There won't be many days like this….

Friends…it has been a long time…

I havn't sent a newsletter for almost a year.  It is not because I do not think of you all or miss the folks who made me the artist I am, because I do miss you and think of you everyday.

Most of you know, that the past few years have been a tough economic hit for me (as well as many other folks).  It is hard not to long for your life that once was.  There is much to miss and much to carry fondly in your heart.  There is much that is gone, now.  There is much that can’t be recovered. We have had to make some big adjustments and accept some new realities.  I do not know how hard you have had things go, but I also don’t know a family who doesn't have someone affected by the current economy.

Me, I am strong, mostly, and I carry on as best I can for that day.  For a long time, I didn’t paint.  I was sort of mad at painting.  Maybe the best way to express it was it felt I was just flapping my wings but going nowhere.  I had to learn that to go forward, we must accept where we are now.  Look at it, hold it in our hands and examine what we have left that is good and real.  As long as you are willing to face today full on and take one step forward to the tomorrow you seek, then, you are doing well.  You haven’t given up nor have you been beaten.

Remember, no matter what is taken away from you, the essential you that lives in your heart, mind and soul cannot be taken.

So, I am still in Washington, DC.  My children are doing great.  I am so happy for their happiness.  I have a bustling after school art lesson program that I teach everyday at a different DC school.  It is prosperous and doing well.  But, oh how it makes me miss my young artists in North Carolina.  What a blessing each and every one of you were to me.  You inspired me and made me want to be not only a better artist but a better person.  My young artists, I will never forget you.  I will never stop caring for you.  I will never stop missing you.  My door is always open to you whenever or wherever I can help.  I hope you know that.

On to the new business!!  I am writing to tell you of my newly expanded website.  I am back on the horse!!  I will be sending newsletters again and blogging again. The website offers lots of new things…and is expanding even as you read this.

-You can Pinterest or Facebook or Twitter or etc. right from the site. 

-One-piece cotton rompers from my Children’s Print Line are for sale now on on the Zazzle Auxilliary site--TAKE A LOOK --36 images and growing with lots of possibilities.

-Tees for bigger kids and adults are coming soon.  

-Prints which once were offered in just one size and on paper, are now offered in

   more sizes AND on paper and or canvas with framing as an option.

-The Jewelry Line will be on the site soon with a small offering of my work. 

-I have expanded the types of commission I offer, adding photos of past images to help with the decision making.

 -A  section with gift suggestions for Babies, Weddings and Showers is in the works.

-I am offering a traveling workshop – get some friends together for the weekend and I will come and teach.

-I do a lot of graphic design for folks and am offering my services for logos,packaging, banners, signage and the like.   

-I added a new Individual Portraits Category to commissions that is fun and quirky and evolved from spending toooo much time in the coffee shop.  Tryst in Adams Morgan, if I must confess.

And so forth and so forth.  I have lots of ideas.

The site is actually all brand new although it has much of the old sites appearance.  I built it myself.  Ouch, that hurt!!!  I know it has flaws and errors, so when you find one please let me know.   I need you help!!!  Don’t give up on my clumsy efforts, just let me know and I will get it right.

Visit the site and look around.  All comments are appreciated.  If you have an idea, that is appreciated, too. I am an artist for people (and not so much for museums).  Let me know what you want and what you like.  I will listen.

 I will leave you with these three thoughts…

   Take notice of this day, there won’t be another like it.

Remember, celebrate and love your past, but do not grieve that it is gone.  Let it go. All new   beginnings require some type of ending.  So be it.

Encourage yourself with yourown words.  I promise it will be meaningful to hear your      own voice speak kindly and encouragingly to and about yourself.  And, encourage those you meet.  It’s an easy gift to give and one so sorely needed.

Here is a little slide show I invite you to watch. It is full of art that I made over a 20-year stretch.  All of the works are about home.  If I am honest, I can hardly watch this without tears that follow a deep surge of joy and remembrance and longing for all of you for all you have given to me throughout the years.  If I could, I would hug you all.  You have been most kind and generous and thoughtful towards me.


My Dream of Painting On Monhegan Island Maine...

all hearts seek the homeward path
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It will come to as surprise to those who know me to read that I love Maine. I went the first time about 1995 and fell in love with the state, the scenery, the culture, the wildlife and, yes, the Mainiacs! It is truly a beautiful and special place.

