Painting. Survival. Painting.

Hello, friends. Apologies for the radio silence. It’s been hectic. As I posted two weeks ago, the last couple of weeks have been focused on the 2nd Annual Coastal Plein Air and surviving. More about surviving later.

Last weekend, Sandra Pearce┬ácame down and we cruised the coast, painting for three days to capture images for the show. (Note: If you are not following Sandra’s fine art page on Facebook, you should look it up!) Friday, we did some warm-up painting in the Depoe Bay area. Depoe Bay is to the north of the allowed painting zone, so I think both of us were just practicing and “getting our eye in”. I tested the kit I am planning to take to Paris to see if it would be sufficient.

Saturday morning, we drove to Seal Rock and then further south to Waldport.

Sandra says I have a “tourist information” sign around my neck, because people are always stopping and asking me questions or otherwise engaging. I kind of like it, but it can wear a little thin. Sunday, in particular, I had my fill of “ugly American” tourists. (Question: Why do people with really loud cars always leave their car running when using the bathroom?) Sunday, we brought Key along (he had been inside all day Saturday.) However, there was an incident with an off-leash dog that really got me steamed. We started the day at Ona Beach (where we painted last year) and finished at Yaquina Head.

I can’t speak for Sandra, but I can tell I was getting tired. While “Kingfisher” and “Painter” deserve to be finished, “Island” is just an oversized doodle. I am pleased with “Fireweed.” Excitingly, juror Aimee Erickson agreed and gave it an “Honorable Mention” at the show. Sadly, though Sandra’s works were fabulous, none of her words received any prizes (though a red dot award is ALWAYS the best award and I hope she gets one), but as she was best in show last year… well, I still think her stuff should have received something.

It must be my week for painting excitement. On Thursday I received an email that my painting “Graceful Grazers” (liquid charcoal and watercolor on paper) was accepted into the NWWS 83rd Annual International Exhibit by juror Stan Kurth (thank you!) This is my first national show acceptance with NWWS, and with two member shows in my past, I can apply for signature status! The exhibit runs Oct. 14-Nov 12 at the Matzke Fine Art Gallery in Camano Island, WA. The in-person reception will be Saturday, October 28 from 2:30-5pm. So close to my return from Paris, I will probably not be able to attend. But I’m thinking about it!

“Graceful Grazers”

Now you are caught up on my painting life. I will be focusing on trying to finish the paintings I started. And getting ready for Paris. (7.5 weeks to go!)

Everything Else

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my work life continues to be on the bleak side. A combination of too much work, big personalities, and lack of support. I end my days worn out, and just glad that my commute back home is short (ha ha.)

Unfortunately, while the commute is short, home is not quite as restful as I like. I have a new neighbor and he has complained about Key’s barking. Now, I’ll be the first person to admit this is fair. Key has a loud bark. As a small dog, his bark is particularly startling. His motto is, “Bark first, ask questions later.” To top it off, Key has separation anxiety. COVID has done nothing to convince him that I should be able to leave the house without him. I was disappointed to learn that (apparently) Key is expressing his opinions for HOURS when I leave. I had been assuming that he barked for a few minutes, then settled down. But my new neighbor assures me this is not so.

As the saying goes, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your neighbors. To keep the peace, I hired a young gal a few doors down to come by and let Key out of his kennel (inside the house, windows closed, fan on, radio on) on the days I have to go in to work. This worked for a few weeks, then she didn’t show up (or at least she didn’t take the money I had left for her). I was able to stay home the next week, but I haven’t found a long-term solution. In the late fall and winter, I can take him to work and keep him in the car, taking him for walks every so often. But not during the summer.

With all this going on, Friday, as I was painting with Sandra, another neighbor called. Her story was that Key had been barking for a year and she was tired of it. Sandra and I came home, but Key was fine. Sandra, who overheard the conversation, said she thought the neighbor was talking about his outdoor barking, like the other neighbor, not about any barking he might have been doing right that moment. But the call upset me. I really don’t know what else to do. Later conversations did reveal that things had been better recently and that her call on Friday was a bad timing issue, though the situation is still precarious.

Into this comes the kittens, Chitza and Anouk. For a few weeks/months now, we have been having some “litterbox issues.” Occasionally, someone would decide to pee in an empty cardboard box instead of playing in it. Or I would fine urine in the empty clothes hamper. The most usual issue was a suspicious wet spot on the area rugs in front of the outside doors. I had been keeping an eye on the situation, but it was infrequent and often had a behavioral explanation. For instance, a friend had stayed over. Or I was late getting home. Or some other infraction.

But Thursday morning I saw Chitza in the litter box for a LONG time, and when I went to clean the box, she had made only the tiniest of pools. A few minutes later, she squatted in front of the cat tree and made a bigger puddle. I’ve been through this before. I also know that one of the kittens’ brothers has crystals in his urine. So, I called the vest.

The next day, Sandra arrived and both kittens (now three years old) went into hiding, expressing their opinions about the situation whenever they could get me alone. Monday morning, I captured Chitza and took her to the vet. It was a drop-off appointment and she ended up being gone around six hours. Just as I suspected, she has Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). Sigh. BIG sigh. New food, new routine, new other stuff is on the horizon.

After bringing Chitza home, I figured this particular trauma chapter was over. Not so. Anouk became convinced that Chitza was a COMPLETE STRANGER CAT! Yes, I know she is reacting to smell, etc. But seriously. They’ve been together for three years every day. So, for the last four days everything has been separate. Separate food, loves, play. It’s like having two cats! I’m delighted to report that Anouk didn’t hiss at Chitza during the unpacking of the groceries last night.

Anouk (left, inside the grocery bag) and Chitza (right, looking cautious)

Can world peace be far behind?

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