Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Moon tonight!

I confess that I took this photo last year, but it seemed so perfect because tonight, as 2010 arrives, we will also have a rare blue moon.
A blue moon means there are two full moons in one month.
Where the name comes from I have no idea....something to google!
I wish the very best for each one of us for the coming year.
Should everyone actually achieve the very best, then we all win!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beauties of the Season

The first snow has come before Christmas this year.
On the mid-part of the East Coast of the USA that is unusual!
It was a perfect sort of snow. It blanketed the trees and not the streets!
This morning the sun was out again and as I looked from
my window at the tree out front, I saw a ROBIN!!!!
What the heck!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For Thanksgiving Day 2009 - A Poem

Here and Beyond
By Lynne Oakes
Thanksgiving Day 2009

Living on this planet is not an easy matter and so the times that are
Extraordinarily wonderful
Extremely good
Especially precious
Exceptionally beautiful
Ever so succulent
Beyond any physical measure

Become all the more extraordinary for the ugly that is out there.

We try to never let any of it touch our children or ourselves, but
Living here in this place it is not yet possible.

It can be done much better than most think to be true, so
Give it all you’ve got to make it
Especially, extremely, extraordinarily, exceptionally fantastic
Ever so succulent
carrying it
Beyond any physical measure.

It is a sacred trust, a Sacred Trust to make all Life as sweet as you can~
Your own life and the lives of others that
You touch fully or partly or briefly.

If you had no other purpose than that, it would serve.
It is no small thing –creating the very best experiences in the face of
The daunting challenges of this world.

Basically we come down to the only force worth propelling us beautifully forward:

Monday, November 23, 2009


While reflections are quite wonderful and interesting in themselves,
what they do is expand that which they reflect, making even more of it.
In this Thanksgiving week, as we are among family and friends,
we will see reflections of each other.
It's not quite the same thing as a photographic reflection,
but if you look closely, I trust you will
see the best thing of all reflected in the faces that surround you:
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

What I can now see

I couldn't see this tree until earlier this year when my three 80 foot pines were
taken down.
Destruction can make way for new wonders.
This is certainly one of them in my world and I never could see it before those other trees
were gone.
I'm loving the light on the trunk and the changing leaf colors of fall.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stools in Waiting....

There is an old bar and restaurant that I enjoy going to for their truly excellent food.
The restaurant is upstairs and there is a cut out area where you can
look down to the bar as in this photo.

Every time I go, I think of the many years that lives of people that have interconnected in this
place. It could be as many as 100 because this is a vintage
building in a town that has preserved many of its wonderful old places.

To me, that preservation is about art and life interwoven.....

Friday, October 23, 2009

My mother still speaks to me

Yes, my Mother still speaks to me.
It is from the written page in her own hand.
(Click on the image to enlarge and read it!)
Here she presents herself at the beginning of one of her many sketchbooks.
At at the end, she gives me her customary validation.
I always felt so totally accepted and validated by her.
Now that she is no longer in this earthly plane,
I treasure finding her thoughts and words again.
Remember this when you write everything in an email.
There is nothing like the written word on a piece of paper in your hands.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Without and with....

Here's yet another reason why always having my sweet little Olympus camera in my purse
pays off.
There was no one around dressing these dummies and it just seemed a
moment too good to pass by.
Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh Lovely Earth....

Wishing I could make this photo ENORMOUS and put it on a wall somewhere!
When you work up close as artists do, getting space is essential so that you
can keep your viewpoint fresh.
This gorgeous scene was on a light misty rain sort of day in the Maryland countryside.
That's Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.
Well around here, WE call it a mountain!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Even in rain

I attended a concert this summer that was on wonderful open park grounds. Part of the theater is under cover, but then there is very popular lawn area as well.
I passed this scene as we were walking to the theater.
We had just eaten (under cover), but here you see someone who was having their meal only under cover of dripping tree branches and their umbrella.
How it actually felt to be there and how it looked is quite different.
I see romance in this scene as I am not having to directly experience it!
Then I think of what photographers have to do to get their artful shots.
We see the striking end result, never thinking that theyare
suffering heat or freezing cold, cramped waiting, bugs, scary heights,
and lord knows what all.
Artists often make the art they see more important than their comfort.

