Monday, December 31, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
Our "found" project is still in the works. I chose to do an ontology (look it up, I had to).
Apparently, paintings of scars are big in the art world just now. I don't mean to brag, but I have many scars. (The only better news for me would be if Ruben-esque women were to be declared the avatar of healthy womanhood.) So my canvas is a grid of nine squares. It will be titled, "A Sum of my Parts". The center grid will depict of woman with a migraine (they were central to my life for many decades).
For scars there's my knee replacement gone bad, my double back surgery, my hysterectomy, my ectopic pregnancy, my twisted colon, my skin cancer...
When this piece is done, the art world will be my oyster. (And should the knife slip while opening said oyster, I'll have a series.)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
This being Thanksgiving week, food looms large. Even discounting peanut butter, I am a serial food addict. Something catches my fancy and I eat it all the time, for about six months and then I'm done, never want to eat it again. I've done this with Dove ice cream bars, bagels, Trader Joe meringues, lime yogurt with almonds, peppermint candy, those styrofoam wheat pops, caesar salads, fresh tomatoes, baked potatoes,peanut butter/banana/chocolate chip sandwiches, and buttercream icing. Something triggers in me and it won't let go for months. I can not have ice cream in the house or home baked goods.
My current constant is McCann's oatmeal with sunflower seed butter and dried sour cherries. Every morning for seven months. I'm beginning to tire of it, which means another obsession is around the corner.
The good news is I haven't had JIF in 8 months. My acupuncturist said peanuts were toxic to my system. These days I am drinking Aloe Juice and curcumin pills to heal. What fun!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I bring this up because I am having a similar reaction but without the grass. Stasis on the outside, turmoil on the inside. I'm not painting at home, or stretching canvases or in any fashion, productive. My mind is whirling with ideas but there is a short-circuit. I am taking a seminar with Carol Dupre, "Potential Space and the Found". I knew I was in trouble when I didn't understand the class description. ( Do you know what a vulgate is?) Carol is a brilliant painter and she has spurred many an artist to make the leap. I wasn't in the mood to leap, but I figured it couldn't hurt to look over the edge.
Apparently, it has disconnected my intent from my action. It is supposed to be a painting class, but so far we haven't touched paint. I don't even bother bringing paint to class. We've made clay heads, looked at death masks, read "By Night in Chile" by Roberto Bolano. (Excellent book about Pinochet's reign, but it is one paragraph, 118 pages long.) We've seen and dissected the movie, "Perfume: the history of a murderer." Lovely, twisted images to fire the synapses. "Pan's Labyrinth" is next. Last week we read about paradigm shifts in science. I love what I have learned from this, but it seems to have immobilized me.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I began blogging because Dawn Benedetto insisted that a modern artist must go viral. Apparently, websites are not enough. I joined Facebook for the same reason. I draw the line at Twitter, believing it to be an offense to language. I don't text for the same reason.
My blog is not a true artist blog. I don't discuss techniques or analagous color schemes. If someone asks, I would be happy to tell them. But no one has. The Blogger 'leave a comment' section is difficult to use. Artist block comes up now and again, but I am more likely to grouse about tenants of our summer house or my son's dog. I try to be droll.
Do I like Blogger. No. Blogger appropriates your images as their own, with the feeble warning 'Images may be subject to copyright.' May?#?!? It is open season for pirates. (I say this as one whose images were hijacked and displayed the walls of a fish restaurant in Singapore. A woman from Hong Kong recognized my work from International Artist Magazine and sent me cellphone images.)
I have never sold a painting from my blog. I don't know who reads it, though apparently I am big in Russia, Pakistan and Malawi. The few members of my family who read it, do so sporadically.
The benefits of blogging are purely selfish. I used to write novels and food books. When I discovered pastels, I stopped writing immediately. (That and the lack of hue and cry from the publishing world.) Later when I had to write about my painting I found it incredibly difficult. Writing is a different 'muscle' than painting. After 20 years of apparent ease, I had to work at it. So blogging helps keep the muscle toned. I enjoy the process.
