Sunday, April 19, 2020


Puffin / Oil on black canvas / 5x5 unframed / $68 includes shipping

I REALIZED RECENTLY that I write about my life, events, feelings, thoughts, in this blog, but rarely make the connection between the stuff I am writing and the painting I've posted. 

They always are connected, even if it is ephemerally, as is often the case with the birds. 

I started the bird project after Peter died because I wanted a project with paintings that were small, bright, contained. Manageable.

Overnight, my life had become so unmanageable, so untenable, so completely uncertain, I couldn't handle anything larger, really, than 5x7. I couldn't contemplate starting something whose end I didn't know, right at the start. I couldn't tolerate any more unknown than I had in every 24 hours. 

So the little bird paintings became a lifeline. They gave me a place to start my day. I knew that they would sell, and so they gave me hope. I knew I could ship them easily - shipping is often a challenge for me - and that most of them would fit in free, fixed-rate boxes from the post office. The little bird paintings became a flutter of optimism - and they became a refuge. 

So when I write about my feelings, or whatever I'm going through, and it doesn't seem connected to the bird painting, please be assured that it is. Please know that whatever I was painting that day allowed me the space and time and emotional security to think whatever I needed to think, and write whatever I needed to write. 

In the case of the puffin, well, it brought me to a very happy time, a trip to Newfoundland several summers ago, with my friend Carol Baney. We set out to see whales, moose and puffins, and saw them all. And I painted the rich, rough landscape that Peter and I had both known we would love, from the books we'd read, movies we'd seen, history we'd learned. One of my deep regrets is that Peter never got to see Newfoundland for himself, and I never got to see it with him.

If you'd like to see photos and paintings from that trip, you may - click on this link - .

I know I took photos of the puffins, but it looks like I didn't post them and no longer have them - they were pretty far away from where we were, and though we could see them, we used binoculars to really get a view. They just looked like dots in the photos I took. But it was pretty amazing to see a big colony of them, building nests, diving, catching fish, making lots of noise.


I'm grateful to have had the chance to visit all the places I've visited, 
and grateful that I have the desire to keep discovering. 


For Today


Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep. 

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth. 

But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance. 

Stillness. One of the doors 
into the temple.

- Mary Oliver
"A Thousand Mornings"

No comments: