Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Patch of Blue

The images that I make for this blog are inspired by the most random thoughts and experiences. The process of art and writing is so complex at times, but I am willing to let the process take me where it leads.

One of my friends commented on last night's artwork on my blog. He said it looked like a pastel painting, and loved the shape/texture of the trees. I hope that people interact with my art that I post, and I always enjoy feedback or commentary. As I was heading south to New Paltz to meet Rob for dinner tonight, I caught a glimpse of a sunset almost exactly like last night's digital image; the atmosphere, colors, and the soft black velvet texture of back lit trees. It was almost a shock, a deja-vu.

I became obsessed with the image, knew my blog title but not the content, and knew that tonight's art was going to be about blue. I don't have tons of time, so I have to set a time limit for both the art and the writing, otherwise the cat litter doesn't get scooped, I don't do the laundry and forget paying the bills...

The color blue has been haunting me ever since my trip to the river photographing the ice and sky. I sat and took a few moments to meditate on it, and as I closed my eyes I saw statues of the Virgin Mary and remembered that as a child I thought the blue in her dress was the most beautiful color I had ever seen. I saw the mint candies that my grandmother had in a bowl in her apartment in Brooklyn; the color of the Hudson River ice. I saw the blues of pool liners, of my favorite blue jeans, of sapphires, and all the variations of the blues of the sky from sunrise to sunset. Though blue is a cool color on the spectrum, it represents the presence of sunlight, of warmth, of love, of sweetness- it is for me, a comfort color.

The digital collage is a portion of one of my photos, and the figure is from an antique Bouguereau print. The piece fell together rather quickly and subconsciously....but I know it is me in the clouds of most beautiful blue surrounded by the angels in my life. Tonight I feel protected and at peace, and bask in my blue skies. That will be my meditation for tonight.....and my inspiration.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday Afternoon II

I just posted to meganaid blog about the meaning that "Tuesday Afternoon" now takes for me; it is very intense as it is the day Megan has chemo. I wrote about it there, as here I want to focus on joy and light; the love of friends, the innocence of children, the preparation of a meal and snuggling in bed with Alanna. Such experiences are the necktar that sweetens my lips and gives me strength and hope.

It is snowing out. Not much, but enough to wreck havoc on the roads. I hope we have a delay tomrorow morning. How delightful would that be; surely we are due one. I won't get overzealous as I have lost a few snowday gambles that left me very tired and cranky the next day. However, I have poured a glass of wine, and cut a piece of cheesecake that Megan insisted I take home. I might put on a movie or find my book, wherever it is buried.

Tonight's artwork is a photograph I took yesterday on a farm. It had wires running through the sky which was fixed in photoshop. A few other filters and alterations gave me the final product, which is much compressed for the internet and many of its subtleties lost. I have used some of these digital pieces as inspiration for paintings, much like Thomas Cole or Frederick Church would do a small study. How it translates into a painting is often an interesting journey. It is the only artwork I was able to accomplish tonight, but always gratifying to engage in the art process, any art process.

Off to climb under the down comforter, and sink down into my soft bed. I will wrap the thoughts of love and friendship around me and think of the good which I encountered today.

This was sent to me earlier........ "You gain strength, experience, and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face... You must do the thing you cannot do." ~Eleanor Roosevelt. Goodnight xxx patti

Monday, January 29, 2007

The River of Life

Today I felt much better; the shift in hormones made a radical difference and I felt my normal self. Thought I was physically not in the greatest of shape, mentally I felt lighter and cheerful; what a relief! At times when I am not dealing with hormones or life's stresses, I am a pretty upbeat woman. I have my times, but I see joy and good in everything. I am in love with life and live it to its fullest each and every day. But when I feel badly, I should be shut away to make art as that is all I am good for.

I drove down to the Hudson, but this time with camera in hand. I stopped the car along the wall that is almost level with the river, and took a number of shots. It was cold and quiet save for the grunting and creaking of the ice on the river. It is not a heavily traveled road, and I was able to take in the sights and smells of the landscape in solitude.

I am so in love with the Hudson; the bridges, lighthouses, boats, ice, fish, the wind. I have sailed it a number of times, and swam in it despite its PCPs.

One of my funnier boating moments in history was the time I was navigating my friends old wooden boat. It was a warm spring day, and I spotted a familiar sail on the river. It was the sail of a guy I had started seeing, who had taken me out the day before in a nasty cold mist. As I neared the boat, I noticed that there was another woman on board. My scorpio nastiness took hold, and I gunned the engine and moved full steam ahead. I circled the little tiny sunfish several times and created a "slight" wake and waved, yelling to my friend. Ed, who owned the boat I was driving, was like "holy shit, what are you doing?"(remember that Ed?) I just grinned, then sped away. Weeks later when I approached the supposed "new man" he mumbled how the woman on board said "oh how friendly the people are on the Hudson" while he struggled not to capsize the sailboat. I grinned. HIS LOSS I thought.

After spending some time on the river, I was even more inspired to explore it this summer in photography and painting. Maybe I will even get as far north as Lake Tear of the Clouds, the Hudson's humble origins (and a very good desert wine...but I am not sure it is made anymore...) and travel as far south as NYC.

I am excited about being a wanderer on the Hudson, and can't wait for summer to pack up my car and head to where the waters lap the shore, where sturgeon roil in its waters. I will get lost in its solitude and the lull of the water in its constant movement anywhere nowhere somewhere...much like my life.
To the river of life, Patti

Sunday, January 28, 2007

He Went South

If Larry were smart, he would indeed head south, for a few years, until I call him and tell him it is safe to return.

This blog is not for those who don't want to read about peri-menopause and all of its demons. I know a few of you guys read this from time to time. It actually might be a GOOD thing for you to bear with me because unless your wife, girlfriend, mother, or sister are beyond this stage in life, knowledge is power and I might give you some insight OR save your life.

If you ONLY KNEW what it was like, you might buy us flowers, make us dinner, get us drugs. (haha) But be careful, those kind of things might make us wonder what you are up to, especially if it is something that you don't do very often.

The last week has been HELL. Emotionally I have been unstable, and considering going back on medication which I have avoided for years now. When I get really depressed I want to do things to ease the pain. As an abused child I would bang my head on the wall, scratch myself, and if I were not grossed out by it, I would be a cutter. Instead I am mentally tortured, and know I am on the edge. In some insane way I like being on the edge; it is the fountain of creativity for me. But I HATE when I go over and I have to be aware of the dangers. It has been a long long time since I did that...being married keeps me in line, and being married to a calm and sane man helps.

Now, I have a good reason to be stressed. There are many intense things going on in my life. I am the rock of gibralter for too many people, and I worry that I will crack.

Yesterday was the worst. I think Larry was really worried about me. I have had a migrane on and off for a few days. I have had cramps, night sweats, nightmares, and insomnia. At 6 AM he had to wake me up as I was crying in my sleep and in a pool of sweat. I got up and low and behold...I had my period. A 14 day cycle. I was besides myself, but on the other hand, getting one's period means you are not pregnant. But considering that was probably not a possibility, I was pissed. No wonder I was such a mess. It ruined my sunday, I was supposed to go work out and sauna with a friend, and I was in no shape to do that. I am going to head to Hyde Park later to Lois's as she is making dinner and we are watching back episodes of Rome, one of my favorite HBO shows. (I no longer have HBO). I think I can handle that.

So what to do? I am taking a trip to the health food store and going to see if there are any homeopathic or natural treatments for this. I need something strong. I don't want hormone replacement therapy. Isn't there a shot to end all of this? How many years of this do I have to endure? Will I end up in jail because I lost my mind and did something regretable?

If Larry reads this, no doubt he is getting into his Toyota and heading where it is warm and safe. And I don't blame him. Maybe I should just lock myself in my studio and leave a note that under no condition should I be let out during certain times. (like Boris Karloff being locked in a room during the full moon...)

If any of you have any suggestions (besides massage, wine, dinner out with friends, making art, St. John's Wort, chiropractic-- as I already do all of that) would you post a comment? And guys, don't be wise, cause I WILL come and find you.

