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Details (8 January 2018)

Details can be the small features of something that you notice when you look carefully. They don’t even have to be small they can be as big as a door, a statue in the park, the color of a house.

We have become so immune to noticing not just the little things in life but also the big things. I’ll give you an example of how not looking up and actually seeing where I was going made caused me to miss something that I walked by everyday for 4 months.

I had been working at my new job since June of 2017. I had been walking up and down the green mile 5 or 6 times a day depending on breaks, lunches, meetings, training and so on and so forth. To my mind I walked by 4 doors before coming to the 5th one that was where I worked. One day a couple in November while leaving work with 4 co-workers I spotted a door. Not one of the 4 doors I previously mentioned. Of course I stopped, looked at it and asked no one in particular ‘when did they put that door in there?’ Needless to say the answer was it was always there and I was astounded that I had spent 4 months by that time walking up and down that hall 5-6 times a day never seeing that door.

I can’t blame it on looking at my phone or tablet or even talking to others. I admit I have difficulty looking at a phone while walking because it makes me uncomfortable. I wasn’t a habit I developed. I usually only walk down that hall with others when leaving work. To my mind it is just my head focusing on what is in front of me, on the ground below me or I am driven to look anywhere else. Why I happened to notice this door that night I don’t know but I see it now just about every time I walk down the hall.

Look up from your phones, tablets, the tops of your shoes and look around at the details of the people around you, the architecture of buildings, the trees, grass, clouds. Take a moment to lie in the grass and watch the cats, elephants, boat clouds roll by. Count the stars. Look at the details and let yourself be happy.

Details make me happy especially when I can hide things in them.





What is balance in art?
(noun) – As a basic principle of art (specifically of design), the definition of balance refers to the ways in which the elements (lines, shapes, colors, textures, etc.) of a piece are arranged.

There are 3 balances in art. Balance refers to the feeling of equilibrium or stability of a work of art. There are three types of balances: symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.

With symmetrical balance, you could draw a line down (or across) the middle of the project to create a mirror image. This perfect bilateral symmetry feels elegant, formal, and conservative.

Asymmetrical balance creates tension through contrast and is much more visually interesting. Because it’s abstract, there is no symmetry; there are no perfect mirror images. Instead, you’re arranging elements of all different visual weights in such a way that each side is still balanced out. The “heavier” elements will jump forward and catch the eye more than the “lighter” ones, which will recede. This type of balance feels more casual, free, and energetic.

In radial balance, elements radiate out (in a circular shape) from one main center point. If you’re looking to create a strong focal point, radial balance is an effective technique because your eyes are naturally drawn inwards to the center.

In your life you want balance. You want peace and harmony every day. Balance comes in many forms. You have physical forms, emotional forms and spiritual ones as well. Being in balance can mean one thing to you and something else entirely to your friend, or your sister.

The balance in your life today may not be the balance that you need tomorrow, or next week or even ever because what you find important one day isn’t necessarily going to be important tomorrow. You know you are balanced by the ‘feeling of accomplishment and happiness’ you are experiencing very day.

Do I want balance in my life? Of course I do. I think everyone does. But for me sometimes being off balance makes me look at things closer in order to resolve the unbalance. Or ask questions I wouldn’t normally ask. Or even see things I don’t see even though I have walked by it every day for who knows how long.

Do I want balance in my art? Although I am sure that a lot of serious artists do want balance in order to make their art more attractive, palatable, etc. I will purposefully unbalance something just to drive myself crazy wondering if what I stuck out there in the middle of nowhere should actually be there. It probably shouldn’t be there according to someone else’s eye but I diligently ink it in and there it stays because I have a perverse need to keep my head unbalanced until I can become comfortable with what I am looking at whether it is in a drawing book or in my life.



Refreshing Change

images    So day two of my new subject has refreshed my head and renewed my interest in completing it. I have 363 more doodles to do and I do not feel discouraged which is a good thing for me. If I can keep it up it will be the only project like this I have ever finished and it will be the first time I have entered more that one or two posts per per 6 months to a year. I never said consistency was my forte. In fact it is definitely not a forte.

The one thing I like about zentangle or doodling is that it is abstract. There is no rhyme or reason to what I do, where I put things and the only thing I find to be a pain in the ass is shading, which is why I seldom do any. I am relearning alot about lines, shading, and other details I had forgotten all those years ago.

I am also learning how to focus, let myself think outside the box, learn that perfection of line is not important or required. No hurry no worry no stress no fuss. A refreshing change inside my head.



Changing my major

As I said in the blog I posted for yesterday I am changing the subject of my yearly project. As much as I love owls I love this new subject even more and no it isn’t pictures of my grandkids and all their wonderfully glorious, sometimes annoying things they do. Just a quick pic so you can see how adorable they are. I love being a grandma.     22894300_949502261869069_2233122799084110755_n.jpg

My new subject is a hobby I took up towards the beginning of 2017. It doesn’t demand perfection, staying within the lines or trying to draw something that will never look on paper like it does in real life. I will be doing a zentangle a day going forward.

I hear you ‘What is zentangle?’

What Is It?

The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. We call these patterns, tangles. You create tangles with combinations of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs. These simple shapes are the “Elemental Strokes” in all Zentangle art. These patterns are drawn on small pieces of paper called “tiles.” We call them tiles because you can assemble them into mosaics.

Zentangle art is non-representational and unplanned so you can focus on each stroke and not worry about the result. There is no up or down to Zentangle art. If fact, you can most easily create Zentangle art by rotating your tile as you tangle — always keeping your hand in a relaxed position. You don’t need to know what a tangle is going to look like to draw it. You just need to know the steps. The result is a delightful surprise.

We believe that life is an art form and that each person is an artist. The Zentangle Method is an elegant metaphor and model for inspiring a deliberate artistry in life.

For this reason, we deliberately do not include an eraser in our Zentangle Kit or use it as part of a Zentangle practice. We have no eraser in life, so why in a Zentangle Kit? There’s little use for it when you think about it. Pencil strings and borders can be ignored and pen marks can’t be erased. Even if those pen marks aren’t initially what you might have intended (we never call them “mistakes” in the Zentangle Method), you can use them as inspirations to go in directions that you may not have otherwise explored. Instead of looking at them as mistakes, we reframe them as “opportunities.”

By avoiding common blocks to creative flow such as: self-criticism, fear of failure, lack of immediate positive feedback, worrying about outcomes, frustration with lengthy training, lack of inspiration and doubts about what to do next, you can create beautiful art right away.

The Zentangle Method’s “elegance of limits” paradoxically inspires creativity with its gentle boundaries and structured patterns. These so-called limits enhance creativity and support a greater freedom of expression.

Through the Zentangle Method of drawing, you can

  • Relax
  • Focus
  • Expand your imagination
  • Trust your creativity
  • Increase your awareness
  • Respond confidently to the unexpected
  • Discover the fun and healing in creative expression
  • Enter a vibrant and supportive world-wide community
  • Feel gratitude and appreciation for this beautiful world and all that you can do
  • And perhaps most importantly . . . Have fun!

How does all that happen?

One reason is almost every person discovers they can create something unexpected and beautiful in about 15 minutes or so. That feels good, particularly for people who believed they couldn’t draw.

Another reason is it enables you to deliberately access a state of relaxed focus, wake up your imagination and express it creatively with confidence.

The Eight Steps of the Zentangle Method

Step 01 – Gratitude and Appreciation

Get comfortable, take a few deep breaths and feel gratitude and appreciation – for this beautiful paper, for these wonderful tools, for this opportunity to create something beautiful.

Step 02 – Corner Dots

We teach beginning Zentangle Method with beautiful museum grade cotton paper, 3.5 inches (89 mm) square. To answer a familiar question of what to put on this beautiful paper, place a light pencil dot in each corner, about a pen’s width from the edges. Now it’s no longer a blank piece of paper.

Step 03 – Border

Connect those dots with a light pencil line, straight or curvy, to create a square. This is your border.

