Friday, December 25, 2015

The Art of Family

My family around the world light a candle at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve and toast family and friends. It's a moment that brings us all together across the continents. It's a joy to see all the photos on our family circular email on Christmas Day.  Makes us feel closer together instead of spread over 5 continents! My seasonal wish is for peace in 2016 to you all
© Anne Jenkins 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Art of Simple Things

I wrote the piece I have wanted to write for a few weeks but am holding back on posting it while I wait for my emotions to settle. It is not good to publish a rant. SO I sat with a blank mind this morning and couldn't even decide what to sketch while I had my morning cuppa.
I decided to follow some way better sketchers than me and sketch my travel kit. The kit is fascinating to me ... it has changed but remained the same over the couple of years since I got in to this habit.
I started with just a medium sized travel palette. Then I got a really small palette which I love. I've had some watercolour pencils for a long time but never warmed to them. Then a friend gave me a couple of watercolour crayons and mentioned they had a richer colour tone to them. They didn't grab my imagination.
So the pencils and the crayons languished in a drawer in the mess that is my studio for a year or more. I took them out a couple of months ago for some reason and thought, "hmmm, why not give them another go?"
So I did and then I noticed how it changes a sketch. There's a different texture to all three, so you can complete a sketch with a multitude of lines, blends, thickness or depth. I am still learning how to use them. It's always a trial and error process with me. I never took instruction well.
And that to me is one of the great joys of art. New ideas or methods continually present themselves. It is intriguing to learn about them, to try them - perhaps reject them, put them away and then for no apparent reason, return to them.

So the world goes round.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Art of Recipes

Okay sports fans - another change in direction... well, this is me and I do this quite regularly as I am sure you, dear reader, are quite used to by now. I did the "what I ate Today" illustrations for 3 whole weeks. A long time in my attention span orbit. And then I thought why not give recipes a try out. I have been following a few illustrators who mostly do recipes and some of the styles are charming or fun or downright yummy looking.
Here's a couple I tried my hand at and am rather enjoying the process... you actually have to think about it before doing it. Novel thought.
So- what do you like, not like, hate, couldn't care less or love about any of these?  Let the critique commence....
and - thank you!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Art of Storms

So, we had another storm this past weekend...nothing too bad just lots of wet and windy weather. We stayed put and cooked and talked and enjoyed each other's company. It was a peaceful time. I continued journaling what I eat every's turning in to an interesting and fun experiment. I think it is an excellent way to control what you eat on a regular basis. I just lack a lot of self control's our meals for Saturday and Sunday because I really don't have anything profound to say right now.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Art of Struggle

I've been struggling lately, too many balls to keep in the air and not enough incoming funds! Okay, all avenues seem to hit a brick wall these days. Can't seem to lose the weight I need to lose. No inspiration to sketch or create...just trying to make a buck and mostly failing. Bah! HUMBUG. What the hell, I just hate a pity party.
So... I decided to follow the advice of a wonderfully cheerful Dutch artist, Koosjekoene, and true to Dutch character, is straight forward and takes a simple approach. She says when you have no inspiration to draw, draw what your meals and all you eat on a daily basis. Why not?
I started yesterday and you know what? It is also an excellent way to see what you are eating or perhaps eating too much of... and it is fun! For the few minutes I sketch I don't think about anything else, my mind relaxes and it helps the soul. And this after just one day.
It certainly doesn't cure my ills but every little victory counts.

Now, if I could just win the lottery...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Therapy Art

