Monthly Archives: March 2014

Art in Action: How to rock it out with the wee ones!



“Aunt Stephie, um, can we paint?” This said in the softest, sweet voice that belongs to my 5-year-old niece.

This request is almost certain to pop up after family dinner at my house. My well-mannered sister-in-law has no doubt instructed her that the polite thing is to wait until we are all fed. Claire is asking on behalf of herself and her older brother, Colton, and it’s a request that is met with a resounding YES!

I save old cardboard and T-shirts just for this occasion. I roll out a sheet of plastic and set out water buckets and bring out the tub of paint and we play right on the floor. It’s the greatest thing ever I don’t have to offer suggestions; they are kids, not yet old enough to have lost their imagination. They always attack their pieces of cardboard with the authority of one who knows what they are doing. I love this bit. It reminds me we are all born artists. To paraphrase Picasso, the key is to remember how to stay one as we grow older.

Looking at their masterpieces — both bought from the artists for $5 each (I can’t bear to see them go, and Colton and Claire like the cash) — I said to my husband, “I love the abandon in their work. I wish I could paint like that, totally free and without regard for outcome.” He smiled, admiring their work. Kids have long inspired me in this way.

I’ll leave you with this thought: Paint with your children — or other kids you love — often. It takes nothing more than the basics: a surface to paint on, paint, a plastic throw and brushes. And join in the fun! Don’t have them paint alone — fun is not reserved for the wee ones. An imagination is indeed a terrible thing to waste!

A welcome interruption: Claire and Colton take a break from painting to watch the wildlife outside the studio!


Claire’s finished rendition of Muchacho Libre. I see the resemblance, don’t you?

Where the Road May Go Really is Up to You!



Bump, bump, bump goes the truck along the dusty road, as the vast and beautiful Ethiopian countryside sweeps by. It’s stunning, and I’m enchanted. The road is a reoccurring theme in my work. I’m simply taken by the open road.

My latest series on Ethiopia is all about the road, as I look back on the more than 60 sketches I did while in Ethiopia — almost half from the truck. The road is a central theme. It’s about a journey, not the destination. On the road, you are already there, you’re right where you’re supposed to be, and the road reminds me of this.

I may be on a journey, but no single part of that journey is more important than the next. You may be filled with anticipation for where you’re going, but don’t forget to look out the window and be where you are.

Don’t miss the joy and fulfillment of putting the pen to paper, so to speak, and authoring your own life. May the road and these paintings remind you to stop, take a deep breath and experience the joy of being where you are!