Erika has become my daughter, and I have become her mother. It took years for this to happen, and it was not an easy process or a smooth one. But now, it is one of the joys in my life.
Erika is getting married in May, to Jon Mowrey. He is a wonderful, solid, honest, delightful man, with a sweet daughter, Jenna. They are already family. Peter and I could not be happier. So when Erika asked me if I wanted to make a painting for the invitation, I was thrilled. This is my first attempt - it might, or might not, be my last. I have some time.
Baci, according to the woman who hired me to make this painting, means "kisses" in Italian. And Baci gave and received, for years and years.
Baci is dead now, but lived a long and joyful life, according to Samantha. The big dog - an English mastiff - was always with Samantha, and when she and her husband had a child, Baci loved and guarded the baby, as well.
I know, when an animal enters my life, that chances are I will outlive it. I know that my welcome, my warming heart, my open door, let pain and loss in, along with all that love.
I would not trade one moment's awful grief for one moment's pure and loving joy.
Some exciting things are happening here at the world headquarters of Jacobson Arts.
For starters, the Colby College alumni magazine, featuring - me! - is apparently in the hands of Colby College alumni.
Though I didn't graduate from Colby, the alumni office seems to treasure me, finding me - with no prompting on my part - everywhere we've ever lived. And so, it occurred to me that the alumni mag was probably finding everyone else, too, and perhaps might be interested in doing a story on an alumna launching a new career at the age of 53. Sure enough, it was.
I have yet to see the magazine, but I received a nice email from someone interested in one of my paintings. So I guess I'm in.
I know I'm in a December show at the Emporium in Mystic. Cindy, who runs the place, called the other day when her December artist fell out. I don't know who else is going to be in the show, but I will have at least a few pieces in, and I am thrilled. I'll let you know more when I know more.
I'm also going to have one framed piece and a number of unframed pieces in the Members Show at the Wallkill River School Gallery in December. The gallery is on Route 17K (Ward Street) in Montgomery. Click here for more information and directions. That show's reception is Dec. 5, from 5-8 p.m., and you're all invited.
In January, I've been invited to participate in the Members Show at the South County Art Association, near URI. February has me in a show at the Lighthouse Gallery in Groton. March, I'm showing with Shawn Dell Joyce at the Wallkill River School Gallery. Memorial Day weekend, I'm taking a big leap and setting up my tent and my wares at the Paradise City Art Festival in Northampton, Mass. I'm teaching workshops on pet painting and painting with a palette knife; those take place in February, March, April and May at the Wallkill River School; check their website for dates and times and info on how to sign up.
I will make sure everyone knows about all these openings as they grow nearer.
I've got some dog-portrait commissions going, and have work at Center Framing & Art in West Hartford, Conn., as well.
Saltwater Farm, Harpswell Oil on stretched canvas, 12x48,
I've been working on this painting since August, bit by bit, piece by piece, when I've had the time, and when I've had the right questions and some of the right answers.
I like to think that it's the best painting so far in my Big Field, Little House series. I know I joke about this, I do - but these are the paintings of my heart and my soul.
I'm starting to understand that this is how I see the world. We are a small piece of a large universe. We walk on the land, we till it, we balance on it, we cultivate it - and it surrounds us, in all its God-given glory and breathtaking beauty.
Some people see loneliness in these paintings, but I don't. I see evidence of humanity and of family. I see shelter and peace and privacy. I see a vast world, so rich it needs no decoration or construction. I see a world so filled with beauty and with wonder that it becomes, in itself, a companion.
Looks Like Loosey. Oil on canvas, 11x14. To be donated to the Middletown, N.Y., animal shelter, as part of the Art for Shelter Animals Project.
I've been down with something that thankfully was not the flu, but flattened me nonetheless. Now, Peter has it. I am hopeful that the people in my pet-painting workshop didn't catch it from me...
Today, the nor'easter working its way up the coast edged into our area. The sky felt low and gray, and the wind and rain snatched most of the remaining leaves from the trees.
At the beach, the waves crashed in a rhythmic muscle of foam and spray, flexing its way down the length of the sand. Surfers floated on top of the slate-gray swells, catching one and then another, intrepid and brave.
This is the first time in seven years that I've been able to enjoy a storm. All these years past, we've had our house on the riverbank in New York, our beautiful, dangerous house, where in the flash of a moment, we could be trapped, stranded, victims of the rising river.
It's been a pleasure today to enjoy the rain, to go to the beach, to drive through puddles, to remind myself that I'm in no danger. I no longer need to worry.