The Grass is Just as Green

Here is my very own garden.
I see it every day.
Do I SEE it every day?
That's the thing.....LOOK!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Nature Called me

It was 5:45 a.m. earlier this week.
Having gotten up to answer one type of nature's call,
I noticed it was very bright out the window.
And so I saw that nature had called me in yet another way!
I had my camera upstairs with me which isn't always the case.
Being barely awake, I lifted the screen and propped the camera on the
I got this shot and even the stars!
I seek to experience the beauty of this planet wherever and however I find it.
Stars at dawn.
Ummmmmmmmmmmm......nice, very very nice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The possibilities are endless

I carry my bright magenta compact Olympus camera with me all the time.
As I sat at a stoplight on a rainy day last week I was looking out the window at this scene.
I wondered how the camera would capture it and
here you have it!
I have had this small camera for over a year now and
I continue to find new shots to make which wouldn't have occurred to me before.
This is one of those.
Will I make a painting out of it?
Some shots just stand on their own!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I will miss this beauty

Until this past Monday, I could look out my window and see this lovely arm of pine needles on a branch that would sway lightly with the breeze.
Now it is gone, but still I celebrate the beauty it gave me.
Sometimes one has to destroy things in order to create newly.
A hard lesson, but one that is necessary on planet earth.

Elegy for my trees

This is the last day in the life of this enormous pine tree that is between my home and my neighbor's. It is the first in a row of three that goes downhill.
The middle one, which you cannot see here, is dead.
And that lead to evaluating the three of them and the problems such huge trees cause having
grown to maturity in a small space.
The one farthest downhill is leaning toward my neighbor's roof for one thing.
But I LOVE trees and I hate the thought of seeing these living things cut down. Living things that bring me pleasure in their majesty.
They soften the hard lines of the houses.
They sway and whisper in the breeze as pine trees do.
And they hold snow fall better than any tree alive.
Please forgive me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Great Grandpa's awl

I have been working very intensely for the past 6 weeks along with my son. We have been going through many family things that were still in my house.
This is one of many.
We have had the privilege of holding the past in our hands.
My Dad called his Grandfather 'Grandpa Wiggins'. This awl was in a large old wooden tool chest that was my Grandfather's. My Dad told me he used to climb into it when he was just a little feller! And it was still full of so many tools.
I had such a feeling when I picked them up of getting just the tiniest bit of him in my hand.
I saved a file with a handmade handle.
Surely he made that handle.
When he crafted it, he had no idea that one day his great great granddaughter and great great great grandson would be holding it with affection for his work.

Going over things and deciding

When one has lived a lifetime of considerable years and has the taste of an artist, a problem arises.
Too much stuff.
Too much beautiful stuff.
Can that be possible?
Uh-huh, definitely!
Having not only my own beautiful stuff, I have now acquired a great deal of my parent's beautiful stuff and the problem expands!
These lovely glasses are not just beautiful, but were a wedding gift to my parents from my Mother's mother. She had few funds to buy such a wonderful present and I knew that, and so here I see them, a gift of love given some 75 years ago, and I can't part with them.
Even though one glass is missing from the set.
And this is only one example of my dilema.
I'm only ruthless to a point.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nature in two aspects

I have planted flowers in this double planter every year for quite a while.
This year I especially love the colors of this collection.
However, nature can also have her own ideas and timing and in the
second photo, you see the top of a very long branch that landed on
the deck.
Nature does her thing and we continue to seek to
put in order.
It was a day's work with a chain saw.
Enough said.
The planter and contents just sat there continuing to look beautiful and orderly.
That is, after all, what I am seeking to do in life!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bella and Jann

I sit staring at the keyboard trying to think of what to say, what to write, what to do.
Bella is my friend Jann's pet - so well loved by her.

Jann left us suddenly last week in her sleep and all of us who love her are trying to
absorb the un-absorbable.

I think of Bella now and then, knowing that Jann rescued her from a shelter
and made a wonderful life for this luxurious kitty who was afraid
of everything when Jann first got her.

I remember one story Jann told me of Bella wanting to be outside so badly (Jann would be gardening and Bella would be on an upper porch watching) that Bella actually
leapt off that porch a full story up from the ground! Seemed to be no worse for it either!
Then Jann started letting Bella roam about her garden, making sure that Miss B didn't wander off somewhere. That would happen, but Jann kept a tight line of affinity and control on Bella.

I am trusting that Jann, though not here in the physical world, still has a tight line of
affinity on Bella
and on all of us who love her so.

We certainly do have that loveline on her now more than ever.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gifts that grow

My sister, who is a wonderful gardener, brought me iris from her garden some half dozen years ago.

They have bloomed each year, but this year they really took off and I was
able to cut them and enjoy them in this arrangement. And still there were
plenty to grace the garden.
This is one gift that gets better every year.

Thanks Sis.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Attention to detail and 'modern' life

I trust that you will take the time to look at the three photographs I've taken

of this ivory netsuke.

It is 2 inches tall.

I am showing you several angles, because you can't see it in all its marvelous detaill unless you look carefully, turning it in your hand.

There is no part of it that was done in a glib tossed-off manner.

Every single side of it was fully worked out and carved.

The artist had a complete idea and then carried it out for the delight of the user and the viewer.

Netsukes were fashioned to be worn as weights holding the sash in place on the robes of Japanese men in the 17th century.

What I think, as I have admired these tiny exquisitely carved treasures, is that such work in the cultures of the world has been usurped by the relentless march of technology.

It is what we have allowed to happen.

And yet, I think we lose a great deal of needed personal attention to things when we can just fire off an email or watch mindless TV.

I am guilty as anyone, but what I seek to do is to find some balance so that the treasures that can be created and the time to admire and contemplate in the entire 'picture' of life instead of watching it tear by....

Well I think it matters in the short run and the long run.

It is about being present and truly being responsible for

the quality of life that makes it worth living.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Recently a friend of mine said that Lucy was like a person. Then he asked me if I knew why that was so. When I said no, he said it is because I treat her like a person.
OK. So here she is posing for me on the her best angle.
Seems I've got others cooperating to make everything around me look good.
Cool, huh?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring at last!

Spring has finally made up her mind and has shown up to stay!

We had a lot of back and forth days of warmth and coolth and so today we are now fully in the Spring Zone of action!

This is a shot from my home of the lake with a fisherman walking the path to find

the perfect spot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Care for yourself

I am using this photo from my local beauty shop as a symbol of caring for yourself and
your appearance.
That which we present to the world (regardless of how we look first thing in the morning!) is a responsibility. Our personal aesthetic enhances the lives of everyone we meet each day.
I appreciate those I know and those I don't know who look wonderful and "put together".
There is a larger purpose to looking good than just showing off!
It actually makes the lives of others a bit better, even if just for a moment in passing on the street.
Have you not passed a woman in a lovely dress, or a man in a handsome leather jacket and noticed? That is an enhancement to your day!
Here's to looking good and enjoying it in ourselves and others!

Friday, April 10, 2009

This is the sight that greets me in the morning!

My springtime morning wake up scenery!
This gorgeous Bradford pear tree is all abloom now.
It is the largest one I have ever seen.

There is something joyous in seeing the return of pale blossoms after the greys and browns of the winter months.
I am thinking the seasons are passing faster and faster.

Today I came across something my mother wrote in one of her journals ~
Time is a ribbon that unrolls faster with age.

M. Virginia Haussler

Monday, April 6, 2009

Small pleasures

Out to dinner at my favorite Asian place.
The chef/owner did all the decor here as well as choosing the dishes, etc.
This glass has little indentations on the sides so it won't be as likely to slip when you
pick up the glass with its lovely condensation!

Little touches.
Then there is the remarkable way the lemon slice looks through the water.

Click on the image and see for yourself.

It's beautiful.

Little things.

Beautiful little things.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The "WOW" Factor!

All of us have 'stuff'. Lots of stuff. What I try to do is pull together the stuff that looks good together. Usually it is spread around the house and one isn't seeing how those things can relate and create some WOW!

After bringing home these great tulips which were 'wow' in themselves, I put the glittery cloth out, found the vase that is gilded with silver, picked up a leftover bow from a gift that was laying on a side table, re-tied it around the vase, and placed the candle sticks with new yellow tapes to each side. Well that was very attractive, but that evening, when it had gotten dark, I turned on the overhead light and then we really had WOW.
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Friday, March 27, 2009

An unexpected gift

My friend just returned from a trip abroad and brought me this gift.
She thought it was a work of art and I agree.
She told me that she actually had no idea it was white chocolate with dried strawberries on top until later when she took a closer look!
I decided to put it here because the point is -
the art of something is always what grabs one's attention first.
So cloth your life with art and aesthetics and then
be sure that what is contained therein is also beautiful.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Very Edge of Things

In recent months, many friends have lost family members.

