Somethings Are Better At a Snail’s Pace

Somethings Are Better At a Snail’s Pace

i like snail mail 

i love opening the mailbox
and finding a little bit of someones carefully thought out planned story, or sentiment considered just for me.
         time spent with me in their mind. 
         a gift that money can’t buy. 

a thread spun out across the distance to hold us fast to each other. Human to Human.

some things need time to travel…at… a… snail’s… pace.

Yes, letter writing takes time, sending cards takes time.

When was the last time you printed out all the memes you liked on FaceBook or Instagram? Did their sentiment stay with you through the week? Or even through the day?

And how many of the cards and letters you have received in the last year or even longer that are still in your possession? Are they pinned up on your bulletin board may be where they can remind you of the special greeting that someone took the time to share with you?

I have something around 56,000 emails in my inboxes. Deleting them is an overwhelming task and most of those are spam from companies I may have purchased from or often a company that found me on the internet and just started sending me junk mail. There are probably 3 or 4 a day that I actually read and it is often hard to find those among the junk mail. Unsubscribing does not usually work, they don’t care, they still keep sending me stuff. The email has lost its specialness.

Text messaging is tedious and often spam as well. Most people don’t use their phones as phones anymore, and some don’t want to be called unless they get a text first. It’s ok, we all get to choose what works for us. One of the few things we can still have some control over.

An interesting time we live in.

Once the only form of communication across distances is now a luxury and very rare. Maybe that’s what makes it so special.

Sending cards and letters take time and brainpower. Things we are often short of in this day and age of constant endless communication. However, how special would it be if once a week or even once a month your family or close friends received something in the mail from you? A thread of love that connects you to them across the miles.

And just imagine how cool it would be if as an entrepreneur you did this with your customers? I often send thank you notes for purchases, but what about just as a reminder of how important that customer is to you? Yes, I know mail is not cheap and what about the trees? But hey consider it a cost of doing business instead of that email client or social media advertising. Imagine how much more impact it would have to actually receive a handwritten note? Your per-click ratio would be quite a bit higher I suspect.

I realize this is something I need to do, how about you?

Have a happy day!


Cheryl McDonald is a full-time artist living in a high desert community at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You can find her work on Etsy or by clicking

Am I a pebble on the beach?

Am I a pebble on the beach?

An existential crisis is easily ended
I leave footprints in the sand, and dirty dishes in the sink don’t just magically appear.
The notion of why am I here? 
who cares?

I am, and that cannot be denied. Our personal importance is of no matter in the Grand Scheme of things, it is our vanity that makes us think it is so.

The waves erase the footprints, the dishes are washed and returned to the cupboard, and the Grand Scheme drones on with or without me.

I read a blog the other day, I can’t remember exactly which one or on which day, but the message stuck with me, and that’s the important part.

The message was; it’s easy to want things to be different, to want to start on a new path because the one you are on is not working as well as you thought it would.

Then there is the figuring out, do you just need to do alterations or do you need a whole new path. I have a habit, I think of changing paths completely before I have done everything possible to make a plan work, I give up midstream or more appropriately mid Dip (Seth Godin, “The Dip”). I lose track of the goal, it changes mid-stream sometimes and I lose focus. I guess it’s hard to decide if I am beating my head against a wall or I’m just not doing the work I need to do to get to the next level. Mostly, I think it is the latter.

Am I still battling that fear of rejection? Searching for the right medium and message that will satisfy my longing to make “important” art, they say you should pick one and stay there. I have not been very good at that… Going through archives of all the art I have created over the last bajillion years, I see so many styles and messages that I am happy I made and it feels like now I am just going with the flow, following instead of leading as an artist.

This has been a transitional year for me, even an earth-shaking year for me. So many changes in my world and more to come. I guess it is only right that I am also questioning my creative path. Maybe what I need to ask myself is; How can I let the changes I am going through infiltrate my art? How can the madness be expressed? Why do I feel the need to remain calm in my art when my life is in earth-shaking upheaval? And maybe my frustration and confusion are really about the fact that I do need to make big changes, but I am resisting because it seems I am always making changes. Change is good, right?

And even a pebble on the beach causes things to change.

Have a happy day.



An Unexpected Gift

An Unexpected Gift

Today it was good to feel the breeze on my face. To hear children playing and moms talking and sharing stories. To see my grandchildren climb and play on the playground and frolic in the water at the splash pad.

Today it was good to lay back in the grass and watch light filter through the trees. Just to be and not have to think or talk about it. Life’s dilemmas and challenges were not welcome here today. I needed the space.

It was an unexpected gift

Thank you

Hope you had a happy day


Architectural Illustration, Why Yes, I do that!

Architectural Illustration, Why Yes, I do that!

Going through magazines on style and arts and crafts lately it seems like I am reliving the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s! Macrame, retro architecture and furniture, polka dots and more are all the rage again. Nothing wrong with that! I loved those things the first time.  And I was a little surprised to see hand-painted architectural illustrations as a service making a come back.

Seems like a lifetime ago that I was an architectural illustrator. I used to paint in watercolor and pen & ink homes, restored buildings, beach town locations, and even painted a shopping center once.

I was hired by homeowners, real estate agents who wanted a unique gift for their clients, investment companies, and sometimes just painting locations because I loved the buildings. But then computer-generated illustration and photography became the style that everyone wanted and hand-painted illustration was just old fashioned and boring. And my business as an illustrator dried up and blew away.

Fast forward a few years and once more hand-painted illustration is cool again so maybe it’s time to revisit my skills and offer my services. Now that everyone has a camera in their pocket and computers create perfect drawings with just a few clicks, these have become the norm and having a unique style, as I do, of combining watercolor or ink wash and dancing line over a hand-drawn perspective gives my clients a one of a kind art piece. That can hang on the wall or be digitized for personal stationery, (which I can also do).

So I have added a listing on my Etsy page at where you can order a painting that can be created from your photos on beautiful Arches Watercolor paper using professional watercolors and archival inks. I have added images from my archives in several styles on my Etsy page, to give you an idea of options for you to choose from. I work with you personally throughout the process to create the size, style, and perfect illustration of your unique property.

Sometimes everything that’s old becomes new again and we once more appreciate the time and talent of artisans with unique skills. Going back to watercolor has been a wonderful renewal for me. Lately, my camera in on vacation and my paintbrushes are busy. And I am ok with that. If I can be of service to you please drop me a line. Creating unique works of art for my clients is my favorite thing to do.

Have a happy day!


A Day Trip to a Most Beautiful Place

A Day Trip to a Most Beautiful Place

Lone Pine, California is one of my favorite little Sierra Nevada town for so many reasons. The biggest reason has always been visiting the Alabama Hills with its unusual rock formations and the incredible view of Mt. Whitney that you have from there.

However yesterday I found a new happy place near Lone Pine to add to my list. The De La Cour Ranch which is a lavender farm where you can go and pick lavender, buy lavender products created right there on the Ranch, and wander around the ranch enjoying the views. They also have cabins you can rent which is something I may plan a painting trip around. Would love to spend a day or two watercoloring there.



Right now the French lavender is in bloom in both purple and white, and I picked an armload which I have gathered into bouquets, some of which I am enjoying and some of which I am drying for later projects. I also bought some of the English lavender blossoms which are apparently better to cook with (I have some recipes I want to try).

It was a little scary cutting lavender at first because it is full of honey bees, just busy getting drunk on the blossoms, but I soon realized that they were so busy, they didn’t even care about me! It was such a beautiful day! Our rare mid 90F’s weather here in the desert is something we are all enjoying this year. It is typically around 110F at this time of year and much too hot to be out on a late June afternoon!



After I finished cutting, I was ready to explore the ranch and take some photos of the beautiful flowers and landscape. My companion and I wandered down to the creek which is in full glory from all the snow melt in higher elevations. So peaceful, it was wonderful just sitting and listening to the creek waterfalls cascading down among the trees.

It is definitely a place I recommend visiting if you are traveling on US 395. The owners are beautiful people. We talked to Julie who shared much of her knowledge on the process of growing lavender, the history of the area and ideas for how to use lavender in your daily life to live healthier and happier.

De Lour Cour Ranch

It is a place I will return to again and again! Have a happy day!


I Make Bread, and It’s Delicious!

I Make Bread, and It’s Delicious!

I am making bread today. Yes it’s a work day and yes I am working and yes I am making bread too.

There is nothing that clears the stagnation out of my brain better than making fresh bread from scratch. The kneading of the dough is such a wonderful stressless, repetitive motion that your mind just naturally relaxes and opens up.

I have spent the last few days on the computer. Not my favorite thing, but a necessary thing. So much so that I was tense and irritable by last night. And my mind just kept finding new ideas to think about. This morning I knew a dose of fresh bread baking was in order.

Today I am trying a  new variation of this bread, I have added some whole wheat flour and looking forward to seeing how it works. My bread recipes come from a cookbook I bought years ago but was too intimidated to try until last year. The book is “The Il Fornaio Baking Book by Franco Galli. I highly recommend it. I have tried several recipes and been happy with them all.

One of the wonderful things I love about making bread is that there are periods of time between steps that allow me to work on other projects. I am one of those people that is time challenged I guess. I wouldn’t call it Attention Deficit actually, but I get restless and unfocused if I spend too much time on one thing, especially paperwork or computer design. I need to get up and move and clear my head. Making bread, and watercoloring are good alternate activities.

I am writing this blog during the first rising, and there are 2 more before it bakes so I will have fresh bread for dinner. But in between, there will be more computer and design work. And my brain will be happy as well as my belly.

Have a happy day!

More Spring Artwork to share

More Spring Artwork to share

Good Morning All,

My goodness, I have been having fun, painting fresh Spring flowers, iconic Easter images like bunnies, baby ducks and chicks. Creating mini art pieces that others can share is becoming a habit. I love the fact that they are mailable and hangable. My new tag line is “I make usable art”. As I’ve said before art is everywhere we turn so why not surround ourselves with art we love and art that makes us happy, and spreads a good feeling. We need more of that in our lives. The crazier the world seems, the more we need to spread the love.

Yesterday and today I put several of these new items on my CherylMcDonald-art and I even started a business page called Cheryl McDonald Creative! on Pinterest. This is the next step in becoming savvier about selling online.

I am learning that taking this task of online sales on in steps, sometimes even micro steps, makes it seem less daunting and much more manageable. Taking breaks to work in the garden or make art helps as well. It is exciting to see progress, in the form of sales and happy customers that I might never have met without this shop. Spreading the love as far as I can! One of the next steps will be figuring out global sales, not just United States sales.

Hope you are having a productive week, and I hope you are giving yourself time to recharge as well. Easy to forget to do when the world keeps throwing more and more at us.

Have a happy day!