Peace Returns

I think I finally understand my mother a little bit more. She and my dad raised five of us and got everyone out of the house successfully following college and/or tech school. I remember that after the youngest left (I am the oldest), she talked about the quiet in the house. I think it sort of unnerved her a little. It was somehow too quiet. That is when the large, crazy dogs started entering their lives.

Well, I have one adult kid who is back home temporarily while getting his feet under him again. He’s not happy here, so I suspect he won’t stay too long. He is more of a boarder than a regular household participant because he is also working two jobs and has a girlfriend and her baby with whom  to spend time, and we don’t see him that much.

We’ve also got two cats and a geriatric dog. The dog is deaf and has, for the most part, given up the practice of barking, so there is not much noise other than the cats racing around the house when they get the urge to play tag.

Having my eldest son, his wife and their two very energetic dogs come to visit this weekend and the youngest son (the one who lives here) bring his girlfriend and toddler over for an overnighter (their pipes froze); it was quite lively for 24 hours. And I enjoyed seeing everyone and cooking for a crowd again. But by Monday morning, I was getting anxious to get back in the studio and work.

After eldest left and youngest and family was fed their breakfast, I excused myself and headed upstairs.

My New Year’s Resolution, if I have one, is to establish some sort of studio routine. I have discovered that I am most productive in the mornings and I’m about done with intense focus by or before 2 p.m.  That may improve with practice so I can get more hours in daily, but for now, just figuring out the times I should not waste is an important discovery, I think.

So, I’ve been trying to get into the studio around 9 or 10 a.m. and work until lunch. I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter what work I do, so long as I do something. And I’m learning that 1 hour bouts seem to work well for me.

Yesterday, for example, I started with weaving. I’m doing a run of handwoven wash clothes and it takes about an hour to weave one.

Then I took a short break for a cup of coffee and moved on to the easel where I do my oil painting. I need to find a new work table to put next to it as everything is currently on the floor, but in this case, I worked for two hours and got this little shell painted from life. I overwork the oils and I need to stop doing that.


It is a little 6X6. I’m calling it Broken Shell II because I did this same shell from a different view point in pastels about a year ago. I’m not entirely happy with it, but there are parts I like a lot. It may do me good to focus on the shell until I get it where I’m happy with it. Shells are just hard. They are hard to draw accurately and because they are full of color and translucent to boot, it’s hard to really capture them. Hmmm. I’ve given myself a challenge I think.

In any case, I cleaned my brushes, put the palette with the leftover paint in the freezer and took a lunch break.

When I returned to the studio, I went right to the Buddha painting on the pastel easel. I’m thinking about the title for this and I’m just not sure what I want to call it. I’m really finding it to be very meditative and not just because of the subject. There are so many textures and items in this still life. It is certainly more complex than anything I’ve tackled before and I find that I get pulled into it for longer periods of time trying to resolve various “problems” as they come up. Yesterday’s “problem” was the flower pot and finishing the ginger plant and refined shadows throughout and began some work on the apple. The flower pot is also not done. I also used alcohol to set in the enameled covered container. I’m not content with it at all, but I needed to stop because I was letting it get away from me. Today I will go first to this easel and see if my brain is better at solving pastel problems earlier in the day. I suspect it will be.

So, here is where I left off:buddha6



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