Friend for the Ride Is Going on Holiday

Friend for the Ride is going on holiday. After nine years, I’m ready to pause the blog. I’ve loved the creativity and honesty of blogging, and I’ve loved getting to know my wonderful readers. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on my posts.

My art is going well, so I hope to focus on painting for now. I also may get back to writing picture books or look for markets for creative nonfiction. We’ll see.


Egret Contemplates the Day Ahead 

I plan to pop back up now and then. I’d be too sad to say a forever goodbye. Please keep sending me any ladies room doors you find, as I will definitely be posting more doors. And I may re-post some of my favorite older posts from time to time.

My mom, one of my first readers, painted the roller coaster watercolor for Friend for the Ride when she was 88. Here’s to spunky and creative women everywhere. Here’s to all of you!

If any of you would like to be Facebook friends, send me a friend request at

You can follow my art on Instagram at


Me and the Western Wall

Card in Wall

This fall, Cliff and I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The trip was organized by my good friend, Judy Bown, and run by St. George’s College in Jerusalem. We saw so many sacred and historical sights, it’s hard to choose a favorite. But at the top of my list is our visit to the Western Wall, known years ago as the Wailing Wall. 


The concept of this place has always intrigued me– an ancient wall where people go to pray. Even more, I love the idea of tucking a prayer into the wall.

I meant to write a prayer on a slip of paper ahead of time, but I forgot.

As I waited my turn to approach the wall, I dug around in my backpack. The only paper I could find was one of my art business cards. Should I?

I pressed the card into the wall, sending up a prayer that I use my art for good. Then I touched the wall and kissed it as is the tradition.

My card was colorful and stood out among the slips of white paper. I wondered if I was being flippant or disrespectful. I hoped not. I was honored to have my prayer among the thousands left there.

I never expected to paint, much less sell a painting. I never dreamed of being represented in a gallery (Thank you, (Margaret Lane Gallery) or participating in an art show. (Thank you, Ann Hobgood and Debi Drew).

Each sale is so dear to me. The story behind why a buyer wants a certain painting is intriguing and uplifting.  I love when they send me a photo of my art displayed on their wall. Better yet is a photo of a child holding one of my paintings.

Kitty and Child

How am I using my art for good?

I’ve donated paintings to a local school and several charity auctions. When you take a look at my website, you’ll see a series of paintings I did for our historical museum. All of the money from the sales go directly to the museum. And people tell me my paintings make them smile. I paint happy.


Snuggle Bunny Escapes from the Nursery (20 by 16)  From the Toys Escaping Series done for the Orange Country Historical Museum

I hope to continue to use my art for good. That card tucked into the Western Wall is my best reminder.

Cat is Ready--16 by 20

Cat, Ready for the Valentine’s Tea (16 by 20)


Seagull Sings Goodnight to the Lighthouse (12 by 12)


A Thousand Flowers Greet the Sun (12 by 9)

Cow- 7 by 12

Cow, Wishing the Grass Tasted Like Buttercream (7 by 12 on an up-cycled metal plaque) 

Rabbit Arrives at the Estate- 16 by 20

Rabbit Arrives at the Estate (16 by 20)


Check our my art page at I’m now shipping paintings. I also take commissions.


Butterfly, Pleased with Her Green World. ( 20 by 16)


Giving Back: The Toys Are Escaping!

As time becomes more precious, I find I’m less interested in doing regular volunteer work out of my house. So how to happily give back to a world that’s been good to me and where there’s plenty to be done?

The best volunteer work combines a passion with a need. Since I’ve discovered painting, I’ve wondered how I could combine art with giving. And so, I hope I’m onto something.

I  just finished a series of 16 paintings for the Orange County Historical Museum here in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The museum’s  executive director, Stephanie Pryor, invited me to do the paintings to coordinate with an antique toy exhibit. The exhibit opened April 26 and runs into October. Where’s the giving? I’m donating the paintings.

The paintings are for sale, and the proceeds will support children’s programming at the museum. Large paintings are $65 or two for $100. Small paintings are $40 or two for $70. I’m glad to ship the paintings for an additional $10.

I came up with the idea of toys escaping because maybe, just maybe, toys have dreams and visions too. And maybe, just maybe, they sometimes need a break from the kids who own them. (And I like to think the toys in my paintings come home again.)

Here they are:

Ms. Bear Moves into the Oval Office. 20 by 20.

Snuggle Bunny Escapes the Nursery

Snuggle Bunny Escapes the Nursery.  20 by 16.

Bathub Sailboat Dreams of the Great Lakes

Bathtub Sailboat Dreams of the Great Lakes. 11 by 14.

Paint Set Decorates the Sky on a Gray, Gloomy Day

Watercolor Set Decorates the Sky on a Gray, Gloomy Day. 20 by 16.

Play Dinosaur Morphs into a Real One and Visits the Museum

Play Dinosaur Morphs into a Real One and Visits the Museum. 20 by 20. Sold.

Bunny on Wheels Takes Off

Bunny on Wheels Takes Off. 16 by 20.


Plastic Unicorn Finds a Real Pot of Gold. 14 by 11.

Vintage Sheep and Yoyo Enjoy the Breeze

Vintage Sheep and Yo-yo Enjoy the Breeze. 16 by 20.

Rag Doll

Rag Doll on Her Way to Town for a Store-bought Dress. 12 by 12.


Kaleidoscope Studies Her Own Shapes in the Mirror. 16 by 20.

The Kittens Stand Guard but Where are the Dolls

The Kittens Stand Guard but Where Are the Dolls? 14 by 14.

Play Dough

Play Dough Flowers in a Play Dough Pot Decorate the Palace of a Real Queen. 12 by 12.

The Marbles Have a Field Day

The Marbles Have a Field Day. 20 by 16.


Rocket Ship Heads Straight to Mars. 12 by 24. Sold.

Toy Kitchen

Toy Kitchen Bakes a Cake. 14 by 14.


Xylophone Takes a Bow at Symphony Hall. 14 by 11.


You can see more of my work on my art website:

Flowers and Pot


Patience: Letting the Paint Dry

I’ve always thought of myself as someone with a good amount of patience. I’d watch Cliff get upset when we hit a stoplight, and I’d think, Why does he care so much?

I’ve waited months for a child to get the hang of potty training. I’ve waited even more months for responses from agents and editors. All the while, I was calm and plugged on with life and its many projects and pleasures and obligations.

But lately? Now that I’m approaching those golden years, not so much.

I’ve noticed it most specifically since I started painting. Acrylics are forgiving, upbeat paints. You can straighten a crooked edge or put two brilliant colors next to each other or add layers to create texture.

But you’ve got to let the paint dry first. And it dries fast.

So why do I continue to mess up a section of a painting by not letting it dry? Is it that hard to turn to another chore or project for a while?

Sometimes, I think it’s my exuberance for the painting. I can’t wait any longer to see how two colors will look together or if I’ve successfully captured the expression on a seagull’s face.

But sometimes, I think it’s my age. I’ve read that women get less patient as the years add on.

Patience has boded me pretty well in life, so I don’t want to lose it now.

I’m getting stricter about letting the paint dry. “No,” I’ll say to myself. “Go do the dishes. Go upload some bathroom doors.”

Time will tell if I am successful.

How about you? Do you find yourself becoming more or less patient as you age? Any tips to share?

Click here for a great Wiki How article link on how to be more patient.

The two paintings in this post were done for an antique toy exhibit that opens April 26 at the Orange Country Historical Museum. Below you’ll see Snuggle Bunny Escapes the Nursery and Watercolor Set Decorates the Sky on a Gray, Gloomy Day.

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