Unique Vision

Limited and painful vision has tempted me to give up working to represent the beauty of life. Just before cataract surgery, when all turned dark and lost much color, I studied artists with no, or poor vision. Inspired by their creative struggles, I decided to stop allowing my vision challenges to stop me. I began to draw things as I saw them, not as they “should be.” With my unique vision, when I looked at a candle, I saw many flames. When I looked at the moon, there were many moons. Speakers had many heads and halos, double noses, mouths, and eyes. I saw many violins, trumpets, and flutes being played by a single musician.

Choosing to accept what I saw, and being willing to try to depict it with my “unique” vision, turned what had been sad and daunting into an intriguing challenge. Looking and noticing became fascinating again. I realised I was seeing things that others could not.

Representing color well while not being able to see it, is a problem that I didn’t solve. I didn’t solve much before I had eye surgery, and was sorry that I hadn’t used my opportunity to see uniquely sooner. The bliss of healed eyes freshly seeing form, color, and light spurred my desire to keep paying attention to, and learning how to represent the awe inspiring world we live in.

Hideous and dreaded things we experience might not be all there is. Sometimes dreams, relationships, and productivity die, but joy may be hidden in loss. Hideous can turn to beautiful, and dreaded be welcomed.

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Southwestern Art

This September I have two paintings on exhibit at:

Crystal Medical Family Practice

Phone: (410) 730-9898
8186 Lark Brown Rd
Unit 301
Elkridge, MD 21075

The paintings are a portrait of a Native American Indian, and a landcape of the majestic mesas and canyons of the Southwest.

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“The Path Home” – A Mini Masterpiece

Thank you to #twitterartexhibit for showcasing my art as a “gorgeous mini masterpiece.” This year I used pastel to take the viewer to,”The Path Home,” in northern New Mexico. @TAE19

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How Los Alamos Became a Ranch School – Los Alamos Historical Society Lecture

Sharon Snyder’s excellent presentation in the Los Alamos Historical Society Lecture Series –  “How Los Alamos Became a Ranch School.” My painting “Los Alamos Before the Storm” is mentioned.

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“Los Alamos Before the Storm” hanging at Los Alamos Historical Museum

The Los Alamos Historical Society presented the Los Alamos Centennial Celebration and Gala at the Los Alamos Historical Museum in September. My painting “Los Alamos Before the Storm” was installed in the museum for the celebration, and still hangs there today.

Inside Los Alamos Historical Museum with "Los Alamos Before the Storm" straight ahead.

Inside Los Alamos Historical Museum with “Los Alamos Before the Storm” straight ahead.

I’m glad I followed through on my father’s encouragement to paint a scene of a LARS boy being tested on his jumping skills. Father told me that his father, Fermor Church, had sat in the field with a clipboard to help him judge the boy’s skills. My great-grandfather, Ashley Pond, started the ranch school where boys were trained to become capable men.

Grandmother Peggy used to tell me of her joy in wandering free on the Pajarito Plateau as a child, and riding alone across the Valles Caldera as a young woman. Los Alamos was a peaceful place where wind and sun caressed lizards sunning on silent aged cliffs, which held the stories of those who had lived there before. As I formulated my painting, I realized that I needed to include the dissolution of that quiet peace. A letter from the Secretary of War finally left no choice to Los Alamos Ranch School, and the land was taken to create a different kind of cloud than the blessed rain cloud historically danced, sung, and prayed for in New Mexico.

No Choice

No Choice

It was thrilling to be a part of the celebration and to interact with individuals who knew my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. I learned about letters my grandmother Peggy had written to a Pueblo woman, which her family still cherish. I learned to deal graciously with statements of “it is an honor to have you here.” The awareness that I was representing previous generations, and listening to praise they had earned, grew with every similar greeting.

I was very happy to say hello to the horses and courageous young boy scouts who put on a flag presentation for those of us gathered near Fuller Lodge. The boys rode dressed in period Boy Scout uniforms. They looked so much like to the “old days” that I could almost see the ghosts of other boys with them, who had ridden past the Lodge in similar ceremonies. For a moment, we were back in peaceful days in Los Alamos, when boys were taught excellent academics, learned discipline, spent time in nature, and had their own horse to ride and care for in preparation to be strong, capable leaders.

