Loading...

Follow Ellie Harold on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

 

This painting, "Los Milagros," was made in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico this past April when I painted "live" to the music of virtuoso violinist David Mendoza. I'm pleased to report it has recently claimed the heart of its rightful owner.  Call me a romantic, but I believe each painting has a destiny. It's conceived in me and given expression through me; when the time is right, someone comes along who values it and wants to take it home.

 

People sometimes refer to my paintings as my babies; however, while I understand the reference, there's no real comparison. Paintings are paintings; but only babies are babies—small humans, needful of great care and nurture in order that they might fulfill their vast potential. And, while I may enjoy a painting as long as I own it, neither I nor the painting will suffer when we are separated. By contrast, the suffering endured by those seeking asylum in our country who have been forced apart at the U.S./Mexican border is completely unimaginable to me.

 

I have a recurring dream—a nightmare, really—in which Spotty, my beloved "indoors only" cat, becomes lost outside. This actually happened once when he was a little guy in Atlanta. On the 4th of July, a door was accidentally left open and Spotty slipped out just a few minutes before the fireworks began booming; then, a huge storm blew in full of crashing thunder, lightning and pouring rain. I was sure the noise had made him run far, far away.  For the next two days, Roo and I frantically scoured the neighborhood, put up signs, and cried ourselves to sleep. Then, early on the morning of the third day, we were awakened by the pounce upon our bed of our little lost one. He'd made his way back home, pushing in the screen on our porch to gain entry. To me it seemed a miracle.

 

In my nightmare, however, I am trying to carry Spotty somewhere outdoors. As hard as I try to hold onto my kitty, he slips away. There are many other cats—some nice, others menacing, and some who look very similar to Spotty, but who aren't him. I am inconsolable. In some versions of the dream, I find Spotty but can't get hold of him. Or I pick up a cat thinking it is Spotty but realize it's not. In others, I'm finally able to grab him and bring him home. I always wake up from the nightmare so grateful to find my kitty beside me in the bed.

 

I'm not a mother and Spotty is the closest thing I have to a child. But he is not a child—he is only a pet I'm very attached to. No one has to be a mother, however, to appreciate the horror of a child separated from a parent under any condition, or the anguish of a parent who has no idea how to find and reunite with her lost child. (I learned today that DNA testing may be required to locate the children who were taken away without proper record-keeping.)

 

Los milagros, translated from the Spanish, means "the miracles." In the current immigration crisis, I pray for whatever milagros are required, for whatever healing of our collective ignorance is needed, so that these families may be reunited as soon as possible. As I do this and whatever other actions seem appropriate—today, nothing seems adequate—I will feed Spotty on the every-two-hour schedule he currently prefers and lovingly release this painting to its new forever home.

 

May all beings be happy

May all beings be healthy

May all beings be free of suffering

May all beings be at peace.


Amen.


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Joyfield Springtime

This painting is a shout-out to a Michigan May flower--forsythia! We've just returned from a road trip to North Carolina to celebrate the 95th birthday of my my youngest (and only living) aunt. We traveled from barely leafing northern Michigan and back in five days! When we returned last evening, we saw our first forsythia of the season. (In the South, it had been long gone.) While you might think of this as a barn painting, it's also a joy-filled celebration of Springtime.


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sweet Spirit Space

Hot off the easel! Inspired by Springtime, this painting is filled with blossoms and birds. It's large (60" x 60") and wants to brighten a home with a large wall. Is it yours?


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Pretty in Pink Peonies

Today the painting has asked to speak for itself. So there! Nuff said. Bye. Unless you have something you'd like to add. Comments welcome!


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Yellow Tulips

Never waste a bunch of tulips, I say. Paint 'em up before they lose their lilt. Then you have flowers all year 'round. That's one great thing about a painting. It never loses its petals.


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

More Life Still

My mom, Charlotte, passed away at 96 1/2, almost exactly 9 years ago. Because she wasn't feeling well on her last Mother's Day, she asked if it was okay if we didn't go out to dinner. The next day she took her fatal fall and a week later she'd moved on. Like it has been for many women I know, my emotional response to her loss was profound. For the better part of two years the Grief Monster was never far away; and, on days celebrating mothers, he often pays a visit.

This painting was the first I made after my mother died. My sister Beeby and her daughter Julie had purchased  lovely pink-white roses for the small memorial service at mom's assisted living place. After the family cleared out, all that was left were these beautiful flowers. But they were going too and, because they begged for immortality, I rose (forgive me!!!) to the occasion to paint them.

As I did, I could hear my ever-practical mother chiding me to not be so dramatic, to get on with the life I had yet to live. Although at the time I didn't believe it would be possible, I called the painting "More Life Still." My mom and those roses live on in my private collection.


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Peony Presence

I did not become aware of peonies until a friend in Atlanta shared the Mary Oliver poem I've copied below. After reading it, I realized I'd never actually seen a peony, but I very much wanted to. It took a move to Michigan before I encountered one first hand. There was a house tour scheduled for our newly renovated Victorian and our part-time neighbor Helen thoughtfully brought a big bunch of pink peonies from her garden in Grand Rapids for a table centerpiece. I was smitten. Each year since she shares her abundance with me and each year I paint them. I'm also growing some of my own but, so far, none of them are as pink and juicy as Helen's. Except in the paintings.

                                                 Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
   to break my heart
     as the sun rises,
        as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

 

and they open–
   pools of lace,
      white and pink–
       and all day the black ants climb over them,


boring their deep and mysterious holes
    into the curls,
      craving the sweet sap,
        taking it away

 

to their dark, underground cities–
   and all day
      under the shifty wind,
       as in a dance to the great wedding,

 

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
   and tip their fragrance to the air,
     and rise,
       their red stems holding

 

all that dampness and recklessness
    gladly and lightly,
      and there it is again–
        beauty the brave, the exemplary,

 

blazing open.
    Do you love this world?
      Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
       Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

 

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
   and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
       fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

 

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
        nothing, forever?

 

-“Peonies” from Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press).


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Peony Presence

I did not become aware of peonies until a friend in Atlanta shared the Mary Oliver poem I've copied below. After reading it, I realized I'd never actually seen a peony, but I very much wanted to. It took a move to Michigan before I encountered one first hand. There was a house tour scheduled for our newly renovated Victorian and our part-time neighbor Helen thoughtfully brought a big bunch of pink peonies from her garden in Grand Rapids for a table centerpiece. I was smitten. Each year we've been here she shares her abundance with me and each year I paint them. I'm also growing some of my own but, so far, none of them are as pink and juicy as Helen's. Except in paintings.

                                                 Peonies

 

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
   to break my heart
     as the sun rises,
        as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

 

and they open–
   pools of lace,
      white and pink–
       and all day the black ants climb over them,


boring their deep and mysterious holes
    into the curls,
      craving the sweet sap,
        taking it away

 

to their dark, underground cities–
   and all day
      under the shifty wind,
       as in a dance to the great wedding,

 

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
   and tip their fragrance to the air,
     and rise,
       their red stems holding

 

all that dampness and recklessness
    gladly and lightly,
      and there it is again–
        beauty the brave, the exemplary,

 

blazing open.
    Do you love this world?
      Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
       Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

 

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
   and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
       fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

 

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
        nothing, forever?

 

-“Peonies” from Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press).


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Purple Iris Glow

Can you tell I'm anxious for those green shoots in the garden to bloom? Two or three years ago a neighbor enrolled my husband Roo to help thin her iris beds. We ended up with a bunch of iris plants that now promise to produce a bumper bloom this year.

Much more satisfying outcome than the time, in Atlanta, when I helped my friend Alan thin out his iris bed only to discover, days later, that there were poison ivy roots entwined with the iris. I am very allergic to poison ivy! A few days later, covered head to toe with blisters, I had to officiate at a wedding. After the ceremony, they didn't beg me to stay for the traditional photo with the newlyweds.

I'm grateful that I don't seem to react to Michigan poison ivy in the same way. And the irises love it here too!


Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Purple Iris Glow

Can you tell I'm anxious for those green shoots in the garden to bloom? Two or three years ago a neighbor enrolled my husband Roo to help thin her iris beds. We ended up with a bunch of iris plants that now promise to produce a bumper bloom this year.

Much more satisfying outcome than the time, in Atlanta, when I helped my friend Alan thin out his iris bed only to discover, days later, that there were poison ivy roots entwined with the iris. I am very allergic to poison ivy! A few days later, covered head to toe with blisters, I had to officiate at a wedding. After the ceremony, they didn't beg me to stay for the traditional photo with the newlyweds.

I'm grateful that I don't seem to react to Michigan poison ivy in the same way. And the irises love it here too!


Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview