Friday, February 27, 2015


 The air in the shade is chilly. I've returned to Osage Park for a walk. Ten years ago I walked here every day at 7 a.m. after dropping our son at high school. The park gave me solace and time to recapture my day.

The park has a circle of trees to walk through. They gave me strength and comfort. In the years of walking the circle, I noticed the change of seasons as well as the daily changes around the circle as I completed several loops of the park. The park moved from Spring's lush blooming in the rose gardens to Summer's soccer and baseball games to the quieter times of Autumn, and finally, to the dry, gray Winter when a mountain lion stalked deer in the creek next to the trail.

Today I walk mid-day. The trees have grown, but they still provide calmness. I pass dog walkers, runners, and people who use the path as a serenity circle, heads down, lost in thoughts. I know, I have walked the circle this way myself.

A large lawn mower shrieks in the distance. The driver turns off the engine and the park is still for a moment. Then small birds twitter and a robin calls a one-note song. As I come round the circle I turn to see my favorite sight: the park grasses spread out like an alpine meadow, the trees masking the suburban view, and the rolling hills and Mt. Diablo in the distance.

I walk around the front of the school and spot graffiti on a cement pillar. Someone has sprayed a red heart on the column. A tree's shadow crosses out the heart. I laugh and think, "A perfect metaphor for life in middle school."

I continue around the circle, pass the nubs of pruned rosebushes, walk by baseball diamonds and the closed snack shop until I come to the children's playground -- empty of people and clatter at this time of the year.

As I walked out of the park, I thought about my years of walking Osage Park. Our son is 25 now. He is a young man who is navigating his way into adulthood. Eventually I stopped walking in circles and tried other paths. I looked at the park one more time with gratitude for what it had offered me ten years ago, and I left refreshed.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Thanks to Bill for this great photo in my studio!

Calligraphy is usually a solitary pursuit, which is why I take workshops as often as I can.

The spirit of the community that develops in the  attendees comes from the heart. The energy and encouragement radiates from one to another. I participated in a writing retreat last weekend where I was one of 120 people who gathered at a conference, Letters: California Style, put on by the Society for Calligraphy in Southern California.

For 3 ½ days we played and practiced calligraphic forms. Some classes seemed filled with ancient scribes bent over their sheets of papers, writing line after line of various alphabets, developing the skills needed to produce incredible calligraphic pieces. (Take a look at the Passionate Pen website to see some examples: )

Others, like Pamela Paulrud's class, Sounding the Inner Landscape with Handwriting, Mark-making, and Image, played with various tools and abstractions of alphabets and created wonderful fluid works. At the end of the workshop, we walked through the informal exhibit of each person's work. One of us talked of her mother while tears trickled down her cheeks, another spoke about her struggles this year. In the time we had together, we let go of the negative thoughts that creep into all of our brains and experienced joy in creating.

We marveled at the Southern California winter weather: dry as stone, neither hot yet nor cold, with crystal blue skies and rugged mountains running from one end of the horizon to the other. Yet we stayed inside to work on paper after paper. Finally we picked some pieces to make into booklets or broadsides. When the workshop was over, we clasped hands together, and enjoyed the electric connection we had with each other.

This is the booklet that I made that opens up
to reveal more and more of one small piece,
until finally you open the booklet completely
to reveal a drawing called "Dance."

If you would like to experience the energy of a calligraphy workshop, I would highly recommend taking a class with Pamela Paulrud. You can find more about her at her website:

Friday, February 13, 2015


I sit inside the 5' X 8' cell, glad the door no longer closes, listening to a poem read by Lolo, a Tibetan singer imprisoned by the Chinese. I also hear the voices of Martin Luther King, Pussy Riot, and the drumbeats of Hopi dancers coming from other cells on the corridor. With friends, I am visiting Alcatraz, the legendary island where hardened prisoners lived, Native Americans encamped, and where birds fly to nest.

Until April 26, the island is host to an exhibit by AiWeiWei, a political activist from China who is not allowed to leave China. The artwork is interesting, but the ideas of freedom, entrapment, imprisonment and beauty give the exhibit its power. The three-dimensional space of the decaying buildings creates the tension between these ideas and WeiWei's artwork.

The people like me who walk around the LEGO faces of political prisoners from all over the world are quiet. Whatever you might call each individual, whether terrorist, revolutionary, dissident, activist, or librarian, whatever you might believe about the circumstances of their confinement, Alcatraz makes you feel the danger of one human being having power over another. The exhibit within the decaying buildings leads you to see that imprisonment can't last. The crumbling buildings, the broken window glass, the corroded iron railings and frames of doors and windows, and the layer upon layer of peeling paint attest to the triumph of release from confinement. 

WeiWei presents an exhibit that gets to the heart of human conscience. If you can, go.

Check out this link:

On an entirely different note, please check out this link: 

My Letterform Lover's Nightmare alphabet is being featured on this webpage.

You can also order the book, Zen Doodles:  Oodles of Doodles from this site.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Doesn't everyone think about love when February comes around? 

How would you describe love and romance?

Romance is like a cartwheel: first you line yourself up, hands over head, and then you fling yourself with abandon, trusting your body while you are in flight that you can come down to earth with two feet on the ground.

Romance over a lifetime settles in to small doses: a look, a quick smile, the satisfaction of being together after a long day, a laugh at an idea agreed upon and shared.

My son Theo harangues against Valentine's Day: "Why should we be lazy and celebrate one day of showing love, when we should show love every day?"

Why shouldn't we indeed?

Do you have special ways to share your love?

Watercolor sketches from photos of the old carnival/play-land on Hayden Island, Portland. Oregon