Saturday, August 4, 2018

8/4/18



The porch is finally finished! What a difference the extra 3 feet make! Now we can fit our table over on this side of the porch and we have room for the grill and my bike on the other side. They did a really great job. We couldn't be happier. I love being outside. Especially in the shade since I can't and wouldn't want to spend too much time in the sun. There are two ceiling fans out here so in the summer you can usually sit out until noon. And since it is right outside my studio I can bring my art out to the table if I choose to paint outside!

Outside table and chairs on new floor.


The rest of the work on the condo continues. My studio is getting a new tile floor next week or the week after and then I can bring out my paints and supplies again. Until then I continue to draw and make flowers and mandalas. The geometry is keeping me busy!

Here is one of my recent geometric mandalas:


That is all I have for now! Have a great week!

Friday, July 20, 2018

7/20/18

Saguaro outside my porch

I know I have been a bit remiss in my blogging since I moved out to Arizona and so I wanted to pop in and say hello!

My artwork is on the back burner now that the construction on my condo has begun.  My studio is totally dismantled. It is getting a new ceiling, a new ceiling fan and a new tile floor. So all the furniture and scanner etc. is out in the living room. I expect the work to take most of the summer so I will just be doing some drawing on the kitchen table. No painting. But that is fine. I am focusing on other things right now.

I am especially focused on losing weight. The last three years I have gained so much weight that no clothes fit me at all. It was bad and it was unhealthy. But now I am riding my bike every morning and trying to increase the miles I ride. I am only up to 4 miles right now because of the heat. Even at 7AM it is getting hot so I ride until about 8AM and that is about it. But I am losing weight. My clothes are fitting better and I am wearing shorts again. I hadn't worn them in years.

And I just feel so good. The stress I was under for so long is gone now. Poof! Just like that! I am finally able to live in the moment and I cannot tell you how great that feels.  I am enjoying peace of mind for the first time in many, many years.

Close up of my Saguaro

Bird feeder with Purple Finch

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018




I have been playing around with some new floral designs lately. These are done with Arteza water color brush pens which I really like a lot. The colors are lovely and they are more like a brush than a marker.

I have discovered that the "Seed of Life", which is the basic construct of a mandala can be taken out of the mandala context and used in other motifs. I seem to have fallen down the rabbit hole with these as you can see.


And another.




Still enjoying the warmth of the desert. And all the little creatures running around everywhere.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

6/30/18



We are settling into our new home. Getting used to the high temperatures and going out in the morning and evening. Doing a lot of resting and relaxing.

And I have been working in my studio again finally. Although I am not picking up where I left off from actual painting all those months ago when I packed away my paints. I seem to be gravitating towards watercolors again. Not sure how that happened! But I have learned to go where it takes me and not to question things. I tried to get the acrylics out a few days ago but they seemed thick and gooey and I didn't enjoy them. I rather enjoy watching the paint flow with water. The only thing about watercolors is that the paper gets very wrinkly. You really need to stretch the paper. It is a tedious task to say the least.

I used to stretch many papers at a time in the bathtub. Let's just say it is a process and one I don't enjoy. I am going to try and gesso the paper first and see if that gives the same results as the stretching process. I am not sure if that will work or not. Otherwise I suppose I could use the acrylics as a water medium with some matte medium instead of water. Then the paper won't buckle.

We shall see.

In the meantime, enjoy your Fourth of July everyone!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

6/24/18

Jack Baron Painting

My Art from the 1980's

My art from the 1980's

We have been busy hanging all our artwork on the walls in our new home. It is now beginning to really feel like home to us both. It was hard to take all our art down for the sale of our condo back east. I really missed it so much. But now it is all hanging in it's new location and we can once again enjoy it. The top painting was done in Key West many years ago by one of my favorite artists (now deceased) Jack Baron. I have one other painting by him hanging in the kitchen. He was an original to say the least. He painted many things besides canvas. In fact he painted shoes, dolls, high chairs. Anything and everything. And so colorfully!

The two Mexican paintings were done by me in the late 1980's. I still love them. I wish I could paint that way again but it is hard to go back to a style from so long ago. Some artists may be able to do that but sadly, I cannot. Once I have painted through an idea and moved on, well then it is time to move forward.

