Monday, August 06, 2012

Hot Inside and Out

4" x 4" Encaustic - "Red River"

August weather has arrived here in Walla Walla and it's been a scorching couple of days measuring in the 100's.  We feel pretty lucky that the soaring temperatures of our sister states across the country have taken so long to reach our valley.  In the meantime, our air conditioner is finally on and we're giving thanks for having it!

That's the outside weather while indoors my studio has been cooking with hot wax.  Posting three new pieces of encaustic work today;  you're invited take a look in the Browse section of my site!  If you've never heard of hot wax artistry, just google ENCAUSTICS and you can find several primers describing the ancient art of waxiness.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Waxing Away

In the midst of beautiful, busy summer days, a couple of weeks ago I shared an adventure with friends in Portland and Salem - shopping scrap shops, art supply stores, art galleries and small museums, along with attending an informative and inspirational workshop entitled EncaustiCamp.  EncaustiCamp is the baby of an amazing encaustic artist, Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch and is in its second year of existence.  (For the workshops, Trish brings together other artists/instructors/extraordinarily talented women as instructors in wax prep, application, inspiration*).  

Many of you may never have heard of encaustic art before - painting, imaging in molten to hardened beeswax, it has now become THE love of my studio life! 

For some time now, I'd been looking to this medium to punch up my collage work.  Just missing the deadline for last year's Encausticamp, I've been dabbling in the wax on my own for about a year now.  Since this year's workshop, no more dabbling, I've been able to wax eloquently (couldn't resist) in my studio for more hours than I've seen there for months! 

All of this is to say that if you're here now reading this post or seeing it on Facebook and have been unable or uninterested in visting lately, I invite you to click on over and take a look at the new work!  Hope you like it as much as I do.....

With warmest, waxy, wegards.....

*by visiting the Encausticamp link, you'll have an opportunity to visit the instructors' bios and their personal website links.

P.S. No bees are harmed in this process - rather it keeps them employed full time!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

July 5 Leftover Food and Thought

After a lively and most enjoyable July 4 evening shared with friends and family, what another treat this evening to sit back with a cool breeze off the patio and delicious leftovers from yesterday's feast...... small piece of chicken, green bean salad, fresh raspberries and a dab of vanilla ice cream - yep - yum!  How blessed we are to count our blessings in this land of the free and home of the brave!  Would that ALL of us in America could, can and will share the bounty of our times.

July 4 - though certainly not a religious holiday does seem a logical time for prayer for our politicians - global, national, and local - a prayer that we the voters and those elected would and will use the good sense that we have been given to care for all people, for all lands and all peoples.  The founding fathers only interested in their own special needs and without real looooooong distance forethought set about a Declaration of Independence that would be beneficial to at least the first citizens of the "new" republic.......I'm not so sure they were at all concerned about those who fell outside of the white, anglo-saxon, protestant description but they did outdo themselves in a document that still stands today as one worthy of reading.

Featured Collage - "Why Not Red?" -

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whadda they do now?

Late last Sunday a.m. under threatening skies with just a touch of sunlight now and then, we attended the Whitman College graduation ceremony here in Walla Walla.  A beautiful small town affair - bleachers, folding chairs and blankets on the lush college lawn, stately trees overseeing us all with small children and dogs perfectly comfortable in the outdoor setting. Red fire truck with EMS at the ready, flower vendors for those last minute bouquets, and the town band playing lively getting ready music and then the procession of students, professors, past graduates and college hierarchy marched in to cheering and applause - truly a picturesque scene!

As the "friendship family" to an international student for his past four years in Walla Walla we were his representative family; his mother in Bulgaria and sister in England were unable to attend and we were it besides his many fraternity pals and fellow student admirers.  We felt honored and fortunate to be representing this young man and duly proud of his college achievements.

The prior Thursday evening we entertained our friend and his friend for dinner at a lovely WW dining spot.  As they arrived so handsome, so beautiful, so full of life and expectation - I commented to my spouse that I was in awe of their mere presence as young adults well educated and comfortable to enter the social sphere or whatever sphere they happen to choose or land in.  We had a lovely dinner full of conversation, friendship, reflection and anticipation.  Four adults sharing dinner and life - special!

Back to commencement - the diplomas were handed over, each graduate recognized and cheered by their different audience particpants and then the reverse order took over for the recessional.......the rain held off, the gowned scholars and alumnae smiling and laughing with probably some of the giddiness of college memories as well as the calling out of their names from us waving and cheering and then the seniors - the celebrities for the day - marched triumphantly out and off the scene.  Brilliant students, opportunities galore - they WILL change the world, success at they recessed......for me they suddenly shed their young adulthood and became as though young children once more - perhaps even graduating from preschool or middle school - they were STARTING OVER, commenceing onto yet another unknown frontier in their lives - so prepared, yet so vulnerable. 
I prayed and do pray for them all - what an amazing time in their lives - I wonder as they must - "whadda they do now?"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Obsolesence of a Child's Toy

Quite a number of years ago.....possibly when our grandchildren were toddlers, there was a new toy/gimmick introduced into the world of toys and games.  It was, for better want of a word, a sort of "live" object that had to be "cared" for on a very regular basis.  Designed for the child to carry it in a lunch box or pocket, it could easily be accessed at any time of day or night.  The accessing meant that each time you "loved" the thing, its life was expanded and continued.  The obvious dread downside of the "thing" was that if you didn't check it enough, love it enough, pay close enough attention to it, the "thing" would - oh my gosh - DIE!  

Personally I thought the concept was ridiculous, potentially disappointing, maybe even devastating to the child who absentmindedly meant to care for the "toy" and found that sometime during the day or night it had died - the child had neglectfully let it perish.  Again, oh my goodness - what a ridiculous idea - checking it constantly, carrying it everywhere with you, rejuvenating it (possibly via a battery charger?) peeking at it all of the time to ensure its place and importance in your life?  RIDICULOUS!  No wonder the toy never really caught on - 

Whoops!  Oh excuse me, my IPhone is ringing and not only do I need to answer it, I need to charge it - the battery is almost down...........don't you hate it when that happens??????

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

An Extraordinary, Ordinary Week

Juniper Canyon - WA State
Last week was just one of those - an extraordinary, ordinary week - one in which a life, or lives, or many lives were changed by small everyday actions.  It's taken me really until today to unload it all from my mind.  Family birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, training runs, hikes in unknown canyons, new acquaintances - just an extraordinary, ordinary week.....I know, it's the third time I've said it!

One of the birthdays was a dear brother's, one of them was for a 90 year old friend's.  Both men in their own ways extraordinary, ordinary men - having accomplished a great deal in their lives but seldom speaking of their prowess. 

The 90 year old - How must it be to live 90 years and still be full of life, love, not to mention your right mind?!  With a lively lady friend on your arm and a skip in your step even if aided by a cane?

And the brother - still a mystery to his sister, wondering what goes on in his mind, what makes him happy - the speed of the bike (I mean a big bike), the footfalls on a jog when he expected his lungs to have claimed him at a young age, the giggle of his grandchildren as he stands on his head?

The camaraderie of women young and old packaging custom made chocolates for a YWCA fundraiser luncheon - watching each other carefully that no chocolate was "popped" rather than packaged:)  The luncheon celebration itself - with a speaker extraordinaire.  A former career Naval Officer and retired Navy Captain, Barbara Bell by name - a pioneer in the integration of women at the Naval Academy, to grad in her flight school and pilot "with distinction" in Naval Test Pilot School.  She's flown F-14, F-15, F016 and F/A-18 planes - again an extraordinary woman now sharing her life by leading and mentoring women (and men) both young and old.

As speaker of the YWCA luncheon, Barbara spoke candidly to women and men of all ages about her living out the life of a minority woman among men, sharing her dramatic journey from supportive parents (she had to squeeze them a little for support of her education) into the highest ranks of the navy.  In an extraordinary act of graciousness, Barbara took time prior to the luncheon to meet with a group of YWCA sponsored Hispanic teen girls, telling them the sky was the limit for them in more ways than one.  Not a recruiting speech for the navy but a recruiting speech for their claim of life's rewards. 

