coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Monday, May 10, 2021

Drawing Cars 2

As much as I enjoy looking at cars, drawing them and coming up with a reasonable drawing to paint has been hard. In fact, I feel like a drafts(wo)man rather than an artist. I have new respect for car designers.  

I have finally finished a drawing (one of many) that I felt I could live with. After working, and reworking it I inked the outline and then used my light box to lightly trace the inked drawing on to watercolor paper. I thought there was no way I was going to try and draw it again.  

My first drawing has resulted in a car with a "droop snoot." Compare the photo I drew it from (on top) with the drawing underneath. The nose pulling pulling down. The tail fins aren't long enough. Obviously I will have to do draw it again. Sheesh. I WILL finish this. I'm almost sure of it.   But, this isn't nearly as much fun as drawing flowers.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Drawing Cars, Really?

The watercolor class is long over, and I am struggling to keep drawing and painting. 

It's harder for me to draw now than when I was in my 20s. I do okay, but it has been a LONG time since drawing was a regular part of my routine! I'm less spontaneous, and feel like a draftswoman as I measure and erase. I assume I'll relax and regain confidence over time. I'll learn to interpret shapes rather than render them exact. That's when the real art will begin. For now, I'm simply developing skills. I've been here before, although it seems like that was in a different life. Getting back on a bicycle after 40 odd years was a whole lot easier.

I was looking at a FB group page featuring photos of cars from the 1940's and 1950's.  I can't stop looking at these cars. I'm in love with Chevy Bel Airs. I am definitely going to draw a certain 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk. And I have a picture of a 1957 DeSoto Adventurer Convertible that knocks my socks off.  For me, that decade was the aesthetic heyday of car design.  

I'm going to draw a couple of these beauties and maybe learn a few things in the process. I've already learned the difference between 1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevy Bel Air's. I really never saw this new interest coming. I'm NOT a car person.  

Here's the photo of the DeSoto.  Ain't she a beaut?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Having visitors used to a big part of living in Florida. Sadly, the last time we had visitors was February 2020.

Until last week. A friend and his partner had been checking up on her mother in Tampa. They were driving back North, and stopped for brunch on the way. We were all vaccinated. Each of us has been quarantined, isolated, and bubble wrapped all this time. We decided to give it a shot.

What fun to chat live with people outside our small Florida family for a change. We cleaned the house! I even cut fresh flowers for the table. Oh yes, I thought. I remember this. Civilization!

After my last post insisting I was a deprived extravert, I found myself struggling with "chit chat" when confronted with friendly, talkative people. I have been living in my own mind for too long, I found it hard to pay attention to what others were saying. I couldn't find the creative well that allows me to banter and jest. Witty repartee? Not when you are no longer quick witted. It will come back, but it may take some practice.  

Both Tom and I had to take a nap afterwards.  

I am surprised how much has gone by the boards this past year.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

What about me? What about you?

I write this blog to answer questions no one asks me. My post-retirement life is filled with introverts. Believe me, they are NOT asking me questions.  

Still, for some reason I'm drawn to introverts. They are beautifully self-contained, have clear boundaries, and are super damn interesting. Yes, I've written about this before, but I want to revisit this subject. I have more to say. 

Introverts know I would gleefully upset the applecart. I would. And I'm not a linear thinker. I jump around. Naturally, introverts are wary around me. More to the point, they don't trust me. Most of the time that's okay. I have enough trust for all of us. But sometimes, I get lonely.

In my wide-ranging birth family extraverts dominate, although we have a few introverts. When we get together, which is increasingly rare, there is non-stop laughter and teasing. Personal questions are asked! The introverts gravitate towards the other room to recharge their emotional batteries, or position themselves in places where they are far enough away to watch us at a safe distance. Us extraverts sit together in the kitchen, savoring the chaos and each other. 

I wonder if the introverts in my birth family feel lonely, misunderstood, and/or judged amidst our chaos? Because that's how I can sometimes feel amidst their order. It's confusing. How do we accommodate such different world views and personality types? How do we make everyone feel like they belong and are respected? I'm asking you this question.  

Not to change the subject (!). I could use a good laugh. I want a long, loud belly laugh from that measureless soul place, unfathomably bold and deep. I'd like to laugh so hard the terror of existence is scared away. Runs like Hell. Hides in the corner, cowering with fear. Let's consider laughter as an existential weapon. Gimme some a' that!

Damn this pandemic.  

Sunday, March 28, 2021

It's just a shot away.

I was living in San Francisco in 1970, and listened to this song over and over. I always loved the Stones, but Merry Clayton! Dear God, what a voice. Her voice made the song transcendent. In a recent NYTimes interview she recalls that studio session and singing that song. “At first, I told them ‘I’m not trying to do no ‘rape’ and no ‘murder,’” Clayton said, quoting from the song’s famous refrain. “Then it hit me that we’re talking about Vietnam and racism and police killing people. It’s just a shot away. I felt like I was screaming out from my ancestors to give us shelter from this world.” 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Flowers and Dinosaurs

The other day I went with my daughter and grandson to Leu Garden in Orlando. They often have children's exhibits throughout the gardens and make it a game for kids to locate them via maps and trails.  This spring it is dinosaurs. I've included a few.

N is always goofing around

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Taking chances

After six weeks of bother and bliss, the watercolor class is over.  I learned a lot about watercolor, and a good bit about myself.

I was surprised to enjoy homework and deadlines.  The structure forced me to face my fears and gave me specific types of challenges to face. Now I'm on my own. Very Scary.

When 9-year old N last visited us he brought his recorder. He approaches learning to play the instrument with the exuberance of youth. Unabashed and unashamed about imperfections, he told us he practices so he can get better. I congratulated him with a hearty "Practice makes perfect." What an old hypocrite I am!

Since the class ended I have been drawing, well, a little. Drawing is my comfort zone. I'm happy to be making art after all these years of avoiding it.  I may be rusty, but I know I can draw. Unfortunately, the terror of painting continues. 

My ego is my enemy. I need to embrace mistakes. It is the only way to learn. In an act of faith, I took one of my drawings, inked in an outline, erased the pencil lines and proceeded to paint.  The result was clumsy, but why wouldn't it be? I'm still learning. And who cares, really?  Sometimes the goal is the action, not the result.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

I painted a shoe!

Week 5's lesson for the online watercolor class was shoes. 

I began by drawing one of my husband's sneakers. An afternoon of perspective challenges took it's toll.  I stopped before it was finished. It "might" have worked, but I ran off the page. And Tom's shoe is much longer in real life.  This looks like a child's sneaker. Okay, make me say it, I didn't plan the drawing in advance. 


No way in Hell was I going to try to draw this geometric nightmare again. Horrifying experience. Failure accepted. Lesson learned. 

I studied the next shoe, measuring as I lightly sketched. It isn't perfect, but I'm kind of proud of this one. The best part being that I will never have to paint it again.  

I almost had a heart attack painting this. I must remember to breathe.  

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Better late than never?

On November 8, 2020, I ordered an advent calendar for my grandson.  I figured I had plenty of time to receive it by December 1st.  I was a bit concerned when it wasn't shipped until November 22; however, I still figured it would arrive in time.  

It arrived yesterday, February 17, 2021.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Wear the damn mask.

I am doing a dialogue exercise recently used by Roderick Robinson in a post at his blog, Tone Deaf.  

Suzanne is a healthcare technician in a medical clinic. Her patient is a middle-aged man named Joe. 

Joe:  I can take off this mask for the test, right?

Suzanne:  No, our faces will be about 15 inches apart. You have to keep the mask on while in the clinic.  Those are the rules.

Joe:  Seriously, SUZANNE? You're kidding, right?

Suzanne: (Not looking at him, setting up the machine) I don't kid. 

Joe:  This mask is uncomfortable.

Suzanne:  I know it's uncomfortable. I've been wearing my mask and a face shield at least 40 hours a week for nearly a year now. 

