Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 11

This month you will finally meet Poetry!  Poetry materialized in my life in 1997 as I was getting my oldest ready to go off to college.  I still had two at home, but it felt like my family was being dismantled, and I needed something to refocus my thoughts on.  The adventures of Poetry the Calico Cat and Gabriel the Snowman sprung from someplace within me that I did not know existed.  I wrote 13 little stories about their adventures that year.  Then in 2011 I made a website about them, posting a new story each month.  This past year I've been "illustrating" the new story I wrote in 2009.  I have redrawn Poetry a little differently from the original Poetry.  In 1997 I'd never drawn anything in my adult life, so she was quite a surprise when she showed up.  These past three years of practice have shown me that with more practice I can improve and may even develop a style of my own that I like.  One thing I've come to realize is that I love colorful scenes.  I discovered this when I painted the first two illustrations this month in vivid colors then realized the room, as I'd written it, was supposed to be dark!  So I used a photo editing website to darken the edges to give the illusion of a darkened room.  I also took most of the color out of the second illustration using the editing tools.  What I've learned this year is that illustrating is NOT EASY.  But I am glad to have Gabriel's Tale and all my other stories to pass on to my grandchildren.  Who knows....maybe one of them will illustrate my stories and launch a career in Children's Book illustration.  In fact, I would be greatly pleased if my postings this past year have encouraged one of you to pick up pen and brush and discovered for yourself a story just waiting to be told.

Last month the story left off with Gabriel arriving in Edinburgh and striking out on his own to try to find Poetry.  Meanwhile we find out that a calico cat has gone missing and the family has posted flyers all over town.  Here are excerpts from Chapter 11. . . .

Chapter 11 – How Can This Be?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 10

As you may have noticed, if you've been a faithful follower of Gabriel's Tale, I changed my mind again and waited to post Chapter 10 in November.  That's because I've decided NOT to post the last chapter of the story here.  Chapter 11 will appear in December, but Chapter 12 will have to be read on  The Adventures of Poetry & Gabriel Blog.  I'm moving everything about Poetry and Gabriel to their own blog because I want to share the whole story there, as well as story #2, and the stories I hope to continue to write.  I also hope to have Poetry's website (which I created in 2011) fixed and up and running so you can read the prequel to Gabriel's Tale when Gabriel was still a Snowman.

Last month I left you with Gabriel drifting off to sleep after Theodore befriended him (after attacking him) promising him he'd show Gabriel how to find a ride to Edinburgh the next morning.  Here are excerpts from Chapter 10. . . .

Chapter 10 – Edinburgh?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Autumn Leaves

Since we still do not have much Autumn color in our part of Maryland I've compiled my favorite photos of past years's foliage from our yard and Autumn vacations.   Be sure to enlarge to full screen (by clicking the square in the lower right corner).  Sit back and enjoy the music I've chosen for you and together we'll make our own Autumn Leaves. . . .


❤️Take Joy❤️

Friday, October 20, 2017

An Autumn Vacation Without Fall Foliage

My Autumn Vacation Without Fall Foliage was also without my good camera (the lens had been sent away for repair AGAIN) so I did not look forward to this 3-day get-away with my usual anticipation.  I was able to resign myself to not having my camera because there were no colorful leaves to take photos of anyway.  SO I'm asking you to imagine colorful leaves on the mountainside, better picture exposure, and more depth of field as you peruse my photos of Jim Thorpe, PA and Bushkill Falls.

After driving 50 minutes to drop Gabriel off at our son's house we drove another 3½ hours to Jim Thorpe, PA, where we were staying at the Times House B&B.  This red brick house was actually two houses when it was built circa 1870.  From 1927 to 1967 it housed the Times-News.  You can read about the present owner's story of how they came to turn it into a B&B in 2009 HERE.  The B&B sits high above the rest of the town on Race Street nestled into the side of Flagstaff Mountain along with St. Mark & John Episcopal Church on the left and a row of shops on the right. . . .

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 9

Once again this month I have borrowed one of my Beatrix Potter illustrations from last year.  This one is of Jeremy Fisher.  Plus, rather than draw a pond-drenched Gabriel, I've used a photograph of the real pond-drenched Gabriel.  His chase after a frog that leapt into my neighbor's lily pad-covered pond, that looked like grass to him, gave him quite a shock!  I saw it coming as the whole scene evolved before me, but was not quick enough to stop him.

Last month we left off where Duchess waves a wild flower in the direction of Hawkshead to show Gabriel where he should go.  Here are excepts from Chapter 9:

Chapter 9 – On to Hawkshead

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


I found this lovely video and the music of Peder B. Helland this morning. . . .

Friday, September 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 8

This month Gabriel finds himself in Beatrix Potter country!  Last year I practiced drawing and painting her characters and have reused the three kittens on Hill Top's rock wall.  The church is drawn from photos I found on the Internet.  It stands just outside Near Sawrey.  Be sure to see my exciting news at the end of this post.  

Last month Gabriel had just come out of the woods to see a barn off in the distance.  He bedded down inside for the night. . . .

Chapter 8 – A New Day

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 7

Welcome back!  This month I felt like watercolor painting.  I experimented with cutting and pasting mainly because I was concerned I'd mess up my painting, so I painted some things separately and then pasted them onto the background.  By the last painting I had a little more confidence and painted every thing directly onto the watercolor paper.  Lack of confidence is a big obstacle in learning to paint.....and it doesn't help if you also don't like to waste expensive watercolor paper!  If I could overcome these two things I think I'd learn much faster.  I also have a few more obstacles like:  being a perfectionist; not liking to have to redo something from scratch (which you almost have to do with watercolor if you make a big mistake--little ones can be corrected with a special "white out"); and the biggest one is not catching on quick enough!  I can be very impatient with myself.

Last month Gabriel's Tale ended with Gabriel falling asleep inside a log during a thunderstorm. . . .

Chapter 7 – Into the Woods

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Gabriel's Tale - Chapter 6

As you will see I was a little more adventurous this month and did several watercolor paintings.  I got stuck right away trying to draw a British stationwagon, but once I found a good photo on-line I was off and running.  If you get a chance to check out Levens Hall you will see it has some truly weird unique topiaries.

I was listening to a TED Talk by a brain researcher who explained how we learn and why at the end of an hour of practicing a new motor skill (like drawing) we may achieve a new level of competence but the next day we have to start all over again.  It's because when we practice a new skill our brains produce a chemical that aids the short-term memory.  But to permanently acquire the skill you have to change the structure of the brain and you can only do that with repetition over a period of time.  So the bad news is you have to practice, practice, practice.  But the good news is it will eventually pay off!

Last month Gabriel had just arrived in Liverpool and left the freighter in a sack.  Here is this chapter's highlights. . . .

Chapter 6 – Liverpool