Wishes and Dreams 2018

This past year, Life have again given me a big curve, never allowing me to follow where I go. But I still try, it curves around again and again. Never managing to get to where I need to go.

This upcoming year, I am hoping it will be the good one, if not better.  I am currently working on several different ideas including drawing, painting, writing and gardening of all things.  But I still want  to thank everyone, who glanced, read and skimmed through my not so numerous posts for the past few years.  

Some of you may recall my previous post from December 2016 regarding my family Christmas traditions and the Grinch https://monasheevalley.blog/2016/12/22/winter-memories-and-the-grinch/ and  other posts from Feb 2017 about a partial scene from a short story that I wrote years and years ago, https://monasheevalley.blog/2017/02/02/febuary-notes/ . I had several good responses about them from readers like you that enjoyed them.

And now, this is my Gift to you.  It came to me as a dream, months ago, and it haunted me for the longest time. To get it out of my mind, I had to write it down completely. It sort of sparkled  in my mind after working on it for months now.

Dreams and Wishes

He waited, sitting in a chair inside the lobby where I worked for many years when I first saw him.

With his backpack, full of stuff and grimy from the roads, he looked like he traveled for years on end by the looks of him. An old Indian, with somewhat a familiar face to me, I couldn’t place it right away. Perhaps 85 years old, give and take 15 years. He stood up when he saw me coming through the door, I had no choice, but to go into his embrace.

”I looked for you for many a year now. I tried to keep my promise to your dad.

You are still lost in this lifetime.” He told me quietly. Seeing the real me underneath the facade I have been wearing for sometime now.

He stank of road dust, grime and other scents that I did not want to know or speak of. But I did not care- I finally recognized him, by close up and the voice of his. Smooth dark and a strong speaking voice.

Big Jim, my dad’s oldest and dearest friend, I have not seen him since my dad’s funeral and wake 20 odd years ago.

I had vaguely remembered him coming up to me and said something like to the effect, follow your dreams, Dad approves, after the service.

At the time, I didn’t pay much attention to him and his words. My attention was on the funeral and the guests.

I remember Dad had always said, trust Big Jim when he tells you something and listen hard.

Dad’s friends had always crossed many barriers of culture and race. The funeral at the time, reflected it, Childhood friends from Chinese, Mennonite, local characters and many others came to pay respects to Dad. They loved him and respected his life, he had in return respected their cultures and traditions but never assumed his way was the best way.

I always had assumed it was the way he was raised by his parents, my grandparents,  and the willingness to learn new ideas. But the best way to do this, is to be raised with them all.

The orchards and farms did not discriminate from another culture to another, they all grew up knowing each other culture. Having enough food to last through winter and spring in the harshest time of winter, all of them helped out when needed through health and Mother Nature’s whims when food became scarce during its worse times. They all had experienced it one time or another.

Big Jim, here, smaller and shorter than what I remembered. His travels showed on his face. Lined in sorrow and something else?

‘I dreamed of you and your dad Jimmy for months now, the Irish, bull headed and the most stubborn man, He made me travel all the way to here to tell you his message.”

We were standing in lobby where fellow employees and customers are looking at us. My business suit told them that I work here. My visitor? No.

‘ Lets go to my office, I have tea and sandwiches for you,’ to Big Jim. Seeing this might come to be a private affair not for the public.

Big Jim, after looking around at the lobby, my co workers are looking at us, and wondering who is he? not a customer or client.

He tried to get up but almost collapse to the floor before forcing his body to obey him. I steadied him when he tried to stand up.

“Shall I get that?  I motioning to the pack back and grabbing the top handle to swing it over my shoulder and back. It was heavy and bulky too.

‘ Too heavy for you,’ Big Jim said with a smile.

I can carry that pack back, Remember?

‘I had forgotten that, the strongest girl I know.’  Big Jim remarked.

‘ Told your Dad, not the treat you as a mule at times. You still needed to marry a boy, not a donkey.’

‘Jimmy, you know he just laughed at me, then he spoke to me, she’s my girl.’ Continued to speak, ‘You could had the hay stacked like a farmhand with grace and less effort. You also made my farmhands jealous and envious.’

Shaking his head in remembrance, Big Jim followed me to my office, I hefted the back pack with no effort at all down to my office.

I remembered that time, Dad had wanted hay for the heifers, we were raising heifers for beef that year. Calling around, Dad and myself, went to Big Jim’s ranch to grab some hay bales for a good price.

