Tribute to the Baby 4.24.14

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My daughter , Adelaide Mary Dever, was born 25 years ago to this very minute,  Adelaide “Addy” is smart, beautiful, sassy and extremely creative… And is a very good person.

Without sharing too much of her personal information, let me just say a few words to honor her today.  Living 500 miles apart is difficult, especially with unemployment an added barrier from frequent visits; but as I sit here in bed, I am moved to tears and can at least reminisce.

Her delivery into the world was easy — as was her temperament as a baby. I was twenty seven the year she was born, had had two previous miscarriages, with the ultimate reward — a daughter to add to our nice family of three. An instant perfect girl, Adelaide Mary was named for her grandmother (my mom) after we replaced the name Rachel when we first saw her in the delivery room. As delicate and fine featured as my mother, she was naturally an “Adelaide Mary” — and she was given her middle name for my husband’s mother, Mary Dever, from whom she got her strength I think.

So affectionate and a real cuddle bug — so pretty and just so sweet, she melted hearts and brought a peaceful joy to our home. Addy is my youngest child born seven years after her big brother, Peter, who is and was always a gift, too; but as all mothers know, this new child brought to this world her her very own sacred perfection and unique humanness.

Baby Addy would sleep well at night and be very shy waking in the mornings, so we had to check frequently to find her awake, silent and smiling warmly, when we peeked into the crib. Easy to smile and laugh, she soon became our silly “miss mouse” with “naked nelly” runs around the house after bath time — and LOTS of friends from a very early age. She was (and hopefully forever will be) Daddy’s girl, a blessing as women need their fathers (biological as well as our Lord God; whether they realize it or not).

She loved to wear dresses and had a favorite cow t-shirt and confetti sneakers at three. At four she dealt with a new love of purple, after her love affair with the color pink. She was a ballerina, a fierce bike rider, a lover of birds and dogs and hamsters, and she got her cat Nala as her fifth birthday gift from brother Pete. She had best friends along the way, too numerous to name — a big part of life for Addy, right from the start.

She loved her brother (and he, her) and her cousins were also very much part of our household in those days.  Elena, Jessy and Philip came to the house a lot after school.  She was for years my constant companion until her friends became the focus, even doing lots of volunteer work with mommy during our St.Philomena, Drug Task-force and Safety Committee years.  My best summer (with lots of Addy-time came after I left FGI and scrapped daycare for a glorious summer of us girls going to the library every single day to keep us in books, lounging and reading the afternoons away… swimming at the pool, reading up a storm and sharing time together.

Life got busy, crazy busy mostly, with  struggles (difficult at times) — but the love never falters.  It brings happy pain to my heart — love so strong that it hurts sometimes; hard to explain, really. That’s how I try to think of God’s unconditional love for me — without the human failures and disappointments. My only regrets in this world are the hurts I’ve caused my children, family, and God.

Adelaide Mary always loved to read and still does, loved being a Girl Scout with mother (me) trying to control our troop and selling thousands of cookies.  She was a a good mom to her dolls, loved riding bikes, arts and crafts, her pets, and had the best birthday parties — and the coolest bedrooms for entertaining (orange hammock room was tied with vaulted princess castle room for first place).  Addy envisioned a world “where everything was plaid and nothing matched”, painted dachshunds everywhere (literally :/), had a talent for twirling wildly in play dresses, cuddling with Nana on the couch (two peas in a pod, both silent with their noses in books) — and telling me about her day.

At school, Addy was a force to be reckoned with — shy mostly. She has always loved Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor (she could be a mix of the two) and even sang a Hello Dolly show tune in a talent contest in third grade .  At nine, she took tennis lessons, played baseball and soccer before that, and was later quite content when she got her  car and a job at Elmo’s Diner!

Her decision to study art makes sense, as she is gifted with an eye for design. Oh, I forgot to add that she has a knack for accessorizing — from age one when she could spot jewelry on women and gently check each piece without breaking or pulling — and when she writes about what she knows well, the WORLD reads it! She has a knack for marketing and social media!

Overall, Adelaide Mary Dever conducts herself with an honest, creative, intelligent, wild streak — and a sparkle (in her eyes) — and to this day, she is the person that you are glad to have on your side. She is a very special woman. I hope she has a baby to share with this world someday, as it will also be amazing!

