Hi. I'm a painter, a writer and a mother of three teenage sons, one with a severe disability. This is a journal: riotously disorganized, full of art, food, children and everyday domestic events. Unless you are a friend or family member you may not be interested, but you are welcome to look. Artists who are parents may find some common ground here, as well as parents of children with special needs. For art only, see my site: nancybeamiller.blogspot.com
Tuesday, February 28
P and H have been into clay lately, at odd moments, and really coming up with some great stuff. This was just a quick little figure P twisted into life, but to me there is something quite powerful about it. Like a figure out of a dream, or a character from the movie Spirited Away. Which Paul and I loved, but decided was too scary for the boys to see for a while. When we finally did allow them to watch it, I think H (eight years old at the time) was happy that he was seeing it in our living room, parents at the ready. He took lots of "breaks" to get a drink of water or whatever, saying each time, "You don't have to to pause it. I'll be right back!"
I often feel that way when I'm in a movie theatre, trapped and overwhelmed, and wishing I could just go into the kitchen for a minute to remind myself it is just a movie. Maybe there could be Wimp Cinemas; easy access to the aisle from every seat, and a Break/Recovery Room with sofas and drinks on tap. Plus a detailed rundown of the plot posted in plain sight for those of us who hate suspense!
Monday, February 27
Henry has been having what we call "rages", and the developmental specialist attributes them to pubescent hormone development. Not much to be done about them unless we want to drug him up, and we don't (yet) want to. But he goes from Placid Buddha to The Incredible Hulk in about one second flat, so these mood swings are very disconcerting. Oh well!
In fact, he had such an alarming one at school a few weeks ago that they called me in to help. By the time I got there, the storm had pretty much blown itself out, and he was ready for a little calming water play. The school folks are all very experienced and creative professionals, so you know it had to be really, really bad. This scenario happens a lot lately: Henry's therapeutic support staff, teachers or doctors , and me, exchanging looks of mystified despair while Henry is raging in the background. There is always a comically hopeful tinge in there, too, as though we still hope (contrary to all evidence) that the other person in the room really does have the key to helping Henry, after all. They've just momentarily forgotten it, right? Nope.
Sunday, February 26
These chocolate coins just turned up today at the very back of a drawer. I had stockpiled them for Christmas giving, but then couldn't find them. (An example of why it doesn't pay for me to try and think too far ahead!)
Friday, February 24
Balancing in the air and juggling large sharp knives directly over your friend's face. And of course, your friend is the one holding you up. This doesn't seem like fun to me, but both these men seemed totally exhilarated by their performance. Boys and girls, can you say "Tes-tos-ter-one"? (For PhotoFriday's challenge, Masculine.)
Thursday, February 23
I feel like I shouldn't love these cheap dyed roses from the supermarket, for a whole host of aesthetic and politically correct reasons. But I do anyway. Remember the rose painting scene in Alice in Wonderland?
Tuesday, February 21
HOME SWEET HOME
A random grouping of detritus, washed up on the kitchen table this morning. Seems awfully symbolic somehow, but I don't have the mental strength right now to wring any meaning out of it. It just is what it is. Hmm. But that Warren Zevon song is now running through my head, "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money..."
Friday, February 17
SLEEPING LIKE A BABY
This photo is not seasonal (I took it in late August), but today's PhotoFriday challenge is "Baby". I have been saving this photo for the right occasion. Guess this is it.
DEAD ROSE LEAF
and wizening kumquats. Sometimes I look around my studio and see it as a place where beautiful flowers and succulent fruit go to die. But before they get thrown on the compost heap, they get their portraits painted. A deal with the devil?
Thursday, February 16
Found this sulky, sad-faced cherub in Laurel Hill Cemetery a few months ago. The expression looks so very real, that I think the sculptor must have used one of his own children as a model, instead of consulting a pattern book. Probably the child had just been told something like "No, you can't play with your Lego any more, it is time to set the table!" In 1868, I guess it was more along the lines of, "No, you can't swing on the barnyard gate even once more, it is time to bring in the kindling!"
Wednesday, February 15
Seeing Daisy soak up the sun reminds me that she needs to go in for one more check-up, to make sure she is really on the mend and not about to relapse (and over a holiday weekend!) Seeing her so relaxed and contented makes me hopeful that she'll be OK. But only a blood test will tell for sure, poor baby.
Tuesday, February 14
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY
H told me he wanted to make his own Valentine's day cards this year. "Oh great!" I said, "So, I'll get some pink paper and glitter and doilies and.." "No, thanks Mom." said H, politely but firmly. He had a plan.
Monday, February 13
to mend by. H is attempting to sew up a tear in his snow mitten while P practices a mournful ballad.
MADE FOR WALKING
in snow and ice. We got about nineteen inches of the white stuff yesterday so these boots turned out to be one of my best thrift shop purchases of late. Paul and I kept trading them off all day yesterday, as they are far superior to our regular boots. I felt a little like a character out of a hard-luck coming of age novel as we took turns shoveling out the cars and wearing "The Boots". Suburban Appalachia?
Saturday, February 11
ripening on the windowsill. Outside: a snowstorm. There is such a great feeling of relieved surrender about this, for a homebody like me. FORCED to stay home and putter, listen to music and read. Oh dear, dear, there is just nothing I can do except maybe some baking. Banana bread anyone? (Tomato bread does not sound quite as toothsome.)
Friday, February 10
PhotoFriday's challenge today is Blur. As soon as I saw that I knew I would have to post one of these pictures I took a couple of weeks ago. I was at a party and at one point the youngest daughter of the house was cajoled into showing us a little of her Irish Dance prowess. She is very talented, and even competes at festivals. Her dance at the party was impromptu, happening so suddenly that I forgot to change the setting on my camera to compensate for the lightning fast pace and low light. So I got a lot of beautiful blurs. But I think this shot shows some of the little dancer's transcendant concentration.
Thursday, February 9
This tree conveys a friendly personality, despite its torturously twisting branches and odd humps. It doesn't seem scary, maybe because it had somehow hung on to its leaves, and they retain much of their green color, in defiance of the season. They are a bit ragged, but still hanging on. Maybe it is just so odd a shape that it has gone beyond "Halloween tree" and become a "Dr. Seuss tree", all shaggy and lumpy and spiraling out of control in this very happy and appealing manner.
Monday, February 6
Sun hitting the son,
making a strange mask. Only
his shadow looks like him.
Sunday, February 5
My friend Eliza showed up at my door yesterday with this beautiful mixed bouquet. I was thrilled. Is there anything more wonderful than someone at your door with flowers in their hands?
Yesterday was the opening of a group show I am in. It was my first time exhibiting at this gallery, which is in New York City. It turned out that we could not find a sitter for Henry, and the thought of bringing him into the city for this opening, on a rainy day, was more than Paul and I could face. So, Paul stayed home with the boys. Fortunately, a van load of friends were going in for the opening and there happened to be one seat left. I gratefully took it. Many, many thanks to all the friends and family who made their way in for the reception (and to those who could not come but sent love and good wishes): I was really touched. Actually, the whole event was a little like a wedding reception: friends were there from all different areas of my life, plus family, minus the speeches and the cake! (And of course, I wore black and not white.)
Friday, February 3
I love looking at people who dress up in the Goth fashion. Maybe part of the fascination is that it's not so much a disguise, per se, as it is giving the "dark side" center stage. For whatever reason. And it is interesting to think about what your own dark side would look like. Were you to give it a creative voice, as these folks have done. I recently stumbled across the paintings of Steven Assael. He is someone who is delving deep into this very issue.
Thursday, February 2
GANG OF MUSICIANS
This was only a small segment of the crowd at my friend John's music party last week. The place was packed and the joint was jumping. (At moments literally, when Henry was unable to contain his joy at being swaddled in sound.) Seems like all the Irish musicians in the area were there, and their friends too. These people were simply amazing as was the very matter-of-fact, casual way the music just kept coming. Someone would get up to get a drink or a bite to eat and somebody else would just start on in and so it was pretty much a continous thing: a joyous wall of sound.
Wednesday, February 1
white hydrangea heads, illuminated by a sideways slant of sun. What is it about hydrangeas that so snag at your heart? Is it that each individual flower is so pure and simple a shape, juxtaposed with the complexity of the flower mass? Maybe it is just the memory of childhood summers, orange creamsicles from the ice cream truck eaten, dripping sweet, lying under the snowball bushes. Anyway, the house has been filled with flowers for months as I prepare to be in an exhibit, Flowers in February, my first time showing with Sherry French Gallery. The exhibit opens today, officially, but the reception is this Saturday. Please stop by if you are in the Chelsea area of New York City anytime this month.
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