Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Apr 22

The Good, the Bad–and the Night of a Thousand Waterfalls

I’ve got the Good, the Bad and the Ugly all over the place this week – take your pick:

The Good~ my back is getting better.  It is finally happening.  I am a happy camper about this news, and I don’t mind saying that it’s about darned time. 

The Good and the Bad – Craig had a lot of tests last week, both at the ER and after.  Today, he received the results of his lab work and everything has come back normal. The pain still persists, but there is nothing to explain it. 

The Ugly – next up on the list of ‘by process of elimination’ tests to be performed? Colonoscopy, or what we like to call: Night of a Thousand Waterfalls. Winking smile

The Good ~ It’s been 10 months since I began painting full time and I am now beginning to sell my paintings on a fairly regular basis.  The owner of the shop/gallery that houses my art sends me a text every time an original piece sells.  This month has been my best thus far with eleven pieces sold.  It’s funny, because when I sell at the gallery, my online shop (Etsy) is terribly slow.  When nothing sells at the gallery, things pick up on Etsy. 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recent painting here, so I thought I’d share my latest with you:

I generally tend to paint according to how I feel.  Before Craig went into the ER I had a plan for this painting: a sky streaked with dawn’s beautiful colors.  Three dimensional butterflies would be glued to the canvas and arranged as if they were flying into the breeze.

I tend to be an emotional painter.  When I’m in a good mood, I paint with bright colors and when I’m upset I gravitate to darker colors. I don’t realize this as I’m painting, however.  As I began to worry more about Craig I continued to work on the painting when I needed to relieve my mind from the chaos inside.  Without really realizing it I’d painted the sky nearly pitch black and my original idea of the butterflies no longer worked or made sense. 

I tried everything I could think of to add another subject to this painting but nothing would come.  Finally, I decided to sleep on it.  By 4 AM I awoke to my answer of why Old Man Tree was smiling:  he was happy to see daylight because that meant the child in the house would soon be coming out to play.

I think I agonized over this painting more than any other I’ve ever done.  At the same time, it’s received the most positive attention from any other painting I’ve done. There’s a lesson in there, somewhere….

…one more ‘Good’ thing before I go – at least it will be to those of you who, like me, love David Sedaris: a new book of essays comes out this week.  The title: Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls makes zero sense to me, which is why I must get this book immediately! 


Craig and I thank you all for your kind thoughts regarding his mysterious condition.  We’ll figure this out – and when we do, we look forward to both of us being healthy… at the same time!  Wouldn’t that be something?!


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  1. Jan says:

    I absolutely LOVE this painting! You are quite the talented woman!

    So glad to hear about your back improving, but hate to hear about Craig and no answers to his pain. I will definitely be keeping him in my prayers (wisdom for the doctors for sure).

    • Ellen says:

      Hi, Jan~ It’s so good to hear from you, and I hope things are going well over there for you and the family. You are a prayer warrior, as my mother calls them, and I am grateful to you for thinking of us – thank you!

  2. Hanlie says:

    The painting is not showing in my browser – I’m at work – but I think you had it up on Facebook? I’m obsessed with tree pictures at the moment because I have decided that I’m going to get a tattoo – my very first one! – and it has to be a tree of life.

    I’m so glad your back is getting better. Have you checked out the emotional causes for back pain? Louise L. Hay has a whole list of what our conditions “mean” and how we can fix them by healing our emotions.

    Good luck to Craig! I hope he gets a diagnosis and appropriate treatment soon.

    • Ellen says:

      Yes, Hanlie – that painting I’ve been working on for well over a week with the big moon on the right hand side and the little cottage underneath. I don’t know why that wouldn’t come up in your browser…hmm. Sorry about that.
      I have actually watched news shows on the back and how emotions can play a part in our pain. I think it’s very fascinating and would probably find a lot of similarities, I’m sure. I’ll have to check out Louise L. Hay – I don’t think I’ve ever read anything of hers – thank you for the mention!

  3. vickie says:

    A reminder. How I treat my lower back, when it is doing well (which is actually all the time) is no different than how I treat my back when it is painful. I get my extensive hamstring stretches in EVERY time I exercise. I use my lumbar support pillows every time. I watch my positioning in everything I do. I modify my stance in my exercise classes. I do not run. Honestly now I do not even walk for exercise. I hit the elliptical for intervals 3 times a week. I am one bad decision away from back problems every minute of every day. I know this. I am very preventive.

    • Ellen says:

      All very, very good reminders. Walking is my main means of exercise and probably will be from this point forward. It is the only thing that has helped me feel less pain – just the act of repetitive walking.
      Your comment about treating your back as if it IS in pain even when it isn’t is worth repeating because it is an ongoing process, and you’re right – one step away from an injury always needs to be front and center in the mind.

  4. Val says:

    So glad to hear your back is feeling better Ellen!

    & here I sit, immobilized by MY fear of foot pain – sure, I’ve been doing yoga here & there, intermittently jumping on the elliptical, but it’s as if I’m afraid to put my feet to the test by hitting the track again…

    Hope Craig gets some answers soon as well!

    • Ellen says:

      Hiya, Val!! I completely understand your hesitation. I think as we get older we realize how precious time is and we don’t want to waste it on sitting around recovering. I hope you’re getting some relief with your pain!

  5. tree peters says:

    I love the stories of what you were thinking while creating this painting.
    Even more sounds like a children’s story to me…. I’m either going to write something or ask Em to. I think I’ll ask her to tell me the story of the picture…
    I LOVE It!!

  6. didi says:

    You sold eleven pieces in ONE WEEK?!? Holy crow! When that happens to me I’m going to wet myself with joy, cause I’ll be able to afford fancy new pantyhose anyway.
    My friend who wants more of my art for her store told me to go to the art gallery in town with some pieces, but I’ve not mustered up the courage yet. Soon… I want to figure out how to get the best possible prints first (to sell on etsy). Tips? Do you use any specific lighting techniques when you are photographing your pieces for prints?
    You should be uber proud of yourself!!

    • Ellen says:

      Eleven during the month of April, Didi. I think a lot of it might have to do with the fact that it’s tax time and people are getting their refund checks, thus splurging a little bit…..but you know, Etsy has been as quiet as a church mouse. Hardly anyone coming to the shop to browse, really. This proves to me that I’ve got to get busy on becoming more visible – period. I think that’s key for me. Your friend is absolutely right. You’ve got to get out there and show your work in person. Believe me, I KNOW how hard this is. I can sell the hell out of someone else’s work – but my own? The confidence isn’t the same. I’ll email you…

  7. Sharon says:

    One of these days I’ll get around to buying one of your pieces of art. I’d love to get something compatible with the one I purchased from Kyra so I could hang them together. Ideally, I could come pick it up in person!!! Wouldn’t that be great! Keep us posted on Craig. Loved the “night of the thousand waterfalls” especially since I’ve experienced it myself fairly recently.

    • Ellen says:

      Sharon, I would love nothing more than to open my studio to you! And to have something of mine hanging not only in your home but next to Kyra’s work would be an honor :)

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