Summer Solstice

Sol+stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun”+”to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.


Three days after the solstice marks a Midsummer’s Day. Soft summer grasses dotted with miniature daisies, blue petaled flowers and goldfields wait to be cut. Is it true that on the eve of a midsummer’s night brings a dream? with magic?
Straw hat and sunglasses for painting with and hiking. Looking at the Sun shimmer while lying on the cool grass and looking up through the trees. Strawberries juicy sweet and cold watermelon. Sweet natural water quenches a thirst and the rush of a waterfall crowns the heart of a hike. A wardrobe of shorts and tee-shirts. Longer days of warm light means more time to paint and play. Standing still with eyes closed and feeling the waft of a breeze on a sweated brow. Barefoot in the grass and dining alfresco. The sound of tinkling ice in a glass of lemonade. New starry constellations to tract in the midnight indigo sky. Falling asleep under the fragrance of Midnight Blooming Jasmine and of course Ice Cream. SUMMER Continue reading

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the street where I live


I silkscreened this onto Stonehenge paper. Artwork drawn with black ink and grids and dots from Letraset press-on sheets. I then shot the artwork on film from which I made the screens. Folded card used as a presentation for my business card.

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Do what you love

I often get asked, “Have you always drawn?” Yes, and my favorite Crayola color was “Bittersweet” and “Cornflower”. I still have my first watercolor paintbox when I was a little girl growing up in rural Houston, Texas. I loved chalk and drawing the solar system. When I was in kindergarten I would sit with Pat Brossman, my next door neighbor in the third grade and watch her practice handwriting exercises. I couldn’t wait to get into the third grade. And I loved handwriting and drawing and painting and bugs. When it rained, I would run out and sit in the rain and fish for crawdads in the ditch, using cheese on a string. The other thing I loved was standing in flowers taller than me; big daisies and towering sweet peas and of course animals.

When you do what you love, and are true to yourself, some things don’t change much. Two of my favorite paint colors are still the same but with different names; burnt sienna and french ultramarine blue. I have painted murals on ceilings, floors and walls. I still like to stand enveloped in flowers and paint what I imagine. I’ll lay on the desert floor to identify a miniscule flower and have binoculars at the ready on a hike. And what do I always have with me? A journal, pen, pencil and paint.

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First berries of the season


The first little ruby red strawberries are the sweetest tasting berries that you can even imagine. They are fragrant — It’s Spring.
I’m teaching “Italic” calligraphy this semester.


Sketch of our 5-tiered strawberry condo from my mom with two green thumbs! Made of a heavy plastic, there is a 3/4″ lip at the top edge of the condo. A PVC pole “shish-ka-bobs” the tiers and keeps them together. Nice to see the berries cascading the tiers.
The snails can’t climb the slippery slope walls.strawcondotopview

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Stripey, zen teacher


Full of wisdom. Curious about everything and always living “in the moment”.
See! Hear! Taste! Feel! Smell! Paying attention to every situation can help you develop your idea.
Work from the depth of your being.
Have faith in your ideas and execute a well-thought plan.
What puts a lion in your heart?


Simplify your life.
Listen to your dreams, they are orders from the universe and can infuse your imagination with a great storyline and fanciful drawings.


Surround yourself with the things you love which includes the people in your life.
Get enough sleep.
Make your bed everyday.

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When creative Calligraphers get together

This is Francine Oller, calligrapher, from my “Studio Group” drawing on the paper tablecloth. A roll of paper, and several different types of oil pastels; water-soluble and regular, chalk pastels, colored pencils, intense colored pencils, brushes and water. Several others join in. The “tablecloth” is covered with swirls, marks, sea waves and a sinking boat!

Then we write. A fountain pen talk by Greg Minuskin, pen nib expert (see his website: We are off in heaven, writing and experimenting with a relay of a multitude of fountain pens all with different nibs that make different marks. Some vintage, some contemporary, flexible, italic, needlepoint, different sizes. Talking and making mental tabs on our favorites (fountain pens).

Janet Martorello is now sharing her work. She did an amazing installation on a cross for a Catholic Church in San Francisco, dazzling beadwork. We all take turns showing a project we’re working on, getting honest feedback, sharing information and most of all giving support. We have been together since 1991, meeting one day a month, pretty much all year ’round and always have some sort of group project going. We love letters and ink, eat well together, talk a whole lot, laugh, and care for each other’s well-being. Start your own creative support group.

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Round Robin Journal Adventure


Page two of my journal entry “Nature”: I am one of 18 other artists in a round robin journal exchange put together by calligrapher and artist, Renee Troy. Each of our handmade journals are themed and require 2-3 pages of artful creativity. One month to create and release, and then receive a new journal to be written and embellished with our own personal stamp. It will be a year and a half before seeing my journal again. Other themes such as “Outrageous”, “Red”, “Metamorphoses” are to name a few.
The anticipation to create something new onto blank pages is enough to get all of the “creative mind sprockets” working in overtime.

I begin with a main image (the marsh bird with a beak-speared list of nature ideas). Then I build text and other imagery around the page. Next, another image to balance the bird, the journal log. Then I add other words and images filling in blank areas on the page, each time being mindful of space and color relationships. I think of the text blocks the same as I do blocks of imagery. Color is another design element that can be used to pull all the parts together on a page. At other times, a full background can be painted first. The way I’ll be working on “Hearts” next, you’ll see.

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French Roundhand

A mini-calligraphy workshop at the home of illustrator and toymaker, Marilyn Scott-Waters for the Orange County Children’s Book & Illustrator’s Schmooze Day. There I am demonstrating the letterform “b” with “eeks”–not enough paper on top for what should be a longer ascender stroke.

French Roundhand, the chosen calligraphic hand done with a pointed, flexible steel nib in a straight holder. This hand was chosen because of its beauty and simplicity (vertical stroking) that could be learned in a limited amount of time. A beautiful spring day, lemons and wisteria in the garden in bloom and every chair filled with incredible illustrators that work magic daily with their other tools.

Note the inkwell: the bottom part of a plastic wine glass. (At your next party, enjoy the wine, toss the drinker part and save the base). Then for stability, that “inkwell” is set into the top of a “Pringles” potato chip lid. The depth of the inkwell filled with ink is a perfect dip for a pointed nib.

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Furnace Creek Ranch General Store

Afternoon sketching at Furnace Creek Ranch drinking cocoa.furnacecreekranch2

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Welcome to my website

The Toymaker and the Nature Journal Girl are having fun figuring out how to assemble a decent website. We need to break for lunch!

Marilyn's Rooster from

Marilyn's Rooster from

Click on the picture to make your own little paper book

Little paper book

Click on the picture to get a PDF to make your own paper book.

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The Dunes at Sunrise

First the mountain range behind me turns into glorious pink lavender tone, and then for a moment the sunbeams catch on the sand and turns everything in its direct path golden. Glowing golden. Magical. Iridescent. And now golden sand with long blue lavender shadows.

Some dunes sharply angular and sculpted, others a sea of soft undulating waves. Creosote bushes far between, dotting the landscape like seaweed, spring green from a two-week-old rain. Wind drifts the sand smooth with ripples. Another mountain range, still sepia blue, the sun behind it. That magic moment is long… timeless.

I am like the moon as I sit atop this mountain of sand; sun side is softly warm, opposite side feels the chill of the desert morning air. 7:59 AM Morning wind whistles in my ear.


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Booksigning and Limited Edition Prints at the L.A. Pen Show 2009

This year at the Los Angeles Pen Show Janet signed her book, “Artful Journals” which has sold over 9,000 copies world wide since its release in November 2007.

Also had limited edition prints which have been fully matted and include a certificate of authenticity. Janet’s prints, can be seen in closer detail at this page Janet Takahashi Prints were a big success this year.

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