The Land is burning is Oregon, Washington, and California. I am worried about my friends..several have evacuated. The skies are red and smoke filled; Portland has the worst air quality in the world right now.
And I am in Gorham… so far away, painting. Not oblivious to what is happening in the world. Just trying to find comfort in ways I can. The world is suffering this year. We must dig deep. I must dig deep and find the wellspring within myself.
There is so much to face and deal with right now. But there is also beauty and kindness and love to be found. I will focus on what can be ahead..what I can create..what I can offer that contributes in better ways, healing ways, loving ways.
Covid is getting to me. Admittedly, I haven’t been as effected by the pandemic as others.. I don’t have school aged kids, I was able to get unemployment when my work place closed, I’m a natural homebody and introvert, I had time to finish projects..it hasn’t been awful.
I am at work again and tourist season is in bloom and it’s harder now. More effort, more stress, more worry, more irritation. I am ready to not wear a mask 7-8 hours a day. I am ready to travel and see people and hug. But I can’t.
So this painting.. is hope. That this will end and there will be brighter days…
I haven’t painted in awhile. So much change has happened in the last 6 months.I sold my home, moved to another that is in a continuous state of remodeling. A few days ago I was finally able to sit down in my reassembled studio and paint. Below is the fruits of that labor..Forest Bear. An oil on 12X16 canvas.
And below are pieces I gave as gifts at a dinner party I hosted as a way of saying Thank You to the lovely friends who have helped me through this last year. The pieces are painted on the back sides of vintage metal print blocks. I love them.I had most guests pick out their own, those that couldn’t make it, I one selected for them. There a few more that didn’t make into the gallery..alas.
This is a large 3’X4′ piece. I used oil, chalk and oil pastel. I am loving working larger pieces these days. People often say they don’t have room in their homes for larger pieces, but I actually find hanging larger pieces easier; it’s certainly easier than hanging a bunch of smaller pieces!!
I didn’t start out this piece with my sister in mind. But as I was finishing I got a call from my her. She lives in Hawaii..I live in New Hampshire so we’re pretty far away from each other. She’s my best friend and we do talk every day. Most every day..often about nothing. I’ll send her pictures of my pieces while I’m working on them..ask her opinion..get her encouragement. She’s a farmer among other things, you can read about her here on her blog…Our Hawaii Farm.
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.
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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.