Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Into the Deep Purple

Acrylic painting of purple amethyst stone ©2021 Tina M.Welter
Amethyst Heart

 Even though it is my favorite color, I don't have a lot of tubes of purple paint in my paint box simply because it is a "secondary color" and it is often easy to mix a wide range of lovely shades from red and blue.

I do have a couple pre-mixed purple paints that I consider absolutely essential though, Dioxizine purple and Acra Violet. Dioxizine purple is a wonderfully deep, sheer purple, it mixes well with other colors and adds shadowy depth. I especially like it for painting dark purple irises. Acra Violet, is an incredibly versatile red purple that can add so much vibrancy to a range of flowers from red, pink and purple.

Purple paint mixed with white, color test ©2021 Tina M.Welter
Arranging my purple paints from cool to warm.

Since I am exploring what the paints in my paintbox can do, I wanted to test out mixing my red and blues to see what kind of variety of purples were possible. I had to start with classifying my reds from cool to warmest so I would know where to start. I already tested out all the blues, see the "Shades of Blue" blog post from January. Again, I learned you can't judge a color by it's paint tube, some reds I thought were more cool were actually more warm, and visa-versa. After I painted a swatch of color onto paper, it was much easier to classify once I could see the colors next to each other.

Red paint arranged cool to warm, color test. ©2021 Tina M.Welter
Re-arranging my red paints from cool to warm.


Blue paint plus white, arranged cool to warm. ©2021 Tina M.Welter
My blue paints arranged cool to warm.

After I sorted my red colors, I mixed my coolest red and coolest blue, then warmest red and warmest blue to see what kind of range of purples I had. The biggest surprise for me was my two warmest colors yielded a dark gray that wasn't very purple at all! Good to know.

Comparing the extremes, coolest to warmest. ©2021 Tina M.Welter
Comparing the extremes, coolest and warmest.

 Some of the my favorite purples were mixed from the middle range of warm red+blue or cool red+blue, not the extremes at either end.

Nice purple mixes, somewhere in the middle. ©2021 Tina M.Welter
Nice purple mixes, somewhere in the middle.

Next was the painting challenge, what subject could possibly suit this wide range of purples? Eventually I decided on an amethyst stone, which seemed very appropriate since it is often considered a traditional birthstone for February.

Amethyst Heart acrylic painting, first layer of paint.
Amethyst Heart, first layers of paint.

 Although I was really happy that I was able to use almost all the shades of purple I mixed, including that surprising gray, I really felt like the painting could use more work. Adjusting the values would make it more unified and improve the illusion of a sparkling cut stone. I wrote this blog at the end of February and hoped to post it for that month, but I had to make a decision. Do I post the painting as is and on time, or do I improve the painting to how I envisioned it and post in March? What do you think? First heart above, finished heart below.

Amethyst heart acrylic painting, various shades of purple paint.
Amethyst Heart, finished!

I heard an interesting point of view recently from a person I admire, YouTube's Sci-Show host and creator, Hank Green. He said he is able to accomplish so many creative projects because he focuses on getting them to 80 percent perfect and then doesn't worry about that last 20 if it isn't necessary. He is right, that last 20 percent can take a surprising amount of time and may not even improve things that much!

At first I thought I could move forward and post a painting that I felt was at 80 percent, but eventually I chose not to. Even though I think the initial painting did illustrate what I was trying to accomplish, I honestly really wanted that last 20 percent!

Now I'm glad I waited because the finished painting makes me very happy when I look at it. I hope you will enjoy this sparkly purple heart in March as much as I do.

Happy creating!




Full page view of my notebook with color tests. ©2021 Tina M.Welter
Full page view of my color tests, 8.5 x 5.5 inch notebook.


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Shades of Blue

Painting of a snow scene using only blue paint.
Snow Bear contemplates the Blue.

