Day 335 – Rules? What Rules?

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.  Katharine Hepburn

I set some rules upon myself on Day One of Art Apple A Day. They were:

A 5” x 5” image – no other restrictions except that it could not be photographs or digital art. It had to be done by hand. My marks and hands interacting with the page.

There were two thoughts in my mind in regards to the above. One, I needed a small manageable size (anything much bigger would have become too much to continue to produce everyday) in hindsight I think 6″x6″ might have given me just a bit more freedom in the creative process but I was also thinking that you can buy a pre-made frame and mat with a 5″x5″ opening. The second thing I had in mind with this was that I had a vision of all 365 pieces lined up like calendar groupings in an eventual exhibit. Calendar days are square and with the art being square all of the apples could be framed and hung like the months they are a part of. I can see it – hopefully it will happen one day.

This “rule” has given the apples a certain continuity and added purpose but many days or nights when I went to create, I would feel an urge to do something far beyond the limits of these constraints. Sometimes creativity gets very overwhelming and the feeling to let that energy get out can take up a lot of energy in just the thinking about it. This is a feeling that I missed about myself for many years when I was so sick. I would try to force myself to create but it didn’t lead to art that felt good or I liked. It was interesting to observe this and extremely frustrating to experience it. Another aspect to my lack of creativity in those years was that I did not get excited by the colors. The use of vibrant color is what jazzes me when I create. For me to make art with a lack of color is a practice and exploration. Using bold beautiful color combinations is what naturally comes out of me. I was very sick for a number of years and the changes to me were huge. My vibrancy and joie de vivre were gone and along with that I could not see the colors. They were dull and muted and sparkle-less. Finally I found a doctor who believed me and worked with me until we found a diagnosis and a course of treatment that finally started to give me my life and self back. And one day thankfully I really believed that the colors returned in their full splendor – and with them so did I!

Tomorrow marks my last month of Apples. I’m feeling excitement and melancholy in extremes and with these emotions and reflections has come a decision about what I’d like to do for these last 30 days.

When I announced to my friends and family that I would be endeavoring on this project, many thought “she’s doing what?” And proceeded to place bets on my failure. I don’t blame anyone for that feeling. I doubted myself too but there was something in me that knew so deeply that I would accomplish what I set out to do. There have been two days in this process that I thought I might not make my daily apple. Day Eight – right at the beginning when it would have been so easy to walk away, thankfully Doug & Elizabeth encouraged me that night and I created “Spiraling Out of Control” – not very good but it honored where I was in my head that day and I got it done. And much more recently, Day 324. The emotions and exhaustion of the day seemed too much to create anything – I eeked one out and wrote about the feeling of that night a few days later on Day 326 – Brain Freeze. Those are the only two days I felt at a real risk of failing although Doug might have a different observation. I’m hoping that my last month is smooth sailing but to be honest, I know that it will be just as challenging so I’ve decided to break my self imposed rules and let my creativity take me anywhere it wants to go!

So tonight I post a 5″x5″ piece. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring when I can do whatever my heart desires! When I told Doug of my plan he said “noooooo!” Not quite the reaction I expected and then I explained why I want to do this and he understood a bit more. But because oh his strong reaction, I’ve decided to ask all of you.

What do you think? Should I do this or finish out the year as I laid out originally? You guys vote and I’ll do whatever you want because these apples are for you! Let me know what you think – and be honest!

Until tomorrow.


Day 335 was created in watercolor drips, collage apple made from a page out of my old dictionary, a piece of origami mesh, my little stamp letters. All stitched together on my $100 sewing machine!

Day 309 – Nolo Contendere

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred NineI am guilty of wanting to get something big to happen in the world of spondylitis awareness. It has been my whole mission and constant and full time work for over 10 months – many days working 10-12 hours much to the dismay of my husband and family. I have had a single mindedness and felt so driven that at times didn’t border on obsession – it has been an obsession.

I have been guilty of passionately wanting something so badly. I want for people to understand what AS means as much as they understand what diabetes or RA or Lupus means. I don’t want anyone to have to deal with the huge lack of understanding that exists. I believe that in sharing my project and my art and in sharing our stories while living a positive life in the face of the pain and illness, that we have a chance of going beyond our community – which is what I see is needed to raise awareness. We cannot have the world know about this disease if we only speak to those who know about it already.

I am guilty of wanting to help. I have made some wrong turns but, I have fulfilled my commitments – every day. All I can do is continue in the face of difficulty, work as tirelessly as I have, and believe in myself and my intentions and my heart. That is all I can do. So I will.

Until tomorrow.


Day 309 was created in mixed media – pen & ink, thread, acrylic, and watercolor.

Day 304 – A Saturday Apple-A-Thon For A Sunday

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred FourI didn’t do a Saturday apple yesterday. So since I had a very long day I decided to do it today – but with a twist…

This apple is representative of the apples I will be doing for the Apple-A-Thon.

How many of these do you think I can paint in 24 hours? Closest guess gets props – not prizes!

Until tomorrow.


Day 304 was created in Golden’s Liquid Acrylic and graphite.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 61 days to Apple-A-Thon!

2. In The Studio – The Apples that inspired the idea for the Apple Process pic of the day

3. Apple Recipe of the Day –Apple Biscuit Dessert




Day 300 – Learn, Live, Hope

Art Apple - Day Three HundredLearn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. – Albert Einstein

I have learned so much in the last 10 months.

I had no idea what an amazing ride this was going to be. I had no idea that I would experience so many joys as well as some deep sadnesses that would travel along with me. I’ve felt so much joy in seeing the determination and strength of others and I’ve made some wonderful friendships that I cherish and will always carry with me. But, I also didn’t expect how much I would be affected by the fact that there are so many wonderful people suffering. I know what spondylitis can do to a life – I just didn’t realize that by actively being in the community I would be faced with living the suffering through the stories I would hear every day and that these stories would stop being something that I could keep at arms length or turn off – these stories were now my friends. I live their pain with my pain now and the toll it has taken on my emotions has been immense. It has been overwhelming at times but I am truly grateful for it. I am so blessed to know and love and feel the support of so many people. I thank each and every one of you for helping me get this far!

Even with the ups and downs of the last 10 months, I wouldn’t change – much. I can’t say I wouldn’t change anything – there are many things I would but I have learned so much about myself, I’ve learned about twitter and social media which has been an education that I will always have, and I have learned a lot about human nature and what chronic pain and illness can do to a person.

I have lived the lives of so many and re-lived some moments in my life that I would have rather left behind. I pledge to live for today because today my AS is managed. I will live for today in the hope that I can help make a bit of difference. I live for today because tomorrow I make another apple – in the hopes that tomorrow we will have a cure!

Until tomorrow.


Day 300 was something very new – something I’ve been wanting to experiment with – my sewing machine! Paper, acrylic paint, ink, fabric, thread, a leaf made from a yen of some sort that my Dad brought back from China.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 65 days to Apple-A-Thon!

2. Apple Recipe of the Day – Salad with Crab, Apple, and Avacado

3. Interesting Article Of The Day – If I had just used balloons!

4. AS Blogger Spotlight – Meloni a.k.a. AS Mom talks about regret and living with AS.





Day 298 – Split In Two

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Ninety EightI’ve been sitting here trying to come to grips with what I’m feeling.

I’m tired – but that isn’t a feeling.

I’m tired – of making apples.

As much as I love what I’m doing – and I do love it… I’m tired of so much of all of this.

Is it ok that I just admitted that? I’ve been criticized for being too optimistic, too positive, for sugar coating things and for not talking enough about AS. Well – guess what I have to say to that… I DON’T CARE. I’m doing this for me as much as I’m doing it for what I believe in. If that causes some to question my motives well, I can do nothing about that.

I’m happy, I’m optimistic and I have AS – it is possible. Oh, and so you know – my head is pounding, my neck brace is on because my neck is killing me, and I feel like I could sleep for a year right now. Does that make everyone happy – I just bitched about my AS.

I will make every gosh darned apple no matter how much my neck hurts, no matter how tired I am, and no matter how much I’m criticized. I set out to do this – for so many reasons – one of which was to prove I could accomplish something regardless of this stupid disease. Yes, that I could do it. It is a personal journey, a very solitary journey at times, and I’m tired of being misunderstood. My heart is aching and split in two. I just wanted to do something good for myself and a few others along the way.

Now, my pity party is over. This is the only time you will ever see it – that is MY way. It should be respected as much as someone else’s way.

Until tomorrow.


Day 298 is a collage made with watercolor, graphite, and a few scraps from my old dictionary.

Day 288 – The Important Things

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Eighty EightLife has a way of reminding us of the important things.

I needed to take care of someone I love dearly who I haven’t heard. I’ve been distracted and “my stuff” got in the way.

I can become extremely focused to the exclusion of everything around me. I think I feel that I have to prove to the world that AS may have stopped me for a bit but I’m fighting back – I push to make a difference in Spondylitis Awareness but I am also driven to prove that we can lead good and demanding and full lives in the face of chronic illness and pain.

This drive ends up being to the detriment of my friends and family because I don’t feel like I can stop until I feel that I’ve proven this. I hate AS. I. Hate. It. I tell people I’ve reached a level of acceptance. Perhaps. Most likely – perhaps not.

I’ve mentioned this on my blog before and promised that I wouldn’t let it happen again, that I would find a balance and simplify to make sure that I took care of the important things – the important people. And here I am – realizing that I’ve done a horrible job at it and continue to make a mess of things.

