Today I worked on Epping Road between other activities, producing this next winter scene. I am just as excited about every one as I was in the beginning and wonder when this series will lose its appeal. Certainly I am learning a lot about pastel and how to create different light effects with it. I ordered some Sennelier pastels from Dick Blick Art Supplies in the lighter colors I need for maximum brightness. These expensive pastels are well worth the money, though I don't need them for much of the painting. They are so soft that I wouldn't be able to layer color the way I do now without making a mess. I do this out of necessity, since I don't know what color I need to get what I want directly. It's the way I work in other mediums, though, playing around until things look right. Though I admire the direct approach, I can't seem to see things in my head enough to go right to it.
I haven't published anything for awhile simply because I have been engaged in activities that haven't inspired me to write. I've been reading, and teaching myself to play the alto recorder. The shrieking of my soprano has begun to wear on me, and I decided to switch. It is difficult to make the transition, since the same fingering plays different notes. I am committed, though, and persevere. Reading was inspired by a book review I read in the paper describing Norman Mailer's latest novel. I ordered it from Amazon and got it last week. It is somewhat interesting--a telling of Hitler's family and his early life. I have always been fascinated by Hitler and thought it would be interesting to me. So far, though, the talk is of Heinrich Himler's sexually oriented bizarre philosophy. Well, a little of that goes a long way. I abandoned the book temporarily to read another novel much more to my usual taste by Kaye Gibbons.
Carrie and Gabe visited this week-end and we celebrated Christmas, at least the gift-giving part of it. It was a very nice visit, though too short. Our pleasant conversations ran the gamut of everything from contemporary politics to memories of Carrie's childhood. Strangely, what stands out in my mind is Carrie's report that I refused to buy leg warmers for her when she wanted them. That seems very unlike me, and I chose to believe that my motive stemmed from fear of Phil's wrath. He was always so against buying luxuries that I probably couldn't bear the argument that would surely ensue. So many of my memories of our marriage involve arguments about money. The one that stands out in my mind and seems to epitomize the difference in our philosophies was when I insisted on buying window fans for the kids' rooms one hot summer. We ourselves had been sleeping in cool comfort during a heat wave because of the room air conditioner he had bought for our room. His lack of concern for the kids' comfort compared with the price of the fans infuriated me and I refused to comply with his wishes. He was, in turn, furious with me. Ah, marital compromise...........I was born to be single. Thank goodness one of us (Phil) realized that our marriage was not worth saving.
Anyway, the visit was wonderful. I am always happy when I have a chance to spend time with them. Seeing my children as adults, and getting to know them as they are now, is one of my great pleasures.