Prairie Sweep


Prairie Sweep
Watercolor, 7 x 10 inches
—email me to purchase


Sometimes, it is just enough to do enough. I would like to have a meaningful post of text, but, today, I do not.

I'm in the midst of loads of planning. For my pending online course (stay tuned!), for a new series of paintings with brand new presentation for a fall show (stay tuned!), for the last of my in studio classes and a mid-May expo.

That's enough, as I hobble along, working my way towards getting off crutches.

Isn't it?

Leave me comments and love notes. I love to hear from all of you!

More soon...

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Myriad


Myriad
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches

SOLD

There is so much going on, without and within. Spring is breathing life into every nook and cranny. My gardens are bursting with bloom, the hedges are overflowing and ants are finding their way into every room of my house! (Where do they come from?)

When I looked at this finished painting, the word Myriad popped into my head and I thought, "That's good. It's like that. There is a lot going on in the painting."

As usual, I started looking up definitions: online, in dictionaries on hand, in etymologies. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I like to get to the bottom of words. To their origins and deepest meanings. Especially for the words I use to title paintings.

On the surface, at first glance, the definitions for Myriad are countless, innumerable, extremely great number, and so forth. None of those gave me a hook.

Then I looked in my parent's dictionary, the one I grew up with. A well worn, 1946, thin paper Webster's Collegiate Dictionary with broken spine. My little brother scrawled parts of my parents' names on the fly leaf and title page in red ballpoint pen. Someone colored Noah Webster's hair, forehead, cheeks, lips and tip of nose in pink crayon. I drew a bunny girl head in pencil above Noah's portrait with a cartoon bubble in which "hip hop" is printed.

But back to the definition. The first definition from the 1946 Webster's Collegiate is "The number of ten thousand; ten thousand persons or things." The second definition, "An indefinitely large number."

Ten Thousand Things. That I can sink my teeth into. In fact, there is so much into which I can sink my teeth, that I'll have to mete out that chomping over future posts.

What most resonates with me is the connection of Myriad to the Tao, the way, the path. The Tao underlies most of my paintings both in execution and form. This is a satisfying hook for the title and a springboard for future posts.

Each painting is an unfolding, a way of discovery, as today's text has been an unfolding of a word, a discovery of meaning and relationship.

More to come soon... It will be as much of a surprise to me as it will be to you. Exciting!

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It's Iris Time in Tennessee

Iris
Ink and marker, 8 x 10 inches


Irises have popped open their gorgeous, fragile blossoms at the bottom of my drive. I cut a few for a lecture on drawing I gave last Saturday and made a scribbly sketch during the lecture. Ever since, every time I spied it, I thought... must get my markers out. And finally, today, I did!

It's very, very pretty in Tennessee right now. Reminds me of a song...

When It's Iris Time In Tennessee
Written by Willa Waid Newman

Sweetness of Spring memories bring
Of a place I long to be.
Land of Sunshine calls this old heart of mine,
Come back to Tennessee.

Rocks and the rills deep tinted hills,
Three's no spot so dear to me.
Where'er I roam still it's my Home Sweet Home,
My own, my Tennessee.

When it's Iris time down in Tennessee,
I'll be coming back to stay
Where the mockingbird sings at the break of day
A lilting love song gay.
Where the Iris grows,
Where the Harpeth flows,
That is where I long to be.
There's a picture there that lives in memory
When it's Iris time in Tennessee.


This song was adopted in 1935 by the 69th General Assembly in Chapter 154 of the Public Acts as the State Song of Tennessee.

I wrote a state song a few years back for another state. Click here to learn more!

Learn about my Online Drawing and Watercolor Course.
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Spill


Spill
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches
$150 —email me to purchase


Overflowing with magical, golden abundance. Look around you. Isn't this planet magnificent? Full of wonder and glory? I think so!

Keep your eyes and ears open to the beauty around you. Then take a deep breath and give thanks for the experience. Why not? It'll all change in a moment.

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Ravel Adagio assai



Maurice Ravel
Piano Concerto No. 1 in G, movement II Adagio assai
Performed by Leonard Bernstein and the National Orchestra of France
at the Théatre des Champs Elysées, Paris


Stop what you're doing. Turn the volume to maximum and give your complete attention to this performance of the second movement from Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto No. 1 in G.

Leonard Bernstein's expression upon completion says it all. That went very well.

Bernstein's entire Ravel performances, including the most awesome Shéhérezade for mezzo and orchestra (with Marilyn Horne), are captured on DVD: Bernstein in Paris: The Ravel Concerts

As one reviewer says: "Such a performance gives a clear example why Leonard Bernstein became a legend in his own time."
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How to heal your fractured foot and ankle:
An artist's guide


My Left Foot
Watercolor pencil, 4 x 6 inches


I am not a doctor. However, I've enjoyed a lifetime of learning how to heal myself and keep myself relatively healthy. It's fun for me. Herein, I'm sharing the healing measures I've taken for my own foot and ankle fractures with hopes that some or all of this information may be of help to you.

I am somewhat of an expert on ankle sprains but, after a recent fall, not only did I suffer a massive ankle and foot sprain but also fractured my 5th metatarsal (a Jones Fracture) cracked my medial tibia from mid-calf straight through the ankle bone and cracked something on the outside ankle bone. I did not have any displaced bones and did not require any surgery. You can read about the details of my injury on my left foot posts.  In fact, I recommend that you read these related earlier posts on healing!

Upon Injury

R.I.C.E.

Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Stick to this tried and true formula for the first 48 - 72 hours to which I'll add...

Immediately apply Arnica Gel or Traumeel.  Begin taking Arnica Tablets internally. Take the recommended dosage of any pain medication. Apparently, Ibuprofen is "off the list for mending bones" (it interferes with process) but helps to reduce swelling in sprains.

Ask for help. Have x-rays taken so that you know what's injured. Ask for a ride to the E.R. Bring a good book. Ask for print copies of your x-rays. Why? A succession of doctors did not notice that my medial tibia and ankle were fractured for one month. I had to tell them that I thought I had additional breaks.

Do not try to walk on your foot. I mean it!

Your healing regimen

Attitude is crucial. So, first off, Count Your Blessings! Fractures and sprains are temporary. Become aware of any whining or complaining. Whining and complaining do you no good whatsoever. In fact, engaging in this crankiness will probably make you feel worse. People will expect you to complain. Surprise them. Be of good cheer. You won't always be able to feel chipper but make a go of it anyway. It'll make you feel better. All things considered, you're experiencing a rather minor issue. But if you do not properly care for yourself, you'll make matters worse and add to your recovery time.

Do NOT walk on your foot. I still mean it! I am off my foot for 12 - 14 weeks. When I first sprained my ankle at age 11, it was placed in a plaster cast. Within a week, I'd removed it with my father's hammer and chisel. I know you want to walk as soon as possible. Do not do so until your bones can support you. Deal with it.

Do NOT smoke. Trying to walk on your foot before the bones, ligaments and tendons are healed and smoking are the absolute worst things you could possible do. Frankly, I was a closet smoker. Just two or three cigarettes in the evening. When I broke these bones, and I smoked... I could feel my inner self compromised at the cellular level. I don't know how else to express it. I have not had a cigarette since, nor have I desired one.

Rest. And I'm not talking about for one or two days. You must plan on resting more than usual throughout your recovery.

Do your research. Educate yourself. Ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of and then learn about your particular injury or set of injuries. It's interesting, fun to learn about and empowering. Make it a creative project! Go crazy on google. You're not going to be able to do much else for the first little while.

Expect a few pitfalls. Immobility, crutches, and slow going can be a pain. Like the learning curve, the healing curve is not straight up. You can pretty much plan on having a couple sets of downer days. If you're prepared, you can work your way through them more easily. Just relax and let it all wash over you. You're not always going to be laying around.

Accept your situation. What's done is done. Surrender. You are healing. It's going to take some time. Be Brave. You can do it! You are not actually healing your foot and ankle, you are creating the optimal conditions under which your bones and tendons and ligaments can heal at the cellular level.

Exercise. What? Yes. It's really important for your body but also for your mental state and general well being. You'll be much happier during and after recovery because of it. Swimming is your best bet and non-weight bearing yoga poses are wonderful.

Swimming: Find the schedule for your nearest pool and plan at least two lap swimming sessions per week. Ease into it. Don't force your injured foot to do anything it doesn't want to. Start with a kick board if you have to. Make it a game to increase your number of laps and time in pool per session. Be very careful with your crutches on the wet floors! Ask for whatever help you need getting in and out of the pool.

Yoga: I have created a sequence for you of non-weight bearing yoga positions. Obviously, you will have to modify some of these positions to accommodate your injured foot and ankle and you don't want to try anything you are not already secure with. This sequence will give you a basic routine to add or subtract from.
Click here for my PDF of non-weight bearing yoga sequence.
(Click here for further information on poses).

Remedy List

Arnica Gel
Arnica Tablets
Comfrey Tincture
(or Comfrey Leaf to make a poultice)
Juniper Oil
Olbas Oil
Garlic and Ginger Capsules
Vitamin and mineral supplements
(a good multi-vitamin, Calcium Supplement , Vitamin C and B Complex )

Does this seem like a lot to buy?  All of these items should live in your medicine cabinet or kitchen at all times. They are part of fundamental first aid and you should be taking the supplements anyway (imho). Think about doctor bills.

Speaking of which, if you want to add essential oils to your medicine cabinet, kitchen, and cleaning supplies, visit my essential oil store for the highest quality and my hands down favorite essential oils of all time.

Regarding the matter at hand (or foot!):
Arnica acts as pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Application prevents or hastens healing of bruises and reduces swelling and works especially well if applied immediately after trauma (though is helpful to prevent pain and inflammation throughout healing period). Homeopathic Arnica pills and tablets taken internally have same effect.

The main active ingredient in Comfrey is Allantoin which generates cells and promotes cell replacement. Bones knit themselves back together on the cellular level. An old folk name for Comfrey is "knitbone".

Juniper (especially), Rosemary, Wintergreen and Peppermint help to promote circulation. Circulation helps to promote healing on a cellular level. So does massage. Healing on a cellular level helps to knit bones. Foot bones (especially the 5th metatarsal) have limited circulation (they're far from the heart), therefore, trouble healing.

By the way, I only recommend what I consider superior products at good prices that I, myself, use and love.

My triple threat treatment!
3x per day:
Slather a thin layer of Arnica Gel over your fracture and sprain areas
Drop Comfrey tincture on fracture and sprain areas and massage into skin
Gently massage adulterated* Grampa's Therapeutic Massage Oil into foot and ankle for 15 - 20 minutes (or as long as you can — some time is better than no time!).

*Add additional Juniper Oil and Olbas (contains juniper, rosemary, peppermint oils) to Grampa's Garden Therapeutic Oil to help further promote circulation.

I slept with a comfrey poultice on my foot and ankle during the first ten days. I could actually feel it working but the whole thing was a bit time consuming and messy so I switched to the tincture which I think is less effective but still very helpful.

Nutrition
Steer clear of sugar and caffeine (especially coffee), (if you can).
Do I have to say to not drink alcohol?
Eat well. Fresh vegetables and fruit. Real food. Drink pure water. You'll feel better.

Healing Stones
(couldn't hurt!)
Infinite
Faden Quartz
Rainbow Obsidian
Labradorite
Blue Kyanite
Green Kyanite
Apatite

You can find these in new age shops or ask a massage therapist where you might buy some or check ebay. You can sleep with these stones under your pillow and carry them around in a little stone pouch as you go through your daily life.

And one more thing! Buy yourself a good pair of knee pads. Sometimes you might have to climb, foot and knee (careful!), and sometimes you might just want to crawl. I recommend Fiskars Contoured-Fit Knee Pads.I've been using them all along and they've really helped.

As I stated at the outset, I am not a doctor nor am I in any way liable for any harm or injuries sustained if you choose to follow any of my leads in this post. However, I do have a load of personal experience and this has been my share on it!

Happy healing!


Demo Kitty

Demo Kitty
Watercolor, 8.25 x 9 inches


I made this demo for a watercolor student last week. She brought a cut-out of a sumi-e cat to class and asked me to show her how to make one. Well, here's what I produced. It's made with watercolor and a bit of fountain pen ink at the end.

I was not planning on posting this but the demo kitty kept looking up at me from the table, pleading to go public. I've given in.

I wish I could point to the source of this image but I have no idea. Still, I think it must stem from some classic source as I found a following sumi-e demo on youtube that is too, too similar!

Watch the sumi-e cat demo here.
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Windswept

Windswept
Watercolor, 5 x 7
$150 —email me to purchase


Hexagram 57 of the I Ching is composed of the paired trigram Sun, representing wind. I chose this hexagram to write about in todays's post because of the painted image, the title and the fact that tornado sirens have been blasting away over the past hour as a furious storm system passes through our area.

Hexagram 57 is called The Gentle, The Penetrating, Wind, Penetrating Influence. Wind below, Wind above.

My favorite I Ching book is R.L. Wing's The I Ching Workbook.In fact, I just looked through all five of my books on the I Ching and it is only the Wing book I am compelled to quote. I think I'll sell all the others (in my ongoing quest to rid my life of everything I don't need or use) with the exception of the Wilhelm (Bollingen).Too classic, plus it was a gift from my ex-husband.

Of Hexagram 57, Wing writes
"Chinese art often depicts the effects of the invisible wind as it influences the landscape. Mountains are shown eroded and sculpted into fascinating forms, trees bend and twist into exotic shapes, clouds roll dramatically across the sky, bringing life-giving rain. In contemplating the wind, the Chinese mind is inspired by the profound effect of a steady, PENETRATING INFLUENCE, and how this effect might manifest itself in human affairs.

You are faced with a situation that can be influenced only by gradual efforts in a consistent direction. Gentleness is the key here. ... Try to imagine and emulate the gentle, unceasing wind. Success will come in a gradual way, bringing increasing clarity of purpose.

...The time requires patience, a long-term commitment, and a vision of what you ultimately wish to accomplish. The improvement of your emotional and physical health will now come with gradual refinement."

It is now exactly eight weeks since my fall and I have another six weeks on crutches. As you can imagine, I am looking forward to walking free again. Mostly because everything takes so long for me to do. It is late in the day before I can really settle down to work. However, my situation is temporary. I am being patient and gentle as my healing unfolds and trusting that everything that I cannot handle personally, is being taken care of. What else am I going to do?

For an impatient speed-freak like myself, this period of enforced patience and slow groove is a blessing.

As I finish this post, the storm has passed and the sirens have fallen silent. Some tornados touched down in the area but not near me. The birds are calling and the rain is falling. Gently.

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Respite

Respite
Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches
$150 —email me to purchase


Just as I was working with a student on accepting her work as it is right now, on allowing herself to develop at her own pace without harshly judging or belittling her work, especially in exercise form, I received this quote in an email from an old acquaintance.
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others" —Martha Graham

I read this to her out loud. Another case of perfect synchronicity.

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