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:
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.
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)
Over the holidays I obsessed over Santos cage dolls, finding lots of inspiration on Pinterest. My interest comes from my love of art dolls, so my interpretation of a Santos is probably stretching the concept. I began with sketches and then assembled some favorite materials to make her:
* brown paper
* strips of photo paper left over from trimmed prints
* masking tape
* black duct tape
* gouache paints
* alphabet stamps
At the same time, a cloth doll I made 20 years ago called to me for repair and resurrection. With her head now firmly secured by adding a ruff and collar of cotton trim and lace, and her old mohair long locks cut off and replaced with dark brown curly yarn, she now reminds me of Lady Cora Grantham on Downton Abbey, albeit dressed more like a 19th century servant than a 20th century aristocrat. Always the kind and hopeful lady of the house.
Another project is my first collage in many years. As leaves fell from my tropical plant, I painted the backs with leftover black house paint. I tore strips from one of many copies of Mom’s poetry and pasted them onto a black painted canvas board; they overpowered so I tore most off; added the leaves, burlap and fabric, masking tape; wrapped with twine and sealed all with gloss medium. The twine doubles as hangers.
Finally, a little cardboard plaque with one of my scanned sketchbook drawings of a still life with owl pasted on, little patches of burlap, and hung by attaching a wire to top. I enjoy ripping off the brown paper on the cardboard to expose the corrugated ridged bits.
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.
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.
Commissioned work scares the hell out of me. And not because I am afraid the piece won’t turn out well, but because some of the magic of spontaneity may not find its way in, that even one limitation to the work’s intuitive process (some specific requirement as requested by the commissioner) will limit me in such a way that I become very uncomfortable. Never mind that the buyer’s ideas may make my artwork even better, perish the thought! Clearly, I have control and ego issues.
But I love it when someone likes a finished piece so much he/she must have it, and when this occurs, nothing could be sweeter. You feel as if you have truly communicated your intention as told to you by the artwork itself.
The photos show recent sketches and a couple of cloth dolls – I’m calling them BodyParts Dolls, as I continue to assemble, or in some cases, disassemble dolls; changing hair, making new clothing bits, faces, hats…..
I continue to draw and paint, usually drifting from one project to another. That’s a great benefit of having let my “studio” space be the very same as my “living area”. Can’t separate them.