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 avoid partisanship 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. As she and I do, readers will find we often disagree and have for over 50 years-- still able to be close friends. You can do that if you can be agreeable that we share more than not despite the difference.

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 as it turns an article into a discussion, 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 29, 2020

by Diane: Update 12, Preparing to submit entries to Art About Agriculture Competition

Thursday, April 23, I got out my paints and set up on the back patio to paint the swallows in flight. The surface was a self prepared watercolor paper with textured Golden absorbent opaque acrylic primer for water media with addition of acrylic red color brushed in with the idea that I would paint a grass field.
Friday, April 24, the day was primarily devoted to doctor appointments and husband's future needs. Upsetting to realize his driving days are numbered. His doctor feels obligated to order him to turn in his driver's license.
Now I am walking on egg shells. He claims he is safe for the few times he drives to medical appointments. He wants an assessment - upsettingly difficult because during the lock down his occupational therapist is not conducting driving assessment services. He is on a list to be called when these assessments are being conducted. He is also trying to get on in Salem in case that is faster.
   Is the only option to turn in his driving license before his capabilities decrease?

 Saturday, April 25, I was happy and thankful that I planted a wee little garden of sugar snap peas, radishes, lettuces and carrots. I am thankful that most every time I look outside I see the swallows and I am coming to a greater understanding of how I want to express them in paint. 
There is another call to artists to submit to the Oregon State Art about Agriculture competition and touring exhibition 2020 called Tension/Harmony. The prospectus has an uplifting goal of envisioning the future. I am energized to continue my swallow series. Yes, I see a future of pest controlling swallows in balance in beauty. Swallow power better than insecticides killing too many insects, then swallows too.


 Monday, April 27, winds changed the flight path of swallows. They are faster and the axis of their body wavered side to side as they flew. Started a drawing outside but too late in the day to get maximum activity. This was a good day to add more paints to my palette. 
From my studio window I notice up high in the distance I might pick two swallows flight path may be a topology tangle. Finding a mathematical language to describe some of their flight might be possible under the right air conditions. Don't know if this kind of flight aids in their feeding.


Tuesday, April 28, the morning began with the sunshine on the woods behind the field and the light reflected on the shiny wings of the swallows seen against a shadowed field - my next painting. I hope I can remember the tutorial on how to pay bills. My mind was wondering thinking about how beautiful a friend of mine's painting was on the wall next to the computer screen. I asked for a repeat on how to get to the website. Hope I remember how to pay the bills next month.

The best thing about painting for me at this time is seeing and appreciating beauty.





Saturday, April 25, 2020

something to think about

by Rain Trueax



I've been torn on what to write here given the times. My gosh, we get all this information but which parts do we trust? How can we know whether we can shut down for months or even a year? If it's not until a vaccine is ready, can we still pick back up a viable economic culture-- one that families can support themselves with? If we don't shut down that long, could the disease claim millions of us? What to do what to do???

Sweden went with social distancing, not shutting down businesses, and herd immunity-- let people get sick. Some claim that worked and some claim they are yet to be inundated. 

Herding is something most my age remember well. The parents would just as soon we got the measles, chicken pox and mumps. The idea was get it and you'd be done with it. Did not work that way for everybody, and now we know chicken pox can lead to later getting shingles. 

Other diseases though like whooping cough, strep and scarlet fever were taken more seriously. Polio was something people tried to avoid for their children as it was deadly or crippling at the least. My husband's aunt had it, survived, but walked with a limp the rest of her life. 

How do we decide what would work for our country but also ourselves. This idea of keeping shut businesses that are not deemed essential has had appeal for many.

The thing is what is essential? For instance car repair might be deemed that (at a time they want to ban people from even going for pleasure drives). So if car repair is, how about those who manufacture the parts needed for it? 

