Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet wrinkles

Is there a face you find especially dear? One whose wrinkles grow sweeter with every passing year?

This wonderful woman was my grandma's friend, my mother's confidante, my own dear second mama now that mine is gone.

Her visit this week made me think: What kind of mentor am I to younger women? What sort of elderly woman will I someday be?

Her body is fragile as thin old porcelain, but her cheerful spirit hasn't changed a bit. She's so positive and kind hearted.

And when she left yesterday, knowing it was likely our last goodbye, for me it was a four kleenex farewell.

I adore each and every wrinkle on this wonderful woman's face.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hiking in the Cascades

Autumn is more lovely here than anywhere else I know.

The foliage is just beginning to look like fall and snow is forecast for the mountains on Tuesday.

So we took advantage of Sunday's brilliant blue skies, packed into Jim & Becky's jeep and tootled up the Mount Baker Highway toward the glaciers.

There we found mushrooms, huckleberries, the last of the blueberries hiding in foliage already turning the mountains to scarlet...

A hint of chill in the air didn't scare the bees away, though they were drowsy.

Ferns are dying back but the bronze tones were inspiring... I never thought to do ferns in these shapes. I never thought of turning their dainty tufts back in fancy curls like these either.

True confessions: I ate like a bear headed for hibernation, stuffing myself on tiny gems like this one. What a burst of flavor.

We returned refreshed. What glories we saw today.

Everyday miracles. Wow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking up

Sometimes it's hard not to fall prey to concentrating on the everyday nitty gritty.

You, know, the ever-present to-do list.

I haven't reached the bottom of mine in longer than I can remember.

But just about the time I'm about to sink in the mire of discouragement, something causes me to look up.

Yesterday it was the sky.

And suddenly my whole perspective changed.

Somehow the mundane "must-do-today" list became less overwhelming in the face of the glories around me.

Sky. Sunset. Light and shadow.

The changing seasons. Crisper air, shorter days.

Deep breaths.

It'll all get done. Perspective, that's the thing.

Remembering that my best is all I've got to give, and it's good enough. It's okay to make time to stop for a minute or two to simply enjoy being alive in such a beautiful world.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I wondered what was going on... why were only two of our hens laying?

The little chicken yard is home to contented clucking and much pecking at the scraps I toss in along with the chicken scratch.

So why only a few eggs?

Mystery solved. Brian found a clutch of eggs tucked between the ferns and bleeding heart beside the studio door (how did I not see this???)

It was that hen who has been escaping from the pen with regularity.

Caught and taken home again to the coop, she is the epitome of righteous indignation.

"I will not suffer this kind of treatment!" she seems to say, glaring at me.

She has been pacing all afternoon.

It's funny to think I am doing battle with a chicken and losing. As the evidence shows, she has been out to lay her eggs almost under my nose every day for six days and me none the wiser.

But since I've just finished a Partridge in a Pear Tree and moving on to Three French Hens I think the timing is impeccable!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A partridge...

This morning the studio's full of the twelve days of Christmas.

Seven swans are swimming, six geese are laying, and there's a partridge sketched in the middle of the pear tree. Hurrah. Previews coming soon...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday favorites!

Like a powerful dye, images seem to stain my imagination and creep into my work.

Angles, shades, shapes...

These are some of the things I've found captivating this month.

What's tickling your creative spot lately? What's inspiring you?

And if you blog, how about posting your blog address in a comment so we can check out your own personal inspirations.

Tag, your turn! What inspires you?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Self portrait

This picture shows exactly how cut a silhouette. I grab a scissors and cut out what's in my head.

The method is simplicity itself but actually doing it is not.

I was asked to give a head shot for a magazine article this week but thought, "oh, YAWN!!! How absolutely boring."

So I sent a portrait of my hands instead.

I think it's more "me." Hands, definitely my best feature.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sharyn goes to the Waldorf Astoria... sort of!

Recently I did some art for Orlando's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

This is their new Bull & Bear Bar. Doesn't it look chic?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feeling like a farmgirl

I grew up in the Los Angeles area.

Pure city girl.

So you can understand how miraculous it seems that I'm feeling that farm girl joy.

Gathering fresh eggs from the chicks we got at Easter. (Wasn't it just yesterday they were fluffy chicklets? And now those adorable hens are laying beautiful brown eggs for our breakfast!)

Walking down the road to feed Becky's horses while she's away and sniffing the barn air like it were a fine wine.

Wearing boots like I mean it.

Picking summer's fading produce and proudly watching my pumpkins plump.

I'm feeling like a farm girl today. And grinning.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Early autumn in garden & woods

Autumn arrived Saturday in the gardens and woodlands of the Pacific Northwest.

Blackberries are ripe in hedges and along the edges of fields.

In gardens and farm stands, the array of produce is enough to make a cook swoon.

The apples on our trees tempt me to pies and sauces, and I'm roasting pears sprinkled with brown sugar and nutmeg for a scrumptious dessert tonight.

Some of our food comes from the labor of our own hands...

Some from the hands of farmers like Steve and Aaron.

Some, like the juiciest of blackberries, we forage at the edge of the woods. Emily and I were out on Saturday afternoon stuffing ourselves and bringing home more to share with the family.

We're savoring the last of the basil and tomatoes, corn and berries and welcoming the apples and pears. What a delight to live according to the seasons, to sniff the damp morning air and smile at the chill.

The grapes are ripe in our garden and the farms around us, and I have to admit that while I love to pop them into my mouth and let the juice trickle down my chin, I find the visions of light and beauty even sweeter.

Welcome, fall. Summer was grand but we're ready for a beautiful autumn. I can't wait to jump in a pile of leaves and dance in the rain.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I've always wanted wings, haven't you?

Longed to soar and feel the wind lifting me...

Ached to be weightless.

And wings themselves are just so gorgeous.

All of which has me thinking...

There are other methods of leaving the whole world behind, other ways of flying.

Even earthbound we can soar and be beautiful, suck every morsel of sweetness from ordinary moments.

I just need to slow down a bit and keep the right point of view.