The Daily Treat Tradition at My House: A Tribute Painting

(A note from me, Jocelyn: I am currently redesigning my site. My name will be added to my banner soon!)

Could it be that my last post was done in December of 2021? Almost 2.5 years ago? But I have not been idle! One project I recently completed was a painting done for my husband as a Christmas gift. 

For several years he has made me a custom, layered latté and served it to me in my location of choice around the house depending on what I'm engaged in doing. These are served in double-walled borosilicate mugs and arranged on a plate from his extensive collection of lovingly curated porcelain, stoneware or glass plates. A special spoon and an almond biscotti are carefully placed (parallel to one another) alongside the mug. A while back I thought about painting a collection of the plates alone on a canvas because they are so decorative. Shortly before Christmas in 2023 I decided I wanted to include a latté in a composition with the plates. The painting was done in acrylic because I wanted it to dry quickly and have a flat, contemporary character. 

Rick painting color Rick ptg lg.
On the left is my first composition idea. But when I added color to the very small pen and ink drawing, the mug looked silly to me because the color seemed to make it look like it was floating above the plane depicting the plates.

On the right is my revised repositioning of the elements. The plates I chose to use represent only a few of the now-extensive collection. Some day I will count them! Within the collection are several sets of three identical plates. These are used for my beloved little Drawing Group whose projects are shown primarily in my posts in Curry Powder, my everyday life topics blog. 

Below is the completed painting (February, 2024). It was a good challenge for me to work with a random kind of composition. Shifting the elements required modifications, and a lot of color mixing was needed to match the actual plates. The painting now hangs in the barista's custom-designed prep area downstairs.


Latte_screenshot 2
12" x 24", acrylic paint on canvas

Artwork and Design During the Pandemic, Part Two

In the spring of 2020, during which time I was sewing Covid 19 surgical masks for King County health care workers, I began work on a second book. Originally conceived as a booklet of biographical profiles, it evolved into a linen-bound hardcover book produced as an edition of 150 copies. Also a collaborative work, with my clients providing the colorfully written text, this book was fully illustrated by me with thoughtful, creative guidance from my clients. Calligraphic titles also added interest to the many profiles and historical additions.

The completed manuscript was sent to the publisher and binder in April of this year. Followers of my map artwork may be familiar with the large property map I did for this family in 2018: see my post on this HERE. In addition to images clipped from this map, I created many more for the book.

Blackberry vine 1
Custom border design for one of the profile pages.
This spread combines photos, image clips from the map, and one custom ink and watercolor illustration based on an old engraving.




One of my favorite spreads allowed me to draw a fun map showing aspects of the families' historical immigration routes and further travels in the Colonies.



Artwork and Design During the Pandemic, Part One

PLEASE NOTE: I am sad to report that the artist's book and box I show here was stolen from the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center in April of 2022 while on display with the Science Stories collaborative exhibit. The assumption was that vandals destroyed my work and that of 3 other participating artists. There has been no follow-up other than an email expressing sadness over the loss.


In the early months of 2020, I accepted two dissimilar book design projects. Here is an overview of the first one.

Science Stories: A Collaboration of Book Artists and Scientists

In November of 2019 (it seems so long ago!) I was contacted by Tacoma's University of Puget Sound (UPS) and invited to participate in an unusual scientist/artist collaboration. I was paired with Dr. Rachel Pepper, a professor of physics currently teaching at UPS.

First: a note on what artists' books are. They are not necessarily pages bound into a cover. Book forms, as artists see them, can be series of images or structures whose parts are presented either separately or joined. They may or may not have words, even, but are typically sequenced as "pages."

Here are the six "pages" of my book presented as a folding screen with an historic side, and a contemporary side. The contemporary side features the research work of Dr. Rachel Pepper. The historic side features the work of the microscopist Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek of Holland.

