keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

sunday in fes

Waking up in the city of Fes in the country of Morocco, yesterday I woke in the city of Rabat and the day before that I awakened in Washington, DC. Amazing as always how hours, time zones and some form of transportation can transport us to someplace amazing! First impression...As we flew into Casablanca, I was struck by the terrain below. I didn't expect to see what appeared as farmlands stretched out like huge flat tapestries before being dotted with structural developments below.

I was even more in awe once we boarded the bus from Rabat to Fes, the countryside except when in the actual cities, is just so richly textured not with bright colors but with deep shades of browns, beiges, taupes, creams topped with perfectly aligned rows of olive trees and other green or fruity crops; cows, sheep, horses and donkeys roam the fields. Farm houses are indicative of the climate here, many quite vivid in colors, none that I saw are red or constructed of wood. Turns out that agriculture is government funded and endorsed making up 55% of the job market.

My jaw dropping moment came when we rounded a curve on the long winding back roads towards Fes and
there to my left rose this magnanimous white mountain glowing like a strange being as it towered over those surrounding it, so taken was I that I had to rouse my travel companions from much needed naps to marvel, our mouths stuck for several minutes in the OMG position (still trying to adjust my jaw)!

More to come, so...

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ps...we spent many hours on the bus covering more ground than you can imagine, so other than the picture taken from the plane, these photographs were snapped while we were in motion, color may be off a bit but hopefully you get the idea

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

back to school

Practice may eventually lead to perfect.

Though my definition of perfection when it comes to taking photos varies depending on the subject matter, my quest to master use of my new camera continues. I lose track of time in my self-imposed outdoor classrooms, becoming completely captivated by the learning curve as I tune down or out what’s happening around me in order to really focus. I’ll take a picture of anything that captures my attention, the world in front of me an open book for learning. Once home from school, it’s straight to the download!

I still have a ways to go, feel like I’m getting there though and soon this student will have a chance to put what she knows to the test in Morocco, a place I have wanted to visit and explore for more years than I can remember so…

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

ladies in waiting

If you follow this blog, you know that Nina Simone tops the list of my most favorite singers. You would also know that more often than not, when I sit down to the table, female vocalists create my surround sound as my fingers create paper compositions. While working on the commissioned piece I spoke of in previous writings, another goddess let me know she was a lady in waiting. Thankfully, and based on who she was to be, she was gracious enough to allow her predecessor to debut before she took her place on the table a week ago today.

Sunday in Savannah is a tune by Nina that I find myself humming every so often. Though it was not part of the soundtrack last Sunday, this bold belle made of tones and patterns that to me, when complete, had a feel of southern days past gone appeared to gently remind me of how much I enjoy working in this style where I make a collage using hundreds of clippings. For me they are puzzles whose picture reveals only after the pieces are put together never to be taken apart and put back together again. Talk about brain stimulation, these creations are a challenge as I piece together an intricate design that once finished exudes a personality that tells me who she is only after she arrives. That said, while thumbing through a bunch of catalogues this past week, my eyes feel another lady waiting to show me who she is to be so...

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

have a seat

I purchased a new camera! In addition to my tried and true little Lumi (Panasonic Lumex that has produced some spectacular images, two published in a national magazine, many sold to various art enthusiasts), I now have Kiki, a Nikon with lots more zoom that I hope will uncover a deeper visual voice and produce equally arresting photographs for publishing, sale and pleasure. On my maiden voyage with her, I took more than 160 pictures of which maybe 10 if that were up to my standard. However, I was happy with my first effort and here’s one floral I’d like to share…

It does take some getting used to switching from one camera to the other; it will take practice to capture things in a manner that I feel are ready for their close-up. For that reason, I carried Lumi in my pocket on that maiden voyage and though she was unable to catch a humming bird flitting amongst the blossoms in the distance, she did justice to this bench tucked into a shady corner of the peaceful Asian-inspired garden just outside the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (

As I shot it with both cameras, I remembered that it’s been awhile since I invited you to have a seat. So while I continue moving about to sharpen the focus of this new eye, please sit on down, pause for a few moments to take several deep breaths, quiet your mind and…

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

distance running

I relish meaningful quotes, saving some in my phone, writing others in my journal, sharing more on my blog or through emails. This one appeared recently, I now know why:

You can out-distance that which is running after you,
but not what is running inside you. - Rwandan proverb

