Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Spite of Everything (And Because of It), I Paint

I've lost a lot of working time in the last few months to illnesses and recovery time but bit by bit, I've been working on pieces for my show, The Motley Menagerie, that hangs on October 1st.  I certainly don't have as many canvases as I had dreamed but, given everything, I do have more than I hoped.

I also have eight older works to add into this mix so the walls won't be overwhelmingly bare.  I do have a couple more days to work (and possibly two more weeks if I hang more before the opening.)  So far, I am loving this collection, particularly because these pieces represent a fight to triumph over adversity.  In spite of everything (and because of it), I paint and I heal.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I last posted here on September 6.  On Friday, September 7, all hell broke loose and I am still picking up the pieces and moving forward gingerly.

Looking back through my daily journaling, I found references to back pain and a suspected infection going back four months.  However, my symptoms were intermittent and I'm always so focused on making forward progress that I ignored the repetitive warning signs.

The last week of August, maybe first couple days of September, I passed a kidney stone.  I remained uncomfortable on and off but I really didn't think too much of it.  I was busy painting for my October show, getting my son through his first couple weeks of the new college semester and prepping for the new art teaching year.  I taught the morning of the 7th and had a pretty decent day despite nagging back pain and a migraine.  By 6 that night, I knew something was really, really wrong.

The pain, like a hot spike in my lower right back, began to increase exponentially.  Still, I thought I would tough it out.  By 9, I was pacing the floor, gasping.  It felt like I was in labor.

At 10pm, I gave up clinging to bravery, and reached out to a family friend who, luckily, is a doctor.  I remember screaming into the phone for help.  He came over and took me to the hospital where he works around 10:30pm.  By 3:30am on Saturday the 8th, I had been admitted with a severe kidney and bladder infection and two kidney stones, one of which had completely blocked my right kidney.  I spent the next four days in the hospital, receiving fluids, antibiotics, and other meds until I passed the two remaining stones.  I went home with still more medicine as it is taking time for the infections to clear.

I'll spare the general audience any specific, gory details but I will say that my doctor friend kept a key, scary fact from me until after the worse had passed.  His goal was to keep me calm and focused on staying in the hospital, something I fought at every turn.  In essence, my health was actually a lot more precarious than I was initially told and there had been worry that my infection could take a life-threatening turn.

In the wake of this health crisis, I've been overwhelmed with the business of recovery, the catch-up on a life suddenly placed on hold, persistent, troubling memories of specific moments in this ordeal, and the realization that my life needs to change drastically.

That, my lovelies, is what's commanding my attention these days.  I'm going to try and get back into a regular rhythm online but that may mean that I continue to post sporadically; for longtime readers, this will be nothing new.  I'm determined to get back to my life but with important changes in play. Thank you for hanging in there with me and patiently returning to this space time & time again.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Busy with Things Great & Small

Since about the last three weeks of August, I've been caught up in a storm of painting for my upcoming show, lesson plans for the upcoming school year (first class day tomorrow!) and any of a million other things that hit all at once this time of year.

And, of course, when I'm at my busiest, when I shouldn't start one more thing, I get a brainstorm of huge proportions about some teeny tiny goodies.  When I need to be painting large canvases to make my show look full, I have been hard at work on original paintings only 1-inch in diameter.  I have to use my reading glasses and itty bitty brushes but I just love the results!  I've always been one to chase after my whims, even if they lead me from the path I need to be following.  (Sometimes, the implusive dash in pursuit of a new idea leads to a more important destination or, in the least, a fun side trip.)

And what, pray tell, does one do with these mini originals?  Well, my big idea was to create pendant necklaces, enclosing my little owlet paintings in a wee metal pendant topped with a piece of rounded glass.  Add a matching ball chain and you have a tiny piece of art to wear around one's necklace.  The first round of pendant necklaces are now up in my Esty shop.  If they are well-received, more's to come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and subjects.

Hopefully, I'll soon begin to see little bits of free time in my currently insane schedule and blogging will return to a more predictable routine.  Realistically, I think I'm going to be swamped until my show is hung but a painty girl can dream...
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