Day 30 – Renewed Resolve

1/302014 "Renewed Resolve"Acrylic on canvas, 20" x 16"  $300.00
1/30/2014 “Renewed Resolve” Acrylic on canvas, 20″ x 16″ $300.00

January 30th started at a doctor’s (they were so delayed that I rescheduled, to avoid being late for my next appointment), a visit to my church (amazing, details below), and a trip to the Unitarian Church to prepare for my upcoming show (it is hung and looks fantastic). Cleaning the studio and painting followed, of course, with this painting “Renewed Resolve” as a result.

After painting, I attended the very first “Creativity Collaborative” meeting, led by Jane Lavender (a true public servant/Artist). The group will catalog, and shed light on the 80+ artists in Bristol RI, in unison with the Governor’s new art initiative and Explore Bristol. It will focus on Bristol as an art destination, in cooperation with /not in competition with the other marketing promotions already in place.

When I owned Alta Luna Gallery, I worked hard to promote artists throughout 2012/13 in a gallery setting — on my own — so I appreciate this group effort and know that it will be worthwhile. Please comment (below) with the names of artists, art studios, theater/performing arts groups, and creative ventures that exist in Bristol, RI (only), so we can add them to the list (name/art type/location/phone/website).  Art Night Bristol and Warren, Roger Williams University, the Bristol Art Museum, Explore Bristol and other institutions (to name a few) — as well as Alta Luna Studio — are part of this effort — thankfully.

About “Renewed Resolve” I dedicate this painting to Father Ruggiero from St. Patrick’s Church on Smith Hill in Providence, who sat with me for over an hour in confession (yes, confession; and no, the walls of the church are still intact), a real conversation to clear the slate and lighten my baggage. I don’t know why I waited so many years to go — it is just a conversation. He gave me a passage to read, “REVELATIONS, Chapter 12” (WHOA! heavy duty), so I read it and went to afternoon Mass (sweet,with a homily asking us to shake things up a bit… to throw ourselves (passionately) before God, rather than fall into a humdrum routine). He totally gets the spiritual stuff — not a man going through the motions. I love this Church, his leadership and that of our Francis,!  Makes me proud to be a Catholic because (like him) I know I can be a good one, despite its (and my) sinful past! Yeehaw; life is good.

Father suggested that I do everything in my power to “avoid Sin”, going forward.  That’s my focus.  My sins are usually the things that I know are bad for me; and (historically) knowing how I get a kick out of being naughty, I will have to be more mindful.  On confession: I suggest going to my pastor, if you ever want to join what I think of as the “Clean Slate Club”, in a compassionate setting.  He has heard it all, I’m sure.  As if we have “Firsts” to share…  And with the church’s leader, Francis, encouraging the Church to be a place where the wounded find refuge…  there are worse places to find yourself.

I justified not going (to confession) for years, saying “How is some going to tell me how to do my life better? (Who is he to judge?).  It wasn’t ’til I learned otherwise, in a non-church support group, that a true confession is a great thing!

I had already started painting the Madonnas (without a clue why) and my screwed up life had rendered me the impression that I was not lovable.  I joined the group and eventually I did a confession with a co-member– something that helped lighten my load.  The woman I trusted most in that group suggested that I kneel in prayer every day (for 90 days) and pray to a higher power (created by me, as what I needed it to be).  In this way, she thought,  I’d end up with “a God of my understanding” — a perfect plug for all the voids in my life.  I’d tried just about everything else and it hadn’t worked, so I listened. I wasn’t ready to go back to Church yet, so I listened…  (actually, if it had been church-related then, I wouldn’t have tried it.)

I was skeptical, to say the least; and that woman encouraged me and listened to my very worst secrets. That “clearing” led to a correction in course that I needed.  She was the closest substitute I had to a Priest back then.  Encouraging me to build a “personal relationship” with God, she was the first person who told me a cut and dried way to get God (back) — my God, nobody else’s — a perfect “GOD”.  I didn’t like the word at all; nor did I think I’d ever have a personal understanding of one. But I trusted this friend (and still do); I can do a perfect impression of her (she has a foreign accent).

She asked me (I was impressed by her surety) to write a list of all the qualities that would comprise a PERFECT God IF I had one… Okay, that didn’t sound so difficult, so I did; and the list included such words as “Unconditionally loving, nurturing, strong, humble, parental, forgiving, understanding, real, compassionate, fair…”. She said to kneel with that “perfect God” and talk to it every day on the floor before I did ANYTHING else). I felt ridiculous — but I did it. And I actually knelt with that list. I knelt with the list of words and talked to “It” for 30 days, hopeful.