1676 panels
Above are pages 1, 2 & 3 mounted in a screen format. These represent the work and words of Van Leeuwenhoek of 17th c. Holland. He discovered the protozoa Vorticella convallaria. The title page calligraphy is by me, but done in the style of his own writing. I imitated his drawings on page 2. On page 3 are my own pattern designs based on his drawings.


2020 panels
Pages 4, 5, & 6 represent aspects of Dr. Pepper's work on the same organism that Van Leeuwenhoek discovered under a primitive but powerful microscope of his own making. Dr. Pepper's work is significant now due to the remarkable filtration of water done by these tiny organisms.

Click HERE for the photos and video I provided for my artist's book depicting past and present research on the protozoa Vorticella convallaria. (My apologies for speaking so slowly during the video!) A video featuring Dr. Rachel Pepper is also included in this comprehensive website.

All of the artists' books in this collection are currently on display at Collins Library on the UPS campus until January 14, 2022. In March 2022 the exhibition will travel to the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center and in the fall of 2022, it will travel to Whitman College in Walla Walla. If you are interested in hosting the Science Stories exhibition, please contact Lucia Harrison ([email protected]) or Jane Carlin ([email protected]). Click HERE to go to the home page for Science Stories.


As We All Wait, We Watch Mother Nature

Nest box drawing

From my studio window I have a direct view of this weathered nest box. For years it hung unused until spring of 2019, and now in 2020 it is the trending piece of real estate on our property. A family of Bewick’s wrens resided there in late March.Some weeks later activities resumed with a nest-building war between a returning wren, seen here in flight, and a stubborn mountain chickadee, seen here blocking the entry. The antics continued for two days when all fell quiet at the house. Shortly thereafter, two black-capped chickadees tried to enter! One of the chickadees and some nesting materials were ejected in a flurry. Then it was quiet again. Two weeks later, the Bewick’s wren emerged, returning with food. Last week, I spotted a very small wren on a cedar branch above the nest box. After several hovering, in-vain attempts to re-enter, the fledged baby finally took to the air and didn’t return, but the singing of the wrens continues every morning in surround sound from our lofty trees.

May, 2020

Recently Installed: Wetland Restoration Interpretive Panels in Shoreline, WA

Begun in September, 2018, three interpretive display panels designed by me and illustrated with my watercolors plus photography by Boni Biery, are now in place. Hillwood Park in Shoreline, Washington (my home town) is the location of an ephemeral creek running through a broad wetland meadow. In years gone by, this meadow was an orchard. The central area of this previously cultivated area is now a restored wetland meadow. Who did four years of work on restoring this meadow? Volunteers. I read many requests for assistance on this effort, but the needs of my own home property took what time and energy I had for such digging, planting, and grass removal. 

But I did want to contribute something that other volunteers couldn't do, and that was to design display panels for the public to read and enjoy. It took a year for the whole effort, from my first meeting with the unstoppable volunteer coordinator Boni Biery, to the September, 2019 installation of the panels. Here are photos of the panels. Double click on the images to enlarge:


Hillwood Panel 1 trial B
The History of the Land Use


Hillwood Panel 2
Plant and Animal Species of the Wetland Meadow


Hillwood Panel 3
The Water: What happens to it?

The restored wetland meadow is located in Hillwood Park in the Hillwood neighborhood of Shoreline, Washington.

The address is 3rd NW and NW 190th, Shoreline, WA, 98177.

The park is open until dusk each night. The panels are located along a wood-chipped trail at the edge of the restoration,

just north of the entrance road to the park.

A Review in Photos: The Art of Drawing Maps by Hand 2019

Dumas view AM

Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way was the first-time, urban location for The Art of Drawing Maps by Hand in 2019. The long, Pacific NW daylight hours provided our classroom with ample natural light for the hardworking 13 who took this challenging course. Meals were delivered to our private, adjoining dining room. As is typically the case once the mapmakers become immersed in their design work, many logged dawn to dark hours, making the most of the time set aside for immersion into map drawing. Here is a collection of photos (not all maps are included here) that show some of the work being done during class, and photos of some of the maps completed at home after the workshop. Please click on the photos to enlarge them. Appreciative thanks to Marilyn McGuire for supplying many of the photos shown here!

