This past year has been hard. I am not going to go into all the details for many reasons and I am not purposefully and annoyingly being vague. What I have learned is that so many of us are having a hard time. There is scarcely a person out there that isn’t struggling with something. Life is hard. And sometimes we lose our endurance for it..I did. I woke up to too many mornings with my sole desire being that of only returning to bed, as if I could sleep away my sorrows. I couldn’t.
This winter too has been hard. I have caught every cold one can catch. I have said “no” to too many invites; I have recused and laid my creativity fallow; I cried tears to the point of dehydration, and whined and prayed and pleaded for a reprieve. I have imagined that all the trials were part of some epic dark night of the soul that would reveal the meaning of life at its end.
And then something shifted..just enough. It was as if I was holding my breath and was at last allowed to inhale. A small inhale, but a glorious one.
Sunday I painted the piece above. I am not quite done.. I am waiting for the paint to dry a bit so I can add the finishing touches. I am grateful. I have much to be grateful for despite the hard stuff…so much.
When I was in art school, I painted what what I believe to be my best work ever. It was an acrylic on a small piece of wood painted in the style of a Byzantine Icon of Frida Kahlo. It was beautiful. It really was. I loved it. On the day it was completed, I hung it in art building on a hallway alongside the works of my fellow classmates, as per the usual practice. That night it was stolen.
I recall when I hung it I had a fleeting feeling that this would be the last time I saw my painting, but I dismissed it. In the blank space on the wall where my Frida had hung, I put a note pleading for her return. No questions asked. I hadn’t even taken a photo of her! Other notes from fellow students soon appeared. They weren’t as nice as I had been and I was kind of happy about that. But the notes didn’t help and I never saw my painting again.
In the years since then, I have tried to repaint that Frida. But they never were as good as that first one and I never finished a piece. You can’t recapture the energy and the magic of certain paintings; they’re just special and that specialness is a one time thing.
This week I was inspired to try again. I decided to forgo the icon format…too soon still. This is the second Frida this week. She looks a little angry here, but maybe she’s got something to be angry about.
Never The Less Oil on 30″X30″
An piece inspired by Imbloc and my beautiful friend Elizabeth. Spring Blessings everyone!
Sun on the Hen House
I live in a pretty little house at the foot of the White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire. The backdrop of which provides boundless inspiration. I have an ever expanding garden I tend to and a small flock of chickens. We are only allowed 6 hens in town per household. I have 3, I had four until this winter. I call my little flock “the girls”…”the ladies” ..””my hens.” I love them all.
The girls have literally been cooped up for the past few weeks. The bitter cold, the non stop polar winds.. it was too much. Just before the new year I lost Euphemia. She was a frail hen to begin with, one eyed and lacking in neck feathers… the odds were against her. Mille Fleur Bantams are not known for their hardiness; they are known for their feathery feet and bright disposition.
I may be a little like my hens. Winter has been tough on me too. But the sun is out and the temperatures are up and we are all out to play today.
Rest In Peace Euphemia… you were a good hen. May your eternal coop be warm and your feed dish full of meal worms.
I’ve been busy at the easel, just not busy at updating my blog..I need and art manager. I would give half my profits to someone who would just mange me!! Keeping up with the business end of art has been daunting.
But I digress..because it’s all about the art. I love my new pieces. They’re like my children. I love them all!!
Most of these pieces went to Portland, Oregon. They’re going to be hanging on the walls of Cafe Voila downtown on 9th and SW Washington.
“Garden Variety Bear”
“Golden Crowned Kinglet”
POUNCE oil on canvas 22″X28″
WHITE MOUNTAIN SPOTTED COW oil on canvas 20″X20″
NORTH COUNTRY COW oil on canvas 22″X28
OWL oil on canvas 14″X18″
WALTER oil on canvas 18″X14″
As an artist I believe it is important to appreciate, collect, and share the work of other artists. If I didn’t it would be like being a writer who didn’t read books. If I am influenced by anything, it is the work of other artists. Today was a lucky day..a very lucky day. I stopped into my favorite antique store in Berlin, Vintage Junky, to wander the rows and be inspired. I love this store because they not only sell antiques, they sell repurposed pieces as well as some crafts. I have yet to stop in and not find a treasure. Today I found two. First I picked up an old drying rack for $15, a great deal,and a just the perfect size. And then I spotted this lovely piece. It’s an oil on an 14″X18″ canvas, in a beautiful frame. I loved the women, the colors, everything. The woman in the shop didn’t know anything about the artist, but a quick google of “Marilene painter” revealed that the piece was done by Marilene Sawaf, a NH by way of Egypt, artist. I quickly bought the piece and my drying rack and rushed home to research her. I hung the piece immediately in my dining room, see below! And then I researched Marilene and discovered that the piece I bought was worth significantly more than I paid for it.My “Antiques Roadshow moment.” Not millions or anything, but let’s just say, I scored. The truth is that it’s price doesn’t really matter; I really love this piece and everything else I saw of Marilene’s and I’d never sell it. Her work has inspired me. This morning, my husband asked me if I was interested in taking more art classes to improve my painting skill. Absolutely I am. Oddly, I had said to him, “well I’m not really sure I could ever be a figure painter..” but after seeing Marilene’s work, I’m inspired to try. I’m so excited for finding this piece and adding to my own art collection. And I’m really excited to see how this work influences my own practice.