Night time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12

Night time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12
Night Time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12View at Strand Center for the Arts Plattsburgh, NY

Saturday, June 9, 2018

There are Some Cherries Left. Part 3

June Calendar Pick, Donna's Meadow, McKenzie,12x16 Pastel

In which the continuing saga of the stolen backpacks takes a twist. A dumbfounding email is received. A friend pitches in and the unthinkable happens in Mexico.

A week home, Spring seemed to have lost her way North. Chris was scrolling through his emails and handed my phone to me to view an email. (Remember his phone and computer are lost and yet to be replaced.)
An email with a photo of his backpack and his computer with the question in Spanish, "Is this your backpack? There is also a passport?"


Where's the ransom note?

No, it looks official, from another grocery store in Tulum, not where we lost our packs, from Constantine and the lost and found of the Chedraui grocery (the Price Chopper of Yucatan) with the common disclaimer on the bottom of the email, "If you recieved this email… "

How did they get my email?

The Homer Simpson moment: The itinerary folder was in the pack! What else, who, how, what, huh?
It took 24 hours to respond. Too weird.

Chris forwarded the email to Roberto, our friend in near Tulum. He offered to get the pack as long as it was at Chedraui. Anywhere else and he brings the police.

Roberto is a Mexican Angel. Communications for two weeks. Roberto gets the pack and sends the contents sans the passport which has stayed behind in a folder in a drawer waiting for the next time we are there and the pack too which would not fit in the ship box.

Six weeks after the rebado-robbery, the remaining contents: the travel journal covering 11 years of trips to Peru and Mexico, the computer, the itinerary, really old books and a Patagonia rain slicker, were home.

Like "The Impossible Journey", the story of pets who returned home after a year lost, the contents can tell no story of what happened. They are just back.

Aside from a claim with home owners insurance and replacing lost items, the saga of the returned pack is over.

Time to get back to work.

Artliveslong, D

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Escape from Mud Season but… Bowl of Pits? Part 2

April Calendar "Cows Aglow" 11x14 Pastel Plein Air

2018 was not finished handing out discouragement. 

We headed to the Yucatan, our annual get away from cold and mud season. I was viewing this time as an opportunity to renew my head and hand in my craft. Warm up my body and my creative juices, get ready for spring and painting outdoors plein air. I packed my backpack accordingly with paper, pencils, pastels, sketchbook, power cords, and etc’s - everything ready for action.

Sounds like a plan. Right?

The first four days of travel went as predicted, a car, the road, a favorite place to stay in Valladolid, sunshine, good food, beginning a new sketchbook. Traveling back to the coast, we stopped in Tulum at a grocery we have stocked up at for years.

The hubris of familiarity was the downfall.

We returned to the car to discover we had been robbed - our backpacks were gone. Just the packs, which contained the core of our travel accoutrements: Chris’s passport, camera, computer, Kindle, wallet, id, journal, sandals, itinerary. Me, that pack full of new start art supplies and of course, cash.

No one is ever ready for that.

We went through the stages of grief, rip off, denial, recognition, now what, communications, police report, decision making, action- more or less in that order.

Don’t ever forget this is Mexico. Ever. There are bad angels and good angels - efficiency and lack of.

We looked at our pluses and minus’s. Because I chose to squirrel away things in different bags, the pluses were I had my passport, wallet, cellphone, iPad and not to be thought of right away - The keys to the car back in Montreal.

All really good things - and - no one got hurt.

Another plus we had the police report in hand which has come in handy several times. The US consulate was only 40 miles away from where we were staying. A temporary passport was issued in 24, two days after that Wednesday.


Did I mention it happened on Chris’s birthday? No wonder we avoid celebrating birthdays.

One angel back home - an Adirondack Stage Rat, sent Chris the replacement script of
Kimberly Akimbo  in a pdf. You know those crazy emails from friends hacked emails? "We are traveling in Mexico and got robbed. Would you send Chris the script?" Not money. Too ironic.

My hope still is that bag of art materials isn’t lying on the jungle floor crawling with bugs and slithery things - that the “perps” gave all that stuff to a neice or nephew and it saves the kids life. That is where I have kept the backpack in my mind - in a kids hands being used. Denial right?

I did not make any sketches. I read. I rode a bike, swam, and walked, all really good things for that recovering hip.

We had pesos enough for the duration.We tallied pluses and minuses, thankful for the huge help from our gracious friend Roberto, the manager of the place we stayed. We made a friend on the beach who made us laugh at our situation: “Hey you’ll never qualify for the Pro Leisure Tour if you aren’t drinking a beer by now.”

