children

A Sweet Spot

Last week, my girls had their February break.  we decided this year, after the ridiculous amounts of snow we have been getting in the Boston area, we must escape for a short bit.  so we made our way to San Clemente, CA.

 

San Clemente Beach and pier

San Clemente Beach and pier

there was a lot of beach time and lots of boogie boarding, even though the water was freezing cold! the weather was perfect, making our getaway truly sweet and enjoyable.  San Clemente has now become one of our favourite places on the west coast.

we even managed to squeeze in a visit to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano.  the ruins were beautiful and there were even some fun activities for the children.  they made adobe bricks and panned for gold!

we returned home to even more snow - the mountains of snow grew while we were gone! we keep wondering how much longer the snow will fall...

When it all began...

well, sort of.  while sorting through old photos, i found these.  that's me, a few months after my youngest was born, sketching out ideas for paintings.  i remember feeling so tired, yet feeling this hunger to paint the images in my head.  so i would snatch at moments here and there, most often when Cordelia was asleep in the moby wrap.

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but i think she definitely looked cuter with the headphones than i did. :)

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and look at her now!  so big that she can do most of the puzzle without my help.  this was taken yesterday. :)  i wish i can say that my art and my writing have grown as much as she has, and perhaps in the distant future when i look back on my work, i can say that it has, but the growth of a child is much more evident than the growth of one's work.  perhaps the mental growth of a child would be a better way to compare the development of one's work - most of the time, you can't see how your child is growing mentally and then one day, they surprise you by saying something so mature.

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Portraits of my children

having all three girls home over the winter break was a welcome change from the busyness of the school year.  seeing the three of them play and interact inspired me to paint them.  i also was struck by how quickly the time is slipping by us and they are growing up so fast.  i really wanted to capture the spirit of where they each are at this point in their lives.  i tried to capture their hopes and dreams.  so i had them draw something on their portraits as well, so that they will remember how they used to draw at that age.

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Skye thinks she looks much older here than she actually is and i agree.  but she is my eldest and i always think she is older than she is.  plus, she will soon be bigger than me. :)  she is my swimmer and glides like a mermaid in the water.

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Claire is my little dreamer.  and crazy about horses.  and longs for hair as long as Rapunzel.  

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Cordelia was the trickiest - she is still just 3 and couldn't sit still.  after several failed attempts, i used a photo to paint her likeness.  thus, she is the only one with a great smile.  fairies and bunnies fill her world and i wish i could keep her world from changing, but i know that won't happen.

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what struck me most while painting these was how much my girls cared about how i saw them.  i was thinking they would be concerned about how much the paintings would look like them, would look like how they saw themselves, and yes, there was some of that, but they were more interested in how i chose to portray them.  it showed me that they wanted to know how i perceived them, what about them i was interested in.  in the end, they were happy.  and i was struck by how much power lay in my hands to shape them.

it has been a LONG time since i was here last...  life has been full, full of all kinds of things other than writing and painting.  while i haven't been producing any work myself, i have been busy in the supporting role of others producing.  my two older daughters have been busy getting ready for Madison Ballet's The Nutcracker.  this saturday marks their first public performance at the Overture Center.  what can i say?  they are SUPER excited.  the night rehearsals have been long and grueling (for me), but i think they will be really proud of their achievements once this whole experience ends on Christmas Eve.  they have learned so much just by being on stage, watching the older dancers, and being part of something big.  i get to enjoy helping out backstage. 

if you are inclined to add yet another event to your holiday celebrations, do come to The Nutcracker!  there are still tickets available!

i have other things in the works that i'd like to share with you soon. in the mean time, i'd like to share with you some beautiful Christmas music that you can find here.

Ode to summer

the house is very quiet.

no sounds of little feet pitter-pattering about the house.

no busy chattering.

no bickering.

just me and the clicking sounds of the keyboard.

first day of school. all the little people are gone. at least, for a couple of hours.

like all parents, the beginning of the school year is a bitter-sweet moment for me.  we are sad that summer days are gone.  but we do look forward to the return of routine, to reclaiming some time to ourselves.  i do miss those moments when i can sit still and think without interruption, when my precious few hours are mine to do with as i like. but i will miss the fullness of our summer days, when i have no time to introspect, when i am thrown into living life. because after all, it is from that fullness of life that i draw inspiration for my work.  it is this rhythm of life that keeps me going - time to live, and then time to reflect.

i thought about sharing beautiful shots of our summer break in Michigan where we celebrated my dad's 80th birthday (i know, he is an old man, but he acts half his age - he still runs half-marathons!!), but instead, i'm going to share some underexposed film photos i took at our pool.  because you know what? this was our daily life this summer - sun-bleached days at the pool. 

the smell of chlorine. 

the feeling of chlorine-crusted hair. 

the constant sound of splashing water that drowns out all other sounds. 

the excitement of watching your child swim to the finish. hoarse throats from cheering. 

the colors aren't very vibrant here because i closed the aperture too much, worried that there was too much sunlight on the day i took these shots. but i sort of like them because they look sun-bleached themselves, just how i feel after a summer at the pool. 

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