Saturday, June 25, 2011

Painting with Tears

My blurry eyes drove me to seek doctoring to find a remedy this week.  Thought to be a side effect from some of the toxic chemo it appears there is swelling in the retina which is causing the blurred vision and weeping tears rolling down my face.  The remedy, another tablet to take that has its own list of side effects.  Oiy!  Yet I'll dutifully carry on with it if it makes things better.  Who ever heard of a diuretic for the eyes!

My fingertips are still hyper sensitive onion bulbs. The remedy for this I know not.  Although what comes to mind is a story I'd heard about Matisse in his later years with accute arthritis in his hands.  I'm told that he had his brushes taped to his hands.  When asked why he endured such discomfort to work at painting, he was said to reply, "when the pain is gone the beauty remains!"

This coming week on Friday, 1 June, 6-9p  I look forward to the opening at Starring, the Gallery in Northville.  My artwork will be displayed in the shop as the featured artist for the month.  This first Friday of the month the shops of Northville are open late for a good stroll and some refreshment.  Come have a browse!

Then there is the letter in today's post from the Kresge Foundation.  Months ago I applied for the foundation's visual arts grant.  14 grants are handed out every other year to mid-career artists in financial need.  I felt in my heart that I deserved this grant at this time in my life.  And, while that statement is certainly true I was not selected.  This news then triggers a reality cheque that is certainly tearful or to put it another way, I'm gutted!  Yet there's naught to be done for it but to keep painting.  What else is there but the happiness you make for yourself.  I wonder if anyone has ever tried to paint with tears! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Squinty eyed

Today's text needs to be large so that I can see it.  I haven't blogged much of late as I've been "duck and cover" over another bump in my wellness road.  My fingertips and eyes seem to have conjured some sort of infection. Unknown as to origin but a damn nuisance.  My eyes are filmy making it hard to see and my fingertips look like little onion bulbs!  I expect the antibiotic to do its trick now that I'm no longer getting poisonous chemo but it does wear on me the loss of two of my most important tools -- fingers and eyes!

I'm so looking forward to getting my taste, strength and hair back now that I've finished the nasty portion of chemo.  I know it will take weeks but everyday is a step in the right direction.  Even the CT scan I just had this past Thursday I knew would be clear and was!  I keep telling them,  "I don't have cancer, I have chemo.!"  The tumor has been removed long since and I've been bombarded with everything short of glowing green in the dark so there aren't any microbes to be slaughtered.   We need to leave my body to get back to itself and I'll be right as rain! sigh!

In the meantime I find it amusing to try and sketch half-blind.  The outcome will be interesting to see.   There may be a "happy accident" to making art this way!  So until this malady passes I'm squinting at everything odd angle and biding my time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Featured artist at Starring Gallery, Northville for month of July

Featured artist for the month of July at the Northville Gallery called, Starring!  Owned by Mary Starring the shop has alot of artisan made unique jewellry, gifts and art work.  A feast for the eyes, there are treasures arranged a riot that begs to be explored!

The first Friday on 1 July the shop is open late.  Come say hello and have a browse of my artwork: paintings, cards and new illustrative tiles. Reception 6-9pm

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First Friday in July at local gallery


Dare I get hopeful today?

The last poisonous day of chemo is tomorrow. There'll still be weeks before I'm better but I think I can chance feeling optimistic about getting back to myself.

I often blog about having waited for the sun to warm my bones after the long winter months only to spend most of my time indoors, hardly noticing the lovely days pass me by. I've been keeping myself down and detached having figured out that I must "wait" to feel better.

Waiting has become familiar. Waiting for chemo to end, waiting for strength to return, waiting to paint. I think of the world beyond myself in all it's impulse. How many amazing things have come and gone while I've been waiting? How many birh and deaths? How many orbits and rotations and changes have gone one while I've been still? As if I live on a different time plane, slowed down and other-dimentional, moving through space like moving through pudding.

Soon the wait will be over and I will be mobile again. It will feel so splendid to be in my body completely. To draw a deep breathe and know it is myself and not some drug that enables me.

I'll look for signs of hair and nails, nose and skin to return to healthiness.

And the greatest prize will be to stand at the easel and make messy marks to my heart's content; to make my own vision of the world unapologetically. To plum the shallow depths (as Keith used to say) and find them so deep as to lead me to find the world that is mine. For what else is there but to remake yourself anew to the world everyday? Know who I am even in the unknowing of who I am. I can't show you what I see, exactly but you can see for yourself. I please myself. That's enough, isn't it?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Kate Project and other musings

Months ago my friends put together a viral email to promote sale of my artwork to raise money through websites offering prints or art on mugs, etc. Since the inception of the email $100 has been raised with a percentage to go to Ovarian Cancer Research Thank you all for your participation.

