The Art Life: When Life Hands You A Lemon…

24. me on location
On location near Erdenesogt, central Mongolia, last year

As the great old Rolling Stones song says “You can’t always get what you want but sometimes you get what you need.” In this case, what I wanted was to leave for seven weeks in Mongolia on Monday. What I got is having to cancel the trip due to having fallen last month and sustained a concussion. The decision came this past Monday when I woke up with a recurrence of mild symptoms, plus still feeling tired and a bit out of sorts. Mongolia, and the travel required to get there, is challenging when I’m at 100% and I am definitely not. Any problems en route or out in the deep countryside or even in UB could have been serious, possibly requiring an emergency air evacuation to a country with western-standard medical care. It is not a place to test “What can possibly go wrong?”. And I was struggling and not quite getting there with mentally gearing up for packing and the attention and focus that requires. So I did the adult, responsible thing *sigh* and cancelled.

on location trinidad
This summer I’ll be doing this
mud road
Instead of this. Summer in Mongolia (eastern part, three years ago), which is the rainy season. But don’t get me wrong. With a great driver like I had on this trip I almost always get a kick out of “local conditions” and this was no problem. We both looked at each other and grinned when he suddenly lost traction on all four wheels at once and did almost a 180 in the Land Cruiser. Good times

The “need” part comes in with the fact that this will my first full summer at home since 2007. And, after three exhibitions in four years and, in retrospect, a little too much travel, I find that a break with a long stretch of unstructured time and no non-discretionary deadlines (there are juried competitions I want to enter) to be very desirable. Lemonade.
So, what will I do now with all this “free” time? Well, I’ll miss having gone on my 12th trip to what has become my second home, that’s for sure. The prospect of not seeing friends, well-loved places, new places, being with the Mongols and painting and sketching on location there is kinda hard.

garden 3
Gardening is my main hobby. Great exercise for great rewards

OTOH, I have time now to let it rip in the studio, trying out new media and ways of working, experimenting with my painting, drawing and painting “on location” in my own garden. Having time to paint with my friends in the Sunday Paintout group. Sketching at our local zoo. Taking day trips to the beach or river with my husband and our two collies. Doing training with one year old Peregrin that he needs and deserves that was going to be delayed until I got back. Spending lots of time in the garden and my propogation projects (probably will do a plant sale this fall). Getting to go to a family reunion in August on the Oregon Coast that I was going to miss. Working on marketing/career stuff that’s been beckoning for quite awhile now. Sitting on the patio in the afternoon sun with a beer in a pleasantly vegetative state. But also, retrospectively, recharging from the past four years. And, of course, planning my 2018 trip to the Land of Blue Skies…

P&H rope
Peregrin and Hailey, our rough collies

But, wait! There’s news! In either December or January (I’ll announce the date when I have it), I have been invited by the Sequoia Park Zoo Conservation Advisory Committee to be one of the speakers for their Conservation Lecture Series. The title of my talk will be “Art and Conservation in the Land of Blue Skies”.


2 thoughts on “The Art Life: When Life Hands You A Lemon…

  1. Hi Susan:

    So sorry you are going through this. May you get a full recovery soon.

    (Maybe you can come to the Chapter picnic tomorrow at Angel Island….. )


    Anders Jepsen


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