Back in the USA 2002 - 2003
Upon our return, we took advantage of sunny afternoons when I wasn't
teaching to ride in the countryside and find a nice spot. I would paint,
and Peter would sleep. The dashboard of our vintage Mercedes (known to
repair shops far and wide as Ursula) became a paint table and I sat with my
watercolor blocks jammed into my rib cage, eraser bits streaming all over,
water slopping onto the seats. But we saw the home town and surrounds with
I had worked in my studio previous to learning landscape, and had
been away painting on site each summer and for leave times, and so
had much less experience painting in my immediate surroundings in New
England. We live in an area of nineteenth
century factories, tobacco and dairy farms, and official Romantic Vistas
(Such as the Ox Bow and Mt Holyoke).
In November we presented ourselves for a six month check up and heard with
relief that the tumor fragments appeared to have become, if not dormant,
then, in the words of Blackie, they were "laying low for awhile". This
could mean anything, but at least there was no immediate threat. Alas, the
shingles were still with us - eight months and counting - but the Big
Picture was a little less bleak.
By December and the end of the term, we were ready to drive to Maine and
then onto Nova Scotia, where we hadd lived (in the case of the latter) and
sailed for years. Friends stood on full alert, and we were housed, fed and
coddled for a full month. Peter rested and ran around taking photographs in
turn; I got carted off to find suitable painting spots in between blizzards.