Friday, May 29, 2009

Will This Ever Be Over...

This weekend is (hopefully) the home-stretch;final inning (insert appropriate sports analogy here) of emptying out my mother's little--but packed with more things than I could imagine--house. She wasn't a hoarder of every bit of everything; She was a collector--of somewhat discriminate taste. She had a doll collection, a tea set collection, a ladybug collection, a lucky cat collection, an Irish china collection. You get the idea.
I've spent the better part of the last month, nearly every night and some days, spending hours...sorting, boxing, tossing out, lugging home stuff. Endless stuff.
My little workhorse of a station wagon has been packed with stuff from dashboard to rear almost every day. My house is swamped with boxes,bins and bags.
Nearly every room--except the bathrooms--has been invaded with stuff.
In my studio, I've only just managed to keep enough space 'open' so I can reach my easels and paint a little.

Right now, my most desperate desire is to get some small semblance of order back in my house and life. This coming month is my sons' senior prom and then graduation and accompanying celebrations. There's college to plan for...but I know I can deal with all of this and handle it all...if only I can get out from under this influx of stuff and spend some quantity and quality time in my studio.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Anais Reworked...and FleaMarket Finds

After I posted her the first time, I just knew 'something' about Anais wasn't just right. I think that sitting at the easel with her, seeing her every day, knowing the little story I'd spun about/around her made me think she was more done than she was. Putting her up on the blog was the objective step-away that I needed.
She went back to the easel and has spent some time gaining some new colour and (I think) depth. Oil pastels, coloured pencils,paint,paper,Sharpie markers...
She hasn't got the luminous quality of Robin Red; I think she's more of a moonlight kind of girl.

I can't say she's more mysterious than Robin; just different mysteries. Anais is more inclined to secret rooms in big old houses and Robin Red is all about the wild woods and meadows. Anais would be the girl watching from the walled garden or the library window.
Now, these three beauties here...

I found on a folding table in a booth full of wonderful old junk, among many other booths full of wonderful old junk at the Stormville Flea Market. The sister in the middle was the one who first caught my eye. I'm calling her Jo. The blond sister is Amy. The sister in red is Beth. That leaves me to find Meg. I'll keep a lookout the next time I'm flea-marketing...
The sisters can sit atop a table or be hung in a group. They are little vases; the tops of their heads are open and I'm thinking about delicate bouquets of violets and ivy for each of them.

These awesome spools were another of my flea market finds this past Sunday; although I owe the credit for the actual finding of 'the spool booth' to my flea market partner in crime and fellow Sundial Sister, Cindy.
Right now, I am just loving looking at these spools over and over...the wood and the paint and the brass and all the details my mediocre photography skills can't capture. They're beautiful.
Perhaps in a while I'll have some idea of what I want to do with them...perhaps something Halloween-y for the orange ones. Hmmm.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nearly Finished...

The "Robin Red" box is almost done. I'm working on the inside of the box...and tweaking a few details on the outside. I love the way she turned out. She seems almost like a variation on Red Riding Hood...but currently, I have alot of little girls in cloaks in my journal/sketchbook.

This is Anais; she's my violet eyed 'cat' girl...finished except for a flower or two on her hat and in her hand. And maybe a bit of a poem. Her sweater is decoupaged snips of scrapbook paper...a sepia flower print. Her blouse and hat are pages from a Japanese book.I love the uniform pattern of the characters. It took some time...but was well worth it.

This was Anais a month or more ago. I never pre-sketched her in my journal. She was done right onto the canvas. I love her. She's so mysterious to me. Maybe it's the dramatic curtain behind her.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This Frida sketch may make it to a canvas by this weekend if time allows.
This sweet little girl is inspired by a sweet little girl in my life: my niece Madeline, who has such an inspiring demeanor and such a magickal outlook on life. I think of her as my own little muse.

And--last,but not least--I would love to turn this sketch of Shelby into a little doll...or softie. Complete with the little 'toofies'.
I am moving forward creatively...slowly,by inches... But at least I'm moving.

P.S.-- Yay for me! I just figured out how to get the text 'tween the photos. I'm really a very smart person. I swear.

Leaky Shi Tzus

I have two for-the most-part wonderful and adorable little dogs; Bailey and Shelby.Bailey is the black and white cutie in the pics above; Shelby is the cream coloured 'little princess'. They came as a pair. I adopted them nearly two years ago from a local Humane Society. At ages 8 and 9 they're considered to be 'senior' dogs, but I really question the accuracy of those numbers. Since settling into my home and getting much needed medical treatment and TLC...they seem like dogs half that age.
They're not actually brother and sister.....more like a married couple. They bicker and squabble and occasionally Shelby feels the need to let Bailey know that she's most definitely Queen of the house. At night they join my hubby and I in our bed...curling together in what I call the 'dogpile'.
I love them dearly and can't imagine my life without them....however...
I'm dreaming lately of a life without surprise pee stains and poop piles to clean up.
Last night I spent a good portion of the evening at my mom's house boxing up stuff, throwing away junk, sorting and cleaning out. Finished up sometime after 11; got home close to midnight.
Bailey greeted me guiltily at the door. Oh no.
Sure enough. Poop in the living room. I cleaned it up and headed to bed...only to step in a pee puddle just outside my bedroom door. Grrrrrrr!
And of course--if I believe my hubby and my sons--the dogs 'went out for business' practically every hour while I was gone. uh-huh.
I really believe that being cute is a survival technique, because if these two 'ewoks' weren't so dang cute.................. bang! zoom!
I really should make them 'earn their living' by painting their little mugs onto something. Simple Solution Odor And Stain Remover isn't cheap!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Numb,But Not Comfortably So....

