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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Needed Color & a Hermitage

show color
Just Needed Color

The other day I pulled out my neglected watercolor journal. Tiring of my usual dainty, pastel colors and Spring flowers I, laid down some dashing deep hues.  It was liberating, a bit like throwing a temper tantrum (smile).  Isolation, loneliness, and all that goes with sheltering in alone, while at the same time regaining strength from lack of exercise, I dream of an outdoor cafe and a good chat with a friend or dinner at Anthony’s with my “Antony’s companion.”  There’s no reason to dwell on our current situation, so slapping colors on a page is a healthy way I choose to go.

It’s been March since I’ve ventured out, except for necessary appointments.  Seems everyday is the same. Boredom blocks creativity in everyone. Creating something new, something novel, is a healthy antidote to apathy and discouragement.  Create a great dinner, clean house, rearrange furniture, maybe make up a song.  Or, you might convert a tool shed into a hermitage or garden get-a-way.  My tool shed is now “The Hermitage.” Construction is complete and tomorrow the decorating gets underway.

Get away
Inside the Hermitage

to show hermitage
Tiny stove waiting for the cold winter months

I

What a gift.  It surprises me when every time I venture out to this 77 square foot slightly lopsided get-away, I feel a little like I’m on vacation.  Imagine a vacation 15 steps from your house.   A Habitat For Humanity floor to ceiling window overlooks the North garden, not visible from the house, making it seem that I’m perched right in the middle of it all.

North Garden

Outside Hermitage Through Window

North Yard by Hermitage

Summer is coming to an end and the colors of Springtime have vanished.  In a few months a fire will burn in my cozy tiny stove, a good backup in the event a storm knocks out our power.  By then the curtains will be hung, paint supplies and some clutter will make the “Hermitage” feel like a well-used respite.

It’s fire season in Central Oregon.  The sun is setting casting an orange glow on the city.  It reminds me of Fall in Salem, still warm, farmers burning their fields to the East perfuming the air, and football games the Friday evening fun. Such good memories stored away and recalled by a beautiful sunset, now viewed from the East side of the state where the desert meets the mountains. I still love the fragrance of the seasons changing.

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.

Sunday is Fun Day

I’m getting a head start on Painting my Garden this year.

First Color This Spring

Pushing up through layers and layers of dull, tan Pine needles, little purple slivers are hinting of another new season.    We are having cold nights, but with the warmer daytime temperatures I will, like last year, for sure fall behind my crazy goal to paint my garden – bloom by bloom.  Today I’m especially grateful that I am able to paint and enjoy it as much, if not more, than ever.  Combinations of purples and greens are a few of my  favorites , and the loose, splashy techniques I use  when painting flowers offers both fun and surprising shapes that “say flower,”

Diving into a good book can be the best thing for the soul during “Corona Times.”  So far I can’t tell you why this book is great, but it is.  It’s 501 pages of “genuine truths” all laid out in tinsey, weensy, itsy, bitsy type face – which reminds me it’s time to get the current prescription changed in my specs.  A tablet might work best.

A Recommended read while Sheltering In.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME.  Please send good thoughts for super results from     my spinal tap tomorrow morning.  Thank you.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellie’s 17th Birthday

 

 

Ellie’s trip to Norway to meet cousins, aunts and uncles…and a few of their sheep.

The SkjersaaFamily

Ellie’s stellar year running cross country for Summit High. WATCH FOR HER NAME NEXT YEAR.

 

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Upon her return from Norway, she got her driver’s license. EXCITING!

It’s Been Awhile

Christmas has come and gone already and the “longest night of the year” has also passed.  Our family had a wonderful Christmas Day together.  We met at Flora and Han’s home, and they prepared a feast beyond compare.

Flora cooks with Han’s assistance. What a team.

We always marvel at their cooking, Flora at the helm, and Hans her right-hand man in the kitchen.  We all agreed we could not find more delectable Chinese food anywhere from Bend, to Portland, or maybe even down to San Francisco.  Her cooking not only reflects the joy she has for her country of origin and their cuisine but also her new life in the U.S.  Her love for Hans and their new home is obviously in the mix.

Authentic Chinese food from one end of the table to the other. What a blessing.

Clockwise: Terry, Ellie (16), Jade (14), Su (almost 81), Jack and Patty, Flora, Renee, Friends from Portland, Ashley and Spencer.

Jade and Ellie stuffed from the dinner – and gratefully no desert.

Hans and Flora’s Christmas gift from Mom.

Happy New Year Everyone.

January 17th, Still Snowing in Bend. Keep up the good work Mother Nature, a truly amazing artist.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.

 

 

Winter Solstice, December 21, 2019

Winter Solstice 2019
The Light Returns

The Winter Solstice corresponds with Christmas and the Season of Lights.  They arrive a few days apart and, among other traditional observances, celebrate beautiful expressions of the heart.  This year I am blessed and I rejoice in life as I  move through another round of healing.  My breast cancer of 23 years ago has raised its unwanted head and moved into my spine. Hope, healing prayers and good thoughts are sustaining, not to mention traditional treatment.  I prefer hope and healing prayers, as the only side effects are hope and healing prayers.  Family is close and love prevails as we move into this period of darkness and inward turned reflection.

Happy Holidays

Thanksgiving 2019
Thanksgiving 2019

Another Birthday for Terry

Happy Birthday November 12th.  Ride Hard and Fast Cowboy.

Birthday
Terry Behind Ski Shop, age 2.                                                       

I remember the day Terry, age 2, rode his white horse around the balcony of the ski shop and didn’t stop at the top of the long staircase leading to the ground below.  I heard the crash, crash, crash, and then silence.  Panic! I got to him at emergency speed.  Half way down the stairs, still straddling his trusty horsey,  he was looking up at me as if to say, “What the heck, Mom.  When did you put these steps in?”  He was still alive, and nothing cut or broken.  Although, the shocked look on his face remains etched in my mind.  He didn’t try this trick again – as far as I know.  Now he catches air whenever possible, on his bike, skis, snowmobile, oh yeh, and there was the time I bought a riding lawnmower.  The first day we had it, while I went out to pick up as few groceries, he and his brother built a “Mower-Jump” on our asphalt driveway.  Really?Needless to say, the mower never cut a single blade of grass.  Sometimes it’s hard to get upset at such creativity.

 

Terry and Jade
50 Years Later

Fifty years later he is a proud dad.  This is Jade’s graduation from Pacific Crest Middle School.  Both Jade and Ellie attend Summit High and run cross country.  Summit has the number one X Country team in the Nation.  Ellie, as a senior, will be on the varsity team next year, and the competition will increase.  With their heavy study loads, sports, social activities and some recreation, they are very busy girls.

Wishing you a wonderful year Terry. You are a fine individual, a wonderful son, and a great dad. I love you. Mom

 

July Art Shows

 

First Friday in Bend is July 5th.  My paintings will be displayed in the lobby area of loanDepot from 4pm to 8pm.  Come enjoy an evening of art, refreshments, and ample parking.

                44 NW Irving Ave.  Bend, OR  – between NW Harriman and Greenwood.

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The show at Redmond Hospital was over as of the 28th of June.  The paintings shown below were accepted in the current exhibition at the Redmond Hospital. That exhibit runs for three months and will come down September 27th.  

It is a joy and pleasure to have my artwork displayed in hospital settings.  The Registered Nurse in me, retired but still “on duty,” has hopes that my paintings will bring lightheartedness and a few moments of peace to patients, staff and anyone who might take some time to be with them.