A blessed winter




Not in the gutteral fragments

of the broken words,

But in the singing of the birds,

in the whispering of the leaves

Where life speaks, and the

soul find rest.

Tina Hudak 1995©
Watercolor by Sam Graul 1996©

A wish


bunny bluenewyear

Haiku written by a treasured friend sending her wishes to me. A Blue Bunny now shares these wishes with you.

Watercolor by Tina Hudak; Poetry by Sally A. Rieger ©2015.

photo of Takoma Junction

image from The Silver Spring Voice online article, “Nostalgic wall mural obliterated” written by Diana Kohn, August 7, 2014.

A dear neighbor and friend, Faith, has written a wonderful poem about the street & small town in which we live. Her words are remarkable in the way that they capture so directly, the feelings and images about the changes we both are witness to during the past thirty or more years. She has graciously given me permission to share with you.

There Goes the Neighborhood

Up the hill at the top of my street, High’s Dairy Store
Sold ice cream cones for fifteen cents,
Until too many break-ins brought an end to that, and they moved on.
TJ’s minimart came next to fill that space
With candy, soda, milk, TP and strange assorted canned goods no one bought,
Unless they had to.
Still when unexpected snow closed every other store in town,
Bu had milk and bread to sell and lottery tickets, too. Now he’s moved out
Like the juvenile delinquents living just across from me.
I don’t miss the cop cars or the sound of “firecrackers” at the druggy’s house, when
Terrified, the toddler and her granny ran for help
Into the street at night.

Last week they razed a 1920s bungalow a few doors down:
A huge construction’s going up that fills the whole damn lot.
A house like mine was gutted, then expanded in all six directions.
The meatloaf special and the diner serving it are gone, but we have tofu, sushi at our eight cafes.
Sunday a farmer’s market fills the square and every week some kind of festival is celebrated there.
We’ve got a House and Garden Tour, even a poet laureate.
Are these the signs of gentrification?
There’s still some quirkiness about us, but so much has changed.
Some people say we’re moving on. Others say, “We have arrived”–
No longer Tacky Park or Berkeley East, we’re now a destination.

Up the hill at the top of my street you can do hot yoga, then undo it all next door
At Springmill Bakery, opened yesterday–“You want a double latte with your cupcake?”–
Exactly where High’s Dairy store once stood.

Faith Bueltmann Stern 2015

Somewhere, there is a Jungian therapist who has written an academic paper that analyzes the metaphor in the deconstruction of the book with aging.

Last summer, working on a long-distance collaborative art piece, I deconstructed an inexpensive poetry pamphlet. The pages and the words on those pages became elements in a “fresh” work.

Today, as I work toward completion of a small collage, I realize that I am repeating myself – or rather reliving those psychic forces in a concrete fashion.  Over twenty years ago, I created and published an artist’s book, Sweet Potato, in an extensively large edition of 350! Needless to say, I never completed the complicated assembly required of all the folios, and do this only upon request.

This morning I have taken one folio and let it “rearrange” itself into something completely new.  As I ponder this process my thoughts lead me here: both creative forces – creating something new from that which is “finished” and aging – require the willingness to face fear.  Fear that the destruction a work of art is too inviolable to cut apart and re-imagine; fear that an aged life and eventual death are, in fact, the finished piece.

The beautiful circle in all that has occurred this bright, summer morning is that the artwork re-created is a wedding gift for a young couple.  Rebirth.

spsm sp2sm

pf6aA gracious gift to those who teach is summer.  As each one cycles through my year in education, it is time to reconnect with my previous life as an artist.  My expectations of artistic accomplishments during these brief months are quite simple – create one piece from the heart.

The artists are raising their eyebrows at this seemingly simple statement and thinking that this goal is, indeed, larger than I think.  You are quite right. Being a working artist is a nine-to-five job like any other job, yet the work itself – well, I will leave that description to other artists.

This began as a most unsettling summer.  I could not find a quiet center within myself regardless of books I read, visits with friends and family, or my love of gardening.  Restlessness permeated my days and nights. It was not until I “turned my ankle” during my relentless drive to clean up the yard that put me where I belong.  Sitting still.

More than twenty years ago I began to make a type of western “prayer flag” as a gift to those whose heart breaks or joys are difficult to contain or express with flowers and gifts.  It was a tangible way to offer love beyond my small self – an offering for the other to the universe.

