Thank heaven 2020 is behind us! I’m turning the page to a new year. I’m also turning the page into my new life. What will it hold> I’m loving my studio and the paintings that welcome me each morning. Painting is my refuge.
My mission is to use my talents and gifts for good.
This means 10% of all sales are donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Also I donate paintings to be auctioned for charitable causes. Tell me how we can work together to support your favorite cause.
Learning from skilled teachers has always been my favorite experience. For the holidays, my family gave me lessons from new instructors. I have visions of new colors, new subjects, new flowers.
Today I begin daily work in the studio. It’s not likely to result in completed paintings each day. But at least daily practice will help me grow as an artist, enable me to better see what works and what doesn’t yet.
I’m ready to create new paintings to refill my studio. But first I need to empty my display wall, hence the:
The wall where I display my current work is full and needs to get cleared. Please help. Take a couple of these to your home.
Small paintings look great alone or in groups. I’ve priced these to make them easy to afford. Buy 2 Small paintings for $100 or 2 large ones for $125.
Email me [email protected] with your selections. PayPal, Credit Cards or Checks accepted. They’ll be wrapped and mailed to you for your walls.
I know I did. Here’s a ‘short’ synopsis of our Alzheimer’s journey:
John was initially diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. That’s an euphemism for he couldn’t remember much, be it where he put the keys or that we had a dinner date with good friends. We still had a really good life on the whole. These minor glitches didn’t get in the way of too much. But he was worried enough about it that he made arrangements to see a Cognitive Neurologist (I’ve learned all sorts of new medical terminology along the way).
By the following year his memory had deteriorated and out regular doctor suggested that he might go to see a Neurologist who specializes in memory issues (read Alzheimer’s and all sorts of other Dementias). John was rather pleased when he learned that this doctor also ran Clinical Trials for potential new medications. His comment tells a lot about who he is/was, “If the medication doesn’t help me, at least it will let the researchers know they’ll need to look in another direction.”
No, the Trials did not help John’s condition. But one of them did give him a special PET scan at no cost. That test showed that his brain was already filled with Amyloid Protein Plaques. These, in my terms, sort of gunk up the works. The neurons are not able to move the signals appropriately. So he started to use the wrong words or not being able to find the words at all. His language centers are directly impacted by these plaques.
Another year or two went by. The slowness of his deterioration prevented me from really seeing how much he had lost. He was still able to enjoy working in the garden. I stayed in the air conditioned apartment and knit while he pulled the weeds. Until one day I looked up and he was no longer in the garden. Then I went on the quest to find him. How scary is that!?! Luckily one of our neighbors spotted him and led him home.
Shortly after that the incontinence began. It was time for him to move into Assisted Living. Being separated was difficult. But we both recognized that it was time, or rather that it was actually late. Luckily he settled in and was quite comfortable.
We’ve been managing well enough or the last two years. Then Covid kept us apart for nearly 6 months. After he entered the Hospice Program I am able to be with him. Our adult children also visited in the last two weeks. Such a change since the Holidays!
Just this week it was time for him to make the next transition. His wonderful Nursing Staff gathered around me. They gently let me know that he requires much more care. It was time for him to move to the Skilled Nursing Care Unit. Now I have breakfast with him each day. I stay for an hour or so until he falls asleep. I’m so very grateful for all the wonderful nursing staff and the aides who are so kind. I know the care he is receiving is great so I worry less.
I learned three things about his disease:
I didn’t cause it!
I can’t change it!
and I can’t cure it!
What I can do is accept that he has this awful disease, and love him through it all.
So how has less stress happened for me?
I had more difficulty with the transitions than he has. Eventually one of my friends suggested that I try rediscovering my art. She helped me rearrange the apartment, turning it into an artist studio. I started taking online art classes.
Gradually my passion for painting began to lift my spirits. My apartment now has paintings on nearly every available area of wall. I’m surrounded by color and beauty. I have little opportunity for worry.
Art saved me from a deep depression. One of my favorite hashtags in #artastherapy. For me it has certainly functioned that way. It’s amazing what bright colors will do.
Grapefruit, Grapes & Plate 8×10 Oil on Canvas Panel $100 White dish with blue border, two oranges and a bunch of grapes This is one of my early paintings back in 2018 when I was first getting back to my art. When John went to the Assisted Living unit because I was no longer able to care for him. Art provided me with the perfect venue to prevent me slipping into a long funk that could lead to depression. The colors have kept me OK. In case you aren’t aware, my husband has Alzheimer’s and I have MS. You can learn more on the Home Page. I’m getting back to the blog. It’s been a while I know. John is now on hospice and I’ve been more involved with his care but it’s all from a socially responsible distance. We have not been able to actually be together in the same space since mid-March. It’s been quite a challenge. Also I’ve spent much of the rest of my time becoming more organized with my art. This should make it easier for me to publish photos and a bit of a short story about the paintings. I’m also more able to list the paintings in the Facebook Shop. I donate 10% of all my sales to research on Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
Suddenly we’ve travelled directly from Thanksgiving to nearly February! My how the time does fly.
I certainly hope you’ve all recovered from a series of wonderful holiday festivities.
January has brought me more painting energy and I’m expanding into a new direction, too. I’ve begun to take classes with 3 wonderful teachers: Daniel Edmondson, Dennis Perrin and Bryan Mark Taylor.
Landscapes are very different from Still Life and Florals. I am hopeful that some concentrated practice will help me to improve. I’m liking that I’m able to be freer with my brushstrokes and color choices.
Here’s just one example. You can see more in the Paintings Gallery: https://artbykarlene.org/paintings-gallery/
Fall Bartletts – Their color and shape struck my eyes this morning. So I got excited to paint them and quickly completed them in about 2 hours! Amazing…
It’s been a while since my last date with the easel. I’ve been busy preparing for my show next weekend.
This will be my first show in over 14 years so I’m stressing a bit, as you can imagine.
Making all the decisions: Which paintings to choose to include? Name and Sign on the back. Get them framed. How to price them? Type up a price list. Arrange for display space, table size, lattice background, Who to hang? Who to move paintings to table? Who to help me staff for two days? Place ad on Facebook. etc., etc.
It’s beginning to feel like I may be able to even rest a bit this week. With my MS I know that I need to do that!
Taking the two hours to paint these lovely Fall Bartletts today has been a soul restorative!
Absolutely necessary. Now I’ll post this and take a nap before dinner with friends.