In my dream life, I have a little cottage in Maine. I can see it in my mind. It is close enough to the water to hear the ocean chime in on the rocks and pebbles and to smell the wild roses that grow amongst the boulders lining the beach. My little dream house is tiny and painted white. It has a little front porch where I take my morning coffee. The furnishings are spare and simple and old. There is no air conditioner and all the windows are always open. I sweep the bare floors clean every morning and wash all the dishes by hand. I hang the tea towels on a line to dry. In the side yard is my kitchen garden—tomatoes, cukes, squash, herbs and cutting flowers. Out back, I have an old shed art studio with a wide, swinging door, one window with window box and a worn, paint splotched plank floor. In my dream life, I drive up from North Carolina to my little Maine house just in time to get the garden in and return home when the first frost hits. I take my cats. I take my paints. My friends and family flow through the house all the summer long. What a good dream! I’m believing it will happen. (And, if you look through my paintings, you will see I have painted and painted again some version of this vision!)

The Trailing Yew Inn, Monhegan Maine
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Maine is place of islands, and the islands are full of little dream houses. There are so many islands. I think I read somewhere that Maine has more coastline than any other state. May or may not be true, but I am sure it is almost true! I love the Maine islands.

One of my favorites is Monhegan Island. Monhegan sits about 13 miles out to sea. It is just a little over a mile long and has over ten miles of trails. You walk on Monhegan. There are no cars except to porter luggage up the steep gravelly paths to wherever folks are staying. Very cool. It is an unforgettable place of amazing natural beauty with high cliffs and long ocean views.

Monhegan attracts artists, birdwatchers, hikers and seekers of all types. It is a mecca of vistas and gathered at each one is an array of artists from all over and of all levels and mediums. On Monhegan, you get up in the morning and paint until supper—not a bad gig if you can get it. And, there are many famous American painters who have and do make pilgrimages each summer to Monhegan for the inspiration and comradery and sheer joy of having nothing else to do but paint.

When you arrive by ferry, you are greeted by a list of the island rules, good ones, like recycle, take your trash with you, and no smoking on the island. Sitting right down by the docks is The Barnacle…a bit of deli, a bit of an ice cream parlor, and a bit of a gift shop all with a million dollar view.

The Island Inn sits atop the first rise. It is the classic New England wooden seaside inn and the historic, majestic grand dame of the island. Very beautiful and everything you hope it will be. There is a wide porch where folks gather with their wine to watch the most incredible sunsets

I once stayed in the house just across from the Inn. It was owned by Miss Rita, one of the oldest residents of the island at the time, maybe The Oldest. I think she was 91 the summer I stayed there. I thought about her a lot and what it must have been like to be raised in such a place and to live your life surrounded by such beauty. She rarely left the island in her life.

Not many people live year round on the island. It takes a special hardiness. Winters are long and freezing and the ferry comes only a couple of times each week.

It also takes a certain hardiness to enjoy the summers there. There is very little electricity on the island, but I find that delightful and charming and romantic. But, it is also not unusual for the island’s water supply to run dry for a couple of days. Somehow you get by, but that one can be tough.


Bald Head Island Memories

I am so pleased to present the newest print offering in my Bald Head Island series. “Life is easy on the isle of dreams,” is a great little artwork featuring the BHI Harbor, Eb and Flo’s, Old Baldy, and (if you look close) even a bit of the Bald Head Island Chapel.

The idea came to me when I was arriving on the island by ferry one day last fall. It was a beautiful afternoon, folks were around, a couple of little sailboats were at play. Perfect, really. I carry a notebook everywhere I go. When I got off the ferry, I sat down and sketched this idea out. I really love this print. “Life is easy on the isle of dreams” brings back many memories of good vacations and coastal cottages and the great Bald Head Island, North Carolina… and that just makes me happy. I hope it will make you happy, too.

Bald Head Island: A Tribute to a place I love.

Bald Head Island North Carolina - I just love it!

The Marina at Bald Head Island (BHI)
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An absolute favorite place of mine is Bald Head Island, NC. I have had some wonderful family vacations out there, away from everything, floating in the deep blue sea.

 BHI is a beautiful island just off the coast of North Carolina reachable only by ferry.   Upon arriving in the charming marina, you board a trolley for the ride to your rental.  There are no automobiles on BHI.  All the homes come with a golf cart to tool around the island in.

There is much to love about Bald Head.  The beaches are never crowded.  The roads are never congested. Everything you might need is right on the island.   There is a rare maritime forest with walking trails.  The fishing is good. The living is great.

