Paintings and Changes

New phoenixes!

Hi there!
Long time no write…anything other than poems anyway. I’ve been keeping busy – since the weather started to show spring, I’ve been out on the deck painting like a mad person. I have had more paintings going in the last month than I had in six months before we moved to the city (almost three years ago). Most of them are on the small scale (I think the biggest one is only 20 inches by 20 inches), but it feels amazing to be making art again.
There have been some phoenixes, some flowers, some other animals, and even revisiting old canvases. It’s been wonderful. Eventually I’ll be putting some of them up for sale, and getting some prints/products up on my CafePress store.


But even among all the greatness of painting again, there’s an undercurrent. My painting style is going to have to change soon. I’m going to have to embrace something different. Today, I had to put away my paintings because my hands were shaking. I’d eaten breakfast, and lunch, and had plenty of water.

Buffalo’s White Spring (WIP)

But even now, my hands are trembling. An edge, on canvas, is impossible. Keeping my hand out of wet paint is unlikely. Loading a brush with just a touch of paint becomes an overloaded blob.
Most likely, it’s genetic neuropathy.

It is an incredibly frustrating prospect – to stare down something that is going to change what I do. I know that these things happen to people, especially as we get older. I’m not letting it get me down, though I’ve grumbled about it to myself more than once.

More Phoenixes!

So, while I’m still going to do as much art the way I have for the past 5 years in oil (and more in acrylics), I’m going to start experimenting…keep a raw canvas or two around just for the days when there’s no chance of a clean edge, when the strokes are going to be thick and wobbly, and learn a new way of making art. I hope you’ll all stick around.


Poetry: Unequal

The Sun and Moon have
Seven and Two, with laundry piles each.
Running to and from Seven’s school.
Counting, colors, letters and spelling for Two.
Assemble the block tower, again.
Homework is too hard, Seven says.
Moon tries to teach without doing.
Seven and Two need to be fed.
Seven won’t eat things that are not orange.
Two eats anything.
The Moon has not picked up the bright blocks.
Or managed to get the vacuum run.
The sink is still full,
And clean dishes are not in the cabinets.
The Sun does these things,
And the Moon weeps.
Because the Sun already has the harder job;
The Sun loves her.

Poetry: Sleep

Furious fingers
Grasping and groping
For reassurance,
The touch that confirms it’s me.

In the dark,
I sing,
I rock,
I soothe.

Furious fingers,
Seeking and scratching
In the fight against sleep,
To be sure it’s really me.

In the dark,

Furious fingers,
Soft and still,
Cradle my cheek,
Finally certain it was really me.

Poetry: Hidden

Shift, twist.

Were you who I thought you were?

There’s no way to tell,
Who I thought you were,
Because you’re invisible.
But somehow threads still link
Me to what I thought you were.

Look, seek.

How could we have been so sure?

What was bent and broken,
Begins to stand tall,
But you…
We still can’t see.

Poetry: Be Light

“The skies are animate with change”

~Olu Onuora

Change sweeps through our days,
Some things gained,
Some lost.
There are no words
For this sorrow,
The end of a bright thread.
Lost too soon,
Too early, to us.
A grander design plays out,
Weaving in and over,
Threads we cannot grasp.
The pattern changes.

My heart aches, selfishly,
But also for the keener loss.
Anguish and gratitude,
Not enough time, but,
Sacred, beautiful moments we had.

No consolation can I offer,
But my ear, my shoulder,
Are yours.
We must
Take up the colors of
Our lost thread.
Become colors of the soul
Stripped out of our lives.
Work in love,
Be light.

~jMarie Strickland, 2015

Onuora’s full poem, “Ambition” can be found here.

Poetry: Remember

Those special lunches,
a warm winter treat
for the Januaries club.
Four generations,
four birthdays:
our family Queen,
her daughter,
her grandson,
and me, the babe.

our matriarch declared,
staring down the waiter
who dared peek
at a clock
or the white halo
shining in noon sun.

Always, I will miss our queen.
Always, I will remember,
to treasure margarita memories
while we celebrate
a new January…
My babe.

Poetry: Moments

A streak of white hides in chestnut
covered by careful parting,
or unnatural chemicals in crimson.
The mind feels youthful,
denying the collected moments
that come in growing older.
Small, pigment-less points
begin to show on the skin
still covering a strong body.
The mind proclaims
“I am still young!”
the streak of white will be uncovered.
the skin will readily show its age.
all the moments will be embraced.

~jms 2012