Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering Michele

It all started out with the first version of the painting done late, last August and brought to Michele for  a couple's therapy session.  I sat it down next to her on the floor by her flowered yellow couch where she was waiting for me and my Sweetheart. That is her in the upper left hand corner of both paintings. {This was the   
third time we had come to see her and I was glad she was still 'with us' on the Planet for she had seemed ready to go just 6 months ago).

See the hard bread cracker dark blue in the middle of the painting?  It symbolizes the hard, hard nut to crack, the dilemma I was in at the time.  I am the long white haired person in the painting,  leaning back and wondering:  "How in the world am I going to make this hard cracker soften?"  

Michele's word for the days was "Cherish."

The blue packaging came from the Christmas week 4 years ago when I bought the crackers for my sweetheart's Nephew who was visiting from Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters.  It is from Norway or Sweden, the crackers.  I had carefully cut out the packaging back then and glued it onto a piece of luan with a sketch of the 'me' in the painting and then left it outside on the Farm porch for all those 4 years.  Last  early August I picked it up and started painting on it.

My Sweetheart, he is half Finnish, half Swedish.  I see his Finnish side as prominent and I pretend he is a Laplander who lives high up North and lives off of the reindeer.  A stoic, hunter with a beard and furs who rides a reindeer, milks a reindeer and sometimes eats a reindeer that sometimes comes out of his defined wilderness life and gives me a hug.  He seemed to me a hard nut to crack sometimes because he was so busy being a Northern, reindeer Hunter type person and seemed invisible at certain times.

I am an Irish, Italian, Pennsylvania Dutch/German Swede and Slovac, living in the mountains of my mind with my paints and my two dogs.  I am invisible also to the world or have been because I had escaped the land of harsh, loud language that went against my flow.  We were both in the same boat with different cloaks of invisibility and different nuts to crack.

He looked at the painting as it was last week and said the blue label was distracting him from the rest of the painting.  I said:   "That is the point, you have to look past the distractions of the world to see what is always there."  He said:  "really?  That is interesting."  I said:  "Yes, really.  I just made that up, I mean, came to that realization."  He said:  "You just made that up!?"  I said:  "I just realized it.  See Michele there?"

One week later I went back in and began re-painting.

There is a giraffe in there.  It means 'far reaching and far seeing.'

Fast forward.  Michele left her body here last week and went traveling.  Today I erased the hard cracker symbol.  I've cracked open.  It is time to be my friend.  To really ask nicely for what I require.  In the allowing, so much more comes to me than I had been bargaining for.  I had been trying so hard to make things black and white, with the shadows coming out of hiding.  In the end, all that matters is engaging with the creative process of gently maneuvering  as peacefully and lovingly as possible, while trusting myself to intrinsically lead myself in the process.

Today, I took the cracker out and softened the whole thing.  I might make a card to sell on my Etsy shop from this image.

I can hear you talking to me this morning, Michele as I continue working on the painting.  I am going to tell Shipley later.  My Sweetheart will eventually read this.  I asked his permission by text early this Monday morning.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


A rare morning on the farm...sketching at the table with my first cup of coffee

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tobin's special Cranberry Sauce

Today I am making Fresh Cranberry Sauce


one bag fresh cranberries picked over for soft and squishy unacceptable berries

one cinnamon stick
small piece of fresh ginger (powdered if you must)
1 cup raw sugar (or any sweet substitute)
1 teaspoon powdered star anise

one cup water
zest of one orange

finish with juice of one orange.


1.  grate 1/4 inch or more of fresh ginger
2.  grate almost a whole orange peel, just the orange part not the white, pithy bitter part
3.  place on stick of cinnamon together in pot with -
1 cup water
the grated ginger and orange peel
1 teaspoon star anise powder
4.  bring water to boil then turn down to very low simmer for 7 - 10 mins.
5.  add cranberries with one cup sugar
6. turn heat up and boil until most of the cranberry popping has commenced, stirring every minute or so
7. after concoction has cooled, add juice of one orange.
(take out the cinnamon stick and place it where people can smell the sweet goodness of it).

keeps in frig or out on porch in the cold for 3 days.

very good for you. except for the sugar.

For added calories place one piece of lemon cake under the cranberries -