Category Archives: spiritual

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.

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.

LOTS of Living Water today… “Noah”, Anyone? (3.30.14)

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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.

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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).

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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) 20140330-165008.jpg

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.

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“Living Water” & “Ready for The Light”

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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!

Living Water
“Living Water” oil on Arches oil paper, 15″ x 11″ $420

 

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.

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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.
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A line sketch on paper, just for fun...  she may have lost an arm, at second glance
A line sketch on paper, just for fun… she may have lost an arm, at second glance

Reflections on Saint Patrick’s Day

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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.

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Thank you God, for this day of days! I’m so glad to learn your lessons.

“Child’s Play” and other Watercolors

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“Child’s Play”, watercolor, 6.5″ by 6″, $150

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…

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“Mod Mama”, watercolor, $125
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“Shoes at the Beach”, watercolor, $125