Dad is Teaching Me To Paint

I am pretty comfortable with watercolors,  but my father is using part of our family vacation to give me a few oil painting lessons. I am a beginner all over again,  but it is interesting to learn.  This is my first oil painting.

Dad made the easel for me too.  Thanks Daddy!

Outdoor Fun

We are having a great time with family in Maine. The weather has been very favorable.  Every other day we run into another family member or friend in these tiny woodland towns.  We have had some fun with these unplanned reunions. This week we went to my Dad’s church with him and my stepmom for Father’s Day. Yesterday we went to the Common Ground Fairground for Farm & Homestead Day. IMG_20170618_125401We watched a blacksmith at work and got a paper-making lesson.  We had delicious fresh made and foraged food. Sweet clover is really a wood sorrel,  and the heart shaped leaves are sweet and sour yummy.  My grown son learned how to use a scythe to cut hay, and we watched a window glazing lesson. Today he is out on Grampy’s woodlot with an axe. IMG_20170618_145953

I have been painting every day.  If you would like a painted postcard from Maine,  email your address to

Happy summer!


Just in Time

Just before our vacation trip,  something besides driving to and from work, we got wrinkled up in a fender bender.  I did not imagine that the body shop would go so far above and beyond and fix several small nicks and dings unrelated to the accident at no extra charge. None of my dash lights are nagging me anymore! I guess they couldn’t let my 2004 Oldsmobile out of their drive looking like it still needed work, or they just needed to empty out the last of the color-matched paint.  I am so blessed.

IMG_20170523_195800.jpg Talk about your blessings in disguise.  They even vacuumed the interior and replaced my dried up scented trees. I got to drive a very nice Dodge Challenger for the few days they had my car, thanks to Geico and Enterprise Rent a Car.  If you need work in Ocala,  Florida,  I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at the high quality work at The Car Guys Collision Repair.  We are travelling with a renewed peace of mind.

Visiting The Frugal Crafter’s Blog

Inspired by Lindsay at The Frugal Crafter, blue skies and birch paint-along:

Sometimes I overcome painter’s block by taking a walk outdoors,  looking at snapshots from previous outings,  revisit a sketch, or finish a painting that was not sparking properly at first go.  Lately a purse sized portable set has been easy for short sketches and cards.  Today I tried another fun video paint-along/tutorial from The Frugal Crafter. Thank you for posting Lindsay!

Another try it from The Frugal Crafter, watercolor teacup tutorial (around here it is renamed,  “Moxie after Midnight”).  Though lacking a Naples yellow,  or the decadent pies,  it was still fun to keep my brushes busy until I have more time on the weekend.  This is the last week of school,  and the kids are so very excited!



My Moxie Babies

My babies are now officially grown.  Both had milestone birthdays this week (18th and 24th) so today’s mini painting is from my Maine Moxie and was critiqued by the younger (who has renamed himself in my phone as “the Moxiest”). It reminds me of my oldest sitting on “mermaid rock” when she was little.


Enjoy the very merry month of May,  celebrate every day,  as we do.

For My Mom

Some of you know that my mother had Muscular Dystrophy, yet also had a pretty full life for over 76 years.  To help others live full and wonderful lives,  my friends Jill and Lionel are participating in a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Please consider contributing to this worthy cause.


Thank you!

Fun to be Done


Now that I have graduated with my Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences at UT Tyler, there is much more energy to fill up my sketchbooks. For my trip to Maine I am trying out portable painting options and experimenting with ideas from my notebooks.

I am excited to go to Maine,  despite the long drive. I look forward to the reward of seeing my father,  who was so moved with pride and love when he told me that I  am the first in our family to graduate from university, for I know I could not have done it without his example and encouragement.

Crissy’s Front Walk – Iris



The beautiful things Kathy and I see on the way to Ladies’ Bible study. (We are using a series by Nancy Guthrie showing Jesus in the Old Testament.

There are some more sketches (mostly 6×9″) on the sketchbook page.  I have been trying out three new portable boxes of paints- Yaka White Nights, Daniel Smith,  and Prima Confections Tropicals.


Writing a Song

201703 Sleeping Darling

For music theory class In the final week before graduation at UT Tyler,  I completed this songwriting project. If you fall asleep in the first minute,  I succeeded! To get full credit for public performance of the lullaby I wrote,  the instructor asks for at least 5 comments on the YouTube video at .

Praise God for surrounding me with the love and encouragement of family and friends, that will listen to over 2,000 rough drafts of a work-in-progress song until it is finally finished!

Please enjoy the lullaby.

My dog loved it.


Our First Nature Study

Our elementary students each collected the coolest, most interesting leaf they could find. Note:  The youngest children did not know that clovers,  palm fronds, and grasses were also leaves.

Inspired by John Muir Laws and the California Native Plant Society  curriculum,  Opening the World Through Nature Journaling – we traced,  crayon rubbed,  measured,  and described our Florida leaves. We explored page 5 of the field guide. It was fun,  and the results were amazing. Here are a few samples.

First grade
5th grade

Backdoor Garden

Cone flowers and Lupines,  Prima Confections Tropicals, 6×9″ Canson XL 140 lb. Watercolor paper

Trying out some portable paints, sketchbooks, and water brushes for our summer travels, I am attracted to April flowers. My neighbors are probably just wondering why we put off mowing.

Pale Violets in the Leaf Litter,  White Nights watercolors, Bee Creative 8×8″ marker paper, Aquash brush

English Roses Backdoor Garden,  Prima Confections Tropicals watercolors,  Bee Creative 8×8″ marker paper

Nature Journal Curriculum

This time of year most teachers are evaluating and adapting their curriculums for next year.   I am really excited about videos from John Muir Laws for my own plein air painting and sketchbook journaling, and this led me to a free resource from CNPS.  Law’s naturalist expertise is evident in this free curriculum from the California Native Plant Society –

Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating art, science, and language arts .

 I am sampling the lessons and learning so much for my own nature journals.  I hope to also teach some of the activities during camp this summer, adapting for K-6, and then integrate with drawing from life lessons during the school year. I usually match my lessons to the curriculum whenever possible. Yeah STEAM!

The finished works being collected for our Academic bowl are great.  Insect wireframe and tissue sculptures with exoskeletons!

Bird sculptures, paintings,  and pencil drawings.  We also did some ocean creatures in clay.  I wish I could share them all.