Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brown Paper Packages

Now that the leaves have fallen, the bones of the trees are once more visible. And, suspended high above in one of the backyard trees, is a wasp nest. After the initial surprise, I was able to appreciate (from afar) the beauty of this creation. This nest is made from paper made by the wasps. The swirls and spirals a work of art. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

(s)now day!

For the first time in many years, we are having snow in December. One of the gifts of a snow day (besides the fact that I don't have to go to school) is that snow days seem to change time. Events are cancelled, errands put aside, and it is ever so much easier to tuck in and read a book or paint or dream. I am able to find the 'now' in a (s)now day which is especially important in this extra busy season.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

To market, to market!

I love to create. Working with the creations to move them from my studio space into the wide world is not something I am as adept with. In less than two weeks, I will be doing a holiday art market in Highlandtown, Baltimore. Before that happens, all of the pieces that are going need to be photographed, priced, and packed up. Big work! Exciting work! I am hopeful that this will create for me a bit more shelf space for new creations. Stop by if you are in the area...12/7/13, 10am - 6pm at  3402 Gough Street, Baltimore, MD 21224!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Loonacy of Pottery

Pottery is an art form with much potential and possibility for frustration. Things crack or get bumped; glazes are applied too thick or too thin. Another piece in the kiln blows up and the debris rains on your own--or vice versa. This week when I got to the studio, my loon plates were out of the glaze firing. With trepidation, I walked to the shelf and found that they were...just as I had hoped...(and pottery is all about hope!) The paint and glaze worked and nothing foreign was permanently baked in during the firing. And this is the loonacy of pottery. This is what keeps me in clay. For all the pieces that don't meet my inner expectation, there are those that do. And when they do (and even when they don't), I can't wait to create the next hope filled piece.

Monday, November 11, 2013

S(no)w Chance

For the first time this season, snow is in the forecast! Well...there is a snowflake symbol on the forecast for tomorrow. There really is s(no)w chance of accumulation or even a late opening for school--but--the possibility got me painting! Instead of the usual snowman, I found  myself painting a small snow angel. Stay tuned to see if we see any flakes tomorrow--and to see how this ornament turns out. One of the interesting aspects of using underglazes is that the paints change when, I am never really sure how something will turn out!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lens of Inspiration

Last night I had the opportunity to attend an opening for an art show by Paula Reynolds, a local photographer. The photographs are stunning and strong. Large scale photographs of waves, inlit windows at a steel mill, and autumnal wheat and corn adorn the walls. There is much to be gained by simply walking into the room and taking in the varied images. The power in attending the opening, for me, was to hear the artist speak about her work and the under stories that are reflected in each series. The wheat fields were then transformed into a portrait of a person and a time. A context was provided which gave another dimension to these beautiful pieces. The beauty was also present in the responses of those in attendance. It was a community experience of sharing stories of how people process the events in their lives. I left inspired to continue to create artwork that answers the questions in my own life.

If you have the chance, be sure to see the show. It is at First and Franklin Presbyterian Church through December.
Photo by Paula Reynolds

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Open to Wonder

Halloween is fast approaching and my second grade teaching partner and I have decided that in order to meet the demands of the new curriculum and standards we need to have super powers. This led to a decision to be super heroes for Halloween. Naturally, Wonder Woman was the logical choice--not only because she must be able to work wonders as a superhero, but because we often wonder how we will make it through the year with all of these new demands and obstacles. In the creation of the costumes (which is filling my need for artistic expression in this busy season), I found myself wondering what super powers were attributed to the original Wonder Woman. I learned that she is known as a skilled fighter for justice, love, and peace. One of her accessories is a 'Lasso of Truth' which compels anyone within her realm to be honest. She also has a tiara which can not only be used as a boomerang type weapon, but also as a means of communicating telepathically with ancient wisdom. Apparently, she even wears earrings that allow her to breathe in outer space. Perhaps she is a more fitting choice than I knew. So, I will don my costume on Thursday, and will try to carry her powers into Friday and beyond--along with my sense of wonder!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beauty on All Sides

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be at the beach. After a picture perfect October day the sun began to set. The clouds enhanced the bright colors and it was exquisite.

