(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Bridge over untroubled waters

I’m not an artist.

When new friends show me their baby pics, I have a tendency to respond by showing my latest sketches, often with similar paternal fondness. Bragging about barely fridge-worthy efforts? Guilty.

Artists devote years to honing skills that I do not have. A few of my sketches have turned out well, and I absolutely love those sleepy head-pats that Monica gives me when I wake her in the morning to show off my latest creation. But I get a lot of help from digital filters and editing apps to transform the best I can do into something more eye-catching. Real art? Probably not, but I friggin’ love playing.

I began sketching images for blog posts because I couldn’t find photos that would accurately convey the tone and emphasis I wanted. Digital painting relaxed me when I was too anxious to sleep, or too depressed to do anything. It became my art therapy, without the messy cleanup or expensive paint supplies.


“Wordless” Wednesday?

Some of you may be thinking this is an awful lot of words for a “Wordless Wednesday” post. In my defense, this is my first time, sketches without words wrapped around them feel naked to me. It’s OK to be a little shy. Right? Besides, I did say (Almost).


“Get on with it already”

While I couldn’t find photos to compliment my blog posts, I’ve read hundreds of posts composed by photographers that beautifully captured scenes or triggered emotions:


Coming Home

Dave Ply at Plying Through Life gave us am immersive tour through Portland Oregon after the big snow storm this January. (Do you remember it?) I loved one photo so much I asked for permission to try to sketch it. He said yes. Be sure to check out this link to see the original photo.

Coming home

The only thing separating you from your warm home on this frigid, solitary night is crossing an untracked street and walking up your front steps.


Seeing the trees for the forest

Even farther north, in the forests of Canada, Sheri at Trail to Peak: the Adventurous Path took us on a winter hike on an island called Tofino. One of the trees she photographed had so much character, I had to try to sketch it. I’m not thrilled with the results, but you can judge for yourself when you see the original on her blog.

Seeing the trees for the forest

This knarled and twisted tree has been tortured by so many bitter winters, its huge limbs and trunk have fractured. A fresh layer of snow incompletely hides the hairy moss that drapes over its decomposing corpse.


Bridge over untroubled waters

Bridge over untroubled waters

A few friends have recently asked me to create landscapes for them to print and frame. This is one of them.


I don’t know if (Almost) Wordless Wednesday will be a recurring thing, but I do know that I’ll continue sketching. It’s too much fun to stop.

Regardless, I hope this adds a bit of color to your day.


  • Reply Miriam February 21, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I think you need to rewrite the first line of this post Gabe because to me you ARE an artist. A damn good one too.

    • Reply Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Ha! Nope. Besides, if I start calling myself an artist, I’ll have to cut back on my full time jobs (househusbanding, and bucketlisting).

      • Reply Miriam February 21, 2017 at 10:02 pm

        Haha, you could be a bohemian artist I suppose! You know, laze about the house, paint, doodle, write … ?

    • Reply Sheri @trail2peaktheadventurouspath February 21, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree!

      • Reply Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Thanks so much for letting me use a photo from your blog for one of the sketches Sheri!

    • Reply Dina February 26, 2017 at 2:52 am

      I agree with you, Miriam. Gabe is very talented indeed! 🙂 Love those colourful sketches.

  • Reply Didi February 21, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Gabe your sketches are beautiful.
    Art isnt about the effort or the way you achieve your piece, its about the passion you put in it.

    I never liked the snobbish standard definition of art. Art is something you need to feel, that need to touch you, no matter how it’s created. We are all different,so what touches us, and what is art for us, is different for everyone.

    And besides that, isn’t the most important thing sketching helps you and you enjoy it so much.

    • Reply Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Yup! I love digital painting, it’s an amazing hobby. Really glad you enjoy Didi!

  • Reply natureinspiredmom February 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Wow! Your artwork is pretty amazing, even if you say you aren’t an artist! I especially like the bridge over untroubled water…the warmth of the colors bring happiness over a peaceful landscape. Your sketch of Dave Ply’s snowstorm picture is remarkable…like the blues and lights you added there. How fun and beautiful too!

    • Reply Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks so much! Monica really likes the Bridge as well. She’s even signed off on a field trip to visit.

      Wouldn’t it be great if it actually existed 😉

      • Reply natureinspiredmom February 21, 2017 at 9:28 pm

        So it doesn’t exist?

        • Reply Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 9:29 pm

          Fragments do (I needed help with the bridge and water reflection) but it should right?

          • natureinspiredmom February 21, 2017 at 9:31 pm

            Ah I see…yes definitely! Beautiful regardless 🙂

          • Didi February 21, 2017 at 9:51 pm

            As far as i know theres still a bridge like that.. you may not be able to walk on it but it’s still a full circle with it’s reflection.
            Its in kromlau, Germany.

            So i guess Monica will have her field trip.

          • Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 10:06 pm

            Really? In germany? Thats awesome!

  • Reply PETA Kaplan February 21, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I really love your art. You are a natural!Didi says it all perfectly above. Completely agree.

    • Reply Gabriel February 21, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      Thank you so much Peta. And yes, its hard to argue with Didi (mostly because I suspect I’ll lose 😉 )

  • Reply usathroughoureyes February 22, 2017 at 3:17 am

    You do incredible art Gabriel.

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 8:01 am

      I’m really glad you enjoy!

  • Reply janetweightreed10 February 22, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Don’t put your work down…I think it’s fantastic. I do love the tree….it has such a painterly quality to it…as for the medium we choose to use….hey – whatever floats the boat….as we say…Janet. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Your an artist Janet. I really enjoy your watercolors! Thanks for the encouragement, and for sharing so many of your paintings with us.

  • Reply Maggie Wilson February 22, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Wordless or otherwise, I’m delighted with the results of your creative effort. It makes me want to try it!

    Bravo! Encore!

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Excellent Maggie! I hope you have lots of fun if you do decide to give digital art therapy a try.

      • Reply Maggie Wilson February 22, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        Before you hooked up with Slim and Gertrude, did you “do” art? Reason I ask, I’m trying to gauge my chances of mastering the software and hardware end of things. Without breaking the bank, of course.

        To further take advantage of your kindness – what software do you use?

        • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 9:47 pm

          As a hobby, I spent a few years working (playing) with pastels and acrylics. The results weren’t nearly as eye-catching, but I think these early efforts helped me to recognize the potential in digital painting. That being said, I’m sure ANYONE can create great illustrations with all of the available digital tools we have available now. So, I say absolutely go for it, if nothing else, it’s a great hobby, and cleanup is a breeze 😉

          As far as investment, finding your own Gertrude and Slim are by far the biggest expenses. Beyond that, I use a painting app called ProCreate. I don’t remember how much it is (I’d be surprised if it is more than $15). My primary editing app is Pixomatic and I will occasionally use Enlight for filtering. Both of these are either free or about the cost of a game (and almost as much fun).

          I hope this helps, but if you have additional questions, feel free to email me at I’m not selling anything, but if I can help anyone to pick up a new hobby that offers even a fraction of the satisfaction I’ve found thus far, then I’ll be happy to help.

          • Maggie Wilson February 23, 2017 at 6:03 am

            Thank you so much! It sounds like these hit the key points for me – free/cheap as a game! I’ll spend some time noodling around and will for sure contact you if I need.

  • Reply recoveryforallofmyheart February 22, 2017 at 7:50 am

    real art? Yes! It is so creative to add filters to your sketches. I used to love to draw but I thought I was bad at it. I think adding filters is just another medium. Your unique ways that you draw with a pretty little filter around it. And if you are trying to make art…you are an artist whether you believe you are good or not, because some people might actually love your art (Like me)

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Thanks so much and on many levels I do agree. The label isn’t nearly as important as the “good stuff,” which is creating new things, and having fun while doing it.

      Thanks for the wonderful comment and I hope you return to drawing again!

  • Reply Liesbet February 22, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I’m just now discovering your sketches and artwork and I love it! I understand what you mean about being called – or calling yourself – an artist. I have the same problem with the term writer. Am I? Just because I had some articles published, write blogs and am working on a memoir? I feel that as long as I haven’t achieved something impressive and ultimately satisfying in that field, I shouldn’t call myself a writer. Or, maybe that’s the difference between “writer” and “author”? 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

      hehehe I’m probably not a writer either. I know writer’s write, and I do write, but not well enough to need to change my occupation on my annual taxes from “Retired” to “writer.”

      Congratulations on your successes those far in the writing field. Getting beyond that first publication is a major hurdle to overcome, and I’ve been told that those that get published once are far more likely to get published again. As far as I’m concerned, you have already “achieved something impressive!”

      By the way, I’d LOVE to read your memoir when its finished.

      • Reply Liesbet February 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm

        That is so nice to say, Gabe. I hope I get it finished one of these years, ideally before our next adventure. 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm

          It’s easy to say because its true Liesbet!

  • Reply Papa T February 22, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Art is really expression on paper. When it is done from the heart and with care, it is fine art. It is far less about craftsmanship that about revelation. Your “art” of the two of us at Nantahala Cabins has a proud and prominent place on our staircase and appreciated everyday.

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Me too Papa T. That already seems like such a long time ago. Guess that means its time to dust off the old backpack again and hit the Trail. I know you have some puppy rehab to take care of, but I still suspect you’ll beat me to that brown strip of paradise.

  • Reply Ann Coleman February 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    You may not want to call yourself an artist, and that’s okay. I’ll respect that. But to me, what you are creating is art! And I’m glad you are sharing it with us on your blog. I’m also glad that creating it is helpful to you. Personally, I think a life without creativity would simply be unbearable. My creative form is writing, and it grounds me. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t think the quality of the finished product is so important (because most of us think our work isn’t very good) it’s the act of creating it and then being brave enough to share the result with others that is so important. That being said, I think what you create is very good!!!

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      “I think a life without creativity would simply be unbearable.” This, along with your recognition that most of us think our work isn’t very good, is so very true Ann. I really enjoy reading your blog, and I can see your confidence seeping though. Likely this is a confidence born of yours of persistence and success. Cheers Ann and thank you for your continued encouragement on this creative journey!

  • Reply Robin February 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Your sketches are beautiful, Gabe, and I think they are art whether you call yourself an artist or not. I hid from the word “artist” for a long time, too. I still do, I suppose, since I tend to bury it in the long list of labels I use to define myself. I love that you’re borrowing from photographs taken by others and making your own creations with them. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you Robin for the generous compliment. Your photos are so immersive (and relaxing), I take this as a huge compliment.

      Recently, reading others blogs has become a cherished part of my daily routine, so I suppose its not surprising that I’ve met some amazing photographers along the way. I’m very grateful to both Dave and Sheri for encouraging me to use their work to try to create something artsy. This was my initial foray, and I wasn’t too sure how well it would be received, but I think the idea of drawing attention to other amazing bloggers by highlighting a few of the images shared on their blogs might be a fun weekly event. What do you think?

      • Reply Robin February 23, 2017 at 8:13 am

        I think it’s a great idea, Gabe. Not that you asked, but…if you’re ever interested in using any of my photos, help yourself. I have no idea why I bother with the copyright thing at the bottom since I license them under Creative Commons so that people can do whatever with them for personal use. I used to play with my photos digitally, sometimes creating abstracts. It was fun. Maybe I’ll do that again soon. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 7:05 pm

          Thats awesome Robin, I’d love to see some of your digital abstracts.

          And love the photo of the fawn from your recent coffee share. Would love to give it a try 😉

          • Robin February 24, 2017 at 5:50 am

            Go for it. I love collaborative art. 😀

  • Reply Liesbet February 22, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Hi again Gabe. Didn’t know how to send you an email or contact you directly… I thought about you when reading this assignment/opportunity/artist in residence posting:

    Could be a bucket list item as well. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Wow! An art residency onboard a ship cruising the ocean. How cool would that be? Monica probably wouldn’t be thrilled with me taking off on another extended excursion, but the potential sure is tempting. I wouldn’t be able to put together an application for the 24 Feb deadline, but maybe next year…

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply the incurable dreamer February 22, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Umm, Gabe…YES YOU ARE AN ARTIST!! Your sketches are incredible and I would proudly hang one on my wall. You keep sketching, keep writing and start calling yourself an artist – because you are a damn great one!! If you ever come to Victoria, I will take you and Monica to the beach so you can sketch the beauty that surrounds us here!!

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Yay Tanya! You know I’ve been creating images for several others recently and I’d be happy to create something for you as well if you’d like.

      A fall trip to Victoria would be awesome! Over the past several weeks, I’ve met so many amazing bloggers, and more importantly, formed real connections (yes-I’m talking about YOU here). If I had to pick a favorite part about blogging, this would be it. Sure it’s great to share my stories here and get feedback so that I can improve my skills, but it’s the conversations, and connections that will sustain me beyond the lulls that inevitably occur.

      I was recently chatting with Miriam (captivating blogger at Out and About) who recently returned from a trip visiting 2 fellow bloggers. I can see how happy it made her to double down on virtual connections, to form real-world relationships. Scary as the idea of challenging virtual connections with real-life messiness might be, maybe its worth it. And, as I mentioned earlier, a trip to Victoria would be awesome!

      • Reply the incurable dreamer February 23, 2017 at 12:13 am

        Gabe, I am with you 100%! I feel like I was given the key to a secret and special world and my life hasn’t been the same since. I started doing this to improve my writing and to gain confidence, but I didn’t even consider the connections I would form and the people I would meet! It is so fantastic and is such a wonderful world to be a part of. And it really picks me up when I am down in the dumps. I think it would be so great if you came to Victoria, I feel like we are friends and it sure would be great to meet you one day! And yes please, I would love one of your creations – they truly are incredible! Like, really really incredible! I somehow can make a stick man look like a very ill sort of stick man. I admire anyone who has your kind of talent!

        • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 7:25 pm

          Great Tanya, I already have something in mind. I’ll get to work now. Happy blogging!

          • the incurable dreamer February 24, 2017 at 7:38 am

            Thanks so much, Gabe!! You are so nice! Happy blogging to you as well! 🙂

  • Reply dave ply February 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    What is an artist? Ask six people, you’ll likely get six different answers. I think the key concept is creativity – if you’re being creative, you’re an artist. Will everyone like your work? Probably not – a trip to a modern art museum is very low on my priority list. I can’t draw a lick (even if I used my tongue 😉 ), but I like to think there’s some creativity in photography. Am I an artist?

    I like the bridge picture too, and of course I’m a little biased about the winter sketch…

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Dave, first, thank you so much for letting me work from one of your photos. (I still like your version more, but I had a lot of fun trying).

      I hear you on trips to Modern Art museums. Now a trip through a collection of the Romantics or early Impressionists… THAT might even be worth skipping my househusband duties for a day or 4.

      By the way, I’ve tried to leave several comments on your most recent post, but they are either going to your SPAM folder or flying willy-nilly through the ethernet. So, if you don’t see them, Thanks for taking us on a stroll through the land of Port.

      • Reply dave ply February 22, 2017 at 11:15 pm

        Thanks for the heads up about the missing comments. I checked my comments list, and sure enough a couple had ended up flagged. I switched them to “Not SPAM”, so hopefully you will not get dinged in the future. I probably need to check Google Mail again too, lately it’s been flagging digests from WordPress as SPAM too.

  • Reply February 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Um, yep… you are an artist. The bridge is stunning and the your version of the winter scene is gorgeous bathed in its frigid blues and whites. Now you’ve intrigued me with your digital painting. What program or app do you use? I’m absolutely no artist, but it looks like it might be fun.

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      It really is fun, and I’m sure anyone could enjoy with practice and patience. I use iPad Pro, Apple pencil (as my “brush”), an app called ProCreate, and lots of free or nearly free, filtering and editing apps. Easy-peasy.

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt February 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I agree with EVERYONE! Your ART is amazing and must take time to create! Even Norman Rockwell identified himself as an illustrator rather than an artist. Well, if you ever do need a free photo, come check out my blog where I am sharing my own photos that I won’t be using 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Terri, and I’m a big Norman Rockwell fan too. Appreciate the offer to use photos and I’ll be sure to check out this post.

      One of my aims here was to highlight a few other bloggers that shared great photos on their blogs (and to have fun with my sketches of them). I’m trying to decide whether or not this should be a recurring “thing” that I promote here. What do you think?

      • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt February 23, 2017 at 8:39 am

        Oh you should, your art is wonderul, and this is a good way to build community! I have a lot of windsurf and SUP photos on my blog that would look great digitized 😉

        • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 7:05 pm

          Thanks Terri!

  • Reply sydspix February 23, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Enjoyed you post. Love your images and can totally identify with what you say. I think you are quite artisitic!

    • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks- we’re just getting started here, so I hope you keep coming back!

  • Reply Jay February 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I agree with the many others – I suspect you may in fact be an artist. You’re doing art on your own terms, which is how it needs to be done. I do particularly love the icy sketch of Portland.

    • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Yeah, I love the Portland landscape too. (Almost) makes me sad to think that winter is nearly over.

  • Reply sandyjwhite February 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Your sketches are wonderful. Enjoy, embrace and continue to share your talent with others. Can we ever really be exposed to too much beauty, regardless of the creative medium?

    • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      Well said Sandy! If there is an upper limit on creativity, I sure don’t want to know it!

  • Reply amommasview February 23, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    You are so very talented!!!

    • Reply Gabriel February 23, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you so much. And thank you even more for following- we’re just getting started here!

      • Reply amommasview February 23, 2017 at 9:07 pm

        Looking forward to reading and seeing more from you.

  • Reply Melissa February 23, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Gabe, thank you so much for creating the Bridge over untroubled waters landscape for me. I absolutely love it and can’t wait to have it printed. There is something about your work that just gives me a sense of peace when I look at it. You are far more talented than you give yourself credit for!

    • Reply Gabriel February 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      Melissa! What a great compliment! I think I know what you’re talking about with the sense of peace, as I sure felt it when I was creating this one.

      Hope you enjoy the printed version when its completed!

  • Reply delrowbeatrice February 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    WOW! ? Gabe, your art is spectacular!!! I’m mesmerized by the bridge over untroubled waters… <3

    • Reply Gabriel February 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks Beatrice. It’s such a rewarding hobby. I have no idea what the future will hold, but I do know that blogging (and sketching) will be a big part of it. It’s just too much fun to stop right?

  • Reply restlessjo February 24, 2017 at 12:26 am

    It’s wonderful that you can find something to simply immerse yourself in, Gabe. I say simply but I’d be clueless where to start. These days everything is digitalised and I tweak my photos too, but you have to have the eye and the imagination. You’re not lacking 🙂 🙂 And you have a very engaging personality. Look how many people are coming here to applaud now. It’s great! And I’d be blown away if I could produce something like that Autumnal bridge. And what’s a few words (or not 🙂 ) between friends?

    • Reply Gabriel February 24, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Hey Jo! Yes I have to admit, I’m stunned by the overwhelming responses. It’s amazing to think that I’ve only recently realized that my greatest joy in blogging is to foster community and genuine connections. You were certainly instrumental in helping me recognize this. Thank you, thank you THANK YOU!

      And I’m glad the words didn’t get in the way too much, I suspect there might be a few more I won’t be able to hold back 😉

      • Reply restlessjo February 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm

        You made me smile. Again! 🙂 🙂 I won’t be 6-wording this morning because we’re off to Florence tomorrow (talking about artists! 🙂 ) and I won’t have time for all the comments. I hate not returning visits! Have a great weekend 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 12:18 am

          Yay! Florence! Can’t wait to hear a bout it when you return. We’ll be here waiting when you get back!

  • Reply namelesspublications February 24, 2017 at 12:39 am

    You do not have to paint perfectly to call yourself an artist, creativity comes in a vast variety of forms. And if painting and playing with editing tools is your way to be creative, then I am pretty sure you must be an artist, since you are creating something that hasn’t existed before!

    • Reply Gabriel February 24, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks so much for the encouraging words, and for stopping by! Feel free to visit anytime the mood strikes, we’re just getting started here!

  • Reply Amy February 24, 2017 at 7:13 am

    I’m in awe with your paintings, Gabe! Thank you so much for sharing with us!
    Bridge over untroubled waters is a cool title, and the painting is breathtaking. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Thank you so much Amy!

  • Reply Alexis Chateau February 25, 2017 at 12:19 am

    You make me want to get back into visual arts again. Your sketches are amazing. I loved the coming home one best. Did you do the sketch for your banner, as well?

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 12:22 am

      Thanks Alexis and you absolutely should, I suspect you’d excel here as well as in your writing.

      All the sketches here are mine, including the banner (of course I rely on lots of help from digital aids, so I can’t be too cocky. Nonetheless, its such a rewarding hobby.)

      • Reply Alexis Chateau February 25, 2017 at 12:24 am

        Digital drawing is just as hard as manual drawing. The knowledge you need to work the program makes up for all the perks they come with, and levels the playing field between digital and traditional.

        I was pretty good back in the day, but words won images in the end. Kind of like your post – haha. I got wrapped up in writing, and my artwork basically fell by the wayside.

        • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 12:28 am

          So long as we all still get a chance to share in some of your work, I won’t be TOO picky about the medium 😉

          • Alexis Chateau February 25, 2017 at 12:36 am

            I’ll keep that in mind! 🙂

  • Reply Moony February 25, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Your art is absolutely lovely! I love the way all the shades and colours blend into each other, and it gives the impression of brushstrokes which give the picture a lot of its character 🙂 I only wish I could do the same thing with my own art tablet.

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much Moony! And I suspect with a bit of practice and plenty of patience, you’ll be coaxing beautiful sketches out of your tablet in no time.

  • Reply Quinn February 25, 2017 at 2:40 am

    I love that Portland scene… As someone who is truly crap at digital art and wouldn’t know where to even start, I agree with other commenters that you’re an artist!

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      hehehe thanks Quinn, but you’re being modest. I love your blog! And totally excited to see where your next adventures lead you (even if you eschew the hostels and ankle bracelets 😉 )

  • Reply Inside the Mind of Isadora February 25, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I wish I could say something original, Gabe, but it’s all been said by everyone.
    I believe in … Do what you love and love what you do … way of approaching things in life even blogging. I’m blogging for me. I like to write and I like photography. I may not have a great many in my community circle but if I post something and I’ve loved doing it; then, if one person reads it, one is enough. I enjoy thinking outside the box. If you box yourself in you stiffle your ability to free your inner self.
    Have a great weekend … Saturday here in Sunny Florida ?
    Isadora ?

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I’m still stunned by all the positive feedback. I suspect most of it is a recognized need from others to regularly re-inflate my ego. As a relatively new and unconfident blogger, I relish the conversation, and a sense of community, has become the greatest joy I’ve found in blogging. And I absolutely consider you a part of this community. Your blog is a regular part of my daily blogging routine, and I’m all the better for it! It’s obvious that you enjoy the confidence and satisfaction that comes from putting well-crafted prose and photographs out there for us to share. Count on me to one of the many “enough” that enjoys your blog!

      • Reply Inside the Mind of Isadora February 26, 2017 at 6:23 am

        OMG … GOSH … I’m happy you enjoy my blog and look forward to my posts. I started the blog to build my emotional confidence. I’ve had mental illness in my family from the time I was born. My mom was paralyzed by paranoid schizophrenia. My grandmother help raise us kids. Then, my 3 daughter suffer from bi-polar. All have been suicidal several times. My hubby suffers from PTSD. I’ve been spared but am their caretaker of all. It does weigh heavy on me, at times. Reading something like what you’ve written here helps give me validation and hope that I can be something more than a savior of those who want to die. Thank you for your understanding of this helpless illness. ? Incidentally, your artwork is very good. If you read my bio you’ll see that I was an artist in the art world for 28 years. I have judged art shows and artists for awards and galleries. You have a fantastic talent that could grow into a career. Keep it up … Isadora ?

        • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 10:33 am

          Isadora, you’re describing an incredibly challenging, and often-times unappreciated, career as a family caregiver. I don’t know if I could endure this heavy burden. So I have enormous respect for you, and even more for your efforts to share through your blog. I guess I’ll have to quote you… “Keep it up!”

  • Reply thenuttybookblogger February 25, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Your sketching is very good. I might want one…do you have a store? Jackie

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoy. These sketches are a hobby, and a supplement for my posts. However, I have recently begun to create sketches for others as my way of saying thanks. I’d be happy to try to sketch something for you so long as you’re willing to tolerate an amateur level product (but made with love) and a bit of patience.

      Feel free to email me at and we’ll go from there.

      • Reply thenuttybookblogger February 26, 2017 at 9:20 am

        I would love a water and mountain scene I plan to move to Colorado in four months

        • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 10:37 am

          I received and flagged your email. This is so incredible as I’ve been working on a scene that I think you might enjoy. I’ll send it your way in a few days when it completed. Cheers!

  • Reply If we were having coffee: Abstractions and reflections – breezes at dawn February 25, 2017 at 8:50 am

    […] abstract.  It’s something I used to do for the fun of it, and I was inspired by Gabe in his (Almost) Wordless Wednesday post to try my hand at it again.  Some of the other images are from a sunset walk in Cambridge, […]

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Robin! You’re awesome (but we all knew that already), can’t wait to head over to your place to take a peek 😉

  • Reply mydangblog February 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Beautiful images! You’re extremely talented!

    • Reply Gabriel February 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks Suzanne! I’m working on it. It will be exciting to see what the next year or 2 brings, cuz I can only get better 😉

  • Reply raynotbradbury February 26, 2017 at 1:52 am

    the pic with the tree looks like a dog (after editing). Very cool:))

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Ha! That’s one of the fun things about these “fuzzy” sketches, interpretation is (almost) completely in the viewers hands.

      • Reply raynotbradbury February 26, 2017 at 10:38 am

        Yes true :)) I did it a lot before, editing* (on instagram) but I’ve got tired and stopped…

  • Reply Dina February 26, 2017 at 2:53 am

    Wonderful work! Thank you for bringing so much lighthearted colour into this grey Sunday, Gabe. 🙂
    warm greetings from Norway. x

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Dina! This is high praise from one of the Fab Four of Cley! You all have created the kind of aesthetically rich and multilayered community I’m trying so hard to emulate.

      I’ve obviously got a long way to go, but the journey has been very rewarding thus far. Thank you for following!

  • Reply Opinionated Man February 26, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I love the artwork!

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Cheers OM! And I think your blog is awesome (along with the thousands of others of course). Love that you curate so many other great posts as well. It’s my goal to create a post worthy of inclusion among those you curate for your readers.

  • Reply Zazzy February 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

    You say you’re not an artist and that always makes me wonder how one defines Artist. I don’t think it has to be your occupation. I don’t think you have to sell your art. What is art is probably one of the top subjective questions.

    My mother always said she was not an artist. Trust me, she was. She chose to do most of her painting on china so that relegated it to “craft” in many people’s minds. She was also a talented water colorist and sketch artist but she enjoyed the china most. She always felt that other people were better and they were the real artists. I don’t think being the best is what makes one an artist either.

    Your sketches are art. They aren’t just craft. While they are pretty to look at, I think they also tell us things about you, or maybe we just think they do.

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Zazzy, I agree with you. “What is art?” is one of those questions with at least a thousand different answers, and most of them valid. And I appreciate your compliments.

      Your mother sounds like she was my favorite kind of artist though: multitalented, humble, and extraordinarily creative. Sounds like a great standard to strive for.

      Thank you for the comment, and please stop back by as often as the mood strikes!

  • Reply candidkay February 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    These are all beautiful, but the bridge sketch–wow. That one just gives me a warm feeling. My father sketched and painted–always sure his talent was outmatched by others. But, each of his daughters loves the painting he did for us–and the joy in creating he felt was pretty cool. I hope you feel the same joy!

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks so much Kristine (and for what its worth, my wife Monica says the same thing, so you must be right).

      I absolutely do love digital sketching, it has become of the those essential “grounding” activities that I need to engage in regularly in order to remain the sterling, sparkling, buoyant personality I’ve become. By the way, I’ve recently learned what hyperbole is, and hope you’ll forgive my efforts to practice 😉

  • Reply thoughtsnlifeblog February 26, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Love your painting they are splendid. You capture so much detail the painting is alive and that is amazing..

