A Blessing Named Bituminous

A lapful of love, a warm chin in my elbow, a soft paw tapping my chest, green eyes gazing into mine. This was Bituminous for many wonderful years.
This morning his time ran out, and I let him go peacefully before he lost his peace in this life. He snuggled his cheek into my hand right up to the end, enjoying my gentle love that wanted to keep him forever, but even more wanted for him to never know the suffering that would have come soon due to his failing body.
My Bituminous—a mighty hunter in his younger years; a friend small in stature but great in trust; a beloved member of our family for over eighteen years. Somehow, because he had beaten the odds so many times over the years, I thought he would keep on going forever.
I learned much from my little friend. Early on he showed me what trust looks like. I remember stepping outside before bed and calling him to come inside. The night was black and so was he, and all was silent. Then a small piece of the night would step into the circle of light spilling from the windows, and Bituminous would come running joyfully to me from the darkness. A small creature, less than one tenth my size, hurrying toward me without hesitation, with perfect trust. From him I learned to have a greater trust in God, who is so much greater than I.
In recent years Bituminous has helped me learn to slow down and savor quiet moments. Over the past few years I have spent many happy hours with my warm cat on my lap, with him sleeping or watching me, and me reading or watching his calm breathing. Life slowed down as I stepped out of the rat race, into peaceful reflection and silent connection that enriched my days and helped me grow into the person I am today.
Thank you, Bituminous, for the gifts you brought me. You were a gift in every way.

Duck Pond Gallery

On Saturday my first solo exhibition opened at Duck Pond Gallery in Port Ewen, NY. The opening reception was a great evening with friends and family from near and far in attendance–such an affirming and encouraging time! Many more people were there than I expected, including some we hadn’t seen in years, so it was a time of one joyful surprise after another as people walked in the door. I also especially enjoyed seeing various circles of my life meeting in one place– family, dog community friends, art friends, church friends, and home schooling friends. In addition, I met several artists whom I am looking forward to getting to know.

I have fifty-one paintings on exhibit, including birds, other wildlife, dog portraits, landscapes, and a few florals and winter trees. It was certainly exciting for me to see my work framed and hanging in one place, and I am even more motivated to keep on painting and expanding my skills and my horizons as an artist.

I owe a very big thank you to all the people who have encouraged and supported me along the way and helped me get to this point. Without their input, I would not yet be exhibiting my artwork.

Playing with Summer Color

I’ve been busy preparing for my first solo art show (more on that in an upcoming post), but yesterday I had to take a break to enjoy the vibrant colors of summer. Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea) and Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)are blooming profusely in my garden so, as the sun was strong and the temperature was in the nineties, I cut a few and brought them into the relative cool of my studio to paint.

I just played with water and color on my paper, not worrying about detail or precision, merely attempting to capture the lively, bright feel of the blossoms. I didn’t want the beauty of summer to pass without me taking at least a few hours to saturate myself with it and relax with a brush in my hand as I captured some moments of fleeting color.