Then at about 60 days, I was freaking out on my way to a counter-productive event, sitting at the longest red light ever, knowing that I was not supposed to be going that night. Then, without giving it a thought, I prayed (inadvertently) to that compassionate being from my list. I started talking to it as I would normally talk to myself; THEN (not kidding) I was (without any doubt in my mind) not alone in that car. The light turned green and I was good to go. I have never felt totally alone again, even when I’ve felt disconnected at times.

I need God more than ever right now, too; lots of challenges (job, money, daughter’s college bills, son now without work, too), so I thought I’d use the tools at my Church (the sacraments) for help in stepping (wholly) into that grace. Meditation is harder for me in the cold (ridiculous, I know) but that can be a great way to listen, as is painting (or walking or sitting at the ocean or just being still or breathing or all of the above), “Happy highs” — not being alone but, in fact, enveloped in the arms of God.

A funny aside about the “LIST”: A few months after I wrote that God List, I wanted to date, so my friend suggested that I write a list of qualities I deemed necessary in the perfect mate — and I wrote the list. I freaked out when she had me compare it to my other list — because it was nearly identical. The list I have today is still similar with a few additions, but at least I know a man is not a PLAN… I have a safer one. The list makes it to say, “Nah… that isn’t going to work.”

A funny about me and meditation… Once, when I told a co-worker to get a move on because I was late to lead a meditation — in my “perfection is the only option” pain in the *** way — he snapped “YOU are the LEAST serene person I know…” (I was wounded, of course, LOL) I said, “NO KIDDING! Why do you think I meditate?!” I am so NOT perfect. I am the LAST person in the world that should judge or pretend to be totally “Enlightened”.  This is all a path, a process. While READINESS/ENLIGHTENMENT is my goal&nbsp, The last person I would trust is the person that SAYS that they are… Glimpses are enough to keep me trying.

And the thing about the “Mary” process — and my year is dedicated to her — is that I can get closer to God through her, too. I know in my heart that she is conduit to God, the proof that “readiness” to be OF GOD is possible. That’s my take (and nobody has to agree) on things.

Lady in Blue_watercolor on paper 4x6 unframedI ended the day by dropping off “Lady in Blue” to Joan, my dear Hindu friend (I love her ceremonies), and then had some male friend-time with Chris (platonic, we laugh out LOUD every time we meet), with whom I had a great conversation about sin and knowing when its time for confession. Thanks to my first ex (1 of 2) for paying to to get an annulment, I am now free to partake of the other sacraments, too. (The 2nd one didn’t require an annulment; and who gets married on Good Friday, anyway; jeesh.)

The day was (again) full; No job yet, and no clear picture of what will come next — but the path is the path. And if anyone sees my sister Dawn out there, tell her that I used the white Gideon’s Pocket Bible today — the one she gave me ten years ago (she won’t believe it).

Jane

Day 29 – Leaving “Well Enough Alone”

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This photo is the final version of a previously better draft, which is only history now. Luckily, I took a photo of it before I impulsively painted over her… I feel sick to my stomach, like I do when I lash out with words, or look at an old photo of my children and wish cleaning the house hadn’t been so important in those days. Will I ever learn?

Now, look at her again, before I show you the better version, now a layer of her, her former self. It is a painting, like life, changed forever by the stroke of my brush; a reminder of how one decision can change everything. One “Yes” or one “No” or one Slip of the tongue” or a lie or not following your gut.

20140129-205249.jpg We always start out better and change, so there. Here she is.

Now look at the new girl, the new baby. It’s almost like when as a child, I thought about, “I wonder what I’d look like if Mom had married someone else — or if Dad had married someone else”. An odd thing to wonder; but I wondered about much weirder things, believe me. Maybe she is the identical twin I had in moms birth canal but who never lived to see the day, neck snapped in delivery. I like her better now, having thought that… The second version of a fabulous woman (hahaha). Her lost soulmate.

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The change has merit, with that last thought in mind. Next time, maybe ill remind myself to, “Step AWAY from the canvas, Jane. step away from the canvas.” Anyway, she’s still there; she’s just underneath. I DO Iove the new girl, anyway, and the new baby.

Another day of painting; another lesson. Which do you prefer, version 1 or Version 2 of “Well Enough Alone”. Lesson: not moving on something is always my best tack, as impulse differs from my gut. I probably won’t stop me, though.

