Friday, January 23, 2015

Early stages of Had Races and Won

Often, when I start a new painting, I get very discouraged and wonder why I pretend to be able to do this.  It seems obvious I can't.  I want to give up, because it seems hopeless.

"Had Races and Won"
Acrylic on thin Moleskine paper
1st coat
click this or any image to view larger

"Had Races and Won"
Acrylic on thin Moleskine paper
2nd coat
The images are photos with a point and shoot camera, sorry about the reflections.  I'll start scanning, if I can, I'm having difficulties with my scanner!  :-(

This is a slow process for me, but I am working on i!  It is as of yet quite unfinished.  It is for a book I am working on for my grandson.
"Had Races and Won"
Acrylic on thin Moleskine paper
3rd coat
I added another layer of paint.  Most of the paint I am using is fairly transparent (although some is thick and opaque.  I Have to put many layers on to get it to look the way I want it,  I scanned this one, but the scanner is messing up and I don't have time right now to fiddle with it, and since it isn;t done yet, I'll just post this--hope you can see the difference between the layers (versions) (drafts).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Savory dairy-free, soy-free, gluten free carrot pancakes

I just made my own yummy variation on the savory veggie pancakes that is gluten-free and dairy free--and simple:

1 organic free-range egg
1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats (Bob's red mill)
1/4 cup cooked organic carrots (I grated them and they cooked very quickly)
salt, garlic, pepper, dill to taste

spread in pan
saute lightly in extra virgin olive oil until light browned on both sides yum.
healthy and delicious!

add raisins or nut if desired.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Biker Buddy in Moleskine Exchange

Biker Buddy, by Mary Taitt
mixed media on Moleskine thin paper
Biker Buddy with the flu
mixed media on thin Moleskine paper
I started the first one in markers, but I didn't have enough colors for shading so I added oil pastels and then I added acrylics.  The second one is what I made from the bleed-through from the first.  I'm not counting it as a page, because the paper is very thin and I wanted to make the bleed-through into something.  I also thought it would be fun to make it into something somewhat different from the original.  In the first painting, I was experimenting with unusual light sources and also concerned with flat (dead) colors--and how to make them live (add light).

dead and living colors
I chose colors that I thought looked particularly "dead" on their own, olive green, Indian red, flat grey and burnt umber.  Some of the ways to add light included dry brush, adding other colors, glazing.  I am not a fan, generally speaking, in my own work, anyway, of large areas of single blank dull colors.

test prints
giraffes conversing
Mary Stebbins Taitt

We recently put my mother-in-law, ML (for Mary Louise), in assisted living.  She used to be a teacher.  One of the books I inherited when she left her home is called printing for fun, and I read through it and discovered from printing techniques I hadn't heard of.  One is printing with paper masters--not like mimeograph, but cutting and pasting masters with shapes and using them to print with.  I decided to try it with textured papers and did my first two test prints in Mike's book.  I then made a card and included the master, because as I discovered, paper masters do not last too long--they begin to wear out and disintegrate.  It is only for fun and very small "runs."

Pocket items: Sample card
paper master
sample prints
giraffes conversing (NOT in pocket)
I included a scan of a few of the sample prints I made and you can see the disintegration of the paper.  (although they are not in order).  It was still a fun and relatively easy project and would probably be good with kids who have a short attention span anyway.  Just cut out and glue the shapes, make a few prints and move on.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Day in the life of, December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014, 12:48 PM Keith is driving and I am riding and we are going up to get Keith's brother Paul and take him to see Keith's Mom, ML for ML’s ninety-third birthday and a belated Christmas.  Neil, Laura, Rachel Nathaniel and Sophia are also coming, and Graham says he’s coming too.  We haven’t seen Neil’s family since Easter.  Neil is my husband Keith's son.

It’s been raining but seems to have stopped.  I am down fifteen minutes on recent walking from yesterday, but our day will be so busy today we might not get to walk.

