March 17, 2023

Longing for Rest

Sometimes when the day wears weary

I want to fall back through time –

Back to childhood when life seemed simpler –

To rest in the arms of someone who loved me then.

I want to stay for a moment

Until my aging heart

Can remember feeling safe and at ease:

Arms to wrap me in a protective shield,

A wide, soft lap to sink into,

A generous bosom to nestle upon –

Flashes of comfort in a trusted world.

In later years

After the security of childhood had failed,

True rest arrived one afternoon

Following a sleepless night

On that first day with the friend become lover,

My head cradled in his welcoming lap

As my body plunged into the release of deep sleep;

No ordinary nap,

But a sleep arising from absolute trust and complete surrender,

The truth of the moment indelibly imprinted on my heart.

But people change

And leave lovers and others behind,

As they abandon their own soul

And sabotage truths lodged deep and long.

And I wonder if rest can ever again be so sweet and generous.

Written in response to an NPR poetry challenge on March 3, 2023. I haven’t written a poem or played with words for a while, satisfied to read the words of others. But lately, the possibility keeps appearing, inviting me to pick up the pen. Years ago the book poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge was an inspiration, and it recently returned to my bookshelf. I highly recommend it to anyone, even if you think you aren’t interested. You will be surprised by what might happen! Check it out!


If you are missing my plein air class at VisArts, this should help fill the gap. I’m offering a five week class on Wednesday mornings, October 19 through October 26, 9:30-12:30. We’ll meet at different locations around Richmond beginning at Pony Pasture (James River Park System) on the 19th. Classes are $30 each.

If you only have single day or weekend availability, the fall Manakintowne Workshop is coming up on October 15. We’ll meet at Huguenot Springs for a day of drawing or painting and a gourmet lunch. Bring your favorite medium or try out our oil pastels with beginner instructions – all supplies provided for oil pastel. The workshop is 9:30-3:30 and the tuition is $120 (If you bring a friend who is new to the workshop, you each get a $10 discount!).

Contact me here for more information or sign up for either of these plein air opportunities!

Capture the fall colors at Huguenot Springs!

The workshop is back once again! Please join us at

Huguenot Springs

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 9:30 AM -3:30 PM
Rain Date: SATURDAY, MAY 7, 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

TUITION $120 ~ 


VACCINATIONS ARE REQUIRED, MASKING AT YOUR DISCRETION. Please remember the pandemic is still with us and keep yourself and others safe.
After two years off, we are happy to once again offer a one-day plein air workshop. Instruction for plein air drawing and painting is offered, or you can try oil pastels with beginning instruction and all supplies provided (a great opportunity to try a new medium!). We break mid-day for a delicious lunch and good conversation. Space is limited, so sign up soon. You can message me here to sign up.

Two Meditations

February 3, 2022

These are the two most recent drawings in the group of Meditations. Both are 4″ square and begun on a liquid graphite ground (see previous post for more on the ground).

Catch Up

January 30, 2022

Playing catch up here. Time flies (I’m sure I have written that before), and I haven’t kept up with posting the small (4″ x 4″) Meditations that I continue to make. With many of these I begin with a colored ground (either gesso or acrylic paint) and more recently I have been using a liquid graphite ground. This provides an interesting starting point (once the ground has dried), as it works into the Caran d’Ache wax crayons that are layered on top and also shows through in the texture of the paper. The graphite offers something to work with and against, often yielding surprises along the way. Here are a few from the backlog. And I’ll post a couple of newer images soon.


November 17, 2021

At the beginning of the month Kasey Jued’s second volume of poetry, The Thicket, was launched by Pitt Press. The poems are beautiful gems that leave the reader breathless, awed, changed.

I am so very honored and grateful that Kasey chose one of my landscapes as the cover image! It is such a happy thing to have a small bit of my work to share a little space with this gathering of her lovely poems!

You can get a sense of the collection as well as a few excerpts from two excellent reviews: one by Michael Metiver in EcoTheo and another by Jane Zwart in Plume.

