1. Made With Paper

    Waiting Out a Squall. When I showed this painting to my husband, he said, “Wow. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I wonder why you chose to paint that, a boat, all rigged and ready to go, sails on, on the trailer, in a storm. I can sure read what you’re up against into that.” We both paused, took sips of coffee and watched as a man expertly parallel parked a few feet in front of us. “It really is beautiful, but a boat on a trailer? Don’t you think it is metaphorical, for your state now.” The man squeezed behind his car to pass in front of us as I I pondered it, and yes, he was right, the scene was metaphorically like me, gloomily stuck ashore whirling in the storm of a serious injury. “Did you intend that? If not, I’d say subconsciously you hit the nail on the head, don’t you think?” “I didn’t mean for it to be about me. But it is interesting. I just wanted to render rain.” I thought of the other subject I considered, my own boat sitting on the trailer, but without the rain. “But you do have a point. It is reflective, isn’t it. I’m stuck not being able to do what is normal for me.” I looked at the painting on his phone and recalled the deep feeling of longing when I finished it, remembering how it was cathartic to add the streaks of rain. “You’ll be off that trailer soon baby.” “Yes, let’s hope so. Soon.” We stood and walked home. I walked without a crutch, thinking, ‘Yep, soon.’
     
  2. Made With Paper

    This is a throwback to my What’s Below paintings. I have not done one in several years but I’m still very interested in what is going on under my boat. Maybe hearing about a shark attack on Lake Pontchartrain and a good sized gator spotted cruising the harbor brought the subject back to mind. Looking up through the murky lake, if I were brave enough to swim in it, I’m certain you could not see much so I conjured up memories of my most recent experience in the Bahamas. There I could look up and see the boat, floating seemingly in the sky. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. A six foot barracuda cruised by and I realized how splendid it was to be a part of his world and how I needed to be mindful I did not belong. I turned to see a group of huge jackfish, I think tunas. A thrill, I only saw them by chance. The thought of such wild, powerful creatures so close by without my knowledge made my heart pound. I was looking forward to swimming around my boat, being able to dive down, look up and see the sun filtered overhead once again. I got hurt instead. Maybe next year. So for the past few days I’ve conjured up some of what I remember to share with my Tumblr followers. Thank you for following me and for looking deep.

     

  3. Impatient problem

    How many times have I been warned by friends to take it easy? I couldn’t count. Compared to my normal pace, for five weeks I had the illusion I was on a physical hiatus of epic proportions. Doing the BIG EASY. I did not run. I did not swim. I did not sail. And I did not climb on my bike and ride the levee. Being busted up is not easy. So I did physical therapy with great vigor.

    Week six, when my bone could be mended and certain I, being in such good shape prior to my crash, was healed, I gleefully added activities. I swam. Dipped into the pool with a davit it was liberating to the point of bringing me to tears. The neutral buoyancy freed me from pain of a terrestrial existence with a broken pelvis. While my body floated, my spirit rose. I went swimming three times in three days, taking care not to push off the wall with my sore leg. No big deal. It felt great. Wheee!

    Able to bear weight as tolerated I walked using my crutch. First around the neighborhood, a few easy blocks. Then I got a lift to Audubon Park. I walked a bit too far enjoying my triumphant return. My body rebelled as I climbed in the passenger seat for the ride home. I didn’t pay it much mind. I walked again, farther the next day. I pushed for distance.

    Then sitting on my porch at the end of the week, contemplating my overgrown, ratty garden, I made the poor decision to pull a few weeds. In the cool of the next morning I started. Taking my time I brought out a seat to rest on as I cleared the overgrowth. I worked up a slight lather to my body, sweating for the first time since I laid on the hot concrete six weeks ago waiting for the paramedics to lift me on a backboard. I though of how much I had progressed and felt — great.

    Unlike most folks, I like to perspire. Dewiness is a fact of life in New Orleans and I am good with it. Natives are astounded when I declare I enjoy the summer days with 80 percent humidity and 90 temperatures. The saltiness dripping from my brow developed when my garden was about a third cleared. I continued, enjoying myself and feeling satisfied with progress towards my fall garden. One fully stuffed lawn-sized bag later I stopped and sat on the porch with sweat beaded on my legs and arms. Bits of vegetation clung to my calves. There was still a splatter of stubborn weeds that could be hoed and a swath where the ground was surely somewhere down there but invisible under a thick green tangle. No vegetation of machete density remained. As I surveyed the small unfinished plot I felt my quadriceps tighten. Then my abductors twinge. Then my side tug. Then my back pull.