I was the loser that day, my brother gone to work and my younger sister couldn’t pitched the bales, too young, to the old trailer, we used that day.

I hated the heifers for the years, I went vegetarian for many years after that.

‘Your ranch? Still in your family?’ I asked Big Jim, as we walk to my office. It was a nice spread too, diverse in areas, cattle, apple and peach orchards, another crops and still respecting the landscape where it used to be years ago.

‘Sold it to my grandson and then he sold it in parcels to a developer for lots of money, housing, retail etc.’  Big Jim remarked in sorrow and sadness.

‘I am sorry to hear that, it was a good ranch with lots of potential for years to come.’  I said to him, opening my door to the office that I use for my work.

Walking into my office, I placed his back pack in one of the armchairs I used for meetings instead of  table.  

Big Jim looked around seeing my office, noticing all sorts of items that I collected over the years. ‘ Are you happy?’ He asked me, seriously in a tone, I hardly hear him use even in my childhood..

Big Jim looked at home, here in my office. I made tea for both of use, raiding my stash of biscuits and my lunch bag for him. He looked like he hasn’t had enough food recently. Skinner, his stature shrunk from what I remember, tall and imposing at one time. Once a big presence in years past, now an old man, Big Jim is not what I had remembered.

I didn’t answer him back yet. ‘ No, I am not happy here and I am not sure why.’

‘Big Jim.? Why are you here, it’s a long drive from your home.’  I handed him his teacup.

Big Jim asked for milk for his tea. I raided the lunch room for it, I never take milk or cream or sugar in mine.

He waited for several minutes, drinking tea and eating some sandwiches to give him strength to speak.

‘Roast beef sandwiches? ‘ My favorites, and my intended lunch. I just had enough leftover beef from this past weekend to make a couple sandwiches.

He avoided my questions too. I let it go for now, I wondered how long he traveled by bus, car or hitch hiked ?

I thought carefully, letting him eat his fill.

‘My dreams of your father, Jimmy, had haunting me for years now. Keep telling to pass on his love and keep doing what you love to do.’

Speaking carefully, Big Jim stopped for a moment for sip of tea, wetting his throat.   ‘No chance of something stronger?’ He asked, pointing to his tea.

I shook my head, No ‘ I will never get any peace in here to get any work done.’

Big Jim looked at me,’ You look so much like her and yet different but I can still see your dad in you.”

‘Mom, I suspect’ I said to him. I will never know the reason why Mom hooked up with Dad and she already had two children from a previous marriage. She finally married Dad when she obtained a divorce in my teens. What a wonderful graduation gift.

‘Yes, your mom, god, she was a woman that I never thought your dad would meet. Then you came around.’ He smiled at me, remembering the past.

‘I diapered you and your sister’s bottoms too many times when your mother had to help with harvest apples and other fruits for hours on end. And this was on my lands too.’

I chuckled at this, knowing he has the right to say it to me. The stories were constantly told over and over again.

Big Jim leaned over to get something from his back pack. I poured more tea in both our teacups. And waited, my nod to my grandparents, tea must come from a tea pot, not a mug, English to the core.

Swearing quietly to himself, Big Jim slowly went through all the pockets of the backpack. How many pockets did it have?

Taking the chance to check for messages left on my phone, there a lot of messages, I ignored most of them. Will go through them later, thinking quickly.

Now Big Jim needs my attention. I quickly send out a group email, stating that I am in a personal meeting and will contact all, once it was over. I soon saw a message from my head boss asking if the person I am meeting, security need to know? Question.

No, after some thought, I personally emailed him back, saying its family business, no risk to me at all.

‘Here’ Big Jim said to himself, ‘it is’.

Finally found what he was searching for, grabbing the teapot placing it on the coffee table, tea cozy to keep it warm.

Big Jim holding out his hand, something bundled in his hand towards me.

‘For you, from your Dad and my oldest friend, Jimmy. He wanted you to have these and something else too.’

Big Jim closed his eyes after I had taken the bundle from his hand.

Spoke in a fatherlike voice, Tranced.

‘Believe in yourself , I believe.

We all believe in you, follow your heart and your calling.

Do not let others sway you off your course.

 Give yourself a dream and wish for freedom to do what you are meant to do.

Forget you co workers, family and friends tell you not to follow your dreams, these dreams.

