Tuesday, August 8, 2017
We are now in Week 7 of our summer. This is the next to last week for camp. We leave for Arizona in 10 days. I am really looking forward to getting out to my house of course. It has been 6 months.
When we return we will have a lot on our plate. Too much really. Between it being my grandson's senior year, and our preoccupation with getting the house ready to sell for spring and our move in June. Well, I am not looking forward to all of it. Especially the senior year stuff. I don't know what to expect and it is seriously stressing me out. I don't want to have to think about things like SATs and senior essays, etc. I hope that my grandson steps up to the plate for all these things but I am not counting on it. So far he has not.
I am currently taking a class on selling art on Instagram with Amira Rahim. It is a very interesting class and I hope that I can somehow begin to do something as far as the selling of my work. Instagram seems to be where my art is being seen by the most people.
I have had a few requests via Instagram for doing art fairs and shows out in Tucson which I have had to decline since I am not living there yet. I think that is the hardest thing for me now. My life has felt like it has been on hold for too long now and I am beginning to lose steam.
Have a good week. I probably won't blog again until I get out to Arizona. I should have plenty of things to photograph out there since it is summer and monsoon season. Everything is out and about.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
My grandson is heading into his senior year. I am not sure what to expect really. Especially since he has no plans that I can tell for his post high school days. It is worrisome but there is only so much that we can do. He has to motivate himself. We cannot do it for him. Hopefully once he sees all his friends making their plans he will step up to the plate. I won't lie. It is concerning.
In a few weeks we will head out to Arizona for 17 days. My grandson does not want to come with us and so we are leaving him here where he will take care of the cat as well as himself. We have plenty of places to walk to to get food and takeout so I know he won't starve. I have been walking around all week picking up menus. Chinese, Vietnamese, sushi, pizza, deli, Mexican, Indian, etc. Many more. In fact, that is all we have here. There are no stores to speak of. Just eateries. That is what city life is like these days. Also, Trader Joe's is less than a block away. So he should be fine. I will leave an extra set of keys with my son who has also agreed to check in from time to time. My grandson will be 18 in just a few months and we feel this will be good practice for him when he finally, hopefully fledges.
I am looking forward to going out there, however, the trips back and forth are truly getting old. I will be glad not to have to do too many more of these. They are wearing me out both physically and financially. I am not a big traveler. We have August, December and then we are not sure about February and April. We will be getting the condo here ready to sell and may not be able to get out there. We will have to see.
I am still trying to paint every day. Lately trying my hand at a variety of under painting techniques. I seem to like the reds or rusts under the greens the best. I think that is because they are complimentary colors and the red makes the greens really richer. I am going to go to the art store in Tucson and buy some supplies so I can paint out there. I haven't really done that since I am usually only out there for short periods. But 17 days is too long to be without some paint. I wish I could bring them on the plane but paints are just not allowed.
That is it for today. Have a good week!
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Social media can get somewhat exhausting. Does anyone else feel this way? I know I follow many blogs and some have been active for as long or longer than mine. I also know how disappointed I get when a fellow blogger stops posting. I wouldn't want to disappoint people.
Anyway. Just thinking out loud. I'll see. We are going out to Tucson in August. Maybe I will refresh my blogging ideas out there!
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
|My Starry Night|
I finally decided to give it a go and take it slowly. Today I visited one of my old haunts, The Muddy River. It was quite hot and humid but I did manage to give it a few go rounds. It felt so great to be riding again. I have always been an avid bike rider since the early 1970's. In fact in Florida I didn't even have a car. Just a bike with a basket for kids and groceries.
Now of course the bike is strictly for pleasure! I look forward to going a little further each day and building up slowly. What a pleasure.
Of course I will still swim. That is better for the upper body really.
Still getting in some painting as well. But the outdoors beckons and I must obey! After all summer is short. This is my last summer here in Boston by the way. Next year at this time I will be living in Tucson and roasting with my friends out there! It feels good to say that. Next year at this time.....yes.
Friday, June 30, 2017
I really and truly am a summer person. I am so happy when I can just go out in shorts and sandals. Living in Florida all those years really affected me. Living here in the cold weather I have to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. And when I do get going I am so miserably unhappy. I merely exist waiting for summer. In summer I pop out of bed anxious to start the day! I am like a different person when I am living in a warm place.
Well next year at this time, god willing, I will be living in a very warm place and I will love every minute of it.
I have been thinking about re-opening my Etsy shop to try and sell some of the art that is piling up all over the house.
