Tuesday, August 27, 2013

School days are here again!

"Happy cows in the farm field" by Hilary J. England
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

 School has started, and I am thankful for that. As much as I loved spending my summer with my little sweetheart Madeleine, the summer was a stressful time, waiting for the arrival of our new baby little Isaac, and all of the other tests we were put to. Now, it's time to relax and get back into the routine and rhythm of things, as much as possible.

 Anthony is a college freshman, Noelle is a high school senior, Maddie is in first grade, and Bronnie is a preschooler! The whole gang is on the path to educational enlightenment! I have started to plant our Autumn garden with Anthony's assistance.

 We put up our birdfeeders, and are planting lettuces, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and beets. I am looking forward to growing the garden, because it is such a soothing hobby to me, even with my bad back.  I enjoy growing (I let Anthony do all of the muscle work haha), and then taking that produce and preserving it by canning or other methods. The Fall is such a relaxing season, with so many cool evenings and lovely and colorful days to look forward to.

 So, here is one of the end of Summer paintings, of some relaxed cows hanging in the farm field. The sky was so blue, and the cows looked very serene in their pasture. Enjoy~

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to school!

So, summer is winding down, and what a summer it was. I am sitting here in the cancer center with Mark, as he starts a new round of different treatment. The folfirinox was status quo, so now he will start with Gemzar and abraxane, and we hope for better results. The center is lavish and swank, and the nurses are very pleasant. It's almost like being in a spa, except with a dark reason for being here instead of just looking to refresh and relax. But, we try to move on. I have been operating on about three hours of sleep a night, with Gabby and the babies staying for several nights, and the gaggle of teenagers and young adults coming in and out at late hours, so I am so thankful for school starting on Monday! Anthony started college last Monday, and that was stressful as well, but, God is good, and Anthony actually got paid to go to school, with his grants and scholarships, he had over $1,100 left over with NO loans, and that money was used to purchase his textbooks and supplies, as he is living at home. He is very blessed that the campus is literally five minutes from our house, and he also has an amazing schedule of Monday thru Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. straight through, and taking 15 credits a semester. Baby Isaac arrived safely, and that is a huge weight off my shoulders, and although this summer was extremely tense and difficult with all that was going on, I had the wonderful privilege of spending it with Maddie, and those memories are so precious to me. We have had all sorts of other annoying issues that seem to irritate us all when we least need it, but that is life I suppose. I am just grateful for the good things in my life, which is the people who I love, and look forward to things leveling back out to some degree and semblance of my previous routine, in the next week or two. Again, God is good, and I am just thankful for knowing that.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Scent of Fall

"Twilight with wildflowers"
8" x 10" oil on canvas 2013

Summer is rapidly coming to a close.  Anthony starts college next week, and I am so happy for him.  Noelle starts senior year the following week, and has some big plans for after high school as well, and Gab is looking forward to having her baby, and relaxing at home with her two little ones, after the others go to school.  For me, I look to the Fall for some good times and changes as well--after all, if you aren't moving forward, you are moving backwards!

I should have my car back this week, and although I thought that would make all of the difference, it doesn't seem to.  I can't really think offhand any place I really need or want to go to, but I'm sure having a car will just make things more convenient.  I have some good plans for this Fall in terms of activities I want to pursue, and am excited at the prospect of changes of new things to come.

So, with that, here is a  little painting, done while Maddie chased butterflies in the field with Kitty Softpaws, the neighborhood cat.  Enjoy~

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


"Sheep on a rockwall"
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

Maddie has been helping me out, but of course, I get very little rest while she is here, as she is a nonstop maelstrom of energy, and my 43 year old psyche finds it hard to keep up with.  I try to think back to when I was that age, a six year old, and tap into that inner child, but sometimes that little being is so far away, it's hard to break through the barriers that have been erected by decades of adulthood.  Still, I am like a moth to a flame--I can see echoes of my childhood reflected in her eyes, hear the faint laughter of long ago in her giggles, see my hints of who I am in her budding journey.

We go to the "ocean" everyday, which is the Little Schuylkill river, and she is enchanted with it.  We also go on long walks to the outskirts of town, and there we pick sites we find interesting to work in.  I'll admit, most of the time she just watches me intently, like she is attached to my body.  She was looking over my shoulder so closely yesterday, she lost balance and fell on top of me, LOL.  Of course, being a grouchy artist, I chastised her and told her to get back to her own work, haha.  She takes it all in stride.

Here is yesterday's painting:  "Sheep on the rock wall."  The animals and farms, especially on the edge of town, really fascinate her, and me as well.  I love how she is so appreciative and fascinated of life and all of its wonders, things that we adults become numb to, and no longer see or appreciate.  Having no car for the summer has really put things into perspective as well--what's truly important, and what is not.  Spending time with the ones you love, actually spending the time and not just passing it as you prepare to race to your next meaningless chore or task, is what I have gained.  I lost that insight from years of "convenience" and never having to wait on things.  Without a car, I have to wait on things, and it takes much longer to get to where you plan to if you are on foot, or waiting for your ride, and that gives me time to reflect, and to plan my outings better, so that I have more quality time.  So, it was a blessing inside of the "curse."

So, that's it for today.  Enjoy~

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rain and Fog

"Somber tree, happy flowers"
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

The day started off foggy and somber, for Uncle Bob's festive birthday, but not one to be mastered by the weather, pavilions and tents were set up to keep the party-goers dry.  I am looking forward to attending, even if it is now later than I expected.

I saw this tree, with a field of cultivated flowers, and it was somber in the fog.  I wondered what was wrong with it, that all of the leaves had fallen away, leaving a spiderweb of delicate branches, not yet abused and broken by the elements.  The death must have been recent, as the tree once had thrived.  It reminded me of recent events, the fog, the unforeseen events, with the deceptively beautiful flowers all about, cultivated and controlled, but never really.  We only think we control things, but we know deep inside that is an illusion.

It put me in a pensive mood, so I painted a pensive sort of a picture, yet, it still has an element of laughter just ready to burst through the fog and mist, just beneath the surface, because all fog clears, all clouds lift, all rain goes away eventually, and the sun comes back, and life moves on.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Days on the farm

"Chickens on the sunflower farm"
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

I have been interested in the farms lately.  Actually, I'm always intensely interested in the farms, not just lately, but I have begun to enjoy painting farm life, whereas before I enjoyed the fruits of labor from the local farms, but never really found myself too deeply interested in that vocation.  I was always intrigued by rural living, as a person who was born and raised in New York City, so rural town living was always fascinating to me, but I never pursued past the town living into the farm areas, and there are so many nice farms around here.  So, I began to explore this idea went I would make my weekly visits to the local sustainable agricultural farms, and so I started doing some little studies there.

Tomorrow will be a fun time, with a hayride  for Maddie to enjoy, and lots of other kids at Uncle Bob's 80th birthday party, and I am looking forward to my little love coming back to assist me in my studio, and give me hugs as we watch movies every night.  She makes me very happy just having her with me, she cheers my heart.  She loves all of the things that we visit and do, as the world is still wondrous, new, and unconditionally beautiful to her six year old heart and mind.  Her happiness and curiosity fans the flames of my soul with tenderness and hope, so I am excited for her to be back with me again, because she gives me purpose and her happiness is contagious.

So, enjoy these fine summer days, and enjoy this little painting of the chickens on the sunflower farm.

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