Thursday, July 29, 2010

No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it.

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.  ~Richard Carlson
Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency.  ~Natalie Goldberg

The last week has been intense, and maybe a little too exciting.  My goal was to get out of that paralyzed state of inertia caused by grief and move on with my life, but, phew, what a ride!  The week included my car breaking down, but my son fixing it, putting a house on the market then frantically cleaning it and calling on family to help, attending a weekend Pow Wow with Native Americans, disappointment in a relationship, having strangers walking though the house, finding a house I can see myself living in, dealing with banks, having friends help weed my garden, pain, a couple of emotional meltdowns, typing for the church, designing a mug for an upcoming event, completing the first painting in a year, flowers, sunshine, music, hugs, laughter, friends and family.  Life is good because God is in control.  We will see where my new life will take me.  Relax Max.

The painting is Goldfinch on a Cone Flower.  Oil on canvas panel. 8 x 10.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bad news then the good.

Dahlias Oil on Masonite 8 x 10
If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem.  Everything else is inconvenience.  ~Robert Fulghum
If you're going through hell, keep going.  ~Winston Churchill

It has been an interesting week.  Filled with frustrations to say the least.  Bad New... I got into trouble with a "Christian" website with their free trial to join.  They only asked for $1.99, which I paid for with my check card.  Immediately I received an email from the bank saying my account was overdrawn.  This site had charged me for 3 months membership.  I called the bank and was told to call the company--all I got was an answering machine, and believe me I left messages.  I did some research (which I should have done to begin with) and found out that the site was powered by a secular group and a lot of people were unhappy with it. Good news: they withdrew the charges. 

Bad news: my computer got a vicious virus.  The internet provider switched to Norton and I downloaded it.  It seems that the Norton program that came with the computer, which I didn't resubscribed to when it ran out, was so firmly entrenched in the P C, that it became territorial and wouldn't allow another version be installed properly, so I had no protection. The computer has been slowly dying for weeks.  Good news:  A person starting out in the computer business fixed it cheaply for me.  And he managed to save my files.  Bad news: I have to start over in reinstalling my programs, photos, files and I had a lot of links in favorites which are gone now.  Good news:  I have all my art in Face book, so I just have to copy it back into the computer--easier than getting it off of disk.

Bad news:  It is getting hot out.  Good news:  My daughter-in-law put the AC in the studio window, and the hot air is drying out the weeds and grasses which a friend is mowing down and they probably won't grow back this year.

Phew!!  I have learned some valuable lessons, but I am glad to say that I spent a lot of time with friends this week.  That is always good news.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Life is like playing a violin solo in public...

 ...and learning the instrument as one goes along.  ~Samuel Butler 
Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.  ~Jonatan MÃ¥rtensson  

As I adjust to a new medicine, I find myself suddenly without any energy.  A former insomniac, I took two naps today after eight hours of sleep.  I find this sudden change disconcerting--especially since I have so much to do.   However, I am grateful that I have always been so healthy that I don't know how to be sick; I get discouraged and even pissed off.  I am learning that I squander my energy on useless past times like obsessive thinking,  negative emotions and fighting situations instead of accepting them the way they are.

I have a painting I want to enter in the fair which means I have to finish it soon so that it will be thoroughly dry.  I haven't had the energy. But I know all the slogans, "this too shall pass," "one day at a time," "let go and let God," and "go with the flow."  Putting them into practice and keeping a positive outlook will help me through this rough spot and even get the garden weeded and the painting finished.

I found a painting I hadn't shown  --The Color of Lilacs. (The photo of the painting  is not the best--a little yellow) It is an early still life where I discovered I could paint  glass and reflective surfaces -like the vase and picture frame.  I picked the flowers from several varieties of lilac trees.  I made much of the painting up like the books, the landscape and the portrait.  How cool is that?  How does one paint a vase of water?  Paint the background, then the back of the vase, then the contents of the vase (always considering the distortion of water and glass) and the front of the vase.  Works for me!!  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sign Painter I Ain't...

Emu Eggs
To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist.  ~Schumann
The artist gazes upon a reality and creates his own impression.  The viewer gazes upon the impression and creates his own reality.  ~Robert Brault,

Moose Shed
I will paint or draw on anything.  Not because I am versatile, but because I can't resist a blank surface.  If I were in a different time or culture I might  have painted on cave walls by firelight or hung upside down to paint graffiti on an overpass.  The upper picture is of emu eggs (they're about 6 inches high) that I was asked to do for a fund-raiser.  I am especially pleased with the landscape that covers the entire egg.  The other is, of course, a moose antler.

But I'm not a sign painter.  I was asked to create signs for a yard sale recently, which I did with some struggle.  People often think I am the perfect choice for painting signs because I am an artist.  Uh, excuse  me?  But making signs requires math, rulers and  geometry, and I am totally right-brained, meaning you don't want to trust me to balance your bank book, or measure a piece of lumber to be cut.  And you darned sure don't want me to cut it!  While I can make the letters of the sign pretty colors, and maybe even make a pleasing design, the positioning of the letters is frustrating.

 I often get roped into sign-making projects.  I remember one very bad experience.  I had painted a sign on the side of Hubby's car for his business--just on the front doors.  It wasn't easy but it turned out well with pictures on it.  It also took me a long time.  A man who owned an ice business saw it and wanted a sign painted on the side of his building.  I agreed to do it.  He said that just he wanted simple block letters.  I worked very hard on the design for the huge sign.   I spent a day in the West Texas summer sun standing on top of a cab over camper laying out the sign--hating every second of it.  Towards the end of the afternoon when I had started painting the letters, the owner saw it and started yelling at me and told me it was not what he wanted and for me not to finish it and to collect my money and to get the hell off his property.  I was so embarrassed, but he didn't give me a chance to finish or discuss how it could be better--in short, he was a jerk. I was so humiliated, I didn't even pick up my pay.  He painted over my work and hired someone else to paint another sign--that sign remained there for years to taunt me.  That ended my sign painting career and even today when I am asked to paint a sign, I get a clutch in the gut. A sign painter I ain't.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Home

Home is not where you live but where they understand you.  ~Christian Morgenstern
 Where thou art - that - is Home.  ~Emily Dickinson

Houses always have held a fascination for me.  I used to think that it was because of my interest in architecture--when I was in high school, I wanted to be another Frank Lloyd Wright, but that wouldn't have worked since architecture requires a lot of math.  I am strictly right brained which allows me to appreciate the beauty in a building, but would leave me at loss at how to build one.  I love looking at houses.

Most newly married couples plan to buy a house as soon as possible, but not so for James and I.  He was always content to be a renter; some people just are--nothing wrong with that.  I, on the other hand, have always had a yearning for my own home.  While I didn't always think about it, I found myself collecting houses--figurines,  art,  fabric, or dinnerware or glassware.  I even had a collection of tea pots or tea sets in the shape of houses or cottages.  And I loved to draw houses.

We never bought our own home until nine years ago.  James was still set in his renter's mode, even though we had settled down and stopped moving around.  I couldn't interest him in even looking at houses for sale, but I became determined when I decided that receiving an inheritance a was perfect time to buy a home. I started looking on the internet and I compiled a list of houses I was interested in.  Before I could call any realtors my daughter, Brenda, called to tell me that she saw a house for sale that was  perfect for us.  It turned out the house was the one on the top of my list.  So I asked James to look at it with me and his sudden change of thinking about buying a home left me breathless.  He immediately decided this was the perfect house for us, and we made an offer, closing on the house in record time.  It was the only house we ever looked at.  I was ecstatic; we were homeowners. 

The house has very good bones but needed a lot of cosmetic help (the kitchen cabinets were painted black!)  and we have worked very hard improving it.  And it was the perfect house for us, allowing James to have his own space and a measure of independence as his condition worsened, and allowed me to have a studio. 

I have appreciated my house and because I have decided to sell it doesn't mean I don't love the gift of it in my life.  But I have also learned to let go of things, and the property is more than I want to take care of alone.  It is on 2 and 1/2 lots--almost a half acre on a slope, and only a small part is landscaped--the rest is bush, and I have to rely heavily on family and friends to maintain it.  I want a smaller home-- all on one floor-- on a smaller (level) lot  that I can take care of myself.  

I don't know if what I want is realistic, or if this is what God wants for me but I can only find out if I step out in faith.  First thing is to get my mind around the prospect of moving and to start doing my homework; to start cleaning, clearing out and planning.   I have started the process of making lists and discussing this with family and friends some of whom have offered to help.  This is a new leg of the journey--exciting and overwhelming, but I am grateful for the possibilities and for those who cheer me on.  We will see...