The Ugly Sunflower

The Ugly Sunflower

It had a rough start on life, coming out of a plastic bag of bird seed, only to be wasted by a careless cardinal.  Yet, the little seed luckily dropped in the bird bath water where it sprouted miraculously.  I gently planted the little sunflower with the herbs, where high hopes of magnificence quickly faded into reality as it hugged the stone wall for support and did its best to grow strong and bloom beautifully.   But it was short of amazing, borderline ugly by sunflower standards.   I watered it and fertilized it.  Still, it simply looked so lonely and tired, ready for compost. 

Wait, though . . . there is purpose in all life.

It became my inspiration, and today I memorialized my little bud.  It was all part of an art exercise, one that I have never been tasked with before.  Here were my instructions:

Today I want you to make an ugly painting. Yup – deliberately ugly!  Let loose and make whatever marks you want – do NOT try to pretty it up.  Use whatever colors you fancy and don’t try to choose things that look good together – in fact, choose things that might look bad!

Your only aim here is to notice the feelings that arise when you stop trying to get a good result and simply play with paint.

Way out there, and I admit I cheated a little and went for at least a little pretty at the end, trying to salvage little sunflower’s portrait . . . but not too much as I pride myself on being a good student.  

The exercise was a good one, teaching me to learn to love failure, or at least accept it as a normal progression to growth.  I’m sharing this with you today in the hopes that whatever you are holding back in your life because of the fear of failure, trust that it won’t be the end of the world, the sky won’t fall and you just might learn that any move forward could lead you to a whole new adventure in finding the true you.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.


The Love Collection

I started the week with a new challenge that has evolved into a new direction that I am loving and thought I’d share. Perhaps you have tried this before, but it’s new to me and super helpful.

In an effort to introduce a new palette to my work, with Valentine’s Day in mind, I gathered objects from around my home in colors I loved, taking each into the studio and doing my best to match the oils to the objects. Working abstractly, I was able to loosen up more, exploring and playing without worry. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This Love Collection is now available. I’d love for you to come by the studio to see it in person and maybe even purchase something sweet for your sweetheart and you. Happy Valentine’s Day from my heart to yours.



I left my childhood home when I was 19, believing the U.S. Navy slogan, “It’s not a job.  It’s an adventure.”  It certainly was, and the adventures have continued.  But there really is no place like home.

I have a collection of homes, from the east coast to the west, midwest to the south.  Home is not a place on the planet.  It’s a place in your heart.  

This new work is called Home and includes an ancient photo of me in my old backyard in South River, NJ.  I could have titled it Summer on a Chaise Lounge and told you about memories of plastic pools and running the neighborhood, jumping rope with the crew on Lee Street, making perfume with rose petals and water-filled mason jars, rope swings, forts in the meadows or sliding down mountains of gravel on a cardboard box . . . until I was called home for supper.

May your days at home be comfortable and filled with content, hope and gratitude.

Stay Home But Please Stay in Touch

I hope your home is filled with treasures that bring you joy. Furthermore, I hope your favorite works of art are top on the list of your treasures. They are for me, and I am blessed to have my studio as part of my home. I’ll be helping to slow this monster with extra time in the studio, creating what I can. Got to take the advice of a great friend who recently wrote encouraging words for me to turn off the news and concentrate on painting because, “the world needs all that beauty you create.”
By staying home, we are saving lives. I truly believe that.
By staying home in the studio, I hope to bring joy and peace to the comfort of your home with new art as often as I can. This ( is my website, and I welcome you to tour the gallery at your leisure during the next 30 days. If you have any inspirational photos, I’d love to see them. Email me at, and if you need help adding to your art collection, just let me know.
Stay home. Stay safe. And please stay in touch.

No Cart, But Lots of Heart

Last week was a bonus week . . . I was gifted with a full week in the studio . . . practicing, playing and picking up the pieces of paintings left unfinished. In other words, although there were struggles, there were also some successes and I found myself feeling good about a couple of things I wanted to share with you.

The first was an exercise in freedom. It’s harder than you think. No planning allowed, only a will to lay color to the surface and keep going until you feel satisfied. The big idea behind this exercise was to be oblivious to the applause of others. Over the years, I have somewhat grown in confidence because of time spent practicing the process, and although I still seek approval, I am happy if I can look at the finished work and smile, at least a little, knowing I did my best and that I would happily hang it on my wall. But please don’t stop the ‘likes.’ I’ll be devastated.

The second thing I learned last week came after a conversation with a dear friend who wanted to know why I don’t have the ability to make purchases on my website. Without even thinking about this in depth question, I said, “because I want to meet the people who like my work.” So far, I really like everyone who likes my art. It’s crazy, but I don’t want to give that up by including a shopping cart and digital checkout. I want to get to know you, maybe meet your family, share a few bites or a glass of wine and hear what you love about my art. It feeds my soul and gives me the courage to continue.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I need you. I enjoyed the quiet studio time striving for freedom from fear. But we need each other in this journey of life, and art enhances it.
I hope I’ll see you at the studio someday soon. In the meantime, enjoy the new additions to my website. No cart, but lots of heart!