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Friday, September 1, 2017

The Value of Vision

Collage of my granddaughter Jassy
None of us are getting any younger.  This has never been clearer to me than this year when my husband’s vision has been threatened by a chronic condition triggered by high blood pressure.  Even though his blood pressure is under control the vision condition has continued to grow troubling.

Work in progress on Ivy Collage
About two years ago he suffered a Retinal Branch Vein Occlusion (RBVO), which basically means that a blood vessel in his right eye burst and stopped supplying that part of his retina with necessary oxygen and nutrients.  A large portion of his retina died in the right eye.  He now sees a large black area in the middle of his vision with only sight in the upper quarter and side right quadrant.  Over half his vision is obstructed.  This has caused him to loose some depth perception and he often has to close that eye just to use the computer keyboard or risk hitting the wrong key.  He began looking like Popeye, with one squinty eye.

Work in progress #2 on Ivy Collage

The problem didn’t stop there.  Because our bodies are so wonderfully made, his eye sent signals that there was a lack of blood flow in that eye and the brain sent back signals to “replace” or grow new blood vessels to replace the ones that were missing.  That sounds great only the new ones were malformed and actually obstructive in themselves.  They look like cauliflower rather than smooth veins and they tend to burst and cause more blood floating in the vitreous of the eye, which causes more obstruction and cloudiness.  

Work in progress #3 on Ivy Collage
This happened again a couple weeks ago and he had to have surgery to vacuum out the cloudy blood from the vitreous in his eye, as well as cleaning up and cauterizing the new vessels.  Just when my honey gets used to the small amount of vision in that eye, even that is taken away.  He is having trouble gauging something as small as a curb and nearly tripped stepping into the parking lot.

All this has made me look at my art differently this week.  I’m so grateful for my vision, for my work and my ability to continue working.  No one knows how long they have on this earth or how long they even have the strength or vision to do that which makes them most happy.  I’m grateful for each day I have, and each day I have with my dear husband.
Work in progress #4 on Ivy and the Chicken Collage

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Positive Words

I found out a long time ago that I respond to positive words.  As a matter of fact, I can be destroyed by enough negative words that I feel crushed and heavy for months afterward.  Positive words are so much a key to my existence that I keep lists of positive sayings and even write positive things for myself to read in my sketch book.  I think a lot of artists are like that.  We need encouragement, nurture and positivity to keep us going.

Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment,
Sparkling like a star in our hand-
And melting like a snowflake.

I would suggest keeping an ongoing list of positive sayings and quotations like I do.  Read them everyday.  Tell yourself that you are worthy and then start your day.  Tell yourself that you make a difference and the world without you would be a world diminished.   Make goals for yourself not just for the year, but for each month, each week, each day.  My goal today is to work on my projects.  I have several in the works because I know that they will take time to complete and therefore when I work even a few minutes on each, I feel I have accomplished something worthwhile that day.

Tell me,
What is it you plan to do with
Your one wild and precious life?
-- Dreama Tolle Perry

Recently I finished creating some patterns for these little paper model houses that I have been working on for some time.  I feel so accomplished to have them ready before the school year begins.  I wanted to make them available to teachers and educators for classroom projects to enhance art, geometry, construction and geography.  Here are a few photos of the finished models.  They can be found at my Etsy page at

Please feel free to view them and leave comments.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Three Generations of Artists

As far back as I know of, there have been three generations of artists in my family.  My maternal grandmother was very creative and often trying new things.  She eventually settled on her own ceramics shop in the town of Merced, CA.  It was a great place for a little girl like me to roam and imagine.

The interesting thing is that my grandmother didn’t just “settle” for the images as they came out of the mold like many people do.  She added her own flair.  She would take a small sharp needle-like tool and enhance the faces of the dolls, adding details like hair, eyelashes, ear canals and nostrils, and even carving teeth between the opened lips.  Her finished products were fine art compared to the bland blurry original.  Her nativity sets were so fine detailed they looked like carved ivory when she was done with them.  Her china dolls had real porcelain roses she hand made from tiny pieces of clay.  I loved sitting next to her and watching her fingers expertly form balls of nothing into delicate rose buds.

My mother did lots of ceramic in my grandmother’s shop, as did I.  But my mother also invested in oil paint and dabbled in painting, sometimes passing down her left over canvas and paint to me.  She never went beyond painting for herself, her own enjoyment and home décor, but I think she could have if she had wanted to.  She was a practical woman, using her creativity to enhance her home and our lives, nothing more.

My Mom's drawing of me
It shouldn’t have come to a surprise when I decided I wanted to pursue art, but by all accounts it was a shock to my father.  He always wanted me to be self-sufficient and he was pretty sure art was not the means to that goal.  However, I couldn’t shake my love and devotion to art.  Even today, though I get little financial success, I get a deep heart-filled, personal success from each and every piece I create.  Perhaps it is for the next generation to achieve a more financial success in art that I have, but even if that is not in the stars, I will always love this heritage of art I have received.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is Photography Art?

The question is about photography being art.  I think much of photography today is merely capturing moments and not really artistic expression.  And then there are those who take photography to a new level of artistic expression.  Tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator help to make photography more than just capturing a moment in time but also manipulating it into a work of art beyond what the camera actually sees.  I have fallen in love with this part of creative expression, taking photos of children and incorporating them into new and different environments and fantasy settings. 

I started with just fairies.  I really love fairy tales.  I really love children.  It only seems natural that they two should marry into something different and beautiful, don’t you think?  So I started adding butterfly and dragonfly wings and making fairy photos. 
Then I made some water pixies but putting the children at the bottom of the ocean.  Really fun. 
That’s when my sister asked if I could make her grandson on a dinosaur.  I hadn’t even thought of it.  I thought it would be much more difficult to find and photography a dinosaur than it was to photography a butterfly.  But I was wrong there.  People have been fascinated with dinosaurs for a really long time and made statues, sculptures, and models of dinosaurs just begging for a photographer to come along.  The results are fun and fascinating.

So have I become a traitor to the pure devotion of art by spending 6 to 10 hours creating these photo manipulations and composites?  I don’t think so. 

What do you think?