This coming Saturday, 29 August, it will be 10 years since Hurricane Katrina arrived and sent our lives in to turmoil and fear. You might find it strange to "fear" since we were safely in our dear friends home in Houston. But the fear wasn't for us ... not only were we safe, but we had friends and family calling from South Africa and around the world to offer help and comfort. When we got to Houston, my friends kindly let me phone my sister in South Africa and she alerted people we were safe and gave the number to a special few.
What we feared was what happened to friends we couldn't find for a few days. Fear while watching the drowned Gulf Coast and thinking where are they? Our phones weren't working well but our text messages got through. I must put a plug in here for Virgin Mobile USA... a day or so after the storm hit, we got a text saying something like, "You are probably going to need more than usual, so here is an extra bunch of minutes free for a month. Be safe." not all carriers were that friendly or helpful.
Finally - locating some took weeks and weeks - but we all found each other again. I remember one day I got a text from friends we thought for sure were lost, I started screaming "they're alive, they're alive" to no one in particular. The day I was in the Museum of Art and got another text saying "I'm okay" and burst in to tears.
The houses and stuff/possessions lost weren't top of my list, it was the lives that mattered. And then just as we were getting our breath and starting to think straight, along came Hurricane Rita. But that is another story.
I am interacting more with friends from our time in New Orleans this week since we're sharing our individual Katrina therapeutic art and memories. But I am finding it hard to cope with the constant reports about Katrina on the media. Some reports have me in tears, so I often just turn the radio off. But still, the memories are crowding out just about everything else at the moment.
We've moved often in our lives, singly and as a couple. Some one asked me how many times, and I lost count while trying to work it out! But I have always moved on my own terms, when I want to and why I want to. I loved living in New Orleans. I fit in there so well.
Yes, it is a self-absorbed place where they believe they are the best of everything in the world. Who cares if they are or not? So what? You don't always agree, you just need to go with the flow and live it. We did. We made life long friends and enjoyed it all.
And we weren't ready to leave.
So, that is the reason why even 10 years after the traumatic event, I still in a funny way grieve for it. Have I moved on? Yes. I don't dwell on it. It often pops in to my head but I'm not obsessed with it.
But it feels like unfinished business in a way. I knew we would leave New Orleans one day. It's a given. We move on.

But not that way. It is not an experience I would wish on my worst enemy.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Art of Reality

I've just been away on holiday in West Virginia and I am having trouble getting back to reality. Okay - I am having an awful lot of trouble achieving this reality crap. We enjoyed a blissful 8 day stay in a isolated cabin in the hills, pure silence and peace. The cats were with us and loved it too. Yep, they told us, this is a good spot and settled down as though they'd been their all their lives.
We ate excellent meals in the cabin or at quaint restaurants...visited farmer's markets...explored old towns enjoying a renewed energy. We also toured Civil War battle fields.
Spent an entire day at Antietam. Okay - that's not so peaceful when you start reading the gruesome numbers of the carnage... how do you get your head around 23,000 deaths in 12 hours?
Lee enjoys exploring battlefields. I grow weary of the stupid destruction man reigns on each other. So he wanders off and reads all the plaques and things. I sit and sketch. Then we move on to the next area and repeat. It works well. He doesn't feel rushed and I am not bored.
At Antietam, one of the worst attacks and counter attacks took place in a cornfield. Now looking at cornfields take on a whole new meaning. Just next to this cornfield is an old farmhouse with barns and out buildings. I sat on a stone wall to sketched the house because it was so atmospheric.
It had a row of white towels on the line to dry. It made me think perhaps this is what it would have looked like when taken over as a field hospital. But, in reality, it probably would have been over run with wounded and dying men, thick smoke from the guns swirling around and noisy as all get out with cries of pain and shouts for help.
It seemed so incongruent sitting there in this now peaceful park on a hot summer's day with birds flitting about. The battle was held around this time of year and those young men wore woollen gear and slogged through hell. The thought of the discomfort and the whole slaughter aspect seem impossible.
The saddest thing of all - men have been killing each other in some form or other in war since time immemorial. And it has gotten us no where. Have we learned nothing? I often wonder how we got designated the most intelligent of the species?
See... reality is a difficult thing to deal with at any time.

Now, where shall I go on holiday next? Definitely not near a battlefield thanks.
the farmhouse next to the cornfield, Antietam, Maryland

