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Sunday, September 20, 2009

New finishes! Adenocard must have done the trick...

Finished several paintings that were languishing around...nagging at me. You need to go to the blog to see them all. Feels good to declare victory! Enjoy...this week will see some finishes on figurative works.

"Tanyard Creek"
©2009 Vicki Ross
12x16" oil on linen panel $815

"Charles Bridge, Prague"
©2009 Vicki Ross
11x14" oil on panel $650

"A Green Toast"
©2009 Vicki Ross
6x12" oil on panel $360

"Healing Springs, AR"
©2009 Vicki Ross
11x14" oil on panel $650

©2009 Vicki Ross
11x14" oil on linen panel $650

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Charles Bridge in Prague Painting Made My Heart Skip a beat!

Dam**t! lost an entire afternoon of painting. Was just getting into the rhythm and on target to finish another painting today when my Heart went pitty-pat. Problem was, it didn't stop. I had had another episode earlier this week, but it went away quickly and I forgot about it.

10 minutes...not going away. made a management decision to call 911. A bit of nitro sprayed under my tongue, 4 baby aspirins...and a couple of VERY non-flattering grunt face exercises did nothing to bring it down. Atta girl. Stay the course and remain constant and consistent! Oops. not necessarily in this case!

Officially 'Supraventricular Tachycardia'. Heart rate a very consistent 250, so I guess I didn't cry wolf! They gave me something that brought it down, but that was a horrible feeling...Andenocard. Room full of people apparently were pleased when they could tell it was working...I kept hearing them saying, 'Yeah, it's working!' Apparently they can tell by your eyes...

Then I had all the lab work and x-rays and stuff...all was fine. Reminds me of when our laptops begin to run excessively loud and racing and the only way to stop it is to take out the battery and restart!

Bad thing is NO ONE filmed all this for YouTube! I kept them all laughing, though!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Moses-Botkin September: Kitchen Pantry or Cabinet

I've been behind the curve this month due to my programming issues with a new website. Yeah, I'd like some cheeze with my whine! AND, this month we are welcoming Suzanne Berry for her first challenge painting...she NAILED it! Michael Naples has a 2 week old newborn at home. I'm impressed he was even able to remember a deadline! My excuse pales by comparison.

"Coming OUT of the Cabinet"
©2009 Vicki Ross
9x12 Oil on Board

"Coffee Corner" 
Oil on Board, 7x12 

"Steel Cut Oats"
12"x12", o/c
“Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of Rum"
6"x8" Oil on panel

©2009 Robin Cheers
8x16" oil on panel

"The Red Napkin"
©2009 Marie Fox
Oil on canvas, 16 x 20

"The Artist's Pantry"   
5x7" oil on canvas

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My new Sista-in-fire, Home Again, and other insurance reform needed

In order to feel better, sometimes it takes a step or 2 back to appreciate how far you have come. Randy and I have had one of those inexplicable 'coincidences' that culminated this last week in another layer of the onion being peeled back.

The onion is my description of grief, if massive enough, your brain (soul) will allow you to put the event in cold storage until you are better equipped to handle it. Then, bits by little bits, you are aware of 'things' again. If you are not ready, it goes back to be dealt with another time. The center of that onion might drive you insane if you peel it too quick.

Jill and Greg, their daughters Steely and Demi (8 and 3), moved in next door to us in February. Our area had suffered a 10 day deluge of ice that forced many people out of their homes to seek warmth in hotels. We even had our good friends Ron and Pam move in with us for 7 days...which was a party all on its own!

Anyway, within hours Randy found out that they leased the furnished house next door because when the power came back on at their home, it somehow caught on fire. Because the house had been closed up for 3 days or so, the fire simmered for a couple hours. Greg got a call from a neighbor. By the time they arrived in 15 minutes or so, he went into the house with an extinguisher and thought he had caught it in time. NOT. He turned around and saw a huge wall of flame being fed by the new oxygen coming in the door.

Fortunately, they were not home and asleep at the time. Unfortunately, the fire department arrived soon after...and while their house was salvaged, it took 6 months to 'fix'. Hence, their move into our nucleus. They have gotten a real good dose of American insurance settlement policies since. And that is another entire story. However, upon review of my writing this, I've decided that IS the story. Greg says it was a mistake to try to save the house.

Health Insurance is not the only agency that needs a complete overhaul! Unless you have had a major claim with insurance loss (non-medical) you probably have no clue what they do to make you give up and go away.

We've become good friends over the past few months, love to watch Demi dance in her tutus, barefoot, up and down the driveway...and have thoroughly enjoyed those spontaneous summer nights sitting out in our driveways for hours. (ps: this is a good neighborhood, just we all have dogs in the backyards).

Turns out that Jill is an elementary school qualified art teacher, so we have lots in common there. Also turns out that they were shocked to find out they had moved in next door to people who really understood their trauma, and didn't try to blow it off, or make inane comments about things being OK, and how fortunate they are. Bulls**t!

Fast forward to this last week when they moved back into their 'new' home. A restoration company delivered 90+ big boxes and 3 van loads of clothes on hangers on Thursday evening next door. Jill was absolutely overwhelmed, didn't know what to do first. They had planned a garage sale beginning the next day at was 8pm thursday when I saw what they were facing.

Instead of their insurance company giving them the appraisal value of the clothing (Jill's old clothes dating back to high school, every baby onesie, outdated shoes, belts, etc), they had it all drycleaned and ozoned to the tune of $31,000! Since February, the girls have outgrown those clothes, Steely gets a rash from the chemicals, and basically other than sentimental reasons, $31,000 was spent on nothing of value. Now stay with me...the insurance company was willing to pay $31,000 for restoration but NOT give them the money? WHY!

Jill was in tears, I was overwhelmed at boxes stacked to the ceiling, and had NO CLUE how to help her manage this task. I vowed to do anything I could do to make this easier on them...and didn't realize I would be peeling a few layers from my onion. As long as I didn't have to be up at 8am!

Jill kept wanting to talk about our fire and our Sarah. We would both cry a bit and go back to laughing at the sociological events of people sifting through her 10 years of memories. Laugh and cry. For 2 days. She kept saying I was the only one who realized how traumatic this was for you keep your favorite baby clothes? do you rescue the outfit your now deceased dad gifted the new baby? How does she go through 90 boxes and pick out the things she really does want to keep, while strangers are digging through them as well?

I wasn't much help the first day. Another great neighbor, Luciene Pinto from Brazil was around off and on, and helped communicate to the shoppers with her Spanish. Lu brings an entirely new perspective to the situation because she tells us how different and easier things are in Brazil than the US. Saturday I was able to engage and help Jill realize that come winter, wool hats, velour throws, gloves and socks might come in handy. I filled several boxes of 'keepables' for her to sort through later. Thank goodness both grandmothers love to keep the girls in clothing.

Jill and the girls really wanted me to come see their 'new' house after we helped Greg load all the leftovers into a truck for delivery to the Women's Abuse Shelter. Their house is fabulous, by the way. We sat and talked, and I have to say that Jill is one of the few people I've met who really wants to know about Sarah...and is curious about what it is that brought us into their world...about what brought the Garage Sale Angel to her at 8am on Friday morning. This woman spent 8 hours in the house sorting and folding clothes from the boxes and all she asked in return was a small bag of size 7 girls clothes. And she disappeared, saying she woke up that morning knowing someone needed some help with a garage sale.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. And, Jill's kitchen is empty of dishes, glasses and other essentials...they are getting the shaft insurance-wise about how the destroyed items are to be compensated.

