Thursday, April 30, 2009

Heart music...

Heart music - 8 x 10 acrylic & mixed media on canvas

This particular heart was inspired by my niece's love of music. She sings and dances with wild abandon, and it is impossible not to smile at such uninhibited joy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Better news than yesterday...

Save - 10 x 10 acrylic & mixed media on canvas

Which isn't difficult!
Avery's cath doctor - Dr. Locke, admitted he'd painted "a pretty black picture" yesterday. Gee, do ya think?
Anyway, After several hours back in the cath lab today, he put 5 stents in various arteries and reports
that they are working as he had hoped. They even took her off the Echmo bypass to see how it was working
and they were pleased. She is back on Echmo for several days to let her heart rest & gradually work on its
own. All of her other arteries are clear and look good.

In the meantime, the big question is why she keeps clotting (while on blood thinners), so that's what her team
will be focusing on in the coming days.

I want to thank you all again and again for listening, praying, and just generally being there for Avery and Cheryl and Mike and my family. I count you all among my blessings every day.

Aunt Kerri

More about Avery...

Avery continues to be stable overnight. Although 12 hours have passed, I would guess it's still quite imperative that they keep her stable, and the echmo bypass does a percentage of the work of her heart, which I am sure is giving her coronary artery some relief.

Avery's parents will be meeting with her medical team today to decide on the next course of action, as there are still some alternatives, as I understand it.

One big question among everyone - first and foremost my sister - is how her stats could have been good enough to release her when something was so wrong. We don't have an answer to that yet.

FYI The photos above are of Avery enjoying her 5th birthday cupcake last week.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


As many of you know, my niece was scheduled to go home yesterday, but after some consideration, my sister and the doctors decided not to postpone her catheterization, so the did it this afternoon -- and they have found that her "coronary artery is shot" -- I know very little else because when my mom called with the update she was not able to relay much in a coherent way. Avery is back on Echmo -- which is the temporary bypass machine -- and I have been told that the next 12 hours are critical, because the cardiac cath can cause bleeding, which would be very serious in her current condition. I wish I knew more and will tell you when I do.

So in whatever way you pray, or summon all of the good of the universe, please do so for Avery.

I cannot thank you all enough for all that you have already done for us to make this ordeal bearable.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Home sweet home for Avery...

Just a quick post today to update those of you who've been sending your good wishes to my niece. She is going home today or tomorrow!!! I created a quick digital collage based on one of my paintings, as I did not have time to create an original to anounce this great news!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Touch me...

Peace - 12 x 12 acrylic and mixed media on canvas

I hope that is one of the things my art says to people when they see it -- particularly in person. Perhaps this speaks to the human need for touch and my very personal subject matter; or it could be the endless array of textures in our wonderfully sensory universe that invite us to hold and touch and feel -- or a combination of these. I am most satisfied with my art when it is not just a visual experience but a tactile one as well.

On a similar note, the weather has turned warm - very warm - very fast, and I have the urge to walk barefoot in the grass. I love to feel the earth beneath my feet. Cool, scratchy blades of grass make my toes happy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Grateful heart - 6 x 9 acrylic & mixed media on MDF

Last week, I listed a whole bunch of things I wanted to get done during one two-day weekend. It was completely unrealistic, but more than that, it was really out of order in terms of where my priorities were, and where they should be -- I had listed primarily a bunch of house chores and spring cleaning, and at the very end -- the very last item was "stock up on canvasses and paint hearts."

Fortunately, a fellow artist pointed out that it should be at the top of the list -- and of course she was right. Her observation stopped me in my tracks because it was so obvious. For months (and months) I have been lamenting my lack of artistic inspiration and patiently (and then not so patiently) waiting for its return. And when it finally returns, with great momentum, I decide to clean my house, and even to dismantle my art room and re-arrange???? What's up with that??? It really made me ask myself why I would deiberately put obstacles in the way of my art-making. At first I didn't have an answer. I was just grateful that it was brought to my attention so that I could stop myself from self-sabatoge.

But the truth is that I know the answer. It's fear. Of the unknown. Of success. Of change. Of where this path may lead. It may require work, and sweat, and diving into uncharted waters.

I can't totally stop myself from feeling this way. But I hope that by being more aware will help me to step back, and take a deep breath and then... leap!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twenty one days...

Wish upon a star - 8 x 10 acrylic & mixed media on canvas

Research shows that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. I was thinking last night as I finished this piece that I am now is such a good routine of showing up each night to create. It occurred to me this morning that it's probably been a few weeks since I painted that first heart...and when I checked back at my previous posts, tomorrow will be exactly 21 days. I now wake up each morning and make sure my art room is ready to go for evening -- fresh water in my paint bucket, canvasses prepped, paints stocked -- because I awake already eager to return to my art.

