Category Archives: teaching


I am about finished with a painting of the Mohican River done from a photo I took this winter. I did golden underpainting next to a pale blue-green for the lights and darks of the water surface, then painted over the gold with dark blue-green. I painted the three tree branches that add contrast and context, then coated the water surfaces with an iridescent blue paint. It is the first time I have used so much iridescent paint in a work.

I kept to my 2:1 ratio that I have used for the past several years. The format is an important part of the design. When teaching, I tell students, “In a painting, the first four lines are drawn when you choose your format.”

source photo

source photo

Mohican River

Mohican River



I’m still smiling. The cast was a handy teaching aid as I warned students to move carefully on the icy trail last week. I got the cast removed and have graduated to a brace. Since I own a LOT of fabric, I spent a pleasant 45 minutes designing and sewing a sling. The arm was aching when I used it too much, so the sling will remind me to rest it when I should.
This is a good thing


My new job teaching outdoor skills to youngsters has been keeping me very busy.  The school assigns students to indian-named “tribes” of 12 to 16 students to make classes a manageable size as we teach about natural and human history of the region. It is a camp-like residence school, so I’ll sometimes be asked to serve as dorm supervisor. I needed an upbeat story to tell in the dorm as I settle student/campers down to sleep.

My first thought was the Just So Stories by Kipling, but I couldn’t find my copy. So I’m revisiting a theme from my freshman year in college. For a Comparative Religion course, I had compared origin stories from several religious traditions, including that of native American cultures. I learned to love the wisdom hidden and condensed in these traditional tales. So I went to the public library to look for native American tales.

I found a wonderful one from the Ojibwe people, the legend of Shingebiss. This tale about a plucky Mergaser duck surviving winter is rich in observations about animal life in the great lakes region of the United States. It has practical and spiritual wisdom: conservation, resourcefulness, perseverance and courage.

It will be a pleasure to revive the storytelling skills thatI used when my own children were young. And I must perfect storytelling because, despite years of trying to learn, I’m not confident about performing on my harmonica in public.



Home again

wind turbines

I just returned from a vacation to South Dakota and Minnesota, seeing America’s heartland of flat to rolling terrain and thousands of acres of farmland. I was saddened to see the drought evident in whitened cornstalks and grass that crunches underfoot.
But, I was encouraged to see many wind turbines and ethanol manufacturing facilities producing energy alternatives to fossil fuel. I often feel like I am only a small voice crying out for my fellow Americans to be wise enough to use non-polluting, renewable energy sources, and fear my voice is drown out by powerful organizations that profit by use of fossil fuel energy.
I just began a new job teaching at an outdoor school. I’ll be teaching upper elementary and high school age students about biology, ecology, survival skills, history, and the scientific method. This could be a way to amplify and extend the reach of my ecologically conscientious small voice to many people of the upcoming generation.

Presentation for SAQA

I’m delighted to have been asked to do an hour-long presentation for a meeting of Ohio members of Studio Art Quilt Associates. The date is November 20, less than a month, so I’m devoting every available minute to preparation. I’ve tried to guess what will be interesting and useful to my listeners. I decided to chronicle the process of creating a pictorial art quilt from concept to completion and create a powerpoint slideshow. Many of the things I do may already be familiar to my audience members, but I hope some tool, technique, or thinking process that I use will be either validate what my listeners already do or stimulate new ideas for them. I’ll be finishing at least one, and possibly two, UFO(s) as my project example(s).

It is a challenge to take pictures of yourself working. I’ve tried shooting my camera left-handed so I could include my right hand at work — not easy! I did not stop working to find my tripod and use the timer. I’m taking many pictures because I know I’ll need to edit.