I remember how it was for me when my parents died and I hope I have been at least

a little helpful to the ones I have talked to.

Why, you may say, do I have a photograph of a house that is literally hugging the very edge of the road? How does that have anything to do with this subject?

I am thinking that when one has not died themselves, but is hit hard by the loss of a person

dear to them, that is it like being on the edge of life itself.

It can be hard to get the distinction between what happened to the other person

and what is happening to them.

To be able to step back and regain one's sense of Life and one's self and then

to proceed on in the fullness of Life that one actually has and can have again

is the challenge.

To not become the effect of what happened to the other person.

The Beauty in Small Things

This entire arrangement, vase and all, is no bigger than 3 inches.

The blooms are from my early summer garden and in bringing

their early tiny flowers inside, it gave me the promise

of bigger things to come.

So let's celebrate small things that are beautiful and see what

great and gorgeous things may come of them.

Children come to mind.

Go closer

Some posts back, I showed the photo of this whole arrangement including the vase. The vase is no more than three inches high and so you see it is quite the tiny display.

Now to come closer, with the magic of the camera and see yet more

of the beauty of these tiny bits of my garden.

Some years ago when my Dad was still alive, I bought a scanner.

I did it to copy photos onto my computer scrapbook of little snapshots from his childhood.

They were all sepia-toned and rather small. I carefully removed each one and scanned it in.

The wonder of it was that for the first time EVER, these precious shots of days long gone were made larger than he or anyone had ever seen them.

They became a slideshow on my laptop for him and the family.

Small things really treasured and noticed.

Waiting to be chosen

These little guys sit patiently waiting for a student to draw or paint them in one of
my art classes. Sometimes I imbue them with life which is a leftover of
childhood and a fun one at that.
But they are inanimate and I am animate.
They have to wait to be chosen.
I can wait to be chosen.
I should chose.
That's way the better thing to do.

Round and Round!

There's nothing quite so marvelous as a beautiful old carousel. But have you
ever considered as you go round and round in your life that there may be a
tiger right behind you?
That you may get lulled into a sort of stupor because of the apparency of things
being as they always are, and yet, when one is in a sort of haze due to doing
things routinely on automatic that you miss stuff?

You can miss the beautiful stuff and you can miss the stuff that you had better handle.
This is the carousel at Glen Echo Park in Maryland.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Be flexible

OK, so this is a funny photo to go with this idea, but listen!
I am finding as I get older that I get into such grooves that they can turn
into (god forbid) ruts!
Of course each of us has to assess which is which, but I recommend that
we all take a moment from time to time and see what we can change out
from old patterns and get a new look at things from a different viewpoint.
My cat inspires me to consider that even if I am not as physically flexible as she is,
I can be flexible in my life's activities so the grooves don't turn into ruts!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The personal value of visual beauty

Most of us know how we feel when there is a messy room to clean up. Yuck. The disorder of it affects our sense of peace and order. It is soul-satisfying to see it all fixed up.
This is not a small matter.
Continual disorder can reflect our mental state.
Temporary disorder affects our mental state.
When I see the beauty in a sparkly clean wine glass, all the reflections dancing in it, I see order as well. Smudges on the glass would distract from the beauty there.
Disorder distracts us from moving ahead because so much is incomplete that it can
trap us in the past.
I have just completely revamped my office. And now I have the feeling that I can move ahead with my projects, instead of having to override what is unaddressed and confusing.
I salute order, and in order there is much beauty to be found.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I took this photograph a few summers ago near the home where I grew up on Long Island, New York. It wasn't until later when I saw the actual photo that I could see the effects the light caused on the water.
Please do click on this image because you will see the sparkle magnified and gorgeous!
Today I am making a case for sparkling. Being sparkling oneself...whatever that may
mean to you. To me, it means being of good cheer and really meaning it.
I am happy most of the time because I am doing what I love and am surrounded
by people I love and who love me.
It makes a difference in the amount of sparkle one can muster.
So the more you get your ideal life in place, the more you will find it easy
to sparkle.
It has to be real, not put on, and yet sometimes I make a decision to sparkle
in the face of unfortunate circumstances or news. I've certainly had some
in the last few weeks and so I decided I would not stay stuck in these various matters,
but would consciously grab back my sparkle so that I would
1. Enjoy my self
2. Be good for others
Do whatever you have to so that you can polish off the dullness and shine with your
true self.

