After supper, Alfred Gockel walked up to a blank canvas and in less than 45 minutes, he’d filled it with bold color and rich symbols. For example, if you ever see one of his paintings that has a circle with a dot in it somewhere on the canvas, that’s your cue that he created that particular painting in front of an audience. Fish represent freedom to him because, according to Gockel, they are the only animal who can go around the world. He places mountains in many of his paintings as a tribute to Dali.

He asked if I wanted to take a picture with him. Said he loved my jacket then invited me to jump into his painting.

“That’s it,” I joked with him when we talked later. “I’m giving up stitching and taking up painting. It takes me an entire year to finish a piece, and it took you less than an hour.”




“Did you see me painting with two hands?” he asked. “It’s like playing the drums. I taught myself to paint with two hands because I needed to be faster, and I needed to be faster because my first wife had expensive tastes.”


Painting is my husband’s thing, something he and our children share an interest in and bond over.


This – this right here – is what revs my engine. I love that the husband and children share a hobby, I love listening to them talk about art and artists, and I love that they let me tag along and stitch in the background.

I hatched four good ideas as I watched and listened to Gockel. It seems cross-pollination is a good thing.


We’re spending an art weekend at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. They have fantastic hot chocolate here.


And the sunsets aren’t bad either.



After taking Lisa Call’s Design Elements class, I am reworking the quilt that went to Ireland last year, making it horizontal instead of vertical, and letting the teardrop fall off the edge. Now that I have a look at the photo, though, the teardrop looks a little too large. I’ll check on that tomorrow and hope that it’s a camera thing. Oh, and this quilt has a new name, too: Apocrypha 1.

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Jeanne Hewell-Chambers apologizes for the fuzzy, poorly-lit photos and explains that it’s dark here at The Grove Park Inn. I mean, REALLY dark.