Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Please forgive the impersonal nature of sharing this news. Nine days ago, I met with an oncologist who confirmed the sobering results of several biopsies from my right breast and armpit -- breast cancer. The days are starting to run together -- so much is happening so quickly -- I'm overwhelmed by the enormity of my diagnosis and the impending treatment.
Today I will have a small surgical procedure to implant a port to administer chemotherapy, which begins August 1st.
The treatment plan will start with 5 - 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy, lymphadenectomy of the nodes in my armpit, 6 weeks of radiation, then a drug called Herceptin for one year during which time, presumably, they will perform reconstructive surgery on my breast. My breast cancer is HER2 positive, which means that it's unreasonably aggressive.
Please remember me in your prayers as I begin this arduous journey.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
"Stable Friends" is 18" x 24" oil on linen.
Since a well known gift giving time of the year is in the not too distant future, in case anyone is interested, all of my paintings are listed at $2 a square inch. And, for a limited time, all of my paintings sized 12" x 16" or less will be $1 a square inch, which includes everything in the photo below, which means that the paintings in the photo range in price from $35 - $180. (There are four 12" x 15" 's on the table.)
Come have a look.
Ever thought about commissioning a painting? There's still time for the work to be finished before the holidays, and I'd love to paint something specifically for you. Commission work is $3 a square inch.
Monday, October 24, 2016
Last week I stopped by MotherDogStudios, a 22,000 square foot warehouse space, to view a very impressive show that John Runnels has gathered and curated called Voices of Trees. 91 artists' works are on view, I personally have three pieces in the show, so that gives one an idea of the scope of show -- it's huge. The cavernous space lends itself to presenting large pieces well, and the smaller works are carefully curated to not diminish their appeal to the observer, as noted by the five smaller paintings flanking my own "Cottonwood". (above) (That's Andy Dearwater's pear still life to the right of Cottonwood.)
"Glenwood Oak" is another of my paintings in the show, surrounded by cutouts and what appears to be black and white photography. To be honest, I was distracted by the conversation, John Runnels was a thorough tour guide, and spent more time listening to his musings than contemplatively looking at the work.
"Hermann Park Trees - 3" is my final piece in the show. It's a piece that I started in 2009, but recently reworked. It was hanging in our dining room before this show, and seemed to become more nuanced daily. Isn't that what happens when we fall in love with something/someone? Each day, we are more amazed than the day before, and we find new things to accept, embrace, admire?
"Hermann Park Trees - 3" is on the wall beyond this multi tiered tree branch chandelier. Very cool.
These are some works in the front gallery space. Apologies for not remembering or recording the artist's names for the corresponding works. The above photo is NOT upside down. Those bare trees are hanging from the ceiling!
The show is on view now, open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (ish) (or by appointment 713 229 9760) at 720 Walnut Street in Houston's downtown warehouse district. The Amazing Reese and I plan to be at MotherDogStudios for a couple/few hours during Art Crawl on November 19th, probably late afternoon/early evening. (I'll verify times as the date draws nearer.) In the meantime, I'd be more than happy to meet anyone there to view the show together. Let me know.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
One rainy morning was all the proof needed to discredit any success of the durability of the little book house. The rain caused several areas of the roof to swell and split, which is really not good. In fact, it's quite bad. So, yesterday, after a journey to the hardware store with the intention of building a new roof, I realized that I needed MORE. More of everything and anything that would help protect the little house from rain.
Another trip to the hardware store yielded a sack full of waterproofing supplies, which, upon exiting the car, the doubled plastic sack ripped and all of the contents of the sack fell into the goopy gutter, and gentle reader, remember, it had just rained the day before.....the can of primer paint burst open, spilling 7/8ths of its contents in said gutter, and splattering everything in its vicinity....all of those new waterproofing products. But wait, there's more.....