 I have several tubes of acrylic paints in my paint box and they are a motley crew! Paint I bought in college, Jeff’s acrylic collection was added to mine when we got married, paint that was inherited from a friend of Jeff’s parents, and a selection I purchased when I was reading Helen Van Wyck’s wonderful book on color mixing.

I made a New Year’s art resolution: to have a better understanding of what tools I actually have in my tool kit. The first step I learned from Marie Kondo, get everything out and look at it!

Acrylic paint tubes arranged in a color wheel.
All the colors arranged in a color wheel.

Black,white,gold,silver and irridescent paint.
Black, white, gold and silver in a separate category.

Looking at the color on the tubes is only part of the story, the next step is to put the paint on paper in it's full strength, then mix with increasing amounts of white and let them tell me something about their personality.

Beginning with Blue

Color swatches of various blue paint.
Initial guess at the color arrangement.

I arranged the blue tubes in how I thought they would fit on the color wheel, ranging from the most purple/red to the most green/yellow.

I included three sets of the same colors, three ultramarine blue and two cerulean blue from different manufacturers and two cobalt blue tubes that varied in price. I was curious how much difference there be between the low cost vs. higher priced paint.

Twelve color swatches of blue.
Twelve Blues and White

 I definitely learned a few things I didn’t expect! The Golden brand ultramarine was a shade more lavender than the Liquitex ultramarine. The Daler-Rowney went the lightest lavender when I added the same amount of white. The Liquitex was the most sheer and least opaque of the three.

Ultramarine color comparison.

 The Golden brand Cerulean had a lot more staining strength than the Windsor & Newton, which was much more sheer.

Cerulean color comparison
 The less expensive Daler-Rowny cobalt blue was more opaque and seemed to have some white tint in it compared to the more expensive M.Graham paint. You do get what you pay for.

Cobalt blue comparison

Anthraquinone Blue had a lot more in common with the Prussian blue. I had read that I could swap it out for ultramarine! I don't see how, it is a much more greyed down denim blue than I expected. It's a beautiful color, but I don't see how it would behave the same as ultramarine when mixing it with other colors for a painting.

Anthraquinone and Prussian blue comparison.

I also learned that my initial arrangement of the paint tubes wasn’t correct when I actually got the paint on paper. Phthaloblue is the blue that leans the most towards green/yellow, not cerulean.

Pie chart view of cool to warm blues.
Swap the phthalo and the cerulean!


Phthalo by the green where it belongs.
Phthaloblue finds the right place.

The last thing I was curious about was to see if I could create a whole painting just using all my blue paint and white. The result was the "Snow Bear in Shades of Blue" painting posted at the first of this entry, I used all twelve blues and I think it turned out pretty good.

I learned a lot from this experiment and it was fun. I would encourage anyone to get out what paint you have become more acquainted with it’s character and personality a little better.

Happy Creating!


Tip: I learned that drawing a straight line with some equal sized squares makes the color comparison easier to see, plus it just looks nicer.

Sketchbook page with blue color swatch comparisons.
My full sketchbook page.

P.S. Yes, the snow bear does exist. I built him in celebration of finally getting some more snow! I did use artistic license and remove all the houses in our neighborhood to improve his view of the mountains.

Snow bear sculpture.



Thursday, December 31, 2020

Oh, Christmas Tree!

"December Evening" ©2020 Tina M.Welter 5x7 inches acrylic on paper.
"December Evening"

One positive aspect of dealing with a pandemic is that it pushes people to be creative in connecting with each other.

In November, one of my friends asked if I would try teaching a short mini-class on painting using the App, Marco Polo. Instead of sending texts, this app allows people to leave videos for each other. I've often wondered what it would be like to teach a painting class, so I decided to give it a try.

Tiny Christmas tree sketch, 2x2.5 inches, acrylic on paper, ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Tiny Sketch, 2 x 2.5 inches

I chose a lighted Christmas tree outside with a twilight sky as our subject. Simple, right? Just one triangle shape with a dark background and some lights, how hard could it be…and so began my innocent journey into the thick of the woods.

