Monday, July 31, 2006


I tried a scanner. Look how clear this is. Wooo hooo.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Major Spider, chapter 2

He saw it before I did. He is a wonderful communicator. I'm late for work.
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

major spider

. I'm learning so much from re-doing my drawings!
PS: I'm still .

Friday, July 21, 2006


Yesterday .

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Money! Money! of all, she's a great conversationalist and listener. I had a wonderful time.
I .

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Julia Cameron's book is splashing new colors into my little life. I must admit that her writing irritates me. Her sarcasm and patronizing tone sully her otherwise good thoughts. But I walk on the path of the artist's way, through the sixth week, forgiving her the trespasses.

I went outside today and gathered things of beauty. Yes, Julia Cameron, this is indeed a bountiful universe. I took on the Zen beginner's mind, and discovered that nature provides so many beautiful things just outside my door.

I wrote a scary affirmation to experience during the week.

And I added a gatha from Thich Nhat Hanh:

Placing this beautiful flower in my home,
I am aware of the serenity it offers.
May I carry that serenity into
my interactions today.



I'm .

Friday, July 14, 2006


It adds meaning and continuity to my life when I crack open the watercolor set that my dearly departed father used. The French expression, feu mon pere, is so much better. People who knew him will understand the magical potency of seeing his very own watery marks on the paint cakes. I just love using his paints to animate some of my drawings. Joseph Mark Benforado, presente!

hermit crab

Yesterday a marine biologst came to visit the children at the history camp. "What did the colonists eat?" she asked. "What was under those waters in the bay?"

This group of six-year-olds was transfixed by the creatures that this woman pulled out of her cooler. I'd never seen them so quiet. At one point she got them really quiet and asked them to coax the hermit crab out of its shell by inviting him with silence. He emerged! The whole experience made me think of this book about "nature deficit disorder," Last Child in the Woods.

Joyeuse Fete de la Bastille a tous!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

habit #4

This entry is #32 in keri smith's 100 ideas: draw some of your habits. I've mentioned sitting too close to the steering wheel and two others. Here's habit #4: I never finish my coffee. I spend a lot of money on Starbucks French Roast beans. I make the perfect cup of coffee every morning. I put it in this favorite mug. I wait until it's the perfect temperature. I take three or four sips. Then I abandon it.



Monday, July 10, 2006


At 11:00, one of the children slipped into my office brandishing a crayon and a piece of paper. "Could you please help me draw a horse?" My heart melted. "I'm getting PAID to do this?"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

first day

Tomorrow is my first day at the new job. I've been working in limbo for about 14 months, mourning the loss of a job that I really loved, and working in a job far below my skills and talents. It's a really big day for me.

My lunch is packed. I've selected my outfit. I put a few dollars in my wallet, just in case I need a Starbucks in the middle of the day. One of the really great things about working in the not-for-profit sector of the economy is this: it's ok to wear a skirt and not wear pantihose.

I made a little notebook where I'll write down everything I learn in the first weeks. I'm so excited. So grateful. So humbled by the hell I've been through in the past months.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mouse show

The cat is warming up slowly to his new life. I'm still not decided on a name. Maybe "Teacher." Maybe "Hairy." He ventures forth by just inches each day. He sleeps on the floor near my bed. Last night he jumped on the bed and sat at the far end near my toes for ten delicate minutes.

He is too shy to play with me, so I just put on mouse shows, which he seems to enjoy. His tail swishes back and forth wildly, but he does not pounce. When I go downstairs, there is a delay, and then I hear him upstairs jumping and scampering and attacking the play mice.

The parallel with my inner artist is so strong. A lot of people ask me to draw on demand, people also ask me to illustrate their children's books. I just can't function when people are watching or expecting. It's like my hand turns to wood. I want to have such a free hand that I can draw whatever and whenever. But for now I am much more like this cat, staying close to where it is safe. I must continue to clear space and provide gentle, loving encouragement.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Cindy's powers of observation inspire me. A few weeks ago she asked how I can draw using my memory. I wrote back asking the opposite: "How can you draw from life?" Whenever I try to sketch something, I get overwhelmed with detail, then I crash.

So last night I experimented. I walked the line between deep observation (what I SEE) and intuitive memory (what I KNOW). The result was a more accurate, but still stylized version of objects in my universe.

My life is changing. I read fellow art bloggers every day. I study their creations and revel in their success. For me it's like visiting four or five studios each day! How enriching. The feedback on this blog makes me feel so safe and loved and valued, both as an artist and as a person. Living with this wonderful, magical, spiritual, kind, affectionate cat is making me so happy! So attentive and mindful. He is less shy each day, spending increasingly more time out from under the bed. He is a symbol of my emerging artist.

Working through The Artist's Way continues to challenge me and to open up new windows and doors. Sunlight is streaming through the cracks. The other night as I was going to sleep, I actually thought about taking myself back to France for a visit next year. Then I thought with a laugh, "Julia Cameron is right. This IS an abundant universe." And then I fell asleep.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

copying horses

The Artist's Way is making me bold. I'm trying new things and trying my best to tune out all interference in order to listen to that one important voice in my life (my own). I took out a book on animal anatomy this week. I did these just by eyeball, copying from the book, trying not to erase at all.

Some of the drawings were pretty bad, but I selected a few that I liked. The lesson I learned: outlines come from underlying form. That's deep for me.

copying dogs

Until now, my drawings of animals have been really generic, and not based in observation.



Monday, July 03, 2006


I .


Saturday, July 01, 2006


I keep taking things off of my resume in hopes of finding a job, any job. I'm now running on empty. It has been six weeks. I need income. So, off go the 5 years of doctoral work and fellowships. Off go my published articles. Off goes the master's degree. Off goes the teacher certification. Off goes the work abroad. Job duties are rewritten and watered down. My professional past now ressembles a bug whose hacked-off legs blow away in the breeze, one by one. I've put my dreams and hopes in the deep freeze. I'm applying at temporary placement agencies now. This is The Great Masquerade of 2006.

Yesterday a young whipper-snapper interviewed me. He was maybe 25. He was very impressed with my typing scores, but told me to go home and refresh my Excel skills.

I'm not feeling sorry for myself, just irritated.