I have difficulty sitting still at times so sometimes during writers’ group I sketch. Here, I was trying to imagine the ghouls in Lisa’s story. They were scary in the story but no matter how hard I try, my monsters always come out sorta cute.
I lay flat in my small, urban yard and heard the cheering fans at Camden Stadium, the young urbanites at the bar at the end of the block, and the occasional radio rolling by in a car. I sank my body into the slate footstones, trying to unfurl the tightness stored in large quantities, imagining the Earth’s warm core seeping into me. Listened. The chorus of birds sang to their young, caught in the interstices of the cacophony of the city. The new leaves and pink and white buds on the crab apple tree were splayed with sunshine. I sat up and dipped my brush into amber, sapphire and emerald watercolors. The paper was fresh and white.
Buddy, my black and white cat, meowed to come join me and I opened the door. He settled comfortably under the tree, hoping the birds wouldn’t notice him. Suddenly, Buddy decided it was his chance to jump into the neighbors yard and try to find that orange tabby that lives somewhere in the alley. Yikes! Buddy is a rescue, with no claws and two teeth. The tabby outweighs him by at least 10 pounds. The orange tabby probably eats rats bigger than my cat. I ran out the gate, captured Buddy, and threw him back inside. He was indignant, but saved from his own intentions, as we all need to be at times. I went back and completed my painting. It was a glorious Sunday.
early sun glistens
on shorn corn fields
stalks short and gold.
This quiet moment
I sip coffee,
ignore the day’s work,
wish for flight.
above the knoll
pale full moon
After getting a cat, I am surprised to find myself getting attached to him, as he is to me. Buddy, my cat, was given to my husband by his mother. She would go into the nursing home if he would take the cat. It was a deal only my mother-in-law could broach, mafia-like he “couldn’t refuse,” ha. Now that Buddy has taken over my house and favorite chair, he has also become an art inspiration. Mind control??
Thus far I’ve talked about the variety of creativity. I was first opened to creative thought by drawing and dancing as a kid. I remember climbing my favorite tree, a crab apple tree in the front yard, and discovering perspective by sketching the house across the suburban street. As I grew through adolescence and young adulthood, I kept journals that contained everything I was thinking in words and drawings, prose and poetry. I still keep these journals, although now they don’t have as much in them since I often write prose on the computer. Poetry, which comes to me at random times, is still in the journals and also on all sorts of random scraps of paper. The muse is chaos and does not come only when bidden.
And after a long hiatus, I am finally drawing and painting again. It feels like the world has gotten bigger and beauty is everywhere. My favorite prayer is a Navaho one:
I see beauty in front of me.
I see beauty behind me.
I see beauty to the right of me.
I see beauty to the left of me.
I see beauty above me.
I see beauty below me.
In that spirit, I hope you will enjoy these samples of my art.
Painted at Sparrow’s Point in Baltimore.
A sketch done of my son when we were on vacation at the beach in Rehobeth, Delaware.
This watercolor is of a wetlands near Kennedy airport in New York City. I attached it to re-bar that I found while wandering in the city. At the time, I didn’t know what it was but it looked like the perfect frame for a small painting.
One of my earliest oil paintings was done on wood I found. I love painting on wood and it is easy to find scraps that are being thrown out from construction sites.
A favorite corner of my home with two small paintings. The larger painting is of my sister Kim, sitting on a bench at Clark Gardens on Long Island. The smaller piece is oil on canvas stretched over hanger wire. The photos are of my mom and great-grandmother. There is a lovely porcelain cup given to me by Sensei Kiyota. The figurines are of Shiva and Laksmi. I picked up Laksmi when I was in India. My husband coincidentally had Shiva well before we met. Now they are together.
Both the above and below paintings were done when I lived and worked in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was still a rough neighborhood but was a growing artists’ community at that time.
Above is my guardian angel. She was painted after I had a horrific bicycling accident and my foot was run over by the tire of a street sweeper. My foot looked just like it does in the painting before the doctor stitched it up, although it was (thank goodness) still attached. After the accident my lawyer, Clay Evall, came to the house. Clay told me later that when he saw the huge truck tire in my apartment (which I had used to practice bokken), he knew I’d somehow get better.