Speaking of painting, being away from my art for the past couple of weeks has been difficult. I am used to a daily practice. Yesterday was the first day I created any art and it almost feels like I forgot how to paint. It will take me a while to get back into the swing of my practice.

At least now I finally have a studio again. That really feels wonderful. I have so much room I can even have my yoga mat on the floor so that if I need a stretch I can just get down on the floor and do that. I have been getting up really early every day to ride my bike as well. I get out there at about 6:30. Almost too late really!

I love living here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

6/17/18

Monsoon clouds over Tucson
We have arrived. I am pinching myself every few minutes. I still cannot believe we really made it. The past week everything went according to schedule. Which was great.

The flight out on Saturday was a little grueling as it usually is. First there were delays on both planes. Luckily we allowed enough layover time between flights. We have learned how important that is. I would much rather sit around the airport for a few extra hours than miss my connecting flight. It is not easy to fix. Usually when that happens you are not the only person who needs to re-book and most times there are no available flights. So always best to allow plenty of time between.

Plus our carry-ons were extremely heavy. Usually when we come out here we travel light since we have plenty of clothes already here. But this time we each had 2 laptop computers, I had all my good jewelry with me, we needed clothes for the two days at the hotel. Plus we had things that we forgot to ship or that we couldn't ship because we needed them until the bitter end.

I am very sore today from all that shlepping.

However, sitting in first class was quite amazing. I had so much leg room I couldn't reach the seat in front of me! Too bad we can't fly like that all the time. And the food. OMG. It did make the flight and shlepping and delays much more bearable.

Today the car arrived. That was really fast. Wednesday our UPS load of 34 boxes arrive. It is funny, I don't even know what is in them. We have everything we need here already. But you have to have your stuff right? At least according to the comedian George Carlin. I think that was one of the hardest things at the end of our stay in Boston. All our stuff was either here or in boxes. I missed it very much. Even though it is just stuff. You need it in order to feel human. I am no minimalist.

The picture you see above was taken from the plane as we were landing in Tucson. We arrived just in time for the first of the Monsoons and these clouds are what the monsoons look like from up above. Really spectacular!

Last night we opened all the windows and had all the ceiling fans going. We were so comfy. Today is much cooler than it has been here but as the week goes on we will need to turn on the AC since it will get back into the 100's by the end of the week. Time to go up to Mount Lemmon for the day!

I took a bike ride this morning at 6AM and it was delightful. I am going to try and get up early so I can get outside and exercise before the extreme heat sets in for the day. I hope I can do it. My sleep schedule has been so crazy lately due to all the stress and waking up at 3AM every morning.

The lizards are dancing everywhere you look and the birds are tweeting furiously!

Friday, June 15, 2018

6/15/18

The View from our Staycation

Everything is done now. The closing is over and the condo here in Boston now belongs to someone else. We are staying at a local hotel in the neighborhood. It does feel strange, to say the least, living in a hotel 2 blocks from our old condo.

I have shed many tears this week over leaving. The closer we got the worse my anxiety became. Even though I have wanted this for so long. I went through every possible emotion. We moved my grandson over to his mothers on Monday since he wanted to stay here in the Boston area and keep working at Trader Joe's.  After he moved I had to keep the door to his room closed because I was so sad that he was no longer living in there. Even though I always complained about the dirty clothes all over the room and food plates left willy nilly. I will still miss him terribly. I love him dearly.

But we had a lovely meet up with him this morning.  I texted him that we wanted to see him to say goodbye. He was very near the hotel getting a burrito so he came here and he ate it in the hotel bistro. We had a real conversation for the first time. Ever. I can feel our relationship changing to something so much better than me yelling at him to get up for school. I feel like I can leave now and he will be fine. He has a good head on his shoulders and is a hard worker.

Tomorrow we fly away home to Tucson. See you there!

Friday, June 1, 2018

6/1/18


Well, I have some good news to share. My grandson will, in fact, be graduating with his class this coming Sunday. I am beyond happy. I had to run out, buy a cake and invite family for a small party. He pulled it off in the eleventh hour. Literally. Final grades were due at 3PM on Wednesday and at 2:50 he was handing in his last due assignment. Talk about skin of his teeth. He is a last minute person but this was ridiculous.

The past weeks I have been so sad and depressed. Not to mention that I could not bear to look at Facebook or any posts from proud parents and grandparents and their graduates. It was too painful.

I may post a photo or I may not. He has never liked it when I post his photo on my social media pages so I don't want to disturb the peace so to speak.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

5/20/18

I am still here in Boston for four more weeks. My one way trip out to Tucson gets closer and closer. My house is filled with boxes in all manner of disarray. There is bubble wrap everywhere with more rolls on the way. I hate using that stuff but when you ship everything so far away, especially the artwork, you need the extra protection that the bubble wrap affords.

I am still making art as you can see. I am so addicted to my daily art practice that I can't pack away everything until the very last minute. So I have left my Koi pens and Tombows out along with a few Micron pens and a pad of paper.

The schedule is as follows: Wednesday, June 13th, UPS comes to pick up the boxes, Thursday, June 14th the movers come to take all the furniture down to my son's house on the south shore, Friday, June 15th is the walk through and closing, and Saturday, June 16th we fly away. We will be staying in a local hotel for the nights of the 14th and 15th.

As it turns out my grandson will not be graduating from high school with his class. I am broken hearted over it but it does not change my plans. My life has been on hold for far too long as it is. He will have to figure out his life on his own. He says he will stay here with a friend. So be it.

We have many plans for the new house but mainly just living in it is the big plan. There is a restaurant called Risky Business near my house in Tucson. It is nothing fancy but they have great food. It is more of a sports bar with huge screens everywhere. You wouldn't think that I would enjoy something like that, but for me, it is my happy place because it means I am there. So right now I am focusing on sitting outside on their patio with my glass of wine admiring the mountains and thimble rock at Sabino Canyon. It is helping me get through this move. Kind of like when you are having surgery and they tell you to focus on the day after the surgery.....moving is like surgery? Well not really but the post move thoughts help.

I will possibly write once more from here in Boston but if you don't hear from me, I will of course, write once I have arrived.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

5/2/18



I have 45 days until I leave to move to Tucson. We bought one way tickets flying first class! We had been saving up our airline miles from all the many trips out there and we have enough for first class. That will be a real treat since I think I have only flown first class once in my life and that was back in the days of free upgrades if they had an empty seat. I think it was for our honeymoon. It should be nice!

Mostly I have been still packing and throwing things away. I can't believe how much I still have left to do. The last week will be very stressful since we will be staying a couple of days in a local hotel here as we move all our furniture down to my son's and go to the closing. Yikes.

It does feel like I have been moving forever though. It will be such a relief to finally live in my home.

In the meantime, I continue to make art in the form of Mandalas and I continue to take my exercise classes. That helps a lot.

June 16th is fly away day!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

4/12/18



So the news is that the condo has sold. We are thrilled for a variety of reasons! The move now feels very real. We close on June 15th and so we will move the very next day. Still waiting to see if my grandson graduates. But we will leave anyway regardless of whether he graduates or not.

I have been learning how to draw mandalas and they are so very interesting. The smallest shapes take on very different look when repeated in the round. Almost like pattern making only in a circular motion. I do miss my paints but this is really fun and I always do enjoy trying new art mediums and styles. So I will continue trying to make one mandala a day until we move. It is quite therapeutic.

Friday, March 30, 2018

3/30/18


It appears that I have found something I can do even when all my art supplies are packed away. I found a lovely little class on making mandalas which fits the bill nicely. I am working on copy paper, with 3 pens, one pencil, a compass, a protractor and a ruler. Talk about limited supplies!

But it goes well with my new found meditation class and Tai Chi class. Quiet and calming which I very much need now.

Next weekend is our Open House for the condo. I want to be excited and happy but as long as I don't know where my grandson is going to live, I am not going to feel good. I will have to live with that for a while longer I guess.

There is a lot of guilt associated with a move of this distance. Leaving him behind, leaving my elderly mom behind, leaving my son and his family behind. I know I can come visit whenever I want. But there is still a certain amount of upheaval involved. We have waited so long to make this move.