It was difficult to turn away from the painted sky as the darkness began to deepen, until...a fellow observer began to hop up and down and point in the opposite direction. Upon turning, we saw an enormous full moon rising over the ocean. 

To be so surrounded by such beauty was truly awesome. I am filled with gratitude for the person who called me from what I perceived as loss of the day to the promise of a moonlit evening. Beauty often awaits on all sides if we are just able to turn and look.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back Behind the Wheel

This summer I had a break from working on the wheel. This allowed me to paint some of the pieces from last spring that I had not had the opportunity to finish, and it also gave me time to explore oil painting. Tonight I will be back in the studio and I am looking forward to getting my hands back in the clay. I plan to start with plates, a pitcher, and some more reindeer! I will also be able to glaze the painted pieces and get them moving towards the shop. Now if I could just find a way to add additional hours to the day so that I could do all the things I would like to do!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's In a Name?

Recently, people have been asking about the name Turning True Studios. As I began to entertain the prospect of opening a shop on etsy, I decided that I needed a name for my artistic endeavors. Despite the fact that pottery is what I have traditionally sold, I wanted a name that would encompass more than my work with clay. So, I thought and thought and thought some more--and then, when I stopped thinking, a name and an image dropped into my lap: Turning True Studios. I find that if I can just get out of my own way, much of what I need is waiting in the moment! Pottery requires that the clay be turned on the wheel to a place that is centered and true for a vessel to be formed, I tend to turn my canvases as I work to paint my treescapes as they do not have an obvious top or bottom,  and my alphabet rocks require being turned around to show their letters (more on those later). Studios refers to the fact that there is more than one medium in which I work. I liked that the hand and the spiral form my initials as well! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Why I Still Need a Coffee Table

Last spring while looking for a coffee table, I found a giraffe. There was something in the curve of the nose and the knobby knees that said ‘pick me!’ And so I did. What I failed to understand was the challenge of painting wicker. So, one of my more time consuming projects this summer was to dab yellow paint onto a rather large giraffe with a very small brush. Fortunately, the giraffe is quite good at standing still. The overall look is now yellow--with a number of white highlights still shining through. Then as if that wasn’t tough enough, spots were deemed necessary. Also challenging! Needless to say, next time I go looking for coffee tables, I plan to keep my eyes low! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

From Treescapes to Landscapes

This summer I once again returned to paint with my aunt. It was another deeply wonderful time. I brought my brushes, paints, and photographs and planned to paint trees. However, we started with flowers (see Ocean Afternoons) and moved on to the marsh. I was able to transfer my new found skills and confidence from painting trees to painting flowers, marshes, and mountains. The pull to paint is strong and I am enjoying gathering photos from favorite places to paint and I will surely need to schedule a ‘business’ trip to California to spend some more time with the trees that led me to painting. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Along the Way

Last April I went to California for the first time over spring break. It was on a walk through Golden Gate Park, in search of buffalos and windmills, that I noticed these trees that had beautiful stripes of color--a variety of eucalyptus tree (blue-gum or rainbow). I was smitten! Over 100 pictures came home with me and I began to paint. I found freedom in creating paintings of small sections of these trees. They are abstract, and yet, they are not. The paintings are true to the trees that stand in the park as they were on a sunny spring day. I am able to focus on color, line, and composition without being tied to the preconceived vision of lemon or beach. 

My studio is quickly filling with tree portraits and I am pulled to the easel to paint at every possible moment. I am grateful for the long walk that led me to these trees--and to finding joy in painting. When walking with an open mind and a camera, who knows what there is to be discovered!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It all started with some trees...

I have long been interested in painting, but up until this summer I have not stuck with it beyond a week of watercolor at Ghost Ranch or a few acrylic paintings here and there. Two summers ago I spent several days in Georgia with my aunt who is an avid oil painter. I have long admired her work and thought that it would be fun to paint with her. It was a deep and wonderful time and it seemed that perhaps I would continue painting when I got home from that trip. I gathered the necessary equipment and did a few paintings, but didn’t find the pull to paint compelling me to pick up a brush. I struggled with conveying my subject with oil paint in a manner that would match the vision I had in my head. When painting a lemon, I wanted the end result to say lemon. When painting the beach--beach. So, the easel sat in the corner of my studio and waited for me to visit San Francisco. It was there that I found the trees...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Living Words

As an artist, I find visuals--both found and created--help me to make sense of the world around me. They often also serve as reminders or touchstones for what I would like to do or be. Last Friday I found myself sifting through the many hued colors in my extensive collection of paint chips. I gathered words that speak to the qualities I wish to take in to this new year: true blue, mindful, flexible gray, and grounded to name a few. My hope is that when I stop in to my studio room to pick up my bags for school, I can also pick up a few words to live by for the day. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


No New Year's celebration would be complete without a resolution or two to take into the coming days. As this school year begins, the one resolution that I would like to focus on is to intentionally make space each day for art. In the past I have found it to be quite easy to get caught up in school work or exhaustion and arrive at the end of the week without so much as an artistic thought. This year I want to commit to at least a few moments of art each day. I think that the time given to art will, in fact, support my success and well being in all areas of my life. When I looked at the word resolution as I began typing tonight, the word 'solution' jumped out at me. Art is often an answer or solution for me in my life. I hope that this is one (re)solution I can keep!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Year's Eve...again

Unlike most people, New Year’s Eve is not a holiday that I celebrate just once a year. Sure, I  toast the ending of one calendar year and the promise held for the next as December rolls into January with everyone else, but that is not the only time of year that this happens for me. I am a teacher. In June, on the eve of summer vacation, I pack up my classroom, reflect on the accomplishments of the school year, and bid farewell to my students. And summer begins. 

Today is the next New Year’s Eve. School starts for me tomorrow. The boxes will be unpacked, the desks readied, and many of my waking hours will once again be filled with the care and feeding of second graders. It is hard to give up summer’s freedom, and  teaching is my vocation. So, with resolutions for a year of depth, wonder, and efficiency in hand I dust off my lunchbox, pick out my clothes, and pack my book bag for the adventure that this new year holds! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

And so it begins!

Today is the day that the first item in my etsy shop hits the road for a new home! One of my little snowman pins is heading north. It was an exciting morning finding a box and making a package for the post office. May it be the first of many!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What a difference the gray makes!

I have just finished loading new pictures on to my Etsy shop. As hoped for, the gray cloth provides a more polished background. Removing all the glare is still a challenge, but the pieces do sparkle which is part of their appeal! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

One Shade of Gray

Opening an Etsy shop requires a lot of attention to detail and work that does not feel like art. While it may not feel like art--the details are actually very much about art. Photographing my pottery was a challenge. I found that the best background on hand was the hammock. The background was seamless and the pottery could relax a bit as long as I kept it from swinging too wildly. The photos are adequate, and allowed me to meet my goal of opening the shop, but they do leave room for improvement. So, off to the fabric store I went today to search for a new option. This shade of gray is a beautiful suede that was on the clearance rack. Hopefully, the pottery will like relaxing on this as well as the hammock, and the photos will be more about pottery and less about the fabric. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lightening and Lightning

Arriving home from nearly two weeks of being away brings with it a need for lightening. Many, many bags have been unloaded from the car and unpacked. The laundry is underway. A menu for the week has been planned around a need to lighten the weight from vacation eating. To assist with that plan, all of the contents of the refrigerator have had to be tossed as a result of a lightning strike which caused a problem over the weekend and lots of warm food. Fortunately, the freezer in the other room was unaffected and the house itself seems fine. So, today I restocked the fridge with choices more aligned to my lightening plan! A visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater over the weekend also speaks to a need for lightening. It is said that he didn't like to include garages, basements, or attics in his designs as they tend to make people hold on to clutter. He often built furniture into the rooms or walls so that it could not be moved to reduce the 'need' to add more to what was deemed adequate in the original plan. As I reestablish myself at home this week, I hope to look around this space with an eye towards bringing additional lightness.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Marsh Mornings

While it has rained in the afternoons, the mornings have been beautiful! Early morning bike rides are a spectacular way to start the day.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ocean Afternoons

The ocean is getting more full by the minute as it has rained the past two afternoons. I, too, am filling up with the joy and stretching that come from afternoons spent painting.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Departure or Arrival?