Become what you are and should have been years ago.”

I  had then, saw an image of my dad standing next to Big Jim, a shade of himself. Younger man full of life and promise, than the man who raised me and my sister.

A ghost of my Dad watching me and Big Jim, I thought for a moment, I could touch my dad and found him here and now. It felt real enough to touch and give myself a chance to give my dad a hug.

I put down my teacup, wanting to look at my dad. I  had remembered seeing pictures of him when he was younger, but not what he appeared to me now.

Early to mid twenties, duck rubber boots, old shirt with dirt engrained and  wearing a pair of pants with rips and torn way areas- he always said those were his air conditioned pants. Straw hat ragged at the edges of the rim on his head. Tanned arms and face, weather lined face. Farmer’s face.

It was my Dad, my dad and I can’t believe it. He smiled at me, motioned to Big Jim and to my hand, bundled item.

This, I give you to you to keep on your path and course. To remember the past,  Big Jim continued to me. Big Jim chanted  this to me, it seemed I did not hear him start to speak but he did. I noticed minutes later.

I remembered the chants from my childhood, scary and mesmerizing at times. I forgotten about this and now I remember.

Big Jim stopped chanting, sipping tea and nibbling on crackers and cheese from my lunch, I did not mind.

You used to paint pretty pictures? He asked me. Still do?

Big Jim continued on like we had a conversation before the chanted message. Had he forgotten? I wondered.

I answered, Yes I still do. Have a look behind you on the walls.

Motioning to the walls behind him, Big Jim turned around to see the paintings I have done.

These are mine I said, ‘ with some pride and some with more skill than my earlier ones as you could recall.

Big Jim carefully stood up on his feet and walked slowly to each of the paintings.

‘ Does your co workers know? He asked me, seeing a sunset painting along with orchard tree in bloom landscape and a portrait of a fellow artist, a friend of mine.

I shook my head no, they think I bought them from an art show but they never really looked at them seriously up close, my signature is on them.

Even though I work in the advertising firm, no one asked for the background of them. I did sometimes notice a few co workers just walk up to them and stare at them for minutes on end. I guess they found it comforting and calming  to see a orchard in bloom.

Do you still have the pony drawing, I did for you years ago? I remembered the first time my drawing of a favorite pony made my happy. Clearly after all these years, I still could see it in my mind.

Funny how hearing Big Jim mentioning my earlier attempts, made me recall it.

Yes, he laughed, your dad was so mad at me to insist that you must sign it before I hang it up on my kitchen wall.

Soberly I hope it is still there when I left for here. My grandson, perhaps, possibly thrown it away by now.

He sadly looked at me, they think I am dead you know. Many months I have travelled to see you in person.

Politely I asked him, ‘Would you like to give them a call? They must be worried after all these months,’ with my hand  pointing to my desk with a phone.

No, I think not, it is best this way, he said in sorrow. I will soon be with my oldest friend and his lovely wife, your mother.

Can I offer you a place to stay? I asked him, not liking what I just heard the tone and voice in sorrow.

I must leave you now with your gifts in your hands

listen to the words spoken

true words it was said to you

Big Jim,  then got up and walked to the door.

I watched carefully, standing up to say goodbye to see him out and seeing that he left the back pack near the chair behind.

‘Big Jim?’

I looked quickly to say that he had left his pack behind.

I saw him clearly, seeing Big Jim then fade away the closer he walked to the door, then he was gone from my sight. He waited to give me his message and gifts before leaving forever.

I now know Big Jim was a ghost or image of a man I once knew that waited for a long time to fulfill his boyhood friend, my dad, dreams and wishes for me they both have for me.

The bundle, he handed to me, I finally opened up to reveal necklaces, different ones, some with beads, others, no beads but stones. Wish stones and promise beads, I remember now.

I remembered some of them . Big Jim wearing them proudly years ago, another one – I loved it simplicity in making.

Big Jim had promised it to me when I was a girl of 8 years old. Dad was pleased with it. He had helped to find the stones to make it, years ago. He  gave it to Big Jim, who finally gave it to me after many years. I had forgotten about it until now.

Tigers eyes, topaz and turquoise, all semi precious stones.

A quick count gave me five necklaces, Big Jim gave me. And high quality ones too, sinew, waxed cotton strings, silver and gold chains. His best ones, he worked on for many years.

