Friday, June 27, 2008

Chaotic thoughts....

Many thoughts whirling around in this old brain...but the most frightening is the "mother of the groom" one. I actually find myself somehow tying it in with the invitation that came in the mail for my 40th High School Class Reunion...arggghhh! How can it be 40 years?? I want my old body back...the one before gravity had it's way with me...before all those tiny little bedtime snacks snuck up on my fat cells and stored themselves there. Been contemplating how much weight I could loose in the next 5 weeks...or how much plastic surgery? Lol...not going there...not really! Just one of those dumb thoughts. Is it that I can what I look like, or care that my son might care? Somehow, I think it is the more selfish of the two...worrying about what others will think of this older woman...or is that mature lady?

I suppose they even tie in to the thoughts I started in my art blog...Artwork by Susan J. Richards about needing the approval of others and basing alot of my life on what others think/thought? I am really not sure why it is such a big part of my personality. I have spent/wasted alot of years trying to be what everyone else wanted me to that they would like me. It got to the point where I did not really know who I was...only who I had to be with certain people. It began to be like I had multiple personalities, almost...definitely confusing...not only for me, but for others too. Of course, it is something I have written write about most things that hurt, me or others, but wonder if I would be the same me that I am, without all of the garbage I have hauled around for way too many years? I am hoping to lay it down one day, as it tends to get heavy, but I believe I will keep the experience and hopefully some wisdom from the lessons learned, hard as they may have been for me.,,


As I sit here reflecting on all that was said,
and, too, on what was left unspoken.....
trying to see around the pain and turmoil,
to learn what I must from it;
I see a need for forgiveness, at the top of the list:
forgiveness for myself, for gullibility,
for believing in something that had no credibility,
for allowing myself to respond to a dream;
forgiveness too, for what I've led you to believe I am,
in my inability to just be myself,
and for permitting the charade to continue too long;
and maybe forgiveness, to be begged,
from all the true meanings of my life, poor as it is...
to be sought before it is too late to correct.

Perhaps the only real truth spoken, was that
I am not like others you have met;
not because of some exaggerated sense of self-worth,
but because I am not what I appear.
When I pull aside the blinders I've been wearing,
and see the life and image I've created,
I am appalled at what I've allowed myself to become;
my soul has long screamed, "Desist!";
yet somehow, in a mistaken effort to defend myself,
I turned a deaf ear to its beseeching,
fooling no one but myself, into seeing what I wanted;
and now the screams echo in the pain,
and tears are wept for foolishness and loss--
perhaps not of total innocence, but some.

A child, trapped inside, for so many years alone,
only coming out when walls were crushed,
and no more defenses could protect and hide her,
from the world outside her prison,
at first amazed at the freedom and wonder of life,
trying to learn, from the shreds
that were left of the thing created to protect her,
what had passed while held deep inside;
then buffeted with hurt and anger from all sides,
over the lives destroyed while she hid.
All the waste of years, so sad for the loss;
sins of omission are perhaps more damaging
than those of commission, more totally destructive
of the lives that contact such a one.

Vows made to undo what could be undone,
to not repeat such hurt again ever;
yet under the strain and stress of extreme loss,
to awaken again and see that paths were trod
that were not to be followed, and yet had been;
the phoenix arising from the ashes
had itself turned to dust , and left only bitterness;
the butterfly that was to be seen emerging,
fresh and free from its chrysalis, trembling,
it flew, and was not a butterfly--
but only a foolish moth that in stupidity
blundered into the fire and was destroyed.
this is not something a person want to face,
but face it I find I must.

I have not lived in the manner I believed;
intemperance and indecency are not part of
the me I would want to be, or the person I want seen;
the excuses for such laxity are no good,
and the ends never justify the means no matter what.
In a search for reassurance I used,
and was used, and in the end lost what I sought;
in a desire to hide from reality,
I endangered myself and others, and solved nothing.
I sought values in others, who
used the same excuses , and couldn't find in them, either,
what I was unable to find in myself;
what a waste of precious time, when none of us knows
how much or little of it we have.

