Saturday, December 28, 2013

End of The Year

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.
It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing,
and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melodie Beattie

The above photo was taken in November while standing in a spot I find myself in more often than I care to; the gas station filling the tank. We were just returning from visiting mom who has been in a nursing home since November 24th when she broke a hip. In her Alzheimer's state she doesn't realize that the hip broke nor does she know that she had surgery to repair the break. For seven years I've been her memory keeper;  it's taken a huge toll on me even though I've done my best to not allow that to happen. Anyway, what caught my eye on this day was the afternoon lighting and the clouds. This scene isn't particularly photo-worthy, or at least I've never seen it that way.   I'm glad that I had grabbed the iPhone and took a few photos otherwise I would have missed the opportunity to turn an ordinary looking scene into something fun.  You never know when an open field in front of restaurants and stores including Costco might become a favorite photo.

 A few favorite ornaments. The Maui train from my daughter, the cat in memory of Zeus, 1982-1998. The blue glass snowflake is hand-made by a dear friend. (just noticed that it's hanging backwards.)

May 2014 be a spectacular year for everyone!

Monday, October 21, 2013


I'm clueless as to where the month has gone. Dithered away into the ethers is my best guess. I started this piece in May of 2012 before everything went south, health wise. I never did know what I was going to do with it but it's found a home draped over the Janome Felting Machine. Remember when we all had to have one? What I learned from purchasing the "rarely-used" machine is to wait awhile before getting the latest must have device, machine etc. The bloom often wears off fast. 

This fabric piece was an experiment Rayna Gillman's fabulous book, "Create your Own Free-Form Quilts."
Right now Rayna is off an adventure in England and France of which I'm attempting to not be jealous of. 

Be fascinated is a photo of a decaying plumeria leaf.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Birthday Abstract

Flowing into a new year! Last year at this time I wasn't so sure I'd be here for another birthday. I had the 3rd round of 4 chemo treatments. Life is good on this birthday!

This 14x18 acrylic painting has two layers of under-paintings. The first painting was flowers by someone who donated the piece to a thrift store. I love using recycled canvases. The second under-painting was sort of a graffiti attempt with my name, the month and my age on it. While painting over that this one evolved.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

August Abstract

 Yep, I know it's September, but I never got around to posting the two paintings I did last month. Life is often full of distractions of the unwanted variety. Mom is probably in the last throes of Alzheimer's and it's becoming more evident that it's time to look for a nursing home or? I'm not able to give her the care she now needs and it's breaking my heart. 

Anyway, the above acrylic painting is 11x14 on canvas board.

Woke up to a cloudless sky today, but no complaints as the humidity that had settled in for a lengthy visit has moved on. Over the last few weeks there were some interesting tropical storms that provided great fodder as conversation starters, albeit, boring at times but nevertheless current. This photo was a little manipulated in order to get some green shrubbery into it. Otherwise I think the photo would have been bland.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 a Day of Reflection

 It's good to get a different perspective of where one lives. Even if the photo is a bit tilted! This was a grab shot out of the car window taken from a viewpoint I rarely see of La Quinta. Usually, I'm going from one errand to another without really "seeing." But on this day I took the camera with us solely intent on getting a few photos of the mountains and glorious clouds. Is there anything more stupendous than clouds? Okay, probably sunsets, but when clouds cross the sky I'm uplifted for some strange reason. Maybe it's the shapes or textures, or perhaps it's white against blue that moves me, all I know is that I smile more. I was able to get one photograph from this vantage point and then the unforeseen happened. The disk was full! If I had been able to take more photos I'm positive that I would have gotten a shot that wasn't tilted, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Desert mountains.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


 Reminder to self, Breathe! You're where you need to be, at all times! Nothing is more important than what you're doing right now at this moment. Breathe . . . .
(I finally was able to photograph a visitor to the fountain!)
A few more cactus blooms have provided moments of absolute joy! They're magnificent and even more so after surviving the Tropical Storm Ivo. Here in the desert I've never seen the rain pound with such ferociousness as it did on Sunday. There are distinct shoreline markings on the gravel in the backyard from when the water slowly receded. The parched ground refuses to absorb water so the yard became an instant pond and streets became rivers. As if the rain wasn't enough lightning and thunder added to the drama. And the humidity is over-the-top, especially when the temps remain in the 90-100+ range. Simply step outside for a sauna.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I found a black iron tiny teapot in mom's things and have been photographing it in various settings; I have in mind to give the teapot to someone special. So, before it's mailed off to its new home I've taken about a dozen photos of it. This one was against a white wall which allowed me to layer it in the Photo Tangler app. The layer I used is from a photo I took in Orvieto, Italy. Any suggestions of where and how to photograph the teapot?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Allow your life to Happen

 It seems to me that I just photographed these magnificent cactus blooms, but as it turns out it was last August. They bloom once a year. This photo was photographed early in the morning against a hedge that to my amazement turned black in the finished image. Gotta love the magic of photography.
 Even when the blooms decay they're spectacular.
Layers done on the iPad with an app that I've been playing with. Photo Tangler.
Allow your life to Happen was the thought I woke up with a few days ago. Resisting and complaining is much easier, or is it? Allowing might just be a better choice. Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Pompeii painting and more

 This close-up of the painting in the last post still isn't an accurate depiction
 either, but this photo shows more of the textures. (thanks Julie for your comment!)
 The temps here in the desert are not conducive to working in the garage studio so I've set up a workspace on the bathroom counter. The really nice thing about the counter is there is a second sink to the right just out of frame. I can leave the mess painting for awhile without it being in my way.
I adore paint when it blends into each other. I have no idea where this painting is going to go. If I were to say that I have a process, it's just to start!

Thursday, August 01, 2013


 Where did July go? I'm clueless.
 The above image is a manipulated photo done on the iPad.
I've failed numerous times to get a good photo of this painting. It's 30x35 inches and the largest canvas I've ever worked. For about 2 months it was propped up on the worktable in the garage and was blank except for surface texture. I'd stand in front of it and, nothing! I couldn't seem to apply paint to its surface and then suddenly on a balmy day in May it wanted to come to life. The title is Pompeii, Italy and grew out of a feeling I had while wandering around the ruins 4 summers ago. The buildings are roofless thus the division on this painting. I lost count on how many layers I did that day but it's at least 6. I hope to one day to get a great photograph is this painting. 

Happy August everyone!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mid June!

 Me thinks that I slept through the last few weeks. Actually, I've been very busy sorting out my life. I admit that I did forget about the Give-away. Oops! Stacy drew names from a straw hat. Raewyn, who I've contacted. Nellie, who I haven't and Amy who sent me an email due to a comment issue. I've had that happen myself on some blogs when I want to leave a comment.
 Yes, I do love birds! Always have. There have been a few pet birds in my life ending back in the early 80's when I'd enough of cleaning out cages. I much prefer the visitors to my yard but did they have to eat up the few bunches of grapes that I planned on enjoying? I'm considering pulling out the grape vines and planting some type of non-edible vine in place. Much easier to purchase organic grapes, though, the birds do enjoy them.
Some good news! The cancer marker test remains normal and the mammogram was normal as well. Cancer-free! The next appt. with the oncologist is a year from now so to say the least I'm celebrating big time! Can you believe that head of curls!? That was six months of hair after losing 98% of it to chemo. I still had a fringe in the back that I kept. I wasn't fond of the Orphan Annie look so I walked into Supercuts on Tuesday and asked the gal who greeted me if she thought she could find a hair-style amongst the curls. She was positive she could and happily she did!

I haven't had short hair in over 30 years but I'm liking it now, especially in the brutal heat that hit the desert already. 114 degrees last Friday and it's been hovering around 108 ever since. June temps usually aren't quite this intense.

I celebrated by gifting myself an iPad and discovered some photos I'd forgotten about when I downloaded them to various albums. (I'm so confused as to where I stand saving photos to 2 external drives, 2 clouds, and now the iPad. Oh, and Shutterfly for pics that my daughter emails me. I'm overwhelmed over the 1000's of photos that exist on my devices.) Anyway, I ran across this one and I believe that's it completely digital but for the life of me I have no memory of creating it or how it was done. I do have an inking though. There is a watermark on it so I must have decided that I'd post it someday. This is the type of look I'd love to achieve with paint.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend - Staycation/retreat

My daughter and family are heading for Carmel and San Francisco for the weekend and I'm feel nostalgic for Carmel. I lived in and near Carmel for over 35 years and nothing compares to the Monterey Peninsula!!! Rather than have a pity-party, which isn't hard to do these days, I've decided to treat myself to a weekend of pampering. I checked the freezer and happily I was smart enough to freeze some meals. I've already had a facial and nice long shower, made a delicious rich chocolate smoothie and am salivating over the popcorn that I'll pop in a bit. I found a recipe for a Doritos-like spice blend to use on popcorn. The organic popcorn has been measured and is waiting in the air-popper. I haven't found a movie to watch yet, but I know that instant-streaming on Netflix has something waiting. I found two books waiting on the iPad for me so I'm set for a nice quiet weekend of doing nothing but enjoying myself. (what plans do you have? share.)
The image above is a superimposed one of a tree photo that was shot last year on Memorial Day Weekend when Corey and family were here for the weekend. We went up the Palm Springs Tram for the view and dinner and the tree was backlit by empty sunset sky making it the perfect image to layer with backgrounds. In this case the background is a section of an abstract painting I just finished for the living room.

Be sure to leave a comment on the post earlier this month for a give-away that ends soon.

 Benjamin Harrison
I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

 Cactus Blooms by moonlight.

''God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.''
 Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, May 02, 2013

May! Give-away

I can't help but wonder what this year will bring into my life. It was one year ago this month that I knew I had cancer even before the diagnosis was given to me. The radiologist who told me said that everyone I'd met at the mammography center knew that I'd get through it, "just a detour for you. It's your attitude that will see you through." Perhaps I come across as having a good attitude but if they really knew how I felt inside I doubt I would have been told that. I can honestly say that I didn't expect to be here a year later. But here I am, still standing!

 The image in the mirror is very foreign to me; it's as if the former me has been replaced by someone who now has silver curly hair. Gone is the blond who prefers shoulder length hair and the face that now greets me has become thinner and more wrinkled due to weight loss. I tell myself that change is good and that life is good, but my voice isn't very convincing. I did say that going through chemo and radiation would not only be like a tsunami but would give my immune system a clean slate on which to build a new one. Did that also mean a new body? Perhaps I wasn't clear about what I expected. I knew that presenting myself to the world with only one breast wouldn't be easy but I didn't expect to age so much as well! My energy levels are even lower than before and that was expected but not welcome. Too many days spent resting make for frustration and huge doses of self-pity. And so it goes . . .

There is always much to celebrate and I choose to do that most of the time rather than throw a self-pity party. I can't remember the last time I had a give-away. What better way to celebrate being alive than by giving away something that I've enjoyed creating? Fractured Grids. These studies are 5x7 inches done on mat board. They're not framed in the photo below, but I'll pop them into black frames before sending them out. Leave me a comment by the end of May letting me know which one you might enjoy, 1,2, or 3. Just yesterday according to the count of Blogger Dashboard there were over 30 visits to this blog. I don't know when the counter stopped, but visits are still noted on the Dashboard and to date there have been nearly 21,000. (Note: the counter still listed on the side of the posts notes world-wide visits. Can't remember when I added that counter but the total isn't accurate.) It would be outstanding to hear from many of you.

Follow the path of your appetite, your desires, and your secret wants.
- Mama Gena

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April is closing . . .

 I'm fond of photos that don't look like the standard sharp photos but it's rare when I pull that off. 
This fella has an attitude and seemed to pose for me.
 This grouping was edited in PSE.
 His mate isn't as photogenic but she did stay put long enough to help create a fun image.
 More April cactus blooms.
Quote: "Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set
 sail with no direction." Fitzhugh Dodson

I used to have goals but for the last decade or so I haven't bothered making them mostly because they never come to fruition. Is it important to have direction in ones life? Do goals lead to happiness? I make lists of things I'd like to do and often they're executed swiftly and when they aren't I figure the plan wasn't meant to be. I often wonder if I should make long-term goals, but life is so iffy that I don't see the need. I suppose if one wants to be successful at something then creating goals or making a detailed plan is helpful. 
So, dear reader/blog visitor, what do you think? Do you have goals? Do you feel like a ship that has set sail without direction and if so, does that concern you?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

April Abstract #2.
Acrylic on 11x14 board.

Eons ago I fell in love with a painting in a gallery window in Carmel, Ca. that I studied off and on for awhile. The lines attracted me but what I remember most was the ocean that was created with a few colors and bold brush strokes. That painting had a red and orange setting sun; this painting had other ideas. You never know what direction a painting is going to go in.

"Till now man has been up against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature."  ~Dennis Gabor, Inventing the Future, 1963

Every April white cactus blooms often greet me in the morning, only to fold up by evening ending their day of glory. So far this year I've taken around 40 photographs, always looking for a different viewpoint. Most of the cactus are grouped together in the garden, but a pot of them provided something new; two blooms side-by-side plus a bonus flower bud.

I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Happy Earth day here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Non-objective. Abstract. Acrylic painting.Tribute to Art Under the Umbrellas in Old Town, La Quinta. The season of art shows wrapped up last Sat. and I finally felt good enough to attend the last one, well, the last ones held in La Quinta. click here. Next month there will be an art festival in Indian Wells. Quinta is pronounced more like keynta than Quinn, in case anyone is interested. On my monitor the colors need to be darker . . . isn't that always the way?

quote: Why won't you run in the rain and play, let the tears
splash all over you? 
   Dave Matthews Band

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fractured Grid #2

 Lines. Portals. Splashes of color. Windows. Doors. Fences. Fractured moments in ones life.
Detail of Fractured Grid #2. (wish I could get the colors on the monitor correct . . .)

Rather than mourn the loss of my father, thirteen years ago today, I'm celebrating his birth. He loved to paint, so I'm spending the day doing that for him.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fractured Grid #1

I've always been drawn to lines and grids and how they can frame areas of a painting or photograph.   While grids are usually uniform I like the idea of fractured/broken grids.  Acrylic on wood.

quote: I'm actually an untidy person. I'm not ordered at all. In some senses
I have to use grids to bring some order to the chaos that's whirring around in my head.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Release #2

Sometimes, more often than I care for, life hits a road bump along the way. Nothing major happened this week, but health-wise it wasn't a good week. Isn't there a stronger word for fatigue? Even exhaustion isn't strong enough of a word. Seems that the immune system wasn't happy this week and while I tried to figure out why it seems that perhaps the best thing to do is to surrender/accept what is rather than pester the glitch/bump to death. Pestering only makes something fester more. I like to fix things things so it's not easy to accept something as being a bump rather than a road-block and give it time to  . . . well, do whatever it needs to do. Maybe in this case I need to slow-down?
    This 5x7 piece started out life completely different than it ended up. I didn't photograph the layers underneath but suffice it say they were graphic in nature. Perhaps I needed to release anger over the mind-numbing fatigue by throwing paint at something and this tiny canvas was an easy target. The turmoil I felt this week was a reminder to "Release." The painting I did last month with the word-of-the-year written on it was soothing. March is never a soothing month as I remember those who passed on in March. It's time to celebrate their lives. Grieving is part of my past history. Creating a new history is about celebration and gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude; I'm always blown away by the first leaves to appear on the grape vines on what appears to be dead wood. Six leaves and counting. Actually, five leaves after I ate one. They are sort of peppery so I wouldn't want too many of them raw in a salad or green smoothie but they could liven up a dish. Plus, they're organic on the vines in the yard. Click here. and here.

Quote: "The more one hurries, the less time they have. Got that from an accelerated learning course I once took." www.tut.come

Friday, March 01, 2013


I can't remember the last time I picked up a paint brush. Most likely it was back in 2011. Anyway, it's been far too long and I feared that I wouldn't remember how to even hold a paintbrush. Quite a few bottles of pain had dried up giving me the perfect excuse to stop by Michaels Craft store on the way home from an appointment to see the surgeon. He was blown away by how well I've healed from radiation. Nice to blow a doctor away. The next day after stepping on the scale in the oncologist office and learning that another 5lbs had vanished I was told that not only were my labs great but that the cancer markers that had been extremely abnormal in May were normal. RELIEF and time to celebrate!

This is a tiny painting, 6x6 inches, that had been slathered with gesso and textured last year when I had visions of painting. There is a lot of be said for having prepped substrates ready; one never knows when the time to paint will strike. I thought I'd start with primary colors and see where that led me.

It's time to prep more canvasses and get on with life.

"Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.
The amount of the work is the same."
Francesca Reigler

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The canvas is 9x12 inches. Textured and painted with about 8 layers of paint. The letters spell "Release," my word for the year, and let go with an added D for good measure. One thing I learned last year in the midst of all of the challenges was to release as much as I could: fear, anxiety, trying to fix everything, resistance and being in control all of which I'm still working on. When I release, whatever is gripping me, and allow peace to be the guiding force things falls into place.

Quotes: “If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they're supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.”  Goldie Hawn

"You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, 'I release the need for this in my life.'"
Wayne Dyer

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Surreal and illusions

The last nine months have been surreal and I often think that the entire cancer experience has been an illusion; surely that didn't happen to me!

Being the CEO of the kitchen and making sure we eat better, whatever that means, cooking has taken over my life. I know that eventually things will fall into place and I'll have time to create but in the meantime I'm thrilled to have discovered Pixir both for the computer and iPhone. The portrait was manipulated on the iPhone. Life is often viewed through layers of veils, isn't it?

Wind storm? One of the projects in Susan Tuttle's Pixir workshop uses selective focus. I've always found it difficult to capture an imagine of trees being blasted by wind. This focus feature has graduated focus sections resulting in the bottom looking more blurry than the middle section. Great possibilities if I can figure out which photos to try. (this and the following photo is for C. )

Starry Night? Or is it? The photo was shot during the day but after adding quite a few layers this wintery sky was created. Gotta love apps!