Singin’ in the Rain

IMG_0136Yesterday was quintessential spring in Ohio. The kind writer’s write about and singers sing about. And a plein air painter’s dream-come-true. Today, that cerulean sky has faded to gray and there’s the most gentle, persistent, all-day spring shower, the flip-side of spring’s song. Our live’s on Dorchester continue to flip back and forth, as well.

As the forsythia began to toss its buttery tendrils in the breeze a few weeks ago and I was busy creating my Gustavian-inspired Stebner art gallery at the designer show house,  Jim’s life was falling back into a happy, new normal and, though entering the autumn of our life, our hearts beat like youths’ for one another after facing the potential goodbye of eight weeks ago. However, no amount of golden sun-rays, jonquils or forsythia could overt the violent-gray storm cloud which had been threatening to ravage our nest for the better part of a year. Indeed, biopsies, C-T scans and bone scans confirmed what my elevated psa had been warning all along: I have a contained prostate carcinoma. Contained-good. Cacinoma-bad. The star magnolias I see out my window start to drop their petals in the rain.

DSCN2595But the little boy who tirelessly drew the cottages and castles he saw in his sleep, refuses to let the dragons of life’s waking hours impede his romance with life. As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, I was blessed with well-balanced parents, who let me dream- as long as I was working towards the dream’s goal. No room for cheap talk in our family. Consequently, recent waking hours, when I wasn’t preparing for the show house opening, were spent in vigilant research for other options to surgery or radiation until I found one that rang true to me. I found a combination of non-surgical therapies built around a hyperthermia procedure which has proved effective and without side effects for over twenty two years…inGermany. Not available in this country.

So, bref, bottom line, in short,as they say in France, I head for a cancer clinic in Bavaria in four weeks to undergo a weeklong series of therapy. The men I’ve talked to who have done it, confirm that it’s so gentle, they play golf and bike in the afternoons, after treatments. More importantly, their psa is now totally normal and they are cancer-free. You know what I’ll be doing in the afternoon, after mine. Off on a bike with my paints and brushes to capture the beauty of mountains and lakes I haven’t visited for thirty-five years.

Be forewarned; don’t anyone try to rain on my parade. I’m bearing my cancer-cloud just fine, excited as a kid waiting for Santa to see how this all turns out. And as resolved as Sir Galahad to find my Holy Grail.

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Old Money

Stebner 11x14 oil on linen. Morning Light.

Stebner 11×14 oil on linen. Morning Light.

Since March 1st, every Friday has been an anniversary at our house. Today was the sixth Friday since Jim’s aorta dissected and he underwent emergency surgery. The weeks since then have been not only filled with caregiving, but also creating. It’s what makes bizarre times have a shred of normalcy for an artist. I’m within a week of competing a huge project.

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I’ve been drafted into designer territory again, transforming the foyer, stairway and upstairs hall of the Jr. League of Akron’s 2013 Designer Showhouse into a Stebner Gustavian fantasy. The property, a lovely old Tudor Revival, hadn’t been changed in decades. Consequently, I’ve been busy turning 70’s-80’s green, gold and shiny brass into shades of white, linen and iron to support an unabashed collection of Stebner artwork and antiques: an illusion of”old money”, as a colleague described my design aesthetic some years ago. That’s delicious.

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There’s more than one way to get a one-man-show in this town, even if you have to paint the walls yourself!

11x14 oil on linen. Going Dutch

11×14 oil on linen. Going Dutch