The important things in life are the ones we love. I love you sweetheart.

Until tomorrow.


Day 288 was created in acrylics and watercolors.

Day 271 – Caution Wet Paint

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Seventy OneWe all have the family stories we tell over and over again.

Usually they involve Murphy’s Law, a fit of hysterics, or childhood antics. I guess this story involves all three of those!

When I was around six we lived on a farm outside of Montpelier, Vermont. It was somewhat isolated up a hill off the main road and with only one other house nearby. My parents bought it knowing it would need some “work” and one of the projects was painting – isn’t it always.

I’m not sure why my Mom thought it would be all right to place a 7 and 4 year old in front of a can of paint and place brushes in their hands and  just run inside for a moment to fetch something.

I swear that Jay Jay started it!

When my Mom came outside we were completely covered – I’ll never forget the sheer joy and giggles – so much more fun than painting the side of the house. We were ushered (that’s putting it in kind terms) inside stripped, bathed and sent to our rooms where we proceeded to sit in our individual door ways and continue the giggles. Mom still gets exasperated in the telling!

Until tomorrow.


Day 271 was created in drop after drop of acrylic paint – some swirled together for effect.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 95 days to Apple-A-Thon!

2. My process photo from today.

3. Apple Recipe of the Day – Star Spangled Apple Pie

4. Interesting Article of the Day – Apples To Apples – The Apples For AS project was featured today on


Day 266 – Turn the Blue Apple GREEN!

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Sixty SixI’ve been making apples for 9 months now.

I’ve learned so much about so much. What a crazy wonderful ride it has been so far and I love every day I can say I’m an artist, a blogger, and I want to tell the world about Autoimmune Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Some may ask why I decided to do “Art Apple A Day” – to spend a year of my life dedicated to this crusade and all I can say is that it was just what I had to do.

I deal with this disease but I feel fortunate. The medications help me and I no longer suffer like so many people with this disease do. But, I’ve been there.

I’ve. Been. There.

I’ve been in a place that no one should have to ever be, a place of constant and non-stop pain. I do not want people to have to live their lives this way. I am not immune to the fact that I could be back in that place. The medications can stop working, the options can run out, as they do for many or, I could never have been able to get them at all.

I live with this knowledge but as long as my pain is lessened and my disease is somewhat controlled I feel that I need to work to help people who are in “that place” – I feel a responsibility since I am one of the fortunate. And I feel guilt because I do not understand why I can get a medication that helps and others cannot.

Because of all these reasons – I do this.

Until tomorrow.


Day 266 was created in liquid acrylics and watercolor.

*** Please help me “Turn The Blue Apple GREEN” – Today is my 100 day countdown to the end of this journey. Today I announce a new initiative to raise funds for others suffering with Ankylosing Spondylitis. To learn more about this project visit my Apples For AS page – the story written by fellow AS Advocate and friend Michael Smith.

*** For news, updates, and information – get your DAILY APPLE – sign up to receive my apples each morning in your inbox!

Day 257 – Crimson Thread

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Fifty SevenAn invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break. – Chinese Proverb

A red string in Chinese folklore connects those who are destine to meet and in Tibetan Buddhism a red string is a “blessing cord” and according to the Kabbalah, the red string is for protection against negative forces. All of these meanings associated around the symbol of a crimson piece of string, whether tied between soul mates, around fingers or wrists, they all have one beautiful thing in common – hope.

Hope for love.

Hope for blessings.

Hope for safety.

With this hope and I will tie a red thread around my apple project – and hope for the love, blessings, and safety it contains while I finish the next few months. I have hope this virtual string watchs over me and protects me to reach my goal. Because – I put on a really good game face – but many days are difficult. I work to find a cure for this horrible disease and to end the suffering of millions of people in pain because I know what our days are like.

Until tomorrow.


Day 257 was created in crimson red ink and watercolor.

The inspiration for today’s apple and post came from the newly launched project The Brave Discussion. Thank you for the article they have included on their site about this project and the need for AS Awareness. A special thank you to Kathie Melocco.

Day 245 – Japanese Kintsugi Apple

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Forty Five“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.” ~Barbara Bloom

This quote was on the Spondylitis Association of America’s Facebook wall today and voila – inspiration! I had never heard of this art form so I immediately did some research.

I learned that the Japanese created a process and practice of mending broken objects with gold. This “golden joinery” is called kintsugi and what started simply as a search for a material that was strong enough to bond ceramics back together became a practice honed and some say created on purpose once it was seen how patching and filling the lines of a broken object back together created beauty in the imperfection.

Our cracks and scars are our unique beauty – they do not break us – they only make us stronger. Honor them and fill them with gold.

Until tomorrow.


Day 245 was created in liquid and metallic gold acrylic.