april 2020 garden

Spring and Summer 2020

All that has transpired has given pause to our daily lives and our routines. I find the arts give us this naturally. We can escape from the harshness, into a world that is transformative.

by W.H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.


I have begun with this poem for my May news and musings. There is reason to this. The conflict and implications of this pandemic, with the quarantine and the isolation, has brought to the forefront many issues and emotions. Whether it be interpersonal, personal, or community.  Frustrations are peaking and are being expressed in many ways.  It is hard to know what to say with such feelings of sadness and empathy for ones who are suffering through this. The W.H. Auden poem with its title seems to be most appropriate at this juncture. Let me be the more loving one. 

I also have this quote from Ann Druyan which resonated with me:


“Science, like love, is a means to that transcendence, to that soaring experience of the oneness of being fully alive. The scientific approach to nature and my understanding of love are the same: Love asks us to get beyond the infantile projections of our personal hopes and fears, to embrace the other’s reality. This kind of unflinching love never stops daring to go deeper, to reach higher.

This is precisely the way that science loves nature. This lack of a final destination, an absolute truth, is what makes science such a worthy methodology for sacred searching. It is a never ending lesson in humility. The vastness of the universe — and love, the thing that makes the vastness bearable — is out of reach to the arrogant. This cosmos only fully admits those who listen carefully for the inner voice reminding us to remember we might be wrong. What’s real must matter more to us than what we wish to believe.”


Exactly where did the month of April go? And, might I ask, where did May go? How time and space has dissolved for me. Do you all have similar experiences with these lost months? 

I do however have news:

Birds in Art: Mid-may I found out I’d been juried into the 2020 Birds in Art exhibition at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum of Wausau.

Society of Animal Artists: Yet another grand surprise was that my entry was accepted into the SAA 2020 members show.

I am also busy working on a show for Trailside Galleries and on two pieces that will be in Western Visions at the National Museum of Wildlife Art starting in July.

I found there was need to play a bit and do some distraction art as it was difficult to concentrate fully in the studio the last couple of months. These very small pieces are the result: my isolation birds. I found painting these little pieces provided a segue from more serious work. They started off as sketches but as you can see they are fully developed miniature paintings. I found it interesting working with these halos around the birds and layering colors.  The halos can have a number of meanings. I found painting them that they felt similar to a mandala or labyrinth. They are contemplative in nature. All that has transpired has given pause to our daily lives and our routines. I find the arts give us this naturally. We can escape from the harshness, into a world that is transformative. Even if the art is the one that is harsh and speaks a truth for the artist that sets them thinking or perceiving differently than normal.

Now on to the arts section…

Featured Artist: Terry Miller

I have long been an avid admirer of Terry Miller and his graphite work. His compositional knowledge is unparalleled. I am in awe of his pieces: the subject matter, the pencil work, the detail, the design, the way my eye moves through through the world he creates. Here are four works he shared for this spotlight on his art.

“In the Time of Isolation #1 – Bye Bye Blackbird” (11 x 23 inches). “Trying to work out feelings of the current need to isolate and how it has changed not only my world, but the world outside the studio windows and for all others. Loss, pain, suffering, inability to find resolution, feeling insecure, needing a hug!”

“The Turning o’ th’ Tide” (23 x 11 inches): This is his Birds in Art work for 2020. “In some ways, [this is] also a response to the current situation and maybe how the next generation is going to be able to or not be able to cope with everything that becomes residue of this pandemic and the social upheaval that engulfs us all.”

“Sunday at the Lake” (9 x 9 inches). “Perhaps more typical of my work overall, depicting the quiet and peace of nature, and perhaps those moments of simple discovery that are often passed by or overlooked, but when observed offer comfort.”

“A Tisket, A Tasket” (8.75 x 17.75 inches). “Shows how I like to focus upon textural contrasts in my work as working in monochrome is the perfect vehicle to play up texture and light and shadow and compositional structure.”

Learn more about Terry on his website or follow him on Facebook.


Music: Haley Heynderickx’s “Oom Sha La La”

This song sums up May. It seemed to represent moving past difficulties, and of course, I resonated with the refrain: I just want to garden. It made me smile as I really wanted to just get in my garden.  It’s been a long time since I indulged myself with the time to get out there. 

There was a path that was planned a number of years ago that was to go in through the beds. A vegetable garden was a must-have this spring. There is lots of shade in my yard so sunlight is scarce. One idea I accomplished was to transplant my herbs and place them in pots, growing the vegetables in their place within the lone sun-filled area. We have been enjoying the spinach, kale, and swiss chard. There is also arugula, zucchini, and lettuce growing. 

Theatre: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Heartbreaking that OSF has cancelled their entire season. The anticipation is there every year to see the new productions that they’re putting on and to see the creative and talented acts presented for the Green Show.  Please check the OSF site for offerings online and to donate to help support them.

Ashland New Plays Festival has gone online also for their Fall Festival. Another wish to see these readings in person, but the many offerings online have been wonderful. 

It has been an unusual time these past three months.  I am touched by the gifts that artisans have put out there on social media, zoom, and youtube. Artists from all creative venues have come forward to entertain us during this isolation period. Whether  it is art, music, theatre, science, writers, etc.

I wish to thank all of you for the generous sharing you have done.

It is also very clear how artists and the arts have not received the same support that big business have because of this pandemic. Please consider this. Artists were the first ones to reach out to us whether it was giving people free downloads of coloring books of their art to providing virtual art instruction. The variety of content is amazing. I wish I had more time to take advantage of all that was offered. This is just a reminder to support artists and the arts.

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