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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.
Years past, this amazing family gathered for food, fun, and photographs. This year they came by twos, visited from the back porch, and there were no photos. From left to right; Jade and Ellie blessed me with a long visit. I love these beautiful, smart, and funny girls. Jade (15, with learner’s permit) is working for a jeweler making earrings, and Ellie (17) is working at Star Bucks and researching universities. She has quite a few academic scholarship offers. Both Ellie and Jade are brilliant.
Hans and Flora stopped by for a short time. It’s always a delight to see and hear from them. Hans has a You Tube program called “Hanzdid it.” Recently Hans and Flora purchased a HUGE van that was, in days past, used to transport veterans to and from medical appointments. The van included a wheel chair lift and a gurney. They were filming as they removed those items. Watching them remove the gurney was a perfect SNL skit. Maybe nurses have strange senses of humor, and I found that segment very funny. I watch it when I get down or need a laugh. That van is, as we speak, being transformed into a camping van, and it will be a show piece. Hans is very creative, and Flora, do you remember the beautiful spread she prepared for Christmas dinner last year? She brought the finest cuisine with her from China when she and Hans were married.
Renee and Terry came bye after skiing. Renee is still teaching middle school math…on line, and Terry is selling houses like crazy. He even worked Christmas eve. (The girls were with their mom this year, so it wasn’t so bad.) Christmas definitely changes after the kids are out of the house, but maybe we’ll be together next year. Terry and Renee gifted me with a warm scarf and an amazing knife set. I have been using prehistoric knives that had given up on the idea of “cutting” some years ago. It was a good day, and I’m so grateful to have been blessed with such an awesomely wonderful family.
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.
I was four years old when my folks purchased a lot on the North end of Devil’s Lake located literally on the other side the hill from the painting in this post. We owned this property for 60 years plus. Over the years I’ve stored a zillion stories from my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood all imprinted at “the lake,” as we called it. For a short time in the mid 90’s I lived in the house my father had built on that property. It was a wonderful experience. While there, almost every evening at sunset I took long walks with my beautiful Chow dog on the beach at Road’s End. After the last sliver dome of the sun sunk over the edge of the ocean’s horizon I’d then race back to the lake to catch the moon rise over the hills across from our house as it spread its light across the lake waters. The reflection, what can I say, was beyond awesome.
I hadn’t grasped the impact that Place had instilled in my memory – until the day Lincoln City burned, September 2020. Throughout the Covid scares and restrictions, I maintained a moderately peaceful temperament, but hearing there were fires blazing on the soupy, drippy, moldy, never dry Oregon coast, it was unbelievable! TV news showed they had torched the land from Otis to the North end of the lake. Evacuations, really? I was stunned. It felt like memories were burning inside of me leaving a strange dark and empty space. I really had no right or reason to claim this loss, but there it was hooked to some chromosome awakening me to something I had labeled “the past.” Now, here it is, the past all over again reciting its Fierce and Beautiful poetry. The painting is an attempt to honor the smoke and clouds of Roads End. I’m happy to remember that I loved so much.
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.
Christmas has come and gone already and the “longest night of the year” has also passed. Our family had a wonderful Christmas Day together. We met at Flora and Han’s home, and they prepared a feast beyond compare.
We always marvel at their cooking, Flora at the helm, and Hans her right-hand man in the kitchen. We all agreed we could not find more delectable Chinese food anywhere from Bend, to Portland, or maybe even down to San Francisco. Her cooking not only reflects the joy she has for her country of origin and their cuisine but also her new life in the U.S. Her love for Hans and their new home is obviously in the mix.
The Winter Solstice corresponds with Christmas and the Season of Lights. They arrive a few days apart and, among other traditional observances, celebrate beautiful expressions of the heart. This year I am blessed and I rejoice in life as I move through another round of healing. My breast cancer of 23 years ago has raised its unwanted head and moved into my spine. Hope, healing prayers and good thoughts are sustaining, not to mention traditional treatment. I prefer hope and healing prayers, as the only side effects are hope and healing prayers. Family is close and love prevails as we move into this period of darkness and inward turned reflection.
You are welcome to stop by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the beautiful newer building located at the bottom of Skyliner’s Rd. off Skyline Ranch Rd. The artist’s reception was on June 2nd, but the show will be available for viewing until August 4th. This is a juried show, and there are some very amazing pieces submitted by local artists. It is All About Birds, their habitats, nests, feathers portrayed in fabric, wood, sculptures, and paintings. Look for mine entitled, “Waiting.”
Beginning June 28th I will have two new paintings hanging at the Redmond Hospital in the halls just off the main entrance. In the works are large poppies, like the ones out my back door and all throughout my yard. Here’s a peek at the reference photos I took. By the way, the deer don’t eat poppies. Isn’t nature the best?
Photo of Poppies
Back Yard Poppies
As a side note, painting has been so helpful in my most recent cancer recovery. I’m doing better each day. Thanks for the support. It means so much.
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.