Listening - watching
taking a moment
drawing the world
finding the way to connection
again and again.

For upcoming classes and events
visit my website –

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

On the Rail Trail

For those of you who don't live in Marbletown and the Hudson Valley of New York - 

or who don't need to walk the ten miles that these panels are placed along - 

here they are - in all their richness !




Thank you to everyone who worked on this good project over the last two years,
feeding me information and images and just being fun to work with ! 

With appreciation for Jill McLean, Jessica Phelan, Diane DeChillo, Jody Ford, Carl Pezzino, 
Sandy Damon-Sheeley, Gail Many and Tyson McCasland at Timely Signs.




Friday, August 14, 2020

On the River

I took a kayak out on the Rondout Creek behind my house the other day. 

Brought my sketchbook along, though having it with me felt like a pressure to DO something with the experience. I packed it anyway. 

Drawing can be such a connecting activity - with one's self and the world. But getting on the page is not that simple (I have written about this before ! ) 

I let my irritated, easily pressured part be there, along for the ride. 

It felt good to push off, glide away from shore - so quiet and yet full of insects pulsing, water moving, birds calling out. 

I pulled over close to the far shaded edge and was drawn in to the pattern of rocks lining the shore - then up to the hanging leaves - and close at hand in the water. I like to work in threes . . .

I drew with pencil - planning to drop in some color when back on land. 

Then I added a description of each element on the page. 

Starting with rocks along the edge - mirrored . . .

Following the leaves up the vine - climbing

Clusters of bubbles - tiny - close - nameless. 



I paddled across the water toward some grasses, which turned out to be young cattails on the bank. 

I worked my way down the page from the waving stalks to the broad rocks to the calm water.  

Delicate cattails

Smooth & lined stones

Glassy slow flowing water 


Then I moved close to the upstream rapids, finding a quiet cove to park and gaze - everything rushing and jumping along, channeled by the dark shapes. 

Rock and water

Stillness - movement

rushing river place



Looking back now I see the three pages as a larger progression that I moved through - 

First - the quiet edge - the encompassing view

Second - the rich layering - textured - complex

Third - the rushing waters - life moving - uncertain

I returned to shore refreshed. 



You can find a fuller explanation of this three part drawing practice in the 2nd edition of my book -

True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude 

Available from the publisher's bookstore

or from Amazon -


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In the Laundry Room

I am living in Colorado Springs right now,
in residence for four months at Colorado College
learning how to teach my mindfulness art practices online in this new world,
also hosting NVC and circle practices for the college on zoom.
Hopefully I'll be returning to the Hudson Valley in mid-May.

I am sequestered in a nice old house near campus that is divided into
apartments for visiting faculty, but I'm the only one in the building these days.
Here it is, surrounded by spring snow . . .

I couple of weeks ago I realized that the laundry room off the kitchen would make a nice studio -
so I moved in - stretched out ! It is sunny and spacious with big tables and a washer and dryer of course. I do my brush work here and my zoom calls, as well as African dance classes and even
some cello playing (rented one in town).

I put some lively letters on the wall -
always good to have the alphabet at my back . . .

I am taking walks each day with my face mask on,
staying in contact - with myself - with others - with the world -
and the creative spirit through it all . . .

Here is one of the little books I've made recently.
using fragments of big brush strokes for the imagery.

May this journey nourish you during these difficult times. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Beyond Calligraphy

I am currently out at Colorado College as the Mindfulness Resident for
Creativity & Innovation, offering my art practices widely.

Last week I attended a dance performance at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
by the Guangdong Modern Dance Company from China.

The first part of the evening was movement inspired by Chinese calligraphy.
The writing styles were projected on the stage wall as the dancers moved.

As the house lights dimmed I opened my sketchbook
and did blind contour drawing - in the dark !
Later I added some color and words.

After the concert I went searching for the scripts that had inspired the choreographer.

Oracle bone script 
Carved onto tortoise shells and used for divination
(by sticking a hot needle in the shell and interpreting the pattern of cracks).
Here is an oracle bone inscription from the Bronze Age (1339 - 1281 BCE) .

The dancers movements were symmetrical - abrupt - balanced.

Regular script
Emperor Hui-Sung of the Sung Dynasty (1082-1135) was a gifted artist with a personal style
he named "slender golden thread". He was also a disastrous ruler because of his dedication to
aesthetic pleasures. During his reign the country was overrun by Jurchen forces, ending the
Sung dynasty. He and his family were taken prisoners.
Here is an example of his elegant writing . . .

The dancers movements were sharp and spotlighted -

Cursive script
Huai Su (737 - 799) was a calligrapher and monk in the T'ang Dynasty who was fond of wine
and wrote quickly and beautifully while drunk. He was poor and did not have the money to buy
paper so he planted banana trees and used the leaves for writing.
He is one of the most renowned writers of the cursive script.
He called his writing "the calligraphy of an intoxicated immortal."

The dancers movements were fluid and connecting.
My pen did not leave the page . . .

The second half of the program was titled "Ink Wash Painting".
Long banners hung down with soft washes of overlapping mountains projected on the fabric.

Here the banners reflected patterns of water.

All the dancers took a bow at the end,
standing solemnly in a long line,
bending over together
all the way to the ground.

Here is a video of some clips from the performance -