Back into my studio, Patti

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Outside In

Larry and I had some words this afternoon. I can't even remember what they were about. Comments taken the wrong way, perhaps the inflection was sharp, or the words jumbled out in the wrong sequence, landed in a messy heap and were picked up in the wrong order, or a combination of hormones, stress, mid life crisis, or all of the above. I tried to remember that movie from 20 years ago..about the boy who drowned and how it destroyed the family and altered their lives forever....

I stormed out to the studio in frustration and anger and grabbed my camera. It was cold and dark, but I stopped to take a picture of the studio; outside looking in.

The joy of the day was finding my CD case that I had thought I had lost and grieved over for a long time. I thumbed through it rather desperately looking for something to blast so that I could just feel the music and get out of my head. I found Peter Murphy of Bauhaus fame, the perfect funk, punk, and gloom. I pumped up the volume, and danced while working like a maniac. I wondered what the neighbors thought, but figured that they were shuttered in behind closed windows and shades on this cold winter night. I let the music and art plunge through me. I suddenly smiled, remembering how my son would blast KORN when we had an arguement. Korn, Peter Murphy, Beethoven, it's all the same; relief, catharsis, balm. In that moment I understood him, even though when he did it I wanted to go upstairs and rip the wires out of the speakers and wrap them around his neck. Sometimes one has to be on the outside looking in to obtain such poignant moments of clarity.

I made some beautiful cards, as I don't like to paint after sunset. I prefer the natural light by which to paint, though I find painting more therapeutic than designing. But art is art, and Peter Murphy washed over me with his sexy intense voice and lyrics.

I called up friends of mine to see if they were going dancing. A place uptown was having a dance party, and I thought that would be the perfect venue to blast out the rest of the blues. I don't think they are going, so I will take a hot bath instead then lay by the fire. Larry is running a bath for me hoping that the savage beast within me will wash down the drain with the bath water when I am done. What a great visual, little demons swirling around in the eddy of the drain, screaming in their descent. Is that it, am I possessed?

I am back from the bath. The demons are gone. For a long, long time I laid back and closed my eyes and let fantasy and hot scented water caress me. I am once more at peace and ready to welcome sleep. Sweet dreams, patti

Friday, January 26, 2007

Some Friday Night Healing

I checked my stats today and was HORRIFIED to see that no one had read my blog at all today. I waited a few hours and the result was the same. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA.

I checked the one for Megan. 148 hits.

I was crushed. I really had done it. Lost everyone due to my dark and somber writing as of late. I write for myself..but I always hope that someone is appreciating my musings. I sat in my chair at work and was numb.

I had a migrane and had taken copious amounts of drugs, and they were not tylenol either. Nothing worked. My head pounded and I was miserable. My misery had just been compounded by literary rejection.

However, being my analytical self, I checked the html on my blog, and sure enough, while messing around with templates and links, I had erradicated the code for the counter. WHEW. Saved.

Gina stopped in my room and saw how much pain I was in. Even though I had scheduled a massage with her later that afternoon, she massaged my head and some pressure points, I took more of my migrane medication, and voilla, the headache faded away. By now it was 2:00. Six hours of hell.

At 3:30 pm I found myself along the Hudson River again. I had been there a four days earlier and was shocked that the river had mostly frozen over with a thin coat of ice save for a channel that a barge had furrowed on its passage north. It's been quite cold the past few days, just enough to put an inch or so on the river. It was crystalline and crisp. I was disappointed again that I did not have a camera of any sort on me. I was thinking about painting and light and life and I passed the drive to Megan's house and ended up in the orchards a few miles south. (another great view and spot to paint).

Later I headed to Ginas for an hour massage. A glass of wine, Raja, and a wonderful massage left me looking like I had "that glow". For the first time in days I felt human and totally at peace and relaxed. I stopped by the local sushi place for take out and Larry and I had dinner by the fireplace with a bottle of wine....

A friend of mine called who has been calling me for a while now, trying to get me to come out and play. Not being in the mood these days, I could no longer say no, so once more I was off again. Let's just say we did a lot of laughing.

The fire is still burning, there are pillows on the floor. I think I will stretch out and lie there and feel the heat on my body till it fades away. I am smiling. It feels good. It has been too long. It is only 11:13 and I am hoping that in the next 45 minutes of the day I can think of just one more thing to do....


Thursday, January 25, 2007

And all the sea was ink

I had no choice but to switch to the new version of blogger. Now I can’t upload images again. I am a bit disgusted with it all, but I guess for a free service I have to remain patient.

OK I have figured it out. For some reason it is taking my jpgs, but very slowly. I have to wait a while till the DONE button shows. BMP files work much faster. Odd since my jpg files are much smaller than the maximum K allowed. I will have to play around for a bit to figure out which is best. Thank GOD I have good problem solving skills. Comes from being alone a lot and having to fix and figure out many things. I am the computer geek in my family which is a good thing as I would otherwise be verrrrry frustrated!

Tonight’s image was a card I made. It aptly describes the waters I am sailing on. No stars to guide me, no beacon to warn me of rough waters or dangers ahead. I can’t see what’s lurking beneath the waves, and I am sailing on instinct and a prayer.

I talked to Megan this afternoon. She was having a meltdown. She has been vomiting for three days now and feels that she can’t take care of the baby. I had some support group information to give her, but she freaked out and wanted me to stop helping her. I need the group; I will still send her on the information to use, save, or delete. I keep telling her I am here to help in whatever way she needs. She is so stubborn, but I think now it is all catching up with her. The facts she is finding out and the chemo is really making her sick.

I live moment to moment. I have truly found out the meaning of that for the first time. I have taken things a day at a time in my life, but not like this. It is bigger than all of us and I have to reach out.

I have not been in the studio for days. I am hoping I can get some respite to get out there and work. I have German class tonight, but I am not sure that I will stay the whole time. I did not sleep last night, I was hot, my brain did NOT want to shut down. I don’t know, perhaps being in class is good for me. Larry is not home again tonight, and I face another night alone if I stay home. Keeping busy keeps me from dwelling on things any more than I do.

I hate to whine and be so dark. I am not my usual self, and understandably so. I don't want to lose readers, so I have got to get in a space where I can write about other things. It is just that I can only write what is exists within me at any given moment, and right now, there is a void.
Off to German class where we are watching the Edukators. Very interesting movie.
Bis bald, xxx to you all, Patti

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Into the Labyrinth

Today was a day I shoud have stayed home. I dropped Alanna off at Meg's around 10 am. The saving grace to the morning was the trip to her house which rides along the Hudson River. It is one of the most beautiful roads as it rides parallel to the river, and a times it is almost at level with it. The sun was bright, small chunks of ice bobbed like diamonds along the shore. The river was icey blue, with the rose brown mountains reflected in it. I need to carry a camera with me on my next trip, and I found several spots where I can park the car and paint.

Megan lives on an old estate overlooking the Hudson. Though the buildings are run down, the view is spectacular. There is a spot where you are descending the steep unpaved driveway that you get the illusion that you can drive straight into the river.

I was alone tonight. Part of me wanted to go home and bury myself under the covers, but I also knew that getting out to meet a friend could be just as consoling.

I met Lois in Rhinebeck and we went for Margaritas at Sobroso's and headed over to Upstate to see Pan's Labyrinth. I thought that it was a film that I could lose myself in the fantasy; it proved to be quite heavy and at the end I felt numb and unable to breathe easily or move. It was well done, but it was way too heavy and violent for me to have seen in my current state of mind. One of the last lines in the film was "though pain we understand life". I sat and thought that I should have my black belt in understanding life after all that I have been through, and all that lies waiting ahead of me.

Tonight's pic is just one of many that I take in my yard for studies in light and color.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

To Fly....

Early this morning on my way to work, I felt upbeat and good. The last few days were decent, and I felt like maybe I had climbed out of the hole a bit, and my soul felt lighter. Light enough to almost fly. As I was driving to work I could taste the wind on my face and wanted to strap on my skis or roller blades as they are the closest possible experience I could have to flying. My aching ankle reminded me that I am still not ready to do that, and I wondered what else I could do to mimic that rush.

The feel of the wind and the speed of the skis and skates are a adrenaline shot for me. I don’t skydive, I am leery of small aircraft, and I much prefer the contact of the earth beneath my feet. I am a slight daredevil on my skis, though I have done some stupid things that left me gasping for air or breaking a bone. One bad case of road rash while trying to skate like the wind reminded me I am not a bird, and that hitting the pavement at my age is not fun.

As a child I flew all the time in my dreams; I still do, but not as often. I love when I fly; the last time I did I soared over the Catskills and the Shawangunk ridge over Mohonk. I have left the earth's atmosphere into other realms in my nighttime flights. I remember the dreams vividly. As a child I was flying to escape danger; as an adult I fly to feel the wind and view the earth and explore other realms.

Unfortunately my lightness of spirit came crashing down like Icarus this afternoon. I called Megan after her chemo and got some bad news. I won't go into detail here, her blog has the info, but I came tumbling down hard. In my dreams I have crashed to the earth, waking me up from a sound sleep as I make contact. But as I crash, I realize this is no dream.

I have slipped back down into the hole, my fingers grasping on anything upon which to take hold. A ray of sunlight, a hug from a friend, music, a memory. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, so the usual comfort food of potatoes was not an option.

I have the baby tonight so I must be cheerful. It broke my heart when we went to leave Megan's apartment and Alanna got upset. She tried to explain that she was sick and needed to sleep and she would see her in the morning. Alanna knit her brows together and asked if she were going to the hospital. I could not cry as I had to be strong for them, but inside another piece of my heart was ripped out and tossed in the air.

The artwork tonight is an antique print titled Ganymede. Myth has it that Zeus fell in love with him and snatched him from the earth by transforming himself into an eagle. Other mythology has it that Eos captured him to be her lover, and Zeus made a deal with her (which backfired) in order to obtain Ganymede. None of the stories end well; poorly planned deals, jealousy, revenge....and there are several theories as to the allegorical meaning to the myth. For myself, it just represents desire gone amuck, and the woman once again losing to the power of a man.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Wall

In my series about my studio and the creative process, (one that never really ends), I have posted this picture of "the wall".

I took my 2 car garage and turned it into my studio (see early post about My Zone Part 1) and left the wall that separates the 2 parts of the garage in its entirety. Originally it was suggested that I drop the ceiling to save on heat, but I wanted to make the most of the structure of the garage, and that included the heigth of hip roof. The photo does not show it, but it is fairly large, about 20' long or more, and is about 18-20' high at its peak. It provides a wall upon which to view my work -and a solid mass to balance out the other spaces that are broken by windows or doors. It is like having a mini gallery, and I enjoy viewing my work.

I had a gallery for a while, in a very old building mid-town Kingston, with wonderful full length windows in the front and fabulous faux finished walls,HIGH ceilings draped with fabrics, federal and French antiques scattered around. I had a silent partner who had the space, and I ran it.

I miss the gallery. It was one of the joys of my life at a time when my daughter was in Iraq and I worked around the clock. Teacher by day, curator and gallery owner after school and on weekends. We had some of the best shows in the area, and the only reason I stopped was that I was too busy promoting others work and not doing my own. Plus my daughter was coming home sick and pregnant from Iraq.

My wall keeps the essence of gallery still in the foremost of my mind in my creative space. I know I am not done with my career as a gallery or store owner. I know that the year and a half that I poured my soul into making our gallery a success was not in vain. I made connections, learned a lot about organization, curating, human relations and revelled in the joy of all the creative spirits I worked with. The parties were great. Music jams and operatic performances by Bard students. The wine flowed and we made some money. And I did not go over the edge.

Off to have some clear soup and a few Sushi rolls. I changed my mind about Lolita last night and started watching Seven Years in Tibet instead. I am not sure that I am enjoying the movie. Brad Pitt is not one of my faves, I can't stand his accent nor his cocky attitude thus far in the movie. I am guessing I know where this is heading, but I will finish it over the next day or so. I do like the images of the monastery and the score. I keep hoping there is more.

Namaste, Patti
(namaste has many meanings..some of them being..)
The Spirit in me meets the same Spirit in you.
I greet that place where you and I are one.
I salute the Light of life in you.
I receive the free spirit in you.
My energy salutes your energy.
The life in me sees and honors the life in you.
May the life within you be strong.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

La Cucina

Tonight my house had the aroma of olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and candles. Keith Jarret was playing in the background, and I had just opened a nice bottle of reasonable red wine. (Osborne Solaz, 2004 Temranillo/Cab- 7.00) I needed it for the sauce, so why not have some while cooking!

I took good care of myself all weekend, and felt like cooking for the first time in what seems forever. I am an excellent cook. A collage cook one might say, or better yet, a bricollage cook. I take what is in the house and make a dinner out of it. I think about flavor, texture, color and variety. Most of the time I would rather put this creative energy into visual arts, but on occasion I will push my fine art aside, and the art of the evening is cooking.

Candles, music, wine, and a lovely table. I must think more like Monet, and not only make the meal art, but somehow make it my visual art too. The best I could do was a photo of the beginning of the sauce. It looks rather bizarre if you ask me, which or course, delights me. All I had was my little shitty-ass camera, but I am able to work with what I have - as therein lies the challenge in art and design.

The Menu tonight was simple. Farfalle with marinara sauce. Red wine. Handmade chocolate for desert. And Lolita for the movie.

I cannot take complete ownership for this recipe. It is one that was started in the kitchen of the CIA - Culinary Institure of America, here in Hyde Park NY and has been altered a bit depending upon the available herbs. Tonights sauce was:

1/3 c. Olive oil--heated
Saute garlic in hot oil (don't brown/burn!)(3 large cloves for me do it nicely!)
Add 28 oz can of plum tomatoes WITH juice (The brand makes a difference. Furmanos preferred-hard to get. Try and get good Italian plums from the San Marzano valley)
Use knife and pierce tomatoes in several spots, then mash up w/ricer/potato masher
Simmer for 15 minutes
Add 1/3 cup of decent red wine - simmer another 5
Add ground pepper, whatever herbs are in season (parsley, basil, oregano etc.) Tonight I used a generous helping of oregano and basil-dried

Simmer another 5.

Serve over pasta of any kind with fresh grated Romano chesse. Normally I have a salad, picked right from my garden, but my lettuce is tiny...and not enough to do anything with. To make up for the missing salad, I had lovely hand made supreme chocolates from Woodstock for dessert.

Don't you wish you came to MY house for dinner?


Saturday, January 20, 2007

In the Bathroom

I woke up with a headache. My eyes hurt, they needed a cold cloth. Last night did not end so well, and I woke up with the fragments of it clinging to my brain. I stumbled downstairs, not getting enough sleep, but I could not lay in bed any longer. The phone rang, it was Richard asking for help returning the chairs. I grabbed my mug of coffee, and headed downtown. I actually enjoyed the physical labor first thing and the morning.

The remainder of the day was rather mundane as I arranged it to be that way. I started the Meganaid blog, talked to Jonathan about some reconstruction of the sight, and went out to the studio. I made some cards; not a highly productive day, but satisfying enough. The evening came, and I sent Larry off on his own to the opening; I could not deal with talking to a huge crowd of people again.

A perfect evening for some self indulgence and a hot bath. I lit a few aromatherapy candles, Rasa was drifting melodically down the hall into the bathroom. The lights were turned down low, a glass of wine parked by the side of the tub. I made a soak out of Epson salts and essentail oils. I mentioned before that Epson salts are so cheap and make a great soak combined with any combinations of oils such as wintergreen, peppermint, arnica, lavendar, vetiver, ylang ylang, fir needle, and I could go on...... I sank way into the hot top and then said DAMN, I forgot the camera! Got out, dried off, and ran to get it. (brrr)

During my teenage years the only place I got of peace and privacy was in the bathroom. Because we had a well and sometimes there were problems with it, baths were scare and a treasure. I could lock the door and noone would come in, sink down into the bath, and stare off into space at the faucets in the bathroom, and the the patterns in the tiles. I could see faces and monsters and all kinds of fantasy creature hidden in the plumbing and in the retro black and white tiles.

