Watercolor, Ollon, Switzerland

I worked on this quite a while over the holiday break and finally finished it a couple of days ago. It’s painted from a photo I took last summer. 9×12 inches.


Church at Vers L’Eglise

Here’s the next watercolor I just finished from one of my trip photos. A long time ago, my brother visited this church (it has our family coat of arms inside) and did his own drawing of it. At that time, there were no gravestones in the cemetery. When I was there, sections to the left and behind my view had gravestones, with just these few in the right section. But I also looked up a stock photo of the church and this entire area that is now grassy was previously filled with gravestones. The Swiss clear out their cemeteries every 25 years or so (maybe in this case, by sections). All the cemeteries we saw in Switzerland were fairly new, nothing more recent than the 1970’s. A bit disappointing, as I was going to look for the grave of the great-great aunt of mine who was an artist there. But the Swiss don’t have room to keep expanding their graveyards, and the idea that the person will only be buried there for around 25 years seems normal to them.

Now that I’ve posted this, and received some feedback, I know I’ll be working on it some more. So you can look at this as a work in progress.

Back to the “studio”

I haven’t done any watercolor painting for many, many years. I was never all that good at it because I didn’t keep practicing after the instruction I had. But there are several generations of painters in my family and after visiting Switzerland last July, where some of my family lived and painted, I decided to give it another try. This one is a sort of copy of one that my great-great aunt made. IMG_1723
Here’s another one I did, again based on a family painting. About 5×9 inches.IMG_1724
And this weekend I may have finished this one (it’s in the “wait a bit and see if it needs anything” stage). This one is from a photo I took of the Chateau D’Aigle from the train. It’s 9×12 inches.
I hope everyone is having a creative summer! I took about 2700 photos on a trip to the Netherlands and Switzerland, so I have lots of material to work from as I go back to drawing and painting.



In Memory of Andrea Jay, Hilarious Assistant Principal (Retired)

Andrea Jay sent me a postcard about 3 years ago when she found my name on Mail Me Some Art. It was the beginning of a very interesting and entertaining exchange! I’m going to show you all the postcards she sent me that I could find. If you click on the picture, it should enlarge so you can read them easily.


Her collages are fun, but her drawn figures are even better! I felt kind of intimidated when I first saw how talented she was.

A close friend of hers wrote to me recently, enclosing my postcards to her, and letting me know that she passed away last March.


Most of the cards here don’t show the year, but I arranged them by season to put some kind of order on them.


I was aware fairly early on that she was getting treatment for cancer, but it never seemed to make her depressed…at least, not in the mail.


She signed hers “best fishes,” and I started responding with “best dishes,” and magazine cut-outs of stacks of dishes.


“Learn to laugh at your problems, everyone else does.”


She was a die-hard vegan, and I found a site that said she was a judge for a cookbook. There’s a nice photo of her on that page.  http://www.silive.com/cooking/staten-island-cookbook/index.ssf/2014/01/judge_profile_andrea_jay.html.


She REALLY hated winter!


Although my mail art style is very different from hers, she really inspired me to do my best to send something original back to her.

I love it when people can draw like this… always wished I could.







I know there is another one from her, because I distinctly remember her saying her wig made her look like Dolly Parton, but I can’t find that one…I have it somewhere, though.

IMG_0034She also wrote her own obituary.  Doesn’t she sound like someone you’d like to be around? I’m very lucky to have known her through the mail. She had many mail art friends who will miss her.




In Between “Real” Posts

IMG_0436Here’s a nice sunset picture I took when I was on Marrowstone Island in Washington last summer.
I’m not able to spend time on my next post just yet because Old Jules, from the So Far From Heaven blog (https://sofarfromheaven.com/), is in a hospital here being treated for GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) and I’m spending a lot of time going there after work as well as making sure his apartment is in order (40 minutes the other direction). So this week I’ve learned far more about this auto-immune condition than I ever wanted to know. For those of you who were following his blog and “know” him, he’s incrementally better from the first treatment (plasma exchange) but they expect it to be some time before he’s strong enough to go back to his own apartment. I have his latest cat, Miss Say What? (she’s deaf) staying with me and she’s okay with the change so far. My plate is full.
I do have some rather nice art work to show you from a mail-art pen pal of mine for the next time I post, so I hope it won’t be long.

A Summer Mandala


I realized that having taken such a long break from blogging has given me a backlog of art works to post. Here’s one from last summer. It’s about 12 inches across. The following photo is a detail of the center.  The center symbol is for Reiki healing. I don’t usually incorporate specific meanings to these designs, but I also knew not many people would recognize it anyway.

The advantage to not having matted and framed anything recently is that I can still take good photos to post without the added glare from the glass! So while I’m working on other projects, I’ll go back and find some things that I haven’t shown here before.

Weston Bend, Tobacco Barn

There was one day with pleasant weather during spring break last month, and I had a chance to get out of town with my granddaughter to visit Jack at the VA complex in Leavenworth for a day out.  For lunch, we brought a picnic to Weston Bend, a state park in Missouri. I didn’t get good photos of the view over the Missouri River  (you can also see the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, KS from the overlook), but we ate lunch by this old tobacco barn and explored a bit. There are 5 tobacco barns in the area and evidently people still grow tobacco here.

I’m not supposed to put photos of my granddaughter on the internet, but I’m sneaking this one in so you can see the size of the building. I don’t know now why I didn’t try to get a full view of it, but probably the light was wrong.


We couldn’t actually get in, but there were plenty of ways to peek inside and through.









There’s a lovely camping area there, and plenty of walking trails, so I hope I get back soon before the oak mites and ticks make it unpleasant to be outdoors. The town of Weston is also worth exploring, as it dates to pre-Civil War, but I’ll save that post for another time.