Warm and Cool on day 95 of 172 of giving up sweets

I am beginning the thought process for a painting. Right now I’m thinking of how warm and cool colors make a painting have soul. I saw an artist employ candles and blue light on either side of his subject, a woman, staged perfectly to give her the warm and cool glow. It must be in a dark room to pull this off, the look achieved in renaissance paintings. I want to try using various objects, fruit, flowers, a pitcher. And, of course, I will have to get my daughter to model for me. I have not painted in this way before, so I’m excited to try different scenarios. And, I will use oil paints, a break from the acrylic I’ve been using. The reason? Because of their greater luster. I created myself a good art space where there is plenty of air circulation which is important for oil painting. My goal? To get a painting placed in my first juried art show. I think that is a reasonable goal for this artist who has been painting for several years now, I think it’s time.

The art process always starts because I want to try something. Sometimes I pull out my acrylic painting paper and simply free paint shapes. And, I play around with color mixing in my favorite color palette of red, yellow, blue, white and black, I enjoy mixing all of my own colors from these primaries, creating interesting warm and cool colors. Though we know black and white make gray, my favorite way to accomplish gray is to mix the primaries together with a little white. It makes the most beautiful clouds and a perfect shadow.

If I’ve been away from painting for awhile, it’s only because I’ve been busy with other tasks. But I’m always planning to paint. When I first started, I wanted to copy something that looked just like the original picture. Then, I branched out into painting just out of my memory and my feelings. Now, I want to paint from life with my feeling in it using thicker paint with interesting brushstrokes. Since this is a departure from my usual painting style, it makes me begin to anticipate…which is important.

Fireplace Candle on day 90 of 172 days of Giving up Sweets

My sister sent me this candle for my birthday. Did you know that there is such a thing? A fireplace candle?

It crackles like a fireplace while it puts a good amount of scent in the air. I’m enjoying it with my sausage and mustard I’m eating for lunch. (I’m more than half way in my giving up sweets challenge! YAY!)

Since I got the giving up sweets thing DOWN, I decided two days ago to also cut out the bread and pasta. So, it’s meat and vegetables and fruit for me… Well, and oatmeal for breakfast. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I love oatmeal!

The last I blogged, I mentioned I’d be painting some stones. Here are the ones I painted for my best friend:

They are all about an inch across. They are pretty quick to paint and enjoyable because holding the stones is so soothing. Why, I wonder?

Ocean of wine on day 83 of 172 giving up sweets

I really enjoy the concept art I’m getting to delve into each time I paint a wine bag. This one’s wine ocean crashes into the bottle and becomes salty ocean waves. I have fourteen bags now. I enjoy painting them more than trying to sell them though I’m going to set up my Etsy shop this weekend. Here’s all of them:

Painting wine bags on day 82 of 176 days of giving up sweets

After cleaning out my art room I found these wine bags I had purchased to paint and sell for a local business. This one is soft but fibrous. The others are burlap. They are interesting to paint on! Here’s one on burlap.

Its a two bottle wine bag. I sold some but stopped painting them to pursue other things at the time (like any good artist… :). I’m going to paint them all and set up an Etsy shop to sell. So far I’ve painted ten bags. After I get a few more I will get the shop set up.

Oh and here’s one on a paper wine bag.

(Notice that there is a lake under the sea.)

Pillows behind my people on day 70 of 172 of giving up sweets

My left couch ladies needed pillows behind them. They’d never be sitting straight backed or perched so they seemed stiff without some back support. So I painted in some pillows. Next I need to try and lengthen the far left enthralled lady’s legs. And I need to lengthen and define better my husband’s fingers.

My painting style is to keep layering up paint while working to the goal of the painting which for this one is to reveal gestures of personality. For though body and mind are frail, humanity is still there.

Painting on day 68 of 172 days giving up sweets

Over several days I’ve worked on this painting. I sometimes remember to take a picture! Not finished but sharing my progress… in the last picture you will see I decided a dark background was necessary to make the people what the eye is drawn to. Their white heads were blending too much into the background.

In the Texas hill country, snow is usually nonexistent and that’s the way I like it having moved from Colorado, my snowy home for 20 years. I don’t miss driving in it or shoveling it or slipping down on it.

But I do miss the tranquility of large flakes flitting, blanketing neighborhoods in cool blues. Then there’s that Gilmore Girl breathable cold sweetness right before a snow. Or red cheeked returning sledders, huddling hot chocolate.

So I wanted to try painting snow. Oh what fun on a sunny 70 degree Texas day.

Merry Christmas Eve from the Texas Hill Country!!!

Christmas, the “sweetest” time in memory of old.

Jack going for a ride, painted for a friend, Acrylic on canvas

Driving Internally on Day 34 of 210 of giving up sweets

Pushing a stalled car where the driver is attempting to start it is dangerous because its possible to get run over. But, in my past before I ever heard about that, I helped push a friend’s stalled older car that needed a momentum to get going.

That gets me thinking, do we need a push when our motivation gets stalled out?

Both words have a common meaning. Motor and motivation: “to move”.

The former must have an external fuel source or push. The latter can come from another such as a motivational speaker. But the best motivation comes from within.

Sometimes an outside push helps but sometimes it just isn’t there. For instance I haven’t been able to find one person who is willing (as yet) to do the giving up sweets challenge with me. I thought for sure someone would be intrigued and give it a good try at least. I thought that I might have needed that kind of a push to keep going.

To be sure, there have been countless times in my life where I have needed to be the only one driving my success and pushing it! – like mastering a course or skill, beginning a new job, having a baby.

Maybe it’s helpful that no one else is doing the sweets challenge with me yet. Maybe it is better to solely depend on a continual conscious effort of heart and mind and internal drive. That way I am depending on God.

No coasting.

Ushering in “No Sweets November” and, ok, just one more tiny little poem.

Between projects is a difficult place to be. I only have the hope of the future projects – but not one yet underway. It makes me feel a little artistically heart fluttery nervous. Why is that?

So to solve this problem, I get to thinking, what is is that I treasure the most? So, I thought that first a bit of personal inventory might help:

During the month of October,

I placed my husband in long term memory care after he wandered out dangerously for the last time in the middle of the night climbing out of his window and walking a mile! And I’m strangely torn without him here, unused to not taking care of him all the time. It is expensive. I have faith that God will provide the needed resources to keep him there.

Also I finished the first quarter homeschooling my daughter 11th grade. She does lessons by video and I oversee and ask her to teach me what she has learned. It works well that way since relating something just learned helps greatly with interest and retention. Hey and it’s good for me too as I think I’ve forgotten all that. Actually I think at her age I was doing nothing but concentrating on some boyfriend. I paint and write while she does school. As I blog away here she’s doing violin class and I will add… a lot less squeaky than when she first began at the beginning of the school year.

I wrote a poem each day for the past 31 days. That was exhilarating. Really. I did not know that doing it would be like running a race each time. Yay for getting across the poetry finish line.

But back to answer my original question what should I do now that poetry month is over

1. I am in planning – brainstorming – looking at photo references – for a brand new oil painting project to show in my art club’s copying the master’s challenge but first I’m finishing the painting below. I’m not very happy with it right now which is lending a little to my art troubles but I wrote a poem about it so I am including it.

2. I’m sugar free (but just as sweet) and will blog about my upcoming 7 mos of eating no sweets.  And yes I can eat fruit

3  Art projects with memory care. I am excited they asked me would I bring in some projects to do with the folks at my husband’s memory care facility. I am considering bringing some tempura paints and brushes and some cheap Walmart canvases. So I will be sharing about my Art memory care experiences.

4  Poetry Monday’s:  I am thinking I ought to write poetry on a schedule of one day per week so I can keep poetry challenged.

Below is my current painting propped for picture in the window. Interesting how the lavender sky outside is all matchy matchy with my painting.

Faith

Oh! A lavender sky

Where below the cattle gather,

Heads low, munching,

Not at all watching

Any kind of weather.

~Julie Robinson

Sweet Report: Day 1 of 210 (is that 7 months?) I haven’t actually started this day yet! But, I am full of optimism, I’ve gathered all the faith I got like the cattle under the lavender sky, and unless the sky rains snicker bars, I’m ok. Check back each day for my Sweet Report. Think I can do it?

Summing up this post, goodbye October and ushering in important thing: FAITH! I went back up into the post and italicized every place I talked about it. That is the treasure I seek for November. Faith

Close up on a painting I’m working on to show details. When my iPhone wasn’t working, I noticed there was detail needed in this painting I’ve been working on for the past two days.

IPhone Addiction… how to know?

This all happened to me yesterday so I diagnose myself: addicted

I got to thinking … maybe it isn’t the iPhone, per se, ,,,but the

I n f o r m a t i o n.

IPHONE ADDICTION?

Here is a list of my own life events and my own reactions to a day without my iphone.

This wonderful technology I haven’t had that long in the scheme of my life… It was born in 2001. YouTube 2006, WordPress 2003, Siri 2011. I use it to find the word of the day, the verse of the day, and look up words … I love etymology! Breaking news, traveling the Google Earth to find that place they are talking about on the news, writing my blog, and poetry, and reading, keeping up my blog readers, checking arrival of Amazon prime orders, YouTube for learning about anything and everything, and using Siri for text, reminders, putting things on my calendar. The iPhone has reached in and gripped my entire life. And when I didn’t have it, I felt at a loss. I think I might feel that the iPhone is my friend. Granted, it wasn’t just the iphone, but my internet and cellular were also out at my house. So, a triple whammy!

I was locked out of my phone first thing in the morning. Because, of course, what is the first thing I do every morning? I simply didn’t enter the passcode correctly that I had just set up less than a day ago so got locked out.

1. I was frantic about it beyond normal and couldn’t eat because I was trying to solve the problem.

2. Spent all day watching YouTube videos to figure out how to reset my phone and trying all of the things they said to do. None of those “hard reset” hacks worked.

3. Spent hours and energy into iTunes (which by the way could be more helpful).

4. Bought a brand new phone instead of waiting to go to the apple store where I was told they could restore my phone.

5. When I got home with my new phone there was an internet outage in my area until the next morning so I ate a cupcake and went to bed with my book, The Distant Mirror, The Calamitous 14th Century, a difficult read that I usually read with Wikipedia at the ready. No Wikipedia. So, I couldn’t really even read my book.

6. Upset that I couldn’t answer comments on my blog.

7. Couldn’t set up my new iPhone because I couldn’t go on the internet or the cellular service. And, just like a person whose power goes out who keeps trying to flick on the light switch, that’s what I kept on doing with my phone. It was on… I could see the apps, but I couldn’t actually get in. I kept going to the weather app and the news app… For some reason, I wasn’t able to use the cellular data for internet either. It was tough for an information junkie.

8. Woke the next morning and my heart skipped a beat when I saw the internet on so I could set up my new phone.

I was refreshed because I got a good night’s sleep … with no YouTube to distract me and I thought about trying to fight the iPhone addiction. So, I looked up, on the iPhone, “how to fight iPhone addiction”. Of course.

Visiting a Colorful Muddy Road, Acrylic on Canvas

My husband was cranky so when I mentioned his going to the adult day care he told me in a tone that I knew was going to be a “brick wall” conversation… that I needed to be the one to go.

Sometimes I run through phrases in my head that fortunately I don’t speak. All those years of my mom’s teaching me (and my big teenager mouth) to let those thoughts rattle around awhile before deciding to let them shoot out the chute… pays off time and again.

So I told him he’d maybe feel better if he lay down awhile. The sound of my voice was so soothing I surprised myself. Thanks mom! I know it was hard work raising me.

So today we stayed home and I made chicken flautas. Everyone’s favorite. Here’s the recipe. I don’t do exact amounts but I will try to here. I’ve been cooking these up for perhaps 20 years and the amounts don’t have to be exact. Trick is to use leftover chicken and soften the tortillas before you stuff them or they will crack.

I’ve had these in a restaurant… but always deep fried. Never like mine… so GOOD!

Julie’s Chicken Flautas

1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded or diced up small

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 can green chilis

1 tsp cumin

8 flour tortillas, warmed

Roll up cooked chicken, grated cheese, green chilies and cumin in each flour tortilla. Seal each one good and tight with a wooden toothpick. They resemble little flutes – where they get their name flautas, Spanish for flute. Brown then them in a little oil in a skillet. Serve over shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes and top with sour cream and salsa. They are a pretty presentation. Sometimes I sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top to make them appear so extra tasty. Don’t forget to remove the wooden toothpick before serving.

So, I decided as I was serving the delicious meal that sometimes it is better to stay home and invite people over. I invited my parents, who I was intending to meet out for lunch, and asked them to bring cupcakes from our favorite cupcake shop: The Sweeter Side of Rails. We like the tuxedo and the peanut butter cup. That made it all the more sweet.

And after they left, I painted over the above painting which I had painted last year when I was doing clouds differently than I am doing now. And what did I do, of course you know if you’ve been reading my blog….

…but add a very wet reflecty muddy road that is in itself a weird kind of respite for me..

If Clouds Could Talk, Acrylic on Canvas … with poem at the end of this post.

We went for the Psych evaluation.