I have been meaning to explore the bath in my art for ages, so I sat in the tub and shot a bunch of photos. I have to get a new digital camera as mine is a dinosaur and something is leaving strange stripes on the prints. I am guessing it is the card that has a problem, and I am NOT spending money on a new card for the camera. It just isn't worth it. My 300.00 Olympus is way outdated and worth about 20.00 now. With all the work that I do, I need a new camera. I am not a photographer, but I digitally alter some of my shots in Photoshop and use them in my blog and as inspiration and ideas for paintings.

Doing this little project was fun, and as always, inspired me with other ideas. IF you look closely enough, there IS a face in the faucet.

I am in my warm jams, have grabbed some Jarlsberg and chocolate, and a bit of Grey Goose. I may snuggle up on my couch and pop in the English Patient and watch one of my favorite tragic love stories. It is poetic and stunningly filmed, and the people are lush and sensual to watch on film. Yummm.

May you all be warm and be taking care of yourselves on this cold northeast evening.


Friday, January 19, 2007

The Ground Truth

I just came home from one of the more intense evenings of my life. It was a benefit for my daughter, who is an Iraqi war veteran. Some of you already know this story, others may be new to it. For brevity's sake, this was a fund raiser put together by the art community for my daughter who has stomach cancer, and a veteran of this war who has been sick since she came home. I won't go into details, perhaps that is best left to a book or to some higher purpose than this blog.

We raised almost 2,000.00 at the event, half of which went to Megan, the other have to the IVAW (see link and info below). I knew half the audience. The love and support of the community was overwhelming. The movie shown was a documentary - The Ground Truth, which should be shown in every high school, to every American. It depicts the horror of our current war, and the physical and mental illnesses of many of the returning veterans, and how they are neglected by the very government they pledged their life to. As hard as it was for me to see it, it was even harder for my daughter. Boot camp, promises, dead bodies of comrades and Iraquis alike. Despair, suicide, anger, sickness. I could barely watch it and I held my daugter's hand as she kneaded and crushed the plastic cup she clutched. One of my girlfriends came and sat next to me and held my other hand as it took everything that I had to keep myself composed.

The speaker was one of the young men who starred in the documentary, as well as a member of the IVAW, Iraq Veterans Against the War. He was a well spoken, young man who was so troubled. My heart went out to him, and one of his comments hit me so hard that I felt the life get sucked out for a brief moment..that unless you have been in a war and in the military, there is no way you can understand what happened. As a mother I have kissed her bruised knees, soothed a wounded heart, held her hand after an auto accident with glass sticking out of her face and throat, necessitating 250 stitches. But I cannot help her heal from something I will never understand.

I feel helpless, powerless. I have to have hope that this young man and his organization can educate and make a huge difference in other's lives. I felt the pain for my daughter and countless others. There was hope in the love that poured from those who have known me for years..or for just a few months. I knew that the support net would not let Megan or I fall.......

It is time to go to bed. I am drained, sad, and elated. I did not join the group that went out for drinks and dinner. Instead, I came home to cry on my keyboard, take a deep breath, and be thankful.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Today is Whatever....

I was rummaging through Larry's CD's last night when he was not here, as I knew I had tons of time to download ones I wanted to the computer and burn myself some new music for the studio. It isn't that he doesn't mind that I do it, but there is this unspoken territory about his books, his music, his things in general. Most of the time I respect it and have hands off, but sometimes I can't help but ransack his music. Sorry Larry, the cat is out of the bag.

On the shelf was Beth Orton. I have enjoyed some of her music in the past, so I knew this was the one. The CD is Central Reservation, and it rocks. I have listed to it a few times now, and her lyrics, combined with her rich and throaty voice, make for really intense listening. One of the lines that struck me was "today is whatever I want it to be". It made me stop and think. I put the paintbrush down, sighed, and really wished it was that easy. Though I live in my life as an active participant, and believe that I can indeed make SOME THINGS my own reality, there are things I cannot control. I thought of the serenity prayer - may I find the wisdom to change what I can, and to know what I need to leave the hell alone. I have made a few blunders recently and know that I should not try so hard. Some things need to come to me in their own time.

I enclosed more studio pictures. They are of a self portrait I did for a gallery a few years ago. Someone wanted to buy it; she collected mannequins. But this was not just a mannequin, this was my life and my heart. I was relieved when she said it was a bit more than she could afford. I am not for sale. And if you want me, be prepared to pay a nice sum. LOL. I modeled the dress after one I have and made the jewelry, dried the flowers that adorn me from the garden, and every single piece of paper has deep meaning to my life. I did not have enough time or space to post pictures of all of it, but it is quite a sculpture that adorns my studio.

I have another one to do, this one I want to do of my daughter. I am not sure if I can do it now....emotions are raw already and I am not sure I can face the story I need to tell about her. Perhaps it will be easier if I let her help me. But I know the nude form keeping me company will be of her...and I will have a pair that will always be kept togther to tell our story.

I am tired and need a nice hot bath. But first cat litter must be scooped and then perhaps I will be able to relax. It is quiet here, Larry is not home.....I will light some candles, sink low down in tub and repeat "tomorrow is whatever I want it to be" and pray there are no roadblocks.



Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Hunger

I received a comment from a fellow artist recently who said she enjoyed reading about what motivated me and seeing my studio space. That was inspiring for me as I hope that I reach people from time to time, and I do enjoy the comments people post.

I often think about what motivates me to paint or make art. After years of therapy and soul searching, I have had to face some facts. I am a driven person, perhaps to the point of workaholism. I teach all day and then work most every afternoon and evening on some kind of artistic project, including this blog. I hold myself to very high standards of work and dedication to everything in my life. It is because of those standards and self control that I succeed in most things that I do, and it keeps me out of the danger zone. I am both right and left brained and find that my overactive brain causes some problems. My hormones are for shit, so are my biochemicals, and much of my life has been a difficult journey. Sometimes the entire mix makes for trouble, but I don't regret anything I have done. I experience emotion in life to its fullest..from pure joy and love, to darkness, and pain. How I live with all of this energy and emotion is often difficult, but art makes sense of it all, and is a great outlet for feelings that would otherwise overwhelm me.

I have an insatiable hunger for knowledge, experiences, learning, and loving. I devour it with gusto and am often overcome with the enormity of life, what it means, what it has to offer. Since I was a child I lived in a highly creative fantasy world which gave me a haven of escape and still inspires my work.

I spent much time alone; I like solitude and the time to be with myself and ponder about life's adventures and let art bear the witness of my ride.

I finished a painting which I had posted in its earlier stages. It is a dark, almost black painting. I am not worried about the dark brackish values and gloom of the landscape, because through its creation I have let in the light.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Fortune Cookie

This weekend was one of some relaxation and fun, which I desperately needed. I started the weekend by meeting Annie at our favorite Chinese/Japanese digs for lunch. I took her out as I had missed her birthday. We dined leisurely, sipped on a little wine, and ate everything in sight right down to the fortune cookie. We always read our fortunes and get silly like teenage girls and sometimes play the game where you say "in bed" after a sentence---well, it works great with fortunes. It read "sweet memories are the paradise of the mind " (in bed?)

I smiled and thought about it for a moment, and realized how poignant it was. I have been having a really tough time at this point in my life where everything seems to be teetering on the edge; I sometimes skate on the borderline of negativity and despair. Sometimes I forget about the wealth of wonderful memories that I have to delve into and meditate upon, which would make me smile and give me strength. I put the fortune into my pocket and found myself taking it out a few times today, and thinking about it. I wrote it on my whiteboard as the quote of the week. Eventually some kid will see it and asks what it means.

