Monday, November 26, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018


"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A great Story tomorrow

I am honored to be a part of this great story that will be celebrated tomorrow on All Saint's Sunday.
Here is the link to the story on the website at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.

I began my part in this huge project nearly seven years ago. I was part of a three artist collaboration who worked closely and lovingly together. This is one of those great moments in the life of an artist.
 This is one of my personal contributions, The Feast of the Epiphany.  I drew the design, based on a painting by Giotto. Wood carver artisans in Indonesia took our line drawings and created a work of art.
The Feast of the Epiphany Janice Skivington Wood

Monday, October 8, 2018

Monday, October 1, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that. Aretha Franklin

Monday, August 6, 2018

One year young

It takes a long time to become young. Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

and a few lilies blow

I have desired to go 
Where springs not fail,
 To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
 And a few lilies blow
 And I have asked to be
 Where no storms come,
 Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
 And out of the swing of the sea.
Gerard Manley Hopkins

— 1864  'Heaven-Haven'.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

lilies three weeks later and quite a bit older

"The petals droop sadly, curl into the stem, and give up their first pearly luster. Days go by, I continue looking and discover that the curling shapes are even more interesting. The aging lilies have acquired a patina, a different sheen, and far better lines to draw."
Janice Skivington

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Pawikan means sea turtle in Tagalog. I saw and swam near these giant sea turtles when I went scuba diving in the Philippines. Here are two of my paintings made after I came back to the hotel, dried off, sat on the veranda with a drink and watched the changing water over the bay. The second painting here I tore out of my sketchbook and presented as a thank you to the owners of the diving resort.

Friday, July 20, 2018

sunset three times

Anthias a tropical fish seen in a coral reef in the Philippines.

Sunset hibiscus Janice Skivington 2018
Sunset over Aniloa, Philippines. Janice Skivington 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

seen and not seen

In the New Testament of the Bible, Paul the Apostle states: “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Saturday, July 14, 2018

meadow in the mountains

More roving reports from this artist's sketchbook. A long visit to the mountains in Colorado included viewing lots of high altitude wildflowers at a peak blooming time last week. We hiked up Snodgrass peak and I rested in a mountain meadow impossibly crowded with flowers. While others hiked a bit further I stayed behind surrounded by color and scent. I didn't have my big sketchbook but made these little notebook drawings for the pleasure of it all.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

alive in the open air

All the students have shown more advance in two months of summer study than they have in a year of ordinary instruction, largely due to their free and wholesome life in the open air.
- Howard Pyle

Saturday, July 7, 2018

in memorium

To the best dog ever.

Many artists and writers have studio companions. Pets, but more than that, comfort creatures, muses or faithful mood-improvement-enhancers. Hemingway had his many-toed cats, Frida Kahlo had her monkey, Salvadore Dali had two pet ocelots, Picasso had a dachshund called Lump, and Rene and Georgette Magritte had their dog after the war.

My faithful companion was this dog, an Australian Shepherd. He was also my mood-enhancer, guide dog for the directionally-challenged, and running buddy.
His doggy bed was underneath my art table right by my feet which is where he preferred to be most of the time.
He died of old age a few months ago and I continue to miss him greatly.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

transmission of feeling

Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
by Leo Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910)
from his essay What is Art?, 1899
at home in Batangas Philippines Janice Skivington 2018
Community at home in Batangas Philippines. Janice Skivington 2018

Walking about the neighborhood in Batangas, enjoying the way people enjoy their home life. Pigs, dogs, chickens, noisy roosters, kittens, children, papaya trees, banana trees, bugs, lizards, the smell of roasting corn on a charcoal grill, families gathering together, it is all so evocative and inspiring for my art life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

a treasure of memory

“And the memories of all we have loved stay and come back to us in the evening of our life. They are not dead but sleep, and it is well to gather a treasure of them.” 
Vincent van GoghThe Letters of Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

paint with the hand

"If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye" Honore de Balzac
I spent several peaceful evenings on the broad veranda in Batangas looking over the sea as the sun went down. I had this sketchbook and watercolor set and I recorded all the experiences and emotions as they happened. Some of these sketches are just for play, some for sentiment, all so that I never forget.

Monday, July 2, 2018

green mango

Imagine that you are a 10 year-old girl reading one of the Chronicles of Narnia books in the shade of a huge mango tree in your backyard in the Philippines. The occasional red ant or mosquito might bother you but this book is the best one you have ever read. You are reading with such concentration that you almost don't hear someone calling you to merienda on the porch. Merienda is usually a glass of chilled kalamansi juice but today they have slices of green mango with rock salt. You take your plate back into the shade of the mango tree and resume reading with the taste slowly savored of salt and sour green mango. So sour that it makes my mouth pucker and fill with saliva to think of the memory.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

what we see with the eye

"If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye"
Honore de Balzac
Hawksbill Sea turtle with myself and my son, Sam observing.

