Hopscotch Revisited

Hopscotch is one of my favorite paintings… the original hangs in my living room. I’ve painted it twice, that first one in 1998 and then I painted an identical Hopscotch inside another painting, so that one is a smaller partial painting of Hopscotch over a chest of drawers in a flat kind of still life scene. I used to hang both in the same room as it was always a conversation starter when someone noticed that this painting has that painting in it.

The inevitable follow-up question was always the same, before or after they read the quote by Jane Welsh Carlyle from 1845, which I had adhered a printed copy to look framed on top of the chest of drawers. Who is the man in the locket? The woman obviously me… awe, that is my muse… was my muse. Sigh. I don’t hang it anymore.

The quote? Should I pull it out… look it up, or dare a misquote? A paraphrase? I know the ending as it was my post-divorce (my another life) motto: “If I have to lead another life in any of the planets, I shall take precious good care not to hang myself round any man’s neck, either as a locket or a millstone.”

I tried to take precious good care, not let myself go there… oh well.

For some odd reason, I decided to revisit Hopscotch for the 5×5 donation… paint it again, in miniature, but not exactly the same as the original Hopscotch. It is geometric, overlapping circles, so draw it first, then paint it in, like a coloring book technique, simple as can be, just color in each section with paint.

Alas, artistic ideas ignore physical limitations.

My spacial relationships have been somewhat “off” since that little stroke stole my right eye last year. Quick count… broken glass and coffee cups?  If I can’t trust my eyes to set a beverage far enough onto a stand so it does not fall off with I let go of the handle, how can I land the tip of a micro-brush exactly where I want it to go? I tried… dab, line, woops! Okay… well, keep going, clean it up, try again.

I finally gave up. Here it is, after I painted white over everything.

And here it is… the colored pencil version, ready to pop into the mail.

Hopscotch Revisited, 5 x 5 inches

It looks different than the original Hopscotch, more like a quilt by repeating the same colors. I do have much better control over the pencils, maybe because it is a dry medium. Pencils requires more than a light touch to lay down color. Still, I’m not really to give up the paints.

Thanks for looking!




Rough Start

2018 crept in on the still of a bitter cold night. We opted to stay in, as I was recovering from a lingering wintery virus that may have been a strain of flu. I stayed up talking to my nephew, who came to stay with us just before Christmas, and took my sober ass to bed around ten. The vet was already asleep, even though he had napped the day away. He had celebrated with his buddies the night before. I laid awake until the sounds of distant fireworks and gunfire intermingled with his snores.

So much for a kiss at midnight, a peck at dawn greeted our new year.

Oh, we were off to a real good start and yes, I am being sarcastic. The vet left with a neighbor to go play cards with the fellas while I was still cooking the traditional holiday dinner and did not wander home until the next day. So much for luck.

Feeling neglected put me in a pissy ass mood. If how one starts the new year is an indicator of how things would be, it’s time to clean house.

I started in my office, shredding papers and what not, with a plan to work counterclockwise through the house. The vet was alternating nights, establishing a pattern of splitting time between here and there with the same results as before… home only 3 or 4 nights per week, like one foot out the door already, may as well box up the other. Then something changed. I was home alone when I felt it, something had shifted in the time warp continuum… okay, that is goofy, let’s just say that it came like a knowing without knowing why or what happened that would alter the course of everything. I just felt it and knew  everything would be alright.

Two days later, my nephew wrote the manual on “How to Self-destruct in 90 minutes” by living it out. Had I known that hearing Arabic and other languages when he could not find me in a crowded Walmart could trigger some kind of post-war PTSD episode coupled by paranoid delusions that would escalate to violence within an hour of leaving the store, I would have asked someone else to take me shopping.

He has a good lawyer, so maybe he can get help instead of prison time. All charges stem from fighting police after he was handcuffed. He resisted arrest as if captured by his imaginary foes.

I almost didn’t mention it as his mother reads this blog and she is very distraught over everything. It has been heart wrenching for everyone. The vet is still sore from my nephew beating on him. He has a broken collar bone. I am still trying to process what happened. I don’t understand the why… the vet treated my nephew like family, they got along well. There was no simmering animosity between them, as far as I could tell. They have had heated discussions over my nephew’s ideas on how to remedy social injustices, but even then, they were expressing opposing views… not even arguing. There was never any fighting, no name calling, no harsh words or anything.

What bothers me the most, is that my nephew, for whatever reason, became violent in my home. This experience tells me that he is unpredictable and dangerous. Deep down inside, I am now scared of my own nephew and I am having a hard time trying to wrap my brain around that because I have so many memories of him as a sweet little boy. I love him.