Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick Sketch of BB

I posted this to Imagik, so if interested you can see it there. This is just a screen shot of that blog, where you can actually see the sketch much larger.

Writing goals, other goals, intentions

I find it difficult to let go of trying to accomplish too much in one day; that's my biggest flaw. Or, one of them--I have many. I am always disappointed in my progress each day, both with my writing and with my life.

I just keep chugging away and my to-do lists (my writing and other stuff lists) get longer and longer.

I need to clean and reorganize, but I always want to do some writing (or art) first, and since I rarely make my goal for writing (or art), I keep pushing back the cleaning each day.

Goals are what we mean to do in the world, the phenomenal world.

Intentions can relate to those, but also in growth. I intend to be calm and nonjudgemental, though I still find myself judging. I intend to open myself to happiness and even bliss, I intend to be loving and accepting, but I still get angry. I notice these things and continue on, doing what I can the best I can.

Blue swan art by me, click on image to view larger.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Self Portrait as the artist looking at the future

Of course, this is me YOUNGER than I am now (not really me at all). Done in Roma's with markers and pens and a little colored pencil. The top one is the newer version--I'm never sure when I am done with a piece and I decided the lighting wasn't right on it. The bottom one, for inquiring minds, is the original.

The third picture is me last night with a hastily rendered copy of Cezanne's 3 Skulls done at the DIA in ordinary pencil. They have drawing sessions and provide seats, paper, pencils and easels every Friday night. And I think Sunday afternoons, too. It;'s the first time I've done it. If I do it again, I may bring my own pencils, stubs etc. It was a huge paper to fill in a short time with a pencil, and I didn't get it quite right--but I had a good time and looked CAREFULLY at the painting--more carefully than ever before.

Click images to view larger.

below is a pocket item for Roma's pocket, it is a super-quick mini sketch of BB, my husband Keith. I did it last night on a very small "art pad." (Sm Assignment notebook-size.)

On my screen, the image is larger than the actual sketch. It is done in pencil, markers and colored pencil.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Working on Roma's Moleskine in Texas

Here is what I accomplished in Texas. We had a kind of busy schedule, so i didn't get as much done as I hoped, but I did get some done.

The first one, the old peddler woman, is an illo for one of my children's book, Jacob and the Great Fish. The second one is the first half of a collaboration for Ammon to complete.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dee and Dum (Last (?) of the set for Mike)

Tweedle. I just completed the last of the set of three skull paintings (artrage) for Mike's pocket (prints, since they are on the iPad). Roma, let me know if you'd also like a set.

Another one for Mike's Pocket

I did this Artrage painting on my iPad. I am still in Texas. I plan to print this for Mike's pocket, when I get home. Roma, let me know if you would like a set of these for your pocket as well. (I know Mike likes skulls, but I am not sure if you do, Roma; not everyone does.) Click image to view larger.

Evening primroses

These evening primroses are common along the highways in Texas, where I am visiting family. They make a cheerful display and I like seeing them.

Click image to view larger.


I started Jean Auel's The Valley of Horses on the plane on the way to
Texas. I finished it this morning, I got sucked in and read it
faster than I intended to. I thought I'd be reading it on the plane
home. I did not bring the next book with me. I really enjoyed the
story, although there were times when it dragged. Keith is well into
Clan now.


*Snow melt is much nicer psychologically than aesthetically. Sara Stebbins*



It was over a hundred here in Texas yesterday--96 toward the end of our zoo
visit. Breezy though, and dry enough so even at that temperature, it
didn't feel unbearably hot. When it was over a hundred, I got chilled
with the air-conditioning and went and sat outside in the sun a little
to warm up. Actually felt good! It was sunny.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A-Z Challenge, I is for Insomnia

Insomnia's Moonlight Sonata, New Painting by me. This is an original smudge painting, from scratch (not from a photo, but drawn and painted by hand.)

And for National Poetry Month:

In Murky Waters[1]

Already her pink toes disappear into the small shadowed pond

That serves as a gateway to the underworld. The sun sets

Due west, relentless, as she plunges deep into clouded

Waters, swims strong, and surfaces

In another world. It’s not what you’d expect, dark

Damp rock, stalactites and stalagmites, clusters of bats,

Dangling spiders. Here, dark things coexist with an improbable

Profusion of sunshine: dunes, jungles, mountains, waterfalls,

Fecund green swamps. Anything found in the above-world exists

Below. That first time, Persephone saw only darkness,

The fire-lit throne room, the endless files of dead

Passing through, the grey river Styx and the huge grey swamps

Through which it flows. Hades had to teach her. She opened

Her eyes to find other eyelids underneath. Hades, who spoke at length

About the “veils,” peeled away onion layers of Persephone’s eyes

Until a pale yellow-green light began to suffuse the endless

Night. Layer upon layer he scraped away, until Persephone herself

Began clawing the masks of blindness from her eyes,

Like Dante, tearing off his masks. After months

Of thinning, the sun appeared within rock and beyond rock.

