travel: paris – sacre-coeur

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is set on the highest point in Montmartre. As I visited it on the last day of our European adventure last year I thought it a beautiful end to a magical time. It’s contrast to the Palais Garnier was refreshing. That – and I just have a thing for being up high. If I were a bird I would definitely be one of those who perch at the highest point to watch the world below.
img_4938Wikipedia says “The inspiration for Sacré Cœur’s design originated on September 4, 1870, the day of the proclamation of the Third Republic, with a speech by Bishop Fournier attributing the defeat of French troops during the Franco-Prussian War to a divine punishment after “a century of moral decline” since the French Revolution, in the wake of the division in French society that arose in the decades following that revolution.” Reading the rest of the history in that article reminds me of how closely tied religions and governments have been in many countries and how much I appreciate religious freedom and tolerance of diversity that are codified in the American constitution. (No matter how badly people and politicians might mangle the practice of the idea.)


It was quite the hike to just get to the base of the Basilica, but every view and every plateau was a reward.

img_4942“Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon(Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution.”

img_4939“A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, created by Luc-Olivier Merson, is among the largest in the world.”

img_4943“Though today the Basilica is asserted[5][when?] to be dedicated in honor of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée nationale, 24 July 1873, responding to a request by the archbishop of Paris by voting its construction, specifies that it is to “expiate the crimes of the Commune“.[6] Montmartre had been the site of the Commune’s first insurrection, and the Communards had executed Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, who became a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church”

img_4945The climb up to the top is long…

img_4946But there are surprises you would never be able to see from below.

img_4950Beautiful and rewarding glimpses all along the way.



travel: paris – palais garnier, opera

They were rehearsing when we visited the Opera so we only had a quick moment to view the auditorium and see the Chagal glass in the dome/skylight. And we couldn’t take pictures. But it was pretty cool to watch the ballet dancer, a guy, dance like a chicken with more and more intensity as driven by the director. I do believe now the Palais Garner is the home of the Paris Ballet and the Opera lives over in a much newer but also large-and-built-to-impress building.paris_grande_opera_34We couldn’t go in, but we did see famous door to box number 5 where the Phantom of the Opera played Mr. Creepy Stalker.

paris_grande_opera_27The library was heaven. I love this place and want it in my home. Those folks are looking in on models of sets from various famous productions.

paris_grande_opera_35If I knew my opera better I’d probably be able to tell you what opera this was.


Downstairs they had my favorites – costumes!!!paris_grande_opera_17

travel: greece – the water in katakolo

Spring of 2015 was one of the most amazing times of my life. My daughter Avia and I traveled in Paris and Greece. I managed to blog about part of our time in Paris (you can peruse those photos here – lots of museums, lots of food, lots of cathedrals!) Then life got crazy again and hasn’t stopped. Today I’m practicing the ultimate in procrastination and avoidance of a serious deadline and am reminiscing about our time in Greece.Katakalo_beach07
It’s a billion degrees hot with humidity like a steam room here in North Carolina. I’m taking a morning to remember the glorious azure waters of the southern mainland of Greece… the cool crispness of the water and the dry heat of the air. Enjoy this little video while I get back to work.

We visited before the Syrian Refugee crisis took over. I wonder what it was like the rest of the summer. And I wonder where all of those people who have suffered so much are now. The Greek people have the biggest hearts. Even suffering their own economic straights they welcomed those who have and continue to suffer beyond belief. I love them.

I looked up some current facts through MercyCorps if you are interested… 

celtic knots

Long days on airplanes, too tired to concentrate on a book, time to play with my sketchbook.





All of these were manipulated through the Maku Hanga app. The originals are plain pencil on creme color graph paper in a Moleskine notebook. They just look so much fancier this way, don’t you think?

tips to help quilt teachers enjoy their travel

You would laugh to hear us quilt teachers when we get together behind the scenes. We have our friendliest and most smiling faces on when we are in front of our students. Behind closed doors we let it all hang out and I’ll let you in on a little secret: we are actually pretty nice there too! We LOVE our jobs!


If we kvetch about anything it’s usually about the travel and the schlepping. We schlepp SO MUCH STUFF. I teach surface design, which isn’t within the traditional quilter’s usual milieu so I like to bring EVERYTHING for my students to play with during class. My students spend their time playing instead of worrying that they got the wrong weird art supply. That’s fine. Some of us quitl teachers kvetch about airports, but you know what? I love them.

WTbeNKYzg1ECI find airports relaxing. It might have something to do with the fact that my children aren’t there. Nobody is saying, “mom, I need this” every three minutes. The house phone doesn’t ring, I’m off the hook for housework (Hah! Like I ever do that anyway) and dinner prep and kid schlepping. 

