Saturday, December 29, 2007


Count your garden by the flowers, Never by the leaves that fall. Count your joys by golden hours, Never when life's worries call. Count your nights by stars, not shadows; Count your days by smiles, not tears. And on any birthday morning Count your age by friends -- not years.
I found this poem looking for a recipe on I guess it's a pretty good one. I will have to try it out in 2008. I wanted to share it with you.
John took this photo in Vienna. Don't worry we aren't promoting underage drinking. Those young boys are drinking apple juice. Isn't it funny,though? You can almost picture how they will turn out ten years from now.
I just learned that one of my limited editions is the #1 seller. Check it out -

PROST 2008

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Belvedere

The Italian term Belvedere refers to a vantage point where there is a beautiful view into the distance. The site of the Belvedere in Vienna is located on a narrow piece of land that gently ascends, providing a wonderful view of the city. There are two palaces; the Upper Belvedere and the Lower, separated by a formal garden.
The highlight of the Upper Belvedere collection was the work of Gustav Klimt. John and I wanted to take our usual "kiss picture" in front of The Kiss (seen in the middle of the photo collage). Again, there were no photos allowed. No sour grapes this time, except the painting was enclosed behind glass and an alarm went off when I leaned into close.
We crossed the garden in the dead of winter to go to the Lower Belvedere. I can only imagine how pretty it would be in the Spring.
Here we saw a Vermeer painting that I had never seen before. I am sure that I studied it in school, but that was so long ago. Luckily, I found this website that allows you to study the painting more closely. This way I can avoid the embarrassing alarms.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Them Bones,Them Bones

The Catacombs in St.Stephen's Dome

I must give credit where credit is due.

John took these photos 3 years ago when he was in Vienna.

Being the competitive artist that I am, I couldn't wait to outdo his efforts.

Imagine my dismay when I politely asked the snippy Austrian tour guide if I could take a few pictures and he treated me like I was some kind of pervert for not respecting the dead.

Believe you me, my photos would have been respectful. I had envisioned interesting compositions from different angles in extreme contrast.

As I placed my little camera back in it's case, I began to experience what is known as sour grapes.

Telling myself that it just was a pile of bones anyways, there were many more great photos opportunities in Austria, and what kind of deranged person would want to look at photos of human bones.

Clearly, it's just disrespectful to the dead.

So you can blame John for taking these photos.

I would never dream of such a thing.

St. Stephen's Dome

Here is a photo collage of the inside and outside of St. Stephen's Dome.
The church has stood on the site for over 800 years, but all that remains of the original 13th century Romanesque church are the Giant's Doorway and Heathen Towers seen in the top right corner. The rest of the church was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries. Since it burned the last day of WWII, the outside stone is still black from soot.
We took an elevator up the North Tower,which gave a spectacular view.
Here we could see the colorful tiled roof consisting of 230,000 glazed tiles that measure 361 ft. in length. The eagle is a symbol of the empire ruled by the Hapsburgs. The roof was constructed in 1490 and suffered quite a bit of damage due the fire in 1945. The tiles were then carefully restored. It is really amazing.
I wasn't able to get many photos from inside the church, because it was so dark.
The one in the lower left hand side of the collage, is a self portrait of the architect of the church, Anton Pilgram, called "Fenstergucker". Loosely translated in English it means "window looker". I had to take a picture of this, because it reminded me of the man I always see looking out his window. He still refuses to wave back at me. I am getting more determined since my time left in Germany is drawing near.
Perhaps, he will wave good-bye.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas from the Cranes

We are back from Vienna.
My birthday was Thursday and we went to St. Stephen's Dome. I have some cool pictures of all the bones in the catacombs that I will show you this week. What an interesting way to celebrate the day of your birth. Don't you agree? That evening was extra special.
I don't know many people that can say they saw an opera in Vienna on their birthday. I am really blessed to have such a great husband!
I will be posting my photos this week so check back.
Here is our Christmas card. I found this cross in the middle of the Black Forest while walking the dogs. There is a date engraved at the bottom; 1865. I don't know if we are posed on someone's grave or not.
All the same, I hope everyone has a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
We plan on wearing fat-pants all day and watching Bad Santa while drinking egg nog.
Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Birthday Surprise

Beethoven realized the totality of his deafness when he saw birds flying when the church bells rang, but he couldn't hear the bells..What city/church?
Tomorrow I am being whisked off on a surprise birthday trip.
John has given me this one clue. Do you know where I am going? I know I could easily find out, but I want to be surprised.
I will return Saturday another year older and wiser,
until then.............

Monday, December 17, 2007

Die Weihnachtsgurke

A few weeks ago
I bought a glass pickle ornament at the Ludwigsburg Christmas market. There was a sign written in English that told the legend of the German Christmas Pickle.
Every year the Christmas pickle is hidden deep in the branches of the tree on Christmas Eve.
The most observant child to find the pickle on Christmas morning would get to open their presents first or receive a special present from St.Nicholas.
I couldn't wait to get our tree and hang my "Traditional German Pickle". I loved knowing about this and participating in this tradition.
Since I am still attending classes at the University of Google, I was able to research more about it's origin. My research left me feeling a little cheated,
just like the time I saved all my allowance to buy a packet of Sea Monkeys when I was 6 years old.
The fact that the legend was written in English should have been my first clue.
There are a few more things wrong with the story.
First, the Germans open their presents on Christmas Eve and not on Christmas morning. Secondly, St. Nicholas arrives on Dec.6th and the third and most important flaw in the legend is that the Germans have never heard of it.
In 1800 F.W. Woolworth made a trip to Germany where he fell in love with the glass blown ornaments. He began importing them to the States to sell in his stores.
Production of the glass pickle began in 1890 and it is believed to have been sent directly to the U.S. along with it's "German tradition".
You should have seen the look on my neighbor's face when I showed her my " Traditional German Pickle" hanging in my Christmas tree.
The Christmas tree that is put up 2 weeks too early, I might add.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Never Ending Painting

In response to the question "How do you know when you're finished?", Pollock replied "How do you know when you're finished making love?"
I have been working on this painting for 3 years now. I am always finding something new to add or take away.
This never ending painting is not my never ending love, but a hodgepodge of things I do love. I may never finish it and that's okay.
For in this love affair I am allowed to be who I am at the moment and I am accepted when I want to change.
Showing you this painting is not easy, because there is still so much more to do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What If Wednesday In The Woods

What is fearlessness?
Walking in the woods
witnessing wilderness
"what ifs"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hopping on common ground

I am in a constant state of contrast and comparison living here in Germany. When I speak to the Germans, I often start sentences with,“In the States we.......”.
I guess it’s normal to do this. One must try to find a common ground to communicate.
Here in lies the rub.
The fact that I can barely speak the language doesn’t make it any easier.
During Christmas my comparing and contrasting skills are in full swing.
In the States, we open our presents on Christmas morning.
Santa Claus arrives while you are sleeping and brings presents to all the good little girls and boys. It is said that if you are naughty, Santa will leave you a lump of coal. I really believe that this a myth, because most American kids are spoiled and get their presents regardless.
If you are very good, you can talk Mom and Dad into opening one present on X-mas Eve.
Since I had unwrapped and re wrapped all my presents weeks before X-Mas morning, this only meant I had to get a head start on my surprise face.
In Germany, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all the naughty children’s names are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday treats. Otherwise, the naughty child is confronted with a boot full of twigs.
I know a couple of kids in our village that should be walking with twig filled boots.
Still, I can’t seem to get the image of St. Nicholas hopping from house to house out of my head. Compared to the Easter Bunny, I guess it’s not that absurd.
Try explaining the Easter Bunny to a German and that’s another blog entry all together.
Did I mention that Santa Claus travels by a sled led by eight flying reindeer?
Okay, so the hopping is not as bad as it seems....
In the States, we put up our Christmas tree the week after Thanksgiving, which is the last week in November. Department stores have customers tired of Christmas carols long before December can be printed on their sales receipt.
This I know firsthand because of the 12 years I spent working in visual display. We would replace the Halloween decorations with Christmas and anger many customers. I can still hear the words, “Christmas already?!” ringing in my ears.

