Be A Tree

More than ever before, I find myself wanting to be like the trees I am drawing. They stand tall, firmly rooted no matter the ever-changing weather, bending however needed to the passing winds and storms, yet always growing, even blooming, despite their losses.

Yes. I’d like to be a tree.

But my inner life belies this stalwart image of rootedness. I can feel so unsettled, fearful, and confused amid the recent viral storm. I find myself reaching out for branches to hang onto as the winds blow.

When we consider trees, we often think of them in terms of seasons. Trees grow and change with each passing season. They add a new ring of strength around their trunks each year. And it is this that I hang onto as I think of what our current situation is requiring of us…this is a season, and it too shall pass.

Winter will clock over to Spring here very soon. Then Spring into Summer. We hope, along with Summer, that this virus will cease spreading, and that life can return to what we had thought was “normal”. We are all, in varying degrees, experiencing shock and grief over the loss of our normal everyday. But it is a season, much like Lent, and it will pass.

Yet also like Lent…we will not be the same after this season of fasting and difficulty. It remains to be seen just how different the fabric of our individual and collective lives will be once this virus has made its way through the world. We will look around at the devastation of not only lives, but also livelihoods, and a new normal will be established. The seasons will continue to come and go. There will be a lasting impact on how we view and live our lives from here on.

The wounded trees I draw have this in common: life continues to throb and burst forth from gaping loss. How this is, I do not know. But I want to be like these trees. I want that for you as well as for me. I hope to look around one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, and see all of us standing tall or perhaps a bit bent, with our various wounds and scars from battling the virus, yet growing, perhaps even thriving and blossoming into something completely unexpected.

I don’t know how this will happen, but it is our hope as we walk this Lenten pilgrimage through a forest of difficulty and uncertainty. The Master Arborist walks among us and with us through every glade and glen, every season and storm.

In this Forest I will gladly be a tree, come what may.



I’ve been enjoying my Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen lately. It’s nice to have one simple tool that combines line with wash. The only other thing you need with the pen is a water brush. I got a set of these calligraphy pens when I was a young girl (age 9 or 10 maybe?) and these are the SAME pens I have used since then. When my children were wee tiny I had a calligraphy business where I would calligraphy names and addresses on wedding invitations. I would also calligraphy poems and the like for folks who wanted that. Nowadays I enjoy drawing with these pens due to the NON waterproof  ink in the cartridge. The above is a recent drawing made at Eclection, downtown Kernersville,  on a Friday morning. I’m having to suspend my Friday drawing times due to working at my school to get ready for our Art Show. But I’m looking forward to returning in late February!




Here are few other Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen drawings. You simply draw with the pen and then take the water brush to any area you want to fill in. It works best to touch the brush to a line and drag the ink where you want it to go.  I will also sometimes touch the water brush to a drawn line, pick up the brush, and then move to another area to draw with the ink I’ve picked up on the brush. An example of this are the rectangle boxes in the background of THE FIRST DRAWING ABOVE, to denote all the paintings hanging there. I didn’t want a defined line, as it would compete with all the other lines. Just a hint of ink to give you the impression. In this last drawing right here, instead of going in with a water brush, I used watercolor on a regular brush to combine with the ink.

**Note: A light touch is needed here, as the ink can get away from you and flow into places you really don’t want it to. Start off lightly. Then go more bold as you get the hang of it. In this recent post the ink nearly got away from me, but I went in to redefine some of the lines with a Bic pen after it had dried. The watery black ink gave quite the impression of a dark, winter landscape. And, BTW, you don’t need a Sheaffer Pen for this…any water soluble ink pen will do! Have fun!

***Another note: My Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons have been getting a large amount of traffic lately. Thank you! It makes me very glad to think that they are helpful! As I said in the introduction, these are less about the how-to of drawing in a sketchbook, and more of the why, what for, and how-to-keep-going bit of chronicling your life in lines, paint or collage or ALL of it!

****And yet another note 😉 : Lest you think my drawing skills were off-kilter in the first drawing above, the mannequin really was leaning like that!! My fellow draw-er and friend, Debbie, can attest to that! Ha! Ha!

Just Draw…and Live!

I read Voscamp quoting Luther: “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.”

I’m not sure about changing the world, but it certainly changes me to pick up my pen and draw.  I doubt this is what Martin Luther meant.  Writing is what he meant by picking up your pen.  But I know it to be true in drawing.  Drawing changes MY world, changes how I view it and thus how I move through it.

Luther not only picked up his pen, but he nailed what he wrote to a door for others to see and that did indeed change the world.  I pin my pen-works to this blog and my kids pin theirs to the fridge and we marvel, inhale, gaze…if only for a few seconds in our harried day.

Voscamp also quotes someone more recent…who says: “there are eyes in pencils and in pens.”  Yes.  So true.  Especially so when those pencils and pens draw the life surrounding.  The life mundane, yet magical. The life everyday, yet exquisite.  Surely there is “seeing” in words…but it is also in drawings.

A scene before you (whether it’s a vase of flowers on your windowsill or the lawn mower parked in the garage) is not truly seen until you try to draw it.  You will understand SO much more about the things and people and places in your life if you’ll just draw them.  No matter how it “turns out”…just the act of drawing is enough to open your eyes and cause you to see.

I need to remember this every day.

Voscamp herself writes: “Because the picking up of a pen isn’t painful and ink can be cheap medicine.  And I just might live.” pg 49.

And though she writes of penning her list of thanks, her list of loves and beauties throughout her day; I know this statement to be true in penning sketches and drawings.  It is indeed the cheapest of medicine (especially if you draw with a bic pen!) and yet the most potent.  The only pain involved is in letting go of your own judgment of the resulting drawing.

Just Draw.

It will change your world…and you.

It will allow you to see in new ways.

It will heal.

And you will live.

Now, let’s pick up our pens…

P.S.  Above drawing made with a Schaeffer fountain pen I got as a child in a calligraphy set. I used a waterbrush to pull ink out of the lines. Way fun!