When does your year begin?


Last summer, in Paris I secretly photographed this gentleman and his faithful companion, waiting patiently in line at a boulangerie. Wonder what a day is like for them and does one season melt into the next? Does their year begin after the Summer Soldes?


When does your year begin? September is often a marker for many of us. The first day of school: new clothes, new supplies, new friends and new experiences. January is a logical starting point as well. My August birthday has always been my “beginning.” And while celebrating my birthday always brings up many emotions, mostly positive (I’m starting another trip around the sun!) and a few negative (my dad, Merrill May died four days before my 11th birthday (quite some time ago – obviously – but still the memory is bittersweet), I use this yearly marker to assess where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Art wise I’m becoming more confident in my processes and mediums – encaustics are more or less turning out as I envision them – working with hot wax, while still challenging, is more predictable.



Cold wax, not so much. Learning to mix oil paints and create abstract interpretations of my inner visions is still a struggle. Work is often put aside until I can figure out where it needs to go, as in the piece below, “In the Distance.” Can’t begin to tell you how many variations this work went through (or how many layers of wax and paint exist under the topmost one). It’s like an archeological dig – scrape the surface and surprises await!


When not in the studio, the rest of my life continues on a pretty even keel. I travel, eat great meals and share good times with family and friends. At a recent event I took many photographs of these lovely koi – gracefully swimming under and around lily pads. I love how they shared their beauty and were unaware of what was above them or where their lives were going. Totally blissful.



This wall exists here in Portland and I love textures and peeling paint. It’s old and still hanging in there. Nuff said.

Almost done . . .

resting reindeer at Swanson's in Seattle

resting reindeer at Swanson’s in Seattle

I have a love/hate relationship with December. I love the lights and all the other trappings of the season: the gathering of family members, the baking, the eating, the drinking . . . I love/hate the last minute production of work for holiday shows, the late nights, the darkness that sets in at 4:30, the chowing down of forgotten meals. Bits and pieces of cashmere sweaters litter the studio floor as I finish up 20 more pairs of finger-less gloves.

However relief is in sight! Saturday, December 13 (12.13.14 – I love it) marks the end of my selling season. After a day of rest (Sunday) I’ll start creating our holiday cards and finishing up gifts for family and friends. Lucile (my trusty Bernina) will go to the shop for a software update and tuneup. Our sweet daughter will be coming home, family will arrive from hither and yon and all will be right in my world. January will come soon enough and I’ll begin again.

finger-less felted cashmere gloves

finger-less felted cashmere gloves


Wish I knew every photograph’s story . . .




After my mother’s death in the fall of 2007, my brother and I emptied her Florida home. As we sorted through stuff we were surprised to find out that our mom, Audrey, had some major packrat tendencies. Phone books dating from the ’60s and ’70s took up a corner in her closet. She had 14 bathing suits in various stages of decay (she walked in the community pool with her “noodle” every day, weather permitting). An antique marble-topped dresser next to her bed was crammed with papers, pictures, cards and more.

Our baby pictures and color photos we’d sent her of our daughters throughout the years shared space with small black & white snapshots of high school chums, girl friends from her art school days in New York City and dapper young men in WWII army uniforms. Report cards from our elementary days were in folders next to numerous typewritten resumes (with carbons). They belonged to our father, Merrill, who died in 1964 when I was 10. Job inquiries, yellowed newspaper clippings of her fashion illustrations, matchbooks, her wedding announcement with the Crane’s engraving plate and other documents that were obviously precious to her were nestled in the dresser. Our history mingled with hers in four wooden drawers.

Most of her belongings; clothes, furniture and knick-knacks were sold, while paintings, silver and china were shipped west to Portland and Seattle. Audrey’s small red rolling suitcase was filled to capacity with the treasure trove from the bedside chest.

Yesterday, when I opened it, looking for items to copy to incorporate in my encaustic art, I was struck with how little I actually knew of her life. We didn’t have a close relationship so I know the big stuff, but who are these saddle-shoed teenagers she’s goofing with? Who’s the bearded old gentleman in the pith helmet next to the plow horse? What are the pictures of clouds about? The tiny details that make up who she was are lost to me and what I’m left with are images of people and things that mattered most to her. I could be cynical and liken all the items in the dresser to the phone book cache – stuff she just never got rid of – but I don’t think I will.

thankful for everything that is here

We’re all back home after a busy Thanksgiving holiday in Portland. The trips down and back up the slab (I-5) were relatively painless. Our kitties (Henry is pictured above) were quite content during our absence as they were well-cared for by Miss Sophie. Wonderful food, family, friends and a little shopping at some favorite local stores filled our days in the Rose City.

Rain played a BIG role in this past week’s weather. Could barely see the garden and we thought that Lake Ballard was being created at the feet of our flamingos, Della and Perry.

Today’s drive home was quick and sun-filled. Seattle’s skyline looks mighty fine, even through the windshield.  The Solumination Holiday Sale is this coming weekend – December 1 & 2 and our Spark Studio Holiday Sale the following one. Would love to see you at either venue! Tomorrow I’ll be back to work AND thankful for everything!

There’s always something on the table

Way behind on this week’s 52photo project prompt. Last Thursday’s breakfast . . . actually on the counter ’cause the table’s always full of stuff.

Love this photo memory – dinner at the beach house  . . .  good wine, fabulous friends and family, delicious food and glassybabys . . . what could be better?

Saying goodbye and hello in September

While scrolling though my photos I came upon pictures taken at my friend Susan’s family farm in New Hampshire. Saying goodbye to August and hello to September is always easier when I’ve got memories of fine summer days / dear friends to keep me warm when the weather turns.

Opening and closing this screened door generated a wonderful ‘creaking’ sound. It’s the best summer sound!

The lavender’s scent penetrated the house.

A late afternoon shower cooled the air and rewarded us with a perfect rainbow.

Sharing delicious food and wine with friends . . . what could be better? Week 20 – 52 photos project – Doorways.

Holding on to each precious moment

“It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed!” . . . “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?”

This week’s 52 Photos Project prompt, A Moment in Life, called to mind Emily Webb’s final speech in Thorton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town. Sharing favorite photos of those nearest and dearest to me and remembering these moments allows me to hold tight to each and every one!

Biking with my sweet husband Robert is always a treat. Biking on a stunningly beautiful Seattle day . . . even more so!

My wonderful nieces Majken and Hanna and fabulous daughter Hattie cavorting in their new pjs (which they’ve received every Christmas eve for the past 20 years). 2011’s ensemble featured owls – an homage to Harry Potter – one of their favorite books. Trowser, the cousin’s Irish Terrier was not so thrilled.

My gal pals, Jeanette and Robin, cooling off in a North Carolina river during our cross-country drive.

My amazing brother, and travel buddy, J.S. enjoying the sun, good wine and more in Sonoma.

Hattie and Miss Winnie Cooper goofing in the kitchen.

Henry, our newest family member is a rescue kitten from Kitty Harbor.

Rose, a wily, endearing Irish Terrier, while no longer with us, occupies a warm spot in my heart.

Todays’s Iphone pix from Ravenna Gardens. Moments to hold in my mind (and photo stream) for sure.