“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.
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.
A landscape by Jane Dever, acrylic on Masonite board, unframed $200
Funny how my day went — full and productive — but Madonna-less. The dog got me up very early, followed by crossword/coffee/rye toast with Mom, a mammogram (better than the torturous boob-pressing torture of the past), a meeting at the East Bay Chamber of Commerce (I sell memberships, in case you want to join – call me), and writing at the Coffee Depot with lots of friendly interruptions (mostly on my part, saying hello to people I rarely see).
The calendar included Dinner and a lecture at 5 pm in Newport (on my friend; a nice thank you dinner) so — SO once again, I left too little time to add Mary to this painting. I love it, really, and it is (maybe) a God thing that I kept it Madonna-less (either I would have made a mess of it or I’m letting myself off easy).
She really is in all of my paintings — anyway; and now I’m going to share why I say that… On the night of my very first opening of the “Madonna Nights” Exhibit, it became clear to me that she was always part of them. That exhibit included over 30 paintings of which SO MANY sold the first night that it felt like a miracle — a total affirmation of my dedication to my dreams and dedication to painting. I had quit my day job to reduce stress and to get back to basics (art/prayer/meditation). Getting to the point (bear with my meandering): I had included one or two Madonna-less paintings in that show, landscapes; and one of them sold to a lady who told me that she had (finally, after scrutinizing it) found the Madonna in it. She showed me where she saw her (in the clouds I think); and sure enough, I saw it, too (though not intentional). See, my Sacred Mother really is in all of my paintings — and that makes me happy. It also a miracle, as I am not perfect in any manner.
Thoughts about this “Back to Business” painting: I have always associated ice with harshness, lifelessness, frigidity — universal stuff. Warming up is a positive for me, and I think I’m warm, mostly (sometimes too warm, occasionally hot tempered, in hot water with the ease of a sharp tongue, and a propensity for lustiness — at least prior to my “crone” status (not a kind word). There is definitely a negative end there, too. Gotta watch that!
The colors and temperatures of life are so often captured in art. I like the contrast of the ice and the warmth in the tree line, with that one white speck in the sky, enticing us to seek it out. The perspective of the scene leaves us with so much cold to pass over before getting to that tree-line and a warmer place, darkness and uncertainty. That star seems so distant, almost impossible to get to… It is a simple yet striking scene.
The lecture (back to my day) covered near-death experiences and meditation, given by a Dr. Allen from Saunderstown. We were late getting there, after (aptly named) Wednesday Menu Madness at the Atlantic Beach Club (everything but lobster is $15 per plate); but it was still worth the mad dash across Newport to the Middletown Library.
Dr. Allen cited patient accounts of light,immeasurable love, warmth, (I love the word rapture, so I’ll use it) rapture, and messages to the living from passed loved ones. Some of the patients were children who “came to” with spot-on messages from relatives who had passed over before their births. He ended the lecture with a 5 minute meditation.
My two cents about Meditation: in a perfect world, with 36 hour days — or 40 with my time-management issues — I’d write/record a meditation about each I painting, in addition to my blog. I sort of have a good audio voice when I don’t have my sleepy lisp.]
Visualization is a form of meditation that really helps folks with post-traumatic stress disorder and i have experience with bot. When I first moved back to New England from NC, I worked at a detox in Fall River, as a Milieu Therapist. They hired me because I could help them paint through their traumas; but meditation was something I did daily, so the task of leading them in meditation was a perfect fit, too. The Visualization and Painting hours with them was interesting; and, hopefully, it helped.
Last year, I planned a meditation at the old Alta Luna Gallery (now closed) to visualize ourselves traveling through a painting each month, but it never took off; maybe seen as hippy dippy, not sure. [i must add a recording system to my wish list, along with a video/still camera and art sales to fuel the completion of 365 Madonna Nights of painting.]
Worried about me, my sister said once that I set up unrealistic expectations, and maybe she is right. I like life that way, though. I think it is my way of forcing myself to do more stuff. I am not sure that I like it being so public; but I feel compelled to share everything. (TMI is my specialty).
Adding art to a daily calendar allows me to paint more. Adding prayer/worship/meditation to my calendar, allows me to give my spirit time and energy. Being unemployed — while ridiculously embarrassing and unexpected at this juncture — is something that has me assessing my life (never a bad thing, when coupled with action). If I start to sell these paintings, this CAN be a living, so perhaps that will be the silver lining in this meager financial picture. A big dream? Yes. Will the world embrace it? Maybe; maybe not.
