Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about experiences, ideas, nature, creativity, and culture. The latter might appear at times political, but we will try to speak to the broader issues that impact a culture. This is just too important a time not to sometimes speak to problems that impact society. Expressing different views is welcome when it's done respectfully and are able to agree to disagree.

Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome but must be in English, with no profanity, hate-filled comments, or links (unless pre-approved).

Fantasy, the painting by Diane Widler Wenzel, cropped a little to fit the needs of a banner.





Wednesday, April 14, 2021

by Diane: Viewing my entire stash of painting supplies but I am joyfully distracted

 I never dreamed of spreading out all my stretcher bars to visualize a new oil painting series in a big room devoted to oil painting. What a luxury I have. I am so thankful. I never dreamed I would have a large supply of boards just for painting. I did not realize I have old timber stretcher bars that are less apt to bend into warped canvases. Seeing the empty stretcher bars on my painting wall is a glimpse of my future.

Tuesday, April 13

I am going to a friend's filbert farm. Such a generous invitation. Even though it is windy, I am prepared to sit low to the ground and do small watercolors in preparation for oil paintings from memory. May take some photos to jog my memory. Since I am used to looking and seeing differently than what my iPhone camera will record, I do not give the photos much authority. best to sit with the subject and  soak in the atmosphere and naturally struggle with the wind.

Then Susan took me for a ride around near by farms where there were a variety of barns and sites for future painting. At home I prepared ground for the beautiful geraniums. The poppies and vegetable starts wait for tomorrow. As I needed to mow and water the geraniums and lupin seeds that I planted yesterday.

It was a big day and I am tired. 

The large yard is going to be in competition with painting tomorrow. Some lupin and wildflowers have sprouted and both plantings of snap peas are growing. The thistles are going to seed and I have not finished weeding out the ragweed. now it looks good in the spring but change is coming. The clay earth has cracks over an inch wide. Tomorrow I will continue to thread the hoses back on the faucets. Too tired tonight to try and figure out how to turn on the sprinklers.

Tomorrow April 14

Stay tuned, I will calculate the amount of canvas I will need and how to make the best use of it. Will order gesso.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Changing Times

 by Rain Trueax

After a year of not much changing, the vaccine has now gone to about half of all Americans. I've read that there are those (1/3 of Christians and 1/2 of GOP men) who won't get the shots for assorted reasons. I know of those who fear the side effects, and for some there have been unpleasant side effects or worse for a very few. Some see it as some kind of spiritual test. I wish those who refuse the best of luck as the virus has side effects too. At any rate, the fact that a vaccine exists is a positive thing for life getting back to normal-- whatever that will be.

It's spring when everything will be changing. Now that we have had the booster to the Moderna vaccine and it's been three weeks, we have supposed immunity-- as best they know it. That's the one thing with this virus-- they are learning as we are going. Still, I believe, it's better that more of us have had it and we appear to be heading toward herd immunity. Onward and upward as a friend of mine used to say.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

by Diane: Painting Out There with the West Coast Kona, Hawaii Plein Air Group

  

On the Kona coast of Hawaii every Friday year round a fantastic hard core group of talented artists meet on location to paint mostly the coast ocean beaches. These artists are Aloha welcoming and will generously give any asked for assistance. After painting for about three hours the group gathers to share their work. Some eat lunch. Some continue to paint.

It has been about 8 years since my first painting time with the Plein Air Group. Richard the organizer greets me by welcoming me back home. And it does feel like home. I watch the artistic development of the artists on Face Book usually posting the Friday's paintings by Monday with updates on small changes they make in their paintings. On line and in person the experience informs my painting.

Maybe influenced by Hawaii but I did this 11"x14" canvas board treated with lightly tinted Plaster of Paris in gesso to make it absorbent to watercolor. Also used acrylic white ink and some Heavy body cadmium  substitute Yellow Deep.

I am feeling defensive of the comment that this is a technique, when a good painting friend who works in a traditional process of drawing her subject on the surface, making a value sketch and then painting in area by area her subject. Yes every process involves a technique of one sort or another to get the paint from pallet to painting surface. My process is a journey with only a rough idea of where I am headed and open to change to have a conversation with what the paint is doing. 


 

Saturday, April 03, 2021

when morning comes

 by Rain Trueax


For the month of March, with no plan to do so, I watched absolutely no television, movies, nor listened to any radio talk shows. It started because of my bout of nightshade intolerance, but it went beyond that as I could not stand the idea of watching the television screen. After a week or so, I began to consider what television had been doing to my daily life. What I learned is it was filling in time. Although I had already reduced (not none until March began) watching political news, I still had cable for HGTV, documentaries, and a Hallmark movie once or twice a week. We also had Curiosity Stream for nature and historic films, but they seemed too simplified and more aimed at kids than adults. Pretty and all but nothing much to learn.

