Monday, July 30, 2007

Tiger Lily

I've got two "tiger lilies" actually. One is the flower and one the little lady, Tiger Lily, that I made on SCRIBBLER. I love to draw the simple line figures with my mouse and then watch SCRIBBLER make them look almost like actual art.
On this altered book/journal page I pasted a head onto a body - both ones I drew and the software program finished. The link is

Once you start, you will find yourself unable to quit. Good luck drawing.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July is getting on.

There's not much left of July is there? Once again I didn't "pepper" the flower beds with annuals so I could have some vivid color in the garden during these last days of summer. Most of the color is from a scattering of lilies, the butterfly bush and late lavender. The purple cones of tiny flowers on the butterfly bush smell so much like honey to me, and the swallowtail butterflies truly love them.
I won't write for long tonight, except to say that I am tired and I long for the week of vacation that is coming soon. After that I want to retire and stay at home and plant flowers and draw pictures and someone should just give me a paintbrush and a thousand tubes of colors - all sorts of colors - and turn me loose with them so I can make art.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Be Gone Ye Dragon!

It’s like a jump off a diving board into a cold, murky pool — when you don’t know how to swim.
That’s what it feels like on the days I walk one mile to work. What am I afraid of? That’s what I asked myself this morning.
I thought about all the good reasons to drive instead of walk: I would get there sooner, my right knee was hurting, and I’d just eaten breakfast and hate to walk on a full stomach.
I thought about all the good reasons to walk instead of drive: I had made a commitment to my health and exercise would strengthen my heart and lower my blood glucose levels, I wouldn’t be using my car and it would help the environment, and I had lost another 2 pounds. Boy, these reasons outweighed the others. What was I waiting for? If I collapsed at the side of the road surely someone would stop and help me. The same thing could happen while I was sitting in the car or at my desk.
I stepped out the front door into a beautiful summer day and stopped. I should take the car, I thought. Why? I went over the same concerns as before. No; walk, I decided. Quickly I took off before my anxieties gave way to the good things walking had to offer.
You can learn a lot more about your neighborhood when you walk through than when you zip past sealed up in a car I decided. At the end of the block, it sounded as if there were a party going on. It was a group of guys laughing and joking over coffee in the back yard, letting off steam before leaving for a construction job.
About a block away from home, on the street that runs parallel to ours, I heard a rooster crow. Then I heard it again. Chickens in the city! It’s amazing how some neighbors get along so well with each other. Evidently none of them found roosters annoying. Or if they had, they decided to live and let live.
When you walk alone, you also have time to contemplate your life. Twice a week I have one-half hour to think about people I love and people I could live without, trips I’d like to take and, of course, where I’ve been in my life and where I’m going.
The jump off the diving board, the jump out the front door – both are like the leap of faith that writing is: putting down your thoughts and hoping that you'll find it both a good exercise and rewarding. Of course it's the happiest thing when your writing gives someone else information they need or want.
In 2003 I went to Italy by myself – if you don't count the hundreds of other people in the airplane, all of them strangers – to meet a group of women in Umbria. I got there without dropping unconscious by the side of the road. During that trip I confessed to the group of women that I had anxiety attacks. One of them said, “Oh, doctors know how to deal with that now."
Is that right, I thought sarcastically to myself. I'd been having these attacks for about 40 years and no one had ever given me very much help.
She explained that breathing in through your nose to a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four and then exhaling through your mouth to a count of 10-12 would work for me. I should practice this breathing to be ready if an attack came. So, I did. There wasn't much to lose.
A couple of nights later I woke up around 2 a.m. and it started; that terrible anxiety.
The breathing I thought, over my panic. I began breathing and holding and exhaling and I'll be darned if the anxiety didn't stop. In that dark room in Umbria, I could literally see the dragon - that for so long had his claws wrapped in my hair - let go and fade away into the corner. I felt so powerful; so wonderful.
However he still lingers in my memory. He hasn't come back full force and I don't want to allow that to happen. The memory of the claws is why I play the mental game with myself - should I walk to work or drive. Yet I know that every time I walk I'm doing more than getting exercise.
I'm leaving that dragon a little further behind every time ... and good riddance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Do You Know Crabby?

