Friday, February 26, 2016



Have you noticed lately when someone is in the midst of explaining something, they may blurt out, "Look!", as if the recipient couldn't understand the explanation? LOOK is a trendy word right now and you hear it everywhere. Other words, like detritus, paradigm, or journey--I know you can think of many more--have been overused so much so that when I hear them, I cringe, just as I am beginning to when someone proclaims, "LOOK!"

We already do so much looking without seeing. What is the difference? Remember this phrase: "Look around you. What do you see?" Look is a glance. See is understanding.

Do you just look at the world or do you see what makes up all the interesting parts? Someone who sees needs to take time to observe and differentiate. Artists are good at that. It's part of their training. What kind of person are you? A looker or a see-er?

Take a look around you right now--wherever you are. What do you see? What are the colors, textures, the sizes and shapes of what you notice? While you are at this, take out a pencil and paper and draw what you see. Try a contour drawing. Draw slowly the edges of an object with one continuous line with your eye on the object except when you need to turn a corner.

Contour drawing is a great way to learn to draw. When I was a student, I drew acres and acres of faces, chairs, pots, animals, anything in front of me using this technique. Remember to draw slowly. Contour drawing helps you to get away from the sketchy lines that most people use when they try to draw. With contour drawing  you end up with a pretty good understanding of the shape of the object and your drawing will have a quirky personality because you are not trying to be perfect. Remember that too, you are not trying to be perfect.

Send me your examples of what you see. And have fun. I would love to see them!

Friday, February 19, 2016


I went on what we used to call a "pick-up-the-worms" walk. After a rainy night when Theo was little, he and I walked up and down the street rescuing the worms that wandered too far from the rain-clogged soil. They lay on the street wiggling and helpless. So we scooped them up with a leaf and set them back on the dirt.

The worms today reminded me of other things that Theo picked up--rocks, leaves, snake skins--that ended up in my pocket. Funny what you will find in your pockets. Recently I put a coat on that I hadn't worn for awhile. In the pocket I found a Euro coin leftover from a rain-glorious trip to Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

The view from our B&B in Amsterdam on a rainy evening.

Those small pocket treasures become talismans, memory-keepers, to me.

 Four pocket objects lie in a line in front of my computer keyboard. Three of them are stones. All of them are smooth and cool to my touch. One is a small heart-shaped stone that I found on a beach. I've picked up several heart-shaped stones since then and I wonder how the stone becomes this shape through the pounding of the waves.

Bill's parents kept all their extra coins from their numerous travels. At that time, banks didn't exchange loose coins so they wound up in a forgotten box deep in a drawer in a bureau that followed his mom to assisted living. The European coins have no value now since the exchange period offered by the European banks is long past.

I think of taking them to the beach and, like ashes, scattering them into the waves, knowing that they will eventually be washed smooth, maybe stuck against some rock so that they end up heart-shaped to be marveled at by another small collector.  They may end up in someone else's pocket some day.


Thank you, Bill, for the two rocks photos!


Another great grey photo by Jan Hersh. How many shades of grey do you see?

Friday, February 12, 2016


The weather changed today. Our week of early Spring arrived with the wind. Walking towards the wind becomes a challenge as my legs are pushed this way and that so I can't walk in a straight path. Makes me think if I just raise my arms, I could fly.

The weather changed today. I look up hoping to see the Peregrin Falcons that have returned to nest near Mt. Diablo. I am envious instead as turkey vultures glide effortlessly with the wind.

The weather changed today. The last dry leaves scurry across the road, the grasses bend trying to follow, and my hair does too. I hear the grumble of the wind as it builds in the tree tops and knocks off branches at my feet. One old oak tree lost a branch that is trunk-size. It must have come down like thunder.

The weather changed today. The fruit trees are confused. They usually flower in order: white-flowered pear trees, apple, peach and plum trees, then cherry trees, and finally, tulip trees. This year the tulip trees came out first, fooled by an earlier warm spell in January. Now the others are all in bloom at once, trying to catch up.

The weather changed today. The glad rain we had in December and January has blown away. As I walk, I worry: are we back in a drought? We could be, unless our usual stormy March comes swaggering in. We can only hope and continue to walk, this time, downwind, with the wind shoving us back home.


I love the Grey Days photos you have sent in.  Here is another one from F R:

You can still add Grey Days photos to my Google + account at 

or my Instagram page at #postcardsintheair

or my Facebook page at Martha Heimdahl Slavin

My post, Challenge: Many Shades of Grey has been chosen as a blog post at Story Circle Network, a great online place for women writers.


If  you would like to know when flowering fruit trees are supposed to bloom, check out this website:

Friday, February 5, 2016


Jellie by Bill Slavin

Thank you for sending me your many versions of grey that you found this week. I've seen some great photos. Of course, we have cats sprinkled through the photos. They expect to be showcased, don't they?

Here are a few of the ones I've collected this week. They are terrific and I want to share them with the rest of you.

Just Before a Storm by F R

Tree on My Walk by Bill Slavin
Train Station by elle_day
by Jan Hersh

by elle_day

Don't you think that these are such good examples of all the many shades of grey? 

My sister Linda remarked about looking for grey:
"Martha's blogpost inspired me to think of grey in different terms also & how it's all around without one's noticing it.
I like the fog & the rain."

See more at any of these spots. You can add your photos to the growing collection at

GREY DAYS  Martha Slavin in Google +

Postcardsintheair on Instagram

And also at Martha Heimdahl Slavin on my Facebook page

Thank you all for taking the time to find grey in so many different places.