    I should quit. Take it easy.

    A neighbor, called to me as she unloaded her car after (as food shopping is called here) making groceries. “How ya doin’?”

    "I’m great. I weeded my garden."

    "Ohhhh my. It looks real goooood but you should be takin it eeeasy."

    "I felt so good and I got most of it done. I may need to call you tomorrow though to lift me out of bed." I joked already knowing it may be closer to the truth than I wanted.

    "Oh let’s hope not. But sure honey, I kin do that." She smiled broadly waving goodbye while lugging a bag with celery jutting out the top inside.

    Maybe I’ll plant celery.

    I didn’t have to call her to hoist me out of the sack in the morning, but it was close. For four days I’ve languidly sat to recover. Read. Sat. Painted. Hobbled to the fridge to grab an ice pack. Laid sprawled across the bed with a heat compress. Felt sorry and stupid.

    How can I live in the Big Easy but so not get it?

     
  4. rirobla:

    Una ventana al mar.(desde mis ventanas).
    A window to the sea (from my windows).

    Fantastico!

    Bravo Ricardo Rocio Blanco.
     
  5. Made With Paper

    These were the last of my summer Creole tomatoes, grown curbside where pedestrians stopped to consider plucking them. Most folks bent down and looked closely then continued on their way. Children often reached and were rebuffed by parents before they could pick. Once I had my eye on a blushing beauty when I came back from a morning run but decided to wait for dinnertime then eat it right off the bush. Too late. I hope the taker was hungry and enjoyed the organic burst of flavor. After that, I picked what I wanted before they were fully ripe, then let them sit for a day on my window sill. If there was fruit on the vines I could not eat I let the kids from upstairs take them for snacks.

    Although the plants are flowering again, I’ve been told not to expect much in the way of fall fruit.

    Since I’m still on crutches, I’ll let the tomato plants stand instead of removing them to make room for lettuce, kale and arugula. I need to weed first. The tomato plants need to be tied up to the fence or staked though as they have flopped over with their own weight because I ignored them.

     
  6. Made With Paper

     
  7. For my Tumblr friends who have an interest in purchasing one of my paintings, this is your first chance. And you will be helping a good cause. This nicely framed (courtesy of Uptown Frames) signed artist’s proof of a scene from the Gulf Coast will be for auction in Magazine bank branch and online. 100% of proceeds will go to benefit Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans during Gulf Coast Bank’s Auctions in August. As the name implies, the auction will run through August 29. To bid, stop by a branch or go to http://auctionsinaugust.com/aaAuctionItem.asp?loc=Online_Bidding and enter “Huntsman” in the key word search field. You may need to pay for shipping…

     
  8. This old house which withstood Katrina, Isaac and who knows how many other storms was demolished. One of largest Cyprus trees uptown came down first (It is seen in a depleted state — heavily pruned and ready to fell — in the first frame). The destruction made way for “renewal.” The large sky blue house is being replaced by two Faux-Orleanian McMansions. There goes the neighborhood.

     
     
  9. This spot looks lovely but it was recently terrifying — I love this city but there are two things I hate about New Orleans.

    The first thing I hate, the reason to shivering in me timbers over the painting’s willynilly sidewalk, is the horrible state of the city’s bike paths. I am a rider with enough miles on my current bike to circumnavigate the world. I wear safety gear, always. I follow the letter of the law, as well as practice defensive riding. I even decided, for self preservation, I would ride only on the levee’s bike/pedestrian paths. Still in spite of experience and caution, I had a very nasty no-car-involved bike crash. ICU level of nasty. I hate that in New Orleans, with so many people who do not own cars and depend on bikes, it is utterly dangerous to ride.

    Getting out and about for the first time after the crash, looking down Octavia Street was scary as shit. I had to suck it up just to shuffle along the sidewalk. It dawned on me as I trembled at the wildly jutting, teetering slabs, handicapped people have it EXCEPTIONALLY HARD in NOLA. Stunningly hard. In addition to natural hazards, caused by rain there are uncommon niceties such bathroom stalls with room to turn a wheelchair around, or narrow steps into businesses with no hand rails. I hate that it is that way.

    Consider this scene, the response is truly a matter of perspective. Beauty and terror both lie in the eye of the beholder. Octavia Street is beautiful yet certainly it is not so charming for the physically challenged.

     
  10. Made With Paper

    Below deck, at dock, quietly without the glory of sweeping waves water still finds its way to the lowest spots on a boat, the bilge. If all works as it should a float will engage the pump. The pump will expel water out of the boat back where it belongs and the boat will stay afloat.