Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Aw, the violence and drama of Christmas.
The three and a half year old battling it out with the four year old, the tearful nine year old who is now too big for the little kid fun castle at the mall, the two five year olds with super powers to never never stop running, spinning, leaping and telling ridiculous jokes....THIS, is the drama of Christmas.

After the kid stuff in our house: the quickly giddily opened packages addressed to the little ones....we grownups do a crazy, dirty, silly Santa game with our gifts. We toss the anonymous packages into the center of the rug and one at a time we take turns opening a gift. If someone else wants it, it can be stolen. We play tough....we haggle and discuss the ever changing rules...we are a fine example of capitalism and commerce for the child audience, which snorts and giggles and is amazed to see the grownups in such a state.

I collect just the right sill Santa gifts all year. You have to be on the lookout when the choice item comes across your path. Like the vintage Mr. Spock doll I found at a flea market. He was not haggled over....perhaps he has lost his charm. The bronze Buddha on the other hand, was the prize of the night. Of course there were a couple of choice losers in the gift the chick and duck salt and pepper shakers still in their 1980's packaging, and the marble lion that has come around for a second year, and may make several more appearances.

Best, of course, was squeezing around the trestle table for the the main event....the food, the laughs, the holding of hands around the table connecting us together for a magic moment in time.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

mother daughter disconnect

I need to complain.
One week out of each month I spend with my 91 year old mother. I take her out and away from her very nice assisted living, and whisk her off to shopping; doctor appointments; out to eat; drives in the city; drives to the beach; drives to look at pretty houses; home to her house to pick up more clothes, hats, scarves, gloves, etc; out for coffee; more shopping and more shopping.

Sounds so nice, doesn't it? And it might be if we weren't related. She has had a good life, despite WWII and the Depression. She has wanted for little. She has had face lifts, spa treatments, travel, the theater, and all the clothes that all the closets in the house could hold. She is cute and feisty and everyone loves her. Me included. But. Still.

She makes lists for me to do. Lists of things to get for her. Lists of things to do for the house. (Calling the termite man is one I won't ignore).
And today, she told me she wants me to write to her from Houston to let her know I'm alive when I'm not here. Oh, yes, forgot to mention. When I come out here for a week at a time, I fly from Houston, 4 hours (plus airport hang around time) and take the shuttle from the airport, another hour if I'm lucky.

I am an artist, so today, when things were pretty intolerable, I imagined narrative drawings of my mother wrapped around my throat cutting off my air and circulation. Strangling me.

So, being the only surviving member of this family and being the good duty bound woman that I am, I now feel guilty.

And I need to go hem her new pajamas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

meditation on flying

To California and back. And out. And back.
Feeling like a yoyo, swinging to the end of my tether and back again.

But I never get tired of looking at the surface of the earth from 30.000 feet. So many scars and marks from another time. Old dried up lakes and rivers. Dried up ranches or farms, vast areas that were once watered and now are not. Straight, beam straight, roads cutting across wrinkled landscape.....all making a kind of earth language on the surface.

It is a time to think. The engines droning, passengers asleep or reading, my own book open before my glazed eyes....all thought turned inward. Flying is a time of meditation.......a time that is inbetween time and doesn't really seem to exist at all. All buckled up and cosseted in....a pause between bustle.

Then arriving and the noise and craziness escalates..........back to earth and time in time again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

embalmed artist might be finished, or not.

Just finished (always a question mark ? is it REALLY finished?) a piece that has given me fits. It didn't flow, it was stiff, it was folk art, it was wrong. But parts of it I liked, and I liked the idea, that of a young unformed and uninformed painter just feeling her way along, and facing herself in the canvas on the easel.

So, I kept going back to it. What would lift it from what I saw in it to what someone else could see what I saw in it. So to speak. Finally I engulfed it in vines and leaves and called it Embalmed Artist. She's stuck. She wants to move on but is suffocated by indecision.

So, at least for now it is done. Well, we'll see.


Friday, October 30, 2009

the old sage drops out on Halloween

We turn the porch light off on Halloween. Awful isn't it? What dropouts we are.'s just that we did it already. A lot. In the past. I'm starting to feel like I'm reliving the 1960's in my 60' know....turn on, DROP OUT. I'm really getting the drop out part down pat about now. (Turning on is not much of an option any more). Like, it's really nice just reading a book and not going any where. Or sitting really still in the over grown butterfly plants and watching life fly around me, instead of my flying around flapping.

So there is much to be said about becoming an old sage. You can turn off the porch light and not even feel guilty, because it's someone else's turn.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

paintings that leave and root beer plants

The rain came.

I'm posting a picture of our root beer plants.....when you break off a leaf and crunch it, the smell of childhood in the form of A and W Root beer fills the air. Wonderful. You can cook with it too I'm told. Not that I cook.

One of the photos shows Ollie the dog in the root beer plants....he is overwhelmed.

The painting continues. Today a nice visit from someone who owns many of my paintings and has come to look for more. A true aficionado who can live with them for ten years and still loves them, how wonderful that is when it happens. Another artist said recently how hard it is to let some paintings go.....I am so glad when they go....they should go breathe and live elsewhere and not in my dusty painting racks. I love it when they leave. They should go have good lives like the little spiders from Charlotte's Web...floating out there on the wind.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

acrylic on panels, no gesso

I'm working on panels....very pleasing to do. I have these panels 36" x 24" that I purchased gessoed on one side, but I'm using the ungessoed side. The acrylic which is what I'm using for these, goes on in such a nice chalky way on the unintended side. But as I'm working in glazes of color (just using water), I can't really make many mistakes as they will show through. So once started on an area, I have to muddle on until I'm somewhat satisfied.

I'll be having a show at Koelsch Gallery in Houston this coming January. I have much of the work completed, but as always will continue to work right up til then....especially as I have to make so many trips to Calif. And inbetween all that other life stuff.

And geez, it was so dark and stormy today, I just submerged into Rutherford's London, which is way over a thousand pages, and dived into history. Which is a little irritating because of all the bull going on with politics since the world began and it is still so horribly that way! Vent, vent!

Friday, September 25, 2009

the mothership's jade plant

I've just trundled in from two weeks in California tending the mothership and the mothership's house. Both doing well, although in separate places.

I did a little bit of gardening....and managed to kill a very old jade tree (or bush). It was in a wooden container on the front deck...when I went to turn it so it would get adjusted sun, the whole anctient tub fell apart. Hummm what to do? make several Jade plant containers. So, after repotting and tearing out more rotted boards on the deck, I was quite pleased with myself. Ah, but the next day and the next, the jade plant went directly south, as in crapping out. A little of it all was saved....but it is a mere shadow of itself. The mothership was not informed.

Also got to the Sierras for a nice wedding....but also got to go hug trees, boulders and dance though icy kind of soul resurgence.

And now, gratefully, back to the paint.

Friday, September 4, 2009

reorganizing and painting little pieces

I organized a little in the studio. I had to in order to get a big piece out that is going somewhere. Now that I'm working in acrylic...sometimes and oil...sometimes and water based oil...sometimes, I had to separate them all and clear space. And sweep out a dead roach or two. And one live one.

I've been working on some tiny little pieces...a break from larger. Not that they cooperate any better. In rearranging things in the studio, I find too much work there. I'm faster at solving problems with the paintings now and that leads to too much stuff. Not saying that they are all successful. Sometimes I don't see the problem for years. But I think I'm going to have to start tearing canvas off stretchers. Of the crumbier ones. In the meantime little ones help me fill the constant need to "make". With a big one now and then.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

paintings finished .....finally.

A good few days. Finished "Lost Voyage" and also "A Little Passion".
I am totally won over to water based oil. It works for me. No more coughing in the studio followed by bronchitis in the winter. I can even mix a little of my huge pile of regular oils into the water based ones.

