Gosh. So much has happend in the past 4+ years. Some has been good, some not so good. 2010 and 2011 saw me floundering, creating very little art. 2012 came along and my health took a nasty turn.
I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (an autoimmune disease). One of the syptoms of A.S. is Uveitis/Iritis. Uveitis is pretty painful. It causes the retinas to swell and inflicts irrepairable damage to the eye.
Due to the massive amounts of steroids and other treatments to control my Uveitis flares, I became legally blind. One of the worst things for an artist to endure. As you can imagine, my soul took a big hit.
2013 presented itself with a small amount of hope and new surgeons. Wait...let me rephrase that, WONDERFUL new surgeons! After several injections, implants and two eye surgeries, 2014 allows me to see well enough close up to be able to begin creating art again. I'm hoping at some point to regain some distance vision, but am totally thrilled to be able to see anything at this point. Even if it's only 12 inches from my face!
My Uveitis is currently in remission. I've taken up knitting and crochet again, started soaping, felting and experimenting with poly clay. Life is good at this point. I'm taking things day by day.
The sky got very dark this afternoon. I had just put the horses in their stalls when this little one stepped out into view. He was followed by 3 does and their fawns, then a couple yearlings, then a 3-point buck. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic of the whole group, since I ran to the house to avoid getting drenched. Maybe next time. I love seeing the deer, but cringe when driving the roads this time of year. The deer are everywhere and tend to jump out at a moments notice. I've had some close calls.
Today was a good day to harvest some fresh mints in my little herb garden. Among my favorite plants are Peppermint, Spearmint and Lemon Balm. All are good to make teas or cook with. Here is a summer recipe I love: Lemon Balm and Mint Potatoes
1 dozen small potatoes, scrubbed clean, 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh mint of your choice, 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh lemon balm, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 to 2 crushed garlic cloves. Boil your potatoes till firm, then set them aside to cool. Combine all the other ingredients and pour over the cold potatoes. Chill for 1 hour.
Teas are super easy: 1 cup lemon balm leaves, 1 cup spearmint, leaves. Optional add to's:
* a couple tablespoons orange peel (grated)
* 1/4 tablespoon clove
Pour 1-1/2 to 2 cups of boiling water over all...steep for a few minutes and strain. Add honey or not, and sip slowly! These mints all make great 'natural' bug repellents too. Just make an infusion and keep in a spray bottle in the fridge. Yes, the mint repellent needs to be applied more often than it's chemical counterparts, but they're safer to use.
How do YOU know when to quit working on a piece? I decided to leave the second Fjordhorse in the background incomplete and just concentrate on the one in the foreground. While some of the elements came together OK, other parts just didn't want to cooperate. Rather than continue on with this one, I'm leaving it alone. This is as far as I want to go with it. I don't mind it being sort of 'sketchy' looking. I'd like to hear from other artists when they've decided enough is enough on their work. Anybody?
I decided to take most of today off and found myself doing some sketching. I was thinking about the horses and how much they mean to me. They've gotten me through some bad days lately. Here is a quick 'in progress' sketch I'm working on. It's from a reference photo of my mare "Laila", (before I let her mane grow) and Solvin, the gelding I just placed into a new home. While I am happy he's found a useful job and great home, I sure do miss Solvin. He is such a sweet fellow and a wonderful model too. I'll try to remember to post the final sketch when completed.
My life has been turned upside down this year and I've fallen behind on so many things. Some of those things include saying my thank you's. I can't forget some of the nicest and talented people I've met cyber-ly (is that even a word?). Soooo, without further adieu :
Many thanks to Carl and Dottie for my "Passion for Painting Award"! Their great blog can be found here: www.havebrushwilltravel.blogspot.com If you can, please take a look at some of their beautiful works!
Now, on to telling you 7 things I love:
1. Number one will always be my family
2. My animals
3. My art
4. Embroidery + Sewing
Gosh, finding 7 people who haven't received this award....Hhhmmmm (if you've already received this award...well, you deserve it twice as much!)
I took this pic of my 'Papa' in 2007, while in the waiting room at the Doctor's office. Dad was intrigued by the idea of taking photos with a phone. He also enjoyed learning a bit about computers. We were even able to reunite him with his long lost brother in Europe through the internet.
Sadly, my Dad passed away from total organ failure, in his home on June 2ND, 2009. He was 81. The first thing to go were his kidneys, then his beleaguered heart. We were fortunate to receive support from the Cleveland Clinic's hospice team. The Clinic's nurse visited once or twice a week to see if we had questions or needed a change in pain medication for Dad. A Home Health Aide and Social Worker would pop in on occasion too.
And then there was Father Abraham, who stopped by whenever Dad needed spiritual support. He isn't supposed to get too close with the patients he sees, but later admitted Dad became more of a friend, than client. They really seemed to enjoy each others company. After Dad's passing, we were honored Fr. Abe agreed to preside over the funeral...on his day off no less. Fr. Abraham is from Kenya and brought with him many life experiences and stories. What a comfort and inspiration he is.
While the Clinic team did our family allot of good, the every day chores were up to us. Much of our 'education' in caring for someone who is dying, was on the spot. While I know we did the right thing by taking Dad home (instead of leaving him in a nursing home), I didn't fully realize how difficult the process was going to be. Giving Dad the proper type and dosage of drugs, feeding him, bathing him, changing diapers and bedding, administering suppositories, scheduling visitors, transporting him to the emergency room for Foley catheter changes...much of it was pretty unpleasant. Forget modesty. There were 'mentally' painful days for him as well. Dad's dementia had worsened considerably and he often forgot who we were and where he was. He would become very agitated and yell some pretty awful things. The bad days were heartbreaking and none I'd want to repeat in my lifetime. The good days I will cherish forever.
After living in Dad's house for the past few months, dealing with his death, as well as continuing to worry about how we will survive without my husband's income...well, it takes a toll on you. Life's full of challenges, right? I guess I'm coping. We are finally back at getting the house and property ready for sale, making small repairs, throwing out clutter, cleaning, etc. It will be hard to say goodbye to this place, especially with so many wonderful memories attached to it.
I haven't decided what to do with my 2 horses, should our place sell quickly (though with the economy the way it is...not likely). I'm not fond of the idea of boarding my mare and gelding, but do not want to give them up. Board would be costly. They are both older equines and deserve to retire in peace. Petey (my gelding) is coming 22. And Laila (like me) is officially 'a senior citizen'. The horses have been wonderful therapy for me these past few months. A trail ride through the woods does wonders and I'm trying to take advantage of it while I still can. I will get back to art soon. I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit of creativity creeping back into my soul. I know it's there somewhere!
I am an artist with a 35+ year background in commercial and fine art. My favorite subjects are animals of all kinds. I am a member of several artist's groups (ACEO groups, KATS & WHOA), but the one dearest to my heart is 'Art for Critters'. The A4C group has raised and donated thousands of dollars for a number of animal charities. Thanks for stopping by to read a bit about me!
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