Wednesday, October 18, 2017

10/18/17

Golden Scale
The downsizing is moving along in full throttle now! I am getting serious and trying to do something every day. Today I schlepped 2 carts full of books to the local used bookstore. I always email them first with a list of titles to be sure they want them. I made the mistake once of going over there without doing that first and ended up bringing half of them back.

They take books on Wednesday-Saturday so I am going to try and go each day that they take books and get rid of as many as I can. Whatever they don't take I will donate to the library.

It is funny. I thought I could never part with my books. I have many wonderful art books that I have been carting around for years. Why? I rarely look at them after the initial perusal. There are of course a few I cannot part with as I do look at them often since they inspire my own work. But the rest I will let someone else look at for a while.

The realtor has told me I need to get rid of half of my stuff.......so with that in mind I am working hard at it. I would like to get as much done as possible before the snow flies since then it won't be so easy to get around.

And, now this is big.......drum roll please........ when my husband and I go out to Tucson for Christmas, I will be staying for the entire month of January. By.  Myself.  Yes, you heard me. I am leaving them for an entire month to fend for themselves. I really need it. There is no way I can make it through this last winter without a break of some kind. And I really need a break from all my responsibilities. My grandson will be 18 by then and so the court order I am under will be null and void. I will be somewhat of a free bird......this is big.

We can't both leave at the same time since one of us has to be here to make sure my grandson gets off to school and to his job.  Plus my husband is having some dental work done and so he has to stick around for a bit.

Today I ordered boxes so I will ship stuff out to Arizona while I am there. Just shipping most of my art supplies and artwork out there should get rid of at least half my stuff here! Ha!

I am feeling more optimistic than I have in a very long time. The wheels for the move are beginning to turn. I feel like we have waited far too long since we first made the decision to move 3 years ago.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

10/14/17

Clouds of Blossoms
I have been working on a new series lately. One where I am layering the background using a palette knife and then adding the flowers and small details with a tiny brush. I enjoy the combination of the two distinct ways of applying the paint. I try to remember all the design elements as well, including large/small, light/dark etc.

One other thing that I am doing is sketching on cheap copy paper instead of a sketchbook. I must have 100's of sketchbooks. And lets face it, not everything in them is all that great. The books are not cheap either. I find them to be rather inhibiting frankly. After I accumulate a huge pile of paper, I go through them and toss the ones that have no future. It is a great way to warm up before painting as well. I still have a ream of copy paper from Staples when it was on sale. So I better use it up!

I had a really great consultation with a professional college counselor this week and it was really helpful. He was kind enough to speak with me at no cost since he knew my situation from the email I sent him.  Essentially, he didn't think my grandson was ready or wanted to go to college. He was right. I needed to hear that. We will be lucky at this point if he graduates from high school. Seriously, what was I thinking?

He suggested a job or Americorps or something called Dynamy. So that is the direction we are taking. He just got a part time job after school at Trader Joe's so perhaps after high school he can work there full time. They pay pretty well and have health insurance.

I am sorry that he won't be going to college right now but I am also relieved that I no longer have to feel the pressure that the school is doling out in massive doses to everyone. Perhaps at some point in the future he will decide to further his education. Right now he is just not ready.

I can look forward to my move now without all the college stress which is a huge relief for me. We just have to figure out where he will live when we leave. Not a small thing but doable.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

10/11/2017

Evening Coolness
It has been a while since I posted on my blog. I haven't been making much art lately. Probably about one painting a week rather than the daily paintings I had been doing for a while. That will have to be OK since I have so many other things going on right now.

I have been trying to downsize a little each day for the move next summer. Luckily I live in a building with 25 other units and so when I bring my downsized stuff down to the trashroom, it disappears almost immediately! People love free stuff! Especially when they are drawers, shelving and bins! So nothing is going to the landfill and that is always a good thing.

The other thing that is taking up so much time and energy is the college thing or lack thereof. We still don't know what my grandson will do post college and post move. If I weren't moving it wouldn't be such a big deal but I am and so time is of the essence for him. He needs to decide what he is going to do. I can't just leave him on the curb. It is stressful because I want him to be some place where he can thrive. But he still takes no interest in his future and I can't force him. Although I continue to try and I am becoming a real nag. I just want some answers. Instead I am trying to figure it out for him which I know is a bad idea. And everyone tells me so as well. But what am I to do?

I am looking at technical schools and so far have found a couple. One is called Pennsylvania College of Technology and the other is Vermont Technical College. I think those might be good places to start since he says he is interested in construction. (Does he even know what that means since he has never done it).....Argh.

I also thought of a gap year doing something like Americorps.

I think it is very different when you are the grandparent. You tend to feel more protective of them. Grandparent love is different than parent love and somewhat more smothering.

Anyway, I keep trying. I would really like to see him in a dorm situation somewhere with other young people his own age doing something to secure his future, whatever that may be.