Full concentration is evident in this photo. We did have our lighter moments and Happy Hours, even.
There's a lot to cover in a relatively short time. The second day of this workshop is chock full of learning techniques.
Marie's preliminary design steps utilize tracing paper images that are ideal for tracing later.
Birdwood Hand Drawn Map 6.19
Marie's finished map. Bright, clear and charming, it shows many natural and human-made elements within the 11"x14" map.
Above, Tim's tracing setup on his lightpad illustrates a key step in map drawing. His map is of a network of trails and other property landmarks showing visitors the way around his home.
Tim's completed map done in ink and colored pencil. This is the first such project he had ever done.








Yes, sunsets came and went but some soldiered on until closing time at 11 PM.
Sandy's map benefited from her R&D done prior to the workshop weekend. Her map illustrates her grandmother's journey from her small, tribal village in British Columbia by schooner to Seattle in 1923. Symbols of cultural importance add further meaning to this keepsake.
MJohnson - Finished Map
Mary's map integrates numerous memories from her childhood home. To create a lyrical, dreamlike quality, she lettered her texts in undulating lines.
Shan's map is of a favorite neighborhood in Georgetown, DC. His distinct drawing style evokes the Colonial era.
A map serving as a memoir: Gayle created an architectural-style map of her home, including all the sleeping spots enjoyed by her cat..
In this photo, most of the inking is done. Waterproof ink is used so that paint can be applied.
As an experienced "map drawer of imagined places," Pat branched out by creating many illustrations of alluring destinations on this map. He also added a voyager whose journey is mapped and labeled here.
Various ways of adding color to maps are demonstrated during the workshop.Spattering watercolor serves to add tint and texture to map areas needing accents.
Katy's map depicts her many-year journey through her education as a calligrapher. It folds up, map-style.
A custom cover and closure enclose Katy's map.






IMG_4163 (1)
Anne's map was inspired by the siting of birds in the Dumas Bay vicinity. Her border designs show a solid grasp of ornamental design.
The final afternoon hours include photo ops, sharing of maps, and general levity. This group included five "grad students" from previous map workshops. My current plan is to schedule a map drawing retreat for any grads who would like to set aside a weekend to work on maps without the repeat of full instruction.

A Map First for Me: Animation + Hand Drawing

One thing leads to another. I love old fashioned ink and paint, and I also love delving into technology. So here's the new hybrid in my world of cartology just in time for a New Year. My daughter and her business partner have organized a showcase of musical groups which will be presented on January 7 in Manhattan. I offered to help with publicity by saying to Emily, "Wouldn't a map be a good idea?" She said, "An animated map?" That's all I needed to take the plunge into computer animation. Below is the map in its current state so you can see what I've been up to. The size I'm posting is a bit larger than my blog's area, but most of it fits:

One Colorful Map of "A Special Place" in Vermont


With personal information removed, here is the finished map. At 20"x26", the map is large enough to allow a greatly reduced image of it to be folded and used as a pocket map while family members and private visitors navigate the property on foot, skis, bicycle or sled.

It was late October, 2017 when I first received an email from a couple who sought an artist to create a map for their family retreat property in Vermont. After years of thoughtful property development and construction of a home, a cabin, and outbuildings, they wanted it all mapped for practical but artistic wayfinding. Their wish to commemorate family members through naming woodland trails, structures and overlooks after their ancestors and current family members was their hearts' desire. This passion and their overall joy in active family togetherness compelled me to accept the challenge of designing their map. I said yes without having seen photos or existing documentation of the land. Once I began receiving those aids, I quickly realized the awesome task ahead of me! Through the months, we worked closely and harmoniously toward the map's creation. 

