Sligo Creek

A quick watercolor sketch on a sun dappled Mothers' Day afternoon along peaceful Sligo Creek in Takoma Park, Maryland. A lovely old stone bridge soon to be needlessly replaced with one that will carry heavier loads on this tiny neighborhood road and inevitably have far less character.


An Artistic Milestone

On Friday evening this past week, my daughter Noble nervously welcomed family, friends, and colleagues to the Stella Elkins Tyler Galleries at Temple University's Tyler School of Art. After years of study and exploration, insights and inspirations, uncertainty and self doubt that accompany an education in fine art, she presented an installation of her final semester's senior thesis work in Fibers and Material Studies, for which she will receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree on May 12.

Her show was entitled "Synthetic Simulation". Noble built her investigation around the dichotomies she sees within a materialistic culture increasingly driven by fashion, throw away trends, and social media, yet with the conviction that one may still create beauty and convey hope and optimism. She combined traditional and conventional techniques and materials with novel and sometimes jarring departures. She created a coherent, intriguing and relevant statement in art that can be read on multiple levels.

As did her professors, I applaud her work, its depth of thought, and the perspective it conveys. Congratulations, Noble! What a proud moment in your career as an artist.

You can see more of Noble's work at



from the road

Sometimes it's good to be away from social media, to forego sharing one's thoughts with unseen viewers, and to be in solitude and re-evaluate things. No links to facebook, instagram, or twitter. So for awhile, a sketch now and then, without blathering on or trying to sound insightful. Just for my friends. 

rusting old Ford truck, Eddyville, Kentuckyview from Kentuck Knob, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania




"One must imagine Sisyphus happy." Albert Camus 1942, via Matt Dwyer 2017



Dawn broke cool and cloudless yesterday despite a forecast of rain. The chilly air was fresh and remarkably free of pollen under a royal blue sky as we took a light breakfast of fruit and yogurt with our tea and coffee out on the brick patio. As perfect as only a Sunday morning in the spring can be. A morning not to be squandered indoors.

We set off on a drive with no clear destination, impulsively following cues that caught our eyes as we motored across the rolling farmscape and wooded hills in southern Lancaster county. Eventually we came across a narrow road marked by a sign warning that a bridge ahead was closed. We pulled off, parked, and emerged from the car to continue on foot.

Time stopped. No cars, no overhead jets, only the soft burble of the creek as we walked along a crooked country road lined with blooming wildflowers luminescent against the dark woods. We followed Little Conestoga Creek downstream, passing a decaying steel bridge. About a mile further, we came upon a stone farmhouse with a sagging old barn and attached sheds at the confluence of the creek and the Conestoga River, where the road ended at a lane with a closed gate winding off into the woods. 

Pausing for a few minutes to sit under an enormous sycamore to do a pencil and watercolor sketch, as much as anything else an excuse to tarry and drink in the loveliness of this out of the way spot. A fisherman waded in the creek behind me, casting with a flyrod through the sparkling air.

We talk about exploring faraway places - traveling to Iceland to experience its harsh beauty and spare landscape. Japan to seek out the old culture with its preserved settings. Oaxaca to discover for ourselves its ancient ruins. But on this lovely April morning, it was more than sufficient to be immersed in the beauty of this dwindling Pennsylvania countryside, so close to home.

along Little Conestoga Creek, 8 x 6.25, graphite pencil and watercolor