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.
In light of current events, how can my need for creative expression possibly matter, given the frightening state of affairs in the world? Is that shallow of me? I am petrified of the term “shallow”. It has been used to describe me during my most rebellious periods and haunts me. I curse myself for my vast amount of shallowness in previous decades and wonder how much remains? Gawd. Sadness and Fear drifted in these last couple months more than expected, but also some great joy in family coming together.
Urgent family business requiring three stressful and relatively unpleasant trips Downtown and much paperwork prep, coupled with the sudden and unexpected death by cancer of my beloved cousin Ronald, laid me low a few days. I started mixing up house paint because my pale blue bedroom was on my nerves. There were 3 false starts until I finally mixed a pinky-peachy-beige and wanted it up on the wall NOW. But I stalled out! I just couldn’t get it done.
Meantime, I’m helping a friend type and edit her memoir which is a fascinating project and we have a lively monthly meeting at my kitchen table. Soon after Ronnie’s funeral, along comes a wonderful family celebration in Ennis, and I am rejuvenated by reconnecting and meeting some special new people, although cousin Ronald was dearly missed.
All during these difficult 2 months it felt like all my attempts at art making sucked, so I just fiddled around with ideas and snapped pics of the process. I cheered myself up with a purchase from Etsy artist Monnie Bean Folkart and took pics of him hanging around the house. He’s paperclay, and upon arrival on my doorstep, told me his name was “Trevor”.
I was so excited that artist, book author, and blogger Seth Apter included a photo I sent him of one of my artwork displays at home in the Living With Art section of his blog! ( I am having trouble making “insert link” work, so am inserting this the hard way)
Hip hip hurrah! During Thanksgiving week, a woman in New York purchased one of my paintings from my new Etsy site! My God, I was so proud and pleased (still am) because this was validation that my art mattered, it spoke to someone besides me, it gave someone so much pleasure to see that they were compelled to buy it. I’m like a proud parent sending a cherished child into the world.
Even so, a big funk recently overtook me (for days and days), and I began to doubt my ability, my path, and worse: I felt I didn’t deserve anything good, much less recognition and validation. Who did I think I was, anyway? And my gawd, look how old I am! A retired Boomer, washed-up old hag…..blah blah blah.
In my very long experience with this issue there were too many times I got close to my goal, backed away, gave up. Pouted and indulged in despair (and things that weren’t very good for my health). So OK, this time I did dig in to the Blue Bell ice cream a whole lot, but I remembered to turn to my collection of books on creativity for help. One is Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way Trilogy’, and since I do believe we are guided, closed my eyes and let it fall open…..and the page it fell open to featured the section on ‘Creative U-Turns’. Damn! Magic, yet again.
And then there’s the what I call The Boomer Digital Learning Curve. I have been in computer hell for a few days, figuring out how to make a watermark to apply on my pics of my artwork ‘cuz copyright infringement is a hot topic and maybe, just maybe, some idiot would download one of my pieces and slap it in a frame, bypassing actually purchasing it from me. I don’t think so! This means I have been notating all my digital work, uploading new photos to my Etsy shop, and taking some off my Pinterest site, finally realizing Pinterest is not really the best place to post your own work anyway; and on it goes.
Here is my mixed media painting that was my first sale on Etsy:
One of the gifties I sent to Cousin Julie in Virginia, is this print of my sketch, “Tablet Guy”. Julie says her iPad is her ‘constant companion’. This coming from a lady who, not too long ago, was not eager to tackle the Boomer Digital Learning Curve and now she could probably teach a class on it.
To make my life easier and less angst-full I think I will blog more regularly instead of saving up too much chatter in my head. I can release it into the blogosphere, thereby freeing more space in the brain for creative thoughts.
Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement about my irritations today, but I’m still in a twit over it and needing to just get over myself. Nothing’s so irritating as knowing just enough about computers and blogs and social media sites and online shops and digital photos and scans ET AL….to just irritate yourself silly.
I was tweaking my blog you see, and sorta crashed my PC. I still have my MacBook which needs a new OS (since it is going on 8 years old) so I’m plugging away on it right now. I do love it, bless its tiny screen, but I also love my BIG monitor PC. OK.
Poking around in my photo files, I found some pics that illustrated what I thought were Projects Gone Terribly Wrong. I’m wondering if I can rescue a couple of them because in retrospect, they don’t appear as horrid to me know as they did back then. I can crop and digitally correct some scans, and I can paint all around and over the oil. Unless I just decide to start on Something Else Entirely.
But Oh Boy! Here’s some Things I REALLY Like; pics from friends, the neighborhood, famous artists, and my own scribbles as well:
I’m really getting in the mood to make some simple cloth dolls. I had forgotten about this little drawing, and maybe she has surfaced at just the right time. Yes, most definitely.
Apparently, I like change as evidenced by recent events. Of course it is hard, but worth the challenges and serendipitous happenings. Last year I was stuck trying to rearrange my studio; but when my son moved in 6 months ago, my studio space (almost effortlessly) moved to the living room area which is a much better location anyway!
Last November, I had the honor of participating as a vendor in the winter Art Mart Underground at Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake here in Dallas. The weather was unexpectedly frigid with ice storms causing hundreds of shoppers to stay home. But a thrilling experience nevertheless.
After 3 straight years (no paid time off) at a fast paced high pressure low wage customer service call center, where constant policy and data changes and criticism was the norm, I recently found it necessary to bail out. Family and friends are encouraging me to press on with my Aryology project. So, I’m opening an Etsy store soon.
I “work” for months in my head, sketching, planning, making notes about how I think I want to re-organize my whole in-home art studio before anything actually gets done. Lucky to have an open floor plan so that I can play at all sorts of things all at once. This is key: I must have access to my tiny TV even if I am not actually watching it. And CDs.
So the process of setting up my work space in it’s current configuration has taken a few months. Which recently included sorting, washing, and rolling into remnant bundles, my little fabric stash. I ruthlessly tossed anything I don’t adore. Purging of fabric scraps is necessary and freeing. Of course, there is more to do: always. Especially in my office area. I hate paperwork but if you are alive, you are probably drowning in it.
So here is the record of the Great Before And After Project…….