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


Sunday, September 3, 2017

9/3/17


Today is our last day here in the enveloping warmth that is Tucson in the summer. I tell people that being here in summer is like being wrapped in a warm blanket. It feels good to me since I am always cold back east.

It has been truly lovely to actually spend extra time here and get to really live in our house. When we are here for only a week, it is hard to buy food or cook or anything like that. This time we shopped for food twice, we cooked some lovely meals and ate out as well. I still don't have the proper pans here though. I need to bring my All Clad set with me since they are now twice the price they were when I bought them. It will be cheaper to ship them.

The best part was going to the art supply store and setting up a real painting space here. I managed to complete a couple of pieces and that was exciting. Normally I can only sketch or work in pens and markers. This time I was able to work in acrylics as well. I can't post them since the scanner I bought for out here is horrible. It is one of those printer/scanner things and the color control is awful.  I will have to bring my real dedicated Epson scanner out in June.

When we go back to Boston tomorrow we will seriously begin to downsize, give away, toss etc.

I am sad to always have to leave here. But the good news is that we are down to 9 more months of living in Boston. I am going to try and stay focused on the move and getting ready for the move even though I know that there are going to be multiple stressful issues to deal with when I get back that do not include the move.

Enjoy your long weekend.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

8/22/17

Studio View

We are finally here again! The desert is so green I hardly recognize it! And it smells wonderful. It is a different kind of smell. I have been told I am smelling the creosote trees.

On Monday the window cleaner came and switched the screens for me. Here in Arizona many windows have sunscreens on them which blocks much of the light. The screen in my studio had one of these sunscreens as well as a regular screen. Having both screens made a moire pattern which was impossible to see out of. I was missing all the action! It is a lovely side yard as you can see in the photo above and there is always some activity going on. There are roadrunners on the lookout for lizards to eat, there are hummingbirds and tons of cardinals! Once there was even a falcon in one of the trees.

As you can see this is a much nicer view than back east where all I see is traffic, trucks, and people.

I bought myself a new bike to have out here. So I won't need to bring my old one. I will have plenty of people to take all the things I no longer need or want. My move is beginning to feel more real to me although I still have one more winter to endure.

The pool here has been a delight in the evenings with no other people in it! Most of the people who live  in my complex are snowbirds and so they are not here in summer. It is very quiet and peaceful now. Just lovely.



This cactus is also in my studio view but I couldn't capture it in one photo. It is a lovely and stately old saguaro. I think that was one of the reasons I bought this place! For the saguaro in the yard!

Well, enjoy your week. I know I will!



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

8/8/17


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

7/23/17

Tres Fleurs
Well, here we are in Week 5 of camp. That is how we measure our summers. Camp is 8 weeks long and we are now in Week 5.  It means that summer is half over. July has been a mixed bag weather wise. It has been really hot and then the next day the temps plummet. Today we are in the 60's again after being in the upper 80's all week. New England is like that. We have a saying that there are two seasons here. Winter and the 4th of July.

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

7/16/17

Desert Plant
It has just occurred to me that I have been blogging on this site now since 2008. That is nine years. Lately I have been feeling like I am running out of things to talk about. The art, Tucson, the classes, my grandson etc. I am thinking about taking a break from all the talking. I am still on instagram. I like that venue  because I don't have to talk. I just post the art.

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

7/12/17


My Starry Night
Today was an exciting day for me. I rode my bike for the first time in 5 years. Yes, that's right. Since August 2012 when I had my back surgery. Actually it was  before that since the reason for the back surgery was that my left leg was not working properly and so I couldn't ride at all.

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

July!

Desert Plant
Ah....... summer.

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

6/22/17

Desert Heat
My friends in Tucson are in the midst of a record breaking heat wave. One of my neighbors there  said that the thermometer on her porch read 120 degrees. That is pretty hot. I thought that this painting looked like that. Maybe I should call it 120 degrees.....

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

Summer is Here!


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

6/3/17


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

5/26/17


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

5/24/17


This block makes an interesting pattern. I like the crosshatching effect as I think it makes the design stand out well.

Here is the pattern it makes. I almost forgot how enjoyable making patterns is.




Monday, May 22, 2017

5/22/17


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

5/12/17

Tucson Mountains

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.

Tucson Mountains

Here is another one I did that I really like as well in two different colors.

Desert Flower

Desert Flower
And finally this one:

Reaching Flower

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

5/3/17

This week I have been just working on small things. Manageable things.

Stamp carving fits the bill nicely. Making patterns from them is simple and intriguing.


And then I tried a small scene:

That's it. Have a good week.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

4/30/17

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.

Rest dad.

xoxox

Sunday, April 23, 2017

4/23/17

Red Flower

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

4/16/17


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

4/5/17

Purple Flowers
It is beginning to feel a bit spring like here now. Yesterday we had a glorious day long rain and today is typically April. Cool and cloudy. It can't come too soon for me.

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

3/30/17


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

3/19/17

Winter

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.

Stay warm


Sunday, March 5, 2017

3/5/17

Rachel Slick
Handmade book by Bobbie Wilson
Handmade Book by Gretchen Bierbaum
Fabric Collage by Janet Windsor
Fabric Collage by Janet Windsor
This is my first post since returning from Tucson as well as my first post in quite some time. We had a lovely trip although it could have been warmer but I am not complaining since it is 14 degrees here this morning in Boston.

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

2/8/17

Not much art making going on at the moment. My grandson has been home sick with the flu for 3 days now. He had the flu shot but I know that it does not always work. Taking him to see his doctor this afternoon. Maybe he needs antibiotics.

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

1/29/17


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!