Songs that make me Happy while I Paint

A brief, self-indulgent post…when I paint, I listen to a Pandora station I’ve entitled WILDFIRE, based on Michael Martin Murphey’s beautiful ballad tribute to a lost pony.  Here, I list links to some of the highlights I’ve enjoyed tonight while working on a piece based on a photograph of the exterior of the storied Ferry House on Whidbey Island, WA. I already painted an interior of the Ferry House earlier this month–that building just haunts me.

Just When I Needed You Most – Randy Vanwarmer

Cool Night – Paul Davis

I Keep Forgetting – Michael McDonald

Please Come to Boston – Dave Loggins

American Tune – Simon and Garfunkel

And many, many more…including, of course, the eponymous Wildfire – Michael Martin Murphey.



Pickles. A New Year’s Classic.


My favorite holiday is New Year’s Eve. It’s likely due to the combination of the excuse to wear whatever you want (see my appreciation for Tiaras), the excuse to kiss someone exuberantly at midnight, the flowing sparkling wine, the necessity of coffee on New Year’s Eve Day’s late afternoon in order to make it to midnight…all of those vaguely forbidden delights join with the hope and dreams of the New Year’s tabula rasa–yes, New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday.

Enter: Resolutions.

Some people hate them, and I get that. It is possible that one who has an ambitious list of resolutions is setting oneself up for failure.  Like I did in 2011.

My 2011 resolutions:

Lose 10 pounds before my husband’s 20th High School reunion.

Sell a script.

Paint a painting a month.

Make homemade pickles.

Spoiler alert: By December 30th, 2011, I had accomplished none of those things.

In a brief ‘jokey’ email complaint on the evening before New Year’s Eve Day, I mentioned this to a friend, who promptly sent me a recipe for ‘quick homemade pickles,’ with the attached sentiment “Plenty of time!”

Plenty of what? Time?

With this boundary-breaking concept in mind, I spent part of New Year’s Eve day gathering the items needed for these quick homemade pickles.  Not just pickles. They were proof of my friend’s claim that, even at the eleventh hour, there was still “Plenty of time!”

As you can see, pickles were made. One of my New Year’s resolutions was accomplished thanks to the help of a friend’s belief that it could be done! And now, homemade pickles will be a New Year’s Eve day tradition, not only because they turned out GREAT, but because the concept of there being ‘plenty of time’ is something that, though I love my yearly resolutions, I hope stays with me. It’s honorable to hold goals close as the year progresses. It’s a good thing to hope to ‘better’ oneself. Perhaps, however, it should be a lifelong effort, without an expiration date.

You know what does have an expiration date?  Those pickles.  As it turns out, quick pickles only last about 10 days in the refrigerator. Luckily, they didn’t last nearly that long around my husband who loved my pickles and neither noticed nor cared that I didn’t lose 10 pounds before his 20th High School reunion. He still thought I was the hottest chick there.

And I didn’t sell a script but, what the hell, I keep writing them.

As for the paintings, I screwed that one up, but inspired a painter friend of mine, who put out enough watercolors, the most difficult of mediums when it comes to painting, over 2011 to cover both our goals. And, a week into 2012, I’ve already finished one painting and started another, a commission this time.

In short, my joy for this New Year is one I haven’t experienced before, as my desire and goals seem to be peppered with a previously unknown sort of Zen. A patience and certainty that what I believe to be possible will come.

I credit my friend who supplied the pickle recipe for this special brand of Zen, though I’m sure she has no idea how much it, or the pickles, meant to me. Though, my pickle friend did have a little help from my son, who danced around with a party hat for most of the day, January 1st, 2012.

2012 Resolution number one?  Enjoy moments like the one captured below, then worry about the pickles: