Art Collecting Without Guilt

I don’t spend money on art.

Well, once I bought a photo for $1 at a yard sale.  We are not going to talk about what I paid for framing.

Like most people, our household budget just doesn’t include a line-item for art collecting.

We do, however have a small budget for charitable giving, so when Bob, Linda and John had their plant/art/book sale to benefit Doctors Without Borders, I went pleasantly crazy.

Here are the paintings I bought from Bob Haslach.


painting haslach's jasmine's feet

painting haslach's potted plant


painting haslach's flowers


Five plants and three paintings later, Doctors Without Borders (a terrific low-overhead charity) is $100 richer.

But I feel richer still.




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Falling in Love with Natalie (again)

Natalie Goldberg has a new book.  Living Color:  Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing.

I love Natalie.  (even when I hate her – some of you know what I’m talking about)  Writing Down the Bones was the first (the only?) book about writing that made me slam it shut and grab a  pen.

Natalie’s paintings do the same thing.

goldberg Santa-Fe-Sink-2013

Childlike, out of proportion, skewed angles, and full of juicy life energy –  her art work makes me grab a paint brush!

goldberg happybirthday

Natalie’s writing about art reminds me that beauty is in front of my face.

goldberg fathersshirt

Right now.  Every day.





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What Does George W. Bush Have In Common With The Sacred Ordinary?

I am chagrined to learn that after leaving office, George W. Bush has taken up art.  His life-passion is painting.

George W. Bush Dog Paintings

Apparently he has painted over 50 dogs.

george W. Bush in the Shower

He also paints himself in the shower.

George W. Bush in the Bathtub

And in the bathtub.

He piddles way his free time.  JUST LIKE I DO.  But he paints better than I do.  He hired a tutor, so that must explain it.

Suddenly I feel compassion for George.  He never should have gone into politics.  Obviously never should have been president.

I’m sure all of that was his mother’s fault.


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Everyday Objects

Sometimes I paint pictures of everyday objects.  Then I look at my pictures and know that one day the objects will break, or I will be forced to give them away when I move into a nursing home (or onto the street).  But if I have my notebook of little pictures (in my bags and grocery carts) then I can hold onto the memory of my sweet life.  What would it be like to have Alzheimer’s?  To have my son sit with me (provided he is alive and we are on visiting terms) and point out the little pictures I had painted?  Would I remember my happiness?  Hopefully I would be in one of those nursing homes where therapists or volunteers do nice things like dance with patients.  Oh, but they would probably play disco, thinking it was the music of my youth.  And I wouldn’t have the words to say, “Could we have little Arvo Part, please?”


painting flowers from andrea~2




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It’s All About The Frame

I’ve started painting. With brushes and a paint set.

painting brushes and flower


I take ownership of my amateur status (in the best sense of that word).  I love painting!

When my adored child-play creations are dry, I pin them to the fridge. Passing by I stop and preen like a girl in front of a mirror, listening as the refrigerator pictures talk back to me.

“What a pretty picture I am!”

My husband complimented one of them.

painting photo spider plant


“I like that.”

Wow! Somebody likes them!

Another friend said

“I enjoy your little pictures.”

This crumb boosted my confidence like a load of jet fuel.

I started to crave the confidence boosting.

I couldn’t resist asking my son (age 21).

“Do you like my picture?”

painting stump with plants

His response was slow to come.

Oh dear. What have I done?

My seedling painting practice is not ready to be unearthed by any hint of a negative reply.

After a long silence, my son said,

“Yes. I like your picture.”

Happy Day!

“But I hope you’re not going to have it framed.”


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Piddling as Spiritual Practice


pid·dle [pid-l]

verb (used without object), pid·dled, pid·dling.

1. to spend time in a wasteful, trifling, or ineffective way; dawdle (often followed by around ): He wasted the day piddling around.

2. Informal. (especially of children and pets) to urinate.

verb (used with object), pid·dled, pid·dling.

3. to waste (time, money, etc.); fail to utilize (usually followed by away).

From Wikipedia:

A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the world’s great religions is that of walking a path. Therefore a spiritual practice moves a person along a path towards a goal. The goal is variously referred to as salvation, liberation or union (with God). A person who walks such a path is sometimes referred to as a wayfarer or a pilgrim.

From Huffpost:

Simply put, I define spiritual practice as something you do every single day that draws you deeper into who you really are by connecting you with your divine self.

According to Maggie Lyon’s Huffpost article, spiritual practice is less about the choice of activity and more about “the connective quality of the time spent.”  Spiritual practice might be writing letters, baking cakes, or sorting through the junk mail (contemplatively, of course).  The practice is supposed to be regular and repeated.

As summer nears, I finally have a little time to piddle around doing whatever the next best thing is.  I might chop some vegetables for dinner – or do that later.  I might play some music – or save that for another day.  It’s the space and time that feels so amazing.

Imagine a morning spiritual practice where the first priority is to piddle!

I’ll bet you’re practicing already.


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How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wild Strawberry Vine and Urbanite

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Butterfly Shelfie

Butterfly Shelfie

I used to think this was a tableaux or still life or little altar.

Then I learned if it’s photographed and shared it’s a “Shelfie”.

(Thanks, Kathy.)


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Easter 2014


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The Order of St. Diane

When I was little, I loved playing dolls.

Here’s how it went:

I spread out my Little Kiddles set, which held the collection of dolls and accouterments.

The afternoon was spent arranging miniature closets for miniature dresses. Ribbons becamse room dividers, match boxes became drawers for miniature pairs of shoes. Once everything was set up and perfect it was time for supper and bed. The play was all about organizing things!

And so… on my day off I derive extreme pleasure from setting things in order. I notice this as I cover my winter sweaters with plastic. As I group the furry things together and the shiny things together, and put them in the back of the closet.

This gives me so much pleasure that I look for something else to put in order.

Since the house is already fairly neat (you can imagine this) I decide to take my scraps of pesky passwords out of the pesky password bowl and put them in a file folder under a broader category “important documents.”

I’m not O.C.D. It just feels delicious when things are in order.

It feels so good that I start a new project – putting my paper calendar on a google calendar!

students in blue
church in green
dentist, etc in red
personal in purple


Better than going for a massage.

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