Friday, August 28, 2009


oil on linen

Finally! Himself solved the memory card issue thank goodness. We'll see if a new camera is in our future in a few days. This was, to date, the most fun I've had painting. There's still more to do, but it's too wet to work on. I think I'll re-post when I'm done and do a comparison. I guess I just needed to get my crayons and and stay within the lines for a while, cuz it sure felt good! No likeness to match, just shapes, shadow, light, cool and warm studies. It was heaven. I am busy bawling up paper as we speak. More to come!


I finished a 20x20" paper study yesterday and was very happy with it. I very excitedly set up to shoot, took 5 snaps and headed up to download and post. Nuthin'! Bubkiss! Nada. I tried everything. It just wouldn't mount. So there are a few quick fixes in the works and a few extensive expensive ones, like a new camera. And it would be nice if the quality was such that prints could be made from those shots. Much to consider.

In the mean time I hope I'll be able to post this afternoon. My friend is on her way over with her growed up Nikon so there's hope. I think this paper study thing has legs. We'll see. Later.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


oil on canvas

Posts ago I went on about how one must work in order to stumble upon "concepts that ignite and excite," as they used to say in the corporate world. Apparently, I forgot. Thank you for the positive feedback on Today's Concept. Proof perfect. I worked. A concept appeared. Who knew?

I feel better now. I so enjoy the bugs, but I don't want them to get thin. I'm excited about a new series of scrunched up paper! Most representational artists go through the paper phase at one time or another. Might as well get mine done now. They're fun and a perfect shapes, values, color-temp type exercise for me. I'm beginning one on a 20x20" linen surface tomorrow, playing cool against warm, using different colors. I guess this is how it works! One works. A concept appears. It's fun. I like it.

I thought a warm color might be a nice challenge. The surface the paper is resting on is a window seat where I rest my paints, brushes and other implements of creation, which would explain the flecks of color that I hope break up the preponderance of warmth.

I feel good today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


oil on canvas

Just started to type and let out a weary sigh. Re-read this and did it again! The painting speaks for itself, I guess. Bupkiss. Nada. Nuthin. If I could spell that raspberry sound I just made that gave my screen a refreshing summer shower, I would. Oh well! Until somthin' happens, I'll just keep bawling up bad ideas and painting them. Could be worse.

Sunday, August 16, 2009



We went to pick up our Little Man today. The ashes didn't do what I thought they would. Guess there's really nothing except time as they say. Since his passing, we have received so many wonderful messages of comfort from people we hardly know and some we've never met. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You'll all never know how much it meant.

This is ARFROD—A Reasonable Facsimile of Devlin, the little man's ashes (we're looking for the perfect urn), the tag that was on the tasteful forest green shopping bag he came home in and his collar. A fitting tribute to the best damn dog that ever lived, don't you think?

Ashes are strange. You look at the tin and try to imagine it having some sort of personality. Himself actually opened the tin and looked inside. I had to admit out loud I was expecting him to see something recognizable. Silly.

I had a boss a few years back that wasn't a tyrant. She was one of us which is why the corporate world didn't get along with her all that well. She has that spirit that attracts people. Always up, always happy and always willing to look at things in a different way.

When her husband passed away, far too early, not only had they planned the funeral together before he died, they decided it would be a joyful occasion. Long story short, no one seemed pleased with the atmosphere, in fact some folks seemed downright uncomfortable. She had his favorite music playing, a jazz number straight out of New Orleans, his favorite shoes sitting jauntily on top of the coffin and lots of great anecdotes that had filled their lives with joy.

A few months after the funeral I got a phone call from her. Oh, I thought, she's having a bad time. Just get it out, I said hoping to be of some help, knowing I couldn't. She tried to speak in between sobs but it wasn't long before I realized she was laughing and not crying! I couldn't believe it. I was glad she was laughing but I couldn't imagine at what.

"It's John!" she croaked between racking sobs of laughter. "He's.... he's..."
"It's John! He...he's in..."
"What? What's wrong??? What about John?"
Finally she managed to squeak out..
"He's in the DUST BUSTER!!"

I lost it, again, and the two of us laughed until we cried. When we regained some composure, she explained she had been transferring John's ashes to the brand new, expensive, one of a kind urn she had taken great care in choosing and purchasing, when it slipped out of her hand and her late husband ashes spilled out and ended up embedded in the beautiful, deep pile, wedgewood blue carpet on the bedroom floor.

There was no retrieving them without suction of some sort. She could only gather the ashes with a dust buster, at which time she completely lost it and considered it was his way of telling her he preferred causal instead of high end. And there he rests to this very day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


oil on linen

Been thinking a lot about endings. Surprise! Still, not all endings are bad are they? I'm always happy when the dentist is finished. All change doesn't have to be negative, although it might seem like anything but in the beginning. One can employ bumper sticker wisdom to any seeming changes...this too shall pass...when one door closes, another opens...the light at the end of the tunnel is really another gets darkest just before it turns completely black and so forth.

Why? Why do things have to change? If reality is different for everyone, how can it be reality? What if we're making all this up? What if this is the most intense practical joke ever and we're playing it on ourselves?

When my trial marriage ended, I was devastated. It wasn't a good marriage. I'll be forever grateful trial husband had the courage to leave. It was exactly the hatchet to the forehead the universe knew I needed. I saw, in time, that it was a good ending after all. He was too young, I was too crazy. He was a good guy except he thought he could do anything without benefit of instruction or knowledge, which presented, as you may imagine, quite a unique set of challenges. What follows is one of my favorites.

