Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sweet Friend

This is my Shadow. What a wonderful fuzzy friend. We were gal pals; gave the "boys" heck when they misbehaved and had a lot of great road trips together. She was my shadow in more ways than one. I always had to be careful when I was working in the kitchen if I stepped back to quickly and wound up stepping on her !

Shadow was diagnosed with liver cancer almost a year ago. The vet, who happens to be my brother-in-law guessed she had only a month or two at most. She hung out for almost a year. Yes, she got slower and slept more. There were horrible growths visible on her side and ear, but they didn't seem to be painful. She was always happy to be petted and cuddled and loved as much as anyone wanted to. We had a tradition. After I finished dinner and cleaning the litchen, my husband would take our male Gordon Setter downstairs to check emails, etc. Shadow and I would wander into the den. I would sit down on the floor and she would throw herself down almost on top of me and we would just sit and love each other. What a great way to end the day.

As she became weaker, she wanted to sleep next to my side of the bed, with a fan on her. She loved cooler temperatures. HOwever, she was restless and had a hard time getting comfortable, so she would move around on her bed, off her bed, in front of the fan, whereever ! I often get up at night and had trouble avoiding stepping on her in the dark, so I began to keep a flashlight by the bed and checked on her everytime I got up.

Last week-end I went to New Jersey to visit my Dad, who is also fighting multiple cancers through out his body. I wanted to visit him while he knew I was there. It was the right thing to do, but on the day I traveled back home, my Shadow left us in her sleep. Quiet and good as she always was.

In reading over this, I don't want you to get the idea she was a marshmallow lap dog. she was a trained hunter and even had a short career as a show dog. She had her show prance down pat. It was adorable, but she was comparatively small for a show dog. She was raised on a hunting preserve and was a great little hunter. I hunted pheasant over her many times and she was patient with my poor shooting skills, but retreived the bird when I did hit it, prancing back, as excited as I was over our success.

So I had a dream last night. She was patiently staring at her lead, meaning she wanted to go for a trot. I would sometimes be a very slow human about her desires on this so she would make a point of getting me out to the garage by pretending she needed to go out. then she would stop in front of the rack that held the leads and stare at the lead, teh stare at me and go back and forth until it sunk in that a potty stop was not what she wanted. In the dream, I put the lead on her and off we went. somehow we wound up in this beautiful golden field. I had no doubt there was plenty of birds out there so I stopped and took off her lead telling her we sure didn't need it anymore. She ran off through the field, galloping along looking more like a dolphin leaping through waves than a gordon setter bouncing through a golden field. Then there was someone else in the field. I couldn't see the person, but I knew it was OK. It was more than OK. this person was going to be better for my Shadow than I could ever be. She stopped and saw this person and stared for a long time. then she looked back at me..for a long time. I told her she had to go. it was allright, and I would be along soon. Off she went and that very Good Shepherd turned and they both walked away.

It was actually a very good dream.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I have been drooling over Somerset Studios new Art Blogging publication. A steep $15 and worht every penny. I so appreciate hearing about how other art bloggers struggled with banners, postings, etc. At least I know I am not alone. I was especially impressed by the fact that some bloggers had some very specific purposes for their blogs...providing lessons, sharing designs etc. It's real food for thought as I was lamost ready to completely revamp this blog in favor of another concept. I think what I may do is start a separate blog and see how that works.

All that for another day.

An observation: this morning I awake five minutes prior to the alarm going off. I love my current alarm clock in that it starts with a soft beeping that gets louder as it progresses. Most of the time I can shut it off before it wakes my DH. This morning I was pleased that I had slept the entire night through and was moving a litle better than the previous morning. After a quick breakfast I wandered upstairs to the studio, put on my apron, took off my shoes...I work so much better in bare feet...and just hit it. I opened a visual journal I am working on with some very specific prompts. An image had been cooking for days and today was the day for it to jump onto the page. I worked non-stop for an entire hour. WHEW ! The image was extremely cathartic and no, I cannot share it. What I do want to share is that there was a definite afterburn.

My mind was off in the creative stratosphere for the rest of the morning. I was gigling to myself as images coalesced and came into focus..more...yes...more. No time to do them now, but I took notes, then went out to have a cup of coffee on the porch...more ideas started to just flow amazingly into my head ! A character formed, introduced herself and we chatted for an hour, I ran up to grab the journal and recorded as much as I could. while trying to fix my lunch, more flow ! ARGh, how could I capture it ???? DH would have a fit if I remained in the studio, so I got out of the house as fast as I could and drove to the lake. Off came the shoes..very important. Out came the journal and it was more like taking dictation than writing. I wrote for half an hour . then scribbled out a very comprhensive list of things to do before I fly off to NJ. After all that, I was grateful I had packed my lunch as I was famished. another surprise as the meds have stolen my apetite, but I ate a luna bar and a peach and a handful of crackers.