It's hard to get our heads around what this is doing to agriculture with people unable to sell their products, get them packaged, or get them to a market with a lot of markets shut down-- like restaurants. Some farmers are saying they won't plant due to the uncertainty. That could mean a lot more shortages ahead-- and that doesn't take into account the meat packing plants that have had to close because of workers testing positive for Covid-19. Should this be a serious concern? [One opinion]

My son-in-law has a doctorate in virology. Years back he described a virus that would prove deadly and the way this one attacks is it. One that doesn't show its symptoms right away, doesn't kill fast and is very contagious. Here we are and all the uncertainty still here for us.

I've done social distancing for years during the flu season because although I do other vaccinations, the flu shots made me sick, left me with a lump in my arm for months and I decided I couldn't risk another as they'd been getting worse each year. Yet, I can do the
pneumonia and other vaccines. Go figure. So in the season, my husband, who has the shots with no reaction, goes into the stores. This virus has added him wearing a mask and wiping everything down and only going when essential. 

This year, we have self-quarantined here, felt lucky to do it other than being way apart from our family. Still, they are better off as it is.  Turns out that a lot, who call themselves snow-birds or sun-chasers, have found their plans also disrupted. But then life has a way of doing that anyway with little predictability and often equally little control.

So I debated sharing the article below. It's by a guy known as a bit of a bomb-thrower in terms of dire predictions and also in making money for his own enterprises. Still he has some interesting ideas especially that we are not all in this together given our differing circumstances. Until I looked him up, I had never heard his name. His opinions are controversial, culturally scary for where we are heading, but are they also true? Who do you believe?


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

by Diane: Update 11: A challenging week and new directions.

 
In order to find ways to intice my husband with ALS to eat his vegies, I experiment on myself. Here is a wilted salad on my morning oatmeal. He makes the oatmeal while I sliced celery paper thin and wilt it  in sauce pan along with a handfull of spinach. No way would he like this much salad but the paper thin celery with paper thin carrots in a sauce might go down well - a challenge with his difficulty swallowing. Vegetables are not the only challenge but all foods have to be soft and just the right temperature. He needs more red meat than I. The desserts I make him are too tempting to me.
On line doctor visits was stressful just installing and bringing up the app. Got to go manage our password file so it is easier to use. Would you beieve even the beautiful weather is a challenge to my my best made plan to have an art escape. Solution: Change directions. I am now drawing  the swallows outdoors. I am using a Hobby Cream soft pencil made in Italy on charcoal paper.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

what to do in a troubled time

by Rain Trueax

 The candle came from San Xavier, a mission I love to visit and now and again light a candle there. Years ago, we had bought this one. Easter seemed a good time to light it. It burns for 3 days with the request still being heard. The mission figure, we bought, 20 years ago, at a small shop that brought them from Mexico or Central America. The dancer came when people were allowed to sell crafts along roadsides. It was a great time until local government stepped in to say they could not...

 This is a terrible time for me to write something here. Like so many, I am stressing, uncertain, not sleeping well, not interested in much of anything except watching the birds or out my window at the mountains. If something takes deep thinking, I'm out of there. That complicates a blog or my writing for books. I know it's depression, and it makes total sense.  I don't want you to think my life is terrible. It's that I am one with anxiety issues even at the best of times and maybe too empathetic. I'd be better off to put my head in the sand, but I don't do it.

So, more bird pictures. The baby quail are coming out to explore life. Although we'd been watching, we missed when they first were here.  On Thursday, they already had their topknots and the first feathers. The photos below represent two families. Cute, aren't they. The gila woodpecker was caught stealing hummingbird sugar water on a wildlife cam. We had set it out to figure out why the water was going down so fast. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

by Diane: Update of art escape #10: Enjoying the struggle framed

Feeling satisfaction in my framed painting of disturbed air in the swallow's flight path. It was a challenge requiring many trials painting ove ezch bird over and over.
 

But next week back to a simpler process.

 
 
 
I continue to observe.  The angles of the wings and tail as they change from wing movements to gain altitude then swooping in holding wings outright only changing axis of the body as they travel a curved flight downward.
 
 
Perhaps finished! I didn't intend to get so engrossed so much so that I might not be attentive to my husband's needs. Just as I thought he was doing better, balance and and breathing are concerns.

by Diane: Up date on art escape #9: Painting, painting, painting

 
 
 
Have much painting time now that husband's neurology symptoms are addressed.  Feeling lucky that before the mitigating phase of the pandemic we are better equiped to wing it!
 


 

 

stream of chaois :

Two more days until my regular posting time. Yikes. My hubby has been generous. He gets his snacks himself. We watch the birds together. I am plunging deeply into painting before writing this blog. Pardon my disorganization. The weather is great and the little biting bugs are not bugging me. The swallows are nesting and mating. Such subjects are exalting. Exausting!  I have a neat book to read and the review for the book club is next Sunday. Magie Anaton's Rashi's Daughters, Book I Joheved: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France. Love the walkers who parade past the other side of house, the street side. What's for dinner?


 Single serving of lasagne last night for hubby. I had gluten free my fan tye rice noodles with spinach and turkey. Not exactly Easter fare. Tonight chicken? Canned smoked fish casserole. We can both eat. Laundry is going. already painted some and it is 8:18 AM. In few minutes will cancel Zoom doctors appointment.to reschedule for in person visit. Got to talk about young grandson coming to rotatil garden that spading was too hard. Ought to get manure so to soften soil for good carrots this year. Got to throw away that unused mini pie shell I made two weeks ago and never filled. What should I order for Fred Myers pick up next weekend? canned beets, canned pumpkin, milk, freezer low on meats. distilled water, 9x9 baking pan for brownies. yogart. This is boring.
The sore on hubby's nose. his rubberband fix to his Bipap mask worked but a week old mask shouldn't fail. Lots of little cares. Loved the article by Gerald Parker about five phases of the pandemic. Sugar ants and rosemary! Wash hands. Great time to go for a walk.

Later:  Yeah, hubby will barbecue the terriaki chicken thighs. We are eating so well and sorry for those who are food challenged. My mind is blank. The jazz plays instead of the constant news. Wonder how our newly widowed neighbor is. Heard a couple on my walk argue about his dog getting into her flower bed. Dog on chain. Children chalk art and paper cut hearts pine cones with googlie eyes for sale. Getting low on cash. grandchild's birthday. Better go and make haste before mail man.

Time to water the garden: Time to go back to original art escape plan.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

moon thoughts

by Rain Trueax


April 6th and the setting of the Pink Moon

With my interest in full moons, I found two meanings for this moon. The first was that it's for the pink phlox and early bloomers. The second was it meant rebirth. Since Sunday is Easter, a time of resurrection for Christians, that's a good meaning. The time of rebirth. however, isn't always good. It means death first.

I have mentioned before that I am on Facebook. Currently, it's a good place for me. I like connecting with people there and sharing parts of my life. If someone asks an opinion type question, even on a topic I generally avoid, I will answer with my thoughts on it. BUT if it's peppered with insulting terms, if it's from someone I have considered a friend, I quit reading with the first of them and hide the post. If it's a 'friend' there that I don't know, I snooze them for a month and then unfollow if the nasty words are still there.

Some say they don't like coming to FB for the negativity. What I wrote above is a solution, which I need, as it's important for me right now as a place to connect with those I have gotten to know, where I am interested in how they are doing. The only way I can continue there is to get rid of what upsets me. Maybe it's my generation or how I was raised to be polite, but insulting words don't work for me even if I agree with them-- and once in a while, I might...

I have a thought on the virus, which I will share... read it or not as it works for you. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

by Diane: Update on my Art Escape #8

Happy Passover or Happy Easter! Happy? Well possibly an inept greeting during a pandemic for both Passover beginning tonight and for Easter on Sunday. I choose Beautiful.  So I wish everyone a beautiful holiday. It is beautiful to recall stories of overcoming bondage no matter which story is in your heart.
       One day at a time. My Father's wise mantre that supported his care giving for Mother! One day at a time. One day at a time. Do not over fill the day with too many tasks. Stay focused on each task and do it correctly. I am poor at coming up to his level. But I especially follow his example of
Before
 escape into his topology book. Like him  I escape into a few minutes here and there into my painting of swallows' flights.