Her creativity and independence takes many forms… Art is her passion, music, fashion, tattoos and piercings, and her non-conformist heroism with people and ideas. I am very proud of who she has become. She has so many friends and is good to all of them — as have they always been with/to her — sometimes replacing “mother” when I was distant (bodily and emotionally during my sinful early forties; any issue she takes with me is deserved, lets put it that way). She is a caretaker to her friends, as are they.

Having just graduated from college last May, Adele (as her peers call her) has become serious and ready for a career to begin. She left her current job (today actually – yikes) to get on a better path… Bravely. She designed my logo — for one thing — so wherever she lands, she will be surrounded by blessed people.

Happy birthday darling daughter. May her twenty fifth year be blessed and healthy, full of love, and more frequent Mom visits this year! Here’s to many shared adventures in our future!

My painting of Adelaide Mary at age 3

Change is Good 4.23.14

20140423-145133.jpgFramed and ready to go to BAM tomorrow, accepted into the 50th Anniversary Juried Exhibit, slated to open on Friday, May 2nd.

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What a difference a few weeks can make. God comes first; then, everything else falls into its proper place. I just sent off a newsletter that I formatted for Mike at Explore Bristol (keeping my marketing alive), and framed the last of my three pieces (photos here) that will be part of the Bristol Art Museum’s 50th Anniversary Juried Exhibit that starts this week. I’ll be gallery sitting at the Museum on Saturdays until July; so, if anyone wants to see me, that’s where I’ll be!

I spent the morning today at my future school, signing paperwork and talking about what will probably sort itself out, Grant-wise. I realized probably should have done this years ago — but I never thought it made sense until now! Timing is not ever wrong, in my experience — and change is good if I come to decisions peacefully. I start school on May 15th, have three people interested (keeping fingers crossed) in taking over my studio space (a dream space five months ago but a burden now as I set my mind on studying for the next seven months), the movie debacle is over (never finished fast enough to help financially); and the only option and peaceful solution is to move on gracefully. The financial worry (enough for a lifetime; now has an end in sight), because school is practical study — technical in nature, with jobs in this field plentiful — always! From despair over the past months, then eventually to God and deeper faith, to remembering that without darkness there isn’t bright light, to hope after reflection, i now arrive at action. “Change is Good”. It has to be.

Another change that I’ll make this year: I wont be publicly sharing TMI on social media. Foolishly, I’ve posted too much personal information over the past year and a half on social media, with the lines blurred between private and public — and personal life and business life. No wonder I’ve been annoyed with all aspects of my life; I never kept them separate! With my gallery closing, I also felt like a personal failure (not accurate). Posting all the ups and downs of my emotions at those times has not helped me personally, nor has it helped publicly. Dwelling on negatives was my habit — bad, bad, bad. I was in a coffee shop this morning listening to a person who is stuck in sadness and I found myself (ironically) telling the person that he needed to embrace change and any available help! Accepting help from people who had a better grasp of reality was my deepest dread — that they would know my REAL imperfection; but without dropping the defensive nonsense, I can’t ever be better. Talking with an unbiased professional person also really helped to convince me that I was Going to come through this to a positive end and that I wasn’t crazy. And as usual, it takes a lot less time than I ever think it will to see new possibilities — with help! That was advice I gave today but couldn’t even remotely see, not long ago.

So changes over the past couple years (in photos; fun to look back momentarily): the gallery, the studio and a snapshot from home…

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Alta Luna Gallery was fun while it was open…

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…then that became Alta Luna Studio — a wonderful place to paint while it made sense…

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…And now it will be packed up and moved home!

I’ll keep the name — a good one — for the Webpage only, where I will write and post my artwork. Maybe I’ll write fiction or about art or whatever comes to mind — who knows? No plans are perfect for now. As for my paintings, I may paint more than Madonnas this year — or maybe just Madonnas — who knows? Eureka: Only God knows! Haha! I could get the hang of this.

Life is good. My only disappointment today is that I never got to NC this week for Addy’s birthday… But I hope to make it there before school starts! But life will be okay, no matter what. First thing is first. School is a positive start with little else determined beyond that! My goal is to be self sufficient by next year at this time — working and living on my own… But who Knows? Only God knows. With lots of prayer — Lots of prayer — maybe more will be revealed.
So be it (Amen)

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He is Risen Indeed

Happy Easter to All! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.

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It has been an incredible week, with less exercise than last week (my only disappointment, really) but with more progress toward regrouping. I posted an ad to rent out my studio for the time being, so I can go back to school to get a “real” job as soon as possible. Many artists are interested but I pray that one will step up by the first.