Indeed, we can run but cannot hide from ourselves and for me there is something about one of my doctors that makes me spill everything I’ve been avoiding once I hop up on the table. Perhaps it’s because I don’t frequent any local watering holes to let the bartender suck down my sob stories while I throw back a few or maybe it’s because I’ve never been one to pour my heart out to chit-chatty hairdressers. I’m not Catholic, though I’ve wondered what it would be like to wander into a confessional and break it down to anonymous, and I don’t have a shrink. Actually, my girlfriends do a super job keeping me caught up with my real self however, I seem to be most vulnerable once I don that paper gown; last Tuesday was no exception. By the time I left the office, I was wiping away tears, had two prescriptions in my hand (I don’t take medicine unless I absolutely have to), was headed home back to bed (no more ignoring the bug I couldn’t seem to shake) and had come face-to-face with everything both personal and professional that I’d skillfully been dodging for months.

I did quite a bit of unloading before I put my clothes back on, made some decisions too. One I will share is simplifying my morning ritual. Following in the footsteps of many others who I admire, I added setting daily intentions to my routine; doing so is beginning to feel like when I try to conquer too much at once, not doing justice to any one thing I wish to accomplish. I love the changing of the seasons and for the time being, a seasonal intent just like capturing the foliage that goes with it, will slow my inner pace and fit me well…unlike that paper gown so…

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This is a difficult day. Eleven months before September 11th, I took the elevator down from the 71st floor of Tower 2 on the last day of a consulting job never to physically go in or see the buildings again. I am still haunted by the fact that had my employers decided to keep on the consultants for one additional year, I would have been at my desk at 7:45AM unaware that the closest stairwell did not lead to safety. I wonder if I would have been at the window looking out at the water as I often did before I turned on my computer and seen the plane. Would I have ignored the voice on the intercom that said stay where you are as the building shook (they did sway a tiny bit when the winds were high). Today my thoughts return to where I was when I heard about the first plane hitting the Towers and the agonizing days, weeks, months and years that followed for countless people including me. I won’t say much except my heart still aches for the many lost, wishes that we were more tolerant of one another’s differences, wonders where all that love that united us a country in the aftermath of 9/11 disappeared to and that I am so very grateful to be here.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

notes to self

It is weekend 2 of working on my commission for a goddess collage…I take note of a new appreciation for what artists go through when they are asked to create rather than creating freely.

The process of gathering clippings to create the collage was much the same as always -- whip through magazines and catalogs snatching pages with pictures that resonate with me -- with one exception. Normally I pull with no intention, piling up the table for some future sit down; I was now pulling with a purpose and a deadline. Last week, I allowed those two things to interfere with the freedom that comes when the table suddenly calls because a goddess is ready to be collaged into existence. The paper beneath my fingers was not talking to me as it usually does and though I did indeed see someone blossoming, the process felt unfamiliar which led me to another note to self. Over the years, the goddess collages have evolved from unclothed torsos to full bodied clothed beings meaning as they changed, so did my creative process; my commission is for the former. I was not at all sure I still had it in me to bring forth a creature similar in feel to the pieces made in the past but yesterday, something took hold of me when I sat down to the table. Spirit guided me to that space where my voice takes shape in collage form as naturally as day turns into night, where I simply had to let go of all expectation and preconceived notions so we could happen in the now.

And she is unfolding just the way she should, one piece of paper at a time beautifully, curvaceously and rather statuesque I must say! Unfortunately, you will have to wait until late October for the unveiling so…

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I have no desire to join the pilgrimage of folks who clog the roads as they return to life after Labor Day preferring to sit it out on vacation each year. While it's great to view it from the sidelines, I always feel a tad bit dazed and confused when I finally go back to work. It takes me a long minute to remember that both Monday AND Tuesday have passed, to get into the rhythm of the week and just as I do, it’s Friday. Matter of fact, I almost forgot that today is Wednesday. Thank goodness for the electronic post-its on my phone or I would have forgotten to post!

Happy back to traffic week and for sure…

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Sunday, September 1, 2013


On this first morning of September, I sit down to begin work on my first commission, a goddess collage for the Capital Breast Care Center's Gift of Life Benefit ( It is an honor to receive an invitation to create a piece of artwork for auction at their October breakfast, tingling with giddy anticipation wondering who will take shape beneath my fingertips.

As I take to my scissors, I wish I had had them handy to snip these blossoms…

…but on second thought, it’s better to snap than snip leaving natures beauty in tact to be beheld by others. 

Please enjoy these glorious blooms as summer begins to close and autumn opens. In weeks to come I'll be sure to post whomever appears once the last snippet of paper completes her goddess form, so…

keep your peepers open!®