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Only 2 Chemos left! Elk WIP

China silk scarves

China silk scarves

Sorry to take so long to blog this week, but after chemo treatment # 10, I am tired, tired, tired, exhausted. Have slept a lot this week – pretty much waking up to take nausea meds and occasionally check in on Facebook. Hopefully will have a little more energy next week and will do a little longer blog. Since this was treatment # 10, the GREAT news is ONLY two more to go!!!!! Whoooo Hoooo. Will have a new tumor marker numbers next week, as they only do them once a month, but am sure it will be good news. Cancer take that – POW!!! POW!!!! POW!!!!

Sister Debi, this photo is for you – the silk scarves from China you sent. With the hair slowly disappearing, it is nice to have something pretty on my head! You can see the port really well too. It saves me from MANY bruises!

ElkFs

Elk on Black All Media Board – Pastel Pencil

The elk is about finished, I definitely am liking him better on black, but take a look and decide for yourself! Nap time, catch ya next week.

Resting Week, New Elk WIP

This has been a good resting week, I have felt good, but a little more fatigued than usual. It could be due to the build up since there are only three more chemos……or it could be because the weather is rainy here, which is very unusual in Arizona. A little more hair has disappeared, but I still have enough to comb forward to have bangs with my hats. The chemo tan is getting darker, wonder how long it will last after chemo is over?

Elk - Pastel Pencils on Black

Elk – Pastel Pencils on Black

The elk is being redone on the black media board. I am liking it better so far. Didn’t get out the good camera, but will next time! SO the camera phone is Ok, but does not do justice to the colors. I didn’t get as much done this week as I would have liked….maybe it is because friends have been taking me out to eat this week, LOL. Mary, Delia and Tom, Thanks so much! It was so wonderful seeing you all and getting out of the house for a while!

The birds and cats are all napping in this wet cold rainy weather, I think I will grab a book and curl up with a nice fuzzy blanket and so the same. Feel free to join us!

Only 3 Chemos Left! Progress on ElK

Elk Pastel Pencil

Elk Pastel Pencil

Whooo Hoooo 9 chemos down and only 3 to go!!! The nurses gave me a copy of my blood-work from Monday, and the chemo markers in the blood-work are down to 51! That is down from 75 just two weeks before.The final number should be under 10, so we are getting there!!!! I slept pretty much from Monday until Thursday this week and woke up Friday with some energy! Not as much nausea this week. Thank all of you for the prayers, positive thoughts and good wishes!

Here is the elk almost done. After the black backgrounds, it seems dull, so I am going to redo him on the black multi media board. That is the nice thing about this time of experimentation, I can try different things without the worry of how they turn out. So another silver lining with the cancer. Am still loving the pastel pencils, need to do a painting soon before I forget how to do watercolor though!

Tomorrow is the closing of the Sahuaro Ranch show, so we will go pick up the drawing that did not sell, a couple of ribbons and a check. Very exciting!

Tonight is the auction for Triple time Blues at the Houston Parrot festival Banquet. Good Luck Laney, hope the painting gets a nice contribution for the Bird Endowment!

OK, i am really getting paranoid….the parrots and the kitties have been really good this week….so I know they are plotting something. Am not sure just what though. Will be keeping a VERY close eye on them this coming week…I hear Loki whispering, see something is up. Oh Hi Loki! What? Nothing, I was just blogging…No I was not talking about you…you want a nut…..Ok. Gotta go get the bird a nut, TTYL.

Good News in the Cancer War and Other Stuff

Oncologist appointment was Friday, where we got some great news! The tumor markers in the blood-work are down to 75 from 225 last month! Four treatments to go and we want the count under ten, so we are making great progress. The original count back in September at diagnosis was 2000. Hubby, George and I were both ecstatic to say the least. Take that cancer!!!! POW!!!

Three Wild Women

Three Wild Women

Saturday, I was feeling well enough to attend daughter Melissa’s play, “39 Steps”, at Mesa Encore Theatre.  Friends Noelle, Margaret, Leo, Paul, and Josh met us there. The play great. We were all proud of Melissa and laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. During the intermission we were invited up to try on costumes, so of course the three wild women could not resist. Here we are hamming it up on stage. Thanks to Margaret for the photo! Afterwards, we went to California Pizza Kitchen for a fun dinner. The day was so fabulous! I have not been out since August and just enjoyed the heck out of it, even though very tired today. SahuaroRanchS

As promised, here is a photo of the two drawings in the Glendale Arts Council – sans ribbons. The purchase Award and the second place are both firsts for me at this show. Very exciting! With all of the fabulous stuff happening this week, I am bursting with happiness! Take that cancer! POW POW!!!

Elk

Elk

Also as expected, here is a photo of the new pastel pencil artwork. The photo reference is from a trip we took to Estes Park. This guy is so magnificent, I have been wanting to draw him for a long time. Since I have been playing with pastel pencils, I ordered some Strathmore Charcoal paper, and it is holding the pastel. But still can’t wait to get my Ingres Pastel Paper to try.  Pastel pencils are working well at showing texture, and may become one of my favorite mediums! SO I haven’t been able to get out to the art store for my famous art supply shopping, but I have discovered online shopping! Who Knew?!?!?? I can bankrupt us from home purchasing art supplies! Do your worst at chewing up my pencils parrots, I am armed and dangerous, LOL.

Stay tuned…..a very special blog is coming with guest blogger, Laney Rickman from Bird Endowment!!!!

Rest Week, Squirrel Progress, Macaws tell Cat Tales

Almost done! Pastel Pencil on Black Multi media board

Almost done! Pastel Pencil on Black Multi media board

As the chemo progresses, the side effects build, but are still tolerable. Rest week is so important now going into the last part of the treatments. Am feeling good, but tired and if I do to much the ole body lets me know by starting the random intestinal cramping. Since it is the battle of chemo is almost done, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am so encouraged. My good friend, Mary took me to lunch today and we did a quick run through of the City of Glendale Arts Council Show. It was very exciting to see the 2nd place ribbon there and the purchase award ribbon. The show runs through Jan 25, when the awards will be given to the artists and we pick up our work. Hopefully I won’t be as tired the next time I go and will take some pictures of the art works hanging.

Done de Done Done!

Done de Done Done!

The Squirrel is about Done DE Done Done. I am liking these pastel pencils so think I will do another project since there is one more piece of the black multi media board. “Almost Done” was another phone photo, so today I got out the good ole camera and took the squirrel outside to get some good color, and you see the result….much closer to the real color rendition.

The other day, Loki started screaming, which is usually to tell me she is out of food, someone is coming to the door, or there is an animal in the yard. I looked, the food supply was good, so checked the back yard. Lo and behold our cat, Dante, had gotten outside and was just having a good ole time out in the yard! Sure am glad Loki is a tattle tale, otherwise Dante might be lost somewhere as he is not an outdoor kitty. So macaw screaming can be a good thing, LOL, even if it does some ear drum damage. Oops, she is screaming…..better go check the food supply.

Awake after chemo week, New WIP – Squirrel, and Whooooo Hooooooo!

Squirrel1

Squirrel – Pastel on Black multimedia paper

After this week’s chemo treatment, I slept until Friday, was up a couple of hours, back to sleep and I am actually awake today. The nice part about sleeping the week away is that I miss out on all of the nausea. SO ONLY four treatments to go!!! We are 2/3s of the way through. We meet with the oncologist next week, so hopefully will find more improvement!  Last week’s learning: I learned NOT to drink a large fresh veggie juice. Must start with smaller quantities. It really played havoc with the digestion system. All recovered, hubby survived all of the gas and complaining, and everything is back to the “new” normal.

SO thought I would try a pastel on the multimedia paper, since it is so rough. It seems to take many layers, and so far so good. See what you think. This is from a photo of a squirrel we saw on one of our Flagstaff trips. Am still to tired to bring out the camera and tripod, so this is a shot from my cell phone. Don’t forget to click on it for a larger view.

Ok, for my BIG news! Two of my artworks, ‘Raven’, and ‘Pottery Hands’ were juried into the yearly Glendale Council of Arts Show at Sahuaro Ranch. “Pottery Hands” won second place in drawing, and “Raven” sold. And you watched them right here as they developed. This is very exciting for me, as I have only won “Honorable Mention” in that show, and have never sold anything in it, so these are both firsts for me. And in a year where my focus is on getting well and doing art as therapy, it was very unexpected. So I am delighted, but the parrots are all saying, “Why didn’t you enter a parrot? How did silly human hands get a prize? Who would want to buy a RAVEN?” and the cats are saying “Why didn’t you enter a cat?…..”

Ravens and Transitions

Raven

Raven

SO resting week started with a migraine, which has now has subsided thanks to modern medicine, luckily, there is some progress on the raven drawing.

What is is it about cloudy days that make you want to curl up on the couch with a good book and just veg. It has been cloudy a total of two days and seems so gloomy that the couch/book idea with a nice blanket, fire, and a warm cup of cocoa sounds awesome. I have access to a ton of new books on my iPad since hubby signed me up for Scribd! Yes, I know it is in the 70’s, but in Az that is downright sweater weather! When this blog is written, you will know where to find me! I am taking my cue from Rusty, he is vegging in his new heated cat bed.

