Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…




Creative Legacy

I have subscribed to a magazine for a few years that tickles my fancy when it comes to creating. The magazine is called Uppercase and is published in Canada. One woman, Janine Vangool, is the publisher, editor, and designer and it is published for the “creative and curious”. Showcasing artists and crafts she periodically puts out a call for submissions on different topics, so when she asked for articles on the impact of growing up in a family where you were surrounded by art I could not resist a submission. It was my good fortune to have it accepted for publication. My article joined others exploring how creativity is passed down from generation to generation and how making is part of our heritage. (I think maybe being published had been on my bucket list…so, cross that one off! ) It certainly was a thrill the day the postman delivered my copy.

Here is the article with two lithographs by my father illustrating the text. Now I get to say if you want a subscription to this magazine, published four times a year, by using the code “summer30” you can receive $15.00 off for the year subscription. You could also purchase a single issue (# 30) here: http://shop.uppercasemagazine.com/collections/current-issue¬†






Today was Cliff’s last day. After a month of extreme decline it became the time. We got him when he was around eight and now he was seventeen and many of his parts just wore out. He was a fine old Maine Coon cat. Mouthy…he would stomp through a room complaining the entire time…like: why weren’t we doing what he wanted/demanded. Never a lap cat, he would appear on the couch next to me and head butt my side until I would stroke his head and when I stopped he would reach out his white paw and pull my forearm over until I scratched his chin. Mr. Cliff (he demanded respect) will be greatly missed, here, but we are eternally grateful for the humor he blessed us with all these years. He was fun, funny, and a good friend to all who lived and visited here.

Our dog, Katie was very hard to photograph because she was entirely black with only a slight bit of red where her eyelids sagged, but not Cliff. He was majestic with a big mane and quite fancy whiskers. He was lazy and sedentary by the time he came to live with us, so he was perfect to try out new iPhone apps on. He always held still for his close-up. Hence, he was the subject of lots and lots of photos. These are some of my favorites…


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Oh, yes, and he did this…


We are pretty sure that as soon as he ran across Katie again he whacked her across the nose. Oh, Cliffie, we will miss you…




Let me say that being on the very far side of the threshold of senior citizenry, the concept of a “selfie” is way outside of my comfort zone. I do not want to know how I have aged. I don’t really like to be in pictures, let alone up close ones that I take myself…

In a weak moment I signed up for an online class with Susan Tuttle called The Art of iPhoneography Self-portraits. I have taken classes from her before and loved learning Photoshop Elements from her in this way. She is such a good teacher I thought that whatever happened I would still learn things and I really should get over my reticence…right? I am what I am…we all decay…hmmmm.

Well I have been experimenting with lots of new apps. I particularly like DistressedFX, FocalLab, and Mextures. I have been layering with Blender App. I thought I should commemorate my eye, above. It is the one that had cataract surgery six weeks ago and my vision is vastly improved and bright and clear. That, too, had its own consequence. I was not prepared for looking in the mirror and actually seeing how the reality of the aging process has affected me. Now I can see those wrinkles. And the grey in the hair. I guess my middle name is actually deNile because it was a shock. I am thinking of marketing a blurry film to go over mirrors…just enough to help the willing consumer be convinced that some of those wrinkles are not there. If it doesn’t take off as a product, then I will just keep passing my selfies through lots of blurry apps to reverse the aging process.

Forgot to mention another app that has multiple uses: TouchreTouch…takes out lots of unwanted history on a face if you end up zooming out wider than an eye!

Oh, ok, here is another one. Really that is it. Entangled in my own vanity I guess…



The art of…

There is something to be said for being a hanger-on…a tag-a-long…a just-along-for-the-ride kind of person. Having an older brother, I was trained at an early age for this role. In this picture you can tell that I hung away from the group on the bird watching excursion to Lake Merritt last week.


My role does not necessitate much equipment…no binocs and no scopes to carry (although those who have them are very gracious about letting me share if I wish to). No notebook and pen. Just armed with my iPhone stuffed in my pocket. Not keeping a list and trying to increase it leaves me free to notice supporting characters in the scenery drama. Don’t get me wrong…I can immediately identify an oystercatcher. I know when it is a Red-tail Hawk soaring (as long as the light is behind him and illuminating his tail). I’ve got the difference between Night Herons, Great Blue Herons and Egrets. Canada Geese are a piece of cake. Greater and Lesser Scaup, not so much. I pride myself on my other skills…I can easily distinguish for you the difference between violet, red-violet, and blue-violet which I am sure TM cannot (not fair, really, because he is color blind…I think he must identify birds based on shape and pattern). My strengths lie elsewhere. and I know it, so I do not hyper focus only on the birds leaving me the time to notice the other components of the environment. In this case, it was the trees that line the bank of Lake Merritt. I do not know what their name is, but I think their shapes and textures are exhilarating and I had fun photographing them along with a few flowers who were performing in their role as early arrivals for the spring that is to come.

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As TM does his bird field trips, I will continue to develop my skills in the art of being an observer-tag-along from just to the side, having my own kind of fun…

p.s. The trees may be coastal tea trees native to Australia.


Love is…


[love is more thicker than forget]

by e.e. cummings
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky


What’s in a puddle…

Walking the morning after a long rain provides treasures. My entire life I have loved that walk where the puddles still stand and hold gifts of discovery. The reflections through the puddles, darkly,  hold fantasies to investigate. When I was a child I would have jumped in them to disturb their mirrored surface but now I imagine them as doors into other worlds.


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The water flows off the soil into creeks of turmoil…

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and there are hints of the spring that will come…

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Everything is drenched with beautiful wet…

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Central Coast…
















Central Coast

A quick, unexpected trip last week to Southern California. Brief pauses on the way South and North in the Central Coast of California. The place where most childhood vacations were taken, where I went to college, where my parents spent retirement. At 6:30 am we purchased very tall lattes at Top Dog and moved to see the rock receive its sun for the day (January and close to summer weather!) We were even earlier than the surfers (they were close behind.) This was the place where my father painted while the rest of us walked, dodged waves, poked in tidal pools, and tried to play tag with shorebirds.

I had cataract surgery yesterday and I am looking through a perforated eye guard. I already can tell my world will be brighter, more intense with color, shinier, and vibrant.

Two of my father’s paintings of the Central Coast.