Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sabbath Rest


Providence Canal charcoal on paper 2010

No reason or rhyme this morning...just off the cuff as it were. Over loaded with much so to do, subsequently accomplishing nothing. Studying for a mid term on Thursday coming in Renaissance Art History this week, so my brain is twirling the names of Cimabue, Giotto, and Duccio around. In the shower I am thinking about the Enthroned Madonnas and altarpieces automatically. Feels like I am in a fun house, on a speeding ramp and I can not get off. Holding on for dear life...and life is dear. But being the mature student that I am ( that kills me ) I have many other things, too that I also must twirl around and find solutions for. But the loss of Steve Jobs this week and a very thoughtful commencement speech he made at Stanford a few years ago helps to put some things into perspective, at least for me. You have probably already seen this but I need to see it again and listen to the words because they are important ones...and on the off shot that you have not, listen and ponder.



"Love what you do and don't settle"... I love what I am doing, finally... Even with all the stress and deadlines at present, I am learning to work through them and meet them. So with that said I am painting a lot of pears these days just because I think they are interesting and each one different and beautiful. They ripen quickly which presents its own set of challenges. But for me, the hope it as I continue they, my pears will show me where to go next...



As for 'Sabbath Rest', I think Maggie, as usual has it down. She just knows how to do it. She is also pretty resourceful...she has made use of my shower towels. Good dog, Maggie, good dog...




As I stated at the start, there was no reason or rhyme other than felt the need to post...Have a peaceful day and a thoughtful day,maybe... and thanks for reading. Comments are always nice...

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Mary Oliver Kind of a Day...



As I move along in my studies as an art student with my concentration in painting... I have reached the place on this journey of being directed to begin thinking about and writing a proposal for what I want to focus on this semester. That gave me pause, what do I want to put my attention to...there it is, the thing which stops me, blocks me, my cement wall in the road with seemingly no way around it.

I wrote it out and handed it in. Today I reread it and thought more about my words. I said in effect that I "want to focus on the ordinary, the simple...trying to keep in mind that everything is a potential set up...learn to look beyond the whole and find the beauty in the parts. There were some words about technique and things I would like to work on such as economy of strokes and light and shadow being the thing that drives everything on the canvas.

I have started with pears, old faithful pears...beautiful shapes, subtle colors. I have scraped off my canvas twice already this week, in disgust. But I am working on it, staring at it, mumble, moan inwardly and continue see things I could change...that is the important thing. I am researching things I may want to work with and in so doing I reached for one of my books by Mary Oliver book, which I do when a little out of sorts and found a poem, Wild Geese and that led me to look at and begin to draw some wild geese...now there s a stretch. Not so much because the poem was specifically about geese but the thoughts and feelings that came about in the reading of the poem and the geese are now the connection for me...and maybe something to take me over that cement wall in the middle of my road.



I found the reading of Wild Geese by the poet herself and that was an emotional moment. The poem being read by the author brought me to tears. So I offer it to you today and hope you hear something you needed to hear today as I did.





Then I happened upon Messenger. As I said earlier, it is just that kind of day...

Messenger
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.


~ Mary Oliver ~

Have a great day and thanks for reading.




Saturday, August 27, 2011

Calm Before the Storm...


India Point Park, Providence, RI ( Narragansett Bay)


Well the preparations are finished, yard cleared of summer, nothing left to become a missile and the drizzle has begun but the storm is 24 hours away from Rhode Island. The storm being Hurricane Irene. We have not gone through a large one here in 20 years or more...not sure what to expect as the reports change frequently. Everything has been canceled for the next few days. The warning goes from our south coast, on the ocean, right up the mouth of Narragansett Bay ,


Cranston, RI on Narragansett Bay

all the way up to Providence and all the cities and towns that surround it, with where I live being one of them. I live far enough away from it to not have to worry about the predicted surge. But on the other hand, I live not far from the Pawtuxet River and therefore our water table is usually high causing concern because of the copious amounts of rain also predicted.

We will possibly loose power as my electricity provider just sent an e-mail giving specifics... Didn't know they had my e-mail address but the big clue to this storm's impending presence was the arrival of Jim Cantore, of The Weather Channel to Providence on Thursday...now you know when he shows up it can't be good. I believe he is in New York City now, 3 hours away from us.