Sharing this art form with you is “my creative work from the heart” this summer.  I hope it inspires those who are in need of a nudge, to adapt, improvise, and create.

 Tina Hudak’s prayer flag

  1. Choose a paper that is strong, but flexible in the wind. I use my own handmade paper for two reasons: the papermaking is part of the prayer, and I can choose my fibers and shape.pf3a

  2. Collage or create your image according to your artistic style that holds meaning.  Here, I use calligraphy, my photo scanned on handmade paper, print on handmade paper, stencils from my hand cut design.  Spray with a workable fixative.

  3. Cut “air holes” so that the flag meets less resistance from the breeze.  If not, it will most likely be torn down in a forceful wind.pf4a

  4. Reinforce the ribbon or string used to hanging to withstand the wind.pf1a

  5. At the bottom of the prayer flag, attach an object to weight it, but not enough to tear through it.pf5a

  6. Hang outdoors.  With all prayer flags, as it weathers, the prayer is released to the heavens.pf2a



Yellow hugs my nose breathing in the beauty of this tiny universe.

yellow fractal trans

I am loving this summer, which is a lovely surprise since it is my least favorite season. One never knows, n’est-ce pas?

Fractal made from my watercolour of a forsythia bloom.

Memorial day


I miss the Dead.

Polaroids with washed-out colors,

Nuanced meanings behind the creases

of their smiles. Muted sounds.

Long before devices marked

every event, every movement,

my heart recorded their sounds.

Sounds now scratched into my life,

spiral round and round.

My needle, lodged in the groove of past lives,

plays their sweet voices.

While many of those who I love have died throughout my years, either unexpectedly or through aging, the one life that brought so much joy to our family daily, was Ellie, our golden retriever – our fifth and last dog.  2013 cp

ellie 002





I awoke

to the icy, freezing rains when the

birches are white,

stark sentinels.

The garden is asleep,

guarded by their

heavy snow-laden boughs.

I awoke

to the fragrance of spring when the

birches are white,

whispering dancers.

Tulips sashaying.

An audience, applauding;

a tender pax de deux with life.

I awoke amidst the

desolation of a winter’s landscape, but

I breathéd, and it was


©Tina Hudak

The detail for this artwork is a collaborative piece between myself and Connie Heik Jokinen.  Our friendship remains despite our differing locations on two different continents.  This work-in-progress keeps our friendship connected in a special way.



More than a decade ago, I changed from living a more “interior” life as an artist to an “exterior” one; one where I functioned in a more customary work environment.  My surroundings changed, too.  Instead of the familial comfort of my studio, I entered the bleak suburban landscape of the university.  The drive to and from this place several times a week caused a physical pain for at least a year.  One day during the Lenten season, after driving this route and pulling my car into one of the numberless repetitive spaces, I lowered my head to the steering wheel and cried from self-pity.  I wrote this poem in tribute to the geese.

violet 003Lent

This is the season of abstinence.

Violets, white cotton, dried and crumpled

lay lifeless in a nook, a dark wooden drawer.

Poles and wires crucify the penitent

to the black concrete highway.

Beneath the spinning wheels

I am found.

This is the season of repentance

for sins of shadow play,

reflections against the lost colors

of comfort.

Metal and plastic globes illumine

a landscape littered with

shopping centers and cheap


I am found looking

straight ahead.

Geese rise above macadam and mortar


“I am the resurrection and the life.”

©1997 Tina Hudak

an inefffable time


nesting debris1

This is the year when I have less years ahead, than I have behind me. I am not happy or sad about this, but rather grateful. It is an ineffable time in one’s life as one has the ability to be moved by all that has gone before, and rejoice in all that will lay ahead for others. Many years ago, when I was a young woman and after I had given birth to my second child, my seventy year-old father and I went for a walk together through my childhood neighborhood. As we walked side-by-side, we talked about these children. He was not a self-reflective individual, but he was a sensitive one. He said to me, without bitterness or self-pity but with an honest statement, “I wish I could live to see them [his grandchildren] grow up.” I too wish I could live to see many things come to fruition in the world, but it seems right that I will not. I am a part of nature; I am a part of the world. “Coming into the peace of wild things” is what life demands from us.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting in their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry

My thanks goes out to Rev. Jill Lum who gave this poem to me many years ago. It stays with me as a reminder of her goodness, and of my own part in the world.

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