How many good habits could we develop if we just commit to the 21-day theory? It seems too easy, really, but we could accomplish some amazing things if it works even some of the time. Twenty-one days goes by fast. Of course, all that said, for now I am just going to continue to paint. It's still a new enough habit that I don't want to disrupt the flow... and occasionally I'll fit in one of those items on my spring to-do list.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Believe: 5 x 7 acrylic & mixed media on canvas board

Since her birth five years ago today,
my niece Avery has made us believe...

in miracles,
in love,
in the amazing generosity of friends,
in the amazing generosity of strangers,
in the strength of family,
in perseverence,
in the resilience of the human body,
in the powerful spirit of a little girl,
in what is important... and what is not.

Happy birthday Cutes!!
I believe in YOU!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where did the weekend go?

Original heart: 8 x 10 acrylic and mixed media on canvas board

As anyone with a concept of time could guess, I barely made a dent in my overly ambitious to do list, but one of my very wise friends reminded me that it will all still be there tomorrow (thanks FP!). And of course, it is!

I decided that I am not going to pull the carpet in my art room until I have 2-3 days in a row to spend making it right (so when will that be????). For one thing, I've been on a creative roll with my painting, so I don't want to wreck the space in which I paint and displace myself for any length of time. When I do this, I want to do it from start to finish in as short a time as possible...yes I can hear you all laughing (when will she learn??)

So for now, I will be happy that my winter clothes are packed away for another season, and thanks to my sister, who had a closet full of fabulous cast-offs, I have an entire new spring wardrobe --capris, dresses, shorts & sandals. (thanks Jesse)

And if all that wasn't enough, my niece Avery continues her amazing recovery. She's making laps several times a day on her unit, and she's eating solid food and gaining weight. She's still terribly thirsty and has to deal with a host of discomforts, but she scowls and voices her displeasure with great vigor!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My springtime to do list...

Express - 8 x 10 acrylic and mixed media on canvas board.

The list I have compiled for this weekend is sooooo long that I don't have a prayer of finishing it this month, let alone this weekend. But there is something about the first few really warm, sunny spring days that makes me think I can do it all in two days.

Here are just a few of the highlights:
Take down spring summer clothes from attic
Pack up winter clothes for attic
Donate unused clothing to goodwill
Prepare for snowstorm that is bound to follow such optimism
Rake grass & tidy garden
Touch up paint on split rail fence
Empty studio space, pull up paint-stained studio carpet & expose hardwood
Re-arrange studio space & clean out unused art materials
Donate unused materials before changing mind
Stock up on canvasses & paint hearts

And this list doesn't include the regular weekend errands, like Sat. am breakfast with my dog-walking buds, grocery shopping, laundy, walking max, cleaning house etc.

So, no doubt, something is bound to give. But right now, I believe I can do it all!!!

Footnote: Thank you to all who sent good wishes and hugs on my day of tears. I really needed that!! And it truly helped!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A blubbering fool I am...

Hearts fly: 8 x 10 acrylic & mixed media on canvas board

I am in a bit of a funk today. Most days, I take what's dished out as well as the next person, but every now and then, the weight of my worries and my life and sadness just gets the best of me. I had a good cry this morning, and thought that would be the end of it, but sometimes when I let the flood gates open, it floods. And that seems to be what's happened today. Everything I see, and read, and feel is bringing me to tears --happy tears, sad tears, sentimental tears. Pathetic. Not a good way to go about work.

And this video was one of them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Competing passions...and an Avery update...

Support - 10 x 10 acrylic and mixed-media on canvas.

I wish this artistic frenzy that I am in these days had hit me back in the cold, dark days of winter, although I am grateful that it has returned at all!!! And winter is such a time of hybernation that it was natural in some way. But now, I want to be outside gardening & soaking up some early spring sun and inside painting at the same time. I am sure I will find a balance (that's my Libra talking). The paintings need time to dry, so I am really learning to multi-multi-task... prep some canvasses, paint some, go outside and rake, come in and paint some more, go walk Max, etc.

About Avery...
For all of you who've sent notes and prayers and well-wishes and inquires, Avery was extubated earlier this week, which is HUGE in the world of her recovery. In addition to the fact that it means that she's doing most of her breathing with no assistance, it also means she can sip water and just generally be more comfortable. After seven open heart surgeries and several long hospital stays, it's always the intubation that she remembers -- and not fondly! Her meds are being decreased, her feeds/calories increased, and she's out of bed daily for physical therapy, so I thank you all, over and over, for your thoughts, prayers, and wishes. Right now, she's also enjoying a visit from her Poppy and Aunt Jesse, who brought her a Nintendo DS, so she is very excited!!

The measure of a heart...

Measure of a heart - 10 x 10 acrylic and mixed media on canvas.

This painting is a good example of perseverence. I started this with one series of colors, which I hated, and had to keep painting over (and over) until I could live with it, and then, eventually, I actually liked it. This often happens when I push out of my red/green/gold comfort zone and try new colors. They don't come as easily to me, so there's more trial an error. But that lends a depth to this piece that I really like...and you'd all be able to appreciate it more if I wasn't such a lousy photographer... which I would not be if I could muster the slightest interest in opening the manual to my now three-year old digital camera. Which I can't seem to muster. It just makes my head hurt.

Speaking of which, I have to call my mortgage company...again. That's a story for another day...righting so many wrongs this year!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hearts in blue...

Hearts grow, 10 x 10 acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Hearts growl, 10 x 10 acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Although I have not remotely tired of painting hearts these days, I wanted to try a different color palette, and these colors remind me of early spring, when the browns of winter start to fade and robins begin to nest and lay their signature blue eggs. The second piece is a particular nod to my niece, who growls her frustrations at the doctors and nurses when she is intubated and cannot communicate with words. Her growl is always a sign that she's on the mend.

As always, thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers and words of encouragement for my niece and my family, as well as for my art. I am able to face each day with renewed hope and courage in no small part because of each of you.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Trio of hearts - 2

This is my last post until at least Monday, friends, as I am headed to Boston to visit my niece and her parents in the hospital. I will bring with me all of your thoughts and prayers and wishes for her speedy and complete recovery. She is "moving forward" as my sister reported to us, which is of course the direction in which we want her to move, so that is very encouraging!!

I wish you all happy, healthy, peaceful holidays.

Here is my latest trio of paintings. These are "itty-bitties" at only 4 inches square. Tonight I hope to get out of my comfort zone with colors -- these dark reds and golds and greens are my signature colors, and I seem to end up with the same palette even when I think I am trying something different, so this will be a challenge for me.

Realize - 4 x 4 spackle, acrylic & mixed-media on canvas

Adore - 4 x 4 spackle, acrylic & mixed-media on canvas

Cherish - 4 x 4 spackle, acrylic & mixed-media on canvas

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Trio of hearts

My niece continues to make progress in the cardiac unit at Children's Hospital in Boston, and as long as she is there, and perhaps for much longer, as the muse dictates, I will be painting hearts. It is my way of staying in the moment and sending all of my positive energy to her, as there's really not much else I can do. I have primed and prepped a variety of different canvasses in assorted sizes, and these three are the latest. I wanted to work on a few bigger square canvasses, but these dried first...

Wonder - 5x7 - spackle, acrylic, oil pastel mixed media on canvas board

Make a Wish - 5x7 - spackle, acrylic, oil pastel mixed media on canvas board

Heal - spackle, acrylic, oil pastel mixed media on canvas board

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nothing but hearts...

With my almost five-year-old niece Avery back in the hospital, recovering from complications following her most recent open-heart surgeries to repair a congenital defect, it shouldn't be surprising that hearts (or more specifically, her heart) are just about all I can think of these days, so for the foreseeable future, that is what I am painting. This painting includes a collaged calendar fragment of the month of April, which marks her birthday.

April Heart - 16 x 20, acrylic & mixed media collage on canvas.

April Heart - detail

Today, among the many, many things for which I am eternally grateful, are all of you who continue to send your thoughts, prayers and positive energy to my niece. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me and my family, not to mention how much it helps Avery. I believe it makes all the difference. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


10 x 10 acrylic, oil pastel & collage on canvas.

I challenged myself recently (with the encouragement of this friend to paint on some larger canvases (16 x 20). It was really out of my comfort zone but I completed four pieces and then bought two even larger canvasses (18 x 24) -- although I have not started them yet -- but the fact that I purchased them means that I will continue to push myself from time to time. That said, my new favorite size is 10 x 10 square. I love the symmetry of the square, and the surface size just seems to work for me. This is my latest piece, which evolved over several weeks. I began with the color blocks, then defined the shapes in black pastel, and only yesterday added the stamped swirls, peace sign and letters -- which actually cover over another word that just didn't work for me. I'm glad I let it sit for awhile so that I could revisit it now and then and decide what it needed.

And today I am grateful for peace--
...a peaceful day for Avery and her parents
...the peace I feel when I spend time outdoors observing nature
...peace of mind that all my bills are paid
...the sense of peace I get when I am creating - painting, writing, working with my hands and heart and mind
...that I live in a peaceful place with the best of family, friends and neighbo