Jazz is a musical style first seen at the beginning of the 20th century. Born from a mix of European and African music it is a restless mix of improvisation, syncopation and blue notes. It is spontaneous and mirrors the vitality of the performer who never plays the same composition twice.

A visual artist never develops a subject twice the same way for similar reasons. A lovely landscape or still-life can be painted hundreds of times and be different each time. Even a portrait will never be the same again. Certainly the light will never be quite the same, but the intensity or desire of the artist will not be the same either.

The most satisfying works in music or art need the concentration and love of the artist.

“Jazz Nights” Oil painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

The inspiration for any form of art frequently comes unbidden, and results in something entirely different from the original thought. The painting above came about from remembering the little “band” my grandsons and I formed after I taught them to play guitar. Strangely enough, there isn’t a guitar in the painting! It’s original title was “Bammie and the Boys” which was a little “too cutesey” for comfort!

“A Tip of the Hat” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

This painting popped onto paper after a Christmas shopping trip to Harrod’s in London, where I bought a derby for Dr. Advice. It looked very nice on Julianne!


There is a new baby in our family which made me think again that it’s important to think about what your grandchildren will call you once they acquire the power of speech.  (At least any speech clear enough to decipher.)

Your children don’t have a lot of choices, it’s usually some variation of “mama, daddy, mom, dad,” — you get it.   Friends of ours solved that problem by having their children address them by their given names.  The father prefers simply to be called “Captain”.   Rather intimidating but it does lend a certain aura of authority.  What kid is going to mess around Grandpa’s workshop without asking if the “Captain” allows it?

But grandparents’ monikers  need some thought.   Assuming you will be a grandparent for a long time, preferably long after those cute babies become grown people with children of their own, cuddly cute nicknames simply won’t do.  A friend asked me sometime ago what my grandchildren called me.  That’s an interesting question because they all seem to choose their own way of getting your attention.  (Though I once had a son-in-law who never called me anything.)  After I shared my various pet names,  I asked her what she desired her grandchild-to-be to call her, and she said “Auntie Jane, I’m too young to be a grandma”.  Of course that all changed once the dear little thing made it’s appearance.

I thought the original grandson’s choice of “Bammi and Bubba” was really cute.  I even envisioned a little band with him and his brother on various instruments and me on the guitar, but that all changed when a neighbor kid a couple of years older laughed at him, for using such babyish names, and the next thing I knew, I was “Grand-ma” enunciated very clearly.  “Bubba”, however remains, and  has carried on into great-grandparenthood, and now my husband  is “Bub” to all of the various grandchildren, and many of our children’s friends  as well.

I, meanwhile, have numerous forms of identification, none of which happens to be “Grandma”!    I thought “GG”for great-grandmother would be  an easy one, and one grandson in his 30’s says it’s hip!  It’s flattering that he thinks I’m “hip”, or maybe it’s just the name!