Tiny Christmas tree sketch, 1.5 x 2.25 inches, acrylic on paper, ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Tiny Sketch 1.5 x 2.25 inches

 I’ve never actually broken down my painting methods into steps so that someone else could follow me before, and I soon found that taking apart what I do was quite the challenge.

Figuring out the palette is often my first and favorite step, but this time I also had to think about palette colors that would be really common to find and versatile for beginning painters to use. 

Palette, Cadmium Red, Yellow, Ultramarine Blue , Titanium White ©2020 Tina M.Welter
 Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White

I painted a couple of sketches using the basic colors of Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine blue, and Titanium White. Then I went on-line and looked for paint sets that would include those colors, but many used Cobalt blue instead of Ultramarine blue and the red and yellow were listed as “primary” colors.  Goodness, what should to tell people to buy?

December Evening painting sketch, 5x7 acrylic,©2020 Tina M.Welter
Painting Sketch, 5x7 inches, using Cobalt blue.

This led me to make more sketch paintings using Cobalt blue to see if it that color would work instead. Soon I found myself down a whole color theory rabbit-hole, testing out “color bias” combinations of warm red, yellow and blue compared to using a set of cool red, yellow and blue. This topic deserves a whole blog post of it’s own.

Warm biased colors, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and Phthaloblue ©2020 TinaM.Welter
Warm biased palette.
Cool biased palette, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue ©2020 TinaM.Welter
Cool biased palette.

My biggest concern being that my initial palette choice was wrong and would make painting harder for other people because I used a “cool” blue with a “warm” red and yellow. Seriously, this kept me up at night and I wasn’t happy until I had tested all the options. It turned out that I still liked that initial palette best after all, even if it didn’t follow the “color bias” theory. Well, that is creativity, sometimes breaking the rules makes the best art.

Pine Tree Basics, 5x7 inches, pencil drawing ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Pine Tree Basics

Next, was breaking down the drawing. One friend said she could barely draw a circle, so I told her not to worry because we would be making triangles! I measured and marked every shape so that I could explain how to get the tree and it’s branches placed correctly.

Since we were only using red, yellow and blue, I made one video on color mixing. I was amazed that it took 40 minutes to explain and my poor iPhone got really hot doing all that recording!

Then, it was the painting steps. Goodness, I think I made three or four sketch paintings to make certain I could explain and show everything in order. Yes, I wrote the steps down, I needed those reminders for when I actually made the final video.

Three pine tree sketches, figuring out the steps, ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Figuring out the steps!

As a side note, I believe that some of the quick, tiny sketches I threw together are much better paintings than the larger sketches I spent a lot of time making. It is annoying to me that I have a hard time capturing that spontaneity in larger artwork.

Tiny Christmas tree sketch,  1 x 1.5 inches, acrylic on paper, ©2020 TinaM.Welter
Tiny Sketch, 1 x 1.5 inches

I did feel the pressure when making the final painting on camera, it was an odd feeling to be watched while doing something that has always been a solo project. Overall, I'm pleased with how the video and painting turned out, although the next day I could see the blue shadows should have been darker on the snow. So far, I have resisted the urge to repaint that section. 

I've certainly gained an appreciation for all the extra work those artists I grew up watching on t.v. must have done to make painting on camera look so easy. A respectful bow to Bob Ross, Bill Alexander and Helen Van Wyck!

Happy Creating!


Monday, August 31, 2020

Summer Sketchbook Tour

Summertime and the flowers are blooming! Perfect for inspiration, sketching and testing out ideas. Often I will have other creative friends comment that doing my detailed type of sketching process takes too much time. 

They are partly right and I used to skip over it myself because it is incredibly tempting to just start putting those wonderful colors down on paper or canvas. Admittedly, I still skip sketching sometimes if I'm pressed for time or feeling particularly confident, but I know full well there may be consequences in the form of frustration, wasted art materials and lost time trying to fix mistakes. 

Even a simple palette color test is worth the time because of that nice feeling of certainly going forward, plus I think they are fun to do.

Here are some of my color sketches from this year and what I learned from making them...

Sunflower Sketch ©2020 Tina M.Welter

Yellow flowers are my nemesis, for some reason I always struggle with getting the right shadow color to get the sense of light shining through their petals. I thought a simple palette of Benzidrine Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue would provide enough shadow depth, but the flower still looked flat. In essence I had several "yellows" and a blue, and it took adding a "red," Alizarin Crimson to finally get the deep warm brown I was looking for.


Pink Roses Sketch ©2020 TinaM.Welter

Figuring out what color combination I like the best is another way I use my sketchbook.

Did I want to use Napthol Red to make the peachy tones in the pink roses or would I be happier with mixing Permanent Rose and Cadmium Yellow? 

I circled the Green Gold, Sap Green and Prussian Blue after I decided they were my favorite mix for the leaves. This sketch also helped me notice that the greens were a bit cold and I would need to mix them with some Permenant Rose to warm them up a bit.


Dark Angel Iris Sketch ©2020 TinaM.Welter

My goal here was to practice painting a really dark purple iris. I thought I knew what colors would get the result I wanted, but I was rather disappointed with the lack of depth and the whole thing felt too cool. I knew adding yellow to warm things up would only make the colors gray, so I turned the page and tried again...


Dark Iris Sketch ll ©2020 TinaM.Welter

 I searched on-line for a little bit of help and had a genuine "aha" moment when I saw the suggestion to mix the purples with Burnt Sienna! Of course, a warm deep yellow/red that was a perfect solution!


Pink Iris Sketch ©2020 Tina M.Welter

Here's an example of my color mixing instincts being right on target. I wanted to be certain to mix the correct greyed purple for the shadow side of the pink iris petals. The first combination I tried were Cadmium Red and Prussian Blue and they were exactly what I was looking for. Adding Benzidrine Yellow made it possible to mix a light green and the right shade of orange and peach. 

I love it when a palette comes together so easily and with only three colors plus white. It feels like an elegant solution.

Winter Pines Sketch ©2020 TinaM.Welter

I was feeling very uncertain about which paints to mix for an evening winter scene with pine trees, so I created this little grid to solve my problem.

The top row has the colors I was fairly certain I wanted to use. The second row mixes all those colors with Cobalt blue and Titanium white. The third row mixes all the top row colors with Pthalogreen and Titanium white.

Having these colors to refer to was really helpful in making my final painting.


"Neon Lights" darker ©2020 TinaM.Welter


Here it is, an example of me diving head-first into making a painting without a "sketchbook first" test. This photo doesn't really capture it, but I originally painted the shadow colors over the bottom rose petal and leaves way too dark and I was really bummed when I realized what I had done.


"Neon Lights" lighter ©2020 TinaM.Welter

No one will notice now, but I can tell you I spent a lot of time repainting with lighter colors and glazing over those areas with thin color washes to lighten up that dark section. Acrylic paints are so forgiving!

I hope these few examples have demonstrated how fun and helpful solving creative problems in a sketchbook can be.


Happy Creating!




For those of you wondering what happened with my eyes, the good news is the medicine helped and by May my right eye was better. Hurrah. Then in July, the same flock of floaters showed up in my left eye! Sheez! At least I knew what it was and was able to start the same treatment quickly for my left eye. 

After dealing with too many other bizarre health issues all spring and summer to mention here, I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in August. There may be some connection to that auto-immune disease affecting my eyes. I am hopeful that now I am getting treatment for that, my eyes will be healthier too.




Sunday, June 28, 2020

One Magical Night in June

Tufted Evening Primrose, NewMexico Photo ©2001 Tina M.Welter

 One of my great joys of living on a mountain side was getting acquainted with the wild flowers that naturally grew there. Living at 8,000 feet has a demanding set of growing conditions: hot in the day, really cool at night and a short growing season.

I found this entry in my journal from June 9, 2001 and decided this was the perfect time to share it with you. The sketches and painting were created this spring.

"...I sat outside the other night and just loved the moonlight on the wild white primroses. They only bloom at night and are so heavy sweet and exotic that they don't seem to belong on this dry mountainside.

Tufted Evening Primroses, NewMexico Photo ©2001 Tina M.Welter

 Yet, they are part of this place, like the surprising sweetness of these mountains distilled into those little golden hearts, 

Tufted Evening Primroses in tire, NewMexico Photo ©2001 Tina M.Welter

...but they close and wilt with the heat of the morning sun, they can only be enjoyed in the cool of night.

Tufted Evening Primrose, Sketchbook painting ©2020 Tina M.Welter

If I didn't live here, I wouldn't know about them. They are a bit of a hidden secret.

Tufted Evening Primrose, Pencil drawing ©2020 Tina M.Welter

As I came up the steps to the studio that night, the little glow worms were out, another bit of mystery. They glowed a beautiful neon green like little runway lights guiding me on my way to my room.

Tufted Evening Primrose, Painting begins ©2020 Tina M.Welter

It was a magical moment and I rejoiced in the beauty of that night."

Tufted Evening Primrose, Finished painting ©2020 Tina M.Welter
"They Only Bloom at Night" ©2020

Happy Creating!


p.s. There are a surprising number of variations of Evening Primrose growing in the southwest! This link goes to the variety that looks the closest like the flower that grew on our mountainside, Oenothera Caespitosa, Tufted Evening Primrose

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Little Trouble Maker

1972 Prowler RV trailer, photo ©1997 TinaMWelter
Home Sweet Home

I remember how nervous I was about moving onto our new piece of land in the mountains of New Mexico in 1996. I was excited to live in the forest, but also nervous about bears and possibly mountain lions confronting me on the way to the outhouse. It seems funny looking back now, because we did see a bear occasionally but we never had a mountain lion or even a bobcat bother us, what I should have been worried about were the much smaller animals!

One late fall afternoon, I had the door to the trailer open to enjoy the mild weather when I noticed something about the size of a small cat with tan brown and white fur scurry across the ground outside. It went from under one of our vehicles to hide behind some plywood we had leaned against the storage shed. Jeff was outside, so I asked him if he saw it. He moved some of the plywood and out popped this animal I thought looked like a Chinchilla. It had large eyes and ears and a somewhat fluffy tail. It was kind of cute, but what in heaven’s name was it?

To get a better look at this critter, Jeff set out a few pieces of cat food in a dish and we quietly waited to see if it would come out from under the VW bus and eat the food. It did come out, and quite brazenly too, especially since it was late afternoon and it would have been highly visible to any hunting hawks.

White-throated Woodrat, ink pen sketch ©2020 Tina M.Welter
White-throated Woodrat, quick sketch

Even after a good look, neither one of us was completely certain what it was, so the next time we went down to town to use the computer at the library we searched on-line. (Note: At this point in time, we didn’t have a phone line to our property, there wasn’t cell phone service and we certainly didn’t have a personal computer.) We found out it was a white throated wood rat, often called a pack rat. They could be found living at high altitudes, in rocky terrain and ponderosa forests. Okay, we could check all three of those boxes! Now we knew what the critter was, but we had no idea that a battle of wits had just begun.

One night about 3:00 am, we heard loud scratching noises in the ceiling just above our heads. What was that? Jeff went outside to check but couldn’t see anything. He banged on the ceiling and the noise stopped for awhile but soon those scrabbling noises started up again. It sounded way too loud for a mouse, good heavens, could that possibly be the wood rat?

