Preparing Our School For the Fall Festival

Poster for 2017 Festival of the Arts
This is our K-12 school’s second year at this event.

Lisa Rachel Horlander’s Trip to Togo

Lisa Rachel Horlander is going to Togo, Africa with to write a children’s book — if we can help her raise the funds through sales of her art. Because she is a fellow alumni from the University Texas at Tyler I have had the privileged to know how tremendously creative and talented she is actually. Please visit her website to see the art and art embellished products she is selling to fund her trip:



Another Great Day of Art Camp

Middle school art camp made sculptures today. We had a terrific time, especially when they were telling outrageous back-stories about how their created characters acquired their interesting abnormalities.


“Expecting perfect clay sculptures on the first day is incredibly inconsiderate of the artists who have spent 40 years learning how to master the art.”

Dancing dudes.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Making plastic casts of their hands was fun.


And the “stick figure guy” has not stopped to do his summer reading.  He went out for a Nerf gun fight which turned into a high speed bicycle chase.  He loved spending time with his Art Camp buddies this summer!


Postcards from Maine on Display in August


I am showing my postcard paintings and other watercolors from nature at the Lakes Region Library of Inverness, Florida for the month of August. This show has many plein aire pieces from our summer visit to family in Maine.

Some of the paintings were sent to Florida friends and borrowed back for the show.

Anyone wishing to paint with me can join a “Postcards from Florida” free mini class outside the library from 9 to 10 am on Saturdays during August.

Mini Plein Aire Projects

Here are some of the paintings from my portable watercolor kit while on vacation in Maine.  Come by the Lakes Region Library (Inverness,  Florida) on Saturday mornings in August 9 am to 10 to paint your own “Postcard from Florida”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Tennyson’s Brook

IMG_20170716_170756.jpgThe Brook

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.


[There is a nice line by line exposition of this poem by a blogger named Pranay Aggarwal

Belfast Chalk Walk

We are having a blast visiting art destinations in Maine.  Today I participated in the first annual Chalk Walk in Belfast.IMG_20170624_145355 On the way there we crested one of those hill tops and had a stunning view laid out in front of us, inspiring a quick pull over to sketch it.

When we got to Belfast, Bridget from Waterfall Arts got me settled under a tree with a lovely view of Penobscot Bay behind me. IMG_20170624_153529.jpg

I used some of the wet blending techniques the kids and I  tried out last year,  and stained some of the tiny florets in the foreground with my ever-present watercolor paints and a water brush. At one point I pulled out one of Tom Seymour’s foraging books for a quick color reference. download_20170624_182700

My son and I  wandered over to Dave’s Ice Cream and enjoyed the soda shop sweetness while my patch dried for the next layer.  The children’s sidewalk art was a real treat,  as well as meeting the other artists of all ages. It was leisurely and fun.

Mary Jean Crowe, artist, draws part of her painting, Eve's Garden, at the Belfast Chalk Walk 2017
Mary Jean Crowe, excerpt from “Eve’s Garden”


Mike “Fletch” Fletcher

This is my finished chalk drawing of a hilltop on Route 137 near Freedom,  Maine. If I had my father’s Maine Map and Gazetteer mind,  I could tell you where for sure.  IMG_20170626_072939

Read more at the following links: The Pen Bay Pilot The Republican Journal


Make something beautiful this week!

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.