Its Monday AGAIN

Strength Triptych each section is 40 x 25" acrylic on paper.  Framed
Strength Triptych each section is 40 x 25″ acrylic on paper. Framed

It is Monday again.

Monday with all that entails.
The hopes and dreads.
The fresh start and the repetition of again.

Opposites colliding?  Maybe.

Opposites inhabiting a shared time and space?  Definitely.

We don’t live in an either / or world.

More often than not truth is found in both / and.

Black or white is not so black and white.

Gwen Meharg 30 x 22 " acrylic on watercolor paper.
Gwen Meharg 30 x 22 ” acrylic on watercolor paper.

I love painting with black.  A rainbow of hidden colors explode when water is added.
Black paintings are “hard to sell” and that is too bad because a black painting makes a statement.

The statement?  Well, there will be many,
but the statement is always one of defiance.
A refusal to be defined.  A refusal to be limited.   A refusal to be seen one dimensionally.

It is Monday again.

The last Monday with my eldest daughter, artist and author Ruth Meharg, and her husband, artist and men’s fashion illustrator Matthew Sunflowerman Miller.  They leave on their next grand adventure Wednesday.  They begin in Italy.  Then an island off of Africa.  Then who knows.

To say that we will miss them is an incredible understatement.
To say that we are thrilled about their adventure is another understatement.
Opposite emotions residing in a single heart, a single mind.

Easy answers are cheap.  Certainty is cheap.

Detail of work in progress by Gwen Meharg
Detail of work in progress by Gwen Meharg

Faith.  Not knowing.  Hope.  Defying not knowing.

I used to believe in either / or.

I don’t any more.
I am becoming ever more intimate with both / and.

Kiss My Great Aunt Fanny

Confession.  I do nor did I ever have a Great Aunt Fanny.

Gwen Meharg in front of Transition painting.
Gwen Meharg in front of Transition painting.

I had an Aunt Mary who was ALL KINDS of magnificent.
Aunt Mary is my Auntie role model.  Everything I know about Auntie-ing I learned from Aunt Mary.
She could balance a tea cup on her massive breats!  She rocked full figure.
I was enamored as a child  and after I grew up we developed a deeper relationship and she was even more awesome.  I saw her cut out a blouse pattern and sew it by HAND in an afternoon.

There was a cousin Franny and there was a Boo bouncing around the family tree, but no Fanny.
you DO know what I am saying, dontcha?

This morning I took Wesley on this morning walk before Jubilee left for school.  If I leave before 7: 45 my walk is in the shade.  I love shade.  Not all of it is in the shade.

I was wearing my, “Oh Lord, I am gonna sweat and I hate sweating!” clothes.  They fit close and are supposed to magically wick away puddles of perspiration.  They sorta work.

Freedom From Expectations by Gwen Meharg 30 x 22 " watercolor and collage on watearcolor paper
Freedom From Expectations by Gwen Meharg 30 x 22 ” watercolor and collage on watercolor paper

Passing between shadows the morning sun caught me from behind and there to the left and in front of me, N by NW, was my shadow!  I liked how the low angle of the sun elongated my physique.  From the inside of my head I look like that shadow.  Long and lean.

From the outside I am formerly 5’6”, currently 5’5”, and 175 pounds.  I have been 175 pounds since my bonus baby arrived 11 ½ years ago.  I am reconciled to 175.  I am less reconciled to outweighing my father-in-law by 40 pounds, but such is life!

My shadow melted back into the tree shadows and my mind took a meandering journey.

Carolyn.  Carolyn was one of my best friends.  She died when Peter was four months old.  Peter is 17.  I have lost a great many friends.  Carolyn is the only one who I still reach for the phone to call.

Carolyn was brilliant.  She was talented.  She was kind.  Carolyn could say things and I would hear her.

My shadow reminded me of one time when Carolyn came for a visit.  She would bring her embroidery scissor and snip knots from out Ribbons’, mane.  Ribbons, our black and white long haired cat with the spirit of a dog.  Snip.  Snip.  Snip.  Just a few hairs at a time.  She was so careful and gentle.

Ribbons loved Carolyn, too.

One visit I opened the door and she was so thin.  She looked great!  Just like a magazine model!
Carolyn had been away for treatment and my voluptuous curvy friend came home model thin.

