Art, Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life, Still Life

I Miss You

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Leslie's Things 14" x 11" oil on panel
I Miss You
14″ x 11″ oil on panel

Leslie had this reproduction of a Fra Lippo Liippi painting of the Blessed Mother as long as I knew her. She kept it close to her bed, especially in trying times. Les had an eclectic set of religious beliefs. She also loved Paramahansa Yogananda and recently reread his autobiography.

This still life includes Leslie’s glasses and her copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, her keys and icon and it’s all resting on one of her scarves.

This Saturday would have been Les’ 62nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart, if you’re still following the blog.

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Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life, Sketching, Still Life, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Miscellaneous

It seems that some subscribers have stopped receiving email notifications when I publish a new post. This is a test to see if it gets through.

So as not to totally waste your time, if you do receive this, I’ll add a couple of sketches.

Building a New LIfe (sketch) watercolor w black and white ink
Building a New LIfe (sketch)
watercolor w black and white ink

This is a sketchbook drawing for the oil painting “Building a New LIfe From the Wreckage of my Old Life”  That’s a long title but I had to do it.

Les' Red Coat watercolor and ink
Les’ Red Coat
watercolor and ink

This is a new sketch. I’m experimenting with painting some of my wife’s possessions.

I know this sounds like I’m fishing for comments but I would love to hear back if you receive an email notification from this post. Thanks.

Art, Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Urban Landscape

Artwork delivered

I delivered the paintings for my first solo show in many years to Brian Marki Fine Art yesterday.  I have one more piece I’d like to finish for the show, if Brian doesn’t mind hanging a wet painting.

21" x 27" oil on linen panel
“Building a New Life From the Wreckage of My Old Life”
21″ x 27″ oil on linen panel

The image above is the piece I’d like to finish for the show, in it’s current state.  It still seems a little chaotic but that is true to my current experience. I don’t usually put a lot of thought into titles. They’re mainly just for me to keep them straight in my mind but, given recent events, this piece  has begun to occur for me as a view into my life. I need to reconstruct a new life out of what appears to me now as the wreckage of my old life and this painting expresses that for me. It may not be pretty but it holds promise.

I have to say that, in spite of the fact that I’m not often referred to as a real “up” kind of person, I have been surprised at my ability to find positive meaning in my wife’s death.

For one thing, it was such a privilege and relief to be able to see Leslie on to a peaceful and meaningful death. It was the perfect completion of our relationship. Four years ago, when Leslie’s cancer became metastatic, the primary purpose of my life became to see to it that Les was taken care of and had a good death and I lived to fulfill that promise. So many women have to go through this alone. I am grateful that Les was loved and cherished and nurtured and adored to her last minutes. Well beyond her last minutes, in truth.

I have also been overwhelmed with love and support from friends and family. My relationships have been enriched by Les’ passing.  I have made new friends who have made profound contributions to my life.

Leslie continues to nurture me even in death. I was rooting through the freezer and found a treasure. Two containers of Les’ wonderful beef stew.

My stomach and heart are both full of love. I miss Leslie’s physical presence but I feel her with me all the time. I’m a very fortunate man.

Art, Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life

Grieving – day 14

It’s been two weeks since my dear Leslie died. The days seem almost normal until someone mentions her name or asks how I’m doing. I don’t wake up weeping anymore, it takes me a few minutes for a thought to bring on the tears. Sobbing feels good, when I’m alone but, for some reason, I don’t like to cry in front of others.

I’m looking for silver linings… The car mirrors are always adjusted to my liking now. When I put something down, I know I’ll find it in the same place when I want it. That crazy filing system that Les used can finally be put in something I call order. I’m happy for Les that she won’t have to become really old and doddery and a worry to our children.

I miss her, though.

I have some things to share:

I came across a cassette tape of love songs Les recorded for me for Valentine’s Day in 1983. Nine months later our first daughter, Emily, was born. Les was 31 years old, at the time.

My Funny Valentine – Rogers and Hart

Marie – Randy Newman

Willow – Joan Armatrading

Younger Than Springtime – Rogers and Hammerstein

Our dear friend, Andrea Carlisle, has written two beautiful pieces about Leslie’s death. Below are the links:

What To Take To A Dying Friend

Leslie

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My brother, Jim, Les and me w dogs Timber and Indi circa 1983
My brother, Jim, Les and me w dogs Timber and Indi circa 1983
Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life

Leslie Robinson Sharp – 1951 – 2013

Les-in-the-back-yard

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds…and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of… High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr

On Wednesday evening, July 3, 2013, a beautiful summer evening, at 6:23, my beloved wife slipped the surly bonds of earth. She died very peacefully at home, where she was cared for by her two daughters, Emily and Clair, her brother, Pete and me, with the help of hospice workers and an army of friends and family.

Les had an amazing last few weeks. She knew she only had days to live and, although she was dramatically weaker every day, she continued to meet with friends and share her most heartfelt love and gratitude for the wonderful life she’d led. She told the hospital chaplain:

“I’ve had a good life.  I’m ready. I trust in the process, the flow. Little fishes die, big trees die, who am I not to die, too? Abraham Lincoln did it, my mother did it, my neighbor did it, I can do it too.”

I learned so much about living and dying from Les and I’m grateful for the incredible opportunity of helping her through these challenges. As with any relationship, we had our troubles but the last four years have been the happiest of my life and made more so because Les felt the same.

These last weeks were both terrible and wonderful. Les had a beautiful death, conscious and focused, accepting and grateful, loving and compassionate. Dying is hard work but I can’t imagine a better death than Leslie’s.

Leslie was my muse. I did everything with her in mind. It’s difficult not to slide into the mire of self pity but Les was too good an example of accepting one’s fate to allow that to happen.  She will live on in my heart until it stops.

Many years ago, Leslie wrote a song for a friend who was dying of brain cancer. I share it here -> The River <- click to play

Please visit Leslie’s long neglected WordPress page, for a little more information about her and to listen to her music