Christmas Eve 2021 • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $250
May the brilliance of this year's full moon inspire us to hold our brightest light of love and hope up to the longest darkness too.
2021 Solstice Moon • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $250
And so it begins.
The cold of winter.
The snap to
the blessed clarity
of the cold
The Blessed Clarity of Cold • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" 8 $250
Our first snow fell overnight. The inch of it will melt away and be gone by tomorrow probably. So before we loose all color out there, I thought I'd throw in the last of it. It's a long winter.
The Last Hurrah • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
November derives from the Latin root novem- meaning “nine.” Why you ask? Because in the Roman calendar there were only 10 months
in the year. November was the ninth month. So why were January and February added you ask?
as the sun bows,
will on occasion loom
larger than night allows,
for when the moon's light,
keeps night away
and out of sight
we too defy night and play.
I ran into a book I haven't read yet by Phillip Caputo while researching this month's moon. Hunter's Moon; A Novel in Stories was written in 2019. I did read A Rumor of War, published in 1996 a long time ago. It's a good read.
“So I guess every generation is doomed to fight its war, to endure
the same old experiences, suffer the loss of the same old illusions,
and learn the same old lessons on its own.” - Caputo
In the meantime, the actual Hunter's Moon was named by native Americans because it was the time of year they hunted wild game to stock up for the winter months. With this moon they could hunt longer into evening. We painters could and can also paint late into the evening!
Hunter's Moon • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $250
I've been thinking about our Halloween traditions in this country. Halloween is when all rational thinking is thrown to the wind, when we become our own worst fears fed by horror films we dare ourselves to watch only on Halloween night.
Why witches, ghosts, black cats, crows, ravens and pumpkins I asked myself as I painted along? I was suddenly struck by how much it reminded me of the bunny and egg thing on Easter. The ghost I get because of the Christian celebration of Old Souls/Saints Day on November 1, but the rest of it is puzzling.
So I decided to research starting with the history and superstitions surrounding black cats to try to make some sense out of it all. I've written about this before, but have forgotten most of it except for the one about a black cat being a witch in disguise. I kind of like that one and want to hold onto it as truth... during Halloween anyway. The bad luck and good luck stuff is not as much related to HAlloween, but good to know!
Earliest Association with witches
According to Greek mythology, Zeus’s wife Hera once transformed her servant, Galinthias, into a black cat as punishment for impeding the birth of Hercules. Galinthias went on to become an assistant to Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.
Black cats are witches
This story began when a black cat was seen running into a house thought to be inhabited by a witch during the Middle Ages and became equated with black magic. Roaming nocturnal black cats were thought to be witches in disguise, witches' pets, or animal-shaped demons sent by witches to spy on humans. From the early 13th century in Europe through the 17th-century Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, black cats were killed along with those who were considered witches. Black cats have since evolved into icons of anything related to witchcraft.
A black cat is also associated with bad luck and death.
This fear of black cats appears to stem from medieval times, when an animal with dark feathers or fur, including crows and ravens, signaled death. In 16th-century Italy, it was believed that death was imminent if a black cat laid on someone's sickbed. It’s considered bad luck if a black cat crosses your path, and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. Another family member is bound to die if you spot a black cat during a funeral procession. And it's a bad omen if you see a black cat walking away from you. Fortunately, all these ideas are just superstition.
Black cats are also believed to bring good luck
In ancient Egypt, black cats were held in the highest esteem because they resembled Bastet, the cat-headed Egyptian goddess of home, fertility, and protection from disease. Black cats are considered good luck in other parts of the globe, as well.
Black Cat Superstitions • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
The Sunflower Lesson • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12"x 12" • $250
And Mother Nature again,
that we will do the same.
Are the flashy reds and oranges
after a rollicking spring and summer youth
hot flashes as we try to kiss the sun one more time?
Are the yellows and ochres
a last try to hide
or hold back
and wrinkled brown leaves
elegant in their graceful
and inevitable fall back to Earth?
It's simply what we are.
I call this the in between time of year. Here in Kingfield we are still sandwiched between summer and fall. Although astrologically we are officially in the fall autumnal, there are days when it feels like summer is not letting go. A few changes, but still mostly summer greens.
And what about the natural world? Do the trees go through what we women used to when you didn't know whether it was time to start wearing fall colors. Do trees wonder if it time to turn yet, what if we have an Indian summer? Are they concerned that this is too much color too soon, how does this color look on me, maybe just a few highlights for now, oh God is the red showing already?
The In Between Time of Year • 8"x8" acrylic framed to 12"x12" • $250
If you travel up this way on Route 27, you've probably noticed these barns sitting back off the road a ways in New Vineyard. They're probably two of the most beautiful and well-maintained structures in these parts, and serve as a real homage to a way of life that supported so many Maine families for so long.
Today, working farms are making a comeback thanks to an influx of new young people and an infusion of their energy into an old way of life. While farming can be challenging, it's perfect for those who love Earth and treasure the fruits she bears. For some, being physically beat feels better than being emotionally battered. There's nothing quite like planting a seed and watching it grow. To many of us, that's a miracle and a real privilege.
