Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Winter Bridge

21x21 inches, oil on canvas
Winter Bridge

I finished this painting yesterday.  It had been close to done for more than two weeks, but I just ignored it until I realized that it was quietly driving me a little crazy sitting there unfinished.  The subject matter is the Japanese bridge at out local botanical garden.  I took the winter photo several years ago, but then experimented with altering the original photo with a filter program, and cropping the image to a square format.  I painted from the altered photo, and was pleased with the results.  This painting is larger than I usually work, and a departure from figurative work. I'll take it to the gallery tomorrow.

Monday, January 1, 2018

It's the first day of 2018, New Years day.  The holidays are officially over, and I had my birthday on Friday and have made it to sixty-seven years.  Today is the day I traditionally begin taking down Christmas decorations, or at least the tree.  I sometimes leave up the lights on the fireplace mantle, just because I like their glow on dark evenings.

Although the television news and the papers are full of the year in review and tips on making resolutions, I have trouble looking back over the past year, partly because of political developments that I find distressing, and all the violence and natural disasters, but mostly because of my cancer diagnosis.  Apart from undergoing major surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, suddenly it seems that every movie I see and every novel or magazine article I read has someone dying of cancer.  It's difficult not to struggle mentally with thoughts of my own mortality, though I try to wake up every day glad to be alive and hoping to make the most of it.

I suppose that is my new years resolution - to appreciate every day and try to make the most of it. I used to wonder what I might do different in my life if I knew it would end soon.  So far the answer is, not too much.  I try to be loving to my family and friends, and to do the things that give me pleasure.  I read, watch movies, do some work on Find a Grave for Oak Hill cemetery here in town, and spend some time making art.  I eat and drink whatever agrees with me.  I sleep as much as I need to.  I make plans, but try not to get too upset if they don't work out.

Right now I am looking forward to the end of radiation treatments, which should happen by the middle of January.  If they were effective, I hope we can do a little traveling, something I have missed since having so many medical appointments. I also am happily anticipating my hair getting long enough to provide some warmth on my head.  In the meantime I am happy to have my eyebrows back.

Happy New Year to you.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Forest - oil on canvas, 12x24 inches

This painting is unusual for me.  I don't paint landscapes very often, since my usual preference is for figurative images.  But lately I find myself playing around with drawings of trees, fields, and water.  Maybe the weather has something to do with it - since I'm not outside as much as I was in the summer and fall.

I fell into a strange rhythm while painting this one.  One day I would like what I had, though still knowing that I wanted to work on the composition, or the range of values, or the simplification of the image.  The next day I'd work, and really dislike the change.  The following day I'd be happier with the changes I made, and the day after that I'd be ready to toss the whole thing out the window.  But eventually, after about a week or a bit more, I liked it well enough.  So I quit.

I think what I need to do now is wire the painting and live with it hanging on a nail in the studio for a while.  Then I'll know better if it's really finished or not.