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:
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.
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.
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.
Since retiring from office work I’ve made it my bizness to jump full into art making. Who knew it was so much work? Social media has certainly upped the ante in the game. Not complaining; just sayin’. I am grateful to have all these avenues. So, I joined Dallas Area Fiber Artists (DAFA) organization as well as Texas Association of Visual Artists (TVAA), both here in Dallas.
Friend and fellow artist Linda Goodwin and I visited TVAA’s “Black & White” curated exhibit at the Plaza of the Americas in downtown Dallas’ Arts District. Understand that Linda and I are both Dallas natives, have been downtown a gazillion times (albeit separately); both have smart phones, and Linda has a gps, but we still got lost, as per usual. So as the Gallery was closing, we show up! frazzeled! excited! and are dazzled by the talent displayed. Check ’em out: http://www.tvaa.org
In September, we went to the Lakewood Summer Arts Faire where I bought a bag of little hand dyed silk scraps from Val Guignon, Linda came away with a hand dyed silk top from her and amazingly dazzling pendant lights made from gourds by Le Gourd on Blue. I had a heartwarming chat with Cynthia Brannum, Art Program Director at The Stewpot, a downtown Dallas ministry; I own a painting by one of her students there, Mr. Cornelius Brackens, Jr. Check ’em out: http://www.thestewpot.org
Another exciting event was when I learned that artist Jane Cather, whom I so greatly admire, was blogging again after a four-year hiatus! check her out here: http://janecather.wordpress.com/
I bought the cutest little embroidered pincushion from my Dutch friend; it’s the orange bicycle cross-stitch on natural linen; check her out here: http://www.nellyslittlegifts.nl or search Etsy for nellyslittlegifts
My friend Susan recently ordered an assemblage item for her granddaughter from me. So I made this little character – no, it made itself! using a plastic bottle that contained an Ensure-like beverage, silk fabric strips, wire, wall anchors, cool paper clips, beads, muslin, embroidery thread, and price tags, which I labeled each with an aspect of personality or desire. Head lifts out and Katie can write something she wants to change or happen on a note, and drop it inside the body. I also fixed up a kit for her to make one for someone else.
And then, I opened my Etsy shop. I have more items to add to the 13 currently listed, but am in the process of cutting, glueing, and photographing/staging them. What a lot of work! But so gratifying. Here’s a peak at a couple things listed:
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.