So, I look up from all the destruction I allowed,
and I wonder what I truly am,
and even, sometimes, if I am anything at all.
Perhaps I can be seen, somewhere in the reflection
of what I've been, some of it perhaps not all bad;
I am most realistically a mother, and will be
to the day that physical death claims the emotionally dead;
for the moment bereft of their presence, yet
still and all, they are a major, consuming part of my life,
no matter how much hiding is done;
nothing can change that, nor in truth would I allow it.
My own happiness can only be a reality
if it is gained through my efforts to meet the responsibility
which I took upon myself in their creation.

An idealist, a romantic, having my head in the clouds,
which allows for considerable stumbling;
I longed to find someone, somewhere, who could love me--
not for what I have, or do, or could give,
but just for me, seeking a completeness through love,
asking no material rewards or promises,
wanting only love, closeness, comfort, and protection;
desiring to learn to give with out caring about returns.
You have allowed me to know that maybe I could do that,
for I have wanted to care and give with you,
to be for you all that I could be, to please you
with no thoughts for what you could give,
except perhaps for love and tenderness and laughter,
and those I found in what we had.

Yet there was missing, the most important part :
honesty and trust, I could not trust,
and, in my lack, I could not be honest with you.
I have beliefs, which I kept hidden
for fear that in their expression I would lose you;
and in that fear I almost lost myself,
which, in the end, was far worse than the loss
of something I never really had at all.
I believe in a God who cares, though in my anger,
over what I considered unfairness,
I convinced myself He couldn't truly care for me;
and in a false sense of unworthiness,
I felt myself too insignificant to be bothered with,
and tried to close the door on belief.

But my belief was there, is there, and will be there,
for without it the emptiness is too much to bear;
what temporary existence is worth the loss of your soul.
How often we cry out in anger and bitterness,
claiming to be above the pain and hurt that are part of life;
are we not all humans to suffer what life brings?
No one has ever escaped it, no matter what it seems;
why do we think ourselves better than others?
I know I must learn to quit blaming God,
for things I allowed to happen to me,
and even for those things that others have inflicted,
for no one is a puppet that He controls;
all have the freedom to be the most, or least, they want,
and to do what they wish--right or wrong.

Excuses and justifications for our actions lie not
in what others have done to us, but
in what we do in life to mold ourselves, our parts;
not the dictators of our patterns, but
the teachers, so that we might, as time passes,
go on to be the most that we can be;
and not remain locked in a futile desire to remake
a past, which if it had been worth anything,
would not need remaking, but simply remembering.
I don't know what I am, or can be,
however, I do know that I cannot learn or gain it
by denying any parts of me, or achieve
any success by a denial of myself or of reality
that can only continue to bring defeat.

It is possible that until we truly want to live,
we will not; for just being, is not life.
In the serious contemplation of ending the pain,
through the ending of my life,
maybe I have come to see the road I must travel--
running away, living in dreams and fantasies,
not facing decisions, not accepting my responsibilities,
selfishly seeking my own pleasure
at the expense of the needs and feelings of others,
has earned me nothing rewarding;
it has only reaped pain and heartache unending;
but I do want to live, surprisingly,
and maybe now I know at least part of the way
in which I must learn how.

I only regret the pain I have caused to others,
in the wasted years of seeking excuses
instead of the doing of what could and should have been done;
I can only hope, that in some way,
I can , with the rest of my life, correct in some way,
the pain I've caused others, and prevent
the devastation of lives by a change in myself;
not to change the past, but to correct the future,
seeking only to be the best that I can be,
accepting failure, and moving on
to try again, instead of wallowing in defeat and self-pity;
to try and use what I have for others,
and to give of myself in honesty, despite what comes,
and in so doing, gain some measure of self-respect.