The book can be ordered directly from The University of Pittsburg Press, from The Bookshop, or check with your favorite bookseller.


June 12, 2021

A few more small (4″ x 4″) drawings from the group of Meditations that began during the strange year of 2020. There was much to adjust to last year in life and work. These small drawings were part of that process. And the drawings themselves are a record of adjustments made on the paper; even a small drawing can require many changes before it feels complete.

More Meditations

May 4, 2021

It has been a while since I have posted any of these small meditations, so I’ll do a bit of catching up. All are 4″ x 4″, mixed media, predominantly Caran d’Ache wax crayon. Stay tuned for more soon.


September 3, 2020

In these trying times when so much about our world is unsure and makes no sense, I have decided that one of the few things that does make sense is continuing to work in the studio. I have begun working on some very small drawings – all 4″ x 4″ – that are related to the soft pastels, but I am using wax oil crayons, water-soluble wax oil crayons, and some graphite. They are small experiments, but even more, they are meditations that are helping to keep me grounded in strange times. Here are a few:

More Words + One Image

August 16, 2020

Today I need to change the subject, or subjects, of the world that presses on us in these strange times. I am putting aside news of the pandemic and of politics. For a moment I need to look away from the wrongs, the injustices, the unkindnesses, the cruelties, and the violence directed towards others. Kindness, beauty, gratitude, and joy are on my radar today. And love, of course; however it shows up. 

As part of today’s practice, this morning I picked up a book that I had set aside for a bit, The Book of Delights by Ross Gay whom I came across on an episode of On Being. If you aren’t familiar with him or his writing, I encourage you to look him up; he and his writing are remarkable. The Book of Delights was begun as a daily essay about something that struck the author as delightful. He writes as though he is speaking casually with the reader over coffee or on a long walk. He might be meandering around a mundane idea or topic when a profound truth or bit of wisdom quietly slips in unannounced, as if conjured through some alchemy of the writer’s words. 

This morning I turned to Chapter 14 “ ‘ Joy is Such a Human Madness’ ”  which Gay begins with a reference to the essay “Joy” by Zadie Smith. It would only be in quoting the entire essay that I might convey the full beauty and power of the writing, but I want to pull out a small favorite bit here. Towards the end of the essay he writes:

“Among the most beautiful things I have ever heard anyone say came from my student Bethany talking about her pedagogical aspirations or ethos, how she wanted to be as a teacher, and what she wanted her classrooms to be: ‘What if we joined our wildernesses together?’ Sit with that for a minute. That the body, the life might carry a wilderness, an unexplored territory, and that yours and mine might somewhere, somehow meet. Might, even, join.

And what if the wilderness…is our sorrow…. It astonishes me sometimes – no, often – how every person I get to know – everyone, regardless of everything, by which I mean everything  lives with some profound personal sorrow. Brother addicted. Mother murdered. Dad died in surgery. Rejected by their family. Cancer came back. Evicted. Fetus not okay. Everyone, regardless, always, of everything. Not to mention the existential sorrow we might all be afflicted with, which is that we, and what we love, will soon be annihilated.  Which sounds more dramatic than it might. Let me just say dead. Is this, sorrow… the great wilderness? Is sorrow the true wild? And if it is – and if we join them – your wild to mine – what’s that? For joining, too, is a kind of annihilation. What if we joined our sorrows, I’m saying. I’m saying: What if that is joy?” 

Again, I have to say that one should read Ross Gay’s essay in its entirety for full effect, for that punch-to-the-gut feeling that his words offer up. For me, this essay illuminates my understanding of the bittersweet of life and touches on thoughts of no light without the dark – thoughts that cover the distance from metaphor to the reality of the physical world. 

No light without the dark. In drawing and painting, light and dark are critical; value/relative value (think grayscale) is everything! In making recent drawings I am constantly reminded of this. Color is important but the value, the light or darkness of that color, is what makes the most difference to the drawing. It is not unusual for the most subtle value shift to make a drawing sing. I am sharing here a recent soft pastel drawing for a consideration of light and dark and the relative values of color.