend to rest up from my weekend. It has felt like this for quite a few years now. I look forward to Mondays so that I can return somewhat to a more purposeful rhythm of art and life. Weekends often feel like driving a stick shift in the highest gear possible and your car is still screaming.

Monday always breaks into my thoughts with a regular theme. I recognize and notice this as a lifelong theme–one of feeling bound, constrained, restrained, hemmed in, held captive in such a way that I long to break out, bust loose, run away if only for a few hours, or possibly several days.

If you flipped through my sketchbooks you would see page after page of drawing all the way to every edge of the paper, as if my pen longs for there to be more paper on which to dance. There are also pages where I’ve drawn myself a box in which to contain my lines. Rare, however, are the drawings in which I’ve stayed within the lines. My pen longs to bust out, go through those self-imposed boundaries and frolic free. These are some of my favorite drawings.


Is this merely a drawing device I like to employ? I think its something more–a visual representation of what I long for in my life. I wrote the following poem several years ago. It was one of the first written about my favorite Field and Lane up at the top of my neighborhood where Mr. Whicker’s home and farm resides. Walking here often gives me a taste of that freedom I long for…to know no bounds…to run and play and frolic free.

It’s amazing how drawing can both reveal these things AND offer an answer. Drawing your life in a sketchbook truly is boundless…just turn the page when your paper runs out. There are NO rules one has to abide by in making marks…anything goes!

The only problem is trying to catch it all, to drawcument ALL of it: cousin sleepover with youngest, JDRF Walk with youngest and several of her friends, oldest daughter in for the weekend with two other friends from college, worship, lunch out with a friend, etc.

That’s what Mondays are for…to slow down a bit and draw my life, or at least parts of the harried weekend so I can remember it and see how lovely it is and in doing so…to live…boundlessly!









Whose fields these are…


Whose fields these are I think I know…
His house presides o’er fence below.


His cattle say their grace each day
Content to watch and eat and stay.


The fields, they hum a beckoning tune-
To roam, to fly, to surf their dune,


To live with graceful, swaying ease,
To know no bounds, nor responsibilities.


To run and play and frolic free,
To chase the butterfly…or not…as you please.


Walking away, their song remains,
Though I am bound for my life’s restrain.


And as I enter my home’s gate,
I bow my head to plead for grace…


To watch and eat and yes, to stay;
To boundlessly live within the fray.




A Favorite Barn


At the end of a road down which I walk each day, is a wonderful old barn. This barn sits on Smith land and is a part of Smith Hollow Farm where my artist friend Debbie and I have spent many a happy morning drawing the land, their horses, goats, and donkey named Elvis. As I sat here drawing this view, Mr. Smith drove up in his truck and hollered at me that I could go on down into the land further to paint or draw whenever I liked. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I receive a happy greeting. One never knows.

Barns are a favorite of mine, to draw and paint for sure, and to just gaze at and wonder about the history and life lived in and around the barn. Years ago, at Appalachian State University, I was able to see a show of pastel paintings by Wolf Kahn and I distinctly remember saying to my mom: I wish I had been the one to make these paintings.

It would be so cool to travel from one end of North Carolina to the other, drawing and painting the barns. Just in my hometown of Boone, the number of barns would keep me busy for years I’m sure. I would want not just to draw them, but also interview their owners, find out a bit of the history of the barn, the family who built and owned it, etc. If anyone wants to hire me to drawcument Watauga County’s barns… Ha! Wouldn’t that be fun?

The temps are much cooler this week and I have a feeling Debbie and I will be drawing indoors, returning to Eclection as our cold-weather haunt. I will surely miss drawing outdoors. I’ve been stealing away to draw in my yard lately, on the back deck, and enjoy the beautiful colors we are having. The winds are starting to blow them away.

November is a busy full month for me! The JDRF Walk for the Cure is this weekend and there’s still time to donate! Then I have an Art Show on the 22nd at Southwinds Gallery (do come for any portion of the 4-7 pm time slot on that Saturday!). Then Thanksgiving,  followed by my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary party on the 29th. Full indeed!

I may need to steal away to draw up at the barn a few times just to catch my breath!:)


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