Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunday stroll

Its Sunday afternoon, the temperature is 31 degrees, the sun is out and its time for a walk.  

Today I am going to stroll through Saint Joe's campus.  This is always a very relaxing walk, unless the weather does not cooperate.  But today it is clear and not really too cold as I am dressed from head to toe in down.

The first thing I come upon is an old friend who was an old oak tree not so long ago but is now a pile of huge logs waiting for I don't know what on the Barnes property on Lapsley Lane.

On to St. Joe's.

This building which was once a stable now has 'Honors Program' over its door.  It makes me want to take an honors program in something or other just to go inside and be cosseted in quiet contemplation of greater truths.  As I wonder off I am lost in wondering what subject to choose.

The quiet order of these spaces creates a very receptive mood and everything feels beautiful.

The very blue sky makes the orange smoke stack sing a warm tune.

The stately old buildings nestle into the giant old trees as if they had grown there.

 Back on Latches Lane the elaborate gate of the Barnes says, "Nothing doing here".  But that old lovely building is still there waiting for some meaningful use.

....and then I'm home again, thoroughly refreshed and soothed by my very familiar old neighborhood.  I lived a lot of places before I moved to Latches Lane but I am very grateful to have been here for 43 years.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What's going on?

If you have not been reading my posts, ( I don't blame you I seldom read things without pictures or paintings either ) you are probably wondering where the paintings are.  Well I am working on a book in collaboration with someone else who does not want me to talk about the book.  Mysterious isn't it?  So I can't share the illustrations as they are created.  Meanwhile, in order to keep in touch, I am just going to share my daily visual activities in hopes that they will give you as much pleasure as they give me.

Out again with my iPhone I caught this lovely bark.   Inside this exuberant plant basking in the sun.

Monday, January 12, 2015


We had a couple of really cold days, but the sun was out creating those beautiful blue shadows that I love so much - especially from my warm room inside.  I did venture out to add to my mulch pile.  While I was there I got a  shot of the blueness with my new iPhone.    When I came in I was greeted with this beautiful begonia in the sun made even more delightful because I was warm again.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


This morning I got this post from Altoon Sultan's blog.  Beautiful pictures of Maine in the snow and this poem from John Updike one of my favorite authors.   It is REALLY cold there.
by John Updike 

The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dreaming of Summer

I should, I think, embrace the cold as a welcome hiatus in the relentless exuberance of the natural world, always thrusting and growing.
But I really don't.  Instead I pine for summer.  Some tea in the garden with friends or family dinner at the picnic tables.  The snow is happy to gather there instead.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New project

I won't be posting paintings for a while as I am working on writing and illustrating a children's book with a friend.  I will tell you all about it when it is finished.  In the meantime today I walked to the library to pick up some books to do research for the book.  How lucky I am to be within easy walking distance of a library!
It was snowing and on the way through my neighbor's yard I spotted a slightly mangy young fox.  We eyed each other and moved on.  I hope he or she makes it through the winter.  I also hope my dogs don't catch the mange from the fox in the area.  It is an ugly harsh disease.
Without sun, snow has little to offer in the way of saturated color, but there are some nice subtleties in the dark greens and tans.  The light snow coming down was a slice of something softly dreamlike.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Fresh Start

Nancy Herman
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

It is really just another Thursday morning but because we count and measure our lives and have done so for centuries it is also the first day of a new year.  I thought this painting of a leaf of Swiss Chard braving the snow was a fitting symbol for the day.  To be outside in the winter on the coldest days is a small act of courage, unless you are a child, and then you hardly notice until the blue night begins to creep under your hat and through your mittens and you know it is time to go home.
I plan to don my warmest gear and head out for a bracing walk on this cold day to celebrate still being alive in 2015.  The sun is out and it looks like a good day for hop scotch!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Happy New Year!

Check out this article written by my daughter Anna in the Philadelphia Inquirer about New Year's Eve parties at our house in days gone by.  Great recipes for fun and food!
This picture appeared in the print edition but didn't make it to the on line version.

Nancy and Walter Herman

Friday, December 19, 2014

Books for the Holidays

The computer has brought about a big change in publishing.  Some say that the printed word will soon be extinct and we will do all our information gathering and pleasurable reading on line or on Kindle.  I don't think so.  In fact I think there will be more books than ever, as it is now possible to publish your own book without going through all the aggravation and disappointment of trying to find a publisher or the huge expense of vanity publishing as it was in the past.  Finding a publisher can be more difficult than writing a book.  For instance most children's book publishers don't even accept unsolicited manuscripts, so you must hire an agent to even get your book into the hands of a potential publisher.
Now, however, it is possible to write and illustrate (if necessary) your book at home on your computer and pay a minimum amount for each book as it is sold without having to invest in 500 or 1000 volumes.  This is going to allow people who previously would not be able to find a publisher to make their work available to anyone.  There will be more  books and there will be more unusual books.  The problem of course for the authors of books that are self published is distribution.  They do not have a huge marketing staff or publicity machine to get their titles to the public.  Some enterprising person with marketing skills will probably come along to solve this problem but in the mean time it is up to the authors to make their own markets.
All this is leading up to the suggestion that you give one of my books as a present to someone for the Holidays and/or send a link to a book to someone who might be interested.

My newest book is OLIVE AND STICKY BEAR.  This is a book for young children with a link to the song available at the end so the child can hear and see the book and later look at the pictures on their own while you sing to them.

JOE AND THE ADOBIANS is a book for children 5 to 9.  It is a fable for the 21st century.  It takes you into the heart of a lonely boy trapped in his fears. Through his imagination and a few tricks, he discovers a way out of his isolation. It is a book about magic, art and above all “seeing”. Richly Illustrated, it is a treat for the eye and a puzzle. How did Joe ‘find’ the Adobians?

POSTCARDS FROM MERION for a teacher, hostess, client, friend or anyone who lives in the Main Line is an inexpensive book of oil paintings and notes from my blog. 

And for a big coffee table book for anyone who loves music and color, IF C IS RED, a large format description of my method of translating music to color in 2 dimensions.  It contains lots of beautiful illustrations of music by classical composers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Crooked Door

Finally got back to painting after finishing Olive and Sticky Bear.  A friend sent me this dramatic photo in hopes I would paint it.  I may do that, but for some reason I was drawn to the rather dark and mysterious door found when I zoomed in.
I am beginning a new period of painting so a door seems appropriate.  Not sure where I'm going and the oddness of this door reflects my emotional state.
For some reason very dark colors seem to reflect every nuance in the surface of the paint in a way that does not appear under normal light, so the door looks even more uncomfortable in reproduction.

The Crooked Door
Nancy Herman
12" x 9"
oil on canvas board


Friday, December 12, 2014

Olive and Sticky Bear ready

Olive and Sticky Bear (the book) is now available on Amazon.  And there is a new video to go along with it with better music.  My friend Bob Loy, who is a fine musician, played the guitar for the video and my daughter Gail Herrine sang with me this time, filling out the music.  Now it is possible for a child to see the video and then have a book to hold in their hand and look at the pictures.  Olive, the star of the video, my dear granddaughter, is already singing along, so in that respect it is a success.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Joe and the Adobians

Looking for presents for the holiday season?
Here is a trailer for a book I wrote and illustrated for children 5 to 8, "Joe and the Adobians".    It is available at Amazon -  JOE AND THE ADOBIANS

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sticky Bear Video

Sorry it has been over a month since I posted.  I have been bogged down with the song Olive and Sticky Bear.  I added a verse or two and have been working on the video to go along with the book.  I wanted to sing into my computer but could not find a way to do it until I got an iPhone.  I have now joined the 21st century and am an owner of an iphone.  Here is a version of the video.  My voice leaves something to be desired so it will not be the last.
Olive and Sticky Bear

Friday, October 24, 2014

Honey tastes good

"Olive stuck one finger in the jar,
the golden goo was sweet and new
and Olive now was sticky too!
Sticky Bear, Oh Sticky Bear"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sticky Bear has his way

Sticky Bear gets his wish.  Olive tries the honey.  This verse and the chorus that follows are not part of the original song but inspired by Sticky Bear in his latest incarnation and Olive herself.

"Olive sticks one finger in the jar....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sticky Bear Chorus again

We're on the last round of Sticky Bear lyrics.  Sticky Bear begins a more active role in the story.