    Love your work

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks so much for the compliments!

  • Reply inesephoto February 26, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Admire your talent. Thank you for the colors 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 26, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much Inese. It’s a fun hobby.

  • Reply Michelle Malone February 27, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Wow! You really are talented, Gabe. Comparison is an enemy of progress. If I were you (and I’m not :D), I wouldn’t compare what you have to offer to what others are doing. I’d frame your work any day. In fact, I’m looking for something similar for cover art for my first book. If you do this type of work, I’d love to partner with you. May blessings abound, my friend! <3

    • Reply Gabriel February 28, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Thanks for the encouragement Michelle, I really needed this today.

      Congratulations on your progress with the first book! Must be very exciting. I’m at least a year behind you, but I can already glimpse the satisfaction that comes from creating an honest, meaningful tale that will (hopefully) inspire and entertain. I’m really curious to read your book, so don’t forget to keep us in the loop as publication draws near!

      With respect to helping you design cover art, I would be happy to discuss further. The most important thing to remember is that I’m an amateur, that I’ve never designed a book cover before, and that you will likely create a more impactful cover presence by working with an experienced professional.

      Understanding this, if you would like to email me with your thoughts, I’ll be happy to create something based on your design criteria. If nothing else, we can consider it fun brainstorming to make future conversations with professionals more productive.

      Thanks again so much Michelle!

  • Reply Tiny February 27, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Love your art! I am drawn to similar methods, but not yet practiced them very much. You are really good 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel February 28, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Tiny! It’s such a fun hobby, and you might be surprised with how quickly your skill improves. As I look back on sketches created just a few months ago (or even a few days ago 😉 ), I shudder at all the flaws. I wonder what I’ll be able to do in the next 6 months, or year. More importantly, I wonder why YOU would be able to create with practice over the coming months and years!

  • Reply Ida Auclond February 27, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    It awesome when you find a hobby that really makes you feel better, even when you are at your lowest. For me, sketching actually brought more anxiety, but colouring mandalas, doing jigsaw puzzles or knitting help me a lot when I’m even too anxious to write.

    Nice post, I enjoyed it.

    • Reply Gabriel February 28, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Exactly Ida, painting on canvas is became a frustrating exercise rather than the meditative retreat I need when I’m paralyzed with anxiety or depression, but for some reason digital sketching is my “just right” hobby. Glad to see that you’ve found several of your own!

      Thanks so much for visiting and for sharing!

  • Reply Writing to Freedom February 28, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Darn Gabe. You have the gift of gab and digital art. 🙂 I find your sketches very wonderful, especially the bridges one. Thanks for sharing your passion and art.

    • Reply Gabriel February 28, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Thanks so much Brad! Sometimes the “gift of gab” is more of a “curse of Gabe” that others are forced to endure, but I’m working on it.

      Thanks so much for following! Your blog shares such amazing stories, it is a cherished stop in my WordPress Reader ritual.

  • Reply Lori February 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Very cool, Gabriel. I love photography and enjoyed seeing what you did with these. Ever since the world switched to digital, my photographs have lost their luster. I can’t seem to figure out the complicated computer settings, even on my Canon. 😛 Thanks for sharing these.

    • Reply Gabriel February 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks Lori, and good luck with those high-tech gizmos.

  • Reply Bun Karyudo February 28, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said by all those people standing on my head up there on the comment thread? If you haven’t visited him already, you could drop by Mick Canning’s blog. He’s similarly self-effacing but multi-talented.

    • Reply Gabriel March 1, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Bun! You rock. I think I’m going to love Mick’s blog a lot. A bit intimidated (he’s the real thing), but thus far, Mick strikes me as one of those people that helps us to become better bloggers/writers/painters (and dog-walker aficionados).

      Sorry if I strained your scrolling fingers. But if it helps, I checked and that counts as a workout.

      • Reply Bun Karyudo March 2, 2017 at 7:39 am

        Glad you liked the look of his blog, Gabe. He’s a nice guy.

        Incidentally, my fingers have been feeling pretty sprightly after their workout. Then they look at the rest of my body and sigh.

  • Reply Andrea Stephenson March 1, 2017 at 5:43 am

    I agree with others Gabe, you definitely are an artist. I particularly love the ‘coming home’ image – beautiful. David Hockney does digital art and you can’t argue that he’s not an artist 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel March 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks Andrea! I love that sketch too. Now I’m going to have to check out David Hockney.

  • Reply lisakunk March 1, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Artist? Yes. Writer? Yes. Athlete? Yes. I have a twenty year old son who broke his knee when his pull up bar fell and he shattered not just his knee but his desire to start hiking the App Trail this summer. An engineering major because he’s good at it even though he doesn’t really like it, his minor is Outdoor Adventure Leadership. With a leg that won’t bend, it’s a difficult place to be. Your determination to complete your very long hike, after prior experiences that didn’t satisfy your plan, gives me hope that he will get there. It just may not be this year, or even the next. Good for you. Enjoy this life that so many miss instead of living it.

