Monday, December 4, 2017

the Word

First Sunday of Advent 2017
I have synesthesia. I see colors when I listen to music. While listening to a choir singing "Silent Night", I saw the color pink.
I also "see" visions or images while sitting in church, which is why I draw during worship. And while listening to the Holy Gospel reading this first Sunday of Advent, I saw this vision.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

births and deaths

Our family has celebrated two new births in the past three months. Two adorable newborns to visit and snuggle has been taking up most of my attention.
My dear mother-in-law has been with us to see seven great-grandchildren enter the world to her pride and joy. Her bedside walls at the nursing home have been plastered with a wallpaper of baby photos.

This week she peacefully passed away with loved ones visiting, talking, and remembering by her  bedside. Right up until the last 24 hours she was able to chuckle at a joke, crack a new one to me, and whisper her thoughts to all of us. It was a good death.
I have had her with me for seven years now, taking her to doctor appointments, shopping, the library (she was a voracious reader), and most important to her, church services. She loved our church and many people there returned the love.
As the years have passed I have sketched her many times, here are a few of our memories.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

love a white lily

Flowers gathered from the garden in August. Janice Skivington
I love drawing white flowers, especially white lilies.
Flowers gathered in a couple of vases drawing finished and ready to paint. Janice Skivington

Saturday, August 5, 2017

babies are like flowers

This is hardly an original thought, but as I drew this newborn baby I could not help but marvel at the similarities. Certain characteristics that I love about drawing flowers are the pleasing curves that move the eye and the heart around and around. I have been drawing this baby a lot lately, here and here too.
I am fascinated with her shape, her roundness, her curves, soft and fragile yet resilient. I hold her in my arms while she sleeps and gaze with my drawing eyes.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

flowers and babies

Musings and thoughts from my sketchbook this week. We have a new baby around here, and another one is due any day soon. So Many Blessings.

Friday, July 28, 2017


"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on."
Carl Sandburg

Thursday, July 27, 2017

where to be

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” 
― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast

I would like to retitle this "How to Be". 
I greatly admired the culture of family and enjoying outdoor time together that I saw while in the heartland of Mexico. The city of Queretaro was dotted with lovely plazas where families could sit together, play with the little ones, visit, or just "be" together.

time slows

Time spent following a toddler around the garden is time slowed way down. All the projects and plans for the morning come to a breathless halt. A couple of sticks found in the dirt, a rock picked up and clutched in a small sweaty hand, these are the largest concerns of the moment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

the smell of a newborn

Freedom has a scent...Like the top of a new born baby's head"Miracle Drug" Bono, Blender 2004

Monday, July 24, 2017

four and I can roar

This is not the same four year old that I sketched a few pages back. That little sprite with the white blond dandelion fluff hair is a friend's child.
This four year old is my grandchild and cannot sit still to pose for the life of her. I tried to get a quick sketch of her in her favorite position which is upside down, but that wasn't successful for me. So I took a few photos which she was happy to pose for and drew from the photo and a bit of memory of her bouncing around on my living room furniture.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

precious life

My newest grandchild, and her name means "life".

Friday, July 21, 2017

virtue and beauty

A question that comes to my mind is what comes first? Beauty or Virtue?

Another one of my study sketches from the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I wonder why the "Mona Lisa" in the Louvre gets all the attention. This portrait of a lady by Leonardo da Vinci is just as lovely and the bonus is that there are not as many tourist visitors and you can get right up close to the painting. The art is mounted in a pillar so that you can walk around to the back of the frame and see the inscription that da Vinci painted. It is the de Benci family motto painted on a wreath; Virtvem Forma Decorat.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

happy hour 2:57 PM on the train

Riding the metro train into the city, on a Sunday afternoon, this jolly fellow is sitting in the upper deck with his beer cooler and happy plans for his evening.
Drawing on a train ride is so much fun.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

born in a merry hour

"And to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour. BEATRICE No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born."William Shakespeare
For my petite blond sister born on this day, Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

lose ourselves in art

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

I have written about this practice of mine, that of sketching my way through a museum. Here and here. And I wrote two years ago about my first thrilling visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

I could have lost myself in this museum and spent the night and all the next week. Sadly, it was closing time and I was pulled away into the outdoor hot sun and crowds of real people.

Monday, July 17, 2017

what you see

There is only one true thing: instantly paint what you see. When you've got it, you've got it. When you haven't, you begin again. All the rest is humbug.

- Edouard Manet

My sketchbooks are full to bursting with instant drawings of what I see.

I recently visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC again.
My standard protocol for museum visits is to have my sketchbook poised with a pen and sketch as much and as often as I can. If I am alone, I will stand and stare and sketch until the gallery closes. If I am with a group of people, I will attempt to stay with them, but often fall behind lost in the depths of a Raphael or Rembrandt.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

thy mother's glass

Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime.

William Shakespeare

Friday, July 14, 2017

live theatre

A recent theater experience in Chicago which has an abundance of live productions and talented actors. We went to City Lit Theater in the north side  of the city called Edgewater. The production was called London Assurance. As of today it is still showing for another week or so.
My humble review is in line with all the other published reviews in various Chicago was fantastic. Very witty, fast paced clever language and excellent cast to deliver the farce and folly of the writing from the original 1841 script.

This experience is so immediately thrilling for an artist with her sketchbook. Watching the gestures, the poses, the expressions and then trying to draw very fast in the dark!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

traveling praise

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Psalm 150:1

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Sketched using student art supplies !  Art teacher retreat and conference, Roanoke Virginia.

When despair for the world grows in me... 

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds...

...I come into the presence of still water. 

© Wendell Berry
The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

Saturday, June 24, 2017

pause in posting

I have so much to post from my sketchbook and travel notes. Issues with internet in my studio are causing delays but hope to have new stuff to show very soon.
Meanwhile enjoy some scenes from former swampy weather days.

Friday, June 9, 2017

write it down

sketch before painting-Lilies by Janice Skivington 2017
The poet Isabel Allende urged, "write it down before it is erased by the wind."

(This is how I feel about drawing flowers from life, they are erased by the wind so soon, hurry and make your notes.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017


“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”   Mark Twain

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

first birthday joy

Happy 1st birthday to this little sprite!

 I have published these sketches before and I hope to make a few new ones this afternoon as we gather to celebrate her birthday.