Friday, November 19, 2010

I forgot


to post this one as well- “all clean” the 4th piece in the mothering series. 30x40”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

for you only

a few months back my friends darling son stopped me at church and asked- “Sister Graff- would you ever paint ME?”I knew this was because I had done this painting of a girl that his mother had that resembled his sister. Well how could I respond to this  sweetest most earnest questioning request and so I said yes. (also maybe he was just preying on my mother guilt  for middle children—they so often just get sandwiched in and you always worry about them feeling special). Now you must know I hate portraits--- I will not do them for love or money or even blood relatives! It seems strange for a woman who has spent the last year painting figures- but really legs are easy and especially painting my own legs 20 times -- I pretty much have them down.  B the truth is generally portraits stress me out and make me grouchy. So I finally got around to doing it. I just did something quick- gave myself a 2 hr time limit (here you can see SS#3 helping me paint the background.IMG_2140

But nothing beats the ear to ear smile I saw when I gave it to him. He ran around the church parking lot with it and was the cool kid in the family for that moment. But the best was his thank you note which included a lovely portrait of yours truly. He selected which image he wanted to draw from with his mothers access to my Facebook photos. I must say I was most impressed by the detail of my toes, wedding ring, and shoes and even the legs  and fabric of my family room ottoman. And his enhancement of my figure would make any Brazilian proud. And if you see the big brown man around tell him I am waiting to be paid  for this in chiclets or indian food. Picture 38

and to darling C- XO always-- love sister G!

In other news

IMG_2123_edited-1I am headed back to Jordan in December on another medical mission with Operation Smile and I couldn’t be more excited Jordan has to be the most welcoming place I have ever been, my friends there are like family. I can’t wait be back in the land of mint lemonade, great hummus, and fatoush. I have been making way too many visits to the salvation army and savers for playroom toys—my husband should be glad this is my worst shopping habit! I painted a giant mural for the playroom wall. My toy suitcase is almost totally packed- and I mean PACKED- (no one can fill a suitcase like me). I spent a few hrs. today sewing scrub hats not one or two but 17. This is an excessive number I have a hard time doing anything on a small scale or in small quantities. My motto is the more you have the more you can give. And I am already planning how to bring homemade cake and cookies in my roller bag carryon- because you also know I love to feed people. So stay tuned for more jordan exploits. IMG_2326IMG_2335_edited-1

picking up

Well the 5th piece in the mothering series is now done! This is set at my parents house this summer using my youngest son, my favorite gray shoes, and the vintage tinker toys of my childhood.

picking up

So this means the mothering card set is now for sale.mothering set compcrop

oh and if you aren’t a fan on FB already well then be one of the cool kids and hit like…

an accounting

IMG_1294Well I feel I really should give an accounting of where I have been the last few months- October found me in NYC . I was presenting at the vascular birthmarks foundation conference and running psychosocial support sessions, attending a fundraising gala, and also a board mtg. This meant the family got to tag along for NYC weekend. Which always rocks (I mean the food in NYC alone is reason to get me there) Akdeniz Turkish Restaurant is my boys IMG_1251favorite as well as late night strolls through time square for Jamba Juice. I was set to go alone to NYC because #2 son was sick the day before, but the next morning he was miraculously well and so being the good mother I turned around at the train station, cancelled my ticket and drove home, madly packed the boys, and  loaded up the whole family so we could go to NYC together- this however did mean sacrificing my planned trip to the Guggenheim- but I was glad to have all my boys there with me. (but really any mother who willfully gives up a weekend in NYC alone probably needs to have her head checked). IMG_1285crop
I also went to the power of mom retreat - a fabulous weekend with an amazing bunch of women! Which included driving to and from with my friend Whitney, and when we get together we have the best discussions, creative brainstorming ever. A fabulous hot tub evening with my friend Margaret, Jamie, Anne, and Chrysula. Surely the at Wentworth-by-the-Sea hot tubs rarely encounter such a group stellar of moms thoughtfully discussing  politics, religion, social issues. The sessions were great and I loved getting to talk with so many other really wonderful moms.
We also had my parents come visit as well as some other friends from Virginia. This also facilitated me reorganizing every closet in my house and both attics.
And november well not quite sure what I have done in november- it is the 17th of the month and I have barely taken a breath. I am still cranking away at early morning sem. (hence the bags under my eyes). Just shipping off 6 paintings to Singapore and just finished another pre-Christmas deadline commission. Filling orders for card sets. (all the domestic series, organics, mothering, and mixed media) Just taught a 4 week after school painting class for the boys school. And the in between spaces have been filled with drs appts, dentists appts, parties, showers, piano lessons, the blare of trombone practice, laundry mountains, cookie baking, hosting play dates, and 100 other sundry things in case you though I had just been sitting around eating bon-bons…