I spent some quality time in the studio and had fun designing some of my Valentine Line. I have listed things on both Ebay and Etsy, and been selling privately, and made this funny little blank book. Instead for the little BLACK BOOK, it is a little BROWN BOOK. I thought it could be an anti-black book, a book where you put the list of people that you would NEVER call again or go out with. Then, you could shake them down for money to keep you from passing it all around town. The gift that keeps on giving....haha. It is collaged on a mini Moleskin book, blank pages, which a little pocket inside for receipts. Nice little chapbook. You could use it for other things, it is just that I am evil sometimes when I make these little art works. It is great therapy. I think I would burn up into a little crisp if I did not have art. Self ignite and poof......

Off to write some thank you cards to people who have donated money to Megan. She had chemo today, with more complications and xrays. What we have received so far paid off the debts she has been accruing since being diagnosed in October. Now we have to keep working hard to get her through another month or two. It is horrid that she will have to wait a year for any Veterans benefits (even tho it is retroactive) and be denied any social services because she gets too much in child support. (child courtesy of her Non Commissioned Officer!)Anyway, to keep the focus positive, we are brainstorming how Megan can stay home and be a mother to her 2 year old and heal instead of having to work all the time while throwing up and feeling wretched. Please feel free to circulate the website around. It really is making a difference in someone's life and she deserves to heal and be a mother for a little while after serving our country and now 80% disabled.....

Off my soap box. Sorry.

Sweet dreams to you all, and remember to pull out wonderful fun sexy silly memories out of the box now and then, indulge in a day dream and make them wonder why you have a shit-eating-grin on your face. Patti

Monday, January 15, 2007

NY Inspiration

It is late...about 10 PM and I just came in from New York. Last minute plans with a friend came together without a hitch in spite of freezing rain and an iced up car. NY was warmer, with only a misty rain falling early in the day. We went to my friend's doc appointment on the upper east side, and then headed off to Kate's Paperie, and the Metropolitan.

Of course, being a conneseur and lover of anything paper, I had one long sensual experience for an hour in that store. I had to control myself and stick to my focus, which was to buy things for the business. I did allow myself to indulge in a few goodies.

We walked to the Frick, but since it was a monday, and most of the museums are closed, we were out of luck. Off to the Metropolitan where we went to see the show Americans In Paris. We spent 2 hours at that show viewing the Cassats, the Sargents, Homers, Currans, etc. It was a great body of work which showed the progression of art from the traditional to the impressionist by Americans painting in Paris and the surrounding locales. We were finally kicked out of the place as they were closing early, so onto Grand Central to see what else we could do before we had to leave. We found a lovely lounge/restaurant that overlooks Grand Central that had martini specials, and sampled a few of those with a salad before embarking on the journey home via train.

It was a lovely time, full of fabulous conversation between two close friends, a true adventure with a few funny stories that I am not telling tonight. I was inspired by the most amazing paintings, and got to eat and drink around the city a bit. Oh, and of course, I went into a few shoe stores, but I restrained myself.

I love New York City. I don't know why I don't go more often as I come back renewed and my senses overflowing with the visions, sounds, smells.....and tastes. I was so uplifted by today and am going to buy a 10 trip tik from Metro North. I have a great vision....

Tonight's pictures are of some of my pieces, displays/works in progress in my studio. It is like a changing exhibit on a weekly basis, and I often set up images or paintings that call to me, so that I can absorb their being and color. I might have a number of pieces laying around just waiting for the right piece to finish it, or the right moment of inspiration to start it. Some pieces are like magic and they are completed in one sitting, though that is not the norm.

I am beat, have to teach tomorrow, and need to get a good night's sleep.

till tomorrow, patti zzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Inside my Zone Part 1

Very few people get to come inside the "zone". I have two sets of locks, but no curtains, so I suppose when I am in there late at night, those who walk by can get a glimpse of me dancing or painting, or sipping on my wine while working late. There is a local studio tour every two years, so that is one of the rare times it is "spit-spot" and I allow people to come into my sacred space. A few friends from time to time are invited in, but I do a different kind of work when I am in there with them. Most of my work comes out of solitude,inspirational music, and my over-active imagination.

I have had many studios over the years, and sometimes they were kitchen tables and counters, dining rooms, bedrooms, basements and attics. After taking a workshop with Jonathan Talbot, and having worked through The Artist's Way, I decided I was worth the investment of my own studio.

I took half of my two car garage, and transformed it into a studio complete with electric, a wonderful heater, high ceilings and as much window as I could afford. I have track lighting, a ceiling fan, an air conditioner, dehumidifier for the summer, and a small refrigerator. All that I lack is a toilet and sink. (though I always have a lego bucket on hand for those emergency when I locked myself out of the house and had to wait HOURS and HOURS for Larry to come home to open it up)

If I were to improve on it, I would put in water and a loft area for a read or nap, or just to dream. I like the idea of another world, another place where I can escape that is not too far away. But then that becomes a zoning issue, as it could be an "apartment" and would raise my taxes to another level. And I am NOT paying more than I have to.

The back window is just a tiny one that opens, and provides some light from above. I have a charcoal drawing on board from the early 1800's...she is my guardian. You can see her from the street, and she is rather spooky, so trespassers take heed.

I have a lovely picture window that looks out onto my yard where hidden sculptures, a chiminea, a bench as well as a small Japanese garden, grasses and other flora and fauna reside, as well as a host of birds and small animals. Oh, and not to forget the deer and the skunks which periodically startle me when I am back and forth to the house in the twilight and night hours..

The door to the studio looks out to the side door of my house so I can always see someone coming or going as well as any cars that might pull up. I like to be forewarned when I have to break the concentration or flow of my work. Often I don't bring in the house phone OR the cell phone into the studio because it is a place of work and concentration and everything else can wait. It is like taking a mini-vacation.

This week I will post more pictures and commentary on the creative process. I have found that people are often curious as to what another artist's space looks like, or how they work. Each is as individual as the artist themselves.

Hope you all had a lovely and creative day! I am off to Karen who is making me a lovely dinner on a bleak rainy sunday night. Patti

Saturday, January 13, 2007

We are Blessed

When Megan was diagnosed in November with stomach cancer, we were shocked. She is 22 years old and has a two year old baby. My first gut reaction was to blame the chemicals and vaccines that our soldiers had/have been exposed to in Iraq, but the reality is, she is sick, needs the best medical care possible, and HAS TO get better. Right now what caused this is inconsequential.

It is a fast growing tumor in a spot that was a surgical high risk according to Sloan Kettering, and was best left alone unless chemo did not work. After two months of chemo, both oral and drip, the tumor has shrunk. Megan has worked through most of it, recently losing a possibility for a full time job. She has been sick through this time, but is a strong girl with guts.

While I was struggling with the enormity of the illness and its implications and needs, the art community was banding together to do a fundraiser for Megan and show the film The Ground Truth. This stemmed from the passion of 21 year old Mark Wixom, a Purchase music student who had seen the movie, heard about Megan (he is my friend's son) and decided that he wanted to do a fundraiser to raise the awareness of the problems of our returning soldiers and show what community is about-helping others in need. The fund raiser is this Friday the 19th at 8 PM--get there EARLY as it will be very crowded!) Thank you Mark for your passion and your dedication to this. You are amazing.

During this same time period Jonathan Talbot and Loel Barr, two wonderful loving and giving artists, designed a website called which provides a venue to read Megan's story and the ability to donate money, food, clothing for the baby, prayers and meditations. Another local community group which meets for a party once a month, (thanks Carl!) passed the hat at last night's party.

The website has been traveling around. The generosity of people range from Natalie Merchant, the Kvistad Foundation, Laughing Bear Batik, the folks at the Arts Society of Kingston, and friends and strangers alike who have been angels in our lives. People have made donations of money, food, gifts, given me support more than they can ever know with emails of hope, empathy,encouragement. Mothers of all ages have called me to ask what they can do.

I am honored and thankful for the love and generosity of the world. I have been truly blessed in my life with so many good things, that even in a time where I feel like I am in the black hole, I am given a light, a strong beam of love.