In Germany, the Christmas tree is not put up until Christmas Eve. A big meal is served and then the presents are opened.
With not much time to sneak and peek, German parents get to see genuine surprised faces on their children.
As you can see,
there are only a few differences, but many similarities.
All and all Christmas is a time for family.
It doesn’t matter
whether it’s St. Nicholas or Santa Claus or when he brings the gifts.
There is a certain magic this time of year, no matter where you are.
Let the twigs and coal remind us to be nice to those whom are different.
It will make it easier to walk on common ground.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Crooked and Open Doors

I have this reoccurring dream where I am checking all the locks on the windows and doors of my house before I go to sleep. All locked and secure, I discover a room I have never seen before. The door is wide open, swinging back and forth; a mockery of my security. The deep black night with all it's uncertainty is free to enter into my insecure home.
Sometimes, the unknown room has a closed door, but it is crooked and will not close completely. The gap above and below the frame shatter the sense of security I am desperately seeking. Pieces of the night cast triangles through the unknown room.
Each time I discover this room, I am perplexed. I should have known it was there.
I believe it is a part of my psyche that has not been explored. The open door may symbolize adventure while the crooked door tries unsuccessfully to harbor it. It is an internal struggle.
The dream is not a fearful one, but more so, a curious one.
I guess
there is always a little room of hidden insecurity when discovering new places..........

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Remember The Windows

We may be familiar with the writer E.B. White who wrote Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, but you may not know that he also wrote for the New Yorker.
Every year he wrote a message about Christmas. His message for Christmas 1952 is very good and still rings true today.
One year he was struggling to write something new and different and recalled a lunch he had earlier that month with his 92 year old aunt. He felt bad for not arriving earlier in the Autumn to take her on a drive to see the changing leaves. She was from a more formal and slower paced world. She told him not to worry because, "remembrance is sufficient of the beauty that we have seen". This response inspired his Christmas message that year, which focused on the remembrance of traditions that each of us hold dear.
This message made me realize all the beauty I have seen while traveling through Europe.
Attempting to capture it all with my little camera seems futile.
I am afraid that relying on my memory alone will never be sufficient. It is already proving so.
The slide show above shows all the beautiful windows that I notice on our travels. Hardly sufficient when I am not sure where some of them were taken..........

Wine week

Today's painting
Italian wines II
acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Paint what you love

Today's painting
Italian wines
acrylic on canvas

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dog day afternoon

"Why no Mr. Crane, your foot looks fine to me. Why don't you take some Advil and call me in the morning."
The amazing doctor dog- Dr. Schatzi

I promise to return to the studio tomorrow and get back to painting.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


The error was not caught before the publication was distributed, and Lowe's says it is disappointed in the breakdown in its proofing process.
I believe the proof is in the pudding- make that Christmas pudding..........
Have a festivus weekend!

Santa's Guide Book 2007

When I was very young my dad told me that Santa would rather have beer with his cookies instead of milk.

Looking back, I guess that would explain the Ronco Bottle and Jar Cutter that I received that year.

Well, times have changed and I guess Santa has to change too.

This year Santa has been issued a guide book of strict rules to follow in order to be politically correct.

It's quite confusing for the old guy, because each country has a different set of rules.

In England, Santa must refrain from all Christmas goodies and adhere to a rigorous exercise routine. A fit- skinny Santa portrays a positive role model for young Brits.

Children now leave fruit and veggies for Santa and a glass of water.

In Australia, his distinguishable laugh , "Ho! Ho! Ho!" will be replaced with a quieter, "Ha Ha Ha". This will not scare the children and more importantly offend women in that particular identity group. It's more politically correct. Don't you agree? Ha! Ha! Ha!

I believe that Americans started this whole PC nonsense. Because of this,

once Santa arrives in America the rules get even stricter.

First and foremost, Santa must undergo a thorough background check.

He must show his hands at all times in front of children to avoid the appearance of inappropriate touching.

He can longer place presents under the Christmas tree. They must be distributed carefully under the new and improved -politically correct, "Family Tree".

He is not allowed to smoke his pipe, because of the anti-smoking laws and he cannot make promises to children he cannot keep.

In some places like Ft. Collins, Colorado he is not allowed to appear in public and has been relegated to a museum.

Thanks to Al Gore,

he must change into a green suit when delivering presents to the Eco-conscious .

These are just a few pages from the Santa Guide Book 2007. There are many more.

So don't be surprised if Santa leaves you a lump of coal this year. He's not to blame.

Why not leave him a cold beer?

Who knows, you might get lucky and receive a Ronco Bottle and Jar Cutter...............