Boy Scout Flag Presentation

Boy Scout Flag Presentation


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My painting “My Mother’s Pitcher,” sold in Stratford upon Avon, England.

@twiterartexhibit #TAE17 Informed me today that my painting of “My Mother’s Pitcher” was sold at the Stratford upon Avon ArtsHouse. This painting is of a pitcher my mother created during her art school days. I love the pitcher’s form. Mom was a wonderful designer, painter, sculpter, and jewelry maker. Because of her passion for art, I grew up in the art world of New Mexico.

In elementary school, during the last class I would watch the clock slowly tick, until the final bell would ring. I’d bolt out of the classroom and run home. I knew that the delicious fragrance an oil painter creates with their tools would greet me. At last, I could see the progress my mother had made on her painting. I was always amazed. With color, shape, lighting, and design, she made progress in beautiful ways only someone skilled in art could imagine. As I watched her progress, I grew to understand why oil painting can take a long time. I worked for months on this painting. It grew in depth of color and maturity, sometimes just a few small strokes at a time.

I’m glad it found a home, most likely in England, because that is where it was sold. This artistic effort has an international reach with artists from many countries contributing their art. I’m also happy that it’s sale helps Molly Olly’s Wishes, a charity for children with terminal or life threatening illnesses. It is a pleasure to share the love I have for my mother because of her love for me, with children, and their families who need help. David Sandum has done the world a brilliant favor by creating this lovely event for artists to step up and help those in need. “Through art we can change the world.” – #twitterartexhibit, @twitterartexhibit, @DavidSandum, mollyolly.co.uk

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Invited Speaker at The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew

I am an invited speaker on October 19, for “Common Ground” at The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew.

Topic: Holy Images: Art & Christianity

St. Andrew is located at 153000 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905.

For information, and registration, please contact: 301-384-4394 or info@mystandrew.org. “Common Ground” holds a 6 pm dinner, 6:30 pm praise and prayer, and group time 6:40-7:40 pm, which is when I will be talking in Room L115, with a closing at 7:45 pm.


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Invitational Juried Exhibit

I have been invited to exhibit in the “Blossoms of Hope,” 7th Annual Howard County Juried Theme Show. This show will raise awareness and funds for The Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center of Howard County Hospital (CMTBCRC). Proceeds from the gallery show fees and sales will go to Blossoms of Hope in honor of the CMTBCRC.

The gala reception and awards ceremony will be held on Friday, April 8th, 6-8 pm.

The theme is “Blossoms of Hope:Moving Forward.” The exhibit will be open from April 7 – May 1.

I will be exhibiting my oil painting, “Finding Hope.”

For more information, please call 443-538-0858 or email info@blossomsofhope.org.

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Good King Wenceslas

While I was listening to Bing Crosby croon, “Good King Wenceslas,” the news was full of worrisome confusion about how to handle refugees fleeing from barbaric war conditions. Bing sang about a good king and his page, who walked through deep snow in a winter storm to care for a poor man. In this Christmas carol written in 1853, the good king was modeled on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907-935).

This song of one man who decided to care for one other, cut through the morass of modern media’s detailing of difficulties that had weighed me down.  The king delt with danger, discomfort, and a helper who needed help, yet the end result was blessing. The song describes the age-old idea of one person caring, and figuring out a way to help one other.  The song is remarkable because that one passionate person was a king, who could have easily ignored a peasant’s need, yet he went himself, not waiting even for morning. This carol’s king ultimately reminds me of the King of all kings, who himself came to help us all.

My oil painting of “Good King Wenceslas” is reproduced on my Christmas card this year. You can find it in my aspenshimmers web site store.

Merry Christmas!

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Oil Painters of America Showcase Painting Competition

I’ve entered “Bosc I” in the Oil Painters of America Showcase Painting Competition. The garden work had to wait until after I painted this delightful pear.

86860lBosc I

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