The phone ran constantly in the background, I ignored it completely, the calls went to the answering machine instead.

It seemed to be a dream but it was not quite a dream.

All I have to say for sure is that Big Jim was here in my office, teacup and saucer, crumbs on the pates and his pack back.  It was the evidence, that I was visited by a living ghost or two of them.

No, I will wait till I get home for now before going through the pack back and the necklaces. I put them around my neck and you know? they feel right and good to me. They are mine.

Beads, semi precious stones, silver, gold, sinew and waxed strings. All of them gave me a strongest vibes of strength and dreams that I never had before.

They, the necklaces repeated back to me the same message that Big Jim gave me.

Be strong, Be true to myself and be brave.

I sipped the last of the tea for a long time, thinking what did happen just now. Holding my teacup, high to the chair where Big Jim just sat in.

A Toast to you, Big Jim, I give thank you and hope that you are in a place you want to be in. Words that were just spoken, I will hold them true.

I sipped my tea to toast the shade next to the chair I swear I can still see my dad, his shade still lingering around.

Dad? I miss you a lot, wish you were still alive. And I will take your wishes and dreams, I will make them come true.

To myself, my toast turned inward, personal.

Be myself, forget others’ opinion

Be true to my soul and gifts that were given

Remember the course you should have taken

Take it now. Do it now for my ghosts to be in peace

I jumped out of the chair, tea cup in hand, final sip. Placing the tea cup on my desk, I then taken my paintings off the walls of my office.  Finally, with a deep sigh, started to gather all my personal effects, leaving enough room to use my computer.

I called office supply downstairs to find out if they have empty boxes, if they do, send them to my office as soon as possible.

I am packing up, my former life in an advertising office, and I am scared to hell.

The necklaces are empowering me to be true to myself. I quickly emailed my boss of many years that I will be quitting by the end of the day. Effective immediately, I emailed my contacts to say that I will not be available through the office after today.

Another email to my  now former clients, advising to seek out another representative, and I will in due course email them my preferred reps, my work emails copied and sent to my personal email, along with other personal information.

I boxed up my personal items, catchalls etc, paintings, notebooks, all the stuff I had tried to make myself feel like home while working in my office.

Desk tables, shoes, everything that is mine once the boxes finally here. The poor clerk looked confused when I asked for a dolly or trolley to help my move my stuff.

Trolley loaded with paintings and boxes of my office stuff. Along with backpack too, made a couple trips to my SUV. Especially the paintings, I didn’t want them  get accidentally punctured or ripped.

I dragged everything to my SUV. Thanking the whim when I had decided to be practical is easily than price when I bought it a couple years ago.

My SUV took everything, I gave it, it had a lot of practice.

I  headed back to my office to double check everything and  to await my boss’s appearance.

My boss was not pleased about it and had wondered out loud if the paintings that were on my office walls were a part of business decoration. They were not as I produced evidence to say otherwise. I guess he thought I was stealing them.

I said in response, they are mine as they have my signature on them, I  had painted them years ago.

Thinking quickly, my boss asked if they were for sale? He always loved them whenever he came into my office. Finding out that was the main reason why he wanted meetings with clients in my office.  It made me happy when he said that.

Possibly down the road, I told him, when I decided to sell them, but not now.

He handed me a piece of paper plus a sheet of contacts, I could use along with his business card. As a reference, he said I always did a fine job working in his business.

Nodding quickly, I said thank you.

I had long figured you were almost marking time with us. Sorry to see you go, he stopped speaking for a few minutes before continuing.

Your guest? today? Had something to do with your decision?

Yes I said, partly in truth.

He looked me strangely, you look like you should before you seemed lost and unsure.

Keep in touch and please let me know about the paintings, I know some galleries that might be interested in them

Thank you again, I will and soon in touch with you,  I said to him.

I did it, I quit my job after many months of thinking of it when I drove home, fingering my necklaces along the way.

I reached my house I loved and repaired to the best of my ability. An early 20th century bungalow with enough rooms to paint and dream at the same time.

Quiet place with garden and a reflective nod to my childhood, nature and soil. It had at one time fruit trees lining it and now only a few survived under my care and knowledge after many years of neglect. I love quirkiness of its kitchen, dining room. The greenhouse attached to one side allows sunlight inside throughout the seasons.

My closest friend, who is in the construction industry wanted me to upgrade to the ideal modern style and change the inside layout completely when I first bought it.

