Wednesday, January 5, 2022



"Self-Portrait" detail
pencil and watercolor 
on Arches 100% cotton hot press paper

Some years ago friends introduced the idea of selecting a new word for each year. My husband and I have done this now for many years. This year's word is "richness." Our intention for the word is to look back, at the end of each day, and discuss the richness in it. 

Today has already been rich.

I had an hour Zoom session with an ace spiritual counselor, Andy Douglas, with whom I’ve connected every other month for the past seven years. One thing that came up was my disproportionate dissatisfaction with my paintings that go awry—of which there are many. I so want to become a better painter that I get frustrated when paintings don’t work. Andy suggested simply setting an intention, before I begin painting, to accept whatever develops, without allowing disappointment. (Now why didn’t I think of that?) I added that maybe I should also just practice and play more—get back to my sketchbooks and experiment more often.

After our talk I went on to finish a really bad painting that I won’t share here, but true to my new intention, I didn’t dwell on the disappointment. Instead, I penciled in a self-portrait with a soft (#4) pencil and then added color with a triad of Quin Magenta, Phthalo Blue, and Hansa Yellow Medium. Not a masterpiece, but it felt good to play.

I was also interviewed about my book, Skipping Church: Notes from an Accidental Minister’s Wifeby a wonderful young reporter from the Mason City Globe Gazette, since there’s a chapter in the book about living in Mason City, Iowa. She’ll be writing a feature article about the book. As a freelance writer, ’ve been on her side of so many interviews; it truly was a joy to be the one answering the questions. What a gift, her great questions, and the feeling of being listened to so deeply. Thank you, Gretchen!

There’s a feeling of spring in the air this week in northern California as the temperatures have risen slightly. I even saw a magnolia tree in bloom yesterday.

The new year has just begun. What other richness is ahead?  



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