Plans go awry and maybe they should. I had a great day that included quality time with mom and my dog, a doctor visit (hallelujah), dinner with an old friend (a friendship that survives starts and stops; and her new friend/now my friend). And my very last stop, after a text from my guy buds, even allowed me to fit in a fun game of darts and sharing the paintings with youngins — evangelism of sorts at the Wing Wednesday minus the wings (I’d eaten).
Last but not least, a Consecration Prayer to Mary:
Hail, White Lily of the ever peaceful and glorious Trinity! Hail Vermilion Rose, the Delight of Heaven, of whom, the King of Heaven was born, and by whose milk He was nourished! Do thou forever feed our souls by the effusions of your divine influences.
Aside from another delay in the filming of the documentary about my Madonnas and the fruitless job search, I am thankful that my daily painting is going smoothly. My rigorous<!
consistency has kicked in the ” flow”, as evidenced by this “Bathed in Light 2”. I don’t know if this name will stick, but I loved the Bathed in Light 1 ( sold/ see bottom, inset), so I thought I’d honor her with the same title. Any suggestions for a new title?
The film is something that will be used on the web to pitch the project for funding; but, for now, everything I have posted here is for sale; and I am willing to sell them all. Pricing ranges from $150 to $1200 at the moment. I need to free up space, too, for the MANY paintings to come!
There will be more to this post in the morning; however, I couldn’t wait to share this painting with you! Enjoy!
Thankfully, my studio is a warm and inviting oasis on this rainy slushy, warmish but damp, dreary day in RI.
After a busy day of Mom-related errands on her only chance to go outside without ice this week, with job search work, Chamber of Commerce sales calls, time spent sorting through old paint tubes, and organizing my studio a bit, I finally settled in to paint this painting. I chose a VERY “sunny” palette today, probably to counter the dreariness of the day and youthful (to me). Brightness and cheery yellow is so NOT what the sky offers New Englanders this week, with the sun socked away behind rain clouds. I once wrote in a poem that “I want to shine before the final coat of varnish is applied” (referring, back then to my hormonal urges of the early 40’s, of course) and am reminded of that by these lively colors.
I painted this without a plan, as I always do. I like the playful colors, the graceful femininity of the mother, and the trace of a worried expression on her face. While I positioned the child in her arms, it brought back memories of my own children and the various ways a mother holds onto a squirmy child. Holding babies, my own, even when squirmy, is what I consider to be the best role I ever had (an odd choice of words, but they don’t give out manuals, so I played the part as best as I could). Was I a natural? Yes, in some ways, and in others I was challenged and am still, apparently (A is for ANXIOUS in my world, even when bad news comes by phone).
I was not exactly calm a lot of the time; much the opposite, I was high-strung and always worried that they would get hurt. One thing I was not, also, was strict or well-disciplined in keeping rules for them (I found them funny or was a total pushover when nagged) so our house was a fun house, too. We always had a lot of neighborhood children around, sometimes checking my fridge for snacks before my daughter made it off the bus (I could never understand the audacity of that one). Both of them were active and both had wild moments, like the baby I painted here –“Squirmy worms”.
When I painted the Blessed Mother’s hand (at center), I remembered my mother’s “vice grip” fingers that could hold our little fingers very still when we were getting our nails clipped my mother wasn’t tough in any other way, incidentally; she rarely got mad and her only corporal punishment was the threat of the wooden spoon; and we were all twice her size, so we giggled when she took it out, knowing it wouldn’t be painful if she ever used it.
I also saw that it really looked like the hand of my maternal grandmother, Maria Carolina d’Oliveira, who had a shrine of roses on her bureau for her “Santinos” and the Blessed Virgin. She was a lovely woman with long, soft, beautiful hands and she prayed non-stop with her rosary beads in hand much of the time. I inherited both sets of hands, I think, as well as my Vovo’s sharp wit and the ability to make a face that spoke a thousand words (both a blessing and curse). She used to call the elderly folks in her complex “Sheep” for their white hair… when she was 95 (and colored her hair until she was 96) and she could look disgusted with a person in a way (with the tilt of her head) that could make me cringe.
