making art

he asks
why do I have to take art
I respond
art is not something you take
it is something you give

she says
I can’t even draw a stick figure
I respond
life saving fire has been born
of simple sticks

he says
I can’t do anything right
I respond
you’re in good company
now put all your wrongs together

and make beautiful art

tiger mouth/acrylicI really like this verse (first posted last year) but not because I wrote it.
I wish we said this to young creative hearts more often.

tiger – acrylic on canvas, long ago-thank you

Why is there underwear in my face?

In keeping with this week’s theme, “Reality and Afraid,” I’m sharing another favorite post from way back.

One day at the high school…

I’ve been substitute teaching four years. During my tenure I’ve noticed, as I’m sure many of you have, that a warm-weather phenomenon has been affecting our schools. Now if you’ll humor (along with) me, I’m going to tighten my brassier straps and adjust my mom sorting hat…

As parents of Generation txt’ers, we’re exceptionally busy. We’ve produced 2.1 offspring who run us ragged. We do daily battle to arm them with the latest technology. We toil endlessly to swaddle them in brand names and expensive athletic socks. Appearance goes a long way toward their shades of happiness.

Our children’s desire for ‘peer acceptance’ can wear us out. After a long day of caring, we parents are frazzled. In fact, we’re so exhausted that some mornings we can’t even muster up the words, “Wait, you’re not really going to school naked are you?” (Of course I exaggerate, some students are partially clad and others remember to wear clothes.)

It certainly would explain, when I was sitting beside a student  (I was a one-on-one sub that day) I turned to find a pair of underwear in my face. The student with the low pants (he must not have realized they were the wrong size when he purchased them) was standing with his back to me while conversing with a fellow student.

Perhaps there could be a kindly worded, student pamphlet espousing reminders like: Dear young ladies, your breasts won’t run away if you can’t see them. Rest assured they will still be there when the school day is over. So cover your breasts while learning. Save them for later, when you’ll really need them. Dear young men, if you stop looking at the breasts long enough, perhaps you’ll realize your pants have fallen down.

In Pearls

In Pearls

Created months ago…

“Mom, why did I have to color a vagina?”

This post was originally published in March 2014. It’s one of my favorites. The big son is now 14, just hit 6′ and is still growing…

The conversation that day…

The big son just got home from Middle School. We usually talk about how the day went. He’s a thirteen-year-old, good natured kid. He does well in school and to the best of my knowledge has never been in trouble, except for one Pre-k incident, when Miss L told him to sit at his desk because he was giggling, then he cried the rest of the day. The big son is currently taking an accelerated Living Environment class. His class recently entered deep into the mysteries of the reproductive chapter.

The big son asks in quite a frustrated tone, “Mom, why did I have to color a vagina?”

Me, “What colors did you have to color the vagina?” I’m trying not too laugh because he’s really quite annoyed.

Big Son, “Does it matter?”

Me, “That depends.” I’m stifling giggles as we continue conversing.

Big Son, “We had to color the vagina-red, the uterus-orange, the fallopian tubes; also know as the oviduct-yellow, the ovaries-blue-” Big son flashes his colored vagina pictures.

Me, “Wow, I don’t even remember all those parts,” I look down at my pelvis, “geez, I hope everything is still in there that’s supposed to be.”


“Oh, c’mon I’m just kidding.” I look at the vagina picture the big son is shaking in his hand and think, wow, all the worrying I did when he was little because he couldn’t color in the lines. I’m proud of the big son’s vagina picture.

Big Son, “It’s not fair Mom, the penis picture is so much more embarrassing.”

Me, “Why?”

Big Son, “From the side view, the penis picture looks really bad. You don’t see anything from the vagina side view.” He shows me the penis diagram picture too – perhaps he thinks his mom doesn’t know what a penis looks like.

Me, “Well, how about the female torso, side view?”

Big Son, “What about it?”

Me, “The breasts from the side, you can see those.”

Big Son, “They’re not important.”

Me, “Why not?”

Big Son, “We didn’t even have to color them.”

Me, “Well, they might be important someday…” (this response I keep to myself)

Wurd Warrior/acrylic

coverWurd Girl created for a long ago illustration class. Textbook is one I designed (interior and exterior) and art directed while at Prentice Hall. I did not do the cover art

I’d like to give a shout out to schools dealing with these important topics. Besides the personal conversations that parents have with their children, many schools shoulder the responsibility of informing our students with important, yet sometimes “uneasy” topics such as reproduction. Educators do this masterfully and professionally without the giggles…

Stranger Girl

Dear Friends,
Below is a five minute sketch. She was created to live demo basic ‘facing’ for an art student. I had a little fun with eye decoration (that ate 3 of the minutes). The ‘quickie’ was later tacked to my studio cork board. Yesterday while drawing a ‘real’ portrait for someone, the young lady hanging from my cork board spoke.

She directed in a slightly demanding tone, “Hey you, look up here!” A little shocked, my eyes hesitantly rolled up, followed by my head. Once the young lady had my full attention, her voice softened, “Please,” then she paused for a dramatic moment, “Please, tell me who I am?”

I looked away and stared at the floor. I thought a minute then replied,”I don’t know.” I looked back at her face and those black-lined eyes. She appeared sadder than I remembered drawing her. So I added, “But I promise, when I’m done discovering who I am, I’ll figure out who you are. For now, I’ll just call you Stranger Girl.”

She smiled. She had a name and that was a start.

stranger girl Thank you. May you dream of strange people with friendly faces.

boots and sunsets

Dear Friends,
Boots protect our feet and transport us to new destinations. Yesterday, my boots brought me to an enriched chemistry class and a brilliant-minded teacher. I learned something I didn’t know before. It deals with ROYGBIV and the color spectrum. I should have remembered this from my high school days. At sunset, light must travel farther through the atmosphere to reach you. When it finally does connect, more of it is reflected. Ultimately, the longest and last wavelength standing – or bending as the case may – is red. The shorter wavelengths – blues and greens – are scattered and can no longer be seen.

And this is the most wild part: By the time you see the sun in sinking below the horizon, it has already gone down. You, my friends are seeing an optical illusion of bending light…

Who knew (or remembered)? I didn’t!

Workboots Thank you. May you dream of comfy boots and beautiful sunsets.
Workboots created a few days ago, after observing anxious students sporting their fall fashion boots while trying to remember not to clench my jaw so much.