Sunday, October 17, 2010

my story

Well seeing as I reached 15 in my domestic work series- I decided to switch gears a little and round out the mothering series to 5. This is piece number three in the series and piece number 4 will debut shortly- it is about 2/3rd of the way done.

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I will indulge you in some sentimentality regarding things in this piece even though with this whole series. The last thing I  want is sort of cheesy sentimentality assigned to them. This is mothers rocking chair, the one that she read to me in, and yes this was one of my childhood books of Raggedy Ann and Andy (wow children's literature has come a long way in 30 –odd yrs). The basket on the side is actually a wicker Moses basket I got in Turkey as a little girl and kept my stuffed animals in and the blankets on top were made by my great grandma.

on color…

poppedOkay so I kind of have a thing for color, okay make that a major crush…I love to play with it. How colors look next to each other, the seemingly endless variations of shades—it’s intoxicating. The emotions that come from various combinations. So here are some new pieces I have done lately-- a mixed media piece-- urban, 12”x 36”. I love mixed media even though a lot of people have a harder time relating to them as they are generally really abstract and non representational . They are really mixed copygreat exercises in composition, balance, and movement. And here is a piece I did this weekend returned to my chain garden series- one I haven’t painted in in a while. I was so interesting though because this one is definitely different from the others in the series. Its’ funny how you sort of change as you go along and can’t go  back to being just the same. It makes me appreciate the uniqueness of each painting that can never be duplicated.

boldcom[pChain Garden Structured, 30” x 40” x 1 3/8”

ode to town beach

townbeach_thumbThis was my summer, every afternoon watching my boys splash in water,fight over turns with the yellow inner tube, dig deep holes, and try to catch fish in their nets. We passed so many afternoons on that sandy stretch on a lake known to all the locals as “town beach”. It is one of the most sublime pleasures of small town New England life. Here is a painting of my 2 year old this summer at the beach. My remembrance of the blissful moment for childhood summer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

all sorts of comings and goings

since i last wrote…IMG_0842_thumb

school started

we now have another piano player

and trombone player

our latest round of tadpole shrimp died

we’ve has two visits from family (this is one of my favorite pictures of the boys with cousins)

I have taught a few weeks of sem.

the boys have built a fort in the woods with the neighbor kids

i finished 2 commission paintings

first round edits on an essay

all the back to school paperwork

eye, dentist, and drs appts.

phone calls, bills, cleaning,

yah that about it

Thursday, August 19, 2010

summer slipping away


i can feel it slipping through my fingers like sand. i hate this time of year. as a mother i love the unstructured-ness. i want to drink in ever last drop of sun before the winter comes. it is hard to believe that in a few months i will wonder if i can ever be warm again, that it will be dark long before dinner.

in a few days school will start and the magic of summer will evaporate into the routines of life. crowded out school supplies and halloween costumes.

