Personal revelations on life and art

Peter is having donuts and stir fry for breakfast. I report this little detail because it came to my attention the other day what individuals our children each are. No, really. I jokingly said to David, “as far as influencing our kid’s lifestyle choices, I’ve been a washout. Jem is into fashion and popular culture, tattoos and all things girly; Aug counts golf, ganja, girls (make that girl, he’s in a relationship) and music as his primary interests, and now Pete’s all about fishing, air guns and dirt bikes.”

Sigh, it’s a good thing, I’m sure, but the whine of the dirt bike is going to be hard to get used to.

Luckily I can retire to my little ‘studio’ and turn on the ventilation fan, which drowns out most background noise. And that leads me to my second revelation.

I have a tendency to just jump right in, and painting is no exception. Prep work is anathema to me. I struggle with an incredibly short attention span coupled with a desire for instant gratification, as well as a flagging sense of discipline. I often start a project with no idea as to where I’m  actually going.

In the big picture, this has led to a lot of happy accidents; at least two out of my three children fall in that category. And in order to maintain such a modus, you have to be flexible and open minded, and I have been both in spades.

This flexibility and lack of investment in a particular outcome have come in very handy when dealing with my cancer diagnosis. But, of course, there is a downside to this less than direct approach. Time is often wasted, chaos frequently prevails and there have been some spectacular dust ups.

It all worked pretty well for the first fifty years of my life.  Yet lately  it has been difficult to ignore how close I am to what may be the edge of my existence. I feel a sense of  emotional clarity out here on the edge, but also an increased awareness of the potential lack of time and physical space. There is an emerging economy to my movements; I am becoming more mindful and my choices more considered.

I started a new painting a few days ago, and I resisted the impulse to immediately load my brushes with paint. Instead, I spent several hours sketching out the subject with a graphite pencil. I made the effort to get the proportions correct. Several times I wiped away the drawing only to start fresh. Finally, it felt right and I applied a thin wash of color. For once, I knew both where I was going and how I was going to get there. And it felt good, really good.

12 responses to “Personal revelations on life and art

  1. Hi Lin. Love your painting and that you continue to paint. Self portrait??
    All well here after our trip to Calif
    Love, Mom

    • Hey Jim, yes, it’s a self portrait (although from the back!). Hope you and Mom had a good time in California–we are staying busy here. Give Mom a hug for me. Love, Linnea

  2. Hey missy,
    You are not giving yourself enough credit there; you supported me in becoming an artist and thats super super huge. That’s a life style choice!!

    And.. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous painting.

    ❤ jemesii

  3. Dear friend: Love your touching posts, you are a blessed thinker and writer.

    Refreshing, splashing picture and a beautiful painting, you are not giving us your back at middle age (think centenarian). We are still young (in dog years).

    Don’t sub estimate your influence on kid’s lifestyle choices, overuse of parentheses is part of your hugging style.

    I was very surprised on father’s day with Diana’s (28) card “Dear Dad, You made me the person I am today. But don’t worry, I forgive you. As I get older I realise how alike we really are and I thank you for teaching me to be an independent thinker, to love travel and adventure and to have such a love for life”.

    Isn’t that precious. My wife Beryl is also precious to me but is classified semi-precious

    I enjoyed the last post but it was for the birds. Have my atheist blessings anyway.
    The egg is a sign of hope and life renewal.
    Also if you bother an argentinean he says “Don’t break my eggs!”

    You said, Maybe the best team wins, I hope is little Uruguay, sandwich between Brazil and Argentina with only 1% of the US population won 2 World Cups already.
    Is like us winning against the odds.
    Because of cancer your blog is about life and death. Think about this quote:
    ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’.

    My new picture shows the future, where I am going someday and I feel good.
    Your blog, like your picture is bold, not too cold, not too hot, is just right!
    Is proper to give you a

    • Guillermo, your daughter’s message to you is a treasure. Tell Beryl semi is a silly prefix and I will pass your football quote onto my soccer-loving sister and her family. Oh, and mucho gracias for the hug 🙂

  4. hello beautiful sister, we are missing hanging out in your magical Marfa home. Thanks again for the loan.
    Please tell your pal Guillermo we like Uruguay’s chances against Ghana and since Michael Essien is injured we will join him cheering them on!

    • Bink, glad you could spend time in Marfa, and I’m looking forward to our coming trip there. I imagine Guillermo has seen your comment and that it means something to him…(you know how much I know about these things–nada!) love, Linnea

  5. Wow. I’m crazy about your painting and can feel its clarity and power from here.

    PS Your kids turned out pretty dang good, too!


    • Cristina, the kids are way better than the painting (your godson such got straight A’s again–including three A pluses!). However, picking up the pencil has gotten me excited again, so that is the best part. Love to you and W, Linnea

  6. Hi Linnea (although I knew you as Lynn)
    This is Cheryl Wolf, now Gadwa from Allison Hall. I lived across the hall from you at CSU. Wow! I found your blog by accident and read the entire thing. I cried, I laughed, I smiled, I remembered. You are amazing. I actually live in Fort Collins, and like you, I too am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago. I would love to talk to you and catch up. Hope to hear from you.

    • Cheryl, talk about a blast from the past! Remember rough, tough and ready? It is so good to hear from you, thank you for slogging through them all, though I’m sorry you are in this club as well. It will be interesting to hear how you stumbled upon this blog as well as to catch up. I will shoot you an email. Linnea

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