Sunday, March 26, 2017
When I came into the studio yesterday for the first time since January, I knew I wanted to paint something yellow, with small, short marks. I was thinking hieroglyphics in orderly rows.
Well nothing is tidy in my world so soon enough the characters started to move. A random dance, like the flight of bees. Something entomological was going on.
Even though I`ve been indoors for weeks and love the rains of winter, something deep within me was craving light and warmth. To everything there is a season.
It`s been a long difficult winter in the Northwest and people seem tense. For the good of the community, I`m praying for some sunshine.
And hoping beyond hope that I really am on the mend this time. No more surprises!
This drawing from a couple of years ago has the same bumbling quality.
Another yellow painting, this one from the late 90`s. The work I was doing then attempted to fuse some representational imagery with an abstract sense of space. There were few successes unfortunately.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
I pad drawing
As much as I love the technology, Procreate and other drawing software is nowhere near the sensual experience of real painting. It lacks the spontaneity and therefore the joy. Yet I`m glad I`ve had something to keep my visual mind active. I`ve learned how extremely complex painting is and how supple and responsive hand-eye coordination can be. I haven`t thought about my own art too much through all of this. Being completely unable to attend to it, it`s been healthier to read about other artists and cultures.
After appointments today with my doctors, I`m getting an idea of what the endgame will be. They are encouraged by the tests and especially by the fact that for being so ill, I`m not sick. In fact personally, the greatest challenge has been psychological. It has felt like a mortal threat at times. Though I remind myself frequently that this is not chemotherapy, not kidney dialysis, that I still do have functioning legs, my rational thinking has been of little use. At least during the setbacks, and there have been a few of those. Disability and dependence have been the terrors, not death.
When I was a young fit runner, I used to joke about having such a strong heart. That in my old age my joints would have long been incapacitated but that I`d be trapped in a wheelchair unable to die. This infection got me much closer to that than I ever want to be. Yet I suspect if truly faced with such a reality, I would want to continue.
Last November 8, Illinois elected a woman veteran to the US Senate who lost both her legs in the Iraq war. Tammy Duckworth remains and is whole enough to contribute to the civic life of our country. She is not her body. I am not my body.
So I`m sure I`m learning tons of wise stuff, but I don`t ask me what. Vulnerability is scary. A lot of uncomfortable questions about being worthy or good enough arise rather than the simple gratitude kindness deserves.
There has been an abundance of that, let me tell you. To a person, everyone at Kaiser has been exceptionally encouraging and empathetic. New friends have offered their help open heartedly and older pals have been with me throughout this thing. John and my family have been unshakable. I appreciate every loving comment. Because you took the time to say it. If I`m learning anything, it`s how to be nicer.
Hope to be back in the studio in two weeks, driving in three.
Spring in Oregon will coincide with my returning health, it will be beautiful.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
This was the last thing I painted before my surgery in January. It comes from a walk I took the day before the election. The Tualatin River was ablaze with color and I was confident we were about to elect our first female president.
My other knee is infected and tomorrow I have surgery to clean this one up too. The idea is to make the joint accessible to the antibiotics and protect the prosthesis from infection. That is a serious matter.
Definitely a setback but I`m managing to be philosophical. Shit happens, its that simple. I have minimal pain and don`t feel sick.
I will paint again sooner than later, I feel sure.
Thanks to those that have helped me with this, and to those who wish me well, I appreciate it.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
This painting is 2008 I think.
My knee was infected and I now have the project of my life so far. I will be giving myself infusions of IV antibiotics every eight hours through a Pic line in my arm for six weeks.
But at least I`m out of the hospital.
I will pretty much be home for awhile. There is an 'immobilizer' on my left leg to keep it straight but when that comes off in two weeks things will get easier.
I`m kind of weak at the moment but visitors are welcome!
Thursday, February 9, 2017
I did get down to my studio last weekend but couldn't stand to paint very long at all. Going down the stairs, I caused a problem with one of the stitches and the knee started draining. Today my doctor said he should go back in and make sure there isn't any infection. So, a little clean up surgery tomorrow.
I`m not doing anything else, no plans, I can't even get down my steps unassisted and in fact I was getting serious cabin fever. Change of venue doesn't sound bad.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
I just want to say hello, I'm doing well with my partial new knees but I won't be painting for a while yet. Not until I can get down the steps into my studio. Down is always tough with knee issues. The ideas are coming though just from looking out my windows. While I'm a lousy gardener, my neighbors aren't. I'm surrounded by trees and the recent skies look like Spring from my bed/command center/supply hub/communications headquarters/cat sanctuary/dining area.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
I`ve hardly known what to do the last couple of days. The latest snow event coincides with my surgery preparations and the imminent inauguration of a man with no political experience and fresh allegations of collusion with the Russians.
Nothing proven but compiled by a respected British intelligence expert. Where are those fierce Republican cold warriors now? Not to be seen because their guy won. Even with the help of the Russians. How about some old fashion patriotism GOP?
This op-ed gave me some comfort. It suggests Democrats take up the tactics of the tea party. Hmmm, it could work!
This may seem contrary to my values but I did change my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. It`s easy in Oregon if you`re a licensed driver. Just find your county`s election office online and fill out the form. Now I only did this thinking my letters to public officials might be taken more seriously if my vote was seen as 'winnable'.
The snow started falling, trees started breaking and by 10 pm our power was gone. The automated estimated time of repair wasn`t too bad so we just went to sleep. In the morning John left for work and I stayed in bed to keep warm. It didn`t return until the middle of the next night! I have a tiny bit deeper understanding of homelessness now. Cold will find you. Once you finally get warm, any movement disrupts that comfort radically. It is humiliating.
Imagine if that was your daily existence?
The zeitgeist in my home this week has been agitated to be sure. By the fate of my knees of course, icy weather and horror about the possible future of our country. Noam Chomsky says today`s Republican Party is the most dangerous institution in human history. He may be right. The R. Party left democracy in North Carolina on par with that of Cuba.
So no titles on the paintings above yet. Soon I`ll have a whole lot of time on my hands and I will think of them then. What to do during the long recovery concerns me as much as pain. I suspect I`ll finally see some of the TV series I`ve heard people talk about for years.
Website is updated! Thank you Jeremy!
Here is a beautiful video tribute to the late great Oregon artist, Rick Bartow.
For me, Isaac Levitan is the father of the kind of landscape painting I aspire to; Work that comes from an emotional reaction to nature. In his brief 40 years he created a visceral, ground level view of his Russian countryside. Over a hundred years later, his moody landscapes are a touchstone for me and legions of other painters.
work for sale in my studio