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)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

"I dream someone is drawing cards that will determine not only my dreams, but also my future"

"I dream someone is drawing cards that will determine not only my dreams, but also my future"
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
water color, pen and ink
I really had this dream!  And as part of a dream yesterday morning, two small children were turning back and forth from kids to a snail and a slug and ricing through hot soapy water.  It was nerve-wracking to watch/dream!

This is my last piece in Aya's Mole this round.  Yet to do is one or more pocket items and the envelope.  I was going to start the envelope NOW, but the top is stuck on gesso and I can't get it off.

We have NO power at home, and slept at the studio last night.  The internet here is unbearably slow, and we don't have a smart phone, so I won't be online much until we get our power back at home.  Wish you love, joy, blessings!

Friday, September 05, 2014

I dream I need help securing a prisoner

I dream I need help securing a prisoner
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
in Aya's Moleskine
I got new pens and failed to test them for water-resistance--they SAID they were water-resistant but were not!  DUH!!!  I messed up--should have tested them.  They drew really nicely but bad when water added.  I do that intentionally sometimes, but in this case, did not want the ink to run.  I would have painted over the lettering but it would have been a disaster.

Collab for Mike
So, I have one more to do and I will mailing this Moleskine off to Mike.

We have company coming next week--our daughter Sarah and her husband Steve. We'll be busy getting ready, busy with them, busy catching up afterwards.  But fun!  YAY!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

free-ranging fish return to their tank

The runaway fish return to their tank
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
watercolor and pen and ink
5 x 8
I dream that the free-ranging fish must be back in their tank before dawn or they will die.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I Dream the fish swim out of their aquariums at night

I Dream the fish swim out of their aquariums at night
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
in Aya's book
I did this tonight, September 2nd, but accidentally put the wrong date on.  This is a real dream I have.  Or, used to have repeatedly.  Haven't had it recently (I no longer have an aquarium; that may be why.