Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be. ~Robert Brault
In my Face Book profile, I wrote--"I am reinventing myself so stay tuned..." I am hard pressed to describe myself these days and the truth is that I am in the process of becoming something different. Not because I want to-- I thought I was doing OK the way I was--but because circumstances forced it on me. Damn, I hate change. I have discovered when a person's life is rudely interrupted or if a war rages, it is impossible to go back to the way she was--it is like someone burned the bridge--and she has to climb on her horse and charge through the dragons to get to a new place. Who knows, maybe I will be the princess this time, but whatever, my prayer is that I will be strong, brave and true, able to look my foes in the eyes, yet be soft enough to know another's pain.
This painting is Sunflowers in a Blue Vase. Still lifes are a challenge for me because there is more than one element I have to do well in a picture and yet make it all pull together. It was the fabric I struggled with in this painting. I Love the vase, though, and I am happy with the flowers. I am pleased with the background too. Sometimes there are just too many rules about art --one is about the colors. As students we are taught to have a limited pallet and to just to mix the colors. I don't like to mix colors, I like them straight out of the tube. I read in a book that to paint sunflowers, rather than using one yellow to mix lighter and darker, it is better to have a number of different tubes of yellow. I have found this works for me. For a lighter yellow, I don't mix white in, I just use a tube of lighter paint. Using the different hues of yellow, makes the flowers glow. I use this principle in the blues, reds and greens too. It has taken a long time to build up the supply, but I have lots of oil paint and do very little mixing. I grew the flowers and found the vase at a yard sale.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Both quotes apply to my emotional state tonight. I won't say anymore than that, since it is my intention to move on. They say what doesn't kill us will make us stronger. I highly suspect that I am not going to die from this.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.
The purpose of this blog, and the purpose of the portfolio I put together, was to break past the artist block and the personal turmoil in my life to paint again. I haven't gotten there yet, but one day I will be posting a new painting. Like Georgia, I must not let anything keep me from doing a single thing I want to do. Looking at work I have done in the past does inspire me. In fact, it still surprises me that I rendered these paintings; that my name is on them. You'd think that the act of creating would put me in such a spiritual state that nothing would touch me, but the truth is that painting is a series of ordinary actions: designing, sketching, painting, cleaning brushes, getting paint on my cheek, getting frustrated when something doesn't quite work, and being tired at the end of the day. Somehow the magic comes out of that. It is a gift.
Like Georgia, I want to give you a flower. It is titled Glory. Not mine but God's.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I have never looked at myself as a success because things in my life have never gone "according to plan." I certainly had expected a different kind of success in regards to my art. But I think that my perceptions about myself and my art are warped. I have always dealt with intense self-loathing due to childhood abuse and a painful marriage. Some days I keep that monster in the cage and others it gets out; I don't know it's out, until I find myself staring it in the face.
But I am a success. I am getting better and changing, becoming more relaxed in my own skin. Tonight in a group of people, we were served cake on little paper plates. My cake was on three plates stuck together, so I pulled them apart, and drew little sketches on the clean plates and gave them away. Just simple doodling, really, but there was a time I would never let anyone see me doing it, let alone letting them have the sketch. Hey, Monster!! I am a success!! Get the hell out of my life!!
This painting is titled Amazing Grace II. Because it is amazing that God would create an iris in that color of purple and that I could paint it. It is all a gift.
CWCW: I actually chopped my own wood today. Usually my roommate does it, but it was up to me today. I worked on laundry and cleaning the living room and detail cleaning kitchen. I sorted through paints getting ready to start using them. I will do it, as I am a success.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Gardens are closely related to art. I have hundreds of photos taken in my garden which I use for reference, and of course flowers are creation of the greatest Artist. I can plan where to plant what to make the most pleasing effect, but most arrangements are accidental. Last year I loved the contrast between the blue green of a cabbage growing next to a maroon dahlia. Both plants were stuck in the ground as an afterthought.
This is one of my first paintings of an iris. I noticed a bug on the flower in the photo so for fun I put it on the iris. I may start painting irises again. I don't think I have enough.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tonight I can't define my emotions because they are jumping around, from sadness to the joy of fellowship with friends, and back again. I have been deeply moved how God shows himself in my life, and the friends He has given me. I also realize I am still dealing with a lot of pain. I don't really know what to say beyond that.
This is a drawing I did many years ago, one of the few early works that survived my chaotic life. It is titled, Nez Perce, and is a picture of Chief Joseph. Something about his story touched me. He is a man who understood disappointment and pain. Maybe I will meet him one day on the Other Side, where all men will truly be brothers.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Dear friends of mine rarely use the word "problem," preferring to use "opportunity." While using this word switch tends to keep the conversation more positive, the truth is that our opportunities do come out of our difficulties. Not always what I want to hear, but it is the truth
Nobody ever promised me a rose garden. The roses I grow in my yard, I had to plant and nurture myself. Since growing them has been a learning experience, I have lost some. The cold froze off the top graft leaving the root stock which produced wild growth and "undesirable" blooms; the mutated plants had to be dug up. Having roses is a lot of work--- that I have to do. Yet I am rewarded with the scented blooms, which touches me in a deep place. I am waiting for the day where my current "opportunities" will produce a fragrant beauty in my life.
The painting is Violets, of one of my African violets. It was tricky painting the reflection of the blooms and curtain on the glass over the landscape outside the window, and still make it believable; I don't know if I accomplished that, but I like the reflections in the pot and the feel of the bright sunny day.
Chop Wood, Carry Water: I watered the violets and house plants, poor things! I started detail cleaning the kitchen and and of course there is always the laundry.
When I sit down to write some nights, I have no idea what I am going to say, but inspiration often comes when I search for a quote or select a piece of art to share. Tonight was such a time and I first chose the painting and then the quote which seem to fit together.
I feel like I am about to push off from the shore into some new exciting adventure, but old ideas are keeping me frozen on the beach. Negative thoughts about myself: That I can't do it; that I am not good enough; that my circumstances are holding me back; that people won't like me. Yuck. New ideas: that God loves me; that I am always in His guidance and care; that He has blessed me with incredible gifts. Me. These gifts draw people to me and me to God. These gifts will change my life if I let them be pure and holy like they are meant to be, not tainted by old ideas. Look at this painting. It still amazes me that I can push paint around and produce something like this iris. Maxie, don't you dare let an old idea touch it!!
The painting is titled Last Iris because it is the last in the series of irises. I had planned to move on to other subjects, like birds, but I let old ideas get in the way. Like most of the rest of the iris paintings, I grew this in my garden.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is. ~Francis Bacon
Monet's water lilies are on the right and mine on the left. I like mine better; I grew it in a fountain a couple of years ago when my garden was in its prime, and I love how the photo turned out. The last two years, because of circumstances, my garden wasn't at its best; I just neglected it. I hope to do better this year. I am looking forward to being outside in the sun and fresh air. It has been a long winter. I have taken a lot of pictures of my garden; I think I will start showing them in the blog because they themselves are art.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
When I sit down here to write at night, sometimes I have no idea what I am going to say. Tonight I decided that I am going to focus on the blessings in my life. I might forget about them and start whining tomorrow or next week, but tonight it is time for blessings. For a number of years I have been part of a small gratitude group where we exchange brief lists of what we are grateful for every day via email. Not only has it allowed me to get to know people better, that daily act has transformed my life. While this blog is not always upbeat, (remember, I promised it would be real) today I decided it would be.
The Blessings: The gifts of art, and writing; a sense of humor that lifts my spirit and entertains others; friends who share their time, and possessions and all their love with me--I can always find an ear or shoulder when I need it; my family, especially grandchildren; my health--only a couple of minor issues; my home--there are those who have none; my car--older and a little dinged up but it is reliable, has a lot of power and has stereo to play loud rock 'n roll; a garden that I will be working in soon; a dog who thinks I am the cat's meow; a cat that meows; African violets that bloom in the coldest weather; that people actually read this blogs; books and MUSIC. These are only a few of the things I am blessed with. Remind me if I start whining.
This painting is Chrystal Falls. It was a commission--it don't do many commissions as I prefer to paint to please myself rather than someone else, but this one worked out, the owners were very pleased with it. I went to the Falls east of town and took lots of pictures. I chose take the pictures in the morning because I love back lit subjects--I learned that from the Impressionist who were magical with the light in their pictures. Like I said in a previous post, it is not true to life, but it is believable.
CWCW: I just had fun today which included: the pool, a meeting in the Fellowship, lunch with friends, hanging around the beauty shop being girly, dinner with another friend and playing games with her family. Love and laughter-- beats the hell out of crying.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I think it is time to take a look at how well I have done. I have managed my life --or God has-- pretty well since James' death-- it will be 9 months on Tuesday. While I have been blindsided by circumstances and emotions, it I have succeeded in some areas--decisions regarding the house, taking care of business, and doing what is necessary to take care of myself-mostly stepping up contact with others and participating in the Fellowship. I need people now more than I have ever have in my life. I just do the best I can.
Blue Bird-- I drew it today! I just made up my mind I was going to do it and I did. I was so pleased with it I took a picture of it with my phone and tried to send it to all my friends, but the phone didn't co-operate, so I can only show it here. I applaud myself for trying.
CWCW: I cleaned the bathroom and of course drew a blue bird. I also went out with a friend to a fundraising Gala. Free dinner and entertainment and we shared some of our hearts with each other. No one asked me to dance, though. One day I will dance-- just hide and watch.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I quit smoking 13 years ago and for a couple of years afterwards, I would find myself rummaging through the refrigerator, craving something, not knowing really what. I didn't think of smoking and didn't associate the cravings with wanting a cigarette, but I think that the cravings did have something to do with a important part of my life being gone. I think the same is true with grieving. When I feel blue, I don't think "I miss him, boo-hoo," but grief must be the root of my feelings. After a wonderful lunch with friends today, I spent the afternoon crying. I have ceased trying to explain it; I only accept its the way it is.