But for today, it is calm, quiet, and oh so humid. You could 'cut the air with a knife' is one saying or 'swimming on land'...or 'wearing your air', some what uncomfortable. I plan to take pictures and watch the power and might of weather...awe inspiring. I'll move my car, 'Gracie', to the other side of the house as I have a huge oak tree near the drive way and the house for that matter. That tree is probably older than me and I don't think it is going anywhere...I hope not anyway, I love that tree. But rather be safe than sorry...love my car too.



It has certainly been a strange year for extreme weather here in the Northeast. More snow than we have ever seen in a long time, then the terribly uncomfortable heat and humidity of this past summer. and let me not forget the earthquake near Washington, DC this week that some felt as far as New England...I was not one of them.

So that is my day today...I wish I was down by the shore to see the surf, maybe some chowder, clamcakes and the spray of ocean...can't imagine not living near the ocean.

Thanks for reading, have a great day and God bless...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Taking Stock...




Well summer, for all intents and purposes, is almost finished. It has been a strange one filled with loss, a wedding, a summer class, bugs, bag worms( arborvitae pests),



bee stings, oppressive heat and humidity...and accidents as well as the regular ups and downs of life. I didn't get anything done that I had planned to, which has been weighing heavily on me. My loom still has the same project on it since May...painted only three little paintings.


My finger is still swollen and weak...told it can sometimes take up to 6 months to heal...bothersome. Amazing how much one depends on that finger for some as simple as a mug of coffee can prove to be too heavy if not held right. Weaving has been some what difficult...those of you who are weavers, think about how we send the shuttle back and forth.



I did make it to the beach, once this summer, but with all that said, I am ready for the change of seasons. I love Fall, it's my favorite.

This post is somewhat disjointed...guess that is how I am feeling. Classes start next Monday and I think I could rest another 6 weeks...feeling that fatigued. My words skim over the top of what I really think... and need to write but leave unsaid. Hard navigating through life sometimes...Still
trying to learn the lessons of surrender...



Something Maggie seems to have down...That's my knitting bag she has claimed to rest her little head...good dog, Maggie, good dog.

Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Busy Days...but Not Exactly What I Had Planned

Each day has a way of just running into the next...not sure where one begins and the next leaves off. I had great plans to work hard but found many interruptions and distractions and accidents have hampered my plans...The heat and humidity I do not enjoy and it really interferes...Then there is the flea battle...even though poor Maggie has been on Frontline Plus since May. I have spoken to the vet and the company...vacuum and wash floors daily. Well I could have done that without the Frontline? I comb her and I am disgusted. Company says kills new fleas in 4 to 18 hours...never had this problem before. But evidently I am not alone because the company has extended new guarantees regarding the problem according to the papers sent out by my vet. So I comb poor Maggie, vacuum and wash floors.

Then there is the sprained finger. Walked my regular three miles two weeks ago then pick up Maggie and took her for a little walk. I began to run, turned my head to check to see if she was running and hit a curb and slid on my knees, elbow, and fingers. Quite the mess. Had an ex-ray and came back as a bad sprain. Ice and elevate. Still not working right, swollen and stiff.

Then there is the bag worm invasion of my arborvitae trees in front of my house...long story but suffice to say one needs to pick them off...yuk, gross...and I got stung by a hornet on the other hand, same finger while picking. So now I was icing both hands. So no weaving or painting has found it's way to completion which has been frustrating.

And that is but a few of the things keeping me occupied this summer. There have been some good things too, fun things. A trip with my small Art Group to Boston to the Museum of Art, and a Studio Tour in a another part of out state and Southeastern Massachusetts on another Sunday afternoon. There have been parties and a baby girl born to a wonderful young couple, wedding shower for another couple leading up to their wedding today! She is my best friend's grand daughter. So I am looking forward to this afternoon being with people I love and celebrating a new marriage, a new adventure for a loving young couple...so God Bless Jessie and Ben today and their future...and may the rain stop any time now...

Have a great day and thanks for reading...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Walking, Observation, Searching... and a Full Moon


I find books to read from many different sources...kind of fun really. Like a hunt. I can access my library from home and order anything I want, from any library...books, music, and films. Here, in Rhode Island, all of the local libraries are connected which makes inter-library loan available. I also now have access to the college library system which also is connected to other college libraries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and beyond if need be. Amazing... I can find almost anything I want or need and do.

So how do I find what to look for, titles, topics...? It helps that I have an insatiable curiosity...always wanting to know more about something. I read little fiction, hard to find something that holds my interest all the way through. I am more of a nonfiction type of gal. I just finished Devotion by Dani Shapiro. A personal account of of what Jung calls her "afternoon of life" in the search for what she believes in, if anything. I found it via a blog that was inviting readers to list their favorite memoirs...Dani's name came up frequently.

In the case of the current book I am reading, last week my friend told me she was reading a book that she thought I might enjoy. She thought it reminded her of me though I am not sure as to why she thinks that. The title is The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. I have begun reading and I find it fascinating and hard to put down. It really is about the power of observation and the peacefulness that comes with really taking in our world or then again, maybe the thing that is right before us. Being present, keeping our minds where our bodies are. We really miss out on a lot because our busyness, our speeding around getting from here to there...our thinking about all the things that most of the time we can not do anything about or at best can not do anything about at that moment in time.

Last night I 'needed' to walk as opposed to the exercising kind of walk. Filled with tension I felt I needed to walk it off. My ipod's battery was dead so it meant I had no music to walk to. At first just random thoughts and the walk began in earnest. I started to notice tree lines and the coming dark and then the beautiful full moon. My thoughts turned to all that I had been processing, turning over and examining for the past few days. Which then lead to a prayer, just this conversation with God, which lead to my recited the Rosary( from another time ) using my fingers as prayer beads. I was praying for my life, the lives of my children , my husband, grandchildren, friends...all the losses, all of the things that have been weights...and all the time keeping track of the moon and crying. I love walking in the dark...no one can see the tears. But more importantly, I was being present , in the moment, with no distractions...I came home lighter, peaceful, and somewhat different...I had turned a corner it seems, a necessary one on this map of life.

Have a great day and thanks for reading. And comments are nice...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sigh of Relief...

An audible sigh of relief...I have just finished a six week summer session having took two needed classes. It was such a push because I was already exhausted at the end of the spring semester which ended in May. The following week the summer session began...so very little breathing space. I took a Painting Workshop, having taken Painting I, this was a needed elective and spent the time painting from a model and focusing on the figure. I also took my third(out of four needed) art history class, 20th Century Art. It was an intense 16 week course squeezed into 6 weeks, my head and body still ache...two quizzes, midterm, final, and a 6 page research paper, oh, and let me not forget all the reading for the class and the ten sources for the paper...exhaustion.



I have been going to school to earn a second degree in studio art with my concentration in painting, and have been going straight through for a year and a half now. Last summer I did both sessions. The work load is intense...so much so that I would never have believed it if I were not doing it for myself. So I am some what flat out tired but have accomplished a lot. For the summer I have been told to start right in and paint everything and anything...find my interest, what do I want to know more about, explore and continue to study the work of other artists that I enjoy or maybe those I do not enjoy and look at why. I have also been told to draw, draw, and draw some more, experiment, take risks. So I have my work cut out for me for the next 7 to 8 weeks.

So I am excited to begin after doing what professors have wanted now I can do what I want with what I have learned. I have weaving to do also for gifts and for sale. I owe a certain bride her towels before her wedding, and I have a garden screaming for attention...well the house appears to be screaming as well...just want to do the things I have not had the time to do. I have a very busy semester coming up in the Fall...



So for now just drinking my coffee, savoring the morning, and eavesdropping on the birds.
Lest one thinks all in my world is just about school and I have nothing else on my list of things to do...couldn't be further from the truth...a chronically ill husband, weaving to do, adult children with joys and problems that come up on daily basis of their own that I am either joyful or worried about...life just comes with it's own baggage but I do my best to wake each morning with a sence of hope and gratitude for what I am able to do by which reality usually hits by noontime...so today I prepare canvases, plant some seeds, listen to what ever child( they are always your children ) that needs their mom's ear, and take my husband to the doctor and maybe get to walk my very lonely dog and breath...

