Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Self Respect

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~Newt Gingrich

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power. ~Clint Eastwood
These two quotes are tied together. I have trouble following through when my self-esteem is in the basement. The self-loathing that I struggle with has been applied to me in layers over the years, due to words and perceptions I took on from others and from myself. I bought into criticisms of others and negative self-talk from myself, believing the lies. I have to peel these layers off my soul and it is painful. The temptation is always to give up and hide in the layers, and use them as an excuse. I still find myself taking on what is not mine. I met someone recently who just looked right through me as if I wasn't there and ignored my efforts to be friendly. I took that personally as if I was the one who was deeply flawed; like I deserved to be treated like that. The truth is that people are people and I didn't make them that way, and I can't expect them to be any different, either--they are what they are. I need to just shake it off, instead of applying another layer of yuck to myself. If I don't respect myself, then it is doubtful that others will.
This is a strange, but fun painting. It was a commission and the client wanted waterfalls that looked like they were in Hawaii. I couldn't find any pictures of Hawaiian falls so I just made one up. The falls are actually Multnomah Falls in Oregon. I just added the palm trees and the bird-of-paradise, which is woefully out of proportion. The client was happy with it. It is titled Paradise.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finding Myself

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates. ~Thomas Szasz

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

Brush to canvas--finally!!!


There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go. ~Author Unknown

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. ~Jan Glidewell

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.
I am very excited to report that I started painting again. Not just drawing, or tole painting cutesy things but real fine art!! This sketch, Goldfinch on a Cone flower, I did over a year ago. The cone flowers are from photos I took in my garden and I found the goldfinch in a book of artist's reference photos. I planned this painting 18 months ago; it was my intention to move from flowers to birds and other live things. So I stopped painting flowers and never started the birds. I can give all kinds of excuses for that, but it is what it is. I painted the background way back then, and a couple of weeks ago I drew the bird and flowers on the canvas. Last night, I blocked in the basic shapes and colors. At this stage perfectionism is not an option--I need to keep it loose--the details will come later. Heavy texture is not good right now because I will only have to scrap it off later. Because I work with oils which dry slowly, I paint in stages and I usually have several paintings going at once. When this painting dries, I will continue to shape the bird and flowers, but I wanted to show that I have started. I also painted the background to a new iris painting-- I decided to continue flowers for now since I do have confidence in those and I have tons of iris photos. I also have several other canvases I began some time ago and they are ready for me to continue. Are ya proud of me? Even though everything still hurts, I am ready.
CWCW: I dusted and vacuumed the living room; I plunked the vacuum in the middle of the floor 4 days ago and decided I would not move it until it got used. I worked in the kitchen and on the laundry. I organized things around the drawing table. I plan to get caught up on the house work this week since it is spring and I am gonna want to be outside as soon as it stops raining.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Glory

Georgia O'Keefe Quotes:

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

Success

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. ~Charles Horton Cooley

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

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. ~George Bernard Shaw

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

Emotions


All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. Chief Joseph

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

Opportunity

Opportunity is often difficult to recognize; we usually expect it to beckon us with beepers and billboards. ~William Arthur Ward

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.

Old Ideas

Sometimes, to pursue a new idea, the artist must forfeit his deposit on an old idea. ~Robert Brault

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

Don't say it!!


Surely nothing has to listen to so many stupid remarks as a painting in a museum. As far as I am concerned, a painting speaks for itself. What is the use of giving explanations, when all is said and done? A painter has only one language. ~Pablo Picasso

Often when people look at my pictures they invariably say, "I can't draw a straight line." Uh, neither can I!! At least not without a ruler. Art is not straight line, shouldn't really have too many. While the subject, such as this lighthouse, appears to have straight lines and I might use a ruler to get that established in the initial drawings, the lines are not totally straight when done with the brush. This way it looks more organic rather than industrial. The straight line is an illusion. This is true for the ancient building, the Parthenon, built around 440 BC, which makes it about 2,450 years old. Amazing. More amazing is its construction. The columns which appear straight and parallel to each other are actually not. The building is so large that the designers had to take into account the curvature of the earth; if they had made them all perpendicular to the floor, the columns would appear to be pointing slightly outward, like pins in a round pincushion. To compensate the architects made the columns point slightly inward, so they appear straight and parallel. This was just one of the adjustments to the design to create an allusion of rows of straight columns, while there is not one straight line in the whole building. So when you look at a person's art, don't mention straight lines; you might get an eyeroll.

This is true for my life. I am trying to get my ducks in a row and the lines straight. Not happening. I need to take the organic spiritual approach, and stop placing the ruler to my thoughts and emotions, and let the Master Architect sculpt the lines and shapes to His liking. Ahhh, that sounds like surrender again.

This is an early lighthouse painting based on a photograph my late sister took, rainbow and all. It is titled, Point Wilson. In looking at it now I realize that the light would appear thinner at the top simply because it is further away from the viewer; because it is the same width, it appears chunkier on top. But a nice painting anyway.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Water Lily











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

Blessings

May the sun shine, all day long,everything go right, and nothing wrong.May those you love bring love back to you,and may all the wishes you wish come true!~Irish Blessing
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.
A fool-proof method for sculpting an elephant: first, get a huge block of marble; then you chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant.
The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person. ~Frank Barron
I have been thinking about the time I actually worked at a boni-fide art museum. The museum was on the campus of Amarillo College in Amarillo TX where I was going to school. I got a job there through the college, and worked there 2 years. In addition to a permanent exhibit, the shows in some galleries changed every 6 weeks. Some of the works were awesome like the ones by Julian Onderdonk (1882-1922) a Texas artist who painted the Texas bluebonnets. I was privileged to unpack these paintings, and get them ready to hang. I also saw works by Georgia O'Keefe, and Claude Monet and other impressionists. Some artists were highly unique, like Jack Boyton, and the Native American, Amado Peña. I even got to go into the vault where I was allowed to handle artifacts from ancient Egypt. Some the exhibits were down right weird or obscene, though. Patrons of the arts are usually wealthy and I saw some of the most prominent citizens of Amarillo hob-nobbing with beatnik types--whom the elite would ignore on the street--just because they create art. The art show openings were a big event. The gentile would mill about sipping wine, admiring the art, even the weird stuff-- except for an occasional Texas millionaire in slouchy clothes drinking a Coors. I often wondered what did really have to do with art? But the experience was one not too many artists get.
The painting is Island Morning; the lighthouse, Admiralty Head is on Whidbey Island WA. The picture I used for reference was one my dad took. The pictures I took were in the fog. Since it is no longer active, the trees have grown up so you can't see the water behind the light. I found a very old Coast Guard photo online of the light house when there were no trees to get an idea what the Sound looked like behind the building.
CWCW: I started cleaning the living room, kitchen floor and got out the Easter decorations, and got some paperwork filled out--I hate paperwork. I also exercised.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Imagination

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ~Michelangelo
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! ~Dr. Seuss
I used to think that I had no imagination. I could paint and draw, but only what I could see. I believed myself to be a copiest rather than a creator. Of course I know I have a vivid imagination in my head and I think a lot, which can cause me a great of difficulty, and I can write. (A gift from the Giver of All Things.) I love blogging and can't stay away from it; I love it when thoughts becomes words--amazing how that works. Maybe someday I'll published something. Whadya think, oh you-who-leaves no comment?
Anyway, putting together my portfolio of a lifetime of work has given me perspective on my imagination. I went through a lighthouse painting phase because my late sister loved lights. She had posters and prints and miniatures and models of lighthouses--even some originals by me. After she died, I went on an excursion around the Puget Sound (WA) to photograph lighthouses to paint. This one, Point Wilson is still an active light operated by the Coast Guard near Port Townsend where my sister loved to camp. On this trip, it was an overcast day and I found every lighthouse socked in by fog where I couldn't even see the water. So I had to use my imagination. This painting is Puget Dawn. I had to make up the sunrise, which is not easy since, being a night owl, I see very few of them. I do remember reading that sunrises are cooler in color than sunsets. Then I had to think about the effect of the sky on the water and landscape and about how the sky is reflected on the dark side of the buildings and on the windows. Where the sunrise is hitting the building the light is warm with yellows in it and on the shadow side the colors are in the blue range. I have learned that paintings don't have to be true to life, only believable. This is a very exciting painting. Now if I can channel all my imagination thus.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In Good Company?

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for. ~Georgia O'Keeffe
For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh. ~Georges Rouault
Yesterday I was excited about creating a picture, feeling like I am taking steps in getting back to normal. But I got to thinking today, that artists are crazy!! Trust me, I worked in an art museum while I was in college--and I met some weirdos. We all heard the stories of how van Gogh cut off his ear and mailed to the girlfriend who dumped him. He was a very frustrated man, who only sold one piece of art in his lifetime. To me his work that the world is so in love with today, reveals a bit of his insanity. Of the French impressionists a couple died of STDs; most drank and kept mistresses; one died of pneumonia because he didn't have enough sense to quit painting and go home when it started raining. Even those who were morally sound were considered a little weird. The most well known, Monet lived a long time with a married woman, finally marrying her when her husband died. He spent his later years painting nothing but lily pads. Lily pads! Not a frog one. And Picasso's paintings are downright demented, IMHO. Georgia O'Keefe, a loner, never married and had a nervous breakdown. I read a book that featured American women artists; they were all divorced because they'd forget to do important things like fixing dinner, they couldn't reconcile domesticity with art.
People who have dominant left brains are the logical ones; the ones good with numbers, where as the artistic tendencies lies in the right side of the brain. Numbers frazzle my mind which makes balancing the checkbook a challenge. If you give me an address to drive to, I have to keep it in my hand referring to it often, while I drive. I do better with directions like, "Get off at the Park exit, drive past the red barn, turn right at the blue house and left where the three mules live." I am definitely right brained. Maybe I am a little crazy. Hopefully my ear is not in any danger. Don't open any damp packages from me.
The picture is Cheryl's Butterfly. My friend, Cheryl, took a picture of the Monarch in her garden and sent it to me which I used for this painting, and I gave her the work for Christmas. Hummm... there is not a frog in this one either.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Today's Art

"It takes courage to participate in life. Today I can applaud myself for trying. I'm doing a terrific job".
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.

