Sunday, August 31, 2008


Okay, so I'm updating the blog every six months whether it needs it or not...

In the past six months, I have been painting a lot and writing a little. I guess I can't really do both at the same time, although I am convinced that the urge or drive or - well, let's face it, compulsion - to do both comes from the same place in my head, that not-too-well-ordered spot where the cups all runneth over and the glasses are never half empty or even half full, but brimming like silent fountains. It's the constant jackpot in the slot machine of my life.

Oh, yeah, I discovered casinos - "Indian Gaming" is the really polite word for what goes on in these absolutely vast gambling palaces. Full of smoke, noise, mirrors, drinks, music, over-the-top waterfalls, costumes and glitz, they are fascinating, repellent, beautiful and crazy. There are no clocks, and very little sense of time. Step through the doors into a different world, and live a science fiction vignette.

It can get pricey, though - the video slot machines can cost you if you don't win at least part of the time. And for me, it's a long drive at high gas prices. But the people I see and the ideas I get in the two casinos I have frequented make the trips and the cost worth it. And I have won a couple of times, so I am breaking even on the money.

The other big gamble I took this year was giving in to the painting compulsion. I began painting in oils even though I didn't know anything about painting, oils, equipment, technique or, well, anything at all. Also, since I don't have the use of my left side & I was left-handed before the stroke, I didn't have anything to paint with. I took an online class in how to mix oil pigments, what turpentine is for and how to gesso a stretched canvas. Actually, I learned a lot more than that, but when I felt ready I bought paints, oil medium, brushes, canvas, - a ton of stuff is needed - and started my first paintings. I already knew what to paint as I had been having obsessive visions of these paintings for quite some time. I started off using the brush in my mouth, but finally got the hang of using my right hand for much of the actual application of color. I got a beautiful easel for my birthday and turned the office into an office-studio.

I am delighted to report that my first ever public showing was at the DA Center Art Gallery in the Childhood Dreams show where I had two paintings on display. I can't tell you how thrilling it was to see my stuff on the wall right next to established artists.

This new direction has led me to at least think about updating my website to include links to the painting side of things, so over the course of the next hundred years I'll be working on that, too.


The clean smell of oil & turpentine making the house somehow seem more expansive.

The bits and pieces of green shrubs defiantly growing up through the blackened and charred remains of our beautiful hillside which burned this year.

The new babies this year - my niece Bekki had a boy and my niece Susie also had a boy. Two boys! Woohoo!


Bernita said...

The creative spirit cannot be contained.
Missed you.

pomona's art colonists said...

Hi Kate,
it was so nice to spend some time with You and Jerry last night, yesterday was great! We came home and hung out with Brad for the rest of the night.
By the way, It's time to post something ;-P

Dwriter said...


I enjoyed this post, and then was surprised to see a photo of you from your Army days. Engineer Corps? Couldn't see enough detail to be sure?

From 1974-1977 I was assigned to Ft. Knox, KY, where I was part of a team that ran a dinner theatre at the old NCO club. We did 10 shows a year. Great fun. With an MOS like performing arts specialist, I couldn't get my commission, but I certainly encountered more than my share of characters that may someday find their way into my writing.

Before my divorce and subsequent move out of state, I also painted, but nothing like your work. I mostly did decorative/tole painting. Tried my hand at the "big brush" landscapes from the late Bob Ross's Joy of Painting series (My ex- and I were assigned to Puerto Rico, so other than AFN, PBS was our main source of TV entertainment), but I didn't have as much success with that as with decorative painting. And let's not forget quilting.

When I stopped singing and acting after I got married (long story), and before the resulting depression set in (didn't make the correlation at the time), I found myself doing creative things at every turn. It's a driving force in my life.

Now I write. Again. After a long hiatus.

I even have a blog now for writers here:

If you'd ever like to do a guest post on how you get your story ideas, characterizations, etc., let me know.

Deb Gallardo