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Out on a Limb


I hope you don’t mind, I’m reusing this image because it seemed so appropriate.

Like a lot of the country, Illinois has been experiencing a hot dry spell that defies memory.  In fact, I feel like one of those elders, standing around, chin in hand, saying, “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it get like this”,  while the young’uns roll their eyes and mutter dark thoughts under their breath.  It was a relief, then, (well, sort of) when a newscaster stated that this is the worst drought since 1954 or something.  At least my credibility went up a notch or two.

Last night, thunderous black clouds piled up, one atop another.  We held our breath~ BLAM! Lightening and thunder and hours of rain rain rain.  There is a bowl-shaped area near the high school that was created when they expanded.  The edges are 5 or 6′ slopes.  Really great for taking your young children sledding, until the school slapped up a fence around it.  They may have had a point.  This morning that thing was full of water!  Basically, a swimming pool.  A large swimming pool.  By 1pm, all of the water had been absorbed by the super dry soil and thirsty trees.  Amazing.

I try not to dwell on climate change, but I can’t help being fascinated by the changes I see all around me.  Some things are really neat, like all the different skin colors and languages to be heard at the local coffee shop. …and some things, like these extremes in weather, well…

I believe that change of all sorts is going to come to us, whether we want it to or not.  Changes that really, we can’t even predict.  How will we deal with them?  In some ways, I feel fortunate for already leading a life beyond the pale of normal.  Those of us who are not in comfortable, prescribed roles are already familiar with surprise waves that come out of nowhere and knock you over.  Pretty soon, though, I think all of us will have to invent for ourselves new responses to our lives.  Everything from careers to water consumption to transportation and energy  will take us careening from the path we grew up expecting to follow.  It could be exciting, or it could be terrifying.  Well, probably both.

I look at as an opportunity to start (if we haven’t already) being the people we really want to be.  I read somewhere that  people get the government they deserve.  ouch.  So, this seems like a good time to figure out who we want to be, and reach for that, as opposed to being told who we are by the entertainment industry and the marketing devision of the corporate world.

Speaking of people trying to sell you something, I think there is a “?” to the left of the blog, here, and if you click it, it takes you to my etsy shop!  I don’t know how I did that.  Or if, in fact, I did!  Please don’t be offended, I was just so excited I had to share!


Warm wishes to you all.  Maybe I should send cool wishes, instead.  Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I would love to get a discussion started on what changes you see on the horizon, and what the quote about government means to you.

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Going With the Flow

Illinois Beach State Park in Abstraction


Recently I had the great good fortune to have work accepted in another gallery.  I’ve had my eye on this gallery for some time, for I love its charm.  Called the “Back Alley Gallery”, it is housed in a wonderful little building tucked in behind stores in Libertyville, a town near my home.  Libertyville is one of those towns you wish you lived in…concerts in the park amid the rose garden, several coffee shops and local eateries, etc.  People get out and walk around, here.  All year something is going on to draw people out.  And, art thrives here!

I’ve been working away, building up an inventory, and this year I decided it was time to get out there and get noticed.  Heart pounding, I went in to introduce myself.  I’m so glad I did.  I found the owners to be kind , warm, and welcoming.  I showed them my portfolio, and was surprised that the ones they all gravitated to were the abstract pieces I had put in there just for fun!  Who knew?  I have thought that people are growing tired of representational art and are hungering for the essence of things, not just the representation of them.  What do you think?  Have you noticed this as well?

At any rate, in honor my new gallery, I thought I’d better do  some more abstract paintings.  I hope you like it, and I would welcome any comments on how it might be improved.

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Still Waters

When my family moved to Lake County, Illinois back in 1974, the roads were narrow, the fields were wide.  Wetlands and pothole lakes left over from the last glacier stretched to the horizon.  The weather here was, um, dramatic, compared with what I was accustomed to.  Being a kid, I thought snow drifts taller than I am were extremely cool.  The old country roads frequently drifted over in the winter.  Hard to imagine what a bucolic place this used to be, now that I think about it.  Back then, though,  deer, eagles, hawks, canadian geese and cranes were all pretty much gone.  The land felt empty…

People being the restless creatures that we are, by the time I was done with college things had begun to change.  I won’t express, here, my feelings about greedy contractors who buy up huge tracts of land, rape it of its trees and very topsoil and crowd it with boring beige mcmansions, nor for the short-sighted idiot village boards who agree to this….(ahem)….Suffice it to say, this is now one sprawling bedroom community of Chicago.  There are a lot of downsides to this, but this isn’t what I want to focus on.  No.  Although I do resent all of the above, that is what it is.  There is another side to the coin and this is where I find my happiness.

All along, the Lake County Forest Preserve District has been quietly negotiating with land owners to purchase tracts of land.  The plan is brilliant; we have public golf courses and preserves designed for varied use, and we have wonderful parcels set aside for the preservation of nature.  You can walk into these places and feel your chest expand, your shoulders drop, your breath deepen.

One of these special places was once a farm.  It had been drained, but otherwise much of its character was intact.  Since it became the Rollins Savanna, the drain tiles were broken.  In short order water returned, along with several ground nesting birds.

All the while, too, people have been working to restore habitats, stop the use of persistent pesticides, clean polluted air and water.  Now, all of those creatures I mentioned are back, re-weaving the fabric of their ecosystems.  The land is no longer empty.  There isn’t as much of it, but what has been saved is cherished.  This makes me happy.  The next time you hear anyone bashing our species, remind them of the good we also do.

Still Waters, Rollins Savanna