Fall, Fire, and Fierce Beauty

 

                                                                       “Roads End”

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Needed Color & a Hermitage

show color
Just Needed Color

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.

Get away
Inside the Hermitage

to show hermitage
Tiny stove waiting for the cold winter months

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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.

North Garden

Outside Hermitage Through Window

North Yard by Hermitage

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.

Lazy Summer

Playing in the Strawberries
Playing Around

My header, “Lazy Summer,” doesn’t actually describe my recent days here on the East side of the Cascades. I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy since late 2019 resting and revitalizing my life following the removal of a tumor from my spine, then followed by radiation treatment- which I found exhausting.  Now the focus is on another recovery.  About two months ago I had a procedure to shunt fluid from one of the ventricles in my brain into my peritoneal cavity.  The latter has been the most challenging.  George Burns said something to the effect that growing older isn’t for sissies (actually I think he claimed, ” it ain’t for sissies. All that aside, I’m doing pretty well and have my sights set on showing, through my art, friendships, and community connections/Zooming, that I’m very happy to be here on Earth – in these fierce and beautiful times of change and unknowing.

I wish you all good health, prevailing patience, and deep understanding around today’s challenges.

 

Gift
A Raven for Thea

I painted this little piece for my good friend who flew, without haste, to sit with me while I passed through a dark episode of the biggest “ouch” I’ve ever known.  It’s so hard to ask for help, but sometimes you’ve got to get over yourself and pick up the phone.

 

Unfolded Greeting Card

Greeting cards are fun to make, and sometimes they take the same amount of time as a full painting.  It’s always fun and very special when I, personally, open a hand painted card from a friend. This went to my Spiritual Director who has offered invaluable companionship and help as I deal with my acceptance of being older.

Speaking of spiritual direction, I am also a trained spiritual director, which is more aptly called “Spiritual Companioning.”  A few weeks ago I had my little, 77 square foot, tool shed converted into a space I call my “Hermitage.”  It sits on the edge of the most beautiful part of my garden, an area which cannot be seen from the house.  It has a lovely feel, and I am hoping to “Companion” a few folks in that space.

North Yard by Hermitage

I’m standing in the prettiest part of the yard just outside the new window.  Not smart from a photographic point of view.  If you want to get a shot of something, don’t stand in the middle of it.  Oh well, it’s so peaceful out there and a fun version of a vacation.

This is a little rose garden is just outside my bedroom slider.  The fenced yard keeps these miracle, for Central Oregon, flowers off the deer’s dinner menu. I think a deer can smell a rose from about 10 miles away.

There’s an unfinished poppy painting waiting for me in my art room, so I’ll sign off hoping to push all the right buttons and get this posted.  Be well and take good care.

New Art Shows

Invitation
Invitation to Show At UU’s

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?

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.

Art Show in Redmond – April & May 2019

 

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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.