Sitting in an airport is a perfect time to read a book. I don’t have time to sit down at home. No reading (and it just about kills me) and no TV. Just no time. Airports are filled to the brim with time. This last trip I started a book on Francis Perkins. She was an amazing woman. Spectacularly amazing. Usually I read something sic-fi or fantasy just to give my brain a fluffy rest.

I play games. Not on my device but in my head. I love moving walkways. I like to wait until there is quite a gap between me and the person in front of me before getting on so that I can hop on, take really long strides, and pretend I have speed walking super powers. 

I don’t mind showing up early and waiting because there is something genetically hard wired into my DNA that makes me totally stress out about being late. I also like longer layovers so I can walk and wander a bit and take a look through the terminal. The Charlotte, NC airport is one of my favorite. Anywhere there is a window there is also a plant and a rocking chair. In the main concourse there is also live music.Kinard_travel_tips12

Sometimes there are hilarious things to see to. No comment here.
Kinard_travel_tips11Get a window seat. Look out. It’s absolutely amazing. I’m continually amazed at the beauty of clouds. Anyone know how this phenomenon happens? I’ve seen the clouds line up in rows on several occasions now. IMG_2264

Sudoku is good, but I play “pictures” on my devices. I have numerous apps that will filter your photos and let you do cool things with them. I’m a visual person. It’s what I love.Kinard_travel_tips14I sketch too. Or make lists. Or write articles. All of these happen in whatever sketchbook I happen to have with me at the time. This celtic knot feels like Seuss met a Klingon.

Kinard_travel_tips13And always, I remember how lucky I am to do what I get to do. I play with fabric. I play with paint and foil and beads and make funky pretty wonderful stuff. I play with QUILTERS! They are the nicest people I know and I get to travel around the land and spend time with them.


travel: royal british columbia museum

On a recent trip to Victoria, B.C. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon in the Royal British Columbia Museum. I spent most of my time in the First Nations exhibits.

kinard_royal_bcMuseum1I have a thing for frogs.

kinard_royal_bcMuseum3To my delight, so do the First Nations of Victoria, B.C.




kinard_victoriaThe legislature building – feels very old school european

gratitude – beauty on my travels

Preset Style = Vibrant Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

color in the rain


wall to wall windows with rocking chairs in the Seattle airport


best seafood chowder I’ve ever had in Victoria, B.C.
(mussels, clams, salmon, prawns, shrimp)

Preset Style = Bold Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

Super Funky Squash to brighten a fall day

(original photographs, snapseed  & waterlogue apps)

travel: paris – doors




The Association of Parisian Grocers.
At least when the building was constructed, who knows who is there now?Pars_doors_16

This is a gorgeous door and set from the Musee du Orsay.

travel: paris – doors and details

Pars_doors_08How many years does it take for a patina to be created then worn away?

Pars_doors_12This building was somewhere on the way to the Musee’ du Orsay.Pars_doors_013New and old mix everywhere in Paris.
I couldn’t figure out if this was a very exclusive shop or residence.
It’s possible it was both.

Pars_doors_06I tried opening it, but my parseltongue is a bit rusty.

Travels: Paris street art

2015-06-15 20.09.42 HDR








2015-06-16 18.13.39

2015-06-15 09.57.54

travels: paris, the food!

Paris sweets tend to focus their variety on pastries, the cake like specialty cookies that I can’t remember the name of (confiseries – I had to look it up), and of course macarons. All of them are spectacularly beautiful and artistically presented – but I didn’t see a lot of other options either in the tourist areas or the neighborhoods we explored. Every once in a while there was a surprise. See those three chocolate truffles? Served with home made real whipped creme. At the equivalent of a fast food bagel shop!!!! When I ordered it I thought I was just getting one truffle for desert. What a lovely surprise. paris_food15

Then there are the meringues. No pretty ribbed little drops. The meringues are simply big, blobby blobs of sugar, light as air and crispy. They are usually displayed in a bowl on top of the counter. Often they are dusted with cocoa. They were the only sweet that was sweet like Americans like sweet. Which is to say – ridiculously sweet. I saw a couple of them that were the size of a flattened football. They crumble and fall apart when you bite into them so I’m not sure how one would share such a monster.paris_food12This beauty was obviously an exception. Here is Avia in the lovely apartment we rented through AirBnB for the week. (It was wonderful and ideally located by the way!) She had been eyeing this thing for a couple of weeks and neither one of us were quite sure what it was. We knew it was chocolate on the outside so how could one go wrong?paris_food14Other than making a royal mess on the table, the process of discovery was a delight. A meringue coated in a light chocolate whipped cream, dipped in chocolate crackle stuff. Impossible to eat politely and absolutely delicious!

So – I’ve cultivated a love of surprises when it comes to food. I know so many people who only like the same things to eat (one of them lives in my house but I hope he’ll grow out of it.) I suppose if your tummy tends to rebel it would make it hard to like surprises but I think exploring with all my senses is half the adventure of travel! What have been your best (or worst) food surprises when you’ve traveled?

travels: paris, notre dame – inside


It’s really, really, really big in there. (And much, much more crowded these days.)IMG_5751

Every nook along the apse (the aisles on either side of the Nave -which is the long central main space)  has beautiful stained glass and a little sanctuary with statues. Each is unique.IMG_5752

I loved Joan of Arc. Fierce woman if ever there was one.IMG_5763The stained glass windows on every level are beautiful. It is impossible to convey the feel and atmosphere of the place.

IMG_5765-1Is that the shadow of an angel – or the hunchback of…. Notre Dame?IMG_5766-1I wish I could read french. Was this really a great man giving to the poor, or was it a rich guy who commissioned a statue to make people think of him as really generous. I really shouldn’t be so cynical. Really I’m not.  Late at night the snarky thoughts just seem to take over my usual pollyanna view of the world.

travels: paris, notre dame

Notre_Dame_01One of the subjects I studied in college was architecture. It took a while to dredge up the names of the parts of a cathedral, but no time at all to realize that seeing and walking through the structure in person cannot compare to looking at pictures in a book. I knew this and wanted more than anything to do a study abroad program in architecture back then. Better late than never!Notre_Dame_08Notre Dame is THE cathedral you study when you learn about Gothic Architecture, which is characterized by pointed arches,Notre_Dame_02ribbed vaults,

IMG_5704 and flying buttresses.

IMG_5706Notre Dame was the first structure to use this innovative support system – out of necessity after the walls, growing ever higher, started to develop stress fractures. It took 185 years to build, finished in 1345. IMG_5705

Notre Dame is also known for the naturalism of it’s sculptures.Notre_Dame_04


Notre_Dame_03(Somebody in this picture had a rough day.)

Notre_Dame_06I love it for the Gargoyles and Chimeras. 
(Lots more pictures to come – interior, the view from the tower, gargoyles!)

travel: paris – doors and windows

To be in a place, a building, people have inhabited for decades or centuries….Pars_doors_17It makes you think.
How do they keep the building from falling down (or the Wisteria from tearing it up)?Pars_doors_15I wonder who touched these handles and what were they thinking?Pars_doors_10Who created these works of art?
Pars_doors_11Who walked here?

travels: paris, deyrolle – a cabinet of curiosities

IMG_3784Please see the previous post if you missed the introduction to this amazing shop in Paris.

Deyrolle is a cabinet of curiosities full of wonder and – when I walked into the entymology section – absolute delight! Underneath these display boxes are row upon row of drawers filled with specimens.



The specimens were not simply displayed as a collection. Each box, each display and framed piece on the wall was a work of art.IMG_5663

Of course I happen to think that the living insect world is full of tiny works of art all by themselves. I could have spent the entire day photographing every specimen they have.IMG_3786

What artist could create jewels as beautiful as these?IMG_3779


The artist Jean-Luc Maniouloux had several works on the wall that ought my eye. The shattered light bulb (is that a bee or a bullet?) was my favorite.



I could spend hours on the Deyrolle pinterest page.
Now I need a month or two of completely uninterrupted time in order to create a vast series of works celebrating the beauties of the insect world. Anyone want to come take my place for a while? Sigh. If only….

travels: paris, deroylle – a cabinet of curiosities

IMG_3784My daughter and extremely competent tour guide, Avia, had already been abroad in Morocco and Paris for a few weeks before I arrived. When one of her study-abroad group said “you have to stop by this shop – the best eclairs ever – and oh, by the way, there is a cabinet of curiosities shop nearby” – off we went! IMG_5665Avia just might be the world’s foremost expert on judging the quality of an eclair. She notices and has a reasoned opinion about every part of the pastry. She judged these as very good – but not the best she had tasted in Paris. The curiosity shop, however, was worth a trip to Paris on it’s own merits.

FAIR WARNING: This post contains images of dead and stuffed animals and taxidermy. And skeletons. And maybe bugs and other stuff.

According to their website: “With few exceptions, the stuffed animals in Deyrolle come from zoos, parks or reserves where they died of old age or sickness. The animals were not killed for being naturalized in Deyrolle. All protected species are sold accompanied by a CITES certificate (issued by the Washington Convention), which ensures traceability.”


Downstairs is a little shop with books and gardening supplies and a few interesting frames with mounted insects on the wall. Upstairs – is a garden of wonder that strikes the visitor full of awe. The employees/artisans worked their magic in an atmosphere of more hushed reverence than any cathedral we visited.
IMG_5659It wasn’t just the lifelike taxidermy, it was the whimsy and artistry of each arrangement. There was something unexpected around every corner. The people who do this aren’t trophy hunters. They are artists who appear to care a great deal for the natural world.

IMG_3795Taurus – with butterflies. Or Papillon if you want to be French.

IMG_3794Creatures in and out of their nice neat shelves.

IMG_3791-1Lobster anyone? The picture doesn’t do this justice. It was the biggest lobster we had ever seen.

IMG_3789Would you believe me if I told you I’d always wanted a bat skeleton – and bird and frog skeletons too. The history of Deyrolle is very interesting. Begun in 1831 by Jean-Baptiste Deyrolle, it has long been an institution devoted to education. They currently provide scientific wall charts to schools in 120 countries teaching everything from human anatomy to etymology.

IMG_3792Surprise! (um… I did warn you.) In 2008 much of the collection was destroyed by a devastating fire. Even then, art emerged. Artists and photographers documented the remains and effects and if I had room in my luggage I might have purchased the amazing book that resulted. A little creepy and beautiful at the same time.

IMG_3796Does anyone else have heart palpitations when they see cabinets with rows upon rows of drawers of all sizes? The dream studio that lives in my imagination is full of them. It is not full of chickens and elephants. But if it were tall enough it would have a little balcony with a wall to wall library and posters just like these.

Tomorrow I’ll share my photos from the etymology room.

The Deyrolle Website
replete with photos, history, mission, education
46, rue du Bac – 75007 Paris

travels: versailles, petit trianon and hamlet

versailles2Next stop on our Blue Bike Tour of Versailles was the Petit Trianon. First a residence of Madame de Pompadour, a mistress who apparently had some serious privileges – guess kings back then didn’t have to keep such things a secret. Versailles_Petit_TrianonNow it is mostly remembered for the presence of Marie-Antoinette.Marie167It’s just a “little” place to get away from the crowd over in Paris.versailles3

I love to zone in on details and found this doorknob to be one of my favorite things about the place. We weren’t given a long time to explore the place and to be honest, super fancy houses don’t capture my interest so I don’t even remember the rooms.IMG_3422

The gardens might have been lovely but by this time of the day it had gotten quite hot and I didn’t feel like heading out into the open with no shade around. Yup. I’m a wimp sometimes when it comes to the sun – having forgotten sunscreen and having no hat. I ended up with a wicked sunburn anyway.IMG_3414I did love the geometry of this place with diagonally laid floor tiles and a long view through the corridor.IMG_3423Then on to the Hamlet. A little village created to remind Marie-Antoinette of the simple life (which in actuality she never really had lived. Royalty – remember?IMG_3410The vista was charming and the swan seriously added to the feeling of – wow – this place has the exact same feeling as Disneyland! Fantasy done extremely well! but the knowledge that this was fantasy for one person at the expense of the French citizens makes it a little hollow.versailles1This delightful little cottage with truly amazing gardens – I loved the gardens! – was reserved for the queen’s boudoir. Her hairdressing cottage.IMG_3420The mill required humans to turn the wheel as there wasn’t any actual stream on the site. We were informed that she loved to collect eggs – but that she asked her servants to wash the eggs first then place them so she could collect them without getting her hands dirty. A true country girl.IMG_3419Sorry if I sound a little – um – jaded is the only word I can think of. I truly enjoyed Versailles as a day outdoors on a bike with one of my favorite people in the world. The sky was clear and blue and the world was green and beautiful.

And we had a funny story on the way home. In one of the Metro stations on the way home we came down to the platform just as a train was getting ready to leave. We decided to run for it and Avia hopped on – me right behind her. Almost.Metro-metro The door closed with one leg, one arm, and my face in and the rest of me out. I thought I could maybe get the doors back open. Nope. A guy with a somewhat panicked look on his face pried the door open enough that I could get my leg out and Avia shoved the rest of me out as the doors slammed back shut and the train took off. Abesses_entrance_1Nothing better to get your heart pumping than thinking you are going to be dragged down a train tunnel any second. No real worries though. I just hopped the next train and at the next station Avia was waiting and we both hopped back on. The massive (still very colorful 10 days later) bruise on my thigh that I’m sporting is probably from the table corner I clumsily bumped into that evening but I think the train door makes a better story, don’t you?

travels: paris – Blue Bike Tours of Versailles

IMG_3412I had been advised that a bike tour of Paris should definitely go on the “must do” list but to be honest, once I saw the traffic and the way bikes worked in the city, I chickened out. Everything seemed to flow smoothly but I didn’t have the confidence that I would need to navigate that zoo. Avia wanted to tour Versailles – which is acres and acres and acres huge so on a very late night whim I booked a bike tour for us there. It was perfect!!! There is no way you can see everything by foot and biking along the long, long pathways through the grounds was an absolute delight!

2015-06-17 08.39.20

We met the tour at the train station in Paris, which is an adventure in and of itself. I wish I had a photo of my confident daughter – striding purposefully through the maze of underground tunnels that twist and turn in every direction. Once you get the hang of the system it’s actually not bad to navigate but this station was huge! It covers several blocks of real estate underground and I think we walked most of it to finally arrive at the platforms. We traveled to Versailles and stopped in the town to pick up the bikes.IMG_0522

Good old comfy beach cruisers (no gears) are new to me. It took a few minutes to get used to but I find I like them. There are very few hills in the area so it was no problem at all. I had to include this picture just because it was cute. I was glad that we had panniers to carry our stuff in rather than baskets. I like my center of gravity to be down low on wheels.IMG_0530

The tour started off at the market to purchase picnic supplies. Check out the size of those pans – almost a meter in diameter! I forgot to check back to see what they would be making in them. My wish was for paella.IMG_0516I started craving seafood too – which wasn’t practical for a picnic. We ended up with some sparkling pear juice, cherries, and of course a baguette sandwich. Oh – and a bar of white chocolate with lemon and something else yummy in it. I didn’t mean to get white chocolate – what sacrilege! But  (shhhh – don’t tell) it was delicious!

2015-06-17 09.58.29

I think I could travel and just look out train windows for ages. There are, of course less beautiful and more industrial areas. But I never saw boring suburbs with rows of nearly identical houses. The architecture in city and suburb was always interesting to me. I suppose that happens when the structural environment has existed for generations before cars were around. I truly love environments built for people rather than cars. What I wouldn’t give for great plaza/pedestrian/market/traffic-free public spaces in the US. Shopping malls (ick) are about as close as we come.2015-06-17 09.51.37

Back to Versailles. Big place. Fancy buildings (scroll down to see the previous post for pictures of the Grande Chateau.) We had some fun history lessons from our entertaining guide.2015-06-17 11.20.52 HDR

Do you see those crazy rectangular trees in the background? The entire estate is almost all planted with Linden trees and they are all trimmed into giant rectangular tree-sized hedgerows on sticks.

IMG_0525Ronan said they do it with a laser – I’m not sure if I believe him or not. It felt like the majority of trees we saw in Paris were also rectangular Linden trees. Kind of an interesting thing for the Parisians to hold over from the last century.
2015-06-17 11.28.19

This is the Grande Canal – our first stop on the grounds. We bike along the paths behind the trees but it isn’t a straight shot. The canal has a cross section to go around before we landed on the hill at the very back of the canal for our picnic. Another interesting thing was the inclusion of installation art by Anish Kapoor in parts of the Chateau and grounds. This piece was a giant sucking whirlpool that we didn’t realize wasn’t part of the original estate at first. I took a video that you might enjoy – I’m working on trying to get it uploaded for you. Try out this link and see if you can view it.Descension2

Next up I’ll share my impressions of Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon, gardens and hamlet.

travels: paris, versailles – Le Chateau

On a bright and beautiful day Avia and I escaped the city, hopped a train and explored Versailles.IMG_3396

According to Versailles’ official website: “The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.”



More beautiful? Or perhaps just more MORE. This is the absolute antithesis of the “Less is More” modern architecture movement. Even though the French people overthrew the monarchy, I wonder if they still see Versailles as the pinnacle of French art and power. Perhaps as an American I cannot help but see it as a symbol of power taken to extreme excess by humans who thought themselves Gods.


Every facet of life centered around the sun king including worship at the “chapel” didn’t begin until the monarch arrived. There were public ceremonies surrounding him going to bed at night for heavens sake.


I must admit that I did enjoy the beautiful flooring …… modern quilt anyone?


These were people who thought themselves as large as the paintings they commissioned. Napoleon crowned himself and his Queen and then commissioned many, many very large paintings of himself and his exploits. (Many of which we saw in the Louvre – our favorite was one looking like he was falling off his rearing horse.)


The obligatory Hall of Mirrors photo.


I was actually intrigued and impressed by some serious napkin folding skills (wonder if those are authentic 1780’s folds and how would they know?) Mostly, I needed to have someplace to look other than the rest of the room. I had an almost physical nauseous reaction to the place.


adjective: rococo
  1. (of furniture or architecture) of or characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration prevalent in 18th-century Continental Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving motifs and scrollwork.
    • extravagantly or excessively ornate, especially (of music or literature) highly ornamented and florid.
      In other words – negative space must be obliterated!

Travels: Paris, the cluny museum










Travels: art in Paris, the Orangerie

The Orangerie used to house Orange trees for the nobility, now it houses Monet’s Water Lillies. 

image image

And other Impressionist art. Sorry, not a fan of Picasso, but love Utrillo. There was one woman, Marie Laurencin, represented and wouldn’t you know it, her bio talked about the passionate affair she had with another artist and just a little about the progression of her artwork. Don’t remember any of the other bios talking about their sex life.



Chiam Soutine was new to me. All of his work was wavy and distorted, which I liked in this piece (that just begged for a wonky photo) but not in his portraits or still lives of butchered cattle.



There was also a special temporary exhibit of Adolfo Wildt sculptures and other artwork such as sketches and paintings. I loved most of his work. Look home up. No photos allowed there.

Travels: Paris day 1

It is such magic to find yourself in another country, another continent, another culture. Paris is timeless and ancient but new to me. I met my daughter Avia today at the end of her study abroad program. She was kind enough to meet me at the airport and guide me through the transport system then through the maze of courtyards and doors and up flights and flights of stairs to our lovely little Air BnB apartment for the week.


We rested and refueled and set of for an adventure in spite of our exhaustion. She had stayed up late saying goodby to her study group and (inspire of a seat upgrade) I hadn’t slept on the flight. No matter. 

First stop top was the grande Notre Dame cathedral. The stained glass windows were enchanting and the architecture soaring. image

A Green Man in a catholic cathedral? Perhaps it is time to look up some history and download some audio tours. Perhaps in a few days we will climb the towers.

As is always the case, my favorite stop of the day was serendipitous. We were wandering and looking for Shakespeare & Co., a book shop Avia wanted to revisit. We found it eventually and it was an hour well spent in this maze/warren of a book lovers dream. My favorite part was the floor with its bits and inlaid pieces from here and there and then and now.


The magic happened with a wrong turn and a glance and a smile. A shop with delightful toys and ornaments hanging from the ceiling fought our eye and we wandered in. Row upon row of tiny music boxes, the kind with a drum, pins, and crank. We cranked and listened and sand and hummed. Right along with the proprietress who was wonderfully friendly. It was my first chance to hear Avia  speak this beautiful language. 


Next some more more wandering and a quick stop in a market. A picnic on the (mangy) grass near this tomb/tower/memorial.


Then off for a very early night. And then of course some middle so the night, jet lagged blogging.


For Your Inspiration: travel kits

I’m flying away this summer. A week in Paris and a week in Greece with an amazing young woman who just happened to grow up in my home. C.A.N.’T. W.A.I.T!!!! So of course instead of doing things I ought, I’m dreaming…..

il_fullxfull.576409146_8e4gWatercolor Travel Set in Altoid Tin by GREENLEAF blueberry on Etsy


il_fullxfull.750858525_aomrCustom Traveling Sketchbook by NotionalNotions on Etsy


Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.46.15 PMJo Miller’s Travel Painter at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff

on the road: snowbird Utah


A trip to the top of the world…. it seems my heart lifts right along with the elevation.


I grew up just down from this mountain. Some day I will climb it, but this day we rode the tram.




Yes, if this sea-level girl was acclimated to 11 thousand feet I might have burst out into some serious Sound of Music singing! Look at that! REAL mountains… with tree lines and everything!

snowbird7And snow and sweet mountain blossoms.


(click to see this larger!)


on the road: little wild horse canyon

One of my daughters found out about Little Wild Horse Canyon
and suggested that we try it out.little_wild_horse_canyon1

I love it when they get all grown up and participating in stuff… like planning!little_wild_horse_canyon2

Little Wild Horse Canyon is right next to Goblin Valley and is an easy hike.little_wild_horse_canyon3

Well – easy once you get over a little rockfall at the very beginning of the hike. We were too busy laughing uproariously at ourselves, pushing and shoving each other (mostly ME) up and over to get pictures to that. little_wild_horse_canyon8The little ones were totally easy, just hand them up. It’s only about 6′ and there are a few clamber points but I found myself to be hilariously uncoordinated – especially on the way down. Good thing we all have a sense of humor.little_wild_horse_canyon6

The canyon itself was spectacular!little_wild_horse_canyon7


on the road: take a flying leap

flying_leap1 flying_leap2 flying_leap3 flying_leap4 flying_leap5 flying_leap6 flying_leap7 flying_leap8 flying_leap9

 Had waaaaay too much fun taking stop action photo bursts (and a few slow motion videos as well) with my iPhone.

flying_leap10Leaping is always more fun as a team right?

Goblin Valley, Utah


on the road: goblin valley utah

Welcome to the moon, otherwise know as Goblin Valley State Park.

goblin_valley_utah4We’ve all decided it’s our favorite Southern Utah Park.

goblin_valley_utah1Well, OK. It’s one of our many favorite Southern Utah Parks.

What a fabulous morning of climbing and jumping (stay tuned!) and playing with my camera.goblin_valley_utah3

for your inspiration: lin ottinger’s rock shop





Located in Moab, Utah near Arches National Park, Linn Ottinger’s Rock Shop is a fascinating, fun, and funky place to spend an hour or two. The crazy conglomeration of mining mechanicals out front was too much to resist. Photographs were manipulated using the Snapseed App.

on the road: delicate arch

Pictures almost never do this landscape justice. They can capture a little bit of the vastness and beauty of this landscape but I don’t have the skill (yet) to truly capture what I see. And seriously, until we have that Star Trek holodeck you just can’t get that depth and dimension, the feeling of the heat on your skin and the sharp dry smell of the desert.arches_redrockThat doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun playing with apps that stitch lots of photos together and make ghost people in the process. (AutoStitch Panorama in this case.)

arches_off_the_cliffThis is the last little bit of the trail that we skipped during our night hike. With kids skipping in and out of the narrow path of our flashlight beam I think that was a good idea. It was really interesting how different the same hike was during the day in the scorching heat vs. the cool night. For one thing, there was no little pom-pom puff ball of a desert mouse thinking that my feet were a great hiding place from the big scary lights. That was another favorite thing about night hiking … seeing a few night creatures.arches_looking_back

Another difference between night and day: when you can’t see how very far you’ve come, how very steep the path is…arches_looking_up

…and how very far you still have to go to reach the next patch of shade, the hike seems much longer. We were skipping and running around under the stars and simply trudging under the hot sun. 

 The views all along the trail are spectacularly rewarding though. arches_delicate_arch_shoesThe hard work paid off dramatically. 


on the road: moab and arches national park

horses_moab1I thought I’d be posting pictures during our recent family trip. If anyone has experience posting to WordPress blogs via an iPad let me know. Because it just wasn’t working…. there must be an app for that right? No matter. Just like going on a hike – the best view when you rest is looking back at where you came from!

horses_moab3The family went to Utah for my firstborn’s wedding. But first we skeedoodled down to Arches National Park in Moab for a a few days of playtime. We couldn’t fly all that way and not catch up on a few things we didn’t have time for on our epic road trip last summer. The big boys went mountain biking on the slick rock trail and managed to not take pictures. Imagine that! The rest of us took it easier and mosied along near the Green River on horseback.


It was a very long and active day and the weather was, thankfully, perfect! After a hearty meal we rested up and went for a little wander to view some exposed fossils. It was good they had interprative signs because it took us a while to figure out what we were seeing. They looked just like the rest of the rock to us for a while until we learned what to look for. Then we went on a spectacular night hike. Truly spectacular!


Photo by Albert Herring from Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been to the Southeastern part of the United States you will understand how much I miss having a view and seeing the sky. I love North Carolina. I also call it the “Great Green Tunnel of Trees.” If you don’t mow or pave there will be a very tall tree there. It is beautiful but there are no views anywhere and you can only see a postage stamp of the sky right above you. I miss the stars.

Photo by Neal Herbert from Wikimedia commons

Photo by Neal Herbert from Wikimedia commons

We didn’t actually hike all the way up to the arch – we skipped the very last bit that involves narrow ledges and steep drop offs. Right before that last bit is a very large flat rocky place where we laid down on our backs and just gazed for a good hour. We had the Star Walk apps on our iPhones and enjoyed finding constellations and watching satellites zoom across the sky. Shooting stars, the Milky Way! What a beautiful and vast galaxy we inhabit.


On the road: the desert southwest

imageThere are some landscapes that make my heart sing. image

imageI drink them in like life giving water.


I take photographs hoping to save some of the beauty for later.  But then i get home and there are kits to make for students and supplies to order and kids to schlepp. All wonderful things. I keep telling myself that there is a time and place for everything. There will be a day when i will have time to come home and create the art I’m longing to make before those inspirations slip away again.

For Your Inspiration: La Connor and the Seattle Watershed

Recently I was lucky enough to be teaching in the Seattle area and had a little bit of free time to explore the area. Might I just say, right now, that I am completely SMITTEN with Seattle? It has beautiful mountains, beautiful water, beautiful vegetation – and the people are absolutely delightful.

Barbara, Patsy and I spent half a day north of the area in La Connor at the Quilt and Textile Museum. Wonderful art, charming town, fun shopping and I saw flocks of swans and snow geese in the empty tulip fields. (Couldn’t get a really good picture of them.)

Another day my dear sister Amber  drove up from the Portland area and joined Trish and I for an adventurous morning  in the North Bend area. We stopped by Snoqualmie Falls for a quick moment of wonder and awe (and snow flurries).





Yes – it is wet in Seattle. I don’t think it would be my favorite place to live permanently but I can’t wait until I get to back again!




One of the most wonderful experiences was visiting the rain drum garden next to the visitor center at Rattlesnake Lake. A lovely garden area has various drums situated in the landscape. Water dripping from hidden pipes sounds various rhythms. With the gentle rain as accompaniment we were enchanted. I recommend clicking over to this YouTube video to hear what it sounds like.


