Saturday, October 17, 2015

Onward, Upward and the Growth in Between

...Life is a Challenge...

'Finding Balance', 11"x14", oil on wood panel, 2015
   Just completed my most recent painting last week, 'Finding Balance'. This particular painting has a lot of personal meaning for me. I chose the subject and each object carefully in order to tell a story. It's subtle, but not to here is the story.

This past year has been most difficult with my Mother being diagnosed with advanced cancer, having surgery, chemotherapy treatment and a suffering a setback or two. It's been a true test of faith and resolve. I'll admit I have fallen apart a few times and lashed out when I shouldn't have.
I've become more remote and quiet at times and have also dissolved in tears numerous times. I have changed.  I 'see' things differently. I am not the same...
It's been a challenge to find the perfect balance between the bitter and the sweet.

When I was trying to come up with ideas for a new painting, I started thinking about all these things and decided to paint one of my favorite foods (pie, I LOVE to bake pie) as a way to illustrate this need for balance. I came up with lemons and lemon meringue it was! I wanted to add a scale to represent balance. I even set up the composition in a way that I normally would not. I made the subject centered and put objects on either side to 'balance it'. If you look close, you will find the 'symbol' for balance buried centrally.
I generally try to stick with only 3 objects and follow the 'rule of thirds' for my compositions however I purposefully broke that rule on this one for obvious works.

It was a challenging painting. I tried some new techniques and made up others. I admit, I completely SUCK at text and wish I knew a way to make it easier (without cheating) but....I don't so I'll keep practicing. I guess I am a glutton for punishment in that way.
All in all, I am quite pleased with how the painting turned out....
I am also at the point of where I really don't care if others like it or not because the point is, I have to paint what's important to me and NOT chase what I think the public might like or what might 'sell'.... I guess I am finally finding some balance in that regard.

...New Challenges, Same Theme...

Sneak ref for next painting.

So to go along with the same theme as my last painting...a sort of 'soul purge' if you will... I decided to describe another theme regarding stress and how we cope with it when it happens. I'm not talking about your average 'run of the mill', every day stress...I'm talking life altering, catastrophic the kind that makes you feel that you can't handle it. What do you do? What can you do?
In all honestly, to say I bucked up and took it is a lie....  I self medicated some....I drank a few too many cocktails(3 is too many IMO) so I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss the stress load. She offered me RX meds but I shied away preferring to try natural alternatives first. I hid from people, became more anxious, I stopped taking care of myself as much, I got angry and I slept erratically...but then one day I woke up and said this just isn't healthy or helpful so I decided I needed to paint what I felt. I decided to take my life back again.
So my next painting will be title 'When it Rain's' which is symbolic for "when it rains, it pours".
I now have another dear family diagnosed with cancer so now it's two people close to me and I have had some challenges dealing with that. I've had to set some literal emotional and physical boundaries. I determined what I needed to worry about and what I need to let go of or give up to everyone else to worry about.
Per my nature, I take on more than I can physically or emotionally handle (because I can't say no easily) but I've determined that this is no longer healthy or beneficial for me.
I've decided to paint my way out and to document that in my own way, to paint what I feel. It may not be what goes with someones couch but THAT ISN'T ART!!! Art has soul and deep meaning... if someone likes it...then I win.....

So the image above is a small snippet of the reference image I photographed for the painting. You will have to wait and see but I think you will be impressed...


First haircut post chemo!

So Mommy got her first haircut on Monday!! The back was so wavy(her hair was always straight before chemo) and shaggy that she couldn't stand it any longer! She called her beautician, Stacy,  and had her very first haircut since February!!!
I can't believe how wavy her new hair is! It's darker too! Her hair was always fine and straight before. She was almost strawberry blonde (but when I was a kid she was a bright red head) in that it had so much white in it however now it's darker and curly! She was so happy after her haircut she decided to go shopping so she drove over to see if I wanted to go thrift shopping with her at our favorite place. I at first ignored the doorbell as I was still in my jammies and in the basement sewing. But then I ran upstairs and saw her I flung the door open,  how could I say no to thrifting and spending time with my beautiful Mom? :)
You know...the one lesson that cancer has taught me is that you should take nothing for granted... you need to spend the time with your family and close friends...they are more important than any money or any 'things' you might covet....just spend that time, because it's irreplaceable....
I am doing just that.... :)

...A New Way to Help...

So lately I've been pondering whether or not it's time to seek employment. I've been feeling a little worried about how I am going to manage this or that and thinking I might have to say no to an upcoming art show if I get juried in....
I had placed a postcard I got in the mail (for a local nursing facility that was offering part time and full-time work) on my desk. It's been sitting there for about a week while I procrastinated and tried to think of other options. I decided today was the day I would check it out...I mean how bad could a few shifts a week be? Dreading it... but the thoughts were getting more appealing... Honestly, selling art, especially if you're self representing, is tedious and difficult on a good day. The time spent promoting, writing, photographing,packing/shipping, editing and publishing is time NOT spent painting but it's necessary time. Sometimes it's a no win situation and you feel like a financial failure...but I persist. I will never stop painting... OK...UNLESS I have a physical barrier(I'm here to tell you I worked on a LARGE commissioned portrait while in a rigid neck brace, post a double laminectomy for 6 weeks , just sayin...) or issue, I will PROBABLY never stop painting however I will stop self representing in the near future I hope/
That being said....I was just about to inquire about the job's outlined on the postcard when I decided to check my messages....and there IT was...a job offer that fell into my lap...a seemingly PERFECT job offer!!! 
I took it!!! I can name my own hours and work close to home...It'll be administrative clerical work essentially auditing medical charts. I was hand picked for the position and I have the BEST boss! :) She hired me on the spot when I agreed!
I'm feeling especially blessed today....sometimes...things just fall into place when they need to...
So I'll get my MP3 player ready with hours worth of melodic Opeth and TOOL to check medical charts by....I'll be in my zone and all will be right....again! :)
Today has been a GREAT day!!! :)

That's all I have...hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!


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