In love again: with my yard, my neighborhood, my painting


My husband retired in the spring. Huge, huge change. Life altering. For both of us. It took some real adjustment to go from 12 hours of being away from each other every day, to having TOO much time together. But we are catching the wave.

We started thinking about moving away from NY state, because the taxes are high, and the  housing values keep going down. Where to go? We tried going to central america to see if  we could live there, but it didn’t seem like a fit.

So we kept looking and wondering, is there a more affordable place to go? Massachusetts is wonderful, I grew up there. But it is not that affordable. Vermont? Not so affordable. Maine? I don’t know. Maybe interior Maine is affordable. But the governor there wants to get rid of programs geared towards older people.

Florida? Hmmmm.

Ok. I am meandering. Here’s the schzimel. Maybe we should stay put. So we planted a couple of trees, a few new bushes, and I am starting to love my yard again. I had been gardening for so many other people for so long, that our yard started to look kind of droopy. Unkempt. So we hacked and whacked some overgrown stuff, trimmed the crabapple leaning over the fence into our yard, and I put pots of plants on the deck. Now it looks inviting.

Inside the house, we redid our living room. Because we had a water leak. That led to, well, everything. MY NEW GALLERY! We kept having this ugly bulging stuff erupting in the plaster over the fireplace. I scraped it and re-plastered several times, but to no avail. It needed to be opened up and fixed. We hired someone, and he fixed our leak.  Having taken all the plaster off the wall, we discovered the original brick. And we really liked the exposed brick look. Our living room was taking on a new feel. We went ahead and redid the fireplace. It is non functioning, so we did a granite surround. Greys and peach colors. Beautifully simple. I painted the walls grey, the window trim clean, sharp white, same with the baseboards. We hired a young electrician, who installed track lighting, and suggested that we move the wall sconces back onto the fireplace where they were originally. We then got a woman wood worker from Beacon, NY., to make us a mantel. A black walnut, natural edged slab of wood for a mantel. It is amazing.

So all of a sudden, I have a gallery. Who would ever think it??? Our living room was long and narrow, and not very inviting. As a gallery, it is perfect. It’s perfect because the timing coincides with the Newburgh Open Studios. This is the second year for this event, and it will be nice. Last year I moved into a space which was wonderful. It was a house for sale, that the neighborhood folks had chipped in to fix up (very nicely), and put on the tour to enhance the marketability. It worked! The energy was great. I sold some paintings, and the house sold. What could be better?

Well, this year is better. We improved our house, and I don’t have to cart all my stuff somewhere else. I get to stay home. And show off my new gallery. How cool is that?

It was a matter of priorities. We discussed, earlier in the summer, which would be better? For me to take a class with some high profile artist, or to invest in us? Well you know what my vote was. Invest here. I can take a class anytime. There is never a shortage of artists and classes, or cars for sale.

So the Open Studios is coming quickly. The last weekend in September. Aughhhh!!!!

I am transitioning from working on the house, to working on my art. I will be showing some watercolors, batiks on rice paper, and new oils. It is exciting, exhilerating, and scary. What’s nice is that I have a lot of support from this community that I have invested a lot my energy in. And now that effort is being returned, and people stop by to see what I am working on. Some commissions do come my way. It is all good.

So here I am back at the beginning. I am once again loving my house, my yard, my art, and this tough little city. Should we then move? And start all over again?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *