Dark Skies Ahead

I’ve been away for a few days. Not from my home, which I will unfortunately have to leave soon enough, but from this blog and its accompanying art. It turns out that this has become a bigger life line than I thought. Focusing on the writing and the art has kept my mind occupied and forced my troubles to take a back seat. I gave it up for a couple of days because they were bad days, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t create. On Saturday I spoke of a “funk”, this wasn’t a funk, but rather a full-blown depression. The end of our line is so close I can almost taste it. Dan and I have both been applying for jobs to help us through these tough times. We need something to keep us going while we work towards the business. Trouble is no one wants to hire us. If I hear one more politician speak of those who won’t help themselves I’ll scream. I want to work, Dan wants to work, but in this youth obsessed culture we are dinosaurs. By Monday of this week I couldn’t stop crying, that’s it, crying all day, unable to function with my wonderful husband comforting me and promising to take care of me, the entire time feeling the exact same sense of doom. This isn’t about “stuff”, the house, the cars, the things we own. It’s about mourning the loss of the life we were living, not nearly as well off as some, but grateful to not have as little as others. We are part of the disappearing middle class. People who do the right things, work hard, take care of our family, educate our children, and help those less fortunate with whatever we could, only to have the rug pulled out from under us with no end in sight. I am a self admitted control freak. My life is spinning out of control. I need to be on the other side of this no matter what the outcome. Its definite, our home will have to go, but where do we go? No jobs? No lease. We can’t even rent. I am scared. It is no longer about saving for retirement, the question now is how do we live at all? There are those around us that have lent a helping hand, they will never know the amount of gratitude that we feel because there are no words. I am rambling as I write because my mind is in a whirl. I just need to be settled, somewhere, somehow.  So many questions, so few answers. Dan is my rock. He keeps telling me we will be OK. He reminds me how happy we were years ago when we were young and broke and living in an apartment paycheck to paycheck. We were happy, but we also had hope, and we were young with the future ahead of us. Now we are middle-aged, on the edge of losing everything, and terrified of what the future could bring. We want to work, I cannot say it enough. We want to open our business, and we want to hire people like ourselves, people who will work hard and care about what they do. I don’t want to give up, and I know all of this sounds like I already have, but I’m trying. I struggle every day to accomplish something towards our future, our business, we just need to get it off the ground. If you’ve stayed with me though all of this, thanks for listening. Sometimes it helps to just get it out of my head. Call it therapy, group therapy if you will.

Pen and ink, pencil and a little purple marker. Those little looking glasses that are falling? I’m trying to see the future through the rain.

 

Artist cards.dark skies ahead

 

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Finding My Way Back

Three days since I last posted. The honest truth is that I just haven’t been feeling much in the way of creativity. Not that I need to continue to pound in just how precarious our situation here is. Speaking of pounding…I hit myself in the hand with a hammer, that doesn’t help with creativity either. We had workmen here in our garden several years ago, and to make a long story short, they messed up, we caught them, they gave us a “special” finish on the concrete paths on either side of our house as way of making amends. Now the special finish is bubbling up and chipping off. It almost feels as though you are walking on broken glass. Me, being the industrious me that I am, decided to chip it off with a chisel and a hammer just to see if I could. I can, and I can also miss the top of the chisel and hammer my hand instead. OUCH! Fortunately it was not broken, it is just very badly bruised and hurts quite a bit.

I decided tonight that I needed to be here in front of this keyboard. I haven’t been posting, and I haven’t been working. I’m in a funk, and that isn’t good. This project has helped me quite a bit in the last year. I need to keep going. I keep trying to convince myself that we don’t have it as bad as so many people, but faced with the day-to-day of watching our life fall apart somehow those sentiments don’t make much of a difference. There were times when we were younger and poorer. The key word being younger. Starting over when you are young can be exciting, starting over when you are our age is terrifying. We’ve hit a few snags on the road to the shop, but we are looking at other ways to approach the situation. There will always be unexpected challenges when opening a business, we are prepared to deal with them.

I started working late tonight. The Blackhawk’s were playing so we were out to see the game. (They won, Yea!) It was after nine when I began to paint. I mentioned a few months back that our son had moved out. I had painted an abstract for Brian, but I wanted to give him something else. This one is for him. It isn’t even halfway done, but I feel like I have a good start. Frank Zappa from the cover of a record. It doesn’t look enough like him as of yet, but I am only forty-five minutes into the painting. It’s after ten now, so Frank will have to wait until tomorrow to look more like himself.

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One more mention of our business. I’ve designed the logo. It is of Riley, the oldest of our three cats. I will also again say if you are so inclined to help us in our endeavor it would be appreciated more than I can say. Jessica started a crowd-funding option for us. Just click on the link below.

