Music Begins Where Words End

I’ve always agreed with the sentiments expressed in Trisha Yearwoods’ hit The Song Remembers When.   For that reason, I’ve memorized hundreds of songs which bring up special memories and places.  Ironically I can’t sing in key at all!!  My mom and others have shared the notion that some people (meaning yours truly) should NOT sing out loud.  I agree.  Still, I have a very active mental music life and I do love to listen.
Recently I watched a 4-hour HBO special “Sinatra: All or Nothing at All”.  My dad Al Russell was an avid fan of Sinatra and his incredible musical timing.  Dad saw Sinatra in Chicago at numerous matinees during the 1940’s.  Whenever I listen to a Sinatra song, I see my dad:  his blue eyes filled with delight, recalling all the moments spent enjoying the magic of the Windy City.  

I recently painted a blue-eyed black kitten simply because his owner had named him Sinatra.  My husband Steve shares my dad’s blue eyes, and his love of muisic.  Currently Steve is enjoying his new audio system and celebrating the new year with music.

In celebration of music, here is a little something from the past:

Happy 2016 to all!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Happy Birthday Sam!

Our eldest grandson turns six tomorrow, August 10.  Happy Birthday Sam!

Watercolor painting of grandson Sam on his sixth birthday

One day Sam, you will understand how you helped turn our “world” into one filled with magic and wonder.  You weren’t the first to do that however.  Your uncle Nick and your Mom were, but they weren’t as perfect as you!  Perfection is reserved only for GRANDCHILDREN.

“Being a grandmother is our last chance to act like a kid without being accused of being in our second childhood.”  – Janet Lanese

My current life is filled with proof of the above quote.   The bird on my head in the photo below is just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to you Sam, I have photos of me playing in the dirt, climbing on a playscape, and hiking up a slippery hill with the hope that I land on my feet instead of on my rear end.

Photo from Louisville KY zoo, of grandson Sam, and Grandmother Artful Barb, who has a bird on top of her head

Then there are the times we spend together where every piece of art equipment in the house is used to create a joint masterpiece.  Let’s face it:  you can never have too many art supplies!

Finally the magic of baking.  You on the stool and me trying hard not to sample too many goodies.      The clean up was always interesting.  It appears that you cook just like our master chef – Grandpa.  Always focusing on the creative part, not so much on the aftermath….

Very soon we’ll be eating cake, singing happy birthday, and generally celebrating your big day.

With any luck my “elephant memory” will hang on to your special day to relive the magic again and again.

Love, Grandma.

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

The Little Things ARE the Big Things

Watercolor painting of an uncle making soap bubbles for his nephewwI have always known that little things matter.  Recently I’ve remembered that the little things often ARE the big things.

After a week spent vacationing in the Whalen House in Grand Haven MI, my mind replays lovely memories.  There were gorgeous sunsets, incredible views of Lake Michigan, and the red light-house just across the road from our rented cottage.   All glorious, ostensibly big things.

But what stands out two weeks later?

  1. Watching my eldest and his wife make soap bubbles with their nephews.
  2. Seeing the delight on my daughter’s face after she returns from geocaching with her boys.
  3. Sitting in the sand with my extended family, visiting while watching the grand kids build sand castles.
  4. Watching the love of my life, Steve, grill for the billionth time for his family (sometimes “mad skills” mean lots of work…)
  5. Photographing little items that might be fun to paint, like the tea cup covered with clover decorations that I discovered in the living room.  It will please the Irish in my family so much!
  6. Visiting over wine and pie in the “man cave”, a little hut outside the main cottage.

Most of the things listed could happen anywhere.  Often business encroaches on the important “little things”.  Today I remind myself again to do better:  listen more, send more notes, respond to emails more quickly, etc., because the little things really are the BIG things.

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

A Grandma’s Legacy

Grandma grand daughter mothers dayIt’s been almost twenty years since my mother-in-law died and yet May, her month, still fills me with memories.  Her birthday was May 9 which seemed so appropriate with its proximity to Mother’s day.  She was the consummate mother.  She always remembered the little things that really are the big things.  Birthday cards were never late!!  Her journals were filled with positives;  not one critical word.  She saw only the best in people.

She and I shared a love of birds, flowers, family, and even the name Barbara Bromley.  She is missed by all who knew her, but the memories remain.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

Happy 59th birthday to me!

Welcome to my blog!

Come join me as I celebrate my last year in the “frantic fifties” and document my “Artful Passages” into my sixties and beyond.   In my artful blog/journal I’ll use writing, painting, drawing, and photographs to chart my blog-journey.

Since its my birthday and all, I deserve some cake don’t you think? In lieu of the real thing, let’s serve up a couple watercolors instead.  Lots less calories! - Watercolor Birthday - Watercolor Birthday Cake

Thanks for making this passage with me!


Watercolor Hummingbird Signature