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Needing the feel of paint stuck to my fingernails again, I pulled out the acrylics and my big glass palette.  This painting is 48″ x 24″ on a gessoed panel.

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I prepared three panels, thinking that I would paint a triptych but decided I liked the panels standing on their own.  Mostly green for this panel, but had lovely time using iridescent white, a paint I’ve never used before but will certainly incorporate in a painting or two in the future.

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Debating with myself about where to go with the third panel.  Yellow?  Blue?  Purple?  I’m leaning towards black because we’ve had a few sunny days to shock my system, but nothing has firmed up yet in my art brain…except thinking I will have to add those dotty dots for continuity.

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It seems that I’m spending both more time and less time in the studio these days.  More time because I have two classes to prep for, and less time because…I have two classes to prep for.  Sheesh!

Three small watercolors (11″ x 15″) and still working with (oh boy!) grids

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Lot’s Wife

I’ve always admired abstract artists who can go to their studios, grab a brush and a canvas, and leap in to painting.  Whether it is laziness, creative terror or lack of imagination I usually need a jumping point.  It can be as simple as a cloud formation, irritation with the current political situation, or a phrase that tickles my fancy.  The poem Lot’s Wife by Anna Akhmatova had been tucked in the back of my mind for some time, when I pulled it out and jumped for this watercolor.

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Lot’s Wife

 

Lot’s Wife

And the just man trailed God’s shining agent,
over a black mountain, in his giant track,
while a restless voice kept harrying his woman:
“It’s not too late, you can still look back

at the red towers of your native Sodom,
the square where once you sang, the spinning-shed,
at the empty windows set in the tall house
where sons and daughters blessed your marriage-bed.”

A single glance: a sudden dart of pain
stitching her eyes before she made a sound . . .
Her body flaked into transparent salt,
and her swift legs rooted to the ground.

Who will grieve for this woman? Does she not seem
too insignificant for our concern?
Yet in my heart I never will deny her,
who suffered death because she chose to turn.

From Poems of Akhmatova, by Anna Akhmatova and translated by Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward. Published by Little, Brown & Co. © 1973 by Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward. Granted by permission of Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agency. All rights reserved.

Hard to believe that the summer is almost over, and that all the oil paintings I planned to paint are still unpainted, even though the studio windows were cranked open wide.  Where did June go?   Did I daydream through the whole month?  And July, where did July hide?

In September, just around the corner September,  my classes will again begin at the Tukwila Community Center…Open Studio where I am The Enabler with advice and encouragement on Thursdays from 10 until noon, and Truly Beginning Watercolor on Friday mornings where I will be Teacher Extraordinaire…hopefully.

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While Listening to Gregorian Chant

It’s been a long time since I last dipped a brush in the water bucket, so for the past couple of weeks I’ve been digging around in the watercolor box, muttering, Keep it simple, keep it simple!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I hadn’t forgotten everything but what I had forgotten was how very beautiful watercolor colors can be.  Once again I’ve fallen in love with the medium…hoping I can pass this love on to the newbies.

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August Still-life In A Grid

Every once in awhile I look in the mirror and determine that it’s “Time to paint a self-portrait, kiddo.”  I did my first selfie in high school…I drew myself as Medusa because the snaky hair thing intrigued me.  At some point I did a drawing of me pregnant, and another painting of me as a Madonna…little escaped my pencil or paintbrush when I had the urge to Paint Me.. Most of these selfies no longer exist, and for good reason…some discarded because I was moving (and I moved a lot!) but most because they were embarrassingly bad drawings/paintings/ prints.  I wish now that I’d saved a few more of them because they are both more interesting to look at, and a better reminder of where I was at in my life, than old photos.

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I painted this one when the Always Pleasant Mr. T and I were dating.   He was living in Oklahoma; I was living just outside of Chicago.   We spent an inordinate amount of time and money on phone calls and flying back and forth.   I worried that given the distance he might wander off with a more economical and available local lass.  Clever girl that I was,  I mailed him this  good-sized, wistful painting of me to hang in his apartment.

 

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By the time I got to these two dry points, the Always Pleasant Mr. T and I were long married and living in S. Carolina.  I don’t remember that I felt all that miserable, but looking at these two prints it is apparent that  I did.  After a long and happy love affair with clay,  I’d gone back to school for an art degree, where I felt frustrated and invisible.  Plus it was hot.   Plus there were huge flying cockroaches about the size of hummingbirds that could sneak into the house with the groceries.  Our move to Seattle was one that filled me with joy!

 

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Seattle:  Self  portrait with a ruby earring.

 

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There has been a long hiatus between self-portraits, but last week I grabbed a mirror and some oil pastels and, woops, I did it again.

Someday, I’ll try smiling….

 

 

Not Dead Yet

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Oil Pastel 30″ x 22″

 

The very nice thing about having a blog is hearing from treasured but somehow lost friends.  The bad thing is staring at a blank computer screen.  It has been months and months since I last took fingers to keyboard because writing is far down my list of favorite things to do.  To be honest, it’s never made the favorite list…never, ever came close… writing is on the dread list that includes cleaning the bathroom, weighing myself and defrosting the freezer in the garage.  Today I am not defrosting the freezer.

 

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Oil Pastel 30″ x 22″

 

For the past six months I’ve had two easels smoking…acrylics when I feel the need for a brush in my hand and oil pastels because, gosh darn,  I love them!  Compared to painting oil pastels are so, so neat…a little stuff gets under the fingernails but who can’t live with that?  No brushes to clean, no water to fetch, no paint smudges on my shirts, no worries about spilling….oil pastels=easy living!

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Oil Pastel 30″ x 22″

 

 

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Oil Pastel 30″x 22″

 

 

 

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  My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

  Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

  She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.

  She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted grey

  Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,

  The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

  And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know

  The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

  And they are better for her praise.

by Robert Frost

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