Day 2 after Christmas…I Wish Everyone Good Health, Contentment, and Peace Within.

Years past, this amazing family gathered for food, fun, and photographs. This year they came by twos, visited from the back porch, and there were no photos. From left to right; Jade and Ellie blessed me with a long visit. I love these beautiful, smart, and funny girls. Jade (15, with learner’s permit) is working for a jeweler making earrings, and Ellie (17) is working at Star Bucks and researching universities. She has quite a few academic scholarship offers. Both Ellie and Jade are brilliant.

Hans and Flora stopped by for a short time. It’s always a delight to see and hear from them. Hans has a You Tube program called “Hanzdid it.” Recently Hans and Flora purchased a HUGE van that was, in days past, used to transport veterans to and from medical appointments. The van included a wheel chair lift and a gurney. They were filming as they removed those items. Watching them remove the gurney was a perfect SNL skit. Maybe nurses have strange senses of humor, and I found that segment very funny. I watch it when I get down or need a laugh. That van is, as we speak, being transformed into a camping van, and it will be a show piece. Hans is very creative, and Flora, do you remember the beautiful spread she prepared for Christmas dinner last year? She brought the finest cuisine with her from China when she and Hans were married.

Christmas 2019 at Hans and Floras. All Chinese cuisine … so delicious.

Renee and Terry came bye after skiing. Renee is still teaching middle school math…on line, and Terry is selling houses like crazy. He even worked Christmas eve. (The girls were with their mom this year, so it wasn’t so bad.) Christmas definitely changes after the kids are out of the house, but maybe we’ll be together next year. Terry and Renee gifted me with a warm scarf and an amazing knife set. I have been using prehistoric knives that had given up on the idea of “cutting” some years ago. It was a good day, and I’m so grateful to have been blessed with such an awesomely wonderful family.

Watercolor Journaling – Day 18

A watercolor journal is a place to practice techniques, write personal notes, create perfect paintings, or feel free to do whatever comes to mind and heart. This entry was a practice piece that my inner critic has decided needs a second chance. Be well, be safe, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Art isn’t always perfect – or even close.

Watercolor Journaling – Day 16

Time to switch to another journal. This one is handmade and larger than the previous one. The stitch that’s binding the pages together is called a “coptic stitch.” It’s complicated, for me, but it allows the pages to open out flat so that a painting stretch across both pages for a single image. I secured the waxed twine with clear packing tape, presenting quite a challenge to paint over the slick surface of the tape…or not.

After moving to town and away from the mountain trails I walked for 18 years, Isabella, my white chow, and I resorted to lower ground. This is a likeness of a place we often visited where the mountains were visible and the weeds prolific. There was a trail that paralleled the one we usually took, and often a little coyote would walk along beside us on its own path. It was no threat to us. In fact it felt like a little friend and seemed as if it was saying, “Hello, good to see you again.” The journal is made of 140 lb. watercolor paper painted with watercolor and pastels.

Watercolor Journaling – Day 8

My “go – to” book of the year. It’s deep and brilliantly written.

These next posts are a series inspired by Richard Powers, “The Overstory.” Still sad about having to leave the mountains, Power’s brilliant novel using trees as some of the main characters touched me and shown light on the fact that change is the “forever” that is forever.

Watercolor Journaling – Day 7

"Why"

Something inside me
constantly bleeds toward god. 

That's why I keep writing,
slipping messages under the door.



Marrow of Flame: Poems of the Spiritual Journey
Dorothy Walters

Dorothy Walters, the author of the opening poem, is a retired, professor of English Literature.

