Monthly Archives: May 2022

Why I Love Art Challenges


ICAD stands for Index Card A Day. It’s an art challenge. For 61 days (June 1-July 31), participants make a small piece of art on a 3″ x 5″ (or a 4″ x 6″) card. I’ve been taking this challenge since 2016, so this will be my seventh year.

My year-round intention is to make art every even-numbered day. (On odd-numbered days, I mean to write a poem.) In reality, I get bogged down in my day-to-day responsibilities and rarely spend any time on art. In May, I think I spent one day working on a lettering project, and I haven’t finished it yet.

But when I join a challenge, I make more of an effort to do the art. There’s a community that forms around the challenge. People post their cards on their blogs, on Instagram, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. I love to see what other people are doing.

The ICAD website provides a daily prompt:

ICAD 2022 Week 1 Prompts

and a weekly theme:

icad2022-123 themes

but these are only suggestions, not requirements. I sometimes follow the prompts, and other times I do my own thing.

For years I’ve been meaning to practice calligraphy. I’ve bought books and pens and inks, but I never get around to hunkering down and practicing. This year I intended to spend June working through the alphabet in calligraphy, one letter a day. I should be able to complete 26 letters in 30 days. (I know I’ll miss a few days.)

In July there’s another art challenge I love, World Watercolor Month. I do double duty with ICAD by cutting watercolor paper down to index-card size. (Although the ICAD guidelines state that the challenge must be done on an index card, watercolor does not work well on index cards. I used to buy the post-card sized watercolor paper, but in keeping with the budget-conscious spirit of the ICAD challenge, I now just cut up a few sheets from my watercolor pad). I may use the ICAD prompts or the WWM prompts, or I may just paint a face or a flower each day in July. I haven’t decided yet. Or I may do some of each.

I love art challenges because they give me the motivation I need to actually work on art. I also love seeing how other people respond to the prompts or create within the limitation of an index card. It’s inspiring.

Want to join me? It’s fun!

Monday Morning Wisdom #364


“Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops, and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well.”- Jennifer M. Granholm

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”- G.K. Chesterson

“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no future.”- Elie Wisel

Today we remember those who died in service to our flag. Let us never forget their sacrifices.

From the Creator’s Heart #360

Acts 1:11

Music for Writing

Music for Writing

Do you like to listen to music while you’re writing? I do. While I write, I prefer music that has a mysterious mood, usually instrumental, or with vocals whose lyrics do not demand that I listen to the words. (Don’t distract me with compelling words when I’m trying to come up with my own compelling words!)

I’ve selected 10 of my favorite pieces of writing music for your listening pleasure:

Philip Glass, Secret Agent:

Enya, Orinoco Flow:

The Piano Guys, Arwen’s Vigil:

John Williams, Hedwig’s Theme:

Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings:

Johannes Brahms, Violin Sonata No. 3, first movement

John Tesh, Bastille Day:

Astor Piazzolla, Oblivion:

Léo Delibes, Flower Duet:

Camille Saint-Saëns, Aquarium:

Do you like my writing music? Would you like to listen to it when you write? Bookmark this article and have the music playing in the background while working on your scenes. Or listen to these pieces and more on the ARHtistic License Creative Playlist on YouTube.

Now it’s your turn. Do you like to listen to music as you write, paint, quilt, or make your art? What kind of music do you like when you’re working? Do you have a playlist? Share in the comments below.

Creative Juice #296

Creative Juice #296

So many of these articles touch my heart.

Video of the Week #359: Advanced Dance Moves


Wordless Wednesday: Frank


The Lost Art of Handwriting

Photo by Aaron Burden.

When I was a little girl, we all looked forward to second grade, because starting in January, we would begin the rite of passage known as “writing in cursive,” those elegant, flowing, sophisticated letters that we couldn’t yet even interpret. I attended a Catholic elementary school in the 1960s, and penmanship was a very important subject. We learned the Palmer method. From third grade on, we would be allowed to write with pens instead of pencils, but not ball-point pens; only fountain pens could be used.

Sadly, our earliest handwriting lessons were warmup exercises, such as practicing slanty lines and loops. It took so long to get to writing actual letters, and longer still to connecting them together into words. When we finally learned enough to write our own names, though, we were so proud. Especially me, though my achievement came later than others’, hindered by the length of my name: Andrea Rannertshauser.

Until high school, all of our assignments were handwritten in the required Palmer script. Heaven forbid we should get sloppy when tired; that would necessitate a rewrite. Our teachers had very high standards for us. Our handwriting had to be legible.

In high school we would learn how to type; from then on our assignments would be done on typewriter. I was never a good typist and had to employ correction tape to disguise my mistakes. Often I needed to retype papers that had too many corrections. This was 20 odd years before personal computers would become commonplace. I wrote my Master’s project on a manual typewriter.

And when we did research in the library, there were no photocopiers. If you wanted to copy information from a reference book, you had to do it by hand, preferably on index cards.

No computers or cell phones meant no email or texts; long distance phone calls were very expensive, so people wrote letters by hand (or typed them) and mailed them. The recipient would get it in a week’s time, and maybe in another week, you’d receive a reply. We oldsters had to be very patient when we were young.

Today, cursive is not taught in most elementary schools. The world is a different place at a different pace, with technology advancing so rapidly the educational system struggles to keep up. Something as archaic as handwriting had to make way for time in the computer lab starting in kindergarten. While children learn to print, by first grade they’re already starting to do assignments on computer. They don’t have as much practice with handwriting. When I was still teaching general elementary music, I sometimes could not decipher my 5th and 6th graders’ handwriting. They didn’t make their letters and numbers with care.

Back in the day, writing was taught at the same time as reading. You learned to recognize letters as you learned to write them. We couldn’t read cursive until we understood how the letters connected. That happened as we learned to write.

Students who don’t write cursive have difficulty reading it. That means soon there will be few people who know how to read historical documents made before printing was widespread—documents like the Declaration of Independence in its original, handwritten form. We’re losing two skills, handwriting and the reading of handwritten works.

Whenever I have to sign a document, people always comment that I have beautiful handwriting. Ironically, in school I got Cs in penmanship. But I always say, “Thank you. The nuns made sure I had good penmanship.” Their lessons stuck.

Monday Morning Wisdom #363

Monday Morning Wisdom #363

Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.
~Samuel Smiles

From the Creator’s Heart #359

Ephesians 5:18