Friday, February 28, 2014

Company in The Anne Frank Room

For and in this photo I've smudged my painting because it's a surprise birthday present!
Today marks six weeks since surgery. Recovering from my hip replacement involves a regime of strengthening exercises for my body. But, it's the generosity of family and friends who check in, help me (and especially Bill) by visiting that repairs my soul. Win, and John's, stay advanced the healing of my art spirit when she and I stole away to The Anne Frank Room.
Over last weekend, Win and I didn't work at our usual frenzied rate but rather we took it slow and easy. With neither of us firing on all cylinders, the energy this time was gentle. Whenever we share my small counter we work side by side in easy harmony. Nobody ever crosses the imaginary centre line!

Win is checking out commercially made stencils with a mind to experiment with textures

Opting to use black paper, Win created a subtle layer using black gesso and a store bought stencil. If you look closely you can see it at the top of her work. Over another piece of textured, tinted white paper, which was adhered to the black sheet, she stenciled with pastel, iridescent colours ...

Win hand cut the stencil she is using here
When stencilling, how can you know what it will look like if you don't try it? Well, after removing the stencil, Win didn't like the way it looked. I, consumed as I was in my own project, didn't get a photo of it before she painted over the entire experiment with black gesso ...
It's not easy to see the subtle texture of the blacked out layers, but they are there!
To create the long, organic shapes Win used metallic silver paint through select parts of the stencil (seen above on the left). Above is where she left off. It will be interesting to see how she chooses to further develop this piece. 

With the mixed guru in the house (and after a trip downtown for a laser photo copy) I was coached through making a direct transfer. Having it turn out perfectly meant having to wait overnight. The copy and the cradled panel were weighted (under my oil paint box) to secure that the gel gloss medium had worked it's magic securing the image.

Removing the paper is time consuming and can render your finger tips raw!

Transfers are not my favourite thing but for this project employing one was the perfect solution. I promise there'll be a post about this painting once it has been gifted.
There was time spent with our spouses. While the fellows followed the Sochi Olympics closely, Win and I randomly caught a few events. With all four of us are addicted to Downton Abbey, in the evenings we'd position ourselves in front of the television to watch multiple episodes.

As you might expect, all this was interspersed with fine dining and good wine ...
Yes, in spite of the fact that he is awaiting a bridge for that missing tooth, John still gives his warmest smiles!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm Teaching!

A strange thing happened at the end of last year. I went into a vacated room in a downtown Claresholm building, felt wildly attracted to it and suddenly out of my mouth flew the words "I want it!"  My good friend, Karen (The Lawyer) owns the one storey building next to the post office. Once a doctor's office, the cute building has many small rooms. The room in question looks out onto 2nd Street. It has a great awing over the huge west facing window to diffuse the powerful light entering the room.  Parton of the Arts, Karen Linderman, didn't hesitate in making the space available to me. 
February 13th, Bill moved me in. Yesterday we fine tuned The Art Studio at Linderman Law and I taught my first painting lesson to a delightfully keen little artist, Tess, Lelek ...   

Tess with her watercolour.  I hope the splattered snow on her shirt comes out in the wash!
To promote a sense of accomplishment, it was important to do an exercise that could be completed in our one and a half hour session. I dug out a watercolour lesson which I had given, in an afternoon workshop, years ago.

Adding foreground rocks

Tess has taken a number of art classes and works independently at art, at home. With ease, she grasped the concepts of the steps in the exercise, often adding valid ideas on how to proceed. She is an absolute pleasure to teach.

 My painted example on the easel, my demo on the left and Tess happily working on her painting

The fun, messy part, splattering white gouache "snow" all over the watercolour!

 The snow is the finishing touch which effectively softens any harshness of the cold scene.

Momma arrived at the end of the lesson in time to help remove the masking tape from around Tess' painting

And this would be the happy instructor making ready the Art Studio at Linderman Law prior to the first lesson

For information on private or semi-private painting instruction please call me at home 403 625-3006. Cell 402 625-9480. Or you may email me at

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Healing Takes Time

The upper half of this painting was created with heavy gel medium and a gear stencil. When this dried I washed and manipulated sap green over it. With Daniel Smith's Aztec Gold I coloured in some of the recessed gear shapes. I cut paintable wall paper to tuck under the bottom gear shapes, flooded it with water, dioxazine purple and small amounts of sap green and the gold. The way the paint pools and collects in the depressions is excitingly rich. Using the same colours, I lightly tinted wooden clock faces. I adhered these, the metal gears and clock hands to finish the piece.  

2013 acrylic mixed media, unframed on a cradled wooden panel 12" x 9" $175.
Available at Willowtree Designs in Claresholm, Alberta

This painting (my last of 2013) is a good one for me to reflect on as I struggle with patience and cabin fever. I must remind myself that Rome wasn't built in a day ... it's only been two weeks since my total hip replacement.

January 19th, 2014

The surgeon explaining the procedure was enough.  I opted not to view a You-Tube video. No wonder I can't walk without aid. Many muscles were cut through. While looking up these muscle groups online I happened upon an image that made me gag. This visual is not for the faint of heart.

Bill and I were at the Lethbridge Regional Hospital (January 17th) before 6:30am because I was my surgeon's first case of the day - no wise cracks please. In pre-op, still undecided about general anesthetic v/s a spinal, I went with what the anesthetist would have chosen for himself. A spinal, but I did not want to be conscious.  

Sitting with my legs over the edge of the operating table, I was instructed to lean way forward and relax. Relax? Remarkably, I was calm! The needle hurt like hell. Its effect immediate. Heat instantly traveled down my legs followed quickly by immobility. The sedative had to have been in the injection as well for I don't remember being laid down. Nor, thankfully, having a catheter put in! I'm thinking the team was happier once I was asleep. I'd asked to see the apparatus that was going in and complained about its weight. My new hip is stainless as opposed to titanium.

The operation took less than 1.5 hours! I awoke in the OR to the sharp sound of tape being removed and a vision of blue tarps (sheeting) in front of my face. I was chatty in the recovery room; staff there were likely happy to see me taken to my room. Before lights out that night, I was out of bed (barely) taking two shaky steps to one side and then to the other.  

I didn't have nausea and vomiting until the following morning when I was installed in front of the bathroom sink for ablutions. It happened again after lunch. I was given enough drugs to sedate an elephant.  With both morphine and oxycontin coursing through me, I could barely keep my eyes open. I felt robbed of a vision quest or at the very least a nice high. They don't administer morphine after day two and I declined any more oxycontin.  

With my ambulatory progress and acing the required four steps, I was discharged (as expected) on the fourth morning.  

The staples on my 9" incision come out on February 4th. That's when I'll be asking the surgeon if the back pain I experience (especially standing) is because the repaired leg is a half inch longer than the other? Will I be evened out when the left hip is replaced? Yes, that one has to be done as well.

I read somewhere that the price tag for a hip replacement is $30,000! Happy that I live in Canada! I'm grateful for my most excellent nurse, Bill. His and the love of my family and friends. Your support, prayers, cards, flowers, gifts, food, wine, phone calls, messages and visits are invaluable. With all my heart, thank you!