Category Archives: perfection

The Lord as my Scout

IMG_2975.JPG unfinished; painted in NC

Sometimes our best experiences are loosely planned but dependent on deep, inner faith! My best outcomes are rarely planned (God’s plans, I bet).

I pulled this painting out of one of my sketch/painting journals this afternoon. I had trouble pinning it down long enough on the driveway to take the photo, with the blustery 80 degree breeze giving it flight several times.

IMG_3157.JPGMy days have been busy but I’m being lured into the garage to paint, the empty canvases calling to me and a wildness in my mood — willing to paint uncharted territory. I’ll be out there tomorrow, if anyone wants to venture by.

As you may know, I’ve closed my studio to prepare for a trip south to NC, where I plan to throw myself into the Asheville job market — and will find a job of my dreams! I pray for God’s help daily. My son wants me to paint on the sidewalk, and I probably will to make some cash, in between interviewing. There are lots of street venues for artists there — and I’m reeeeaaaalllly considering the cheap art idea — a movement in Canada right now — (not new) a good idea, considering the numbers of paintings I amass at times.

I had an opportunity this weekend to work (a little) at the Holy Spirit seminar, where the homeless came for inspiration and self-care provisions for everyday life. I also talked to a Sister of the Faithful Companions of the Visitor. What a beautiful conversation we had, touching on the possibilities of Religious vocation, and the more likely gift of a husband (someday, perhaps, if god is willing to give me an pother try), oh well. Why I even hope for a nice husband, I can’t say, considering my dating record, but nest building isn’t complete without a man in the picture but we’ll see. god’s will, Jane, Gods will; more will be revealed.<!–more–

Spreading the word through visual faith expression is my vocation for now anyway — and where better to do this — the roads and byways, where a chat and a sale will make life more memorable and evangelistic (in a way). body and blood on the page and doing gods work. Sacrifice by brush, one stroke ata time.

Part of making this all out effort to find and make a new successful life nearer my children and granddaughter is that I am getting organized here. That, in itself, is worth making a trip. As of tonight, my essential wardrobe fits in three drawers, on 25 hangars and that all of my shoes/sandals/boots fit into a laundry basket. Pared down from old days when wastefulness was a disgusting problem for me, this portable life of mine is quite spare — but richer for it. The rest of clothing is ready for the needy.

The other aspect that has caught me off guard is the way I’m seeing RI and my friends and family this week. My town is beautiful — breathtaking, waterfront, historic, charming. It glistens in June (all the more than usual, since I am making my goodbyes). I cry thinking about it, then snap out of it, knowing that I will somehow visit for one month every summer.

I’ve been reading the reflections of Mother Theresa and comparing our prayer styles (I’d love to as good). Startlingly similar, hers often began with scripture. I suppose that I do pray with scripture opening the process,especially after the readings at Mass, then later in the week as I either go over them or randomly find passages at random. I’ve never realized it though, as I like to think of the prayer process as my talking to God and then listening in contemplation and oneness – closed eyes — just “being” in his presence. Praying in tongues, the purest communication in the language of the angels is something I practice, only when it feels natural.

Reading I ponder this week is Deuteronomy 1:30 (amazing, in that it seems appropriate for my upcoming trip to NC to stay in the mountains while finding a job. God will lead the way):
30 The Lord your God Who goes before you will Himself fight for you. He did this for you in Egypt in front of your eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way you have walked until you came to this place.’ 32 But even so, you did not trust the Lord your God, 33 Who goes before you on your way. He finds a place for you to set up your tents. He uses fire to show you the way to go during the night. During the day He uses a cloud to lead you.

It gives me hope. Even when I think I’m not going places, I am, and he carries me. While I thought I was stagnating, I was really laying the groundwork (in the arms of God) spiritually for a bursting out, a thrust forward into uncharted territory in peace to love, trust in, and to carry the word of God with me… NC is my destination for the time being… To find work and to be near Anahata (granddaughter). Addy and Pete are there too, of course, as are a “gazillion” friends.

I feel joyous, ready to face the future — a bright future. Meeting with friends daily, as everyone wants to say goodbye — even though this isn’t a final trip down there. The permanent move will only happen with good solid employment there. When I get a job, I’ll fly back for the UHàul. I do love a lot of people here, so this is not easy in many ways — but I won’t just go to NC when it works out — I’ll GO to NC to grab this new adventure. If I come back, I’ll come back. I’m not going to worry anymore.

Below: this For Ronny piece is finally at rest in the Mercy Cafe at St. Patrick’s Church, my beloved parish where I share my faith with the sweetest people. Love my time there and will miss it… But will find a new parish in NC when/if the time comes,

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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.

“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.

3/2/14 – Trio of Impasto Madonnas

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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…

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.