Thursday, May 13, 2021

Flowers and Paints

Hmmmm... as soon as I formatted these two images, it dawned on me that today's post won't look much different from yesterday's post, which does beg the question: Why am I posting at all? I take photographs, and I write posts for this blog, because I can't not do those things. Besides, the pictures I shared yesterday are not so wholly like today's pictures, not really. I made some progress on a watercolor painting. It's from a portrait of my Grandmother. No. I should say it is a watercolor painting of Eunice Velasco Solis, because this was before. Before she was a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, or a world traveler, before she lived by the ocean, or went to college, before she taught me how to sew, before she had read a million, or more, books. I am not sharing my painting because I think it's very good, but because I am glad I tried to make it good, and I may try again. I feel a mix of frustration and amusement that no matter how mindfully I sketch, no matter the care I take with painting, when I step back and look at it, after it's too late to do anything about it... that's when the errors and questionable choices are visible, glaring even! I marvel at those perspective flaws, and the way shapes lost meaning, when I was so intent on deliberately getting it right. "Getting it right," means reflecting exactly how beautiful she is, even evoking how I adore her, and how the photograph makes me long to travel to Mexico City, with her, to wear huipiles, and faldas, and walk through mercados with aisles of flowers, then pottery, then toys and housewares, to sit in a Tía's kitchen and listen to todos los cuentos. What is perspective and proper anatomy to all of that... those dreams and wishes that I will never be able to fulfill?

And then there is the chamomile, still lifting me up, still being a favorite. And even with it growing in my very own garden, I couldn't help bringing this bouquet home from Trader Joes. They smell like someone put the kettle on, and is about to offer us cut sandwiches, and small cakes, with tea. Even thinking of them soothes my thoughts, and I breath a little deeper, easier. Do you know, something I find brilliant? If I search "chamomile" in the small box on the left side of this page, all of the posts when I have typed c h a m o m i l e will appear? There's a lot wrong in the world, and the Internet can be such a mess, but I find satisfaction in this tiny bit of order, and instant gratification. It really is a kind of miracle.

Last week I attended a virtual gallery exhibit and cocktail party, hosted Live, by my friend, Lola Argemí. My cóctel was delicioso! Over ice, I poured sparkling mineral water (Topo Chico is our new favorite) and then I added a splash of Pear-Cranberry balsamic (Something I learned from Baker & Olive.) The balsamic gives a hint of sweet, with a zing, and the Topo Chico is satisfyingly bubbly! I watched and listened as Lola and her friend, who makes jewelry, shared their art and creations. We aren't even in the same time zone, and all I could do was observe, and of course drink my cóctel, but I enjoyed the hour. I love Lola's art, the lessons she shares, and I especially love the time when we were Zooming, and I could hear vendors calling from the street where she lives, or just watching her paint, listening to her whistle. Now I think of it, my cóctel needs a name, y claro que tiene que ser Lola, refrescante, ducle, y burbujeante. I am naming my cocktail Lola, refreshing, sweet, and bubbly, like my friend.

For a moment, I believed I would share other accounts, other people I follow, admire. I think I will save those for another time. I might go back into my corner, and sketch, or maybe I'll fold some laundry. Have I mentioned? Lately, I have been calling myself the luckiest woman in the world. It's just a thing I say to myself, and it's nothing to do with anything like perfection, or feeling flawless, or having everything my heart desires. I am simply astonished at how many good things I have access to, how much better my life is than what I imagined it could be, what it was when I was younger, and trying to picture what a good life could be. Also, I am very likely superstitious, or just have survival notions about how to protect myself, so I am guarded, and saying aloud, even thinking I am fortunate feels reckless, like an invitation for fate to take away comforts and blessings. I'd rather be daring, or I would like to be daring, to really feel confident and assured... say, My life is lovely, and I have a comfortable home, and I love my children, I love Geoff, and flowers, popcorn, my dresses, floss, paints, and cats, and not look over my shoulder, or glance sideways, fearful of what might take it all away. Nina Simone, she was so right... "I'll tell you what freedom is to me. No fear."


Anonymous said...

I read your blog but have not left a comment. I just wanted to say that I loved your painted lady. Robyn

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Robyn. I know it's not always easy to comment... inertia and even the systems for doing it, with passwords, accounts, and all. I really appreciate hearing from readers. I am beginning to warm up to the painting. Sometimes I need to step back, before I can look at it a little less critically. I keep reminding myself that I have learned a lot about making art in the last four years, and then again, I have so much more to figure out! Do you paint?