Stewing in my juices

Ok, I don't know what it is. Most likely has something to do with the recent lessons in the fragility of life, the temporary (time-based) nature of everything dear, but I'm getting little done art-wise. At least overtly. Still trying to get my life routines back on track and keep being derailed. I'm trying so hard to "be here now" but do have expectations that I make plans and stick to them, too. Reconciling those disparate ideas is a challenge right now.
The gift of menopause is supposed to be the clarity and intensity of feeling, unrelieved by the previous experience of three weeks out of four spent all docile and accomodating. Got it. I've got the unrelieved intensity. Unfriendly "friends" are being jettisoned. Room for new friends is being readied. Ideas for paintings are written down. Conversations are deeper. I become more transparent. Clutter is boxed up and moved out. I've been home six days and I haven't painted a lick. Did those portrait sketches Tuesday, but haven't painted. A friend died while I was in Phoenix. The services were over before I returned. Her voice is on my voice mail. She was younger than I.
I'm feeling such an urgency to not waste a moment. Not miss anything. Not squander my time with anyone, anything not infused with love and authenticity. Hot flashes wake me and I jot down the images which are delivered simultaneously. All I can do is pay attention to it all and allow the transformation as it happens. The painting will come soon, I know.

Day at River Art Gallery

Today was my day-a-month to work at the gallery in La Villita. A constant stream of tourists taking in the sights of San Antonio, looking to take images of Texas back to the cold states they're escaping. I just adore the four women artists I work with each month. Two watercolor painters, a woodworker/sculptor and a jewelry maker. I leave there happy to have been in their company all day. Even though the stream of tourists turned into a river toward the end of the day, the first part of the day was s...l...o....w. I was stir crazy after straightening all the paintings on the wall. I'd brought along a little sketch book and good pencils so I got each of my friends to sit for a portrait. What a treat! Simple, but detailed pencil drawings are such a luxury for me. I loved it. They each took theirs home and I was more content. Ahhhh.

This weekend I'll find out the outcome of the two exhibitions I have paintings in. In the meantime, I'm working on the oil commissions. Or at least I will be. I've been just putting things back in some kind of order since returning from Phoenix. Calls back home to Mom and Dad reassure me that things are good and getting better there. Ahhhh.

Mom's Amazing... On my way home.

Here's a peek at my Alive-And-Well mom. This is from this morning after a command domino game (my brother and I complied) when she was going to work on a crossword puzzle. She realized she was pooped after I took this picture, so the puzzle still awaits our attention. Since then she's been relieved of her catheter, has sat up and stood up on her own with a walker in front of her, pulled her knees up to her waist a few times, sat back down and got herself back in bed without help. Wow! While I was gone on an electronics errand this afternoon she took a walk around her bed, used the potty chair and walked back! I wish I could've watched. This is incredible stuff. It winds her pretty much, but she's doing it.
My daughter and I are heading back home tomorrow and it looks like my brother can remain another day, so Dad and Mom will be on their own Sunday morning. I hate to leave, but it's time for them to figure this out as a couple. I heartily support them and will have to do that without hovering.
Thanks to all who've sent notes of support!

Mom's on the UPSWING!

Absolutely amazing. Mom's made incredible progress in the last couple of days and so much feels like normal. Lots of laughing, for instance. I think we're out of the dark woods now and the woman who was written off as dead is very, very much alive. I feel completely giddy with the relief and gratitude. She may have some deficit to her energy and stamina in the future, but her spirit is strong and centered on the earth plane for now. We look at each other and our throats well up with it. Today marked one week since her heart attack and no one can believe she's sitting up in the hospice-ordered hospital bed in her bedroom playing dominos (three games) and gin rummy (two games). She ate really well today and walked all the way to the bathroom ( 25 feet) holding my dad around his neck as he walked backwards. Even two days ago we were still bracing ourselves for her spirit to decide to cross on over. Today I feel relaxed with an assumption of her continuing on here. Thank all of you who've lended their shoulders and good wishes.