She taught mostly throughout the mid west, but I had the pleasure of getting to know her while I was attending University of Creation Spiritually in Oakland CA. I have to tell you, Dorothy is an authentic delight, brilliant, deep, and one who carries her joy on both her insides and out. She is round. And she laughs about her roundness equating her expansion to the expansion of the Universe. Early this morning while reading her poetry and thinking of her beautiful mind, it came to me that she is a human mirror of one unit of a Mandelbrot Set. I imagined the infinitely regenerating fractals as maps from her mind and heart. She has a power of thought that reveals a whole world of sacred treasures that are formed in her poetry. (If you’re not familiar with a Mandelbrot Set and fractals it is worth looking them up and watching the “dance.” This dance is in and all around us. (Try YouTube.) I’m sure you will be reading more of Dorothy’s poetry on my future blog posts. Be extra safe, and thank you for checking todays post.

Mandelbrot Set. Watch these in motion. Dorothy’s body and head I imagined. The light around the set reveals the light that surrounds her in real life.

Fall, Fire, and Fierce Beauty

 

                                                                       “Roads End”

 

I was four years old when my folks purchased a lot on the North end of Devil’s Lake located literally on the other side the hill from the painting in this post.  We owned this  property for 60 years plus.  Over the years I’ve stored a zillion stories from my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood all imprinted at “the lake,” as we called it.  For a short time in the mid 90’s I lived in the house my father had built on that property.  It was a wonderful experience.  While there, almost every evening at sunset I took long walks with my beautiful Chow dog on the beach at Road’s End. After the last sliver dome of the sun sunk over the edge of the ocean’s horizon I’d then race back to the lake to catch the moon rise over the hills across from our house as it spread its light across the lake waters. The reflection, what can I say,  was beyond awesome.

I hadn’t grasped the impact that Place had instilled in my memory –  until the day Lincoln City burned, September 2020. Throughout the Covid scares and restrictions, I maintained a moderately peaceful temperament, but hearing there were fires blazing on the soupy, drippy, moldy, never dry Oregon coast, it was unbelievable!  TV news showed they had torched the land from Otis to the North end of the lake.  Evacuations, really? I was stunned.  It felt like memories were burning inside of me leaving a strange dark and empty space.  I really had no right or reason to claim  this loss, but there it was hooked to some chromosome awakening me to something I had labeled “the past.”  Now, here it is, the past all over again reciting its Fierce and Beautiful poetry.  The painting is an attempt to honor the smoke and clouds of Roads End. I’m happy to remember that I loved so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Summer

Playing in the Strawberries
Playing Around

My header, “Lazy Summer,” doesn’t actually describe my recent days here on the East side of the Cascades. I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy since late 2019 resting and revitalizing my life following the removal of a tumor from my spine, then followed by radiation treatment- which I found exhausting.  Now the focus is on another recovery.  About two months ago I had a procedure to shunt fluid from one of the ventricles in my brain into my peritoneal cavity.  The latter has been the most challenging.  George Burns said something to the effect that growing older isn’t for sissies (actually I think he claimed, ” it ain’t for sissies. All that aside, I’m doing pretty well and have my sights set on showing, through my art, friendships, and community connections/Zooming, that I’m very happy to be here on Earth – in these fierce and beautiful times of change and unknowing.

I wish you all good health, prevailing patience, and deep understanding around today’s challenges.

 

Gift
A Raven for Thea

I painted this little piece for my good friend who flew, without haste, to sit with me while I passed through a dark episode of the biggest “ouch” I’ve ever known.  It’s so hard to ask for help, but sometimes you’ve got to get over yourself and pick up the phone.

 

Unfolded Greeting Card

Greeting cards are fun to make, and sometimes they take the same amount of time as a full painting.  It’s always fun and very special when I, personally, open a hand painted card from a friend. This went to my Spiritual Director who has offered invaluable companionship and help as I deal with my acceptance of being older.

Speaking of spiritual direction, I am also a trained spiritual director, which is more aptly called “Spiritual Companioning.”  A few weeks ago I had my little, 77 square foot, tool shed converted into a space I call my “Hermitage.”  It sits on the edge of the most beautiful part of my garden, an area which cannot be seen from the house.  It has a lovely feel, and I am hoping to “Companion” a few folks in that space.

