Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Another quick post - kinda nostalgic...


A self-portrait of sorts, done about thirty five years ago when I actually looked like that.

An ironic note: at that time, I lived in a loft in Philadelphia and the sheep images were taken from visits to the petting zoo adjacent to the Zoological Gardens. Many years later, I raised sheep of my own on my very rural 43 acres.



Whaddya think? Any resemblance?

And below - that's me in my then-studio with Fred, my white Shepard. In the background is some of the fiber/fabric art I was doing back in the 1970's and 1980's.

What always strikes me about this photo is how frail and waif-like I appear. Even my hands look small. Now, after years of building things, mending fences and handling livestock, my hands are strong.

In the 1980's, my right hand had to be "rebuilt" with bone grafts after a benign tumor destroyed the bones in my index and middle fingers. The surgery was performed by a "hand specialist" from Buffalo, NY. Who'd have thought there were hand specialists? He did a great job, and within a year, I had full use of the hand again.

I guess I'll tell the rest of that story quickly. I had a terrible horseback riding accident in 1986. Even though I was wearing a helmet, I suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs, and severe contusions to my hands, as I was apparently dragged through some gravel on a blacktop road. (I don't remember.) Small stones and grit had to be removed from the backs of my hands. and arms.

About three years later, when I was all healed up and playing tennis, I began to have terrible pain in my right elbow. My doctor diagnosed tendinitis and I was treated accordingly. Months went by and the pain remained, until one night I dreamed that I had to have my right arm amputated due to bone cancer. Now I am about as right-handed as a person could be. I panicked; called the doctor and went for a bone scan. That's when the tumor in my hand was found. It had been pressing on nerves causing the "tendinitis." Within a few days or weeks, the bones would have been beyond repair as they'd have separated completely.

The dream thing? Runs in my family. It's one of those unexplainable things that is what it is

Sweet dreams, all. I'll be retiring at 10 pm to be up at 6!!

14 comments:

Roy said...

Wow! I'm still getting over that painting; it's so very iconic. The approach to the subject matter and the style of the composition is very Pre-Raphaelite, and the painting style is very Blue Rider school. There's something just very religious, in a way, about this painting. It would be perfect on the wall in a Gothic Revival house.

Ah! It just struck me why this feels so religious to me: the painting resembles an oil-on-canvas version of some of John LaFarge's stained glass windows. We have several of his windows here in Newport in some local churches, as well as an interior mural of his in another church. This painting recalls that work.

Sheila said...

Thank you for sharing your story involving adversity and the strength and faith to overcome it. The dream thing is way cool. Not very many people get messages that way. Thank goodness you listened. HUGS!

Jala Pfaff said...

Wow! is about all I can say.

Stephen Dell'Aria said...

I don't think we change all that much. Yes, the years show as wear and tear and we also add weight in most cases but the nucleus of ourselves still remains and is visible to the close observer. Nice painting, too.

Paintings by Irit Bourla said...

You are still beautiful in any age.In and out.
Remember to keep the spirit up..
The cover? who cares?

Patrice said...

Roy - You amaze me. You are absolutely spot-on. The iconic composition was quite intentional. Note the placement of the figure within the shape of the arched gate, and the classic gesture toward the gathering animals.

Sheila, Jala, Stephen and Irit... Wow. You guys are the best. How kind and thoughtful are each of your comments. Don't worry - I'm fine, but you have made me "finer."

NONE said...
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Polly Jackson said...

I LOVE going back and remembering what art I was doing, when, where. I'm always pleasantly pleased with what I did, too, even though at the time, I was not confident, at all. Now, as an art instructor, I wish someone had patted me on the back and told me to go for it.....ah well.

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

Patrice, thank you for sharing so much with us. Boy you've had some close calls haven't you! I am so happy you are doing alright now. I love the painting you did so long ago, really interesting where you were in your mind. My best to you, I enjoy reading your blog.

Ro Bruhn said...

I have a similar thing with dreams and sometimes it's frightening when it involves immediate family. Thanks so much for visiting my blog so that I could discover yours. I love your work, so vibrant.

Aleksandra said...
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DJ said...

Lovely composition...soft texures...yummy colors!
You always had it, girlfriend.

poeticgrin.com said...

I am so impressed with your work, Patrice. I really enjoy seeing the photo of you and then your self-portrait - it really does move me. You have a softness to you, both your face and your painting. Time and time again I can feel your love of animals. You deserve the following you're gaining here. I want one of your works to hang on my wall. Let me win a writing contest somewhere and you'll reap my reward! :)

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