Just at the edge of the marina, there is a beautiful old light house,  Old Baldy. Worth the trip, just to see that.  Next door to Old Baldy is the island chapel, popular for weddings and an inspirational place to worship on Sunday.

sea turtle
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On BHI, they look after the sea turtles marking and protecting their nests.  The island has a Turtle Conservancy that studies the turtles and offers workshops and camps.

Night time on Bald Head is special, Whether you stay in a hotel or rent a beach house, it is so quiet and peaceful.  With no cars to interrupt the sounds of the ocean and breezes, it is grand way to sleep with windows thrown open.  And the stars are abundant in way you don’t often experience any more.

Not a lot is out there on Bald Head Island…a little bit of shopping… oceanfront…beach houses…a chapel…a lighthouse…peace and quiet…a slow and steady pace.  Not a lot, like I said….but just exactly right.


Monhegan Island Poets Corner: My First Published Poem!!

for today, I am laying my burdens down
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I love Monhegan Island.  It is about my favorite spot in the world.  I go there to paint and be renewed.  I wrote a poem while in a deep longing for the island.  I was lucky enough to have it published in The Poet's Corner, which is a book and blog of poems from Monhegan.  Here is mine.....

Falling down into a dream of Monhegan

The woman is painting her door red.
A boy tells a dog his name.
Me, I go dragging my paints
Down gravely paths
Seeking to record memories
That I have not yet made.

The whale sings songs full of longing.
A world begs forget the gold sun.
Me, I go dancing my feet
Through sunlit Cathedral
Seeking the softly green radiance
That I have not yet forgotten.

The man rows a boat old and wooden.
A feather rides blue speckled foam.
Me, I eye with hands shading
Across grey pebbled beaches
Seeking to call up an image
That I have not yet set down.


The island sways in blue rhythm.
The red heart beats back in time.
The island sways in blue rhythm.
The ocean sighs in white rime

I am dreaming of the island.
I am calling out a name.
I hear me whisper.

I am dancing cross the ocean.
My heartbeat this sweet refrain.
I hear me say.

The brush drags a shape on the paper.
A paint drop forms life on the page.
Me, I pass through like others
Returning again and a day
Seeking to transcribe beauty
In colors I have yet to create.

- Deborah Cavenaugh

even the sweetest rose has thorns

longing at the gate / 14 x 17 / watercolor

14 x 17

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For me, remembrance is a dangerous game of standing on one foot at the edge of a cliff.  Ahhh, the vistas!  Oooh, the sky!  Mmmm, the fragrant breeze. Guard down, I misstep and go-a-tumbling over the cliff into the past of times-best-left-unremembered. The rose smells sweet but its’ thorn draws blood, and, just now, all my roses seethe with thorns.

Maybe it is because I have returned to my home of 40 years where memories of my family of origin, all passed now, haunt my days.  Maybe it is because I have just turned 60, and my life, being in place I didn’t foresee, begs reliving. Maybe, I need to face my past, and I finally have the time to do it.  Maybe I need to let go of my past, and I finally have the time to work through it.

All I am sure of right now while I truly love roses, I fear their thorns.

So for now anyway, like a Lenten sacrifice, I am giving up Remembrance and replacing it with mindfulness of this day. No remembrance (and no conjecture), just now-ness. I’ll drain my mind and let it fill again with this moment, which is almost always good.

Out my window, I see the spring rising up and hear the songs of the new birds.  A good beginning to loving life as it is today and praising the Creator for all the good He gives.


I am a painter of flowers

I am a painter of flowers. I accept, I agree, I celebrate that this is the truth, and that this is what I am. “there are flowers everywhere for those who wish to see them.” H. Matisse

In 2012, I will reach my 60th cycle on this earth. Change. My work, to which I have given my true heart, has deserted me.  Change. My home, for which I have struggled with all my might, has  gone. Change. My business, to which I have given all my strength and courage, has withered with the economy. Change. My children, into whom I have poured out all that I am, have grown and moved on. Change.

Everything changes. Everything has changed. Everything is changing, changeable, changed.

Work, struggle, strength, courage, giving your all, this is a busy load. Busy-ness, I now know, is a kind of protection. You can shove a lot of life away because you are truthfully too busy to think much less deal. Things you don’t want to remember, things you don’t want to know, truths you don’t want to acknowledge—while you can be so busy that you don’t have to deal with any of it, it, of course, is always dealing with you.