An hour spent volunteering at the local Farm Labor Camp, engaging in tutoring, talking, just generally engaging with grade school boys and girls - seeing the light in their eyes when a new craft or skill was tried and conquered - a whole new demeanor from last year's sullen, angry child - this year smiling and eager to learn alongside his senior adult male tutor - ordinary? No, extraordinary!!

A hike in the sunshine into an unknown but from the distance mountain canyon with geology and biology professors as our guides - about 40 of us - along a narrow trail at times, one slip on a rock and but for a craggy sagebrush, which broke her fall and prevented a disaster,  we could have lost one of our women hikers.  She being an octogenarian at least - none of us knew her age exactly but she was a shining star of the hike.  One particular sandy (the geologist explained why the sand was suddenly in the middle of our rocky trail), extremely uphill, slippery slope must have been a challenge to her as it was to many of us 20 years her junior, but she never let on that it wasn't just another extraordinary, ordinary day!

How many extraordinary, ordinary days do we let pass by without acknowledgment - many I'd guess, but they feel very good in recollection and in gratitude I give thanks that I'm able to celebrate them, healthy, full of life, and mind - ordinary?  No, extraordinary!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

From her recently published book, author Kayce Stevens Hughlett, shares a reading entitled "When Pigs Fly."  Take a few minutes, enjoy and maybe, as I do, you'll find yourself relating to the special little piggie in the story - Pedrita and her amazing life!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"West Maui News" reports alien creature......

Dateline:  Friday, March 16, 2012
Observers:  Whales, fishies, an eel and several sea turtles
Creature: Unknown, strange, possibly rare female snorkeler

Eye witness whales, colorful fish, one fabulous eel and several monster sea turtles, reported a creature previously unknown to them in these waters.*  It was clad in what appeared to be a black and red outer skin wetsuit with pale lower legs, hands and head exposed to the warm (?) Maui coastline waters.  Said creature was wearing a neon colored apparatus on its head with what looked like a breathing tube above the water.  Oh, and yes LARGE black fins were attached to its lower extremities - the supposed feet.  To make the sighting even more impossibly rare, said creature was reported to be wearing a Clinique lipstick - color - "Red-y to Wear" with an SPF of 15!  The sighting in general was sudden and frightening, although upon close inspection the creature seemed perfectly harmless with a silly grin plastered on its face!  It was swimming among other pale bodied specimens - all of them having a wonderful time and squealing from time to time, what sounded like "turtle, turtle!
Alien Creature Spotted off of Maui Coastline
*Molokini Underwater Preservation Site and Turtle Arches off the west end of Maui

Friday, March 16, 2012

First Half or Second Half - Go for it!

Frankly there are days, more than less, that I feel as young and vibrant as I did as a girl.
  • I love the sunshine on dewy morning grass between my toes
  • I don't fret endlessly about a little rain
  • I enjoy a first snowfall
  • I'm intrigued by lightning and thunder
  • ....well that covers the weather.  
  • I still think I can jump (I was a cheerleader for many years) at least I know the moves are in my head - the nerve to try it does lead to thoughts of the paramedics saying....."she was doing what?!" 
  • I still love, love, love dogs - I would have 3 or 4 if the practical side of that situation didn't pop up in my mind's eye and so pour all of my doggie love out on my one doggie pal, Riley.  
  • I still love ice cream
  • Riding a bike
  • Driving a car
  • Singing praise Jesus songs with my arms in the air - (whoops, Episcopalians don't do that, do they?)  
  • I still love to munch on chicken bones like my Grandma taught me to do
  • Indulge in just a great big bite of steak fat, like my uncles always did
  • I remember long car trips (where car sickness was sometimes a problem) and knowing now to always face forward I find car trips more fun than ever
  • I remember Red River summers and fishing for trout in a stream
  • Horseback riding with no skill at all - only nerve - 
  • Square dancing with boys met at the dance
  • Slow dancing to Elvis Presley songs on a record player 
I'd say I still do or would still love those things if I had the occasion to frequent such activities.

I was always an optimistic, let's-be-friends sort of kid, and was sideswiped more than once in my life by a "friend" who was NOT!  I never got used to that and can remember the tears vividly, letdowns from overly and misfed/misread expectations, but I learned.  The same lessons came with a spoiled first marriage - I was in it to trust - that's a huge 'nother story.  In business, a boss I wasn't crazy about occasionally, but still and all, I've remained as much an optimist now as I was as a first halfer.......remembering, looking back that first half can be beautiful in its naivete and also extraordinarily brutal in its let downs.....and hopefully one always has another chance in the first half.

And the second half, here it is, maybe more than the second half.  I believe that in this part of my life that you and I are here now to recognize the lessons we've learned, to realize that we ARE to be the grown ups, the wise ones, the leaders, we ARE the persons others want to look up to, we ARE the ones who know more than we think we do, who ARE called to teach, to lead and to mentor others who have not yet found themselves.  We ARE the people that we can work to make ourselves with God's help.  We are the THEY that are the leaders and adults now........we just need to recognize that of ourselves and get about living it. We need to Celebrate - Live it!

Too much expectation for the second half?  You don't want to lead, or teach or mentor, or exercise, or eat right, or read more, or study more, or work for a political candidate or cause, or go to church anymore, or take up a new hobby, or fly somewhere you've always dreamed of, or tried a yoga class because what would people think?.......The whole deal is, in my ever so humble opinion, is that other people don't think about you and I, (after all, we're old now) they think and worry about themselves so holding ourselves back because someone else might not agree with us can be a huge mistake for our bodies and our souls.   So first half or second half - first half fly, fall down, get up, learn.  And second half - fly, fall down, get up, and learn.  Time's running out and think of the fun you could miss if you don't go for or it today! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Half of Life?

First & Second Lives - Fully Integrated

Reading Richard Rohr's - "Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life", I was reminded last evening about viewing from the second half. Having dinner in a beautiful Maui restaurant at the casual setting of the bar - in close proximity to other diners -  a darling young couple settled into their places next to us. Both, almost simultaneously, asked the bartender for some sort of delicious non-alcoholic beverage for the wife as "they" were pregnant.

We struck up a conversation about the strawberry, frothy milkshake libation that came and then laughingly engaged in conversation with them about when the baby was due, their first, how exciting......etc. As we visited a flash of Rohr's rhetoric came into my head as I clearly observed them chronologically and experience wise in their first half, with us observing and visiting with them from our second. We imparted parent-like, congratulatory, loving comments on their expected treasure knowing that they had NO apparent reason to be overly concerned with first half/second half issues - only with the now, only with their youth, only with their child.  I believe that's the only way the first half of life can be viewed when you're in it.

Maybe to the point though, this is not the first time I've felt myself looking "back" at couples, and youth in general, living life as though there were no second half - only the now of youthfulness....  a wonderful time of innocence and naivete.   There is really no reason they should be looking at the second half (aside from financial planning, healthy living, and retirement investments:) ONLY IN THAT how much better off could we all be if we had put more planning into our living as long as we have and as long as we hope to live.  

It seems to me that if we've had the good fortune to reach the second half of our lives (and I'm talking to most of us over 40, hoping to make that 80 number at least) we might give some thought as to how we might influence first halfers a bit more  - without heavy handed preaching or advice.

First half can be so rough - we of the second half have much to offer, much to pass on, much love to give those in their first halves! With just a little more effort toward mentoring, exhorting, and influencing of young adult lives toward their spiritual development - their lives walked with God - their financial decisions, their healthy life styles - couldn't we make their paths less rocky, not rockless, just less rocky - offering them a rake to smooth their gravelly path?  Yet advice, rather than mentoring or influencing, can be viewed as second-hand (not as good as first hand) advice.....not really worthy of taking......I mean, did we listen, did we think those in the second half of their lives were anything other than old?  If only we could figure out how to share more together between the halves.