Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Maine Retreat

Alex on the Rocks
If you read my last post about all the classes I am taking in my self-induced Masters program and felt like fainting... well, I apologize, but I am really enjoying them. I get so excited when I can learn something new. The part I find most difficult is having to read and watch all the videos before I can get to the creating part. There were a few comments and emails with expressions of concern and caution and hopes that I am also taking care of myself. I appreciate the concern, and I know you all are right - I do need to focus on repair and remedy too. Is there a class for that? (hee hee).

Actually there is, and I took it. I did the entire 28 day program and I learned a lot about nutrition and how sucky I had been eating. I am also completely hooked on Kris Carr and reading her book Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! Yes, my eyes glaze over too when a new diet book is mentioned. BUT, Kris was interviewed on Marie Forleo and she got my attention. She is wicked funny and her story snapped my head around. She was a famous TV starlet, eating atrociously, drinking, sleeping with too much variety (if you know what I mean), drugs, all the typical Hollywood stuff. Then in her early thirties she got that out of a blue wake up call - super rare, non-treatable, non-survivable, unpronounceable... cancer. Basically, she completely changed her lifestyle and her diet. She's still alive and she is my age (over 40). Wow. And she's gorgeous and healthy. I figure if I can survive Prozac, I can probably survive eating vegetables more often. ESPECIALLY if it means never taking those drugs again! And I lost a little weight. That never hurts as incentive.

That book was one of many that accompanied me on my Maine Retreat. Yes, I got home from it last week, but it took me a few days to recuperate and readjust to the real world. I decided to do my retreat to Ogunquit alone this time. I'm sorry I didn't invite you all like I did last year, but don't take it personally, I'd be happy to have you join me in Santa Fe this Sept.. :-)

Happy kidlet.
Happy teenager. Yes. That is "happy."
I started it out by taking my kids to Ogunquit for a few days. I got to show my daughter the ocean and that was such a fabulous experience for us both. (Do they make water-proof mittens for digging in the sand?)

On the really wet, gray day, we watched this beautiful view out our window and...

 ... we drew lots of Mermaids!

 I drew this lady and colored her with Inktense pencils (have I mentioned how much I love 'em?)
Then Lilah decided to improve on my mermaid and she drew this one in pencil (note the starfish in her hair too)...

And then she drew this amazing picture and we decided she was a vampire mermaid princess (see crown falling off her head)...

And I loved it SO much, I decided to do my own vampire mermaid...

Now I seem to be kind of hooked on Vampire mermaids. I've never really liked circuses, so my Mermaid Circus is .... dead. (I'm working on yet another Vampire Mermaid at this very moment here at home!)

Then Lilah's "babies" all wanted their portraits done - they can be a rather insistent group. And they smell like cookies. I can't resist them. I gave in and had Clara sit for her portrait since she is the calmest of the babies. I just realized I wrote about the babies, years ago, on the Wingdoodle blog.

One evening, I had a visit from Suzanne McNeill as she headed back to Texas after visiting her daughter. It was nice to chat with a "big person" for a few hours. :-)

The kids got along great. Seriously, they never fought. We walked a lot and saw The Croods... twice. And Alex even gave Lilah a ride back to the hotel on his shoulders when she got tired. It was like one of those credit card ads. "Priceless".

When our little bit of bliss ended, on a beautiful sunny day, of course, I drove the kids home to their dad, reloaded my car with everything I MIGHT want to work on... and headed back to Maine.

This time I had a studio apartment with my own woodland garden.

Since I was there for two weeks, I got to watch the garden spring into bloom. 

 These were my neighbors....

 My sister came down from Bar Harbor for a few days. Not only did I have her complete attention - no competing with her husband or her kids - but Jen can't speak more than a sentence before she has a coughing fit, so I got to chatter on endlessly! It was awesome. Every little sister's dream come true.

She may not be able to breath, but my sister, Jennifer Steen Booher, is a freaking amazing photographer! And she has a seriously big-ass camera hanging around her neck. (That might be why she has trouble breathing?) ;-) She has an Etsy shop with her prints HERE and her blog, which is kind of a travel/nature blog, is HERE. She did a post last week, with adorable photos of baby foxes playing in her friend's backyard.

And I post pictures of my kid's doll. Sigh. Jen's always been the more sophisticated, classy one. She's Martha Stewart. I'm Mary Engelbreit.

 We got our kicks "shooting" each other on the beach. I think this beach is so amazing and bizarre! I'm standing on sand, but there is ocean between us, then more ocean behind Jen, then land again. A beach sandwich? Huh, maybe it's just a sand - wich?

Oh, dear. It's 1:32am. The rest will have to wait for another post. I had planned to show you a bunch of the artwork I worked on over the rest of the retreat, but it has been pointed out to me that many of you have actually signed up for some of the classes I mentioned! And, that I might influence your artwork if I show you what I did for my homework. Should I show you anyway? :-)


  1. Sandy I am so happy for you! To have two weeks of bliss is a really big deal and I don't know anyone who is more deserving! Your kiddos look so happy too. I am looking forward to seeing your artwork. Big Hugs

  2. I dunno about Martha Stewart, I'm hoping when I grow up I turn into Iris Apfel.

    1. Really? Well, I had to look her up - she's on Facebook ( Just a little freaky, i think.

      Sorry, but you DO remind me more of Martha, but without the obnoxious or illegal stuff. :-) I was only referring to the "positive" aspects.

  3. We just moved back to Maine. I enjoyed your post. :)

  4. Hi Sandy!
    YES!!! Show us your art! I love your style. I'm just learning to draw faces and I LOVE the grin on your mermaid!
    Self-care is very important. I'm really glad to see that you seem to be doing very well with that right now. Good for you!
    Love and Hugs,

    1. Well, OK, since you asked so nicely - I'll do another post with the art. ;-D

      BTW Raine, we miss you and would love to have you come play at The BeeHive sometime.

  5. Sandy - loved your post. And I love Mary Engelbreit - don't care for Martha at all. You got the better deal and are the better deal. Enjoy every minute of your retreat.

  6. Thanks! But... ooo-ooo... my sister reads my blog! ;-D And she can whoop my butt.

    I like that we have different talents now, when we were younger it felt like there was an awful lot of competition in our family. Now, I create books, my brother is an art director and animator in Hollywood, and my sister was a published landscape architect until she retired to work on her art.

  7. Hi Sandy, while you are rejuvenating yourself, we are traveling through France where I'm getting an eye-full of the historical power of pattern. Anyway, I hope some day in the future you'll consider authoring some online courses. If you need ideas, look at what is being done on They'd be a wonderful combo with your books!


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