Monday, October 31, 2011

Rationing Painting Time

Time spent in front of  my easel is becoming a rationed commodity. I can only work as long as the hand permits and when the pain rises the painting must stop. Yesterday I thought I would paint using my fingers hoping to prolong my painting time …. Guess what; that didn’t work, as a matter of fact it was only a few moments and my hand cramped. So back to brushes and left hand attempts.

I also find if I spend time on my computer I cannot hold a brush …. So time is now rationed according to the tasks at hand. I do try to fit in some painting each day; each canvas now takes a little longer to complete but each day finds extended time spent so there is hope on the horizon.  At least with the assist of all the medication I now must consume.  I am beginning to think the pills may be the killer .... not the disease!

As you know I grew up in Northern Ontario … the flora of the area being primarily a boreal forest …. That is to say mostly evergreen trees such as spruce, pine and balsam fir. Deciduous trees included poplar and birch….our climate did not support  the towering beauty of maple and oak such as is found in southern Canadian climes.

For the past two years I have been attempting to capture the beauty of autumn poplar trees….this is my latest attempt. It is a small canvas, only 8”x10”. It seems no matter the size canvas I use I cannot successfully capture the golden beauty of autumn poplars. Anyway for now I’ll not ‘sweat it’……one compensation of rationed time is I am learning to appreciate what I’ve accomplished…..even if it falls short of what I had hoped .


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've Been Inactive

Well here I am again and sincerely hope that this time I may have some ‘staying power’… at least enough to read and write ‘blogs’!

I have been waging war with my aging body and all the ‘golden years’ attacks on said body. Primarily I have been learning how to live with rheumatoid arthritis and a debilitating lung condition … both of which have depleted my body of strength and energy and inflicted pain such as I have never experienced.
Failing the resources to move to drier clime … such as Arizona I am now reliant on modern medicine to keep these woes at bay and am slowly returning to some semblance of normalacy …. Especially with the aid of ‘mega’ steroid dosage. Briefly my hands have been inflamed to the size of sausages and stay for periods of eight to ten days … other times my feet don’t want to co-operate much either.  So my involvement with paint, paper and keyboard has been very limited.  As a matter of fact my involvement with day-to-day functions is somewhat limited; but improving.

It seems I can no longer accomplish simple everyday tasks without planning and calculation. My handiest tool just now is a hammer … can no longer twist caps off bottles but a hammer makes the task possible … mind you the cap shards are swept away. Without the assist of my grandson I would not have been able to prepare thanksgiving dinner…. I was incapable of lifting a seven pound turkey, could not dice vegetables! For the first time in my life I’ve had to ask male members of my family to do tasks I accomplished in, for instance, May. I have large window air conditioners and always install and remove on my own. I could not remove them this year. Damned!

So…..long story short! Day to day life is becoming  a careful calculation!  Looking for ways to continue. Hopefully my next visit to the specialist will come up with some strengthening exercises!

I have been painting although only for 15 minute to half hour intervals; when the hands cramp I must abandon the task; so have been painting ‘miniatures’ or ‘small paintings’ for the past couple months.  They are not academically correct 'miniatures' but perfection is no longer possible.   These paintings require less movement and involvement and have kept my ‘hand’ in the process …. Some days my right hand, some days my left depending on which one is flexible.

These small canvases measure 4” x 5” and when finished, for me, are mini treasures. I find I have become closer to the creative process working small … concentrating not on great flourishes and grand vistas but on composition and colour. When working on large canvases I tend to paint over and over … not really looking at colour and placement on the canvas … always correcting with more paint.  Perhaps not being able to paint in a sustained manner, and not so certain of correcting with additional paint I have renewed my sense of ‘seeing’ the subject not the canvas.

Posting a few for you to look at. A couple autumn scenes such as we find in various areas of Ontario. They are currently part of a miniature show at a local gallery; I hope they bring joy to the viewer.

I may not be able to post daily but will try to stay back on 'blog' at leastonce a week.  Hope you are still there!