My husband took this picture in Idaho, where he did an ultra run.  I was all, GIVE ME THAT PICTURE!  So he did.  

Graphite on sketchbook paper.



Pictures from Oregon.

 She looks pensive, right? Actually she was watching a guy in a Rogue tee who suddenly and inexplicably dropped and started doing burpees. At a historical site.

 Oregon coast.  This looks a little flat, I think.
 This is poison oak. These are my legs.  I ran 50k through poison oak, which I found out is actually a very pretty plant with red leaves. And now you know the story of why I now hate Oregon.


Pencil Scenery.

 from a photograph taken in Arkansas.  I initially kind of liked it, but the more I look like it, the trestle looks to be enveloped in smoke instead of leaves.  

 From the Rio Grande Nature Center.  I especially like this drawing.  I'm happy with the shading.  

 Morning in the sandia foothills, in Embudo Canyon.  I'm ambivalent.  



My mom, aside from being pragmatic about becoming an artist, rarely encouraged me in the direction of art.  Oh, sure, when I was little she would show me how to draw a daffodile on a rainy day, or explain to me that the reason that the little kid at the mall was so funny-looking was that his face was not in proper proportion...but aside from that, little was said in the way of art instructions.  She taught others.  She answered my questions, but never urged me or pushed me.

I find that curious.  She nearly forced me to take piano, ballet, trumpet, gymnastics...but never art lessons.  When I joined the art club in jr high, she was uninterested.

That which she lived and breathed 24/7, so much so that I think she was annoyed by the need to sleep.  That thing, she did not share with me.

Was it because she didn't want to seem pushy?  She talked often about how horrid her childhood was, how much the people in it belittled her interests, told her that they were stupid, and forced her to do what they felt was appropriate.

Was it because she felt that it was not a worthy pursuit?  This I fear most. The idea that my mother felt that her talents, her passion, were not worthy in a material world.  If she felt that way then she had a low opinion of herself.  I recall her saying she did not enjoy being a wife, did not enjoy motherhood.  She encouraged me to "play the field" rather than settle down, and discouraged me from becoming a mother.  She encouraged me to go as far as I could in school, which I did, finishing graduate school.  Was art part of what she did not want for me?

She talked about going to art school, and how her plans were thwarted each time she tried.  Well, I call bullshit.  I worked my way through college without a husband, supporting three children.  

The truth is, I'll never really know why.  She isn't here to ask.  My father is gone.  Her entire family is gone.  There's nothing to do but speculate, and hope that whatever her reasons, she was happy with who she was, as I intend to be.