The beginnings of a southern, urban landscape in fall…

Just between us, I’ve been ready for Fall since waaaaay before September 23!

It’s been hotter and dryer than usual in Atlanta this year. (You can do the math on climate change…) My garden is toast after a whole lot of internal debates over water conservation and a still tender calf muscle. Thankfully, it’s time to pull the summer veggies anyway and move on to the next right thing.

Our air conditioner is no doubt as relieved as the resident huge, hairy dogs are. It was 60 degrees when we made our first venture out back this morning and they just wanted to lay in the cool grass.

This has long been a transitional time of year for me. Ever since my first first day of school, complete with an unfortunate haircut, uncomfortable shoes, and a “sweet” plaid dress from Sears, I’ve felt the pull to change things when it’s time for autumn again.

I’ve been pondering those suede-y sheep skin sort of boots in catalogs, despite the fact that buying shoes in cyberspace rarely works for me. Last night I was browsing chair woobies online.

And, this year, another piece of the puzzle fell into place for me. It started with a new creativity class called Tree Woman, in which we were urged to go wandering outdoors looking closely at nature. Not just the big picture, but very small details.

Nature, where I live, involves trees and birds and a fading garden. It also involves an urban landscape of concrete and bricks and utility wires and front porch decor.

I was exploring my front porch (Really!) when I encountered an abandoned bird’s nest tucked away in a ceramic fountain, still hanging on a brick wall after the pump broke a few years back.


Now, I know nests are usually associated with spring, at least in the Northern Hemisphere but, for me, nesting is a familiar fall kind of thing, which probably explains the fuzzy boots and cozy woobies.

All of which is convenient at the moment because it’s a fluffing sort of time at our house. One of those more function out of the same space issues, which is, when you think about it, creativity of a different sort. Or, perhaps, the creativity behind the creativity!

Though ours is going to need a bit more color than the one on my porch!

The umpteenth round of furniture Yahtzee is planned for later this week. An experimental space for doing  Zoom meetings with a more me background is in place. A desk-ish piece of furniture with a pull-out keyboard tray is the next likely move there.

There’s also the delightful news that our kids are coming for Christmas!

I’m fascinated by the Danish and Norwegian word, Hygge. I don’t seem to have the genetic ability to pronounce it, but it means a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. 

That’s just what I want for the nest inside our brick walls, inspired by the one outside. What are you hoping for in this season??? I’d love to hear!

For now, though, the big studio angels want out where it’s cool, again!







According to Her!

A week or so ago, I started a new painting class called The Gospel According to Her. This was a great opportunity for me, made possible by the miracle of livestream and Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s passion for the material.

The teaching focused on the women in the life and ministry of Jesus. Women who have been largely left out of the stories of many faith traditions.

The photo at the top of the page was the beginning layers of my work as they greeted me when I woke up this morning. I sat down with my favorite sunny yellow mug of hot water and lemon and asked her to tell me what she needed.

You see, my image felt like it was having a bit of an identity crisis. I wasn’t really sure about who she wanted to be or how to portray her.

This isn’t really all that surprising. I come from one of those faith traditions that is not overrun with stories of women. And so, I listened.

And I have more listening to do.

Here’s where we are now.


Along with hungry big dogs to feed and last minute touches happening on my neighbor’s painting which is headed to a middle school art show.

There’s a voice in my head that might well be labeled my inner critic jabbering on to the effect of, What were you thinking? All that work is wasted! 

I, however, have thanked her for her concern and assured her that nothing in this journey is wasted.

Sometimes a whole lot of white paint over what was there helps us see what wants to be. (And the whole palette knife thing is hugely freeing!)

Then there’s the fact that all the energy of the under layers is still there, adding depth and meaning to the art.

And the vivid reminder of one of the things I most want my girls to learn. There’s no failure involved in learning along the way and adjusting when it feels right!

So, what comes next?

I’m not sure. First, the paint has to dry. Then, I suspect there’s a dusky, sunset sky is waiting in the wings. I’m planning to watch the sunset tonight to see what I learn!

And, I suppose, when it all comes down to it, this really is all about learning. Learning about the questions tugging at me. Learning to be open to new stories of faith. New stories of the Divine at work in the world.

Where might newness be calling to you???



Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach