I’m so busy making art, learning new techniques, and also making plans to move to North Carolina to be near my son (who turned his life around at last!), that I’ve decided to let the blog go. I’ll keep everyone up to date via Facebook.
I created somenew pages here on the blog which you can link into and find pics for miles. The pages are listed at the top of the blog. Check out the ones featuring friends’ inspiring homes (hey there, Mary Korfanty, Barbara Gold, Dwight West, Linda Goodwin, and Dr. Ladenberger).
(This is a new blog format/theme and I am having a hell of a time getting the fonts right. Apologies if it comes out wonky. It is very very late at night.)
After a year on the wait list for an apartment at the Juliette Fowler retirement community, the move happened all of a sudden at Christmas. Around that time we BA ’66 grads lost one of ou icons, one of our beloveds, to cancer. I was so glad to have spent a little time with Bobby Bassett over the last few years; mainly at art venues and then later in hospice. I sure hope I see you in the afterlife.
Bobby is on the left. Middle: Brent; right: BryanLots of artwork in various media going on here in my new home. It’s only 600 sq. ft. and I’m pretty used to living small, but I do have to have my art supplies, artwork and treasures! I’m comfortable here and the 2 big windows with expansive views plus high ceilings, keep me from feeling closed in. I’ve joined the artists’ group here, and have committed to the water aerobics class by purchasing a new swim dress. I was without Wifi for awhile, so couldn’t post. Today and evening I got caught up on blog posts by creatives I follow. That was cool.
Meantime, here are pics from The Lakewood Library 54th Annual Artists’ show on view all of May. I am thrilled to have 2 pieces in it; cardboard and fabric doll, and acrylic painting using the techniques I learned from Lynn Whipple during her online class, The Essence of Still Life. I will never paint the same old way again!
Here is work by a new artist friend Jacqui during our weekly art workshop here at JFCA:
Online challenges are a new passion of mine, having stumbled upon a free one a few months ago….maybe via Instagram? Somebody’s blog? I am losing track of how I found – and keep finding, such great talent on the web to learn from, maybe emulate, and share with. Then of course, you get chummy with the other artists involved in that challenge or class. You’re hooked.
I found more artists whose work I wanted to see more of, via a big clean-out of my many art books and periodicals. I will be downsizing even further in the next few months, and I needed the cash, so off to HalfPrice Books I went with a load. Before letting a good book go, I found it necessary to peruse it thoroughly; keepers were set aside and some pages torn out of various Stampington publications before trashing the rest of the magazine. Even so, there were plenty of pristine issues intact left to sell. You can find ’em at the HPB store on Northwest Highway.
Now I have roughly half the art and decor books I moved in with; which gave me the courage to toss a big trash bag full of fabric scraps. I’m not done ferreting around in my stash; I’m determined to be tough. I’ve had this stuff for many years. I used to enjoy popping in to the fabric store for the odd remnant but haven’t had that pleasure for a long time, ’cause I just didn’t want to add to my piles.
Last week I let my favorite doll that I made go; and it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would! “Beth” is with her new mom now up in Glen Ellyn, IL. I listed her on Etsy and she wasn’t there for long, so I am encouraged to keep going with dolls and other artwork for sale. And selling at lower prices than I offered before; I am trying to find that sweet spot between what’s affordable for a buyer and gives me some profit, too. It’s the sharing of my work, and the recognition, and joy the buyer experiences that mean the most to me now.
I love Instagram for its ability to satisfy my need for instant gratification. I follow close to 200 artists world-wide now, and have some followers of my own. It keeps me on the creativity path. The online challenges have you upload your “homework” onto Instagram, and all the artists in the challenge view and comment on everyone’s work.
Shout out to Tara Leaver, a young abstract painter in Cornwall for her Art Notes news and encouragement! She has online classes in addition to an occasional free challenge.
Wherein I begin to post all my new (and older) artwork and find a variety of artists and creatives and makers from all over the world, who post their expressions…..and you can communicate with them in real time! I need more real time!
A couple photos of what I’ve been working on. Or click on the link above to my Instagram account.
I am still a little challenged on uploading photos from my Flickr page to my blog via downloading them first to this Windows PC…..I find Flickr difficult to use and Instagram is my new crush. I can upload photos from my iPhone to Instagram in a snap, and tell it to share with Facebook and Flickr. Done and Done. I haven’t attempted to upload my phone data to this computer yet. I hope I learn that soon.
On the Bookshelf
I’m always reading / studying several publications at a time. Sometimes it takes me a few months to finish any one of them. Who am I kidding. Sometimes over a year. As is the case of Proust’s tomes; I love them for their descriptive prose, it’s like looking at a series of beautiful paintings. I’m a slow reader, maybe because I visualize every little thing.