Megan sends her thanks to all of you, she is looking for another job, has applied to the VA for Disability (let's see how long this takes..) and we have legal contacts as well as political ones should we need them. She still has months of chemotherapy left and is constantly monitored every few weeks with x-rays and blood tests. She is on Medicaid and her oncologist and the hospital that has been working with her has given her the best of care. She is overwhelmed by the outreach of everyone in our lives, which I am sure has kept her spirits up with hope that she will make it through this very difficult time in her and her daughter's life. It is very poignant when a two year old looks at you to tell you "mommy's sick" and at one point called the hospital "mommy's home".

Thank you all, and like the card says, I will kiss you all.....


Friday, January 12, 2007

Taking Down the Tree

I have used this image before, but I used it again as it represented the very cycle upon which I muse. The cycle of the Christmas tree.

A few days ago I wrote about the ceremony of taking down the tree on my father's birthday. It was a time of mourning for me. I have difficulty taking down the tree; it is the removal of much which is magical and innocent. Larry has been getting me ready for it by pulling the boxes out and letting them sit for a day or so on the sofa, so I can get used to the idea.

Tonight Ella is singing in the background. I have just had the last two people over for a small intimate party to end the holiday season. A few gifts exchanged, and a few bottles of wine imbibed with some snacks to fill in the voids of conversation.

I sit here on the computer, watching Larry dismatle the tree. I enjoy the magic of decorating it; I cannot partake in its destruction. I muse about this evening's difficult therapy session; the gift of friendship, and the finality of the holiday season; a time of memories, sadness and new traditions.

I sit here long enough for Ella to change to Gregorian chant overlayed with a quiet sad saxaphone. It is one of my favorite pieces of music......

I close my eyes and take a deep breath, and smell the last of the pine forest in my living room for another year, and thank the universe for friends, and the few remainders of family that I would have as a friend.

In closure, Patti

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Das Perfume

I went to see Perfume in Rosendale, NY last evening, in a small town art deco theater. I had been longing to see the movie as I had read the book many years ago and found it to be one of the best reads for a historical/murder/mayhem story, very poetically written. Das Perfume is the German title, and since I came from German class tonight, I should give its title in the language in which it was written.

I do not want to tell the story. Some things are better left to be read; the visual nature of the movie made the subtle (or as the case may be not so subtle) horror of the tale too real. It was beautifully filmed; the setting is 17th century Paris. Dirt, festering smells, rotten teeth (oh God, one of my phobias),lust,sex and the sense of smell, all mixed up with murder - with a twist.

I am one who has a morbid fascination with the macabre, so I do have to say that I was entranced. The final orgy scene, (5,000 extras----CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT????!!!) was a bit superflorous for me. I would have written and directed that differently in keeping with the overall tone of the movie, but I was captivated and the entire movie was a visual treat.

It also gave me a renewed appreciation for the making of a truely WONDERFUL perfume. Being very sensitive to smell, I am very picky about my scent and the pureness and quality of the oils. I related to Grenoille as a young man, when he would lay down in the forest and smell the lichen, the leaves, the dirt, the mushroom. For only after sight, touch, smell (and in some instances-taste) can one truely absorb the essence of the world.

This is an oil study in color and light and air......... patti

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

First of all, some of you may think, wow, some of these blogs are heavy. True, sometimes they are. I hope I also communicate hope and love in these stories. They are proof of survival, love, learning, healing, of success. We all have such stories; some perhaps more than others, and we all have a beast or two in our closet. I hope that these stories inspire, provide empathy and hope for those who also struggle.

This is a photograph of my son Will, taken by Larry with his 8 x 10, shortly after he came back from the Air Force a year or two ago. He was in for a 6 year stint; he was part of the nuclear weapons division. His ASVAB scores were so high that all branches of the military courted him. He could pick anything he wanted. After near a year, something happened and he was cut loose from his contract. When he came home he looked really great; fit, clean cut, handsome as all hell. But he was not right, he was a mess, and much happened over the following year.

Psychiatric and addiction genes have been generously donated to him by both sides of the family. He has suffered depression, addiction, what I believe to be manic episodes. When he crashes, he is on the street. When he is doing well, he is working and keeping his life together talking of college, a car, and a different life. He is a beautiful but very intense 21 year old.

He has been doing well for a while, but I see the signs coming. My guts tell me he is not taking care of himself, he weighs next to nothing, and I wonder what drugs he may be doing, awaiting that phone call comes telling me he has no where to live again, and the strength I must garner to tell him to go to a shelter. I carry the pain of tough love in my heart. It is heavy. I keep hoping he will crash and have to follow through on the help he so badly needs. I know I am powerless, as Al-Anon has taught me.

I have not seen him in several months. He was too busy working or keeping busy with other commitments to spend any time here at the holidays. His presents still sit under the tree (ok I know, I have to take down the tree, but I do so love it and it is still fresh.....) I don't think he could handle the family, Megan's illness, and face us. I know something is wrong, and sense another earthquake.

I found this photograph today while cleaning my desk. I stared at it and found myself gazing into the eyes of a beautiful child, but a child who is haunted by a beast he cannot tame.

I take it one day at a time, let go, let God, and pray he will find peace.

Till tomorrow, P.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In Memoriam

January 9th is always a strange day for me; it is my father's birthday. Though he has been dead for 30 years now, this day never goes by without some sort of reflection or emotion of some kind.

As a child, this was the day we took down the Christmas tree. We never had a real tree, like I insist upon now; instead a plastic one that I can still smell at the mere drop of a memory. It was a bittersweet day; I loved Christmas because of the magic it conjured up for me, and the lights, the colors, the glitz. I still love it, and nothing thrills me more than riding around in the car looking at the lights and images of over decorating, and being a voyeur into other's homes to see their trees in the front window.

My father had a lot of power, much of it he abused. He that giveth could just as easily taketh away, as witnessed by the ceremonial destruction of the tree. It was like going to a funeral.

A chance conversation with a friend this afternoon got me thinking about all the things that I did to try and please my father. I think he was greatly disappointed that the one child who had passion and guts was a girl, and I was always trying to prove that I could play football and baseball, shoot, and fish as well as any other boy, and far better than my brother who cared nothing for the outdoors or boy games. For years I subconsiously tried to win him over, long after his death. I picked up his hobbies, and became a truck driver and mechanic. I could do the job of a man. I was smart,I could paint, AND I could write.

When it came time for college, he refused to send me unless I became a secretary or a teacher. I wanted to be an artist; it was an aspiration I had since I was in elementary school. I severed my connection with the family, put myself though college on scholarships and hard work, and majored in fine arts. My second semester, my father got cancer and died within three months. Only on his deathbed did he see a painting I did of "our woods". He finally admitted that I had made a beautiful work.

I still have that painting to this day, a soft, sad,lonely rendition of my childhood haunt, a small patch of woods that I found refuge in and wrote and painted. I am sure time has erased much of the landscape much as it has dulled the pain of an abused and neglected child. Each year it gets easier to understand, easier to forgive and someday, I can put it all to rest.

This is a photo from 1957. My mom, my dad, and me, as an infant. For the first time in my life tonight, I saw where I got my slightly crooked smile.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Night Party

The day started off pretty dreary. Bad weekend left me shell shocked on a rainy monday morning. However, my students were surprisingly good, and made my transition into another world a smooth one. Maybe they had a bad weekend too, or were just plain partied out and my place was a safe place to survive on a rainy monday morning.

I showed the kids my valentine card which I posted on last night's blog. They thought it was pretty sick, and got a laugh out of it. My seniors are designing Valentine day cards as fundraisers, and we are having a blast doing them. I might have to take a few out as they might be a bit inappropriate for a high school setting, but I am still letting them explore their own creativity and humor. We have lines for boys giving boys valentines, girls to girls, girls to boys etc., and even a cow and a baby grace one. They made a card which I LOVE that addresses all those who don't have a valentine, those who are "just getting by". The seniors I have are so fun and a joy to share my room with.

After a meeting, I rushed to buy a bottle of wine, (Blackstone Cabinet Savignon), as K. was stopping by. She had cooked for Megan, bought presents for all of us...and gave me an infusion of great stories and had me giggling like some bad bad girl saying dirty words in Catholic school. What a pair we are, two middle aged but NOT MIDDLE OF THE ROAD women. The energy we emit is dangerous. We had a great time, and yet another friend of mine stopped by with a gift for me, (my friends brighten up my day when they show up and do that!) and we ended up having ourselves a little monday afternoon party. The tree was still up and I felt like I was squeezing another day out of Christmas. We ended up at Kyoto for dinner (one of the BEST sushi places in Ulster County) and I came home to Megan and baby stopping by, and am now sitting here, right before this very screen, with a big cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on my face.

So it looks like the survey is a go. I had a few responses of people who said they would LOVE to do a survey. And for those of you who want to keep reading MY stories, how about coughing up a few for me? So the survey is...what was your best AND worst kiss, and your best AND worst date. You KNOW that I will have something good for this, but I don't want to be the only one to put it out on the table.

And in reference to tonight's collaged card, is a bonus question: Do people REALLY ROLL AROUND IN THE HAY? I break out in hives.

g'nite, patti

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Down by the River

It has been an interesting weekend....I got out more than usual, partially due to the weather being so lovely and warm...

I went to an opening last night, still not feeling terribly social. It was PACKED wall to wall people; there were some people there that were from my past and present life, always making for a mix of emotions. Many people were asking about Megan, and I found myself on auto pilot, answering questions and trying to keep a smile on my face. Though I was there in body, my heart and soul were in other places. Somehow I managed to keep focused and controlled. A few very dear friends showed up at the end, who could cheer me up no matter what my mood.

Today I worked on business and art, and made a pot of chicken soup for Megan and Alanna, who are both very sick. I envisioned love and healing as I made the soup, and delivered it later in the afternoon.

On the way to their house, I drove along the Hudson River. I found a place that I could park; no stone walls, no fences. I could have driven my car right into the river at that spot. The sun was setting, the colors rippling off the still waters, rose and blue and gold. I wanted to dip a canvas into the water and bring it up again, capturing the subtleties of light and the color. It was quiet, still......I wondered if the river could wash clean the dreck in my life. Had I a boat, I would have stepped in and pushed drift along the current in the fading hours of the day. It was beautiful, still, and not a soul around. Traveling further still, I encountered a herd of deer, and a paper bag with two eyes reflecting my lights.

I have school work to do, and don't have much energy nor enthusiasm for it, but it has to be done. The heat and the lights are still on in the studio, begging me to return.

I have not heard from anyone regarding last night's post. Perhaps everyone was busy and did not read it; perhaps they want me to tell only MY stories. It won't be the first idea I have had these days that flopped, and I am sure it won't be the last. It is not dead yet, as it is only one part of a larger piece.

I did manage to create a piece today for my valentine series. I knew exactly what I was going to do once I had the paper in my hand. It is magic when the muse strikes, and I worked feverishly till it was done. Tongue in cheek, typical of me, especially when it comes to romance. It was done by scanning a print from the 1800's of a heart, and then I digitally dissected each piece into another file, erasing, fine tuning, moving etc. till I got it the way I wanted.

You all do have a piece of my heart.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Romance Survey

The last survey I posted a link to, here on my blog, was useless. A bunch of people took it and emailed me with their results. What a joke. We were ALL serial daters, and Romantically Challenged. That made me feel better I have to say as I was at a loss as to why I had gotten those results and I wondered if the "survey creator" was trying to tell us something. Are we really meant to not be monogamous, and our life is just a string of serial dates and romances? (At times I too ponder the same question) Very few of us ever met and married our first love and lived happily ever after, and, as a result, have some really great stories to tell.

As I lay in bed this morning, I thought, why not survey my readers about THEIR romantic memories and stories, whether tragic, funny, or deliriously happy. I will keep it anonymous for those who wish to remain so.

Valentines day is coming, a day which is sad and empty for many (oh how many did I spend alone, hoping that some secret admirer would send me flowers, or even a card??)though to be fair, there are many people made happy on this day too. What better way to celebrate the season of love but through a series of bedtime stories. The first installment will be titled...KISS AND TELL. I have ideas about "other" stories, but I will have to be careful writing those up......we don't want to offend anyone here nor do I want my moral (or immoral?) character judged by those who control some of the puppet strings of my life. You can respond by going to my profile page where there is a link to my email address. I have a decent readership of steady readers, so we could have a great series of stories. If I don't get a response from you folks, I have plenty of people whom I am sure would LOVE to partake in such a fun project. Though I love writing about my life, I would like to make some of this blog more universal and interactive and hear about yours. SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email me for information on the first round of surveys.

With all of this talk about romance and love found and love lost, I ponder how we survive it all. The affairs of the heart are a powerful entity. When you are sick with a migrane, you can describe its symptoms, take a specific pill to ease your pain. Worst case scenario, it is gone in a few days. However, the affairs of the heart are such an intense overwhelming physical and emotional condition with such varied symptoms and for those painful losses, time is the only cure. Of course if you are in love and can sustain it, there is nothing more magical and wonderful in the world. AH, if we could only invent a pill that we could pop to fall in love, feel love, be loved,stimulate love and passion, and have one for an antidote to heartache, rejection, and loss. But perhaps that would take all the excitement, fun, joy, and learning away from the experience in the quest for love......

Speaking of pills, I need to find one to cure my headache, and I have already had a few cups of ginger tea for my sore throat. My defenses are down these days, and being surrounded by sick kids and family is not helping. I am hoping that the Patron will help me sleep tonight; it has been a long time since I have gone into a deep enough sleep to dream...of love, of romance, of magic.

Sweet dreams...Patti

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tragically Romantic

I wrote a blog the other night about my being a hopeless romantic, but I have to admit, I was not being totally forthcoming. I forgot the part about my also being somewhat of a hopelessly TRAGIC romantic. Though I would love to believe in happily ever after stories, like The Sound of Music, the reality is, my life has been more like a crash and burn movie. The English Patient comes to mind. That by the way, was one of my favorite seriously tragic movies. I went to see it in the theater, and remember being devastated by it and unable to speak for days following. Beautifully filmed, GREAT hot love scenes, sadly sensual characters, and a good story line. It was reminiscent of a few relationships I had which left my heart in pieces for a long, long time.

There was B, a casual affair, who wanted more of a committment from me. My rejection made him angry and he drove his car into a tree after leaving me. He became partially handicapped the rest of his life, and was never mentally the same. Some years later I saw him on the street and he wanted another chance. I had to turn him down again, and he started yelling obscenities at me. Shaken, I walked away quickly, sad for him...but unable to change my feelings or the past.

Then there was R, a friend's brother who thought that a few dates made me his for life. I ended that quickly and then later found out shortly thereafter he was murdered in Miami.

Husband #1 could have been the poster child for The Burning Bed. I made him watch that too, thinking he might get the hint and change his wicked, evil ways. No chance. He never remarried and years later he would still call me up crying.

Almost husband #2 was another sad story, leaving me alone, high on a hill, lonely and deserted, with the snowflakes spinning round my world burying me in a cold, silent blanket, a scene right out of Dr. Zhivago. He has not been able to have a decent relationship since....but that had nothing to do with me.

Then there were the relationships that were reminiscent of The Girl With the Pearl Earring, were the tension builds, passion ignites, and love is never consumated; snuffed by life's circumstances.

There were a few black comedies, and actually a few who might have lived happily ever after, but I cannot verify this. They are far, far away from here.

Larry, don't get nervous. So, I didn't tell you everything... I hope the curse is over, and suspect it has been transferred to other areas of my life.

Oh and PS..tonight was a scene out of The Exorcist, as Alanna became violently ill and projectile vomitted all over my daugher and I, and the sofa, and the carpet, and my art.....

What a great way to end a day.

BUT I am always optimistic and laughing. What else is one to do?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Must Have Done Something Good

Remember that song from the Sound of Music, Something Good., where Maria and the Captain were singing together....

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood,
Perhaps I had a miserable youth.
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must've been a moment of truth.
For here you are, standing there,
Loving me.
Whether or not you should.
So, somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good.
Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

That was one of the few movies I saw in childhood, and one that still to this day, makes me smile. It perhaps was one of the great influences in my young pubescent life for romantic dreams and fantasies, my love for great romantic films, and tales with happy endings.