Almost too long.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

3/3/18


I am finally getting back to painting again and it feels great. I really do have a tough time functioning without my art. It is like a limb is missing or something. I am still on my Zorn palette kick. I never seem to tire of all the wonderful color combinations I can get from just four colors! Black, White, Yellow and Red. It is amazing. Oh and I have added gold for a little pizazz.

I think I mentioned to you that I have been taking a Tai Chi class twice a week. It is really helping me with flexibility and concentration. Today I was even able to get down on the floor. Something I have not been able to do in quite some time. It was very exciting. I am still swimming 3 days a week but the Tai Chi is more for strength, relaxation, and balance. I just love it and plan to continue when I move out to Arizona.

We are inching ever closer to our move. The painter is coming next week to paint the kitchen and do some repairs.

My husband is back from his two weeks in Arizona. He had very cold weather when he was there. Unlike me and the nearly perfect weather I had for my entire month there.

Well soon we will both be there in the heat of June. There will be nothing cold about that! I am looking forward to taking some trips this summer to escape some of the heat.  One to San Francisco to see my aunt and another to Sedona to see Sedona! The place I take my Tai Chi class has some type of residence there which I am looking forward to visiting.

Well, have a great week!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

2/22/18




Ever since I returned from Tucson at the beginning of this month I had been having a bit of a hard time getting back into my usual daily habits.

As I mentioned before, I have been getting the condo ready to sell. With that comes a certain nullifying of my own tastes in order to make someone want to buy my place. According to the realtors your home is supposed to have just enough stuff in it to make someone be able to picture themselves living in it but nothing that looks like your personal tastes.  Huh?  In the old days you just put your house on the market, refrigerator magnets and all, and eventually it sold and that was that.

Now everyone wants a place that is move in ready with fresh paint, modern kitchens and baths etc. Think Ikea.

I am certainly not doing any renovations at this point. I don't have granite counter tops in my kitchen or a Wolf Stove or all the other fancy equipment that people who never cook seem to want.

Everything is supposed to look like a Pottery Barn catalog. That is so NOT me. But I did make some concessions and covered over all my murals and hand painted trompe l'oeil. I took down all or most of my art. I gave away or shipped almost all my possessions. I changed all my lovely switch plates to plain vanilla ones.

 The condo looks great for selling but for living in it, well that is another story.  I feel like I am living in a hotel.

But since I am here for another 3 months, I really need to adjust. So I started taking a Tai Chi class, which I really love. It is just what I needed to change things up a bit. It is both relaxing and rigorous at the same time. I am also getting back into my swim routine as well.

Today I painted for a while and it felt really great. Getting going again after 3 weeks of not painting is not so easy. I did a lot of smearing of paint and then covering it over with gesso. Whatever it takes to get back my painting mojo. I also sold two paintings and so that helped me get going as well.

My grandson had all 4 of his wisdom teeth out this week. It went much better than I expected. I had been dreading it for so long. Now he seems to be milking it a bit with me waiting on him more than need be.

Oh well, that is why I took a month away and it worked well for me. If I hadn't gone away I would not have had the patience for any of this.






Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2/7/18

Tucson Desert Flower

I have to be honest, I haven't really done any artwork since returning to Boston from Tucson.  I have been extremely busy packing and getting the condo ready to sell. We have a tentative date for the open house on the weekend of May 5th. The condo has to be ready for photos by April 23rd and since we are going to be out in Tucson for the week before that we will need to have it all ready before we leave. So the drop dead date is April 13th.

My husband leaves next Wednesday for 2 weeks in Tucson. I plan on shipping out another 12 or 13 boxes to him. That should take care of a lot of items. I have been packing about 2 boxes per day as it is quite exhausting and grueling work. Packing boxes was much easier when I was younger. I could do the whole thing in a matter of days. I hope I never have to pack and move again.

This morning I did some paint touch ups around the condo. There are still a few more places in need of touching up. Originally we had planned on painting the entire condo but we got an assessment for waterproofing the entire building at a cost of $4000 per owner. That pretty much killed the budget for the painting plan. It will look fine though, once we have gotten rid of some of our furniture.

My son is coming this weekend to take bookshelves and any other furniture that we can live without. the realtor told us we had to get rid of half our stuff. Including half of all my artwork on the walls.

I am on the fence about most of my older artwork. Why keep schlepping it around. I will try and give it away and what I can't give away, I will put downstairs in the trash room. Nothing lasts long down there as my neighbors are voracious scavengers!

Stay tuned.......

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

1/24/18

Sabino Canyon
Many years ago, before I lived in Key West, I spent some time in the southern island of Ibiza off the coast of Spain. It was a lovely place really. This was before it became a party playground for wealthy European young people.

We rented a finca (farmhouse) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I think it cost us some absurdly low rent like $50 a month. It was lovely. Everywhere you walked was the scent of Rosemary since it grew everywhere.

This morning when I went out to feed the birds, there was something familiar about the light or the smell. I am not sure what it was but it triggered a flood of memories about that time and place in my life. I guess there are many similarities. A warm, dry climate. Lots of sun. No ocean of course, but still.....the memories were somehow brought to mind.

I only have one week left here. I am feeling rather sad about that. But when I go back I will ready the condo for sale and hopefully it will sell quickly so that we can move shortly after graduation.

Yesterday my friend Bob and I walked 3 miles in Sabino Canyon. I think that is the farthest I have walked in a very long time. Maybe ever.  I hope to do more when I finally live here.

Soon.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

1/14/18

Plant Growing in the Desert
I am halfway though my month in Tucson and I am still very much enjoying my time here. My house feels more like home every day rather than just a place I visit. I managed to make a small piece of art yesterday. You can see the effect that the desert colors are having already.

I have been reading, relaxing, meeting new people, riding my bike, napping, and doing lots of walking.

Last night I had the opportunity to look through a high powered telescope! That was something I had never done before. It was really enjoyable and I learned so much about space and the stars from a professional astronomer.

The best part about being here is that I am not waiting. Back east I am in a holding pattern where I am just waiting, waiting, waiting. That is no way to live. My art helps me keep the waiting at bay somewhat,  but mostly I am waiting when I am there. Waiting to be able to finish packing, waiting to sell the condo, waiting to finally make the last trip out here with no return flight needed. It is very hard for me as I am not a patient person and have already had to wait too long. Three years is a long time to live in a holding pattern and not a very healthy way to live either.

But it is hopefully coming soon.


Friday, January 5, 2018

1/5/18

Studio View
The end of my first week alone out here in Tucson and I do feel as though I have died and gone to heaven. Every day is my own to do with as I please. Hiking, biking, walking at dinner time. Every so often I need to pinch myself! Seriously!

The weather has been sublime. 70's every day. The birds are singing away!

My 13 boxes arrived pretty much unscathed. Although there were two containers of paint that spilled. It was my own fault really for not making sure the lids were on tight enough. I need to make sure I do that when I ship out the rest of my paints. But other than that, everything arrived safely via UPS. It is a really great way to move if you don't have furniture!

The only thing I find stressful is driving out here. It is not fun. And I am a Boston driver! But the roads are very wide and there is more room for accidents! I am not used to having that much space to make a left hand turn. There are not one but two lanes for left hand turns. It is pretty stressful. Some left turns have arrows before the green light and some after the green light. Some have no arrows at all and then it is a free for all. Up here in the foothills traffic is pretty light but past River Road it gets a little crazy!

Luckily I live very close to Whole Foods and Bashas but Trader Joe's is a little too far. I haven't driven there yet and probably won't. Whole Foods and Bashas will be good enough for me!

One thing I need to remember is to bring my shopping list with me whenever I go out since making multiple trips out for groceries as I do in Brookline, does not make sense here.

I have to admit that I have not done much painting since being here. I have however, hung a lot of my art on the walls and they really look wonderful! Some of my older collage works look fantastic. I had forgotten about those pieces as they were buried under all the other more recent art.

I always want to be outside walking, hiking, and biking. Being inside even to paint is not appealing right now. I will have plenty of time to paint when I have to leave here so I am focusing on getting much needed fresh air and exercise.

I am also eating mostly vegetarian here. I can't do that when I am cooking for my family as they don't eat vegetables. They would be looking for the "meat"........lol

Love, from sunny Arizona!