It’s grey.  “It’s a grey morning . . . “ Gordon Lightfoot.
I wish I’d remembered that I wanted to bring the story, “returned unhurt,”[1] and try to type it in while driving, but I did not remember.  I want to type it in and post it to Cowbird and dedicate it to Turtle.  But I didn’t.  Some other time, if I can even find it.  It might be in the box on the sewing table.

I would like to use this time for some good purpose.  But I am not properly prepared to do any serious work.  I didn’t prepare any “assignments.”

1:12 PM we just picked up Paul, wished him a merry Christmas and happy new year.  I think we were about ten minutes late getting him. 

4:35 PM well, the party is over, and a rip-roaring party it was.  Paul, Keith and I arrived first, and were there quite a while.  I gave ML the cards I made for her, and then Neil, Laura, Rachel, Nathaniel and Sophia arrived.  I let the kids open their gifts.  They were small gifts.  Each had a $20.00 attached.  Then Graham and Kristina came, and then Ben and Chuck Persick (sp?) came and we brought out the champagne, pie, fruit bread, cookies, etc.  Unfortunately, I kind of pigged out.   It kind of makes me feel bad, sad, upset.

5:07 PM now we have dropped off Paul back at his place and are headed for the Clinton River Park North, to take a walk.  It is getting dark.  But we have passed the solstice and the evenings, little by little are getting longer.  (Or, will be shortly.)

K says, “what is the name of the country where people with the name of Tarpinian come from near Turkey and the Turks did a genocide on them in 1910?” Out of the mists of my fuzz mind came Armenia so I said, “Armenia?” and he said yes.  J And was all pleased.  J

Sophia is in second grade and is seven years old.  Nathaniel is in fourth grade (nine?) and Rachel is thirteen and in eighth grade. Sophia is taller than Nathaniel.  They have all grown a LOT.  Rachel also seems much more grown up.  She was wearing tall high-heeled leather boots.  (These are three of our grandchildren.)

6:34 PM we walked one hour and one minute along the Clinton river from late twilight to full dark in a very light misting drizzle warm enough that I took off my hat and coat.  The car thermometer says 49°.  The light rain speckles the windshield with diamonds, sparkling from the streetlights. 
Other than eating “bad food,” I enjoyed the party more than I expected I would.  There was pandemonium of sorts, because there were so many people milling around in a small space all talking at once, but it was friendly and cheerful and fairly pleasant and fun plus I got to squeeze Sophia.  She sat in my lap a lot.  She was pretty in a white satin dress with a built-in veil-like appendage.  She had on brand new black leather boots, not as tall as Rachel’s.  Nathaniel was dapper in a long grey and black plaid shirt of a fine smooth woven cotton, many threads per inch.    Sophia is taller than Nathaniel.

I am getting a cramp in the back of my left hand from holding Winnie.  We are going to stop at ML’s house and do some more packing on the way home.  Guess I will turn this off in preparation, as we are approaching Garfield and Utica roads.

7:45 PM now we are back in a fully loaded car, trunk jammed with stuff, back seat jammed with stuff, headed home.  We have not had dinner, so when we get home, we need to unload the car (where we’re going to put an entire carload of mostly books I can’t say), make dinner and go to bed.  And we’re tired from a long day and I didn’t work on Frankie’s France book or anything else (I mean like novel or poetry or anything I need to get done like cleaning, packing and prep and wrapping etc. for Syracuse not that there is much to wrap, there isn’t.)  (Not much at all L!)  (But what little I have still needs to wrapped.)

(I took pictures, but haven't downloaded them yet.)

Hope your holidays were fun!!!  Fun of love, joy, happiness, good health.