For this post I've compiled a few images to illustrate to readers the design approach I took. A photo of the finished, framed map in place is at the bottom of this column.

HH vertical thumbnail
The first step was to sketch two layouts for the map and the added features around the property boundary. This northerly-oriented layout was selected.


Map sample overlayobs
My clients had thoroughly documented their property with drone photos, GPS trail tracings, and casual photography. Here is one working draft showing their work on naming trails. I also superimposed a few graphics in the top right section to help determine scale.


After penciling in many of the map's features through 3 layers of pre-existing specialized maps, I inked them in on tracing vellum before transferring the whole to the final art paper.

Ink test  Callig sample 3-300

 Samples of lettering, icon drawings, and paint colors were essential in making choices for the final rendering of the complex map. 


Here is the inked and painted, finished section shown in the draft sketch above.

Nine months after the initial phone conversation, the map was completed and shipped to my clients. Starting with their sending an abundance of photographs, images of antique area maps, Colonial signage examples and modern land documents, they were involved in every stage of development of this heirloom piece of artwork. After my pencil draft was developed enough to review with them in person, I traveled with my husband to Vermont to meet them at Hidden Hill. There I, too, fell in love with this land and deeply admired the visionary trail planning and artisan construction work completed throughout it. To be the chosen mapmaker will always feel like an honor.

Hh obs pic
What a complete delight it was to me to receive this photograph of the map handsomely framed and placed in the primary entry area of the Hidden Hill home. Here, hikers, skiers, bicyclers and all others can refer to the map on their way out the door to explore, walk in contemplation, or have lively recreational time together.





Drawing Maps by Hand, Winter Version: Never Mind the Avalanche


Diablo Lake appeared cold and colorless compared to the vivid aqua water and verdant trees we are accustomed to seeing during my usual June workshops.

Late winter snow and cold did not deter 11 participants from heading up the North Cascades Highway at the end of February to take my workshop The Art of Drawing Maps by Hand held at North Cascade Institute's Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake. Dramatic, cliff-hanging icicles greeted us all as we approached the dam and drove across.

The weather report, including the warning we received from our excellent class assistant Hanna Davis that the avalanche danger was high, served to limit our activities outside the classroom. The result was that even more time was spent on maps than usual during this 3-day course, and that says a lot. Maps are very time-consuming to draw by hand. Having extra working time in combination with having inspired students meant that outstanding work was done. Here are some of the working sketches and finished maps done by this group of earnest and good-humored participants (click on the photos to see full-sized versions):

IMG_4635 2 IMG_0737











 Above, Kathi Hamilton commemorated family history visits to Ireland in her map. After drafting the country boundaries, she carefully colored it all with colored pencil.


IMG_4639 2 IMG_4652
Cara Anderson created a stylized map of her neighborhood featuring the dog walking route she takes and all of her favorite destinations. On the left you can see a critical step of the map drawing process: transferring a draft to the final watercolor paper with the aid of a light table. The answer to why no one has ever asked for a second piece of paper to re-do a map is that the process is all about eliminating risk by working out most elements of the design before the "good" paper ever receives a drop of ink!


IMG_4640 IMG_4637

The two photos above show map designers at work. On the left, the time-saving, erasing-saving tracing process is engaged in by Gayle Waddle Wilkes. On the right, North Cascades Institute (NCI) employee Darcie Lloyd uses a template to create small frames for detailed illustrations or information.


20180318_111351 IMG_8284

The maps made by this class varied widely. Mary Johnson's map, above on the left, was inspired by her home property. She wrote, "I decided to overlay the basic outline of my yard with some of the plants and animals that make my yard special in an urban environment. The title 'Interconnections' suggests the biodiversity on the property and the reliance these plants and animals have on each other in an ordinary, residential space." Like most of the people in class, Mary incorporated classic map elements in creative, colorful ways. Sue McNab's map of Antarctica (or Terra Australis) on the right commemorates a three week excursion she took there in 2017.