I am drained now. peeling onions always makes my eyes leak. AND I may have another diatribe about the crooks in the homeowner insurance field. You had better hope you never have to experience how they operate. Funny thing is (a twisted funny) is the similarities of how both our families were treated...from different insurance companies...guess they teach how to be bullies in insurance school. It is, after all (in their eyes anyway), all about the bottom line and their bonuses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Surprise and Goodbye to Close Friends

A friend brought a friend over late on Labor Day weekend for a glass of wine, and he chose FIVE of my paintings for his collection (must have been some wine)! MY paintings! He carefully looked at all my framed pieces and managed to choose some of my favs. (we definitely have to get the others on the walls instead of stacked in the floor).

The ones he chose came from my experiences in France (except for Taxi). I realized something important last night, that my stories of the scenes made a real impact on him. (note to self: always tell the story!) Another very good reason NOT to use someone else's source photo!

#1: Taxis. Completed for a Karin Jurick Challenge group, Different Strokes for Different Folks'.

©2009 Vicki Ross
6x12 oil on panel
#2: French Village. so many rainy days in France...and  you have to go to market anyway. Umbrellas, shiny, reflective cobblestones, misty buildings...sturdy shoes a necessity. And know that the fresh veggies carried home will make a delicious country meal in front of a blazing fire! The collector asked if I could mist out the upper buildings a bit more like the Taxi buildings. I agreed that this was a great idea.

"French Village"
©2099 Vicki Ross
6x12 oil on panel
#3: Barflies. Back when France was known for their smoky bars and restaurants, this type of scene was common. Eyes burn, flourescent lights glow in the greenish light from aliens, wet wool smells, people sociable and willing to rub shoulders for the night. Now, smoking is a no-no. Don't think these walls will ever be free of the yellowish nicotine. People drop in for a drink, or the evening...and move on. A bit of drama between the couple in the foreground, couple in the background looking for a spot to sit, solitary bald guy sipping and looking...?
©2008 Vicki Ross
12x18 pastel on sanded paper
#4: Montmartre. Hordes of tourists, same today as 100 years ago. Hordes of locals, ditto. Painters and artists still massed shoulder to shoulder, easel to easel in the square hawking their wares. Cool, crisp air, coffee shops line the side streets. Been the same since the days of Lautrec, Monet, Degas, Cassat. This fellow was SO intent on making a sale...his dinner and Absinth for tonight rides on this sale!

©2009 Vicki Ross
12x18 oil on Panel
#5: Phil had narrowed his choices down and then I remembered this one over in the corner. It seemed to round out his selections...and what a choice! Parisian Dancers. Kippy and I were in Paris on Sunday after putting Joann (Smith) and my Randy on a plane back to the states. We went to the market (the oldest market in Europe where the dancers dance every Sunday and have since Liberation). In the breaks, young girls tried to emulate their steps. You can almost close your eyes and feel that you have been here, in this spot, before...walking along rue Mouffetard. Children, babies, old people, and a red-haired American! I was so entranced with the early morning light and shadows. I can hear the classic tarantella every time I see this painting. My first 'assignment' in Paris on my own. Directed to enter a boucherie (horrible spelling) to score a rotiserrie chicken. My finger in my dimple, other finger pointing at a particularly choice bird, my 'bonsoiur, madame' in arkansas singsong accent fooled NO ONE! The clerk stumbled a bit, but I knew she wanted to make sure I knew the price was per pound...not for the bird, and hoped she was not offending me. Oui, Oui I said, feeling very cosmopolitan and quite proud of myself. Purchase in hand, I was very pleased with me! Kippy and I met at the corner for a brunch, sitting outside watching the crowd. PS: the vegetables she purchased made their way into a couple paintings that afternoon back in Fontaine-Fourches before being sacrificed to the stew pot!

"Parisian Dancers'
©2008 Vicki Ross
12x18 pastel on sanded paper

Goodbye, my little friends. I enjoyed creating you! I know you are going to a new space where you will be admired for a long time.
Think this means I need to go back to Kippy and Jerome's for more inspiration? ME TOO!

ps: thought you'd like to see the little girl during the dancer's break...

au revoir!