First off, the psychologist had at least 4″ high purple shag wall to wall carpeting in her office. I haven’t ever seen anything like it and I’m a child of the 70’s.

And her office was in an old building that didn’t have a “trust factor” for me.

As in the above painting of mine, clouds talk, and apparently, psychologists performing a psych eval do too. After the evaluation the psychologist gave her opinion that my husband probably wouldn’t get the disability because she didn’t think dementia is caused by PTSD and that he didn’t have any PTSD symptoms.

But the paperwork from the VA had said the psychologist evaluator only does the evaluation and won’t give an answer. I thought it a bit strange she’d give an opinion.

In my own reading on the matter I’ve learned that it does happen that a person can have a very stressful event happen such as my husband did in Vietnam that can cause dementia later in life.

Well, I am not worried about any of it. And I remind myself that I’m just carrying through on the application for disability that the VFW near us had helped my husband apply for a few years ago after he was no longer able to work, but had not as yet been diagnosed with dementia.

A little tiny bit of history on him case you were wondering…

He was a practicing attorney until 2012 when he wasn’t able any longer to concentrate or to properly function in his job.

Then in 2014 after he had been going to visit with the veterans at our local VFW, they helped him apply.

Then in 2015 he finally got a diagnosis of dementia.

Then… a few weeks ago (9/2018) I was looking for something in the file cabinet and I came across the PTSD disability application which he had filed. So I took it up to the VFW and they refiled it with the information they had said they were lacking. In about a week the psych eval had been ordered by the VA.

I don’t know how any of it will go. But that purple shag carpeting was very very strange. Just about as strange as clouds communicating.

If Clouds Could Talk

If clouds could talk

in puffed up words

Or heavy purple phrases

Misty morning melodies

To tornado laden crazies

They’d loftily quote

Or drastically deluge

If clouds could talk.

~Julie Robinson

6ABFFE4D-DFDB-4FC4-AF4C-B8C5558FAE3C
Colorful Puddles After a Rainstorm, Acrylic on Canvas

Besides the sweet smell in Texas when “It’s fixin’ to rain”, one of my favorite things is puddles after a good rainstorm with reflections of a now bright sky. I love to put those last touches of bright red in the fresh puddle that make the road rise up.

I express this feel of a scene often in my paintings because it says “Look up, the torrent is over and it’s a brand new brightness.”

Being a caregiver has been a bit like that rainstorm.  But, it has been helpful for me to find acceptance in who I am now. I don’t have a husband who is there for me to love and care for me.  Instead I’m left with a man who sometimes packs up because it’s time for him to go home.

But “The position has been filled”… as was succinctly stated to the dog standing outside the door in Mary Poppins.

…Filled by the One who makes a storm, knows fully about the puddles, the colorful brightness, and how to fill my artist’s heart with joy.

Pumpkins I painted over my old Peaches Sign

Eating with Dementia

We made homemade tortillas and smoked up the kitchen in the process (the pan I think was too hot?) requiring that we open all the windows though there was not a breath of air in this Texas Hill Country post lots of rain evening.

To complete the eventful dinner time , my husband, who has dementia, built his own taco but he did it completely upside down. He put all of the ingredients in layers on his plate starting with the sour cream, the cheese, and the chunks of chicken and then topped it with a tortilla.

I just watched (more like an artist, less like a caregiver) to see what would happen next as he turned his plate upside down and it all fell off to the table, disgustingly. I could’ve helped him but he seemed determined.

He scraped it all off with the tortilla and ate it. I figured it was just a matter of a quick wipe up when he was done. I’ve seen worse being a mom of three.

But the chicken tacos with the fresh tortillas were just delicious.

And then we ate ice cream. And who could argue with that?

I’ve been working on this a little each day… added another tree and widened the river.

Playing Clue With Dementia. Yes We Can!

First of all, I’m considering making my own worksheets for the game of Clue. We ran out about six months ago and each time we play we write out all of the categories before we start playing. Yes, we have played it a lot over the years. And, he used to be the one to win. I’ve always been pretty bad at it. Now, my game is Scrabble!

But our daughter likes to play Clue. And, she still doesn’t mind inviting him to join us, though we figured out a way to play with just 2 players.

So, I have created – on my new IPAD Pro – a new Clue worksheet.

I first perused Etsy to see if anyone has made any. None. So, maybe I am the first?

I am going to print them and get them laminated so they can be reusable with Expo marker.

Dementia Clue Works!

