Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"ROSES, RED ROSES" Oil Painting by Artist NORA KASTEN

"Roses, Red Roses"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen on board  (24"x36")  From archives

"This is another one of five paintings I'm submitting to the Naples Baptist Church art show and fundraiser being held April 14, 2011."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Pink & White Bouquet" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Pink & White Bouquet"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen on board  (24"x30") From archives

This is one of the five paintings I'll be submitting to the Baptist church Art Show / fundraiser on April 14, 2011, here in Naples.

Below is a page from the book "Healing After Loss" by Martha Whitmore Hickman.

"Whereas previously our moods seemed simply sad with occasional patches of light, now we may find an unsettling variety in our feelings, as happy times seem engrossing and satisfying, and then we are plunged into sadness again.  Perhaps we can learn to accept these mood swings, recognizing the reality of each, knowing light gives way to darkness and darkness to light."
                                                                                              --Martha Whitmore Hickman

     "When we begin to feel better we enter a new range of feelings, maybe even some guilt - How could I feel good when the one I loved is gone?  But even when we succeed in putting that false monster aside, the mood fluctuation can be unsettling.  We'll be having a genuinely wonderful time, freed at last from that continual background music of sadness.  Then we remember, and it feels like dropping through a trapdoor - a much more sudden and upsetting shift than when sadness was our prevailing mood.
     This is all part of our healing process.  Just as a physical wound has it's painful and pain-free moments, so does this wound of loss.  At least we know we're moving in the right direction."

Today's Affirmation

"I will revel in the times I can be happy - which is what my loved one would want for me."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Mixed Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, Nora Kasten

"Mixed Roses"
Oil painting on linen on board  (15"x30")  From the archives, 2010

"I skipped the grief support group last night and believe it was the right thing to do.  The first thing to come to mind this morning was that it's time now for me to maybe do some volunteering or find a place that I can be of help to others again.  I'm reminded of the scripture "To whom much is given, much is required".   My dear Karl is no longer with me but he enriched my life so very much for a good number of years and I'm eager to share my blessings.

Then, later this morning I received an e-mail from friend and great artist, Joyce Norwood, asking me to participate with her and other artists in a large Art Show & Fundraiser for a Baptist church here in Naples.  It will be Thursday, April 14, 2011 and I am so glad to have this opportunity to share some of my blessings.

Last Sunday I delivered the painting "Fresh Cut Roses" to The Sheldon Fine Art Gallery here in Naples.  It was the first painting delivered to them since many months before Karl died and how I hope it sells.  The good people at Sheldon Fine Art have been very patient with me through this season of grief."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Gold Earrings" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Gold Earrings"
© Nora Kasten
Self Portrait oil painting on linen on board  (20"x16")   March 19, 2011

"Another day and another self portrait practice.  I was fitted for new contact lens on Thursday and it sure feels good not to have the glasses on my nose."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"The Haircut" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"The Haircut"

Self Portrait, oil painting on linen  (16"x20")  May 13, 2010

"This was painted three months to the day that my beloved Karl died.  It was a bitter-sweet time, knowing our time together was short.

Last night, I attended my second grief support group meeting and unlike last week it was not uplifting.  Karl's death has left me with a raw, open. gaping wound and I do everything possible to help myself heal and yet there has been no guilt, anger or fear since he died as most of the group last night is dealing with.  Karl and I both knew how precious our relationship was and we were mature enough that our twenty eight years together were never taken for granted or treating each other unkindly.  

I'll be seventy-four years old next month and yet I'm feeling like a young school girl who has lost the first love of her life and thinks she will never recover. . . .  I know that I will recover though because God says it is so."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Fresh Cut Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Fresh Cut Roses"

© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on oil primed linen on board  (12"x24")  March 13, 2011

"About six weeks ago I bought a rosebush at Home Depot because it had one red-orange rose blooming that I really liked.  I brought it home, planted it in the front yard and it didn't die.  It just didn't do anything until last Friday and I noticed these beautiful roses blooming.  I was painting a self portrait that day but the next morning, Saturday, I went out early and cut all the roses for this bouquet.  Blocking in was all I could accomplish yesterday morning because good friends from Freeport and Rockport, Illinois were coming to visit.  This morning, when I walked into the studio, all the roses had opened up completely (spotlights are hard on fresh flowers) so I started painting away.  It's signed and under a fan out in the garage now, drying.  It's the best I could do and it feels good to be painting again.