One of the products that I got at the hardware store is this liquid plastic stuff in a spray can called flex seal. (As seen on TV, just not by me. It probably would have been wise for me to have seen that "as seen on TV" commercial, but alas, all I did was read the back of the can, which, presumably, should have been enough, but, not in this instance.) Two people had recommended the product, which is why I bought it. As per the instructions on the can, I cleaned all surfaces to be treated, and sprayed the surface that I wanted to coat from 8 to 12 inches away in a side by side motion. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and all the saints -- this is not what I thought it was and isn't doing what I thought it would do. Some of the product accidentally got on the window of the front door, and the plastic coating is not coming off of it....not with alcohol, not with turpentine, not with salt or baking soda, not with Windex, not with Scrub Daddy....nothing. And there are flecks of plastic all over the surface of the little house, and the whole thing looks pitiful, is pitiful. Oy vey what have I done? Maybe, hopefully, the library is/will be protected until I can build another roof, but in the meantime, I've made a huge mistake. Like the sign above says, library temporarily closed. :(
Friday, August 19, 2016
|This is the beginning of mixing paints to get more or less the right shade of blue.|
|That yellow square is the future front door, made from a scrap of wood leftover from a dresser mirror.|
|Front door installed, which is surprisingly difficult -- this took the better part of a morning to finish.|
|These tiny things are going to be the shutters.|
|The Amazing Reese is a blur of activity. He dug a starter hole, and then pounded the four by four into the earth. Next, he screwed in the platform for the little blue house.|
|Installed with books! I'll admit that I got a little verklempt at this point.|
|Look how cute those shutters are, with books visible through the windows.|
|Even though it's been less than 24 hours since it was installed, I've already had several readers stop by to get some books.|
Friday, August 12, 2016
The Little Free Library is nearing completion, and to that end, a dear, sweet, kind hearted neighbor has donated a great batch of books to the cause, one of which is a biography on e. e. cummings that I've already started reading. Look for more updates soon!
Friday, July 29, 2016
Looking into my neighbor's trash heap a few months ago, I had an eureka moment. The scraps so carefully placed by the side of the curb would be the perfect stuff to build a Little Free Library! The Amazing Reese and Tilly the Wonder dog were with me, and helped me haul it all back home after our run. Well, Reese helped. Tilly was nonplussed. First order of business was to see if any of the scraps were usable. Some were. (Yay!) Then, I had to piece together bits here and there to build walls and re-shingle the roof. A trip to the hardware store yielded Plexiglas for the windows, which Reese graciously re-cut for me because I had measured the space incorrectly where the windows were to be installed. I am not entirely sure how to properly seal these little Plexiglas windows, and for the life of me can't figure out a way to attach a front door, and don't even have a front door because, well, just because I can't figure it out.....for the life of me. The space for the door needs to be at least that big, (see above photo) so that the future librarian (me) can put in the books, and random strangers (and friends) can remove books to take home to read, when the time comes. The books never have to be returned. The idea is that anyone walking past can just grab a book to go. We live near an elementary school, so one of the things I'm most looking forward to is having a kid section, though there will be books for all ages and tastes, fiction and non. The thing is to have variety! Back to the "building it" story, the most recent obstacle, I thought, was making the little house water tight. The fella at the hardware store suggested caulking the cracks with silicone, which is water tight, which I did, but it just so happens that you can't paint over silicone, which, of course, I plan to do, half of the fun has been deciding how to paint it, so guess who gets to sand off all of the silicone that I just spent hours squirting into every nook and cranny? Yep, me.
So, even though I haven't been painting as much as before the great creative mind drought of Sarah Hazel of 2015/2016, I have been hatching other ideas, just not pursuing any of them as fervently as before the brain cloud. And, I'm tentatively happy that this Little Free Library will be finished by the end of the year.....that gives me time to make and hopefully fix a few more mistakes, which, seems to be a regular occurrence these days. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm happy to make the mistakes, because it means that I'm finally doing something.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
So, it was incredibly confirming, when, after not painting for a year, that this painting that was barely dry off the easel, was accepted into the Eighth Annual Juried Exhibition for Archway Gallery! The juror was John Runnels, seen here with me in this photo. The show will be in the gallery until August 3.
The Amazing Reese was graciously taking photos, an inordinate amount of photos -- this one is my favorite.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
After months of inactivity in the studio, I did it -- I spent the afternoon painting. Since starting painting 12-ish years ago, I've never gone this long without painting, or writing. Suffice it to say, it's been a weird stage/place to be. Hopefully, this is the start of a new beginning, a renewed focus, and inspiration to continue toward a pursuit in the arts. This took heart, hands, intellect, and all of the bravery in my soul just squeeze paint on the palette. Phew. What a day!
The subject matter was chosen because it affects no one but me if it's a lousy painting. #selfieportrait
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Lucille was faithful in spurts. Not withstanding the rusted out floorboard, which we covered with newspapers, she did get us from Colorado to California to Texas, but she preferred cold weather, and she really needed a push to get started, preferably a small hill so that we could give her a few good tries before reaching the bottom of the slope. It's neither cold nor hilly in Houston, so, not too long after we moved to here, we sold her. From that day till this, I've missed her. My one consolation is, as silly as it sounds, that the famous monster truck Grave Digger is actually the reincarnated Lucille.
For almost as long as I've lived in Houston, there has been an Art Car Parade. We've attended many, many parades, volunteered in a few, but what I've wanted for years was have/create an art car of my own. It's been on my bucket list for some time now.
