A Story to Tell


A few days ago, I was out walking in the morning. Mr. Whicker has bought the land on the back side of our neighborhood and has cleared out the brush, put up a wire fence, to make a lovely pasture (one of several he has on his land) for his cows. I’ve been visiting this back field all summer (a painting of the view here) to see if the cows have been allowed out to graze. This was the first day I’d ever seen them there.

The area surrounding the fence is overgrown with kudzu. Yuck! So I waded into the knee-high kudzu covered brush to get right up by the fence and take a few pics of the cows out in the field. All the while, I was hearing a munching, crunching sound over to the left not far from where I was standing. I did not see anything, so I didn’t pay much attention as I took pictures.

Then, I saw him. One ear, peeking around as he munched on the leaves and kudzu of a small tree only about 10 feet from where I was standing. I began clicking away, capturing the cow as he ate him morning meal. He did not see me for a while…and then…as it dawned on him that someone was standing there disturbing his breakfast reverie, his eye got bigger and he bolted! The sound of his huge girth pelting the ground as he ran away down the hill, is something I’ll not forget. He let out a howl and alerted another cow, apparently also enjoying a kudzu covered tree right next to him, whom I had not seen. The two of them dashed down the hill to join the others, all of them looking back at me, as if to see whether I would join the chase.

This is just one of many things I LOVE about living right next to a farm. Oh my…what stories I have to tell!! And I love to try telling them in my drawings and paintings.


I created a piece from one snap of my camera where he is still munching, oblivious to me. I am absolutely tee-totally having fun with watercolor and collage! Remember this one? Oh my…I feel a series coming on!

But what excites me even more is that I’m going back to Skool!!! Yes, folks, I’ve signed up to take a class, actually SIX of them, starting October 3rd!! I CAN’T WAIT! The same day this encounter with the cow happened, I saw THIS VIDEO on Danny Gregory’s blog about the upcoming semester of Sketchbook Skool…I drooled. Seriously.

Not only do I get to be taught by a couple of artists whom I have greatly esteemed for several years now, Veronica Lawlor and Melanie Reim, but I also get to have a day of sketching in Paris with a French artist, and of course, a class from Danny himself. All 6 of the teachers in this series are teaching about STORYTELLING, and oh boy am I excited about this!! The price for these classes seemed too good to pass up!

So be watching here, as I post my learnings, my homework, and whatever else gets stirred up as go back to Skool! I. CAN’T. WAIT.  Did I say that already? 😉


Be RebElliOus: A Key to Artful Living



“Be rebellious!”

The words flew out of my mouth before I even really thought about what I was saying. Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it…it’s not bad advice.

You see, my friend was telling me how excited she was about starting Sketchbook Skool!! Her face lit up as she spoke of being able to take these classes to learn to sketch and draw. I was/am thrilled for her. “The only thing is…” she said with a furrowed brow, “I’m a bit intimidated.” She went on to talk about how amazing Danny Gregory’s drawings are and how she could  never do something like that. “And…we have to draw in pen!”

Right there is where those two words flew out of my mouth: “Be rebellious then! Draw with a pencil if that makes you more apt to draw. I’m sure Danny Gregory would say so as well!”

I’m actually not sure he would say that, since I am not taking Sketchbook Skool classes (reason for this in an upcoming post). But I DO feel confident that Danny and ALL the amazing instructors in the Skool, want their students to SUCCEED! Part of succeeding is feeling freed up to try…to actually put a mark on a page no matter whether it’s made with a pen or a pencil, a big fat crayon or an oil stick. I could guess at Danny’s reasons for wanting someone to draw in pen and they would all be very good reasons! But as a teacher he would surely want you to take up whatever utensil it is that you feel comfortable with at first. Draw, draw, draw like mad and then at some point give pens a try! All kinds of pens. And then inks, and then watercolors, and then oil pastels, and maybe charcoal, and perhaps even carve your own “bamboo” pen from a chopstick like Stefano does (how cool is that!).

So go ahead and be rebellious as you learn. But in your “rebellion” be sure to soak up every bit of what you can from these teachers. What they have to offer you in the way of techniques, tips, methods, philosophies and inspiration is hard-won! They are the Drawing Gurus. Sit at their feet with sketchbook and pen (or whatever!:) in hand and make marks like mad! And once you’ve tried everything they’ve offered you, then go your own way, do your own thing, carve your own path as an artist.

You are actually being rebellious anytime you draw! You have dared to push back all the stuff that screams for your attention in your life–all the housework, the never ending to-do list, the ringing phone, the snare of online surfing, and you’ve “rebelliously” sat down to do something regenerative, rejuvenating, fun, worthwhile, and even healing!

A little rebellion in your creative life will go a long way to aid you in trying new things, continuing with what feels like it’s gotten old, or just plain scratching an itch to be different in some way. And a healthy dose of it in our personal lives could be good too!