I am really creating a lot of work lately and the piles are just getting deeper. I have to wrap each piece up individually in deli paper since I learned the hard way that acrylic paintings will stick together when they are piled on top of each other. I have lost some lovely pieces that way. One thing I do know about myself is that I create the most artwork when I am at my most miserable. Sad fact but true.
I will post a link here when I figure out how to navigate all the new systems on Etsy. It is quite different than it was back in 2008 which is when I first opened my shop.
Have a great 4th of July long weekend! Talk soon!
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Anyway, school is officially out and my grandson is now a senior in high school. This is not easy for me at my age but we are managing somehow. So we have a little less than one year left here in Boston and then we too can be in 120 degree heat.....lol
He has a summer job again as a camp counselor and that starts on Monday. I am glad about that. I can't imagine what I would do if he weren't working. I know that some of his friends don't have summer jobs. Teens need to work. Period. I do have strong opinions on that!
I have been trying to make art every day. It is finally getting warmer here. Although the pool has been closed now for a couple of weeks for renovations. I miss my swimming and I am eager to get back to it!
That's all for now. Have a good week!
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
It is finally summer here. It was way too long in coming. For the last two days it was in the nineties. it felt like Arizona to me and it was wonderful. Meanwhile my grandson hates the heat and kept nagging me to turn on the AC. Wait. What? Close the windows again? The ones that have been closed for the last 9 months! No way. Sorry. Use the fans. I hate AC. Except under extraordinary circumstances. For example when I am in Arizona and it hits above 98 degrees, I will use it. Or in the summer here if it is extremely humid and the air quality in the city is bad, I will use it. But I was not ready to shut myself in just yet.
On Saturday we went down to the south shore to visit my son and his family. They live right near the water. It is literally a 2 minute walk to the ocean from their home.
I sat and stared at the water for what seemed like hours. I really needed it. I have been so overwhelmed lately and the extra long cold weather did not help my state of mind. The ocean soothed my soul.
I have been continuing the art though. No matter what. I have been experimenting with using gold under painting. I have tried using red as I love how some artists use that as well as black. Neither color seems to work for me. But the gold does. So I will continue down this rabbit hole and see where it takes me.
Bye for now!
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Here it is June already but the weather certainly does not feel like it. It has been cool and rainy most of the time and I have only had the windows open a few days if at all. It is depressing to say the least. Especially since it has been in the 90's out in Tucson. I would really enjoy that right about now. I love heat.
I have been working every day at my desk. Trying to stay creative in spite of my mental state. Between the terrible things happening in our government and my own difficult situation, I have to say that without my art I don't know what I would do.
I bought a small Moleskin sketchbook with lovely watercolor pages. The acrylics sink in to the paper and lose all their shininess. Which I like.
So here are a few sketches from there:
|The Triplets of Belleville|
Have a good week. Try to stay sane. I will too.
Friday, May 26, 2017
A few weeks ago I began a class with Dar James called "Stained Glass Trees". It was a great class but I was unable to complete it due to my dad's passing.
I did, however download all the videos. That is the nice thing about Carla Sonheim's classes. Once you sign up for them they are there for you to view forever. In fact, I always look for that feature in other classes since I can't always complete these classes in the time allotted.
Dar is a fantastic teacher. In fact she is one of the best teachers I have had so far in all my online classes. She is really informative and generous with her knowledge as well as what supplies she uses, paint brands etc.
When I signed up for the class I knew that I didn't want to paint trees but I wanted to learn the techniques she uses for these trees in my own art. That is what I did in the above painting. My biggest takeaway from her class was the creation of the under painting. Something I have never been very good at. I am not sure why this is. Perhaps it is due to my watercolor background where an underpainting would not be a good thing. Other than a very light wash that is.
So I am still in the process of taking her class. There are many videos all chock full of important info.
The only thing I am not a fan of is the way she paints with her bare fingers. I just cannot bring myself to get all painty. In fact I keep baby wipes on my table and use then often! So I use gloves when I put the paint on the first layer and it works out just fine.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
I am still exploring carving and printing. I am trying to make some patterns again but this time not on the computer. I am going to try my hand at block printing on fabric. In the early 80's I did some fabric painting but never with a carved block. First I have to remember everything I forgot about tiling in order to make a repeat pattern.
As you can see, this one doesn't really work as a repeat pattern but I like it anyway.
Also rather than using block printing ink which is so thick, I am using screen printing ink. I like it much better as it is thinner and doesn't rub off.
These are some fun experiments!
