Well, when I last wrote a post (June) I had every intention to write a new post at least once a month. I thought that even though I was too sick from chemo to get in my studio, I could highlight a different painting each month while I was sitting around. I had no idea how much the chemo would affect my ability to think or even have the energy to sit at my computer and write. Then I ended up having three surgeries within two months, unexpected infections, IV antibiotics, and over two unexpected weeks in the hospital.
While I am still dealing with a very rare type of infection, I am happy to say that the pathology from my surgery came back with no sign of cancer! That was a huge answer to prayer, and I can put up with the hassles and setbacks from the surgeries. These little darlings were happier than just about anyone to hear that good news after my surgery.
So, here I am, nine months since my last blog post realizing that my intentions did not become reality. In spite of all of the health delays, we were able to enjoy some family time at weddings of two nephews and a niece along with a couple of other special family gatherings.
I mustered enough energy to get to my studio on good days and do some work on a couple of paintings that I had begun earlier and set aside. I was glad to get this small one finished and accepted into an exhibition at Tamarack in August. You will see in that my hair was beginning to grow back (even before I was finished with all of the chemo) and I became brave enough to go out without a wig or a hat.
I was thankful to be able to get some paintings to the Mountain Color Art Show in October and cried when they announced that I won best of show and first place in painting. It was great to have some good news and a reward after such a year.
By November, I began having more good days - just in time for the crunch of ordering some inventory for Christmas. I was happy to put together a 2018 calendar of my work and some new note cards to deliver to stores and to offer for my Christmas sales.
It was so very fun after such an extremely challenging year to see so many friends come out for my Christmas Open House in my studio and to my pop-up shop at the Hometown Holiday Marketplace in Richwood. It was such a blessing to have very good sales at both of those events.
We were able to travel to our home state of Michigan for Christmas and was it ever great to be with family. We hadn't seen most of these kids and grandkids since we were there in the summer.
One of the holiday events generated a commission which I began work on in January and finished in February. This was my first pet portrait and I was so glad that the owner was very pleased with it. She expressed how well I had captured the sweet expression of this beloved pet and how much the recipient of her gift loved the painting. It makes me happy to know that my art brings happiness to others.
I was invited to participate in an exhibition in January with a gallery that is new to me. We enjoyed the opening reception in the very nicely renovated Gallery 62 West by Taylor County Arts Council which now also sells some of my prints and cards.
I also worked to finish this painting which you see (unfinished) on my easel at the top of this blog. It is currently in the exhibition titled, "Year One Fifty Five" in the gallery of Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia. You can read more about that on the events page of my website. I have had several requests for prints of this painting which I titled, "Walk With Me," and I'll be working on getting an order for those figured out. I'll be sure to release an update on that soon.
Whew! Do you get the idea that I sort of hit the ground running the minute I felt at all well enough to get back at it? You would be correct. While I was glad to be able to participate in the Christmas season and have some follow-up work in recent weeks. I can also tend to feel pressure to keep moving to the next thing just because it is there and offering an opportunity. I will talk in my next post about how I'm still learning to listen to my body and to God when I need to slow down or focus on another area even when there is something that seems to be pressing.
Before I close this, I want to show you one last picture. I decided to have some Valentine fun with my hair that grew in white. Here I am with one of my special nurses during my latest chemo treatment. I have four more treatments to go - every three weeks. I'm looking forward to the end of those but will honestly miss my wonderful nurses who have become friends.
Stay tuned for a follow up post very soon. I normally won't write so frequently but you'll see why when you read it.