Monday, March 29, 2010

Rain,rain and more rain

Yuckey, that's the best word to describe this weather. It started to rain again last night and it's predicted to continue for another 2-3 days. When all is said and done we may get up to another 6 inches of rain. I have no idea where it is going to go as the Concord and Assabet rivers crested over the last few weeks flooding roads, basements and stores. The gallery I work at closed for a week and a half. My friend said she saw boys canoeing down a street in Lincoln. The wind on the Cape was so severe it blew the shingles off a segment of our roof. Here are some photos. The bridge from the boatyard in Concord with the water above the arches is two weeks ago and the other is one week ago. The flooded road to Nashawtic and the house by the bridge on Monument are both two weeks ago. The roof is the roof.... The other night Paul said " This is the grossest March ever! " For some reason I just cracked up laughing. What the hell else are you going to do?

Friday, March 26, 2010


Inspiration, take it wherever you can find it. Tonight I found it at an opening of Dorothy Thompson's work at the Concord Art Association. I was so taken by the color and freedom on the postcard invite that I put it on my calendar as a must do event. Best laid plans often die a natural death after the relaxation of dinner and darkness set in but luckily not tonight. The show spanned four decades of drawings, printmaking, watercolor and oil painting. The work was a celebration of nature in all it's glorious color, intricacies, nuances and light. What a treat to see such accomplished work and the elegant woman behind it. Dorothy sat surrounded by bunches of flowers, quietly receiving her many admirers, friends and strangers. She had the loveliest smile I have ever seen. But my favorite thing was what she wrote in her artist statement. 
" The work evolved slowly, interrupted, as always, by the demands of a family life. But my development during these years is a testament to the fact that for women the second fifty years can be as fruitful as the first."
Thank you Dorothy Thompson for inspiring me in such a profound way and no doubt many others. Thank you to her husband and family for giving her a studio in 1968 for her 50th birthday. I was astonished when I figured out her age; her beauty belies her age. She is a stunning woman; the kind that seems so inside and out as there was not a mean line on her face. Henri Cartier Bresson said " A persons face is like a map of their life, you end up with the face you deserve. " So true! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dare to dream

Do not give up your dreams; hold them close, protect them and share them carefully. There are forces out there that will conspire against your dreams. You know them all too well, they sound kind of like this " You'll never make any money doing __________ " " You re not qualified to get into _____________ " The list goes on. Lives have been ruined by these voices, the naysayers and the killjoys. Maybe they were a parent, a spouse, a sibling or even a well meaning friend. The voice that drowned out yours. The bucket of water on the fire of your passion. Take the bucket out of their hands and pour it onto the seeds of your passion. Do it quietly, do it with the strength of your conviction but do it. Do it for yourself and if you fail at least you know you believed in something, you believed in yourself. There will always be the voices that say you can't or it won't work. Hush those voices and believe in yourself.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Childhood friends

Alex has been on spring break from University of Vermont. Soon after his arrival the house was filled with " Concord friends ". What a treat to see all of them hanging out; happily reminiscing as they flipped through albums and looked at photos on our new Imac. We marveled at how good everyone looked in the prom photos. Looking at those photos lead to funny stories; first girlfriends, first kisses, etc. The next day, as Alex and I drove to the movies, we talked about some of his childhood pranks; pulling out snow stakes at Wright Farm with Theo and untying birthday balloons with Phil. There has never been a dull moment with these spirited boys. Now they have turned into serious college students but they will never lose the loyalty that childhood friendships bring. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last week I met my friend Barbara's sister. Both are writers; Barbara teaches
adults in the Concord area and her sister, Ruth, teaches boys/young adults who are
in a juvenile detention residence in Oregon.
I was fascinated by Ruth's response to one of Barbara's blogs about teaching writing.
It was an exercise she had done with with her young students. The prompt was a 5 minute list
of " places darkness hangs out " then put a verb with each noun ie "nightmares terrify"
" holes consume "
When I met Ruth we talked about her work, how powerful the writing is with these young
people. She jokingly referred to them as her "bad boys" and I knew she felt they were any
thing but. I wish there had been more time to share our stories about teaching and learning
from the amazing young folks who have graced our lives. I am certain she is having a profound
impact on these young boys. It is amazing what a difference one person can have on the universe. I hope she is proud of the work she is doing.
This is my list. Thank you Ruth for the inspiration!
words wound
dreams transport
basements swallow
alleyways swirl
closets rattle
prisons stifle
writing runs
imagination stirs
secrets muffle
silence suffocates
nightmares swoop
depression stabs
fear rustles
caves swallow
pits burn
hearts beat
minds race

Friday, March 12, 2010

darkness creeps into
my heart
like the fog.
suddenly it is there,
quietly trying to
envelope me.
" i will not do darkness
today " i reply.
there is no sunshine 
to bolster my resolve.
the new england grey
is incessant.
the rain dampens my
" i will not do darkness
today" i reply again.
the words of The Dali Lama
ring in my ear.
" today i am fortunate
to be alive, i have a precious 
human life, i am not going to waste it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

and then
you will understand
everything. Albert Einstien

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The power of art to heal

I started making cards when my dear friend, Annie Carroll, was diagnosed with cancer. Annie was an art teacher at Cambridge Rindge & Latin who had a profound impact on everyone who was lucky enough to know her. Making cards was my answer to feeling powerless. I discovered Paper Source in Cambridge; rubber stamps and handmade paper became my obsession as did making cards that were funny, crazy and upbeat. I made those cards for her and I made them for myself.
Many years later my dear friend and student teacher, Ruth Rieffanangh, was diagnosed in the middle of her student teaching program with breast cancer. Again I felt powerless; out came the rubber stamps and the handmade paper but this time I added 40 plus mixed media students who were as devastated by the news as I was. We made sheets of paste paper. We looked up quotes that would be inspirational. We made cards for Ruth and in the process we felt less powerless. This was one of the greatest moments of my teaching career. Art has the power to heal. Art has been the greatest light in my life and one I want to share. I have always loved cards; buying them, making them and sending them. My intention is to start a line of cards to sell. I will keep you all posted as my venture unfolds.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yesterday I took the second part to a two day workshop called " Buddhism for Women " It was taught by Wendy Garling at the Womens Well in Concord and it was an amazing experience. Here is a quote that I want to share.
" Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can. " - His Holiness the Dali Lama -