Friday, March 26, 2010

Going Gray

I have been toying with the idea of going gray for some time now. I am just so tired of coloring it. Not that I don't like how it looks! I love the red and I'm fairly certain I am NOT going to love the gray. What I am going to love is not having to go through the monthly coloring process. Seeing the roots appear and thinking "Didn't I just color it last week?" Having to time the coloring around important events. Forgetting to buy the hair color on several consecutive grocery store trips. Finally plunking down the ten bucks, and thinking how much money have I spent on hair color in the last twenty years? At $10 a month, 12 times a year for twenty years is $2400. Not really THAT bad.

I'm now rereading a book called "Going Gray" by Anne Kreamer. I actually read it about a year ago and found it very interesting, but at that point I wasn't really "ready." Still there was a lot of information provided by Kreamer that stuck with me. She estimated that her salon-dyed hair, done every three weeks, might have cost $65,000 since she began the hair coloring process. Wow! Made me feel pretty smug about my $2400 except when I consider this: If I could afford salon-dyed hair, I would probably not be going gray right now. It's the actual dying process that I hate so much. The fact that I need a block of scheduled time when my husband won't be in the house because he is very sensitive to the fumes, and then I have to open windows and run fans to air out the house. The fact that I know I will get hair dye on the bathmat, or the floor, or a cabinet, and frequently I won't notice until the dye is set and can't be removed. The fact that I know I'm not doing a very good job on the back of my head, and most likely there will be a patch I missed. The fact that the skin around my hairline, and my whole scalp as well, will be as auburn as my hair for a few days. The fact that it will only look good for about a week, and then the color starts to fade and the new roots start showing. The fact that I can't dress warmly for this process, or at all; and in the winter it's damn cold in the bathroom with the window open!

Of course the idea that I have been letting my head soak in toxic chemicals seeping into my brain on a regular basis for twenty+ years is a sobering thought as well.

I had this notion that I could just dye my hair gray, and then as the new gray grew out I would avoid the skunk look. I was dismayed to learn that there is no gray dye, and I would just have to let it grow out, inch by snail-slow inch. Several people have suggested getting highlights, or streaks, but as I know the highlights wouldn't be the same color as my new gray, I don't really see the advantage of having three colors of hair. It's actually getting a little easier now as I pass out of the "doesn't she know it's time to color her hair?!" stage into the "looks like she is going gray!" stage. These pictures, taken this week, show about three months growth since my last pre-Christmas color application.

One thing that I did was tell just about everyone I know that I am going gray. This has not necessarily made the process easier, but made it more of a commitment to me, and less likely that I would change my mind over a few months of painful growing out. It's interesting telling people -- they are pretty much in two predictable camps. The people who have gray hair think it's great -- one more convert to their side! The people who color their hair are appalled, and are quick to tell me that I'm not going to like it; I'm going to look older, etc. Well, I know all that. I'm not expecting to like how it looks, and I know I will look older. However, Anne Kreamer talks about an interesting study she did when researching for her book. I won't go into any detail (read the book!) but her research showed that on average, people look four years older with gray hair. That was a relief to me -- I was imagining looking 10 or 12 years older. I can deal with four. So what if I look 52? ;-D
My husband has been very supportive and that has helped me persevere. It's also nice that the new color seems to be a somewhat pleasant silver that is fairly even over my head. It looks healthy and shiny and I'm hoping to adjust and not hate it. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is it spring yet?

Signs of spring are in the air! (along with the pine pollen...) After a cold and wet weekend (a continuation of a cold and wet winter), Monday was glorious and today equally so! Yesterday Sparky and I went for a walk -- not our usual walk for exercise, but more of a leisurely stroll to see what changes had come with the warm weather. The redbuds have been blooming for a few days and now look to be at their peak. Here's a pretty one, with a Tedd Pettibon sculpture in the background.

Spring green is evident everywhere, as most trees are budding out and plants are emerging from the ground. The early blooming flowers are opening here and there, and white irises by the pond have been putting on a show for several days. We just planted them last year (I think) and there aren't many, but I treasure every one. I'm not even sure if they spread, but I hope so. In the same area we have Byzantine Gladiolas, one of my very favorites. The foliage is up but so far no signs of the beautiful magenta blooms, but it can't be too long off now.

As you might imagine, Sparky loves to take walks, and especially pond detours. The recent cold weather kept even this dedicated swimmer out of the water, but he's in and out all day now.

We have two kinds of violets coming up in the yard, and sorry, I don't know the names. (But I'll find out if you're interested!) One type I bought at a nursery and planted near the kitchen steps, and it has spread all over and is hopefully going to fill in betwen the flagstones where I can't get anything to grow. Too shady there for many plants, and I'm sure it doesn't drain well either, but the violets seem to be very happy. Yay! The ones pictured below are the wild ones that I've been nurturing. I keep weeding around them and each year they get bigger and right now they are blooming and so pretty! These MIGHT be called dogtooth violets.

But the best thing I saw on my walk was when I peeked in one of the nestboxes to see if anyone was making a nest, and not only was there a nest, but four perfect little blue eggs! I don't know if bluebirds in other parts of the country use pine needles for their nests, but that's what they use here. Their nests are so tidy and organized -- at least until the babies hatch out. I found another nest in another nestbox, but clearly not a bluebird nest -- it used different materials and looked thrown together haphazardly, at least when compared to the skills of Mama Bluebird. I hope we have a successful fledging -- I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Go Green" Art Show

This past Saturday night was the opening of a three-person show at the Linda Watson Gallery in Conroe, TX. The invitation, featuring my watercolor "Fragile Planet", is shown at left. Of course it's too small to see much detail but you could always go to my etsy page for better viewing!

The show featured the works of Paula McCullough, Jo Farmer, and myself. All of our works fit the "go green" theme, although in different ways. Paula works mostly with found objects and materials, thus repurposing and keeping metal and plastic (and puzzle pieces!) out of the landfill. She has a series of 100 clocks made with railroad tie plates (they hold the rail to the tie) and assorted other cool found stuff. She also had some fairly large mixed media pieces, several combined with her photographs. To see her work, including the pieces in this show, click on her name to check out her great website!

Jo Farmer is a painter who combines other materials to create some interesting mixed media pieces. She had several black and white paintings, two of which were landscapes with trees, and she had collaged on twigs she collected after Hurricane Ike which really gave the pieces dimension, not to mention a conversational starting point! She had a colorful group of paintings as well, some of which featured flowers she had fashioned out of colorful used saris and then attached to painted canvas or wood. They were bright and beautiful and certainly a creative repurposing of discarded clothing!

My own work was watercolors featuring mostly trees, which fit the theme by celebrating our native landscapes, as well as by the extensive use of the color green. My "Fragile Planet" piece (prints available! ;-D) is more directly related to the state of our planet, and is meant as a plea to value nature enough to purposefully take steps to preserve it. This piece has been used to advertise the upcoming Earth Day 2010 celebration in The Woodlands, Texas, and will be featured on tee shirts to be worn by volunteers, as well as sold to the public.

Although Paula, Jo and I were the featured artists for the show, there were other pieces in the show; paintings and three-dimensional art as well, most notably the turned wood pieces by the master of the lathe, Lonnie Gannon. This artist uses all types of wood to make his incredible creations, some of which feature inlaid turquoise and other materials. They are stunning!

It was a wonderful evening with a great turnout! Gallery owners Joe and Jean Fleshner provided wine, green punch, and a variety of green food for a fun and festive refreshment table, as well as serving as the consummate host and hostess. If you saw a work of art that you just can't get out of your mind, go back over to the Linda Watson Gallery and let Joe or Jean help you make it your own!

It was a great night to visit with old friends, such as celebrity Dan Phillips of The Phoenix Commotion, and the irrepressible Dru Southworth, sister of wood-turner Lonnie Gannon. You all missed a fun time!

Friday, March 12, 2010


This is a little animation that my husband Martin made. Isn't it cool?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finally finished this one!

This is a watercolor I finished last week. I framed it and shipped it and it's out of my possession in transit somewhere. This was a wedding gift for my nephew Charlie and his bride Janae. Only problem is they are going on their second anniversary! There's no timeline on gifts, right? I think Ms. Manners would say that one has a year to present a gift, but as far as I know, Ms. Manners never had to paint a gift! And I didn't have to either, and in spite of my tardiness, it is a gift I wanted to give. Other stuff kept coming up and bumping this to the back of the line.

Portraits, or figures, is not something I really like to paint. It's a little painstaking for me...feels too labored trying to get a likeness, and most of the time a likeness is what's most important to the people who are pictured. But it is kind of fun doing paintings of people in my extended family. I think I came pretty close on this, and I hope they like it. One unique note -- they were married on the same day (two years later) as Martin and me. Best wishes, Charlie and Janae!