I was in Iowa last week at the amazingly fabulous Eastern Iowa Heirloom Quilters’ show. Before the festivities started I spent half a day in the Amana Colonies
Historic buildings, lovely gardens, lots of Iowa corn fields and beautiful never-ending skies.
Something happened at Fern Hill, a shop that combines architectural antiques and quilt stuff.
Can you say heaven!?
I fell in love. 

I know, I know. Most people don’t automatically start having heart palpitations when they walk into a basement full of crumbling bits of old buildings,
but I do.
Oh YES I do.

I would put this entire arrangement on my wall. Little bits of gates. Hmm.
Wouldn’t it be amazingly cool to fill up a whole garden fence with a collage of iron fence bits?

And then… this amazing bank of drawers shot a comet sized, rare earth magnet straight to my heart.
Look at all those drawers… and I have stuff to go in every last one of them. Every. Last. One!
Measuring to see if it will fit in my suitcase. Or in my front door. 
Realizing, as the marvel is built all in one piece, that even if I get it into the house, I can’t get it around the corner and up the stairs to my studio’s new home. Help. The owner said her son, with a truck, is driving to Raleigh in October. I’ve had three dreams about this hardware store chest in the past week. Somebody help me. Please. I think I might waste away for the longing of it.

Work In Progress

I’ve been traveling most of the past two weeks and have two more days to go. All fun. All good. 

Lots of time on airplanes and in a car. More on that later. 

I had the best driver in the world which was absolutely lovely. Got some hand work done.
 One more for the “Family Ties” series.

On The Road: Airports

working my way through Riven Phoenix’s DVD drawing lessons
And playing with my new Japanese Brush Pen.
Doodles on an airplane.
Las Vegas.
In the air over the colorado plateau.
River systems look remarkably like trees.

New York New York… it’s a wonderful town!

I’ve been wanting to visit New York City for a while now. I’ve had the opportunity but never felt like dragging the kids along for the ride. It seemed like more of an adventure for grown ups. The past few days after paying my dues (I watched my brother’s kids in Philly then he watched mine) I got the chance to take a quick overnight trip into the city.
The lovely and talented Melanie Testa and I spent two days walking and playing and having, in general, a fantastic New York experience! Here she is getting ready to unwrap a tasty lunch packet we got at the Japanese store. Oh, my – a whole floor of books. A floor of stuff including office and art supplies and a cafe on the top floor. Check out this lovely pen that Melanie had me try out – refillable ink cartridges and an actual brush tip – bristles and everything. Naturally I had to come home with one. The lunch packets were rice with spicy cod roe, wrapped in seaweed. Of course it took an engineer to open the thing. There was plastic between the rice and the seaweed as well as the on the outside and if you opened it just right then it all lands together in a lovely packet. (No – neither one of us got it quite right but they were delicious anyway!
Our first stop was Central Park and the Zoo. It’s the tiniest zoo I’ve ever seen but it was lovely. We truly enjoyed the tropical house with lemurs and birds and a few reptiles here and there. 
Check out these legs. Coming from a woman who loves, loves, loves crazy socks, this was my favorite shot of the morning.
We traipsed up through the park to the Met, but had forgotten that it was closed on Mondays so we simply walked west a while then hopped onto the subway and would our way to Melanie’s lovely (tiny) apartment and studio. I must say she has made the best  of her situation. She’s very organized and everything had a space. I’ll not complain about my studio any more. Hers is the size of my closet. Literally.
Day two and we went to Spring Studio in SOHO. It’s just a basement room but they have life drawing sessions two to three times every day!!! We spent a full three hours drawing two, five, ten, and twenty minute poses. (I think this is a five minute pose.)

What a fun opportunity – not having had the opportunity to take life drawing courses in college. It was three hours of drawing – sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating – but a wonderful chance to learn.

Next it was more subways, more walking, more quick stops into churches, shops, (even a quilt shop), and elegant train stations with beautiful constellations on the ceiling.

We ate our lunch outside of Melanie’s Alma Matter, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the popped in to their gallery to view their current exhibit, Eco-Fashion: Going Green. I found it quite interesting to see how they fit some of their historical collections into the theme, as well as spotlighting some very forward thinking current designers.

One of the big impressions I’ll take from the city is the interaction of so many people sharing the same space. Standing together on the subway. Making way on the sidewalk. Enjoying a pleasant sunny day.

People going places and doing things. So many all together in one place. And guess what. They weren’t rude or all dressed in black. Just as many people smiled and were helpful as in any other place I’ve been. Guess what? I love New York! Two thumbs up. 

Just remember to bring very comfortable walking shoes, be prepared for adventure, and just soak in the humanity, the art, the environment and all the wonderfulness in its colorful and myriad forms when you visit. NYC will definitely be seeing me again.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...