Saturday, February 10, 2018

For Valentine's Day




When I was a little girl I loved the different holidays, Christmas being my favorite as it is to this day. . In those days  my mother made most of my cloths. I did not have a lot , school cloths, (back then I wore skirts and dresses to school,) play cloths and best cloths for church and get togethers with relatives on holidays. For Easter I was given new cloths and I enjoyed seeing everyone dressed up with hats and gloves. Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas were feast days. I have always loved good food. Halloween was fun to get dressed up and go trick and treat. For Valentine’s day all the children in my class in grammar school would bring valentine cards and we would put them into a decorated box.and then draw them out one by one. I can remember putting my favorite ones into a scrap book. My grammar school had 8 rooms one for each grade. and the valentine box was a tradition every year. 
After art school I had a job as a greeting card designer.  As a little girl I drew animals dressed as people, and real animals like deer, rabbits and such and I liked fairies and little people so I have always liked cards and illustrated children books.
Here is a short history of Valentine’s Day. . St Valentine  was a priest from Rome in the third century AD. He secretly married soldiers,. Marriage for soldiers  was forbidden  by  Emperor Claudius. Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.There, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed "from your Valentine".
The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February - officially the start of their springtime.t's thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They'd be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they'd get married.
Later on, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine too.Gradually, St Valentine's name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved. 
I have a great collection of Christmas cards that I have saved through  the years and every Christmas I hang them  on ribbons  taped to doors and other places.I can’t remember getting Valentines after grammar school  so I decided to look them up on the computer and found every kind imaginable. I am celebrating  Valentine’s day this year, printing out on my computer some of the beautiful, cute and funny cards I found. 

This day is mostly for lovers or those that love one another. Love needs to be expanded, because the word has a narrow meaning when it really encompasses everything. I believe everything is created from love. It is an emotion that can’t be defined only felt. Here are some of the actions that love creates, passion, compassion, respect, forgiveness, surrender, kindness, deep affection, enjoyment, caring, appreciation for. It is action, a force, It is entanglement, It is giving and receiving. Everything needs love or it withers  or even dies. One can also love nature, for its beauty and the peaceful feeling it emanates. So I think we should up grade Valentines’s day and send our love forth. Who knows , it may bring peace to the planet. 













Friday, January 12, 2018

A New Year

Full moon on Jan1 2018

before sunset


Happy New Year. Christmas is over and I have taken down and put away all my decorations. I cut off all the branches of my 7 foot tree and took them out in bags to the compost pile, adding them to the   pile where the  large Christmas trees from Ya Po Ah were thrown. Christmas is well celebrated at Ya Po Ah. Every Christmas season a huge sign with lights is put on top of the 20 story building  that says Peace on Earth.
 Now it is time to get back to painting. The last few days I have been looking through some of my many art books. One is titled What is Art, very well written and the other books I looked at were A Life in Photography Steichen and Masters of the Camera. When I was going to the Museum School in Boston the Museum of Fine arts, which was across the street from the school,  had a photography show called The Family of Man. It was organized by Steichen around 1955. Some photos were very large and gave such an impact on me I never forgot that show.  If only it could be seen again now as it showed  all cultures and races participating in life as we all live it, celebrating  traditions, eating, playing, singing, fighting, loving, as the family of Man. Our needs and desires are the same.
Steichen was a commercial photographer. He photographed many famous people and worked for magazines like Vogue. He had an eye for composition and uniqueness. Here is an interesting story he relates. He spent time in Europe and in 1901 while living in Paris he went to a show of paintings in a small room where the paintings were hung side by side and one above the other. He said he had never seen anything like them and he didn’t know what to make of them. He went back the next day to have another look. There were no visitors in the gallery. The painting were painted by Van Gogh, He could buy one for $ 200.00. None sold. Steichen said now , this was 1962 that the paintings were probably worth two million. In 1990 a Van Gogh sold for 82.5 million. In ten years Van Gogh  painted 900 paintings and made 1000 drawings and accomplished this  body of work with episodes of depression and poor health. Van Gogh was 37 when he died in 1890. Vincent said he wanted to give happiness to people by creating beauty. It took awhile for people to recognize that beauty.
There is always the controversy of commercial art  that one does for money averse to paintings done by painters who were free to paint what they wished. Steichen introduced Stieglitz to most of the painters and sculptors who showed in Stieglitz’s gallery. Stieglitz had money and support from family and friends,  and he believed Steichen as a commercial photographer did so merely for money. This riff broke the friendship of two masters and they did not communicate for years. Great men and women produce great art whatever their circumstances. All the famous artists of the Renaissance before and and after were commissioned  by the church and wealthy merchants. 
Here is another Steichen story. A painter friend was commissioned to paint J P Morgan’s portrait. Morgan didn’t like sitting so Steichen took some photos of the pose for the artist to use as reference. Steichen also took sone candid shots one being this photo that when I saw it I thought the hand held a knife. In reality Morgan’s hand was  firmly grasping the arm of the chair. Over the years people have referred to the insight into Morgan’s real character.

In the What is Art book it was stating that the forms art take are determined by forces within the times that demand appropriate expression.The Gothic cathedral summarized the spiritual aspirations of an age when man lived in terrible times, wars, torture, disease, and poverty. They had their faith witnessed by the soaring forms of the  Cathedrals. that  were indeed mystical feats of engineering. I looked up Chartres on the  internet. Incredibly it was built in 26 years on the site of previous churches  that had burnt down. The towers were still intact from the previous church. I saw and was in Chartres in 1958. It is the most spiritual place I have been in. 
J P Morgan

an enhanced photo of Steichen

a picture is worth a thousand words

My photo of one of the many homeless in Eugene

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas letter 2017

Christmas 2017

I spent this Sunday December 10, decorating. All my Christmas treasures that were on display throughout the house in Maine are now in my SMALL studio apartment. 400 sq ft.  Chris took me Friday morning to the storage place and I got all my boxes of decorations. He put up the 7 foot tree as soon as we got back to Ya Po Ah and then left for the farm. Friday noon was the Christmas dinner in the Ya PO AH dinning room. Everyone dresses up, the tables are decorated and it is a grand occasion.  The children's ballet came in the afternoon and performed a 45 minute version of the Nutcracker. There ages were 10 t0 16 and these kids have been dancing since they were 5 years old. Tuesday Ya PO AH had a buss trip to hear the youth orchestra of about sixty students at the South Eugene High School.These young students play like professionals. The boys wore black suits, the girls white blouses and black skirts. The conductor wore tails.   the program :  first movement from Symphony#5 Tchaikovsky, selections from West Side Story, finale from Symphony #3, Mahler and  finale from Symphony #2 Sibelius. I was  AMAZED. The auditorium was mostly full, several hundred I would guess. These are the advantages of living is a city with a population of about a hundred fifty thousand. There is so much going on especial this time of year and a lot of the entertainment is free. I feel I am living in the best part of town, near the parks, the river and some older beautiful homes in this neighborhood. 
I painted 35 paintings this year, mostly watercolors, some at Chris’s farm where I painted outside and the rest Eugene scenes painted from photos I take on my daily walks. eight were acrylic abstracts of my sacred geometry series. Many images  are posted on my blog spot. audreybechler.blogspot.com The blog spot is a running history of my life in Eugene.
Douglas has been working on my house that he and Christina bought. Through the years he worked on the inside and he and Chris also did the roof of the house and some shingling. This year Doug all by himself put a foundation under the house and has completely fixed the outside including the barn. Inside he turned the attic space into two beautiful rooms. I believe he has posted many photos of the construction on his face book page. Christina worked on a couple of farms all summer as well as helping Doug. Chris never has time off working on his farm Rebel Spirit Cannabis. About once a week Chris would pick me up on his way to the farm and I would spend the day there  and when he left work he would drop me off at Ya Po Ah, on his way home.
Part of the summer I spent in Waldoboro with Doug and Christine. I painted, swam, saw most of my friends and went to art shows. Chris came to  Maine for a week and we had a good time together, no work all play, Chris and I left on the same day but had different flights  We wanted to be in Eugene for the full eclipse of the sun. Doug flew out the end of August to Eugene to help Chris construct another barn. Fires had been burning  in different states all summer. When Doug was here the smoke was blown into this valley and it was like thick fog, I wore a mask if I went outside. Yes the planet was moving and shaking, floods, wind storms earth quakes and fire. 
Back at Ya Po AH  I enjoyed the summer days, riding my bicycle along the river and floating in the water at the spot that people, ducks, and dogs come to enjoy the river. Lots of people also drift down the river in the current and I watched them pass by on their colorful tubes and rafts.  By the end of September I was the only one in the water with the ducks and geese. Every Saturday I shopped for fresh food at the outdoor farmer’s market and a few times I watched the people and listened to the music in the craft section. I love that so many people of all ages are out enjoying  themselves, at the parks, or sitting in outside cafes. Ya Po Ah organizes one or two bus trips  a month to interesting places outside Eugene and I enjoy those trips, to the coast,  inland lakes and waterfalls, interesting towns and festivals. Chris invited  me to his house for some wonderful meals. He is such a great cook I appreciate those meals. 