I am ready to once again set out on a long car trip (only a bit over 700 miles this time). Am I leaving home or arriving at the opportunity to journey beyond? Arriving at the ocean will be a departure from my usual setting and I look forward to embracing the possibilities that await. But first, many hours of I-95! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pottery and potatoes!

One potato, two potato, three potato, I harvested the first of the red potatoes and they are beautiful! My problem with fresh produce is that I often would rather create with it than eat it. Hopefully, I will be able to satisfy my need to create with a few pictures and then relent to scrubbing these up and serving them with a little salmon and a salad perhaps!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


When throwing on the potter's wheel you start with a lump of clay. The clay must first be centered on the wheel--but it is still a lump of clay at that point. It is only in opening that the lump can be transformed into something other. A bowl, vase, plate, mug, planter, cup, or jar all start with the act of opening; fingers pressed to the center move the clay to its new shape. This weekend, I have opened a shop on Etsy. This opening also leads to a new shape as I work to move my artwork into a broader space. On the wheel, the piece must remain centered as it is opened and throughout the entire process for a piece with integrity to emerge. Pottery is an excellent metaphor for life as the same is very true for us as well. Center, open, transform, and keep coming round to the center for integral peace.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Finally, the chairs that I painted last fall have been sealed and are ready for the yard. This week's weather is perfect for sitting in the garden with a tall glass of lemonade. Ahhhhh, summer!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Befriending Time

As another week draws to a close, I am challenged by how to best respond to the speed with which summer is slipping by. Whether measured in minutes, days, seasons, or years, time seems too often in short supply. What I am coming to understand is that when I worry about time's passing, I lose the minutes that I do have to be in this summer season. Each moment, there is an opportunity to be present or to wonder where the time has gone. And so, I begin again to be in time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Nothing says summer like a vase of zinnias fresh from the yard!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The other day, I posted pictures of possibility. Today I wanted to share how some of those spaces are filling in--and filling me up. Spending time with a paint brush and pot of paint is quite full-filling!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shelf Life

I have often found that when my outer spaces are organized my inner spaces tend to be more organized as well. Today, I turn my attention to the tall bookshelf that holds all my pottery. The contents of this shelf are beyond capacity and the pieces spill out across the floor. There is no organization here! As I move toward opening a shop on Etsy, I know that the life of this shelf needs to become a bit more ordered. Feels better already--outside and in!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I combined a trip to Artscape today with a trip to the art supply store for canvas and white paint. Seeing the work of other artists always makes me want to come home and create! These are some of the blank spaces awaiting me that are a beautiful picture of possibility. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Arming Snowmen

This week Baltimore has been embroiled quite literally with a heat wave. It seemed to be the perfect moment to begin ‘arming snowmen’. This project does not need to be finished until the seasons roll round to winter, but today--just the idea of snowmen makes it just a bit cooler.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

After posting my first entry yesterday I woke up this morning with this question: What was I thinking? A blog?? And, there is excitement about this project along with the incredulity. So, here is the thinking that supports this project: I am wanting to be more intentional with using my time to engage in art and hope that this process will facilitate both clarity and accountability, I am also opening a shop on Etsy with my pottery and hopefully some other creations and thought that a blog would be an additional way to connect with visitors to that site. It is also my wish to connect with others--not only to share what I am doing, but also to get to know what they are doing.

Poetry is often how I arrange words to know about the world. This poem written last spring speaks to this (ad)venture into the world of blogging and stepping into this space where I hope that I can both define and explore life as I know it to be.

The Key

the key 
to opening
any door
on one’s willingness
and courage
to move

is necessary
a turn 

a push

a pull

a step

the waiting
with arms full
of possibility

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Arrival or Departure?

It seems that life is often about arrivals and departures. For me, it is sometimes a challenge to tell them apart. Last Saturday I drove 919 miles. I left one home and headed for another. It was a long journey, but a familiar one. I had the GPS and I had traveled this way many times before. I knew the places to stop, the places where the road was curvy and where it was wide and straight. Today, I am embarking on a different journey. There is no map and I do not know the final destination--or even how I will know when I reach it. I am setting out in the moment and will tune in to see the sights along the way. Travel in this manner is certainly a departure from how I generally move through my days--and, it is an arrival as well!