It's been a rough couple weeks (?) since I last posted an entry... I'm not even sure that's an accurate estimate ---of time or feeling. I've been moving through these past weeks and days in a way that swings from complete numbness and doing what needs to be done because that's what I have to do to keep life even and solid for my husband and sons to feeling like the surge of emotion (sadness,anger,regret) will send me curled in a ball into a cave somewhere so I can just let the sorrow take over.

My mother passed away on Saturday, April 18. She passed in her sleep. For that I am happy. Her last full day was Friday...the day I posted about being Carole's daughter. I was able to be with her the entire day.....from 10 a.m. til nearly seven at night. She had a wonderful last wonderful as anyone can hope for. We threw open the window in her hospital room....sunshine and a warm spring breeze. Her friends came to see her and spend time with her. (She'd 'ordered' me not to tell anyone that she was in the hospital. I decided that I'd spent much of my life rebelling against her dictates and orders, so I'd just keep that going. I called her friends Thurs. night. They came the next day.) Initially, she was rude and kind of b___y, but we all laughed at her and said it was good to see her being herself. She ended up laughing and joking and making plans to attend a party "just as soon as she was on her feet again."

When I left her that night, she was tired from a great day. She was smiling. I told her I loved her. I gave her a back rub. I hugged her and thanked her for being my mother. I told her I wouldn't be half the woman I am today if not for her.

My regret is that I didn't--at some point--go home and get my sons. I can't help feeling that I should have brought them to see her. I have to remind myself that, in many ways, I think Easter dinner was for them. She came, despite being in incredible physical pain and discomfort and she talked and joked with them. She gave them a last memory of their grandmother that was not shadowed with tubes and bags and IVs and hospital beds. They're seventeen. They understood about her illness; they wouldn't have been 'put off' by the hospital, but I believe that she truly didn't want to have them see her that way. And--for a change--I did what she wanted me to do. I can live with my regret.

My sister and I have been on such a ride of emotions.

Saturday the 18th was also my nephew Brian's second birthday. We went ahead and had his party. My mother would have found a way to kick our rearends if we hadn't. And it felt genuinely good to be able to celebrate a continuation of Carole's life on this earth...her grandson's birthday.

This month her oldest grandsons--my boys--will graduate from high school. I have to prepare for Senior Prom and plan a graduation party. I feel as if I've had no real time to grieve. And I wonder if this isn't Carole doing this...reminding me that this life and these annoying everyday and not-so-everyday events are really what it's all about. You only get one chance at these moments...there are no do-overs. Make the most of it.

I think the 'cave' I need to curl into is my studio. I need to draw and paint and create and do something to vent all this emotion I'm feeling. There's genuinely been no time. And I desperately want to forget everything else and just go in that room and shut the door and have at it. My studio is in what was once a small sitting room/bedroom next to my own every day I pass by it's door and think....I want to be in there.

But there are too many things that require me elsewhere.

This is the real struggle in being a woman and an artist. I am needed in so many ways, in so many other places, by so many people..... I can't just go in the cave and hide and wallow and vent my grief and anger and whatever else I'm feeling. I have to keep this in check and maintain the equalibrium of my home and family. I have to keep this all going as smoothly as a I can.

I know that my husband and sons would understand if I did do the cave thing... I just can't be that selfish right now.

Recently I had two events I had to 'dress up' know, fancy clothes,heels,makeup,nice hair. Somehow, in my search for an inexpensive route to a new dress....I invoked Frida. I found a 'Frida-like' shirt at Target that could be worn with a voluminous skirt I have. I bought two--one purple,one black. For each event I carefully braided my hair and pinned it up--not top of the head,but behind the nape like younger Frida. I placed a flower in my hair. I wore carefully chosen earrings,necklace,bracelets.I wore red lipstick. Somehow, I felt that it gave me a strength--in this moment when I felt most painful and vulnerable--to 'be' Frida and invoke her strength and resillience as my own. It made me feel safe. Thank you Frida... viva la vida.

Give me time...I will get back into that little studio and throw open the window and let the sun in again. I promise.

P.S.--The pictures I posted...Frida, Brian,Wyeth,Warren---faces that give me strength and remind to live life as fully and beautifully as possible.