I am an artist, audio book recorder, wife and mother. I have a loving husband, two amazing adult children, a Gizmo dog who is more like my baby than a dog, and I live in Ohio.
The act of creating art, accomplishing a DIY project, or working on any task with great passion and really getting lost in it -- Makes me happy! Creative work starts with dreams that start deep within and when they surface, I have peace! My Creative life is my best life, with love of God, family and a community of friends around me. In forgetting myself with these values, I (ironically) find myself.
It is a God thing, a blessing, to be able to do what I love, contributing what I feel is important and receiving so much more in return. Sharing is a blessing, for sure.
My artwork is shown here as well, though most of it done in past years when I owned and operated an art gallery in my home town in RI, or when living in NC and MA.
Life is good!
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.
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.
On the paintings:
Yesterday, I finally got to finish this painting “Living Water” (above) started last week, the title of which seems to have been a sign of what was to come this past Thursday night at church. I also got back the painting “Vermillion Aura Madonna in the Garden” (below) from Bristol Picture Frame, where I had them mat it to a frame I’d bought from them a while back. It looks prettier than the photo, in person… And they did a great job with a quick turnaround.
This is a stormy Sunday, a very rainy one, with massive floods that had traffic backups for miles and the roads to downtown Bristol blocked off. Instead of my ritual after-church coffee at Angelina’s Coffee and painting at Alta Luna Studio, I was forced to come home. I was disappointed but I’ve gotten over it. Keeping the Sabbath, I won’t work at all at anything job-search related (seems silly since I haven’t worked since November), although I did go online to try to find a used/cheaper set of Rosetta Stone digital Spanish language software, to help me “brush up” and qualify for a more jobs. One I wanted at the Diocese and another two with the State all require fluency in Spanish.
So, even though I feel like I’ve missed something, it has been a relaxed day at home with my dog Zoe, my mom and (even) a visit from my brother (with my sister and her husband coming by later on).
My brother’s visit was fun, since he always makes us laugh with his detailed stories and entertaining storytelling style (his photo, inset, holding his dog)
Regarding my baptism in The Holy Spirit ceremony at the “Life in the Spirit” seminar at church, it was beautiful! After a prayer in which I rejected Satan and chose God and the life of Christ, four spirit-filled women laid their hands on my shoulders and head, prayed over me there and received words from the Spirit to give to me. I was given a card of notations after — all meaningful and appropriate for me, I thought. They’d written on it: “John 4:7 on” (the same reading I’d written about the week before /the Samaritan Woman at the well), the words “My daughter, how long have I waited for you — come into my presence and be with me forever!” (from God, obviously); and a task for me, “Up on a mountaintop, paint a picture of Jesus and keep it on your heart”.
Since then, I’ve reflected and imagined that painting on my heart, reread the passage (the whole book of John several times, in fact) — and I know in my heart that my prayer connection to the Father is secure, really close. I have never felt more loved, really.
I have also been thinking that I want to find a mountain to literally paint that scene… Perhaps Mount Hope, here in Bristol… maybe one in NH or western Massachusetts, not sure… Maybe with serious altitude, like Machu-Picchu… or with Christian significance, like Mount Sinaii… Mt. Eremos or the Plain of Gennesaret? It probably doesn’t matter, as long as its here on my heart. [I’d love comments about great mountains!]
In closing, I’ll share a painting I did called, “Office Politics,” with emancipating ramifications today… Life is good today. Amazing (grace). God bless! Oh the reference to Noah, refers to a new movie that I want to see… One of these days.
Above: “Ready for The Light” by Jane Dever, oil on canvas, 20″x 16″, $420
Painting is a nice change from what seems like days and days of other obligations. A wake, a party, church (my favorite activity these days), reading for the “Life in the Spirit” seminar, a funeral, etc., have given me fuel for more thought-provoking work though, so all was not lost.