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Anne Frank Tree

Last Wednesday the chestnut tree that Anne Frank viewed from the attic window where she hid from the Nazis during WWII was scheduled to be cut down.
The 150 year old tree suffers from a fungus and poses the possible risk of falling and endangering the thousands who visit the Anne Frank House each day.
Fortunately, an Amsterdam judge ruled that the tree be destroyed only as a last resort.
The tree is still standing as a historical monument and a symbol of freedom.
Conservationists have been ordered to devise an alternative plan by mid January 2008 to save the tree.
For now the tree has been anchored with cable supports and tests have been made proving the tree is stronger than they originally expected.
When we were in Amsterdam last May for the tulip festival we wanted to visit The Anne Frank House. We decided against it because the line was so long. We couldn't even see where the line ended.
I was lucky enough to find this graffiti image on a building nearby. I used this cool photoshop site to create the postal stamp image.
Many of us remember reading 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in grade school. I now want to reread it.
In an entry dated February 23, 1944, she wrote: "From my favourite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind... "
"As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy."
You can visit and create your own leaf for the tree; a symbolic gesture to keep the tree alive.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

White glove test

After any big event one might ask themselves one simple question,"if I had it to do over again what would I have done differently?"
At this moment I am not wishing for that possibility, but only wondering how I could have done it better.
Would I have invited our German neighbors to my first Thanksgiving?
This is the question.
I had spent an exorbitant amount of time cleaning my house. I was prepared for the white glove test from Ingrid. She had us over to her house a while ago for dinner and I swear we could have eaten off the floor.
The Germans are notoriously good at cleaning.
Everything seemed to be going well until she excused herself to go to the bathroom. This I knew was my ultimate test. While the rest of my house looked fairly clean by candlelight, this was her chance to break out the white glove in private behind the bathroom door. I sat nervously chatting with the other guests for what seemed like an eternity. She returned with a horrified look upon her face requesting "essig". Essig.. essig I knew this word. I’d seen it on the menu at our favorite gasthouse, but why does she want salad dressing? Then it dawned on me, the word ’essig" is always paired with oil... AHHH she wants vinegar. Vinegar to clean my bathroom. I didn’t pass the test. Begrudgingly, I handed her the bottle of vinegar and off she went to clean my bathroom and then on to kitchen.
So back to the question.. Would I invite the Germans to Thanksgiving again?
The answer, why yes, but a couple of days early to help me clean.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kleine Pause

I am taking a short break. Please check back November 26th.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


For me there was never a fork in the road, just a pile of useless kitchen utensils.
It wasn't until I chose the right path that I learned how to use each one...............
My recent discovery of a very hidden talent for cooking has prompted me to host my first Thanksgiving dinner. John's parents are visiting us from West Virginia and I have invited Manuella and her parents.
My childhood memories of Thanksgiving have me sneaking most of the black olives from the relish tray and watching football with the men. The women did their thing in the kitchen and I wanted no part of it.
Here it is decades later and I am planning a menu for 8 people.
Trepidation is defined as a state of alarm, dread, or apprehension.
I have a 15 pound turkey and a German oven no bigger then my head,
which may be a good thing in case I resort to such peril.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Making it a big deal

This flyer on the first slide invites you to attend the Stuttgart Community Spouses' Club November Membership Event next Tuesday, November 20th at 10:30 in the Swabian Special Events Center on Patch Barracks.
I am the featured vendor and will be showing a number of my paintings inspired by a cooking class that I attended last Fall in Tuscany.
In fine print they bullet point- one on one time to speak with the vendor. This should interesting- something I am sure you won't want to miss.

Monday, November 12, 2007

As Fall Fades

We cast long purple shadows onto the clinging color as Fall fades...........

Thursday, November 8, 2007

From The Inside

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by looking through their home. Collectively, you can tell a lot about an entire community by perusing the realty pages on the internet. Looking at the photos that people choose when advertising their home on the market just fascinates me; their taste in furniture or lack thereof.

I often find a house I like and imagine how much better it would look with my furniture and my paintings on the wall.

It's amusing to me the certain rooms they choose noteworthy. Here's a picture of our teenager's unkept room. Please buy our house.

Some exclude photos of the inside altogether, but emphasize a large backyard or 2 car garage. This tactic only leaves you wondering how bad the inside could possibly be.
The following description of this house has me wanting to pack up and move to Yellow Springs, Ohio right away. "It has a wood burning fireplace in the living room with large windows overlooking a front yard with a beautiful mimosa tree that blooms every spring and it's known by many villagers for its outstanding flowers. Down the hall is an office that has windows that look out into the flowering tree also. "

This was all that was written and there weren't any pictures.