My Changed life has left me with nothing but time on my hands. Alone, lonely, lonesome. When Change = time on your hands, the busy-ness protection falls away. Everybody’s life has a story. I have spent a lifetime trying to keep my monsters at bay. I have been, mostly, able to cram them back in the box when they surge. Work, home, art, family…all require so much time and energy and serve well a desire not to remember.

I am a painter of flowers. I was born into poverty and abuse. I will leave it at this: there is no form of abuse or neglect known to children that I don’t know including the desperate hope that one day I will be good enough to be loved. I wish from the bottom of my heart that this statement wasn’t true. But it is. When I am alone with myself, undistracted and un-busy, the monster wins. It roars out of the darkness and claims me when I least expect it. It robs me of what I truly want and overshadows all I truly am. It imprisons me where I have spent a lifetime trying to escape. It becomes who I am. When the monster, as they say, is out of the box, I remember, acknowledge and know truth of what we, my brothers and myself, were.

I am a painter of flowers. My brothers took themselves from the world when they could no longer bear up to the pain. I, too, have come close to leaving. But, I chose life. Remarkable. I chose life. I choose life.  Yes. And this is also my truth.

I am a painter of flowers. Leave me alone to do what I want, and I will paint flowers. I know (because they have told me) that many see this a flaw. Not deep enough. Too decorative. Too Uncomplicated. Too UN-instrospective. I have tried to stop out of some idea that, in stopping, I will become better, deeper, more of a real artist. I have tried to stop out of some idea that I must if I want to be a “good” and “respected” artist. I have tried to stop out of some hope that if I can become who I am not, then I will be ok, I will be loved and acceptable.

What this time of change has really taught me is this: I must choose to accept me as I am now…today. Today, I am a survivor of abuse. I am a number on the unemployment charts. I am a player in the foreclosure story. I am short, too fat, and old now. But, I am also so very much more than that, much more. Truth be told, many of my good qualities were born on the road of suffering. One of these qualities is that I have learned to see the flowers.

In 2012, I will reach my 60th cycle of this earth choosing life. Change. I will find a new way of working. Change. I will find a new adult life. Change. I will find a new place to pour out my heart. Change. I will build a family of friends to love with all my heart. Change. And, I will embrace my joys and my sorrows. Change. I will embrace myself and accept me. Change.

This I will do. I will change. I will live. I will bring my childhood self out of the dark and embrace and love her. We will be ok. And, I will paint flowers, for this is who I am.

“there are flowers everywhere for those who wish to see them.” H. Matisse

Waiting (and waiting) for go

I’m like a lot of folks right now out here in the big world looking for a job.  All the old ideas like “beating the pavement” or circling ads in a newspaper are defunct now.  The way things work in today’s world  you look online and apply online (usually never ever knowing for sure if anybody ever got your cover, resume, writing sample, online application, transcript, and references).  It’s so odd.  It’s exhausting.  You do a lot with almost no feedback, not even a “got your app” email. Frustrating!  Maddening!  Only the strong will survive! I would like to say that this passage in my life has taught me the virtue of patience.  That would be a lie! I’m feeling like I have been in the starter blocks for a looonnng time.  I’m down, set, ready and waiting for go! The problem is I am just not the wait-around type.  Now, I have great patience for other folks, but when it comes to my own self—not so much!  I like to make a plan and work the plan.  I am decisive.  I go.  I don’t wait for go…until now…ugh.

Oh well.  I could rant for a while, but I have a ton of job boards that need my attention.  Maybe there is magic for me in one of those posts. Maybe?  Keep me in your prayers!

“waiting for my dawn”

in the night kingdom I sail on through / 12 x 9 / watercolor

12 x 9

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You gotta make forward movement. You just gotta. Sometime I get lost in the cycle of thinking about what has been or what once was. Sometimes I feel like so much has passed me by. Sometimes my life is not to my suiting.

It's hard to not grieve for the days and places when you thought your life was better. I’m forced to change now, when I liked things just as they were.

BUT the ship of the past has sailed. In our family we have a saying, "You have to fish where the fish are." It doesn't matter if you have the best boat, the strongest pole, cutting edge bait and are known far and wide for your fishing expertise. What matters is that you fish where the fish are.

You are much more than the title on your business card. You have a bunch of hard won skills that earned you that title. Make an inventory of all the positive things you know and are and can do. Gather every skill and attribute, morph it into something new and fresh, then fish like a madman where the fish are baby!

Make forward movement. It may only be a baby step...but even a baby step into a new beginning is forward movement...and lots of baby steps strung together can get you anywhere you want to go.