Have a great day and thanks for reading...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lost and Found...


Her Grave

by Mary Oliver

She would come back, dripping thick water, from the green bog.

She would fall at my feet, she would draw the black skin

from her gums, in a hideous and wonderful smile----

and I would rub my hands over her pricked ears and her cunning elbows,

and I would hug the barrel of her body, amazed at the unassuming perfect arch of her neck.

It took four of us to carry her into the woods.

We did not think of music,

but, anyway, it began to rain

slowly.

Her wolfish, invitational, half-pounce, her great and lordly satisfaction at having chased something.

My great and lordly satisfaction at her splash

of happiness as she barged

through the pitch pines swiping my face with her

wild, slightly mossy tongue.

Does the hummingbird think he himself invented his crimson throat?

He is wiser than that, I think.

A dog lives fifteen years, if your're lucky.

Do the cranes crying out in the high clouds

think it is all their own music?

A dog comes to you and lives with you in your own house, but you

do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain, or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them.

Does the bear wandering in the autumn up the side of the hill

think all by herself she has imagined the refuge and the refreshment

of her long slumber?

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the

smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know

almost nothing.

Does the water snake with his backbone of diamonds think

the black tunnel on the bank of the pond is a palace

of his own making?

She roved ahead of me through the fields, yet would come back, or

wait for me, or be somewhere.

Now she is buried under the pines.

Nor will I argue it, or pray for anything but modesty, and

not to be angry.

Through the trees is the sound of the wind, palavering

The smell of the pine needles, what is it but a taste?

of the infallible energies?

How strong was her dark body

How apt is her grave place.

How beautiful is her unshakable sleep.

Finally,

the slick mountains of love break

over us.

From New and Selected Poems Volume 1

Amy has been gone 4 weeks today...I miss her terribly and still find it hard sometimes to believe she is gone but today I received a card my vet sent with caring kind words...totally unexpected and I was brought back to that day but tonight opened my book, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1 by Mary Oliver to look at papers inside it only to find this poem and the first line that jumped out to me was: "A dog lives with you for 15 years, if you are lucky." And I was lucky...So after the surprise of that line, I read the whole poem, realizing she was writing about her own loss of a dog...amazing, I can always turn to Mary Oliver and she can express for me, through her own grief...to express for me even when that was not my intention, or even knew it was there to be read regarding the loss of her dog...I was actually looking for something I have lost track of and it belongs to the library, have not seen it sence the day Amy died...life is funny, you get what you need sometimes when you are least expecting it...the item is still missing.

It was so comforting to read comments yesterday...others coming up a long side and speaking a few words is so encouraging...thank you. Animal people are some of the best, kindest people...


Thanks for reading...have a great day.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Amy



This is Amy... she was a little 13" Beagle who was just shy of her 15th birthday. She had been a fixture in our home because she had been here as long as we were. Most people think about decorating their new home...I on the other hand just wanted a dog after years of apartment living...so I brought home a dog.

I said good bye to her on May 27, 2011...I had no idea I would be so moved by the passing of one little pup. She had changed from a terribly timid dog all her life(that is how she was born) to extremely funny, deaf, pushy old 'lady'. She begged, jumped on us for our food, and because of the deafness nothing scared her any longer. She just walked with an air of confidence she never had before. She was pretty funny.

Then all of a sudden her age caught up with her and she was dying...still can't go there. No warning, five days of denial, that's it...then she was gone. I did get to love her, hold her and even gave a bath to sooth her. But I do have funny, light hearted memories of her that I now allow to come out and comfort me. Like how she would forget about her terrible fear when it snowed and she would run and sail off the deck with beagle ears out straight like little wings along with her out stretched legs and land in the snow. Where that came from I will never know but being a snow lover my self I always enjoyed her response, that was always so out of character...



Maggie misses her, sometimes seems to be looking for her and has changed her napping spot as they always napped together. She always stays with one of us now and sleeps in my room. It occurred to me that Maggie had never been alone, she came here as a 7 week old pup 9 years ago and Amy became surrogate mom. And now she is gone...



Rest in Peace my sweet, funny Amy girl...I so miss that wise little face peering out at me from those dark seal eyes.

Thanks for reading...it has been a while I know.