“Ah, sweet sun,” She said to Demeter, one spring evening, pointing

Down through stone into her husband’s chambers. Demeter imagined

Her daughter weak from lack of sustenance, from drinking

Only grenadine for half the year. At first, Persephone swore she would rewrite

Her own myth: escape from Hades and return to the flowering earth.

Now, rewriting again, she sees herself as uniquely privileged, golden

Fish in murky waters, the powerful, winged and shining

Queen of the underworld.

[1] Published in New Millennium; $500 1st place prize

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A-Z Challenge, H is for Handmade Blade

"Handmade Blade, Child's Balloon"

This is a new painting, which is, as of yet, UNFINISHED.

The allusion is to the song by Bob Dylan, from which I quote:

"Darkness at the break of noon
shadows even the silver spoon
the handmade blade, the child's balloon,
eclipses both the sun and moon"

I will not explain it further because I assume you will understand without explication.

And for National poetry Month:

Hunting the Snipe of Sleep

As water seeps through my nightgown, and mud,

pungent and black, clings to my fingers, I scrabble slowly

toward dawn. I crawl through dark swamps. Winged

as a curlew, long-beaked as a woodcock,

sleep dives whistling through the shattered night.

Burdocks and beggars ticks

burrow into my hair, biting me

with tiny pointed teeth.

I carry a snare for the snipe

of sleep, but when it swoops by and I reach

to snag it, my fingers pass, ethereal, through

ghostly feathers, intangible as the clouds

of fog that drift past, damp, taunting

and utterly ungraspable. Dreams tumble by,

hauntingly near but always beyond reach.

They refuse to descend into my parched eyes.

Gibbering voices of dream phantoms

talk in tongues, in unlearned or unknown languages

while aurora-colored curtains flutter

around my face in tatters. Warm snow

drifts from the sky, but never touches my face.

Night tears itself in strips, shreds itself into confettis

of longing. Never will the snipe of sleep

be domesticated, it can neither be captured

nor kept. Beyond feral, beyond savage,

it ranges, elusive, toothy, taloned and mean.

Insomnia sucks, leechlike, shrinking

the cinder of my heart.

Friday, April 08, 2011

A-Z Challenge, G is for Galloping Godiva

This is an UNfinished painting. Brand new. I cannot finish a real painting in less than a day, especially when I'm sick in bed a good part of the day!

And for national Poetry month:

Geraldine’s Word Collection

The new English teacher gives Geraldine a pass and tells her, “look for words.”

Geraldine finds the word “memory” on the library door and copies it

into her word book. “Memory,” the librarian reminds her, pointing

to her own head, “is what you remember inside, what happened before.

Yesterday, earlier today.” Geraldine sits down at a library table and looks

inside her memory. She finds Ricky there, and Aldy. She looks at Ricky

and writes down the word “handsome” and the word “love.” The librarian

helps her spell the words. When she remembers Ricky’s kisses, they

writes the word “warm.” She remembers him naked, but she doesn’t tell

the librarian. Instead, they write the word “lonely.” Loneliness

happened earlier today. Closeness happened yesterday, or some time

earlier. Aldy happened, the most beautiful baby in the world. Love

isn’t a big enough word. They took Aldy away, put Geraldine in a new school,

where she couldn’t see Ricky. A stupid school. A school where Geraldine stuffs

envelopes and puts tiny measures of spices in little bags and bottles.

And gets paid. Fold it this way, not that way. Fill the measure to the top,

but not overflowing. All the girls in one room, all the boys in another.

No Ricky, no Aldy anywhere. Work days and education days. More work

days than school days. Long days, no sunshine. Big pink lights that hum.

No cafetorium, no school dances. She writes down the word “hug.”

She thinks about the word breast, Ricky kissing her, Aldy nursing.

But she says the word, “family” and thinks of her parents, her sister.

“Memory,” Geraldine repeats. The librarian reminds her about the dictionary,

and they look up memory. On the way to memory, they encounter

the word “melancholy.” The librarian helps her write down the words:

“sad, depressed, gloomy.” The librarian writes the words and Geraldine

copies them carefully. In art class, her teacher repeats the words

and Geraldine picks a color for each word, paints a picture in sepia,

indigo, burnt sienna with bits of red, yellow and blue. The art teacher sees

a small flock of tropical birds in a dusky jungle. Geraldine sees dark days

and small bright dreams, visitations of memory, Ricky and Aldy.

