The twisted old plum tree has suddenly developed buds: seems like they appeared overnight, but maybe I wasn’t looking close enough…they snuck up on me. The tulips are growing, and the snowdrops are blooming. The hyacinths are getting ready to flower — they smell so great, I hope they have a chance to do their thing before the rain beats them up.

Rain: after a long drought, the Santa Cruz Mountains are getting hammered with it. Our yard is basically a marsh, and although I joke about starting an alligator-and-rice farm (“Grain & Gators?” or, how about my father’s idea, “Bayou Basmati?” I like that), we’re lucky, so far: no landslides or severe flooding or downed trees here, but we don’t take anything for granted, and keep a close eye on things. This morning my brave partner decided to tackle the commute to his job over the hill. He and our trusty car made it partway, but he had to turn back after driving past landslides, downed trees, and — finally, encountering a flooded roadway that was unsafe to drive. The good part of all that is that he’s back, and safe working from home. A break in the storms is coming, then we’re to get another soaking — last I read, three to four more inches of rain. Considering the damage already done to the roadways, homes, and the considerable number of landslides, I’d say it’s a fantastic time to hunker down and work, enjoy evenings by the fireplace, and be glad that we have a well-stocked pantry and lots of candles, and a generator, and some cats (they are great lap warmers and good company).

Truck / oil on canvas
Old truck: work in progress, first layers

So, I’m doing that — working, and being grateful. It’s been slow, though. Energy is in short supply lately, and at times it’s daunting: I have all these ideas swimming around in my head, a deep love for the work of being an artist, and I am very happy here in the mountains with my partner in life: he is the best. Last year I was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC) and Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM): these conditions affect primarily the skin, lungs, lymph nodes, and kidneys. You can read about it here if you are interested ( https://www.thelamfoundation.org ). Apparently part of having LAM is dealing with fatigue; although my husband and I still hike, and I get routine things done fairly well, day-to-day, sometimes I’m frankly stupid-tired. My approach to dealing with this is to work more, rest when I absolutely must take a break, and pare art projects down to what I’m most drawn to do. A couple commissions that were slogging along are done at last, and I have been working to get my head straight and my body rested enough to plan, with clear head and strong intent, where I want to go next. Right now there are two nice projects brewing: a beautiful book project with Cemetery Dance Publications, and another from a publisher in the U.K., which I hope will soon be announced. I’m working on oil painting, and writing more. I’m continuing to work as an illustrator, but obliged to be very selective in the commissions I accept. A sense of urgency and peace, determination and resignation, go with all this.

Back to work, here–time to do it! I hope this finds you all safe, healthy, and happy. We’ll post more artwork soon…in the meantime, take care.


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