Art not the focus just now

My mother had a heart attack Wednesday morning and my daughter and I drove immediately to Phoenix to see how we could help her and my dad. It's been a long hard several days, but she's home and hanging in there. The doctors held no hope for her survival and couldn't do anything to help, so we've taken her home under hospice's care. She's still deciding if she wants to go or stay and we are going to support her either way. She's had bright, funny, love-filled miracle moments and she's suffered some dark ones, too. My sister flew out Thursday night and my brother drove in this morning, so she has a circle of love around her. Her special women friends have come to the hospital and here to the house to see her and it means the world to her. She discovered bridge and dominos a few years ago and the friends she plays with are very dear to her.
Well, this is just a note to explain my lack of entries. Will write more later. Susan

Worked on the boy's face today

What a great day! My friends Mary and Donna and I spent the day painting and talking. Perfect combination. I made some progress with the boy's face today. Still has so much more to be done. I figure another couple of weeks if I keep at it pretty steadily.

I'm looking forward to the workshop with Susan Ogilvie is March 24th-26th. By then a good landscape will be fun.

FACET show in Austin

The Austin Pastel Society put out a call for volunteers to staff a booth given to us at this art show in order to demonstrate painting in pastel. I signed up for 12-5 today and had a good time talking with people and working on a portrait of my sister, then later of a fellow I took pictures of a couple of weeks ago at the Coppini. They got a bit smudged on the ride back home since I had to stack them. So tomorrow I'll finish them up and post them and then get back to working on the kids. Toward the end of the day I got to walk around visit several friends' booths and see their new paintings. I'm so glad I finally came out of my artist shell and joined some groups. I've met the nicest people.... MY people. I wonder at my isolation all those years.

Sure have spent a lot of time driving lately. Except for painting in Boerne with Donna and Mary on Tuesday, I should be close to home this week.

I need to pick a weekend this summer in order to offer a two-day workshop to those who've been asking. If anyone has a preference of dates, let me know!

A little progress on the children

Got a little more blocked in. Only raw canvas left is where her arms are. Everything needs much, much more, but I like the shapes so far. It's nice working on this Pintura portrait-weave stretched canvas. Very tight and smooth.

I'm playing in the pastels tomorrow.

Beginning of oil commission

This is the first block-in of the portrait of the beautiful children I'm doing. I spent a few hours on Saturday working on it. Nothing's accurate yet, but I feel good about the start. They're lying in grass with a background of plants, so they're in a sea of green. I'm going to enjoy this one.

My daughter and I drove up to Austin yesterday to deliver my paintings to the Austin Pastel Society's annual exhibition. We stayed and helped to hang the show. Lots of great paintings this year. Stopped an Guerro's on South Congress for dinner on the way home and had ok food and abysmal service, but I got some photos of some of the dishwashers on a dinner break which might become a painting down the line.

Photo from demo in Austin

Jo Castillo sent me images and little .avi movies of my demo in Austin last month. Thank you, Jo! I like this one.

Friday I drove up to Marble Falls with Diane Manousos to spend the day painting with Kim Roberti, Donna Bland and Patricia Lyle. I worked on the portrait of the two beautiful children. Got a good start on it, I think. Getting real talk time with Diane was great. Kim played a DVD for us of John Asaro's work. It was my first introduction to his paintings. Wow. She let me borrow the DVD, her book of his paintings and her book of Dan McCaw's paintings. I've been swimming in the images and feeling the knobs turning in my mind, focusing a little keener on my own ideas. I'm like the kid in the Disney commercial who says, "I'm too excited to sleep." If I didn't need to drive up to Austin tomorrow to take the paintings to hang for this year's exhibition, I'd be squeezing big piles of paint out on my palette right now. But I'm going to go try to sleep some and get started on something tomorrow afternoon when I get back.