For some reason lately, I have been thinking a lot about transitions. They seem to be hard to handle as an artist and as a person. You would think, since we are almost continually in transition, we would be very good at handling them. As an artist, people rarely talk about transition, but it is one of the very important elements in a piece. How do you go from dark to light, from color to color, from line to line from shape to shape or even from texture to texture?

There are no spoiled cats in this house!

There are no spoiled cats in this house!

Each element of the art must transition and flow, leaving a path for the viewer’s eye. Focal point, shadows, and complementary colors are some of the ways I cope with transition in my art.  But in my own life, it seems like I am always behind in getting the transitions…one day I am healthy, the next day, I am a cancer survivor. Where was the transition? It took me weeks to accept the change, but only seconds for it to happen. Then more weeks for me to even realize what a big transition it is. Ok, so now we have a new normal….has it changed again while I was not looking?

Herons and Hair

BCNHfOk, so I got a little excited about the Hyacinth Macaw Party and forgot to post the progress on the Black Crowned Night Heron! It is almost done, just a few little picky details and a visit to Candy to make sure it is ready to sign!

So this is resting week, and after each chemo treatment, I am seeing improvement. The pain levels are going down, the swelling is going down and after most of the week of resting, the energy levels are going up! So when I complain about the chemo week, I just have to stop and look at my progress and put one foot in front of the other foot and keep going. As my cousin, Dina says……”put on your big girl panties”, LOL. Thanks for that saying , Dina!

So looking into the bathroom sink, I am wondering if all of my hair is running down the drain. Apparently, I am not supposed to go bald, but the hair will thin with this chemo regimen. Well, the silver lining to this cloud is, Hubby and a couple of friends have offered to shave their heads is I go bald, and I FINALLY GET BACK AT THE CATS! LOL, they now have to put up with my hair all over the place. Nanner, nanner, nanner! Ok, so they are ignoring me, imagine that. It must be the first time cats have ignored a human……….you don’t say……..that is normal for a cat…..Oh…….. ….thought it was just me they ignore. Oh well, back to the drawing board, maybe I can think of something else to annoy them…..stay tuned!

Cat Naps

RustyOne thing about cats, they sure do know how to nap! They sleep fifteen to twenty hours a day, sometimes just dozing for about fifteen minutes at at a time. Rusty here looks pretty relaxed doesn’t he? So during “rest week” I am trying to learn form the cats and taking little naps during the day.

Since it is “rest week”, I feel way better than “chemo week” so between naps am making slow progress on the Black Crowned Night Heron.BCNH6

Friday we meet with the surgeon, so will probably have news on next week’s blog as to the schedule. Since it is a first appointment, I am not really sure what to expect, so this journey continues, as I take one step at a time.

With the big “C” diagnosis, some changes in perspective happen. I have been reflecting a little on them and have realized I have to pare life down to the bare essentials and decide what is really important. First of all of course are my relationships. Next is my sense of identity. Realizing that I have put a lot of energy into being an artist, but not just an artist…. a “successful artist” in the eyes of the world. I realized that I have been spending a lot of that energy in trying to market and sell my art to be  the world’s version of artist. That puts a lot of stress on me and eats up time and energy. With depleted reserves, I am choosing to do the art and stop the marketing and selling, so will be shutting down my Etsy site, and may make changes to the website, so that I can concentrate on the battle in front of me and keep the art as a therapy/fun part of my life. There have been a lot more changes in my perspective, but for now it is time to take a little nap.

Thanks again for all of the prayers, good wishes and positive thoughts, you all are awesome!

Chemo week or Rip Van Winkle?

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Here is the new chemo hair! Claudine was kind enough to come over and cut it for me. For some reason during the treatments, I sweat a lot, and would wake up with a sweat soaked, smelly ponytail. The fatigue was making it hard to keep up with it so decided it needed to go! It has been many years since wearing it short, so I keep wondering who that person in the mirror is! LOL.

This week’s chemo was merciful! Monday after the three hour treatment, I came home with my pump, knew from experience that the first day is good because of the steroids they add. So I did not go home and pig out, LOL. Ate moderately, took nausea medication and went to sleep. Only had one little bout with nausea on Tues am, started the meds for the cramps, and went back to sleep. Pretty well slept through Friday morning with short breaks for food and meds. SO here I am the week is over, and I am feeling like Rip Van Winkle, LOL.

BCNHgThe rest has helped a lot, I actually worked on the Black Crowned Night Heron today, here is the update. Do not panic, I am just sketching in where water and grasses will be, it is pretty messy right now…but hey! I am feeling like doing art again!!!!! Whooooo Hooooo! Thanks for all those prayers, good wished and positive thoughts!

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