Mary Stebbins Taitt,

groan (persephone speaks to hades)

you plunge between my legs

and I look up

where spiders stretch their webs

and twirl their moths

and fifty bats hang by their nails

and granite shines

along foreboding cracks

as wisps of fire

reflect. you gasp and groan

and come and I

release a sigh, relieved

that you are done

so I, with less

impediment, can watch

each bat inhale

and spiders gobble flies.

but as you crush my breasts

in sleep, your weight

distresses me, as does

the slime that leaks, now cold,

between my thighs.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A-Z Challenge, F is or fish

F is for "fish." These clownfish are from my book, as yet unpublished, Benny's Favorite Color.

and for National poetry month,

February Tree Dreams

Under the ground, a dark and perpetual night, almost as void

of life as deep space, presses cold teeth against the dreaming trees,

but the trees sink further into their roots and listen all the way up

the long fibers of their empty veins to owls rustling in their nests,

to small movements inside the eggs, to the first cracking

that heralds these winter babies, these messengers of spring.

Lost in their roots, sunk in depths of the frozen earth, trees dream

of sweet sunshine, of snow melting, of the slow unfurling of leaves

and flowers, of fledgling owls stretching their wings and launching

into the great pale blue of treacherous air. The trees remember

summer nights, owls lifting silently from their branches, occluding

the moon and stars, or hooting to one another from high above

the branches where the little diurnal birds rest in their nests.

The trees dream the smell of summer wind and the wet caresses

of rain. As they weave into their dreams the smells

of their own flowers, the tastes of their own nectar,

the touch of the bees’ pollen-laden feet and gentle tongues,

the taste of frozen earth loses its pungent bitterness.

Mary Stebbins Taitt



What if, instead of dying flowers, perfume

smelled like mountaintops, like granite

and fir-filtered wind? Breezes lift our feet

from the rock and fragrance-scented air

buoys us up over golden rows of mountains.

You laugh like a child taking his first step

out onto the taut surface of water

and instead of sinking, we skate

on that tensile surface that quivers

like my heart when you reach

the long pin feathers of your wings

and wrap them all light and tickle

and remember around me.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

I am publishing this on Wednesday night, because I've been sick all week and feel worst in the morning, so this is for Thursday.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A-Z Challenge: E is for Eager, Eye

Well, I am sick. Even sicker than yesterday. but here are my E entries for the challenge:

My husband and I rehabilitated a baby squirrel who was so eager for his bottle we named him Eager.

He was successfully released into the wild.

And, for national poetry month, a poem for E:


I live inside the eye. Vacuous, lost

in a steaming, sulfurous wasteland, we stare, the eye

and I. Drifts of exhaustion fog a window otherwise so clear

that it appears unglazed. Hot, red and dry,

the eye and I watch the frayed edges of dreams

unwind and pool in holographic puddles. Twitching,

little scenes surround us, paint

drips of smeared color and spastic motion

into our peripheral vision. We want to dive

into lost reveries, to be swallowed by their promise of sleep,

but they shimmer and fade when we reach for them. Our lids

scorch open. I try not to see the teeth growing

inside the maw of eye. The iris shreds into spears;

its hissing-‘possum jaws show numerous canines. I refuse

to notice the eye’s hunger. Already in its belly, my scales

slip off and fall in multicolored rain. Hydrochloric acid dissolves

them, liberates their swirling hues. The tapeworm insomnia

swims free in the amniotic fluid, in the home of dreams,

in the small death of sleep.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

This is a new poem, still in progress. You can see, perhaps, how it related to being sick.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A-Z Challenge: D is for Dragonfly, Damselfly

I am working on a new children's book about a dragonfly. This is the first page of that book. The others are unfinished.

and here are two D-poems for national Poetry Month, by me:


Birch trees lean over the lake. Shimmering, doubled,

white bark reflects pale streaks in dark water,

like postcards sent home from vacation,

like art splashed on canvas en pleine air

affixed with postage stamps, glued to your heart,

like love letters where the unbearable beauty

of this wild world is sealed with a kiss

and summer romance stretches deep into autumn

and beyond. The ebullient heart swings from bent birches

and drops into icy mountain water, shrieking

with shock and joy. Mirrored mountains rise

out of rocky shores to embrace waterfalls,

long ridges, your hikes to granite summits

lost in trackless wilderness. Fear

swirls though the gut like wind-tossed birch leaves.