Day 28 – Sleepy-eyed Madonna and Child

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I cannot believe this palette! Beautiful spring colors again… And she is as tired as I am… Eye strain and up all night painting, perhaps. I wonder which caused her look and stance. $275

I’m looking hoping for an early Spring.

Moving back to New England was tough for me, after living in NC. I remember that first winter of 2007. I was living in Seekonk, MA, and had a slate floor in my studio there… A very cold room, with three sides of windows with a door to the rear yard, where I brought in hundreds of logs to burn that season.

As a matter of fact, I just loaded this “Seasons of Change” landscape onto my pile to take to the show at the Unitarian Church (opening, Feb 9th from 5-7pm; located at One Benevolent Street). And I’ll share it, because I’d like someone to buy it ($400 includes a great frame; it won an award at BAM) AND because it shares the color scheme of today’s painting. Here is the photo:

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The night I painted this landscape (see it here), I was literally wrapped in a blanket while I painted it — freezing cold, with only one arm exposed to deal with the brush. I was so upset by yet another snow storm and decided to paint the tree line, as it was that night.

The upper portion is what I saw in the yard, leading to the reservoir: drifts of snow, an owl or coyote (I had both), and deep dark wilderness on a frigid night. I was not a happy camper about my cold surroundings; so I abruptly added the North Carolina landscape below it, to remind me of what I left behind there; with a cross-slashed pink line to separate them.

The house I lived in, as a caretaker for my family, was so cool. We eventually sold it — but it was nice while it lasted (even as cold and drafty as it was, I’d hoped to keep it). Life goes on though; and at the end of it, I won’t be thinking about this house (photo)

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Now it’s time for this sleepy-Eyed Madonna to go home to sleep before my trip to Providence…

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Day 27 – Small Mother

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It’s after 2 AM but I finished this at about ten thirty yesterday (4 hours ago). I got a late start, after waiting for hot water. The new hot water heater was installed today at home, after the hassle that was a frozen water main break in a vacant condo nearby… A mess. But it is finally over, officially, with all repairs done. Somehow, invigorating 40 degree water was not part of my shower plans today.

This “Small Mother” is a nice surprise, totally unplanned and delightful in so many ways, as I study her now. Anatomically, she is three or four years old, based on the “number of heads tall” she is. I never plan them and that happens sometimes. Subconsciously, I must have planned it to be a toddler with a doll or a small person. She has one foot turned out which shows some confidence; but I do think she looks a tad timid and she is holding the child with great care. The spring greens and petal pinks and carrot oranges are the gentle colors of Spring. And I watered down the many layers that comprise the background of this acrylic painting, using the medium as a light watercolor wash. This is one of my very favorite paintings, to date in 2014. She is perfectly protective and a very good mama to her baby. I just noticed that their auras are pink and gold, by the way, spiritual and regal. I think she has an old soul, from the look on her face… It’s no surprise that she reminds me of my granddaughter Anahata, in her expression. She too, must be a good mama to her babies.

Things are wrapping up with the film… I know! You’ve heard about this since October; but it takes that long to plan and properly implement a Kickstarter campaign; and AS soon as it is approved, I will post the link to this blog. It shouldn’t be long and I only have a few more pieces to write for the static part of the post. The budget is the scariest part, as I have to price everything i need for the year in advance. Describing donor gifts and calculating shipping costs to other countries is difficult — and very expensive if I price things incorrectly. It’s more complicated than you’d think. Just try to imagine how you would calculate studio costs and material costs for 365 paintings. I’ve just completed a few more than 28 in 28 days, and it is costly. I’m running out of canvas again.

I will catch some sleep before I drive to Providence for 10am this morning. I am dropping off several of my Madonnas for a three person exhibit at the First Unitarian Church on Benefit Street in Providence (the Opening Reception is on Friday, February 7, 2014, from 5pm to 7pm) so come if you can. Everyone is invited to this show. If you have mentioned that you want a painting, please call by phone. I need to get definite answers today if possible, so that I don’t hang a piece that you definitely want to buy. All pricing is negotiable before the other project begins. I need to make room for 365 paintings! Yikes. That is a lot of Madonna love!

I will close with a photo of my granddaughter, the photo I thought of when I saw this Madonna’s expression… A lot alike, I think. She definitely has an old soul, too — and she is precious.

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Day 26 – “Flip Side Orange Aura” on back of “Silver Light Fantastic” & framing today

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Day 26 – “Flip Side Orange Aura”

I started this painting at the Gallery last year and just added final touches today… Unfortunately, I painted “Silver Light Fantastic” on the back of it impulsively. Now looking at this Orange Aura more closely, I am torn between the two and may have to frame it so that they are seen from both sides and can be switched back and forth — somehow.

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These are both great candidates for Gicle prints, too, so you will see more of both, with possible paintings on top of the prints to enhance the prints. Whoever buys one will get both, TWO GEMS. I’m in the painting ZONE on Day 26, grabbing boards and painting, paper, canvas, you name it; a bit crazy at times, too, with (even) TWO-sided pieces to show for it!

All in all, it was a busy and fun day. It started with a cold shower (new hot water heater arrives tomorrow), church in Providence where I bought two homemade empanadas after church (yum; they sell them in the corridor after Mass), then had a coffee at CAV while I waited for Jerry’s Artarama to open next door (a very pretty setting for a $2 cup of coffee!) Lowes Hardware was next, where i found a very patient clerk to cut all different sizes from the 4 foot slats that i selected for a new hanging system project. From there I headed back to the Studio to add final touches to today’s painting, I matted and framed, “Summer Rose Madonna”, then jumped into my project.

With the help of the cut plywood slats and Gorilla Glue, I attached spacers to the backs of my Masonite pieces, an alternative to framing. Applying spacers this way, holds the unframed boards away from the wall by 5/8″ with a great overall effect! My friend John Irwin, (a painter, whom I featured at the old Alta Luna Gallery over the summer) used this technique well; and I decided to try it. Unfettered by framing, this simple hanging style adds impact without drawing attention away from the image. All total, I readied about ten new pieces today, leaving time for dinner at my brother’s house (we had a blast).

The cold shower and early start allowed me time to worship, time to work at the studio; and I had nice balance in my day, without frantic rushing to do it all

EVENT: I’d like to invite all of you to attend my next art show opening on February 7, 2014, at the First Unitarian Church on Benefit Street in Providence from 5pm to 7pm. I will be one of three featured artists! Thanks to Elizabeth O’Connell, a talented water colorist, I was invited to be part of this exhibit in February. I’ll also have three pieces at the RI State House long term loan Exhibit soon (yay)… As well as a small exhibit at Sage Cafe in Riverside (5 or 6 pieces)…

I hope you love this new painting, and the photo of my nephew holding one of my old tiles, Rasta Mama 2. He is the youngest of my parents grandchildren, so I feel old as he turns 24 tomorrow. This tired Auntie Jane is ready to sleep now at 10:46 pm! Goodnight.
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Day 25 – Puppy Love – watercolor

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Leaving things alone is a lesson that is hard for me to remember! This painting was a disappointment, in that I loved the sketch I used as the base. The drawing was better and is now buried by this “Puppy Love” watercolor on paper $100 unframed.

Then I painted up a storm of others, shown here…

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This assortment of watercolor work is $100 each, all unframed — although a couple were done on the reverse sides of others, so those will be $125 each (these last two, for example; to flip back and forth). I was on a roll and didn’t notice!

Day 24 – “Old Photos” 1.24.14

In the midst of chaos, comes this beautiful mother — drawn with Graphite on paper. She reminds me of one of my Boston Artist friends, actually; funny when that happens.

1.23.14 started on a great note, with my friend having a successful surgery with an invitation to attend a show at 2nd Story Theater to look forward to at the end of the day…

An accident — burst pipes above us — made the end of the day unfortunate, with plans cancelled and a litany of strangers walking through our home. The flood damage drenched everything in the storage closet. It could have been FAR worse, as the flooding was limited to that one room; but the work it caused is upsetting… police and firemen with dirty boots on moms white carpets, a set of silk drapes drenched, my cherry chest of drawers drenched, and ALL of my photo albums are soaked through — the worst part. I spread them all out to dry, with more to lay out…

The look on the face of this Madonna is probably telling, as the photos I laid out (to dry) were my day ended with reminders of
Life I had years ago when my children were young.

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UPDATED – Day 23 – Visitation 1.23.14

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A word about yesterday: While I was on a rant and getting old crap off my chest (positive, i thought)… I hit “Publish” before I thought it through. It bothered me all day and night, so I lopped off parts of it. Blogging is exposing oneself, for sure, but I apologize for posting TMI. This morning, I saw a “friend’s” FB post, slamming an adult for blaming everyone for their problems and not getting it done (in effect). I “Liked” the comment, then I realized, “Wow, that’s probably me!” Even if it wasn’t, it could have been, because it (partly) applies… time to FOCUS ON THE PRESENT!