Step 04 – String

Inside the border, draw a light pencil line or lines to make what we call a “string.” The string separates your tile into sections, in which you draw your tangles. A string can be any shape. It may be a curvy line that touches the edge of the border now and then, or series of straight lines that go from one side of the border to the next.

Step 05 – Tangle

A tangle is a predefined sequence of simple strokes that make up a pattern. Draw your tangles in pen inside (usually) the pencil strings and borders. Tangle is both noun and verb. Just as you dance a dance, you tangle your tangles. Draw your tangles with deliberate strokes. Don’t worry about what it’s going to look like. Just focus on each stroke of the pen as you make it. Trust that you’ll know what to do next when the time to do it comes. There is no up or down to Zentangle art so feel free to rotate your tile in any direction that is most comfortable for your hand as you draw.

Step 06 – Shade

Add shades of gray with a graphite pencil to bring contrast and dimension to your tile. The black and white two-dimensional tangles transform through shading and appear three-dimensional. You can also use a tortillion (a paper blending stump) to soften and blend the graphite.

Step 07 – Initial and Sign

This is art you created. You should sign it. Put your initials on the front (many people create a unique monogram or chop for this step). On the back, place your name, date, comments and observations.

Step 08 – Appreciate

Hold your tile at arm’s length. Turn it this way and that. Appreciate what you just created.

Examples of some of the designs you can use in your design



My design and construction



See you tomorrow and remember. Perfection is not required. Thanks for the information provided above.

Yesterday, the joy and bliss of winter descended on us. Granted we didn’t get the snow in Halifax that other parts of Nova Scotia might have got we did get a wind storm to end all wind storms. Black outs, trampolines on highways, road ground up, storm surges on shorelines, cargo containers tipped over and other joys. Happy to report no deaths as far as I know. So here is what happened yesterday and why I didn’t get day 5 of my yearly project done. I also decided to change the subject of my yearly project. I know this isn’t the type of thing people put into blogs but if you don’t believe in climate change then maybe you should


Not the gentleman shoveling snow is Josh Douthwright shoveling snow at the entrance to the Federal Building on Highfield Street in Moncton, N.B., on Thursday.

The blue bldg in the bottom row, second in from the right: The roof on the Halifax Water building in the Cowie Hill area of the city was heavily damaged by gusting winds overnight on Thursday.

The 2 pics of the road in the bottom row are Queensland-beach-road.

I am not sure where the wind turbine is that is in the top right corner but man that thing looks like a toothpick someone bend just a little to far.

The lighthouse pics are of Peggy’s Cove and one of the reasons you silly visitors and even crazier Nova Scotia natives are told to stay off the black rock.

Nova Scotia Power is kicking ass and taking names in their quest to restore power to those who don’t have any. At the rate they are going it shouldn’t be much longer before we are back up and running with the lights on and the heat flowing.

Poetry to an owl

The yearly project that I have undertaken using the owl as my subject has the option of different medium. Now to many the project should be done solely by the person whose project it is. For myself if there is a medium that better expresses itself or informs about my subject I will use it. I will be adding my own endeavor at the end of the page later but here is a poem that I hope you enjoy.

Victoria Ruth May 2014

On the winding path
I continued to follow
An owl sat perched
Old tree remain hollow

It’s eyes were wide
Piercing through me
Claws dug in
To the barren tree

Hoot hoot hoot
A steady beat
Inviting me
To take a seat

Under the owl
I took my place
Reached for a stick
To trace

My name in the mud
Rummaged through my bag
Began to take
Yet another drag

Turning to ashes
I was in the night
Under the owl
It felt just right.

walks in the woods


Not sure what the title has to do with the topic of these daily blogs except to let everyone know that when the temperature drops to wind chill minus 12 degrees celsius. That is 10.4 degrees farenheit for all of us neobarbs, old folks and those who live in the US. As I said another day another cold ass and would you believe I have been at work since 12:40pm this afternoon and it is still cold.