The heart opens as if released from white trunks

to fall through yellow leaves into deep pools of wonder.

and a prose poem:


Panting from a summer heat wave, the woman sticks her head out the car window. She swallows wind in enormous gulps. Sky howls past her face and through her hair. She grins and sniffs the air, smells smoke. Somewhere in the city, a house blazes. Grey curtains hang in gauzy layers above the street and other scents assail her: burning brakes, electrical malfunctions, sewage, rotting garbage, woodchucks and rabbits. Hotdogs popping on a grill, fried chicken from a fast food franchise. Gasoline, exhaust fumes. At first, the woman names the smells. But soon, she flares her nostrils and simply inhales the kaleidoscope of odors. The inside of her head sings with smells. She barks at passing dogs, yaps at cats and squirrels. Drools. Hears the wind whistling through her teeth. When she shoves her shoulders and whole upper torso out the window, her husband says, “Down girl!” She spins and growls at him, baring her incisors, before she backs partway back into the car again and turns once more to taste the tang of barbecuing ribs and sweat-rich, skunk-scented joggers.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

Monday, April 04, 2011

A-Z Challenge, C is for Cheshire Cat

This Cheshire Cat is a painting in progress. (Not yet finished!) Click image to view larger.

Also, here is a new prose poem, for National Poetry month, "Cascades of Elder Blossoms:"

Cascades of Elder Blossoms

The man carried a white cardboard box such as one into which a baker might place a small cake. He set it on the table and opened it. Three girls sat up and stretched. They had been folded around each other like triplets in the womb. They were packed in elder blossoms, which cascaded away as the girls stood up and bent to step out of the box. The box must have been larger on the inside than the outside, because the girls, outside the box, were normal sized, slender and somewhat naiad-like. Except for the flowers, they were naked, but not embarrassed. They smiled, cheerful, ready for what came next, which they seemed to expect would be good.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

And, I'd like to mention my causes. (Inspiration thanks to Junebug). I am very interesting in the environment, in education, in reading (yes, this IS a cause!), in poverty, in children's issues, in animal issues, and women's issues. I am working on some books, and I am hoping to donate portions of the proceeds (--big leap here--they have to be published first!!!) to various causes. For example, I may donate 10% of the writer-income of Frog Haven to SAVE THE FROGS. And there will be a donation, assuming I am able to, from each of my upcoming books to some cause, which I will mention later.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

A-Z Challenge, B is for Benny, April 2, 2011

Hmm, there seems to be theme developing here, if you can develop a theme in two posts. This is an illo for my children's book, Benny's Favorite Color and features Benny with a peacock at the Zoo.

I am not officially playing along with the A-Z challenge because I am not always available. But here are the first two posts any way.

Of course, I have a poem for the letter B for national poetry, by me:

Broken Bridge

Remember sleep, that trickster, laughing,

bright with moonshine? She draped curtains

of widow gossamer so thick over your face

that you inhaled her tiny hourglass of toxins.

She flung you into flights of unquiet silence.

Remember sleep? You walked through walls.

Sometimes, her light shone green, her detail etched,

complex and compelling. You saw hemp ropes with every fiber

shadowed against the checkered metal and concrete

bridge floor. Ropes piled like snakes on a bridge

that ended, like all your bridges, suspended above the middle

of a churning river. Sometimes, you flew. You flew.

Bridges dangled over open space, snakes of rope coiled

on their decks. You tumbled into snake pits, snakes slithered

in the henhouse, wrapped around the hen-hot eggs, wound

around your arms, your neck. You wanted to escape

or you wanted to rescue them from cold, heat, people attacking

or animals with fangs bared. You wanted to save them, you wanted

to fly with them though the aqueous air of their underwater caverns.

But all your bridges broke, hurtling you into space. You fell.

Over those bridges, toward open water, men swarthy

with rage, brandishing cutlasses and terror,

chased you. You turned and ran through complex mazes

of alleys and abandoned buildings. You were always trying

to accomplish something you couldn't quite remember,

something urgent and important. Understanding eluded you,

like sleep eludes you now. You fell.

Over and over, you fell off cliffs, tumbled, twisted,

a shrieking rag doll, waking before you smashed

on the jagged rocks. You'd read that if you died in a dream,

you died forever. No wonder the trickster abandoned you!

In the waking world, they'd find your body

curled in the womb of a dark invisible Persephone.

You believed in death until you died, again and again,

and woke, and woke again, and woke again

through onion layers of dreams, not sure which,

if any, was the waking life you’d come from,

the life you thought you remembered.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

The formating is wrong, it's supposed to be in six-line stanzas. My A post is here.


did my weekword post HERE.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A-Z Challenge: A is for ART, April 1, 2011

A is for Art. I do art every day. Right now, I am working on several children's books. This is a partly completed painting on my iPad on Artrage for one of my books.

I am not officially doing the A-Z challenge, because I am not always available to play along.

And a very small A poem, for national poetry month (by me):


in the stillness

after love

only breathing