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First Christmas out of New Bern in 20+ Years!

For my first Christmas of retirement I went to DC with a friend and spent it with her family. It was a lot of fun! We’ve never gone home (Michigan) for Christmas since Michael and I were married in 1989.

Fortunately we only saw a few snowflakes but the temperature was in the teens, something we are not used to. In fact it was very cold for them as well.

We rode the Metro and the Circulator so it was very easy to get around even though there were thousands of tourists.


Our first designation was the National Gallery. This is a shot straight up on the corner of one of their buildings.



I’ve been struggling to get a cleaner style in my oil paintings, in fact I really have no style at all there. I do in my clay, watercolors and ink drawings but with every oil painting I start it’s like I’ve never done one before. I could be that I did them so seldom when I had Carolina Creations it was just a matter of not practicing.


Our favorite areas of the museum were the Impressionists and the contemporary art. I really haven’t studied art history or early painters since college, I just developed my own style. Now I see I should go back and study their oil painting techniques. I never paid attention to the fact that Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and many others used so much line in their work.

It’s something that I’m going to study and see if I can incorporate into my work, it suits me just fine since I use line in all the other mediums I work in.
Sometimes it takes a long time to notice something like this that is so obvious.



Went to the Vietnam Memorial to honor Michaels and other people we know that served our country.



So glad this is all the snow we saw!

We took a freezing cold but fun trip to Mount Vernon.


Of course the house is the same as I’d seen before but the rest has changed A LOT! There is a beautiful and informative museum that taught us all a lot we didn’t know about him and his life.

And they had an amazing gift shop.

There was very little in it that didn’t have a direct connection to the site. I’m always disappointed when I go to a gift shop of an historic site and see things that have nothing to do with it and you can get in any run of the mill gift shop.

I always think – if this was my shop there are so many things I could produce or have produced for it! While I no longer have a shop I am still creating work for Carolina Creations and others.

A chill visit to Ellicott City was short and sweet.

Next trip – a cruise, coming soon.

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I love my town – New Bern, NC

I’m loving retirement (retired from the retail business but not from creating art)! So today have time to walk around and take some photos of our Downtown. I don’t usually have time to do this until Christmas Day!

Our Downtown has really gotten into the season the past few years. We are finally getting some recognition for our efforts. Here is a link to a web post about a North Carolina tour of the best Christmas towns.



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Tammy Leigh a sculptor I admire

People are always asking me what inspires my work, a lot of the time it is seeing what other people do. Sometimes it’s just in awe of what they are doing and how they are doing it. It encourages me to go out on a limb and try something I’m not sure I can do, not copying their work, just pushing my own to another level.

I met such a person a couple months ago, Tammy Leigh.

The sculptures she does of birds are astounding!

Tammy is a potter from Hickory. After taking a pottery class at the Hickory Msueum of Art she quit her telecommunications job of 16 years and became a full time potter.

Knowing how fragile unfired clay is I don’t see how she can sculpt it without knocking pieces off as she works, then more importantly gets it into the kiln once dry.

One thing we have in common is our ability to promote our work. What good is it to do a lot of artwork and have it pile up in a corner? The joy for us is in the creating, once it is done it is exciting to see someone else that has to have it in their home.


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Garden Sculpture in the works part 2

So instead of just finishing the sculpture I decided to also do a bird bath, so got the bowl for the top built and now letting it dry. Actually its not unusual to have many pieces going at once, since I’m building for out doors the pieces have to be somewhat robust (thick) so take a long time to dry. Even when I think they are dry – room temperature to the touch, the piece is cool to the touch if there is still moisture – I put them in the kiln and heat it to about 150 degrees and shut it off. I’ll do this a couple times until I put my head in and my glasses don’t steam up!

For the totem I decided to make 2 tops for now, a simple round topper and a bird. Both are in the drying stage.

My glaze samples all turned out – very unusual! These are Potters Choice glazes.

My favorites are

I think earthtones are more appropriate for outdoor sculptures so am going looking for a few more greens/yellows/browns. Of course I could always just fire this clay to vitrification with no glaze or just a clear glaze.

The neat, well one of the neat things about Steve’s technique is that I can add or take away components depending on how tall I want it to be (or how much money the customer wants to spend!).