Tag Archives: kids

the art of waiting


Let’s face facts. Sometimes, may times, waiting isn’t any fun…

We’d waited months for our eldest daughter’s hospital appointment. We packed 5 days worth of stuff into bags and drove into the city, relieved to go ahead and get this started. We sat in a ward for hours waiting for the doctor to come. Every minute that ticked by said we might be waiting some more. It wasn’t fun. I’ve learned to be prepared to wait, so I whipped out my trusty Sharpies and a plain pocket calendar that I’d packed to pass the time. We talked, I drew. I drew, she watched. We waited. Four hours later…the doctor didn’t show – he was sick. That was hard. But I pointed my child in the right direction, towards the door and to hope…that good can come of waiting even when we don’t know the “why.” I carry this little reminder of our time spent. And I choose to believe it was for the good, for the better. If you are in the waiting room, I hope this little piece encourages you today.

We have been rescheduled in record time…not long now. And yes, I will be repacking my pens!


take the risk


Encouragement can come from the most unexpected places.

Art can be one of those addresses. so can a teenager. honest.

The past few weeks have been hard. I won’t lie about it. Hospitals and children should only mix at the joy of birth. No more visits after that. Ever. In the midst of our own situation, another, more urgent, child’s battle came to our doorstep. His story can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/CadenBeggan

Weary from the difficult parts of the day, I came home to the usual suspects: laundry, dishes and a dinner to cook. My 13-year-old son was elbow deep in art supplies at our kitchen table. He gave me this picture for the little one. It is his prayer, his expression of hope in a hard place, his heart for a boy fighting for life and limbs.

My head was lifted by his courage to express in a drawing what could not be fully said in words.

You may well be holding encouragement for someone right now.

Your writing, art, cooking, words, hug, song could be exactly what a heavy heart needs to soar again.

Be encouraged. Take the risk. Share what you have.

art for the warrior child


Sometimes, extraordinary things happen to ordinary things…in this case, to ordinary paint sketches. Sometimes they get the chance to speak about extraordinary truth.

I’ve posted this work before, but I have had cause to put it here again. In terribly difficult circumstances, I gave one of these prints to a mother in a hospital ward. Her beautiful 6-year-old son is fighting for his life and limbs after being attacked by meningococcal septicaemia. They need hope in a desperate situation and I just wanted to give them a tiny reminder that hope is alive for their child.

What has happened over the past several days has been nothing short of a miracle. Five days on, this child is alive when they thought he would not make it through the night. Changes have happened hour by hour. It has been a roller coaster of extremes, and there are no easy answers. But he has slowly, slowly turned in the right direction.  So I’ve made another version of the ordinary paint sketch. Because I believe it to be so…

One of the most important things is for Caden’s muscles and tissues to return to the pink, healthy colour they are meant to be. So, yesterday was deemed “pink day” for Caden. I’ve never seen so much pink in the hospital or posted onto a facebook community page. Even the nurses on the ward joined in with pink aprons as men walked around with pink lipstick on, pink flowers were put in the waiting room, and a pink dinosaur made its way in, too. Fire departments and walmart staff posted pictures of their pink day. School children and Grandmas put on pink all around the world in support of this child. The change in Caden can be SEEN, as his once black facial features are turning purple and pink again. He needs that in all his limbs to the very tips. So I wanted to express that change by altering the piece one more time:

Tomorrow is a new day – a new hour – for this beautiful, artistic, pirate-loving, warrior child

to hold steady, to move forward, to surprise the doctors, to keep on pink’n.

Whatever is going on in your life right now, my hope is that you are encouraged by this little one. And if you feel like joining in, wear something PINK! for Caden Beggan.

Please click the link below in comments to read Caden’s father’s poignant updates about his son and give your support.

sitting underneath the underpainting


It’s the October week holiday here in Scotland which means lots of kids all over my house. Which means lots of noise and laundry and food dispersion. Which means not a lot of painting. However, in order to keep some of my marbles, I set up the beginnings of a painting in our yet-to-be-finished but has-tons-of-space-and-light extension…

the spot:

the paint:

the apprentice:

I started with a canvas I’d washed blue several weeks ago. Yesterday, I drew in some ideas and left it at that. Today I decided to put down some colours that could peek out later on in the work. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to stay focused for any length of time with a Jedi on my couch, I didn’t take myself too seriously. Instead it was about enjoying the shifting light and the process and the company.

About the time my paint starts to add up, I like to do a little subtracting. I scrape, I draw. I’ve found this process helps define the spaces, and many times I discover new movement through the composition.

Sooner rather than later, I was called to shoot some bad guys, put wood on the fire and make sandwiches (again). But I was able to get far enough with this piece that I can leave it for awhile to sit and soak up the atmosphere.

And I like that the work shows, that the “undone” is part of this piece right now. It’s not all about a perfect picture. It is about how the parts are progressing. Be encouraged.

perspective from the 5th floor


my view – a daughter’s bedside



This past week, my eldest daughter and I checked into Glasgow’s Yorkhill children’s hospital for 5 days of pain treatment.

I brought a little sketchbook and my Sharpie markers to help pass the time, but the process helped me do much more than that.

I found myself looking for better views of our present circumstance. And eventually I saw beauty even in that grey place – not just out the windows, but through the people we were with.

When you choose to see differently, there really are better things to see. I couldn’t draw the efficient staff running around or the little heroes in pink casts and wheelchairs, but I could shift my position (and my attitude) to sketch the views from our ward.

view straight out our  windows – The Queen Mother’s Maternity Hospital, built in 1964 – now closed

same windows, different viewpoint

Riverside Museum of Transport on the River Clyde

the Tall Ship at Riverside

If you are in a hard place, my wish is that these little windows give you some HOPE for a better view.

I encourage you to see differently today.

art lessons from a 10-year-old


I got schooled this week.  In the nicest possible way, but still

Scotland was in a heat wave so we all played hookie and headed to the beach!

I threw in my sketch pad and an old pack of oil pastels just in case.

 While the kids ran around I took the opportunity to start a drawing, but it soon became impossible.

Some of the pastels were broken, the right blue was missing, sand was flying,

bathing suits were dripping, the five-year-old was helping – you get the picture.

 My middle girl came over to watch what I was doing.

I finally gave up and started to put it all away when she asked if she could draw.

I handed her the pack and went to cool my toes in the ocean.

15 minutes later, my girl happily showed me her work. Done. Beautifully…

Straight away I saw where I’d gone wrong.

Distracted and caught up in getting details and colours right, I’d missed the joy of the scene in front of me. 

Arabella’s drawing was all about the moment, the fun of catching what you see on the paper.

Hers is the better for it. Lesson learned.


don’t forget the space hopper


life lesson from a 5-year-old:

it really doesn’t matter where you’re headed or how long it takes, as long as there’s fun in the gett’n there…

Indoors or out, to the bathroom or to the moon, our youngest prefers  travel via space hopper.

There is so much JOY in his journey!

May I humbly suggest that we take a break from the seriousness of lists, deadlines, reputation,and résumés long enough to find the FUN in what we’re doing here?

p.s.  They make adult-sized space hoppers, too 😉