Poetry

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen. ~Leonardo da Vinci

I have never been a poet--I have trouble finding words that rhyme for limericks. I even have trouble reading it--I have to slow my mind down and concentrate, which I often do for the exercise of it. When I make the effort, I am rewarded with the insight or comfort the poet has to offer. I like da Vinci's statement that painting is poetry. I wonder if he would like my paintings and what I could learn from him if he were here to teach me.
This painting, Cuttings, is of very ordinary things. One day I set cuttings from house plants in front of the window that had glass bottles on the sill and a spider plant hanging from above. I am fond of bottles and I enjoy drawing and painting them; they are works of art in themselves. Later I walked through the kitchen and the light outside was rare--one of those foggy days where the sun is about to burn through. I took some pictures; in the painting I rearranged the bottles and added the gauzy curtains. Except for the pop of red in the angel wing plant it is almost monochromatic, making it soothing. The picture won a ribbon at the fair and I think it is the last still life I have painted. It is poetry.
CWCW: I mopped the kitchen, started this week's laundry and went to physical therapy at the pool.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grieving

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. ~Pablo Picasso. Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. ~Stella Adler
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

Today, It's My Choice


"...we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt." Alcoholics Anonymous p. 62 ...I had played a part in the way my life turned out...My decisions had been based on fear, pride or ego...I am responsible for my action--or inaction--whatever the consequences may be. Daily Reflections p. 78
This is pretty heavy stuff I read today. After I lowered the book, I looked across the room at the dusty floor illuminated by the morning sun. My living room --the whole house really-- needs cleaning; I keep putting it off-- I am too tired or in too much pain or too sad or I just don't give a damn, which is the case for many things in my life. It has been too easy to blame circumstances --of my life and my emotions-- for things undone. Certainly there are good reasons for confusion in our lives but the bottom line is that we are still making choices and have to accept the consequences-- grieving or not.
I am ready for spring so I chose the picture of St. Francis watching over tulips and daffodils in my flower bed.
CWCW: Well, I didn't clean the living room, but I cleaned the kitchen, picked up some things in the yard and removed mulch from around a rose bush. I tackled a stack of papers on the desk, filing some away and putting others in an action file. There are things I promised to do and cards I need to send, I have to declutter--my mind and my desk before I can begin.


Perfectionist

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~Scott Adams

I used to be such a perfectionist, but I think I am recovering from that judging by the dust bunnies reproducing in the corners of my home. If a work of art didn't live up to my standards, it would give me a sick feeling just looking at it so I would tuck it away so I couldn't see it. I have discovered that some paintings can be rescued if I wait and look at them with a fresh perspective, but there are others that are beyond hope, but one day a long time ago I received a revelation about those too. Even if a piece of art didn't turn out well, I still learned from it; that makes it as valuable as the art I keep.
This painting is Ordinary Iris and it is definitely a keeper. It is one of my favorites. Tonight I painted. The result wasn't pleasing, but I know the effort is the valuable thing for me now. Now I need to focus on consistency and maybe I will break through that inertia.
CWCW: I kept medical appointments, put all the laundry away and even ironed the wrinkled things. And I fought a few rounds with the Self-Hatred Monster; that thing needs to be banished to Hell. Oh, and I spent the evening at the drawing table. Insert your favorite cheer here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Make Friends With the Monster

"You can't rise above your own attitude of yourself. If you're insecure and you lack confidence, the attitude that you display will cause others to have no confidence in you, either." ~Joyce Meyer.


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

Anything's Possible

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve
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

Fearless

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

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

Thinkin'

No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head. ~Terry Josephson
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? ~Winnie the Pooh
Thinking. There is my problem. I may as well confess, that since my late husband's death, thinking is what I have been doing and I have actually been paralyzed by it. Just sittin' and thinkin' with the rock and roll music up loud; if you drove by my house you might have seen the windows vibrate like a speaker. It is wierd way to grieve, but I believe it is because I felt my life was out of control and that if I thought about it enough, I would get what I wanted. Consequentially, all I do is live in my head. It is pure anguish because thinking got me nowhere and robbed me of time and energy; I hate the enertia that set in. I wouldn't want to go through those months again--ever!! I am getting better; I take more action and think less, though I still catch myself doing it, and I don't play the music as loud. I still have a lot of room for improvement--progress not perfection, but I would love to smash the inertia and the artist's block. One day I will break through to the other side.
The untitled painting on the left I did about 20 years ago, using reference photos from a painting book. I love the copper pot, but my skill in painting fruit had vastly improve by the time I did the other one 6 years ago. It is titled $10 Worth of Fruit; I bought a bunch of fruit for the purpose of creating still lifes and photographing them for future reference. I spent an afternoon making and photographing the arrangements and then enjoyed the fruit. I love painting reflective surfaces and clear vases with water. There are so many colors and so much depth to capture.

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

Celebrate

There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate. ~Robert Brault

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.