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The art of sketching

Last time I wrote about my green quiet place. So this time I'll write about one of the things I thought about while there.
The thing is I have become a devotee of sketching. Most artists start their careers learning to draw, then sketch and then paint and move on to big canvases etc etc. Well, not me. I started with watercolour house portraits and then moved straight on to large canvases. I never did learn to draw or sketch.
Then I met my friend Rosemary, a journaler par excellence. Check out her website. I hadn't thought of painting like this before since I couldn't see a way to make money out of it. As a professional artist, when I paint I want to make money....I don't paint for fun.
We took a trip up to Maine in 2013 and I bought a journal on a whim... and promptly fell in love with chronicling our travels in my new little watercolour journal and now I do it all the time. I traded up to Moleskin watercolour journals and pretty much use them all the time, unless it's my own homemade ones. I use left over strips of 300lb paper which is glorious to paint on. I tie it together with string and it looks super cool.
Once I started really getting in to it I had to think of ways to make some income from it. So I started using a mix of my sketches in with my photographs when I do my travel writing. Then I used quite a few sketches when I produced the Art Strolls in Delaware online magazine.
So as I sat contemplating my navel, I thought well, it's working a bit. I am making some money from my sketches. So for fun, I decided I'd share some of my sketches and travels in a magazine form. Not for money but for the sheer joy of sketching and travelling. A couple of my favourite things.
Another of my favourite things is food. But I have never had much success with painting food. So this year I made it a mission. Paint some foodie things every week, daily if possible, til I got the hang of it. I'm still working on it. Who knows where it will lead.
But here for you dear readers... is my magazine. Get yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your trip with me.

Bon voyage!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Art of New Lines

I've been busy the past couple of weeks trying out new things... always good for the soul and it keeps life fresh.
First off, take a look at my website please.  I have added a store - with a check out cart and all. So smart am I!! I have a few giclees left over from popular series. I've had them tucked away when I got the idea to have a summer sale on my website ... the first three are up. I am so glad Weebly makes life so easy for web building and even I can do my own store!! I will add more giclees and small originals over the summer when I get them photographed and sorted out.
I wanted to make a little book on my travel sketches for my family but it morphed in to a magazine. I figured, so why not make one and use it for a little shameless self-promotion. Someone has to do it. I launched it today... voila,  here it is ... my latest magazine

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Art of a Special Place

It's been a while ... I know, I know. Life got in the way.
I seem to be writing this with monotonous regularity on this blog.
So - I have decided, I obviously cannot keep up a weekly blog. I shall attempt twice a month. Is that a deal, dear readers?
I've been pondering now for 2 days, since I received a gentle reminder I hadn't written anything for quite some time, over what to write about. I have had an awful lot on my mind lately. I guess in an effort to deal with it, I have taken on a lot of chores or projects, etc. It doesn't help I have a half baked approach to most things coupled with a short attention span... you get the drift.
Then last night Lee had to go to a business mixer thing downtown, so I got out some nice cheese - a touch of Gambazola, herbed goats cheese, a tart Havarti with 2 slices of homemade bread, a proper Dijon mustard and a handful of sherry toms. I poured myself a glass of deep red Cabernet and settled down. I gazed out the window in comfortable solitude and looked at our canopy of trees.
We have two very large trees - an oak and a maple tree - in our backyard with a very bushy lush hedge around the porch. All was quiet. The cats lay next to me in quiet companionship and we were swallowed in to the dense, peaceful green.
Time in this house has not always been kind to us but I do love the back garden. It's a jardin savage but it's our private shield of green with lots of birds.
The birds on the suet feeder provide daily joy and entertainment. The starlings are the terrible hooligans we love. The dazzling blue jays are raucous. The bright crimson cardinals don't have a care in the world The red breasts are huge. I still, after all this time in the U.S., can't get over how big they are compared to our dainty plump English robins. The delicate wee nuthatches and chickadees look tiny and sweet. One of my favourites is the woodpecker who lives in the oak. He taps away on the tree and every so often, partakes of the suet. Apparently they have a fondness for suet. He is beautiful... simple coloring, black and white with a brilliant dash of red.
And joining the crowd of entertainers is the large squirrel who also lives in the oak. He can't get to the feeder, or doesn't try to, and he doesn't bother with the birds but he knows he drives the cats crazy. So he runs stomping his feet on the roof and then leaps along the branches of the oak before wiggling his butt at the cats who crouch down low in the attack position and chatter at him.

I always feel better after I've spent some quiet time in our green canopy. So I thought I'd tell you about it. And here's a photo I took of part of it to post on Instagram last night as it soothed me. I hope you all have a happy solitude place to go to when needed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Art of the Magazine

I am super excited to announce the launch of my new project, Art Strolls, an interactive online magazine on the arts in all it's glorious forms. I hope to do these for regions, counties, towns, around the country. These magazine will have limited, appropriate advertising,  I am taking this approach because I think most magazines have way too much advertising and it overshadows the content.  The first issue is on the arts in Delaware...small state, big arts. How to work the links? It's easy, hover over the name (if it's linked it will be underlined), a trio of symbols will pop up, click on the RIGHT hand symbol that looks like a chain and voila, you are taken over to the artist/gallery/organization's website or facebook page but you don't go off the magazine. Enjoy and let me know what you think

