“Paint by Number”

These last few weeks I have been teaching “Paint by Number,” a lesson I created to promote success in student behavior. When someone feels you are vested in their successfulness, then they happily produce quality work. The project details history of the hobbyist kits from the 1960s sold to let anyone without artistic talent produce a realist painting. This kits are considered crude by anyone with talent. An interesting turn of events, these are now coveted by collectors. To me they are kitsch, humorous and remind me of my childhood when I painted sets of ballet dancers, clowns and horses.

I took this concept and had students photograph themselves, tweak them in Photoshop using hue, saturation and cut/paste filters to get the monochromatic out lined composition. Using an opaque projector these images are enlarged and traced on canvas. The novice student with no drawing or painting ability will have a wonderful rendition of themselves upon completion. Students love this assignment because when completed it looks like them and creates a feeling of success. Afterward, I will teach drawing skills and paint mixing. Their positive experience with the first piece has instilled a trust that will lead them into more complex ideas and projects.

Isn’t life about being successful and appreciated for what you do? Teaching is a wonderful way to not only teach history, media and techniques but trust, worthiness and success.

Manifesting your life

Six months ago I was sitting in Australia thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I was not teaching but trying to enjoy the art of relaxing. It was at this time I realized I needed a purpose, because I found relaxing boring. I considered where did I want to live? Was it OZ, America, well I knew it wasn’t China. I really missed America and all it has to offer. Where did I want to live in America? So many choices. Should I live near my children who are spread all over the country? I know I didn’t want to live in Plano anymore. I had grown up there. In 1998 I returned to raise my daughter and be near my parents. A little more thought and I realized, I had always loved Houston, the climate, the ability to grow ferns and the proximity to the beach. I had taught art classes at the Glassell and loved the downtown. So why not live where I love? It was at this point that I focused my thoughts on creating my purpose and my new journey.

I decided I would find a job in Houston where I could teach IB to International students. Only two schools provide that environment and one had an opening which turned into my new job. I could now move to Houston, and live downtown. Just this week I was able to find the home that I had dreamed of. It is exactly what I wanted with a wonderful kitchen, art studio space, garage, large tub, a rain shower and right on Heights Blvd.

I believe we are the creators of our life. We envision what we want in our thoughts and our thoughts are manifested into reality. My reality is everything and more because I dreamed it into being. I cannot tell you how much happiness this has created for me. I have it all and I created it.


This is a site that my wonderful friends Judy and Patti helped me discover. It is about the “Law of Attraction” and how to create what you truly want in your life. I have used the law of attraction in the past, but this site has helped me focus even more intently. Every seventeen seconds you can create and hold a thought, this is how to manifest your desires.

If you can’t seem to find what you need, or your not attracting what you want I suggest you give it a read. You will be surprised at what you find. As my friend Ann says it is about the journey of happiness. Happiness is the answer, so manifest that in your thoughts.

Moving Up

September! Did I miss August? I started my new job in Houston, teaching International students art and worked the entire month of August. Whew! I am enjoying my Chinese boarding students. They miss their family and home towns. I can relate my overseas experiences and watch them smile and “light up” hearing similar stories. It seems to me life is about familiar experiences and feeling accepted. It is good to be in Texas teaching! This girl is happy to be back on American soil and near family and great friends.

My house hunt has been exhausting, looking close to 150 condos, apartments, town-homes, single family homes, and multi-family homes. I put bids on four different places, with competition on three. This last bid on a town-home I was fortunate to have accepted. The Heights is an extremely popular neighborhood and is transitioning into a really wonderful place to live.

The town-home is three story and three bedrooms, one of which I will use as a studio. It has everything I wanted, from a dreamy kitchen with granite, a bathroom with a soaker jetted tub and a space to create art. There are any windows with interesting views of Houston, including the train tracks—toot toot! I know I will like the Urban environment and richness of diversity. It will be wonderful to finally get my gear out of storage and in one location, where I can continue my journey from my very own new home.

When I get settled I want to have my first art opening and feature a retrospective of my art. My home will be a lovely setting for this event. If you would like to attend, let me know and I will include you in the festivities.

Inspiration by artist Dai Li

I find inspiration in the art work by artist Dai Li.

The Exhibit at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery is called “Games We Play,” and seeks to set up metaphorical connections between the games we play and deeper experiences in life. Moments of contemplation, when we are unguarded, or when no one is watching, are moments when people can reveal their true nature. Dai Li is a ceramicist and watercolorist from Sichuan, China and educated in Jiangxi province. Her work, petite in nature yet strong in commentary shows clay sculptures depicting a slice of life. Her humor is wonderfully candid!

Inspiration makes me happy! Check out her work and get a few smiles yourself.


Life is about boundaries

“Life is as life is,” my new mantra. I am searching for a home to plant myself in and it doesn’t seem to be surfacing. So I wonder, is this where I am suppose to be? Alone, but not lonely, I search for my hearts desire. I know what I like and what I don’t like. I can sure draw a boundary when it comes to things I don’t like.

Boundaries are those lines that limit you from certain objects of your desire. I am noticing my wonderful American culture does not really understand boundaries or they have “blown them off.” Can American’s say no? Not really, they want bigger, more expensive, and an unending craving for more. Our society is feeding us with commercials that make us feel we need to spend to be fulfilled. But are we? No, of course not. But when your boundaries have been compromised by commercialism it causes you to forget what you need is surprisingly very little.

I am noticing people have more stuff than they need, they have filled their homes with so much there is no longer space for people. It is unbelievable how many homes I have visited and there is just no where to sit or sleep due to pillows. Yes these fluffy little squares have taken over all the free space. Their closets, drawers and cabinets are filled to overflowing, It has become overwhelming. No wonder Americans are laughed at by international countries. We are in-debt because we buy too much to fill up our lives. In theory it would be better to fill it with good relationships. Quit buying junk. Learn to cook and stop indulging in processed packaged products. Walk and bike ride, know your neighbors, get off the iPhone, iPad and become a person connected to real life. Set a boundary, it would do you good.