After painting over but maybe not finished
Hot press watercolor board takes flooding with water layer upon layer without warping.
 Like in topology I am putting a circle around two flights printed from a cut potato.
I like the repetative printing but want to do another while I am observing their flight.
       I find joy. The swallows are back yesterday just in time for my painting process to proceed. Only the cold rain showers means few flying bugs.  So the swallows fly swooping paths over a quarter mile range.  More difficult for me to see how their flight pattern is an example of a toplogy tangle if projected on my picture plane! But their presence allows me to observe how their wings flap and they change direction and elevation.
       I feel close to my father when I am inspired by topology to see nature in new ways knowing my father had joy playing with math. I imagine his being in awe of its beauty.

       Six more museum boxes arrived on Friday. Left them, as a precaution against Covid 19, over night in the garage. Then spent a happy day filling them and rearranging my studio. When I have time I plan to arrange the pictures in order labeling the memories of my life. My work is a visulat diary of my life.
      I was just waiting for an excuse to look through my art and clean my studio. I always like to arrange my art work before doing the more mondaine cleaning tasks.


 On the left is the Blick catalog listing for the 12 boxes that store my archives

Saturday, April 04, 2020

playing in times of stress

by Rain Trueax



To be honest, this whole time in my life and that of the world is getting to me. I would like to post something positive here but don't have it in terms of words. So, here's what I've found has been relaxing for me-- online jigsaw puzzles both to work the ones on the site and to use their tools to create my own to share with friends.

The following links are from my book covers. If you have time to play around with them, you can take the number of pieces they offer. If you want to work them faster, hit the box alongside OK and choose less pieces. These are from the fantasy romance series, the magical realism books.  Who can't use some magic about now.

I decided to offer the links without the images-- you will find a cover after you get the puzzle worked. If you like doing these while you are social distancing, let me know and I'll make more once in a while  both of book covers and scenery. The site lets you know how long it took. One of my friends had her little granddaughter take one of them over. It took her just over 17 minutes with the larger number of pieces. Another friend worked one in just over 3 minutes when she used less pieces.











Wednesday, April 01, 2020

by Diane; Update 7 on art escape

Yesterday's resolved attempt to put the flight of swallows on topology tangles, though a break through, was a hasty attempt.

 
I have a better way to represent the birds. Plan to finish before next Wednesday.

by Diane; Update #6, When best of plans fail

Spring is calling; my interest in topology wavers: my acrylic paint palette is hardening. I have an urge to finish my old projects.
       I framed and hung my recent topology inspired pieces with one small abstract I did in 2003. Going against my plan to not be critical, I became critical of the one on the white wall. I am falling back to my usual process of the way I throw myself on the empty canvas and mid way become critical.
        Looking through older work that had promise but never came to a finish that I could for long find acceptable, I added more color but the flow of the swallows flight still does not read well with the color and texture being more dominant than the flights. 
         Liking neither the tangle painting on the white wall or the swallows and tractor, I just recognized that the flight of the swallows could be described in topology tangles. Could I have stumbled on an application of math to describe an event in nature? I was inspired to change back to working from topology. Can topology be used to describe movement through time?
         The tangle painting that I did not like is now not a failure - just unfinished. I hypothesise that the swopping in and out of the swallows could be mapped to show that their flight patterns help them work the air together to catch insects to eat. Their flight route could be drawn in a a two dimentional projection like a topology tangle.  I am looking forward to doing more observations in this new way when the swallows return.
    This week I am much to absorbed in my art to be my husband's helper in his time of need as his neuron motor disease symptoms are bound to worsen. We are still navagating the medical specialists when most of their office have all but shut down. When the pandamic is over, we have great expectations of being included in a comprehensive clinic which will have professional advise for all his needs in one visit a month.