We play dementia Clue which means we let him do whatever he wants. We let him have some of the cards and don’t make a big deal out of it if he says the card out loud. If you are familiar with the game, a player quietly shows their card to the person whose turn it is. It makes the game shorter which is good for playing with him. He gets joy from choosing to be for instance in the kitchen or the bedroom. We tell him he is the winner. Some of his playing and antics are funny but the last time we played I noticed I lost a bit of my game playing funny bone.

Going With The Flow

A “Navy Brat”, I spent my childhood at the beach. I think it’s why I’m magnetically drawn to paint it now.

I race through cleaning up the breakfast mess and make sure my husband has plenty of coffee and “reading” material because I’ve got an ocean scene calling my artist’s imagination. Have I mentioned I’ve painted stacks of paintings, many of them ocean scenes. Not all good. Some ok. All still in a learning stage for me.

As I paint, my husband and I usually chat about what he’s looking at in the paper. He thinks he knows the people in the pictures, he’s been in business with them, his mind is delusionally entertwined with them. Mostly I say “Oh, is that right,” and “Wow I didn’t know that”, faking a tone to allow him to continue there. I know he just likes the talking and the time.

I put a live ocean scene on YouTube loud enough so I can feel like I’m there and so I can study the light hitting all the places light hits, glowing, refracting, being deflected and diffused, causing shadows.

Sometimes when I paint, I wax a little poetic… I didn’t want to title this one because it would mess up the tip of the wave… so it is

An

Ode

to the

Ocean:

a melody

and a dance.

Waves prance,

in lacy edge dress,

seagulls squawk soprano,

starkly accompanying the sea.

And there am I, a party to the scene,

only in my mind through the power of TV.

~ Julie Robinson

As all of this “excitement” is raging, my husband gets up to return to his second love, Turner Classic Movies. First he looks at my painting and says, as always, “Another ocean”. I try not to be deflated by the flat dementia tone that I know he has entirely no control over.

And he leaves me at my painting to go watch Turner Classic Movies.

4FA80C12-6BAA-4B2A-ADD0-A359AAAEC7DE.jpeg

Caregiver Painting Poetry

Sometimes I write stories or poetry to go with my paintings. I’m absolutely taken in by the subject matter and get absorbed in my paintings. The picture I took of this one in my Pathways series is a little dark… but I decided to leave it that way because I thought it a mysterious path.

The writing/painting combo keeps away the dangerous caregiver stress.  (See my previous post.)

Above the painting… below the poem.

The Dusty Road

The dusty road,

After a squall,

Whispers, “Come and walk awhile”,

Needing nothing,

It wants your all.

You listen to

The dusty road

And consider its promise,

Breathing in its sweet grasses,

Seems like heaven’s abode.

Bunnies race

And deer eyes gleam.

The dusty road

‘Tis steep it seems;

And the road becomes your dreams.

The river racing

And Crickets chirp,

And you plod on and on and on and on

The dusty road

It’s mighty work.

At last, a rock’s your friend,

Long nuff you’ve strode.

The singers, the music, the song,

And to sleep you’ve gone on

The dusty road.

~ Julie Robinson

Dusty Path, Acrylic on Paper 9×16

Pathway Painting

In the scene I am currently painting… the rain clouds just left and the side of the road has become a temporary stream. Originally I painted this with grass in the foreground, then I just had to make water appear there which is what happens right now in all of my landscape pathways. I think it is a reminder that though I might be traveling on a seemingly unendingly difficult path, refreshment is provided.

My method is to paint and put aside the painting… I’ve done that for the past several years… it may not be a good method, because that way I have stacks of paintings – mostly finished, some signed, but they are going nowhere.

It’s okay, though, I catch myself a little break. I like this pathway painting, the subject matter was out of my morning thoughts. And, I am happy to put it in the pile of all of the others.

Psalm 16:11

Caregiver: “A Morning in the Life of a Caregiver”

I’m painting and my husband is reading the paper. He can still read. He will read out loud to me as I am painting which is good for me. I have gotten so used to his dementia. Only, with his dementia, he has no ability to know what he is reading. But he reads with feeling as I am in the middle of painting this imagined pathway that I have worked on off and on for awhile.

He has asked about five times what we are doing today. I just say, well, I’m painting and you are reading the paper. He’s ok with that. We have our morning rhythm.

The Pathway I’m on

Then, I walk down this pathway as I often do in my paintings. I love the experience of doing that and wonder if other artists do that too or am I just getting a little “teched”. While I am “in” the painting, I decide there have to be shadows along the white dusty road but I do like how it is reflecting the light from the after storm clouds and the clouds are wanting some smoothing. I love the feel and look in the just after the storm passed time. I want to put that feeling here.

I was given this high need to paint not too long after my husband was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. The desire to paint was a gift just at the right time which I know was sent by God.

Selling my paintings?

The painting of beach scenes and pathways soothes me and right now I don’t really care about selling them yet. I’m looking to make my paintings right in my own estimation.

I will be making my Patreon account public that I have been working on creating. I’ve been working on it each day. Patreon is a place for artists who share their art with patrons who support that artist. I intend to provide videos of myself painting and talking about my life and my painting process. And, eventually I plan to provide prints of my paintings for my patrons who support me. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to do a good video. I want the videos to be artistic and enjoyable to watch.

The storm is passing

After I snapped the above picture of my painting before I added additional rocks and let the water spill over the front right rock formation. I often will put water in my paintings as if it has just collected in a place after a big storm has passed over. It is a peaceful feeling with sweetness in the air.

And, my husband folds up his paper, puts on his Bluetooth earphones, and says, “Now I exit stage left”.

“Standing at the Ocean’s Edge, My Toes Squished in the Sand”,  Acrylic on Canvas

 

Caregiving Vignettes:  “How His Dementia Delusions Have Progressed Over Time”

The first signals of my husband’s dementia were a change in his personality.  I didn’t know what was wrong with him. And, it wasn’t all the time.  You know, it’s kinda like you take your car to the shop and tell the guy about the problem your car is having… only it is making that clunking sound… sometimes.  Of course he will drive your car around the block and call you to report that it didn’t happen.  That happened with my car a couple years ago and I told my dad about it.  My car was actually cutting out and sometimes if came to a complete stop.  I took him out driving with me to show him what it was doing and when the engine cut out completely and I had to restart it at a busy intersection my dad said calmly in his low gravely voice “Ok, now, let’s drive on down and take the first left.”  He was giving me directions to drive right to the auto dealer to get me a new car.

Well, you can’t trade your husband in with intermittent behavioral symptoms though I am sure that there are many who want to because sometimes they seem temporarily intermittently insane.

Behavioral frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), as opposed to the more common Alzheimer’s, doesn’t cause memory loss in the beginning. Through my research on dementia, I find that the bottom line if there is one is… different people experience the progression differently. I will try to briefly outline here the progress of his bvFTD from the beginning so that there can be something perhaps to compare to.  There are so many areas of progression but I will begin with delusions. So, this blog post will be one of several covering the different areas of his life that have been effected by his dementia.

Progression over time of my husband’s delusions:

Delusions have been from the very beginning. In 2006, I thought the fears he was experiencing was because he was captivated by the tenor of the right wing news he had begun watching involving the presidential election.  We couldn’t even discuss politics any more after that and I happened to be a registered independent yet with conservative views.  Before that, he was a democrat.  Not any more.  He became a right winger.  He went from liberal democrat to right wing conservative.  He passed out at the office and was carried out on a stretcher shouting “Don’t let Obama kill me”.  Everyone was gathered around and a little snicker went around.  But, it made me mad.  Of course I didn’t know he had a debilitating brain disease that was beginning to take hold of his personality and behavior.  The passing out was because he drank too much alcohol and not enough water.

In 2014, when his delusions became more frequent and dominant, he still had the ability to go on his computer and his tablet and his cellular phone where he was researching electric bicycles.  In 2015 when he had to give up driving, he developed a strong delusion that we were opening up an electric bicycle shop and had shipments in our garage.  Having the delusions is one thing, but what they did to our family is another.  He was on the lookout for the bicycle shipments, and thought I was withholding information from him.  So he was angry at me about it and that led to him thinking I was against him.

He is more confused about reality now than delusional, athough yesterday he thought we had some GI’s that would be joining us for dinner.  Is that delusional?  I don’t know, I’m no expert.  It’s weird stuff for sure that we deal with on a daily basis.  My daughter answered him, “Oh, that’s so nice.  Maybe you’d like to go rest up while you wait.” And, when he came in for dinner it was all forgotten.  She’s homeschooling 11th grade and getting on the job dementia psychology training, I think.  Well done.

In 2017 he began a confusion with memories of his time aboard the Forrestal, a ship during VietNam that caught fire.  It was big.  But my husband’s memories became larger than the already big catastrophe.  He became more and more confused about his war service.  He began wearing his father’s army war medals from WW2  on his shirt.   I figured out it was best to take away all of the war memorabilia because it caused him so much continued suffering, especially that it caused him to repeat events that didn’t even happen to him.  He stopped this dreadful memory pattern right away when I finally figured out this was happening.

Most of the delusions seem to be a result of actual problems in his life.  I think he possibly invents the delusion to help him get through.  The delusions, however, cause him greater anxiety and creates a difficult living atmosphere (to say the least).

I wrote a blog post on “The Yellow Book” that describes how it has been a helpful tool to us through many of these difficult times.

I was thinking recently that it’s good he has us to take care of him.  What would happen to him otherwise?  I wonder how many people with behavioral dementia just get thrown on the junk heap like a defunct automobile.  I wonder how many of them are on the street, severely alcoholic.  I wonder how many seem like they are mentally ill.

Can’t just trade ‘em in.

I was also thinking… always thinking!… that it’s good we have him to take care of.  One day I will write about that.  But, be looking for blog posts related to his dementia progression over the years.

 

I love antiquing with my mom. She tells stories of how they had this thing or that and what times used to be like.

I wonder if much of today’s stuff will survive long enough to land itself in an antique shop. I’m not fooled anymore by the shine and cute packaging when the product doesn’t last. I think the shop those land in is the landfill. Like the veggie peeler that couldn’t hold itself up to make it through one potato. And who do you contact to get your money back. Probably nobody cause you spent $7.99 for it and is it even worth the effort.

A special word to Ellen, Thank you for looking at my blog and saying that you like my writing because I was wondering if it was too much.  Thanks!

Anyhow back to antiques. Comfort, Texas is a favorite place to antique and have a little lunch. My painting painting is from a photo I took there last summer.  I took liberties when painting it and that is the freedom I feel as a painter when orchestrating colors and shapes to appeal to the eye. I painted around the canvas sides so this one won’t need a frame.

Some life events took center stage for me recently which kept me from painting. This painting of my paints is my path back in. Why did I paint my paints. Possibly because I laid them out and stared at them awhile thinking what should I paint. I looked through some art magazines and some photos of mine but was inspired by the paints. I do love the colors and the way these colors mix. I just recently bought the cadmium orange and am excited to do a real painting with it on canvas. This is a board. I don’t really enjoy painting on a board but it was there and so I was doing kinda a non painting … uh … painting I thought the board would would be fine. At the end I decided to squeeze and smear the paint colors in front of their painted tubes. I think it’s art in action. Speaking of which I miss my art group I can’t attend presently. 

A lady in my art group thought I should name it pointless because there are no thorns. I had fully planned to paint the thorns and other details but after I spent about an hour laying in shapes and shadows the ladies talked me into leaving it like this. So after all my ocean scenes I steered this ship to pointless cactus.


I am finished with this one that I have been working on for weeks. Now I am between paintings and I don’t know yet what I will do. I’m researching color theory and watching loads of YouTube tutorials. I just watched an artists video today and will employ a method he uses:  two water jars one for the initial paintbrush  wash and the other to get it good and clean. Sometimes I dip in very dirty water because I don’t feel like getting a fresh glass.

I really love watching paint go on a canvas and can spend all my free time enjoying this. I usually turn the volume off and just watch. Sometimes I turn up the speed which I recently figured out you can do.

I took a photo a few years ago of vultures that were at the river here and there was a big bag of trash that they had gotten into. When I was looking into what painting I should do I discovered I had some pretty cool pictures of these vultures and I set out to paint in a watery acrylic style with doing a little bit of dripping

.

Sometimes a painting is just in motion until it gets where it should be. This painting I took with me to my art club today and the ladies just loved it but when I showed them the picture on my cell phone that I had taken of it before I made some changes they all agreed that I should go back to the same sky that I had before. So I also put some yellow into the reflections of the water which brought that together I’m very glad to be a part of a very talented group of artists.

I had painted this Texas Longhorn a few months ago but never really liked it. I had been looking at it with new eyes from the aspect of color value and made changes to it but I still didn’t like it.

It just wasn’t working out. So I had to say goodbye to that longhorn. Couldn’t save him. Basically I ended up painting over the whole thing. Now it’s an ocean. How does that happen?  Well the paint just goes on and it just happens sometimes.


I painted my first peaches ever by looking at some pics online. But when peaches come out this year I hope to be able to go pick some and get some pictures to paint.