The walls and ceiling of the 1972 Prowler RV trailer we were living in were made of thin plywood with about a 2 inch layer of insulation between that plywood and the outside metal skin, even rain and hail storms were noisy, but good grief, it was hard to sleep with some large rodent up there making those annoying sounds just above our heads. It would settle down and we would drift off to sleep, only to be awakened again by that scratching! I still remember the vivid dream I had one night of seeing that wood rat’s face peering down on me after I dreamed it had gnawed a hole through the ceiling. Yeeesh.

The next morning Jeff went on the roof and noticed that the vent for our propane stove was the entrance point. He had put window screen over it previously to keep birds out, but this animal had chewed right through that, so he cut a small sheet of expanded metal mesh and attached it over the vent. Perfect.

That night, the scratching sounds started again! Good grief, we had inadvertently trapped the thing in! Sigh, we hadn’t given enough thought about this being a nocturnal animal. We couldn’t use poison, we didn’t want it dead in our walls, so how were we going to get it out? Jeff took the metal screen off and then spent the next few nights waking up at 3am to put it back on after all seemed quiet. We thought he could block the wood rat out after it had gone out to search for food. Nope, nope and nope!

Eventually Jeff came up with a different tactic. The pilot light for our propane fridge was accessible from a small hatch on the outside of the trailer. This hatch was long and narrow, about 16 inches long and 4 inches wide. When he took the hatch off, we could see by the poo-pellets left behind that our wood rat had been to that part of trailer. Great! Jeff decided to leave the hatch off hoping the wood rat would leap the 4 feet to the ground or jump over to the small juniper tree trunk that was only a little over a foot away from the side of the trailer. Problem solved.

Nope. That night we could still hear our unwanted “upstairs” neighbor moving around in the ceiling! That wood rat had moved in with us and wasn’t taking any of our hints to leave.

Pencil drawing of a Woodrat
Follow the Trail, please!

 Jeff wasn't defeated yet, he took that long hatch door from the trailer and made a temporary bridge by balancing one end from a knot on the juniper tree’s trunk and resting the other end on the lip of the open hatch on the trailer. Then the best idea of all, he put a line of dry cat food pieces along his makeshift gangway.

We got into bed carefully that night, making certain we didn’t shake the trailer too much and undo Jeff’s handiwork. Generally, it’s not great to be awakened at 3:00 am, but it was the best thing in the world to hear that small piece of metal slap the side of the trailer and fall. After a few moments of celebration, we debated if it was worth going outside in the cold to put the cover back on the hatch. Jeff decided he wasn’t taking any chances and went outside and put the hatch cover back in place. Thank heaven he did.

We had just settled back down under the covers and started feeling sleepy when we heard the most unsettling thing of all, the sound of a wood rat’s tiny toenails scraping down the metal siding of the trailer! It was trying to get back in by leaping from the juniper tree and aiming for the once open hatch! Yikes!

It gave me such an eerie feeling that this animal was so determined to get what it wanted and it was my first inkling that I had underestimated what the smaller wildlife we were sharing this mountainside with were capable of.

Happy creating!


p.s. My right eye has been fairly stable as long as I keep using the steroid eye drops, still no diagnosis as to why I have this condition. I only have the MRI test left to do, but with the current Covid-19 virus trouble, that may take awhile to schedule.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Change of Vision

Sunny Winter's Day in Nevada photo ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Normal view, driving on a sunny winter's day in Nevada.

February 7th I was working on some sketch ideas for my brother who had asked me in December about illustrating a short story-poem he had written. I was making some mini test paintings and as the room I use for my studio filled with bright afternoon light, it seemed like something was going very wrong with my eyes.

There was an unusual amount of black dots, “floaters” is what they are often called, appearing in my right eye. It seemed like I was looking through a strip of black pepper flakes. Plus, everything seemed more blurry, like I couldn’t quite focus my eye.

Floaters and Blurring from Uveitis, Photo Illustration ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Illustration of the floaters and blurring inside my eye.

 My heart was racing as I called the ophthalmologist, of course this had to happen after office hours on a Friday. I left a message and tried not to panic.  

Last spring while dealing with the usual round of allergies, I had my first change of vision. I woke up one morning with what looked roughly like a faint circle of black dots suspended in a kind of thick gel in my eye. This annoying mass kept drifting in and out of the center of my vision, making it really challenging to see clearly.

I made my first appointment with an ophthalmologist in over 30 years.

What had happened in my right eye is called a “vitreous detachment”. It seemed terrifying, but it was explained to me as one of those “normal” things that can happen with aging. Sheez, the things no one tells you about getting older! The vitreous gel in the eye gets thicker as people age and may pull away from the back of the eye. That part isn’t dangerous to the eyesight, only if it manages to pull the retina with it.

Vitreous detachment photo Illustration ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Steroid drops helping, black dots are smaller and there is less visual blurring.

                     (Looping shape is the right eye vitreous detachment turned on it's side.
                       the dark dot on the side is from left eye vitreous detachment.)

Thankfully, my retina was fine, but the doctor warned me that if I ever saw a “swarm of black dots” that I should contact him immediately. Those black dots are blood cells making their way into the eye. Before you freak out about seeing those dots in your own eyes, it’s perfectly normal to have a few, just not a whole bunch suddenly appearing all at once!

I took a deep breath of relief, it was a nuisance but I could manage since my left eye was still clear. I was immediately disappointed when the doctor told me that this same thing would probably happen in my left eye! Sure enough, a similar thing showed up in my left eye in August. Sigh.

The only treatment besides the controversial laser targeting or risky surgery of having all the vitreous sucked out of your eye and replaced with salt water is patience. Gravity is your friend and over time will eventually pull the annoying things to the bottom of your eye where they are not so much in the way. It looks like they are at the top of your eye because of the way the brain turns the upside down images projected on the retina right side up.

By December, I had pretty much gotten used to the inconvenience. Yes, making art was harder. I often had to tip my head to the side to get them out of the way if I was working on something detailed, I cried now and then out of frustration, but dammit, I wasn’t going to let them stop me from making and creating whatever I wanted.

This is why the appearance of that “swarm” of dots in early February was so upsetting. The doctor’s office did call me back and I was able to go in to get my eyes checked on Saturday. The good news, my retinas were fine. The bad news, the back of my right eye was obviously inflamed, which is also a danger to eyesight. The question was why?

The name for it is Uveitis, specifically Posterior Uveitis in my case since it is the back of the eye.  If you search on-line for what can cause it you will find a long list of about 30 upsetting reasons. I looked them all up, trying to understand what might be going on, but none of them felt like an exact match for me.

The rest of the month of February has been a series of blood tests and doctors visits and medications. The good news is that several of the scary things on that list have been ruled out. I don’t have tuberculosis, lyme disease, lupus or toxoplasmosis. The shingles virus was a real suspect at first, but it’s not that either. I still have an MRI test to do to check for multiple sclerosis or a tumor, which are more scary things to consider, but I would like to know for certain.

The only clue I feel I have is that I had a nasty sinus attack Dec. 22nd and then came down with a cold on Christmas day. I was still coughing weeks later when I caught the cold again the end of January and had another painful sinus attack just before this ordeal with my eyes started. Did being sick for so long mess with my immune system and trigger the inflammation in my eye?

The steroid eye drops I am taking are keeping the inflammation at bay, which I am truly grateful for, but they are not a cure. 

Vitreous detachment both eyes photo illustration ©2020 Tina M.Welter
Illustration of how it looks currently.

I debated with myself all month about talking about this on my blog, but as an artist this event really shook my world. The first few days were so very upsetting and I was full of fear of losing my eyesight. I’m still concerned since I don’t have any solid answers yet. I’m grateful the doctor said I could drive again, so that is an improvement.

It also feels important to me that I let other people know that if you ever get an unexpected blizzard of little black dots in your eye do not wait around, get to an ophthalmologist as quickly as you can!

Hopefully Creating