At the Water’s Edge

There was a time when many people responded to every blog post that I published. I don’t know what happened to all those people. Not many come around anymore. I miss the interaction with friends, although I understand many aren’t even blogging anymore. I’m trying to teach my computer how to recognize my voice. It is not an easy thing to do. Editing seems even more difficult. Apparently, it understands short commands better than long sentences or single words. This post may be a little bit choppy.

Although my life has not changed dramatically since the Great Isolation began, thoughts and questions have come up from beneath the surface. What would my life be like without my husband? Could I approach the transition into deathlessness with the resolution required to go peacefully? How would my children and grandchildren remember me? Life is shorter than we can fathom in the greater scope of things. There is so much I want to accomplish and I’m uncertain if there is enough energy left in me or time left on this planet to get it all done. I suppose these thoughts have always been with me, but I’ve been less acutely aware. There’s really no fear, just quiet contemplation.

In this Great Isolation, I am learning so much about myself relative to my environment. For example, when the tide is going out, or when it is low, there is a sense of tension and a feeling of anxiety. When the tide is coming in, or high, there is a sense of calm and a feeling of ease. The high tide is brimming with sea life. Manatees, rays, dolphins, and all manner of fish coming into the canal bring it to life. There is a soul connection with these creatures who roam the waterways. Along with the emotional sensitivity to the action of the water and the life within it, I feel a strong sense of spiritual freedom in the vastness of the sky. The constantly evolving colors and clouds are like an artist’s canvas under the brush. There is a sacred connection to the world around me.

I haven’t been painting much this year, at least not on canvas. Here is one painting that I did for my stepson:

11X14 acrylic on gallery wrapped pro canvas “West Somerset Railway” original

This is a train that he rode in England when he was a child. The steam and tiny lettering on the plaque were the most challenging parts. It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I did not have it ready. He returned from the Bahamas at the beginning of this pandemic and we haven’t been able to visit. I have some ideas for new paintings that I have not committed to. Below is a little painting that I gifted to our local diner. I hope they manage to reopen after the governor gives the green light. Most restaurants have continued with take-out and delivery, but The Perfect Cup was struggling under new management before this all went down. We’ll have to wait and see.

 

8X10 acrylic on student grade canvas (I framed this in a black floater frame) “The Perfect Cup” inspired by The Art Sherpa

 

Lately, I have been engaged in other artistic endeavors. I’m making draped flower pots out of fabrics that have been saturated in a concrete mixture and making art stones from molded Reddi-Set mortar. Mandalas and other designs are painted on the stones. After the stones are painted, I coat them with epoxy or resin to make them shiny and give them protection. These projects keep my hands and mind busy. The flower pots and stones are for my garden space. The edging for the garden border will be done with reclaimed, painted ceramic roofing tiles. We have not started the edging project yet, because the RS is re-wiring his brother’s boat.

I may get back to writing someday but, for now, I am content with visual and tangible art. Currently, I’m beta reading a book for an author friend. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Are you writing? Has this pandemic with its great isolation inspired your creativity, or have you been working? Or both?

14 thoughts on “At the Water’s Edge

  1. The vast majority of people who I interacted with when I first began blogging no longer seem to be around. It’s somewhat sad, particularly those who just disappeared. I wonder why and whether they are okay. There are a few that have come along and replaced them, but it is no where near as dynamic as it once was, and my sense is that is a common experience in the blogosphere these days.

    As you know, I’m continuing to explore acrylic pouring. Doing the coasters has drawn more attention and interest in what I’m doing. At the moment, I have six orders/requests for coasters from friends and family. I hope there are more to come. They are a relatively easy way to keep moving into this.

    As for writing, it’s slow, but there are glimmers there.

    Take care of yourself, Susan, you’ve got many years left to achieve the things you want.

    1. I wonder if people are okay, too. Many were from the states, but quite a few were from various places around the world, Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, to name a few. I still have connections with some on FB, but even there, they are pretty quiet. I doubt if they are often on there. I don’t let people on my personal FB page unless I have gotten to know them. It’s been months since I posted anything much on my author fan page.

      I enjoy seeing your creative endeavors with art pouring on FB. You’ve inspired me to learn more about it. I’ve been looking at some tutorials and reading some art blogs. Tomorrow, my brother-in-law is coming to pick up his boat, and his girlfriend and I are going to try our hands at pouring. Like you say, it’s all an experiment. I think it will be a fun way to pass some time while the guys are doing their guy thing.

      Wishing you and yours well.

      1. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in your experimentation!!!

        What kind of resin are you using?

        For the most part, the bloggers who have disappeared … well, okay. There are a very small number though who concern me. One in particular was a young woman who wrote poetry and challenged me to do so as well. The prompts and other things she put on her blog were a huge inspiration to me to stretch my creative mind. She posted for awhile and then disappeared. And then came back awhile ago. Only to disappear again. I know she has health issues and … I just wish I knew that she was okay and still creating. And I wouldn’t mind having her back in the blogosphere, providing me with the inspiration to stretch my mind.

        1. I have tried both Art Resin brand and FX Black Label Premium epoxy (for countertops). I know people rave about the Art Resin’s clarity (it’s basically a clear glue), but I don’t like the fluidity. It runs off my rocks and puddles onto the silicone mat, or divots form on the stone as it runs off. I’m using the epoxy with better results now. This brand is also clear. It’s thicker and sets up hard. It also cures in hours rather than days. I’ve bought some pizza box supports and started doing the backs first, and after that cures, I do the fronts. It still takes at least three thin layers for a good cover. One trick I learned in my research is to have both the stones and the epoxy product warm before pouring. That helps with adhesion. Bubbles are easily popped using a regular butane kitchen torch. The torch helps the cells pop using the swipe method also.

          I plan to attempt a video with my next pour/swipe and use a pro canvas that is more sturdy than the student grade. Half the fun is watching the cells form and the paint move. That process continues as the paint dries when you use the treadmill silicone. So I will add an “after it dries” pic. I had to put my Golden liquid paints aside. Artist Loft paints from Michaels are much more affordable and come pre-mixed so you don’t add Floetrol or Liquitex pouring medium. That will make for a quick demo.

          I’m having fun with it and thank you for the inspiration. For a year and a half, all I wanted to do was learn painting on canvas with brushes. I admit I got a bit burned out. It’s nice to do something different but keep the creative juices flowing.

  2. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has given the green light to many businesses, including restaurants and hair salons. Many small business owners had already started to defy shut-down orders last week and are now facing legal repercussions from the counties and / or cities where they operate. I’ve patronized a local restaurant that only has curb-side service, but I don’t know if they’ve begun admitting patrons as the state begins a slow return to normal. The governor did issue some guidelines, such as restaurants can have only a maximum 25% capacity. But my gym reopened Friday, and I’m excited about that. I won’t be able to visit until this coming Monday, but I know they’ve demanded people maintain a respectable distance from one another, while on the property and wipe down all equipment with hand sanitizer. One of the co-owners said in a Facebook video they’ll even have paper towels and large bottles of hand sanitizer placed around the facility. I was using my own hand sanitizer and wiping down equipment even before this fiasco. It’s always been proper etiquette in health clubs to wipe down equipment after you use it, just like replacing free weights is policy.

    I’ve been writing only on my blog and, as I think I’d mentioned to you previously, I STILL need to move onto my painting and drawing aspirations. Years ago I told a friend and former colleague that the book he wanted to complete “won’t write itself.” Thus, I know the drawings I want to produce won’t draw themselves.

    I truly hope you and yours are doing well otherwise, Susan. I also need to get to “Red Clay and Roses”! it’s at the top of the list of 500 other ‘Books I Need to Read Before I Die.’ 🙂

    1. I can’t get over the lack of empathy and heartlessness in some people relative to the pandemic. I do understand the trauma associated with the economic fallout, also. If people could reopen and still be respectful everything would work out with the best possible outcome. We can’t even get people to be respectful under stay-at-home directives. It’s a sad state of affairs.

      If I did not have my creative outlets, I’d go mad. There is something soothing and relaxing about pushing the paint around the canvas and watching the colors mix in painting. I have my anxieties and frustrations with it, but they are worth the outcome in most cases.

      I have short book I am reading for a friend and I can’t even focus to get that done. I have several projects going on at once and feel scattered. Hopefully, one or two of these will be completed soon and I’ll feel more like moving on to something else. Stay safe, take care of your family, and be willing to accept less productivity than usual. That’s kinda where we are right now.

  3. It’s good to see you here again, Susan. I admire your exploring art with your writing. Great!

    Yes, I still blog every week and find that commenting on other people’s blogs has sustained interest in mine. Besides, it keeps digital connections going during this Covid crisis. Also, I keep promoting Mennonite Daughter, my memoir. You know from experience that marketing a book is at least as labor intensive as writing & publishing it.

    All best to you and your family!

  4. Thanks, Marian. I would like to get to your book, also. I’ve been stretched thin these past two months and not getting much finished. Trying to help my daughter cope with being a homeschool teacher to three different ages, while she works full-time remotely from home and takes a full load of (now) online classes. I don’t envy her, but it seems she has made it through this semester. She’s only taking one class this summer, but it’s an intensive one.

    I’d like to have time to cruise around the blogosphere like I once did, but I just don’t. Another reason I don’t start writing another book is that the marketing about ruined the whole writing thrill for me. The outcome was never really worth the effort. I have sold more of my last book NOT marketing it.

  5. Your paintings are gorgeous! And how nice of you to do one for a local restaurant. I’m sure they will love it. The train is amazing and I can just imagine your son’s delight at receiving it.

    Most all of the original bloggers who followed me way back when have drifted away. I’m partially to blame for that because I switched writing genres, so my audience has changed.

    We are still under isolation in my area in Pennsylvania. The latest news is that we will be moving to the “yellow phase” of reopening on June 4th. Our weather has been crappy for May which hasn’t helped. We hit a record low yesterday and had snow flurries the day before. SNOW! There’s just no excuse for that. Fortunately, warmer weather should move in by the weekend. I have my fingers crossed.

    Stay safe and well. Your description of the tides was beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Mae, I have fun with it. I’m doing some abstract pour/swipe paint rings now. It’s a fun way to spend some time.
      Glad to hear you are staying safe. It sucks being all shut off from the outside world, but seriously, we have the internet. Imagine 1785, or earlier, before they even knew what was killing people. None of this is new. It’s just new to us.

      That’s my favorite place to be…the lanai at sunset. I prefer it to the beach. Less bugs and closer to the a/c.

      Stay safe and be healthy. Take a walk in the sunshine.
      Snow? I can’t even. It’s been so hot and humid here.

  6. You have been busy! How lovely to read this soulful post. I think you captured some of what I feel, especially now that I’m a grandmother (a busy one who hasn’t done much blogging or blog-visiting since before the pandemic began). I look at my grandchild and hope and pray there will be a livable Earth for her and her own descendants to inhabit. Just yesterday I told my daughter that this is one of the things I now find myself thinking about.
    I am glad that you are occupying yourself with other forms of art. It sounds interesting.
    Please keep in touch. I often don’t get notice of new posts, so have to go searching for people, as I did now with you.

    1. So good to hear from you, Cynthia. I think you wrote, or co-wrote, a children’s book that I meant to purchase for one of my grandkids, but I will have to go scope out your site and find it. My memory is awful. I have to make written lists or it doesn’t get done.

      Yes, I am loving island life, heart, and soul. Even in this Great Isolation of 2020, there is beauty here. I get sad often over the depreciating quality of the water, but I try not to think about it too much. I stay active with the local Rights of Nature movement, but beyond that, I feel helpless and powerless.

      I have painted another picture. Maybe I can post it soon. The landscaping project took a couple of months and that we decided to paint the house dragged that out longer than expected. I know I sound worried and bothered, but I’m really okay. Just a bit tired.

      Honestly, all of this election crap…oh, hell, I’ll just say it…these last four years under Trump have been relentless. I simply don’t think I can do four more years. The RS and I have been seriously discussing the possibility of moving out of the country. Now that’s wild. I sure wish we could straighten this one out. Peace, stay safe and be well.

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