What one may do one day


I’ve been quietly working, thinking, looking at art, playing the ukelele and learning new songs, knitting, and traveling since my last post.

Last week I spent a beautiful chunk of time soaking up two inspiring exhibits at Discover Portsmouth: “Illuminating Tarbell: Life and Art on the Piscataqua” and “Legacy in Action,” the latter being six contemporary artists working in the style of Edmund C. Tarbell (1862-1938). Fabulous!

Today in ukelele class we spent all of our time working on one song: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the Iz rather than the Judy Garland version. I started ukelele classes in February at the urging of Libby from our In Stitches group. Who knew I would enjoy these classes and playing the uke so much? “Happy music,” says Libby. So true.

Working alot on my new cookbook — alpha rhythm (Volume 2) — which will feature my monotypes (2000-2016) and favorite recipes. A book, yes, and also more than a book. A handcrafted book. Art you can hold in your hands. Sometimes I get so caught up in the process of this project I find myself feeling tight and anxious and stressed. Then I think, Stop! This is supposed to be fun. I stop for a few days. Return to building, bit by bit, the mock-up of my cookbook. Fun once again. The cookbook is starting to take shape. This process is similar to printing a monotype or, for me, any type of creative activity. I’m building something by doing, trial and error, rather than by thinking of doing.

“You have to have a high conception not of what you are doing, but of what you may do one day: without that, there’s no point in working.” (Edgar Degas)


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Something’s definitely cooking

Long ago (1996) and far away (Albuquerque, New Mexico), I designed and made a cookbook which I titled alpha rhythm. With lots of help from some very patient staff members at Kinko’s on Central Avenue S.E., we made eight original copies of alpha rhythm which I gave as Christmas gifts that year to family members and a few close friends. For me, this project was clear evidence of my love of books, paper, cooking, reading, and visual art. Between its covers, alpha rhythm included 18 favorite recipes, quite a few reproductions of some of my drawings (I had yet to make my first monotype), lots of different and interesting papers and overlays, and a few inspiring quotations.


Recently I’ve been poring over the one copy I have of alpha rhythm. I’ve been thinking it would be fun to make another cookbook and do so this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of alpha rhythm. One cookbook every 20 years. Seems do-able.


At this point in time, I’m envisioning this new cookbook will include 25 favorite recipes, one or two original monotypes (cover and centerfold), reproductions of monotypes, and whatever else strikes my fancy.


Let the rumpus begin!

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A calm getaway between two soft covers

“An artist is a person who lives in the
triangle which remains after the angle which
we may call common sense has been
removed from this four-cornered world.”


The Three-Cornered World

Recently my friend Irene loaned me a little softcover book, The Three-Cornered World by Natsume Soseki, because, as Irene said to me, “It’s about an artist, so I thought of you.”

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) opens the eyes of the reader to new and wonderful worlds and ways of looking in The Three-Cornered World (English translation by Alan Turney. English translation ©1965). The main character is an artist who has come to the country for a few days’ respite from city life in Tokyo. Chapter 1 begins: “Going up a mountain track, I fell to thinking.”

Reading this book was a meditative experience for me. Within its covers lies beauty, mystery, love, poetry, art, nature, culture, and more. A gem. I loved it!

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Snow Sisters stay here on Seacoast (for now)

Snow Sisters I.jpg (ID 321)

Had I known these two monotypes — “Snow Sisters (I)” and “Snow Sisters (II)” — were not going to be among the 45 entries accepted for inclusion in the Maryland Federation of Art’s “Stormy Weather” exhibit, I would have included them in the “Rapt in Winter” exhibit currently on view at Sentry Hill in York Harbor, Maine. C’est la vie.

Snow Sisters II.jpg (ID 322)

Next week I start printing again on the Seacoast Women series. I am chomping at the bit and feeling jazzed!

Meanwhile, if you’re in the Seacoast area, do try to stop in and take a look at “Rapt in Winter: Monotypes/Paintings/Collage by Barbara van Buskirk”. It’s on view through Sunday, February 28, in the Tennyson Art Gallery at Sentry Hill, 2 Victoria Court, York Harbor, Maine. Gallery Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Happy New Year


The creative juices flow in many different ways for me and, I imagine, for most people. In addition to working on the Seacoast Women series throughout 2015, I created my first group of handmade single signature books with original monotype covers and knit what ended up being a total of 22 pairs of socks for Christmas presents.

