Saturday, January 31, 2009

Too gorgeous to pass up...

I'm not a fan of Martha Stewart, but I couldn't resist buying the February issue of Living magazine. Aren't the colors fabulous!  These frosted cupcakes are so pretty, I'm not sure I could bring myself to eat them.

It's a good day in Oregon. The sun is shining and mom is pleased with her new room in rehab. She even took a few steps during physical therapy today. 

Friday, January 30, 2009

Some things are constant...

One thing that doesn't seem to change is the pleasure children take in playing dress up. When my kids were little, the dress up box was in contant flux as they planned games and plays and various scenarios which required special clothing or disguises. The box contained a collection of discarded scarves, nightgowns, tutus, cowboy hats, wigs, swords, shields, belts, jewelry and various pieces of discarded Halloween costumes.

And now my granddaughter Georgia has begun dressing herself to play the imaginary games she stages. The clothing she selected in this photo, taken at Christmas, reflects her idea of the perfectly attired magic princess.

She turns four in a couple of weeks and her birthday list includes requests for more dress up clothes. I've ordered a set of  fairy wings, with a fairy wand and headpiece.  She's getting a feather boa and finished pieces of sparkly fabric to wrap around herself as she wishes. And if time permits,  I'm going to sew a silk cape to go with a queen's crown.

I think it's a bit bewildering to her parents, both well versed in feminist theory, to have a little girl so fascinated with princesses and queens.  You know, it's not really a family value...

Another Day...

Yesterday when I visited my mother she was participating in physical therapy and in good spirits. I was pleased and hopeful she had turned an emotional corner. I traveled on to Eugene for lunch with friends and visits to bookstores, a welcome respite.

But today, she was in total despair, sad, angry, refusing to participate in physical therapy, wanting to "just go home and die." I think it's painful for her to do the exercises, as the only pain medication she tolerates is Tylenol.  I was able to arrange for her to be moved to a better room - larger, with a window view of the patio area, in the rehab side of the facility. Because there were no rooms available in the rehab part when she was transferred from the hospital on Monday, she was in the long term care area, surrounded with the comatose and dying, not the best environment for recovery. I'm hopeful the change of rooms will help her spirits.

After I left her today, I went to a florist and bought this arrangement. Not for her really, she's always dismissive of flowers people send her, but to make her room look a little less dreary when I visit. I'll take them to her tomorrow.

This rendering is not very accurate - the pot is actually smaller (and square) and the plants were larger, but it felt really good to do something with pen and brush.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Art as an antidote to nursing homes

Last week my 85-year old mother fell again, her third fall in four months. This time she fractured her pelvis, resulting in hospitalization and transfer to a rehab/nursing center yesterday. These rehab facilities are depressing as hell for so many reasons, on so many levels. So mom’s upset, I’m upset. She cries and asks me to get her out of there. I explain about the importance of physical therapy, how it will only be for four or five weeks. But four or five weeks feels like forever when one is the patient and not the visitor. She tells me she would prefer to go back where she was, the hospital with a private room and nurses who actually respond to call lights. She grips my hand and pleads with her eyes. I feel like crap and leave. It’s a complicated relationship, with edges shaped by compassion and love and disdain and neediness.

After visiting her yesterday, I tried to paint, but it was as if I had never picked up a paintbrush before.

Tomorrow it's back to contour drawings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama!

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history."
(From Obama Inaugural Address)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A happy day...

And tomorrow will be even better.

Bush's last FULL day in office is OVER!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ask Me

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is here, hidden; and there
are comingss and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

-William Stafford

(From the Sunday Oregonian newspaper.)

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 1!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Socked in...

Another day of heavy fog in the Umpqua Valley.

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 2

Friday, January 16, 2009

Green Apples

Today got away from me and now it’s 7:30 p.m. and I have no desire to paint or draw. So I’m posting a painting I did in an oil painting class a few years ago. The assignment was to paint a copy of an old master. I selected this painting by Cezanne, Green Apples.

My scanner makes colors look brighter than they actually are, but still, my mixes bear little resemblance to Cezanne's muted tones :

The original, by Cezanne:

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 3

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the mist...

The river valley where I live in Oregon gets a lot of fog. It's been particularly heavy the past week, often lingering until late afternoon when it lifts to reveal a few hours of sunshine. Sometimes it feels a bit oppressive and gloomy, but I love what it does to the view. The trees, hills and buildings look mysterious and a bit magical in the heavy mist. And the light shining through as it begins to thin produces a beautiful glow.

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 4

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby Bok Choy

There were five baby bok choy lined up on a shelf in the display case at the grocery store. So tiny. So perfect. So organic. How could I resist buying one?

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 5

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bear Fetish

This granite bear fetish from Santa Fe was a gift from a good friend. I've tried to sketch it several times over the years, but it never comes out quite right.

"According to Zuni mythology, the Bear fetish is the Guardian of the West and has the power to heal and transform human passions into true wisdom. They believe that Bear is invaluable whenever you are faced with change and transition and that it can be your ally when you are attempting to resolve conflict, forgive yourself or others for errors of the past, or when you are faced with new challenges in your spiritual path."

Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn't be so neglectful of this little guy...

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 6

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's a marvelous night for a moon dance...

Driving home from town last night, I was stunned by how beautiful the moon was - huge and glowing, with a large, luminous nimbus around it. It only got better as we left the city lights behind for the darkness of the countryside.

Apparently it's the biggest and brightest full moon of 2009. If it were just a bit warmer outside, a moon dance would certainly be in order...

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 7

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Deer food...

A quick little sketch before I put this wilted flower arrangement outside for the deer to enjoy.

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 8

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Yupo

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 9

Friday, January 9, 2009


My guests left today and I'm starting to feel somewhat normal. Thanks for all the get well wishes.

After a short nap, I spent the afternoon in Yupoland, a strange and unpredictable place. Yupo paper has a plastic finish and there's little control over what happens when ink or watercolor is placed on it. I created a very nice abstract landscape, left the room while it was drying and when I came back later, everything had melded, moved, and turned into a completely different painting. The paper is just weird, slick and smooth. But I think there is amazing potential for some very interesting art. And I'm sure there are techniques for using it which I don't know yet.

I didn't produce anything wonderful, but did have fun moving the paint around. Another plus? You can wash everything off and start over again. (Don't you think the painting resembles this image of an amœba?...)

Number of days until Bush's last full day in office: 10

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Two tulips

A lost edge doesn't really work if there's an ink drawing underneath.

Number of days until Bush's last day in office: 11

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Will it work?

When I began having cold symptoms on Monday, I remembered reading about a new cold medicine which actually worked. I picked up a bottle of Zicam and began using it in the hopes of keeping the cold at bay, or at least shortening the duration. This medication, taken every four hours for 48 hours, is supposed to shorten the duration of one's cold. My husband was sick with this virus for eight days; I'm hoping my illness will be shorter.

A quick drawing before my guests awaken. ( Am I really posting a sketch of nose spray on my blog?)

Number of days until Bush's last day in office: 12

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bird Pot

A value study, perhaps to become a little painting...

Number of days until Bush's last day in office: 13

Monday, January 5, 2009

Colds & Company/two more weeks to go!

I woke up this morning with a sore throat, runny nose and general feeling of malaise. There’s never a GOOD time to get a cold, but with company arriving from Tennessee tomorrow, I really could have skipped this right now. The Kleenex box and I have been constant companions today.

The box is a little wonky, sort of the way I feel.

Number of days until Bush's last day in office: 14

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The best of a bad lot/15 days to go

I couldn't paint ANYTHING well today, but since I've committed to posting something every day until Bush is history, here it is. Maybe I'll try this again tomorrow. The orchid is really quite beautiful.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Doodles/16 more days...

I spent the last couple of days in Eugene, picking up art supplies, browsing bookstores and visiting friends. This little doodle is all I have time for today.

Number of days until Bush's last day in office: 16.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Twisted leaves/17 more days

I love the crazy, twisted leaves on Satsuma oranges.

Number of days until Bush's last day in office, and the fulfillment of my one and only new year's resolution: 17.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bombay Sapphire

When I make a gin and tonic I use the least expensive gin I can find, because it’s really the flavor of the tonic water that appeals to me. A hint of gin is all I want in the drink.

Someone gave me a bottle of Bombay Sapphire dry gin for Christmas and told me I would never be able to go back to the bargain gin after tasting it. It does have a rich, complex flavor which, according to Wikipedia, comes from a recipe of ten ingredients: almond, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia, cubeb, and grains of paradise.

It’s good, but honestly, what I like the best about it is the gorgeous sapphire blue bottle it's packaged in.

Number of days until Bush's last day in office, and the end of my daily paintings: 18.

Countdown Art

I seldom make New Year’s resolutions because I never actually follow through with them. But this year, I’m feeling the need to kick-start 2009. So I’m making one short-term resolution - to post a small piece of art every day through January 19. No particular theme, just whatever appeals to me.

Then, on January 20, I’m going to pour a big glass of champagne, turn the TV on and watch the inauguration of our 44th President.

Number of days until Bush's last day in office: 18.