Friday, May 12, 2017
I seem to have fallen down the rabbit hole of printmaking! It all started with the making of stamps. I was reminded of my days creating linocut Christmas cards back in the 1970's. I can't carve linoleum any more due to hand issues but the new carving mediums are really easy on the hands. I began with something called Speedy Carve which is the pink stuff. I liked it fine until I tried the Soft Cut. That was dreamy too but then I found Moo carve and all my prayers were answered. The stuff is amazing. It is soft yet firm and carves like "buttah". So Moo Carve it is for now unless I find something better that is.
I also discovered a great use for some old gelli prints that I had laying around. Anyone who does any sort of gelatin printing will know what I mean.....they take up a lot of space. So I tried printing on some of them and that worked really well.
Here is another one I did that I really like as well in two different colors.
I am thinking about making some cards again. Perhaps I will even re-open my Etsy shop again. Although I never had a whole lot of success with that. We will see. Right now I am enjoying the meditative and repetitive process of the carving, inking, and printing.
Monday, May 8, 2017
Sunday, April 30, 2017
|Dad at a fashion show a few years ago.|
We all knew this day was coming but it doesn't make it any easier. We lost my dad this week. He was 96 years old. My parents have been married for 68 years. My mom won't know what to do without him.
In a way it was a relief since he was really suffering. It was so hard to bear. He had always been so sharp and strong. Watching a parent decline is about the worst thing I can think of. My dad was always there for us and always trying fo fix anything and everything that was wrong.
He will be so incredibly missed. We will all have to learn how to live without him.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
The week is over. I missed my trip to the house in Arizona. It was a good thing I didn't go since I am still not completely better. This was a brutal sinus infection. I know quite a few people who have it and everyone is really sick from it. I am not sure if the antibiotics worked or not. Relief has been so slow in coming. I still have to rest every afternoon but I hope I will get better soon.
My husband had a good time in spite of the fact that he was by himself out there. He got back last night.
My grandson ended up going over to his mothers house for the school vacation week and that worked out rather well for me. I only had myself to take care of and I didn't have to cook or pick up after anyone else. I really needed that in order to get better. I have been physically, emotionally and just totally drained lately.
Unfortunately the pool is closed for the rest of the month for renovations so I will need to get out and walk. I hope the weather cooperates. Although so far it has not. It has been 45 degrees. Every day. Cold and rainy. I even had to dig out my winter coat the other day. Spring in New England is the worst. I hate spring. It looks good on the calendar but in reality it is cold, rainy and raw.
Better days are coming.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Where do I begin? I suppose I will begin with the onset of my cold last week. I was worried, knowing that I was due to get on a plane the following week but I thought I had plenty of time and that the cold would be gone by the following Saturday. Yesterday.
Wrong. I began to feel a tiny bit better on Wednesday but on Thursday I felt much worse. Time to see the doctor. I was fearful that I had pneumonia again. Not so. That was the good news. The bad news was that I have a sinus infection for which she put me on antibiotics. And then I asked the question.
Can I fly tomorrow? She looked horrified. Her eyes bulged over the mask. I knew I was in trouble. She said you really, really should not fly. This isn't like a cold where you can take an antihistamine and chew gum while you are on the plane......And after my last ear pain on the plane from flying with a cold, I was really scared of what a sinus infection could do. Plus I don't have a doctor out there yet. I really do need to get one. What if I got much worse after the flight there and need to be seen. All in all it really seemed not worth the risk.
I looked it up online and pretty much all the MD web sites agree. Even the pilot web sites agreed. It seems when pilots have a sinus infection they are grounded. Well. OK then.
My husband kept saying, see how you feel tomorrow, but I already knew I couldn't go to Tucson this time. He was beside himself. We are talking about a lot of money as well for the three tickets to AZ during school vacation week. One of the more expensive times to fly. But it still wasn't worth risking my health for the price of a ticket. We were both very distraught. But I finally convinced him that he should go alone. At first he was pretty adamant about not going alone. Hell, if it were me, I would so go alone. But that is the difference between us. I crave alone time. Maybe it has something to do with being an artist and a mother (it seems we are never alone).
He was up all night long hemming and hawing. Neither one of us got a wink of sleep Friday night. In the end, he went. Alone. And you know what? He is OK. He is happy to be out there. He still doesn't like that he is alone out there but HE IS OUT THERE. Having lunch on the porch. Sitting by the pool. Killing spiders (it is getting hot out there after all).
