For three weeks I’ve been contemplating this year’s Thanksgiving post, and these last three weeks have been a doozy!
About 5 months ago my husband and I retired and relocated across country and I left 99.5% of my family on the east coast and moved to the Southwest. Three weeks ago, we received notification that one of my mother’s brothers passed away and so we planned the trip north. Fly or drive? Even in our 60’s we are both still road warriors and we figured the cost would be comparable, so we took to the highway. Two days later we arrived and immediately realized that something was amiss. Later, after the funeral, we would find that my brother had been suffering a series of mini-strokes until that one that put him in the hospital.
Had not my uncle died, I would not have been in town and staying with my brother at the time of his stroke. Had I not been living with an EMT for the last 15 years I may not have noticed the signs and alerted my husband – “You better check him out!” Had we not gotten him to the hospital when we did, his prognosis would be much worse. Had we flown instead of driven, we most likely would have caught our return flight prior to his incident and there was a good chance he wouldn’t be here with us today.
So, on this Thanksgiving, 2019:
I’m thankful that we had the financial means and the time to up and go without having to worry about taking off from work or how much it would cost.
I’m thankful that God and my uncle/ancestors put us in the right place at the right time to be with my brother when it was absolutely imperative that he not be alone.
I’m thankful that I have lived the type of life where I can call on a friend or relative at a moment’s notice and be welcomed, sheltered, and fed with no questions, no conditions.
I’m thankful for friends and family who were genuinely happy to see us while we were in town/on the road, if only for 15 min – some of whom went out of their way to make sure our paths crossed.
I’m thankful for the Auntie that coupons and sends us on our way with items from her “store”.
I’m grateful for new tires, a reliable vehicle and traveling mercy.
I’m grateful to return home to a house intact.
I’m grateful for the technology that allows me to speak with my brother face-to-face over 1K miles away so I can continue to encourage his recovery (and threaten him as needed).
I’m so very thankful that this entire year prepared me for these last three weeks and the weeks to come.
We never know what the day will bring, or the next 3 weeks, but whatever it is, I will be glad in it – even through hard times and heartache – and be Thankful!
“Forced” may be too strong a word, but due to life-changing decisions it is necessary for me to pack up my studio to prepare for a move across country. I generally paint in oils and acrylics and the occasional watercolors, but since the move has me packing up all of my supplies and materials, which will remain in storage for a while, I will revert to using dry media while in transition.
I have not completed any decent sketches, yet alone full blown, detailed drawings, in years. I barely commit to stick figures and basic geometric shapes when plotting out a painting but now to keep my creative muscles flexed I will need to travel light and tight. That means sketchpad, graphite, maybe some pastel sticks or markers.
I hope by the time I unpack my studio at it’s new base I will have completed some strong drawings and enhanced my skills to the point of being able to produce even better paintings.
As is habit I, like many, generally reflect on the year past as I travel into the freshness of the new year. So looking back at my artistic accomplishments of 2018 I’m reminded that I’ve completed 9 paintings and a series of sketches throughout the year – a bit short of my usual goal of 12-15 paintings per annum. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I declared last year this time to slow down and put a little more concentration into my work. Also, my participation in Inktober2018 was a new and challenging effort that took me from my comfort zone and helped me think outside the box.
I tried some new techniques and new materials that I will continue to experiment with in the coming year. I also bought some clay, a medium that I’ve never worked in but am stoked to try. The clay is as yet still unopened but you should look for something very new from me in 2019.
So, without further ado, these few are my top picks from 2018, not so much because I think they were executed well but because I thoroughly enjoyed painting/sketching them and I learned something of myself in the process. Of course you can review these and more on my Gallery page or purchase a print or the original if still available. Did you have any favorites? Let me know below.
I look forward to continued creative escapades in 2019 and hope you enjoy the journey as much as I. Here’s to wishing all of you a healthy, happy, and artful New Year.
Somewhere around day 18 I had the thought that I should have been blogging my daily drawings, but by then, well I decided to wait until the end and post them all together.
This is my first year participating in the Inktober challenge. I rarely sketch at all let alone draw or sketch every day. Generally when I prep for a painting I jot down a couple stick figures or some simple lines to plan my composition and then I jump right into painting. So the daily act of drawing something was quite new to me.
Following the prompts for each day was interesting as well. I tried to stay away from the mundane or more common images for the specified word, but some days it was just easier to do something simple. I saw so many people doing full scale pen and ink paintings, and quite exquisite drawings – DAILY, even full page cartoons. I applaud them all. I was lucky to get the simplest sketch done without breaking blood vessels in my brain. Still, I think as the month waned I took a little more time to create better drawings and to give more thought to interpreting the word prompts. All in all it was a great exercise.
I will try to continue to sketch daily on my own through the end of the year. Who knows, this might really turn into a very good habit.
*Note: we are 11 days into the new month and I have only added 1 new drawing to my sketchbook. But in my defense, I have nearly completed a new painting so I’m going to call it a win. 😉
So many people come in and go out of our lives over the years. Some stay a long while, others just pass through for a very brief moment but all have had some impact on our being. Could have been a teacher, classmate, employer or coworker, neighbor, client or pastor. Whoever they are they all leave indelible marks, some good, some bad. Most are memorable, some forgettable but their mark, however slight, remains.
I’m aware that I have touched some people in positive ways, but I never really think about it. I’m usually just being me or simply doing my job. I’m always surprised when I hear a voice from the past, get a note in the mail, or get friend requests on social media from someone who has not been in my life in many years. This was the case recently when I was contacted by Hope Porter, who sent me an innocent request for my email address which I sent. Shortly thereafter I received an invitation to her company’s 15th Anniversary Gala. I was quite honored that someone I haven’t seen or spoken with in over 10 years thought enough of me to invite me to such a prestigious event. And I was happy to accept.
It was a black-tie event and I haven’t been all gussied up in a while so this too added to my excitement. The evening was stunning, with about 100 or so beautiful people dressed to impress, great food and inviting friendly atmosphere. There were speeches and accolades and then the awards ceremony. Can you imagine my shock and awe when my name was called?
It turns out that in one of my former positions as Leasing Director of commercial office space I ran a small business incubator where start-ups came to nest and Hope Porter brought her precious dream there to grow. And grow it did. Those precarious first five years of starting and running a business were tedious and frightening as much as it was adventurous and exciting. Exit Cheryl. Fast forward another 10 years and Staffing Etc. is a multi-million-dollar company employing thousands and doing spectacular and honorable work throughout the nation. And Mr. and Mrs. Porter remembered me. Thanked me. How awesome is that?
Congratulations Staffing Etc. on your milestone and please allow me to THANK YOU! Wishing you so many more years of success and blessings.
Can you believe that 2018 is almost halfway over? Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions? How has that been going for you? Or are you like me – instead of resolutions I set certain goals to accomplish throughout the year. And my goals usually revolve around creating a certain number of paintings each year (7-10) and of course have more showings and hopefully make a few sales. I am always trying to move my art forward and learn more about myself in the process.
Quick recap of 2018 thus far: In January I submitted to and was accepted to a juried show at Limner Gallery in Hudson, NY. The exhibit, Neoteric Abstract, ran from April 5-28, 2018 and my painting RAINFOREST was hung at the gallery entrance, the first piece to catch one’s eye. 😍
In February I answered the call to exhibit at Market View Arts in York, PA. I created a new painting specifically for this exhibit titled SPIN CYCLE (see my earlier blog post of the same title). The exhibit, Generations, ran from May 4–26, 2018.
I recently submitted to two other exhibits in York, PA. I just received word that I was not chosen for one but if accepted to the other, I will be exhibiting again August/September. I hope by year’s end I will have secured an exhibit space/event in Philadelphia. In the mean time I have just completed a commissioned painting that I hope my client will be thrilled about, I have 2 other paintings in varying stages of completion, and 1 brewing in my head.
Another goal for 2018 was to be more active with my social media. In that vein, I’ve uploaded a couple time-lapse videos to my new YouTube channel Handy Concepts Arts with more to come, perhaps even a tutorial in the near future.
So, I’ve been keeping busy and working towards my goals. I hope you are also moving forward and making great progress. If not, be encouraged, there is still plenty of year left to make some things happen.
Fathers and sons
Caught up in a spin cycle
Heavy loads with
And imagined truths
In a whirlpool
spun out and
Hung out to dry
In a world pool.
So oxy clean
More on principle
More fodder for the principal.
School of hard knocks.
No time for recess.
But never quite dry
Never really clean