What drives the art?

Patience and creativity

Returning to life as an artist is a challenge after twenty years immersed in a left-brain career as a librarian – organizing, cataloging and instructional designing.  Nothing demonstrates this more than the past two months working on a seemingly simple artist’s book.

Prior to my life as a librarian, I was a working artist for twenty years with roots in calligraphy. This form is the foundation for everything I learned about art subsequently. Knowing the quality of work of which I am capable by looking back through the boxes and folders of my art projects, and then, looking at my current work, left me sorely demoralized. This is true, even with calligraphy, my first love.

So, I turn to writing prose and bookmaking, additional loves in the artistic life. My intention (please note this noun!) to create an artist’s book with my prose at the central point is a turning point. Designing the format and attempting to carry out the all the skills needed, demonstrates how far I have meandered my previous life. Nothing was meeting my standards. This went on for more than a month. Over and over, re-thinking, re-designing, re-hashing imagery…until, one morning, I collected all the debris and threw it into an envelope to shelve.

What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t this working? I was on my third attempt with this “simple book.”

May I suggest that you read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott


Cover art

Finally, after re-reading one chapter of the above title, it hit me. I was working with the left-brain. Intention. In my process to create, it was all linear – get from Point A to my Point B .

So, I cleared everything off my desk. Created a big open space. And played. Ran my hands over the handmade papers until I found those that felt right. Moved around the pieces of photographs like a jigsaw puzzle until they fell into place visually.

Continuing along this path for the next two weeks, the book I had never imagined began to form. Yes, there were times I was afraid to “be intentional” not wanting to subvert a new beginning. Each decision, intuitive or deliberate, was met with patience. I put the work aside and came back to it another day; played with it for an hour and then, went for a walk.

To continue to encourage my ability to create step-by-step, piece-by-piece with respect and composure is my task for this season – this month as we enter into the time of hunkering down for winter. If I can allow myself this time, spring will be a joy.

AS I AGE: free verse

As I age, I would like to sit across from my mother at the kitchen table, the one with the red and white enamel top the table where she rolled out her dough for Christmas baking, year after year; where she set our hot meals before us every day – except Sunday.

I would like to talk with her, mother to daughter, about our families, our marriages, and her grandsons. I would like to know my enigmatic father, her spouse, through her eyes and with her heart. To hear tales of my sisters as toddler, her girls. These sisters I love and who were born years before me.

There is so much I ache to know, but mostly it is this: to have my mother close by me again with her smile and scowl in equal measures, the sound of her voice surrounding me. Simply to be in her presence; to share our lives as women do.



Poetry from the porch #5


My sons were both born in the season I cherish.

Nature’s rhythms begin to slow.

Irish sweaters, worn in so many places, are pulled out to air. Thrown carelessly, but with love, over the old chestnut banister.

It is the time to pull in and hunker down, anticipating winter’s gift of solitude.

Oh yes, late blooms still remain on the shrubbery’s branches, where pale reds and violets preen themselves.

Outer foliage dies. But roots, deep down, refresh themselves.

This is the season where what was once nimble, even spirited in spring, allows itself a graceful decline. Where new life is nurtured within the strength of what was once young.

My sons, I remember holding you in my arms while the gentle, autumn light blankets us.

My sons, it is a good season for birth. 

When the boys were young, the beach trips were during the autumn months.

© 2019 Tina Hudak Dedicated to Sam & jack


summer hydrangea

A Late Summer poem revisited


Along a narrow beach road there is a white house

weathered with blue shutters where one is missing.

The clapboard is grey, the color of wet sand.

The sky is big above this place.

Light, light is everywhere

reflected by the bay that stretches before her front door.

This house is surrounded by scrub pines, wild grasses;

swaying blues and greens across a muted landscape.

The porch wraps itself around the house an apron of comfort to wipe off

the debris of city life.

Through the screen is a silhouette of long ago.

A bulbous vase sitting atop a wicker table


with flowers, drying hydrangeas of pale blues

and violets; some are a faded scarlet.