These two are a tad different from the norm; and I did a fun little sketch as well. Above, “Ready for the Light” is more about this upcoming Thursday night, my preparation for it, as she stands in the clearing from the past (the mysterious and murky background). She is as much a self portrait as a Madonna painting in that she has firm resolve, my green eyes, my spirit and my best physical figure (on my BEST month/year/lifetime). The painting is an Oil on canvas over background that I painted and really loved three weeks ago. I held onto it, for the right day. Today was it.
This Thursday night, I and fifteen or so people will be blessed with the “Laying of the Hands”, a Pentecostal Catholic baptism of the Holy Spirit with a small (not capital) “b”. I may or may not receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, since the outcome has nothing to do with me. It’s the Holy Spirit who decides. In preparation, I am trying each day to clear myself of unrest (sin in thoughts, words and deeds) and leave my wild exploits far behind me. Prayer and an open heart is my goal for Thursday. FYI: It isn’t a Sacrament but it is very special; my first Baptism still “sticks”.
Earlier this weekend:
I got my proverbial feet wet on the sketch and the “Living Water” (Oil on Arches oil paper, 15″ x 10″), a tad sad or mournful piece that I painted on Sunday, after Church and the day after an emotionally draining funeral. Seeing so many old faces from a family that was once related to mine through marriage was great; but it was emotionally challenging to watch the weird dynamic of still evident hard feelings from past misunderstandings bubbling up here and there. Shaking my head AND thankful that I didn’t harbor any resentments there, I choose forgiveness and encourage everyone to do the same. Nobody is ever 100% right or 100% wrong. Forgiveness, to and fro = instantaneous relief!
Sorry for the glare on the painting above but it is still wet.
If the woman in “Living Water” looks numb, its probably because I was numb when I painted on Sunday, after a blur of activity, a lot of bible study, many emotional taunts from the past, diet starts and stops, consistent but challenged restraint in most things. I was as numb as the woman in the reading at church on Sunday… a Samaritan woman met by Jesus at the well. Jesus gave her of her choice between a temporary satisfying drink or Living Water for eternal fulfilment. I understand the choice today and want the long-term solution. To have it, I will be faced with countless tests of faith. No kidding, they have begun and I have to choose every day, all day.
Other photos below:
This is Leslie Rupp Deering, who I met at age 11 when we were students at St. Philomena School in Portsmouth, RI — an instant friend! She is holding her newly purchased “Light of Mine”… Thank you, Leslie. It will look great in the living room of her super sweet Craftsman-style cottage in Wakefield, RI. A charming village, that Wakefield.
This doggy is a darling new friend that I met at a Spring (huh?) Soirée at a gorgeous loft in the old Peerless Building in Providence. I am a sucker for great architecture and the views of downtown were mesmerizing. I reacquainted myself with new friends and a few that may want to join me at the Studio to paint for an afternoon (with a break at Angelina’s for tea,of course). It is worth it to make an effort and get out of the house.
Speaking of tea breaks, I’m ready for my studio neighbor to return from Rome! I’ll close this blog with”Cheryl Cavalconte, where art thou?”
And a few more cool photos of “Ready for Light” (below).
And… Has anyone had an itch to Explore Bristol? It’s a great place… Just saying… and you can stop by to see my work in person, if you call first.
A great day overall for me, I managed to meet lots of obligations at home and in the world — and as I just flung my feet up onto the coffee table, it occurred to me that I am exhausted — a good exhausted.
First stop was dropping off paintings to New Hope Center at the Training School in Cranston. Ricky Gagnon does a terrific job curating shows there as a volunteer — not an easy task! The OPENING RECEPTION is this Tuesday Night, March 25th, and the show will be open through July 6th.
For this show, Ricky chose some of my older work. In fact, he chose a selection that included raw emotion pieces, “Acceptance”, “Enough Already”, “Golden Halos”, “Yellow Veil Madonna”, among others. Please come to the Opening tomorrow from 5-7 pm, if you can!
“Enough Already” is a disturbing piece (I think), as it depicts the Blessed Mother and Child as bruised and beaten with a worry line on the forehead of the Madonna that looks a bit like a horizon of battleships.
I painted it with faith after getting through a life changing period of life, understanding that not only are we are damaged by our experiences but that Jesus and Mary ALSO suffer with us as we go through life, feeling our pain.
It wasn’t ever meant to be insulting to our Lady or Jesus; rather, it was created in response to what we do to them in our world — in war, physical and emotional abuse, in addiction, and through self-hatred. “Enough Already” was painted from my perspective as a happily healed and still healing artist as a rude awakening to others to share what I felt that day.
From there, I spent an hour at St. Patrick’s ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe Adoration Chapel’, where I read the bible and other unusual prayers cards, some in Spanish. Besides Russian-Soviet Lit, Spanish was my favorite subject at Bay View. Sister (Señora) Flora had me reading novels and writing papers by the time I made it Independent Study in senior year. I’ll add “Brushing up” on that to my “To Do” list.
From there, I picked up the paintings I had hung at the Unitarian Church Show — a great show — hung a few of them at Sage Café and the rest at the studio.
Many thanks to Vic and Helga Piccoli, who tirelessly volunteer to improve and sustain the Bristol Art Museum, where Vic built and installed bookshelves in our Studio “Kitchen” today! Kendra Ferreira, a studio neighbor, and I hung my painting “Unraveled” in our shared kitchen space after they left — to surprise them. It looked maaahvelous — and freed up some wall space in my space!
Acceptance is part of spiritual growth, right? I am sharing an older painting today, called “Acceptance” (above) because it seems appropriate for today in a variety of ways. About a year after I painted this painting back in 2005, I accepted that I needed help, that I wasn’t perfect, that I could be better with hard work, faith in God and love of self. I am still that person, just a bit farther down the path. I am lovable (as I am at any point) and I want to love others where they are on the path. This is easier said than done, of course; but nobody ever promised that it would be easy! I want to be a better mother (always), want to be a better child (always) and a better friend to Jesus (always).
I haven’t painted in four days, to my surprise. Other tasks have occupied me this week… cooking for and attending (fabulous) social events, attending a memorial service, increased scripture reading, more meditation and prayer. I raced to mass at noontime today and (as always) sighed a sigh of relief, as I settled into my pew, feeling like I’d just returned home again. The Gospel and homily that followed hit the nail on the head… and hit a nerve in me like a bolt of lightening! It was all about forgiveness and retracing steps to make things right (St. Patrick spent his lifetime trying to regroup and go on). Forgiveness has consistently been a problem for me, both asking forgiveness of and forgiving others; and I have a tendency after living with my mom, two adult women under one roof, to be highly judgmental of her.
My sister’s children lost their grandfather today and my friend Lynda lost her father earlier this month — and it made me so sad for them. I know what it felt like to lose my father and if anything happens to my mother, I’ll be really really upset. I know that life is never the same for family after these losses. Faith carries us forward, but we miss them! I miss my Dad.
Reality-check of today: while I wasn’t a difficult child, my mother has been there for me through many trials and tribulations in my more difficult adulthood, mothering me the best she could. Surely, my over-analysis of our past relationship lately is hurtful to her. I’m lucky to still have a mother — my “as is” terrific mother. I’ve disappointed so many people in my life and they have forgiven me (most of them), so my concentrating on peoples’ flaws is ridiculous. Maybe I have too much time on my hands (a job miracle is needed) but more likely, I’ve forgotten the best advice I ever got on this issue from a hysterically funny guy I once knew. When he overheard me saying that I felt fat in an outfit, he said “No, you’re just fat“; and when I had a complaint about a sister, he said “No, just be a better sister”; and when I said “but — but — but—“, he said “NO buts; the only thing you can change is your attitude.” I thought he was a bit of an idiot (briefly) but he was right. Likewise, I just have to be a better daughter! I’ll pray for the right words, apologize and start again.
