Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bear Hare Air

"Bear and Hare went by Air"
my illo of San Cassimally's kids' book
Animal Carnivalacrylics
click image to view larger

Snail in Phlox
half a collab for Mike
Faber-Castelle pigment pens
I have completed (I think) the work in this rotation in Ballookey's Moleskine Sketchbook.  (I may do a little tweaking here and there.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Glass Walls, Self Portrait with Eagle

Glass Walls, Self Portrait with Eagle
by me, Mary Stebbins Taitt
Click to view larger
I dream I live in a house divided in half by glass walls.  On one side, I live my life.  On the other side . .  .

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Collaboration with Andrea: "If you Play your Cards Right

Collaboration with Andrea

I think I have completed my collaboration with Andrea in the lastest round of the Moleskine Exchange (although I may see something later I need to do.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Working in a new Moleskine

Ballookey's Moleskine arrives in Detroit
in time for spring.
2-page spread
Glechoma hederaceae
click images to view larger

Glechoma hederaceae
botanical diagrams

Glechoma hederaceae
botanical painting, acrylics
I'm in a Moleskine Exchange group and a new Moleskine arrived belonging to Ballookey who did the horse in the first picture. I did 2 botanical illustrations of Clechoma hederaceae.

I am sorry to report that I am not only still sick, but I am also getting worse rather than better.  I have a medical procedure scheduled May 30, which is supposed to help and I hope and pray it does.

I kind of messed this up a little, and I apologize.

Two fox poems and some email love and support

I am up in the night because my pain in the butt hurts too much to sleep.

I just received this nice note from my friend Pam, which while it doesn't take the pain away or help me sleep, it does help my heart:

Your pain is unfair --and dreadful. May the procedure go well, and act faster and more swiftly than anticipated.

In spite of it all, you add to the world's beauty, with an artist's eye and hand, and your courageous spirit that keeps rising every time it's smacked down.

You are loved and admired.

Mary is one very intelligent, brave, beautiful person, with talent and gifts. May this current curse be the last one you have to endure before the blessings rain upon you

 Discovery in Dappled Lightt

Inside the edge of the trees
of a forest Mom forbade me to visit,
past the fences and hedgerows
behind our house, down over the edge
of the dirt cliff, out beyond Dzot’s pond,
too far from home for easy walking,
too far for mother’s whistle to call me home,
I found a fox.
It was dead, its body
already blending into leaves and litter,
it’s gold red fur still shining
in the dappled light,
belonging dead as it did alive
to this wild place which now
was peopled for me with new elusive faces.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
For Sara, Erin and Lisa Spanfelner 130521-1342-3a

Apparition in the Morning Bog 

A steady squish squish of footsteps
approaches through the bog and I turn
toward the sound to see an animal,
like a small dog, trotting toward me
through the larches and tall ferns.
A baby muskrat hangs limp
from its mouth. A fox! It shines
in the sun like a copper kettle,
covered with a million hairs,
each one individually radiant. Eyes
observe, clear and calm, from within
the blackest face. Held by water
and a little mud, hairs to cling
to lean dark legs. A bush of tail curls
behind. Without hesitation, the fox
steps lightly onto the boardwalk
directly in front of me, trots across,
leaves a perfect line of perfect prints,
hops down, and disappears silently
into the cedars. After a moment’s awe,
I remember the old Nikon I clutch,
pressed against my body, cocked
and ready. Though I forgot the camera,
I captured the fox, sharp and bright
on the emulsion of my inner eye.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

(I had a terrible time with the formatting of this post!  Sorry!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Isolation and Loneliness

I read that isolation and loneliness contribute to depression and that isolation and depression contribute to dementia.  In any case, isolation isn't fun.

I'm home alone all day.  Keith comes home, and then, leaves again as soon as possible.  Today, he went to Home Depot, and then R'dale to do some work.  The work does need to be done.  AND he probably doesn't want to be with me when I am miserable.  I do not blame him.  I am miserable when I'm miserable.

I am also lonely.

And no one can come visit.  And really, no one can call.  Scott called this morning to be supportive, and I was in so much pain I couldn't concentrate or make good conversation or even be a good listener. I am stuck.  Alone.

I can read blog posts or Cowbird stories, theoretically, or send emails, or go on facebook, but most of the day, I was in too much pain to sit and read or type.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Super-Quick mail art

pear sketch

Mailed Andrea's Moleskine off to Mike, made a couple very quick acrylic sketches on the envelope.  Still sick, but feeling slightly improved today after a bad day and a bad night.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Moray Eel

Moray Eel
mixed media
by me, Mary Stebbins Taitt
first half of a collaboration with Mike Kline
please click image to view larger
Normally, When I am doing the first half of a collaboration with Mike Kline, I like to work in somewhat graphic black and white to make it easier for him to collaborate with me.  However, I had just received new acrylics from my kids for Mother's Day (HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!) and wanted to play with them.  You know, kids with new toys?

