Thursday, September 30, 2010
I went to one of our little AA seminars last night, this one on why AA is a spiritual program and not a religion. Three of our sober gurus headed the panel, and only one hit the mark. Okay, I heard how one found her Higher Power, the one of her understanding, and I heard all about another guy's understanding, but the young kid, the one with only 8 years experience, knew what he was supposed to be talking about. Our founders, Bill and Bob, knew that our Program needed to have singleness of purpose, that being to get and stay sober. Politics and religion were guaranteed to get us all drunk again. So they made this an exercise of the spirit, so all who needed our help could belly up to the table and be welcome. We don't talk about religion very much. It is, after all, an outside issue. Those who do find themselves sitting alone. Frankly, I think we are not a religion because religions main thrust is to tell you what to believe, how to act and what to do or not do, depending on horrific consequences if you don't follow the rules. And alcoholics hate rules. Alcoholics hate authority of any kind. We are not alone in that, I know. But alcoholics are people who function at the extremities of life. There is little middle of the road for us. Not until a lot of work has been done. So, every one of us has a conception of God, or Spirit, or Great Beloved, that we carry around in our hearts and minds to keep us on the path of happy destiny. Frankly, anything that could make this lily, well that's a pretty special Something. N'est-ce pas?
Sunday, September 26, 2010
It is bleeping hot here today. So I took advantage of a friend's invitation to paint on her ranch at the coast. Surprise! It was bleeping hot there, too. Also, her ranch is north of our old house on the edge of the world, up a 5 mile mostly vertical, gravel, dusty driveway. Hard to find, too. Sheer drops on my side of the car, and thank HP I didn't do the driving. I would be a trainwreck now if I had. We painted for 3 hours, ate lunch, then said sayonara. I had a great big headache, and was curious whether we would survive the trip down with the aplomb we did on the way up. And up. And up. From sea level to 1800 feet. Lovely view. And I learned that I am happiest navigating the distance from the kitchen to the couch. One little step down. That's perfect.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I have a friend who also has a blog. He keeps asking me how many followers I have. And I reply, followers? What are those? Whatever they are, he has nine of them, and to him, that's gold. You see, he is a professional artist, and in the business of selling his artwork, and his blog is all about his process of creativity and the current work he has on his easel. Now, my blog has some of that, too. But it is not the real purpose of this endeavor. Originally, I started the blog because I enjoyed my daughter's blog so much, and decided I could be just as self-centered in my own right. Then it evolved into something else entirely. I began to use it as a spiritual tool. It's like getting a camera. Suddenly, I saw all these wondrous photographs in the world around me. I saw much more deeply into the world with my Canon around my neck. And I watch the world more intensely when I am thinking of what to write about here, too. But more than that, I watch the inner landscape, too. How am I feeling today, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Am I griping or expressing gratitude? Am I in the solution or part of the problem? And, yes, I put my little artistic expressions up here, too, because I am a visual person and love the color. But also because I love creating something new in the world most days that I am in it. The day is never wasted if I have diddled up a little digital image or started (and usually finished) a painting or a drawing. Or written something here about my tiny life. Which leads me to this huge surprise I got the other night when I saw this little icon on my dashboard and realized I have 23 followers! I don't know any of you. And suddenly, this has become me and others. It feels kind of funny. Cannot imagine how you stand the diatribes about Speedo-related fat bubbles and the trials and tribulations of the Pickle. But bless your souls. I kind of know that I am not riding around on this little dirt ball of a world alone. Nice to have you on board. Trivialities of life in the little yellow house will continue, complete with mountains of dog hair and experiments in pigments. Welcome to my world, inside and out!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I suppose that fussy is nice. It's just that I like messy better. After all, I love Matisse, and Van Gogh, and they were not particularly precise or interested in portraying a faithful representation of the object of their image. Oh, and Cezanne, another guy who messed with everything, including perspective. The bird is there, isn't it. Perhaps it is sort of fuzzy around the edges. But it is a happy mess, yes indeed. It made me happy while I was doing it, even though I knew from the beginning that it was going to be something different. For some reason, the paint just would not do what I kept pushing it to do. It just wanted to clump up, all stubborn with this life of its own. And now I see that was just fine. So, this may be my new style. Really easier than anything I have done before, and hell, easy is GOOD!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The new acrylic painting, trying some different subject matter while staying in the aviary mood. My grandparents had an egg ranch when I was little, five hen houses. It was an everyday of the week job, gathering the eggs, candling them, washing them, buffing them, packing them. I hated the chickens, though. They were mean to me, pecking me when I tried to help with the gathering. Then I came on my first soft-shelled one. Ick. And spent the rest of my time playing in the feed bin or sussing out litters of feral kittens that were hidden all over the ranch. So here is an homage to the Mill Station Road ranch, and a big raspberry to the guy in the egg truck that ran over my doll in her buggy, even if I did happen to leave it in the driveway.
I am selling this painting. It is just about my favorite of all time. It happened in a moment of tender grace, morning at Pepperwood, looking over my shoulder, not at the vista that goes on forever, but at the little hill behind me. Morning was still spreading sweet shadows, the grasses were still and luminous. And God painted them, together with me, my pigments, my brushes, and a roll of paper towels. The hues that make up this image slipped onto and off my brush magically, without a lot of thought, almost like automatic writing. It is hard to let it go. And it stands to reason that those works that are precious to me will also be precious to others. They are my children, these works, the mating of my heart and the medium. The best ones are, that is. Some are too cerebral. They wind up in the cupboard in the garage, where they wait, for a moment of inspection, and probably to return to the oblivion they came out of, and support another image on top. Love that aspect, that nothing is wasted, really. Meanwhile, waving goodbye to this one. And hello to a nice little bit of money, to help pay for Boo's surgery. It's a good trade, in the end.
Monday, September 20, 2010
It's kind of a bug day here, as in some days you're the windshield, some days you're the, well, you get the idea. I did get my butt and all other assorted bits to the gym, where, sorry to say, the pool is not yet open. They are remodeling, and it really is a good thing, since it will be bigger, brighter, and probably even have some new equipment, yay. But we have been without the wet areas for a while, not even an indoor facility, just portapotties along the back. Thank HP, that's open again. Funnily enough, this has been a great lesson for me. Since changing areas have been iffy, I put on my gym clothes first thing in the morning, and every time, I get to the gym! Not like when I would throw the gym bag in the car, and figure I'd get there, some time that day. Lately, I have been going every day, taking one or two off on the weekend, doing full weights (and I have added weight on every machine, even those blasted upper body ones that had me trembling and puffing in the beginning) three days, and in between, more cardio, new machines, and lower weights on others. Just need to remember where I am in the rotation, and that in itself is a trick. Met a new buddie there, lady I met when I got my eyes checked Friday, and she paints and takes photos, like me! What a world. After my workout, I started another painting, and, at the moment, I hate it. It is fermenting at the moment, and when dry (acrylics, again, dry before you can blink), I will work to get it into acceptable shape, if not scintillating loveliness. Well, you never know. Love my life, even on bug days.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Happy to say We Three was sold at the auction today. Sad to see it go. It was kind of a seminal piece for me, where I pushed a little and got something new and exciting. In the beginning, it was kind of flat and very black and white, so I went back into it with color here and there, and it just popped. I loved how they gazed out at me with that frankness cows have, yet each had its own expression. Well, it went home with some lovely person who, I am sure, will love it as I have, look into it often and feel the sweetness. My artwork come from a birthing process, and each piece feels like a new infant still. I hope that, when I have been through the process more often, it will become less painful to let it go. Not there yet, though.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tomorrow is the big event, Art for Life. I probably have mentioned it before, and I will again anyway. It is a fundraiser for Face to Face, our local AIDS hospice organization. Out little county was hit hard by the epidemic, and that is honored at this event, on a big round table clothed in red, with black stones set in a spiral from the center three, the first deaths, each year separated by a white bone. We have a moment of silence every year, and it never lessens in the poignancy. Artists from all over the county, and we have herds of them, donate a piece of their work, and art lovers come to bid on them. The artists get recognized, the patrons get cheap art and a tax write-off, and Face to Face gets a nice bit of money. Caterers come and try to outdo one another, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence come to serve hors d'oeuvres. Everyone has a dandy time. And there is this year's offering, on the $75 tickets, with an artist's credit on the back. My name and art, out in front of God and everyone. Happiness oozes from my every pore!