IMG_4642 IMG_4630

Here is Anders Rodin, a longtime lover of maps, delving into copying the florid calligraphic letterforms of 16th c. European maps. In the foreground you can see his compass rose designs being worked out on the omnipresent tracing paper. After the class ended, Anders wrote a fine review of his experiences at the ELC and in the workshop. Click HERE to read his review and see the accompanying photos. Quotes about mapmaking help keep us going.


IMG_4636 2 IMG_9968

Kirty Morse created a tribute map to the Puget Sound region she calls home. Gratefulness for the abundance of regional foods she and her family have enjoyed for many years inspired her to create a mandala-like map of places and species. She, like several others in the class, completed her map at home and sent me this photo. For those of you who did this, thank you!


IMG_4634 IMG_4653

A puzzle-like pictorial map by Sandy Polzin shows both the route to her cabin and a collection of favorite features of the cabin's deeply natural environment. Sandy is a self-professed "doodler" so she enjoyed filling in her map with thoughtful design and spontaneously done drawings.

Sunday, February 25 was the last day of the workshop so every map maker was working intensively in the classroom that day once we had had breakfast and moved out of our dorm rooms. The workshop was to conclude, as always, at 3 PM. At around 11 AM we learned that indeed there had been an avalanche that closed SR20, aka the North Cascades Highway, that offered our only route back west toward our various home cities. Having been forewarned, but thinking it unlikely to happen, some of us admittedly hoped that this would happen. Why? Because the ELC and its surrounding natural beauty, is a beautiful place. And, what better excuse to extend this retreat than to have zero possibility of escape other than helicopter evacuation?

Suffice it to say that the NCI staff, especially Hanna, the kitchen staff, and the resident grad students made our extended stay a pleasure. Gina, one of the grad students, led two yoga classes for any of us who were interested. We were made to feel safe and sound and very well fed! Further, all the class participants worked on happily (as far as I could tell), enjoying the gift of more time with their maps in our comfortable, well-equipped classroom. Then, on Monday at 2 PM we were notified that a channel had been cut through the avalanche and we could pass - ASAP - to make our escapes, our stories about being trapped by an avalanche ready to share with any who would listen. And who wouldn't? 








A January Workshop...for Myself!

Many years had gone by since I had taken a weekend workshop offered by a regional calligraphy guild. But when I saw the work a friend had done in a class taught by Rebecca Wild of Port Townsend, I eagerly signed up for the next one Rebecca was teaching in our area. It was held in Olympia, WA, in late January and sponsored by Nib 'N Inks calligraphy guild.

Rebecca ingeniously devised a series of projects for us based on the artistic imagery and painterly textures of 19th/20th c. painter Paul Klee. As you can see below, we worked in a 5" square format while employing calligraphic marks, layers of powdered pastel and/or liquid acrylic color, debossed texture, and small hand-lettered writing. Layers were sealed with acrylic matte medium before more texture elements were applied. 

Scan 2
Bold and finer sumi-e ink strokes taken from our own signature form the anchor elements here. Powdered pastel and stenciled shapes were added next.
After masking off one band of space on the paper, broad strokes of transparent acrylic color went on next. We then debossed fine designs which were then enhanced by smudging pastel into the paper and through hand cut stencils.
Scan 3 1
Working boldly with a new material, we applied heavy black oil stick after painting diluted acrylic strokes onto the paper. After tinting cold wax with powdered pastel, we thinly applied it to the paper. The last step was to use a tool to inscribe through the tinted wax for a subtle text.

For further biographical information about Paul Klée through a comprehensive, interactive web page, please visit

It was pure pleasure to spend two days experimenting with new art mediums and design approaches. Rebecca hands out step-by-step instructions for all the techniques she uses; there are so many, with carefully thought-out sequencing, that we were advised to keep the directions on hand when using her techniques at home! She gets my highest recommendation as an instructor.