I said no. Not a chance. As friends though, he did  helped me to upgrade a few things like electricity, when I first moved in, it was hazardous. Minor repairs to maintain the atmosphere of the bungalow.

But I kept the original idea of it, patio and veranda surrounding it, it is home to me.

Just the right size for me, place to dream, paint and to relax.

And it is mine. Unloading my SUV, when I finally arrived, carrying everything in. Boxes, paintings, backpack, then I changed finally into casual clothing to put away what I brought home.

Rummaged through my fridge for snacks, I looked up at the clock on the wall, it was only 2 pm. Thought it was later, time wise.

Reminding myself to go through the pack later, I ate some vegetables and dip. Then I went online to check my accounts. I kept my finances in check for the past few years. I managed to keep any expenses low, along with stock market lately. I am glad of it

Credit cards low balances, I keep paying it off weekly, some I can completely pay off.

I needed this extra push, thinking of Big Jim, the push and gifts he gave me.

His back pack, I had not opened it yet, thinking about it, I thought perhaps I will contact his family very soon.

More surprises inside, my signed drawing of a pony, I did for him years ago, carefully wrapped in a protective covering. More jewellery, I was  was not much into making jewellery, though I did admire the process. And photos of Big Jim and my Dad when  they were young and full of promise.

Big Jim, I remembered then, he did some on the side for families and friends. I had asked him years ago why he did not sell his jewelry, the necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings.

He had said to me with a smile. They are made with magic and it is magic to the people I give them too.

Yes, made with magic, friendships and love too. Smiling to myself, that is Big Jim to the core.  Dad?  Yes, freedom to be what I should have been years ago and now. To be more than I have ever dreamed.

I puzzled to myself. I am a farmer’s daughter with skills to make a painter – an artist. Friend to all and yet I know I will find my true self. All of them and more.

Weeks later……….

I really made a killing this past few weeks. Literally though.

Sold 4 of my paintings. 2 of them to my former boss, 2 to a local art collector. Commissions are coming in. Magazines write ups too.

Gallery shows scheduled for the coming months

I had signed up for some art classes, I needed more instructions on a few things through a local art school. Soon found out that I know more techniques and others not too much, but more than the other students.

I never had the opportunity to get my degree in fine arts before. I had always worked my way, self taught myself,  mostly learning what works  and what I manage to gather from other fellow artists.

So sign up I did, for mostly for techniques that I never managed to find out. Within weeks, I was offered a part time position to teach beginners, I said yes.

I still wear the necklaces that Big Jim gave me. The strands are constantly fusing together as I get my goals together. My guess is, soon it will be one necklace with beads, semi precious stones and other objects.

My personal guess is the necklaces once I had accomplished one goal or wish, it fuses itself to another, completing itself.

The fused necklaces so far still look barbaric to some, but it also represents the wish and hopes of a few people very dear to me.

As for the back pack, I still have it. But I did get hold of Big Jim’s eldest son eventually and he told me that Big Jim had passed away weeks before he met me. So I did meet up with a ghost or something else that day.

But he muttered quietly to me, Joel is his name, he remembered me too.

He said Jim that is, he had to complete a promise to his oldest friend, he kept saying to all of his family but before he died. Joel said his dad asked him to pack all his jewelry and other items including the drawings and photos that he protected carefully before putting them in the pack.

Joel, there were the ones I did years ago for your dad, I told him in sorrow.

Sighing in relief Joel replied,’ I didn’t know that. I knew he treasured them even from saving them from the bonfire one time. My Aunt Tia had thought they were trash and decided that it was time to clean out the house. Dad was furious and banned his sister from cleaning the house for months on end.’

I soon explained to Joel what happened that day his dad visited me. I thought it was real, it was real to me. It still felt real to me.

Everything was told in much details, Joel wanted more information than what I had remembered.

Joel told me to accept as such it was, message or dream from Big Jim and my Dad.

Backpack? Joel didn’t want it back, including the jewelry inside along with photos of Big Jim and my Dad, Jim in their youth. Young and full of life, a couple of myself and my mom too, the orchards the ranch and other drawings, I vaguely remember doing them including the ponies that Big Jim looked after.

My parents and Big Jim’s  family too.

I had wondered where they went, Joel said.