Onto Picasso's quote--art as a diary. There are stories behind every painting I do. This one is The Superstitions. I started painting it the first winter we stayed in Apache Junction, AZ. A man named Nelson owned a auto salvage yard at the foot of these mountains and he wanted a large painting of it. I let my husband talk me into doing it in exchange for a Dodge van, which we desperately needed since my Toyota died. As my brother-in-law, Bobby used to say, we were "financially embarrassed." I never attempted a painting that size --2 by 4 feet--in fact, I had very little skill in painting-- and it took me almost a year. I carried it back to Oklahoma and worked all summer on it and the when we returned to AZ the following winter, we gave it to Nelson. He had never expected to see the painting, or the van again. By they time I was done with it, I was sick of it--I like it now, though. So this magnificent painting hung in the living room of an old mobile home in the middle of a junk yard. I don't know where it is now.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
When I was a little kid, maybe age 5 or so I had a reoccurring nightmare where I was chased by a monster, and it terrified me. I told no one about this and was afraid to go to sleep at night; there seemed no to get rid of the dream. I decided one day that I would just make friends with the monster and all day I thought about ways to make friends with it and that is what I was thinking about when I went to sleep. Amazingly, in the dream that night, I did make friends with the monster and it never bothered me again. I have monsters in my life, and while some should be banished, there is one --which is the me that hates myself-- that I should make friends with. I have read about self-image in several places today and tonight's meeting was on self-love. A friend gave me a list of of 101 ways to pray, and number 99 is "Ask God to show you how others see you." Yikes! When the same topic comes up several times in a day I take it as a message from God that I should pay close attention to. The image I have of myself, especially my physical body, is pretty bad. That is the monster in my life. It is time I made friends with it because it is coloring everything else in my life. I have heard that strong confident people are attractive, so I am praying that I will be a Proverbs 31 woman "clothed in strength and dignity and laughing at the days to come."
The painting is an early watercolor, a lighthouse called Point no Point, or at least my version of it. The light is still active operated by the US Coast Guard and is on the Puget Sound.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Today is my 29 year anniversary in Al-Anon. I was a lost and confused girl in a lot of pain in 1981, and my life has been transformed by this program. In spite of the years of recovery, I have had to do today what I did many years ago to find help and relief from the pain my life today; I will never get well enough that I won't need the Al-Anon program. But that's the good news.
I had a wonderful day hanging out with recovery friends, laughing a lot and feeling loved. I am left with feeling a great deal of hope that something wonderful and exciting is going to happen to me soon.
This is one of my reference photos--in fact I did use it to created a painting. It was taken early in the morning and I used a spray bottle to add the droplets of water to look like it had just rained.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I am fearless! Not really... because I can get anxious, same as anybody else, but looking back over the last 8 1/8 months since Hubby's death, I can see I made it through one day at a time and that God was with me, and I didn't give up; that is fearless.
What really is courage? For me it was getting up every day and going to meetings in the Fellowship, to church, or hooking up with friends. It was making decisions without worry and accepting that outcome--good or bad-- was just me doing the best I could. It was calling people when I needed help and prayer, and not being ashamed to do so and graciously accepting the help offered. It is learning to be who I am and not worry whether anybody likes who that is. It was letting myself cry and then putting my smile back on when I faced other people. It was staying alone when my heart ached for companionship. It was seeking out that companionship when the ache became too much. It is knowing that this too shall pass and these experiences will tenderize my hard heart and allow me to help others. It is knowing that "nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake."
This painting is Scent of Spring; as I said yesterday I love reflections and painting clear vases with water in them; I like the distortion of the stems. I also enjoy rendering fabrics. I struggled with the daffodils in this picture but I love the rest of it. I picked the flowers in my garden and created the still life, photographing it for reference. I work too slow to paint from life--the flowers would be black by the time I was done.
CWCW: I finished the portfolio and made arrangements to visit the new gallery on Friday with an artist friend.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? ~Winnie the Pooh
CWCW: Laundry, ironing and working on the portfolio. I also exercised some since my hip is feeling better. I also gave away the long-haired cat that was clawing my furniture, getting cat hair on my drawing table and --worst of all-- terrorizing my older cat. I cleaned up the drawing table and put fresh paper on it. Maybe I will paint soon. If I could stop thinking. :o)
Monday, March 1, 2010
Today I celebrate much less pain after friends praying for me yesterday. I can celebrate that God loves me enough to move heaven and earth--or at least rearrange doctor's schedules--so that I will not have a surgery I don't need. I can celebrate the sunshine and the possibility of an early spring. I can celebrate that I am almost finished with the portfolio and can move on to creating a real art project. I can celebrate that my troubles are puny compared to some of the suffering I see in others. I can celebrate prayer.
This painting, Cottonwood, is one I did in college, my teacher was sticker about working from a sketch instead of a photograph, so I sketched a dead cottonwood tree in Palo Duro Canyon, (Texas) I remember my husband with with me that day, and that it was a pleasant time. Since my painting teacher didn't really teach, I struggled with the background, but there happened to be a Charles Russell print in the class and I borrowed some of the landscape from that picture and made up the rest. Teacher never noticed; he liked to hole up in his office and drink.