Monthly Archives: July 2022

ICAD2022 Day 61; World Watercolor Month 2022 Day 31


One final half-zendala for the last day of ICAD and World Watercolor Month. Patterns used: Brayd, Cat-Kin, MI2, Golven, Laced, Gem.

Half-zendala #3

This year I made a total of 38 cards, far less than the goal of 61; last year I completed 52. I comfort myself with the thought that if I complied with my normal goal of working on an art project on every even-numbered day, I’d actually have fewer products to show.

All my ICAD cards 2022

My cards are evenly divided between the calligraphy practice I did in June and the watercolors I made in July. I love doing challenges like these, because they push me to be more deliberate in my practice. As of this writing, these two cards got the most “likes” on ARHtistic License:


This card got the most likes on Instagram:

Ogee grid with onamato and A.L.F.
Ogee grid with onamato and A.L.F.

That surprised me, because my absolute favorite of the bunch is this one:


And I’m also very fond of these two:

Half-Zendala #1

I always enjoy these challenges, and I love seeing what other participants post.

Click to see more ICAD offerings and more WWM paintings on Instagram.

From the Creator’s Heart #367

From the Creator’s Heart #367

In my Father’s House are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself so that where I am you may be also.

(John 14:2-3 HCSB)

ICAD2022 Day 60; World Watercolor Month Day 30


This one took me two days again. I painted it yesterday, but by the time the paint dried, I no longer had the brain cells to tangle it. Patterns used: Dutch hourglass, qoo, shattuck, Sweda, Wiking, and gryst.


Click to see more ICAD offerings and more WWM paintings on Instagram.

Feeling Uninspired? Give Your Creativity a Boost

Feeling Uninspired? Give Your Creativity a Boost

Have you ever gone through a period when you could not create? When you could not come up with an engaging premise or an artful expression?

If you said no to the above questions, I hate you. At least, I suspect you’re not being truthful. Or maybe you’re just really good at refreshing yourself to get the ideas flowing again. (If so, skip to the end of this article, because I need your input. . .)

But if you are like most people who create, you have likely undergone occasional periods when you feel uninspired, and nothing you produce has that spark that you know you have inside you. Arrgh! It’s so frustrating!

How to get out of that funk?

Creativity Boosting Strategies:

  • Take a dump—a thought dump. Julia Cameron, in her wonderful book and course, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, recommends the daily practice of what she calls “Morning Pages,” three sheets of paper which you fill longhand with the thoughts cluttering up your brain. This is sheer stream-of-consciousness writing, not pretty at all. Get all your concerns out of your head so you can free your brain to be brilliant.
  • Walk. Movement, besides being good for your body, stimulates your brain. I prefer to walk outside, preferably in someplace beautiful, like a park, but your own neighborhood will do. Be on the lookout for ordinary beauty (like a flower), but also for the remarkable (like a hummingbird). Let your mind wander. Which leads to the next suggestion. . .
  • Daydream. As a child, my teachers often complained to my parents that I daydreamed in the classroom, and so I was strongly encouraged to focus on the task at hand. Focus is good, but you can’t force the muse. So I am giving you permission (print this article out and highlight this sentence so you don’t forget) to every now and then spend time lost in your own thoughts. Creativity often comes when we unleash our imaginations. Which leads to the next suggestion. . .
  • Brainstorm. Generate ideas—but aim for quantity, not quality at this point. Jot down every thought that enters your head without judgment. If you write down 25 stupid ideas, I guarantee one or two of them will have potential for brilliance. Another way to do this is say “What if. . .” and complete it with whatever quirky idea comes to you. (What if George Washington married Beyonce? What if hamburgers could fly?)
  • The Alternative Uses Test. This is something like brainstorming. You take a common item, like a spoon or a water bottle, and come up with as many new applications for it as you can. Great discoveries have been made through this activity, but what it really does is help you think outside the box, which is what geniuses and creative people do.
  • Enjoy music, movies, and books—especially those that are different from what you usually gravitate to and teach you something new. The more kinds of art and information you expose yourself to, the more material you have to ignite your own creativity and originality.
  • Enhance your workspace with plants and things that speak to you, like a souvenir from a favorite vacation or a lovely photo cut from a magazine. If you love to be at your desk or drawing board or studio, creating is less of a chore.
  • Start. After you’ve taken a break to recharge, it’s time to jump back into work. Be gentle with yourself, but practice the discipline necessary to create your art.

Now it’s your turn. If you are the person who could not relate to the first paragraph of this article, please tell us how you manage to avoid getting stuck. We’re holding our collective breaths in anticipation of your profound wisdom. Or, if you have a strategy for getting back into the flow of creation, please share it in the comments below.

