Am I Good Enough?

Lunch discussions at the studio have been lively lately amongst my group of women-artist-friends. We come together regularly and irregularly, each with her own brand of self-expression as well as an enormous overlapping of support, encouragement and enthusiasm for each other’s visions.

The opportunity has come up recently for us to enter our work (individually) into a local show that is to represent a cross section or survey of women artists in our area. It is to be displayed at a respected gallery in town. Along with the opportunity comes the angst of “Is my work good enough?” Taken one step further it morphs into “Am I good enough/Am I worthy?” Rest assured at this point, the artists involved are all dedicated, passionate and hard-working. Several have won prestigious national awards and accolades. And yet the angst, or internal emotional strife, is a rampant virus that can cripple even the best and strongest of us. Eva Hesse, a ground-breaking sculptor and pioneering artist in the 1960s questioned her work, her vision and her right to create. Her close friend wrote her in a now-famous (with spicy trenchant language not included here): “Stop (thinking) and Just Do”—Sol LeWitt. Today we admire and celebrate her courage, leadership and movement of art onto a different and higher plane.

The most difficult part of artistry/self-expression is dealing with a brutal self-critic. The rest is simply about observation, patience and practice. What is so wonderful about working in a community, classroom, workshop or with a group of artists-peers is that when you have discussions like this—the realization sets in that we are not alone with Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure. And when we see that our peers are surely worthy of brilliance and respect, we therefore begin to understand and feel that we too are worthy. Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure are merely tools for objective observation, learning, growth and elevating our craft. It may just well be that angst is as important and misunderstood a process as creation itself.

said the rose to the thorn, thank you

© ag ~ 2018


The Dreamers Up Close and Personal

Last night, two dear and thoughtful friends braved torrential downpours and milky fog to pick me up and take me to a charming and intimate Mexican restaurant in a nearby town. One friend drove along unfamiliar, dark and winding rural roads (with a smile), so that two of us could drink some hard cider with our meal. After an appetizer of extremely hot chili pepper poppers and a warm and easy dinner—they ordered a crispy and flaky ice cream-filled dessert with a candle on top that we split. Our waiters and restaurant staff dimmed the lights and joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

My gracious companions are well known for showing up and supporting for their friends this way and more. What made it extra special for all of us, was that the restaurant staff unexpectedly and enthusiastically joined in, enjoyed and shared in the celebration. They were born in Mexico and may very well be part of the 200,000 Dreamers in our country whose fate is yet to be determined by DACA legislation. This local restaurant is popular, a great value and a tremendous asset to our or any community. Last night they were our friends.

yet another candle yet another wish for peace

© ag ~ 2018

Haikuey For A Friend

“How would you say this more simply and more haikuey”  –

“Spring Sunset Gold-Yellow Song Upon The Sky Trumpeting Daffodils?”

How would I? (turn this observation and string into a haiku), is the question asked of me about eight years ago when it was queried, and almost five years since she passed and crossed over the rainbow bridge. I may have tried once, however I was none-too successful. She was my favorite poet, even though she hardly wrote any tailored or even casual poetry. Her words just flowed into “raspberry and tangerine images.” Ours was a forty-year correspondence with a shared love of nature and the arts.

I rediscovered the question on a sticky note in her very distinct handwriting this morning and decided to sit down and finish the conversation. I hope that I can do her proud and know that she is smiling anyway.

For Robin, forever friend – I miss you and your words:

daffodils trumpet
sunset’s golden song  ~
a listening sky

ag ~ June 2017

I hope the stars appreciate your special beauty.


Kickin’ Cancer Poem

Strength Hope and Gratitude
for Carolyn


We all know that some days are hard
If not careful they can leave us scarred.
“A sense of humor is required”
As Carolyn’s kickin’ cancer is inspired.

Strength is ours for every struggle,
Grace and grit gets us through any trouble.
“Be faithful always in small things”
God’s grace soars on butterfly wings.

There is guidance for every decision
When hope and gratitude are the vision.
Strength can grow without understanding
Our human frailties become less demanding.

“Look for the good in every day”
Music and beauty can light our way.
“Strength, hope and gratitude”
Expand our horizons and attitude.

“Be faithful always in small things”
God’s grace soars on butterfly wings.
These are gifts to own and nourish
Friends of ours always to cherish.


Andrea Grillo ~ February 2016

Children’s Misspelled Wisdom

I found this child’s drawing on a paper bag and have tacked it up in my studio. It’s a visual conversation between two young people:

“Dose any Body want to play with me”

“I will”

The misspelling in the question just adds to its precious simplicity, truth and  beauty. That there is a positive answer warms my heart.


winter stars dip down to earth in words “I will”




National Haiku Writing Month #1

Hello again. Just when you thought that I was finished with my daily blogging and January’s small stones, I’m back. February has been designated (at least by haiku poets) as National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). This is an appropriate match since February is the shortest month of the year and haiku is the shortest genre of poetry. For the next twenty-nine days (an extra leap year day), I will be posting at least one haiku or senryu daily. Haiku, as related here, are very short one-breath poems that are nature-based or referenced in order to note and share a common experience/observation. Senryu, haiku’s sibling, are one-breath poems that deal more with human nature and foibles. Strict syllable counts are not adhered to, and the 5/7/5 – seventeen syllable structure – will be a rare sighting on these posts.

Traditional or contemporary haiku – ku as they are sometimes referred to – are like compact abstract paintings. It’s the distilled essence of the observation being recorded rather than a full factual account or representation. Less is more.

That being said, there is one traditional 5/7/5 haiku (it just happened to work out) in this first sequence:


Sunday morning friends
she hands me my favorite


mulberry patterns
on a porcelain teacup
we speak of old loves


spent tea leaves
we wonder who will be the next
steward of the land



“You Are Loved”

Tucked into a sunny yellow pitcher-vase filled with fern, dainty caramel-colored roses, daisy-like chrysanthemums with lime green centers and wisps of goldenrod in bud came the simple note:

“You are loved”.

I am blessed for this and more friendship and family love, support  and humor than I can possibly describe. For me, in between all the wonderful pitchers of flowers, poems, painting, dishes and such come periods and visits with depression. I am a person who sees the glass more than half full – someone who is filled with wonder at the sighting of acorns and oaks, moss and lichen on winter-wood, early morning dew and waves on the beach, profanity, profundity and poetry – i.e. all of life. And yet, I too can slip into dark periods best explained as close to hiding in a damp shadowy cave. Depression is not a state of mind or mood swing. It’s a physical and painful emotional state when your vitality or life force is ripped away, and all hope and humor disappears. You lose control of an objective rational approach to problem solving, your literal and figurative appetite and plain living. Sylvia Plath’s bell jar decends and from under its glass your inner and outer vision are distorted. Thankfully my times of depression are not as severe as many others, and I now know that an end is surely in sight. Depression can visit unexpectedly as well as build slowly and steadily. It is fairly common, democratic and browbeats at varying degrees.

I share all of this now, because it goes along with sharing the sun-yellow roses, poetry and paintings. It is life as a tapestry – well worn yet more beloved for its wear and tear and frayed edges.

Wabi-Wabi revisited.

To all my friends and family from my youth through new arrivals on the horizon – thank you always for the flower bouquets coming from your hearts and your compassionate understanding.


under-painting with blue brush strokes a tender portrait