Bisnonna – Antonia Cavaliere

I never knew her, she died when my mother was a little girl. All that I know of her are from stories. Stories my mother told me about how affectionate she was, in her childhood where she got little affection. Stories my grandmother told me of a woman who was clever, but didn’t speak English, learning how to barter and dicker in the USA for the things she needed to buy. The woman who could spin a tale from a time when the only entertainment after dark were stories told around the fire. She had several books memorized, and their hearth was a favorite in the neighborhood. She could sew, cook, raise vegetables and livestock. I wore a nightgown she made for her trousseau once, she was really good with a needle. She died when she was 62 years old, younger than I am now. Sometimes I wish she and I could sit down and talk.

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Two views of Jensen Point, Vashon Island


Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to paint en plein aire on Vashon Island. The day started completely grey and rainy, but we took a chance and the day changed dramatically. The sky broke open, and wonderful blue spread across the sky while huge puffy dark clouds encroached on it. Computer monitors and electronic photography does not capture the subtleties of the blues in the sky.

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David

It’s a long story that started back in 1972, and I’m not going to tell the whole story; but David is the reason I married a Boothby and became a part of the Boothby clan. I married David’s little brother, to be exact.
David and I didn’t get along very well. But his little brother, Donald, loved him. So for that reason, David was occasionally in my life. Not a lot, we distanced ourselves by moving a long state away. But Donald held him in his heart. And David had children. Beautiful children. Paolo and Megan; two brilliant souls that I had the opportunity to get to know; Donald’s beloved nephew and niece. And they loved their father. Well, that makes us family, of course.
And then we lost Donald. David flew out here for Donald’s last few days; the only time he was ever in my house in Seattle. And then David died too. Another family bereft, as if we weren’t bereft already. But in these deaths, there was healing, family bonds rebound, the reality that we were even more precious, as we were now fewer.
But I still didn’t like David, even though now he was our dearly departed.
One day, his daughter indicated she’d like a painting I did of her father, which I gladly gave her. I didn’t think it was a great portrait, so I started looking for another photo of him so I could try and paint him again. One of David’s quirks was that he didn’t like to be photographed. So there weren’t many. And I had the mother lode, all the pictures David’s and Donald’s mother had ever gotten from her kids. Her 5 children who all lived hundreds of miles away; they each sent pictures when they could. Including David. As I searched for a nice picture of David, I found photos of him with baby Paolo, and of him with baby Megan. And I could see without a doubt, that he truly loved these children. Somehow seeing those pictures of an extremely young David loving his baby boy, and a still young David loving his baby girl, it melted a part of my heart, and instead of painting the surly David that I knew too well, I painted the other David, the one that his children knew. And maybe that healed me a little bit.

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Twin Hungarian Oaks, Wing Luke School

Twenty five years ago, a group of us wrote out a grant for city funds to buy enough trees to populate a huge open grassy field that surrounded Wing Luke School. We invited neighbors, teachers, boyscouts and students to help plant the trees. We even got a landscape architect to help, and we got some very nice trees from a nearby nursery. None of the trees were very big, they were all just about 1″ in diameter. They grew and grew, and today, this is what they look like. They are majestic, and they are full of singing birds. They shade the grounds and cool the entire neighborhood. They are all scheduled for demolition in 2018. I want to honor them while I still can. These two Hungarian Oaks are on the west side of the school.

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Mt Si in the rain


I went out to paint Mount Si on a day when there was rain in the forecast. We were certain that Old Si would stick his head out long enough for us to paint it, but that did not happen. The painting got a wonderful spotty effect from the rain. It’s interesting enough that I thought I’d share it here. Of course, it’s for sale, all proceeds go to wildlife conservation.

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