Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The First "Frit" Sighting

Those of you familiar with wildflowers may understand that "call". Living here in Jacksonville, OR, I've come to be acquainted with this silly sounding name for a plump, richly colored, trumpet-like rare flower. We here in Jacksonville even have an entire month we celebrate this blossom, we post children's drawings of the flower all over local business windows and have a hike-a-thon in April in search of the first "frit". The Scarlet Fritillary (Fritillaria recurva) is from the Lily Family.

So the other day, when Roland, Cody and I'd gone on a short hike and I'd stumbled across my very first "frit" sighting, I was thrilled. We've lived nearly 5 years here and on most of our hikes, it was more in the heat of the Summer, when all the lilies were long ago wilted. Among nothing but grey sticks, stretching across a dry, high ridge, this lil beauty glistened with it's robust color. Of course, she had to be the beginning for a new journal first entry.

My painted version shares the page with the starting sketch from our Ashland First Friday Artwalk for April. These pigment tubes are 'on sale' from a peer studio artist and was something I could quick sketch out on a bustling Friday evening. I played with the copper metal flakes to add the sparkle of the metal lid in which the tubes lie. A pleasant, colorful start for a new journal. And you know . . . the journal continues and continues :)

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ten Days from Hell

I was looking forward to the month of April, when the drama of Winter storms stirs excitement and an aching for more of the Spring "sneak-peeks". We'd been taking lovely hikes up the trails behind our home near the Britt Festival grounds and savoring the green. Well, something else re-emerging for the Spring was also lurking . . . yes, and old friend who'd remained distant for several years. Personally, I'd preferred it stay that way - but - you guessed it. It showed up just when I was packing and getting ready for my trip down to the Bay Area for the reception of my group show, "A Year in the Secret Garden" (see: - without invitation - my ole friend, poison oak. Yep.

I wasn't going to let it stop me tho. I nursed, washed, bandaged, oozed and . . . just kept going. Total of 5 spots, neck, shoulder, one face cheek, left thumb - and, most uncomfortably - on the one cheek of my 'bum'. Yep. But like I said, I wasn't going to let it stop me. Our lil family, Cody (the Retriever), Roland and I set out for California anyway. Me, just kinda grinning and bearing it. Then, (you know how the "Universe" just has a way of saying things that you already kinda have a feeling about?) about 3 hours into our 7 hour trip, the car starts missing. The farther we went the more lil lunges it seemed to take. Finally, I opened my mouth saying, "I'm ok if we just turn around and get the car back home safe to have it fixed." The vote was unanimous - we turned around.

So, now back safe and cozy in Jacksonville, I'm licking my wounds (at least the emotional ones of not getting to see my dear artist friends at the Reception) and progressing along with the poison oak healing. I did want to pass along to all of you a NEW and wonderful poison oak treatment. I'd been talking with my long time friend, Ron, about my challange and his caring partner, and avid gardner and nurse himself, called me with h-i-s best ointment. It's featured here with two other fairly successful thearpies. I've used "Technu" for years, but it didn't seem to be cutting this episode. The NEW "Zanfel" is a miracle - after just one treatment (you moisten the gritty scrub then, scour the effected area for 2-3 minutes, then rinse) I saw and felt improvement. I can tell you I highly recommend this stuff!!! The third item pictured is called "True Tamanu" from a nut with soothing and healing qualities. I used it several years ago after a dermatological treatement that left my face with crusty,red patches - this oil was wonderous. This is what I'm using on the dried poison oak blisters as they heal. Well, so much for my medical recommendations.

It hasn't been the most fun period of 2010 so far, but it has taught me both more gratitude and more compassion. Now, I am in awe, thinking of the amazing system the human skin is, soft, flexible, sensitive and beautiful. What must it be like for those with burns or life long skin conditions? My heart goes out to them in a new way.

I'm again, blessed with health and over and over and over, remain thankful! I have been creating during this "down time" and I'll get to sharing those next. Meanwhile, stay out of those lovely, red 'n green bushes thriving along hiking trails at this time of year :)