I filed for Financial Aid to get a school loan to cover what Pell Grants don’t and I chose a field of study and a quick 7 month Medical Assistant program. It may not be as impressive as my initial college placement but I should have done this (or Nursing) years ago. At 52 and beyond, it will give me opportunities to work steadily in a field that is always hiring. I’ll take the test in January to be nationally certified in phlebotomy and EKG, pre-coding, taking vitals (took them in a previous job) and lab work… FUN (not kidding).

When I realized that I’d passed the safety zone of unemployment without government unemployment benefits and that the movie wouldn’t be done in time for me to hold onto my studio, I felt a failure and was scared. I’m not so much now, except that I want to figure out how to get to Chapel Hill for my daughters birthday in a few days. My classes start on May 15th and I’ll have limited opportunity to leave her until January.

All paintings are at half off until further notice, to earn some quick cash! I need to sell all of them, now that I won’t be using them as rewards on a Kickstarter project. Closing up my studio to paint at home for the time being is necessary, too, financially and to keep life less complicated while I go back to school.

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Church has given me a community with whom to celebrate my relationship with The Lord. Prayer sustains me during my days.

Love to all this Easter Day. I love Easter, especially this year, while I can be born into a whole new life. Resurrection happens here and now, as faith raises us up.

My daughter turns twenty-five on the 24th, so Happy Birthday, my sweet Adelaide Mary Dever! If I sell something this week, I will be there to celebrate with you.

Jane

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Where do I begin? Panic on Holy Week

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This one painting from 4.9.14 “Collaboration”, because my pal Jen (co-owner of Angelina’s with Jason) gave me the board with a rough outline shed drawn and realized was in the shape of a Madonna/Child! Fun, I thought, so I grabbed it to see what could fit. It’s kinda cool, in the end, although the black edges need a second coat… And I’ll heavily varnish it.

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I’ve been painting less this month as the job search, Church and my new exercise routine have taken precedence. I’ve been without a job long enough and without the benefit of unemployment insurance (ever!) that I am panicky and scared of homelessness for the first time. To further exacerbate the situation, my mother with whom I live (and care, more than you think or she realizes each morning) has decided that it will be more fun to live in an Assisted Living facility. I’m meeting with a school this morning, a technical school, to discuss medical tech classes to be a phlebotomist or something useful in this damned world. I’ve considered myself to be a smart girl – and have been told that I am – but not following rules along the way, like getting divorced the first time (a mistake), starting a business, not re-marrying for income, giving away more than I have (a lot), and not being desperate to “get ahead” when I believed Dad’s money would be there in the end” has bitten me badly. Trusting that the world values art enough to buy it is salt in my wound though. Art doesn’t pay bills; in fact, it has used up my savings for the last time. The film maker is on the west coast and won’t finish the movie before I am forced to find an Artist to take my studio space.

So disappointed, honestly, I have little energy — until I remember that I do have Faith. Time for God to take the helm as I hold on and do my best to regroup. Coming home (to RI) and really looking at my past — getting a sense of why I’ve been in a daze most of my life and really getting to know my parents as they’ve aged (and Dad passed) — was a help. I’ve been tortured and confused most of my life, honestly. It has taken its toll. Time to head out into scary territory, without the parents I needed desperately along the way — but with the One who never fails, my Heavenly Father.

It is Holy Week, so I’ll be at church a lot — thanking God for every day and his love. I feel sad about my situation — but God gives me strength. I’ll need it. The Passion of Christ gives me life, a reason to keep going. My focus will be to make God God from this day forward. The Art is part of that but God is first.

A dream for next Spring: I have an idea to walk El Camino de Santiago or “the way of St. James” next Spring. It has inspired me to walk 21 miles this past week. Will run and heavily train this year, part of the time with a running group that I’ve found myself a part (by osmosis and friendship). I’ll do “The Way” alone, though. It’s not like the movie, by the way; and I’m getting sound advise from a friend who did it, as well as doing my research. It gives me a goal, a dream. And it would be a great way to improve my Spanish! I’d like to paint my way across (maybe miniatures), too.

I’m trying to get to NC again, in time for my daughters birthday next week. Not possible, I’m afraid. In light of Holy Week, it is okay, though. It’s all okay.

A Ruby Red Day – from 4.4.14

Revised…

altalunastudio.com

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Above: “Ruby Red Day”, Acrylic on Arches oil paper, $300

Saturday, April 6th: Gallery sitting today, I have time to reflect and share. Starting each day walking in only slightly chilled air, seeing the breathtaking beauty of my hometown with the visual delights of the shoreline and nature, and (even) glimpses of the homes of my youth along the way, I am starting to feel roused from winter doldrums.

Aside from a brief panic attack over financial worries and the still unfinished Kickstart movie, I worked hard this week and feel a sense of accomplishment. The acceptance of 3 pieces into Bristol Art Museum’s upcoming juried show, “a Call to RI Artists” has also given me a needed lift.

The possibility of a globally publicized project looms in question, with the movie to pitch it in the hands of a too busy filmmaker, like a mirage of sorts! Holding on…

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“Spring Palette” on a raw and rainy day ~ 4.8.14

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“Spring Palette” watercolor on Arches paper, 9″ x 12″, $150
I woke up late after not walking again… Second day in a row! I felt lousy yesterday (an edgy, unsettled day physically and emotionally for reasons that have since resolved themselves) and I went to bed too late to rise at 6 am last night, after late night texting to my children… And asleep at 1:30 am. Early morning makes sense for exercise but with mom, the dog and a morning routine here, it doesn’t really work. I’ve got to figure this out, even if it means walking to Studio later each day.

I sought the job search advice from Realtor friend Deb Jobin over coffee first thing, so even though I got a late start (and it involved a drive rather than a walk), it was a positive one. From there, a research trip to Rogers Free Library provided inspiration for a mural I’ve been asked to do (a commission for an old acquaintance). I spent a couple of glorious hours reading and web surfing, and found time to also brush up on new interior color trends for a home color consultation that I’ll soon do as a favor to a friend.

With the rain this morning and a lingering nip in the air, my entry to a cold studio was not as inviting as usual. Most days the warm sun streams into the south and west facing windows there, readying it for this artist. Without sun to do that job today, it took twenty minutes for the heater to work its magic. Meantime, I sketched a cold crayon drawing with cold fingers and with a bit of a grudge.

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The first sketch was raw, the watercolor over it was too heavy, and the third watercolor was unplanned and easy. The fourth was enough to send me packing… Not my best painting day… I never warmed up completely, literally or figuratively! I don’t like cold, if you haven’t noticed.

I’d been waiting for calls, then realized that I’d left my phone at the library! I dashed out of the building at exactly the same moment that my expected visitor arrived –along with the librarian, who was holding my missing cellphone! Beata Stiepen-Liu, a painter friend, was there to claim two paintings she’d left for the last Raveis Realty exhibit that I’d curated. We toured the studio and then left for coffee to catch up — such a fun visit.

We enjoyed Espresso and coffee at Angelina’s — AND I was entertained by her lovely story about her pilgrimage to El Camino, where she walked “The Way”. I’ve been thinking about making that walk at some point and it seems that her tale was fertilizer for that seed… Still only a seed at this point. It will require a lot of preparation, should I decide to make such a trip; and if I do it, I’ll have to wake up in the morning to walk, hike and TRAIN for it!

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It has been a great day, overall. Too much coffee maybe, as a started with a cup at Coffee Depot with Deb Jobin — and one before that with mom — but a busy and social day, nonetheless. Catching up with old friends is wonderful — and it is good for me to hear how others are, rather than being preoccupied with self all the time! By sharing my “Way” in the world with friends, family and God, I can be a social being.

A Ruby Red Day – from 4.4.14

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Above: “Ruby Red Day”, Acrylic on Arches oil paper, $300

Saturday, April 6th: Gallery sitting today, I have time to reflect and share. Starting each day walking in only slightly chilled air, seeing the breathtaking beauty of my hometown with the visual delights of the shoreline and nature, and (even) glimpses of the homes of my youth along the way, I am starting to feel roused from winter doldrums.

Aside from a brief panic attack over financial worries and the still unfinished Kickstart movie, I worked hard this week and feel a sense of accomplishment. The acceptance of 3 pieces into Bristol Art Museum’s upcoming juried show, “a Call to RI Artists” has also given me a needed lift.

The possibility of a globally publicized project looms in question, with the movie to pitch it in the hands of a too busy filmmaker, like a mirage of sorts! Holding on with a few meager sales and the charity of family, I crawl along with high hopes through a financial dry zone. I won’t let it go. Lest the world sees a “365 Madonna Nights Project”, I will never know what should become of this nine year vocation.

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Above: “Mary and Boy Jesus”, acrylic on YUPO, $150; this reminds me of ‘the scream’! The removal of the paint, scratching it away, was a lot of fun.

Peace.