Autumn Muse: “These Woods I Knew”

FALL’S SUBTLE, COSMIC SHIFTS URGE ME TO SLEEP IN, as if hibernation was a natural inclination. I emerge from cozy, feathery comfort, my bare feet touch the floor. Catching a deep breath, I reach, stretch, and bow, to begin slow, energizing Suryanamaskar, honoring the gifts of sun, sky, and earth, a practice to which I have committed myself, since 1972. On this late morning, as I gaze at my surroundings, I move to simplify with great facility~~a stack of non-essentials here; one to re-consider, there; all these clumps like spent, interior leaf piles, bound for the re-cycle bin.

I plan my menus of comfort foods; digestible, satisfying soups, root salads, bone broths.

Half in jest, I reflect on our animal sisters and brothers, who sustain themselves during Winter’s deep sleep with stored fat. We fight that innate tendency to rest with impending, self-imposed holiday “have-tos,” the shopping, lists, impatience and stress, and compromise our internal systems, and die a little,  spiritually and physically. I am not, myself, immune to this pattern, but being aware allows me to re-assess what is truly of value to me, and to wilfully act on that intention.

Viewing cherished memories of past 60-something Autumns fulfills me, evoking a sense of completion, yet the minor-chord realization that I may never return to re-visit. So, yesterday, I finished painting “These Woods I Knew” (Watercolor, 11″ x 15″), re-kindling the bare paths around my favorite poet’s, Robert Frost’s New Hampshire forest home in the silent chill of late-Autumn.

Outdoor Studio: “Pinot Noir Morning”& Autumn Musings

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“Pinot Noir Morning,” Plein Air Watercolor (Domaine Drouhin) by Kathy Delumpa Allegri ©2016

The morning air feels cooler and crisper now, and afternoon light, peachy-warm. I pack my easel to paint at favorite places. I love painting vineyards. Having “retired” from wine retail after so many wonderful years, I relax and enjoy these fruits of the earth, painting the landscape in its immediate ambiance~~the misty, chilly fog, brown Jory soil caressing deep roots, and red-tail hawks circling the fields.

I’ve painted en plein air for over twenty-four years. At age 68, I’ll be fortunate to have that many years left in this world, so, enjoying each moment is my daily goal. Yes, I have an adventure or two awaiting; I’m excited about that. I’ve learned to calm my child-like expectation by paying attention to what I’m doing, thinking, and feeling at this very moment.

Thus~~a brief blog here; a little pause in my activity, to simply express gratitude for this wondrous day, opportunities to share with family and friends, and a nod to the spiritual Muse, who continues to seduce and amuse me, daily.

Carpe Diem!

“You Got to Have a Dream…”-Bloody Mary

“Happy Talk” is my current newsletter and brochure title for two reasons. First, the Italian meaning of my last name is “happy.” The second reason is a longer story: I recall my awkward and unconfident youth, when I tried to emulate actress Frances Nguyen as demure Liat, hand-signing Bloody Mary’s ‘Happy Talk’ song in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, ‘South Pacific.’

Years later, I was cast, by default (the only Asian member who also spoke French), as, you guessed it–Liat, in a university production. This was, thankfully, my first and last acting role. I decided then, to simply be me, embrace my own gifts, and pursue “the things I like to do”~paint and talk about it.

Born by the sea on an island, my cultural roots and family stories are rich with limitless subjects to interpret and to express with my own eyes and hands. I paint mostly in watercolor and acrylic because I like the fluid spontaneity of pigments on paper or canvas. Many of my paintings are water- themed, in blues, violets, and greens, but others are active, energy-driven, with passionate hues of orange, red, and magenta.

Being in the very moment of creating a work is happiness in itself. Connecting with the viewer through my art makes the journey even more joyful and worthwhile, for all of us who strive for peace on this earth can link our spirits in this act of love, that of making and appreciating art.

“You got to have a dream.”~~Bloody Mary

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Healing Series Project: “We are titanium.”

What is a mother to do when her child is so ill, so, weak; when just kissing a bruise or cooling the fever no longer works like it did when she was small? Of course, I could cook healthy meals for her, especially after infusions, when her red blood cell count spiked. But that was not enough.

My only other resource was my art. I began my Healing Series of watercolor and acrylic paintings in 2008 for a friend with terminal colon cancer. I painted a series for my doctor’s new medical clinic. In 2013, I renewed my work with relentless vigor, as Kirsten, my youngest daughter, living in Brooklyn with her husband and baby, endured six months of aggressive chemo for non-Hodgkins large B cell mediastinal lymphoma. The huge, inoperable tumor in her chest was behind her heart.

I painted square-format watercolors of images with which she related~Winged Victory of Samothrace, bamboo (our family tree), moving water, any theme that represented life and hope, to remind Kirsten of her inner strength and the familial love circling the wagon with her. Two years later, in 2015, she was cancer-free! I began a painting, “Titanium,” to celebrate her fearlessness and courage through a roller-coaster battle. She fought with her entire being, and won.

Three days after her announcement, I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. My prognosis was good, with treatment by surgery and radiation. That was during the fall of 2015. Today, I am shedding the draining fatigue that I didn’t think could ever happen with me, the strong “woman-like-bull” mother of six strong adults.

I paint with more conviction, of what I know, here and now, with the intention of sharing healing energy with my viewers, to transcend differences through common life values.

From these efforts, I, myself, continue to heal, to rediscover my creative journey, and to impart my prayer of unconditional love to this unpredictable world of ours.

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“Titanium,” Acrylic 18″ x 24″

 

 

Sources of Inspiration

I am sometimes asked, “What inspires you?” with regard to my art. My response may vary, but the intent is constant: Relationships in Nature ceaselessly inspire me. My series of paintings, “Outside My Door,” presents what I observe and know here and now, through watercolor and acrylic paint. Each effort brings me closer to new levels of understanding, skill, and expression.

Though I love to travel, I can simply go outside and the world opens portals of adventure. Today, I decided to take photos in the neighborhood. I was greeted by a tiny baby rabbit, sitting happily on the warm cement on the front walk of my house. Sunlight played with shadows, and iridescent hues and reflective ponds shimmered with the emerging Spring, like a Maxfield Parish dawn. How can I not be grateful for these amazing gifts that exist just~~outside my door?

 

 

ACRYLIC PAINTINGS

ACRYLIC PAINTINGS

“Waterlilies: Life Stages,” 30″x 40″ I paint and teach on Kauaʻi and on Maui, my new home. Returning to my island roots by honoring ka ʻaina has inspired fresh inspiration, daily. Sharing Aloha through my art is the legacy I leave.