Just ate the first of our Muscadine grapes. They taste like kerosene. What's up with that? The weather is starting to change....I can feel it. The dog knows for sure. He romps when the weather gets even a bit cooler. Hooray.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

travel and back to painting

Out to Calif and back....just a vagabond. I'm getting so used to the travel that the bumps in the plane ride don't bother me any more....just have to keep adjusting my eyeballs to the print on the book page. And listening to A Confederacy of Dunces many times on my MP3 player. I just never get tired of that book.
Back to painting. I hate acrylic. So its on to water based oils in an effort to not poison myself any longer with regular oils and mediums. And on this last painting, it is actually working out. I'm posting the early drawing of it and part way there. The finished one to come in a few days.
But far so good on the new oils.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

swimming, the return to the beginning.


I have returned to the water. Where I move smoothly, effortlessly, skimming the blue, rolling over and watching the clouds pass over the sun. I blow bubbles and move my rather tired body like an old sea lion undulating over and under the surface.

I speak to no one. I hear as distant music, the noise of children and parents. I swim until I begin to tire and then I float. The water from the heat of August is almost too warm, but still refreshing. I rest. I swim again. I rest on a chaise and revel in the warmth of the sun, pulling down my hat and pushing all care from my mind. I have no age. I am invisible. I am sun and clouds and water.

Friday, August 14, 2009

toad table and painting

Cicadas and toads singing in the evenings here. Butterflies floating, and the dratted large pine cockroaches skittering about.....we have nature.

I've been working in the studio finishing large acrylic paintings...making some sort of peace with the acrylic. The water based oil paint arrived...but I'm waiting to start a new painting before experimenting with it. I think another boat painting. Such a good metaphor for the ride we are all having.

In honor of the fine Gulf Coast Toad, I'm posting a gouache of him/her looking enigmatic upon a table top. The last place you'd like to see a toad, right? Or a cockroach 2" long. The toads have been laying long pearl strands of eggs and they are now hatching. Hope they don't all eat each other. Nature is rough.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A grand day

A good day. A lunch with friends who get who you are and you get them is a fine thing. It is a relief from the work, the responsibility, the worry, to laugh at the commonplace. It is not something I do often anymore, but when the opportunity happens, it is a joyful thing. Better yet is to almost pee in your pants with laughter over the stupid ordinary glitches of life. It takes all the sting out.

And then to end the day with Tiddly Winks with little granddaughters is life full. Oh, and Popsicles!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Unstalled, paint flying.

I think I have my mojo on. Things are hopping in the studio. Paintings that have been stalled for months are moving right along. No complaints now. Hard work, sweaty studio clothes, exhausted at the end of the day....this is the way it hasn't been for a little while. I always believed in working through a problem....and finally, finally, acrylic or no, the paint is flying.

Friday, July 31, 2009

LA life magazine

Just after grousing a few days ago......I'm happy to say that my work is featured in downtown Los Angeles Life international eMagazine: Look for my name down a ways on the left of the main page. Thanks for looking if you check it out.

I should only paint....not talk. So that is the agenda.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

art openings vs. holing up in the studio

I posted an old painting on flickr today that got me remembering and thinking about my shows in galleries and small museums and universities. It is a bitter little painting done in 1989 about the crowds at openings talking and smooching with each other and ignoring the work on the wall (which in this painting is hung upside down....not a tribute to a well known 90's painter). Many people have had wonderful openings, me included, but this was just a jibe at what can and does happen when an artist hangs his/her heart and soul up on the wall.

How does a poet get up and recite, or a singer or comic get the nerve up to perform. It's a wonder really. Visual artists are often much more shy of attention. Well, ok, I am. I love to do the work, it's great for the work to get attention.....but I'd rather stay home. I love to talk to people about my work....but on a small scale....a few people at a time...preferably over coffee or a beer. I can even talk to a big group quite easily....but I'm just happier in the studio. Bah, humbug and all that.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pacific Ocean spirit lift

Back in the studio after more toing and froing ....Calif to Texas and back and back.

Great lungfulls of Pacific Ocean air gave my spirit a lift. Freezing toes and bits of sea kelp and drift wood remind me of what life is about, really. It is animal satisfying to snuggle into a crevice of sandstone out of the wind and listen to the surf.

I look forward to finishing my paintings of boats and people but in the meantime am concentrating on small bits of sea kelp....can't beat the great form. It is hot and wet here now, storms moving in and out, sweet smell of wet plants.....

