Saturday, March 3, 2018

Jan Rescues

Judy Takács

With her whole heart and soul, Jan provides a welcoming home for pets that have been abandoned elsewhere. She is an activist and advocate for creatures great and small through her work with the Rescue Village in Geauga County, where she has volunteered for the past 28 years fulfilling just about every need this Humane Center has; performing transports, serving on many committees, working on events and chairing campaigns. She now serves on the board of trustees of this caring and very necessary organization. 

I wanted to depict Jan with her creatures, a sweet dog, Indigo with one blue eye and a brown one and a shy cat named Diesel who posed beautifully and obliged my chasing her with a camera surprisingly well. 

Visually, I was intrigued by the black and charcoal coloring of her lovely pets, and the strong silhouettes made by their sleek bodies. There’s a sad statistic that states that black dogs and cats are least likely to be rescued…not in Jan’s house though. Indigo and Diesel are happy, healthy and here to stay.

When I came to visit her house and meet her pets, Jan presented me with two feathers…a black one and a white one. They were such a perfect visual foil for both her gorgeous dark pets with white chest markings. I had to include them in the painting…and because feathers are so fun to paint, I really went to town with the feather concept! 

Jan also wrote down for me the Native American concept behind a feather… a lovely piece of symbolic wisdom:

Each part of the feather is symbolic of a life.

The quill represents our inner strength and the path we are on.

The feather is divided into two parts, male or female, good or bad, right or wrong.

The fluffy down at the bottom is infancy; our beginning.

The Veins represent the days of our lives and the choices we make.

And the top is adulthood. 

And, since this painting is part of the Chicks with Balls series,
you might well ask, Where are the balls?

The answer is: there are none…nor are there ovaries. Jan is a firm believer in spaying and neutering all rescued pets.

So happy to announce that Rescued will be showing for the first time in Northeast Ohio at Lakeland Community College in March! Please join me at the artist reception on Sunday March 25th, or stop by and see the always fabulous from WOMAN show…organized year after year by the ever-amazing Mary Urbas, gallery director at Lakeland.

“from WOMAN XI”
Lakeland Community College
February 25th through March 31st

Meet the Artists Reception:
Sunday, March 25th from 3:30 to 5:00

Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, Ohio

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Impeccable Timing for the Barefoot, Bohemian Madonna

Impeccable Timing for the Barefoot, Bohemian Madonna
Judy Takács

Marilyn was apprehensive at first. 

She happened upon the exhibit of all my chicks paintings at Tri C Gallery East in November of 2015. After seeing the paintings and chatting with Gallery Director, Terry Patton, Marilyn approached me about posing.

I am always excited to have a willing participant, and we agreed she would come to my studio the morning of December 4th to pose. I wrote it on the giant monster calendar in my kitchen… the Takács equivalent of setting it in stone.

During the next few weeks, however, my world made a seismic shift. 

In ordered bullet points here’s what happened in late November 2015…

• My 91 year old dad collapsed with a duodenal ulcer and was hospitalized

• My 82 year old mom’s cancer came back and she was hospitalized.

• Two parents in the hospital, mom in the cancer ward, dad in the general ward; me there every day.

• Because of his severely weakened condition, my dad would have to go to a skilled nursing rehab facility for physical therapy first if he was ever to return home again.

• Because of my mom’s returned cancer, it became clear that she would not be able to care for him at home. 

• Thursday, December 3, 2015 I helped my dad transfer from the hospital to the rehab facility. I labeled his clothes, hung family photos, and posted important phone numbers (mine included). I tried to make this unfamiliar place cozy, always reassuring him that my mom would come see him the next day.

• My mom was to be discharged from the hospital on Friday, December 4th, with my sister coming to bring her home. They would then go visit my dad at the rehab facility.

• Since my sister was able to take a day off from work for parent duty that day, I planned to keep my appointment with Marilyn for Friday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m. that same morning…dates on my calendar were set in stone after all. 

• 6:00 a.m. Friday, December 4, 2015 My dad calls me. He had a very rough night. He hates the rehab facility. It’s noisy.  The staff were talking all night outside his room. His roommate had the TV on all night. Please, can I come get him and take him home. He was rational, polite and emphatic…and, because his mind had continued to work perfectly, he knew how little his body was working for him anymore. 

I knew “home” wasn’t an option…he literally couldn’t sit up in bed he was so weak. But I said I’d drive over and see him at least.

• 6:30 a.m. Friday December 4, 2015, I was by his side at the rehab facility. I got him ginger ale, talked to his nurse about his anxiety and concerns and I made sure he was comfortable. He calmed down a bit. I told him to focus on the fact that my mom was to visit that afternoon with my sister.
After the turmoil of growing up in war-torn Hungary, once my dad settled in safe and comfortable Ohio, he didn’t adjust well to changes and discomforts. My mom had a way of talking off the ledge though…so to speak. Once she was there and able to visit each day, things would be better. I envisioned a new normal for them with my mom only having to care for herself at home, without the added strain of having my dad to care for. She could visit him every day for love, without exerting the physical labor of care.

And then I told him that I have to go because I had a model coming over to pose.

So, I bid him good-bye, reminded him that my mom and sister would be coming that afternoon and came home to do my Chicks photo shoot with Marilyn.

Marilyn was a delight to work with. Barefoot, she wore a Bohemian skirt, flowers in her hair, and two symbolic necklaces.  One pendant featured Mary, Our Lady of Guadaloupe; the Madonna to represent her strong Catholic faith. The other pendant was a symbol of the Goddess … Mother Earth, to show her love of nature and all creatures. 

As we were finishing up the shoot, my sister called. She had just brought my mom home from the hospital when my dad’s rehab center called. My dad was unresponsive…unconscious.  Apparently he’d had a heart attack. They called 911, they inserted a breathing tube (against my Dad’s DNR wishes) and he was taken to the hospital…again. 

• WTF. I just saw him 2 hours ago. 

• So, I went back to the hospital… again… this time with a mission. I knew like I’d never known before that now was my dad’s time to go. He was not meant to linger in a bed, weakened, hooked up, taped up, tubed up…alive for the sake of not being dead. It was his time to go (he was 91…unable to move much at all and had a heart attack…how much more clear could the signs be?). Swift and effective modern medicine prevented the inevitable from happening. So now it was up to my mom, sister and I to have the courage to make the call to let him go. 

And so we did.

And the doctors thanked us for making the reasonable and kind choice to remove his life support. They also reminded us that this was not euthanasia…euthanasia is not a legal healthcare option in my state. We were respecting my dad’s wishes that his body not to be maintained on life support and obeying my dad’s orders on his DNR form. This was an attempt by the hospital to absolve themselves of a wrongful death lawsuit and to absolve us of guilt…though, I’d feel way more guilt forcing him to live on life support because I didn’t have the courage to do what was right. 

This turn of events (and my mom’s death six months later) inspired my painting, Guardian Angel of the Good Death and the Serenity Prayer series.

We said I love you. We said Good Bye. The breathing tube was removed and my mom, my sister and I watched as my dad, peacefully, gently and swiftly pass from this world. 

It was time. It was for the best. It was painful and it was sad. It was also elegant timing because we could all be there when he passed.

My dad’s passing also granted my mom’s secret wish…one that we were all thinking since her cancer diagnosis four years ago…that she outlive my dad. Now she could focus on her own health and comfort without worrying what was to become of him when she was gone. She was strong enough to bear her life without him. He would not have been able to bear his life without her.

Marilyn’s timing was impeccable.  I thank her for being the beautiful distraction on that fateful morning where timing was everything and we said goodbye to my dad with peace, elegance and grace. 

What about the Donkeys and Goats?

Marilyn has a farm…a barnyard called “Klassy Kids,” with goats and miniature donkeys. These hoofed beauties are her passion and her full time job. The creatures of Klassy Kids are therapy animals and Marilyn often hosts families of children with special needs who benefit from the unconditional love they get from these gentle animals. 

I knew her animals needed to be part of Marilyn’s Chicks portrait.

I went to visit her collection of hoofed cuties on a gray winter day with a peaceful snowfall. It was a quiet respite from the dizzying events of early December 2015, which were safely behind us. 

And, though neither one of us knew what the upcoming year would hold, (we were both to lose our precious moms in 2016) I knew that a fascinating painting with the delightful Marilyn was still ahead of me, and that brought me great comfort during a time of great turmoil.

Friday, February 9, 2018

BP Bound…at least for the second round!

Carol raises chicks…and spirits
Judy Takács, oil on linen
Those of you who know me, follow me or listen to me, may have heard me talk about the BP Portrait Show as my holy grail of art goals.

Every year the National Gallery in London juries thousands of international entries and puts together a stellar collection of some of the finest portraiture being painted today. It is presented with (what I imagine to be) all kinds of British pomp and circumstance with shortlists, awards, publicity and (what I imagine to be) a meteoric rise to fame for the artists included…especially the award winners. My facebook friend list includes quite a few BP Portrait Show Artists…David Eichenberg, Wim Heldens, Aleah Chapin, Sophie Ploeg, Natalie Holland, Janne Kearny, Paul Emsley, Mary Jane Ansel, Philip Harris, Daphne Todd, Ilaria Del Turco, Felicia Forte, Frank Oriti, Mark Giangaspero and David Kassan.

I’ve been entering the BP since I first heard of the show in 2010 and have been rejected each year. But, because it’s at the top of my holy grail art goals, I remember Winston Churchill’s words (British theme and all) “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” and keep fighting the good fight and entering my best.

So, it is with great enthusiasm I proudly announce to you that Carol Raises Chicks and Spirits was invited to London for the second round of judging for the BP Portrait Award!

Just letting that sink in a minute…

And, I will apologise (British spelling) in advance for making such a big deal about it, but this may be as far as she gets…in past years approximately 500 pieces are invited for round two judging, but only 50 are accepted into the actual show.  But, it’s my first time…and I haven’t seen the shipping bill yet…so my celebration is one of unbridled hedonistic joy. 

Add to that a 3.5 hour breakfast with my oldest son for his birthday and I’m going to call February 8, 2018 the Best. Day. Ever.

Coincidentally, this is the card I gave my oldest son for his birthday yesterday.
Not to worry, I got one each for all three of my sons for THEIR birthdays too! Shhhh
As for the actual portrait, it is fitting that my portrait of artist, Carol Berning brings me so much joy. Carol basically passes out sunshine and fun wherever she goes.  And her portrait, which is part of my Chicks with Balls series was a total joy to paint. Oh those downy feathers!

Carol, a painter, is currently creating a wonderful world of love, quilting, cooking and social activities for her aged mother, for whom she cares. Carol’s love and admiration for her mom is unmistakable whenever I see her “in the moment” portraits of her beautiful mother and the cherished experiences she’s making with her. Would that we should all have a daughter as loving as Carol. 

As a painter, Carol’s portrait series, “Where are they now?…Vietnamese Children from 1968” is a heart stopper. It is a collection of sensitive paintings of war-weary, orphaned, curious, uncertain but surviving children her husband encountered when he served as an Infantry Officer during the Vietnam War.

And, in her back yard, Carol also raises chickens.

Picking balls for her Chicks with Balls painting was quickly sidelined, when Carol brought up posing with actual baby chicks…I was onboard immediately…a chick with chicks! So, not one to shy away from adventure, Carol packed up three baby chicks in an insulated grocery store tote bag rigged up with a heating pad which could be warmed up through a USB port to her laptop. She drove them from Tennessee to DC for the Portrait Society conference where we were to have our posing session to begin her epic portrait! 

In addition to the actual chicks, Carol brought her two beautiful artist friends, Martha and Pam…with whom she travels each year to the Portrait Society meeting. Eager for adventure, they also posed for Chicks with Balls. The posing session in my hotel room with live chickens was awesome, fun, hysterical and an experience I will not soon forget…and, as the saying goes, “What happens at the DC Portrait Society Conference, stays at the DC Portrait Society Conference.” 

But the paintings live on!

And now, Carol raises Chicks and Spirits is heading to London for Round Two of the BP Portrait Award and I’m thrilled to pieces that my beautiful chick with her lovely chicks will soon be hopping across the pond…hopefully for a good long visit!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Debby needs Decades

Decades for Debby
Judy Takács
Sometime between kid number 2 and 3, I came up with a brilliant justification and mantra for why I was not yet a successful painter…”You can have it all, just not all at the same time.”
Sometime later, I heard Madeleine Albright say it and now she gets all the credit, but remember folks, I thought of it first in the late 90s.

For me there were three phases of my personal “having it all”.

Phase 1 (1986 or so) where I was the breadwinning graphic designer and illustrator. Phase 2, the fulltime mom phase, began late in the last millennium, with the birth of my second son. And I kicked off Phase 3 by christening my new painting studio in January of 2009…and thus began my life as a full-time professional artist. As I turn 55, I’m hoping it continues for another 40 healthy years or so.

Debby, twenty years younger than me, didn’t embrace this particular quote of mine. 

She wants to be an amazing mom to her three kids… now.
She needs to be the family breadwinner…now.
And she has a fire burning with her to paint portraits…NOW!

My Sister’s Battle
Debby Bird

She explained her impatience to me when I saw her portrait honoring the sister she lost to breast cancer at the age of 38. Debby’s gorgeous tribute had been accepted to the Portrait Society of America Members Only show, so many others saw it too.  

The death of her sister showed Debby that you may not have 40, 50, 60 years to enact the master plan and give each phase your undivided attention. 
She saw first hand how someone young was robbed of the luxury of waiting to achieve her dreams. 

For Debby, there was a justified sense of urgency to enact her dream to be a phenomenal portrait painter, though she didn’t discover this dream until she left her architect job six years ago to stay home and raise her kids. During those years, Debby hoped that she could make up the income shortfall with painting commissions, and found that she absolutely loved painting portraits and was very good at it too. 

Life however, happened, and she had to return to work as a fulltime professional architect and family breadwinner… along with raising three young kids and pursuing portraiture. Debby is now working very hard on all three of her worthy goals, but the complexity of doing her best at each has her feeling very much frustrated…as if she’s barely keeping it together. 

For her Chicks pose, Debby chose Disney balls to represent her children and wrapped them in duct tape…the universal DIY product to “fix it in a pinch.” Debby actually has a history of creative duct tape projects including creating her own duct tape shoes and a gown to wear for her school’s Annual Beaux Arts Ball. 

DYI is what Debby does, and that’s how I met her.

A few years ago, I was in charge of the Portrait Society Cecilia Beaux Forum group page on facebook. At that time it was a lively, interactive social media force, where portrait artists could gather (virtually) and discuss art and life issues as they came up. 

Debby, an aspiring portrait painter had asked about whether we could have a critique component to the page. She was painting alone at home with three preschool children and was seeking professional art guidance. I checked with Portrait Society headquarters to ask how and if this could be incorporated. By the time discussions and emails were exchanged with the higher-ups and I got my well-explained, “No,” Debby had already started a critique group page of her own. 

Check it out and ask members for a critique of your work if you’re interested!

She was also looking for kindred spirit artists who are raising children while building an art career. So she started a blog interviewing the best figurative artists working today, who are also parenting. And for those who think this is a woman-painter issue only…it’s not. Many of the painting parents she interviewed are the fathers. It is often the artist in the family who has the role of primary caregiver because of flexible schedules and unpredictable income. 

Check out her many interviews on the aptly titled, “Is it time to color? Painting Parents” blog.
And somewhere in her extra long list of projects lie the seeds of a fascinating series painting the people of Appalachia, close to where Debby lives in Kentucky. This portrait series in particular, is one I know she will execute beautifully with sensitivity and care for this hidden and misunderstood population.

A woman after my own heart, she takes the ball and runs with it…even when no one has given her a ball. I don’t worry that Debby will achieve her dreams, because she absolutely will stick with it AND keep things together. My wish for her is that she will have many many decades to build the art and live the life she so totally deserves.

And, in the American spirit of DYI, sticking with it and keeping things together, Debby’s Chicks painting was exhibited at the Southwest Artists Annual Juried Exhibition, “Art of the Heartland”.

She's returned home now, and I'm thrilled to announce…

Decades for Debby
is a
Portrait Society of America
2017 Members Only Competition

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Her Beloved Pride

Once upon a time, back when hair was big, shoulders pads were wide and leggings had stirrups, my BFA Thesis at the Cleveland Institute of Art was all about The Seven Deadly Sins.

Me, with my Seven Deadly Sins board game, just before my 1986 BFA Presentation.
In the foreground, my life drawing teacher Francis Meyers
in the far background I can recognize James Groman and David Jupp!

This yearlong expedition into the artistic investigation and depiction of  Sloth, Envy, Rage, Greed, Lust, Gluttony and Pride culminated with a cross-shaped board game that was as religiously irreverent, fun and satirical as this free-thinking heathen student of illustration could imagine.

My hypothesis was that the sins were simply human traits that we all have. Taken to excess, yes, they’re not the best traits we have…but, in the grand scheme, they’re also not the worst. Note, the sins don’t include murder, lying, stealing, cheating, bullying, violence, taking away the rights of others, silencing opposing voices, reneging on promises, taking away healthcare from children, the sick and the poor, letting other starve, enslavement, taking away the right to control how your body is used …you know, the really bad stuff.

No, the Seven Deadly Sins are a fun group of juicy, deliciously, compelling human traits that are open to endless interpretation…and excuses to paint people. 

I decided to revisit the Seven Deadly Sins some 30 years after my 1986 BFA and have only just started to scratch the surface. So far, I’ve painted and blogged about Sloth, using my hardworking, but sleep loving son as a model, and have, won a Best in Show for my interpretation of Greed…who protectively guards her ideals and artistic integrity… entitled, Guarded Idealist

Underlying the human nature of the Seven (not so) Deadlies is that they mostly affect the sinner herself.  And, taken in moderation, they are necessary for self-preservation (Gluttony in moderation is sustenance, Sloth is rest, Lust is procreation…see?)

Perhaps the toughest one to interpret is the “sin” of Pride.

Yes, in Medieval Catholic lore, the concept of contrition and guilt loomed large, and a healthy self-esteem warranted Hail Marys, a wearing of a sackcloth and even some self-flagellation. But nowadays just about every self-help book and internet meme since Stuart Smalley first appeared on SNL want us to have a positive self-image and feel good about ourselves. In fact, just recently the conventional wisdom has changed about telling your kids you’re proud of them. Now you’re supposed to tell them they should be proud of themselves…for how hard they’ve worked as well as for their successes. 

In other words, take ownership of your awesomeness!

So, I present my triple image of my beautiful platinum-haired model and muse, paying tribute to, and embracing her own positive self-image…Her Beloved Pride.

Her Beloved Pride
Judy Takács

And, you knew it was coming…
I am PROUD to announce this painting will be appearing
as part of the

81st Annual Midyear Exhibition
Butler Institute of American Art
Opening Reception:
Sunday July 9 from 1:00 to 3:00

Butler Institute of American Art
524 Wick Ave.
Youngstown, Ohio

Show runs through August 20th

Tuesday, June 13, 2017



things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.
items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.
Ephemera Collector
Judy Takács

Ephemera, a fleeting thing that takes its feathery place as a memory without taking up space as a reality. 

Human life is ephemeral.

My dad passed away in 2015, my mom, six months later in 2016. Having lived in the same house for the past 50 years, they amassed and produced a lot of things.

And by things, I mean writing. Both were professors. 

My dad had created mountains of notebooks, carefully penned in flawless Hungarian Cursive. Pages of equations with occasional words peppered in; “therefore,” “it can be concluded” “given” and “we can surmise” separated paragraphs of calligraphic sigmas, lambdas, x’s, y’s and equal signs.

To my artistic eye, these scripts were like Ancient Arabic, Chinese or Hebrew…so beautiful to look at, but (sorry) Greek to me.

Some of it (18 boxes actually!) went to be scanned and archived at Case Western Reserve University, (link to come) where he retired as professor emeritus in the late ’80s. My dad’s legacy as a Pioneer in Queueing Theory will be preserved and useful to generations of future mathematicians who can actually read these calculations…which, I’m told, are brilliant.

And some of the writings were absconded by me…as ephemera to incorporate into my art and to be appreciated for its visual beauty alone.

My mom’s writings were more readable.

As a professor of English Literature at Notre Dame College of Ohio, a scholar of the Irish Dramatists and Shakespeare, and a contemporary author and historian, she had mountains of beautifully organized notes for teaching, research, study and analysis. She had journals too…galore…which will be kept intact for the ages, and for me to read about who she actually was, independent of being my mom. She also sowed many seeds of ideas for novels and stories. These may some day serve as inspiration for paintings. 

I also absconded bits and pieces from her loose writings to incorporate into my art, drawing great comfort from her familiar handwriting. 

So I present to you my Ephemera Series.

Instead of posing myself yet again (some say all our portraits are really self-portraits) I chose my model as a timeless angel for the ages…collecting, defending and dispersing wispy whispers of Ephemera with luscious vintage butterfly nets and expressive hands and face.

Into my oil paintings, I collaged butterflies torn from my parents’ combined writings…floating, fleeting ephemera.

As with all the found things from my parents’ home, life and legacy, I try to pass them forward for a new life and purpose.

Ephemera Defender
Judy Takács

I have thus far given pages of these written ephemera to Alia El Bermani in the form of a cut paper snowflake to use in her painting, to Leslie Adams for her “Handwritten Dreams” project at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, to Amy Kesegich for collage work, to Karina Fassett as wallpaper inspiration, to a mathematical niece to fuel her STEM fire, and have dropped off three baskets full of everything ephemeral to Liz Maugans at Zygote Press for all manner of printmaking.

I was thrilled to see that my gold starred kindergarten math worksheet found its forever home plastered front and center in the middle of Liz Maugans' monolithic collage at the Hedge Gallery.

Five year old Judy Takács got a star on her kindergarten math worksheet

I can't seem to get organized
My worksheet featured front and center in Liz Maugans’ Multi-media print collage

I have also passed along boxes of jewelry from my mom and grandmother’s compounded collection to my favorite jewelry artist, Kim Mettee…who has fashioned them into two amazing commissioned necklaces for my sister and myself along with a host of other adornments.

Earrings and necklace by Kim Mettee Designs
inspired by pieces from my grandmothers jewelry from Istanbul

My dad’s books have found loving homes with the Math Grad Students of Case Western Reserve and with my own math-loving boys. My mom’s books on Shakespeare and Drama are the start of a library for theatre majors at Baldwin Wallace University. The Hungarian books have been carefully distributed in the U.S. and in Hungary by a good-hearted docent at the Cleveland Hungarian Museum. And a couple of Irish Fairy Tale books found their way to my Irish neighbor Teresa’s house to read to her many nieces and nephews.

Pieces of their furniture have become part of the collection of the Cleveland Playhouse prop warehouse…I’ve already seen one of their 1970s padded folding chairs in “Between Riverside and Crazy” just last month. There were no takers for their 60 year-old twice re-upholstered extra-long yellow French Provincial couch, so it now sits in my studio awaiting inspiration…and the right model. 

What I still have left, however, are many (many) writings. 

Zoom in to see the gorgeous handwriting from my parents’ ephemeral writings.

If you would like to incorporate some of these ephemeral bits of handwritten Mathematica and Literature into your art, shoot me an email with your mailing address at I will send you some to use as you choose…the ironic preservation of fleeting ephemera from one generation of creative thinkers to the next.

And, I'm thrilled to let you know that “Ephemeral Whisper” will be included in the Catharine Lorillard Wolf 121st Annual Juried Exhibition in NYC!

Ephemeral Whisper
Judy Takács

Catharine Lorillard Wolf 121st Annual Open Juried Exhibition
National Arts Club, NYC
January 9-26, 2018
Benefit Reception: January 19, 2018 from 5:30 to 8:00, $25 per person
Awards Dinner: January 26, 2018 from 6:00 to 9:00, $100 per person

National Arts Club
15 Grammercy Park South
New York, NY

I'll be at the January 19th Reception and hope you will be too!
Click on the link for more details!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Guardian Angel showing at the 8th Annual Lakeland May Show

Guardian Angel of the Good Death
Judy Takács

If you’re lucky enough to see you parents into old age, you know its coming.
For me it began August 2012, with a cancer diagnosis for my mom.

Having just attended the funeral of our good friend who died from stomach cancer the week before, I knew how this story would end; with a little gray person gasping their last breath as they left this world.

I also knew there could be a lot of life crammed into the between-time. I just didn’t know how long that between-time would be.

And I knew she had to outlive my dad, who was 9 years her senior at 88 and very much counted on her to love and help him in his every waking moment.
My mom knew this too, but neither of us said it out loud.

Soon after August 2012, I came to the realization that not only would I have to make sure my parents lived well. I also had to make sure they died well.

I was not in denial about the inevitable, but, like Scarlet, just preferred to “think about it tomorrow”. Besides, we were very busy with many doctors visits, surgeries, hospital stays, picture taking and memory making in the between-time.

“Tomorrow,” however, came in December 2015 and then again in June 2016, when my parents passed away within 6 months of each other; my dad first…the natural order of things.

The sequence of events, twists, turns, plans, unknowns, changes, red alerts, whens, hows and ultimate absolute clarity of what was to be…was dizzying and remarkable. The Serenity Prayer was my mantra for a time.

I was fortunate, honored and determined to be present for each parent, before, during and after their bodies shut down.

In fighting…and then not fighting the inevitable…

In embracing comfort, but shunning heroics…

In vigilantly preparing for and guarding the sanctity of a peaceful ending, I felt every bit the Guardian Angel of the Good Death as each passed from this world with my sister and I “in loving attendance” as the obituaries for my mom and dad both read.

It was absolute closure, the feeling of a pulse and then not feeling it, the belabored breathing with the steady metronome click… and then its absence. 

And then, the eggshell time immediately afterwards when ostensibly nothing has changed…except for everything.

And since it was impossible for me to write these words just a few short months ago, I painted it.

The painting was originally called Guardian of the Passage…attempting to politely skirt using the word “death.” But, just before submitting it last November, to the 58th Annual Mid-States Competition at the Evansville Museum in Indiana, I decided to call it what it was, and renamed the painting, Guardian Angel of the Good Death. She was accepted to the Evansville show and awarded a Merit Prize.

Now I’m thrilled to report that Guardian Angel of the Good Death was juried into the Eighth Annual May Show at Lakeland Community College. Started by Gallery Director, Mary Urbas, eight years ago, The Lakeland May Show holds its place as one of Northeast Ohio’s premier Juried Exhibitions. This year, the May Show’s street cred was increased exponentially as the juror was none other than, Lou Zona, the director of the Butler Institute of American Art (which hosts Northeast Ohio’s other premier Juried Exhibition…the Butler Midyear Show.)


An awesome Joseph Clark review of the May Show at Lakeland, its themes, its highpoints and its insights…in CAN Journal. Many of these stellar and thoughtful paintings shown and discussed and, I’m particularly excited that he spent so much time talking about “Guardian Angel.” Check out the review.

Please join me and the other fabulous artists
whose work hangs in the…

Eighth Annual May Show at Lakeland

Meet the Artists Reception
Thursday, May 25th, 6:00 to 9:00
Awards Presented at 7:00 P.M.
Show dates: May 18-July 14th

Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, Ohio