We have had no frost this year and lots of rain and I am sure the freestone peaches that grow in the Texas hill country are going to produce a banner crop. I love peaches. Before we moved here we would try to come in August or the beginning of September to enjoy the best of the peach crop. The peaches they begin advertising earlier than that are cling peaches. The difference is… The pit clings and the flesh of the peach is not as juicy and delectable. The freestone peach on the other hand is juicy and the peach pit (stone) basically falls out.

My family buys bushels to slice and freeze to make peach cobblers all year. Last year I tried a new recipe and made a peach cake with a cinnamon swirl Krusteaz baking mix. I mix in extra flour because those delicious peaches are so juicy.


Starting with the eyes I just start painting until I see what appears. It’s kinda like an owl hatchery around here right now. And the birds are calling loud now out in the trees behind my house. I have cardinals and they are the loudest and brightest birds I’ve ever seen. Cannot ever get a good picture though.

Someone asked me recently what the fascination with owls is. I’m not really sure but they are very beautiful.  I have spent a lot of time researching them and there are so many different looking owls. So I feel like I can paint them any way I want and there is one out there I think that must be that owl. Some owls look like they are smiling or have their heads turned upside down. I especially like to paint the fuzzy owlets and put glitter in their eyes. Color me an artist. I guess.

These are done with a combination of fabric markers and acrylic paint.
One time I developed a bird alphabet which I used here. The canvas needs to be ironed. I will be sewing these up soon but I would much rather invent concepts and paint.


Should this say owl wine with ya?  Or owl in a box, wine in a bottle. Wine in a box only when necessary but never owl in a bottle.


I think this little chick is wearing an owl acorn costume.  Agree?


Originally this purse’s front was the large flowers and the back got an owl because I love making them especially with the fabric markers.



This bird sings his own song.


This is a gnome door in a tree. The sign says gnome winers. Like no whiners. Of course after they wine there will be no more whine. Love creating concept art.


So my little sister said she wanted a sand castle. I want to go to the beach and make one. I’m the lady at the beach that is deep into making a sand castle with my children and hoping I am not getting sunburned.

Under the layers of paint which are now rock was a slightly different painting, fields of bluebonnets. I took the photo just outside Fredericksburg. What’s left of the original painting is the road and sign. I was going to call it red white and bluebonnets.

But it just didn’t sit right with me and I started blocking in color to attempt again some lovely fields of the Texas state flower.

Can you see the tiny triangle of bluebonnets that I just had to put back in. And along the distant road I barely dotted some in.

I think this is my favorite painting. A curve in the road.

I like to do a painting and then let it sit. Going on to other things is good as I look at it passing by as I clean or fold laundry I’m always having to look at it and ask myself what I like about it and is it doing what I wanted. I am currently studying color contrasts used for taking your eye from place to place in your painting as well as creating depth. I love how the river seems to flow from within. It’s surreal. So hopefully the eye starts at the center tree and then bounces off the right tree and to the left tree and then down to the trees knees.

You might wonder looking at this painting if the river is that green. It really is depending on how the light is hitting it. I have been wanting to repaint this as I had really struggled with it the first time I painted it. I have employed some things I have learned from watching tutorial videos on YouTube and listening to great advise from my artist friends at Artists in Action. In particular I employed color value studies. This is the before picture:


And here is it now.

I like doing portraits but haven’t practiced them much because I’ve been trying to paint to sell. I was told that people don’t want to buy a portrait. So what better way to practice than to paint someone you know and give it as a gift. So I will give this today. I showed it to someone who said it looked just like her. Yay. That’s exactly what I was going for.

This painting which I am doing for my sister has had so many design changes. And I made a huge error in painting an opaque sealer over the whole thing.  That was a learning experience. Of course I know what opaque means but I must’ve glossed over the word on the bottle. Glossed. After I repainted it I glossed it. 
  
  
  
  
  

I added some green to the foreground trees and the grasses and made the car window glass see-through which meant I had to consider who drove the truck. I sent the picture off to the dog’s owner and she wants to buy it. If she does it will be the first painting I have ever sold.

What’s happening in this painting:  The man in the black cowboy hat drove his pickup truck, Blue, up the same red path that took he and his Labrador mix, Jack, to town.  This day would be different than any other day the pair would ever know.  The man with the black hat, Jack, and Blue  set off.

 Jack in the back

  
I took a break and came back to my painting and chuckled cause my truck was floating. (Below)  So I gave it some shadow and dust. (Above).


I kinda liked the yellow sky but decided that skies just really aren’t all yellow so I gave some color.