Some favorite memories of “Holding on” to sometimes squirmy babies:
My daughter Addy was always a sweet, cuddly baby, fairly calm, mostly well-behaved with a (very) quick wit and wild sense of humor. My youngest, she loved bath time and would race around the house after with undies on her head to be silly (with her still contagious laugh). She could lob her baby bottle high over the pews/heads at church, got into occasional scuffles with the “naughty” boy in pre-K at “Mount Caramel” (Mt. Carmel), played hide and seek under clothing racks in department stores (with her brother in the lead; scared me to death, and once refusing to play with a neighbor who was the same age but as she put it “Clearly a young three” (verbatim/best friends later). She is still a perfect daughter — beautiful, hysterically funny, an amazing artist and friend to those lucky enough to have her, smart and squirmy.
My son, Peter, terrorized adults with his unruliness got away with it because he had “Tweety-bird” eyes, and could wriggle out of any situation with break-neck speed to get to where HE wanted to be (he is still very direct and walks his own path well). He could outrun ANY adult to the dock at my folks’ (not funny), could breakaway to random neighbors’ doors to ring bells for popsicles (we made many a friend that way), or race to the church altar after communion when everyone was quietly praying. He acted out in church a lot: He’d also remove his pacifier to cry out (AUDIBLY WELL for age 2) a 4-letter word that starts with S and ends in T — during peaceful moments in mass (bobbing heads and gasps resulted). Raising children was stressful for me, honestly, and I was a screamer (and high-pitched at that), with my heart in my throat half of the time. He is and always will be a handful — alpha in every way, a totally unique, wise, music-making, loving son and father to my granddaughter.
For all my worrying, they had few calamities as youngsters (these come to mind): Addy broke her wrist at the bus stop from a fall off an icy boulder — then sprained her arm after shoeless ballerina twirling on the kitchen island (in leotards); and Pete stepped on a nail once that went all the way through and didn’t hit anything major; and broke his finger (at two) by throwing a brick up in the air to have it fall on his own hand. Most of the damage was to other things.
I recall “Miss Mouse’s” unintentional Barbie Car mishap during which it (the car) sped out of control and hit the cellar wall, leaving the hamster a goner after he was thrown from the vehicle (lots of crying neighbor kids; funeral procession/backyard gravesite). I recall her very brief “dachshund painting” phase, too, with a stencil I helped make (me: what a neat project/so glad to help) that she used on the sidewalk(!); and most shocking at the time, her intentional nose piercing and tattoos (she wears them well). She rarely got into trouble.
Pete, on the other hand, did off the charts damage to things like painting his entire bedroom carpet black while we were trying to sell the house, spray painting the Christmas tree and all of our heirloom ornaments gold, and (at age 3 or 4) spraying the garden hose into the family room window for five minutes or so (he had been in the sand box when I left to see his cousins shoot hoops in the front yard) leaving the carpet ruined, the plaster falling off the walls, electrical appliances became shock hazards, the pull-out couch very absorbent. Dumping a bucket of water off the deck and onto the play date and mother that were coming to play in the sandbox on a beautiful summer day was memorable, too. He was into water!
I may sound like I am complaining but I’m not. They are my children and I am as proud of their disobedience (when they are on their missions) as I am of their conformity (when it makes sense). I love shock value, anyway, (no surprise, to those who know me) and am just now (too tired, frankly) growing out of that. I am so relieved that they made it through, alive and well — and have grown up! Of course, I’d go back in time in a minute!
Living in my home town makes sense for now with my mom being 86 and before when my dad was sick (before he passed); and, while I am often envious of my ex, I am thankful that my children have their father near them (in Chapel Hill). I know that they are God’s, too, and I do believe that our parenting doesn’t always come from blood relatives. Friends, step-family, extended relatives, fathers, strangers — you name it; they’ve been there for me, so I am sure they are there for my children when I am not. That isn’t to say that I had (or have) an easy time with separation. I still worry and its sad, really, as they aren’t part of my physical world often; but Love is not lacking in either direction, a help.
“HOLDING ON” — holding onto babies, onto jobs, onto God, onto my best self, my sanity, my self-control, onto money (job search) holding onto sanity, friends in need, someone who gives you a hand when you need it; whatever it is, we have to do it when its something important to us. There is a time for letting go, too, I guess. I’m not ready to let go of the Madonna theme. Maybe 2014 will be the year, not sure.
“First Night” oil on canvas
Wow, I went on and on again. This last photo is the first Madonna I ever painted, “First Night”.