The lake was just breezes. Oh I wanted to spend the rest of the day there happily painting. A future goal. I did get my shoes back on and take a little walk along the beach to a lovely waterfall and just hung out there wondering what had happened to me this morning. Is this the legendary Muse ? I can't say if what I painted and wrote was good or bad, but it sure did flow.

Steven Pressfield would say that my showing up in the studio every day at the same time finally paid off. Maybe that is true. the watercolor I posted at the beginning of this entry happened in a very similar fashion. I had painted several versions of the bouquet and teapot and none pleased me. they were carefully considered , heavily labored watercolors that looked stiff and ugly. this one was sketched in fifteen minutes, the composition coming from my head. The painting done in another fifteen minutes.

Trust Yourself. I think that's the lesson. Trust your creativity and it will flow.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Migraine cures

Oh, I need to be doing this......running like a wild thing through some lovely magical flowers, playing tag with a good friend ! No cares of migraines and crumbly bones. No achies and breakies. Just a wild bit if fun.

I truly believe that would be highly curative of many ills, not just my own woes. there is a happy balance of serious business and wild child running free and it is a happy place. This piece is in my small watercolor sketchbook and it was an experiment. I had been working on a floral still life using a color copy from my printer. It had run it's course and I was getting ready to throw it out when I read that one could transfer just such a copy by dousing it with Tequila. Viewing the fact that I have been transferred into many amazing places with a dousing of Tequila, I decided to try it...on the copy, not me, my Tequila days are near done. The results were pretty amazing. The colors transferred with such intensity they actually leaked right through the papaer onto the next sheet !!!. I added some watercolor details, then the little dancing things at the top.

So here's the wild child plan for today. A dear friend has informed me migraine sufferers are a certain slightly rigid perfectionist sort. To counteract that tension and folly, one must add...another folly !!!! I am running off to Old St. Charles in search of jalapeno popcorn to bring my brother on my upcoming visit. He is fond of the stuff, as am I and a shop specializing in spicies of all kinds sits in this quaint village. There is also an art museum which I may need to visit and a river perfect for lunching near.

I am leading my spiritual group this Wednesday..a desperate measure on their part. My theme may just be rivers. I'll let you know !!!
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Once upon a time in the land of Enchantment, on a high plateau in the middle of the desert lived three pretty great looking Mamacitas. Evil princes had bewitched them and made them believe they were very stupid beings hardly capable of driving off the plateau. However something magical happened when they finally met each other and began walking together across the mesa speaking of their dreams, which were not stupid at all. The more they walked together, the more real their dreams became. Excited, they ran home to tell their princes, who promptly put them all on mood altering drugs or locked them up in faraway towers.

Those mamacitas were pretty sad.

They thought the magic was gone. they thought their friends were gone. So they, all three picked up their magic paintbrushes and began to paint each other and the dreams they had shared. They painted stacks of paintings. Mountains of paintings. Enough paintings that they hid their mood altering drugs, climbed down from their towers and ran as fast as they could to city of Santa Fe. They ran straight into each others arms laughing so hard they could hardly breathe. their dreams swirled around them spinning into sparkling realities. They danced and sang and ate a lot of sweet things. They vowed to never return to the haunted plateau and live happily ever after. sometimes their dreams took them away from each other, but they always danced back together again to share more dreams and spin them into sparkly realities.

These mamacitas were dancing happy.

One day though, one of those happy dancers wanted to dance back up to that place. She did and the horrid princes cursed her. they beat her and called her stupid...and her heart broke into a hundred tiny pieces. Each and every single piece became a beautiful mariposa that fluttered down to the two remaining Mamacitas. They looked with tear filled faces on the beautiful mariposas, seeing how they sparkled like no other butterflies had ever sparkled. They knew their friend had moved to another place way beyond the Sangre de Cristos. They cried for so long that the Rio Grande overflowed its banks and the Pueblos on the river came to them and begged them to stop. When they did, the mariposas were all gone and the full blue moon, which had been a special love of their friend, rose high over their heads and whispered that their friend was safe and happy and no one would ever beat her or make her hurt again.

The mamacitas were quiet.

They dusted off their dreams as well as a few of their beloved friends dreams and began to sing to them as they walked the mesa. They are still walking. They are still singing their dreams and if you are very quiet on nights of the full blue moon, you will hear a bit of their song and perhaps you may even see, in the glittering blue moonlight, a very sparkly mariposa.
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