Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Art of Love

      Motivation is definitely required to choose exercising over channel surfing. Although there are a million reasons to stay on the couch, especially when my fat inner lawyer is arguing the point. Food is comforting where working out hurts. The emotions that block staying lean and fit are often deeply rooted obstacles. Losing weight started with a decision when my health was failing, but keeping it off has required new motivation and I found it in an unexpected way, thanks to a friend.

       A beautiful inner glow is never enough. Hair, nails, skin, weight, clothes, cars, relationships, finances and not being an early riser are continually judged by family, friends, neighbors and our own negative thoughts. No one is immune. Our hearts ache until we reach for solace, often in self-destructive ways. Addictive behavior strikes me as a cry for help. While there are reasons for food abuse, imperative, mind numbing, emotion blocking over-eating is not the best diet.

     Consuming is far easier than negotiating emotional hurdles. People say the meanest things, but the genuine mistake is taking their crappy words to heart. “You would be great if…” Don’t those ‘ifs’ just mess you up?

     My understanding of addiction is not being able to stop doing something that you want to stop, a compulsion that is out of control, often followed by feelings of remorse. Something in our makeup, unconscious or emotional background takes over and good intentions stand the same chance as winning the lottery. There are not enough cocoa beans in Christendom to satisfy the black hole of loneliness, desperation of debt or grief from loss. Hiring a personal trainer worked to reduce my weight 55 pounds and I hoped to be able to motivate myself when I reached my goal, but the weight started creeping on again.

     Recently my friend Bill commissioned a painting of himself and his wife. Sadly Dottie passed away a year ago and she is sorely missed. The image is a fond remembrance of a moment they shared. She often wore his shirts at the beach to hide from the tropical sun, nearly disappearing in them.

     Dottie championed healthy choices with kindness, sincerity and compassion. Her words of wisdom helped me quit smoking. As I worked on the painting conversations with Dottie played in my mind. She was the most naturally moderate person I’ve known, but then I never asked if she struggled to make sensible decisions because she never complained. Remarkably over the last few weeks I’ve found myself back at the gym and no longer buying comfort food.      
     Remembering Dottie's kind words and concern, where I often have not found them for myself, has been the gift of doing this painting. It takes someone who is not an addict to elevate one. It takes love.

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Ideal Heaven for Curious Minds

     There are so darned many unanswered questions. Why do we do what we do? Like blurt out personal feelings to total strangers, lie for no reason and overreact to imagined slights? Don’t you really want to know? Why is it so hard to keep both socks? Where did that $100 bill go? What does disease mean or is it just random bad luck? How on Earth can we be so loving and so hateful nearly in the same breath? What flips that switch? Or why did I blindly go along with my ex-husband's suggestion to name a cute little budgie Desenex after an anti-fungal cream when I thought it was idiotic?

      It is stupidly unfair that there are so many big and small mysteries over the course of a lifetime. What I sincerely hope for is that when we die we can go to a big, beautiful place called ‘The Library of What the Fuck’. There we can find truthful answers for all those times we had to ask, "What the fuck?" while on Earth. I want the whole truth, a comfortable chair (cloud?), good coffee and eternity if necessary to look it all up. Before I had a chance to surf the web I had this notion that I’d be able to find meaningful answers on the web. While how to paint a car, choose a camera or find a purebred hamster may be informative there are few answers to what really makes us tick. Why didn’t I love men who were good for me and cling to the ones who were not? Why don’t I want to work out knowing how good I feel after? Why is impressionistic painting so difficult when it looks so easy? 
     The second painting I did of a boy holding a cat I can clearly remember a moment of feeling freedom with paint. It flowed off the brush effortlessly while I added the background weeds with a few perfect strokes. That it happened so well on my second painting is a mystery. It has rarely happened since and not for lack of effort. In my experience painting is usually a series of accidents, corrected until they look right. Impeccable control with a brush has proved frustratingly elusive. Thanks Goya and Thiebaud for such fine examples, but how did you do it? Or more precisely, how can I? It is another question for my ideal library, but it’s not over yet and today is another hopeful day.  

Slippahs, from the series 90 Paintings in 90 Days, 2011
evidence of effort

Sunday, May 11, 2014

SKY Show and California Hiking Adventures

Best pictures from the green hills this spring.

The SKY Show at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek will be closing May 25, 2014. It is one of the best local shows I’ve seen and not just because I have a painting in it. The curator, Carrie Lederer, has a great eye for fun, innovative new artwork.
My friends Karen and Laney came to the show on Saturday and were impressed with the range of work. If you have a chance to go see it I’m sure you will enjoy it.  

opening day

 Jamie Brezinski, Suzy Locke, me

spying is hard with a giant name tag

 Robert Bissell, check out his fun work-  http://www.robertbissell.com/

Karen and Laney

Karen and Laney again, really. In The Cloud Room by Laura VanDuren

and again.

Hopi Breton, Float

Laney (great smile btw!)

Mernie and Blair (sis and brother)

Arthur Deak ( business partner)

Karen Clark, Barrier

Catherine Eaton Skinner, Mka Dong Sa lV

three interpretations of sky

Troy Litten, 240 Window Seats

On Mother's Day (and I forgot to wish her a good one being she's a Mom) Karen and I went for a hike at Black Diamond Mine Regional Park where the old Rose Hill Cemetery is located. The mine is open for tours and it’s a great place to cool off during the heat of summer when the trails are blazing hot. A few weeks without rain and the grass had already turned golden. Spring came and went so quickly! A few weeks ago I was hiking on Mount Diablo and nearly stepped on this bad boy while looking up at the vultures circling Castle Rock.  

I gave Karen my talk about watching for snakes, then walked right by a large alligator lizard without seeing it either. Understandably she took the lead after that. 

inside Atlas Mine, where silica sand was mined to manufacture glass

Karen in the sporty hardhat required to go in the mine

heartbreaking headstone for three lost children

   recently turned golden hills, welcome to summer in California!     

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scattering Mom and Dad's Ashes at Sea

       We scattered our parent’s ashes on the ocean looking back at the Golden Gate Bridge. Fifty eight years before Roy and Joan Buchanan crossed the bridge when they drove to San Francisco from Canada on their honeymoon. A pair of pelicans followed us out the gate and dolphins rode the bow wave. My sister Mernie made beautiful floating wreaths and we laid Mom and Dad to rest at sea together as was their wish among flowers from their caregiver’s gardens. The photographs of the wreaths floating on the sea is out of focus, but it fits because they looked that way with eyes full of tears as Scottish bag pipes played Amazing Grace. The wreaths stayed side by side until they disappeared from sight, in death as in life.
My brother Blair quoted Goethe,

"What your parents have bequeathed upon you, earn it anew and make it truly yours."

I am overwhelmed by gratitude for our time together.
Good-bye Mom and Dad, we sure love you!

drifting away together

Flowers from Ruth, who loved and cared for them

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sky Show includes Clueless

Sky: A National Juried Exhibition
March 9 - May 25
Join the artists for an Opening Reception on Sunday, March 9 from 3-5 pm
1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek, CA
Hope to see you this Sunday. My painting "Clueless" is included in the exhibition. For more information about the show and gallery events please follow this link: