Friday, April 18, 2008

I spent Sunday through Wednesday in California, visiting my dad, who is in the final stages of Alzheimers disease, one of the cruelest ways to wind down a life. My sister and I are trying our best to give Dad the most comfortable end possible.

Coming back to Ajo felt like such a gift. This serene little town, my husband, dog and studio were here for me. I wasn't sure how long it would take me to recover, but here I am working away the day after I got back.

You can see a portion of my studio. Thanks to Jim for taking this photo late last night! There are at least 4 projects going on in here right now. See if you can find them!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is another personal piece. It's quite a large painting, but a lot of the details aren't visible, so I'll describe it. The title of the painting is Mathew's Story. There are four image transfers of Mathew in the NICU as a preemie, from photographs by James Cowlin. I tinted over them. These images are on canvas, which is attached to a wood panel. See the shadows cast under the black – that's because the canvases stick out.

When Mathew finally came home from the hospital, we had his nursery all set up, including a wallpaper border, which I painted on the top and bottom of the panel. At the very top and very bottom is a poem written by Mat. I know, you can barely see it, but it's in his handwriting, which I transferred to the panel.

Here's what the poem says:

I am special • I am • I was in the hospital for many days • and many nights. I am a miracle my parents said. I am a survivor.

Doctors pouring over me day and night • When I came home I saw my room • My toys • I did not see an incubator.

My room was so colorful • and bright • I knew it was home • I knew it was.

"Me" by Mathew Cowlin

By the way, Mathew is now 19 years old, and a freshman at Kenyon College in Ohio and doing very well. We are so very proud of him.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A visit to California to visit my father was followed by Mathew's spring break from college. He was home for a week and a half, during which we made multiple trips to Phoenix.

Lots of time was spent in front of the TV watching Monk, as Mathew succumbed and then recovered from a bona fide case of the flu.

After he left, guess what! I got the flu, which ended up being pretty debilitating for 3 weeks. Now I'm back on track, functioning at last!

The image above is one I did a number of years ago, called 'Till Death Do Us Part. The left side is a painted portrait of my Mom and Dad. On the right side are photo transfers of them taken from old snapshots. My mother passed away in 2002.

As my father approaches the end stages of Alzheimers disease, he and my Mom are much on my mind.

The painting you see is part of an ongoing series of personal work. This is work I do to express my own experiences, separate from the landscape and people in the landscape work.