Back to work.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the need to create....for us all

The nice thing about "creating" something is that it takes you away. We are happy spirits if we can compose or whittle or paint or build or paste things onto things. Hours pass and the afternoon turns to night and my wrist feels funny and my eyes are tired, but I have been to this wonderful place where I am queen of the paper/canvas/pasted thing....and I am blissful.

No wonder when people get a chance to make something with their hands, they do...they return to pre judged childhood...where you did it for yourself. Pre parents telling you how fabulous you were, pre teachers telling you to use the pencil for other things, pre your inside critic telling you that "it" wasn't good enough. When a human gets a chance, that human will create. In the dust, on the wall, in the margins......maybe just in dreams. But it is in us.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fire ants. Dying bamboo. Withered ginger. I really need to whine. It simply feels like the earth is burning up. It is something like the "sad" phenom that happens in cold climes in the winter.....we are listless and depressed and "sad" with our heat.

Truly, I feel like moving. Even got on and checked out neat places to live. But each place has its own problems. I don't think I'd like a long winter cold "sad" either. And we can't help thinking about the planet in general. The future. Taking our reusable bags to the store doesn't seem like much....I'd be much happier if the big corps would do more than try to make money.

Well, the swallows in the chimney are still singing. There is a new addition to the Cardinal bird family that lives in our yard. I'm trying to cheer up.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

heat in the world with us

This feels like the apex of heat, the apex of summer (too early), the apex of doldrums. Here in Houston, strangely we have had no rain for weeks and week.....gardens drying up, new little trees turning brown, and heat hitting 100. San Antonio weather, really. We are used to an average rainfall of 54 inches per year. That keeps our gingers and loblolly trees sprightly.

I am reading a book that started out fascinating, and now has me wrapped in worry. The book is:
The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. Yes, yes, I know there is some similar tv program, but the book is far more informative and interesting. It gives me some sense of pleasure to think that the soil, animals, rivers etc would come back strong if we just vacated the mess we have made. But it is not quite that simple. It is a good read and a lot to think about.

I'm painting as usual every gouache, but am about to get back to the boat paintings. And water paintings....ironic, what?

Peace in the heat.

Monday, June 22, 2009


....I'm totally out of Indian Village rag paper to paint my gouaches on!!!!!!! I am combing the Internet trying to find something that will do. Needs to be 300 lb cold pressed irregular rag.........I'm so spoiled. For the last ten years I've been hoarding it and using it sparingly, but I'm finally out. If anyone out there knows where to find this precious paper, please please let me know. You will be rewarded in fabulous art karma.

I'm painting on grainy whatever paper that is around here in old flat file drawers.....I'm starting to think about painting on grocery store paper bags....not a bad surface.....and surely I don't need to worry if it lasts for two hundred years. I'm a bit too pessimistic for that.

Have you seen my paper??????

Saturday, May 30, 2009

cockroach battle

Living in the near north side of Houston under oak, bamboo and tall loblolly trees, we are not strangers to the giant tree roach. As in cockroach. Yes, echhcick.

Tonight I did mortal battle with a large handsome example of the species. My tactic, when I see one of these monsters is to attack it with a towel, preferably a small kitchen towel. This I snap, as in showers in boys locker rooms (so I'm told) , at the creature rendering it stunned. I then zap it several more times to make sure.

The next step is to deliver it outside, sweeping it along with the towel or a broom....or if I dare, grab it with said towel and zip it into the garbage disposal or the toilet. I quite like insects as a rule, I even wanted to be an entomologist when I was a child. But this huge cockroach, as any one living in the subtropics will tell you, brings out some sort of primal heebie jeebies.

The roach, rest his little soul, is departed, and I am victorious.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

disorganized pumpkin vine.....and house

My pumpkin seed is flourishing all over the garden. Huge yellow flowers and a vine that grows surely 12" a day decorate yards of my yard. I shall have to be careful of a single pumpkin seed in the future, but for now it is an adventure!

The rest of life is as disorganized as the pumpkin vine. Where is my cable to download photos from the camera? Where is that black top I like so much and no one seems to make anymore? Where are my favorite flipflops? There is a pattern here. Everything is lost until it is found and then you don't really need/want it anymore. Or you've replaced it. Or maybe it wasn't really that important. Like I finally found the instructions to the camera I got for Christmas two years ago. But now I know how to do the camera (at least as far as I'll ever take it).....but where the hell is the cable?????

Friday, May 22, 2009

surgery, impatient patient

Eye surgery and knee surgery within one week is just plain stupid. Flying to Calif to take care of an elderly parent while a week and a half out of said surgeries is stupid x 2. I have survived the stupid decisions and am back home limping and crutching along a little behind where a proper patient would be, given intelligent decisions.

And I'm a major whimperer to live with right now. None of us likes giving up independence, first born bossy women, least of all. So one should feel quite sorry for my other (not better) half.

All this bodes well for the gouache table, however. I tend to forget pain when I'm slopping paint.
Each day passes, things get better......I remember to be grateful for my minor pains....that thanks to the doc and his magic I am happily, with a little griping, crutching along.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

delicious gouache

Nice thick rich favorite flavor. Fun with still life this week....a sea urchin from Calif, Smiley Guy, and Bobbing Bird's birthday were my don't look past your own desk inspiration these past days. Icing the knee gives me an excuse to paint small.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

scratch and dent body repair

I am back home getting the body work to keep on chugging. Knee repair for the torn meniscus (acquired while convincing my mother at 2:30 am that it wasn't a good time to get dressed and do battle with the perceived criminals in the hall); cataract removal in the one good eye (the other one a victim of NAION, a condition,
while not uncommon, only neuro-opthamologists seem to know about); a quick trip to the dentist to ensure continued know, the usual dent and scratch fix up to the old carcass.

And I have to say that I am grateful for living in the here and now. None of this would have been a quick fix a generation or two ago. So, on my crutches and next week with a patch on my eye, I thank the world of medicine for my survival. My mother is doing well, and amazingly I am still the proud owner of all my buttons, as my charming but crazy mother would have said just a month or two ago.

I have been painting....though I'll take a quick break from it next week. Then, I'll see all my recent work with a new clear eye.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

dememtia....the magic door

A magic door has opened for my mother. She is settled and even enjoying assisted living. And I am amazed at her resilience and imagination and ability to thrive. She does indeed have dementia, but that is only part of her. She is aware and knows everyone, she retains most of her memory, but a funny little door opened in her brain that has allowed her to enter a clever bright entertaining world that I can't see.

She takes care of other residents, councils them with her wise ways, listens to their stories and pats their hands. She is a tiny, charming little person. Just as she has always been, but now with more patience, humor and enjoyment of life. She sees magic in everything. Collected bits of cellophane wrappers are the "skins" of trees. She talks of the "scientists" and "intellectuals" she is living with and of the marvelous things they discuss.

She is 90, she no longer lives at home; she has shed possessions and responsibilities and worry.
She is on to a new chapter, and I am amazed. Don't ever write off an old citizen......there is great life there yet.

Monday, March 30, 2009

giving away memories and wisdom

Wow. I just listened to the radiocast on on Alzheimer's Memory and Being, sent to me by my sensitive friend, Susan. It is something for us all to hear, as after all, whether we are well or not, losing neurons or is good to be aware of our own thinking we take so much for granted.

They spoke of an Alzheimer's writing group, writing what they could about anything they could remember and handing in the paper at the end of class and "giving memories away". And they spoke of something wonderful I have seen these past weeks in my own mother: a kind of wisdom, a novel and delightful new way of saying something profound and an ability to go straight to the truth of something even if she is not quite aware of doing so.

My mother wasn't sure about the word "daughter" today. She said she would say it and see how it felt in her mouth. And the mother who used to be so frustrated about her attempts at art, today painted ants and wonderful weird flowers and took a complete delight in the effort.

All it takes is love.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

wearing pearls

I sit here. With my mother's pearls around my neck wiping tears on my collar. I have always wiped my tears on my collar that is not new. But I don't wear pearls. The pearls are making me feel closer to my mother. She is a lady of very large and creative brain....but some of it is not working anymore.

She is now living in a lovely place but not her place. She says things that are still profound, wise and clever. She still makes people laugh and delight in her. But I can't really connect anymore. So, like many in my shoes, my generation, my time of life....I am saying good bye to my mother while she is still here.

The world goes round, time spins is a wisp and a dream.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

adrift in the dementia sea.....

My mother is adrift in a sea of imagination, hyper reality, and super espionage. Wow. She comes up for air on occasion and tells me she loves me...what could be better. As a painter of interior mindscapes, my imagination has always been brimming with ideas, visions and scenes both absurd and profound. But my mother, who once asked me to teach her to draw and became frustrated and deflated over the effort, now has the brain scope to rival any Hollywood script writer.

There is just the little problem of which way to hold the phone and how to punch the numbers in. Dementia is no fun......the early getting to grip with it is devastating to all. But, we've been stepping forward, learning what to do and starting to laugh. Life is a trip a journey and stopping and starting....and I feel better today than in weeks.....I've got a ticket to ride and I'm going to enjoy every day I have....and so will mom ...but she will be warning everyone of the wires in the wall and that damned religious cult that may be out to get her.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

a pumpkin sprout in spring

I never got around to taking the pumpkin off my porch. So, over time since October, it has slumped and grown big black patches all over it. Disgusting to visitors, but I still never moved it to the trash.

Today we noticed a green sprout about two inches high with two green leaves coming right out of the middle of it next to the fallen pumpkin stem. What better token of spring could there possibly be? So, carefully, carefully with a shovel, I slid it into a big wooden bowl.....disturbing a colony of earwigs who scattered this way and that. And finding a sunny spot in the garden, planted the whole pumpkin with the sprout sticking up. Sigh. Life does indeed go on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

brain chemistry

It is finally happening. My mother, bless her, is losing her marbles. She is in marvelous health for 90, but our conversations in our every day phone visits now center around the "little people" who crowd her house. There are some ten of them now, including the little skinny girl of about three years old. My mother says they arrange themselves in the strangest positions around the room, getting in the way. She tells them to leave and sometimes six or so will evaporate to come back later. My father is there sometimes now as well.

It is all so matter of fact that it sounds completely logical. Maybe it is. It certainly makes one question one's own sanity. I mean, who knows which reality is "real". I do remember the questions in philosophy class as to whether or not "that red chair" is really there. In whose reality is it really there?

As one comes to the end of a long life, and brain chemistry plays tricks or dissolves neurons, perhaps this is the last and best Broadway show. At least it is marvelously entertaining.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

flickr artists all friends in the same boat

I must sing the praises of I know that it's mostly a photo type interaction but there is a little niche there for visual artists. From all over the world! I mean, really, did you ever have a pen pal? It's better. First, there is the automatic connection of art, and most of us tend to lean into the life style of said animal. Then there is the friendship that sprouts up ......quite amazing.

I get to see how the shore looks across from the Isle of Wight....the snow in countries that used to be Russia....the cafes of Paris.....New York street art.....studios grand and tiny....I get to know students of art and hard working artists who've been at it for 35 yrs.....I see paintings and sculptures in progress....people looking for and receiving advice....people's gardens, people's families.......................................amazing to have a gut connection to others who feel about the world as you do.

I guess artists are, even in these times, still a tiny part of the population. It gives us strength and courage to find others in our boat. I'm so pleased to be there not bailing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

home texas sun writhing garden

Ah, back to the sun. Just spent ten watery days in California where they need the rain but for me it was starting to get a bit soggy.

Much was accomplished and my 90 year old mother continues to live well and independently. And I actually managed to paint a few gouaches in the wee hours. Back now to the tangle of my writhing garden and and the lists of what I don't think I will do.

Because the sun is shinning and the dog is grinning and the loquats are beginning to ripen and the birds are singing................and the mosquitoes aren't awake is a day for breathing outdoors. And listening. And for closing one's eyes against the red sun and feeling the thaw.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

super bowl sunday not

It's nice and quiet out there on the streets. Football parties, or in some homes just football is the day today. On a date with someone somewhere, eons ago, I likened the game to that of ancient tribes or Greek games. He liked me anyway. Not a big fan, am I.

Nice day for painting...or the movies. We went to see Revolutionary Road. It is very like a John Cheever novel, I think. We thought it much better than the reviews would have you believe. It was a slice of suburban 1950's angst....that you could apply to any time, really. A movie to cause good talk afterwards.

The football game is on, but it doesn't bother my painting I'm off to do it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

mother parkinson's age confusing to me

I need to write again. This time about something that really matters. My mother is 2000 miles away, 90 in Feb, living alone, doing very well until quite recently. We talk every day. I go there every six weeks to eight weeks. I try to make things easier for her.....she sometimes resists.

Sometimes on the phone I feel like Alice in Wonderland. She now has Parkinson's....and is lucky that it doesn't affect her in any shaking way...but there are other symptoms. Some of age.

So many people go through this tug of war between children, grandchildren, and parents. But when it comes to rest in your own heart, it is sad....and difficult....and confusing. It hurts.

There is nothing to be done but to take the gradual steps one at a time to make things ok for her and ....for me. She is still such an amazing individual.....she doesn't want to give up and I don't either.

So, I have spoken to the ether. Perhaps the lump in the throat will ease.

bitty gouaches large impressive sculptures

Working on very tiny gouaches.....about 3 x 3" or 4 x 4" to put in some frames that I have. Lean times call for new ways of doing things. It is a bit odd to scale down even smaller...from the
8" x 6" gouaches I have been doing for years. It certainly calls for tiny brushes and a bit of patience.

And I'd rather be working on the big paintings in the studio.....but the little ones will do for the moment.

I went with a friend to the gallery opening of an ex student of mine: Patrick Renner at Lawndale Art Center. There was a great deal of terrific art there last night. Patrick's has to do with telephone poles (cut vertically to fit the space) with amazing hardware of steel and wood and plastic attached to be pushed horizontally around creating sound. He is an excellent sculptor who continues to move through new ideas. He seems to be thinking: "what if" to see what will happen and what will work. He was in a painting class of mine....and he created a sculpture with wood and just can't keep a born sculptor down!

It was all quite thought provoking and grand.

Monday, January 19, 2009

home from the hills

Home. Although John saved, in the middle of the table, a pile of the remnants of Ollie dogs errant chewing experiments ; although the house is full of floating dog hair; although the refrigerator smells bad, and I'm not sure if the meat pie I just threw out was the source; although I just had to pay a pile of bills;

and although I'm oh so tired from driving for nine is so good to be home.

It is good to is better to come home.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

comforting my daughter; cleaning up the dishes

As I am about to hit the road again early next morning, I am musing:

Boys aged 5 and 8 are loud, messy, tornadoes.

I can't cook.

I can still comfort my grownup daughter in her post op pain.

My son in law can cook.

I can complete six small gouache paintings in nine days.

My daughter's new dog is a spoiled bitch.

But anything my daughter loves, I love too.

Cleaning up is easier than cooking.

My daughters friends are great cooks.

And it is time for me to go home to my own dog, who is also spoiled and ate one African sculpture and one pillow in my absence, and to my husband who says he missed me but only after I begged him to say it.

And....that I love the long drive both here and back is nine hours of personal freedom to stop and pee when I want, to eat when I want and to wander where I want. But I'll head straight home to the cozy that is waiting for me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

blackeyed peas, greens and gratitude

Shhhhhhhsh. Last night's noisy entrance into 2009 is over. It is quiet. There was a butterfly sampling the last of the butterfly weed today. A fallen blue jay feather lay lightly on the pine needles. The dog scratched his ear. Quiet.

There was the shhsh shhsh of brush on paper, gouache dripping. The smell of onions, garlic, black eyed peas with bits of ham, heavily spiced, and rounds of cornbread. Then at the table: greens and beets and salad.

An early dark night. A longing to be in the desert or the mountains ......just to see the stars.
Gratitude for being here, alive, breathing, walking each day one at a time, into the future.

swamp, 55" x 29"

in progress

flying fish, 55" x 29"

eye with a view

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I am living and painting in the little town of Houston. A far way from my San Francisco beginnings. I paint what I see of the human condition, be it human, animal or object. The glimmer of humor, pathos, and spirit in so much of what I see is the basis of what I paint.


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