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
Friday, March 31
is flaking off this plaster statuette of (I think) Guan-Yin, but she still has a certain presence. So much so, that I noticed her by "feeling" her looking at me, the way you can sometimes sense some (real) person's gaze. Guan-Yin is a bodhisattva of compassion, and a favorite buddhist superstar for many buddhist women (I believe she has spawned a cult or two.) Fittingly, I was hot, tired, burdened and rushing when I felt her calm gaze upon me. I immediately dropped all my stuff, and took a quiet moment to look back at her (with my camera.) Instant refreshment!
Wednesday, March 29
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
include sneakers, chests of drawers, and clip-on lights. Maybe not what immediately springs to mind when you imagine a painter's paraphanalia. But you have to think outside the box when you are racing the clock to get ready for a show or two.
Tuesday, March 28
Not much is known about the causes of autism, despite enormous scientific effort of late. Oh well, all that is very abstract, but the concrete issue is that an extremely unhappy Henry had to be taken off the bus crying yesterday. The bus was over half an hour late, and a different vehicle altogether, a strange one with dark tinted windows, the kind you see on low-slung, would-be race cars with vibrating engines and a souped up sound systems. Not the usual windows of a yellow school bus! Anyway, Henry did not respond well to this change of schedule (half an hour late!) and transport (Super "cool" schoolbus, different driver) and obviously felt that his world had fallen apart. (I am guessing, since he can't talk.) Tears and sobs ensued.
This life we are living is not scheduled and organized enough for him. He is generally very adaptable, especially for a kid with autism, but every now and then there are just too many variables.
Sunday, March 26
GOVERNMENT OF ONE
P has an interesting social studies project: designing a plan for an energy efficient town that uses no cars or buses. So far it has the requisite solar panels and windmill farms, bicycle shops and stables, that such a town might require. But since there is a twelve year old city planner in charge there is also provision for a soccer field, candy store, ice-cream stand, pizza parlor and radio station! Pretty darn cute.
Saturday, March 25
popping up, unplanted but not unwelcome. It adds a splash of yellow cheeriness to the early spring mix of old leaves and rain.
Friday, March 24
at the Cookshop: hard-boiled eggs. My entry for Photo-Friday's challenge of "Smooth". Hmm. Did I remember to turn off the stove? I've been a little distracted (see below.)
I have two exhibits opening, back to back, in about a week. My reputation as the world's worst planner and organizer is still intact! In truth, I had very little to do with this arrangement. The one-person show at the Manayunk Art Center, Only Human 2 was scheduled almost a year ago, and then I got invited to be part of this group show Painting = Poetry at the Sherry French Gallery. That's the way it goes.
So, I have been slowly chipping away at the piles of show cards that need to go out, and I think I finally finished. If you got one and not the other, or both and you only wanted one, or duplicates, please forgive me. Just e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want one you didn't get and I'll send it out to you, pronto.
And, please come to one or the other of the openings! Saturday, April First (no fooling) for the "Painting and Poetry" show, that's in New York. And Sunday, April 2nd is "Only Human 2", in Philadelphia. More information on both the shows is here.
Thursday, March 23
and plenty of it. Unfortunately, there is an inverse proportion of kid's energy to parent's energy. At least by the end of the day. Last night Paul had to go out so I put the boys to bed on my own. At the earliest minute possible I called, "Bedtime!" to be greeted by moans and "It's early! Why do we hafta go to bed?" To which I answered, "You have to go to bed so that I can go to bed." I don't know how single parents do it. They have my sincere, incredulous, admiration.
Wednesday, March 22
This pink sparkly hat is an instant mood elevator. Who needs prozac? Maybe doctors should start prescribing silly hats instead.
Sunday, March 19
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)
We went to brunch this morning at my friend Roz's house, and one of the highlights of the visit was (gently) playing with her wonderful pet dove, Avi.
Friday, March 17
My cat, Daisy, is unusually intelligent for an animal with a brainbox the size of a teacup. We got her from a shelter, where she fixed her eyes on me from behind the bars in a way that spoke loud and clear: "Here I am. Let's go now." But the sign on her cage said she was a male, and I wasn't looking for a tomcat (my boss Ray had a tom at his house and boy did he reek up the place!) So, I looked around. Then somebody else took her out to look at her, and I saw Daisy's expression: panic. When that woman put her back and moved on I went back and had them take Daisy (then unnamed) out. Her big eyes bored trustingly into mine. Without doing any physical interrogation, I got a very strong female sense from her. "Are you SURE this cat is a male?" I asked the Shelter worker. A short comedy ensued, with affronted professional dignity crumbling into frantic abasement: "Omigod, I don't know how we made this mistake!"
That was many, many years ago. Here she is at her last Vet visit. Although it looks like she is stalking the mouse, she is really just hiding in the only hiding place available. Intelligent, and resourceful too!
Thursday, March 16
LIGHT BOX VISION
I don't think much about vision usually, its probably something many of us pretty much take for granted. But recently I was invited to take photographs at a local School for the Visually Impaired. I had contacted them, needing some reference material for a book cover commission. The Sister in charge kindly invited me to come in and shoot to my heart's content, which I did. Got some incredible shots as well as some new insights. Very helpful, for the book cover, of course, and also for my longer-term Genre of Inclusion project. Sometimes I meet people who are so helpful at the absolute right moment that I just feel like standing still and gaping at them, sure that If I am quiet enough I might be able to hear the rustling of their (invisible) wings.
Tuesday, March 14
HEART OF (BEAUTIFUL) DARKNESS
These ranunculus were bought on a whim one grey morning at the supermarket. They were cheap, but have been worth more than their weight in gold, brightening up the gloominess of end-of-winter all-family flu and looming back-to-back deadlines. The light catches in the mille feuille petals and makes them seem to glow.
Friday, March 10
RED JACKET HUG
My friend Pat's daughter, S, hugging one of their cats. Pat and company moved to a small farm, owning no animals save one cat. Nature abhors a vacuum, or an empty farm, I suppose. They now own several cats, a dog, dozens of chickens and last time we spoke there was a mention of goats. I suppose it is only a matter of time before they realize that their big old barn is just crying out for a few cows!
Thursday, March 9
IN THIS WORLD
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers.
Tuesday, March 7
NEON NEW YORK
If your last name was Park, you'd be able to see your name in lights all over that city.
Monday, March 6
expression on the face of this dancer. I can't quite decipher it. Outrage, ferocity, anxiety on the cusp of laughter?
Sunday, March 5
OLD BUT SHINY
When my friend Louise mentioned she needed to get rid of an old china cabinet I immediately said "I'll take it!" Which might seem strange, seeing as how my husband is a well-known furniture designer. But, I had been wanting a storage cabinet for the basement, and Paul's beautiful hand-crafted work, museum quality, does NOT belong in our flood-prone and dingy basement.
Anyway, it was a pleasure to unpack some of the boxes we moved here 3 years ago. This piece of amber pressed glass, a small oval candy dish, belonged to my Great-Aunt Ethel. I don't think it has any monetary value, but I have always loved it. Aunt Ethel, a generous soul, would fill it up with m&m's when we children visited. I unpacked other old friends too, pieces passed down or received as a wedding gift, or bought for their "paintable" qualities on thrift shop forages. Lots of memories of dear people seem to be bound up in the cold hard glass. Now this display cabinet gleams like a private altar in our dark and murky basement, warming my heart.
Friday, March 3
Paul took all the boys to Gettysburg not long ago. It was a big hit with P and H. They are still talking about it (this shows you how rarely we do anything!) Unfortunately, Henry was NOT a fan, and had several melt-downs which somewhat proscribed the tour. They did manage to stop in at the Gift Shop where H became the proud possessor of a fife. I have been surprised at the strength of his interest in it. Weeks after the Gettysburg visit, I still occasionally hear the reedy piping sound of H and his fife: a suburban faun.
This week the PhotoFriday challenge is 'Feminine'. A tough one for me, surrounded as I am by males: no sisters, no daughters. I do have wonderful women friends though, and my thoughts flew instantly to my friend Carol's birthday party a month or so ago. It was at her friend Suzanne's beautiful house: a bijou jewel of elegant femininity. I had not been there before and as I walked in the front door I knew instantly there were no little boys in residence. Instead: flowers, candles, pot-pourri, fairy lights, beautiful pieces of art and gorgeous (clean) upholstery. Carol was dressed in a matching manner: feminine and be-jewelled. The whole evening was a wonderfully refreshing dip into the Girlie Pond.
Thursday, March 2
BLACK & WHITE
Stripey child reluctantly marching in a school parade. There certainly are days when we probably all feel the same way about the day ahead. But as Winston Churchill once said, "Let us brace ourselves to do our duty." Having said that, time for me to get off the computer and get to work!
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