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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
“Avoiding the Red Dragon” and other sketches I did today… reflect a yearning and discomfort that seemed real last night. Emotion is not reality — not easy to remember.
Fear is foolish, knowing that I am loved, and a sign that I am off track, trust-wise. Wisdom dictates that if my house welcomes God, he will bring peace to it. Fear is a terrible thing and it skews my thinking.
A prank phone call riled me before bed last night. I cried a lot and then prayed for safety and fell asleep. The man who called was not kind, and it triggered a PTSD sort of reaction in me – paranoia even. I’ve had time to reflect, even after another tearful breakdown tonight, wondering how to move past the fear. He was the Red Dragon, for all intensive purposes. I can run into the woods to the safe place God has in store for me; it just takes me a while to get it!
In the end, it is as simple as this: mankind can kill my body but not my soul. I actually hid behind the snow today and stayed home. I will leave the house tomorrow.
Making God first is my goal. I know that money, a husband and a home of my own can be a curse if they aren’t of God. I pray for them, of course, and being nearer to my children — at least being able to visit them on a regular basis.
I will write again for the next painting… photos of my kiddos will be part of that post.
I have a lot of remembering (remembering God) to do. Human concerns must take a back burner, for greater rewards.
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.
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.
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.