December 15, 2015

Heraclitus

It's been a while since my last blog post, and, suffice it to say, a lot, a lot has happened.  The Greek philosopher, Heracletus, said the only thing that is inevitable, is Change.  (I paraphrase, but essentially, this is true.)
In the last year, my life has essentially changed.  After a period of declining health, my husband suffered a stroke over Labor Day.  We were able to get him to the hospital quickly, where he was diagnosed with a full right-side stroke.  In other words, he was completely paralyzed on his right side.  It happened that quickly.
Fortunately, the ER physician was able to administer a powerful anti-coagulant, in hopes of counter-acting some of the stroke effects.  This is crucial for anyone who suffers a stroke caused by a blood clot:  quick treatment is essential.  Because he was treated within 3 hours of the onset of the stroke, he had a chance of partial recovery.
That was Labor Day.  It is now 3-1/2 months later.  He has been receiving physical therapy 3 times a week, along with nursing and home health care.  Yesterday, for the first time in over 4 months, he was able to stand from the wheelchair to the walker, and then transfer to the car.  His physical therapy is not over, by a long shot.  But, he is now more mobile, and able to finally get out to doctors' appointments.
That's enough to about him.  What has happened to me has been strange and unexpected (to say the very least!)!  As his physical ability declined over the last year+, I have had less and less time in the studio.  Understand, in many creative activities, the creator needs extended periods of time to get lost in the process, to touch the edges of the unknown.  The priority of care over-rides studio time.  There is a gradual eroding of me-time for the care-giver, something the care-giver, herself, has difficulty noticing.  Liken it to watching children grow:  it is easier to see growth in a child when one only sees the child occasionally, than when one sees the child daily.  We simply don't notice it, at least not until the shoes pinch.
As primary care-givers, our focus is on the Other, not on ourselves.  And our creative lives suffer.  The studio becomes more of a store-room than a creative space.
I'm putting you on notice:  I have cleaned out the studio.
Randall still requires care, and probably will for the rest of his life.  But, that's LIFE.  As he and I adjust to new schedules, new routines, new habits, our schedules become more flexible in allowing creative space to develop.
I'm coming back.

September 8, 2014

A Really Big Shew

It's been a long two weeks!  The annual yART sale (art in the Yard) was held over the Labor Day weekend, here in Bethany Beach.  I had made my lists, checked them twice, then checked them twice again, and packed the car.

The odd thing is, it has been over 5 years since I was last in an outdoor show, and we have gotten a new vehicle since then.  And (of COURSE), what fit nicely in the back of the old vehicle didn't quite fit into the back of the new one.  (Why was I surprised?)

Many people don't realize that it takes two or more hours to set up for a show.  Erecting the canopy, setting up the display racks and screens, arranging the art, making sure everything is labeled and priced, it is all a LOT of work.  The big trade shows that folflow conventions will take longer, since their booths are much more complex, but for a local art show, two to three hours is about right.  And having help, especially help that can take direction, makes the job shorter and simpler. And having a plan in one's mind makes it that much simpler.  And, Trust Me, a show that opens at 10 always has people wandering through an hour early.

We were fortunate to be able to erect the canopies the day before -- took a good hour off our set-up time on Saturday morning.  And we were blessed with beautiful weather!  Warm and breezy on Saturday, and definitely hotter and more humid on Sunday!  By the time we were breaking down the show, all of us were wilting.

The yART Show is small, as shows go, limited by the size of the courtyard of the private home where we set up.  There was face-painting and art for the kids, music, lemonade and Boy Scout popcorn for everyone.  No one asked me to tango (can't imagine why . . .) but the music was fabuwous.

Outdoor shows are always iffy -- we are so dependent on the vagaries and whims of the weather.  Being near the ocean does allow us a modicum of cooler air, but it always depends on which way the wind is blowing.

Since the last show, I have added watercolor sketch-books, journals, a new line of notecards, glicee prints, and NEW WORK.  I'm attaching photos to give you an idea of where Artistic License is taking me.

This one is Five Condos.  It's 24x30", and you can see some of the collage underneath the color.  This second one is North Sea, same size as Five Condos, but a portrait format, rather than landscape.


I have finally gotten everything unpacked and back into the studio.  And I have been laboring to put things away.  Don't remember whose Law or Paradox this is, but "things expand to take up the available space."  And the studio looks like it!  New projects and canvases seem to proliferate at night, when no one is looking.  And, I SWEAR Hub is lurking, and looking at shiny pretties.

Summer is the biggest season for outdoor art shows; yART was the only show I did this summer.  I have to honestly say, I don't know how artists manage when many shows involve travel and back-to-back weekends.  I know how tired I was with just one show!  As artists, we tend to work in the solitude of our studios and sketchbooks.  A show, especially one as welcoming as yART, is an opportunity many artists need, to visit with people and get feedback.  True, we tend to listen to the little voices in our heads, but occasional reality checks (especially from children) can send us in new directions.  And I've got a bunch of new ideas fermenting.


August 23, 2014

Hub

Well, i'm counting down to a short week until the Big Labor Day Extravaganza known as yART - a two day art show in Bethany Beach.  It's been a number of years (at least 5) since my last outdoor show, and to say I'm a little anxious might be a bit of an understatement.

It's not that I am really anxious, it's just that i don't want to forget anything!  You know the feeling -- going on vacation and forgetting your clothes, arriving at work still wearing your bunny slippers, forgetting where you've parked when you have three half-gallons of icecream in the cart.

My anxiety is not about the big things -- canopy, screens, art.  It's the Little Things, that proverbial 10% of your work that takes 90% of your time.  Do I have pens?  receipts?  lunch?

To digress a moment, we have a resident puka, Hub.  For those of you not in-the-know, pukas, also known as pukkas, are alternate-reality beings who can slip in and out of our dimension, easy-as-pie.  Sometimes known for their mischievous qualities, they find shiny things, like marbles, keys, coins, jewelry, to be Very Attractive.  Let's just say, if you find your keys misplaced, an earring suddenly gone from where you left it, or if you have lost one or more of your marbles, you probably, in all likelihood, have a puka.

The most famous puka, Puck of A Midsummer Night's Dream, is who we think of first.  But not all pukas are as human-friendly as Puck.  They respond favorably to milk, sweets and respect.  I'm not sure about chocolate, but what is there to not like about chocolate?

Anyway, we have a puka.  And, Hub is partially responsible for my anxiety.  I mean, what would he find so appealing about a caulk gun?  A roll of velcro?  A receipt book?  Suffice it to say, after asking nicely (many times) and gifts of marbles, I have successfully negotiated an exchange.  Caulk gun?  Check.  Velcro?  Check.  Receipt book?  Double-check.

I shudder to think what other found items he has, squirrelled away on the shelves of his room, that I have not yet missed.  But, it is very important for me to stay on his good side.  So, i'll leave him some cream in a saucer tonight, before I go to bed.  And possibly a cookie.

And, by the way,  I do really have copious lists of things to find and do, before next Friday.  But, I hope to see YOU on Saturday or Sunday!!

August 18, 2014

yART is coming!

Yes, it's been a while since I last posted.  There is news!  The annual yART (yard + art) show will be held from 9-3 on Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31, at 33258 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach (it's just South of the Library).  I couldn't download the flyer, but it is a great opportunity to see local fine artists who create works in glass, oil, photography, acrylics (that's ME!), jewelry, soapworks, metalcraft, clothing and other fine arts.

I will be showing my birdhouses and new work in flowers, abstract seascapes,and figurative paintings.  I'll also have giclee prints, notecards and a few other neat things for sale.  And, this show has taken a lot of work to get together.  You know, spending time in the studio, creating, mixing, collaging, is where I get my energy recharged.  The ability to simply BE in space, allowing the mind to play with "what if?" is exhilarating.

Unfortunately, I can't really say the same thing about the labor in getting ready for a show.  Lists, lists, lists.  Do I have this?  Is everything priced?  Are things bagged?  Do I have bags?  Do I have receipts?  Pens?  Change?  Lunch?  On, and On, and On.  Luckily, most of the paintings were done by mid-June.  It's the other 10 percent that's taking so much time!  That, and changing my mind (which a lady is allowed to do!  As often as necessary!).

the yART show is important to me for three reasons:  first, it's an opportunity for me to see old friends who know the value and JOY of creating; second, I was invited.  Yep!  this show is by invitation-only for the artists, and I was INVITED!  (What an ego-boost THAT is!)  And, third, tho' not necessarily third in a priority sense, the Chinese auction will benefit the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company.

Those of us who live full-time in resort communities know how important it is to have a strong Fire Company, especially during the major resort season.  And the fact that they are a Volunteer Company, adds to the drama.  They pay the same amount for a fire truck, a breathing apparatus, an ax, as do the bigger companies in the cities, where tax monies are available to support their expenses.  Our Volunteer companies face a bigger challenge -- they do not have the same access to greater government funding, and the members all have other jobs and careers that they willing set aside to answer the call.  These men and women are SUPER.  They care.  It doesn't matter if you live here or are passing through.  They come when called.

June 25, 2014

The Right Attitude

For the past week I have been awakened at 4 ayem by the sounds of a Catathalon taking place downstairs.  The two cats are young, and full of spit and vinegar.  Perhaps, because they sleep all day, they are most active at night.  Or the other way around.  Regardless, they are having a great time.  Events include wrastllin', obstacle course, races, high jump, slithering, ball-chasing and stair leaping.  Oh, I almost forgot the all-important box-thumping.  But, best of all, it's done in the dark.

We humans call this awakening in the middle of the night by other names.  My husband's favorite expression is "The Syndromes."  We all have the Syndromes -- those niggling little worries that creep up on us when we least expect them.  We rewrite dialog ("I should have said . . ."), worry about paying bills, meeting deadlines, where is (person, thing), and anything else that comes down the pike.  As artists we worry about color, line, 'what's that supposed to say?", the next show, framing, "But does he/she LIKE it?", and how do I . . . .