I try to blog at least twice a month. I am up to 101 posts. During my solo art league show, Erica Fortwengler, the publicity director, insisted that I blog everyday. It was a nightmare.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
It is so quiet here, almost contemplative. Except for the falling bricks. One of the chimneys loosed a spate of bricks inside the fireplace last week. It is always something with this house. For most the year it is a troublesome geriatric patient, causing all manner of bother. But as soon as I get here and sit on the porch, I am home and content.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
If I lived there year round, I would be right pissed about all these people in their Range Rovers trampling on my island. So yes, there is justification. But still....
A continually sparking pilot light prompted one tenant to call the gas company for an emergency visit. I understand the tenant's concern. The pilot light is electrically generated. Unplug the stove for 30 seconds. Problem solved. We should have left a note to that effect. (There is nothing more inviting to a tenant than a house whose appliances are festooned with such notes.) The gas company allegedly spent two and a half hours resolving the problem for $452. (Last year a different company charged us $300 for travel time.) I called the gas company for an explanation. The accountant couldn't find the work sheet. She left a message the next day reducing the bill by $200 with no explanation of her generosity. Then the phone bill arrived with a charge of $49 dollars for a 12 minute call to a 264 country area code. Namibia. The tenants swore they did not call Africa. No one else was in the house. (Several years ago a member of cleaning crew had a lengthy chat to Brazil and billed me for the time as well.)
I called Verizon and waited 42 minutes to talk to a human. When I explained the problem the operator said 'the call came from your house.' Computers don't lie. The best he could do was to call the number in Namibia and see if they could identify the caller. A long wait ended with the news that the call was to Cape Air in Hyannis, Massachusetts. A stone throw from the Vineyard. He didn't understand the mistake, Hyannis is a 508 area code but the computer listed it as 264-- Namibia. (Perhaps with all the outsourcing the call was routed through Namibia.) You would think I felt victorious, but I was just exhausted.
There are worse stories I could tell but my family won't let me.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
I am now officially prickly. I have run out of gas in the middle of the ocean. No land in sight.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Sam is not a creature of half measures. He was outside stripping the tomatoes from the vine, I was inside reading. When he decided he wanted in, he didn't bark or paw the door. He didn't sit by the glass door and look longingly. No, he hurled himself up in the air and planted four paws on the glass before thudding to the porch floor.
I love Sam. Really, I do.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The above photo is of my brother's five and a-half month old bulldog Tucker in an oxygen cage. Tucker, who couldn't be sweeter if he were made of gum drops, developed aspirational pneumonia and nearly died several times last week. He is now through the worst of it, we hope. I can only imagine the vet bills. Catastrophic in many ways. It didn't use to be like this. When my black lab had an ACL surgery in the mid 1990's the total bill, including anesthesia, medicine and two nights stay was $180. When my yellow lab had the same operation ten years later the bill was over $2000. And that doesn't include treatment for the subsequent kidney failure that resulted from the pain medication. It can't just be inflation. America is pet crazy. And I say that as one of the deeply crazed. Vets just happened to be the beneficiaries of our madness. Anything is possible now, transplants, cloning, the sky's the limit. Three years ago my vet was stunned by my refusal to put my 12 year old lab through chemotherapy. (In fairness, if Clio had been young at the time I might have been tempted.) This pretty young vet told me, in all earnestness, "Old age is not a disease." Ha!
Canine allergy tests start at $600. My god-dog Sam went through a battery of them when the kangaroo and red lentil diet proved futile.
Sam is staying with us while my son and his wife enjoy Napa Valley. While I was at work yesterday Sam discovered a wicked, horrid monster cleverly disguised as a 6-foot bath mat. Sam to the rescue. He dragged the 'monster' down the stairs and thrashed it soundly, whacked it against furniture and water bowls. He seemed to expect some reward for his efforts.
