Friday, May 28, 2010

Folk Stories

He Beat his Mules, acrylic on panel, 20x16

He beat his mules. Lena Lion (who could cast spells) said, "You will know what it's like to have hooves." He dreamed of running on all-fours. When he awoke, his feet and hands were bloody.

Fairy tales were okay; whispered stories about actual neighbors were more interesting. I always looked at his hands. When Lena Lion--a tiny woman--visited, I stayed quiet.

This setting is from imagination--dark quilts, rag rugs, heavy doors, old farm houses. The painting is almost finished--I will probably put these words on the upper portion of the door:

In the rural area of my childhood, several women had "powers" and creeks had suck-holes. These stories kept us from venturing onto others' property and kept us out of the lithia water of local creeks. The suck-holes were always close to the beautiful large, smooth, round rocks that beckoned. I was 28 when I took swimming lessons--in a pool!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Birds on a Pole

The Nest

Former Home

When I read Merci33's blog about the wildlife in her yard, I thought of our local ospreys and their housing situation.

Here is what I had learned at Tuesday's Council meeting--this year the ospreys chose the local ball field over their normal spot in the lake by the railroad trestle. It's a problem because: The pole is too old to be climbed (how do they change bulbs?); the light pole they chose cannot be turned off individually; having the nest relocated by the appropriate movers is too expensive (the town, like the country, is in debt); and there is concern that the osprey will drop sticks on people below. Do they really drop sticks on passersby? Will the eggs bake? If the chicks hatch, how long till they fly? Should ballgames be moved to a different field? Why did they bypass their usual nesting spot? Lots of questions.

I know some of you are bird watchers and may have suggestions. They probably should be left alone as we hope for the best. What happens next year?

I did get back to painting today but I took the camera with me when I dropped off my aluminum cans--recycling center is at the ball park. Two birds in one short15-minute trip; my timing was perfect.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Away from Art (Almost)

Refrigerator Arrangement, found heads, copper & vases

I've been away from my studio/workshop for a couple of weeks. A new refrigerator meant cleaning out the old one--a dirty job. I found pre-cooked bacon with a use before date of 2005. These three cool guys have always had the spot on top of the refrigerator--from the utility room, they peer around the kitchen doorway and keep an eye on the front door. Their heads bob in rhythm to a heavy wash load or the stereo. They got baths and, while trying to get them in the perfect spot and position, I accidentally leaned against my new water dispenser--I got bathed from the waist down with cold water.
My Town (pop. 1,400)

Guests (relatives) from NJ and MD arrived last week so a boat ride was in order--I had not been on the boat in three years. It's a long walk down the hill to the dock (I had to make a second trip up and down for the key) and an even longer walk up the hill when we return. I sometimes forget just how beautiful it is on Buggs Island Lake and how fortunate we are to live in this beautiful small town.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

Where Should I Put My Head?, oil pastel, 16x12

My mother suffered from Alzheimer's, which began in her late seventies. I brought her to live with us in our small, then vacation, house. (Since remodeling it's now our permanent home.) After Dad's death, Mom never slept in a bed but was comfortable on a sofa. Each night I'd set up the sofa with sheets and pillows; she'd ask, "Where should I put my head?" I'd pat the pillow; she'd lie down the opposite way and complain about the light in her eyes. Then she'd switch ends. She tried so hard to do things the right way--even laid sheets of typing paper down to mark a path to the bathroom; yet she couldn't find it without help. There were times, though, when her humor returned and there was laughter in the house. Restaurants were fun, too, but she insisted that we be in the house when darkness arrived--nighttime porch-sitting was not allowed. No one in the house got much sleep.

This was my first oil pastel (drugstore variety) on drawing paper; done after Mom moved to an assisted living facility--it was completed in one all-night session; it still makes me cry. I tried to make a large painting of this--it was a failure; all the feeling went into this one.

My mother died in a nursing home seven years ago at age 82. I think of her almost every day, not just on Mother's Day.