Just had second to last chemo yesterday. Last one next Wednesday. These last dog days of chemo have been a bit rough and I'm glad it will soon be behind me. If I must lose strength I'm at least grateful for warm sun on my bones. It feels so good to sit in the sun, listen to the birds sing and feel the warmth with a lite breeze veiling over me at intervals. After the long cold months I revel in this season. Today is a softer day cooling the heat of yesterday. It's seems quieter when the sun isn't out. The sun makes everything vibrate while the cool moist days make everything greener and mellow. The world drinks, the creature and plants drink!

In my waiting for this to be over I wish for a destination to go to to celebrate. Somewhere I can put my toes in warm sand. At night I go to sleep trying to purposefully dream myself an adventures in another land. I want to traverse places I've never been before as well as those familiar on a map of Europe. I want to wake with the sense that I must be going soon. Perhaps with even a spice sent still in my nostrils from a market stall. I want the prophetic dream that makes me believe that I will traverse more than my tiled floors.


Instead I traverse my noodle in thinking up nonsense in scribbles to entertain. It seems the only distraction that I can muster while not feeling fully myself. I am inspired by the idea that we can create a world when we can't be in the world. When I get my strength back it will be such a treat to really take that holiday and immerse myself in new inspiration for more nonsense image making. I so look forward to that as well as making my "minions" and sending them out into the world. I need for their to be a place for me. And there is if I make it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cheery O's in my cereal

Cheery O's in my cereal! Each one a thought floating around representing my furtive brain this morning. Must be the wind in the trees or the "pre-meds" that spin me!  I love the rustle and sway of the trees up so high. This breeze blows out the heat of yesterday. It feels like a perfect early summer day with sweet grass smells, the clicking sounds of cardinals and bright spots of colored flowers bobbing in the garden. How can this not be Eden?

My biology is not quite so picturesque, more tempest than tempret for the moment. I just keep remembering that "this too shall pass". The countdown to the end of chemo continues. After today's session only 2 more sessions of the drugs that poison. In the chemo room, when a patient is on their last day, you ring a bell. I want that bell to be Big Ben. i'll be ringing that thing so hard for all the world to hear!

Today though I want to try to tell you of the amazing women that help me, love me and lift me up. I'm quite sure the others will not mind my going on about two of them. Charlene and Helenm.

Charlene has been my sister through all of these months of trial. She has seen me at my worst, at my most vulnerable and scared and has not flinched. She has nursed me and cooked and cleaned for me. Been with me hours in the chemo room. She has given to me a calmness and constancy that I could rest in, cementing our relationship into the strongest ties of sisterhood. Not that we weren't already close for all the ladder and scaffold dancing we'd done over the years. This wasn't about work, this was just us dealing with new circumstances together. She also gave to my husband the freedom to carry on at work and not have to divide his heart between taking care of me and being away from me!

Charlene's sidekick, Helen Miller, " Helenm" orbits me as a friend through Charlene. She too, over the months has showered me with gifts of support in the form of flowers, cards and supplies for dealing with chemo. Even when I didn't want to be receiving the "chemo kit" I later understood it's necessity and meaning and loved her for it.

Helenm (Helen Miller) is proprietress of "Flowers & Such" florist in Adrian, MI. A talented designer, Helenm, like Charlene has become my art benefactor, purchasing some of my artwork. Recently though she was sneaky in leaving me a monetary gift after visiting. I can handle the sale of paintings as a means to earn my keep while I'm recuperating but it's so emotionally difficult to know how to feel when these women give me so much and then give me more by way of funding? I am so grateful for their help but always feel I should be painting something for it!

I illustrate my love and appreciation of these women certainly not to slight my other most loving women friends but because I want to tell of another woman I met recently that came at me in such stark contrast to these woman.

I met her at a party. She's a very beautiful woman of near my age. She misunderstood at first thinking my cancer was in my breasts. It took a minute to correct her. When the light of cognition reached her face she was horror stricken. I was so surprised by her reaction. Immediately she declared that having ovarian cancer was a death sentence. My immediate reaction was to want to shake her by the shoulders and scream NO! I found myself campaigning to her that, of course it wasn't an automatic death sentence. Her experience of it being so was in having lost her mum to ovarian cancer at 60. She was also very afraid that she would have it as well. It's one of those damndable things we all perceive that if our mum's have cancer we shall go the way of our mums. But that ain't necessarily so as the song goes! It felt like her fear could be the very thing to bring it on. She was so convinced of it just as I am so convinced otherwise. And there we were!

Later it came to me that most people are either sympathetic to the pitiful about the news of cancer or are really good at being caretakers and looking you in the eye and then there are women like this. I find myself consoling them to prove that while we're breathing in and out, while we're thinking and feeling and living there is no death, only determination to carry on!

I know in some way I scared that woman but I hope I scared her to know that there are no forgone conclusions in life!  Just try and follow those cheerful O's floating in the bowl. Who can predict where they will go!?