Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And The Thunder Rolled

At the end of the rain the sky cleared....what a lovely sight!

It has rained and it has thundered and lightening fell all around. Nell does not like thunderstorms and has followed me around like my shadow, always at my feet, wanting to get into my lap, or better still around my neck. We have spent some bonding closeness for sure. And when we go out for walks now, after all the rain and mugginess the mosquitoes have descended about the farm. They are everywhere, and persistent in their pursuit of blood!! I am an easy victim. They feast on my bounty!! But on an happier note...the fireflies are back!! This is good!! I saw them on our walk to the barn last night, between thunderstorms, and they are a welcome sight! They eat mosquitoes....let the feast begin!!

"The Hammock"   Oil on copper     6 x 6"  copyright 2012

I did get some painting in this week....outside! I packed up my trusty Guerilla thumbox pochade and ventured out into the sunshine and fresh air for some plein air time, and it was just what 'the doctor ordered'....I had started to be feeling a bit stuck in a rut creative wise...and the plein air painting snapped me out of  that rut! And I produced two fun painting to boot. So my advice to all my blog readers who are feeling down or bored with life....plein air paint!! Or as my good friend and plein air mentor always says "Get out and paint"!!!

"View Through The Arbor"  Oil on copper    6 x 6" 

So the new paintings are available on my website......I am glad that I got out and painted.Thanks Renee!!!
 I will  get out and paint more often!!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Nellie caught a tiger!!!!

I had started an oil on copper painting, and was well on my way into it, when it seems that life began asking or taking too much of my time. My time in the studio has been way too short and too sporadic to make headway on that painting or even get absorbed in it. I need to be absorbed in my work to feel as if I am connected to it, immersed into it. So I sit here, and I look at what I have painted so far..... and I feel like wiping it all off, only to start again. Nell asks for some playtime. She has a tiger that needs throwing.....she needs my attention,so I oblige.

Some of my Bleeding-Hearts   copyright 2012

And then my gardens need pruning, preening and enjoying. I have to answer their call.

Cob Cottage Farm    copyright 2012

And then after days of rain and gray, a bit of blue appears in the skies over the farm...the evening sunlight hits the billowing clouds and.I have to admire God's glory and give thanks for small a small Jack Russell who wants my attention.

I can finish the painting tomorrow.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

If At First You Don't Suceed Or I Reworked An Oil Painting

"Lady In White"  Oil on copper   22 x 22"          copyright 2012

After some thought and oil painting that I painted a while ago has been bothering me. Looking at it everyday, as it hung on my studio wall, I began to question some of it...I  just wanted to change it out a bit, And as I am 'the artist' I can do that! There was much that I liked about the painting, but there was something that I wanted to say with this subject. I ahve gone back into it.... I think I have said it now. I am happy with it. It is done. I have re-titled it "Lady in White" and it is back on my website. Now I can forge ahead with a new oil I have been planning for a long while. I can't wait to show it to you!!

This past weekend the annual Art Festival exhibit took place in Belfast,ME. at the Hutchinson Center.I again had work exhibited in it. It is always a fun show and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of artistic talent that abides on the coast, in the villages and in the woods of Mid-Coast Maine. I feel surrounded by great minds!! Love it!!

Spring is bursting at Cob Cottage. My flower gardens are starting to display color and excitement. It makes me laugh to compare my small gardens and garden pond with the wonderful gardens of Monet's Giverny ......but I can dream.of grander floral displays as I enjoy working in my  more manageable gardens. I hope I get some time to get out and paint my flowers... time to smell the roses!! They will be blooming before long.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May Always Has Much Meaning

May has a new meaning to least it has since July of 2006.....I am again prompted to tell my story, abridged.This following blog post was first 'aired' May 6th in 2008. I am re posting it today to explain .....and maybe help someone else deal with whatever life throws at them. Read on.........

May has always been a special month for my family…spring is in full swing, my husband’s birthday falls in May and of course so does Mother’s Day. But this year [and last year] May has taking on new meaning for us, as it is designated as Stroke Awareness Month.
And we are very aware about stroke. Now.

On July 29th of 2006, my husband and I, along with my sister who was visiting from California, were all headed from our farm in Morrill, Maine to my eldest brother’s home in New Hampshire to celebrate his 70th birthday. It was a surprise party for him and for the first time in a long time, my siblings and I were going to be together to party and have a good time. We arrived on time and I got out of our car to greet everyone, feeling so happy to see us all together. My sister-in-law, Bev walked up to me and started talking …I could hear her, but I couldn't make out a word that she was saying. I didn’t feel right, but was busy looking around at everybody when I realized I couldn't see my right hand or arm and I couldn’t figure out where they were…and I was still trying to understand Bev. She sounded like a slow broken record and her words were all jumbled to me. I looked around for my husband, Les and when I saw him I asked, “Where’s my arm? And he said “By your side? What’s the matter?” Then I guess everyone saw something was wrong with me. I remember them helping me into the shade of a huge tree on the grounds and helping to lay me down on the ground. I looked up at everyone…I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t really talk and tell them what I felt and a sea of faces looked down on me. But through it all a strange feeling of calm and peacefulness filled my being and I knew it would be all right. I was suffering a stroke. I missed my brother’s 70th.