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Perhaps you can tell how much fun I am having with my new medium. Acrylics are strange. The pigments are so much more strident. They don't mix as well as oils, which is probably why the paintings I have done have been so vibrant. Unusual things happen when you scumble them (paint one color over another). And they clean up with water. Gee, that's ever so nice. I actually thought about going back into this painting with oils. You can do that, paint oils over acrylics ( but not the other way around). But in the end, I got most of what I wanted with just the one medium. I glazed parts of it, a new skill for me. So much to learn, you know.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I may have found something good here, after all. Acrylics make me work really fast, and not think too much. Thinking too much makes for ugly stuff. Art is heart stuff. You really get that looking at a Van Gogh. Not so much with Picasso. Very cerebral, that guy. I don't like it when my paintings get that contrived look. Maybe I quit too soon with this one, I never know. And the little bird is kind of coy, but so was the photo. It's just an adorable thing, the little bird. I got to push the paint around more this time, more like working in oils. And I primed the canvas ultramarine blue, so no white holidays peeking out at me. Just glad to be working at it again.
Friday, September 10, 2010
After long time, no paint, I laid a palette of acrylics, my arch enemy. But I had a bunch left from those academic classes that fret so over toxicity in oils, and a friend gifted me with a basic set, and what can I say, I am part Scottish, you know, and kind of wanted to use them up. This is my attempt to get them to work like oils. Not happening as well as I would like, but the effect is loose and kind of eschisse, or sketchy, ala Monet. In fact, I couldn't get oils to do THIS at all. Perhaps this is a good thing! It was fun, and probably is not done yet, but then, what ever is? If I'm vertical, nothing.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Recently I toodled over to the senior center for a watercolor class. Secretly, I hope they will be astonished to see me there. YOU can't possibly be a SENIOR! No one has said that yet. Anyhow, the class was sparse, and the real instructor was on vacation. Standing in her stead was one of our local and very wonderful artists. Nevertheless, I completely ignored her demo and proceeded to do this rather wimpy painting from a book I brought with me. Of course, I could have saved some gasoline if I just did that at home in my own studio. Don't know what came over me there. I was just full of rebellion and defiance that day. It happens. Hoping I will get back to that place where I don't know very much, and that is okay. Soon.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Here is my birthday boy. He is 12 today, which translates to around 70 in dog years, for a little 20 pounder like he. Actually, he is not 20 lbs any more, not since pesky Pickle came to pester him 24/7. He is slim and trim and perky as hell. Don't pay any attention to all that white on his muzzle, he's had that since he was 2. Okay, the white over his eyes came later, but still, what a guy! He came to live with me on an October day very like the one we are having today, warm but not sizzling hot, windy with papery leaves skittering before my car as I drove to town to get a gander at him. "Adorable Pekingnese/ShihTzu mix puppies" the ad read. And there was one little boy left. I might have been a little disappointed that he was black and white, but that lasted only a second. He was the runt. In fact, Pickle weighed a pound more than he did when she arrived at 7 weeks old. I knew that day that I was putting my heart out there where it could easily break, and that someday, it would, as Boo is temporary (as is everything, when I think about it). And I went for it, anyway, because I knew that he was 2lbs 2oz of pure love. And that is how it has been. Mellow, dear Boo.