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Art of Letter Writing

It's been a while ... I know, I know. Life got in the way. New Projects and ucky colds zapped my strength. Not really making excuses... it just was so.
On my art page on Facebook a while back I wrote about a wonderful book I'd seen, "More than Words" - a collection of artists illustrated letters. It looked beautiful and I had to have it - so I said I was saving my pennies to buy it. Well, a couple of weeks later a wonderful friend showed up and gave me the book saying, "I didn't think you should have to wait!"
I could hardly believe my eyes. What a treasure my friend in and what a treasure the book is. I love illustrated letters. I like letters of all kinds and I still do actually write thank you notes and letters. It is fast becoming a lost art.
So I dug around and found a letter written to me when I was 8 years old and got mumps at Christmas! My friend who wrote the letter, lived on a mission station in a remote forgotten valley in the wilds of South Africa. I lived not too far way in another remote location and was shortly about to head to boarding school for the first time.

The letter is precious and a joy... so I thought I'd share it. It really speaks volumes about the person who wrote it and the care she took to pen it.
I still pick up the new book and look through it with awe .. it will be a joy to read for a long long time. Thank you my kind and thoughtful friend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Art of Treasure

As I sipped my tea this morning - earlier than usual because there was a very early delivery scheduled at the office - I thought of how lucky I am in life...and it made me think of some of my "peace & security" nic-nacs... so I sketched them quickly. My Turkish "Nazar Boncugu" - the evil eye bead... they have to be given to you, not bought by you and a precious friend gave me this... and my rough welcome sign a folk artist friend made for me just because...and my Indian candle holder has given me the comfort of soft light when disaster struck in the past. Nothing is expensive or elaborate but they are all priceless

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Art of Cold

I am about to bust a gut or something with this freezing weather... so to cheer self up, I did a quick sketch of some of my favourite pottery fish... they normally hang on the walls ... in sunny Caribbean style water. Bah Humbug..

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Art of Food

So, I think we need a break from trucking - I will get back to it. 
So.. on to food. I love food. I love cooking. And I love eating in restaurants - anything from street food to posh. Just love it. But I struggle with sketching or drawing food. This year I decided to make an effort to conquer this problem. Sometimes I do a sketch of food and it's great, other times it looks like a mess. Now after a few weeks of doing a daily quick sketch I see improvement. It's fun however the drawing turns out. Here's a couple of examples from 2015 start to conquer sketching food!! Bon appetite! and remember - visit my website
Superb Korean "dim sum" at Mandu's in Washington, DC
Exquisite De Brand truffles from Sugar Bee in Milford DE

My lovely wonky pottery bowl full of fruit and veg
Coddled Eggs, a favourite winter breakfast
the best yoghurt in USA is Chobani, it's the closest to the real Greek & Turkish yoghurt. And Nutella - have loved it for years
My little Prague tin cup, a gift from a dear friend some yeras ago, filled with garlic