Our mantra when in Mexico is when something goes awry, like finding oneself rescuing one of the kids via internet; the bus has a grievous oil leak miles away from the destination; or one receives news of a relative becoming very ill, has been:


It sucks, but it sucks in Mexico. 


It may be cavalier to some but it has got us through some predicaments while traveling.

… Then we went home. It snowed feather comforter flakes that returning Sunday. Eight inches. April 22 Earth Day.

Life - the reason for reduced or no postings on SM. Why there is a block in creativity can be as huge as the loss of a loved one, an illness or accident or just plain fatigue with the game of getting work out there.

Stuff happens.

To be continued…

Artliveslong, Diane

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Life is a Bowl Full of Cherries Part 1

January Calendar. Life is a Bowl Full of Chrries Pastel 2017 atf 6x8 Sold
Maybe yes, maybe no. January 28, I crashed into my hip on my own ice rink drive way. If I coulda bargained for a different bone I would have.

Not dwelling on on it.

Time incapacitated is sometimes a gift. Sketch books, drawings, thumbnail sketches are the order of the day. Make it work. Look at art books. Read up on technique. Sharpen up conceptual ideas that have been in the back of my head.


That was written sometime before I accepted I just wasn't gonna be in the studio or have independent mobility to anywhere - for a while.

Here's the rest of the story:

June 2018

I have wondered what has happened to current artists when I stop seeing their postings on the internet. Did they give up on social media? Was their work consuming them or was it family? Or was it the ever changing algorithm disguised as an enabler of communication redesigned by well meaning but greedy computer geeks?

I found out a couple of reasons this winter.

I was in a hurry to get to my studio to show a commissioned painting to its new owners. I failed to put on my Yax Trax. I slipped and crashed on the ice in my own driveway. I let out a yell - expletive deleted—and honest - four things immediately came to mind. Hospitals, old ladies, broken hips, pneumonia - a death knell.

Being full of p and vinegar is a trait I have yet to live down and after the immediate crash calmed a bit I managed to raise myself back up - on the ice - and painfully shuffle back into the house to inform Chris. I could move.
Chris said, "Maybe you have just bruised it.”
I said “I don’t know that.” I was really coming to grips that I did know - that it was broken.

Further proof of my p and vinegar - I proceeded to go to the studio - in the car - up five steps - arranged things for the meeting - went up 14 more steps to arrange the art in to be viewed in a larger space - went down the stairs and thought, “That is the last time I go up those stairs.” and called Chris to come and escort my patrons upstairs to the painting when they arrived.

Shortly after their departure we went to ER where ex rays revealed what I knew - a broken hip. I was knocked out of commission for two months to heal and work physical therapy.

That is how this painter receded from SM this winter.
Stay tuned. There is more.

Artliveslong, D

Monday, July 3, 2017

Back to work…

Oh, The shoveling to do. March 14, 2017
( Truth: I wrote this entry several weeks ago. I had not let it go into the blogshere. In processing this idea further in the last month or so I have realized there is more than meets the eye in this slow recovery. The first thing out of my mouth Wednesday November 9, 2016 after my husband asked how was I doing that morning was, "Not good. I am not going to be good for a long time." I think I set myself up for a low grade depression, heading into winter because of the results that let the occupant in. Name it -  Tame it, they say. I will continue to make work of what I consider beautiful to remind myself that it is out there and we all need to look for beauty every day even when uglinessness seems so insistant. "Nevertheless, She persisted.) Onward.

It was a tough winter for me this year. I came down with the flu hard and graciously gave it to my husband. We were perfectly useless to each other for more than 2 weeks. Then it snowed 3 feet. Whew. Adirondack winters test one's mettle.

I had good intentions to spring back into action when we headed to Mexico to escape mud season. Bought pastels and paper. Painted the first day. I found I lacked the energy to give to the work no matter how small. I carried my supplies as penance for not following through.

During my recovery from flu I ran across a NYT story about Carmen Herrera. I had never heard of her. She is an abstract minimalist who began her career in the same era as Mondrian, Kelly and Stella. She has become my heroine of the year or longer.
Carmen Herrera is 102 and still painting every day. She has been discovered at a much later stage of her life than those bad boys of her youth. Most recently this winter Herrera had an exhibit of her work at the Whitney. Finding her was an inspiration. No, I will not be switching to her style. She is 102 and painting every day! I have a lot of work to do and years to get it done.

May Iris 8x6
It has only been this week (early May) that I am feeling up to my old feisty self. Maybe it was working in the garden, bu I finally kicked the lingering malaise of the flu out the door.

