Sunday, April 6, 2014

BAILEY and some confusion

16x20" oil on canvas

Well, that happened! The question is what happened? And, I'm still not sure that it's finished happening! After completing Tim's anniversary portrait I thought it would be the beginning of a new direction in painting for me.  It did turn out to be a beginning but I'm still not aware of what!

It wasn't a case of the Dread Mahockiss—the name I've given to that period of time when a creative has little or no desire or seeming ability to create—it was more of an "I really don't give a crap!" if I paint period and I'm not really sure it's over. 

This portrait was not easy to complete but it is a donation piece and had to be done. I'd go into the studio, sure I was just being lazy or distracted, but as I sat there, brush in hand, I felt like I was sitting down to watch grass grow. Usually there's an air of excitement, and anxiety to be sure, but a feeling somewhere that something cool might grow out of the blank canvas. But...nope! Nuthin! Not for almost 2 months..well more like a month and a half. I embellish for effect.

I'm sure it's got everything to do with another stage of grief. I've been doing a lot of reading and listening and reading and watching. The missing him has reached Biblical proportions and I can see now that as time goes on it will most likely get worse. There have been some incredible signs and messages not the least of which was his 6 year old niece offhandedly explaining to her mother how Uncle Tim and his dog Devlin come to visit her sometimes.

Still, I sit. I stare. I get up and move from window to window. I imagine him pulling into the drive, running out into the garage to meet him. That first hug that would last for minutes as we sunk into each other and all the cares of the day melted away. Home at last. A glass of wine, discussing the day, playing with the boys. I'd give anything to be able to sit across from him at the dining room table and have one of our epic conversations about nothing. Or I'd sous chef while he prepared one of his gourmet meals out of left overs.

It could also be that I'm terrified I won't be able to duplicate the loose painterly quality of Tim's anniversary study. I did sit down not long after completing it and was bitterly disappointed when the same old tight, get as close as you can to what you see, outcome became apparent. Typical. It dawns on me that I might have to work at it.

Anyway, who knows. This too shall pass. I have to make that choice and for a bit I guess I needed to wallow. I appreciate the emails of concern. I'm here and I'll keep sitting down to paint until the excitement returns. 

Tim assures me that it will.

Friday, February 21, 2014


"Tim in the Light"
8x8" oil on linen

I found the reference photo for this while going through those huge bags of old mail I've been whining about lately. I'd forgotten all about it. I was thrilled to see it. Planned another big portrait, another week or two of "time in the studio with Tim"...sounds like a PBS instruction show...however, apparently he was not havin it. I got the distinct impression that another large portrait wouldn't be a good idea. I "heard" the word obsessive and he doesn't want that, so I compromised and did a quick study which I'm very happy with.

Keeping in mind his opinion that I "overwork" my paintings, I decided I would follow his line of thought while working on this. "Don't linger over a specific area!; don't paint a continuous color anywhere, break it up!; that area is DONE! do not touch it!; Dash in the color!"

I think he's so pleased with himself right now. I can just hear him..."See!! I told you!"

The anniversary proper is February 23rd, however I "feel" as if the 3rd Thursday in February should be it. It just seems so impossible that one can go to sleep and just leave like that! But still, I understand now that it was his time and I am so very grateful he left with us snuggled lovingly around him.

Oddly enough my resident geek and good friend Jon came over yesterday...the 3rd Thursday in February...and asked if I was ready to read Tim's "vanity" page, which he has been holding for the last two years. Vanity page...a term, from the paper the three of us worked for, defining a page that appeared in the paper that is then subsequently printed out on glossy stock for framing. In this case the vanity page is his obituary.

It was surreal seeing our names with those words surrounding them. "Wife found him dead." "Died in his sleep." They can't possibly mean us! But, I must be getting better. I read it and was able to distance myself from feeling left behind, abandoned.

Not gonna front though. I dove headlong into the pity pot for a nice extended stay earlier this week and haven't come up for air yet, but it is getting tired. And he's done so very much to keep in touch, it's just mind boggling. I won't go in to detail as I feel uncomfortable sharing it all now for some reason. It's basically for me so I'll know he's with me. I feel as I share every detail, I'm just trying to convince everyone of what I know to be a fact. Suffice it so say he's left little room for doubt...and yet, I still do, but that's normal.

Even feeling adrift in between signs and messages and needing that constant contact was addressed. My dear friend Carolyn, who suffered the same sudden and tragic loss this past August, shared the title of a book written by George Anderson that she's been reading. I read it years ago but thought it would mean so much more now. (gee...ya think?) I bought it on Kindle and the first passage I read explained that we are meant to go on as the unique individuals we are and constant contact would prohibit that. They make contact when it's time and going on doesn't mean leaving behind so, aside from the anniversary dreads, I'm pretty much good to go. As long as he checks in now and again...often.

And as for feeling awful, that's part of healing as well. Sometimes ya just gotta meet yourself where you are. And sometimes ya just gotta sit there and keep yourself company.

Thank you so much for dropping by, for the support and caring and for your friendship.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


16x16" oil on heavyweight canvas


Meet Beauford! Excellent name. And I just love his crooked toofus! I must admit I had a bit of trouble with this one. I think I might need a break. I don't have the dreads, just doing a lot of heavy sighing. Guess it's the anniversary coming up.

I am amazed by the amount of snow we've been getting and are scheduled to get again tonight and tomorrow. Depending upon where the line is we'll either get rain and snow or just snow. I'm done and I don't even have to drive in it. Although the morning after the other day, it was gorgeous out. Just mounds of the stuff stuck to branches and trees. Beautiful! Winter wonderland time. Except for the shoveling. Luckily I have that covered but after he left the big plows came out in force and BAM! Just like that, 4 feet of big chunks of half frozen slush and snow across the drive! Oh well.

Tim has been very busy this past week! I'm so fortunate, but still, there is nothin like the real thing and I miss that more than I can put into words. Sometimes I feel normal, I know he's fine and with us but sometimes...well you know.

I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks so much for dropping by. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

THE far

The Girls (WIP)
36x36" oil on canvas

This is the portrait I've been whining about having trouble with for the last year or so. I've come close but still no stogie. But no worries girls, I'll get there, I promise. I knew both of these young ladies before they made their respective entrances into this world, which is mostly likely the reason there is this, shall we say, rather mature looking, older woman staring back at me each morning from our bathroom mirror. Who is she??

Anyway, a dear friend and guardian angel used to live next door years back and these are her two beautiful girls, ahem....excuse me...three beautiful girls. You may remember Chloe...the one with the fur coat, from a portrait I did of her last year. I can see she needs some work as well...her right leg seems to be growing out of her neck!

I keep going back and trying to capture them and I will at some point. I think it's good for me to not give up. I used to. Such a brat! Not going my way? Fine, I'm done! I had started another portrait of these beautiful girls when they were much younger. Got halfway through and called it quits telling their mother it wasn't working. Years later I stumbled upon it and was really happy with it so, clearly, putting a painting away to marinate is a good idea. This particular one has been in the sauce way to long though.

I'm still recovering from my 30/30 Challenge attempt. Haven't been back in the studio since. Going in tomorrow. I'm ready. The store room is tidy, there are bags of things to donate and I have 3 (of 6) huge construction garbage bags of mail to sort and shred so things are moving along. Tim is hysterically laughing right now. He witnessed me move those bags from garage to closet to garage to store room to garage and back to closet and store room, again! I found some statements and mail from the eighties! He wasn't a fan of sorting and shredding. I can see why. You can be sure however, that there is a standard operating procedure set up in the office for dispatching any incoming mail to it's proper destination! Shredder at the ready! Heavy sigh.

There is so much I want to say about Tim and the reading I had with medium Patrick Matthews but I fear it all sounds too outrageous to be believed. I'm the one who used to try and sell the metaphysical to Tim! Now he knows it's real and I'm balking! I hate when that happens!

I will say that I've been also whining about him not coming through to me in my dreams or me not remembering if he did. Well after the phone session began and Patrick said Tim was too excited to begin to allow him to quiet his mind, the first message he gave me was...

"He's heard you and he's working on a way to come through to you in dreams so you'll remember!"

Well yesterday morning around 4AM I woke up and for a bit couldn't get back to sleep. However when I did and woke up a few hours later it was to the very incredible and vivid memory of the most wonderful visit and tender kiss from my best friend in the world. We spent some time together and it's fuzzy now but it was just what I needed. And since then everything looks different, better somehow. I'm sure in a few days I'll be whining about needing more signs, more visits, but I'll try not to. He's probably exhausted.

I never expected this to be part of my mourning process. I would swear to the reality of it all if it were someone else all of this was happening to, but when it's you there's a hesitancy and the fear of being thought of as the poor widow who's lost her stuff if you know what I mean. I'm just going to continue to remain positive and grateful for even having met this man, let alone being his best friend and wife for twenty years. The rest, I'll leave up to him.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you too for the support and kind words on my Challenge attempt.

Monday, January 13, 2014


11x14" pencil on bristol board

It was this past Friday. I had just realized that the painting I had planned to post and had been working on for the previous 3 days, still needed at least 3 more days work. I had nothing in progress and had just painted newly arrived canvases black.

I began to panic and decided to do a floating face so I wouldn't miss a day. In the midst of that drawing, which is above and still not completed, I began to feel very uneasy because it wasn't going fast enough or looking like anything I would want to post.

It was then I realized that a semi-permanent knot had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach and that I was waking up each morning panicked, wondering what I could find to paint, wondering if the painting I did work on the day before was dry enough and would I be able to finish it in time, would it be good enough, and on and on and on.

I wasn't painting in the spirit of the challenge. I was painting to have my ego stroked and I was not enjoying myself, at all. I went online and instead of checking the posts for that day, I read Leslie's blog entry. Her words jumped out at me! She basically said that painting for 30 days isn't about creating 30 masterpieces...

I realized I was getting depressed and anxious, the studio began to resemble a detention room and I had lost any desire to create. Clearly, this wasn't the point of the challenge and I needed to step back and rethink my approach. I gave myself a few days to think about it and came to the conclusion that I would tap out and get back to my normal schedule of painting a few hours a day on an ongoing piece at my leisure.

I guess I felt guilty because the next day I decided to clean out the store room...a job I've been putting off for the last two years. Two problems were immediately realized...I'm a packrat and I have far too much inventory to keep. A sale of my work is being planned as we speak, so if you're interested, feel free to check here in the coming days and weeks.

I feel much better and relieved. I apologize for not completing the 30 days and thank everyone for their support and encouragement.

On top of that, I had an hour telephone reading by medium Patrick Matthews this past Wednesday and my feet still haven't touched the ground. Tim validated the movie scene I wrote about a few weeks ago and mentioned everything I had asked him to the day of the reading. I'm still trying to process it all but with the anniversary coming up I thought it best to find some peace and I certainly wasn't finding it in my manic approach to the challenge.

So, I tried. It didn't work. Maybe I'll experiment with some quick studies and see how that goes and try again next time. Thanks again and I so hope I haven't disappointed. I'm realizing that I'm not failing anymore, I'm just finding out what doesn't work for me and I feel really good about that.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


"Second Seating"
6x6" oil on canvas
Painting Nine


Eggs and floating faces will clearly be my fall back positions, but at least I'm actually painting, right? The Challenge honeymoon is over my friends. I wanna tap out. But I won't. I promised himself I would complete this and I will. (who said that?)

 Seriously, what was I thinking? Although I must admit, this is the part that I love. Posting yet another finished painting and then planning my next two. I still can't believe I'm actually doing this! Thank you again for your support!
You can view all of the Challenge submissions at

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


"How Many Days Left???"
10x10 oil on linen $75
Painting Eight


Okay, I'll admit it. All I felt like doing today was curling up with the remote. But as much as I dreaded getting started, I felt relieved and relaxed once I got going. I have two that I began yesterday but even after working on them today, I can see they're going to need some more time to marinate so I did a floating face instead.

Her expression describes my emotions today regarding the challenge at this point. I want to remain optimistic and excited but coming up with new and different subject matter is a challenge....oh.... yeah, I get it now...that's why it's called a challenge!

Thanks for stopping by! Off to tidy, relax and enjoy some wine and chat with himself.