Monday, October 26, 2009

The tears start, seemingly out of nowhere...for no real reason. I find them streaming down my face unexpectedly...sometimes without warning. I have even caught myself crying when I didn't realize I was. I'm not used to this.

I have put up Halloween decorations..albeit more modestly than ususal. The candy is waiting in the cupboard. The red lightbulb has been screwed in at the front porch lamp. The only thing missing is dressing up to scare the kids. I won't do that this year. Every year, Tony and I would figure out what he was going to do for Halloween. Wearing masks was one of his favorite things.

He got such a kick out of the tiny trick or treaters. He really had a soft spot for the little ones, although he would deny it. Snot goblins, rug rats, breeder monkies....that's the usual title for somebody else's kid(s) in the grocery store or elsewhere. Occasionally he would point out a truly cute kid and usually get them into trouble by getting them to copy his silly faces while we were waiting in line.

It's been hard gearing up for this. I spent this last weekend alone and didn't do any artwork, which I had longed all week to do as a release. I purged and organized. I folded some of Tony's clothes and tucked them neatly away in the armoire.

It will be a different experience this year. Hopefully next year will be easier.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Digging Out

Working through this...literally. In the last 48 hours, I have worked myself through the master bath, laundry room and our bedroom. I have dusted, oiled furtniture, straightened, thrift boxed and thrown out. The office is daunting. I have worked from the closet, organizing boxes of old photos so I gcan get to them easier. Next was the rocks that I was polishing...polisher and all parts, including the rocks, have been banned to the garage. Again dusting, sorting thourgh papers, the desk, finding scraps of paper with Tony's handwriting and tearing up. Oiled furniture, and now the bead shelf to dust off. Then vacuum and the next room...the dining room...maybe the kitchen.

I have sworn, cursed, laughed, cried, and curled up on the sofa for awhile during this whole thing wondering when I'll pull out of this a little more....the soft told me I already was, even if I didn't realize it. A little stunned, I realized, yeah, maybe I was because it was feeling better this afternoon than it had yesterday or this morning. I'm voraciously hungry and I may treat myself to a little something this afternoon before I get to nuts over the rest of the house.

I'm no longer on a time limit to get things done. The only person looking at it now is me. I can tear this stuff up and take my ime with it...well sort of, I'm still a neat freak. I can't believe how much dust accumulated in the office since July. Wow! Tells me what I haven't been taking care of . Well, ok, taking care of me..most important right now.

So, I'm getting closer to wanting to talk to people this weekend. I haven't decided if I quite want to yet or not. Just gathering strength right now. I need this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Abyss

and I am not sure

where I stand

arms stretched out at my sides

staring straight

across the chasm before me

do I fly

do I free fall

do I fall back upon the "safe" ground

that is no longer so

clawing my way back

to a time that doesn't exist

a comfort that was

merely illusion

once again standing

at the well before my feet

no magician this time

to pull me back from

falling into the abyss

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Solitary Rose


I am a ghost
dancing in shadows
a passing breeze
shifting the leaves
to a rustling waltz
sigh of the wind only
the drops of rain
are tears of sorrow
out of my control
the storm passes
only to begin again

Thursday, October 15, 2009


My life is wrapped

bundled in

yellowing newspaper

obituaries neatly

tied in black ribbons

She leans


in the corner

behind the bedroom door

Where once she moaned

fingers clawing the bedsheets

as he had kissed her neck

their fingers brushing skin

catching fire

Sprinkled with dust and tears


like blowing sand

scour her soul


pumping pain

that won't stop bleeding

from the wound where her heart had been

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Art Has Always Saved Me

I bought new watercolour brushes for the first time since I was in Windsor, England in 1987. I didn't look at the price tag and shocked myself when the 5 brushes I bought came to $29.95. Nothing really cost-wise, had they been red sables, which I have always preferred, they would have easily cost $60.00 to $70.00 dollars. The last brushes I bought had been at Boots on the High Street, along with some really neat watercolour pens and pots of paints. The day after I bought them, I rose early and walked to a bench lining the Long Walk and proceeded to paint a picture of another park bench close by.

Watercolours have been a staple art supply in my house since early childhood. My father was the real driving force in my learning to draw and paint. Dad would pack me up in the old Chevy Bel Aire and away we would drive to the deYoung Museum or the Palace of Fine Art. I would be enthralled at the fact that anyone could take paints and brushes and create a Renoir or Monet. Sometimes I would ask my Dad to pick me up and hold me so that I could look (but don't touch) closer at a painting. It was so amazing to see the brush strokes, proving to me that, yes, someone actually painted the picture. Up close, you could sometimes see the colours blending...just a minute line a hair's breadth...but enough to capture the eye. I still remember seeing a stroke like that in a Rembrandt painting where the crismon turned to orange...a faint trace of yellow...just a scratch of it peering through. You wouldn't have seen it if you were standing at normal viewing range, but the arms of my father made it possible.

