Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thanks Granddad.

I wrote this several years ago. Maybe 2001?

My first portrait.  1978.

How it all started...

"Anessa, Have you ever drawn a portrait of someone?"

I looked up at my granddad from my then favorite position of laying down on my stomach and drawing , "What's a portrait?" As he started his explanation, (they were usually very long) I went back to my artwork in process, but I was still listening. " A portrait is a drawing or painting of someone in particular. One that tries to capture what special features or personality a person may have." I rose up curiously, impressions of the shag carpet deeply imbedded in my elbows. This actually sounded a little interesting. He finished his explanation....this time I was really paying attention.

Well, enough said! I decided we should try one of these "portraits" right away. He would be the model and I would be the artist. We got started on his personal portrait within 5 minutes of the introduction on the word to my vocabulary.

Granddad and I both decided it should be drawn from the side, because I thought that might be easier, and plus he couldn't watch me while I was drawing-- as that made me a little nervous. I posed him in a chair in front of the sliding glass window so I could really get a good look at him in the sunlight. Wrinkles and all. Who knows how long he sat there, but he was a good model and he sat very still for me. What a patient man.

When I finished my artwork I was pretty darn satisfied with the results. It was decided that he should keep the portrait and he would put it in his office. He had lots of my creations in his him , a gift made by the grandkids was the best present anyone could have ever given him. ( Even if it was only tuna cans with glitter and a polaroid photo on it.)

After my granddad had passed away many years later, I was tearfully sorting through some books in his library that my Grandmother was trying to give away. I instantly picked up "The Magic Power of Your MIND", a book about how you can accomplish just about anything if you put your mind to it. This was definitely his philosophy (right after learn to listen and be kind to all god's creatures) and it reminded me so strongly of him I had to open the pages. Much to my surprise, right inside the cover was my very first portrait. Kept safely for all those years.

I had always wanted to make a living being an artist and Granddad was always coming up with ideas for me to make this come true, but as I got older it seemed more and more impractical. Luckily, finding that old piece of paper was just about all it took to remind me that I can be ANYTHING I want to be as long as I put my mind to it. Well, at least it got me started. When I picked up my paint brush again it only seemed right that he was the first person I painted.

Thanks Granddad....Each portrait I complete is a gift for you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rest in Peace

Rothko, originally uploaded by Anessa.

**Rothko, my sweet old boy...
You will be very missed.**

Yesterday was a heartbreaking day for our household.
Our cat Rothko was put to sleep at 5:00 after suffering from kidney failure over the past several months.

We had been trying to give him IV's for the past 2 months without much success. He hated having to sit still for us and we hated poking him repeatedly. He eventually became so dehydrated and lost so much weight that he was only 6lbs. He normally weighed about 11 lbs. He was skin and bones.
So fragile. It was pitiful.
The last two days of his life he completely quit eating, lost interest in drinking water and couldn't urinate even though he repeatedly tried. The vet said his kidneys had completely quit working and he was suffering.
Yet, through all his bad health and exhaustion, he still enjoyed getting scratched behind the ear. Which I was I was trying to do when we had him euthanized.

I never thought I would choose to put an animal to sleep, but with encouragement from our very kind-hearted vet, and a good hard reality check, I agreed to do it. It was quite peaceful overall. He did let out a loud meow when the needle of Valium was given, but within moments he was completely relaxed. I don't think he felt anything after that. If he did, I pray it was less painful than his recent existence.

I feel very sad and tearful and strange. I feel quite guilty for choosing to end his life,
but also relieved that he is no longer wasting away and feeling awful all the time.
I have cried a lot which seems to help. Today I put stones on his grave.

Rothko was between 2-5 years old when we adopted him. He lived with us 13 years. He was becoming a very old cat these days. 15-18 years is the best we can estimate. I hope his years with us were okay. We loved him very much, although he was the least social of our pets and many of you didn't even know he existed. He preferred being "behind the scenes", so we let him as best we could. I think we were a bit too animated in his opinion.
A nice, quiet spot in a sunny window were all he wanted. And treats. He liked those an awful lot, too.

Last night we buried him in the back yard. I placed him in his bed and snuggled him in a blanket, tucked in a few treats and a little note telling him he was a good cat and he was loved very much.
He now rests about 3 feet underground.
In the shade of a crepe myrtle tree.
I will miss my old boy and my heart is heavy.
Say a prayer that his next life is a good one.

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