Well...if those thoughts are not chaotic or deep enough for a beautiful day...just wait; I am sure I can come up with more later. Oh, by the way...I am going to try and start using my middle initial, since there are a whole lot of Susan Richard's out there...and even some are artists. Maybe it will help with some of the confusion...maybe can but try.

Gotta run for now!

Since Wet Canvas is still down....sigh....

It has been a long week with Wet Canvas down. I did not realize how very spoiled I was, and how much I had come to rely on the the comments of other artists, in judging my own work. Now that I have not had that for a I any closer to deciding myself what I like, and what I don't? I am not sure; but it has given me food for thought. I know my daughter, who is an artist, wonders why I am so concerned with what others think; yet I would say my whole life has been based on that, in some way or another. I have always been more concerned with what others think of me, than what I think of myself. My current husband has helped me alot with this...but it still remains a large part of my psyche...I wonder sometimes, if I will ever overcome it, or if I should. Perhaps even "bad" character flaws are part of what makes us who we are...and the loss of even one of them would change us. Like I said, much food for thought there. Perhaps it better belongs on Dragonswhispers than here in my art blog.

Moving right along...I have been playing with techniques, and working on the new master's challenge, Van Gogh, this time. It has been an interesting, and fairly productive week. Since I am newer to painting, I still get tons of books from the library...searching for knowledge, and learning techniques and terminology, etc. This week I have been playing with combining some of the "easier" and often maligned art teachers techniques and mixing them with my style (such as it is at the moment). For a change, I have been pleased with how it is going.

Here is the Van Gogh I did, called First Steps....

The original ...

Mine still could use a bit more work....

I also drew a sketch of a sketch he did called Sorrow, I just could not resist adding color to it...since it is a nude, I will not post it here, but those who are adults and are interested in seing it, can view it here Portraits 2.

This is the first of the landscapes, as yet untitled...of the everglades:

and the second one, also untitled...tho' I am leaning toward making it fantasy art, with either a unicorn or a dragon...or both??

Well, a long day editing blogs and web pages, and I think I am done for now. In case anyone notices, I am going to be using my middle initial from now on. There are alot of Susan Richard's out there, and even some are I am hoping to avoid confusion...and be my own person.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The studio move is over...

Well, I finally can see the floors and some of the walls, in my new office/studio. I have 3 tables to draw with a drafting-type top that adjusts to different angles; one that is just flat for sketching, tracing, drawing, reading, or whatever I need to do, and one for my easels, so I can paint on them. Sometimes I paint on an easel, sometimes I like to lay it all depends. I can see the top of my desk, and my pc is set up with the keyboard and mouse in a convenient location, that is less stress on my arms and hands; and plenty of space to change their locations if I want to for some reason. My bills, ledgers, and budget book have their own spot, and so does my shredder, and calculator. The scanner is where I can scan my artwork, and my printer is in a good spot to print out things to paint or whatever else I need to print. I like to make my own cards for birthdays and anniversaries, etc. The paper, and specialty paper, and other stuff is located right under the printer where it is easy to access.

Daddy is home from the hospital again...hopefully for longer this time! The truck is fixed, but still needs tires...soon, I hope. The air conditioner is fixed, and should require nothing until the fall, if then. Hopefully other than the fast growing grass, the rest of this month will go easy!

I no longer am stressing about the Watermelon Festival...making sure I have enough paintings...getting a tent, and enough fans and cold water to make it thru' the potentially 100 to 115 degree days. I am sending an email to get my deposit back, because my son has chosen that weekend to get married! So instead of sweltering in the heat...I am going to be mother of the groom! Not sure how that will hopeful that current husband and ex-husband will be cordial and get along. I plan on being a wonderfully polite and nice person! He and I do not seem to dislike each other quite as much as we used to...maybe because we are separtated by 600 miles, and two other to speak. We are each on our 3rd relationship...and second marriage. So, as in everything, with the passing of time, things change. Hopefully, since we are both happy in our current relationships, things will go smoothly.

Well...I have to get up early {shudder} in the am, so I will leave you with this thought...