My husband has all the same stresses that I do plus he works full time. He has had the same job, editing math textbooks for, I think, 35 years now. He really needs to retire. In fact that was our grand plan before our grandson came to live with us. But we are getting closer to the end. Sometimes we lose sight of that. In December Ethan will turn 18. Emancipated. And we will no longer be restricted under a court order. That will be a great thing. Being under a court order is akin to wearing an electronic bracelet. And we were doing a good thing! As my friend says, "No good deed goes unpunished". She isn't kidding.
I am hoping that he will at least retire by the end of the year. Or if I can convince him, sooner. He is always so stressed out I am very worried about him. We have to stay healthy so we can move and enjoy some quality of living in our now cut short retirement.
Anyway, that's it. I am resting. Drinking tea. It is warm today and tomorrow it will be as well. Then of course it is back to the 50's again........
Summer cannot come soon enough.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
I found a new (to me) paper that I like working on much better than my usual hot press watercolor paper. It is a special paper for acrylic paints and it is so sturdy, I just love it. You can find it here:
I used it on the above painting as well as a new technique I learned from Caterina Giglio called decollage. I like it as a background as it is neutral but not a bright white. By the way Caterina has some wonderful you tube videos with all sorts of interesting techniques that she shares freely. Check them out!
By for now!
Thursday, March 30, 2017
I am taking a lovely little class with Carla Sonheim called Flower Crazy 2. The class is just what I needed right now. Nothing too heavy or stressful, just a fun class to learn some new techniques. Flowers are my go to anyway for the least stressful subject matter.
We learned how to use a new paper (well new to me anyway) called "Swedish Tracing Paper." I had never heard of this before but it is really nice to work on and very serendipitous. You just don't know what the watery mix of paint will do but it is sure to be a lovely surprise when it dries. The center of the above flower is made using this paper.
This one was made with the same paper but I added one of my own hand cut stencils behind them.
Things here are still extremely stressful but taking these classes really helps me keep my s*** together. We are also due for a trip out to Arizona in 2 weeks so that will be a nce thing to look forward to. The desert will be in bloom by then. Always a wonder!
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Tomorrow is the first day of spring but it doesn't really feel like it at all. It has been very cold and very snowy here. More like January.
I guess that is why I chose to paint a rather colorless piece. Very wintry colors.
Not much else to say. Things here are the same pretty much. Dealing with a lot of family issues at the moment and so not a lot to say about the art. I signed up for another Carla Sonheim class which begins this week. Hopefully that will keep me in good spirits as her classes usually do.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
|Handmade book by Bobbie Wilson|
|Handmade Book by Gretchen Bierbaum|
|Fabric Collage by Janet Windsor|
|Fabric Collage by Janet Windsor|
As usual we visited our very favorite place, Tohono Chul Park and as usual there was a wonderful art exhibit in their gallery. Handmade books, quilted fabrics, and lovely paintings greeted us. You can see a few of those in the above photos I took.
I loved the handmade books best of all. I just wish there was a way to look inside them but alas, they were under glass as handmade books usually are for protection of course.
We also did a lot of decorating in the house. We bought 3 new pieces of metal collage by Rand Carlson when we visited him in his studio! And what a studio it was! Huge and filled with all manner of artwork both finished and in process. Metal pieces everywhere as well as old antique lunch boxes, pop corn tins, cookie tins etc. He really does amazing work with old metal tins.
My very dear friend Barbara gave us a lovely piece of her sculpture for a housewarming gift.
We also bought two "nyger socks" for feeding the birds. The nyger seeds attract the loveliest yellow birds. I don't know what they are called but the birds hang all over the "sock" which is an elongated net bag. They pull the tiny seeds out through the holes with their beaks.
We also attended a lovely event sponsored by the Neighborhood Watch committee (of which I am a member). I usually never get to attend any of the book club meetings or the pot lucks since I am never out there when those things are happening. This time I was able to attend and I met some of my new neighbors! What a treat that was for us both.
This February marked the second full year since buying our home in February of 2015 and not being able to live in it. We are longing to make our move and the waiting gets no easier especially as we age and feel the rush of time going by.
Have a great week everyone!
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
We are also still trying to figure out my parents living situation. We know where they will be but we are not sure if they will be together or not. Their needs are so different now. My dad's dementia is worsening rapidly. My mom's mind is sharp as a tack she just has mobility issues. It is so hard to watch my dad's decline. I cry a lot. Especially after I visit. I come home feeling like I have been run over by a truck. Dementia is horrifying.
So it is all ongoing. We are still hoping to go out to Arizona in 10 days for February vacation week. We will play it by ear since so many things are up in the air right now. One day at a time or so they say.
