The faith of a child

“It’s the Admiral’s Umbrella, Mom. He’s waving at you because he wants to help you to finish your book!”

Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way  writes that often, a blocked artist, or a supportive shadow artist is the one with too many children, too many plates in the air, giving too much away.  How that has stung over the years. But nothing is more important to me than marriage, faith and motherhood,  and though it is always my intention, I have not been as facil as others are, with ‘synonymous‘. I am used to heavy loads and wet weather.

I regret some things, but would choose the same path, all over again. So I will never reach that Jr. High ambition of publishing younger than S.E. Hinton.  And other goalposts. But nearly 20 years ago I heard a small child wrap a confident, hopeful request for my personal  dreams in her bedtime prayers. And this morning, I heard something similar, nearly at the other end of  this particular life season.

It is as important to work for them, as for me.


Inspiration: Where do you find it? You roll with

INspiration: Where do you find it?

You  roll with the bale, balance between on and off, talk to the dog and ask your 5W’s  a lot.

(This post was written June 24, 2013 .  I found it, along w/ many others placed on accident in my trash folder. For me, it’s a signpost post so up it goes)


A season back, I stopped writing. I had no ideas. But I had no ideas, because I stopped sitting down in the studio and working on stupid ones.

From the super little pick-up of a book, Art and Fear:

“To require perfection is to invite paralysis. The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you imagine you can do perfectly. You cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do – away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate, since to not work is to not make mistakes…”

 “What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. The place to learn about your materials is in the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work…”

 “For most artists, making good art” (or, I add, a good piece of written work) “depends upon making lots of art and any device that carries the first brushstroke to the next blank canvas” (or the next plot point to the paper or paragraph to the page) “ has tangible, practical value….”

“Look at your work and it tells you how it is when you hold back or when you embrace. When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets. But when you commit, it comes on like blazes.”

I am learning that this is true.

A marvelous writer friend needs a listen- but less than I need a re-listen- to my audio copy  of Stephen Pressfield’s “The War of Art”. (Audio is tons better here than the static book, since the purpose of this audio is to move one to action)  He takes on the role of the marine sergeant he once was and gives my inspiration a kick in the pants…reminds me what I need to do to get it, and I assess where I fell short.

From Pressfield: “There’s a secret that real writers know that wanna be writers don’t and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance…

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance.

This second, we can sit down and do our work….”

“…This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”

Speaking of The Muse: I watched the Albert Brooks movie by that name


Exasperating! I wanted to see Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way ala film. That’s not Brooks.

I wanted to do a rewrite of his quasi-creative sidetracks. I wanted to see the fruits of real success. Brooks’s humor grates on me. Wanted less shallow, more growth.

Yet my irritation was intriguing at the same time. What would life look like, if there really were such a guest? What would change? How would it happen?  My Muse is percolating bits of a screwball boy’s young MG novel.  What would my 9 year old gizmo boy do with a Muse? This is something I want to spend time with.


A small gift of National Poetry Month

Or three gifts.
First, there is 12 x 12.
Twelve manuscripts (though shaggy-rough) in 12 months. The social support. The participant guest bloggers.

Second, one of those guest bloggers was Laura Purdie Salas. She contributed a soul-fattening article full of reference and resource for April National Poetry Month.

If poetry is remotely intriguing, Google it out and read it through. For me it was rich, filling, and itchy… at least it made my fingers itch, and it felt like spring at the same time. (Allergies! Nope… unless it was a reaction to the act of writing). It was all good.

Calving: The breaking and cleaving of an iceberg. Lovely visual demonstrates the typical percentage below the surface.

And third: I broke. Or calved. Or melted. Or caved. Or just dripped.
I wrote. And like the picture, there is far more work being produced under the surface, on my art desk, and scattered about the house in bits, than shows up here.

So, on the trajectory that imperfect verse is better than non-existent good verse, and trying to sum up what I had been feeling for the past months, I had to comment on her post in the same vein as her gift to me. Copied here:

The Unexpected Calving of Mt. Frigidaire
(Who knew?)

I thought it was just winter
But after many springs
And partial thaws
I discover
-I’m an

Cynical, I click and Google-off
To find a 5-star mega microwave
to melt the massive

Stopped here instead.
I felt:
Laura’s solar radiation,
A somewhat sharpened pencil push,
And ultraviolet wavelength.

Yep. Since it’s part of my growing/changing process, I want to include it here.

Pooh Thoughts

The real Pooh, Tigger,Kangaroo, Eeyore and Piglet, upstairs in the children's library, of course!

The real Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Eeyore and Piglet, who IS Very Small, upstairs in the children’s library, of course!

“Hallo, Pooh,” said Rabbit. “Hallo, Rabbit,” said Pooh dreamily.

“Did you make that song up?”

“Well, I sort of made it up,” said Pooh. “It isn’t Brain,” he went on humbly, “because You Know Why, Rabbit; but it comes to me sometimes.”

“Ah!” said Rabbit, who never let things come to him, but always went and fetched them.”

A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

To listen to Rabbit less, but hop to it more, fetching my ideas when those honey pots at home are not calling…

It’s been a good spring…


A Good Spring, from Two Viewpoints:

my shutterbug child and myself.

Productive work accomplished:

Garden illustrations for journal product.

Garden quotes compiled for same.

Broke through first big rough spot on my narrative nonfiction animal picture book.

Finished first sight word manuscript in my beginning reader app series…very pleased, now the art.

A demanding teaching position has come to a close, spurring new focus, clearing and clutterbusting all over tarnation. What a wonderful space and spur to more work a ‘new face’ studio is!

Discovered really exciting new books, authors and illustrators from which to learn. Nothing like a window on a woW!! view of the world.

Work is progressing on PK-K1  reading  resource website.

Ditto the garden site.

Spring transfuses so much hope and energy, even my orphaned umbrella project may see some sun!

Art Apps I kept, after deleting the rest:

And deleted everything else.
These pics are just doodles, but when I work, I start with pencil sketches, photograph them with the ipad camera, and start with that as a less opaque layer. While the drawing app, Paper, has the most fabulous stroke action and a beautiful interface, corrections are picky to make, and it isn’t really great for a working illustration app. Right now, the Brushes app is my favorite sketch app, and the Procreate app is my go to for getting artwork done and illustration assignments completed. I just wish I were better at customizing brushes within the program. I find the native brushes unrealistic for the most part and limiting. I like a lot of natural texture. However.

Procreate has made me money and gave me the ipad- of which, the older Ipad 2 is my screen of choice. I draw with a wacom bamboo stylus. It was the best choice, bar none between Boxwave, Griffin, Pogo sketch, Alupen, and  all of which I bought and tried…But actually, like illustrator and app creator Will Terry does, I have started depending upon only my finger. Takes some practice, but is every bit as detailed and able to fine tune and control- maybe more so, once you get over the mental hurdle- and like he says, I shouldn’t worry about losing it, I take it wherever I go!




I tried Art Rage. Bamboo. Sketch club. The vector app I can’t think of right now. 6 or 7 others. Even sketchbook pro. What’s left fits me.
And like illustrator Will Terry, Irecommend you don’t take your Wacom bamboo stylus out of your case.  Fingers = fantastic.

Alyce book jacket

“Alyce”. A digital oil painting for a paperback book jacket comp.  But I like it well enough, rough,  to call it near done.

midwife apprentice catOther black and white inside illustrations: “Corpus Bones, Cat!” and “To Have”.

I love this book!  A chapter book just right for reading aloud, on the reading level of interested fourth graders.


Good writing, Good character. Great story about inner change that matters, and a historical window into another time.

Way more than Top Ten Lists, My *TOP !0 !*

My Top !O List posts are just some of what I think is really wonderful, and it may be way more than ten. Since the birth of this blog was to give public face to my work, I start with some influences. Not complete, I’m forgetting somebody, and in no particular order except the first one.

If I could create like anybody, I’d make like #1. His work imprinted me incredibly young, and stayed #1:

  • 1. Brian Wildsmith.  

  • 2.Glen Rounds
  • 3. Virginia Lee Burton
  • 4.Simms Taback
  • 5. Alice and Martin Provensen
  • 6. Marla Frazee
  • 7. Stacey Schuett
  • 8. David Small
  • 9. Trina Schart Hyman
  • !0. Mark Buehner
  • !1. Tibor Gergely
  • !2. Thomas Hart Benton
  • !3. Eric Carle
  • !4. Wanda Gag
  • !5. Robert McCloskey
  • !7. Johnny Gruelle
  • !8. Maxfield Parrish
  • !9. Minerva Teichert
  • 20. Arthur Rackham
  • 21. Kay Nielsen
  • 22. Judy Schachner
  • 23. Ashley Wolff
  • 24. Robert Lawson
  • 25. Pamela Zagarenski
  • 26. Unknown European mixed media artists.
  • 27. Norman Rockwell
  • 28. My mom
  • 29. Very few art teachers, for great ill or good.
  • 3o. Everett Thorpe
  • 31. Holli Conger

When I grow up

The first day of kindergarten, they gave me  8 fat crayons and a big piece of soft manilla paper. The very best thing of many best things about school.

“Make a picture of what you will be when you grow up”, they said.

Instant image, quick and sure. Brown haired girl with braids and a paintbrush in front of an easel.  Admirably rounded, masterful printing was added below. ” Heather Hatch- Artist.” Up on the wall for parent’s night  it went, proclamation to the world.

Delicious validation.  Unneeded back then, but satisfying  just the same.

And still true. I will be. When I.

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