As my life goes from day to day, I cook, paint, write and meet new people. My life is different now, I realize I can have boundaries and say “No, thanks!” I learned from my Asian culture experience, “Less is really more and Life is as life is.” Life is really good.

Homeless… without ocean and art studio!

A week with Hurricane Debby and you realize how noisy, windy and wet nature can be. Storms can be challenging, especially if you have a ring side ocean view from your hotel window. I taught a week of IB art classes in St. Pete, Florida and saw only one day of sunny weather. I love the beach and living on the coast would be the most wonderful opportunity to experience sand, surf and sun.

Storms and sunny days, are like the ups, the downs of life. We all have challenges, I suppose how we handle them is the key. My stormy days have subsided and now nice sunny ones are on the horizon. I want to live by the ocean, but with my new job I will be sixty miles to the surf. Now what? Deciding on a second best scenario is difficult. Should I live in a high rise, suburban home, older home in a more trendy location or even an apartment? For me, this is too many decisions. I make my mind up quickly, now I am weighing options. I decided the other day that an art studio was the most important for me. Did you ever try to find a home with an artist area? After looking, I find the art studios as a part of a home are over a half a million in cost. Tell me how is an artist going to afford that? What an oxymoron!

Life is throwing me a curve ball, no ocean, no artist studio….. What do I do?

My brother-in-law humorously calls me a squatter, I am sure they would like me to move on, but where do I go? Anyone in Houston got an artist studio I could buy, rent or squat at?

The dark eyed Morrocan

Hassan laid a long stem red rose in front of me on the white linen covered table. Startled I looked up to see his piercing black eyes staring back at me. A rose for me, something I had not expected, sitting quietly by myself at dinner. What a handsome man I thought. He held me riveted by his charming accent. We watched as the wedding continued. The bride and groom were getting married this evening in the gazebo of the Island Grand in St. Pete, Florida. She was a dark haired beauty surrounded by her six bridesmaids dressed in subtle shades of beige. It was a tropical wedding with burlap, seashells, groomsmen in panama hats, and the congregation of the men in satin white Yarmulkes. What a site right in front of my eyes. I want to crash the reception I told Hassan. He smiled and said no one would notice and pointed the direction.

A charming Moroccan, he told me how lovely a Jewish wedding can be in his homeland. His idea of love was so much more than what was before our eyes. He is a man of dreams. You can see it in his eyes. We watched as the wedding ending and pictures were taken. I had a ring side seat in this lovely dining room at the Palm Court. My window view, the lovely dinner and my Moroccan man with the red rose, what a night. Now to walk the beach and enjoy the sunset.

Life is what you dream.

I don’t know what I don’t know

My ritual cup of coffee in hand, it is a rainy morning, yet I hear someone mowing. Why would you mow in the rain? The noise is disrupting the solitude as I contemplate on decisions to make, places to live and a call that could change my life the very second I receive it.

Good health is one thing I have been fortunate to have. A vegetarian of nearly 20 years, non-smoker and non-drinker, I seem to have the spunk of a 19 year old. The last couple of days I have noticed a lump on my throat and strong pulsations, both which are growing. After consulting with two doctors and an ultrasound, I am waiting on a call from Dr. Ben to explain what is happening with me.

Once again I am sitting on hold in a “gap” of time where you “don’t know what you don’t know.” Without medical knowledge, remaining calm is unsettling. I tell myself it is probably nothing, but with my imagination I can conjure up many scenarios.

Life is always throwing you curve balls. I am looking for places to live, deciding on jobs, and trying to fit back into the “American way of life!” The fast pace is wearing me out. Waiting on this call, I feel stressed and anxious. Being on my own and having medical issues is not what I expected for myself. There is no one to turn to, for help, advice or a shoulder to lay your head on. It is just one of those mornings. I need another cup of coffee. Is it going to storm, clear up and be sunny? It is time to watch the weather station and see how the day plays out.

In the GAP

“In the GAP!” This is the in between space where one has been and where one is going. I am there! Coffee in hand, a nice latte from Starbucks and back to the blog. Jess’s comments on my last post about a coffee, blow-up mattress and a warehouse, might be a true definition describing my future new space. I would add a kitchen with a granite counter, convection oven, a dishwasher and my Jura-Capresso coffee center. I haven’t seen a dishwasher in two years or my coffee maker. Hopes are high it will be soon. My brother-in-law, Jeff describes me as a squatter. Today I am “slumming” around Austin, camped at my daughters duplex in Austin. The possibility of living in this “neck of the woods” intrigues me. Can I find a real artist studio with home attached? Something to consider, since I have a “Do Over” life.

I like the opportunity at my age to make new life changes. I can pick where I want to live, teach if I wish, paint, write, cook and enjoy the last half of my life as I choose. I am free of being
stereotyped as normal, wife, mom, teacher, daughter! Yes, I was these things, but now there is more to me. This empty vessel is ready for filling. Buying the VW doodle bug a couple weeks ago, set that direction for me. I get in it and see the cute little “Black Eyed Susan” flower my sweet sister gave me and off I go on my journey. Didn’t I always say, “It is about the journey and not the destination?”

Enjoying my GAP Time and letting doors open, watching doors close and seeing the new possibilities is so fun. Today I want to drive around, look at homes and see if this is the landing spot. If not, it might be Houston or back to Dallas. China and Australia were good for me. I learned about going with in and exploring the authentic self. Moreover I met honest nice people. I want more of that in my new do-over life.