"Sticky Bear offers Olive some honey,
Olive says, 'Now that isn't very funny',
Sticky Bear,
Oh, Sticky Bear.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sticky Bear - Slips beneath the covs

Every night when Mom turns out the light,
Olive slips beneath the covs with the one she really loves
it's Sticky Bear, Oh Sticky Bear.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sticky Bear - second verse

Sticky Bear put his paws in the honey,
Olive said, "Oh, that isn't very funny,
Sticky Bear, Oh Sticky Bear.

"Every night when Mom turns out the light....."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sticky Bear #6

The chorus continues:

Sticky Bear put his paws in the honey,
Olive said, "Oh that isn't very funny,
Sticky Bear, Oh Sticky Bear".

Sticky Bear is remorseful in the coloring book version but not in the color version. I will probably change the coloring book version.  At least someone is happy.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sticky Bear #5

Okay back to the chorus again.  Sticky bear is traveling off on his own here.

Sticky Bear put his paws in the honey.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sticky Bear #4

Here we are so far:
Sticky Bear put his paws in the honey,
Olive said, "Oh that isn't very funny",
Sticky Bear, Oh Sticky Bear.

Olive took sticky bear to the sea,
she washed his sticky paws and head and said,
"Now you can go to bed with me',
Oh Sticky Bear.

More to come soon,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sticky Bear #3

In this serialized version of Sticky Bear, hot off the computer - Here is the song so far:

Sticky Bear put his paws in the honey,
Olive said,'Oh, that isn't very funny,
Sticky Bear, oh Sticky Bear.

Olive took Sticky Bear to the sea

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sticky Bear #2

Here is the second page of the coloring/song book.  Okay I know this is not A.A. Milne but the lyrics are:  "Sticky Bear put his paws in the honey,  Olive said, 'Oh that isn't very funny',  Sticky Bear, Oh Sticky Bear."  This is the Olive said ,"Oh that isn't very funny page".  

We went to Coney Island to take pictures for this.  It was a beautiful warm day this month.  The water was warm enough to swim and we had a great time.  I hope to get more of the Coney Island experience into the book.

Friday, September 26, 2014


About 45 years ago I made up a song for my little son David called Sticky Bear.  He liked it a lot so it became a favorite to sing to children and grandchildren.  When I sang it to Olive, my 2 year old granddaughter, star of THE RED BIKE, she kept asking for "Bear".  So I have decided to make a coloring book, song book and video of STICKY BEAR with Olive as the main player.  Here is the first page of the coloring book (probably) and the colored version for the song book and video.  I'll post as I go along.  Needed a background for these two, so could not resist using one of the first wall hangings I ever made, Mystic Blue.  All suggestions for additions and changes welcome.



Monday, September 8, 2014


9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

I love all the shades of brown and yellow in this painting.  One rarely looks under the table to see what's going on down there but it can be quite interesting.  I personally hate shoes and consequently love to be barefoot.  These are not my feet but they seem happy to be without shoes and firmly planted on the floor.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beach Books

Nancy Herman
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

A good book on the beach on a sunny day with nothing to do but relax and live in another world for an hour or two.  It is especially nice when you know that whenever you get too hot you can dive into the ocean and cool off.  This summer in Ocean City the water was warm, the surf calm and every day a sunny one.  Ah....summer!


Friday, August 29, 2014


I began this painting yesterday.  I like the way it looks right now as the woman seems to be working her way into the scene with her glasses and hat, while the boy is engrossed in his book.  I am looking forward to the texture of the sand and the texture of her bathing suit which has little dots, but for now the flatness really appeals to me.  I am going to make a coloring book for sure for my 2 year old granddaughter.  It may not be what the art world would deem a proper introduction to creating 'art', but I had so much fun with coloring books when I was growing up that I have to give her the same experience.

Friday, August 8, 2014


This is a rather strange painting, I admit.  I have been fascinated by this image for a couple of years.  It is one of me reflected in the window of an antique shop.  I am wearing my folding sun hat, which is rather odd, but handy, sun glasses, and I am peering so intently at....what, myself?  The crooked window frame and the odd shapes of the antiques (looks like an old coffee grinder to me) complete the scenario.  I feel there is a story here that I haven't figured out yet.

Nancy Herman
9' x 12"
oil on canvas board