Wednesday, June 24, 2009

. . . unloaded some junk

Several months ago, I had the heating and AC units serviced.

I guess to prove that work was actually done on the equipment in the basement, the repairman showed me this grungey piece of work just before he started to haul it off to dispose of it. I think it may be a part of the (de)humidifier. No question about it, it probably needed to be replaced.

I asked him to leave it here. . . he looked at me rather oddly, for sure, but he complied. I just found it back, in a plastic bag, and thought that I would photograph it before I pitched it. It is soooo much cooler in person, but even I can't think up a use for it. Probably a great piece for use in an assemblage. Wish I could keep it, but I must be ruthless in my decluttering.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

. . . made some repairs

Shown here is a portion of a painting I completed a while ago, before I painted the cruciform paintings I have already shown on this blog. I remember being in a big hurry to complete it and send it on its way with my NY art guy. In fact, I had been in such a big hurry that I had not photographed it before I part with it.

This painting has been sold. . . which is a good thing. However, it was returned to me for repairs. . .which is not a good thing. I will admit that in the past I have used some questionable materials in my paintings in an effort to make them interesting or textural or just to see what happened (or mainly because it was a whole lot less expensive than artist-grade supplies.) But I won't use spackle or any kind of Home Depot stuff any more, because it just won't work on canvas. It chips and flakes and peels off and in the long run, it is not less expensive. For me it was a complete waste of my time because I would not allow these paintings to be sold and I didn't know how to repair them, and neither did anyone else.

That being said, I will tell you that for this painting, I used only artist-grade materials, Liquitex and Golden gesso and paint. But the paint and gesso is chipping off and cracking, not on the entire painting, just on the edges. And not on the part that is shown here. The more I tried to repair it, the more chipped off, until I found that I have to repaint entire sections. This is a complete mystery to me. Perhaps in my hurry to finish it, I didn't wait for the lower layers to completely dry. A more experienced painter could probably tell what the problem is; I would like to know so that it doesn't happen again. And I will tell you that I kind of like the painting better while it was in the midst of repair. But that's not how it was sold, and so I'm putting back the layers, slowly and carefully. And it's getting me back in the studio, which I have been avoiding lately.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

. . . encouraged collaborative efforts

I took care of Betsy and Joey yesterday morning. After watching the road grader and the Bobcat and the other heavy equipment work on our street, we watched the man grind the stump of the tree that fell in the garden. We counted the rings before he came, so we knew the tree was about 45 years old. While we watched that, we also dug up some worms in the garden just for fun, then let them go back to their mommies and daddies. Then all the neighbor kids came over for a while, filling up the driveway with tiny vehicles of various sorts. Then we rediscovered the paint table, and the result is the above. . . a collaboration of Joe and Betsy. Joe applied the paint, Betsy applied her newfound knowledge of making monoprints. Then lunch and then a Nana-enforced quiet time. After Dad picked them up, Nana needed a nap.

The decluttering continued. . . the trash was full this week. As I cleaned out a bathroom, I wondered why on earth I would save five shampoo bottles with just a few drips left in each. Or years-old make-up, empty bottles of bathroom cleanser, and other esoteric crap. Now I sometimes open a closet or a drawer just to enjoy the view. Next week I will tackle the pantry, also known as "Joey's office," because he likes to keep all his toys there. I need to figure out what to do with all the toys; they must be neat and tidy and stored, but still readily available for the kids. And then, the biggie, the basement/studio. I will start that next week, too; my goal is to have the house ready to put on the market by the end of the month, or whenever the street is resurfaced, whichever comes later.

In counterpoint to my decluttering, my mother-in-law was notified recently by the Secretary of State's office that my father-in-law's Aunt Olive had a safe deposit box full of stuff. Aunt Olive died a while ago, at 102, and the box was unclaimed until the Secretary of State tracked the ownership. Yesterday, she went to the Secretary of State's office to pick up two boxes of family photos, journals, diaries, letters, etc. The S of S must have thought it was a big deal, historically speaking, because there were TV and newspaper reporters there (kind of like Geraldo opening that vault?) and she was on Topeka TV and the front page of the newspaper this morning. I just wonder how Aunt Olive decided what to keep and what to throw away. Maybe if I live to be 102, I'll figure it out. Maybe someday one of my ancestors will find one of my old empty shampoo bottles in a storage locker somewhere and consider it historically significant.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

. . . narrowly avoided disaster

Okay, so we had a bit of a storm Sunday night. Rain gauge shows one inch of rain, fairly high winds. Who would have thought that this would happen?

Fortunately the tree landed on a wrought iron arbor in the garden. The arbor has a bit of damage, and a red and a green smoke bush are temporarily kind of crushed under the weight of the fallen tree, but really nothing else was injured or damaged. It could have been a lot worse.

As you can see, this crazy tree came right up from the roots and upended a small birdbath. I can see a huge void under the uprooted tree, but I can't imagine what would have caused that. The situation is complicated by (a) it's a hedge tree, which is hard to cut and can and has ruined many a chain saw; and (b) the streets around our house are shut down from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for resurfacing and replacement of curbs. No one can get in or out. I may have to live with this for a while.

Just a note to anonymous from my past: email me at mary c buek (at) aol (dot) com (taking out spaces and adding appropriate punctuation. I have no idea who you are, but would really like to know. I haven't published a couple of your comments, a little private, if you know what I mean. Let's connect.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

. . . mowed the lawn

but oh, so artistically. See, no straight lines. Nice gentle curves. I worked my ass off outside this week, and my poor old body is feeling the effects of physical labor. I mastered the lawn edger or weed whip or whatever that machine is called, but after many fits and starts that culminated in running out of the gas mixture used to power it, and realizing that one of my kids had borrowed the container for that particular mixture. Only got half done with that chore, but the rest can wait until the next time I mow.

I continued in my efforts to declutter. . . yesterday and the day before, I attacked the bookshelves in the den/computer room. That mission was accomplished but the room looks worse now than it did before. I have packed up the books that I don't need, but I still have the desk left to do, and that is full of about four years of paid bills, old receipts, tax information and other junk. I unearthed a huge stack of old magazines dating from 2001 and 2002, so I had a good time looking through those for inspiration. In one, I found the St. Paul home of Garrison Keillor featured, which ties in nicely with his column that appeared in my paper today. It's headline: "Art Breaks the Drought in our Lives and Souls." Perfect.

"Life is good, no matter the disappointments--O God the disappointments.
Just square your shoulders and give them your utter best. As the late
great Marilyn Monroe said, 'I don't want to make money, I just want to be
wonderful.' Life is insurmountable, but we mount up every morning and ride

This blog has afforded me the opportunity to connect with a lot of people, and in the time that I have had it, I think I have only had a couple of negative comments, and those came from my husband's girlfriend after my May 25 post, and which I have chosen not to publish because I'm pretty sure that my blog friends would eviserate her. However, today there appeared a comment from Anonymous, someone from my past, which I did publish and appears as the last comment on my post of May 14. Please, whoever made that comment, please let me know who you are. It was just a wonderful comment, but of course, in typical high school fashion, I want to know who it was that didn't like me all that much back in high school. Not that I blame you, but I would so much like to reconnect. How about a few more clues as to your identity? And just so you'll know, as I write this blog entry, I am listening to Frankie Valli (Opus 17, Don't You Worry About Me) so the oldies do rock on here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

. . .found a leaf

a redbud leaf, out on the garden path. Although it might indicate a problem with some kind of pest or disease, it caught my eye and I scanned it to share. Inspiration abounds, especially since I am kind of a "red" fanatic.

The art gallery on the Plaza called me yesterday requesting that I bring in more paintings. . . apparently it is NOT closing at the end of June, but may stay open indefinitely. Perhaps the economy is recovering a bit??? The gallery owned indicated he had a couple of pretty good months. So I took in all the cruciform paintings, a bunch of really small canvases, and a couple of others. He was nice enough to put a mention of me in the Plaza area newspaper (embarrassingly hyperbolic), and has plans to feature my work in his windows, as well as perhaps displaying them under the awning outside the shop on nice days. He has also referred some customers who have expressed interest in my art to the other venue, Art-Bidz, were my paintings join a multitude of others at a monthly art auction. I am hoping for the best, but not really expecting to get rich any time soon.

I continue in my daily quest to declutter the house, one project at a time. The closets in the extra bedrooms are done, as are the linen closets and dresser drawers. I found Stephanie's First Communion dress and veil (maybe Betsy will be able to wear these); her flower girl dress and wreath from my sister's wedding; her prom and homecoming gowns, her grade school and high school letter jackets; a six-foot tall free-standing cut-out of John Wayne; poster-sized pictures of Matt for his fifth-grade baseball team and his senior basketball team; a red monogramed sweater that Matt had when he was Joey's age; a few things that I'm sure Matt would rather I had not found (nothing illegal, don't worry); tons of old video games, CDs and video movies. Everything is sorted by kid for them to go through and take what they want. I want to say that everything left will be hauled to Goodwill, but I'm not sure I can part with some of the things that my unsentimental kids might not want. But I'm making progress on my top-to-bottom decluttering. Today is bookshelves in the den.

Monday, June 1, 2009

. . . had blooming roses

I wanted to show off some of the roses that are blooming in my garden right now. The one above has a beautiful color to it, a pink-peach with almost a hint of brown to it. It looks like old parchment, almost. I can't remember the name of this one, and it looks like some kind of bug got to it.

This is probably the oldest rose bush in the garden, planted the second year we lived here, or about six years ago. The garden armillary is almost six feet tall, so you can tell that this rose bush is approaching seven feet tall at least. It is a David Austin English rose, but I can't remember its name, maybe Graham Thomas?

This is another David Austin, called Pat Austin. It is definitely one of my favorites. I love peach colored roses. This one starts out this color, and turns more yellow the longer it blooms.

And another David Austin, this one called Teasing Georgia. A little different from the previous yellow rose, but almost as tall. It doesn't get quite as much sun as the other yellow rose, so it's a bit smaller.

I have given up on trying to grow hybrid tea roses. I have learned that the David Austin English roses are pretty darn tough, and the shrub roses and rugosas are, too. And when the Kansas weather is 100 degrees in the shade and the bugs are biting and there hasn't been rain in weeks, I lose interest in tending to my garden, so the plants have to be tough to survive my lack of care. This is one of three shrub rose bushes that I have in the garden, and the first to bloom this year. It looks happy and cheerful, doesn't it?

Gardening is kind of like painting. . . it's all about the contrast of shapes, colors, textures. You just have to be a lot more patient about gardening; you can't just gesso over your mistakes.