2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

I think it is interesting to see what images wordpress picked to show. Clicking on one of my images will produce a string of pictures of my work from the past.

My NewYears Resolution in January 2012 was to blog for a year. I gave it a try. I made it though the year and had lots of fun along the way.

The busiest day for me was on On December 31st with 186 views.

To my followers, a big thank you for taking the time to check out my posts.

To others. Thanks for stopping by. Please come again.

What Are My True Feelings? Expressing them in Paint – Calistoga

‘May Feelings’ acrylic on canvas  about 4 x 5 feet   May 2012

click on images to enlarge

A ‘Red Line’ series is falling into place. It started over a year ago with this painting.

I was awake and wanted to paint. It was 2:00 in the morning. This happened during a workshop taught by  Leigh Hyams http://www.artsreal.com/. at Mountain Home Ranch in  Calistoga, California. I put some warm clothes on, took my  flashlight and went down to the studio. Turning on the lights I brought out a large roll of pre-gessoed canvas, cut off a piece and left it on the floor. I looked and looked, sat by it and walked around it. What am I going to paint? What is in you? Who are you? What do you want to paint about? What are your true feelings inside you. What have been your true feelings? What have you been dealing with? Ah ha! with that question I knew it was easy. I had just been diagnosed with throat cancer. How did I feel about that? What was inside me ? Not what had I been looking at in the real world.  So I put some limits on my painting, no familiar shapes or colors. The colors had to all come from within. The painting had to express how I felt about having cancer in me now. What color were my cancer feelings? They sure as hell weren’t pinks, peaches and cream, these colors being my familiar palette. I mixed up a mess of colors and started to paint. I painted with  my brushes, with a palette knife, my hands. I didn’t stop until I was done. The painting needed something. I took a tube of red paint and made a red line. The painting was finished. I tacked it up on the wall and walked back up the road to my room as the morning light filled the outside space.

‘Rolled’ acrylic on canvas  4 x 5 feet      October 2012

The cancer is gone. New feelings come with new experiences.

Painting About How I Felt on My Birthday

This is the beginning of a painting started yesterday celebrating  my new birthday, one year after cancer surgery. I am one happy camper. Now I have a few paintings I’ve started. That is the easy part. I have to go back in and adjust or take care of areas that don’t work. This gets tricky because each stroke I make changes the whole painting, so I have more problems to solve. As, Henry J. Kaiser used to say, “Problems are opportunities in work clothes.”

Art Helps Painter Through a Challenging Year

This is Not a Flower  Pencil and watercolor

Unfinished Blue Painting  acrylic on canvas 52″ x 36″

Try double clicking on image to see detail

One year ago today, I was operated on for cancer at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During my stay at the hospital, I made little paintings in a moleskine sketchbook. The whole time I was there, I was surrounded by an extensive collection of art. There was a volunteer who brought a cart full of paintings into my room each day. Patients could choose a painting to be hung in their room. Today, I’m going to work on a larger painting started yesterday. A lot can happen in a year. Art heals.

Boost Your Creativity – Listen to ‘Speed’ and Eat !

We interrupt this travel series on Artist’s Books, poems and abstract art to bring you an up date on Radiation – 80 Drawings in 80 Days. Six months later and I thought I’d be rid of it all. Spinal accessory nerve injury from surgery resulted in trapezius paralysis and neck stiffness. I couldn’t move my arms up in front of me or up out to the side – not at all. Just finished physical therapy on that one. I graduated with honors.

My speech therapist has put me on a maintenance schedule for strengthening my swallowing. Hopefully, time will heal my voice a little more. I am to continue to let it rest and recuperate after increased usage. Don’t talk on the phone or in noisy resturants. Keep your vocal cords moist. Drink ginger tea. It is an anti-inflammatory treatment.  Along with a cancer tumor under the back of my tongue, 70 lymph nodes were taken out so liquids have become my saliva. My taste buds are coming back slowly, but I don’t like chocolate, spaghetti with parmesan cheese, wine, beer! I hope these taste buds comes back.

Listening to NPR I discovered a band called Stew and The Negro Problem. He wrote a song called ‘Speed.’ I weigh 94 pounds. Clothes look great on me. But, the docs want me to gain weight. (I’ve always had the opposite problem) Maybe it’s time to get a little cannabis, eat and  stay up late creating brilliant art.

Drawing my MRI Experience

Last week’s drawings were the result of me taking a rest from radiation effects on my body. I stopped blogging about my bout with cancer because I was told my blog was too painful. I wanted to move on. But I kept thinking. This image of what I thought my MRI was like is interesting. So among the small travel drawings here is my interpretation of my MRI experience,

PET/CT Scan Results – Drawings made during 24 Hour Period





NO evidence of residual or active cancer

Looking up at the curved tube structure above my body I asked the technician is the radiation coming from that ceiling device? His answer, “No radiation is coming from you. Are you seeing any babies in the next 6 hours? If so don’t hold them.”

Before the scan I was injected with a radiopharmaceutical, then told to rest in a chair in a little room for a half an hour while the material traveled through my body. I asked if I could draw or read and he said, no, we don’t want the material to travel to your active brain. The following is an interesting definition of a PET scan. I’ve heard cancer eats sugar. Here, the information is stated again.

PET is used in conjunction with compounds that closely resemble a natural substance used by the body, such as a simple sugar (e.g. glucose), labeled with a radioactive atom and injected into the patient. These compounds (radionuclides or radiopharmaceuticalsemit particles called positrons. As positrons emitted from the radionuclides encounter electrons in the body, they produce high-energy photons (gamma rays) that can be recorded as a signal by detectors surrounding the body. The radionuclides move through the body and accumulate in the organs targeted for examination. A computer collects the distribution of radioactivity and reassembles them into actual images.

By further defining a lesion seen on other imaging modalities, PET may enhance assessment of tumors exceedingly well. This is because of its operating principle. The radiolabeled sugars injected into the patient will be used by all body cells, but more sugar will be used by cells that have an increased metabolism. Cancer cells are highly metabolic, meaning that they use more sugar than healthy nearby cells, and they are easily seen on the PET scan. PET images thus show the chemical functioning of an organ or tissue, unlike xray, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging, which show only body structure.



    undone – definition of undone by the Free Online Dictionary 

    Adj. 1. undone – not done; “the work could be done or undone and nobody cared”. unfinished – not brought to an end or conclusion; “unfinished business”; “the 

    I keep losing weight. I have a string of pearls, bumps  down from my ear around my neck and up to the other ear – a string of pearls under the skin. I’m going in to have a biopsy performed on my neck today. It’s probably just scar tissue from the incisions from the surgery. But all the frightening emotions come back. No matter what the outcome, I guess  (I still say guess) I am a cancer survivor and will live sometimes forgetting about my cancer  but, then, the wondering will keep popping back up in my life. Right now I am absolutely  sure all the cancer is gone and it won’t come back, I think.

    I wrote this piece at the beginning of the week. I had drawn the roll of twine in the morning before the doctor called to ask me to come in and get a biopsy done.  I was sitting there thinking I sketched a roll of  twine this morning, now she is using thread and needle on my neck.

    The good news is biopsy report records no cancer. Hooray. It sort of took me back for a couple of days.

Painting Muse Helps Me Through Cancer Treatments


My early morning muse helps me through radiation treatments

Her will

Her strength

Each morning she conquers the effects of my radiation treatments

My early morning muse brings me peace

First, I must coat my throat with spoonfuls of thick, thin cream of rice cereal.

I gulp down 10ml. of oxychodone,

quickly followed by more cream of rice

or rinse with a solution of baking soda and salt, whichever I think is “right” today.

While I wait for the medication to take effect I draw.

I take out my Sennelier oil pastels, my paper,  pastels, brush , watercolor crayons, pencils, india ink and a drawing stick.

I count how many pieces of paper I have left.

And most important I start to make a picture, the  idea coming from a thought  I had in bed before trying out my first swallow.