Though this is a blog about the paintings I make of my garden I want to mention the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq today. 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died so far in this shameful war. More than 4400 American troops will also never come home. As I sit and paint in my quiet studio pretty pictures of my own emotional ups and downs I know how lucky I am to have the peace and safety to do so. A salaam waleikum to all the people in Iraq. I wish and worry for a more peaceful future.