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When I was four years old, my parents purchased property on Devils Lake in Neotsu Oregon, located on the Oregon coast. An unnamed “head” separated our place from an area on the Pacific called Road’s End.
When I was in my 50’s I moved to “the lake.” Weather permitting, summer, fall and late spring, each sunset I walked beside the foamy ocean shore at Road’s End. This area of the beach was terminated by high cliffs. Some evenings I would comb the base of the steep walls and often fond perfectly shaped stone spheres. They varied in size and color. How they were formed and why they show up just in this location was a mystery. In time I was told that Natives of the First Nations who inhabited this area called them Prayer Balls. Legend has it that the natives would speak prayers into the stones, throw it in the “D” River, and prayers would flow to the sea and be answered. I wanted to gather many stones and bring them home, but I decided they needed to stay with the cliffs, with the exception of those in the photo above.
Supposedly “D” River is the shortest river in the US. It is where Devils Lake flows into the Pacific. Last time I saw it, it was pretty clogged. The river’s length is the width of the two lane bridge under which the it runs.
Time to switch to another journal. This one is handmade and larger than the previous one. The stitch that’s binding the pages together is called a “coptic stitch.” It’s complicated, for me, but it allows the pages to open out flat so that a painting stretch across both pages for a single image. I secured the waxed twine with clear packing tape, presenting quite a challenge to paint over the slick surface of the tape…or not.
After moving to town and away from the mountain trails I walked for 18 years, Isabella, my white chow, and I resorted to lower ground. This is a likeness of a place we often visited where the mountains were visible and the weeds prolific. There was a trail that paralleled the one we usually took, and often a little coyote would walk along beside us on its own path. It was no threat to us. In fact it felt like a little friend and seemed as if it was saying, “Hello, good to see you again.” The journal is made of 140 lb. watercolor paper painted with watercolor and pastels.
November 24, 2020.Reading time less than 1 minute.
My “go – to” book of the year. It’s deep and brilliantly written.
These next posts are a series inspired by Richard Powers, “The Overstory.” Still sad about having to leave the mountains, Power’s brilliant novel using trees as some of the main characters touched me and shown light on the fact that change is the “forever” that is forever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
A few years later:
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.
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?
Watch for more paintings and conversation from the East side of the mountains.
Painting my Garden is a project I began exactly one year ago, May 2018. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my intention was to paint each newly emerging flower as it bloomed in the garden surrounding my small cottage. That was a dream I couldn’t keep up with. The garden got way ahead of me and thanks to my amazing phone camera, I was able to paint from spring and summer references throughout the winter. March 30, 2019 the garden project was done.
April 1, 2019 I hung 12 paintings at St. Charles Redmond. This smaller hospital offers a lovely, friendly, quiet venue. I am one of three artists presently showing there. You are welcome to visit in person, or you can sneak a peek here on my blog site. Some of the paintings have appeared in past postings, but I wanted to show them as one spring-time event.
December 21, 2018.Reading time less than 1 minute.
Another year has past and winter in all its beauty and quiet is upon us. Today marks the return of the sun and, paradoxically, the beginning of winter when dark days and long nights prevail. Every year Mother Nature offers her seasonal gift, a time to look within and find comfort in our own skin. Of course this is a challenge with the joy and craziness of the holidays all mixed up together. Maybe a “both-and” approach is called for and “Quiet Craziness” will work just fine. What do you think?
November 12th, the birthdays of my son Terance Olaf Skjersaa ll and his dad Terance Olaf Skjersaa, was celebrated at Anthony’s. Ten Skjersaa’s were around the table celebrating this grand and fun day. Wishing both Terrys a great year to come.
When I lived at Skyliner’s often on a Sunday, or any other day of the week, I would head out towards my “personal sanctuary.” No pews out there, no priests in robes speaking a male dominated tongue, or no hugging the stranger next to you . There are good things about church, but it’s nice, for me, to have an alternative – like The Church of the Beaver Pond.
Through the Aspen grove listening to the little heart-shaped leaves making music in the wind, then on to the little pond where creation, life and death, spoke truth and comfort.
The shapes, colors, and fragrances of Fall are a promise. Fall promises change, a u-turn out of summer and a colorful opportunity to contemplate the truth that nothing stays the same. Winter is on its way and we adapt. We re-style our clothing shedding tee shirts and searching out warmer coats. We revise ourselves with the seasons, hopefully with grace, and Look, there on the stove we find warm soups and maybe a friend for lunch. Humm, that reminds me, my artist group is coming tomorrow, and I have a chicken vegetable, coconut milk soup I have to get started. So, I remind myself, “it’s” all there and we’re part of it, endowed with the ability to hope, and love, and surround ourselves in an atmosphere of the best we can be in any moment. I just watched “Martian Child” twice. The child starring in that movie…he’s just enough to make you “Fall in love.”
There’s a chill in the air. It’s been cool for the last few days, the wind has picked up, but it seems on schedule. Today is the August full moon. According to some Native American tribal people, this moon cycle is called the Sturgeon Moon or the Corn Moon. Fishermen and fisherwomen are pulling in their catch for winter, and the last of the corn is being brought to harvest.
Most who live in the western world no longer live and learn by the seasons. Lately I’ve been contemplating the question; what would our lives look like if early settlers who arrived on the shores of this contenent had adopted the ways of the First Peoples, those who lived here for centuries before us. Those who respected the land and learned from it and kept it alive and healthy. I wonder if the current devastation to our Earth we are now living with would have been avoided? Would bank notes and credit cards prevail, or might some form of predominate exchange based on altruistic concern be the case? Likely there would have been fighting, some disease, some starvation, and something new we can’t imagine, but how would it have been different?
Out of a blast of thunder my Iris took wings. In Central Oregon this time of year hot dry days can create violent storms such as the small, isolated blast that shook me awake from an afternoon snooze. A wave of boldness seemed to overcome me, and knowing this painting was no “show stopper” I relaxed, had fun, put some paint down and am happy with the outcome. (Still no show stopper.)