I'm very grateful to everyone who left a comment, or thought a good thought, for my dad. All the well-wishes worked; he's expected to make a full recovery. He can get back to being his normal crazy self very soon.
One of my students e-mailed me to discuss an assignment, and I mentioned my father's surgery to her. She wrote back and told me about her mother's upcoming hip replacement surgery, and said, It's really hard to see your parents vulnerable, isn't it? She hit that one right on the head.
In the midst of my father's healing came my mother's birthday, yesterday. My mother has been dead for 10 years this year. She would've been 59. Ten years, which I didn't think I'd survive without her, a landmark. I wanted to do something to celebrate her life, something that would go well with wine. I believe the best gift I can give my mother is to fully live my life (though I felt the opposite at first). I set out to live it and not be sad because I didn't feel sad. I felt grateful. So I worked a good while, then instead of melting into the sofa under the rays of the television, I got out my painting supplies and made this little trio of 8x10s for Schmin.
You didn't know I had these kinds of painting supplies. ;) With Hobby Lobby two minutes away I can dust off my old artistic visions and get busy. I hadn't painted much, and not in years, but after scouring thrift stores and Craigslist to find original art to gussy up my walls, and knowing exactly what I wanted but not coming close, I decided to realize a dream and do it myself. I'm no Ellen Bloom. I don't remotely profess to be skilled or good, but luckily I love abstract art, and am a fool for abstract expressionism, and I don't have qualms about slapping some paint around wherever I see fit and calling it a done deal. In fact, my only rule for my paintings is that I have to display them, or give them to someone else who will. Art supplies ain't cheap (I stick with acrylics and don't even let my eyes wander over to the oil paints, oy). With work last quarter I didn't have time to sew, or much patience to knit, but painting can be instant gratification of the creative impulse. And, you can do it 'til you're satisfied. Don't like something? Paint the hell over it.
Coming soon I'll post the other pieces I've painted, though I think the ones I did yesterday are the best (with the exception of one previous piece, which I'll show you). I'm learning better how to manipulate the paint and make it do what I see in my head. I'm also getting better at stealing -- um, using other people's work as inspiration. Schmin has been very supportive. Even though he named the paintings I hung in my kitchen Gay Pride Camouflage, he said the colors I used in them are very nice. No telling what he'll call his triptych.
I hadn't partied hard enough with Schmin's paintings, so I did one to go in my bedroom. When I sprayed it with varnish this morning, the colors struck me as perfectly 1950s, and it reminded me of my mother, who was born in 1950. Everybody called my mother Day, short for Dayletha, so I gave it a title playing on her name, Break of Day 1950. It's no Gay Pride Camouflage, but I love it. Happy birthday again, dear Day Day.
As a gift to anyone who likes abstract art, here's a version of Break of Day that you can use as a screensaver.