Family is funny,
or so it seems;
it's one way when young, but
not when you're old.

One might be smarter,
some are still fools;
some grow into adults,
others pass on.

I often recall,
past holidays;
crowded with so many,
yet seldom esteemed.

Did wishes come true,
not all are here;
did we want them to leave,
or waste our time?

When your youth passes,
some hopes will change;
if-only's and what-if's,
are food for thought.

Family is funny,
or so I think;
for that which we had once,
is not there today.

Old squabbles and feuds,
seem stupid now;
if we did it again,
would it be the same?

If I could go back,
I'd want to say;
that I love you, miss you,
and see you some day.

Family is funny,
tho' I feel sad;
family's not forever
enjoy while you can.


Filling the void...or what happened to all my free time...

I thought I would have more time to paint, with my son in respite care; however, that does not seem to be the case. I suppose that is how things usually go. If there is a hole, something will fill it; and I had a hole in my time consumption, and things have filled it. I have been doing alot of yard work, because the grass refuses to quit growing; in fact with all the rain this spring, it is growing like crazy. I also have been doing some work for a friend, and that has used up some more time. With my dad in and out of the hospital, there has been alot of stress to deal with as well...not that I have not been painting, just not quite as much as I had hoped.

I wanted to show you the updates on the two I showed you last time, as well as go back a bit to the chronological progression of my work.

I finished the painting of the old hotel in Water Valley, and also the scene of them loading watermelons onto a train in Water Valley.

I have shown you one of the challenges, but in between those, I look for photos, and scenes to paint. There are a number of places to get royalty free photos to paint, and I am always on the lookout for scenes that capture my interest. One of the plant ones, where they are growing out of an old log is one that I found. Here are some more....

This one is a simple ocean scene where the sunset on the waters and glinting in the pools of water on the shore intrigued me.

The next one was a crane or heron or egret walking on the beach at low tide, looking for dinner, with the sandpipers playing nearby....

This one sold, before it had even left my easel, to a good friend.

The next one was a canyon, quiet and peaceful in the afternoon sun, as a storm seemed to be blowing in...

Well, I have a busy day and yard work...yuk!! But as in all things, it has to be done. Till next time, have a great day!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Real life enters....

Well, it is quiet, but it is not calm. Since Bubba left, it has been a bit more hectic than I had planned. The pickup needs work and tires, the air conditioner died, and now dad is back in the hospital. It is always something, or so it seems.

I am so angry at the doctors, and at the closing of ranks to protect each other. First they messed up on the meds they gave him after the surgery, and he ended up with congestive heart failure. Now they messed the meds up again, and his kidneys are not functioning correctly, his heart rate is way too low, and they think maybe the scar tissue from some of their procedures might be strangling his heart. Knowing my parents, they would never sue...but at this point, I think I would, just on the principal of things! It is old...I remember when my mom first got cancer...they treated her for hemorrhoid's for 7 years, and she had colon cancer. My sister works for a lawyer, and nothing can be done. But it does not stop the anger! Wish I could threaten them with something, that is for sure.

I have started remembering alot of my childhood memories. Maybe because of the stress, I don't know. I do know, that I have been pleasantly surprised at how nice they were. I have been learning how very much I love my family, and remembering how much they love me!

Well, in all this heat, I have had alot of trouble sleeping. So I am going to try and catch a few...

I'll leave you with this....


Whenever I reflect upon
the person I call mother,
I find myself humming:
M is for the many things she gave me......
a song I learned quite young;
and I wonder if it really
shows what all I think of her.

She taught me much,
and was always there;
I never had to beg at all
to get the attention I needed from her,
or the love that was mine;
she stayed at home,
and lived for just her family.

She is, and was, strong
in her faith, and in her love;
she fought battles, in life,
that would have been
hard for others, and came through triumphantly;
winning her way back,
to her loving family.

I can only wish for me,
to find inside of myself,
the heritage she gave
to each of her children;
and the ability to become, a better person,
so that I can say with pride,
I am just like my mother.