Wednesday, April 22

Feathered Friends
Young H is the somewhat understated James Herriot of the family, and is building up quite a little pet-watching service in our neighborhood. He took Kippie the cockatiel on as a short-term boarder not long ago, and Kippie certainly added a lot of personality (and bird poop) to our household while he was here! We all felt glamorously Saint Francis-like when Kippie rode around on our shoulders.

Monday, April 20

Today was the last day of a portrait class I've been teaching at the Wayne Art Center, and at the last minute (some students had already left) I got the idea to line up the easels and ask our wonderful model Paul to pose with the paintings he'd inspired. Moments like this make me feel very proud to be a teacher! It was a talented class, and I was truly sorry to say goodbye to them.

But I am teaching a new class next semester, Figure in the Landscape! It is scheduled to begin next week although they may push the start date back, hoping for slightly warmer weather. If you are interested click here for more info!

From the catalog:
Figure in the Landscape
Instructor: Nancy Bea Miller
10:00-1:00 PM

Take advantage of this special opportunity to paint the figure in the landscape at a beautiful private farm setting 10 minutes away from Wayne Art Center. Enjoy the surrounding woods, stream, pond, paddock with horse, barn and outbuildings. In case of rain we can set up in the large barn or on covered porches.
(n.b. And best of all for women landscape painters: access to bathrooms!)

Wednesday, April 15

Happy Boy
Henry is home on vacation from his special needs school, and so he came with me when I took a few friends to go see my current show at The Episcopal Academy yesterday. As soon as he saw this painting of his younger brother he started laughing merrily and pressing up against it companionably. I missed the perfect shot: Henry leaning in to "kiss" his brother, but I got the merry aftermath. I guess it made Hen happy to see his brother there in that unfamiliar setting.

Really, what higher compliment could an artist/mother ask for?

Saturday, April 4

Double Rainbow
A double rainbow appeared outside the gallery where my reception was held yesterday! Everybody got pretty excited about this rare event (especially the buddhists in attendance.) What a wonderful night it was!

Thursday, April 2

Today is World Autism Day!

And the whole month of April is National Autism Awareness Month. Last night I mentioned this to Paul and he laughed and said "I'm already all too aware of autism, thanks." So yeah, for those of us who live it, maybe it is not so exciting and uplifting. But here is a little tale:, I was hanging a show at The Episcopal Academy a couple of days ago. The work is mostly my Genre of Inclusion project, paintings which include people with disabilities, inspired of course by Henry having "low-functioning" autism. One of the art committee helping hang the fifty (!) pieces turned to me at one point and said apologetically "I really don't know all that much about autism." I was touched by her shy honesty. We autism parents forget that not everybody shares our total immersion in this mysterious condition.

So I think it is a good thing to spread some information around and make a little noise about it. Do I feel like blowing joyful horns and waving exuberant "I LUV AUTISM" banners? Sorry, no. As study after study has found, autism parents have the highest rates of depression and associated troubles of any other group of special needs parents. This condition, in its more pervasive aspects, is incredibly difficult to handle, and because there is no easy way to understand it, there is not much in the way of practical or emotional support for families struggling to cope with its wide-ranging effects.

How about in honor of World Autism Day, be kind to everyone today, okay? The scowling clerk at the checkout, the impatient driver behind you, they could all be carrying some heavy load, the like of which you could not imagine even in your wildest dreams.

For an excellent short but informative piece on What is Autism, click here. And Happy World Autism Day!

Henry in the Kitchen, oil on canvas, 18 x 20 inches