‘May Feelings’ acrylic on canvas about 4 x 5 feet May 2012
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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.
I came back to this painting today with the thought of just finishing it up a bit. It was early. I brought some beautiful tulips we had at home. With the thought of doing some warm up drawings first, I found some big pieces of paper. Using a stick from Calistoga I sketched with walnut ink which is a warm brown color. The drawings came out nice and loose.
Here is one of about 5 or 6 warm ups I did. On this one, after the photograph was made, I added another stroke to make the box-like shape more strong.
Two of my favorites.
Here I’m getting ready to paint with these really great new acrylics that act like oil paint.
You can blend, even erase paint when it is dry and the end result doesn’t look like plastic.
Using a stick and walnut ink I sketched in the tulips. I saw a smilie face. Shall I erase it or try turning the canvas horizontally?
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After hanging the painting horizontally, I brought it together with some paint. Dated May 30th, this painting is titled Celebration. Besides celebrating the fact that I have been cancer free for a year, the painting is about celebrating the birthdays of two very good friends. Make that three friends 🙂
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.”
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.
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.
At some point during each day I feel like Hugo when he skillfully navigated his way to the clock tower within the walls of the train station – station master and dog following at his heels. Added to the effects of surgery and radiation, restless leg syndrome sends electric shock-like jabs through my body in the afternoon and evening. Abstract drawing and painting illustrate the feeling of the effects of RLS. and radiation best.
I thought the story of my last year dealing with cancer was over. I had finished blogging about that subject. My new posts were going to be all about my artist books and sketches made around the world. Life gets messy sometimes. There seems to be an overlap here so I’m going with the flow. The cancer radiation story may end up as a book. The adventure is still being written.
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,