Blinding sunflowers beg kisses.


I am a woman of substance

living in this place, in this house.

I have a ruddy complexion and

sand between my toes.

I love the sound of the sea winds banging

against the shutters.


Every summer I paint the shutters a

robin’s egg


For many summers my family spent time in Lewes, Delaware. It was always a magical time. The house I speak of has, long ago, been torn down to build condominiums for the next generation. We never returned after that last summer with the house.

Lewes, Tina Hudak © 1988 Dedicated to my sisters

Poetry from the porch #4

Small struggles


The lines do not come with ease. My hand forces the paper to lay down at odd angles. Every minor effort is met with resistance.

Repetitive images and motions, one after another. Again and again. And another. Persistence is the curse.

Distracted thoughts, but with eyes steady. The thin, silver blade slices through layer upon layer. Yet the plethora of pieces find no rest. No home.

There is no angle. No paper. No place for these lines. Not yesterday. Not today. Will tomorrow be the same?


Outside my open window the redbud branches arch effortlessly from the trunk. So too, the leaves from the branches. And so on. Here, all is aligned accordingly. The songbird bestows her blessing with song. All is as it is intended.


To live with ease. To grow with grace. To be elemental.

The Eastern Redbud is prolific in the area where I live. In spring, when the purple buds are in bloom, before the leaves emerge, they are breathtaking.

Poetry from the porch #3

Sunset’s sorrow


 I cannot reconcile myself to the death
of this timid goldfinch. Nature’s senseless killing.
No more sunflower yellow against the
coneflower’s faded blush of late summer;
No more sweet song fills the picking garden
laden with heavy blooms. Sunset sweeps in.
What will its mate do now? Will she linger
perched here in her muted greys tinged
with dull shades of gold, waiting? 
Will she sing,
And sing,
And sing,
waiting for bursts of staccato counter-song?


My body is weighed down with sorrow.
And yes, with anger, too,
both in equal measures.
Tina Hudak, poem and image © 2019

Dedicated to the families, friends, and especially victims of mass shootings in the United States too numerous to list.


Sent as a prayer to lawmakers, organizations, and individuals to act with common sense and compassion, not from a sense of power and with Closed Minds.

Poetry from the porch #2

Kay’s Trees

There is no fairness with life and death,
       only its impersonal surges and slumps.
Sometimes, no oftentimes, middle ground swells.
The majestic trees know nothing of this. Upwards
     they climb.
They know nothing of justice. They seek this alone -
     to kiss the
Written for K.T., a friend; given other circumstances, I like to think that we could have been Dear friends.

Hoeft, B. TreeS. Meares Island, in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, Personal email, 2019.

Collage: expressing love from sadness

Sammy, the well-loved dog

This art piece is made from love and to honor his beautiful canine being.

Step 1 Starting

  • Staring with the original photograph, the image was printed out on an old HP colour printer using my handmade-paper of linen & cotton blend. This gave it texture for reworking with other materials.

Step 2 The Assemblage

image of collage with photography, calligraphy and gold work.

Within 2-3/8″ square, the following pieces were designed:

  • Photo resized & reworked with chalk pastel for high/low lights;
  • Glue background piece onto an acid-free, heavy stock
  • Calligraphy, hand-coloured with pencil;
  • Hand-decorated pieces for emphasis with added, and
  • Lastly, shell gold was painted on and buffed to signify lasting love.

Step 3 The Final Gluing

  • Assemble pieces into places for the last view
  • Add or move pieces now
  • Glue smaller pieces together to form larger ones before final gluing to the background piece
  • Place in book press for 30 minutes with wax paper covering image

Step 4 Frame

A memento of someone loved, to someone you love.

About Sammy
Sammy the Dog came into our lives through our son -his very first dog as an adult. This pup was a rescue dog who had suffered much prior to his adoption. He lived a good life : well-loved, well-fed, well-cared for every day.  He took up little space but filled all of my son's with a devotion, pure and simple, as only a dog can do for us.