The Power Of Perspective

If you’ve read my blog you know that perspective is my nemesis, but that is artistic perspective.  There is the other perspective, the kind I try to use in my daily life, the kind I use when I want to stop myself from being judgmental, when I try to put myself in the shoes of someone else.

Today was a tough one. I posted last week about my Dad having an accident, and although he is out of the hospital things are not well. When you are weeks away from your eighty-first birthday and sustain a concussion it really takes its toll on your brain. Dad has been with my sister for a few days and while he has moments where he seems his old self, more often than not he is confused. I am still hopeful that he will regain some of his memory and cognizance. What worries me as well is the rest of my family. I have three sisters, each with our own families and health issues. The stress and burden of caring for an aging loved one can take its toll. It isn’t about not loving someone, there is a great deal of that, but just how much it can break down communication between siblings, between couples, destroy families. I talked to my sister earlier this evening and told her how I felt. We all need to be respectful of each others lives and needs. Two of the girls are carrying the weight of what is happening to our Dad. I live hundreds of miles away. Yes, I can sympathize, I can and do make phone calls for them, but the reality is that it is their lives that are affected. I have said often in the last few days that it is easy for me to suggest something because I am here, and they are there. I told both women today that I don’t want this to come between us, most of our family is in Ireland so there is just us. If we want to truly honor what our father and our mother would want, then we need to stick together. Everyone needs to recognize that what is important to one isn’t important to another. Perspective is a powerful thing. When we as the individual suffer we see it only through the prism of our own lives. When we feel pain, it is no more or no less than what someone else might feel, but it is our pain, and for that it should be respected. In situations such as the one we find ourselves in now it is easy to look at someone else and think that something is trivial, or less important that our “stuff”. It’s not. I want to make sure that throughout this process that no one of us feels alone, singled out, or less valued. Relationships can be damaged beyond repair with a single sentence. I love my Dad, but I love my sisters as well. I would like to get beyond this and be able to look back, say we did our best, but that more importantly, we remain as sisters, as friends. Tomorrow my Dad is back in the hospital for a test that could lead to a pacemaker. Wishes for good karma, and prayers are appreciated.

I don’t have the finished “up-cycled” cabinet door to post as of yet. I am putting multiple coats of the Martha Stewart chalk paint on it. I had done two yesterday, but upon closer inspection earlier today I sanded the corners down and redid the paint. It is a project that I am hoping to sell and want it to be perfect.

What I did accomplish today is a watercolor. We spent part of our afternoon in the Temecula Valley Cheese Shop, one of my favorite places. The owner is a friend, and was kind enough to spend time with us as we consider opening a place of our own. We had some wine, and a plate of cheese. It was a little respite from my worried and troubled mind. Inspired by our afternoon, I did a painting of a cheese plate that I put together. Too bad I can’t share.8 14


When Have I Suffered Enough For My Art?

It’s OK to laugh now. I mean at me and the things I am about to reveal about myself. In the several weeks of blogging that I have done it has mostly been confined to my artistic troubles. I have let in little glimpses of myself beyond that, but it occurred to me that maybe people might want to read something a little more uplifting, well not exactly uplifting, but it might just give you cause to do that laughing I deemed permissible. For today’s project I decided to work on a small table. I’ll go into the details of it momentarily, except for now to say  that it involved using a wood burner, and it inspired tonight’s blog.

When I was twelve I slit my wrist. Before you gasp in horror let me tell you it wasn’t intentional. Crafty, artistic child that I was, I was in the process of trying to make a present for my working mother. I don’t remember exactly what I was making, but we can all assume it was a project from Highlight’s Magazine, I was an avid reader, and for those of you who are old enough to remember, I still quote Goofus and Gallant. I was cutting a bleach bottle in half with an open blade, it got stuck on the seam so I did what any brainiac would do, I slashed hard at it while holding it in my other hand. My parents were at work, so my big sister put a rubber band on my wrist to stop the bleeding. (She was a freshly turned fourteen year-old, how would she know?) Fortunately my dad came home shortly after that and took me to the emergency room. Two hours later with a butterfly bandage, because it was too late for stitches, and an interrogation by the police officer on duty who I had to convince I wasn’t trying to kill myself, I had for the first time officially suffered for my art. I bring this up because today while using my wood burner I turned to Dan and said that I couldn’t believe my parents gave me a wood burner for Christmas that same year. They gave a burning hot, searing weapon to their daughter, the daughter who accidentally slit her wrist, the daughter who had a gap between her front teeth until she tripped over her sister and smashed her face on the sidewalk, the same girl who can’t tumble, failed swimming lessons, can’t roller skate and didn’t figure out how to ride a bike until she was nine. Did anyone ever get the toy where you poured paint on a spinning device similar to a record player? I got it, spun the paint all over my bed. Stepped on a tube of acrylic paint in my teenage bedroom and shot hot pink across the olive-green carpet. I swear I have no fingerprints, they are all attached to the hot glue that I have had to pull off my burning fingers. My dad’s favorite story to tell about me to anyone willing to listen (and even those who don’t want to listen) is that I failed Phys Ed in high school. It’s true, of course my P.E. teacher is a dead ringer for the witch in the Wizard of Oz, I kid you not, I’ve got the yearbooks to prove it. Then there is of course my six knee surgeries. Tripped over a vacuum cleaner and fell down a flight of stairs, fell off a ladder, (twice) tried to hang a kitchen curtain, you get the idea. (Although Dan said he likes to tell people I did it pole dancing. Which might be possible if I could actually get on a pole) What I want to know is if suffering makes your art better, then why aren’t my paintings at the Getty yet?

Now that you all know just how pathetic I can be, I will tell you where I’m not. I took this five dollar table that I bought at a yard sale and am in the process of turning it into something I love. (I have a before photo. I’m not sure where in my pictures it is right now, but I promise to post it when I put up the finished table tomorrow) I had two ideas for it. One would have turned it into something for a kid’s room, but I went instead with an idea based on a piece of vintage fabric. Dan painted the base black for me. On the top I wood burned a floral design that I am painting with those Martha Stewart Pearl paints I mentioned before. I love, love, love them! It looks like inlaid Mother Of Pearl. I still need to draw two more of the flowers for the top and burn them. It is painstaking and time-consuming, but I love the finished look. When I am finished with the flowers I am going to add a light coat of stain.

It’s been a good day, and I only burned myself once!