IMG_4832 - Version 2

Today I came across a poem, reprinted here from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush (page 5), which I am sharing with you to start the new year:

Boring to live without beauty,
Sadder songless to be,
Woe to lack the lusting of larks,
So hard joyless to live!

I, myself, create my own beauty,
And harbor my dearest joy,
Beauty with me I carry,
Red hues in my apronstrings,
Joy tucked between burdens.

I would rather forget all sleep,
And leave behind my slumbers,
Than that I forget beauty,
And lose my dearest joy. 

(Estonian Folk Song titled Beautymaker from the village Vaike-Maarja, the translation was sent to Nancy Bush by Rita Tubalkain.)

Cheers to a happy, healthy and creative 2016 to you and yours!


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Many thanks to the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center


For me, it’s always fun to be on hand for an exhibit reception to meet people and talk about art and more. Last evening’s reception for the Button Factory Artists exhibit at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center was no exception. I met and chatted with Executive Director Russ Grazier and Marketing Coordinator Sydney Bilodeau. Fun to talk shop with several other Button Factory artists whose work also is on exhibit, including Painter/Printmaker Roger Goldenberg, Painter Jeannie Griffin-Pieerka and Painter Darlene Furbush-Ouellett.

Many thanks to the PMAC staff for creating a truly lovely, welcoming and elegant atmosphere in the gallery!

The Button Factory Artists exhibit at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, 973 Islington Street, continues through next Thursday, December 17.



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Boston Printmakers North American Print Biennial exhibit is top-notch

I had a chance to visit The Boston Printmakers 2015 North American Print Biennial exhibit while in Boston over the weekend. The four-color complimentary catalog includes reproductions of each and every one of the nearly 130 original prints with the name and location of the artist, medium, size and price. Also included in the catalog is a glossary with short descriptions: How Prints Are Made, Relief Printing, Intaglio Printing, Lithography, Screenprint, Monotypes & Monoprints, Digital Prints, Limited Editions.


This biennial exhibit received nearly 2,000 submissions, including 699 artists from 49 states and 7 Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico and Cuba. My husband and I were simply blown away by the quality, creativity and, in some cases, humor and whimsy of the prints in this exhibit.

Another thing I liked about the exhibit: Each print was matted, not framed. I can really appreciate how much easier and less costly this is for the artists whose entries were accepted to the show. The prints in this exhibit are for sale and prices, in most cases, were surprisingly modest, perhaps assisted by the fact the pieces are unframed.

If you’re anywhere near Boston, run, don’t walk, to The Lunder Arts Center, at Lesley University, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge and see the The Boston Printmakers 2015 North American Print Biennial exhibit before it closes on December 12th.

This is a truly inspiring exhibit!

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Supporting the arts in so many different ways

Button Factory at PMAC 2015

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My one and only hope

Just heard from a new fan of The Caress of Her Hand. Ah, yes, ‘tis one of my favorites as well. This piece found a good home early on and, truthfully, this is my one and only hope: For my art to find a loving home.

The Caress of Her Hand.jpg (ID 131)

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Autumn Art Jaunts (#2)


If you love Winslow Homer’s art as much as I do, you’ll love touring his studio on Prouts Neck in Scarboro, Maine, which I did this past weekend. This is where Homer lived and worked for the last 27 years of his life. The Portland Museum of Art owns the Winslow Homer Studio and offers tours of this art lover’s mecca, April-October. So very inspiring!


I’m looking forward to another day, come springtime, walking in the footsteps of Winslow Homer by visiting the PMA and viewing his work in their collection, heading over to Prouts Neck for lunch at the Black Point Inn, and ambling along the cliff walk to see the actual sea views shown in some Homer’s most spectacular paintings.


Meanwhile I’ll study Homer’s watercolors, paintings, and illustrations with a deeper understanding of Winslow Homer as a person and as an artist.


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