Networks of Strength

I have heard a great deal of sad news in the last two weeks. Just way too many losses of people for many reasons, not all of them from death. Under the circumstances, I have had to take a very big dose of my own prescription to overcome the feelings associated with all this. But I have also had the opportunity to be of service to some of those who have suffered losses and so I have been finding my own way through it to this point of view which I am expressing here today.

In order to not get stuck in the heaviness that loss can trigger, we must have networks of strength that we continue to create throughout our lives. These are the people that are truly positive and who do not minimize life's difficulties, yet they do not get mired in it and stay there, sinking lower and lower.

Find and make those connections and build them so that you will have the spirit-filled space you need when it seems that all the air was sucked out of your own. We can expand the free calm space of others by adding our own. When we need that from them, then it will be there.

I have chosen the tops of these trees against the sky to illustrate a network of strength. Without the gifts of the air, sky and sun, the network of branches that makes up the tree would look up and out and find your own networks of strength for the give and take which makes life what it is....a team effort.
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Create Magic

I wish to invite you to create magic, to find magic, to look for it all around you.
These are times when magic seems in short supply, but it is only because you have stopped putting it out there, or at least enjoying what magic you find!
You are the one who can drop down into despair as well as the one who can simply affirm your own truth, the one that you want to have!
So just grab hold and say, This is me!
I can do this!
I'm in charge of the quality and magic of my life!
I do not, however, seem to be in charge of the way this blog is putting my text and photos together. Well that's not so bad! I did take this photo and now you see something magical that I caught in the window of a restaurant near where I live.
You see, magic is all around you. If you smile, it the magic will start right there on your face!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Necessity of Contemplation - a disappearing art

This is the view out my studio window on a late winter's afternoon.

I do my best to not let the demands of the life I have created eat up the moments when I can just look and take in something beautiful.

I had friends for dinner last night and we were talking about how the demands of life in these times has practically obliterated moments of quiet contemplation and reflection. While their young son had his cell phone with him, he didn't let it interrupt our being together as friends.

The dinner table was set with candles and flowers. I had chosen a CD of quiet piano music and after weeks of intense work around here, the evening seemed almost like stepping into a church sanctuary off a busy city street.

If we don't allow ourselves uninterrupted time for our thoughts and conversations to flow, I believe there is an unknown and sorry consequence to be had for us all.

So here is to contemplation and its gifts.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Take a seat!

Each year is it a new delight to see how snow will transform the things
we get so used to that we tend not to see them anymore.
It is the happiness we had as children to see how the white fluff coats our world
changing the mundane into the magical.
And so I invite you to take a seat and enjoy the visual
pleasures of winter's gifts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Look UP!

I have put this entire photo on here so you can see what I was doing last summer. Having a love affair with the most amazing cloud formations that went on and on and on day after day. My artist friends would call me and we would remark on what we had seen. Just quite the unusual show. You can see that I was in the car and I must admit propping the camera on the steering wheel to catch some of what was happening. Not recommended.

But I am writing today because I want you to LOOK UP! You may be missing that amazing flock of birds, or a rainbow or an icicle about to land on you....

Sometimes what is out there in our environment is so spectacular that it fairly shouts at you to this whipped cream glory of clouds.

Paying attention

Why would I choose this photograph as my first posting for this blog?
I could have just as well had a sunset as my first entry, but then I thought it way too obvious!
As I walked up to the restaurant to meet some friends for dinner, I saw this scene. The lighting was wonderful and sort of subtle. The girl at the table lent a human presence to it that would have otherwise made it seem like a magazine ad. And I loved the repetitive rectangles throughout.
I bought a purse-sized camera last year and I am never without it. I find a huge array of possibilities in my world. Some I just admire.
Some are inspiration for my painting.
See what you can see in your every day world!