    • Reply Gabriel March 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Wow your son sounds like the complete package. You have every reason to be proud. As far as hiking in the future is concerned, I think you nailed it. The Trail will be there waiting, whenever he (and you!) are ready. I’ve found that it’s usually best not to try to force myself to pursue adventures I’m not quite ready for. I usually don’t enjoy it, and I rarely succeed. However, when I AM ready… It’s AMAZING how well everything just seems to come together.

      Thanks for stopping by again Lisa and for sharing this great comment. You’ve obviously touched on a topic that is very meaningful (for many of us), and it’s hard to stop pontificating. But, I don’t want to turn this reply into a whole new post, so I’ll just say THANK YOU again, and WELL SAID!

  • Reply Kristine @ MumRevised March 2, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I’m flummoxed. I’m not sure why you don’t think you are an artist. Your work is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Was that too many words?

    • Reply Gabriel March 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Now you’re just showing off. “Flummoxed” Really? I still chuckle when I think about your hilarious take on a Sia’s “The Greatest.” Now you’re throwing around the “brownie points” word of the day. Love it!

  • Reply aFrankAngle March 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I like your artistic style … but here’s a helpful hint … wordless means no words … but a few are acceptable. 😉 … just yanking your chain. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Gabriel March 2, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Ha! Yeah…I’m still figuring things out here. In a future post, I’m going to have to try to limit myself to 64 words because that’s my new favorite number (thanks to you).


  • Reply The Hook March 4, 2017 at 8:42 am

    You’re an artist.

    • Reply Gabriel March 4, 2017 at 9:38 am

      hehehe cheers Hook

  • Reply (Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Leading Ladies - (Almost) Unsalvageable(Almost) Unsalvageable March 8, 2017 at 5:06 am

    […] Disclaimer: A few weeks ago, I mentioned some of the tech used to prepare these digital sketches. In the interest of keeping this post (Almost) Wordless, I’ll leave a link for those interested rather than repeat. […]

  • Reply Barb Knowles March 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    They are all gorgeous. And since I even talk in my sleep, I would not even be able to attempt a wordless post. Kudos.

    • Reply Gabriel March 15, 2017 at 4:58 am

      hehehe yet again, your kind words reassure me that I’m not the only one with difficulty wrangling words.

  • Reply rugby843 March 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I’m one of those irritating people who knows nothing of art, just know what I like?❤

    • Reply Gabriel March 16, 2017 at 12:10 am

      hehehe pretty sure we’re on the same page again here. I would have a hard time articulating a meaningful comment about a piece of art I appreciate. And I have an even harder time trying to create my own 😉

  • Reply Di March 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    What a creative way to share other bloggers, Gabriel. While at the same time providing you with endless ways to explore your talent and creativity. As a newbie, I’m figuring out the maze that is ‘blogging’. Thank you for helping ???

    • Reply Gabriel March 16, 2017 at 12:28 am

      Thanks Di, and I’m still trying to get a feel for this blogging thing as well, so we can grow together.

      It’s gonna be a fun ride!

      • Reply Di March 16, 2017 at 1:23 am

        Thank you Gabriel!
        Yes, we can grow together. You seem to have a great handle on the ‘pingbacks’ and how to embed blog names already… I’ll get there one day. The writing takes all my brain space at the moment?
        ‘See’ you again soon ??

        • Reply Gabriel March 16, 2017 at 3:11 am

          hehehe my list of things blog-related that I’m still unable to fix is getting longer, but once I reach an even dozen, I’ll begin reaching out to tech savvy friends that may be able to help.

          In the meantime, you’re focusing on the right stuff. Writing quality content is the most important step, and you’re well on your way.

          • Di March 16, 2017 at 3:24 am

            That’s very kind Gabriel. Thank you so much. It means a lot.
            Well, I can report that I googled ‘hyperlinks’ and now know what that means in a blog??. Yay!
            Baby steps….
            Thank you again for awesome encouragement here and on your posts too ?????

  • Reply Oristel Guenael March 16, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Yes Gabe! You are an Artist! You are skillful and even your words show your creativity! Keep painting

    • Reply Gabriel March 16, 2017 at 6:38 am

      Wow – a multileveled compliment! Thanks so much Oristel, and you’re pretty amazing yourself. Let’s both keep sharing. That way everybody wins.

  • Reply Parul Thakur May 21, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Wow! I kind of missed the words there. Your sketches are too good. Out of the world.

    • Reply Gabriel May 22, 2017 at 6:01 am

      So glad you enjoyed! I already feel very rewarded simply through creating these sketches, but getting wonderful feedback is a great bonus.

    Now it's your turn to play!

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