Diane, Chris’s wife  teaches school and manages the business end of the cannabis farm and she and Chris are overwhelmed with the work. Would we do  the things we do if we knew the the future? Thankfully  Diane has vacation from school in the summer and a little reprieve.  I am amazed at what they have accomplished. Go to Rebel Spirit Cannabis - Home | Facebook
Many people at Ya Po Ah have a garden plot and  the combination of flowers and vegetables is a beautify sight. It is a place to meet other gardeners or just sit and meditate. My garden produced pole beans, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, and basil. MY refrigerator  is full of pesto  and frozen blackberries I picked on Christopher’s farm. Kale usually lasts all winter but this year the deer ate it. We also have a neighborhood female turkey that had 7 babies. Five made it to adulthood and an another one joined them. One has an injured leg. 
Last winter there was a lot of rain, and snow in the mountains. The rain continued into the spring, longer then it usually does. Once it stops raining the sun is out and there is no rain until November. Gardens must be watered, lawns and fields turn brown. When the rains come in the fall, lawns and fields turn green and stay green all winter. Spring is the most beautify time of year because there are so many kinds of flowering plants and trees and there are flowers all summer long. The everblooming roses  were producing flowers until the frosts killed them. Fall was spatular, great color and lasts longer then fall in the East. We have had below freezing nights for about 10 days now and temperature  in the forties during the day. So far there have been more sunny days they usual. 
My days are full. Here at Ya Po Ah I go to tai chi, three times a week, the philosophy group once a week, and Movies every Saturday night.  I go out every day for a little exercise, I paint, read, go to the grocery store on my thee wheel  bicycle that has a big basket in the back. I go on the field trips and socialize with other occupants  here. The days fly by the seasons come and go. I enjoy every day, take pleasure in everything I do and see, especially Christmas time with the music and all the decorations everywhere. I love being a physical mortal human, especially because I don’t have any pains in my body. I  experience all the senses, being aware of everything that happens around me, being in the present. Memories merge with the past and combine with the present adding to the tapestry of life. 

The longer I live the more I realize I know very little about anything.  As a human being I know the least about humans. I think I am in the category of misfits, like in the Christmas story Rudolph the red nose reindeer goes to the island where all the imperfect toys are. The thing is I gravitate to like beings, like attracts alike. A lot of creative people even people of genius  don’t function well in society. I have always been a loner, not a recluse, for I need some social interaction, of course I need support and love as all people do. Regardless of how little I know of human behavior I except people for what they are, good bad and ugly. We have all seen love and hate in all its forms. I live life from the positive side, everything will work out as it should in my life. As an artist I would say I haven’t interacted with people in the work place as I work alone with no restriction of time or schedules. Luckily I have a loving family, and we get along without understanding each other, Love is a strong bond. 

Love that is true and forever is given by our pets and nature. Maybe it is good they can not talk, yet they express their feelings.  When a dog lays his head on your knee or a cat gets in you lap and purrs that is a beautiful loving feeling. When I am in nature it fills me with joy. Nature speaks in the russell of leaves in the rhyme of waves in the sound of water falling over rocks, of birds cries, and insects chirping, all loving healing sounds ,Nature is rarely silent if you are turned in to it. I guess as a loner that is why I like to be outside in nature. It is always giving and excepting.

Most of the people I know are caring compassionate people, All people have gifts, and flaws.  We are all tied together,  Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all perfect. So hear I am in the last years of my life, still with lessons to learn including human behavior, I live as we all do  interacting and reacting to human situations. The mysteries  of life continue.

Because of my heart condition my sons wanted me out of the snow and ice. My youngest son lives here in Eugene and his wife through research and a practical mind lead to my move here and resident at Ya Po Ah. It was not what I expected. I am on the 14th floor, north side with views of Skinner’s Butte and trees and the hills to north east, absolutely beautiful. I see birds sailing on the wind currents, amazing cloud formations, and rainbows. Then there are the other residents. I meet them in the elevator, lobby, garden and about. We meet the ones we are meant to meet, fate, providence or whatever you call it. These people add to my joy of living, the Lucy dogs and other dogs and their owners and Rosie the cat that goes out with her owner, I am not good at remembering names but I am glad when some one I recognize says good morning Audrey. It may be Steve or one of the Pats or Beverly or Sandra or Irma or a few others. I know some of their names, most I do not know. The acknowledgement is there. Then there are the ones I know a little better from the activities I go to, like the philosophy group, writers group reading group once in a while, the Tai Chi and the gardeners.  On the group trips to different places I learn a little about the other people that like the bus excursions. Basically I didn’t have to go anywhere to meet people and make friends. My social  needs are met from the people in this one tall building. It all worked out, close to downtown, and nature,  It couldn’t be better. Maybe I don’t have to understand human nature because the people I know have given of themselves, their knowledge, their kindness their caring. I am blessed that I have never encountered  abuse, neglect or harmful experiences. I admire people that overcome those adversities., that gain confidence and self-worth. They are stronger and can stand in the storm, bend with the wind. We are what we are from our experiences,. We are each on different paths crisscrossing, entwined, dependent on each other. Still,  I want to understand people  because I am a part of the human family.
There is  an advantage of being elderly and living in an apartment complex . This being the holiday season , the season of good will, many groups from different associations, which include churches and such come and perform here at Ya Po Ah. I already mentioned the children’s Nut Cracker ballet, December 14 the Greater Eugene Sacred Choir, the 15th Urban Blues, the 19th Christmas lights tour, the 22nd the Eugene Gleemen. 
The holiday season is one continuous  time from the day after Thanksgiving through the 12 days of Christmas which is the 4th of January. All the different traditions merge together in a time of loving, giving , forgiving, sharing, renewing. It is the time of year when darkness gives way to light.  It is a time of year when humans express their subconscious  true nature, for it is my belief we are immortal spiritual beings, beings of light, come to earth to experience the physical.  It is a time of magic and miracles, of faith and the belief that Santa will come, that the Christ child was born,  that the wicks of menorah burned for 8 days when  there was only oil for one day. It is the belief that what seems impossible  is possible. 
It has been an amazing year, chaotic, unpredictable, with much hidden, suppressed information coming to the surface into the light.The world seems to be breaking apart, the old ways are not working and the good old days can not come back Those few that promote fear to keep there power are losing. Truth and integrity is what the people want. There have been demonstrations and marches, starting with the opposition  protest at the inauguration of Trump and the overwhelming turnout for the women’s march. People were out there, and continue to be heard,  standing for everyone’s rights, including all races, faiths, genders, our rights, for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The earth will renew itself and  we the family of man will work together to bring a better world and peace on the planet. It is possible and it is happening now for the majority of humans are loving and compassionate.  I thank all people, friend and family for bring joy into my life.
Peace and good health be with you. MERRY CHRISTMAS
Some photos of this years activities

Ya Po Ah people at the parade in Florence


Doug, Chris, Christina and Foxy Back Cove shore
party at my old house before returning to Eugene


River swim spot
Floating down the river



Oregon Country Fair
Oregon Country Fair

craft festival in Corvallis







women's march Eugene

Standing with Standing rock Eugene
mushroom festival
mushroom festival


















child watching jugglers  


Haley dancing outdoor summer event







Women's march Eugene



My room  decorated for Christmas





my room Christmas 2017














Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall November 7


view from 1the 14th floor
Here we are into the days of less sunlight and long hours of darkness. It is also the time of looking forward to the holidays. Here in Eugene Halloween was a sunny day the first time it wasn't raining since 2006. Also the Saturday market was a warm and beautiful day as was the mushroom festival. That was the last of a beautiful fall, brilliant colors, as good as a colorful fall in New England. There are many different trees here that don’t grow in Maine and I have some fall foliage photos. The city streets are lined with trees. Half the leaves have fallen and the sidewalks are covered in beautiful colors.
I have included a few of the Halloween pictures. The preschool children came to visit and paraded past the Ya Po Ah residents all waiting in the lobby for them. Then at night we had our karaoke party.


still blooming
I have never seen iris bloom in fall
grape leaves over basement windows
my neighborhood
from Ya Po Ah 
View of Ya Po Ah
Trees alone the street
different leaves
more leaves
lots of acones this year
oak leaves

Ya Po Ah party
duet
I am nature
the children
princess
there were 59 children
space cadet
a big bag for a little guy
the old and the young
I believe I am a baker
see you next year