Tuesday, July 10, 2018


I've been attending a summer figure drawing group for several years, enjoying the pretty drive on back roads, drawing a couple hours, and treating myself to frozen custard afterward.  I couldn't attend last summer because of my surgery and recovery, but this summer I am enjoying myself.  I'm keeping it very simple, just a few sheets of newsprint or slightly nicer drawing paper, vine charcoal, and a kneaded eraser.  The model last night was a lovely young woman; my drawing her does not do her justice.

My health news continues to be disappointing.  I am not a candidate for further surgery or radiation, so we're going with the chance that a different chemotherapy regimen will shrink my new spot, and extend my life.  I find that I cannot hold that thought for long without panicking.  So, I concentrate on things right now that give me pleasure - watering my flowers, drawing and painting, meeting with friends, drinking wine.  I have been mourning the thought of losing my new hair, which after months of being bald, gives me great happiness.  So, yesterday I went to a photo shoot (with my hair), and I plan to use the spiffy new not-bald photos on social media and at the gallery where I show some of my artwork.  It's OK.  I have hats and scarves.

Right now, staying positive is an act of self preservation.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

New Portrait and More of the Same

Coh-O-Ha, 8x10 inches, colored pencil

It has turned dog days hot here in southern Wisconsin, stuffy, humid, and pretty much awful in my upstairs studio.  Nevertheless, I did finish this colored pencil piece for Julia Kay's Portrait Party online.  I made it to figure drawing this past week as well, which was very enjoyable.

I also had a series of medical appointments the past week which confirmed that I have a recurrence of my cancer.  I've had two biopsies (one good, one not), a CT scan and an MRI, and a consultation.  No decisions have been made yet on treatment.  That has to wait until after the 4th of July.  

Looks like it's going to be another crummy summer.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

One Day at a Time

Martin, colored pencil, 8x10 inches

I just finished a new portrait in colored pencil, just in my sketchbook, for the online group, Julia Kay's Portrait Party.  This group has been very inspiring to me, and I've enjoyed being challenged to do my best work.  This is Martin Beek, whose paintings I have admired for quite a while. I have another started, but life has gotten in the way.

What a roller coaster of emotions the last year has brought, thanks to last year's cancer diagnosis.  For the past three months I have been on what I called my cancer vacation, since in March my CT scans showed that radiation had apparently shrunk my abdominal spots, and eliminated some gynecological ones.  So, no oncology treatment for a few months.  I got my cataracts fixed, and we went on two cruises. I've had two haircuts, which made me improbably happy.

Then, in May, some symptoms returned, and I had a biopsy which did not indicate cancer.  This week I had another CT scan, which came back looking OK, and still another biopsy, which did not come back looking OK.  For a day I felt confident, and now today, not so much again.

I am learning that this is what life with cancer is like.  Sometimes hopeful, and other times terrifying.  Sometimes both in the same day.

So, now I have another whole raft of medical appointments, and I do not know what the doctors will plan for me.  I'm not at all sure how many Monday evening figure drawing sessions I'll get to this summer, how many times I'll be able to visit up north, or if I'll be able to, as I hoped, write and lead a new cemetery tour featuring some fascinating local people.  In short, I cannot really make firm plans.

But I should be able to draw more.  I just need to keep focusing on what I can control, and take it one day at a time.