[1] Later:  I looked for the story that I wanted to work on, “Returned Unhurt,” but could not find it.  I may have taken it to R’dale in one of my invisible cleaning furies.  I’d like to find it, take it on the trip to work on.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Two Moleskine Collabs

Biker Buddy joins the Crowd
 I added Biker Buddy to Mike's Crowd

Collab with Andrea
I'm neither as steady nor as creative as Andrea!  But I had fun with names.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


YAY!  I am a NaNoWriMo Winner!  I have written 51,207 total words so far.  The very rough first draft is NOT finished, but I have my required 50,000 words to be a "winner."  This is what I've been busy with, among other things.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NaNoWriMo is coming up shortly

Peregrine's self portrait (by me)
NaNoWriMo is coming soon and I am working on the back-stories.  This is one, of the "guardian" character, Peregrine.

Words rattle around inside my head, unspoken and unheard. They have ricocheted there so long that they feel like stones I must pry from the frozen earth.  Only these words exist.  Today, I am Peregrine.  Who I once was or might have become is no longer of consequence.  So pry I will, with this shattered crowbar.  I need a conversation, even if it is only with myself. 
This morning, I saw a woman, a woman known hereabouts as a bag lady or homeless woman, standing in the doorway of the bakery to escape the freezing rain.  She was clutching a three seed roll, the roll that the beautiful hippie girl, Flower always offers the homeless when they come in to get warm. 
Flower.  So radiant, so handsome, her eyes as clear and blue as a cloudless September day.  Sometimes, I think she has known no pain, but then, a shadow passes, and I know she has somehow managed to pass through pain and come out whole, or nearly whole on the other side.  She wears long old-fashioned flowered dresses and white flour—sack aprons smudged with whole-grain flour.  Her dark hair has a few strands of grey, not unlike my own, or not unlike my own a few years ago, before the white hairs began to outnumber the black.  Her face is roundish, with a pointed chin and her cheeks are pink, verging on red from the heat of all the ovens.  She ties her hair back with strips of leather, but sweaty wisps of it always come loose and dangle at her temple.  She wears moccasins, much like mine, and I know, like me, she prefers bare feet and probably kicks off the moccasins the minute she leaves the bakery
The woman, the bag lady, I think her name is Hannah, stood in the bakery doorway, which is recessed and protected from wind and rain to some extent, and took great hungry bites of the steaming three-seed roll.  From the shadows where I stood watching, I could see the “smoke” of her breath and the wispier bits of steam rising from the roll.  A flock of pigeons rose from the alley behind the bakery and flew in a single fluid motion, like water pouring through air, over the street through the freezing rain.  I watched. 
Suppose the rain froze to their feathers and they fell like stones to the pavement and shattered like glass?  I held my breath, watching.  And as I watched, the bag lady stepped out into the freezing rain, raised her face, and watched the pigeons dance in the sky.  Even from where I stood, I could see joy on her weathered face.  My hearth thumped.  I wanted to go and place my hand on her arm and say, “Sister, we share a love of life and beauty,” but I did not.  Instead, I stepped deeper into the shadows and hid behind the dumpster.   
In that dumpster, earlier, I found this notebook and this shattered pen.  It still writes, if I hold the thin sharp shards of plastic in a tight grip.  When the bag lady left, I slipped to the back door of the alley and let Stormlight, Flower’s younger sister, hand me a three-seed roll.  Stormlight has honey-colored long wavy hair and wears the same flowered dressed and sack aprons as Flower always wears, and her feet were bare, though she must slip on her moccasins when she goes into the public areas.  I know bare feet violate a code, and a violation could cause the bakery to be shut down. 
A roll or two a day isn’t much to eat, but some days, A roll or two is all there is.  The bakery is only open for lunch. They are closed Sundays. Of course, the girls—young women, I should say-- are there baking long before lunch time, and in warm weather, the doors are open and we hungry ones can slip in after a couple of hours, when the first rolls start sliding out of the big ovens.  We could, if our timing is right, have one for a late breakfast and one for a late lunch.
Of course, other food is available.  Food lives in dumpsters, for example, behind the grocers and the restaurants and bars.  Other homeless folk beg on the streets for money or food, but I do not.  I like to stay out of sight.  And at the village of the homeless, the tent city beyond the bridge behind the bakery, it’s possible, if one is desperate, to barter for food with other homeless people.  But the price is more than I am willing to pay; I would rather starve, which is why I don’t go there anymore.  
I will not tell here what happens to women and girls at tent city.  Even elderly women like Hannah do well to avoid the place.  Some of the men there are more animal than human, and it only takes one to ruin or end a life.
Of course, I forage for food.  (Write more about this.) This is something I learned from my grandmother, Marialita.  She was half Native American and half Mexican, Little Maria, who was not little, but large-boned and sometimes fat, when enough food was available to become fat.  She taught me plants to use as food and medicines, and fibers for clothing, and how to set snares and dig holes to catch animals.  I rarely trap animals, as I feel a kind of kinship with them.  It is only when I am desperate that I will eat my brothers and sisters, the animal people, unless they have given their lives to cars, and then I scrape them up and use their bodies, because their souls have already gone elsewhere.  Their bodies and soul remnants nourish me and talk to me and tell me secrets which if the others, those with homes, knew of, they would put me in one of their funny houses.  Not funny ha ha, but funny weird crazy, as I am always labeled by anyone who sees or meets me. 
Perhaps I am crazy, living on burdock root from abandoned lots, eating the leaves of lamb’s quarters, the tiny wild rosehips and the bitty peppery leaves of ox-eye daisies.  Writing this reminds me of an essay I once read by Euell Gibbons called something like “Over-Survival on Bald Island.”  He went out to see if he could survive only on wild edibles and ended up getting fat.  But maybe he brought with him butter and flour—I no longer remember.  I certainly don’t get fat on burdock root and wild carrot.  It’s not tasty enough to eat more than I need. I wonder if the library has that essay; I’d like to reread it, but I don’t like going to the library often because they think . . . they think I’m a bag lady, dirty, smelly, and probably crazy.  I don’t even like to write that down, but I believe it to be their truth even if it isn’t mine.   
Or maybe it is my truth, and I am unwilling to admit it to myself.  I think I am different than other bag ladies.  And I am, but then again, each of them is different, in some ways, from every other bag lady. 