Today, my beloved Karl is gone seven months."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grisaille oil painting by NORA KASTEN

"Nora at Seventy One"
Grisaille oil sketch on linen on board  (20"x16")  January 22, 2009

Below is today's entry in the book "Healing After Loss" by Martha Whitmore Hickman.

"The present crisis is always the worst crisis"  -  Elaine M. Prevallet

We get through one terrible day.  Then another.  Eventually the first anguish of grief begins to fade.  Maybe we think we have passed the worst of it.  Then something will happen - the strains of a familiar song, the scent of flowers or perfume, the figure of a stranger across the street who holds his head in that familiar way - and we are overwhelmed with fresh grief.

Things will get better.  But we are always open to new recall, new occasions that remind us of our loss.  Our grief seems fresh again, but it, too, will pass.


May I accept the rhythms of grieving.  I have enough to worry about without scolding myself that I'm still so vulnerable."

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Nora" Oil Painting by NORA KASTEN

© Nora Kasten 
Oil painting on linen on board  (20"x 16")  March 11, 2011

"Here is today's painting effort.  My personal model is always available.
I used all regular oil paints except for the Titanium White and that was an alkyd.  I believe you can recognize me in the painting but it's not the best likeness I've ever achieved.  It's cold here in Naples today and the scarf actually felt pretty good. . . .  . those dangling earrings are new."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Call Me Red" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Call Me Red"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on gallery wrap canvas  (30"x30"x1.5")   From the Archives

Bright flowers are posted today to let you know I am not feeling depressed.  This is not a happy time in my life but neither am I unhappy since there is always the quiet Peace that abides.

Below is a page from "Healing After Loss" by Martha Whitmore Hickman:

For everything there is a season . . . a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance  . . .    Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4

"If there is one thing grievers know, it is how changeable our moods can be.  One moment we are relatively calm, in control, keeping our grief at bay.  The next moment we are overwhelmed, our equilibrium shattered.

Anything can send us off - a fragrance, the words of a song, an article in the newspaper that reminds us of our loss, the first sign of spring - and our loved one not here to share it .  Even minor holidays - like Valentine's Day - can send us reeling.

Other times we are carefree, relishing the moment - the beauty of snow, the warmth of fire, the comfort of hot cocoa, the presence of friends.  And we wonder why we are so susceptible to such mood swings.  We may even wonder about our sanity.  When will my moods be more measured so I am not always in danger of being swept away, of falling through the trapdoor of despair?

Our lives have been shattered by loss.  Of course it will take time for the pieces to come together in any coherent pattern."

Affirmation for Today
I will be patient with myself, honoring the seasons of my grieving, trusting I am on my way to being healed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Roses Are Red" Oil Painting by Artist, Nora Kasten

"Roses Are Red"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on textured canvas  (24"x20")   SOLD

Although I haven't been painting I did attend my first grief support group last night.  It was the right thing to do and I came away very much encouraged.  A passage was read from the book "Healing After Loss"/ Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman that was helpful. 

"This is the Hour of Lead
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons recollect the Snow
First, Chill - then Stupor - then the letting go"

Martha says . . .  .
     "One can scarcely imagine heavier images than those in this poem by Emily Dickinson.  Yet the feeling is familiar to us - a heaviness in our step, in our whole body, a heaviness of mind and heart.
     The Chill is accurate, too - a kind of pervasive lethargy.  We may find it hard to think.  We forget where we put something, what we had planned to do.  (It's a good time for making lists.)
     But we do outlive the Hour of Lead.  The will of the body and spirit is for recovery - even for growth, for there is no recovery without growth."

Affirmation For Today
"Even when I am feeling swallowed in an Hour of Lead, I will try to remember there will be a new time, and a new day."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

NORA KASTEN Acrylic Painting "Grief Abstract"

"Grief Abstract"
Acrylic painting on textured canvas  (24"x48")  March 5, 2011

"This is the painting I started in December, 2010.  I'm done with it and recently hung it up vertically in the studio bathroom . . . . along with some other abstracts.

I keep making all these plans to paint again but I'm just not ready yet"