I will try and go back to my regular posting because I always get good advice from my readers and this is one of those times I could use some. If you have any other ideas I would love to hear them.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

9/24/17

 Recently I have been taking another online class with Nancy Hillis and I am really learning so much about simplifying my color palette. For example this is a one color palette with a few different reds plus the addition of black and white. The small studies were made using this palette. I find it very freeing to use only a few colors. Sometimes too many colors become confusing for me and the work suffers.



This is a little study of a flower I call "Ghost Flower" It is done in a limited palette of blues with the addition of black and white. I love that juicy navy blue on the bottom.


That is it for today. Have a lovely week!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

9/23/17

In Full Bloom
So fall is upon us. I have to be careful not to get too depressed. Painting is not going well this week.
The painting above was done two weeks ago. I am totally blocked right now. I am not sure why. Oh yes, well, I am sort of sure why. Winter is coming as they say on Game of Thrones.

Also, I knew senior year was going to be stress filled but it is even worse than I thought it would be. At a PTO meeting the other night they handed out a laundry list of deadline dates for all things college related. And believe me, all things are college related at this school.

It is mind boggling. I am so ill prepared. When I graduated from high school in 1967, there were two tracks. College or not college. There were plenty of kids who did not go to college. They took typing, home economics, shop etc. Many went off to fight in Vietnam. It was a different time.

At Brookline High School we are suppose to let our student follow the process and guide them along.  To see him not doing it though or not taking any interest in it is so stressful for me. There really is no other option for these kids at our school. Everything this year is about this that and the other thing for college. The statistics from last year's class (over 500 students) 96% of the kids went to college. 36% did not need financial aid. We live in a really wealthy town, even though we are not. Last year 1% did not go to college and 1% went into the military.

I just don't know what will happen to my grandson if he doesn't go to college. Even if he just goes to a two year college. Something. Anything.

I don't know, I really don't and it is really upsetting. Hard to focus.



Friday, September 15, 2017

9/15/17

This has been a hard week for me. Seeing what has happened to the beautiful Florida Keys. I am heartbroken to see the devastation of my old home. Seeing the pictures coming out is so heartbreaking. There are so many people who are now homeless. Where will they go? What will they do? It is very sad.

If you look in my profile you will see where I mention how I once lived in the tropics. Well those tropics I speak of were the Florida Keys.

In the mid 1970's we moved down to Key West. We were tired of winters in upstate NY and wanted to be warm. A friend told us we should go to Key West. So we did. Just. Like. That.

It was an amazing place in those days. And so cheap. Our first apartment cost $60 a month. We met so many people who were there for a variety of reasons. Mostly to be warm and have a laid back life.

During the day we would go to the beach. Our kids would play with all the other kids. It was idyllic. It really was, At night we would go down to the pier and watch the sunset. Some of us would bring our artwork down to sell to the tourists. After sunset we would often go to someones house for a feast. We all brought food and there was music and feasting. No one had a car. We rode our bikes everywhere.

Many of the friends I made back then I am still in contact with today largely due to Facebook. I also have a few friends who either never left or have gone back there to retire. As you can imagine I have been very worried about a few of them who did not evacuate. As it turns out they are OK but without power, water and the basic necessities.

It appears that Key West did not suffer too much damage.  Mostly downed trees and some flooding, The Upper Keys are a very different story.  Especially Big Pine Key. It looks like a bomb went off in multiple places. Tornados hit many of the upper keys.

In the early 80's we moved from Key West up to Big Pine. In those days there wasn't even a grocery store. It was very isolated, very hot, and very buggy. We built a house there but we had no electricity as there were no electric poles out where we lived. So the house was built entirely with hand tools. We had a lovely garden where I grew papayas, coconuts, mangoes and bananas. We never really liked Big Pine as much as Key West as we were so isolated and so it wasn't long before we moved on. Up north as they say down there.

The thing about Key West, for me anyway, is that although you can leave the keys, the keys never really leave you. And so all these years I have carried it with me like a lost lover. And even though I have found a new place to live/love, my love of the Keys will always be in my heart. My sorrow is overwhelming.



Saturday, September 9, 2017


No, I am not really in a gallery. I just thought it would be fun to see how these look all together! And since I don't have the wall space here at home for all my paintings, and since they just get piled on top of one another, I never know how they will look together. Fun anyway!

So yes, we are back from Tucson. Of course I am freezing. It is nearly 40 degrees colder here than out there when we left. I truly hate the cold. But soon now. I just have to get through One. More. Winter. I am not sure how I will do that but do it I must. The first thing I will do is toss out my boots and winter coat.

Ethan started senior year yesterday. Whoopee. Hard to believe. I am happy about it. Very happy. Can you tell? Also, my husband gave his official retirement notice this week. He is really happy about that!

Anyway, even though I do not like being back I am glad to have all my art supplies again. It is hard to be without every little thing, from brayers, to dot making tools, color wheels etc. I have been doing a 30 day challenge with Amira Rahim called Passion,  Color,  Joy 30 in 30. On Instagram of course!

Check it out if you haven't already! Here