From that time on, I have painted on sidewalks, walls, and rocks. I was disappointed as the pigments faded in the sun and bled off into the gutters in the rain. Later on, in high school, I took watercolours my sophomore year. My grandmother bought me a box of Binney & Smith artist's colours in a white plastic case. I remember sitting in the freezing classroom, listening to the instructor whose name I can't remember, droning on about how you have to see with your own eyes...not what people expect you to see. It was a passion...something to be when Renee Farnsworth had a leaf bug land on her shoulder in the middle of an outdoor painting class. I was absolutely fascinated at the green wings it much like a leaf and the tiny beady blue eyes peering up helplessly as I grabbed it before she, still screaming, squashed it. I had to paint it. The painting never was displayed it school...and has long since disappeared in the many moves I've made throughout the years.

After my graduation from high school, I again found myself in art classes at the local technical college. Photographic developers, inks, printing inks, and the pungent scent of solvents came whaffing through the lower bowels of the college, blending with the smell of coffee, cinnamon buns and bacon from the cafeteria next door. I fell in love there...or lust...I'm not completely sure which... with a fellow student...all unreciprocated unfortunately...over coffee and discussions of art history, Gutenburg and who had the best prices in town for art supplies. I was in heaven in those classes until I had to take the rest of my core classes to graduate. Art was, P.E. and algebra seemed dull and hardly worth the effort.

On the walks home, I began to see angles, shapes, shades and nuances in the world around me. Provo in those days had huge horse chestnut and maple trees in front of the spooky, old BYU Academy building. The textures of the rain-soaked, ancient grey sidewalks, littered with wet autumn leaves in every conceivable shade of orange, red, brown and yellows plastered to it was gorgeous. I wondered how anyone could miss this...didn't they see when they walked down the street? Rich brown horse chestnuts rained from the denuded branches, occasionally hitting you in the head as the crows sat and laughed.

Old farm houses and fields took on a whole new meaning. Art became a secret language, one that my father had successfully transmitted to me as a child. It was my own world. The old train tracks up Provo Canyon could become beautful, spooky and sensuous all depending on the light during different seasons and time of day.

When I divorced my first husband in 1987 and went back to England, it was like coming home in many different respects. I had began to recapture myself with watercolours, pens and pencils. Poetry began to mingle more steadly with the art a filling in a pie or pastry. I couldn't live without the colours or words painting something I had seen and had to share or capture in my mind.

Enter Jan McIntyre when I returned to the states. A sculptor, painter, and artist extraordinare, we were distant cousins who became close friends instantly one evening in a bar gathering of musicians. That group was something I will always treasure, even though we have gone our separate ways and Janny has long since passed. The art carried me through the victory of my first gallery showing of watercolors and wood burned items. It carried me past the pain of a failed marriage and into a new life. It held me together through a doomed relationship with a musician that was cursed from the start. Love or lust (definitely both! Oh, yes.), I am not quite sure. Love and lust for the creative life was a definite addiction...and like all junkies, I had to have more.

And then I met Tony in 1992. Tony was earthy, intelligent, well-read, foul mouthed, and the most beautiful man I had ever met...and he wanted me. He was the high school girl's dream. We became lovers within a month and never left each other's side for more than a couple days at a time. He encouraged me to paint, draw, and bought me a 35mm camera outfit. We explored eras; he was in love with the geometrics of art deco and I with the flowing sensuality of art nouveau.

Through the years I lived in arts and crafts stores; always on the search for some technique book, ink, medium or glue. He would stand there sometimes at the end of an aisle, hands on hips, head tilted, "Are you ready yet?" His patience was more immeasurable than he would ever let on or perhaps, realize. He was my muse and pushed me forward to experiment with using different mediums.

I began taking photo copies and painting them, using them in collages and putting them into journals. Beads and glass, their fine pure colours, intrigued me. Seed beads became another way of expressing myself through jewelry and then peyote stitch. Spirit bottles and loomed murals began to fill the walls. I bought beads and hoarded them, amassing some several hundred pounds, up until this summer when everything came to a horrible, sudden stop. Tony died on a beautiful, cloudless Sunday afternoon.

The last few months have been rain soaked. I have viewed the world through eyes every bit as unclear as rain washing down glass. Isolation and intolerable grief, along with with an incredibly acute loneliness has shut me off from the world and myself. I began searching through closets in my mind, frantically throwing open doors in dark hallways trying to find a reason for this or some momentary peace. My pens dried up with the heat and disuse and my beading loom covered itself in a fine veil of dust. The vintage mahogany dining room table I had claimed as my art center lay silent and cluttered with ideas and projects now completely gone by the wayside...until last Sunday.

Curiosity got the better of me. I found a small piece of watercolour canvas I had preped with Gesso last spring. It was gritty and I liked the way it felt under my fingers. In the buffet behind the table are my paints, pastels, and other implements. I pulled out a pallette, the old Binney & Smith box of colours and a few brushes from the cat jar. Armed with a glass of water and a rag, I began to paint for the first time in months. I had too much water on the canvas, and the human heart that I had painted began to bleed down the canvas in a happy accident, pooling at the bottom. I bled off the excess water and decided that it was perfect the way it was. Let it dry and rework it in a couple of days to get down the details.

Slowly, I am breaking free of the sorrow. Slowly, once again reaching for who I was and now am through watercolours and brush strokes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009