Saturday, July 31, 2010


This is my last hospital painting.  The hospital room has a certain abstract beauty all its own with everything lined up and ready to go.  I wonder who thought up red doors and waste cans?

Friday, July 30, 2010


My second night in the hospital I looked down to this scene.  My feelings about that  were captured perfectly by my very poetic friend Laurie yesterday in her comment on NIGHT IN THE ICU.  This is part of that comment.
 "I often think that what is most shocking about being in hospital is the sense that everything in the outside world is continuing, just as always. The illness that has roiled us or our loved ones goes unnoticed by implacable nature. And so the night descends..."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The first night in the ICU Walter stayed in my room on a reclining chair.  Neither of us slept a wink, as the sounds and lights from the hall and in our room were an intermittent cacophony.  I was very reassured by his presence however as you can imagine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My dear son in law Steve, a bit wary of the camera, a doctor at Jefferson, was a very reassuring presence and daily visitor.  It is never a mistake to have a doctor 'in the house'.  I don't know if my connections with the hospital had anything to do with it, but I could not ask for better care than I received at Jefferson.  The staff was uniformly upbeat, kind and caring and seemed to know what they were doing.  Even the big guy who woke me up several times a night to take my blood pressure was welcome because he seemed so competent and good humored.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


How could this trio produce anything but happiness in the heart?  Food for the soul, the eyes and the body.  ( From left to right) My fabulous daughter Ellie who came down to comfort me from Brooklyn, my beautiful friend Madelyne who breezed in all dressed in a snazzy white outfit with flowers almost as big as she is and my wonderful daughter Anna bringing tasty, healthy food from her garden.  Quick visits from friends and family in the hospital are very welcome.  Longer than 10 minutes, maybe not, unless they can talk to each other.  This combo  - no problem.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Last Monday my dear grandson Arlo and his sweetheart Cindy - you don't hear about sweethearts much anymore, but I think it is a very apt discription of how Arlo feels about Cindy, brought me some colored pencils to keep me busy in the hospital.
I was actually feeling rather numb at this point.  How could I have a heart attack when I am healthy and always have been?  Was this the beginning of the end?  Of couse we all have to die sometime but certainly not yet.  You get the drift.  Scared out of my wits.
But the colored pencils called.  I have never worked with them and there they were, and there I was with nothing to do except worry or play.  I opted for play.  First I decided to take some notes.
What were the names of the colors and how did they look when you pressed on them with three diferent pressures.  As you can see the heart attack did not improve my spelling.
I decided putting pressure on the colored pencils didn't feel like fun so I would see how two similar colors could be united using a comfortable pressure.  It is not at all evident but I very rythmically moved my hand as I was stroking the color onto the paper and that created little changes that were very satisfying to me at the time.

Next I decided to find colors that moved nicely into each other in a series.  This is something I have been working on in several media for many years but never before with this set of colored pencils

Now what?  I had no desire to render the inside of my room in colored pencils, although that might have been interesting, it seemed much to daunting, so I decided to simply keep making color progressions which were making me feel calm and content.  I thought putting them inside a shape of some kind would make things more interesting so I opted for a jar shape.

As you can see this is all very delicate and hardly there at all and yet it was extremely pleasurable for me at the time.  What I am wondering is this, if someone like me came around with an 'art cart' in the hospital where people were trying to cope with their feelings of fear and confusion would it be of some benefit?  
Since most people are not artists and may not feel as free to play as I did, perhaps some suggested things to do with the art materials could be part of the 'art cart' experience.  I am asking you out there on my blog list what you think about this idea and if you have any suggestions or are interested in pursuing this idea with me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Direction

Last post I mentioned that I took a trip which kept me from painting on schedule.  
The trip was to the hospital to be treated for what turned out to be a heart attack.  In the next week, when they dry, I will be posting some paintings which I will work on this week, resulting from that experience and some reflections on hospitals, mortality and what not.  It is a bit of a departure from my usual fairly impersonal posts, but while the impressions are fresh it seems like a good idea to share them as they may be of some benefit to others.
Here is an account of what happened.On Sunday, July 11, I walked up my back  stairs carrying grocery bags -  It was very hot and the bags were heavy.  I was carrying a 'lazy man's load' as my grandmother would have said.  Four bags at once. I am 71 with no history of heart disease.  The next thing I knew I was in the hospital being told I had had a heart attack, that a stent had been inserted in my artery and I was doing okay.  This of course was quite frightening but probably not as frightening as it should have been.  I was in no pain.
I apparently have 'global amnesia' about the experience after the trip up the stairs with my groceries but this is what happened according to very reliable sources.
I called my daughter Gail who lives a block away and said I had chest pain, pain in my arms and tingling fingers.  She came quickly over and gave me an aspirin.  Soon after her husband, Steve, arrived and my husband, Walter.  They put me into the car and took me to Jefferson Hospital where they very quickly arranged for me to have a stent put into a clogged artery.  My husband, Walter,  is a retired Cardiologist, my daughter is an Obstetrician, Gynecologist and my son in law, Steve,  is a Gastroenterologist.  My husband worked at Jefferson and my son in law is an attending there now.   Things happened quickly because they all knew what they were doing and were able to get things rolling in a hurry.  I am extremely lucky.
I am home.  I feel fine if a bit shaky.
I will post more about my hospital experience as the days go by and I have paintings related to my hospital stay to post.

First lesson - if someone appears to be having a heart attack give them an aspirin.
Second lesson - call your doctor on the way to the hospital or someone you know who is a doctor and see if they can get things rolling quickly.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Going through that purple door in the last blog entry turned out to be quite a trip so I have missed a few days of painting.  This painting of a summer market was done before the trip but I hope to be back painting on Monday if not before.


Friday, July 9, 2010


This week I traveled to Hong Kong to escape the heat in Merion and participate in the VIRTUAL PAINT OUT.  Again I looked for a spot that fit my imagined idea of the place and found it here on 41 Bukely Street.  I went into the purple door where it was cool and dark and met some very interesting people.
Check out Bukely Street and any place else you care to wander while in Hong Kong by clicking on 41 Bukely Street.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The carefree Daylillies are keeping their cheery faces to the sun in spite of the heat. (102 degrees yesterday)

Monday, July 5, 2010


In Philadelphia last week to see ORPHEE at the Kimmel Center.  The sky is really the subject here.  It was a surprisingly calm and lovely night.  Click the link for three reviews in the Broad Street Review.  For you culture vultures I highly recommend this on line art centered news blog.

Friday, July 2, 2010


If you've never had a Kohlrabi, you've missed a tasty vegetable.  It is a member of the wild cabbage family. Fresh from the garden, when it is about the size of a pool ball, with a little lemon, salt and pepper it is a sweet treat.