Tag Archives: Phoebe Sparrow Wagner

Le Chat d’une amie- A friend’s Cat

painted for her birthday – peint pour son anniversaire.

Here’s the original photo of pasha

Here’s my rendering, with the chocolates turned into a book, The Art of Purring by David Michie, one of the 5 Dalaï lama’s cat books.


The dog (11” by 14”) was painted for my brother and is a portrait of his dog. Acrylics, on canvas. The cat portrait, done for another member of Brattleboro Time Trade is twice the size of the dog painting and is also on canvas but was done in Sennelier and Holbein oil pastels. Sorry about the watermarks, but it’s necessary.


Can you draw a bicycle from memory, without looking at a photo or diagram? Before reading further, take out a sheet of paper and a pencil and try doing this, No cheating or looking at a picture.

Did you have trouble, even after initial confidence that this would be easy? Well, if so you are in good company!

Apparently this is a difficult task for most people and the following article explains why and shows the amusing results when your average person on the street is asked to do so. 


Italian Designer Gianluca Gimini has gone one step further in creating realistic renderings of such “impossible bicycles”.


Nevertheless, I am going to show you how to easily draw a bicycle from memory, so the next time someone asks (if they ever do) Can you draw a bicycle from memory, you will be able to answer: “Of course, drawing a bicycle is easy!”

Step 1

Draw a circle, then at about a half diameter away, draw another identical circle. Find and mark the center of each.

step 2 Add a small circle with approximately a quarter of the diameter of original circles and place it  next to one wheel, this will be the rear wheel, with its center on a horizontal line to the center of the big circle.

Step 3 Draw a diagonal line from the center of the small circle to a point outside the “front wheel”, near but not quite vertically above the center, at around 11 o’clock 

Step 4 Add a line almost but not quite parallel to this front line, coming from the center of rear wheel.

Step 5 Connect the two diagonal lines as shown below, making a trapezoidal-like figure. Note that this is not a true trapezoid on most bikes, but close to it will do for our drawing.

Step 6  Drop two more lines. One from the upper right corner of “trapezoid-like figure” to the center of the front wheel.  Draw another running from the center of the small wheel through the upper intersection of lines  on the left (the  projection is the location for the seat). To complete most of the bike frame. add a small vertical line at the top in the front for the post that holds the handlebars,

Step 7  Add Chain and pedals as shown to small wheel

Step 8 Add seat and underslung handlebars at the height necessary for your rider.

Step 9 Thicken tires and reinforce bike frame if you wish

Et voila!you CAN draw a bicycle! (add spokes and panniers and water bottle as you wish)

Step 10 is the hardest part– adding a rider to your bicycle! Come back soon and I hope to explain this more difficult task  at a later date.

Can you draw a bicycle now? Take out a fresh piece of paper and try it to see how much you remember of this exercise. With only a little practice you will find drawing a bicycle is indeed easy!


The question was this:

Do schizophrenics feel really hurt by their family members who won’t acknowledge their illness?

Four years ago I answered with this response:

First of all, I want to ask you to stop using the short hand word, ‘Schizophrenic” as it is demeaning and reduces a person to their diagnosis. As I have said repeatedly, a person who has had a myocardial infarction, or heart attack, is not called by most people (except the medical staff at a hospital when no one else is listening) “that infarct” and similarly a person who has suffered from Meningitis is not called a “meningitic”! Sorry if I sound somehow PC to you, but I have a personal stake in this, having been diagnosed for nearly 40 years with “schizophrenia” and my preference is to be called, first of all, a person…and then if you want to qualify further, you may add, a person “diagnosed with schizophrenia.” I am NOT my diagnosis and the more one qualified me as simply that, a schizophrenic, the more impossible recovery became. It was only when I walked away from the mental illness system and started speaking up about the word, and how I am a person first of all, that I found the road to health and wholeness.

That said, I was rejected by my father first of all, who disowned me for nearly 35 years…and this led to my entire family, including aunts, uncles and cousins dropping all contact with me. I never received a phone call or a letter or a visit from most of them ( except occasionally my siblings) during all that time, and it was only when my father died (and also after I came out with a memoir, published by St Martins Press) and I attended the funeral that they so much as spoke to me.

Hurt? That does not even begin to describe it. My father told lie after lie about why he had no contact with me, even as I tried mightily to establish some connection. Why? Because he was angry with me for leaving medical school, and being hospitalized…and he decided that whatever my diagnosis, I was a failure and no good for anyone, especially him. But to others who knew me, he told them I had left home and any relationship with him out of rage…even though it was in fact his rage that prevented my name from being spoken in his presence. When he met any new people he said he had three children, never acknowledging my existence. This was so extreme that when I read a poem about and for him at his funeral the attendees there, 400 or so, most did not know who I was, sitting among my siblings behind the pulpit.

To this day, I come across people who have never learned that the good doctor S—- had four children, not three. They were never even told that my own twin sister had a twin who was not being spoken to or about or of…

Now, I was very hurt, yes. At one point, in hurt and outrage, I threatened if he ever made the claim again that he only had 3 children, I would immolate myself publicly in front of his window just so that would be the final vision he would have seared on his retina…As he knew I was capable of this, I think he understood how hurt i was. But he nevertheless never did inform anyone about me, or even when we reconciled did he let a soul except my mother and siblings know this.

I am unclear as to the thrust of this question however. How do most people react to being rejected by their families, on any account? People diagnosed with schizophrenia are HUMAN and have normal human emotions, and to expect that they would not get hurt by such behavior is not only inhuman, it is absurd.


preheat oven to 350F

Line a metal loaf pan with parchment paper

5C spelt flour

2C mixed seeds (sesame, poppy, sunflower and pepitas or pumpkin seed kernels)

1C raisins

1 Tb baking soda

1tsp salt

(Whisk together all dry ingredients including raisins until well combined)

2.5 C vegan plant-based milk plus .5C extra

2 Tb date syrup, or maple syrup or molasses

Combine wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients then stir until you have a thick batter. Stir only long enough to combine everything. If necessary add extra .5C plant-based milk

spoon immediately into parchment-lined loaf pan and bake exactly 1 hour.

remove from oven and from pan and let cool.



Dolly, Acrylics, about 9” by 12” for sadie
Marbles and string, more studies in realism – watercolors and colored pencil c. 5” by 7”
Study of Peach/nectarine and grapes, realism – watercolors and colored pencils c. 5” by 7”

The following sketches are simply small studies of women dancing, trying to capture the movement in the photograph and drawing quickly. Each sketch took only a few minutes at most, hence the simplicity.


A friend’s beloved dog, now deceased. Oil pastel, c. 12” by 9”
strawberries in watercolor and colored pencil
Small jar in watercolor and colored pencils
Wine bottle cork in watercolors and colored pencil

Wooden finial with photo for comparison, in watercolors and colored pencils