Louise Penny “The Brutal Telling”, #5 in the Chief Inspector Gamache novels. I love her characters and the Quebec backdrop.
Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun “Memoirs of Madame Vigee-Lebrun, Illustrated Edition”. This is the autobiography of the prolific French artist whose many clients spanning many decades, included Marie Antionette. She traveled and worked all over Europe until her death in 1842. Wow!
Barbara Gold’s “Loving Courageously…First Me, Then You, Now Us”.
She has a YouTube interview, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPuEHCeNlNw
Barbara draws on over 35 years of psychotherapy practice to help readers develop a self to love and take good care of as we re-write the script we’ve learned. Knowing me well, and some of the issues I struggle with, she recommended I read:
“When Food Is Love”, Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy”, by Geneen Roth (also on Amazon). I’m only in the second chapter, but I can tell you that silent tears streamed down my cheeks all through Chapter 1. Many years ago I had to give up booze and cigarettes and looking for love in all the wrong places. My son grew up to have serious dependency problems of his own. No dad around. Now, I can’t live without artmaking. And comfort food, primarily Blue Bell Ice Cream. I wonder if I will cry during chapter 2 of Roth’s book?
I glommed on to this artist through one of my favorite blogs, “How To Pastel” by Gail Sibley. I’m using what I’m learning through Carole and Gail’s techniques to create my own pastel paintings over the last few weeks. Here’s the link to her blog:
And then through all these great learning sources, I can’t forget YouTube, because many generous artists of all genre share their expertise online. There aren’t enough hours in the day! Yipee for retirement! A friend of mine was shocked when she found out how many hours a day I devote to social media plus my artwork. One wonders how I even have time for ice cream.
Katherine Dunn’s “Creative Illustration Workshop for Mixed Media Artists”. I found this gem at HalfPrice Books. I first saw her work in one of Cat Bennett’s books. There is a whimsy and similarity in their styles, I think.
Lastly, two “In Easy Steps” how-to reference books on Windows 10 and Word 2013 because I had to retire my old and small, MacBook. Because I sometimes get to work with a couple of friends involving using a computer, and they use Windows, and mainly because I could not afford to upgrade my Apple OS, I made the decision to purchase a used, refurbished Toshiba laptop. And this sucker is big, for ease of use. This post is ‘Shiba’s virgin foray into the blogesphere of Artyology and friends. I am also using Google Chrome for the first time. Having a little challenge with curser control.
Stitch with Friends
It was a fun evening at Kelly’s with our friend Linda, and Kelly’s darling dogs, Gypsy and Elsa. I was really rusty since no actual fiber arts have been accomplished over here lately, just lots of looking at various textile artists’ blogs. I want to start some more dollmaking with simple patterns, smallish in size, and with some drawing on the fabric plus little “samplers” stitched onto their simple clothes….
That’s all for now. I’ve got a buncha blogs to read!
Months ago, I downsized from a 3 bedroom house to 1 bedroom apartment. Oh GOD. Don’t let me use large boxes ever again! I’m too old for this. But even so, YES, I will be moving again next year…..to an even smaller apartment in a modest retirement community in Old East Dallas on the edge of Lakewood. Love that. Plus, it will be much cheaper, and that’s the whole point of all this Damn Downsizing.
I let go of almost half of what I owned before the move. Painful at times, yet freeing. Cousin Julie, who had also just downsized, sent me her copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo. A revelation. If the item doesn’t “spark joy” when you touch it, let it go to a new owner who might love it. (or just throw it away). Serious magic, indeed. Important to follow the order she prescribes, as your confidence and clarity grows throughout the process. The only thing I couldn’t do was fold all my blouses/tops for storage in drawers. I prefer hangers and I’m NOT a young petite person like Ms. Kondo. You get the idea.
New apartment, “Before”…..
So now we come to the “After” pics:
See the tall, narrow coffee cups? With the Dutch canal houses on them? A serendipitous gift from friends and newlyweds Jennifer and Marcel. He’s Dutch, she’s a Dallas gal and now she lives in my favorite country, Holland, with Marcel and his two darling daughters. The coffee cups are from Amsterdam. They replace my favorite cup which somehow got left behind during my move and for which I grieved, silly as that sounds….my son Eric made the wood plaque for me when we lived in The Lehigh Valley for a few years. I still miss the snow and the scenic views.
And my 50th high school reunion was so cool, that none of us got as many photos of each other as we wanted. I could only stop talking long enough to take a few.
This formatting is about to kill me. I can’t figure it out. Something changed.
During all this life readjustment, I had cataract surgeries on both eyes. Long process. These sketches were all done during that time, and around the presidential election, which was also a cause for my watery, blurry eyes. And general depression.
It happened to me, what was unthinkable…..running out of money and resources in retirement; this Boomer who never planned for the future and was blind-sided by job losses and home equity losses, et al, blah blah blah. Now made the tough decision to sell my cottage on a tree-lined street near my beloved White Rock Lake, and – ohmygod, will rent an apartment for awhile. Perhaps a long while. After ten years of ownership, my equity is non-existent due to the housing crash, and this old cottage now needs upkeep and repair I cannot make. I dreamed of hanging on long enough to get a nice reverse mortgage, but the bathroom floor will have long caved in before that ever happens.
To my chagrin, I find that I qualify for subsidized housing for a one bedroom apartment. So that’s what I have to do. The For Sale sign went up in my yard today, and there have been three showings already.
My grandson will move back home with his mom and sisters and her boyfriend, and my son will have to find someone else besides me to stay with. I’ve done all I can do, and now it is time to let go and move on. I can’t help but think about everyone who rails against entitlements for the poor and ashamed to admit that in my callous youth, I was a snob. I wasn’t priviledged, just ignorant and naive. I wasn’t smart with money, and I gave most of my inheritance away or made bad investments during the recession. But I always worked and supported us, and paid my taxes. Now it’s my turn to hold out my hand for help from the government. There you have it.
So I made this little sampler cloth that had a horizontal piece up top, and it looked sort of like a pagoda, or perhaps an irregular cross. I had another piece of brown and cream toile by Laura Ashley and I cut a section out that had a female profile with an outstretched arm on it. After that, I drew a larger profile beside the printed toile one. She wanted boots for walking, so a periwinkle pair were stitched and stuffed, trapunto-style. Hands outstretched, she is garnering the courage to journey forward.
Paintings by Claudia McGill
Here are photos of little paintings by Claudia McGill, whom I discovered by linking into blogs here on WordPress. I adore her work! She is very generous, and had a giveaway on her blog. In exchange, I sent her a sampling of my work and am tickled to learn that she’s keeping them together like a little art journal. So cool.
Reception and Gallery Walk at theSmall Gallery and Slant Gallery in Midtown
I took photos of every piece of artwork (well, I think I got it all) that was on display at theSmall Gallery and Slant Gallery recently and will share them with you. To start, here I am at the Reception attempting a selfie against my cloth head-ladies dolls.
That wraps up the Midtown gallery tours for April. If you made it this far into my blog post today, I hope you enjoyed it!
I am musing now…..does it matter where I live as long as I am surrounded by art that sustains me? I still have friends, family, and a host of folks to admire in social media and the blogesphere. But….Hopefully a view of leafy green or at least a flowering hanging basket from apartment windows. Pride, pride go away….give up the dream of home ownership. If it is a burden, then it is too much for me to handle. Been there, done that, as we say. Time to move on.
A collection of photos follows from the recent curated exhibit at The Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake in Dallas. Although I tried to capture each piece of the installation, I offer my sincere apologies to any artist I may have missed, or photo quality isn’t the best.
I’m so honored that my Frida cloth art doll was included with the talented artists who made the eclectic works there!
Evolving Studio Reorganization
A few weeks ago, before launching into some new projects, I decided my living room/studio required another sort and rearrange. Besides gaining some wiggle room I found an old sketchbook with drawings from my foray into the Sketching in the Gallery events at Dallas Museum of Art in 2001. I thought I had lost them. My graphite drawings reminded me how much I used to love using charcoal. Now I get a thrill knowing I can seal these babies with my new spray fixatives (matte or semi-gloss).
Before and After –
Before and at the Point of Overwhelment:
And After, At Last:
Trying New Supplies and Techniques
In response to a call for entries for artworks inspired by the iconic Frida Kahlo at an upcoming curated gallery exhibit at The Bath House at White Rock Lake, I had an idea for a cloth doll posing with some of her (the doll’s, not Frida’s), self portrait sketches (done by yours truly). I wanted to experiment with some of my new art supplies, but it was also important to me that I use fabric, trims, and doll hair already on hand. And the DOLL selects the materials she wants.
I like to shop online. I HATE shopping in person. My vertigo kicks in and I always get a tummy ache. In a store, decision-making eludes me. I have been known to leave a store empty-handed. If I could order groceries online for cheap, I would. Anyway…..
The drawings are done on four different papers, approx. 5” x 7”, using a variety of tools including chisel tip pens, markers Pigma pen, pastels, acrylic, charcoal. Why had I been afraid to try new techniques? That’s an interesting line of thought, I think.. I found I love the soft pastels, especially on this new Yupo ‘paper’. So slick and smooth! Spray with fixative and you’re done.
I was uncomfortable using the calligraphy pens and lost control of my marking a few times. So much so that I cut out the boo-boo and pasted on a new piece of paper, and drew over that. Ouch. The damn chisel tips bleed when dampened by a dot of Elmer’s. That would never do with a wash. I’ll stick with my trusty Micron Pigma Pens. In the end, none of my sketches remotely resemble Frida, but why quibble over details? In any case, I changed my mind about using them with my Frida doll entry. They will turn up in a future project, probably.
Recent sketchbook drawings with new supplies:
Inspiring Studio of Artist/Writer Linda Garten Goodwin
Is it any wonder I like to hang out in my friend’s carefully collected and curated studio space?
My Frida Sketches
In Order to Execute One Task, I Drift Off Into Another In Search of the Elusive Muse
I was also playing around with piecing small scraps of fabric. Maybe use some on cloth dolls. Maybe just see what becomes. I was stuck in the select-and-pin phase; the thing was getting too big and pissing me off, when I happened to take a Pinterest break. A Pinterest “break” usually becomes a BINGE.
Luckily my Textiles-Fiber Arts Pinterest board includes work by Jude Hill and I happened to swoop into her Spirit Cloth blog . Serendipity! She was just starting a new online sharing project and soon I had segued into beginning my first cloth sampler. I’ll try a nine-patch soon, but it scares me because I have a hard time with measurements and squaring things up. Don’t know how much of that fear is due to mental block or mental handicap. **humphf** But for this first project, I want intuitive design, imperfection, and simple hand stitch. I love that Jude uses just a few simple but perfect, tiny embroidery stitches. The folk art feel appealed to me, but with the hope of producing something that is somehow primitive and modern all at once.
Meanwhile, My Doll Making Muse Butts In
So OF COURSE this stitch-play led to the dubious decision to stitch my Frida doll BY HAND. Which I loved doing, but it really slowed me down and I was only 97% finished with her in time to meet a contest photo-entry deadline, so I had to tack her clothes in place, pose and snap the photo, and wait until later to give her rings and embroidered shoes. I used my new pastels along with pen, fabric paint and spray fixative on her face. I’m pleased with her hair. It’s mohair + synthetic doll hair. She wears new earrings from Kalachandji’s Indian gift shop. She doesn’t look like the real Frida, but she FEELS like her to me. I enjoyed researching the real Frida Kahlo in any case, and remembered I want to add the movie to my collection someday.
Adult Coloring Books have become so popular, and friend Linda Garten Goodwin and I spent an afternoon at the Bath House at White Rock Lake indulging in a coloring event with folks from the East Dallas Creative Arts Center. I hope to take a class there someday. Anyway, while I enjoyed the outing, my colored page SUCKED. A four year old could have done better. I was duly humbled. Linda didn’t like hers either, but I thought she did pretty good considering her advanced age (ha!). She complained that her hand was cramping up. Excuses, excuses….
Speaking of child play……So the kids who graduated high school the year before me were in town for their 50th reunion. Lesley Ivy stayed with Linda and Mr. G, (who live just a couple blocks from me in the White Rock area), and I was lucky to get a play date with her and Linda before Lesley returned to her home in Taos. (I know, right? Taos. *sigh*)
We had a sublime lunch at East Dallas’ Kalachandji’s Indian restaurant/gift shop/temple, where you eat outside in a lovely courtyard. I bought Frida-doll’s earrings there. Beautiful afternoon with beautiful ladies!
Check out Lesley’s colorful and distinctive murals, mosaics, painted furniture and more, here Colorwork I’ll take one of each, please!
I continue to rework some older cloth dolls as the mood strikes me. I am still incubating ideas for new pieces. Often, before I fall asleep, I rehearse a technique and assemble all the parts completely in my head. I might even paint a picture (also in my head). Too bad all the inspired work going on in my head doesn’t actually come to fruition. Is this normal behavior?
Artists/Makers/Teachers whose work has influenced me lately are:
My mom, D.J. Geer, who passed sixteen years ago, would have turned 90 this past July. She was an artist and especially loved any sort of textile art. We were playmates. She loved birds. When she died, I took her favorite ceramic purchase, a fat budgie. This is my watercolor of it.
Hey, New York: Hipsters thrive in Texas too!
Over the last few months, I have been fortunate to supplement my social security income by typing, and helping edit, a dear friend’s memoir. It is turning into therapy for us both (besides the obvious learning experience). In addition, we are working on an art project together; I am scanning and mounting her drawings. Here’s a little sketch I made of her after a memoir session at my kitchen table:
April to present was filled with difficulties related to family issues and there were times I couldn’t make much art, or even read blogs; it was a struggle to open my email and Facebook. Just wanted to sleep round the clock. My memoir-writing friend has lent me her Inspector Gamache and The Walk novels, as I confessed to only reading my collection of “research” material related to Art or Decor or Fashion.
I needed an escape, and boy do I love Louise Penny’s and Richard Paul Evans’ work now! I’m an addictive personality and can barely put them down long enough to return to Blogs and Art. I expect to learn some things about Life and People, and maybe….maybe that will lead to some new Artwork, as well. Hope returns.