This song has been running in my head over and over ever since I had a melt down in our local arts building, and Vindora, my friend, fed me and cheered me up and told me that the society was putting on a benefit for my daughter to help raise money for her struggle with cancer and supporting a baby. Then my two art friends, Jonathan Talbot and Loel Barr, built a website ( for Megan for donations. People have been hearing about the benefit, emailing me, sending money and asking how to help.

I have been overwhelmed with all this kindness and outpouring from my friends and the community which I have lived in for years. The little demons in my mind whisper that we are not worthy of such love and giving. My friend from Louisiana wrote me the other night and said "You idiot, It is just all that goodness that you spread over the years is coming back to you. I love you so dearly and cannot understand why you just don't get it."

I thought about it for a while, and it saddened me to think that I would even question my worthiness. After all, I have spent my entire life trying to give love and be loved, and now, that I am getting an outpouring of love from those who care, I question it.

I closed my eyes, and understood who planted the seeds of self doubt and unworthiness. They are not in my life anymore, whether through death or divorce, and I need to put those demons to rest.

So here you are, loving me, and I thank you all and love you back a hundred fold.
You will never know how deeply I am moved and how your collective hearts are keeping me away from the edge.

In gratitude and love, Patti

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Life Interrupted

Just when I think I have life figured out, and think it makes perfect sense, WHAM, I get hit upside the head with reality, with history, and a heavy heart. Two steps ahead, three back. It is a wonder we ever move forward at all.

I try and be very optimistic, and in fact, I am. I have to be in order to survive. Overall I believe in love, in goodness, in purpose. But things happen that make me examine all of it and force me to re-adjust the course I am on, re-think my purpose, my past, my future.

My day was full of mixed emotion. A tough teaching day full of intense challenges. I worked late, came home, threw down my stuff and plunked myself in front of the computer and stared at it for a while. I started a poem which though in its formative stage, has potential. Recently I gave my therapist the latest poem I wrote. She read it, made a few sounds, put it down and asked "do you write like this often?". I told her that my poetry comes from a place so raw, so intense, and I have tried to keep my life on an even keel so as not go to that place where words take form and tumble out for others to see. I have written poetry for many years and received many kudos for what I have written from professors, artists, writers et. al. But I have kept it a secret, well hidden. The words on the page make it too real.

My thoughts and writing were interrupted by a knock on the door. I opened it, and my cousin was standing there. He has never been to visit me before. I was rather shocked. I invited him in and we spent an afternoon with a bottle of wine sharing family secrets, stories, and concerns. Some were enlightening, some were painful, some created little earthquakes, but I was glad that he had taken the time to find me. Two souls searching for peace and healing in an Irish Catholic family laden with secrets, abuse, mental dysfunction, and alcoholism, that I can only liken to Frank McCourt's Angelas Ashes or Tis. (of course we were lucky, we did not live in the poverty that he did...but there are some similarities for sure)

Out of tonights revelations, I considered myself a miracle. I had risen above what I left behind and created myself over. I am well grounded, and aware of the demons that chase me, and not afraid to face them. Though some of the issues are very saddening, like the poor state of my father's two sisters, they were not my issues.

Still, I can't help but be sad for them and a bit sad for my old self. But I am glad for the life ahead, even if it takes more steps than I planned.

Tonight's card makes me think of this blog.
in peace and love .....patti

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

On Being a Hopeless Romantic

I went to the Urban Dictionary to make sure that I was using the term "hopeless romantic" appropriately. I was surprised to find 12 different definitions ranging from the most popular being "A person who daydreams about romantic occasions and dreams of chances where he/she will be able to perform a romantic act to their love, yet never gets the chance to" and the least popular, "A sad creature. It spends its life in search of a mate, yet doesn't. Dies miserable and alone", followed closely by "hopeless romantics AKA guys who have no chance with girls so they watch anime". (that must have been written by a teen).

I dug further on the net. I found a site that asked "are you a hopeless romantic? Take this Quiz". So, I went there. (I provided you all with the link too..just in case you are dying to find out your results--I bombed) I took the survey, was as honest as possible, and this is what I got: "You're not only romantically challenged, you're a bona fide serial dater. But don't despair. Serial dating can be fun. You're wined, dined and complimented on a regular basis. Hopefully the rest of your life will be that good too!"

But I am NOT a serial dater-that went out the door a long time ago! I just wanted to know where I rated on the romantic scale! Romantically challenged? Sounds like a disease! Is that what is wrong with me??? You mean all those years of therapy and at the bottom of it all is that I am romantically challenged??? (ok Larry, get that smirk off your face!!)

Well, I have my own version, partially supported by some of the definitions I found, but my definition of "love" applies to more than just "one ideal person" it is a much broader feeling - love of the world as an entity and of all the little things that it is comprised of. This hopeless romantic has a great deep love for people, places, and things, from the beauty of a flower, the colors of the sunrise and sunset each day, the smell of a newly mowed lawn, the laughter of a child, a kiss. Time with wonderful friends. Kindness and compassion. The feel of the paint on the canvas. I approach these things with a great love and energy and rejoice in the beauty of it all, and embrace the pain that sometimes comes hand in hand with it. I get up each morning and look forward to doing it again and again and again. I dream and create and I simply love. Call it rose colored glasses, call it idealism, call it hopeless romanticism. It is simply love.

Perhaps one of my favorite comments about hopeless romantics was "they may have their feet on the ground, but their souls fly somewhere over the rainbow."

I am not finished with this theme...look for future posts on great romantic films, books, artwork, artists, musicians, et. al. who also fly on wings of love.

xxxpatti (and the three xxxs are not a triple x rating, as some have suggested. It is love and/or kisses x 3--3 being a lucky number and magical number in many cultures. In the Chinese language it is considered a good number because sounds like the word ALIVE!)

PS a sunset from my back yard that I photographed and played around with in Photoshop. I love the colors of the sky and am working on a landscape series which reflect this great ever changing and nebulous beauty.....

Monday, January 01, 2007

The New Year

That is a picture of my brain at work in the dark. Well, I guess if you could picture my brain working, it MIGHT look like that. It is always supercharged..and barely shuts down when I sleep. Even when I sleep I am figuring out problems, traveling, skiing, writing, and a whole host of other things that I won't even touch here.

The photo was taken by Larry last night of the light in the barn; there was also a disco ball, lava lamp, a fab sound system, and a great group of people whom I danced with into the early hours of the morning. This was the first time I have been able to dance and not be in pain since my ankle fracture, and it felt so great to be able to do something I love again. There is something so sensuous and grounding about dancing. Chris played music that I had never heard before, beats from northern India, some old Clash, and Talking Heads and other tunes from unknown regions. No matter the source, if you can surrender to it, you can dive deep down into the heat and heart of the music and become one.

We were invited to a few parties today, but I sent Larry off alone. I had had enough socialization last night, so I spent the day in my studio, making cards for my clients and for Ebay, getting ready for the Valentine holiday. Ok, I know, Christmas is barely over, but when you are in the retail business, you have to be ahead of the game. I love being in my studio, and listened to Loreena McKennitt and Shawn Colvin. Both new CDs are lovely. Loreena has haunting etherial ethnic beats, and I can get lost in her world. Shawn Colvin has a few really fabulous tunes on the favorite was Venetian Blue, a smooth cool sexy blues love song, and a tune called Even Here We Are. The most powerful and touching cut is is her haunting and smoky cover of U2's (Pride) In the Name of Love, very appropo for the upcoming holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. I think I will have my students listen to both cuts, read the lyrics, and do some writing about the song and its meaning in relationship to pride, love, equity and the purpose of those that U2 write about..who believed in the equity of all men and women in a peaceful way.

I am going to take a long hot scented oil bath, and soak away my doubts and worries. Perhaps a glass of wine, or a cup of herb tea, sink down, close my eyes, and let the water sooth my soul. dance like no one is watching..and if you fall, stop drinking.