Would you like them back? I asked

No, Joel thought about it for a couple seconds. ‘Send me the copies if you could though I will keep them safe from harm. And from the bonfires too. He said in humour.

He told me, the back pack and jewelry are mine as his dad had requested it in his will and now since they are in my hands. The family approves and Dad had said they are magic awaiting new owners.

Sometimes I remember, he sold a few that needed a more luck or push to be safe. You might find a few that needed that, Joel said to me.

I started a series of paintings recently, mostly my memories of my childhood, my favorite places, scenery mostly. My family, old friends that meant a lot to me from years ago.

Big Jim, My dad Jim and my Mom, Liz are featured in some of them. Corrals, mountains, forests, streams and lakes as I remember them, I paint them on my  canvas. I recall them vividly in my mind as I placed them on the canvas.

They will be remembered as the necklaces around my neck, they will be.  It tells me so in my dreams.

I will eventually find others that could use the encouragement to be themselves and I will see them do so.

Shine, I will and others too.

@Darlene May 2019

all rights reserved

PS:     Still working on the necklaces for the post,  Am hoping to get that done soon. My previous attempts were disastrous to say the least.




Canscaip Workshops in Toronto November 10th

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PYI box ad

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a  series of workshops in Downtown Toronto.

If you do not know about it, here is and the  https://www.canscaip.org


I attended 4 workshops through out the day and more workshops that I did not attend due to timing . Plus there is more happening in the early part of the evening with one to one evaluations.  Unfortunately, those I did not go to, had a lot of ideas somewhat written down, but no real concrete evidence to bring to their attention.

Perhaps next year, I will have some. This time around, I just took a lot of notes etc, and  then more notes.  So much information came to one in a  most casual like voice, you had to pay attention. The Attendees were a mixture of many professionals, beginning writers, artists and people from the publishing world.  I felt like a child again in the midst of real people.

I really did not have a chance to do quick sketches that I was hoping, even brought a small sketchbook too and pencils just in case. Although I wished I did. And now I am still absorbing the wisdom…. of their minds…


D May



Just more photos at this time

I have been busy as with others with life, work and gardening. So many things are happening that I haven’t been painting or drawing for a couple weeks now.  And it shows, I am out of practice but trying to get back into practice as fast as I can.

My camera is working harder that me, taking pictures and more batteries used up.  It is an old one too, but a goodie.

Red Bergamot  close up

This Bergamot was shot with a macro lens by accident. I was outside taking pictures of my flowers with it  was taken. I must have pushed the macro button before I taken the photo.

I love it, close of the petals, stamens and center core.  The sunlight  streaming through the petals.  Its a wonder.

And it looks wonderful as a desktop screen as I have it on my laptop.

And here are  some others, hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I promise to have something drawn or painted for next time.


Echinicea near the back fence

Bleeding hearts in a row, back fence

sweet william in shade

monarch butterfly on thistle blossom

sweet william in the shade of the fence

Promises to myself…..

I  managed to get one thing done this year so far.

My self portrait done in acrylics, I am happy with it and yet I think I need to do more to it.

self portrait

Tried to slow down and stop to think what I am doing and how to proceed. So far its working.  You should see the previous versions, perhaps I will post them just for laughs, and what not to do when using this and that.

Acrylics were used on this portrait, and I think its pretty good for someone that always have trouble with drawing the face. And I found out that if I take my glasses off, I am short sighted just to let you know, it came together faster than I figured. With my glasses, it was easy almost way to easy to judge the distance, but if I take them off and squint more, I judged the tones better and perhaps more realistic it became.

I had short hair at one time a year or two ago, in a robe early in the morning, when I decided to try out my laptop camera, just for fun.  I would not suggest doing so but the few pictures came out very nice.   I know it is slightly distorted, I did not mind though. This was only a practice run for me.

I only used a limited palette too,  I found out after awhile,  I was mixing colours and layering them to give an effect of shadows in areas.

palette, colours used, no blue this time

colours used for portrait 2018

Yes, those are 35mm film canisters, but they are very useful in keeping paint from drying out and those mixes you love to make and hate to wash them away? keep them in those canisters!, they are very handy to have around! Sometimes I will paint the colours that were used to make that mixture, then the final mix too.

Yes I will continue to work on this painting of me.  And for now it will be used for other things.

dmay 2018 April





Bookshelves and worktable

A glimpse of my bookshelves and my worktable with books that I had in the past collected over the years. I‘d honestly, try to keep my art books in one area so I can look at them when I need to check something up or solve a puzzle on what to do next.