With that lovely description, it doesn't need any. I would own that house in an instant for that kind of notoriety.

I guess it's hard to judge a house from the outside. It's really what's on the inside that counts. Or is it what you 'see' from the inside that counts? This whole concept has me curious...........

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Great Adventure Continues

Many of you may not know that John and I met each other on (an online dating service in case you are unfamiliar).

With the increasing popularity of online shopping, I figured why not let my keyboard do the talking. I wasn't having the best of luck anywhere else. What was out there, in my age bracket was pretty terrifying to say the least. And actually, what I found online the first few months wasn't that much better. These were just the ones too hideous to show themselves in public.

Then one day I was sent a list of "matches" supplied by John was the first one on the list. My profile was also sent to him. We e-mailed each other for about 3 weeks before we finally met in person.

That was 5 years ago and we haven't been apart since. It has been an exciting adventure. I am not complaining, don't get me wrong, in a way I deserve it. You see when I filled out my profile for I kinda indicated that I was a thrill seeker-outdoorsy type. Because of this I have had to endure things I never thought possible for my timid self. Here are a few pictures of some of the things I signed up for. While the bicycling picture doesn't look that intimidating, just know that that was the week we rode with the Air Force Cycling Team across Iowa- 500 miles and slept in a tent every night.

And so the adventure continues, we have just learned of our next assignment. In 7 months we will be moving to Dayton, Ohio.

I ask you how adventurous is that? Don't laugh, I had to actually look on the map to see where it was. We are already looking at a few surrounding towns. One called Yellow Springs, which is a hippy haven, one that this thrill seeker could surely make home. I'd also like to live in a Mayberry-esque town. One that most people pass through on the way to somewhere else.

Finished painting


Deruta pitcher and pears

Tuesday, November 6, 2007



This is day 2 on this still life. These pears really are that big. The biggest ones I have ever seen. I just had to paint them. This is Katherine's pitcher from Deruta, Italy. The same pattern I have used before in a few paintings.

I should be finished with this one tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I am not God

She is finished except for a few highlights on her right arm.
This is actually the second portrait painting that I have ever done. The first was a complete disaster which ended a friendship. Two years ago my German neighbor wanted me to paint a portrait of her parents for Christmas. She was leaving town beforehand and wouldn't be back until X-mas day. She left me with one photo to work from and a horrible one I might add. They were both frowning. I had to improvise so they wouldn't appear so hideous. I did the best I could. I sent her e-mails of the work in progress and even one of finished painting. She never expressed disappointment.
Christmas morning was an entirely different story. I recieved a phone call saying that her parents were not happy and they wanted to know why they were so ugly. I felt that it wasn't a question that should be directed to me, but rather to the "Big Man Upstairs". I painted exactly what I saw in the photo.
There is an art to painting portraits. One I need to explore further. I am not worried about ending the friendship with the father of this little girl. Although it was a challenge to paint, I didn't need to improvise. She is a little angel.

Friday, November 2, 2007


This is not finished

and I don't know when it will be.

I have been commissioned to paint this for an old friend. It is a portrait of his daughter; a gift for his wife's birthday. Her birthday is not until December, so I have more time to struggle with it.

Lately, I have been a bit shameful posting photos of my paintings. There are artists who view my blog whom are more advanced than me. I feel that my still life paintings are sophomoric.

My non-artist viewers ooh and aah.

But isn't that the response every artist strives to receive? Truthfully, it's one of the reasons I created this blog in the first place. We are programmed early on when our so called masterpieces get haphazardly arranged on the refrigerator door. That is our pat on the back for a good dog that only aims to please.

Sometimes if I am feeling overly confident, I like to present a new abstract to this non- artist audience. I find it amusing watching them squirm to respond. They know how I yearn for that "atta-boy". They usually try to make sense by finding objects-I see a face or I see a fish. This is funny to me because my abstract work is purely formal. It is non-objective which means no objects in case you didn't know.

After 9/11 my agent decided I should only paint still lifes and hold back on the abstracts. It was safe. Safe art didn't confront and confuse you like my abstracts did. It was a crucial time when people wanted something to come home to that made them feel safe like a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. Something they could relate to. Gradually, I have been able to return the work that I prefer.

