New Adventures in Art Making. Life in a Retirement Community. New Lease on Life, and Letting Go.

I created some new 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!

Vessels Spring 2018

Ms Dignity’s Red Shoes at the Lakewood Library 54th annual artists’ show

Here is work by a new artist friend Jacqui during our weekly art workshop here at JFCA:

Jacqui

 

Isabel kitty is happy here!  Thanks for visiting!

 

 

Downsizing, Change, Reunions, and new Sketches plus Fiber Art

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”…..

IMG_0002IMG_0007IMG_0004

IMG_0005
Where the hell did all this stuff come from?  I am so overwhelmed, it takes me months to get unpacked and re-designed.

So now we come to the “After” pics:

33135535150_7f79944191_z
These books all pertain to art making.  LOVE my new vertical metal “spine” bookshelves.  Cloth dolls and paintings by me.
33135560870_6fab1a094f_z
Painting by Las Vegas artist Jenn Main circa 2000.  I made a “gallery wall” by the bed using mostly family photos.  I still don’t like the bedroom.  I miss the 2 windows with leafy green views that were in my bedroom in my house.   I also miss the pink bedroom walls my son had painted for me there.
IMG_0195
I used to have 3 tables.  This old beat up vintage one was a gift in the ’70’s from a beloved aunt.  I just can’t part with it.  See the metal cart on wheels?  A recent steal from Tuesday Morning.  It holds the supplies I use the most.  I rounded up all the old photos accumulated pre-smart phone days and stored them in the round turquoise boxes that had been languishing mostly unused, due to their inconvenient roundness.  They are happy now.  I repurposed a canvas art supply tote to hold household tools.
IMG_0185
I repurposed the linen cabinet for art supply storage.  The bottom drawer holds mostly muslin/calico.  It took me months to decide how I wanted to organize everything.  I am unable to just stash things away in order to hide them, which irritated a minimalist numbers-loving friend who tried to help me…in vain.  I had to undo everything she tried to do!  Who says artists aren’t organized?  It just takes me longer to get there.
32774409915_eb2bb6eb62_z
This $15 plastic shelf from Lowe’s is perfect for a tiny corner.   Oil painting by my late mom, D.J. Geer, circa 1965.  I covered the front of an old couch pillow with a leopard print remnant.  Origami cranes by grandson Castle Keathley.
IMG_0200
Castle Keathley (the greatest grandson of all time) comes over to hang out.  It feels like home now!
31931288644_fd90b742a1_z
Another new metal spine bookshelf for my Decor library.  Castle assembled them for me.  I found them via Amazon.  Design Within Reach carries them as well.  A must-have for small spaces.  Artwork and dolls by yours truly.

33519220945_897b1ce641_z

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.

Reunions……

32621405362_f7eba9d082_z
Jennifer and Marcel with Elise and Melanie.  It was the girls’ first trip to the USA!
IMG_0134
Teenage friends Genie and Barbara reunite at her book launch…that’s Barbara Gold on the right.  She grew up to have a successful private practice as a family therapist and now author!  Loving Courageously:  First Me, Then You, Now Us is available on Amazon.  An easy, entertaining read full of pearls of wisdom and references to pop culture.  Have your highlighter ready.

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.

32733897206_700e19c18a_z
Linda, Barbara, Ronnie, Anita, and Joel

This formatting is about to kill me.  I can’t figure it out.  Something changed.

31960251433_7b2c6b9a89_z
Is this me….or Hillary?  Just after the Election
31931709494_6288a2d32b_z
I was trying to depict my new Marie Antoinette couch pillow cover

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.

32774409795_b895a48d66_z
Mom’s antique secretary.  Before she died, she spent many happy hours at it, painting little exquisite pastel landscapes.
31960251553_196d53b51f_z
I was playing around with a felt tip calligraphy pen.  These people, in this style, keep showing up.
32733544666_f62a08273b_z
Playing around with gouache.  Now I think he reminds me of Pres Obama. 
31931287454_73d8939458_z
“Pink” Decor
IMG_0191
Another stitch project .  Free form cloth hand sewn figure
32736979384_be61e180d6_z
Pastel and Micron pen in AquaBee sketchbook
IMG_0154
New Fav magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

33198239640_3509bafe94_z
Fabric remnants gifted by designer Jennifer Mayer
33581303085_f267c0648f_z
Multitasking.  Reading Barbara Gold’s Loving Courageously and playing paper dolls.
33540760036_61febc8006_z
I survived downsizing!  With a LOT of help from my friends and family.  And am always happy on an art-day outing!

 

 

Women Artists in Dallas Rock the Galleries

This is a thrill, indeed for this Dallas gal-artist!  I’ve got 5 cloth dolls and one portrait oil painting in the show!  For a sneak peak, visit:

the Small Gallery

 

Here on my blog, I’ve updated some pages, As well as the page that features pics of various artisans’ work in my private collection::

In the Gallery

Dolls

In My Collection – Work by Other Artists

I’m inspired to make my own little stitch works by fiber artists in the blogesphere and learning so much from Jude Hill.  I updated my page, here:

Fiber Art and Stitch

Visit my “Blogs I Follow” l to see where I get my inspiration from!

 

Layout 1
Genie Geer has 6 pieces in the show

 

 

 

 

 

Frida Kahlo-Inspired Gallery Exhibit at The Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake

IMG_2237 IMG_2186 IMG_2184 IMG_2187 IMG_2216 IMG_2234

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!

IMG_2312
Veranda view at Bath House Cultural Center and Gallery

IMG_2199.JPG

 

IMG_2193.JPG

 

 

IMG_2192.JPGIMG_2185.JPG

IMG_2194.JPG

IMG_2198.JPG

 

IMG_2197.JPG

 

IMG_2200.JPG

IMG_2209.JPG

IMG_2208.JPG

IMG_2210.JPG

IMG_2213.JPG

IMG_2211.JPG

IMG_2212.JPG

IMG_2214.JPG

IMG_2215.JPG

IMG_2217.JPG

IMG_2218.JPG

IMG_2225.JPG

 

IMG_2220.JPGIMG_2221.JPGIMG_2222.JPG

 

IMG_2227.JPGIMG_2226.JPG

 

IMG_2223.JPG

IMG_2228.JPG

IMG_2229.JPG

IMG_2232.JPG

 

IMG_2230.JPGIMG_2233.JPGIMG_2235.JPGIMG_2256.JPG

IMG_2238.JPG

IMG_2242.JPG

 

IMG_2245.JPG

IMG_2244.JPG

IMG_2246.JPG

IMG_2298.JPG

IMG_2299.JPG

 

IMG_2306.JPGIMG_2305.JPG

IMG_2304.JPG

IMG_2307.JPGIMG_2300.JPG

IMG_2309.JPGIMG_2308.JPG

IMG_2310.JPGIMG_2313.JPG

IMG_2315.JPG

 

IMG_2247.JPGIMG_2206.JPGIMG_2253.JPG

Hope Returns and Sharing Maker Inspiration

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:

Claudine Hellmuth – collage

Claudine Hellmuth

Lynne Perrella – collage, mixed media

Lynne Perrella

Thread and Thrift – textile artist, printmaker

Thread and Thrift

The Pale Rook – cloth doll art

The Pale Rook

Paper doll project courtesy The Pale Rook. Lynne Perrella's awesome book Beyond Paper Dolls inspires.
Paper doll project courtesy The Pale Rook. Lynne Perrella’s awesome book Beyond Paper Dolls inspires.
I pasted notes by The Pale Rook on back. I dressed the doll with cut outs from a fashion magazine
I pasted notes by The Pale Rook on back. I dressed the doll with cut outs from a fashion magazine
The Pale Rook paper doll joins other
The Pale Rook paper doll joins other “store-bought” dolls in my very girlie bedroom
Framed Original collage circa 2004 by Claudine Hellmuth
Framed Original collage circa 2004 by Claudine Hellmuth
Phoebe gets a makeover + paperclip
Phoebe gets a makeover + paperclip
clothes are raw-edge and embellished with crude embroidery. And she
clothes are raw-edge and embellished with crude embroidery. And she “borrowed” another doll’s purse.
Back view highlights back of skirt
Back view highlights back of skirt
Marianne's original face circa 1997
Marianne’s original face circa 1997
Makeover includes a chin lift underway (see needle, no, it doesn't hurt)
Makeover includes a chin lift underway (see needle, no, it doesn’t hurt)
I'd forgotten that I had even recycled a failed head, proving women do in fact have eyes in the back of their heads.
I’d forgotten that I had even recycled a failed head, proving women do in fact have eyes in the back of their heads.
“New” Marianne still loves her old dress and boots.
New chin, makeup, hair...
New chin, makeup, hair…

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.

Mom's little budgie
Mom’s little budgie

Hey, New York: Hipsters thrive in Texas too!

Jake at Half Price Books in Dallas, TX
Jake at Half Price Books in Dallas, TX

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:

Susan thinks001

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.

My cottage as viewed thru' neighbor's rose bush
My cottage as viewed thru’ neighbor’s rose bush
More paper doll fun
More paper doll fun

Artists, design & decor junkies; spiritual, global awareness seekers: apply within!

I have a plan.  I want to gather it all to me.  Goal setting has come late to me in my life, but it’s coming together, and I needed to get on social media to really begin to understand the powerful potential of our internet.  How we can, collectively, harness its power to reach out to one another, find some common ground, share our talents and dreams and find freedom of self-expression!

So I will be talking about, and linking to, other artists, lifestyle and photo blogs I’ve discovered,  my journey-in-progress and  my art; public figures I admire, writers and bloggers and ….you know how we are….

Shout out! to Loretta of The Art Motel of the Finger Lakes,  Jennifer of JMayerDesign, Beth of caprichostudio1.com, and Linda of LoveGarten.com.  Just as soon as I know what I’m doing, I’ll give y’all a link!