because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” —Jerry Gillies
When I was growing up the only two paths I ever recognized as worth pursuing for my life work were writing and painting. So much intervened and there would still be times when I touched on painting, but I never focused on it as the central thing it must be. More than one lifetime is needed.
Certainly art has been part of my life always, textile designing, decorating a period house, and creating and selling truly hundreds of decorative art pieces, such as fraktur and oil paintings of make believe children in a "primitive: style. I enjoyed them greatly and they were well received.
But the study of fine art as my mind sees it, (my brother reminds me of how wide a field this can be) and the creation of paintings in a contemporary impressionistic realism had always been kicked down the road with other cans until about 10 years back. In March of 2005 I felt all my ducks were in a row and that I could begin to paint. The house was done, the doll collection was in good order with almost all dressed well, and the rug retreats were set up to happen several times a year, and the rug pattern business was going smoothly. Jack and I were easing into a slower pace.
I bought a French easel for outdoor work and made my first three efforts at plein air painting. I still have two, do not remember what the second one was. The first one is framed and in my library as a keepsake, simple but it shows where this journey began. The third one I painted sitting outside our red cape and the bright sun messed up my colors a lot, but I said "that's ok, I will paint it many more times". When we drove away to New England a few days later that was the last time I would ever see it before lightening struck it and started the fire that changed our lives.
We flew home to chaos as our son flew to Maine to retrieve our little van partly filled with antiques from the trip. Our way of life, the business, the farm, all were lost one way or another.
I was so shaken by it that I slept on washed but fire stained sheets for six weeks before I could gather myself to go to Walmart and buy fresh sheets and towels. Jack began radiation treatments in two weeks time for what was known to be a battle he could not win, but would fight for almost eight years. Sweet friend Sylvia brought us a few things to wear from her church because we could not seem to gather ourselves to go buy simple needful things. A daughter fed us for 30 days from her kitchen, as we found a house to rent and began the move to town. I was 74 and trying to find new bearings and hang on someway as my world spun out of control. And then Katrina happened. My friend Virginia urgently requested supplies to help Katrina victims, about 28 hard luck cases her church had taken on. Virginia is a little bit my senior and she was working and cooking for them till 8 o'clock at night! As I responded by gathering wheel chairs and walkers and crutches and other things needed, I made the first steps toward healing inside. Katrina helped take me back to reality.
There have been three moves and much effort to recover the house hold in a fashion. New linens and rugs and kitchen things are used alongside the furniture and accessories saved first by the firemen and then by friends who helped mightily to scrub it all. Since the fire, over a hundred antique dolls have been purchased and years of work have been done on them as I have tried to replace in some fashion that part of my collection. Curtains are made and hung and a new yard has been established. Maybe enough ducks are in a row again to make a fresh commitment to painting. For the last several years I have showed up in front of my easel more and more.
I am enjoying it so much and feel blessed to have this time. As with so much in life it is not the destination but the journey. Regardless of the merit of one's output, painting makes everything one sees more vivid and meaningful. It adds a wonderful other dimension to daily existence. How great is that!?
House On Schubert Street, Sold, thank you, e