There is a huge part of me that feels that I don't measure up as an artist. Unfortunately, I define myself by my inability. The real stuff is very challenging to me. I love working abstractly. It seems to make more sense. I also enjoy its elitist nature by communicating to such a small audience. It's like a special secret.

This audience is growing smaller and smaller thanks to the negative media surrounding the petite Picasso(whom I won't go into right now) and the elephants and chimpanzees who miraculously yield brushes to produce paintings

that sell for thousands.

But it is this new product that has me seriously considering relinquishing

all my brushes to Schatzi and Sienna.

Maybe they won't find painting real subject matter as challenging as I do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In Overtime

I have a recurring dream where I am running through fields and valleys, but always open spaces. I can run forever. The strange thing is that I am on all fours. When both hands hit the hard ground my body propels forward. I glide through vast green landscapes with the wind rushing through my hair. As natural as this feels, I am only aware that this abnormal when others see me whizzing on by.
But, this is my way.
I am fast and I am free, yet incorrect as others see.
I am not sure where this dream originates.
I had a coach growing up who would videotape our games. I used to run with my arms swinging uncontrolably like I was swimming through the air. My teammates would laugh and poke fun at me.
But, it was my way.
In the past 3 years I have had 2 knee surgeries. Sadly, I can no longer run. At times it is even painful to walk. I continued to play after my first surgery, which lead me to a second one just a year later. I was unwilling to give up something that I had done for 34 years. I never thought there would be a day without soccer. Secretly I am entertaining the idea of an old lady league when we return to the states. Please remember that this is a secret and I am keeping it from my knees.Right now I can only dream.These days I am trying to concentrate on my painting, but it is like making love to a stranger while fantasizing about a distant lover.

Endorse, Exalt, Essential

Today Katherine came over and helped me in the studio. I have about 50 of these little paintings (4x4) and she is doing the lettering.
As an artist it is so important to surround yourself with warm people who endorse and exalt your creativity. I am fortunate to have Katherine as my friend because she does this so effortlessly.
Friends that have warmth for your creative life are just like the spices that we painted today. They are essential for the recipe.
I am also fortunate to have a husband who understands my need to create.
He too supplies the vital warmth I need to thrive.
My leaves bend toward this warmth for without it I would wither.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Parts and pieces

The sun shone brightly across the canola fields today. Minus the happy sounds of dancing
Turkish girls, I stopped to hear the silence of the sun.

I found myself getting a bit Thoreau-like pondering a single canola flower. It's so easy to overlook the details, when the whole is so extraordinary.

I know that all the events in my life that were half understood and half remembered were a result of ignoring the details.

Now that I am older, I am more concerned with the parts and pieces that make up the whole. Maybe I have slowed down and that immediate gratification is not so important. Only seeing the big picture was really never gratifying because I tended to overlook some very important details

For instance, my first husband's pencil thin neck(size 14) . Why hadn't I noticed this beforehand?

Another example was the day I adopted Sienna from the shelter and didn't notice that her teeth were all rotten until I got her home.

I also rented many apartments that had things terribly wrong and didn't realize until after I had signed the lease. I adapted to the lack of closet space and unusual placement of electrical outlets. Blow drying my hair in the kitchen was quirky.

I preferred quirky back then.

I believe the appreciation of all the details comes with age. The big picture is clearer now because of this.

Things that are happening now will be remembered in greater detail and better understood.

I still prefer quirky-somethings just don't change.

Yet somethings do, I am now married to a man with a normal sized neck(16 1/2) and Sienna has a healthy mouth of gums.

So the next time you find yourself wrapped up in the big picture, try to think of all the little brushstrokes it took to complete it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beginnings against the grey

Winter is beginning here in Deutschland. I haven't seen the sun in 7 days. The Autumn colors are still vibrant yet seem flat against all the grey. Today while walking the dogs I saw two Turkish girls run into a canola field. They were dancing, singing, and laughing.
I stopped and thought, it's okay if the sun doesn't shine today;
but today is the last day! Though I don't think I can depend on these little Turkish girls to dance away my winter blahs. John, the weatherman, says the sun might break out a little bit on Monday. Dance little Turkish girls, Dance!
Here is day 1 on a new still life. I won't finish it until Monday because I don't paint on the weekends. Tonight is date night.
Have a good weekend-Tschüss

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wandering in Japan

not much to say.
Grey German day
If I am my own worst enemy, how can I be my friend?
I spend too much time in my head, alone.
I go from dogs to dishes away from the studio.
Today I cleaned house
I could build a new dog with what's inside the vacuum cleaner.
Amy has been my agent for the past 12 years.
Look at all the wonderful artists that she represents.
There is one of my paintings on the first page in the lower left hand corner. The blue abstract with the orange splash then there is another in gallery 1 on the second page. The one with the 3 red circles also in the lower left corner. You can click on it to see it larger.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I found this unusual postcard at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto painted by Insho Domoto. At first I thought it was a Hindu painting of Adam and Eve and the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus.

Since I am fortunate enough to be a student at the University of Google, I was able to research it further.
The woman in the painting was once a demon ghost with many children. It is uncertain how many she actually had. Some texts say 500 while others say 10,ooo. She was considered a demon because

she kidnapped and murdered other little children to feed her own.
Her name is Hariti in Indian mythology and Kishimojin in Japanese. Translated in English it means mother of little ghosts.

Buddha decided to teach her a lesson and hide one of her own children. She then experienced the great loss and suffering that she was causing others. This realization made her repent her evil ways. She then transformed into the goddess known for the protection of children.

She is often portrayed with a pomegranate in her right hand which is a symbol of fertility because of the many seeds.

Last year John had to work in Armenia. He brought me home this statue. I wonder if this is Hariti?
I might have to enroll in some more classes to find out.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Frankenstein Castle

Last night we celebrated Halloween a little early. We went to Burg Frankenstein, a hilltop castle in Darmstadt. It is said to be the probable inspiration for Mary Shelly's novel, Frankenstein, but there is no actual proof.
She may have visited the castle in 1816 when she was living in Switzerland and heard the local folklore about Johann Conrad Dippel who lived in the castle. He was accused of grave robbing and preforming experiments on the dead bodies. There were even rumors that he could bring the dead back to life using the castle's prison as his laboratory.
The castle was built by the noble family von Frankenstein with records dating back to the 13th century. Although at one time it was a fairly large fortress, today only two towers and a chapel remain. The towers are pictured in my collage photo.
Every year at this time the ruins are transformed into a haunted house.
The Germans are slowly getting into the spirit of Halloween. Other than the crew that was working the haunted house, we were the only people dressed in costumes.
The funniest picture is when Bubba, (John, in case you didn't recognize him) meets Frankenstein. I think he truly was scared-look at his face!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some Sumo

Fortunately our time in Tokyo coincided with the Grand Sumo Tournament that only takes place six times a year.

We were a little late arriving to the stadium so we missed the traditional sumo lunch called, chankonabe. It is a stew made with fish, pork, vegetables, and

rice. The wrestlers don't eat breakfast because they train on an empty stomach. This makes them hungrier too.

Although the stew is very high in protein, their weight gain is a result of the huge quantities that they consume. They eat up to 10 times more than the average person. They even get special massages to move their intestines allowing them to consume even more.

The meal is washed down with large amounts of beer because a big beer belly is desirable for more stability in the ring.

A three hour nap helps the process by storing the fat.

Sumo are recruited as teenagers. It may take up to ten years for them to reach the respectable fighting weight of 400 pounds.

Although they are quite large, the fat ratio of an average middle aged businessman is higher than the typical sumo wrestler. There is really quite a lot of muscle on a wrestler's body.

They live in a highly disciplined setting similar to a commune. They aren't allowed to drive and must wear the traditional Japanese dress when seen in public. Strict tradition also dictates a hierarchy where the young sumo, Rikishi, must serve the older sumo called Sekitori. They have rigorous chores of cooking, cleaning, and preparing the bath along with their training. This causes a high dropout rate in young sumo.

The sumo live their lives as kings but there are many downsides. The average life expectancy is between 60 and 65 which is 10 years shorter than the average Japanese male.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are also major threats.

With the excessive alcohol consumption there are also liver problems and many suffer from arthritis because of the heavy stress on the joints.

Postcards From Japan

John and his son, Drake

Zen and Superstition

Bamboo Dreams and Tokyo Lights

The Golden Palace
Click on each photo to see up close- Enjoy!