Thursday, June 24, 2021


“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not was peace.” 
Milan Kundera

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

last night the moon was pink

 April 26, 2021 Unseasonably warm temperatures and a full moon. The redbuds, azaleas, tulips, crabapple and magnolia trees are blooming in brilliant shades of pink, fuchsia, rose, magenta and whatever blooms and glows with the blush of springtime. Even the trees or flowers that look white are pink in the center when you look close.

We timed our after dinner walk perfectly to see the last rosy shades of the setting sun and the huge rising presence of the full moon. And the moon was pink! As it loomed over the horizon it was impossibly large and impossibly pink.  

I had to paint a watercolor sketch when I returned home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

who is the masked woman and painting number 24

Who is the masked woman lurking in the produce aisle of the grocery store? She looks like a suspicious character as she examines multiple bulbs of garlic, handles all the tomatillos, looks closely at every single pepper. And don't mention how long it took her to decide on a a few jalepenos.  The artist is a strange shopper, turning each little vegetable this way and holding up that one to see it to best advantage. And she doesn't even intend to cook or eat the produce she finally decides to buy. 

All of it, all the vegetables, all destined to end up in a still life serving the purpose of art.

"Tomatillos" by Janice Skivington March 2021 oil on canvas 6x8

Monday, April 12, 2021

sight gags

"Relish, joy, and pleasure are one solution to exhaustion. So is a walk around the neighborhood, noticing that the daffodils are blooming-+such reliable sight gags with those clown frills and huge schnozzes. Paying deeper attention paradoxically relieves exhaustion, because it awakens us. It makes us laugh. Laughter is a battery charge."

Anne Lamott - Dusk, Night, Dawn: Notes on Courage

I love to see new daffodils in the spring, a major motivation to get out for a run or a walk daily. But I had not thought of a daffodil as a sight gag. Clown frills and huge schnozzes? I had never noticed them that way until Anne Lamott described this. Writers! A good writer makes you laugh, sigh, look harder, and think.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

yesterday and today

 It seems that only yesterday we were locked into the long cold grip of winter and that it would last forever. I painted this view from my window on a snowy day in early March. Here is the post I wrote.

Today! It looks like this! Exclamation points are necessary because springtime blooms happen like an explosion  of color. This is my small star magnolia tree that surprises me in April with these generous pink and white blooms. I'm thinking about painting the same view with pink flowers instead of snowdrifts.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday

This is a painting that I created for my church to use for the Easter Sunday service last year. Last year the printed bulletin never happened because we were all on lockdown. 

There was a service broadcast on on the internet from our church but it was not the happy experience of being there in person. I titled this painting of Jesus Christ rising from the grave, victoriously kicking the stones out of His way, "That Glorious Day". 

I wrote about this art here.

And about the song we sing "That Glorious Day". 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Holy Saturday

A year ago we were stuck at home in total lockdown. Missing Holy Week services seemed so strange and miserable. Now a year later we are accustomed to so many strange practices that have become part of our culture. This year we will have family with us to share the holiday and we will go worship on Easter Sunday in person, although outdoors and wearing masks which now seems almost normal. Here is the art I created for the Saturday Easter service from last year that was not used because no service bulletin was printed. We did have a online service broadcast via youtube that I watched from my studio.

Friday, April 2, 2021

wait with me

"The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
- Mary Oliver -

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

daffodils coming soon

That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.“
~ William Shakespeare.

Monday, March 29, 2021

people watching

Another watercolor painted in my sketchbook while sunning myself alongside the swimming pool in Florida.  People watching is the greatest entertainment for an artist.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

peace of the wild things

I painted this watercolor from life while on a little vacation in Florida away for a brief moment from the frigid winds of March in Chicago.