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Art of Truck Driving 2

Last week I wrote about trucking boot camp and it got quite a lively discussion going on facebook. It seems lots of people are interested in the trucking life, or think it's a crazy thing to do.
We drove all over the Lower 48 and Canada for 2 years, it was a fascinating experience. We met some of the nicest people around, we went to areas of the country that take your breath away with it's loveliness and we went to places I never want to see again.
I gained a great respect, and a different perspective, of the truckers themselves. I was your average ignorant four-wheeler when it came to trucks, their drivers or their lifestyle before I started driving a big rig myself.
I discovered drivers are grossly underrated, stereotyped and deserve more respect from the general public for their skill, humour and poorly paid professionalism. There certainly are any number of bad eggs but there are just as many, if not more, bad eggs who are lawyers, doctors or Wall Street moguls.
Much to my surprise trucking is a total equality job. I was trained the same, paid the same and treated the same as my male counterparts. When I pulled in to truck stop to refuel and opened the hood to check the insides of the engine - you have to learn every single part of a truck engine and name them ALL to pass the driver's license - or I crawled beneath the trailer to check couplings, other drivers never offered to help "the little woman." They would usually just say something like, "Good morning driver, which way you headed?"
So, to all the ladies, especially the little girls who got so excited, who cheered and waved encouragement when they saw a woman driver - you can go and have one of the great adventures of your life. It's just fine.
When I say we saw the country, I mean we saw it. Over the 2 years we travelled more than 500,000 miles, on interstates and small country roads, through all kinds of weather and traffic. We trundled through Texas - does it ever end? We admired the Teutonic neatness of Wisconsin. The tangled spaghetti of freeways in St. Louis, Mo., got us confused and the sheer cliff one descends near Laramie, Wyo., was nerve wrecking. And that long, long steep climb down in Montana. It's so steep you have to stop at the top and check your brakes and read the instructions for descent. There is the Grapevine in Southern California truckers talk about in hushed tones. And the "She Bear" who terrified us all with her strictness in the towering mountain passes through the Cascades in Oregon. From the raw vast beauty of North Eastern Oregon and Washington State, the Colorado River Gorge, the beauty of the desert in Nevada to the flat emptiness of Oklahoma, on to the densely crowded East Coast or over the bridge at Detroit in to Canada - we discovered America.
But, I am getting ahead of myself ... before all this we had to get our commercial drivers licenses. We passed the first company driving test in Fontana, Calif., and in November we went to Bradford in upstate Pennsylvania on the border of New York near the Great Lakes to drive with our training engineer This was to prepare us for life on the road and to ensure we passed our CDL. We arrived thinking it would be the usual orange company truck but discovered our engineer had the biggest truck in the fleet - an old fashioned monster. The green meanie.
We drove her through tiny Amish settlements with buggies all around us, had to get through tiny little towns with narrow streets and cope with tiny East Coast rest stops. All in the green monster. I nearly had heart failure on an hourly basis. She was huge but remarkably easy to drive once we got used to her.
Our trainer, Lou, was a delightful soul with a quiet sense of humour. If I were to draw a cartoon or a caricature of a trucker - he would fit the bill. Shortish, large stomach, grey beard who always wore denim bib dungarees and a baseball hat. He told tall tales with panache and we enjoyed being with him.
Bradford is a small town 'famous' as the home of the factory of Zippo lighters. To relax on our day off we toured the factory and had a good meal in a delightful restaurant in a converted Carnegie library. We only had the one day off in the 3 weeks. Other than those 2 places I have no recollection of Bradford at all. Must have been the fear factor!
We headed home to Nevada to do our final state test. And we both failed. We passed the eye test, we passed the naming every part of the engine test but no one had taught us how to serpentine backwards without hitting a single cone. It's required in only 2 states out of the whole 50 - Nevada and Arizona. So back to Fontana in Southern California we went and a couple of our old instructors worked with us to learn how to do this. They had never done it either! But they enjoyed the challenge as a break from their new students.
One night during our time working this problem out, the instructors decided it would be fun to go practice at the LAPD skid pad. "It's really good experience for you," they happily said. If you've ever been in a bad skid on the road or on a skid pad in a car, you know how scary it is. I can testify that in a rig it's the most terrifying thing. We had to do it 3 times. In a rig.
You drive up to the pad and launch on to it, you have to be doing 40 mph, then whenever the instructor feels like it he hits the hidden brake by his seat. And off you go in a horrid skid. The first time out I screamed so loud they must've heard me in Phoenix. The crowd of trainees and instructors watching were falling about laughing, including Lee. He didn't laugh so much when he hit the skid pad next. The second time was better. By the third tride on the skid pad I was enjoying myself. That's when I thought, "I can do this." Or maybe it just proved I am certifiable.
We went back to Nevada, took the test again and both passed. The company rewarded us with a nearly new Freightliner to propel across the vastness of the USA.
Our first instructor, John, had told us, "Your training engineer and I can teach you 'til we're blue in the face, but believe me, nothing will teach you like your first couple of weeks on the road alone."