i always love the line from the song stolen by dashboard confessional

“i watch the season pull up it’s own stakes, and catch the last weekend of the last week, before the gold and the glimmer have been replaced another sun-soaked season fades away”

it captures the feeling of this time. i am already mourning the loss that is to come.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

domestically speaking…

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here are the next two pieces in my domestic series and here are the rest of the guest posts I wrote for shabby apple…which will tell you everything you wanted to know and more about this series and maybe a few personal secrets about me…

domestically speaking:origins

domestically speaking:motivations

domestically speaking:from the studio

domestically speaking:on life

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

shabby apple feature

Well shabby apple, approached me a few months ago about being featured on their blog. (who doesn’t love their gorgeous classy dresses) Anyway they wanted to highlight my domestic series as they were launching a new line of vintage inspired aprons. So I am there all week (4 part series), posting about why I got started in this series and what it means to me, and also some tasty little tidbits you might not know… so head on over and check it out. They are also running a pie baking contest in conjunction with my feature (winner gets 15 domestic cards and a 20x30” print of their choosing from the domestic series).


Saturday, July 10, 2010



I am back—back from Utah, back from the segullah writers retreat, back in the studio, and back to my hectic pace of life…

Vaca recap-- I ate (lot of places- ruths diner, tin angel, cafe rio, fresh twist, red mango, malt shoppe, el azteca- need i continue?) I flew, I drove (fast –i might add thanks to the new black dodge charger the rental guy gave me), i shopped, i wrote, i laughed, i partied with family and friends, i museumed, i aquariumed, i movied, I dug (fossils), i hiked, i talked (alot), i played alumni, i created, i bonded, and i slept (a little)

What’s cooking? well I just found out an essay I wrote is going to be published next spring (so that means final rounds of editing!), about 10 new pieces in the works in the domestic series, an upcoming feature and giveaway on the shabby apple blog, a couple painting commissions, and drafting 2 new essays.

Now through all that in with summer fun, sugar cookie making, town beach, tennis camp, piano lessons, and mom life and you have a full plate.

stay tuned…

Thursday, June 10, 2010

so about those German chocolate brownies…

IMG_5396 Our story opens with an almost-full pan of deliciously decadent german chocolate brownies tucked in my fridge at 7:00pm. When the neighbor boy who had joined us for dinner noticed this bad toxic burning smell in our house. Everyone goes searching for the source room to room to room -decides its coming from the basement. No visible flame, fire, or source, but terrible smell & some smoke. Slightly nervous kids all take off outside into the rain afraid the house my suddenly combust, and begin running wildly in the yard. i calmly call the non-emergency fire number and tell them it's not a real fire but something is up and how would they feel abotu comign tot take a look. The fire dept comes, full truck and sirens (any excuse to use them in a small sleepy new england town), and the police too. Smart daddy-o and firefighters standing around in the basement trying to solve the mystery. Serious detective work, thermal imaging - much theorizing. Enough for a science crime show-- final determination rain leaking in through a vent makes it into the water heater picking up material along the way that made it highly conductive. Totally burning out wires inside the hot water heater!! (theory proven- the copper wires are no longer existent—totally evaporated!) Playing the genteel, charming hostess to my small town fire dept. (there should after all be refreshments even in times of fire crisis)  meant pulling out my fresh pan of high octane gourmet brownies as a polite offering of love for my local community fire and police personnel, the remainder were then spotted by neighbor children who had turned out to play on the truck and promptly descended on the pan like vultures to carrion flesh--declaring "Mrs Graff these are the best brownies EVER!"  As the trucks left the kids turned to a then led to a fantastic game of capture the flag in the yard in the rain, and we grown ups caught up with the various neighbors. As the night settles—I smartly relax in a bath with the remaining hot water, not sure when we’ll have more of that—and ponder the the remains of the day--  one small bit of brownie left in the pan, a pile of wet clothes, a stack of dishes (from finely chopping chocolate, gently whisking in eggs and sugar, carefully boiling the heavy cream, gently roasting pecans all afternoon), a house that reeks of burnt wires & a dead hot water heater! That my friends is the adventuresome tale of the german chocolate brownies -- I have been dreaming about making for 3 months!)