Creative Juice #305

Creative Juice #305

Wonderful articles to enjoy this weekend.

  1. These designs should win awards.
  2. Breathtaking horse photographs.
  3. Practice to grow as a writer.
  4. Photographs of geographic formations and natural disasters. The top photo is the beginning of the slideshow.
  5. Thoughts on a scrappy Christmas (or not) quilt.
  6. The discovery of a previously unknown self-portrait by van Gogh.
  7. Creating new creatures by collage.
  8. Multi-media artist Judi Kauffman.
  9. Children’s book illustrator Katie Mazeika.
  10. Thoughts on religious art and on Carracci’s The Lamentationin particular.
  11. I could vacation here.
  12. Parenting book recommendations.

ICAD2022 Day 58; World Watercolor Month Day 28


The themes for Week 9 of the Index-Card-a-Day Challege are mandalas, circles, and color wheels, so I chose to make a half-zendala. I actually did the painting yesterday, but I didn’t get around to filling it in with designs until today. The Zentangle® patterns I used are flux, quipple, birds on a wire, onamato, potterbee, and printemps:


Click to see more ICAD offerings and more WWM paintings on Instagram.

Video of the Week: Learn the Six Steps to Releasing Your Creativity


This is a little longer than most of the videos I post here, but I think it’s worth the time required to listen to it.

Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Water Lily

water lily

More Flower of the Day.

My Biggest Regret

Funeral bouquet

Sometime in 1978, my mother-in-law (whom I called Mom), a pack-a-day smoker for more than 40 years, discovered she had lung cancer. Whenever we asked her about her prognosis, she said, “I have to see the doctor again in two weeks.”

When Carly was born in April, 1979, my mother- and father-in-law came to the hospital to see her. We got together a few weeks later, and they both were able to hold her.

Then, in June, Greg’s dad had a heart attack.

Greg’s mom called to tell us. Greg immediately wanted to drive over to visit him in the hospital (a one-hour trip each way), but Mom said, “The doctor said don’t come; there’s nothing you can do for him.” Greg told her we’d come to see them on Sunday, Father’s Day.

A few days later, Mom called again to say, “You might want to come to see your dad.” Greg said, “We’ll be over Sunday.” He assumed that would be soon enough.

Greg’s dad died the next day.

Greg’s biggest regret is that he didn’t follow his first impulse and go to the hospital when he first learned about the heart attack, despite what the doctor said.

Over the next months, we visited Greg’s mom every weekend. Sometimes I’d hear her say to herself, “Wil (Greg’s father), how could you do this to me?” Greg mowed the lawn, we had dinner together, I washed the dishes, and we did whatever we could to help. Mom was still driving to the supermarket on her own, although she limited her purchases to one bagful, which was as much as she had the strength to carry.

Whenever we asked about her health, she said, “I have to see the doctor again next week.”

Because she was seeing the doctor on a regular basis, I assumed she was getting treatment. I also assumed she’d get better.

Meanwhile, Carly grew. She took her first steps on Grandma’s screened-in front porch, where we often sat while we visited.

It turned out Mom refused treatment. The cancer was going to kill her. But I didn’t really understand or believe it. I knew she was weaker, but she didn’t seem like she was dying.

Then, one day, Greg came to me with a proposition. Mom had asked if we’d move in with her. She wanted me to be her caretaker.

I was a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to give my full attention to taking care of Carly. I didn’t want to spend her childhood pulled in two directions. Greg said it was totally my decision. I said no.

So my mother-in-law went to a care center next to the hospital. I went to visit her once a week. Mom said, “Don’t bring the baby. I don’t want her to see me with all these tubes stuck in me.”

I brought Carly anyway. Carly didn’t notice the tubes; all she saw was her Grandma. In fact, it was in the care center that Carly called her “Grandma” for the first time.

Greg spent time with his mom whenever he could. He was there with her four weeks later when she passed away.

Four weeks. That’s all.

I didn’t really process this experience until more than twenty years later, when my brother was caring for our ailing parents. He put his life on hold for them–for fourteen years.

I was 27 when I made my decision not to care for my mother-in-law. I really didn’t have a model for elder caretaking. I didn’t observe my parents doing it for their own parents. I was young and stupid.

I was also somewhat in denial about what Mom was going through. I wish someone had sat down with me and told me that the end was near. I still thought she could get better. I thought she had years before she would die. I was so blind. If someone had told me my services would be needed for a few weeks, I could easily have done that, even with a toddler.

It is my life’s biggest regret, and it haunts me every day.

ICAD2022 Day 55; World Watercolor Month Day 25


Today’s ICAD prompt is snowflake. White gel pen on top of blue watercolor wash:


Click to see more ICAD offerings and more WWM paintings on Instagram.