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!

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Busy Holidays


November flew by!  I find myself working on holiday cards and enjoying my favorite season.  This year it’s extra special due to the success of my football and basketball teams at Michigan State.    MSU’s green and white are a perfect match for the Christmas season. Go Spartans!

I’ve added some new cards to the greeting card gallery.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Happy holidays to all!

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The Art of Football

Fall and football have always provided me with such joy and entertainment.  Obviously the colors of fall would entice any painter to paint, but why be drawn to football?  I guess the answer is I grew up with it.  Watercolor painting of two hummingbirds holding up a blue banner that says My parents lived in Ann Arbor, MI while my dad attended the University of Michigan Law school.  I spent ages 3-5 romping the campus.  I’ve always loved the feeling in “The Big House”, U of M’s beautiful stadium.  When the Wolverine band plays “Hail to the Victors” I still light up and cry.
Watercolor painting by artist Barbara Bromley of a bobcat with the word
As I consider life transitions, I can’t help but mention how many college teams have been added to my cheering list over the years:  Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan,  University of Georgia, Universities of Texas – Austin and San Antonio, and of course the great Michigan State Spartans.  I followed in my brother’s footsteps to attend MSU in East Lansing.  I met my husband and earned a degree at this gorgeous campus.
Watercolor painting by artist Barbara Bromley of two hummingbirds holding up a blue banner that says
When I cheer for the various colleges attended by loved ones, I’m also cheering for my family and our shared love of learning.  I have “woofed” with my younger brother while watching the GA Bulldogs, toasted wine with my older brother after the Spartans beat Ohio State 28-24 in 1998, taking on their rightful position as season-spoilers.  I cried when my babies graduated from UT and UTSA.
Watercolor painting by Barbara Bromley, with a hand-lettered
Now that my daughter is a professor at the University of Kentucky, guess who has gained my loyalty?  One artistic benefit of this is my new love of painting bobcats.  Go WILDCATS!  Go BIG BLUE!  (except when you’re playing the MSU Spartans)

Thanks for listening,

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P.S.  –  Here’s me, my husband (right) and brother celebrating MSU’s 1998 football victory over OSU.

Photograph of artist Barbara Bromley, her husband (right) and brother (left) celebrating the Spartan victory over OSU in 1998 collegiate football

Transitions – oldsters and youngsters

sam-dance-costume340x600It’s been a bit more than a month since I turned 59.  As I consider my own transitions I’m also struck by those of my grandchildren.  Sam (5 years 9 months) is in his last week of Kindergarten.   We recently attended a show where he performed a Spanish dance with the entire class of Maxwell Elementary.  The children were in costume and paired up.  Sam looked so grown up!  It seems like just seconds since his birth made me a Grandma.  He and his 2 1/2 year old brother Gabriel have filled my heart.  They are more incredible than I could have imagined, and I have quite an imagination!

Sam teaches me about technology.  At age 2 he Skyped us early one morning from his bed, all by himself, using his mom’s iPad.   I myself didn’t know how to Skype without the help of my fellow grandparent (an engineer).  At age 3 1/2 Sam pointed out to me that my Nook could actually make sounds if you turned the volume up.  I didn’t know it had a volume control……

Sam and I teach each other.  He learns about nature from me as we go on long walks.  We often make no-bake cookies together,  and he says he’s lucky to have a grandma who’s an artist.  We’ve made many art “masterpieces” together.  Collaboration is a key word for us.  Here is some of Sam’s work in crayon and marker:

Clearly the best transition during my 50’s is the one involving grand kids!

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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!

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Life Transitions

Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To get somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind. – Fred Rogers

I’ve always found “new beginnings” to be a double-edged sword. - Transitions Post.  Watercolor image:  Fly Away HummerAt the ripe age of 50, after 27 years in Texas raising our kids, the move to Concord, MA was difficult.  No more close friends nearby who knew the song in my heart…. No more cozy places where my children grew up.  Wonderful places like Zilker Park, McKinney Falls, the city of Austin, the state capital building, San Antonio Riverwalk and Zoo, the list goes on and on…..

My artful “new beginning” in Concord took 3 years to get off the ground.

I started teaching watercolor painting and drawing in a lovely hobby shop called Dabblers.   That teaching job led to another gig:  Teaching at the Weston Council of Aging which brought such joy and growth to me and my students.  Teaching at Weston helped me become a master colorist.  Who knew?!! Painting landscapes, etc. for the first time due to student request forced me to learn.  As always, the teacher becomes the best learner in the room 🙂

I met new friends who were artistically matched to me.  Some started out as private students, others were students in my class.

After seven years in Concord MA…. Fast Forward to a new beginning in Lexington KY, home of our grandchildren, the best on planet earth.  Here they are for my (and your) enjoyment! - Transitions Post.  Watercolor of sam on the beach with - Transitions post.  Pencil Sketch of Gabriel with Horse

At this point we’ve been living in Kentucky for almost two years.  As we discovered in Massachusetts, it takes a few years to begin to feel at home.  Making friends, a bit of headway in the arts community, and of course the proximity of family have all helped in this transition.  I think this blog will help too!

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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!


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