Today is supposed to be rather warm and then tonight we are due for a blizzard. I did just see a robin though......always a nice thing to see.
So that is about all I have for this week. I made this little collage in my sketchbook. My sketchbook is my best friend right now. Just making small little things in it. That makes me feel like I am actually doing something!
Have a good week!
Sunday, January 29, 2017
2017 is not going so well so far for me. So much is going on right now in the family. In the country. In the world. It is hard to breathe.
A couple of weeks ago my 92 year old mom became quite ill with pneumonia and was hospitalized for well over a week. I really never thought she would survive as she was in dire straights. Her lungs were filled with fluid and her kidneys stopped functioning. But my mom rallied! She is now in the same facility as my dad. We are hoping that they will give her a permanent room there so she can at least go visit him every day. My 96 year old dad is not doing well at all. His dementia is worsening every day. During my mom's illness my beloved aunt from California came to visit. She too thought my mom was at the end of her life and she wanted to see her sister one more time.
When she went to see my dad, he did not know who she was. That was really hard for us. We went out in the hall and cried our eyes out together. They had always been close.
So I have been bringing clothes over to both of them. As well as things they will need to cozy up the rooms as much as they can be made to look cozy. Not that easy as the rooms are really small. I have been checking their mail every day over at the apartment. We also have to figure out what to do with all their possessions. They have a lot of stuff crammed into that apartment. The first thing I need to do and do soon is clear out all the food before it goes bad and starts to smell.
And as you can tell by now I have not been able to do any art really. Although I had signed up for something called Lifebook2017. I was not sure if this was anything I would like but I have been pleasantly surprised. The class is about self love really. And being kind to yourself as well as making art. We get a new project each week for one year. These will become pages in our life book which we will bind at the end of the year.
Last weeks class was really interesting. We had to make a story board using stick figures. We had to tell a story in 3 frames. The teacher, Mandy, encouraged us to draw about something that was hard for us to speak about. There were some pretty powerful stories from my class mates. The example that Mandy used was how she felt nothing when her grandmother died. Talk about sharing a powerful feeling. I adored my grandmother so I thought her story was pretty heartbreaking.
I did have my own grandmother story to tell though. You can see it above. No explanation needed!
Sunday, January 15, 2017
I may have mentioned that both my parents are still alive and quite advanced in age. On Friday my mother was rushed to the hospital with heart failure. She is currently stable but at her age it could all change on a dime. My dad is in a different hospital, a rehab hospital with compression fractures in his spine as well as some dementia. Needless to say I have been doing a lot of running back and forth from hospital to hospital.
Assuming that they survive this, neither of them will be going back to the apartment. There is no room for two wheelchairs plus all the advanced care they will need. It is getting increasingly difficult to find beds in a long term care facility around here. There are fewer of them than ever due to the fact that most new construction is for condos here in Boston. Even some of the older rehabs are being converted into apartments and condos.
So we have no idea what is in store over the next weeks or months. Will they be in two different places far away from here? Not sure. Possibly Worcester which is over an hour away.
Needless to say, I can't concentrate on much else at the moment. Plus there is a lot of junior year stuff to do this year like college visits, SATs etc. Although my grandson doesn't seem too keen on any of it right now. He may need to take a gap year while he figures it out.
I also still seem to have my ear infection from the plane trip.
Have a good week. I will try to.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
And of course, there is the bed. She was always sleeping on my afghan. In the morning she would wait patiently outside our bedroom door for us to let her in.
And now she is gone. Just like that. Gone.
Something feels amiss. I always had a love hate relationship with her. When she was younger she would bite and scratch me so I sort of stayed away from her. She was my husbands cat really. He adored her. He always took her to be groomed every 6 weeks. And always paid thousands of dollars to the vet to keep her healthy.
But now I miss her too. I am sad that we were not here when she died.
RIP Sherpa. I miss your voice.
Monday, January 2, 2017
|Backyard in the Foothills|
We did manage to get in a couple of nice days though. The day we drove down to Tubac was simply gorgeous! I have never seen Tubac so empty of people. I guess everyone must come after Christmas. Then we had a nice trip over to Tohono Chul Park where I bought a lovely piece of artwork from an artist who was new to me, Rand Carlson.
We had a lovely dinner with friends on Christmas day and again on New Years eve.
So now I am back in Boston. At least now I can say that I am moving out to Tucson full time next year. This has been a long grueling path which no one ever expected.
Here are some more photos from our trip:
|A mantis egg casing at Tohono Chul Park|
|Some metal work from an old table|
|The Virgin of Guadalupe at Elvira's in Tubac|