She was sick.  Very sick and she looked magnificent.  We talked about it.  How horrifying that to look like the models, the ideal, one had to be dying.

What is wrong with us when death is our standard of beauty?

Perspective by Gwen Meharg 22 x 20" watercolor on paper
Perspective by Gwen Meharg 22 x 20″ watercolor on paper

Wesley caught scent of a bunny and my mind wandered down its own rabbit trail.  Models.  Magazines.  Clothing.  Thin Within.  Thin Within is a women’s large size clothing catalog that showed up unsolicited in our mailbox.  UGH!

Husband David doesn’t rant or rail often but Thin WIthin set him off.   “Look at the name of this catalog.  Thin WITHIN! It is so offensive.  They are targeting large women and through the title insinuating that they can gain value by embracing their inner thin-girl.  That by wearing cloths offering the illusion of thinness they are okay!”

My misogyny radar is usually tightly tuned but I missed it.  David, deep thinker that he is, did not miss it.

I remember hearing conversations in both Poland and Ukraine that ran along the lines of, “How can she let herself be so fat?  Why doesn’t her husband leave her?”

Maybe she was THIN WITHIN! (She replied snarkily through clenched teeth.)

Jonquel Norwood. Holiday Series 2015
Jonquel Norwood. Holiday Series 2015

Look!  Geese migrating!  Migrating.  Migration.  Jonquel.  Jonquel and Kirkland moved from New Orleans to Atlanta to NYC.  Thriving.  Jonquel’s art is taking off.  Jonquel, her magnificent self and magnificent art.  Isn’t Jonquel the best name ever for an artist!      

Jonquel and her husband are Ruth and Matthew’s dear friends from SCAD Atlanta.  Jubilee and I stayed a couple times with them when we were in Atlanta to see Ruth.  Jonquel came to Ruth’s wedding and fixed Faith’s hair.  Her illustrations are all sorts of wonderful.  She is building her name painting curvy women.

Jonquel is a curvy woman.  Through her art she and others are seeing and embracing the beauty of curves.  I am so proud of my beautiful friend.

Jonquel Norwood Fashion Illustrator.
Jonquel Norwood
Fashion Illustrator.

Death be afraid.

I am learning to embrace myself.  I have a way to go.  I have not worn a swim suit in years.  Before Jubilee was born I swam 3 to five miles a week.  In July for Josiah’s 21st birthday the entire family floated down the San Marcos River together.  Six kids, two spouses, and my spouse, David, the aforementioned feminist hero.  IT WAS AWESOME.

I could not even find my swim suit so  I wore my nifty sweat wicking pants and a long sleeved shirt.  I looked thin within.  SNORT!

I don’t look like my shadow.
Do I have to be a shadow of myself before I am acceptable to myself?
Am I playing into death’s game?

I DID eat a doughnut and a mini-cinnamon roll and almond and ginger cookies for lunch yesterday, but I had company so it doesn’t count.


I am 55.  I am strong.  Mostly.  I compensate and find ways to work around the inconveniences of aches and pains.  Genetically speaking, I have another 40 years to go.  It is time to love myself and my body.  Within and without.

Two Choices by Gwen Meharg 30 x 22" watercolor on paper
Two Choices by Gwen Meharg 30 x 22″ watercolor on paper

A shadow is not a good role model.
I don’t want to be a shadow.
I want to be the whole enchilada.

Hmmm.  Enchiladas.
Didn’t eat breakfast.
Wesley and I walked over a mile this morning.
(Uphill both ways!)

Gotta go.  Eat.


Transition Into Now.

Transition by Gwen Meharg 4 x 5 ' Acrylic on Canvas with Rice Paper Collage
Transition by Gwen Meharg 4 x 5 ‘ Acrylic on Canvas with Rice Paper Collage

Each word.
A finer point.

Fine points.
Sometimes they hurt.  If they are mishandled.
Fine points.
Sometimes they are just what we need.  If we know how to use them.

My friend Claudia introduced me to felting.
My artist daughter Ruth taught me how.

Paintings March 2014 074
Searching for Home. by Gwen Meharg 22 x 30″ 2014 Acrylic on paper with Hand Carved Linocuts

Long thin notched needles are used to hand felt.
I’ve felted my way through several packages of 50.
Ruth still uses her first felting needle.

Stylistic difference?

