Saturday, June 8, 2019


“I'm sorry. I have to take this.”

Chelsea Simon-Darrow's perfectly manicured hand slipped towards me between the soy sauce and the fortune cookies to reach her vibrating cell phone. After glancing at the ID on the screen, she turned away from the child beside her and scowled directly into my face.
“It's Jason,” she said, barely disguising her displeasure. “I'll take it outside.”
I adjusted my tie.
“Go ahead, Mrs. S-D. You deal with that, and I'll just get acquainted with this beautiful princess here.”
As my client wafted out of the room on a cloud of Guerlain I beamed my best smile down at the tow-head pixy in pink now sitting next to me.
“Hey, pretty lady. What's your name?”
The little girl, who appeared to be about six, looked up through her lashes, her chin on her chest. Her button nose, with its dusting of freckles, barely cleared the edge of the table.
“My name's Amanda,” she whispered.
“So,” I asked, taking in the cheesy red paper lanterns on the ceiling. “You come here all the time? This is a pretty high class joint.” I gave her one of my best good-guy smiles.
“My Daddy used to bring me here. It's our favorite, his and mine.”
She raised her chin and hit me with the full force of her huge, round, sky-blue eyes. Her lashes were moist and sparkling and her voice was full of tears.
“When's Mama coming back?”
“She's, uh, just outside on the phone. See? Look out the window. There she is.”
“Okay.” Amanda's voice was barely audible and her eyes were on the tablecloth again. She lapsed back into silence.
“Well, what's your favorite dish, then. What did you and your Daddy used to order?” I was shooting blind here. “Egg rolls, maybe?”
She looked up at me again with a world of pain in those killer baby blues. In fifteen years that look would slay a linebacker.
“No,” she whispered. “We ate Egg Fooey.”
“Egg Fooey? Is that like Hong Kong Fooey?”
She wrinkled her brow into the cutest frown I've ever seen on a chick., then shook her head so hard she loosened her pink bunny barrettes.
“Not Hong Kong Fooey, silly. Egg Fooey!”
She pointed a chopstick at the remains of the Egg Foo Yong on her lunch plate.
The corner of her mouth curved up as she peered into my face this time. Then that turned into a full smile as sparkling and bright as sunshine on water. A smile filled with hope and framed with two tiny dimples.
“Mister?” she whispered. “If I give you all my money would could you get my Daddy to come back home to live with me?”
I should never have looked down at her tiny curled up fist. But I did. Just as her mother stormed back in headed for the table, Amanda opened it and let the handful of coins trickle out onto the table.
“Could you, mister?”
She looked up at me with those hopeful eyes and, yup, slayed me. Right there.
And just like that, I had two clients.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Tower on the Guest House at the Clay Estate, Greenbank

The Guest House on the Clay Estate in Greenbank (on Whidbey Island) sits high up on a bluff looking west over Saratoga Passage. I did not go up there but my guess is that the Tower room has a panoramic view of the water of Straits and of the main body of Whidbey Island beyond (and from that height probably Camano Island and the Cascades, too!)
We Sketchers met there today to enjoy the landscaping on the beautifully groomed grounds. It only took me moments when I arrived to decide that this view, from the circle drive approach to the building, was the perfect drawing site for me.  It was a "big bite", but I went ahead and dove in anyway. Many thanks to our hosts for the day.

Friday, September 7, 2018


Never Have I Ever had a bad day with the Whidbey Island Sketchers. Today was just absolutely wonderful. The weather was perfect under another popcorn sky, almost everyone turned out, we were at the Whidbey Winery so there were grapes bursting and ready to be picked, “fake birds of terror” (to another bird) were singing (electronically), the “groaning board” was heaped with good food and WINE, and we were sketching up a storm. It simply doesn’t get better than this. And we marveled yet again at how this large a group consistently gets along and supports each other so well!
When we asked what kind of grapes the ones on the fence were, the ones I was sketching, our hostess informed us they were just decorative grapes, not for wine, and they were there stricly as "sacrificial fruit", for the benefit of the birds - to keep them distracted from eating the grapes on the "money vines"! 

Friday, August 31, 2018


At the beautiful log home in the deep woods of our hostess, artist and collector of eccentrics, Janet Ross, a kitchen window full of delightful etceteras - including a row of brightly colored bottles, empty now of their soap bubble solutions, but still possessed of jaunty red hats. And a Buddha with a red glass ball. And an orange glass pumpkin. And a flying red heart. JOY on a windowsill.

Friday, August 24, 2018

"End of the Season", Seif's Crab Pots and Floats at Cary's House

With the Sketchers today in Langley at Cary Jurian's WHIDBEY FINE ARTS STUDIO for an opportunity to draw and paint her magnificent dahlia garden, studio building and flowers. The minute I stepped out of the car, though, THIS jumped out at me - Seif's boat, his crab cages and boiling pot, his floats, yellow noodles and ropes, and the lobelia and geraniums in the flower boxes on the deck. Too much stuff, once again, and I only got it narrowed down this much, but I still had a great day focusing on "drawing what I saw"!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fun on Jamie's Cowboy Deck/Patio

The Artists of South Whidbey held their annual summer party and "paint-out" at Jamie Huden's house tucked in the woods in Clinton. The most fun (other than great food, fun and conversation) was checking out all the great collectibles in and around the house. Their Party Patio is especially cool, with lots of fun cowboy "stuff" including saddle and milk can/tractor seat seating. And a squirrel who was determined to make himself at home inside Jamie's studio!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Sunflowers and Pole Beans at Bob Bowling's Rustics

I had two great opportunities for making some art this week. Both of them were great. Friday was Sketchers, and we met just down the road in Bayview at Bob Bowling's Rustics, the shop complex were Bob produces his terrific Garden and Out Building structures for shipment all over the near Northwest. They are made in house by Bob and his crew, and still feature as much old, "found" and recycled material as he can round up. And he sells them as fast as he can produce them. It would warm the cockles of my heart if I could afford to have one, I know that!!!