Now that I have written these few words, the remaining words inside me have shriveled up and refuse to be birthed.  Whether I shall ever tell whom I am and how I came to be here remains to be seen.

I apologize for the weird fonts, I tried to fix it without success, I am sorry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kissed Frankie Goodnight . . .

Kissed Frankie Goodnight
watercolor by Mary Stebbins Taitt
for my book
click to view larger.

They partied for days, weeks, months and years;

the sound of their laughter filled everyone’s ears.

They partied ‘til the moon came up in the sky

and then all creatures kissed Frankie goodbye.


I painted this with watercolors, finishing it (after many days of work), on 8/21/14 and today, I added the moon in Photoshop.   It is for the book I am working on for my grandson hopefully for his birthday, otherwise for Christmas.  He will be four years old on his birthday, and has just started school.

I posted it before, but I think this is the finished version (I hope).

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Preparing to mail another traveling sketchbook

Pelicans, front of envelope
click this or any image to see the images larger

Georges Braque
Back of envelope
For the pocket, I decided to make small note cards.
Fantasy in red
I did the Fantasy in red first.
Fantasy in Blue
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Markers and pigment pens
I picked up on some of the shapes and composition of fantasy in red for my fantasy in in blue, and added an eye and a nose.  I "organized" the random lines in the wide band in fantasy in red into an eye.
Fantasy in Yellow
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Markers and pigment pens
For fantasy in yellow, I added a second eye and a mouth.  On the wide band, I made two eyes.
An Organization of Mind
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Markers and pigment pens
Because the two eyes on the wide band in Fantasy in  yellow resembled a mask, I decided I need one more (I had only planned to do three, in primary colors.)
The completed series
After I "completed" the series (or thought I had), I made one more card for my mother-in-law, who was having dinner with us, and although I hadn't intended it, it ended up to be the 5th in series.  However, it is not in the pocket because I gave it to her.

An organization of Mind II
Mary Stebbins Taitt
pigment pen and colored pencil
(NOT in pocket)