Cats have the right attitude.  when they feel the need, they get up and DO something.  A Catathalon.  Eating.  Litter box.  Turn over.  Cuddle.   Watch the critters at the bird feeders at night.

We, on the other hand, simply lie there, consumed by . . . whatever.  And by the instructions given us as children, "Stay in bed until it's time to get up."  So, we stay in bed because we have been programmed to.  Would it not be better to do something more constructive?  Clean out closets and drawers?  Sketch?  Write?  Read?  Do something active that requires us to think about what we're doning?  One thing is for certain -- we'll be just as tired in the morning from lying in bed and fretting as we would if we got up and did something.

I, for one, have very well-organized closets and drawers.  It's all a matter of Cattitude.

June 16, 2014

The Cup

As I approach my "senior" years, I find myself more willing to be a spectator, rather than a participant.  Particularly when it comes to running, jumping and other forms of quick physical activity, I find that my "jumper" just doesn't work as well as it used to.  Be that as it may, I still walk and move about (herding cats requires that one be reasonably agile and able to react quickly).

If you've been off-planet for the last several weeks, you may be surprised that the summer sports schedule has been taken over by something called "World Cup."  What 6 million of us call "soccer" and 6 BILLION call "football" (or futbol), entails running.  Lots.  And a huge amount of foot/eye coordination.  And they are done at the same time.  Thirty-two countries send national teams to the World Cup, although all nations are eligible to participate in the qualifying matches.  World Cup is, quite simply, the best of the best players in the world, competing to see which team is the best.

Each player, aside from the goal-keepers, expect to run an average of 8 miles in each match.  That's RUN.  And sprint, saunter, walk and jump for 90+ minutes.  There are no time-outs, except for injury on the pitch; there is one 15-minute break between two 45-minute halves.  Think these players are in shape?  You'd better believe it.  There are no refrigerators or potatoes on the field.  Every single player is in tip-top shape, and (from my point of view) easy on the eye.  Speed, grace, agility, and beatuiful athleticism.

Where I'm going is simple.  These Best of the Best did not get there simply by showing up one day, saying "I'm the best."  They have been playing since they were 7, 8, 10 years old.  They have been educating their bodies in special skills to develop vision, coordination, strength, endurance.  They'be been educating their minds on plays, theories, memory and planning.  And, they've been doing it daily. For absolute YEARS.

The theory is simple -- practice, practice, PRACTICE.  It works for everything we do.  Certainly, there are savants and geniuses who appear to have sprung from their mothers' wombs able to compose symphonies.  But for the rest of us, we get where we want to go by practice.  By doing it regularly, consistently and with the mind-set that we need to perform the "darned dailies" in order to develop that inate sense of what works.

It's knowing when the time is right, when the line is right, when the flavor is right, when the presentation is right.  We've done it enough times that the piece is "done."  Same way with what I do in the studio.  There are voila moments, sure, but mostly art is done the same way cooking, investing, bridge-building, negotiating, and driving are done -- practice, practice, practice.  There is no magic incantation except "let's do another one."  No magic wand except a paint brush or a pencil.  No time machine that gets us to the end of the hallway instantly.  We get there by walking, by doing, by being in the present moment and by being aware of wht is going on.  It's a different kind of magic!

May 21, 2014

A Long Spring


Much has been going on in the few weeks since I last blogged.  Spring has landed, although with fits and spurts.  Heat on, air conditioning on, windows open, windows closed, fire in the fireplace -- one of the joys of Spring is that the weather is truly unpredictable.  So, too, is life.  Spring cleaning, both out in the yard and in the buildings, moving furniture, herding cats and husband, and taking care of a myriad of 'darned dailies' that seem to have minds of their own, the last few weeks have been hectic.

There are times I wish my fairy godmother would swoop in and take care of some of this stuff.  Included, of course, is the 'stuff' of making art.  Not just painting, but photographing, recording, framing, ordering supplies, and even varnishing paintings seem to take time away from applying brush to canvas.  But in the whirl and rush of the Spring dust storm, I have been able to finish 15 paintings in the Birdhouse series and one in a new series.  These new Birdhouses are smaller, ranging from 8x10" to 12x16", and they are all framed and ready to hang.



The new series is larger works on gallery-wrap canvas, "Ships Passing."  The first one, "Two Ships Passing in the Night," is shown below.


But what I am truly excited about is this:  I have been invited to participate in the yART Show this coming Labor Day weekend.  I have been attending the yART (ART in the yard) Show over the last 7 years.  It is held at a private residence on Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach, and is by invitation-only.  So, just ask me how excited I am to be invited!

Upwards of 20 artists gather from 9-3 on the Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.  Works range from fine art to blown glass, wood and metal smithing, jewelry and photography.  There's music, snacks, face painting for the little (and big) ones, and this year, for the Very First Time -- ME!

You'll definitely be hearing more about this as the summer progresses, but if you plan on being in the Bethany area over Labor Day weekend, you'd BETTER stop by and see me!  I'll be the tall, slightly crazed artist surrounded by Birdhouses!