North Yard by Hermitage

I’m standing in the prettiest part of the yard just outside the new window.  Not smart from a photographic point of view.  If you want to get a shot of something, don’t stand in the middle of it.  Oh well, it’s so peaceful out there and a fun version of a vacation.

This is a little rose garden is just outside my bedroom slider.  The fenced yard keeps these miracle, for Central Oregon, flowers off the deer’s dinner menu. I think a deer can smell a rose from about 10 miles away.

There’s an unfinished poppy painting waiting for me in my art room, so I’ll sign off hoping to push all the right buttons and get this posted.  Be well and take good care.

Spring 2020

With more time on my hands and with the sheltering in challenges, sometimes  my emotions take on an entirely new dimension. Occasionally I experience a sense that I’m lost in a world completely unfamiliar to me then a “strangeness” washes over me.  Usually it’s easy to regain my footing , but not always.  When I’m having a “corona moment”  its time to dive hard and heavy into gratitude, to find just one thing I’m grateful for.  That seems to pop me back into the bright side of reality.  Yesterday’s post depicted 17 years worth of gratitude in my life.  It’s Ellie. I’ve been blessed to have her near since the moment she took her first breath.  She was surrounded by her loving family in her first moments, and that has not, and will not change.

Ellie is 17 today.

More gratitude.  An organized and cleaned up art space is not a good sign.  To all my artist friends and to me it means no art is on the easel.  So yes, I am grateful, kind of, for this forced time to get busy and mess up my art room.

Good Sign, Art is in Production

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image has emerged from a reference photo taken some 30 years ago.  It’s been waiting to be painted but simmered on a back burner for two reasons.  One, I didn’t want to tackle the detailed challenge it presented.  It was a rather difficult piece for me.  Secondly, my readers aren’t required to go along with this idea, but I believe that art has a deep intelligence and quantum relationship with the artist.  A piece will emerge when its time is ripe.  The title I’ve assigned it asks a relevant question, “Locked In or Locked Out?  I think it has an answer, and that’s “Yes.”

Corona Virus question and answer .
Cabin in Cascades
Locked in or Locked Out?

 

Over the years I’ve accumulated pounds and pounds of family photos.  This week I tackled a small box, that I could barely lift, and came up with a blast from the past…reaching way back to high Jr Hi, and High School days.

This is either Leslie Jr. High or the South Salem Jr. varsity rally squad.
From left to right, Jeannette, Bev, Sara, Carol, front, Larry K, and Larry H.

A few years later:

Judy, Donna, Barb, Sara and Su

Recently I have, once again, kept pretty busy healing from another bout with cancer and now normal pressure encephalitis.  Since my beautiful white Chow lives on the other side of the Moon, I needed fur.  One of my fondest memories of childhood up through college was life with my best friend Corky.  He and my dad were great pals too.

 

Corky helping my dad mow the lawn.

This  animal is most highly recommended for folks allergic to cats and/or those who don’t have the energy to feed them and deal with a litter box .  Her name is “Me Owe,” because she doesn’t know any other words.  She shakes her head, licks her paw, rolls onto her back, purrs and closes her eyes and goes to sleep…when she gets bored.  I have videos which are very darling, but they won’t play on my blog site…yet.

Take care and find something to be grateful for every day, no wait.  How about each hour in these strange times?

New Mascot, Me Owe.

Watch for more paintings and conversation from the East side of the mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice 2021

Let’s celebrate Summer Solstice, 2021 by congratulating ourselves for the caring and patience we’ve practiced during this unprecedented past year. Today the Sun is King of the Cosmos. Thanks to the light in us all.

solstice
Happy Solstice

Ellie Graduated and is off to San Diego State, 2021

She’s in the starting gate, ready to go, loaded with many talents and a solid, humble nature: She’s an advanced and former competitive pianist, she excelled in track at Summit High in Bend, she’s a strong skier, both downhill and cross country. She performed many times at the Tower Theater, twice in stunning lead roles. She loves the out doors, camping and hiking, and cycling the many trails surrounding her mountain home. Many of these activities have been set aside while a focus on her studies took the spotlight. This effort shows, as she has won an academic scholarship, to which she will undoubtedly, diligently devote herself to higher learning…bathed in warm weather and playing on beautiful beaches in Southern California. Oh, did I mention she is as beautiful now as she was cute the day she was born.

Ellie's grad photo. 2021
Ellie Skjersaa

Ellie playing in the snow she grew up in.

Blog
Ellie studying, as usual.

We were on the staircase at your home, I was grandma and you were about 2. The moon was full, and the large windows were perfect for sky-watching. Sometimes you spoke french, your mom’s language . You were entranced with the bright light in the sky. You took your little pointy finger and quietly said, “La Loon.” “La Loon.” For me this was just one of my many favorite moments with you. I love you to the moon and back Ellie. I will always carry you in my heart delighting in who you are. Go in love, peace, grow your wisdom, speak your truth, and do something funny every day.

Watercolor Journal – Day 19

Demo #1

“I paint what I see, what my eyes perceive and not necessarily what is really there.”

The above is a quote by Julie Gilbert Pollard. She paints with oils, acrylics, and watercolors. In the 36th issue of “The Art of Watercolor,” a highly valued publication from France, she authored a demo of the images I practiced. This has been a fun project and opened a new space in my (h)art for color.

Demo # 2
This is a full journal view.

This is what I see when I open my watercolor journal to this latest painting. The color bar on the right is a sample of colors I chose and one I could use as I made my way through the exercise.

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Watercolor Journaling – Day 17

Ghost Piano Arriving From the Past

Abstract of Foggy Sunny Morning on Grand Piano

It all started for me when I was in the 7th grade (1950) when my parents gave me an Acrostic spinet piano. Now, jump forward to about 2014. My little senior friend had grown old and was literally falling apart. It had moved with me too many times over the last 50, plus, years. My granddaughters inherited it, and I set out in search of another small piano. I turned to Bend’s only piano shop with disappointing results, and eventually ended up in the shop’s warehouse with the owner. There were no decent smaller pianos there either, so as a last ditch effort he unveiled a medium size grand. He placed himself at the keyboard and proceeded to play. The sound was beautiful, and other than it’s dark (black) finish in need of a little touch up it was tempting – and inexpensive. After days of deliberation and obsession, I decided to take it. The cleaning fee was reasonable, and it would be two weeks until it would be delivered.

Delivery day finally arrived, and when the movers brought it through the door the dull black piano I had purchased shown bright like a mirror in the sun. It had transformed to a highly polished cherry wood jewel. Its renewal was stunning, and I fell madly in love with it. The only slight dissonance here is that I am far from an accomplished pianist who should rate a grand piano. For example, this afternoon it took me about 15 minutes to plunk my way through a very simplified version of “Ode to Joy.” But never mind, there is an understory to my evolutionary rambling about my piano. It’s the best part and surfaced in researching the history of this instrument. I found that its manufacturing date was the month of January, and the year was 1939. This is so fine: January is my birth month and 1939 is my birth year. She’s a Kimberly, by brand, and it feels like I’ve found a long lost twin sister. Finally, I’m no longer an only child. Obviously I still get mushy over small and grand things.

Watercolor Journaling – Day 14

Abstract collage on paper.

Still making art under the influence of Richard Powers, I looked him up on YouTube last night and found the most delightful and meaningful conversation with Richard Powers, “The Overstory,” Terry Tempest Williams, “A Voice in the Wilderness,” and Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Braiding Sweetgrass. These authors are prolific writers with many other books to their credit. The discussion I found was presented at Harvard University. I do want the Earth to know that I am happy to be here where the seen and the unseen mingle in full co-operation with one another. Awesome!