To make a long story short…I was rushed to a hospital in N.H. and then was transported by ambulance to Portland, Maine, and admitted into Maine Medical Center. This was done in order that I should be closer to my family and doctors.
Tests were started.. The left side of my brain had been ‘attacked’ when the blood flow was interrupted or stopped due to a blood clot. A significant part of my left temporal lobe was affected and this left me with right-sided paralysis and Aphasia. Aphasia is a condition where language problems make it difficult to talk the way I used to and makes writing very difficult for me. Something that was so important to me in my life [I have worked as a newspaper reporter and fashion editor in the past…and wrote poetry] ....was now something that was so difficult. My understanding and comprehension of speech were unimpaired, but speech itself became hard as my speech related muscles wouldn’t cooperate and my brain could not find the words to say what I wanted to.

But what was more important to me, as I lay on the hospital bed with my family around me…could I draw??? I managed to get the nurse to understand what I wanted…. a pencil and paper. She brought them and everyone looked on as I sketched an eye, a horse head……….okay… I could live with the limitations I had a this point. I could draw, and this would mean I could paint. Life was good!!!

In the week that passed in between hospital tests, MRI’s and blood work, I sketched some, slept a lot, but I knew I needed to get home, to our quiet farm where I would be alone with my husband, see my Corgi and our horses, see and smell our gardens and get down to the business of getting better…. to getting ‘Kathi’ back!
This year and half that has passed has been difficult. Our horses became my therapy, as I brushed them while walking with a cane my hand and arm gained strength. I cleaned stalls needing the muck fork to help stand up with. Throwing hay and lifting shaving bags became my upper body strengthen exercises. I had a speech therapist come and work with me in our home, who helped me start to get over some the Aphasia problems…and an occupational therapist to help me get my hand coordination back.
And I painted…and drew and I slept. I slept a lot. I still sleep during the day needing naps to replenish my energy.

I started a blog after my therapist suggested that I do it as an exercise to recapture my language skills. Each and every blog entry has my recovery in it. Metaphorically each of my paintings tells of my struggles and my victories...most in the form of equine art.
But through it all I knew that my attitude about what I was going through was more important to me that what had happened to me. My recovery depended on my attitude. I cannot control what happens to me in life..but I can control my attitude. And that is my life mantra now……….’if it’s gonna’s up to me.’

And I have also been blessed with a wonderful husband who has been beside me through it all. Les has been the wind beneath my wings.

So in a nutshell….that is my story. Why I blog.. and the road leading up to the beginning of my blog. That is my story and I am sticking with it.


About 700,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 45 seconds.

Stroke kills more than 150,000 people a year. That's about 1 of every 16 deaths. It's the No. 3 cause of death behind diseases of the heart and cancer.

On average, every 3 to 4 minutes someone dies of stroke.

Of every 5 deaths from stroke, 2 occur in men and 3 in women.

The 2004 stroke death rates per 100,000 population for specific groups were 48.1 for white males, 47.4 for white females 73.9 for black males and 64.9 for black females.

Americans will pay about $62.7 billion in 2007 for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

*Source: ASA


Any or all of the following:

Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Sudden, severe headaches with no known cause

*Source: AHA statistics 2004

Monday, May 7, 2012

One More Job Done

"Heading To The Ring"   Oil on copper     12 x 12"      copyright 2012

I started the day with full intentions of starting a new painting....but was waylaid by the brilliant sunshine and the flowers languishing in their flats in the sun-warmed greenhouse. They begged to be moved into the window-boxes  that adorn our cottage. So  I  carried the flats up to deck, where Nell and I enjoyed the beautiful weather, and I succeeding in crossing one job off my long list of To-Do's that dictates my days each spring at Cob Cottage.

The gardens are starting to bloom with new splashes of  color each day. I can loose so much time just walking around looking for new bursts of bloom that herald each season....and this is the season of new growth and promise.

The front raised garden.....bursting with spring promise.

Even the invasive dandelion sings happy yellow beside some pink and yellow tulips and  blue scilla in the front garden.

One painting is done too....a new oil on copper panel of a young rider on her way to the show ring. "Heading To The Ring" is 12 x 12" and ready to frame.
I am working on more oils on copper and getting work together for Equidae Gallery for this summer's Saratoga season. I am so looking forward to Saratoga I need to paint and fit the gardening jobs around my studio work. I love it!!