Very strange marks here on the opposite page. I don’t know what to say other than I had no goal in mind when I sat down here at this desk. I wasn’t even planning to sit – just walked past it doing other things in my work space and saw out of the corner of my eye this open book of drawings – opened to yesterday’s page. I can’t seem to help this desire to play around with drawing the same thing every day. It’s like a meditation. Oh, and by the way, my mind was a super mess of chaotic thoughts going every which way (sort of like the drawing) but now I feel better. Thank you, Pilot G-2 07 ❤️
During the first week of December I found it difficult to hike with Roxy & Ringo. I became concerned. We’d been in the habit of walking most days for about an hour, sometimes two. I began to notice deep pain in my chest, sometimes feeling nauseous and needing to find a place to sit down. Our long hikes became short ten minute strolls to the end of the road and back. Then rest.
Such a drastic change scared me into phoning my doctor. Prior cardio stress tests showed nothing, so the more invasive angiogram was performed, revealing a blockage that required bypass surgery. Ultimately it was discovered that the mid-left anterior descending artery of my heart was, over time, being squeezed closed by the muscles around it. It was totally blocked. An oddity.
I have a scar down the middle of my chest, but I am alive. And with therapy, will soon return to hiking with my doggies this spring. Part of my therapy involved battling the depression, which commonly follows surgery. What worked for me was dabbling with watercolors in my studio. This exercise reminded me that I’m not just a victim of heart disease, and moved my focus onto other things in my life.
One of the first pieces I worked on was a small painting called Growing Hearts, which I made into a “thank you” note to my surgeon and his staff for saving my life.
When I was twenty-seven I read Pulling Your Own Strings by Wayne Dyer. It lit a bulb in my brain. Wayne put me on a new path with the courage to march to the edge and jump into the abyss…
This is a drawing executed while pondering what to do with my own strings. I recently viewed it at my brother’s apartment. No mat or glass to protect it, just an antique frame. I love that it has survived like this for thirty-something years.
I have slowly divided up my chaotic workspace into specific Work Stations. Here is where I make small watercolor paintings. I didn’t always love watercolor. What has recently pushed me toward it with a passion is a program called Memories in the Making. MIM for short.
Nancy, the amazing MIM Director at the Alzheimers Association in Milwaukee trains willing volunteers to work with people with Alzheimers disease to encourage them to paint. As they create pictures we engage in stories about their past. Every Friday afternoon I visit a MIM painting class at an assisted living home in my area. We dig for memories and have meaningful exchanges. Our little team (Megan, Katy, Taylor, and me) have so much fun!!! It is the highlight of my week.
For more information about MIM: http://www.alz.org/sewi/in_my_community_20372.asp
This is the original messy drawing I made to nail down the essence of all the information gathered in my quest to begin the Straddle the Turtle project. A collection of that research is filed in this folder in a cabinet in my studio.
The on-going creation of drawings, paintings, ceramic works, greeting cards, and bookmarks has been the product of my meditative labor. These artworks carry along the lovely message of Straddle the Turtle. I will share images of some of those items in subsequent entries.
Some of my hunt for turtle information includes:
studying the anatomy of turtles (mainly the structure of their shells and chutes)
reading up on their habits and following blogs about protecting their habitats
appreciating the symbolism applied to the turtle by various cultures
reading lots of turtle stories and digging into turtle folklore
enjoying the way advertisers use turtles to promote products
Also many of my friends and followers have given me articles, stories, and images ; I hope this continuing education never ends…