We had an above ground pool installed our first year in the house. I didn't care if it was a kiddy pool, as long as it was a body of water I could spend time in. (Jaws had all but ruined paddling about in the ocean without a care.) My trial husband decided to build a deck for the pool. I busied myself in the house. He was very fixed to traditional roles. Me housewife, you cut the lawn type of thing. Each time I'd stop to check on his progress I'd notice our neighbor was watching him as he worked. He looked amused. I wasn't surprised. Fred was one of those extreme handy guys. The wife would go on a weekend business trip and come home to a fully completed, furnished loft in the top floor of her home. Sick little carpenter he was. Anyway, as the deck reached completion, I decided to go out to see if I could help in any way. As I slid the door shut, I noticed Fred was beckoning us over to the fence with his finger crooked, much like a knowing parent calling a naughty child.

"Good job! Real good job." He paused and savored the moment. "Any thoughts on how you might move that thing over there, next to the pool?"

My heart sank. We all turned our heads—my bro and his wife were over for the weekend— and sized up the deck. It was nice. It was finished. It was also sitting in the middle of our rather large backyard, more than 45 feet from the pool! No one said a word. We all wanted to blame Trial Husband, but not one of us noticed the problem, huge though it was!

We all got together and eventually moved the thing. It was like moving a rickety, unmanageable, lop-sided mountain. It was dark before we finished. When we were done, we all fell into the couches in the den, exhausted. After a few minutes of complete silence, my brother stood up and asked where the flashlight was. Why we wondered, did he need one? "Because," he said, "I think I lost something out there. It's round, and it's small and I used to have two!"

We dissolved into laughter. And the next day, our struggle and pain was forgotten as we sat on the rickety, lopsided mountain and enjoyed the pool.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


conte crayon on paper

Scattered. That's the only word I can come up with to describe how I feel. I don't think I can draw anymore. Holding a brush is out of the question. Been here before. I'll just ride it out. There are no unseen forces screwing with me, I know it's me in the wheelhouse. Are all artist angst-ridden?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Thank you to everyone who wrote such kind and wonderful thoughts about our perfect puppy! You'll never know how much they've helped! And Chris, I couldn't find your email address to thank you directly, so I hope you don't mind me thanking you publicly. Your thoughts were so wonderful. Thank you.

Friday, August 7, 2009


oil on linen

Back to work and Bug Life. Feelin' better. I'm carryin' around a little stuffed chocolate lab I bought a few years back. He reminded me so much of Dev that I stowed him away for just this occasion. His name is ARFOD—A Reasonable Facsimile of Devlin—and I'm happy to say he's helping very much.

Isn't a clown face appropriate? I love to smile. To laugh. And it feels so good when its genuine. From the heart. The gut. In my experience, a genuine, bonafide case of the "HAs!!" is rather rare.

The most memorable case I've had to date transpired years back, driving to work. My car called in sick that day, so I hitched a ride in with my board buddy. This was back in the day, when graphic art was done in the physical world. Elizabeth was one of my closest friends, however she always kept me at arms' length, which I think, is why she still is one of my closest friends. "Familiarity breeds contempt!" she would always say with a knowing smile.

Anyway, she's a talker. An incredibly animated, gifted, and hilarious talker. So, as she was driving, the hands are going every which way, we're making fun of our boss at the time (yes, another tyrant), the scenery's going by. Discussing his outbursts and paranoia, we were relieved to be on schedule for on-time arrival at work. We were told that we had better be on time that day, no excuses would be accepted.

Then about a mile and half from work, it was a 35 mile round trip, the car began to sputter. My friend's eyes opened wide, she looked apprehensive and began a slow, tortured and perfectly metered chant of "OH NO!"...with a little tick of time in-between the OH and the NO, giving it more gravity. The car's sputtering increased right along with the "OH NO!s," until it finally gave up the ghost, right there on the parkway, as we rolled onto the shoulder. "What?" "OH...NO!" "What? "OH...NO!" "WHAT!!!"

Now I'm thinkin', hell he can't get in our faces because of car trouble, we're cool. In fact, I was quite pleased we broke down. It was Friday, a little drama, in late, bagels waiting, so what's wrong? "Engine trouble huh?" She looked at me and slowly uttered five little words..."I ran out of gas!" That was it! Nothing else. She didn't deliver the line in any particularly clever way. She just said it. And I lost it. Completely. I lost it so badly I couldn't breathe. I laughed for at least five minutes, full tilt boogie, never stopped. She opened the car door, my body spilled out onto the grass beside the parkway. And there we were, the two of us, writhing and laughing uncontrollably. Our boss was furious. Had to interrupt meetings to get someone to pick us up. He's yelling, face red and all it took were those same five words for us to lose it again. Good thing he liked our work.

Not a very funny story. But, sometimes, a really great case of the "HAs!" is all about timing, circumstances and just letting go. Obviously, we both needed to let go.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


12x12" each
oil on canvas

I don't feel much like painting. I've just been dragging myself around the house. I didn't realize grief runs in cycles. You have a cleansing, deep sob, get up and do some stuff and then it begins again, with a sick, empty feeling that rises up and chokes you until you spew out pain in the form of tears. Weird. I know it's an open wound, but I sure am looking forward to the scab forming. I promise not to fill up post after post with gloom and sadness. I am making a concerted effort to celebrate his having been with us for so long. These three paintings were among my first pet portrait efforts. I can't imagine why I let them go. I guess I thought he would live forever.

Thank you so very much for all of the comforting words everyone. I cannot tell you how much they helped. Himself and I read them together, blubbering all the while.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


He was our very best friend. He has been with us every single day for past 12 years and his presence was part of our world. He was the most incredible dog I have ever met and we will never, ever, ever be the same without him. Sleep tight my little angel. No more pain. I thought I would be relieved and that I would celebrate his life instead of mourn his death. I guess that's going to take a while.