Art books on techniques and favorite painters on any subject matter that catches my eye in some way or another. I love the books on the Old Masters and love finding others similar or different styles, too. But I still look at them almost every day and still marvel of the art work and techniques described.


Some books that I bought over the years and live to regret buying.  Sometimes it is a gamble in buying them, referred by others that said they are a good read and when I try to read them. img_0170_1.jpg

Others that I thought someone I knew would like, but usually the time and interests changed too fast for me to give the books to them. Can’t decide to keep them or garage sale them.

Right now I have a fair amount of them and to a point I am starting to be very picky when I choose another one to buy.

My favorite authors both fiction and nonfiction, definitely yes keepers. Paperback is starting to be the choice especially for fiction authors. Nonfiction depending on how good the subject matter and my interest in it, ie; watercolour or different style on pastel pointers. Again, paper back is preferred.

If I am lucky, my local library will either be ordering or had a copy in their system for me to look at and decide if it is worth or not in getting it. Sometimes the wait is very long with other patrons that managed to get a reserve on it before I do. Patience is needed, until I see it on hold for me. Then I make a decision Yes or NO?

Another way is to go online to see if there is a review or ebook on it. I usually try to get the ones that long out of print like Walter Crane books. Since they are really hard to get from a used book store, I usually download them epub or pdf format.

This is glimpse of my bookshelf and my worktable and small part of my books that I consider to be my reference for both inspiration and possibilities.

Mostly done in watercolour using one set and part of another, I really don’t remember the colours in each set I used but I think most of them. I challenged myself in doing it, perspective is not my strongest suit and it, for the most part worked rather well, made some mistakes doing it though. Tried to show the shadows from the shelves, I think it came out okay.  Some areas, I need to rework or scrap  and redo it differently.


D May


Check this out when you have a chance


The Creative Zone. It doesn’t really matter which form of art we’re pursuing- fashion, acting, music, sculpture, painting, writing – to create well we need to be in that zone. We need to be feeling it….. Feeling the Creativity within us. Did you ever think to yourself, maybe, people were having a harder time these […]

via Creativity…. pass it along — debi riley

August woes

IMG_0384_1And this is the time for me to experiment with materials!

I am still trying to match that wonderful colour of the Lettuce that was featured on the last post. My mistakes are hounding me every day since I posted that.

With that in mind, I went through all, all of my paints, crayons and supplies.  Just to find out I am missing out on a lot of new colours that are out there. I have at least 20 years old supplies. Most of it was donations from people used to dabble in the painting in the past.

Sort of debating on buying some, but with the listing of inventory of what I already have. Planned get only colours that I do not have and some that I can use to make other colours instead.  I have no idea before that there is a lot of different shades of different colours, more that I realized.IMG_0374_1

You could  spend the day there just choosing the right colours and they are still debating at the desk on whether you are soon to be crook  planning to steal or a serious artist  just trying to figure out what the series mean and what brand to use or brands. And the price point too, can one afford 15 dollar tube or use the student grad or another brand with the lower price? It took forever, had the sales staff wondering if I am a thief or ?  spent close to an hour before deciding on what to get.

Practice day. First off, I changed my glasses to my clear ones, the transitions that I have changed colour every time the sun comes out and since they are brown in tone, what I see are not the true colours but muted ones.IMG_0383

Grabbed my new colours and my old ones, brushes, rag, water jug, and heading out on the porch in the back. Sun and clouds were in the sky and the temperature was not too hot, rain was expected later on the day.

Must not forget pencil, actually I did -used a watercolour paint instead. It worked okay for a while if I use a light colour but not too light in intensity. I couldn’t see what lines I did until I used very light shade of blue. That helped a lot.

My orange flame Echinacea flowers, the orangey, rust colours are interesting to try to duplicate in watercolour. I came close so many times in doing, but the sky changed so many times. Sometimes cloudy or sun came out of which I found the sky changed the tones of the shades.IMG_0369_3IMG_0322_1.JPG

So I tried the rhubard stalk, slightly different shade but close enough that I found out that a different point of view is needed.IMG_0377_3

It is not a good try for rhubard stalk. I shall keep on trying though.

I think I need a new pair of eyes or something else. New glasses?

