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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

by Diane Widler Wenzel : Halloween Collaboration

Trick or treat? What a fun time to decorate for the  trick-or-treaters. Two black cats and a witch will greet them.
 Husband Don is trying to use up the odds and ends of lumber he has collected over the years. He produced them for me to mark cutting lines on three pieces of mahogany skin over plywood.

Then husband Don cut the plywood and sprayed it with flat black. I added the painted lines and color on the witch. I painted a witch trying to be beautiful.

After I painted, Don installed some flirty, flickering LI D lights.

Yesterday I had cataract surgery and today I am thinking of dressing as a one eyed pirate.

Planning, also, for next week's blog, a dead serious one. On some things I have noticed how differently people perceive my paintings. It is easy to demonstrate different perceptions are to be expected and not reason to attack the taste of other people who see differently. We all expect that in art and we do not blame others or insult their intelligence. So people I know are more open than they used to be about art as compared to 1959..

Saturday, October 27, 2018

writing what comes

by Rain Trueax

Some of you, if you have been with this blog long enough, know about my newest exploration of the 'other' side, the Hemstreet Witches based in Arizona. Those books have been exploring what might be for powers, as well as what is unseen by most of us. They are as much metaphysical as they are paranormal. Is it possible that some are born with insights and power to see beyond the physical reality? I write these stories because I think life is not that firm for "What Is". 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

by Diane Widler Wenzel: My meal prep like my painting process, My table like my hanging of my paintings

The presentation of a simple meals is as important to me as the arrangement of  my paintings hanging in my home.

I don’t think how my work will effect interior decorating when I paint so I am always happily surprised when our living space and my paintings enhance one another. These surprises are thrust into my awareness when someone requests a viewing of my work and I start arranging work on my walls that I think will suit them.

I was surprised to see the lighting change during the day picking up the light in the painting, "Swimming Free". What surprised me was the painting created an enhanced lightness as if there was an additional skylight in our home.

My open storage is like my refrigerator storage. I pull out ingredients with water themes to hang for my friends who are coming this Thursday to acquire a couple of paintings. Although I am not actively promoting my art, if friends or family want my work, I am happy to see my favorite paintings go to a good home. Then I can visit and in some cases I can borrow it for shows.

Hanging art in my home is like meal preparation. I  can go to the refrigerator or studio to pull out the ingredients for showcasing  my meal whether my art is painting or food.

I should not be surprised that my meal presentation and painting choices are so similar. My meal prep is like my "laissez faire" painting.  I don't know what the menu will be until I see what ingredients are ready for me to prepare or hang.
My palette : My table
accepted and award winning in a 2003 Art About Agriculture Exhibit
The paintings on my walls can not be seen seperately from the totality of  living.  I should not be surprised.
 I see them as nurturing and as satisfying as a good meal.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

When your body can talk to you

by Rain Trueax

Our life depends on our body continuing to function. Kind of a basic truth. Years back, I was interested in meditation as a way to keep track of how my body was doing. Deep breaths, blocking out my thinking, meditative scripts, music, lots of ways to quiet the brain, and listen to the body. 

Mostly, being aware of our body involves noticing what in the beginning might be subtle changes. Losing/gaining weight? Yellowed skin? Long-lasting, unexplained pain? Digestive disorders? Skin changes? Breathing difficulties? 

For most of us, we'd just as soon not have to think about something going wrong. Reality is-- the earlier we recognize a symptom is significant, the more likely it can be fixed. 

Many people depend on yearly checkups, mammograms, colonoscopies, and other tests in the doctor's office that might find a problem before symptoms.

There happen to be home tools that can help our body talk back to us. For young folks, this may not be an issue as there are years when we don't worry about things going wrong. The older we get, the more that changes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

by Diane Widler Wenzel: I garden the same way I paint

Lighting, atmosphere, color and linear gesture are important considerations in both my paintings and flower garden. My "laissez faire" approach, likewise, is the same. In my garden I love volunteer poppies, forget-me-not, snapdragons, glads, dahlias, and cosmos to come up where they may. In painting I often plunge in with colors without  little conscious thought to bring about what may. "Laissez faire" painting brings about new relationships that look natural because the paint flows naturally. Then  I weed out all but the happiest of accidents. In my garden and painting I am perpetually weeding to center attention on what is most interesting to me as my goals evolve. In paintings that tell a story the weeding is particularly important to communicate.
Pictures with busy activity can be more expressive of intention by subduing the activity. For example I just did some weeding within my 1989  on location painting of Tom Allen's watercolor demonstration at a boat repair yard on the Yaquina River.

My painting before subduing the clutter.

The distracting boy to the far right obstructed the dry docked boat that Tom Allen was painting, The boat is a necessary part of the story. So I cut him out entirely by scrubbing out as much paint as possible before covering the boy with Daler Rowney white acrylic ink. When the ink is just barely dry it can be covered with brilliant watercolor. Later it hardens and if thick will resist the paint like the white lines in the man's hat in the lower right.  Since the boy I removed was an important memory of our summer stay exchange student from Barcelona, I  redrew him lower down in the composition.

Adding a blue wash over mostly the bodies holds the group together as a unit by eliminating all that distracts from the faces there by popping out their expressive gestures. The same principle applies to my flower garden. When a green clover starts to dominate I allow my husband to rototill  and spread the mint mulch. The mulched garden is seen as a visual unit like the onlookers at Tom's demonstration.  The gestural blossoms are made more prominent by the less busy mulch.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

a monster or more

by Rain Trueax

In 1992, I wrote my first paranormal, Sky Daughter, where the heroine returned to her grandfather's Idaho mountain after a series of losses. Once there, she learns things about her family that she hadn't expected when she finds her grandmother's Book of shadows-- a witch's compilation of her spells, potions, and experiences. Going against the rules as this book is only to be given to witches, Maggie's grandmother had left it for her with a note inside.

For the first time, Maggie understands why her mother had kept her away from her grandmother. This is only the first of what Maggie is about to discover in a world that isn't at all what she had believed. Something bigger, something unseen is out there. What is it? She has known many emotions, but fear is new to her. As I wrote, I contemplated an important point to the plot-- was what she felt real or her imagination coming from her losses? I reached the point where I had to decide. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Diane on my paintings dedicated to two of the people I love

My entire body of work is a visual diary of my life including my hopes for the future of two of my most loved people - my husband and my mother.

This is my vision of myself and husband growing older together walking on slippery ice. The hand clasp is symbolic of being there for each other. This is one of the illustrations for a book dedicated to my grandchildren, "When I Get To Be Older"

Mama leaving for the beyond.

I painted mama and I couple a days before she passed away. She said she was tired and wanted a larger space then the nursing home room. I had visions of her desires for her existing in an exotic friendly atmosphere.
She liked posing for me.

The drawing on the easel is copied from a drawing on a prepared board
for an egg tempera she never completed from before or just after I was born.

My art process is a part of my whole way of living and dreaming. For more of my paintings about relationships see some of my old blogs.  is of illustrations for "When I Get to be Older" is a short retrospective

Saturday, October 06, 2018

reality versus how we might wish it was

by Rain Trueax

For this blog, I tend to write articles ahead of time, as ideas come to me. I had one planned for today and changed it after my friend, Diane, wrote her piece about her own experiences with sexual abuse. I felt her bravery, and yes, it takes bravery to share such things, meant I needed to change my own plans to address some thoughts on what has been traumatic for our whole country.

Here is not where I want to write about the recent hearings, guilt or innocence of anyone involved in them, but rather the subject of sexual abuse, ramifications on a life, my own experiences, and how thinking about the subject and its impact on adults led to one of my books.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Diane on cultural change: Recognizing sexual assault

Procion dye painted on cotton

Some names have been changed  in my true story.
Feeling like an outsider, felling  so different I might as well been an alien from outer space.  I needed to go along with the flow, to carry on and try to be happy when my feelings from sexual assault did not count in the eyes of others.

  I was 5 years old in 1948.  Walking alone to Jefferson Elementary School, I was crossing the extremely busy intersection of Delaware Street and the El Camino Real in Berkeley, California.

