Friday, August 31, 2007

Show at the Gallery

I'm copying here the statement I wrote for my show of the Epping Road series at the gallery. The reception for the show was Aug. 25, and I meant to take pictures to post but forgot my camera. It was a good opening and lots of people came. Toni and I played the music we had rehearsed and that went well also. In fact, several people came just to hear it. Some of them stood around to listen and then clapped for us. Many more ignored us and talked so loudly in the background that we could barely hear each other. Their lack of enthusiasm cheered us, since we knew our mistakes would not be noticed in the din. We had seven short pieces in our program, and after about four of them we had exhausted the attention span of our audience. Next time we will consider that and either shorten or divide the program.

Just as the reception was beginning, a couple from Atlanta bought two of the paintings, and later in the evening another one was sold. Over the next few days two of my fruit paintings in the Food Show were bought by a local resident. Each one was priced rather low, but the number of them brings up the amount of money to a significant (for me) level.

By now Toni and I have happily moved on to other composers...Loeillet and Telemann. It was amazing to see how much we have slipped in our ability to sight read after playing the same thing for so long. I had almost forgotten, too, that I was new to the alto recorder and was shocked at how many notes I haven't learned to finger yet. Humbled, I put my shoulder to the wheel.


All of these paintings depict actual places along one road just off Route 1 in the town of Columbia. I discovered this world by accident and was so totally enthralled that I spent a whole year doing pastels of it. Over and over again I returned and immersed myself in the timeless, raw beauty all around me. I never met another human being in all those visits. The place became mine, and mine alone. I hoarded it, never wanting to share it with anyone. I studied it in detail and in its entirety, always feeling that I was in a very special place and allowed to experience something breathtakingly unique. I dreamed about it, thought about it, talked about it, and immersed myself in the paintings of it.
Well, Epping Road turns out to be simply one of hundreds of side roads that traverses one of hundreds of blueberry fields in Washington County. Since I found it, I realize it is not so unique, and no more beautiful than so many others. Nevertheless, it will always be a magical place for me. In my own mind and heart, there will never be another place as wonderfully serene and timeless as Epping Road, or another place where I can be the only person in the world, content with my solitary existence, wanting nothing more than to look around me and marvel at the spectacle offered by nature.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


These decorating changes actually took place a few weeks ago. I finally unpacked the three versions of "Self-comfort" I did at Sydney's a few years ago and hung them under the mantel. They are precarious there, I suppose, but better that then packed away in bubble wrap. Also shown: the painting by Judy Rogers that Thelma swapped for my Epping Road scene, an oil lamp in case the electricity goes off, the duck I made out of clay, my collection of dog figurines, pictures of Carrie, Gabe, Jesse, and Sabrina, and Zizlav Sikora's monoprint that I bought at considerable cost while I was his student at the University.

The upper picture shows my huge horse paintings from the Mchias show in their new home. Their presence there darkens the room a little, but they are an impressive sight. Besides, I hate to just put the canvases under the bed or in the closet.

Today I planted perennials that Lisa gave me, even though it seems like Fall. If they survive they will be wonderful additions to my ever-expanding garden. I dug up some dirt from the chicken yard for the new plants, and I think the processed chicken food will provide them with nutrients.

David left for Florida this morning, where he will help Thom pack and then the two of them will be moving here for good. This means the end of an era for me, but also the beginning of a new one. I don't quite know how I feel about this, even though I think the world of Thom and know he will be as good a friend as David is. The main impact on my life will mainly be the loss of my escort to so many plays, movies, concerts, openings, etc. David has turned me into a socialite of sorts by inviting me to these activities that otherwise I would never have attended. For the first time in my life I feel a part of a social group. I can't say if this is something I will miss as I return to my old reclusive self. Change, for me, is unwelcome and unsettling. With the notable exception of my divorce, change has never been positive. It has meant loss and reluctant adjustment to a less favorable situation. I emerge on the other side of that loss feeling damaged. I am never the same again, and the lesser for it.
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oranges One More Time

I can't seem to get enough of painting fruit. I keep getting better at capturing its essential fruitiness (that is a joke). Actually, what always amazes me about the results I get is how realistic my work looks at a distance and how rough it looks up close. This is true of most everything I do. I guess this is what people call a "style."

It's a good thing I enjoy the process of painting and am enchanted with my own creations, since I would be hard pressed to think of any good reason for them to exist otherwise. Even if I valued giving pleasure to others, my efforts would be in vain since I so rarely sell anything. I do not, however, get anything out of the enjoyment others may get from my work. The only part that others play in my process is to partially satisfy my own selfish need for praise and acceptance. That pleasure is short-lived, lasting as long as it takes to hear the words. I have no resevoir and am constantly in need of refilling.

I suppose that's what keeps me painting.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

Oranges and Apples Take two

So I couldn't leave this painting alone. I just couldn't accept that I couldn't do better, so I went after it again. Now I'm happy with it. Obviously I changed the background, which I realized was dull. I let one of my dish towels model. Then I worked more on the orange and changed the color of the shadows on the peel. They were flat and colorless. The paint had set enough so that I was able to make the whites whiter. It took me more than two hours to get things the way I wanted them, but I'm glad I spent the time rather than doing another one. I did buy oranges, and I think I'll still do another painting of them. If not, I am still ahead of the game since they are the best oranges I have ever eaten. I had to get a whole bag of them, which I almost didn't do because of the cost. I have a lot of gastronomic pleasure ahead of me.