I've been feeling crabby lately. How about you?
Feeling crabby, for me, usually means there's been a shortage of letting feelings out. A couple of days ago I spent some time in a place that does not hold good memories for me: the local emergency room.
I wasn't there for myself; lucky me. However, it is a place I associate with two terrible events in my life. It's the emergency room where I saw my father alive for the last time, and it's the place I brought my mother when she was hurting one night. She laid in a room for over two hours before she was admitted to the hospital. She was then released about a week later because her doctor could do nothing more for her.
I'm sure this emergency room holds plenty of frightening memories for many local residents and even for the people who work there, I can't imagine they become inured to the harsh realities of living and dying.
So, yes, I've been crabby and distracted and feeling a little lonesome for loved ones I still love and miss. Perhaps it's time for a good cry and then some therapeutic art.
Maybe it's even time to write, which has been cathartic in the past. We shall see.
Can you tell where I went on Sunday? There it is: Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday's over. Whew!

Well, I don't know about you, but I escaped the dreaded Friday the 13th with no accidents or bad luck (that I know of). Except I seem to be losing my memory. I swear I will have to write down more things, and write them in one place only, so I can live my life without forgetting to attend parties or by going to interviews that were actually scheduled for next week.
I have always felt my memory was poor, due to the scattered quality of my thought patterns. This was something I thought I was born with, and although I try to remember more than the words to the theme song from "Gilligan's Island," there are definitely times my memory lets me down.
I am not thinking it's a serious illness, but my "rememberation" could really use some help. (And I've tried ginko already, and didn't forget to take it, so I won't try that old joke.
I have been watering the July flowers in my Pacific Northwest garden - not as often as they'd like, but as often as I care to. Most of my free time is spent trying to keep up with my altered book/journal ... filling its pages with some random thoughts that won't be too frightening to pass on to future generations.
I look at it this way: If I found a book like some of the ones I'm filling up, I would be delighted. I can only hope they survive the coming years and someone similar to me finds them interesting.
Now I am going out to the sunroom to paint a few more pages with some new paint that was recommended to me. I hope it's cool where you are ... but not too much so.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I've been working on art.

Sorry I haven't posted anything but a journal page for a while. I've been busier ... making art.
I melted wax again today and fixed up a page in my book with an original drawing covered with beeswax. I hope to do some larger pictures. I've been coming to the realization that I'm expecting too much from myself, as usual. Actually, I've just been expecting works of art to come together too quickly without much experimenting over the past few years.
The more casually I tend to approach the "work," the easier it seems to come. So I think I will just have fun with what I'm working on and not take it too seriously.
I'll show you what I come up with. Meanwhile, my pointy hat girl will have to stand in for me for a while.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

And now for something different.

UPDATE (in bold): Today I had a total day of fun! I melted some beeswax, some carnuba wax and a few damar crystals (which melt at a higher temperature, and so makes any artwork created with it a little more stable and unlikely to react with higher room temperatures) and painted some old magnolia leaves.
The leaves had been through a Pacific Northwest winter, with lots of rain washing through the leaves - leaving behind the tougher membranes as an outline of the leaf.
I had an old framed photo of a lovely young couple. I don't know who they are (or were), but I'm sure once upon a time they were quite in love with one another. Now they are "Together" in this attempt at artwork.
They and the leaves are affixed to an old sliding window screen, which had definitely seen better days. (The screen seems to me to be a metaphor for life, since it catches a lot of things and doesn't allow them through to the other side. My, my, such "artsy-fartsy" thinking, but one could look at it that way, couldn't one?) I've added some tags to the art piece. On the reverse side of the tag they say something else. You can try to guess what they say or make up your own. I had one friend name the couple: Justin and Crystal. I don't know. What do you think?
It was truly fun. I don't know that it's "high art," but I enjoyed using up some old things I had been collecting and shuffling around from place to place. I wish I had a clue what the two young people's names were. Maybe someone could suggest some . . . in keeping with the time in which they lived. Probably around the late 1800s or very early 1900s, I would think. Scroll down for a larger photo.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ka Pow!

Tonight on our street there are so many illegal fireworks going off that the police and firemen must be gritting their teeth at all the ignored warnings of $500 fines.
It is nearly 10:30 p.m. and time for bed, because for some of us it's a work day tomorrow. Hopefully the fireworks will stop soon. I'm glad we don't have any jumpy pets hiding under the bed.
Today I leave you with a photo from the back yard - daisies and Joe Pye weed on the Fourth of July.
The plant I called False Solomon's Seal is not that. It has another name, but I haven't tracked it down yet. Starts out with oval shaped green leaves, then has yellow starburst flowers, then pinkish berries which turn black. They are inedible. I don't even notice the birds eating them in the fall.
Happy birthday, America.