Because They’re Watching

Just Fun, 12 x 16



Did I mention I dance when I paint?  Sometimes it’s fun and yields stuff I want to hang on the wall. Other times it’s just fun.

The kids were treated to it the other night – their reward for telling me my studio needed to be closer to them.  There were a few eye rolls when they poked their heads in, but I kept dancing (and painting). I’m not doing it in spite of them watching. I’m dancing because they’re watching.




Ice Storm

Iced Storm, 11×14, $100 matted


The last two winters in our corner of Vermont have been unusually warm, with ice storms  rather than good old fashioned blizzards punctuating the season. Did I mention missing the blizzards?

 The ice storms are fascinating too. I don’t know why, but I hear the wind better without the foot or two of snow on the roof acting as a buffer, and Mother Nature is howling angry about something these days.



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Minimalist Winter


Last fall T1 was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder that will require him to be on medication for the rest of his life. we weren’t jumping for joy, but we have good health insurance, and we knew that he could stay on until he was 26 or, until he was a job that offered coverage. it was a disorder, but it was manageable, and, for all its faults, the Affordable Care Act insured that his pre-existing condition would not prevent him from getting insurance in the future.
The last few days, as executive orders have been flying fast and furious, a vaguely worded repeal of the Affordable Care Act threatens to jeopardize both of T1’s future lifelines, and I have struggled to keep my thoughts on anything but how to protect my son’s health now and over the next few years as he takes the next steps towards adulthood.

I’ve always been sympathetic towards others with chronic illnesses or conditions that used to keep them from being insurable and grateful for the insurance we do have, but I don’t think I have ever truly empathized with what the constant strategizing must be like, and I’m ashamed of having not fought harder for T1 and for others.  It’s something I intend to change.

Tonight may not be the moment to fight, but it seemed like a good night to tackle something I can control – a paint brush. Creating is such a little thing, and yet, right now it’s everything.


Things I can’t Control

Dust Devils, 9×12, Watercolor

These are dust devils in eastern Washington. They rise up from the dusty Palouse and wheat fields especially after the wheat has just been harvested.
I love them because they are proof that, even though, on the surface, the land has been thoroughly tamed by humans, there are some things we can’t control.

Each time I see them they inspire awe. Also, the recognition of dust bunnies … I mean Devils … as something that can’t be controlled is a great metaphor for the way I keep my house.


Highway to Eyjafjallajökull


The highway to the volcano Hekkla,  once known as the gateway to hell, was closed when we were in Iceland in the fall, as an increase in seismic activity had the geologists concerned that the eruption which had been overdue should be upgraded to status imminent.

We didn’t get to see any eruptions, but we did get a look at Hekkla’s sister, Eyjafjallajökull, which had been slightly hellish just a few years ago. From where we stood, however, the road to hell was gorgeous.

I found myself painting this a few times in my watercolor journal and again when I got home, and the results were always similar. The paintings were never faithful copied of my photographs but, rather interpretations of the vivid beauty and vastness of land that had been ravaged but then recovered.

I kept coming back to that theme of land and people recovering and digging out from the ashes, stronger than before. I go back to it even now, months later, and it helps me to temper my fears.


Moonlight in Vermont

So my 16 and 10-year-old would be ashamed to admit it, but their pudgy middle-age mom dances when she paints landscapes. The more abstract the pic and wild the beat of the music, the more energetic and embarrassing –for the kids anyway — the dancing. My dancing is so bad that the only time I can really get away with it is in the middle of the night, which is how this painting happened.

WItching hour has become the painting hour for me. When there’s a full moon, it’s bark at the moon time for the dog. That’s how I ended up outside in the yard, keeping the dog on a leash and getting off of mine.

It’s a crystal clear night, and there are a large patches of muddy grass. There’s still a bit of snow, however. I waited for the dog to do her business without waking up the neighborhood, and was forced to take the time to really look at A moonlit winters night for the first time in a long time.

Seeing the variations in color different reflections made me realize how much depth there is to the night, and I started thinking of late night drives through the rolling countryside in Vermont and Washington county in New York State. The dog caught the scent of something, and I let her sniff at the end of the leash for a few minutes why drink in scenery.

And that’s how I ended up dancing in studio under the moonlight at 1 AM this morning. I highly recommend it.

Chasing Frogs

It’s just barely past witching hour, and I’ve been chasing on paper one of those Lake Michigan days when it’s too rough to swim past your knees and too wild to stay cooped up inside away from the beach.

This is my favorite so far, but I’m still not sure if it’s a frog or a prince. But there’s a few hours before the sun come up, so I still have time to kiss a few more toads. And the hunt is a satisfying as the catch.

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