Sunday, June 23, 2013

Evidence of the Meeting

Me, Lorelei, Beth
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Slave Labor, Memories, and meeting Lorelei

I've forgotten if I wrote about the conditions of the court settlement between me and Phil, but part of it is that I am to supply him with two paintings every month until one or the other of us dies. This is the first of July's offerings.  I am doing watercolor in order to comply with the 16x20 inch requirement.  I'm not able to paint anything that large, so these can be matted to fit a 16x20 frame.  So far I have been enjoying my task, so long as I forget why I am doing it.  Watercolor was always a joy to me.

This is a picture of a small lane off Clark St..  I have always found it very pretty, and this time of year it is particularly nice with the flowers in bloom.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the ease of which I have been able to immerse myself in watercolor again this time.  There are times when I think I should focus on it because I have a particular style that is unlike what most people do.  I learned  from people who belong to the Cape Ann school, which is pretty distinctive.  Doing it allows me to relive all the years I painted in Rockport.

Yesterday I met a cousin of mine that I haven't seen for fifty years or event set up by my industrious cousin Beth who has been digging into our genealogy for quite some time.  The drive to Ellsworth, where we had lunch together, took me through all the places I used to go with Thelma.  It is certainly the epitome of bittersweet to think of all the times we spent painting or just looking at the beautiful scenery of Acadia National Park.....our painting excursions with Betty Lou, the workshops I taught there because Thelma arranged them.  I remember all the motel rooms and cottages we stayed in, our daily paintings accumulating and balanced on every available surface in the room to critique.  In Milbridge I noticed the little restaurant where we had that delicious apple pie two days in a row, the BLT's at Chase's, the bottle of carrot juice I bought in the small market (I spit out the first swallow).  I drove past the Red Barn Motel where we painted with Betty Lou..........well, experiences that have barely lost their intensity over the years.  It's hard not to be melancholy, but I try to keep those memories pristine.  Thelma herself told me that memories are precious in themselves, and exist outside of the experience after it is gone, a tangible entity we never lose.

Also along that route I passed the area where I taught a workshop for a few summers for my sculpture teacher at the university.  We became friends, and I still am in touch with her today.  My memories there have to do with art as it was then......intense and meaningful in so many ways, how privileged I felt to come to know Deborah.  I still do.  My head filled with the hill house, the dogs running on the beach, haircuts, and cranberry juice spiked with vodka, pheasant under glass, a framed picture of Martha Stewart.......  It all flooded my consciousness.

Then when I got to Ellsworth, my attention turned to my family of origin, the treasure that is my cousin Beth, who links me to the best part of my childhood and reminds me of who I was and am.  With her I am my whole self in a way I had forgotten I could be.....the good part of the past and the present at the same time.  Our cousin Lorelei was understandably reserved, and I didn't really get much of a feeling of who she is.  It was obvious, though, that Beth and I are cut from the same bolt of cloth, whereas Lorelei is a stranger.  It will be nice if more meetings can occur and we all can get to know one another....... because she is part of us nonetheless, part of our history, and we hers. 
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kendall's Family

I was quite interested in trying to paint from some old photographs that Kendall has of her family, so she lent me this one.  Painting in black and white proved to be much more difficult than I imagined.  At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to do it satisfactorily, but after several days of trying and failing, I finally seemed to get the hang of it. The next challenge was to get some kind of likeness of the five people.  I'm sure each person was never so closely examined during their lifetime as what I have done in the past few weeks.  It is such an intriguing process that never fails to fascinate and entertain me.  After looking at someone's picture for some time, I begin to feel as if I know them.  This sometimes leads me to believe that I know what they look like more than the camera does, so I have to keep checking to make sure I stay focused.  I name them and talk to them as I work and am constantly amazed at how easily a likeness can be lost and found and lost again with the slightest mark of the brush.  It's necessary to remember that I am trying to represent a person and not create a person.  Looking at the photograph of the painting gives me another perspective, and I am now not sure of how well I have done that.  Have I painted them, or have I painted somebody else..........or nobody else?

Patrick continues to recover from his strange illness.  He seems even happier than before, which makes me wonder if he may have been sick for a long time and I didn't realize it.  Or it could be that the medication he's on is working as some kind of mood altering drug.  In any case, I have ceased to worry that when I wake up in the morning he may be dead.  Since the cause of his problem is still a mystery, I can't relax completely, but so far everything is going well.  I'm still living in the never-never land that fear of losing him has imposed on my psyche.  I must say I am settling into it, shuffling through each day rather aimlessly, oblivious for the most part to any bigger picture than what is right in front of me.
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Pretty Garden, Patrick, Visit from Carrie

 You'd never know it was Spring by the temperature, but the plants know what to do anyway.  My efforts with the garden are very rewarding, and every year it looks better than ever.

Patrick seems to have finally recovered from whatever was wrong with him, but he is still on two kinds of medication.  He had several more setbacks since I last wrote.  I am amazed that he survived after all he has been through, and no one knows the cause.  His illness has taken over my life. Even now I keep watching him for signs of a relapse.  I've not been able to concentrate on anything else.  Now, even though he is better, I have settled into a routine of sloth that I have not yet been able to give up. It's not unusual to find me lounging on the couch in the middle of the afternoon, surrounded by happy dogs, reading or (gasp!) watching a movie on TV.
 Carrie visited for four days, left this morning.  We spent our time talking, shopping, eating, watching movies, wandering the downtown, and walking with the dogs on the beach.  The pace was slow and very enjoyable.  It is very easy to have her in the house.....almost as if she has always been here.  After she leaves, I miss her for the time it takes for me to adjust  to the solitude again.  
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