The Curious Cat Books & Bistro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.gofundme.com/8jgl04

Moving Ahead

I know I’ve been slacking off. It’s true, but there is a reason. A big funk, a big cloud of doom and gloom that settled over our house. There may have been sunny skies for the rest of Temecula, but in this house it was gray and cloudy. The unfortunate thing is that Dan and I hit the same rock bottom place at the same time, and sometimes there isn’t an umbrella big enough to make a difference. The other unfortunate thing is that it lasted for more than a day. I’m sure there are friends of mine that are happy that I was gone. Let’s face it, when you write every single day, and your friends have vowed to follow you, it becomes a bit of a homework assignment. So now that everyone has had a breather, and I’m forcing myself to see things differently, its time to write and create once again. Before I begin…

To begin with we are working hard and fast towards our business, the same one I have mentioned repeatedly here on the blog. The wait for a miracle is over. It’s official, we are in the process of opening a cafe/bookstore. So official in fact that we sought the advice of a lawyer, and bought some chairs! We are going to put our combined talents and interests together and get this thing moving. I have also mentioned my cooking. Its good, really, really good. We eat pretty much homemade everything, that is part of the plan. We own enough books between us to open a shop, but we will be keeping ours (because we love them so much!), and we will be opening an independent bookstore that carries new books. Our home reflects our personalities, warm, loving, friendly, and comfortable. Also a huge part of the plan. I’ve asked for karma and prayers here before, now I’m going to ask for something else. Our daughter was kind enough to begin a crowd funding campaign for us. We have preliminary approval for some business loans, but are short on start-up capital, in other words cash. If you’ve enjoyed my writing, my ranting, my self-pity, or my art over the last year, please consider clicking on the link below. You’ll see a little bit more of who we are, and why we are headed this way. We will be updating our progress as we move ahead. Thanks in advance even if you only take a peek.

By the way, Thank You to all who have been following me through out this year. There have been some pretty bad days, and just knowing that someone was listening helps more than I can say.

http://www.gofundme.com/8jgl04

Many of my art projects in the near future will be to do with our shop. One possibility for our “to go” lunch bags. Pen and ink and color pencil.

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Some Motherly Creativity

I took a couple of days off. We are still trying to figure out what to make of our lives these days. I read daily about how politicians want to cut funding for the unemployed. I read that people assume others don’t want to work, but they’re wrong. Some of those same people who rant against those who have less are the same people who would turn my husband down for a job because he is “too old”. Emotions and stress are running high around here. I find myself in tears at the grocery store because I can’t afford to spend an extra dime. We have more than many people, but that could change at any time for any of us, and these days it feels like its right around the corner for us. We are still working towards opening a business. It seems that it will be the only way to find work. Its terrifying but it is becoming the only option. It isn’t the way I wanted to do this, but we don’t always get to choose our path.

I haven’t really felt very creative, but I did push through my secret project. It was a scrapbook for my daughter and her husband. They just celebrated their first anniversary, and I wanted to give them something special. Sometimes I sure my kids must hate me, because sometimes I enjoy myself at their expense. Not in a mean way, but just because when its your Mom it tends to be embarrassing. Last year as Jessica and John were counting down towards their wedding I got a little creative with some photos of them. It started out as baby pics, but then graduated to full-blown Hollywood hits, movie stills altered with their image. I posted one every day for a month on Facebook. My personal Facebook isn’t public, so the embarrassment was contained. I’m going to post a few tonight with permission from my victims.

 

2 Days4 days 5 days 6 Days 8 Days 16 Days

 

 

 

 

There are more, but these are my favorites. Thanks to Jess and John for being such good sports.

 

 

I hope everyone who celebrates Easter had a wonderful day, and if you don’t I hope it was a great Sunday. Easter greetings from one of my cats, Sophie. We think she might just be part rabbit.Sophie bunny

 

To Be Continued…???

I’m back. Posting just a little tonight. One of the unfortunate side effects of moving west is leaving our sports teams behind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big sports fan. Actually if I never watched a sporting event again it would be fine with me. I think it has something to do with my childhood. My Dad played professional soccer when I was a kid. Every weekend my Mom would dress my sisters and I in matching dresses, frilly socks, with bows in our hair, and make us sit on the sidelines watching our Dad play. The other kids would be running around enjoying themselves, not us, we were like little matching dolls all sitting in a row. These days I’m just trying to be a supportive wife. The Blackhawks are in the playoffs, and if we want to see them we have to go out, and of course they went into triple overtime. We thankfully left before they lost. So here I am writing at ten when I should be going to bed.