Lent is such a great time of year and has me “contemplating” more. I’m loving the “Life in the Spirit” Seminar at St. Patrick’s Church on Smith Hill in Providence — a positive and moving experience. This charismatic, Roman Catholic church emphasizes witness and renewal — a gift of the holy spirit! It isn’t a place where anyone is forgotten — and that is what I believe church should be with the only parish K through high school in the state, and even houses Mary House in the basement! My first goal is to be an active part of a church on which I for a decade turned my back (unlikely to happen ever again). Like my friend said: instead of complaining about the Church and the past, I can be a better member!
Hopelessness is the worst problem we have as a society — and I believe that “Acceptance” is a start in every upward assent. Enjoy the painting above and “For Ronnie” below. I painted it in memory of a friend who led people to church by example and died doing what he loved most, riding his motorcycle home to his nice wife. I wanted it to depict the rising up, after the peaceful sunset.
Thank you God, for this day of days! I’m so glad to learn your lessons.
Painting at Angelina’s Coffee and at home today, I used watercolor to continue the fun I’m having using this new medium. It was great to be out in the public, running into old friends from my gallery days and having great tea.
About the paintings: The top one is “Child’s Play” with the baby reminding me of my granddaughter Anahata. The middle one is “Mod Mama”; and it reminds me that I should be more precise, if I’m going to use designer-style swirls and shapes. The last one “Shoes on the Beach” is funny, as it shows my habit of making the women way too short — and she has terrible shoes. I consider these all child’s play, part of my ongoing lessons in my self-taught trials in painting.
Life lately: My experiences this week have been dramatically different then last week… More content, yesterday’s fun with oils is reflective of this shift. The changes involve reacting to feelings differently (job search, weight, rejection, family, financial challenges); less acting out or wallowing (this week I did both for one day) and more prayer and honest reflection. Sounds exhausting, right? No, actually, it is easier to see myself get better through the eyes of God. Seeing the truth faster allows me not to lose myself — and punish myself. Forgiveness of small failings also helps me to get back quicker… And god is not as punitive as he is forgiving! I used to be able to laugh at myself easily and hope to again.
When Ash Wednesday came, I kicked into Lent (cleansing) mode with a brand new vigor and was reminded at Sunday mass to spend time in conversation with my best “friend” — Jesus. Joining a group at church for “renewed spirit”, praying throughout each day to keep the friendship going and devoting at least a half hour of each day to reading scripture and contemplation are helping in all aspects of my life. With the exception of my giving unwarranted advice (imposing my opinion) on a family member and an acquaintance, and a three instances of gluttony, it was a great week!
Disturbed by my physical health and knowledge that I’d never have been able to walk very far if Jesus had ever asked me to physically follow him as a disciple, I’ve decided to incorporate self care with spiritual devotion in a non-gluttonous cleanse during Lent. I started the week off miserably by eating two boxes of candy and what seemed like half a chicken on Ash Wednesday, then completely forgetting not to eat chicken on Friday, and having a two martini Sunday at the pub during a fundraiser (dangerous thing to overdo). Self-Forgiveness was given, and I restarted with a low carb routine that includes at least one protein shake per day.
My food issues: emotional eating, grazing, starving myself in high school, self-loathing binges followed by hateful mirror conversations, and happiness definitely curtailed in all other areas of my life when I am overweight. I use food to rebel against people, places and things that upset me. You name it; and I’ll have used food to respond to it. The least pretty (interesting choice of words) side of myself, I make vain efforts (aah, another interesting word) at going back to a healthy weight but usually fail. Another side of these food issues: when I succeed, lost weight lightens me but the extremist side of my personality sends me to my own private ‘vanity fair’ of sorts, at which I become the equally revolting, hell on wheels ego-maniac — until I gain it back to start the cycle again.
I believe in the power of Love, so using God should help! And a few affirmations in the mirror might also help — and thanks to my Irish friend, Helen in NC, I have a tirade of these loving self-affirmations to take out of my toolbox. “Youre a beautiful Childnof God” is actually one of them… No joke, this is a loaded issue (unfortunately, a loaded potato came to mind as I wrote that — Dear God). For those of you who think I’m rambling, I probably am; and, if you aren’t into non-filtered banter, I am sorry to hear it.
Back to the art talk (this emotional stuff is actually all related, by the way, since painting purges my feelings):
Next, I’ll work on adding figures to a background I’ve started more than a week ago — and trying a black, white and grey-tone Madonna in Acrylic for a friend (if I can finish the other one. Taking my time will be my goal for the day — not rushing but enjoying the process. I’ll have plenty of time to rush and finish, when and if I get funded for the 365 Madonna Nights project…
It was an AMAZING night at the Studio; and while I hardly slept last night, it was entirely worth it to me. Having a beautiful environment in which to work with the inspiration from my heart — where the Blessed Mother and her precious Child fill me with inspiration and leave me feeling as though my art matters at the end of the day.
My first painting involved gathering up and adding faces to the “dry enough” small works that I painted last week. They were fun, all oil, painted on canvas board. My collection of small Madonna Paintings is growing (smile).
Warmed up on the faces, I was ready and excited to try a new cold press 300 pound paper by Arches made for oil painting — and it was wonderful to sit at my desk to paint, rather than sit at the easel. I painted “Vermillion Aura in the Garden” (my favorite), as well as a “Grey Mood” (an odd mother/child).
I’ll be back at it tonight but will concentrate on more involved watercolor than the quick sketches I’ve done in that medium.
“Gray Day” by Jane Dever, Oil on Arches 300# oil paper, $200
I’ll close with my favorite for today: “Vermillion Aura in the Garden”
Spending time at the Studio was a hiatus from a steady stream of racing thoughts and too many lost weeks at home. Using oils and three small canvases, I wet my feet again and felt the release that painting is for me. Unemployment and worry has set me back in many ways, combined with an odd feeling of dread of late, so getting back to my life work is important.
Church helps me a lot, too, and today’s readings were intensely appropriate for what I’ve been fearing lately — exactly tailored to me!
God is always part of my innermost dialogue, so reading about Gods limitless love for me and listening to audio scripture while painting helped a lot. Today’s readings were about NOT worrying and trusting in God’s care. I do know how much I love my children — and I trust that I’m loved that way, too. Making God first allows everything else to fall into place.
I’ve decided to broaden my horizons to beyond the immediate, beyond the immediate company, beyond the immediate landscape, and beyond the imagined limitations that I’ve allowed to hold me back. Time to break free from molds that keep me in my self-imposed restraints. It’s hard to say why I’ve fallen into this rut; Lord knows that I’ve been given limitless possibilities. It occurs to me that it is time to bounce back.
I’m heading to see my children in my old town, Chapel Hill, NC, next week. Long overdue, I long to hold my granddaughter, to see my daughter and son and to visit with my granddaughter’s mama. I love Chapel Hill for its endless supply of dear old friends, cultural diversity, its music and intelligent open mindedness. I’m due for an infusion of its warmth and coolness! The fact that Ill hit the road on Ash Wednesday speaks to my need for a cleansing road trip — like returning to ashes where I once started my trip back here. Full circles are good. I may want to stay when I get there and I may want to come home; not sure. I’ve said that ill move to wherever I get the best job fastest but we’ll see. God will give me the gut feeling to know, I hope.
If I leave RI, I’ll worry for my mother and will miss my siblings. If I stay, I’ll worry more about the lengthening gaps in seeing my children. The visits north or south will have to be more frequent, regardless of what happens. The thought of not really knowing my granddaughter and being more available to my children hurts. Life is difficult when miles separate us from our loves. I’ve got friends in both places. The movie will help decide things, too, as a funded 365 Nights of painting will keep me at this studio for another year. I can paint in both places, though, so visits won’t interfere with the project. It’s all about being the Mother and being the Child — life.
Back to the studio tomorrow. Hope you enjoy my trio of impasto Madonnas…