Boy, was he ever right!
Me and The Green Meanie in Bradford PA

Lou explaining to Lee how to do what he had trouble with - backing

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Art of Truck Driving

Back in 2000 I drove a big rig on the first day at the US Truck Driving School during rush hour traffic in Rialto, near San Bernardino, California. After wards, it took them about 2 hours to pry my fingers off the steering wheel.
"What the fuck am I doing?" I yelled to myself as I realized I'd gotten in to one of those, "well, it seemed a good idea at the time," heart-sinking moments. Only this time I didn't have a hangover.
It all started with a simple concept. Lee & I decided it'd be an adventure, and great fun, to haul freight all over the Lower 48 and Canada for the biggest trucking company in the nation.
We just had to learn to drive a truck.
Next thing I knew, I sat drenched in sweaty fear, in charge of an extremely large truck in dense Southern Californian traffic. I believe it's called a blast of reality.
Somehow or other, after a couple of days, my competence improved. Marginally.
One of my minor hitches proved to be getting the 450 hp truck up to a respectable speed. Ants overtook us as we watched the grass grown on the sidewalk.
John McDonald, my long-suffering driving instructor nagged me constantly in his slow Alabama drawl, "Anne, you gotta go a little faster.:
Bravado took over and I pushed down on the throttle - straight in to the arms of a red light. Instinct took over and I slammed on the brakes. The cars around me were enveloped in thick smoke from my locked wheels. One joker lent out his widow coughing loudly in my direction.
"You shouldn'tta done that," was the laconic comment from McDonald as he got back in his seat. Come to think of it, he said that quite often.
"Yes, but rather effective, don't you think?" I snapped.
"If it'd been raining, you'd be jack-knifed," he shot back. "Yessirree."
McDonald thrived on having the last word.
He is also a brave man. I believe this because he took me through the excitment of the freeway tango. It goes like this.
I take the truck down on to the freeway, cruise up to 55 mph then race off the next exit and immediately tear back down on to the freeway. It's teaches you how to get with the traffic flow. I rather enjoyed the freeway driving. It was the street traffic that scared the wits out of me.
Lee and I were not alone. We'd joined 27 colourful characters at the truck driving school for 11 days of intensive instruction.
People from every walk of life sat in that room - like multilingual Lee with a master degree to independent Audra, a pizza delivery lady with lots of silver in her nose and ears. There was Bryce, well, Bryce is Bryce with his tattoos, rude T-shirts and a big, soft heart. And we all bonded without a hitch as we faced the prospect of driving a big rig.
Each day we re-enacted High Noon as the class stepped out into the dusty parking lot and faced the trucks lined up on the opposite side. You could almost hear the twanging guitar in the background. I drove truck 359 and hauled trailer 4585. Numbers indelibly etched on my brain.
We ground gears trying to double clutch our way through the 10 gears. The intricacies of air brakes and power divider started to make sense. Squashing orange cones became the norm while learning to back and wiggle in to docking spaces.
Heart failure was a common occurrence, for us and the anonymous driver of the car waiting at the light as we cut corners too tight. Backing, coupling and uncoupling trailers, pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the tractor and trailer became part of every day life.
During class time we did fun things like trip planning exercises. Less interesting is learning the endless federal rules and regulations.
Did we have fun?
You bet!
We had to pass a test for graduating. How I passed I have no idea. Perhaps it was my explanation to the examiner on my way out to his truck.
"You need to understand something. I'm British and when I'm tense and under pressure I revert to my own language. If I tell you I'm checking the petrol with a torch, don't run away in blind panic. I actually mean checking fuel with a flashlight."
He probably decided on the easier route - pass this crazy lady and get as far away as possible from her.
We both passed and then had to head out on 3-weeks over the road training with a trainer before going for our commercial license.
But that, as they say, is a WHOLE 'nother story.  
Instructor John McDonald watches one of us has another go at the orange cones during boot camp.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Art of Ideas

It's a snowy day and the winter landscape looks lovely. I am a little sniffly and under the weather with a flu bug... taking lots of rest, hot tea and aspirin.  So I will not be venturing out in to the snow to see the lovely sights. But it's a perfect lead in for a plug for my latest art trails article in the travel ezine American Roads.... it takes you to the sun!!   Enjoy
and let me know what you think! 

I am working on a couple of new ideas. I should know quite soon if they'll work or not. Sigh, Always trying something new. Well, it sounds aslightly better than a bad case of ADD. 

To cheer you up, here's a lovely cardinal visiting our feeder. The birds are flocking to it now the food supply has dimished since autumn. We get a steady stream of sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, gnat catchers, nuthachers and some I have no idea what they are even though I frantically look them up in my bird book. The 6 feral cats next door also take lively interest which leads to some concern about terrority from my two princesses inside. It's all go on the wild life channel on our back porch. Who needs television?