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:
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!
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.
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.
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…….
There was this nice list of links of sites and blogs I dig but couldn’t get everything to load correctly. Hope I will have that figured out pretty darn soon! I fear I’ve let too much time go by without a blog post, even if that’s only important to me. Dust accumulates around the house as experiences roll by and then I feel overwhelmed. And I wanted to learn to link and add a blog roll; I’m still learning blogging etiquette and technique. In future, I hope to post twice a month. Short ones. With pictures.
This weekend, grandson and his little sister stayed with me. It could have all gone terribly wrong, as I tend to get a bit stressed and anal, or I could hope to plan the time in such a way so that we would all be pleasantly occupied. Eleven year old Castle is into Nat Geo, his Kindle Fire, and movies. Morgana, age 6, is very pink-centric, curious, and energetic. They have different fathers.
My home is filled with mementos handed down plus all my books, dolls, artwork and supplies; it’s only natural that a little girl would want to touch and know about these treasures. And what a glorious way to get my dusting done! Even when Morgana chided me on how thick the dust was, I didn’t mind. Side by side we “swiffer’d” the whole house as I told her histories of my things. Castle cooked for us and enjoyed his down time.
A highlight this spring was “Cousin-Sister” Julie’s visit. When we’re not cracking ourselves up we are discussing serious subjects and marvel that other folks might disagree with our opinions. Since I couldn’t take time off from my part-time job, Cousin-Sister finished painting my kitchen the mocha shade, and put a lovely light grey paint on my guest room walls. We power washed my siding and freshened up the golden-orange shutters outside. She delved into my newest books on decor, and we shopped for new fabric for kitchen window curtains she will make for her townhouse in VA. Oh! What a glorious time we had!
Two years ago I almost lost this beloved cottage. I treasure my 3rd generation White Rock/East Dallas roots. Julie and I always go visit the family at Grove Hill Cemetery when she’s here. We catch them up on current events and ask for guidance. This year we felt Nannie was most assuredly there for us. I introduced them to my Cube; they must have been surprised to see I’d finally let go of my little red Chevy.
Change is so hard but often necessary, don’t you agree?
My background music tonight is: Joe Bonamassa Live from New York Beacon Theatre
Recently my focus has shifted somewhat from sketch journaling to obsessively feasting my hungry eye on images from my collection of books and periodicals related to mixed media. All art forms inform one another in my opinion. I’m still sketching, but not on a daily basis. So it happens recently that a weekend with grandson Castle coincides with an Art Mart event at White Rock Lake. And off we go.
While there I found an irresistible art doll by Jan Byron; she and I discussed the dilemma between the urge to keep our inner well-spring of creativity “pure” by avoiding looking at other artists’ work, and the desire to see what they are up to.
I believe that even if we find ourselves strongly influenced by the art around us, a point of view, a technique; nevertheless, we should dive right in to savoring all the inspiration and information available to us (if that is our choice) and not fear being criticized as being unoriginal or derivative in our approach.
But copying someone’s art and claiming it as your own design is not just copyright infringement but unethical as well; not to mention completely unsatisfying. Anyway that discussion was had all over the web years ago, and everyone understands it.
What is different, and allowed, is interpreting a piece in your own way while giving credit to the other artist for your inspiration. And anyway, our own style, taste, skill level and emotions and even the angle at which we hold a pen belong solely to us and no matter how hard we might try, we simply cannot make an artdoll look exactly like one made by anyone else.
And I was thrilled to see that Jan had wisely kept her pricing more in line with what a great piece deserves to sell for, rather than lowering them into a level that is competitive with a retail chain store gift department just because of the economy. Good art of any genre is worth the price, pride and delight the buyer feels while gasping, “I own this! OMG I just bought a OOAK (one of a kind) artwork! I deserve this for (insert any rationalization here)” “ Happy Birthday Me!”
So, I treated my grandson Castle to an awesome print by Brad W. Foster, whose work we fell hard for that day. As for me, I went home with art doll “Turn the Page…” by Jan Byron. I plan on making myself an art doll for my birthday coming up. I wonder what it will look like?