Did I mention it started to rain when I figured out where I went wrong and I had a nice watercolour of my orange flame Echinacea , it turned out to be a light sprinkle but it was enough to stop for awhile.

Coming to a realization that I am a very messy person when it comes to working on whether it is a planned drawing or painting.   Now I need to figure out the next thing to try out.



Owing you all an update

I owe you a extreme update on what I have and have not been doing since the last post.

Well…. Spring means for me to get a start on vegetable plants that needs to start early before putting them out in the garden. I usually start with peppers that takes the longest, then tomatoes, eggplants and usually the last ones to start indoors are the fastest growers of them all, cucumbers, zucchinis and basil plants and rest will go into the ground.

Plus, I am managing a community garden plot similar to allotment gardens in my area and working part time elsewhere.  This is taking up a lot of my time, but it is worth doing it for myself. I am loving it, I used to be a market gardener years ago, but when I moved into a different area, I had to adapt, not able to do the market garden again. Different rules too, so I moved on into other areas like retail and more.  I still kept growing plants inside, outside of my life with herbs and small pockets of vegetables.

But now it feels right again, and I think I will not let it go again.  Now with the season of gardening , I can start concentrating on other areas of my life and interests.

Summer to me means painting drawing the outdoors. I am also out of practice in drawing the plants and trees.  Still can’t figure out the bronze shade of burgundy of the Silva lettuce and brownish/purplish shade of the indigo rose cherry tomato. The Tomato is not working out for me at this time, but I will try to do more on it.


these first tests were used with some OLD watercolour sets that I was given years ago.  I used them first to try out different shades and techniques for trying to capture the shade and colour of the leaves.  Most of it did not turn out right…. too many layers added too soon.  It was a very hot, humid kind of day, I did not need to go to work, garden weeded and plants are in the ground.IMG_0155_2IMG_0159_1

My first try was with colour pencils a couple weeks ago, I think I came close a shade or two. I used a set of pastel pencils and used some of my OLD original color pencils from High School, I think,  there were 3 sets of them, all  shades were different and so different colours that I forgotten about.  They worked out better than the watercolour ones.

My poor sketchbook! it buckled, curled in protested the abuse that I put it thru. I did not want to use my good watercolour paper sheets until I get very close to what I can see.


But I am working on it!!!!!

Plan on working on real watercolour paper with proper wc paints this week sometime, if the hubby does not eat all the lettuce in the fridge. But more is coming, just need to find the time to do the studies.

Ps: Any advice is welcome


March Madness

I need a shot of the Leprechauns’ good luck charms or chance of the pot of gold they seem to be holding far from me.

Do you think that if I toast to them on Friday to the luck of the Irish, will I get luck on my side? Or should I try several?

I am jealous of other bloggers that are sending out more posts than I do in 2 months! If I send out posts with my craziness, the wagon will come to take me away to the nut farm.

Another interview shot to hell, I am giving up on interviews now and starting to find out what is out there.

I have couple paintings on the go, but with my moods, it will be disaster to work on them.

However I am having success in other areas.  February I had started chili pepper seeds in my basement with lights and heating mats. At this time, most have germinated and now have second set of leaves. Just recently I starting tomato seeds and some are now poking thru the soil. Another success, that is good to have at this time.

Winter is now refusing to let Spring come in and give us green growing time. Winter just waved his arms and gave us snow drifts and high winds with cold temperatures. Spent close to an hour couple days ago just clearing off 2 vehicles for myself and my hubby, who decided with seeing his car under several feet of snow and unable to move it. He had taken my suv with my blessings plus it would be able to handle the snow better than his car. I think he wanted a snow day from work. Me? I was glad to get him out of my hair for most of the day.

Lately I have been reading a lot of books, mostly fantasy and some non fiction just to keep  my brain from stagnating. I read almost constantly every day and it is one way for me to escape the days troubles. And plus I do  other stuff at the same time. Knitting, drawing, seed starting, dreaming, writing too and a lot more. I am  also trying to learn a few graphic computer applications at the same time. Its mostly freeware, Inkscape, Gimp and Scribus, just to name a  few. Unable to afford other paid programs so I went cheap.

The Shamrock is currently done in Inkscape, mostly using the calligraphy brushes  and colour.

Toast the Shamrock Tonight! and with a Leprechaun’s Luck on your side, have a good night tonight.



Works in Progress via Creative Means

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