Today my bonus baby, Jubilee, waited under a pomegranate tree for the school bus.
I home schooled for 22 years.

For both of us this year will be vastly new.
This year I focus on the marketing side of my art business.
This year Jubilee is going into 6th grade.

Benbrook built a new “middle school” this year and we thought Jubilee would go there.  Nope.
They decided to move the elementary school students into the new building and move the middle school students into the 28 year old elementary school.  (I watched the elementary school being built so to me, it will always be the “new school.”)  The street between the elementary school and the middle/high school was closed off to make one enormous middle school/high school campus.  The middle school students will cross over to the high school for extra curriculars and lunch.

Sixth graders are so tiny.  Twelfth graders are SO BIG!

Paintings March 2014 068
All That Glitters by Gwen Meharg 12 x 10″ Acrylic on Paper

Jubilee has five older siblings.
Jubilee is NOT intimidated by the older kids.
Actually, she is not easily intimidated.

Not easily, but occasionally. 

This morning Wesley, our 70 pound boxer mix, and I walked the half mile to the bus stop with Jubilee.  (Uphill in the rain!) She did not need us there.  She rode her brother Peter’s scooter.  We could not keep up.  Infrequently she deemed to wait for us.  We were thankful.

Jubilee was chill.  Wesley was NOT chill.
He suspected something ominous was about to go down.  It did.  Jubilee pulled her chair out of the neighbor’s bushes and plopped down to wait for the bus.  We left Jubilee at the bus stop.

Wesley and I walked home.
Wesley whimpered.  I groaned about the humidity.

At 8:30, school start time, Wesley and I drove to the bus stop to take Jubile to school.
The bus did not come.
She was chill.  Wesley was ecstatic.
We drove the two miles to school and spied a passel of students in a myriad of sizes trudging up a zig zag wooden pathway to a bottleneck of a door.  They disappeared into the building.

River Glow II by Gwen Meharg 24 x 24 ” Acrylic, Gold Leaf, Acrylic Collage on Canvas. Available at Dahlia Woods Gallery in San Marcos, Texas.

An image of German prisoners marching to the gas chambers flashed before my eyes.  I shook it off.

I pulled our painted van over and told her to follow the crowd.

That is not really what I want her to do.
Follow the crowd.
I want her to make her own way.
And try not to step on others along the way.

This morning,
she followed the crowd.

As an artist the push and pull of the crowd is very real.
Follow the muse.
Keep clients happy.
Consider this year’s Pantone IT colors?
Consider decorator trends?


I want to make paintings that invite stories.  I want my paintings to create ambiance.   I want my paintings that invite contemplation.  ( I read that looking at a painting for three hours can make you smarter.  I want to paint paintings that won’t be boring after three hours. )  I want to make paintings that incite passions.

River Glow I by Gwen Meharg 24 x 24" Acrylic, Gold Leaf and Acrylic collage on Canvas. Available at Dahlia Woods Gallery in San Marcos, Texas
River Glow I by Gwen Meharg 24 x 24″ Acrylic, Gold Leaf and Acrylic collage on Canvas. Available at Dahlia Woods Gallery in San Marcos, Texas

I am prolific.  A jump in with both feet kind of spirit. Juggling children and art has been my passion for 27 years.

Can I even make art without the energy of children in the house?  Can I paint if I am not juggling?  Do I even remember how to focus?

I hope so.

It is 2:15 and I have a business call at 2:30.  I pick Jubilee up at 3:30.  We have an appointment at the barn at 4.  I don’t even know if swim team starts today, later this week, or next week.  The boys were supposed to tell me and we all forgot and watched the closing ceremonies of the 31st Olympics.  My calendar for tomorrow is full.  Next Wednesday my eldest and her husband move to Italy.

It was good to have Ruth and Matthew home today.  I helped with a photo shoot.  I was not lonely.  It was not silent. I don’t remember silent.

Poor Wesley.  He is hanging off his doggie bed, his head under my chair.  Wesley reveled in the early summer hubbub of everyone here.   Eleven human beings.  Family dog heaven.

Harvest Moon mixed media on paper (acrylic, watercolor, collage) 22 x 22
Harvest Moon
mixed media on paper (acrylic, watercolor, collage) 22 x 22

Every once and a while Wesley and I hear thunder.

It is 2:28.
I am glad I have you to keep me company.

Very sincerely, Gwen Meharg