Art, Fires In Ashbarrels

I Won Artwork

Forgive me for bragging but I was a recent recipient of the beautiful digital painting pictured here, a masterful piece of art by a talented artist at https://paintdigi.wordpress.com/author/paintdigi/. I’m very proud to have won, and excited that I’m allowed to reproduce it into a physical piece of art to hang in my house. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve been on the phone talking to places that make reproductions of digital works. And since I have legal copyright consent from the artist, kindly sent via email, all I have to do is print and present his consent when I’m ready to have the physical work done. I’ll post further developments as they happen.

This painting is titled Mon 24e tableau, The flowers of the universe. My title is Hanging Basket, though I like Flowers of the Universe too. To read more about this beautiful piece of art, go to https://paintdigi.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/my-24th-painted-picture-mon-24e-tableau/.

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Fires In Ashbarrels, Writing

Walking The Dark Road

My blog is 4 months old and it already feels like a neglected child crying for attention. September has been a busy month here at the Dey residence with the transitioning of my children going back to school and getting them to pay attention to their new schedules. My oldest has been a champ at assisting his sister with morning chores, going with her to and from the school building and helping her with her papers and assignments at home. Now if I could only get him to keep his shoes tied and to put his dirty clothes in the laundry hamper.

Then, while hubby heads to his office, I have a small window of time to proofread and post any poetry I wrote the night before to my blog before I’m out the door towing the youngest child to day care, then getting to work by 9am. It’s all wild and crazy and a lot of fun—a rush that keeps the heart pumping and puts a smile on my face. I stay busy at my job with reports and files and dealing with accounts and clients until it’s time to pick up the youngest from day care and meet his brother and sister when the school bus drops them off at the house. Then it’s time for homework, chores, the evening meal, and family time before it’s off to bed and another day of doing the same again. Unless it’s the weekend. That’s when I unwind and pamper myself for a few hours each day, writing poetry or working on a drawing or painting. It’s a left brain/right brain, yin and yang thing that keeps me balanced.

The poetry I write on the weekends begins as incomplete sentences that I jot into a leather journal. I write using a stream of consciousness style—free-writing thoughts and feelings and ideas no matter if they flow together or not. Whatever comes to mind, I keep writing until I’ve exhausted the moment. Later, when I’m in bed and after hubby and I have tended to each other’s needs, I spend a half-hour bridging pieces together into cohesive text that isn’t stripped of its rhythmical arrangement of syllabic stresses or quantities. I often read aloud to my husband who comments whether any of the accents sound dull. He’s been helpful on rewording many of my poems. So much, in fact, that he’s the only thesaurus I go to bed with.

I have always been a stream of consciousness writer. My early poems lacked the rebuilding that I do now—they were written in one draft and kept that way when I posted them to my early blogs and websites. Following is a first draft poem I wrote when I was 14.

Your fingers are slipping
Your voice is fading
Your eyes are growing darker
but never dark
I’m holding on harder
than I’m trying to let go

You get caught in my chest
and somehow always
escape my lips

Still
I wake with you beside me
My stomach aches for you
My hands shake you awake

My cheeks flush
every time I remember
that I don’t want to forget

My tongue moves behind
clenched teeth

I catch your scent
and lose my breath

I close my eyes and
try

An artist friend calls this sketching. And she’s right: the words are sketches of something larger, whether the larger is to become a fleshed-out poem or scenes in a novel. Every wordsmith I know begins with sketches, then builds. The trick is to not destroy the sketch while you build—you want to keep the writing alive, keep it energetic with the lightning that moved you from the moment you began sketching.

The poem above is called Trying To Forget. It’s a poem of when I was at odds with my 14-year-old self about leaving a relationship and moving on. We get the sense from reading the poem that I was having sex with the person I’m writing about. The truth is I wasn’t sexually active yet, but waking to memories of a person that haunted me and kept me returning to the relationship that I wanted out of. It’s a poem packed with a lot of energy. So much, in fact, that I’ve never been able to rewrite this poem without weakening the power of its emotions.

Sometimes a sketch will always be a sketch, sparking new ideas and maybe cast some light on a road that all artists walk alone in the dark.

Fires In Ashbarrels, Poems

New World Slavery

A woman from a fishing village
slaves in a sweatshop,
making shirts for retail stores,
selling them at low prices
to help save shoppers money to spend at McDonalds
after the Little League game tonight.

She makes barely enough money
to pay the rent of her shared one-bedroom apartment in the city
where hucksters scramble
day and night
to sell away her corner of the world
to anyone wanting a piece of the New World Dream.

She doesn’t dream asleep tonight,
but works to make enough money
to buy one of her nine daughters
a new dress this month,
to wear at the new school
Christian missionaries built last year
down the road from her home.
They convinced her government
to make school education mandatory
for everyone’s future welfare.

Now she sews and goes without eating
so her daughters are not left behind
when the corporate and political tsunami
crushes her world,
her life,
her heart.

Fires In Ashbarrels, Writing

More Thoughts On Writing Poetry

Fires In Ashbarrels, Poems

Nightfall (Old Poems Revised)

Night falls swiftly on us—
our lives are a flash in the sinking sun,
ten thousand years of rebounded vibrations—
I call it life but you call it hell.

You steer my sight to the setting sun and tell me
that it’s evening for us all—
the night is silence:
no more color,
no Hawaiian girls dancing—
all the knots and softness are gone from the day.

I retreat my gaze—
you were wild and ripe for life
in your short and raging glee,
now you stare at darkness and lament
that when we’re dead
no one invites us over for a drink.
No one sees the dirt beneath our nails,
or the dust that fills our throats,
or the ghosts that we’ve become.

When we are dead,
even the stones go on without us.

I promise to remember you,
if that will bring back a spark in your heart,
if only for a taste of what you mean to me.
You’ll live in me like the joyous songs of birds
rising in my soul,
overflowing when I think of you,
then passing when I follow you
into the lasting hug of this old earth.

Fires In Ashbarrels, Writing

A Thought On Endings

Art, Fires In Ashbarrels

More Fun With Watercolors

I spent the weekend drawing and painting while my husband took the kids during the days for some bonding. After morning chores and I had the house to myself on Saturday, I relaxed and napped for a few hours before I scribbled and doodled in my sketchbook. I had so much fun at doing nothing that I felt guilty for goofing off. So I took out some photos and found a beautiful sunset one of a place where my father grew up.

Behind the farm where my father grew up.

I took some liberties with the drawing until I had a nice design, then I began painting in shapes. I got a nice drawing on my paper before hubby and the kids were home.

Today, alone again, I hurried back to my drawing and photo. I was both excited and worried: I wanted to paint, but I wasn’t sure how. Sometimes I like to attack the paper with my brushes loaded with paint and let the picture happen. So after a couple false starts I decided to begin with a gentle touch and “draw” the picture until I had something close to a copy of my photo. Then I loaded some brushes and let the paint do its magic.

My finished painting, dried with a hair blower/dryer set at low.

Below are 3 close-ups of some of the areas I like best. I tend to admire textures and mixtures after I’ve finished a painting. I think it’s an attraction I have to abstract design.

I love the yellow, red and blue mixes.

This area shows a delicate mix of muted colors.

I love the different textures of sky and land.

I think the weekend’s result was a surprising success. And it was very kind of my husband to give me some quiet time. I think he deserves something special for his thoughtfulness.