The sublime highlight moment of my trip to the Philippines was my day spent scuba diving in Aniloa.
I had been snorkeling many times, enjoying the warm water and colorful tropical fish.
But this was different. My son and I spent a day receiving instruction and being educated about this protected coral reef. Then we dove and dove and dove. I could have stayed down below for days. When we finally came up and I took off the equipment I was surprised to find myself exhausted. It was so peaceful, this other-world experience. The giant turtle we saw was majestic and thrilling. When I returned to the dive resort and dried off I immediately wanted to get out my watercolor paints and make a record of my experience.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

reality and memory

 Willa Cather,  My Ántonia
“Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” 

Thursday, June 28, 2018


The heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Sitting on the rocky beach in Aniloa, Batangas, calm morning. Janice Skivington 2018

While my son was at work, I wandered the seaside area with my sketchbook and watercolor set. Most people graciously left me alone although I am sure the americana was a curiosity. The little resort where we stayed was family owned, quiet, with a tight local community. The beach was rocky, not the tourist-attraction typical white sands which the Philippines has in abundance. This was a resort for serious scuba divers, the bay was world renowned for protected species and a bounteous coral reef. 
This was a pleasant calm place to muse and reflect on my memories. I have good memories and disturbing ones as well. Revisiting the childhood sights, sounds and smells can stir up those moments that you had forgotten. Homesickness when I was sent away to Manila to boarding school, although I never told anyone.  Being frightened or bullied and keeping it to myself. Always wondering where I really belonged.
  I sat there on the shore drawing and observing, thinking, warmed by the tropical sun, cooled by the ocean breeze and felt all was well, most well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

memory with us

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” Oscar Wilde

Stormy afternoon sitting on the rocks looking out over Balayan Bay, Batangas. Janice Skivington 2018
After visiting my old hometown of San Pablo City I found a small hospitable resort in Batangas province on the coastline looking out over the South China Sea. I was joined by my son who has been working for a company in their Philippines office. 
I was thrilled at the prospect of swimming again in the warm tropical water, so many of my best childhood memories were from our family trips to the beaches of Batangas. 
Everything was heady, wonderful, stimulating as I wandered the coastal area those days. I delighted at the mango trees, stopped to photograph every tropical flower, watched fishermen pull in their boats, and ate local fish and fruit with rapturous enjoyment. That first evening when I was served a bowl of rice I had a moment that took me away. It had been so long since I had tasted such delicious rice, cooked the way I remembered. I stopped and savored each bite, chewy nutty moist Philippine grown rice. 
Every little sight, the old men in the long afternoon shade by the side of the house, the noise of chickens and roosters, the smell of pork on skewers at a little roadside grill, stirred memories of happiness. I took photos but mostly I sketched to savor the experience.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

can you go home again?

I went home again to my childhood town this past March. I grew up in Laguna province on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.  I made a return visit to the city of San Pablo where most of my memories were formed. I found the street where our last house had been, the Baptist church that my father had planted, the same streets that I had bicycled so freely and found all so much the same. The plaza where the San Pablo Cathedral sat so solidly in the center, the open air market, the department store where I bought my first art supplies with my allowance, it was all still there nearly 50 years later.
I walked up the steep narrow street I had lived on, looking for my old address and at the top of the street there was an overlook to a volcanic lake. My brother and I had been so proud when we packed lunch and bicycled all the way around the lake. It seemed so large to me then. Now, serene and picturesque it looked unchanged with bamboo fishing traps floating on the surface.
I felt like I had come home again in that the sights, smells, and sounds that I loved were all the same. But I no longer had anyone that I knew or loved living there. No one to greet me or to welcome me for a meal. 
I realized that I was truly what is called a third culture kid, I didn't belong to the Filipino culture as much as I cherished it, and I have never felt completely at home in the American culture. I looked like an American visitor from the outside, my education, family and property now was in America, but something inside was tightly clinging to all that was Filipino. To my sorrow and shame I can no longer speak Tagalog, I have forgotten too much.
I'm writing some blog posts to put down my complicated thoughts about the pull of what was once home. I made a lot of artwork during and after my trip and wish to share in the next days.

Thomas WolfeYou Can't Go Home Again “But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again.” 
You Can't Go Home Again is a novel by Thomas Wolfe published posthumously in 1940

Sunday, June 24, 2018

flowers force me

"Flowers force me to live in the "now". That is at least what Jesus meant in commanding us to "Consider the lilies"." Makoto Fujimura 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

May showers

May showers, and showers and showers brought us June flowers. I have creamy yellow and white roses to paint.

Friday, June 22, 2018

magnetic pull of place

Thomas WolfeYou Can't Go Home Again “But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter,..."
I've heard the phrase "you can't go home again" for years. I was aware that it was the title of a book by Thomas Wolfe, but I also thought it was a platitude or folk saying that explained away changing times and places.
I made a trip to my childhood home recently and found many things that I had loved to be unchanged. I grew up in the Philippines, lived there for my first 18 years until I finished high school and went off to the United States for college. Something in me remains critically attached to the places, sights, smells, and flavors of this lovely country.
My Baptist missionary parents travelled with me as an infant to Manila in the 1950s. Politically the country was recovering from war, occupation by the Japanese forces, liberation by the American forces, and finally an independent government. My parents saw so much as they lived there for forty years. Their informed outlook and love for the Filipinos was influential in my life as well. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

all spring

“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.” 
― Emily Dickinson

Sunday, May 20, 2018


This painting of an iris on a spectacular spring day I gave as a wedding gift a few years ago.
Titled "Wedding Iris", of course. Events in the news lately brought to mind the moment.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

love one another

“If people did not love one another, I really don't see what use there would be in having any spring.” 
― Victor HugoLes Misérables