I thought it was some kind of plein air poison oak, but apparently, I'm so allergic to biting flies my ankle has blown up like a balloon. A swollen, blistered, festering balloon.
Since we arrived, the house has been doing nothing but creating its own to-do list: hey guys! trim trees, replace railings, install bear-proof box for garbage, remove mismatched track lighting, which does have matching long cords stringing their way to various outlets, install clothesline since it's 85 degrees everyday. Then my mom came to visit. But months ago I had signed up for this outdoor painting workshop with Northern California artist Phillys Schafer. So the timing was perfect to be away, all day, everyday, while crucial decisions were to be made like: which limbs on the trees should be loped off and a bear box that is brown or green?
In spite of the bad timing, the painting workshop has been a refreshing mental swim in the lake. Phyllis spouts excellent advice constantly and demonstrates her amazing technique. She somehow juggles students with advanced degrees in art or architecture or have been painting for years, to students who have never painted before day one of the workshop. Her teaching agility almost surpasses her painting ability, but she's a rockin' painter, so not really.
She whipped this out on Tuesday during one session.
We've painted up on Mount Rose at 8000 feet, along a creek--where I had to make little paper ankle protectors to keep the flies off--and at Star Harbor on the Nevada side of the lake. My little easel has taken me places away from the demanding house that I never would have visited if not for the class.
Tomorrow I will be "finding the edges" and "not getting too noodle-y" --some of Phillis' words to live by--near the creek. Then we go back to our location where I lost my mountaineering sunglasses that Stefan hates, and then two days later found them in the grass where I'd painted a pine tree's portrait.
"If it gets too much to deal with where you are, go somewhere else for a while," says Phillis about details in painting, but also my life.
Starting Saturday I'll devote myself to visitors and home-improvement. And I'll have six paintings and fly bite scars to remind myself of a week when I went away for a while.