Toni and I have been practicing for our debut on recorders, which will take place on August 25 at my opening reception at the gallery. It's amazing how much work it takes to perfect a piece of music (or get as close as we can). We have always pretty much accepted our mistakes and moved on. I guess we thought it wasn't worth the effort to correct what we did wrong, which we assumed would take just a few more tries. How wrong we were. We have adjusted phrasing, tempo, and even the notes themselves, until the eight pieces we have chosen flow endlessly through our brains. Certainly we will be glad to bid Gastoldi, Morley, Johnson, Locke, and Boismortier good-bye.........and they can take their 15th and16th century music with them.

On another note (heh), I called Alice at her daughter's house in Connecticut. It was a meaningful step in the process of changing and/or ending our relationship. Her voice traveled to me from that far place and I had to accept that she was really there. She was happy, unpacking her things and setting up her new room. She sounded like her old self, and I had to realize that the sick Alice I have come to know had taken away the healthy one, too. Up till now it wasn't the person I had known who left me. It was the person she had become-- sick, emaciated, weak, dependent, listless and self-absorbed. When I heard her old voice on the phone, I saw that that Alice had taken my old Allice with her.

It was a shock that I didn't foresee.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wilson St

I forgot to post this little painting I did awhile ago of the street where I live. My house is on the left.
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Next Food Painting

I went to the market and bought an apple and an orange for this painting. I started it yesterday and found the orange much more difficult than I had ever imagined. Even now I wish it were better, but considering the stages it has gone through I'm considering it the best I can do. Tomorrow I think I'll get more oranges and try again. The rest of the Painting I like.

I finally did some laundry today, but I have lost my touch even with that. I ruined one of my favorite skirts by putting it in with whites that I was bleaching. In some places the color came out, and in others it turned orange. Well, the rest of the wash looked good and at last I will have clean white underwear.
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Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Food

I started this yesterday at Sydney's and finished it today. I'm still wanting to paint more food, but I have done about everything I have in the refrigerator that is picturesque. In fact this one is mostly artificial vegetables mixed with real ones. Josie, my new friend from Pembroke, brought some bagels and cookies over today, and I might be able to do something with them if I don't eat them first.

I am feeling quite antisocial and actually decided not to go to the concert at the art center tomorrow night. My favorite pianist is playing, but even that fails to move me. I am most comfortable here at home, with the dogs. My existence has an aimlessness about it at the moment and people seem foreign to me with their interest in daily things. I can only listen to their talk and feel I have nothing in common with them, that I do not belong to the same species.

Well, it is a temporary state of mind, no doubt. My financial situation continues to worsen, and although money doesn't usually cause me a lot of chagrin, I worry over recent developments. My housing assistance has been cut drastically as of next month, resulting in quite a problem on my minimal income. There are many bills overdue with no way to catch up. These things float around my head like buzzing flies, interrupting the state of mind brought on by the loss of Alice. I don't know where to focus my attention, so end up wandering around in a kind of limbo of inaction. I eat ice cream.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sunny Morning

Here's a picture of the corner of my living room. Toni pointed out to me how pretty it looked with the sun coming in and I might turn it into a painting sometime. It really is pretty, and you can't see the dirt.
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More Food Show Work

It took a lot of work and a lot of paint to get this one into shape. Once again, it looks better in the photograph than in real life. I learned a valuable lesson as I painted the berries about the color red. I use only two reds in my palette and have felt restricted at times thinking I couldn't get the shade of red I wanted. Usually it doesn't matter, but since I didn't want either orange or purple strawberries I was forced to really experiment with my reds, adding various amounts of them both to my two yellows, blues, and white. Amazingly, but not surprisingly, I was able to do everything I wanted. I've always been convinced I could get any color out of my primaries if I tried hard enough, and now I know it's true. The one thing I had to give up on was the mottled blue design around the edge of the plate. I probably would have eventually done it, but there's a limit to my patience when I don't think the result will be worth the effort. My many attempts resulted in very thick paint as I covered up failure after failure. I like the result.

All I seem to want to do is paint. Away from my easel I am distracted and restless. The days are long and empty.
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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Food Show Painting

I spent the afternoon painting this picture for the food show that starts at the gallery next week. It's oil, so it needs time to dry. The picture of it is a little better than the actual thing, but I do like it nevertheless. I set up the limes and lemons on a plate in the sun this morning, then took the picture of it. I'm finding that the best way for me to paint nowadays....from photographs I have taken spsecifically for the purpose. This is a foot square.

Painting is very absorbing and occupies my mind. I think of nothing but color and light and paint. My only goal is to make things look like I want them to. I can control my world.
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Friday, August 03, 2007

Painting and Alice's Good-bye

This is the oil painting I did of the same subject as my 8x10 acrylic. I like this one better, probably because I am having a good time learning to use oil. This one is 18x24, done over an anonymous unsold painting from last year's Paint Eastport Day.

I started this at Sydney's on Wednesday, and finished it late this afternoon after picking up my blue car at the garage in Lubec. I called Alice this morning before Toni came to practice the recorder and learned that she is going to Connecticut on Tuesday. Because Toni arrived immediately after the conversation and then took me to get the car, I didn't have time to react to hearing the news I have been dreading for so long. As is my custom, I behaved as if nothing was wrong, talking and laughing while the phone call burned in my brain. Once I was alone in the car, the news washed over me and I absorbed it until it took over my entire being.

I won't see Alice again.
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