I did manage to eke out a watercolor this afternoon. Still working on my super secret project that I can’t unveil as of yet.  The lovely Theresa came by today and gave me some beautiful tulips. I managed to paint them right before we walked out the door. Tonight is my last night of posting retrospective work. I’m still not sure now that my year is up how I will proceed with this blog. Lots of changes ahead in my life, most of which I can’t reveal quite yet, but I missed writing when I took the night off. I can’t promise myself that I’ll write every day, but I feel like its been something to hang onto in these troubled days since Dan lost his job. I think we know what we have to do. Making the plan is the easy part, jumping into it is a whole other matter. That may seem a little cryptic, but I will explain in time. Meanwhile, the last of my favorite pieces, and the first to head into the future. As for this blog and project? The title says it all.

4 17 14  Today’s work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo Riley, one of my cats in pencil.

 

 

 

 

IMG_9711  The children’s play area that we built for the children at our daughter’s wedding.

 

 

 

image  The tabletop I painted based on a vintage French powder tin that I own.

 

 

 

 

Ab aeterno (4)  Altered Art. The photo is from a gravestone in Virginia.

 

 

 

 

005  A piece I did fairly early in the project. An ode to my artistic journey.

Marker on Bristol.

 

 

5 13  My faux brick wall, made entirely from cardboard. My most often pinned pin on Pinterest.

 

 

 

image  Pastel desert scene.

 

 

 

 

 

6 3 3 6 3 (1)  The “before” and “after” of a table I bought for $5. Wood burned design painted with pearl paints.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0831 Theresa’s old kitchen cabinet door. Canvas cut to size to fill the center. I reproduced the business card of the restaurant where Dan and I had dinner in Paris for our 20th wedding anniversary.

 

 

 

 

12 20 Riley once again in pencil.

 

 

 

IMG_3262 The sign I made for my daughter and son-in-law for Christmas. Cardboard and burnt glue.

 

 

 

 

12 25 Custom designed Christmas fairy.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3427IMG_3430  More of the burnt paper and glue on a cardboard pencil box base.

 

 

 

 

2 7 14 (1) Polymer clay sculpting attached to a small cardboard box.

 

 

 

 

2 23 14 (2) Old window transformed into a memo station with mirror.

 

 

 

3 24 14 Another cabinet door.

 

 

 

 

4 4 14 (1) Antiqued mirror with one of my Paris photos tinted sepia.

 

 

 

 

There were a few more pieces that I love, but I’m tired. I think the triple overtime did me in.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh No, I’m Addicted

Last night was the first in a year when I didn’t post. I actually took a day off, and you know what? It was sooo hard. To begin with I started to feel guilty, like I wasn’t doing something that I was supposed to do. (It’s the whole Catholic thing, its ingrained in my brain) I was working on something creative, all day in fact, but it wasn’t something I can share as of yet. It’s a gift for someone, a very involved gift, and its a surprise. Late in the afternoon I began to feel the pull of the blog. Feeling the need to produce a piece of art to put up, and then I realized I didn’t have to. I’m dead serious, I was feeling like a bad person because I hadn’t produced anything. It may be time for an intervention. I’m still in the middle of my very involved gift, so for tonight more of my retrospective of a year’s worth of art. Paintings in oil and acrylic, and one pastel. Tomorrow the last of the retrospective and new art!

IMG_9703   This is an oil done entirely with palette knife. It was a first for me. It’s based on the view from my studio window.

 

square painting cropped  Acrylic, based on a vintage Japanese mirror from the Forties.

 

 

 

 

Pear Pastel (3)  Pear pastel. My dear friend loves pears.

 

 

 

 

gate  Oil. This is the door to a garden in Santa Barbara. I call it “My Secret Garden”

 

 

 

 

DSC05785  The Kitchen Worker. Oil, inspired by a photo in Gourmet magazine.

 

 

 

 

6 7 (16)  Oil on board. Inspired by a vintage illustration.

 

 

 

 

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Waterlily’s, because every artist needs at least one right?

 

 

 

6 15  For Dan. His Dad’s watch, penknife and martini glass, oil.

 

 

 

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Temecula. Oil

 

 

7 11  Acrylic on canvas. I was imaging an old Polaroid.

 

 

 

 

7 12  Acrylic garden shovel. Inspired by a photo in Country Living.

 

 

 

 

7 22  Oil on piece of old wood. For my Mom who loved Lilac.

 

 

 

 

8 2 (2)  Oil. Painted this in roughly two hours, right out of my head.

 

 

 

 

8 6 (1)  My first abstract.

 

 

 

 

8 16 (2)  Oil. Palette knife and thirty minutes.