Seeing it was a blessing!

PRESENTLY, I’m reading, “Mary Within Us: A Jungian Contemplation of Her Titles and Powers by David Richo, a great reference on the spiritual significance of Mary. [Thanks, AW, for sharing it with me; unemployment isn’t ideal but I’m reading more.]

In Mary Within Us, David Richo demonstrates how we have always venerated not the literal Mary but the feminine dimension of the divine that she represents and enriches. Using the titles in the Litany of Loreto with depth and reverence, this book opens a dialogue about Mary as a personification of the virtues and destiny of the human psyche, including the so far unexplored dark side. David Richo, Ph.D., M.F.T., was ordained a priest in 1966 and now works as a psychotherapist in California. He emphasizes Jungian, trans-personal, and spiritual perspectives in his work. Dr. Richo is the author many books on spirituality and human unfolding, including When Love Meets Fear, and Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side.

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Today’s “VISITATION” painting *LEFT) is the background I posted last week, with a spirit added. I called it Visitation, for obvious reasons. I really like seeing the background through the images (like this one I did a few weeks ago, BELOW)20140112-222617.jpg. Whenever I go for Reiki, they tell me that Mary is there with me,

CLICK HERE FOR A GREAT SONG

Talk tomorrow.

Day 22 – “Dreaming” by Jane Dever (1.22.14)

Day 22 -Close up of  Dreaming, Acrylic on Masonite board, 18" x 24", $300 unframed
Day 22 – Dreaming, Acrylic on Masonite board, 18″ x 24″, $300[/unframed 1.22.14
After I painted this Madonna and Child, I thought of the struggles of women and  the challenges to equality among humans on this planet —  disturbing.

Everyone deserves a real chance at fulfilling their dreams, Big dreams. We’ve all had times when we felt oppressed; but there are people among us who are hopeless because they are bound by discrimination, family, or chains of their own making. For those of you out there that suffer the constraints of forces beyond your control, this painting is for you. I’ll dream for you tonight and pray for your release from that which holds you.

I’m tired tonight, and will be up early again in a few hours to take a friend to surgery, so ill share a couple things to close with…

A song for you…

And a speech to inspire you…

And a close up of the painting.

Day 22 - Dreaming by Jane Dever, Acrylic on Masonite board, 18" x 24", $300 unframed 1.22.14

Day 22 – Dreaming by Jane Dever, Acrylic on Masonite board, 18″ x 24″, $300 unframed 1.22.14

Dream on!

Day 20 – “Mary” (sweet and simple) — and the film is a wrap

Day 20 - "Mary",  Acrylic on Masonite board, 24" x 18", $350
Day 20 – “Mary”, Acrylic on Masonite board, 24″ x 18″, $350

Filming went well for an art funding pitch that I’m planning. It has to be edited but I am sure that Halsey Fulton will do a great job. We’ll weed out the best footage soon and I still have to find perfect music to go along with the content… any music ideas you may have will be appreciated! It’s a scary project in a way, as it is entails writing and painting for 365 days straight; but the funding from art patrons will allow me to make this my primary work for a year, if it flies. If not, then ill have a great movie to keep on my site. The only issue I had with it was that I looked like Mrs. Doubtfire (wrong outfit). Then art sales will sustain my other bills.

The photo,here, is Halsey Fulton himself, with his newly acquired “White Hand Madonna” — so glad he liked it!

Halsey Fulton, Film Videographer
Halsey Fulton, Film Videographer
He kept me on task and let me babble when I was on a roll. It was a lot of fun, as was the other film he did last month.

After filming, I settled down to paint this lovely “Mary”, named by my friend, studio neighbor Cheryl Cavalvonte after I asked her opinion. “Mary,” she blurted out. Her gift of a handful of organic cheerio-type cereal was much appreciated, as was the title. A demure Madonna with a doe-eyed baby. Sweet. Cheers were had, over tea at Angelina’s; then home for family time with Mom…

The finishing touches will be on Mary’s lips; otherwise, I like her simplicity…

All is well on this bitterly cold night.

View from Alta Luna Studio
View from Alta Luna Studio
And I’ll close with a photo of the pretty view from my studio window, looking West. It like a dream, painting here. It is a well restored historic site, now part of my Madonna Night history.

That’s a Wrap!

Jane