Friday, June 04, 2010

so if we’re not friends on facebook…

Well this is what you are missing…actually I thought it would be funny to pull highlights for last months status updates (because i have been to busy to blog these small tidbits give a great rehash of the month)… i know i could tweet but brevity is not my strong suit—i need the full range of generous 420 characters that FB provides…so here are this months highlights:pi

for thousands of years,millions of stubborn 2 yr olds have tried to tell their moms they know a better way to put on the underwear...but in the end they all break down and put one leg in each hole and realize backwards and inside out is less learn from history -- son! also putting your legs through the... sleeves of a moroccan soccer jersey does not make it into shorts! 5-22-2010

think i must be losing my sense of empathy and compassion--it is strangely enjoyable to feed bugs to my sons venus flytrap and watch them clamp shut on their prey 5-20-2010

crafting 5" mini 3-D yoda out of cake and fondant-- this better win me mom of the year!because mini yoda-eyelids could only = mother love or else mental instability! 5-18-2010

conversation of the week--my 4 yo: "Mom, if you wanted to talk in Jordan you should just get a C3PO. He knows all the languages!"
me: "Oh great idea son, I'll should pick one up before my next trip :)-- and it would be really cool have to have in the playroom." (obviously 3 months after my trip my lacking arabic skills ...are still troubling my young child -- but gold star for a very creative solution) 5-14-2010

husband is so blinded by love he agreed to reupholster 2 chairs for me (so either after 11 yrs I have still got it-- (or he's more of a sucker than I thought-- poor guy with pliers pulling out hundreds upon hundreds of staples) but happy to report first chair is now half done! 5-13-2010

so my husband just said - "how come there are so many hospital shows and no shows about engineers..." My answer-- "because honey... it's too hot... a bunch of guys laying out PCBs and checking tolerances, modelling things at their computers, & sitting in project meetings- I don't think the public is ready for that kin...d of excitement yet- maybe in a few years..." 5-7-2010

kids if you are going to stamp all over your bodies with my self-inking date stamper- you really should at least set the date right... credit to my 2 year for thinking to stamp his belly and soles of his feet and to my 4 year old for stamping his own forehead! 5-5-2010

has finally gotten smart and remembered to look out the window to be sure there was no wind before putting on a skirt this morning...5-3-2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The other week Allen came home and told me he had Friday off work which I took as—time to get out of town! I always wanted to stay in a yurt (and while mongolian yurts are scarce here I was pretty sure I could scour up a camping yurt to fulfill my craving). My Google search led my to frost mountain yurts  All I can say is it was perfect—in a word yurt-a-licious!  and I swear it’s 100x cooler than regular camping.

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Friday we trekked up to Brownfield, Maine to the yurt (brief detour via Bo-mar hall and Sundaes at the Beach). I chose the most secluded yurt with mountain views- which meant trekking in all the gear half a mile by cart down hilly paths, but so worth it. The yurt was fabulous, pristine, and so nicely equipped! I came armed with a list of things we could do all weekend but nothing was as fun as relaxing at the yurt. We just spent the our time playing in the woods, relaxing in the hammock, sitting around the fire, and enjoying the views. The boys busied themselves catching toads, searching for ladyslippers, climbing the bunks, and practicing for olympic javelin with sticks.

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Allen & I stayed up and enjoyed the peaceful starry night. Well all slept beautifully and comfortably and cooked a delicious big breakfast. The weather could not have been more divine. The yurts owners have all these boats for their guests to use so. we loaded up a big canoe and drove 2 miles down to Lovell Pond and put in there. We paddled across  enjoying the most peaceful water and glorious views of the White Mountains. The boys got out on a beach and roamed  around. #3 son was so relaxed he fell asleep in the canoe.  #1 had his dream come true by finding/catching a maritime garter snake (while in Maine). Sorry so many pictures- but words couldn’t do it justice! Definitely one of my top 10 favorite family outings of all time! I can’t wait to go back and try it in the winter as they supposedly have the most fabulous cross country skiing, snowmobile, and snowshoeing (with pre-warmed yurts!)  

All I can say is – do not stop- head directly for a yurt in Maine and you won’t be disappointed!   

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

want a slice

Well I finished the next painting in the domestic series last week, here it is in time for summer.watermelon