 

 

 

 

8 20

Another Waterlily in oil.

 

 

 

IMG_1062  Oil. Painted on a day when I wasn’t feeling great and my wonderful husband painted a version of his own alongside me to help me get past my artistic block.

 

 

 

 

10 11  Acrylic. An attempt to capture the colors of Maxfield Parrish.

 

 

 

 

winter scene

Old work, oil on canvas with a great story to go with it. (If you are interested, “A Little Tale”, posted 12/11/13)

 

 

12 24  Brian, my son in oil. An “orphaned” painting from many years ago that I finally rescued.

 

 

 

 

12 23

 

Acrylic. Palette knife once again.

 

12 28

 

Oil. La Jolla, California, from a photo I took. My favorite piece from the entire year.

 

 

cropped barn  Oil. From a photo I took in California Central Coast farm territory.

 

 

3 7 14  Oil. A really old one, but a favorite.

 

 

 

3 25 14 An abstract in Acrylic.

 

 

My Day Off…

My Day Off…Sort of

Not too much to read, but lots to look at. Taking a well deserved few days, and posting the work I like the most that I completed this past year.

Today: Pen and Ink

 

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Where Do We Go From Here?

My year is up. I am no longer obligated to post or create every day. My self-imposed project is complete, or is it? Did I accomplish everything I had hoped? Not in so many ways. Did I discover parts of myself? Yes. So now what’s next? I am a creature of habit. Something I haven’t revealed about myself (Yes, even after all this time) is that there was a time in my life when I kept a diary almost every day for seven years. When you don’t have friends books, paper and pen, and music become your lifeline. When I started my blog and project I never thought about what would happen when it was finished. I wasn’t even sure I would finish, but here I am a year later. I still have much room to grow artistically. New skills to master, and quite possibly having to let go of the one I love most, oil painting.

I still haven’t finished my portrait of Jessica because it is in oil. My respiratory system is taking a stand. Its been weeks since my cold ended, but I’m still feeling that little catch of breath in the back of my throat. As much as I hate the idea of it, I may have to resort to wearing a mask if I want to continue to paint. I think I may not have a choice. It was my first artistic love and I’m not ready to let go.

As for this blog, as I said last night, I will continue. Although I just might take tomorrow off. We’ll see. It’s become as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth.

 

I’m going to spend the next day or two organizing the work I love most. Pen and in later in the week. Tonight another retrospection, this time some watercolor.

 

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Day 365

Today is day 365. I did it, a year of writing every day, of not giving up on myself, of pushing myself on days that I didn’t want to do anything, and keeping my promise to create every single day. In retrospect there are days when a bad mood, a bad attitude, laziness, or frustration presented itself in the work I produced. I can tell what days those are by looking at the work. I can also say that I am proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. This blog evolved into a much more personal diary than I had ever intended. I have more to say about all of this, but as I’ve so often mentioned here on these pages, life sometimes takes turns that you never expect.

There was a tragedy in my family today. My beautiful niece was in the beginning of a new relationship. The young man was killed early this morning in a car accident. My heart breaks for her, I love her like she is my own daughter. I have no words to comfort her, and I am too far away to wrap my arms around her. I didn’t know this young man, I only saw photographs that showed two young people happy, and read messages on Facebook that made me aware of just how crazy he was about her. His brother was injured as well and is critical, he is the father of two young children. My heart bleeds for this family. I have asked for prayers before. I’m asking again. This time for some people I don’t really know, and for my niece. Ask God, whatever God is yours to help them through this terrible time, to bring them peace, to help that young father heal. As I told my niece a short time ago, hopefully she can find some solace in knowing that her boyfriend passed away at a point in his life when he was happy because of her. It is a day like today that puts so much in perspective. My life isn’t perfect, far from it, but many miles away from me is a lovely girl with a broken heart living a nightmare, and parents who are mourning the loss of one son, and praying for another to survive. I cannot even imagine their pain.

I’m still working on Maddie’s portrait. I redid entire portions of it, but I won’t be posting it tonight. I decided instead to go through this past years work and choose the pieces I’m most proud of. A retrospective if you will…later… I began to look at my work, and I did more pieces of work that I love than I was aware of. Tonight on a night when I think about life and it’s sometimes very sad turns, I will post portraits and figures, but on this page the three that mean the most. My son, my husband, my daughter. I love you all and thank you for your support and encouragement over the last year. A second post to follow with the rest.

Honestly, nothing seems important right now. I just want to say to my niece, “I love you. I wish it were in my power to make this all better for you. To change the last twenty-four hours. To give you whatever you need to heal. To give those two young men back to their families. I am praying for you all.”

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