Sam has developed a whiny quality that I thought only existed in pre-school children. Whatever we are doing for him it is apparently, not enough. The house is littered with his toys and bully sticks (for those happily unaware, a bully stick is a dried bull's penis) but he wants to munch on my collection of vintage windup toys. He wants to chew the down comforter. He wants the monster/bathmat released from the closet, where apparently it is issuing a siren song of taunts. He just whined at my husband who commented: "Oh for heaven's sake. He has a bull's penis, what more does he want?"
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
But I am baffled by consumers who buy, not because they love the painting, but because of its inches. I was in the Torpedo Factory studio when a couple came in and pulled out a measuring tape. They held it up against several of my partners' pieces and mine as well. Then they left. An hour later they came back, measured again. I wondered if they would pull out fabric swatches to see if it matched the sofa. They left again. When they returned they settled on a piece that was 24 inches tall and was mostly red and yellow.
People should buy art that they love. Repaint the room or buy a new couch, if necessary. But love the art.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
My acupuncturist thinks my qi would benefit if I would envision a place where I am "most me" and at my happiest. I should do this whenever I feel tense and also when I meditate. I immediately thought of the porch at the Vineyard. I recall of the angle of the sunlight, the smell of the sea and the bayberry, the drone of the mosquitoes. Happy place!
But it's a short jump from that porch to unhappy thoughts. My mind is on the porch, feeling the breeze, and the next instant I'm thinking about the septic tank. We have been stewards of the house for 27 years and I don't think we've ever had it pumped. I remember vaguely that my parents had it done. I believe it is under the yard in back. No telling where the opening is. Probably six feet into the brambles. My mother told me as a child not to play in a certain corner of the yard, but was that the septic tank or the underground root cellar?
If thinking makes it so, I expect a call soon from the tenants, to report that the back yard is bubbling and ripe with odour.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
No doubt you expect I set the gallery ablaze. Not so. Turns out my opening was scheduled for the same night as the annual Fire Truck Parade. Fire trucks from Maryland and Virginia, with horns cranking and wailing, drove through the tiny town of Colonial Beach for 45 minutes. It was rather like being locked in a bell tower.
To add further merriment, an agent from the ABC liquor board dropped in, flashed her badge, and demanded that the gallery stop serving wine. Apparently, the agent felt that the wine was unduly influencing people to buy art. (I mean really, how else are we to peddle the stuff.) No one was buying art at the moment, but the agent was not dissuaded. The wine was corked and put away. Sigh....
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Did I mention that he is often sweet and cuddly?
Beneath the fuzz was a hard layer wrapped around a core of styrofoam pellets. I didn't want the pellets all over the living room so I put the flamingo in the yard. Sam spent 10 minutes trying to drag the wide flamingo through the narrow dog door. It took some maneuvering, but he succeeded. And when I wasn't looking, loosed a geyser of styrofoam all over the porch.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
(I told my son not to adopt a dog, that he couldn't afford it.) What do I know? Ned rescued Sam, a mixed breed. Ned insists
that Sam is part pit bull, and is unreasonably proud of it. Everyone knows that mutts are healthier than pedigree dogs. Everyone but Sam, who cost my son and his fiance a small fortune in vet bills. Major food allergies. For awhile, the allergy went into remission with zyrtec and a limited diet of venison and sweet potato. Alas, that didn't work and he's now on a diet of (I kid you not) kangaroo and red lentils.
I see Sam every week. I've petted him twice. He never stands still long enough to receive affection. He zooms through our house as if he's going for a land speed title. At home he chews the normal things, rugs, shoes, hands (Sam doesn't seem to know where the toy ends and the human begins). One day he chewed a hole in the middle of their memory foam mattress. Yes, he's a rascal all right.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
I introduced Mom to Clio. They didn't get on. My mother died soon after. Clio grew to be a wonderful soul. The two are entwined in my mind, alpha and omega. Maybe that is why I never got another dog.
Which brings me to the new beginnings. My brother's family had a great bulldog, Dozer, that died early and unexpectedly. They wrestled with the idea of getting a new dog. They waited months and months. Cody, the dark blob to the left, is a gentle beast of a chocolate lab. He greeted the new bulldog, Tucker, with great good humor, even as Tucker treated Cody's ears as chew toys. My grand nephew, Max also enjoys tussling with Tucker. He is size appropriate. Max was to be christened in New York City. So I went to Baltimore to babysit the puppy. He's adorable , aside from his razor sharp teeth. Still in housebreaking stage, he had to be carted out to the yard hourly. He took exception to my policing of chewables. I spent the day in near constant motion: ferrying him to the pee and poop zones, keeping him away from the duck pond, removing sticks, dead habiscus, and stones from his gullet. It was a long day. I'm so happy my brother has gotten a new puppy. And that I don't want one.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I need a new religion. I have lymphocytic colitis. They don't know how to treat it other than to carpet-bomb the colon with steroids for three months. My perky doctor told me I could expect 3 to 4 attacks a year. (Do the math: 9 to 12 months a year on steroids.) Usually I have a month between attacks. This last one came on after only a week and was particularly vicious. My acupuncturist used this as further evidence of my spleen qi deficiency. (Previous evidence, food cravings, heavy menstruation and bruising). I could no longer ignore the diagnosis. To build up qi and rid the 'dampness', she has banned all cold foods, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, dairy products, garlic and onions, sweets, red meat and alcohol from my diet. I'm left with white fish, chicken, rice, bananas and root vegetables that have boiled and beaten into a submissive mush. How can I give up tomatoes? And arugula, and apples?
She said I have to develop patience. I'm pretty much known for my impatience. But I'm trying. I meditate and drink ginger tea. And I wonder at the irony of being a food painter sustained by mush.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
So there you go, Psychotherapy and unblocked qi in one fell swoop.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
This pastel from my statues series is called, "Ah, Youth..."
I'm using it for this blog because I'm feeling old and cranky. I always get this way when my body decides it has had enough. Various sections are shutting down. It's not fair. I eat too much, but it's always healthy, five-a-day, fiber-licious food. No fried foods, a minimum of red meat. A soupcon of vodka. I exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day. And I think good thoughts. Really.
So why am I limping, unable to climb stairs without pain, and dealing with two tears in my rotator cuffs. It isn't as if, as my husband pointed out, I just pitched a no-hitter.
Life is a bowl of mole.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Is there any more dispiriting a conversation than the one with your financial planner? My husband made me take part in this year's conversation because he wants to retire. And I want him not to retire. First, he showed me a graph of our financial future. Three lines that took in the vicissitudes of the market, the vagaries of the world situation, and for all I know, cricket futures (what an article in the New Yorker dubbed, "the other green meat"). It was not encouraging. Two lines dribbled along with all the enthusiasm of a sulking dog. The other dropped off the page after a few inches. This I gathered was what happened if the fates did not align. When checking the options from his pension policy, my husband asked me, in all seriousness, which of us would die first.
One would think, with all my ailments and emergency surgeries, I would be the first one to go. Not so. My healthy husband was built like the one horse shay, each piece as strong as the next, never breaking down until one day it "went to pieces all at once, and nothing first, — just as bubbles do when they burst."
Actually, it's a race to the finish to see which of us can leave the other holding the bag. Ah, love....
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Apparently, this will be harder than my standard 'lose weight' resolution. The other night I was brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush and went to check my email. (Don't ask.) There was something of interest online. I put down my toothbrush, and with a mouth full of minty foam, read the email. When I closed down my computer, I looked for my toothbrush. It was not there. I had not moved from my seat. Where could it have gone? I rinsed my mouth and came back to search anew. Still no toothbrush. I enlisted my husband. He found it readily, eighteen inches from my computer. (This from the man who suffers from Male Refrigerator Blindness.) The next day I could not find my asthma inhaler which was right in front of me. I am beginning to panic.