Friday, April 15, 2016


A good friend asked me recently how I come up with ideas to write. I strongly believe that all of us are artists, and all of us have stories inside to write. Ideas float around us all the time. We might hear a conversation or see someone that sparks an idea. I once saw a young girl riding in a car, her head leaning out the window. She looked at me with a mischievous glint. I thought she would be a great character for a novel. Finding dropped children's toys and clothing while on a walk led me to write a blog about my findings.

I keep a deck of index cards in my car. When an idea starts to germinate, I grab a card and start furiously writing (only at stop signs, I promise!) I also have a small sketchbook in my purse so that I can jot down notes or quick sketches. Many of these ideas never get past the sketchbook or note card, but they are still good practice. If I don't write or sketch them, they get lost in some other life problem.

I wanted to be a writer as early as sixth grade. I was brave enough to send my attempts to magazines. I still have the stack of rejection letters I received, but I also have copies of one piece that was published in a children's magazine as well as a fashion idea that appeared in a Katy Keene comic book. I stopped doing artwork in my 30s for various reasons. High on that list: too many self-expectations and a desire not to encourage my perfectionism. At that time, I turned back to writing. I joined a women's writing group called Wednesday Writers led by Elizabeth Fishel. Elizabeth's prompts, such as "I remember..." and "describe your childhood bedroom," seemed simple, but they also opened up memories that grew deeper on paper. In that group, we encouraged and supported each other, and published two anthologies of our work.

While my family and I lived in Japan, I took a botanical illustration class, which reawakened my artistic desire. I loved the careful exploration of a flower and the detailed drawing/painting that resulted. I hadn't forgotten the art school foundation that I learned at an earlier time.

Another friend of mine commented recently that I have 'exploded.' I am testing all kinds of waters, including writing a blog, while trying to catch up with all that I missed when I set aside art. I still am awed by artwork by other people, who are much more talented than I am. Now, though I can let competitive feelings go. I am having fun mixing writing and art in many ways.

The paper on the left was made on a Gelli Plate with acrylic paint and stencils.

Today at the library I sat in a class full of people. In front of us was a professional illustrator who showed us his technique for drawing fish. * Some of the people in the audience were experienced artists, but the brave ones came without an art background. They simply wanted to know how to draw.

Thanks for asking that question, my good friend. I hope you too are having fun exploring and trying new things.

Check out John Muir Laws' website if you are interested in Nature Journaling:

Do you have photos of your favorite shades of green? Please upload them to Instagram #postcardsintheair, email them to me, or upload them to GREENS on my Google page.  Thanks!!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jan, for continuing to read, and comment, on my blog postings!

    2. I absolutely love your botanical drawings. They are my absolute favorites. What a wonderful eye for nature you have!

    3. Marcia,
      Thank you! Wondering around in the natural world is an inspiration to me. Botanical drawing is similar to calligraphy because it requires that same exacting concentration. Again thanks.

  2. How inspiring "I can let competitive feelings go. I am having fun mixing writing and art in many ways." I've sometimes wondered if writing and making marks is sideways communication, a lesser version of face to face direct communication. But what I love about making marks 'sideways' is that it can take our superficial differences away, leaving two souls to mingle across time and space. I so enjoy your keen observations.

    I'm so happy the grays have turned to green outside. Time to get up close and personal within my garden. Our first 60 to 70 degree days here in Connecticut!

  3. Yes, I agree that art and writing can be 'sideways' communication -- I like your term for that situation, Flo! And thank you for your kind comments.
    It's almost 90 here on the east side of the Bay Area. Everything is flourishing from the rain.

  4. I’ve often wondered how you come up with ideas too, but never asked that question Writing and Art are most definitely your passions and it shows in you weekly blog. I always enjoy your insights, Thanks for making my day. MARY

    1. Thanks, Mary, for your kind comments and for continuing to read my blog.


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