Monday, January 31, 2011
When I think about writing in this blog, I believe I am required to illustrate the post as I have in the past, but can't think of a piece of art I haven't shown before, so I don't write. It occurred to me tonight that such "shoulds" and "haftas" have always dogged my life; I can be governed by rigid thinking patterns. Who writes the rules for me anyway? Moi.
I remember a story about a dog we had named Ginger. My husband and I bought 5 acres of dirt in western Oklahoma, with great expectations of it being a nice little farm. I never worked so hard in my whole life with so little results . We planted a huge garden but it was wrecked by drought and a grasshopper plague; the only thing that survived was okra. We ate it stewed, fried and pickled. I hate okra.
We also launched the Great Chicken Experiment. We decided we were going to raise chickens to butcher and sell. Actually my husband decided, and I go "oh, OK." So we had a garage full of baby chicks, which immediately fell prey to raccoons. Raccoons may look cute but they can be mean when you try to take away their dinner. We put the half-grown hens in the chicken house with a sturdy fence to keep the varmints out and kept the light going all night, but we were still were mysteriously losing chickens, until I discovered owls were flying over the fence into the coop for a midnight snack. I sat up one night with a shotgun scaring the birds off. The next day we had to modify the pen. We finally did manage raise some chicks to pullet size and sold some, and ate some, but we didn't come close to breaking even; I hated the chicken business--specially the butchering part. Chicken don't like to turn loose of their feathers.
Ginger was a wired-haired terrier--a wonderful dog. That little farm was her personal responsibility and she watched out for the kids, the cats and Ahab the goat. When the goat got into stuff he shouldn't or started pulling clothes off the line, Ginger would alert me with her barking. Ahab couldn't get away with anything.
We started letting the surviving chickens out to scratch and at first they didn't know they were free and stayed huddled in the pen. But when a hen started to venture out, Ginger chased her back in, then another would leave the pen, or two or three, only to be pushed back in by the dog. Ginger spent a whole day herding chickens until she wore herself out and had to be satisfied with lying on a rise watching over the hens outside the pen.
I am trying to break free of old ideas--rules I have set down for myself in the past that don't have anything to do with reality--just rules. And sometimes I still feel very married and sometimes I let well-meaning people tell me what I "should" do. I am free, and I am single and I can do what I want. I know there are owls and raccoons out there. And wolves and sharks. (I have already encountered a few wolves but I came out unscathed and very much wiser. :o) I know I will make mistakes, but there is also freedom for me in the wide open spaces and opportunities if I am not too scared to try.
Writing this blog has been a way of sneaking out of the pen. In fact, if you google me you will find me. Not only this blog, but in my Face Book art page, and at Deviant Art.
I have gone dancing--I even danced with a cane before the surgery. (Dance like nobody's watching...) And bowling (maybe I should bowl like nobody's watching. :o) And I rode a snowmobile. I not exactly ready to bungee jump, but I want to be alert to opportunities outside that chicken pen--chances to have fun, try new things and to be creative. Maybe I'll try karaoke--the dog doesn't howl when I sing. :o)
Saturday, January 22, 2011
One of the signs that I am getting better is clearing out the physical clutter in my home and the clutter in my thoughts. I am feeling more like my old self; the energy and motivation that I thought were forever gone are returning. I am pleased that I have cleaned the studio of the clutter that accumulated while I was laid up--unused places tend to become dumping grounds. This week I cleared the drawing table and arranged the supplies and it is ready for me to use. I am proud of the simple things I have accomplished and now I am ready to go onto greater things. And maybe this blog will become what it was originally intended--about my journey in art.
The picture is part of a larger painting but it looks complete the way it is. It is titiled Sunny Day on Cape D. The light is Cape Disappointment on the Washington State side of mouth of the Columbia River.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
|My Dad on his way to school in front of the farmhouse.|
Family tradition states that the 17th century Dutch painter, Jan Steen is one of our ancestors. I have not proved the connection but there is enough information to make it fun to think about. Could it be where our family talent came from?
Another situation that set me awondering is that my husband's ancestors and the ones on my mother's side, who came to the New World about the same time in the early 1600's, lived near each other in Connecticut and on Long Island. I lay awake at night speculating that these men might have met and wondering what they thought of each other. I found a document that states one of my ancestors was actually hired by the brother of one my husband's ancestors to construct a parsonage on Long Island. How exciting is that?
My mother's ancestor, Daniel Kellogg is one of the founder's of Norwalk CT. It is said that he was a very tall man, but peaceable. One story relates that when a couple of drinkers were fighting, that he grab them by their collars and knocked their heads together, calming them down right quick!!
There are so many stories that stimulate my imagination, civil war soldiers --on both sides, journeys across the Atlantic, a witch trial, love stories, western adventurers... yes, I wonder...