 "...rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free...."
Wendell Berry

Saturday, March 20, 2021

"the more angels I shall paint" and daily painting number 23

“I remember once, in talking to Mr. Burne-Jones about modern science, his saying to me,
‘the more materialistic science becomes, the more angels shall I paint: their wings are my protest in favour of the immortality of the soul.’ But these are the intellectual speculations that underlie art. Where in the arts themselves are we to find that breadth of human sympathy which is the condition of all noble work; ...
 Whatever spiritual message an artist brings to his aid is a matter for his own soul. He may bring judgment like Michael Angelo or peace like Angelico;  Quote from Oscar Wilde

I have a collection of angel carvings and figurines. Much like my collection of seashells they are mostly from the Philippines where there are many woodcarvers and some beautiful tropical hardwood. 
This angel is made from black fired clay, from Guatemala which is another destination where I have enjoyed travels and wonders. 
I paired it with one white rose. No significant reason for one white rose, but if I think of one I will be sure to say.
I'm still working on my daily painting project, I'm not going to manage to produce 30 paintings in 30 days but it is a discipline to keep going.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

the smallest thing and painting number 22

There's a part of everything that is unexplored because we are accustomed to using our eyes only in association with the memory of what people before us thought of the thing we are looking at. Even the smallest thing has something in it which is unknown. We must find it. 

A small still life painting of a common little bulb of garlic. Garlic is essential to cooking flavorful dishes but does not usually take all the credit. Who doesn't love the smell of garlic sizzling in butter?
This is part of my daily painting project and I am adding it to my "guacamole series" which will end guessed it! An avocado of course.
The garlic bulb is a small object but close study revealed it is not simple, lots of shapes and furls and interesting bits to paint.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


 La Feile Padraigh. The greeting sent to me this morning by my dear friends in Dublin, Ireland of course.

Makes me think fondly of the time I sketched this. The River Boyne near Newgrange. A magical place.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

sunshine and puppies

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
― Charles M. Schulz 

A commissioned painting on the way to a new owner. 8x10 oil on linen board. Happiness is a new puppy.

Monday, March 15, 2021

colorful painting number 21

 “Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.” Marc Chagall

Three peppers and an exuberance of colors. I was having so much fun splashing about large brushfuls of reds and oranges and yellows.
These three look like a bright silly group of clownish friends posing for funny photos to post on their social media.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

warm enough painting number 20

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. John Steinbeck

Here we have a large very red pepper for my guacamole series. It is as warm as a summer day.
It is a wonky sort of pepper leaning to the side as if inebriated from indulging in margaritas.

I have a color theory about dressing in outdoor clothing for winter. A warm red coat is preferable to a warm coat of a dark color. I once had a navy blue coat and shivered all winter. That might have also been because we were living in South Bend, Indiana during an exceptional blizzardy winter. Be that as it may, I now wear a red down coat and feel warmer in it. Not really ever warm enough but I endure.

Maybe red pepper and green onion is not included in the purist recipe for guacamole? I do not know, not being a purist cook. 

painting a day number 19 is spicy

 Jalapeño spicy!

I'm not much of a cook, I don't like to spend time in the kitchen and am not very interested in trying recipes. (Ask my poor undernourished family). I understand there are many entertaining cooking television shows that are inspiring. I haven't watched them. But I did get excited about making bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeño poppers this winter. Finally a recipe that I can master.

This small painting is going to be part of a guacamole themed series. You see I don't like to cook but I do like to eat. The onion is the first, next a red pepper or an avocado. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

easy peasy number 18

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

As the saying goes. 

I have this green glass lemon squeezer that I love to set out in the sun just to look at the light reflections.
There was nothing easy about painting this but I believe it is something pleasing to see.

And the smell! Those cut lemons were so pleasing to the nose and to the eyes while I worked.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

learning to listen and painting number 17

Learn how to listen as things speak for themselves. 

Matsuo Basho (famous poet of the Edo period in Japan.)

A lonely onion painting as part of my ongoing painting a day project as I continue in my online premier coup oil painting class with Duane Keiser.
I have learned so much but sorry to say I have not reached the goal of painting 30 small daily works in 30 days. I think I will get to number 18 in 30 days but then I will keep going.
This is a smaller work, 6x8 on linen board. I decided to do smaller single subjects for a while in order to work a little faster toward my goal. And then of course, I get fascinated by the little universe inside one small vegetable. A universe speaking from inside a small thing.