wild game

My maternal family played a wild game every summer when I was growing up. Wild in that we were in cabins, on a lake, no electricity, no television, living in tents and cabins. My grandparents had two cabins, my Uncles each had one and we were in tents. I loved our tents, though. I still have the tent that my sister and I used. It is over 50 years old now and doesn’t leak. We had very strict rules about tent care. And canoe care. And we could use all the tools but had to PUT THEM BACK. We had aladdin lamps and candles and drank the lake water. We filter it now, and the cabins are still there.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: game.

Q for quiet

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Landscapes can be so quiet. This watercolor is of Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada, where my family has summer cabins. They are one room cabins and old and very beloved. I love the rocks at the lake and the reflections in the water. I spend every minute that I can outdoors there. If it is pouring rain or I am cooking, I am in the cabin. I sleep in a tent, because we slept in tents when I was growing up there. I like to feel the earth under the tent and the sound of the water on the rocks and the wind in the trees.

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #Christine Robbins Ottaway #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.

H is for Helen and Hurricane Ridge

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

H is for Helen and Hurricane Ridge. Here is one of her water colors.

My mother loved water colors. I think she loved them best of all the art techniques she did. Etchings and water colors were the two most important.

She wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest for years, but she and my father were worried about moving my grandmother, Katherine White Burling. Katy B. died while I was in residency at OHSU in Family Practice, in 1994. My parents then spent at least a year dealing with the will and two houses and stuff and also looking for the right place. They drove all over the northwest. My mother liked the rain and gardening and art. My father wanted sailboats and singing and music. At last they called me and my sister: Chimacum, Washington. “We found a house in Chimacum.”

My sister Chris and I both replied, “WHERE?”

We said to each other that we were mildly horrified that they were selling “our” house in Alexandria, Virginia, though we really had only lived there from when I was 14 and she was 11. My sister had worked for the US Forest Service and lived in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula, so she knew the area much better than I did. I finished residency in Portland in 1996 and moved to Colorado. Shortly after that my parents moved to Chimacum, Washington.

My mother lived four years after they moved. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997 and died on May 15, 2000. This is one of her northwest watercolors. I am glad that she had time to do some, though I wish that she had more time.

Here is the Hurricane Ridge park information: https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-hurricane-ridge.htm. Be careful, though, because the park is big and wild and it can be dangerously wet and cold. People are more likely to die of exposure if they get lost than from a cougar or bear. Take some emergency gear if you hike, because the park is very big and wild. My sister wrote about duncehead expeditions, where people camp with inadequate gear. She mostly worked trail crew for the US Forest Service, but they did search and rescue as well. My sister died of cancer as well. Her blog is here: http://e2grundoon.blogspot.com/ .

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE

C is for Children

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

I am the daughter of an artist. My sister Chris and I had drawing lessons and paints and just about all of the art supplies you can imagine. Our mother either wore jeans and t-shirts with ink from etchings, or else was very dressed up for art shows or an opera or other festivities. She only wore make up for those times. My sister and I rebelled by refusing to call colors by their names and instead asking each other for the “boy” crayon or the “girl” crayon. We had all the colors divided in male and female. My mother was outraged. “Green is not a boy color.” We just ignored her and kept doing it.

We did learn, though. The picture today is of two postcards. This is a photograph of two color xeroxes, because I don’t have the originals with me. My mother did the lower one and I did the upper one. You can see how much she influenced me and how much I absorbed about water color technique.

I took a class two years ago, which turned out to be acrylics. My mother rather scorned acrylics though she was fine with crayons and crafts. I was painting and the teacher came to look over my shoulder. “They are not watercolors,” he said. “Yes, I know,” I said, “but I am using them like watercolors.” He laughed. Well, I know how to use watercolors and I don’t know much about acrylics. I know how to print etchings too and got an infected finger very young using the forbidden woodcut tools. I tried to hide it and the doctor yelled at both me and my mother. He scared me a lot.

My sister did beautiful art as well, also influenced by my mother. I think I only have one of her pieces.

#ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 # art # Women artists # Helen Burling Ottaway

One must go through the water.

One must go through the water.

One might choose not
avoid
there are ways to avoid feelings

Another one might choose not

I let go
and fall
and the water closes over my head
and I let myself sink
all the way down

even
if I am over
a deep trench

once down
once deep

I open my eyes
and let my breath out
and let the deep rush in

I don’t know why
people avoid this place
it is dangerous
but so beautiful
the darkness
with beings that glow

some attack
of course

but I too am a monster
bare my fangs
and receive respect
or fear

or friendship

I am very safe here
it is so familiar
in the deep

tears falling

I am back in grief
in the ocean of tears
someone has to go there
and I can swim

I can swim on the surface
and I can swim in the depths
no trench is too deep
for me to explore

they think it is dark
in the deepest trench
it’s true that the pressure
is very strong

but all of us
in the deepest depths
learn to glow
and shine

that is what the trench does
at first you are terrified
an ocean of grief
an ocean of tears

but then you see light
beings glowing
some are eating each other
but others smile and wave

if you are not too frightened
if you do not fight and struggle
if you take a breath, calmly
you find you can breathe

and you look at your hands
in wonder as you breathe
in the ocean of grief
in the ocean of tears

you too are glowing softly
in the ocean of grief
in the ocean of tears
you feel welcome