Art, grief and grieving, Landscape, Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life, oil painting, Painting, Urban Landscape

The World Looks Different When Traveling Alone

.

"The World Looks Different When I Traveling Alone" 30" x 48" oil on linen
“The World Looks Different When Traveling Alone”
30″ x 48″ oil on linen

.

I’m now nine months into grieving the loss of my wife and in some ways, it’s gotten lighter. I’m generally hard on myself but I will give myself credit for working hard to try and grow from this experience. As I’ve said before, Leslie died without a second of self pity and that made it impossible for me to slip into that mud, even though it seemed likely, given my inclinations.

I’ve also written before about the courage Leslie showed in facing her death. She accepted it and walked toward it willingly and proudly, knowing she’d lived a wonderful life. She even joked on the way to death’s door. Although the experience was profound, it wasn’t heavy. We shared a lot of laughter during her last days. She showed no fear and, although we cried at our becoming separated, she approached it with dignity and grace. There was nothing sad about her death. It was magnificent and miraculous. It is her absence that causes me pain.

I’m often confused about my feelings and suffer very strong emotional waves. Sometimes it feels like I really can’t endure another wave but they keep  coming. I never know when or where they’ll hit. I’ve learned to strap on my seat belt and observe my thoughts as they surge through me. Sometimes the longing to feel loved and connected to someone overwhelms me and I reach out to some unsuspecting friend with a heartfelt outpouring of gratitude and love. I worry that I sometimes overwhelm people with my urgent need for connection. Then, of course, I suffer over that.

In recent weeks, Ive felt myself start to turn away from my reverie over death and try to find something in life that I can engage myself in. I’ve felt some moments of acceptance and even feel satisfied for brief moments. As I turn back toward life, I realize that I have an opportunity to remake my life in any way I want to. Currently I feel consumed with the idea of having my life be used for something worthwhile.  I’m aware that I’ve been through these periods before and they’re fragile and shatter easily. I’m doing my best to stay as grounded as I can while still believing in the possibility that I can be useful, maybe even inspiring.
.

"Two Dogs attending in Hospice" ink and watercolor in sketchbook
“Two Dogs attending in Hospice”
ink and watercolor in sketchbook

.
I want to share this poem by the great John O’Donahue, who my friend Eithna Joyce introduced me to.

For Grief ~ John O’Donahue
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

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, gouache, Landscape, Painting, Plein Air, Portland, Sauvie Island, watercolor

more painting outside – a little farther from home

.

The hunting season is over on Sauvie Island, and I headed over to paint last weekend. Unfortunately, when I was half way there, I realized I had forgotten to pack any panels to paint on. This is the second time I’ve done this. I suppose age is catching up with me. Rather than turn back, I continued on knowing that I had my watercolor paintbox and sketchbooks along.

"Multnomah Channel" 7 x 10 watercolor
“Multnomah Channel” 7 x 10 watercolor

I went to a part of the island where I haven’t painted for several years and found a nice spot along the Multnomah Channel ( a narrow side channel of the Wilamette River, and started the piece above as several sailboats and fishing boats came and went. While I waited for the colors to dry on this one, I started the one below, of the same subject.

"Multnomah Channel sketch 5 x 8 watercolor and ink
“Multnomah Channel sketch
5 x 8 watercolor and ink

I moved on down the road and did one more from a spot I painted a few years ago. It’s a view of the famous  volcano, Mt St Helens, across the cow patures.

Mt St Helens from Sauvie Island gouache
Mt St Helens from Sauvie Island
gouache

I was hoping for some cows but they didn’t show up until later

IMG_5613

.

Art, Landscape, Painting, Plein Air, watercolor

Twelve Days in Kaua’i

I spent 12 days in Kauai with my family. It was great to get away and spend time together in beautiful Kaua’i. The cones of my eyes are now so used to bright sun and saturated colors that everything looks one color now that I’m home in the grey Pacific NW.

I slipped away to do a little bit of sketching but I really wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the sun when I wasn’t in the shade.

7" x 10" watercolor in sketchbook
7″ x 10″ watercolor in sketchbook

This was done in Hanalei, near the north end of the island. It’s a surfer beach, I forget the name of this particular one.

7" x 10" watercolor
7″ x 10″ watercolor

I never figured out the name of this mountain in Anahola on the east shore. I found a nice shady spot at the dead end of the road to do this one.

7" x 10" water color and ink
7″ x 10″ water color and ink

There was a large vacant spot, between resort condos, on the beach near Kapaa on the east shore. The beach was quiet and I was pretty much on my own here. If you didn’t look back to shore, it was easy to imagine being on a deserted island. This is the view in the opposite direction.

When I turned around toward the ocean, this is was the view:

Deserted beach in Kapaa

Art, Landscape, Painting, Study, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Monkey Ward on a rainy night

Alex, if you’re reading, I tried to answer your email but my reply was returned. You may have mistyped your email address.

Montgomery Park in the rain - 6" x 8" watercolor and ink
Montgomery Park in the rain – 6″ x 8″ watercolor and ink

This old Montgomery Ward store was converted, years ago, into Montgomery Park and is now used as office space and convention center. When it was built, in 1920, it was the largest building in Portland.