This is a two page spread.  The first 1/4 of the spread (half a page) is with the new acrylics. The second quarter (1/2-page) is with a combination of watercolor, gouache and acrylics.  Then, 1/8 spread (1/4 page in black watercolor, followed by Faber-Castelle pigment pens.  The purpose of all that was to hopefully create something to which Mike could easily attach his work.  (I hope).

This could be one long eel, an eel coming out of a hole, two eels entwined, an eel being scooped up by a new, or any number of things--so I hope Mike enjoys it.

This completes my work in Andrea's moleskine for rotation I of round 4.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Me, Mary Stebbins Taitt
with my mother's day gifts
Click images to view larger
Moray eel, in progress
in Andrea's book
with new paints
I was very excited to receive a package from my kids for mother's day, new paints.  I plunged right in and have been having fun mixing violet, yellow ochre and blue in Andrea's book.

I wish a happy mother's day to your mothers, grandmothers, wives or to you, if you're a mother.

Friday, May 10, 2013

When Confronted with our Worst Nightmares

"When Confronted with our Worst Nightmares
I like to fight back with Flowers"
Collaboration Andrea and Mary
mixed media
water color, acrylic, pigment pens, colored pencil
click image to view larger
I wanted to do the girl (standing in for my child-self) in water color, but ended up coloring the background with black Faber-Castell pigment marker (A gift from Hennie Mavis) and then painting over that with glazes of blue acrylic.  I drew the flowers on the girl's pajamas with colored pencil and then painted them in with watercolor.

I have a lot of dreams of being chased down dark alleys by men who intend me harm.  They are nightmares, because I wake up terrified.  Not sure if that's what Andrea meant.

Click on the image to see it much larger.

I am still sick and my work is going slowly.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Jogging in Place in the Shower

Jogging in Place in the Shower

I want desperately to take a shower.  I haven’t been able to take on in a number of days because of the pain.  It’s been hot, and I’ve had to use a heating pad nearly continuously, and that causes sweatiness.

But the pain makes it hard to stand.

Some of the things that help the pain include:

  • Ø  hot water, hot baths, hot compresses
  • Ø  walking, running or leaping about, depending how bad the pain is
  • Ø  hugs and touch, massage
  • Ø  ibuprofen (takes the edge off a little)

No one is here to hug me.  I’m an hour and a half into this round of ibuprofen.

The hot water helps some.  When it doesn’t help enough, I march in place under the water.  When it still hurts too much, I jog in place.  The washing and shampooing become hurried and urgent.  Luckily, no one is here to see me. 

I wonder how far I’ve run, if I were going forward.  Three quarters of a mile?  I‘m going pretty fast and that’s about how much ground I’d cover on foot in the time it takes to wash up, shampoo, shave my legs.  Shaving my legs at a dead run is pretty tricky though, I have to slow down to easy jog for that, then quick speed up to knock the pain down.  Owy.  Well, I did it!  I'm clean!

During the high-pain phase of the flare-up, I ran around the house (upstairs only, for the most part) reorganizing things because it hurt too much to sit.  Moving rapidly around seemed to help.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Mr. Gnu in his Canoe

Mr. Gnu in his canoe
Raced Yak in his kayak
click image to view larger.
This is my second painting in Andrea's Mole, an illo for San Cassimally's Animal Carnival.  It is done in acrylics.  It took me ten days to paint it and two more to scan and post it.  I regret to say I'm still sick and it's taking a lot out of me.

I posted the steps (4 coats of paint) here, but don't have time to do it again.  At least, not now.

Sunday, May 05, 2013


Tulip Collaboration
with Gail Slaughter
(She took the photograph; I painted it)

This first section is copied from the New York Times and is only part of the total story there:

Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm.

More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the findings in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.

Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, far more men take their own lives. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.

“It’s vastly underreported,” said Julie Phillips, an associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University who has published research on rising suicide rates. “We know we’re not counting all suicides.”

Another factor may be the widespread availability of opioid drugs like OxyContin and oxycodone, which can be particularly deadly in large doses.

*     *     *     *

I've written about suicide before.  More than once.  It may be a real option for me, later.

Last time I had this condition, I began to seriously consider suicide.  The unrelenting nearly unbearable pain, the worst pain of my life, went on and on and on.  How would I do it?  Sleeping pills, of course.  I guess.

So now, I'm reconsidering.  Thinking about suicide again.

I'm not ready to do it--I generally like being alive, except for this pain.  And, I'm afraid of the pain of dying and afraid of death itself.  I keep hoping for healing.  For some relief from the pain.  But when it's bad and I consider the options, suicide seems like one of them.

I recently threw away eleven bottles of sleeping pills.  I should have saved them.  If I do do it, I want to do a good job, not a half-assed one.  I do have more, and the others were expired.  I don't take sleeping pills any more.

*     *     *     *

Tulips, on the other hand, are one reason to stay alive.