A Quiet Place

These days of semi-confinement due to the pandemic of corvid 19 is actually good for the artist. Whether a musician, a writer or a visual artist, a to withdraw into ones studio is a great opportunity to bring out from the depths of ones mind the memories, visions and spiritual pantry of stored bits and pieces. The sounds, smells and scenes from walks in the woods, of travels, of the marketplace, and of people in those places comes to the forefront of my mind when I have a period of almost enforced reflection. Normally I get busy with outside activities, like my Monday Piano lesson, Tuesday art group, my Wednesday Bible group, guitar lessons, organ practice, gardening, shopping….So now I have been sequestered and am all done making masks for people, working on my jewelry, experimenting with polymer clay, wooden beads, and on. The weather has been cold, cloudy , rainy, windy. Not conducive to painting outdoors unless I want to sit in my car, which I have done before. But painting on a cloudy day makes for a painting with little contrast like pussy willows and fog.

cloudy sunrise

So now I will contact my muse and get out my new 300 lb watercolor paper and see what happens.

Color is music to my eyes

Words used to describe music are apt for color. When I think of vivace I picture alizarin crimson / hot pink. Fortissimo is vermillion, dolce is baby pink, coral, adagio and amabile are soft yellows while lemon peel yellow is allegro or forte. Color combinations can be dissonant, agitato, like alizarin/lemon/ coral, while interesting, can be jarring to some. The greens are largo, except the lime peels are allegro. The blues are usually amabile, sotto voce, teals can be largo, while the sapphires can be allegro and forte. I suppose this might be useful to someone who is colorblind. I on the other hand find color beguiling, stimulating or relaxing, I did a painting of a hosta garden and exotic maple trees. It is in shades of greens and yellows. It is harmonious and largo. But there is a splash of alizarin in the golden third that is dissonant. High contrasts such as white, black and red are vivace and forte. What piece of music does one think of when looking at a painting. An English speaking wine critic has the same problem, they use other terms like food to describe a wine. It has a raspberry undertone, it’s parched, flowery. I don’t think music critics have that problem. I think if one brings music terms to a painting, an emotion or mixtures of emotions comes with these terms. It becomes personal which opinions always are.

Hosta Garden

A Doer or A Talker

A man, while traveling, suddenly was confronted by a eureka moment. Truth about a situation he had been involved in. For a few days he was blinded by truth until he had time to think about the situation. He realized his mission was to do something about the horrible state of affairs among his people. He went to the groups that had been carrying on in a despicable way to show them they were doing devil’s handiwork . They were lying and cheating and immoral and unprincipled in their personal and business dealings. He spoke to them. He offered guideline and advice but they feared he would destroy what they had built together. He would make the foundation of their lively hood crumble. They made up lies about him and mocked him. They called him a traitor and stupid and hateful. Still the man persisted. He showed them that things could be better if they did things differently but they beat him and put him in prison then drove him out of town. He escaped with his life. He left behind a few people who admired his thinking and they organized a group to teach the truth to who ever would listened. People did listen, not all, but some. He had to move on to the next city for he was under constant threats. The man continued his travels. He continued to face abuse and scorn and castigation. He persisted in the face of continual threats because he knew his was right and he knew his backers were getting stronger and they admired his persistence and pleaded with him not to give up.

He wrote to his teachers with loving advice throughout his travels until finally he was imprisoned. He continued to write from prison to his teacher followers. He wrote to them on how to follow Jesus teachings. How to avoid letting people sit around and take food without working for it. He asked them not to forget the poor people in Jerusalem who thought the second coming would happen soon and they had put all their worldly goods in a pile and it was parceled out to everyone according to his need. Then they ran out of supplies.

Nero feared he would cause an uprising in Rome and had him decapitated. But his movement to change people by delivering the message of love and salvation was carried on and it spread over the known world. He was an example of love with a message that truth and determination can overcome evil and put the bad guys out of business. That man was the apostle Paul

We have a lot to complain about. At this writing, our political country is at a standstill. I don’t want to write about that. I am up to here with it all. I may be forgetting history but I think it is the first time our Christian religion is being threatened in America and elsewhere. Not news about elsewhere but our country was founded and based on the Judeo-Christian belief system. Sometimes I feel like strangers have come onto my house and rearranged my kitchen cabinets and have announced to me that the walls are the wrong color and my furniture is out of date and they don’t like the arrangement on my mantel. It offends them. Am I the polite hostess that agrees with their protestations? It seems like that is what our country is doing. These strangers don’t even know who I am nor do they care. I am a dinosaur. I am old and I am living in the dark ages. The language has changed. The clothing and hair styles are different. Not good Just different. Manners belong in the unheard of Emily Post book . History and our Constitution are buried beneath cobwebs and dust. We are horrible people to not open our doors to the poor children who have their noses pressed to the glass door.

We have more worldly goods than ever before. The poor have flat screen tvs and cell phones and cars. Yet they are not happy. There will always be something they haven’t got. And it should be given to them. They have free health care. Just walk into an ER. They need to look for their joy. With joy you don’t need much,

There are thousands living on the streets in California. Living worse than animals. Like animals that are penned up with no way to be clean. Californian open hearted, feel good people let them come in and they can’t take care of them. How is that kindness working for them?

We have a man working hard for us and enduring the malicious lies and character assassination and demoralizing insults from fearful people . Do they know what they are afraid of? Are they Chicken Little and Turkey Lurkey? Victims of group think? Can they stop spewing hate and look at the sky and see the sun is shining. The sky is not falling, Nancy Little and Chuck Turkey.

The strangers have bludgeoned me with words that just don’t apply. Words like racist, homophob, immoral, hater of children, deplorable and on. I am moral, principled, honest, caring beyond myself, I don’t need to do things to make myself feel good. I have a small roof over my hear, a small car that I can fit an armchair or other yard sale stuff in. I have a joyful job, friends, painting supplies, Salvation Army designer clothes. I have more than I need and I feel joyful.

Thoughts on visiting the WWI Verdun site

While on a visit France in 1960,  I was urged to see the town in Lorraine where long and dreadful fighting occurred . 163,000 killed, 216,000 wounded.

Before reaching Verdun I stopped at a sign that read Here Lies Fleury. A town made extinct by constant bombardment of cannon fire until the soil was in fact soilless. It was contaminated by corpses, explosives, and poisonous gas so no farmers could take up their work.  It is officially designated as a village that died for France.  No seeds were left in the soil, it was without tilthe, without material to grow anything. Can you imagine looking at a barren location pockmarked with no vegetation since 1916. That is a span of 44 years.. I felt terrible sadness in my core.  When I got to Verdun it was similar but there were trees and grass. In the center of town is a very large concrete looking building  called Fort Douaumont. It looked like a tomb. It was now a museum/mausoleum. It was pervaded with death.  I saw dioramas and descriptions of the battles. I came away with an intense disgust with the thought process of the generals in that time. It wasn’t far from the Napoleonic strategy of lining the men up and let the enemy shoot at them and when they fell bring up the next line of cannon fodder. Thank you Marshalls Petain and Margin. So stupid, Such disregard for human life. Young lovely men, obviously strong and able, the men that should be fathering the next generation were decimated. I looked at the men in Paris in 1960 after 2 wars of carnage to the prime breeding stock,if you will, and the men that were left were unfit and produced unfit babies. Homely men, ungainly, gawkey men.  That’s what war does to a nation’s men.  I was looking at them as a 20 year old American girl.  So, after the war is over what do you have? Destroyed buildings, laid waste land and pitiful beings to sire the next generation.  Sounds ripe for a Hitler to move in.  I should add, nearby was the Marginaux Line which was interesting if you read about the war. It was supposed to keep out tanks. It is like rows of giant jacks, the kid’s game jacks.

Later on the trip I walked the beaches of Normandy. Landing craft were still there partially submerged in the sea.  Hitler’s bunkers were very much there and you could see the destruction our Navy waled upon them by their deeply gouged surface. One could go in and walk around these fortresses and they smelled of pee, so they were still good for something


Piled Higher and Deeper

I think paintings are either commissioned, or, they are bought on impulse.  “Oooo I like that, it would look nice in the dining room.”

I paint what I like. It is on impulse, a dream, or I have looked at that scene on my way home and now I want to paint it. I like to paint landscapes, seascapes, pet portraits, old buildings with charm and sometimes people. I like to paint vegetables and fruit and glassware and copper and fabrics draped over or around. So now I have paintings piled higher and deeper.  Apparently I am not painting what people are looking for. YOU know, if you are a trained singer or flautist you probably want to sing or play for someone, else, what’s the point?  Me too. I don’t paint in order to stack more under the couch or closet but that’s what it’s come to.


Conkey’s Tavern Painting will be found in the Lost Towns Brew Pub in Gilbertville, MA, when it opens in September.

I just finished an oil painting of Conkey’s Tavern. in Pelham, Mass.  It is extinct having fallen to the ravages of time and The Quabbin Reservoir.  Some of it was preserved and is in the American Museum in Bath, England.  I painted it from a photo, of course, but I had to use artist license to make it look like it is was habitable.  Notice on the right side front where an addition was put on. I painted what I saw, the not so careful meshing of the clapboards. Actually the siding looks rough sawn.  I added a chimney which had fallen off and I painted the clouds looming in the distance foreboding  disaster. It was built in the 1750s by Conkey himself and was the meeting place of The Shay’s Rebellion group.  Did you know that after the men came home when the Revolutionary War was over, they found in many cases their fields fallow, overgrown with weeds and small trees. It took years to bring it back to where it could produce enough for them to sell and get some money coming in. All this while the government was taxing them. They couldn’t pay so they faced jail and get their property confiscated.   The government in their ever brilliant minds don’t think about how these men will get the money if they are cooped up. So what does Daniel Shay do? He  plots to rebel against the government. There is a shootout in New Braintree among other places.  Keep in mind these men have endured the hardships of battle, weather, lousy food to wrest our country from Uncle George III and to top it off , they are owed money from Uncle Sam.  I feel bitter just thinking about it.

So I am focusing on finding other farms in the Lost Towns area to bring back to life. You look at these old photos and see nice farms, fields all clear of trees and scruff that 3 or 4 generations labored to clear and till or graze their stock. The government says

“We need your farm to provide water for Boston” some hundred plus miles away. “So find yourself another place “(and start again).  The factory workers didn’t have that depressing problem. They got up and looked for another factory. I am not intending to slight the emotions of factory or office workers.

I’d love to hear your opinions on some or all of the thoughts in this blog.

Spring went by while I was sleeping

Today is beautiful, if a bit on the warm side. Noticeable because we went from winter coats to short sleeves. Pretty much like the forsythia went from brown stems to full bloom all of a sudden,

second scan lily2018

Lily of the Valley

Not complaining.   Our Apartment super fixed my screen door and my trike handlebars this AM and I toodled off to the library. I am looking for the movie (DVD) Dangerous Moonlight. Nobody has it. It is about flights over Warsaw during WWll. The music Warsaw Concerto was featured . Very popular tune for pianists in the 40s. The Nineteen forties. My brother Dave used to play it.  I bet he’s forgotten. It’s loud. Also I was looking for the movie We’re No Angels with Humphrey B. and Peter Ustinov and Peter Lorre. Three great stars.  I put in a request at CWMARS. It is a regional interlibrary loan service in Massachusetts. Free for me but the library has to pay big bucks to be in it. They will email me in a couple of days saying it is in.  Some months ago I joined the library book group here. I like one out of six books. It was The Wright Brothers.  The other books were fiction and I could not relate to two 13 years old boys shoplifting, and drinking vodka in the Las Vegas, NV outskirts.  I don’t want to struggle for what should be for enjoyment. I did that when I was in school. Done with that.  I get lots of recommendations from my reader friends. I just thought where I live by my onesies it would be nice to converse about erudite things with other non related adults. While I am very sympathetic I don’t want to talk about illnesses, aches and pains, politics and gossip with non related adults.  I enjoy talking about art and music, other artists creative experiments and jam sessions with instruments.

I am preparing for a one woman show in South Hadley, MA at Barstow’s Store/Bistro/Cafe.  I am allowed 16 paintings. Hopefully they will sell and I will bring more and sell those and I can keep painting. I have been painting greeting/note cards that are sold in Boston because I have no room to store paintings anymore.

And, I am getting together appropriate paintings for a new Brew pub opening in June in Gilbertville, MA.  It will be called ‘Lost Towns.’ Our history out here has sad memories for some still alive who used to live in the towns now under the Quabbin Reservoir . The reservoir was built or carved from an area including farms and some manufacturing plants near the Connecticut River Valley.  The government came in and told them to go find some other place to live, we need your land. They needed  a reservoir to provide water fro Boston.  Oddly the people who worked in factories could relocate and find another job or keep the job they had if the company relocated. But the farmers; they would have to find land and buy it and start all over again felling trees, digging stumps, etc.   The brewery will commemorate our history.

When the state took land from people in the region of the Sudbury Reservoir, where I grew up in Southboro, Same thing happened. This was in the early 1900s. They did some blasting for the tunnel and existing houses were partially damaged. Cracked plaster was one problem my folks house sustained. The MDC Metropolitan District Commission brought over a bag of plaster to the home owner. DIY  Try and get away with that now.

On my agenda is chairing a tag sale/rummage/yard/attic treasures sale to benefit the church, on the Hardwick Common, June 2 and 3 along with a multi tabled plant sale which Stillman’s has contributed and crafters will be there with their tables. So put in Hardwick Common or Hardwick Center in maps on your phone and take a nice drive out to the country if you are within a reasonable distance. Hardwick is in the center of the state.

The illustration is a watercolor I did for the Spring music program at the Tri Parish Community Church.

Happy Spring.

Details Details

West Brookfield, Faith arrival, Sturbridge 103

The Town Common

Being snowbound provides me with the opportunity to keep up with my blog. We got over a ft of snow and 4 ft high piles around the house. The wind is whistling and even though the sun it out now the wind chill warning says -3 F. My car is in the shop getting snow tires put on so here I sit until that is completed. I live about 1/16 mi. from the auto repair shop and way less than that from the P.O., 3 stores, library, town hall and 4 eating establishment and the common or green as it is sometimes referred to. If you are outside of New England I will tell you that there is a common in most towns in New England. I found out some time ago that in Ohio and maybe other states in the midwest they never heard of New England. I guess we are provincial enough to assume we are famous. If not for weather, for history, for the ‘shot heard round the world’. Jokes on us. To finish that thought, a common is where cows, sheep, what-have-you were collected by the shepherd or young lad responsible for taking the cattle to pasture or summer ground. Like the ‘old country’. Then it became a training ground for the Minute and Militia companies formed to prepare men for defending our towns from whatever outside invader was current. I think it was also used as a marketplace for farmers and craft people, not sure, but it is now. In the town I live in it is used for fairs such as our annual Asparagus Fest, it has a gazebo-like bandstand where weekly bands play in the summer with a big HooHa on the 4th. Often these bands are funded with a grant from the Mass Arts Council. But everyday people go there to enjoy the beauty and peace. We have a fountain with a statue of a woman with lightly covered  breasts as Liberty.

West Brookfield Common

The Lady Fountain

This fountain was boarded up for years because someone thought that the scant coverage was scandalous.  Probably encouraged lusty thoughts by pubescent boys, qv.,The Music Man movie.

This week I am watching Sons of Liberty on Netflix. Love it. I am sort of purist about the historical aspect including costumes and props and I find it distracting and very mildly irritating that people with the job of researching historical movies can’t do a complete job of it. I am sure I am not the only one who notices things like that. Why just during Christmas on the Hallmark channel they had a woman who was a violinist who wasn’t shown how to hold a bow and who scraped away on the violin as if she were sawing wood with no sense of rhythm. But back to historical stuff. The women in the movie were out in the streets with just their white batiste caps on. Never would have happened. They always wore a bonnet of some kind on top of it. The men’s hair was in the fashion of today’s women. a straggly mess with much of the hair tied back but straggles along side of the face. What is that about? People who have work to do find a way to keep it out of their eyes. Do they think Paul Revere worked on the fine detail of his silver pieces with hair in his eyes? Also men wore hats, tricorns, knitted caps, brimmed ones, military ones outside. When dancing in formal attire men and women wore gloves. Women wore kid and men wore cotton to avoid perspiring on the women’s kid gloves. When the British marched on Concord to capture the stores of arms, the battle was at the Barrett farm on the hill and not The bridge, the famous bridge where the embattled farmers stood to ‘fire the shot heard round the world’. Didn’t see the bridge in the movie at all. Not critical but it would have been nice. Ben Franklin was Ben Franklin. Sam Adams was a young hot head–probably was. George was good. Happy with George and General Gage was his evil nemesis. Didn’t know Gen. Gage’s wife was a traitor to England.  She wasn’t English but a New Jerseyite.  Gage was not pleased.  She and Dr. Warren had something going.  Storyline led us to believe that Gage was directly responsible for our hero, Dr. Warren’s horrible death. Costumes on the minutemen were correct. Anything farmers might wear. You might go to see a patriot day re-enactment sometime and in the wealthy town like Concord the minutemen wear matching uniforms in a lovely buff shade. Really?

Haven’t finished the series yet. I did like the series Turn. Setting on Long Island, NY during the Revolutionary War. Worked out to my satisfaction.