Stocking Up

Craft show season is nearly over, but I’m still loading up the bookshelf gallery in anticipation of the last big sale.

I had almost given up on craft shows because, even though I sold lots of notecards, selling watercolors, With all the glass frames, was more expensive and troublesome then profitable. This summer, however, I plunked down my membership fee to the summer market association in Arlington, Vermont and, after setting up a low-budget display of oil paintings, was pleasantly surprised.

Every other Friday at the farmers market and some Saturdays at the craft market, oil paintings found new homes. The money is nice, but watching your stock diminish is definitely a shot in the egotistical arm.

The final market is in two weeks. It’s a harvest fair, and one of the biggest events of the season for our little association. There are bigger fairs in the area, even on that weekend, but this summer has shown that sometimes smaller can be more fun and more rewarding.

Been There, Being Here

Thing1 left for college about two weeks ago. It was a year overdue –a delay caused by his ulcerative colitis and the complete colectomy it dictated last fall. We knew it would be a (happy) change for him, but I underestimated how much of an adjustment it would be for all of us.

It was the middle of the night on Friday, and I was painting when I thought of it. I had planned to start a little bit earlier, but Thing2 and I decided to go for Chinese food. Dinner was a nice chance to talk about missing a brother but also about what was going on in Thing2’s life. That led to the start of a complete Star Wars marathon (including the less good ones), to make sure our Superfan status was in good shape before the next release. Its the umpteenth time I’ve seen the series, and the umpteen and first time for my offspring. I know this marathon will be the entree to another movie marathon featuring explosions and superheroes, and, even though I’ve been there and done those, Thing1’s departure has been reminding me that being here –being present — with Thing2 for every precious action-movie-filled minute I have with him for the next six years is a gift that is far more fleeting than I once thought possible.

The S Side

It’s half past midnight. dog is asleep on the couch to my left. There’s a big orange tabby in one of the boxes behind my canvas, and almost 13-year-old Thing2 is passed out on the nearby TV room couch, worn out from the first third of our weekend Star Wars marathon (The first of many in anticipations of the next release in the series). It’s the perfect time to start work on the S-side — the summer side — of my painted screen.

At 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide, right now it’s a hot mess. It’ll take a while to see something emerge, but there’s nothing like a little creative work out at half past midnight.

Red Hot Winter

I’m starting the first side of a painted screen. The screen is going to have a winter scene on one side and a summer scene on the other. It may seem contradictory, but the winter side is starting with the red-hot toned canvas.

Most Vermonters seem to have an aversion to the extremes of the summer heat (mind you, in Vermont, extreme heat starts with temps in the high 80s). No matter how hot it gets, however, there is an unwritten rule that we won’t complain about the heat. It’s a silent acknowledgment that we will all be shoveling snow in a few months for a lot more months.

Shoveling aside, winter is the time of year when I feel most alive, a realization that crystallized over the last few years when Thing1’s illness had us traveling the snowy roads through the mountains to the hospital every week. The drives were sometimes treacherous but always stunningly beautiful whether there was a foot of fresh powder everywhere or a muddy landscape filled with stark purples and greys. Summer can be beautiful, but it also lulls. Winter makes magic, it demands to be navigated and noticed. It is fraught nerves and cool pink fire in a sky filled with purple powdered clouds.

And underneath the ice and white paint, it’s red hot.

Greater Lakes

A Greater Lake, Oil, 9” x 12”

in the almost 50 years and I’ve been going to this spot on Lake Michigan, there is always been some beach. The lake has been changing for the last decade, however. It has been getting bigger — greater — swallowing up break fronts and beaches. It changes the way people enjoy the lake, it makes me appreciate, even more, how powerful mother nature can be.