Christmas Blast From the Past c. 1971-72

During this time of year we are reminded of friends and family. We try to honor our wonderful memories and recapture the excitement, the love, the warmth of years past. We cherish traditions and sometimes find it difficult to accept new ideas, new phrases, new notions.

Mostly we hold onto good friends if we're lucky. I'm happy to say that one of my best friends from Jr. High and High School is still a dear friend today. We don't get to visit often and we now live halfway across the country from one another, but we do email frequently and send cards.

The above photo was taken in my parents living room on Christmas Day circa 1971-72. Polaroids don't last. But through the magic of Photoshop I was able to lighten and clean it up a bit. I've left some of the hazing and patina. It is what makes it more real - an artifact - a relic - a wonder of a moment of time captured.

Holiday Memories of Game Playing

We loved board games in my large boisterous family. My brothers and I would spend many hours around the dining room table playing Monopoly. During our holidays from school we would begin a game right after breakfast that would continue until bedtime. We bought and sold and schemed and connived all day long.

When arguments would erupt (as they usually did) over who owed rent or money to another player (because we always felt sorry for the one losing and would loan from our stash) we would switch from Monopoly to Clue or checkers or a jigsaw puzzle. If the argument was too inflamed mom would make us go outside, weather permitting, and expend the built-up energy or to our rooms to be quiet for a while. We always missed one another and were playing again shortly, this time agreeing not to argue and setting up new rules for engagement.

As a result of my fond memories of playing with my brothers I handpainted a table for my sons where they could play Monopoly or chess or checkers. We own several versions of Monopoly and Clue and a variety of other games and puzzles. They too enjoyed many long hours of play. The table was my cocktail table for years. It now rests in the attic until one of my sons has children.

Then it will be placed where my grandchildren can play day-long games and learn about caring and giving and taking care of one another. They can learn arguments are not the end of the world and can be solved by taking a moment to reflect or walking away until tempers cool.

Or maybe we'll just play Elder Scrolls IV-Oblivion on Grandmumsy's X-Box360 Elite and magically dispose of our nemeses. Because while I still cherish those moments of interacting with my brothers around the dining room table and occasionally fondly wish for those simpler times, I have accepted the new, the improved and some days it is great to be able to roam the countryside in search of a goblin to challenge or a wrong to be righted.

Have a Magical Season whatever your Wishes. Blessings and Bliss for All of You. Take Care.


Paintings for "Mame" production

Paintings by Sandra Van Winkle for "Mame" in various degrees of completion.

I created the above paintings for a local production of "Mame" a few years ago. These paintings are 5'x3' and 3.5'x3'. These were part of the set for the production. During each phase of Mame's life a different painting would fly in to highlight her lifestyle changes. The paintings were painted in the styles of Raphael, Gustave Klimt, John Singer-Sargent and Picasso.

I painted these four "portraits of Mame" in three days. And as you can see all the portraits were painted using donated interior flat wall paints. I mixed all the colors from what was available. Thank goodness we had a great amount of dark wall paint as well as pastels.

In addition to the portraits were all the set flats and related items. The set designer built a baby grand piano that was sturdy enough for "Mame" to dance on. I painted the piano and the keys to look like they had been lovingly played for years. I even painted a gold name above the key board. I combined the set designer's and the lighting designer's last names.


Video Presentation of Jack the Healing Cat

Above Photo from our presentation in Nashville at the Southern Festival of Books (October 07)

For any of you who have missed signings or readings of "Jack the Healing Cat" below is a link to a RealPlayer version on UT's Libraries website.

On November 19th Marilyn, Beto, and I were honored to present our panel discussion on "Jack the Healing Cat" at UT Library's Writers In the Library Series. If you would like to watch the presentation in its entirety please go here. Please scroll down to the November 19th event.
The Writers In the Library Series is an excellent program. From UT's Website:

The Writers in the Library series began in 1999, as a venue for students in UT's graduate creative writing program to present their works. Since that time, the series has expanded to include readings by students, local authors, musicians, and renowned writers and poets.


Wishing You A Merry Christmas...

Created in Photoshop


A Christmas Angel

Copyright: Sandra Van Winkle 2005


Madonna And Child 2005

From Series of Christmas Cards 2005


Coming Home - Christmas

Pen & Ink Drawing on Bristol Board. Copyrighted


A Christmas Carol

Pen & Ink and Ink Washes on illustration board.


Father Christmas

A couple of years ago I created a series of Christmas Cards. I will place one here for the next few days. I hope you enjoy them!


Playing Dress-Up for a Whimsical Mumsy

Whaddya do when you have a mom that loves theatrical props and believes everyday should be filled with wonder and magic? Go along with it.

I've been very lucky to have sons that will (usually) go along with my crazy hair-brained ideas. Since I'm an artist, I wanted to paint portraits for our stairway landing. Not the boringly staid contemporary portraits you sometimes find today. No. I wanted to do portraits that look like something from the past. Ancestral. Scottish Castle-esque. Portraits that allow one to declare"These are my ancestors" as you gracefully waft your hand in the direction of the immense and finely detailed paintings. Plenty of chiaroscuro.

So I had the boys dress up in their costumes My twins(flanking the left and right) asked me make the costumes they are wearing for a Victorian Tea they once attended. On the left we have a Dickensian coat with vest and ascot. The hat is from Party City. On the right full Scottish Clansman ...yes he is wearing a kilt. I did not sew the Indy Jones outfit my eldest son chose. He owns the hat and the bomber jacket is one we've had for a long time. I added the whip digitally. Their props are replica swords and canes they have received for various presents.

I'm still working on the paintings. When I get them finished I'll post them. For now I hope you enjoy my wonderful adventurers. Thanks guys for being good sports.