As I recovered from being sick, things changed for what I wanted my days to look like. I cut back on the Internet-- for a while none, and then very little, but gradually found a reasonable amount of time to check on friends at Facebook, and of course, read newspapers and online magazines with news stories. Still, it was nothing like it had been.

The cable, political news that I had been watching had had some events covered, but a lot of it had been by pundits to tell me what I should think about what I'd seen. If I had been a right winger, I'd have been watching shows like Newsmax or if I was a left winger, it'd be MSNBC. Neither one was going to give both sides of anything. That's not what their audience expected from their pundits.


So, what did I replace that time with-- what am I still replacing it with? Well, watching the clouds in the sky as they changed outside my bedroom window. I got some info on the names of cloud types (cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and nimbus). The problem quickly became that clouds mixed together and finding pure cloud shapes wasn't happening often. Clouds have many varieties. Maybe just enjoying them was the ticket.

I enjoyed watching the trees move with the wind, the birds fly past the window, and the mountain about three miles or so away. In some ways, it was all nothing. In other ways, it was my real world.

Reading aloud continued, but we left behind the non-fiction to try a book I'd never read, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I didn't expect to like it but got into these characters. We ended up buying more books in the series of five. Currently, we are working on the fourth in the series-- with the third waiting on the dresser. They weren't in order but the fourth didn't need to be. I do not plan to read the fifth given reviews I'd read of it. Ranch Boss has been doing all the aloud reading, which has been enjoyable for us both as the dialogue in those books is fun. 

The three cats got used to the idea that I was not in the living room but rather our bedroom. They adjusted to that and I enjoyed watching them as they worked out their own relationships-- not always in good moods.

March also got me my second Moderna and finally I am, at two weeks after that, which theoretically means fully protected, only the more you read, the more you know it doesn't always work that way. Still, I am glad I did it and hope that those who can will do so. What we need to know about viruses is a long way off, I suspect.

From not watching television, I got used to not trying to think and just be. I didn't need to fill the space as just being was satisfying. I thought of many things for issues politically, some I might share here someday, but for now, this is it. 

My own conclusion is that television may not be doing our brains or emotions a favor. Like so many things, everyone needs to evaluate that for themselves.

These photos are all from April 2nd as the sun rose with clouds providing a show.



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

By Diane: Trip

 from Diane


Just arrived back from Hawaii at 11:55 PM, March 30 finally arriving home at 5:30 AM March 31. One of my Granddaughters and my Adopted Guy helped me in my travels while I introduced them to the Big Island.

Highlights of our eight days in Kona, Hawaii included an awesome walking tour of the Kona Cloud Forest. The three hour tour moved through the dense vegetation literally standing on intertwined roots all above the lava. Ordinarily impenetrable and dangerous, our guide made trails and maintained them to reveal to the public his passion to save the cloud forests now reduced to less than 1% of the Earth's land mass. Kelly Dunn, always entertaining, has a visionary poet's questioning of  scientific classification.  I am asking more questions in retrospect. Do we really know what we know about the relationships in the natural world?

Adopted Guy's favorite adventure was walking through the newly reopened Lava Tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Forest. At the entrance a friendly couple of women and us exchanged taking pictures.



My painting and life essentials were tightly packed into a roll-on suitcase. Most of the stuff was stashed in a sheet and pillow case bag with separate compartments.  My easel and walking stick was in collapsible chair bag. Also a hat and rain coat are essential. my art things in their compartment left room for  only a very few shoes and clothes. A lot to carry when I also need a c-pap case.


 

The three of us had a good trip with many new memories. But as always there are some inconveniences or in our case problems that occur that must be communicated if something distresses us.  This time I did not realize that the refrigerator was not cold enough.  Tummies were a little upset from the chicken vegetable stir fry. I experienced gas but thought the chicken was well enough heated. Thus I did not worry about the refrigerator in time to have something done about it. I notified the owners only the evening before we left. And then I discovered the automatic ice machine did not function either. Hope the repairman can fix the refrigerator. This year the Bears Place Guest House has had it hard with Covid. Of course they are optimistic that business people who can work via computers can live anywhere. They can work in the early hours and then go surfing after work. At 1,000 feet elevation, the guest house cools down to cmfortable.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Choices

 by Rain Trueax

 

From the time Covid-19 hit American shores, we've been bombarded by information-- often contradictory. People have had to make choices whether to isolate, wear masks, wash hands, stay out of crowds, etc. etc. Some have gone one way. Some another. Those in care centers didn't get to make choices as they were made for them-- and not always to their benefit.

Then after the election was over, we were told the vaccines were going to be ready before the end of the year. We watched our leaders get the shot, like President Biden, and knew eventually we'd have to decide for ourselves. Yes or no for a shot that had only recently come out of testing.

To begin, I wasn't sure. We can isolate being retired, but still would the vaccination be a good idea? To begin, Moderna or Pfizer were our main options. We began to read all we could get our hands on. Because Ranch Boss is a chemist, he went to professional journals. We basically decided if we chose to be vaccinated, it would be Moderna. 

At a certain point, we decided we wanted to do it and then got an opportunity almost immediately with the early part of February. It was perfect with a "drive-through". I think I wrote about it here. We, neither one, had a reaction and were eager to get our second. Ranch Boss his got second on schedule, but I had been sick with the nightshade intolerance and depressingly had to cancel, then hoped I could get it later. That worked out at 6 weeks after the first one, I also got the second-- again with no reaction other than some redness at the vaccination site. My arm wasn't even sore as had been Ranch Boss'. 

Since then, we have been learning more . Like that the morphing of the virus has about 25% of the current cases in Arizona being that California variant. Will the vaccine protect from the dire results of getting Covid when it's a variant? So few answers for now. 

Another thing we read is it might be better to wait up to 3 months to get the second dose, to be more effective. Also that it might be better to have it be Moderna for one and Pfizer for two. Those aren't easy options to take given you usually get it through the same source.

I felt it was important that people who could, would get the vaccinations. The disease morphs in animal bodies. The less opportunity(cases) it has , the less chance it'll become a bigger and bigger problem.

Some believe the vaccine isn't helpful. Well, it does not necessarily promise you won't get it. It promises you have less chance (94%) of it being serious if you do. Still, everyone has to decide and for some, it might be too risky based on other things they already have.

For Covid and the vaccine, I have a personal story and it's why you saw that picture at the top of this blog.

My husband made a friend when he went to the Oro Valley Library writer group. He and Helmut Seifert met a few times at restaurants and then began regularly talking on the phone often for Paul to help Helmut with his book, which he had published and which was very important to his life, but they had a lot of other things in common, interest in each other's lives. They could talk hours but usually once a week.

March 2021 came along and Ranch Boss realized Helmut hadn't replied to his last text and hadn't called in longer than usual. When he went off to get his second shot (me ... stuck at home), I looked in the paper for obituaries and there was Helmut's. It was a shock as he wasn't yet 65. I had never met him due to the virus but I cried. Later that day when my husband talked to his wife, he learned the cause of death had been Covid-19. 

The story goes like this. They had had Helmut's parents living with them. His mother had fallen, could no longer do things by herself, and it was decided she needed more care than they could provide. The idea was getting his parents both into a good assisted living place. That ended up with health aides coming into their home-- quite a few. Before that, since the whole virus thing hit us, Helmut had been very careful to isolate but there no isolating from this.

Helmut's wife said when their family showed symptoms, three tested positive but she did not as she had had the vaccine (she was in the health care profession). She had tried to get the shots for Helmut but protocol denied him because he was a few months shy of turning 65. As his illness worsened, he and his dad were hospitalized. His mother had tested positive also but with a light case. Helmut and his father, hospitalized on the same floor of the hospital, passed within 2 weeks of being tested positive. His wife, even though vaccinated, was not allowed to be with him.

Was there a logical reason his wife didn't get sick other than she had had the vaccine? 

While it's true that for some getting the vaccination could be risky, for most it's not. Will it prove effective enough? Time will tell. We all need to think it through-- what will be our choice? I read that 30% of Republican men say they will not get the shot. I hope they don't find themselves exposed to the disease as Helmut did. He had more books to write...

The book Helmut had published was his dream. It encompassed a story but also what he had learned about life and wished to pass on to others. If you have ever had such a story inside you, you can understand what it meant to him when he finally saw it in print, his desire he perfect and make it all he could. It is not a romance but more allegorical science fiction. It was a book difficult to put into genres. He was working on a second when he died. One was all there was to be and here is its link. Check it out. (be sure, if you go there, to read not just the Blurb but the reviews. They help to tell more what this unusual book is about.)

Nobody's Coming


 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

a break

 Diane had mentioned in her last blog that she was taking a bit of a break from the blog. Everybody needs that once in a while. She thinks she'll have something new April 7th. 

This photo is from down here and early in March. :)