Joe:  (Getting angry) It's really uncomfortable!  

Suzanne:  This is to protect us both. Please try to relax and you will be able to get through this. It won't take long.

Joe: (Grumbles and lays down, pulling his mask under his nose.)

Suzanne:  Sir, pull your mask up over your nose.  If you don't, I can't to do this procedure.  

Joe:  I can't believe this!  (He pulls the mask up over his nose)

Procedure accomplished.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Get real

I came across this on FB the other day. It gave me pause.

It is a lovely sentiment; however, it reminds me of something a person would write AFTER they lost a friend to suicide.

In truth, I don't have friends who want to listen to me talk about the dark thoughts that periodically drag me down. Their eyes glaze, they change the subject, they have to leave, they start telling me about people who have it worse.

This realization doesn't make me angry. I still love them, and I enjoy their company. I just don't look to them for help. They don't know how to help. Why would they?

I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got it only too right when she recently said: "it’s a painful fact for many survivors of trauma that they must deal with people who try to minimize what they experienced when they tell their stories, in an effort to silence them."

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I pay a shrink to listen to me and help me through it. It works for me.

If you are having a mental health crisis, I strongly recommend getting professional help. Or call a suicide hotline ASAP. It is physically impossible to pull one's self up by your own bootstrap. Sometimes we all need help. There's no shame in that.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Pirate Pillaging and Play

We had a visit from grandson, N, the other day. Since COVID, N and his sister, E, do virtual school and his Dad works from home. His Mom is a stay-at-home mother. They live about 15 minutes from us, comprising our pandemic "bubble."  

N will be turning 9 soon.  He is a lonely little boy, as are many other little boys in these plague ridden times. When he comes to visit he expects us to play, so we play.  

Yesterday, we played pirates. We all loaded up with "loot" from inside the house and grabbed our weapons, weapons being Viking swords, and a sun bleached plastic baseball bat. There's even a plastic shillelagh from one of Tom's old Halloween costumes (Ogre).  We have excellent pirate weapons.

Then we each claimed our pirate kingdoms in various parts of the yard. The fun involved raids, theft, the absolute glee of pillaging the other's loot.  

I am the worst pirate, I'm afraid.  I AM crafty and ruthless; however, I have a hard time running or even moving fast since my knee injury.  I'm about 95% recovered, but I doubt it will ever be better than that. Still, I'm happy to be able to move. I'm happy to pretend I'm a 9 year-old pirate.  And, dontcha know, I can pillage with the best of them!  Arrgh!


Sunday, January 24, 2021


I signed up for an online watercolor class. I paid $175 to take this 6 week class. Each Friday the teacher releases a new lesson with text, video, and assignment. The lessons are well thought out, well laid out, and I am learning things. 

Learning things is the easy part, I find it hard (painful, even) to do the work. I want to skip school. I want to throw $175 away.  I also want to learn how to paint a damn apple.  

Lesson 1: Fruit was released on a Friday. The following Sunday night, I still hadn't started the assignment. I keep my materials in a box. Before going to bed that Sunday night I put the box on top of my keyboard so when I woke up the next morning I would know I meant business.

Voila! The somewhat pathetic first step. The frame around the painting was required. It is not meant to be in perspective. It is just a frame, the instructor's whimsy, ostensibly to add interest. Surely I could do perspective if required? Right? Well, maybe. We'll see.

Today is Sunday again. I haven't started Lesson 2: Leaves. I can't believe I have to do this again.   

Thursday, January 7, 2021

I know I should

I know I should write a post concerning my thoughts about yesterday's attempted coup/acts of sedition.  I want to, but I'm still a little shell shocked.  Let's see if I can spit something out.

  • It was obvious this nonsense was coming.  
  • It isn't over.  
  • It might get worse before it gets better.
  • A Democratic Republic is worth fighting for.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Ending 2020 on a positive note

 Here are some photos I took at Lake Apopka in Central Florida in the last days of 2020.