Anyway, getting back on track. Yesterday I dipped into the art world that I have been a part of for about a year and my first contribution to my art book for the project was a zentangle owl. Now zentangle is rather fun. It can be time consuming to complete an inspiration but it is worth it. Perfection is not required and that is a good thing when you are still getting your legs under you. For those of you who are interested pay a visit:

Today I have not done my warm ups, have done my daily project of taking my favorite animal and using it to create something. I might just use it for a tattoo once I clean it up some.

I am in the middle of trying to draw the face of a Great Horned owl. Why I am not sure. It won’t be spectacular or probably very good but as I am trying to learn and apply to every day life and all my creations perfection is not required.  I think it will look more like the Owl from Winnie the Pooh for who perfection although required was never really achieved. The owl despite Athena may not always be as wise as it looks.

I decided not to do a drawing for this day’s project. I attempted a paint program collage of the Great Horned Owl.


There is still good people in this world no matter where you are.

layce gardner

Saxon, Emma and I went to New York City over Christmas vacation. We accomplished almost everything on our to-do list. We mastered the subway system, visited Central Park and China Town and the East Village, admired the windows on 5th Avenue, visited the Guggenheim, MoMA, The Museum of Natural History, and saw three Broadway plays—The Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, and Wicked. (I put a photo album on my Facebook page if you’d like to take a look.)

I have to say that Kinky Boots is now my new favorite play. We lucked out and got to see the two original actors, Billy Porter and Stark Sands, come back and recreate their roles. It was amazing!

At MoMA, I was overwhelmed by Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It’s one of my favorite pieces of art ever, and I never dreamed that I would get to see it in person. It…

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A New Beginning, of sorts

01 Jan 2018

Re-learning old skills that have been left on a shelf for over 40yrs is not an easy task as some of you may well know. As part of my ever evolving life I have decided it is time to dust off the skills I purposefully ignored while raising my daughter and just living life. I have included part of the warm up skills I did started to do just as a reminder that I should never get to full of myself because I to sucked when I started. Whether re-learning the skills I lost will be possible is another story altogether.

I will also, as part of this journey towards reclaiming the joy of creating drawings of whatever turns my fancy, be working on a 365 day journal. I will be working in a very good book called A Daily Creativity Journal 365 by Noah Scalin. It has a prompt for every day requiring you to create something using whatever medium is stated which should be fun since I haven’t done anything like that since high school. As part of my journey through his book I want to do a daily project like Noah did. He created a skull-a-day. Although sugar skulls intrigue me I think I’ll try for something a little different. You can chose a subject or medium to work in. I am going to try using owls as my subject using a variety of mediums. This should be interesting and more than likely a little messy but I have to start using up some of the crafts stuff I have hoarded away over the years since I stopped making jewelry. A beaded owl sounds interesting.

Why am I putting this work on my blog? Well, I had reservations on doing so because lets fact it people on the internet for the most part are pretty decent but some unfortunately are a hateful bunch of pricks. But eventually I figured if someone see what I am doing and learns something from it then that is great. If someone else decides that being hateful is there lot in life then I can only say I hope karma visits them soon and your ignorance is wasted on someone who really doesn’t care what you think. Being who you are and enjoying what you do, learning to do or re-learning is more important that pay attention to those that aren’t intelligent enough to realize that the world doesn’t give a fuck what they think so they would be better off just being quiet.

I have done my warm ups as you saw. I have completed my first drawing in my 365 day journal and now I am going to work on my first project piece.

Not a great picture and not quite done yet but it will be.




My Promise

I wonder how many other woman had their vote taken away from them by someone like this?

layce gardner

I’ve kept my mouth shut way too long. I need to speak up. When I was voting for Hillary – my god! what a proud moment that was – I look over to my right and see a woman sitting next to me at the table. We had these cardboard partitions sitting on the table top, supposedly to keep us from seeing each other’s ballot. They were only a pretense at privacy because I could see her ballot plain as day.

Standing behind the woman was a man. Her husband or her boyfriend or whatever. She was sitting in her chair, looking at her ballot, and this man was standing close, like really really close, like pushing his crotch into her shoulder in some type of aggressive male dominance thing. He reached over her shoulder and tapped the little box that had trump’s name next to it.

Her pencil hovered…

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