to find Patti Singleton these days.

Over My Head Again?



Alaska Visit: August 7-Sept 29, 2014

The days are slow and easy; no care-giving or worry about the physical or emotional pain of a loved one. Mom, dad and I have had a lot of practice living together in this tiny house over the last several years. We all have our own mini orbit and rotate around each other quite smoothly. That’s the slow and easy part of my story.

The crazy over-my-head part includes this art thing. Like her mother before her, my mother is a prolific visual artist. She dabbles in all sorts of painting media; oil, acrylic and water color. Grandma pushed her art even further and used charcoal and chalk also. She worked leather and embossed copper and had her own ceramics shop.

About 25 of Mom’s paintings will be hanging in a gallery/cafe in Eagle River during the month of September. She is a shy and humble artist and will not let me plan a meet and greet opening event. Meanwhile, guess who is framing these paintings? You got it, me.

I have never framed anything in my life, okay, besides a photo or two in a ready-made frame. I was over my head with the first painting. I’ve learned a lot as I moved on to the next and the next. I think I have about 16 finished. I’ll probably go back to the first few and re-do them.


Mom continues to paint, so the tiny house is filled with framing materials, a large tote of finished work, mom’s easel and paints and brushes, and paintings leaning every which way, in various stages of completeness. Some are even drying out on the deck. Visitors and the three of us have a choice of one or two places to sit, if we are lucky.


When will this madness end?! Ten more days, and we will take the whole lot to the gallery. I still have to write ads and make a template to label each painting.

The joy here is watching my mom work her talent. Grandma died in 1977, but she is all around; in the smells of paints, the materials all about, and in the similarity of their (mostly) Alaska painting scenes. I lived with my grandma for a month when I was about 14. Her home was filled with the same smells and art materials and inspiration. I’m as inspired and amazed by mom’s talent as I was of grandma’s.


I’m still deciding whether I should thank or curse my sister who sent me the ticket to be part of this craziness. Maybe a little of both.

Over My Head In Alaska,



Author: Patti Singleton

Pursuits of happiness include gardening, walking the desert, reading, writing, photography, traveling and genealogy.

28 thoughts on “Over My Head Again?

  1. I definitely think THANKS are in order. You’re obviously having a blast πŸ™‚

  2. Please share pictures of the show when set. I would love to be there………….j

  3. From what I can tell here, your mother has quite a talent, Patti! And once you get the hang of framing, you can ‘hop’ on over to Berkeley to frame some of my family art that I’ve been meaning to get framed for years now. πŸ™‚ You’re a good daughter…Hugs, Jenna

  4. You are all quite talented. Now I see where you get your eye for the camera. Very good to be able to spend time with mom. I know she appreciates you.

  5. As always I love your moments and insights… and hugs to ant and unc for me!

  6. Any time you want to visit, Patti, let me know. The (not) framing is not a deal breaker! πŸ™‚

  7. Such beautiful artwork!

  8. What a hugely talented family. The artwork we can see is fantastic. I don’t envy you the job of framing at all as it’s such a precise job.
    I’m glad you’re having a good time there though visiting with your Mom. I hope you have your camera there.
    xxx Massive Hugs Patti xxx

    • Thank you, David. Luckily, there is no matting involved or I would not be able to do this. That is the precise part of framing, to me. So I guess I have to count some more blessings πŸ™‚
      I have already taken over a thousand photos, mostly flowers and mushrooms. Will post as I can.
      Hugs back!

  9. How awesome that you’re supporting your mom (and in spirit your grandma) in her artistic endeavors! Have you, too, inherited the gift? There is so much to paint in AK, with words as well as paint media. All the best.

    • I express myself better with words and photos, Susan. I adore wet-on-wet watercolor, but haven’t dabbled in it since my children were small. I would be thrilled if mom and I could spend part of September creating art together.
      Mom also supports me in every way. She flew to Washington during my husbands last days and again when my 3-year-old grandson died. Not everyone has this kind of family support, and I do count my blessings every day.
      Thank you again,

  10. Cherish the time with your Mom and Dad. Making memories are a sure-fire way to keep our parents alive even after they pass on, as I have learned from recent experience.

    How interesting to see your Mother’s art and you supporting her talents. Yes, it’s worth it!

  11. Oh Patti, you do make me smile. You are one busy bee! πŸ™‚

  12. Amazing scene with your mom. What an interesting woman. You’re giving her the art show of her life, introvert or not. I’m grateful for all of you, Patti. You can thank and curse and thank again plenty of times.

    • Yes, who else could create such art under tight and lived-in conditions? Home as paint studio πŸ™‚ I keep offering to make an art area, but she likes to follow the light and plop her easel or canvas down anywhere. Maybe it has to do with raising 7 kids in tight quarters? If I wrote as much as she paints, I’d have many books written! She is interesting, to say the least, Elaine πŸ™‚

  13. Patti, I love how you shine when talking about your mothers Art!! That’s a truly wonderful daughter!! Now, as for the gift your mother has, I’m so thrilled to learn that Art runs deep within your family roots. But of course it does, with a daughter like you who is an Artist at heart!! My father was a writer, chef, guitarist & PAINTER. I have four of his paintings hanging in my house & am amazed at just how good he was. And like your mom, he didn’t like the business part of it or the fan-craze. He too was humble insisting that he didn’t know what people seen in his work. Funny enough, I just watched a documentary a week ago on HBO. The show was about Robert DeNiro’s father who was an Artist. His Paintings, though not my taste, are very respected within the Artist community. And Robert DeNiro said that he never understood what anyone seen in them. I think the really great ones, never do. It’s that humility that keeps them open to growth & passionate about opening their minds. Love this post & sharing it now!!! πŸ˜‰ xoxo ❀

    • Ah, you are so generous with your praise and commitment to your friends, that I’m always humbled. Thanks for sharing this note about other shy artists. I;m just amazed to see what mom creates next. Every one seems better than the last and she is in that painting mode, like we get with writing. Love to both of you and the whole family team. xoxox

We would love to know what your thoughts are!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s