my . artist run website

I will admit to being behind. Grief does that to a person. Especially to those of us now in the "widow" catagory. Those that have had to join this club know how a spouses death cuts your world in half. It cuts you in half. You can no longet be the person that you were while they were alive. Suddenly, you just do not know what to do. So you do nothing that matters.


The desire to do any new artwork has been swallowed up in grief and cagegiving. Taking care of my father with dementia in the midst of grieving has not been easy during these past seven and a half months since my lover's untimely death. It has afforded me the silence I needed to go through this early part of grief. The price though for shutting out the world to deal with my pain has been the increase of caregiving chores. My father's health is declining. Faster than he will admit. As a result, I have had to spend more time taking care of his basic needs. There is no time to get going on any artwork. No sooner than I start up something when I am interrupted by going to take care of the next thing he has need of. I am on edge all the time, even through my sleep. For the past three months, life has literally been on hold for the next catastrophy to deal with.


There have been many little catastrophies over these past months with caring for my father. I was able to deal with everyone of them. Did not like it, but dealt with it like any other caregiver. There was one large disaster though I did not forsee. My hot water valve sprung a leak and was leaking for a very long time. Maybe a month or more. I discovered the closet which it abides in full of water one day. The results of that leak means that I lost much of my insulation under the house where all that water dripped down during that time I was unaware. I live in a manufactured home so all of the subflooring is particle board and must be removed. My bathroom floor is toast. So is the front hallway and area leading around the closets to the hallway to the bathroom. All of that now has to be replaced.


I wish it was that easy, but this home has several problems that surfaced as a result of the leak. Two closets with electrical wiring must be removed. The whole floor, except for the bedrooms are connected. All of that will have to be removed and replaced as well. In a nutshell, I am looking at having to pack everything up and moving out of the way for the living room, (which I am using for my art studio), the dining room, the kitchen, and the back family room area. Let's not forget the front entrance, the hallways and front bathroom. Plus, the front door has dry rot. It too needs replacing. As well as half of the skirting on this manufactured home. Oh the joys of living in a rain forest on the back of a creek in Oregon!


I obviously have no proof, but I think my husband's spirit is behind all of this. He never really liked the idea of me having to care for my father instead of doing art. This was the nudge I needed to finish my searching for a memory care community to place my father into. His doctor warned me months ago to prepare for the time when I would not be able to care for his needs anymore. She did say it was coming soon. And she was right. His physical health has declined much in the past months. If this leak had not had happened, I would have pushed myself too hard to keep caring for him at risk to both of us. 


As of next week, my father will return to the place I had him in for a month for respite care while I took care of my husband's death. I will tell him tomorrow. I wanted my father to enjoy his birthday today. He turned 89 years old. He will not like it, but the contractor has flat out told me there is no possible way for him to be around the construction. He buried his mother-in-law two and a half years ago who also suffered from dementia. This contractor understands what I am up against. 


My job as a full time caregiver will end after two and a half years. Dear ol' dad ended up in my care four years ago after he suffered a heart attack. I had just finished my K-12 Art Educator's program at Montana State University only three months prior. I never got a chance to apply for any jobs in Montana due to my father health crisis and my new role caring for his needs. It has been a very difficult four years. It was hard on my marriage, it ruined my career goals and now I am back to square one without my husband by my side. My youngest son comes back in two weeks after his year long internship in the Grand Canyon. At least I have him to look forward to.


Like most unknown artists, I will be looking soon for that day job to pay for my passion. How do you start a new life and career when you are closer to retirement? When the past four years have been tied up in the role of caregiver, POA, and managing the daily affairs of those in your life? How do I go back into doing my own artwork when I feel like I have just been sent back to the camp wounded from being on the front lines of an ugly war? I will still have my father to deal with. I still must manage his finances and visit him on a regular basis. Until the his time draws to an end and I must be there for his days of hospice to his end. And another death to grieve. I may be in the camp for now, but those front line days are looming closer and closer. Experienced soldiers only get to go back to continue the fight. And to deal with the grief that comes from those experiences. 


I have almost completed packing up my artwork and will begin taking down my studio soon. The last painting I did was in memory of my love. I called it, "Moment of Inpact." It is my interpretation of that awful moment of his death when his soul/spirit left this world and became once more just pure energy in the universe again. Grief can make one morbid as well some of the time. The painting is done with acrylic paints and I painted over my "Fall of Fundamentalism." That too was a bit morbid, but that is another blog story that will have to wait. 




I did do some artwork during these early months of 2017. Three years ago, my Aunt Betty wanted me to illustrate some poems she composed decades ago for her great grandchildren. Since she is my favorite aunt, I agreed. I do not brag about these drawings. They are for her use only. Done with acyrlic and pen and ink on illustration board. I uploaded the images to my typedrawing app and added the poems. I kept my images simple for her grandchildren and to fit the nature of the poems. I hope you enjoy them. After the floor remodeling is done, I plan on taking a visit to her and giving her the originals. 


Only yesterday did I make myself actually draw something since August.  I chose a photo that my late husband took while we celebrated our first Thanksgiving together five years ago. I made a grid, and just using a number two pencil, I am drawing as close to the photo as possible.  I also took the drawing, "Fall of Fundamentalism" and covered it over with gesso and texturing to begin a new work. I have no idea what I am going to do with it, other than just let the painting process guide me. The drawing is tight and very focused in comparison. The two pieces could not be further apart in approaches. A physical allegory to my widowhood.


It will be his five month death anniversary on the 15th of January. No one tells you how awful grief is. It changes your life like an earthquake leveling your home, and now you sift through the rubble to pick out those things of your life before that are still useful and precious to you. The wind howls, the cold bites your skin, and the feelings of vulnerablity never leave. The days repeat over and over, as you keep finding more things in the ruins of your home. Even that is not a good analogy, but it is all I can think of for now. 


Still, life pushes you on, and you can't spend all your time looking for all that you need to look for. There are jobs to do, people to deal with, and I am no different. My job is caregiving for my father with dementia. It only adds more aftershocks to the already ruined landscape of my life. Yesterday, I finally had to stop looking through my rubble to accomplish my drawing and primed substrate. 


All my adult life, my artmaking process was done because of the memory of a young man drawing wonderful cartoons in my art class in high school. For about a year and a half we dated and admired each others artistic abilities. I always thought he had much more talent than I did. Back in the day, he always was encouraging me to do artwork. Through the next 38 years, I did just that, artwork of any kind, in respect of the relationship we had as first loves to each other. When he found me five and a half years ago, I was finishing up my teaching certification as an Art Teacher k-12 for myself after raising six children. He was so impressed with that accomplishment in my life. All he wanted me to do was make art, once we reunited. Though never enough due to the responsibilities of having to work to pay the bills, I tried to continue to make some artwork when possible. I always did it for him. 


Now that he is gone I feel my reason for doing artwork is gone as well. The joy is just not there. The support he gave me is gone. It feels so pointless now. But, everything I do feels pointless nowadays. Grieving someone so dear and close to me and caregiving my father who is more and more childlike everyday, is a leathal mix leading only to depression and hopelessness. I consider it a miracle to be able to do just what I did these past two days. 


A drawing by Jene-Paul Lemieux 2011



I will not include this painting on my gallery, only because I consider it a baby step. I felt my husband really nudging me this morning to paint. I could not think of anything to paint. The depression is setting in strong this season. So I painted a photograph that I found on my husband's hard drive. It was on the upper Yellowstone River on his first Thanksgiving in Montana. The year was 2011. The painting itself was on some very awful paper, but I have no desire to keep it. Just a practice piece that only took less than two hours to execute. Enjoy.


This has been the hardest month I have ever lived in my life. My love of my life, my high school sweetheart, who found me online only five years dear sweet and funny husband of four and a half years was killed by a drunk driver 33 days ago. My life is upside down and I am in a world of hurting. 


I have no desire to paint, draw, or do any artwork. I see no point, since we were artists together. Dealing with all the "responsibilities" surrounding his death, plus taking care of my elderly father with dementia, (he was in a respite care facility until September 22), have zapped me as well. I have to settle his estate now, so I cannot even think of working in my studio. Nor do I have any clue when I will want to work in it. 


So for now, whatever you see on this webpage is all I have for artwork. I hope you enjoy it. I am posting below just one of the many little drawings my husband use to do. Take care. 


Have you ever hit the wrong button on your email and deleted the wrong stuff? I sure did one day. Turns out it worked in my favor. I had to go to my trash and junk mail to try to find all the mail I wanted back. I never did find them. Yet, as I was going through my junk folder, an email caught my eye. It said they liked my artwork. What? That is a first! So I opened it up.


It was from the company, They manufacture clothing with designers from all over the world, ie artists of all kinds. As I kept checking them out, I liked what I was seeing. They were legit. I had my cynical husband, who has a passion of not trusting anything on the web to check this company out. He thought they were legit as well. If he is content, then I would be. I decided to give it a try.


Once I signed up as a designer, I realized, the company was right. My artwork did look beautiful on their clothing they offered. It was an easy process of uploading up my chosen photo, then resizing and moving it around to fit the piece of clothing I had wanted. After I was done with the process, signed out, it was time to advertise. Over to FaceBook I go to do a trial run on paid advertising my new products. 


I am just in the beginning stages of this new adventure. I hope it is fruitful for me. Only time will tell. If nothing else, I am enjoying doing this immensely.

This will be short and sweet. I have not been able to do much in the way of art due to

  • The Holidays, enough said.
  • Too many doctor and dental appointments.
  • Having to spend too much time cooking gluten-free and from scratch. I am a Celiac, and there is no way out of this. Plus, I have to cook food for the family.
  • Taking care of those little needs of an elderly parent with dementia.
  • Pre-paring for tax season and turning in a very messy year financially for three adults. Now I take a breather and wait for my accountant to do the rest.

There are my lousy excuses. I did just join a newly forming artist collective. I hope life will allow me be more motivated. I have also decided to knuckle down and get my aunt's poems illustrated for her before I loose that chance to make her happy.


The only thing I have been able to produce for the first six weeks of this year is this little piece I call "Glint". Underpainting of acrylic with charcoal on top. I just drove by this in my neighborhood and loved how the sunlight hit the little stream. Hope you enjoy it too.


Sometimes, when you least expect it, something good happens when you need it most. After a string of "so-so" works of art, I finally did a piece I really liked. Funny thing is, I was madder than hell. So frustrated and upset. Maybe that is what I need to do more often. "Night Storm", took only two hours to do. I have drawn this cloud formation twice. Once, in a small sketch, and once as a very large sketch for a painting. The painting was horrible, and I threw it out. This time, just taking some charcoal to one illustration board, in a fit of rage caused me to nail what I have always wanted to say about this cloud/storm formation. I am really happy with this drawing. I do believe it is one of my best works so far.

The smaller pencil rough draft is below.