Since I have a pile of prepped 6x8 pastel paper ready, I am intending to warm up the brain and hand with a mini a day. Here is an iris from the garden. These are very early because they have very short stems only 12" high, but the color is luscious. I don't do it justice here, but it was great to get back into the work.

I will be posting the work on Facebook on two pages.  If you follow on one you will need to like the other to see it. The FB page with just my work on it will appear with only the work - no commentary on any desperate situations.

Stay tuned.
 Artliveslong, D
Still Snow Capped 12x18

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Autumn Reflections

What attracts a painter to view?  Is it the challenge, reflections, or color - summer dormant reds and oranges jumping into my hand, or is it the subtle shapes just far away enough to escape real definition?

When I set up to paint near water it is almost always the water that taunts me. I feel lucky when I get reflections, because it allows me to work on seeing the stretched underside of the trees. Water reflections are a couple of shades more intense than what it is reflecting, a trait that the only tell is when picking up a piece that is not hanging - which side is up? If one is looking at reflections upside down there should be a faint sense of vertigo, falling into the "sky", that signals your viewpoint needs adjusting.

Finding that view is elusive in plein air. Elements can change quickly, the lovely branches with sky peeking through melding into tannic shoreline can vanish with a shift in sunlight and the jet stream dissolving those great reflection into ripples, leaving the painter guessing and frustrated.  But one could return the next day yes? Maybe, but not likely in the Adirondacks. That wind heralds other weather. The sun may not be available for an appearance. In the fall it can mean the last day for that particular set up for color.

Plein air is a slow motion way of capturing what the Iphone gets in a nano second. One can say "got it" and rush on. The plein air painter sets up to catch a long piece of time in a two dimensional format and hopes to place the elements that first attracted her before – the sun moves, the clouds gather, the wind picks up, the temperature drops.

Autumn Reflections is #5 in the 7 for 7 challenge to post. Painted at Camp Sagamore, it is ready to hang - right-side up - a window into fall to enjoy all year round.

Here is day 3. Day two and four will come later.

"Trajectory", the night of a super moon rising over the fields in Gabriels.

Stay tuned.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Yet another mini challege

Paul of Saratoga Pastel unfinished 14x11
I was nominated by Joann Quinlivan to post 7 paintings in 7 days on Saturday. I just posted my first painting, a piece - unfinished, a product of a one day workshop with another pastel and oil painter Corey Pitkin, which I participated in this January.

Having a model for a whole day is a delicious novelty and still - it is not enough time. Exploring deep shadows and strong bone structure with a little bit of a hazard- the paper was not as smooth as I usually work with - I was able to disappear into the work.

I need to dive in more consistently to my work. It is a healing strengthening process, quite necessary for the peace I need in my mind.

I won't pretend to change the world with my art, just record the beauty as a I see it. There is  plenty of beauty out there in spite of the fierce political wind. I will go after as best I can. It is what I do.

Artliveslong, D

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday Advice from the Red Queen

December is rushing by, no surprise. Days are the shortest and complicated with weather, holidays and obligations. I like this time of complications, like my favorite line from Alice in Wonderland:

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


With the Red Queen in mind, here is a hot off the easel piece commissioned this past summer for Christmas: Somewhere in the Adirondacks.
SOLD! Somewhere in the Adirondacks 16x20 Commission
While I was there on location engrossed in the work, I felt someone watching me. I turned and there was a doe not 20 feet away calmly grazing behind me. She looked up at me for a minute, then continued munching the grasses, turned and headed back into the deeper woods. That will not happen in the studio.

SOLD! Catching Rays #7 -31 in 31, 5x7
This little piece from the 31 in 31 series almost got away from me. Several pieces from the series had been scooped up. This one was still hanging around so I framed it and bought it over to Lake Placid Center for the Arts for the Joy to the Children benefit auction.

A day later I got an email asking, "When can I pick up my painting?" Gulp! "What painting?" Catching Rays! O dear! I did a search through emails and found this little guy had been snatched up online during Studio Tour.

Once again: Where is that intern? Oh right. It's me.
Indian Pass #27, 31 in 31, 5x7, LPCA Benefit

A quick trip to Lake Placid rescued the runaway and was replaced by Indian Pass. All's well that ends well.

Holiday Gift Suggestion:
There are a number of little jewels on my studio wall looking for new niches to fill. Framed, they are priced for the holidays, from $100 to $250. I am in the studio in the afternoons during the week (Check my website for the days!) until 7pm for all you 9-5ers who are running as fast as you can, just to stay in one place.

The smaller pieces range from $100-$250. Stop in to get a good look.
Stay tuned.

Artliveslong, D