I told my mother what happened. She called the principal who had me and my mother come to his office. After we talked, the blond 6 year old boy who offended me came. All the principal did was ask the boy to say sorry and not knock me down again. No punishment.

They would have spanked me if it had been me.

 He never came close to me again after I pushed him into the bushes where he was stung by yellow jackets. My sense of power was short lived.

Today I see what happened in new light. I did not realize the extent that I was still without my power. Revenge doesn't work. One example, I always walked to school in a group. They didn't have guards at intersections back then.

 I did not realize my power was diminished by a man, the Principal. Seventy years later while watching the current event of Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh, I learned  new words and concepts - "sexual assault seared into my hypocanthus."  Now I know why I  remember the emotional details like they just happened.

How much of the incidents when I was 5  add to my self image as a pillow to men?  How much weight did this experience have along with many day to day interactions? The male Principal of Jefferson Elementary School whose casualness about the whole incident placed upon me the belief that this assault was not a big deal. My outrage was an over reaction. he did not even calling his parents! Instead of  getting justice, I learned that males were privileged and above punishment when it came to sexual acts.

In 1962 I was a naive 19 years old on a University of Hawaii study tour sharing a Waikiki condo with three other girls. I experienced  what would be called sexual assaults today but I didn't know but that my experiences were normal: there was no intercourse that could have spread venereal disease or end in pregnancy.  No problem? Wrong, I allowed  two to touch me with their penis with visible sores in exchange for being freed from their hold on me.  Since there were multiple assaults, it is hazy which of the men had sores. I don't want to think it was the one I liked until he assaulted me.

I did not report John to our guide who thought so highly of him as her student. He and his buddies barged into our condo when I was alone. When they couldn't find full bottles of alcohol, John turned on me.  Afterwards I asked the hotel management to fix the broken lock on our door saying I felt unsafe. They did not honor my repeated requests.

At the University in1962 I studied watercolor and dance. 
This 2006 watercolor, mixed media painting
 of Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian Beach Bar and Grill overlooking
the water where Ray, the sailor, and I met. We rented a surf board
and he tried to teach me how to stand and ride a wave.

We had a great time walking hand in hand, surviving an attempted climb of crumbling lava on Diamond Head, hanging out with the preschool and kindergarten kids living in the condo next door. We played my favorite game - chess.  He taught me to cook chicken like he learned from being a fast food cook before joining the Navy.  All was fun until he became seriously talking marriage and expecting premarital sex.

My Japanese date said, “When in Rome do as the Romans.
When in Hawaii do as the Hawaiians.”

Three of us went out on a date with Japanese men probably in their late 20's. The one I paired with was verbally persuasive but I was able to persuade him against intercourse. He took me back to the condo but not before unwanted groping. Now-a-days that would be considered assault.

The one time I almost reported an incident was when several of the girls and I went to look at the Princess Cruise Ship  just as it was about to disembark. Three crewmen offered to take us on separate tours. Of the encounter, I will only say it was the most physically violent leaving me bruised. I felt very guilty because I did not report him. At the time it seemed so easy to think I could just forget about it because there was no intercourse. Maybe I would have been successful in getting authorities to get the help the crewman needed so no other girls would be hurt. That is my guilt.

In the Ford and Kavanaugh hearing the prosecution gave Kavanaugh a definition of sexual assault.
Expectations of proper behavior are changing? The definition was not shared on TV so I tried looking up the legal definition. It varies from state to state.

 I wonder what the boundaries will become.

The 19072 woodblock print that mother showed Assistant Curator Donald Jenkins
I am amazed that many other women like me experience horror when sexually assaulted short of intercourse.  Maybe I am not an alien after all.

 I realize the assaults were a factor in my choosing to close windows like the opportunity to study in Italy my Junior year at Portland State College.  I turned down an invitation to apply for a scholarship to do graduate study at the University of Iowa. In 1972 I turned down an interview arranged by my mother with assistant curator Donald Jenkins about exhibiting my woodblock prints at the Portland Art Museum.

2015 drawing of a window
of  my husband's and my desire of continuing
 to work for a marriage
in which we both support each other's passion
Where I chose to close some windows, new ones continue to open.