Last week while checking my twitter feed one evening, I saw this:
Looking for a sweet ride to turn into an art car? This could be yours if you get it out of my driveway. pic.twitter.com/kv4ML68Tvk
What? Is it really true? Is someone really giving away a car? All these years of wondering if I'd ever actually have an opportunity to create an art car of my own, and this one is falling in my lap? YES! YES! YES!
Arranging for a tow truck felt like planning a surprise party. To add to the fun, the tow truck driver couldn't have been more delighted. All the way home, people would nod or wave to him from the streets and he would honk his horn and wave back. Reese and I were both giggly on the way home, and a little horrified that our "new" car was going to fall off the end of the tow truck bed. (Roads in Houston are a bit bumpy, to say the least.)
We are SO pleased to announce that we are now the proud "almost" owners (still have to sign the papers) of a 1980 Buick stretch limousine, affectionately named Lucille Two, in honor of our 1950 Chevrolet Panel Wagon, and a gentle nod to Lucille Two (Lucille Austero) in Arrested Development.
She's parked in our driveway RIGHT NOW!!!
Lucille Two, being a 1980 vehicle, needs quite a bit of TLC. The Amazing Reese has already started the process of changing/replacing various fluids and we did crank her up for a few minutes, but she's not quite ready for the open road -- not even close. For one thing, she needs new tires.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2015
This painting first began churning around in the the cavernous spaces of my brain back in 2009. Some paintings are like that -- I think and think about them, sometimes dreaming about how to convey what will go on the canvas without getting overly bogged in details, instead to focus on the big picture and (perhaps) a smaller message, if that makes any sense. For this one, however, it wasn't until last summer that I actually put brush to canvas and started on it. Started is the key word in that last sentence, because it was left VERY unfinished. It languished on the floor of the art studio for the last year collecting dust. It got shuffled around the studio, finally, firmly wedged between a pile of paintings stacked against the wall. Recently, someone reminded me of it, and last week or so, it got put it back on the easel just to see if any inspiration would unclog the enormous mental block experienced every time I glanced at it. This process took several attempts at painting something, then wiping it off, painting something, and wiping it off again. This is about the fourth attempt at the background and thankfully, it was a successful one, if not exhausting. I'm VERY pleased with how the background completes and complements this painting, and brings out the clear green of the eyes. And good grief, it's so much better than the other three attempts.
Portrait of a Homeless Man -- Louis is 20" x 16", oil on linen.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
The drought seems to be confined only to the creative aspect of my life. It is all encompassing -- writing, painting, cooking, gardening, playing music -- all has suffered. I can pull an occasional rabbit out of the hat, but mostly, the tricks are old, tired, and exposed.
This isn't a complaint -- honestly -- it's just an attempt at an explanation. Only my creative life has been disrupted -- I'm more stunned than anything, surprised that the normally fertile soil of my brain is such a parched desert of a landscape. Hopefully, just explaining this vacuous mind suck will revive something.....anything to reconnect my normally creative mind and hands to my heart, soul, and spirit. And hopefully, soon, I will find beauty in this desert.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Sometimes creativity is hard to come by -- like for the last month and a half. That's how long it's been since I painted anything. This painting has been on the back burner for a while and certainly isn't finished. It will likely be Monday or Tuesday before I can work on it again, which is just fine with me -- it will give me time to figure out how to paint the background. That looks like it's going to be complicated.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
This painting is a 16" x 20" oil on canvas.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
The entire show is strong, with artists from seven states represented in it. 587 artworks were submitted and only 58 pieces were selected, so I'm very pleased to have had "Tree at Menil Collection" chosen from such a large pool of entries.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Just a reminder for those who would like to join the Amazing Reese and me -- the opening reception for Visual Arts Alliance Open Juried Exhibition is May 25th from 6-8pm on the mezzanine lobby of Three Allen Center, 333 Clay Street, Houston, Texas 77002. This painting, Tree at Menil Collection, will be on view until July 11th.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I'm very happy to announce that this painting, Tree at Menil Collection, was selected by juror, Clint Willour, for Visual Arts Alliance 31st Juried Open Exhibition. The congratulatory notification said that out of 587 artworks entered by 152 artists, the juror chose 37% of works submitted by 29% of the artists submitting. (Somebody had fun with math coming up with those statistics.)
Please join me and the other artists whose work was selected at the opening reception next month, on May 25th, from 6-8pm in the lobby of Three Allen Center in downtown Houston.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
This painting is 12" x 15" oil on board.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
This is a 12" x 14" oil on wood that I actually painted last week. The flowers are from the camellia bush that came with the house when we bought it 16 years ago. It is growing in a very unlikely location - I often wonder how it survives year after year, though to my delight, it does. This is the latest it has ever bloomed - must have something to do with our unusually cold and prolonged winter.