From December 2016

“Bea and Keiko” photo by Chris Arcus

Here’s a photo of me and my cat Keiko in front of my new painting “Legs Like Vines, or The Dilemma of Venus.” Keiko is her usual lively self.

"Bea and Keiko" photo by Chris Arcus, copyright 2016
“Bea and Keiko” photo by Chris Arcus, copyright 2016

Yes, Keiko is my “art cat”! She likes to hang out  next to me when I am painting. We are  inside the kitchen/dining area since its too cold out in the garage to work on painting there. The paints don’t even like it!!

We both wish you all a wonderful winter holiday!



“Snowy Landscape in Vancouver, WA” 2 photos by Bea Garth

Chris and I went walking out in the snow today. We certainly didn’t expect snow here, especially so early. For me, being so recently from California these many years, the powdery snow looks quite inviting!

"Snowy Walk in Vancouver" photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2016
“Snowy Walk in Vancouver” photo of Vancouver, WA by Bea Garth, copyright 2016

Last night listening to the news,  we learned the area is not that well prepared for snow. Last night it seemed like  the whole of the cities of Portland and Vancouver were  slipping and sliding! It was reported that today many businesses and schools were closed.

Fortunately for us,  we bought chains yesterday. Nevertheless, rather than drive to the store this afternoon, we decided to walk.

"Snowy Bramble and Trees," photo of Vancouver, WA by Bea Garth, copyright 2016
“Snowy Bramble and Trees,” photo of Vancouver, WA by Bea Garth, copyright 2016

It wasn’t nearly as cold as I thought it would be.  The snow was already starting to melt despite the low temperature outside. It just hasn’t been that cold that long here for the snow to really stick. Nevertheless it was/is beautiful!

The news is that it will be staying cold the next few days, before it warms up next week. Everyone here I hear is looking forward to the return of more temperate rain!!


“The Dilemma of Venus” painting in progress by Bea Garth

I am nearly done with this painting. Just needs a bit more shadow and other little fudging. I have had some delays finishing it, but now am on it again.  This painting seems to express the dilemma of the feminine principle going through a rebirth in the world. She wants her male counterpart to participate, but is having some trouble getting that point across…

"The Dilemma of Venus" painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2016
“The Dilemma of Venus” painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2016

“Hanford Experiment” commentary and painting by Bea Garth

I believe I have mostly completed this painting. It was just like that! 2 days. Though  I should probably fiddle with it a little. It just came pouring out of me. I was obsessed, reading all these new and old documents about the Hanford radiation experiments and watching videos about it.  There is more in me to do on this subject, to be certain.

“Hanford Radiation Experiment” acrylic on canvas by Bea Garth, copyright 2016

In truth, I  first started this painting  some years ago — the same day the reactors at Fukishima experienced severe problems in Japan in March 2011 as a result of a record breaking tsunami.  I must have known it in my bones before I consciously knew the accident actually had happened.

The style in this painting is very different than what I usually employ, and the colors make me think of radiation. I was never able to finish it until now, the 67th anniversary of the Hanford human radiation experiment called the Green Run (which originally occurred on December 2nd and 3rd, 1949). It is personal for me since I was affected as a small infant.

While I was working on the painting yesterday and today, I kept the same large figures and the color scheme that I had originally, although I tweaked the skin and clothes. I added the two babies after seeing the video about  the many young babies who died in Walla, Walla, WA (where I was born)  during the Hanford Green Run experiments era. The babies are all grouped together in the local cemetery. I was in tears.

On my painting, I included typed strips of writing from an article by “A Green Road Journal” and another article created by the governmental ‘Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments’ called: “The Facts and Unknowns of the Green Run” published  Nov. 9, 1994. The typed strips  remind me of the little typed notes my parents and others put on archaeological specimens. I incorporated them in the painting so they seem both like bandages and ghostly, dream-like bits of documents that weave between being clear and obscure.

I figure there must be tons of sick and dead children from radiation more recently in Japan. Not to mention increased illness and death rates in infants along the West Coast of the United States given all the toxic xenon we are getting these days. Ever wonder why there is increased respiratory illnesses here??

So yes, unfortunately, there is a lot of material for me to get inspiration from. I feel like I owe it to all those kids who didn’t survive or aren’t doing so well–since yes small children are more affected by radiation than their elders (although their grandparents don’t tend to do so well either). I am one of the lucky ones despite the fact I got severely ill coincident with the Green Run in 1949  when I was 4 months old.  I was likely sick from both the iodine 131 and the excess xenon (and who knows what else!) since my lungs were severely affected. They have never been quite right since then.

Nevertheless, I was fortunate to have been taken to the hospital and treated with gamma globulin likely laced with iodine (which protects against the radioactive iodine 131), and taken off gluten (which tends to be inflammatory). But many were not so fortunate.  But even as fortunate as I am, I have had to really work hard on my health for years (and still do) to be healthy and whole. I am really glad to have found some remedies that really work for me like dandelion root, barberry, ginger and (taken separately) bentonite slaked by letting sit in water at least 5 hours–as well as a low histamine and gluten free diet.

Of course none of us were fortunate at all to be exposed to so much intense radiation. As I keep reading I have discovered there were several Green Runs, not just one as the government eventually claimed  by mid 1985 (i.e, the one on December 2nd and 3rd, 1949). We are talking about more than 847,000 curies of radioactive iodine that were released into the river over a 3 year period alone–before the Green Run in December 1949 with its 8,000 curies. More was released at intervals up through the 1960’s. Fortunately we moved away by the time I was 3. There were only 24 curies of radioactive iodine that were released in the Three Mile Island accident. And yes no one was told until the mid eighties.

Both Hanford and the nuclear accident at Fukishima are bad situations that keep on giving. The big issue at Hanford now is all the leaking storage tanks the federal government (and its agencies) simply has not had it in its heart to spend money on. From what I have read, they could potentially contaminate the entire region if its not attended to. The health of the Columbia River is at particular risk not to speak of cities downriver like Vancouver and Portland.

And Fukishima, wow. I need to find out more. And plan to. There seems to be a continuing black-out on the situation there. The powers that be and news media overall seem determined to give the impression that nuclear is  safe by not covering the story or paying attention.  This needs to change.

I hope some of my art can help create more awareness of the necessity to deal with and heal this issue wherever it exists.

“Radiation Exposure” art project by Bea Garth

I still want to finish my painting of “Legs Like Vines.” However I am also called now to focus on issues of radiation which I want to begin exploring with my art. My family and I and many others were subject to a huge top secret radiation experiment called the Green Run. The Hanford  Nuclear Site created the Plutonium for Nagasaki and most of the nuclear bombs for the United States –as well, as it turns out, a great variety of radiation experiments both on animals and humans. How does it relate to now? Well its still going on, with how the nuclear plants at  Fukishima continue be subject to yet more earthquakes to spue out radiation while the US responds by simply artificially raising the level of permitted radiation in the atmosphere and, for all intent purposes, stopped testing these levels at all.

The government finally admitted in the mid-1980’s that there even was a “Green Run,” i.e., a release of raw “green” radioactive  materials from Hanford into the environment. The numbers vary from between 7000 and 12000 curies of radioactive iodine and at least 20,000 curies of xenon-133 that were released on the night between December 2nd and 3rd, 1949.  (Compare this with only 24 curies of radioactive iodine that was released at 3 Mile Island nuclear accident.) I immediately got seriously ill in early December. My mother and siblings all remember how I just wouldn’t stop crying!  I was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia when my parents observed I just wasn’t getting any better. My mother said previously I had  been a very healthy and happy infant.

I was put in isolation at the hospital for over a month. Fortunately I was treated with gamma globulin for “failure to thrive” –likely laced with iodine. This  more than likely saved my life, unlike many of my contemporaries who were soon  put in their small graves. I was “lucky. ” Years later on my mother told me that a “retired” doctor from the Mayo clinic treated me  because he liked the work my father and mother  did in the Walla Walla area as archaeologists. Gamma globulin infused with iodine is what  the Chernobyl victims were given to counteract high doses of radiation.

Although the government still does not admit its primary reason for  having this experiment, it does list the secondary reason. It  was to  measure how easy or difficult it would be to measure “dirty” radiation and thus detect what the Russians might be doing with their new “dirty” bombs they began experimenting with in the summer of 1949. The US  was in a race to stay ahead of the Russians…forgetting meanwhile the human cost of their experimentation.

I just watched a video of Kay Sutherland whose family lives in Walla Walla, WA. She shows how many of the infants who were born around the same time as I was who died, likely due to the Green Run . It is her claim, and now that of many others, that there were several Green Runs, not just one. Both before and after 1949.  Kay’s description of the babies who were buried in Walla Walla in the mid 40’s through the 50’s is  heart wrenching. It is imbedded in the following file from the Green Road Journal amongst a lot of very interesting information.