Kay's Barns • 8" x 8" acrylic frame to 12" x 12" • $250
It's Earth Day 2021!
If I didn't have work to do I would have gone for a hike up Wee Mountain with Sue. As I write this, I realize I shoulda, woulda, coulda chucked the work and gone anyway because, well, it's Earth Day. From now on, I will always spend some time outside in the woods, in a field, on a mountain or water on Earth Day even if the snow is blowing sideways out there as it is now. It will remind me why this planet is so special.
Earth Day 2021 • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
We're in a drought right now, but a good spring deluge will bust open those beautiful brights in the trees. What begins as a hazy yellowish halo will blow open seemingly overnight, painting another shade of green until summer's deeps. The pop always surprises me no matter how vigilant I am and how much money I put down on a sure date.
We're lucky we get to witness these changes - it's a more positive reminder in our lives that the only constant is change.
Surprised By Spring Brights • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
This time of year I never get tired of watching spring try to flirt her way around winter. It's a clever sidling up to and gentle nudge against the old man for air space. Like a typical youngling who won't wait or listen to ancient wisdom that frequently warns her to hold off because the old man ain't finished yet, these fragile green shoots are impatient and won't wait. They can't. Wait is not what they are, what spring is.
Wait Is Not What Spring Is • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
We have a gang of chickadees around here flitting all over the place, mostly in the lilacs. They're also serenading us in the morning from the telephone wire outside our second floor bedroom window. I've always wondered what happens to them in a big wind, like the gusting 45-55 bully we have right now. I'm thinking it could be a trip to spread my wings and sail on it, but these little tweeties would probably end up somewhere between here and Europe. Here's what I found out.
In the meantime they are not eating, so Tom filled our bird feeder with a deluxe lasagna dinner mix for them to feast on in the aftermath.
Chickadees In the Wind • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Here we go again. It happens every year. A string of warm sunny days and we all knowingly get suckered into thinking spring is just around the other side of that birch over there. A real Mainer knows spring doesn't arrive until sometime in Maybe. In the meantime, I got suckered and did this little thought. You know what they say about insanity - it's thinking that maybe it will be different this year even though it hasn't for an eon or so.
Maybe It Will Be Different This Year • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Of all the Valentine's Days I have lived through, this one requires a major dive into chocolate. A swimming pool of chocolate. No, an ocean of chocolate. It won't make me feel better in the long run, but it will for a few luxurious mind altering hours.
This Valentine's Day also reminds me to hold on to universal truths. One of them is that Love wins in the end. Another one is karma. Of course karma applies to eating chocolate too!
Valentine's Day Breakfast • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Valentine's Day is coming up and my thoughts immediately turn to chocolate. Since I have chocolate in my oatmeal for breakfast every morning, I got to thinking about the alternative - flowers. According to an article in Psychology Today, flowers, not unlike chocolate, trigger all kinds of happy chemical reactions in our brains too.
Happy brain chemical #1 - Dopamine is triggered by the expectation of a reward. Flowers were a huge reward in our evolution because they marked the coming of abundance after a long hungry winter. Bright colors signaled valuable nutrition for our hunter-gather ancestors. They balanced their diet by scanning for spots of color.
Happy brain chemical #2 - Oxytocin creates the feeling of social trust. Flowers communicate the intention to invest effort in a relationship. And they convey a respect for fragility.
Happy brain chemical #3 - Serotonin is released when we advance our social importance. No one likes to admit they care about it, but failing to stimulate your serotonin makes us feel low. This is why we’re always looking for ways to trigger it. Many of our healthy social rituals exist to satisfy this natural urge.
So there you have it. A scientific case for throwing flowers into your oatmeal every morning if you don't have any chocolate on hand!
Flowers in My Oatmeal • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
It's cold out there today - and what would a good cold snap in Maine be without an accompanying frigid arctic wind whistling down from old man winter's pursed and icy blue lips.
Cold as it relates to temperature is relative for sure. Two of my brothers who live in southern California's desert hibernate when it dips below 60. Here in Maine, if you say you're cold it's got to be 20 below and blowing at least 40 if you don't want to have to endure jokes about being anemic.
Just for the hell of it, and running out of adjectives to describe cold, I looked up synonyms and got the so so frigid, frozen, freezing, etc. But sprinkled in the list here and there were some adjectives I'd never seen before.
Algid: Severely chilled or chilling: Mona was thinking that it was the most algid day she had experienced this winter. Latin word algēre, meaning "to feel cold."
"This world is the country of Algid, where Snow discovers that she is a long-lost princess destined to inherit the throne from her evil father."
Brumal: Indicative of or occurring in the winter. Latin: brumalis, from bruma winter.
"He shivers in the brumal blast; hungry he chirps before your door."
Frore: Frosty, frozen. Middle English froren, from Old English, past participle of frēosan to freeze. "The beast wept as the frore hills weep in the thaw, and the tears splashed big into the agate bowl."
Gelid: Extremely cold, icy. Latin gelidus, from gelu frost, cold
"She seemed to be unable to tear herself away from the sight of the austere Aniene, with its gelid waters."
I'm partial to gelid myself.
The Brumal January Moon • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250