Seriously?! We have already passed the last day of the first month of the new year. It all feels so daunting to me right now. I am totally unprepared for this new year – as if one could prepare for such. The thing is, I am in a season of my life that has me baffled, bewildered, befuddled, behind the 8-ball and completely beside myself. I honestly don’t know my left from right, but I’m on this stage and the curtain is up and I’m wearing my brave face and holding my head high and reciting my lines while crying between scenes.
So, the other day I did a thing. I celebrated my birthday. It’s obviously not the first time and I hope not the last for many, many years to come. What was different about this birthday? For beginners it was a milestone year – 62 and eligible for Social Security – officially a senior citizen.
What else was different was that I woke up feeling really blah. Anyone who knows me knows that I celebrate from the 1st of the month through the 31st. March is my month. All hail Pisces. Everybody’s invited to the party! But I didn’t do much of my usual fanfare this time around.
Even though my feelings had nothing to do with the number I am actually kinda feelin my age this year. I’ve gained a few Covid pounds, my knees hurt, I’m tired and I would really love a vacation from all this nothing going on. I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained. I sat on the edge of the bed and cried. When my husband asked what was wrong, I had no answer for him. I could only accept his hugs and sob.
And then quite suddenly the tree just outside my window filled with a flock of mourning doves and cardinals and I felt like everyone I was missing, friends and family, came by to say hi and to tell me that all would be well. I slowly began to get dressed.
My husband left and came back home with the most beautiful Bromeliad plants, a group of three, that he said reminded him of my MOJOVE brand named for my mother and my two lifelong best friends. A remembrance of them that I can physically care for, something tangible I can look at and touch. And he chose the colors because I am an artist. I think this has been his most thoughtful gift ever.
Next the text messages and the phone calls started pouring in and when I opened FB there were already too many birthday wishes to count – 40, 68, 92 – and they kept coming. The evening followed with a wonderful dinner at a 5-star restaurant where the food was delicious, the service was exceptional and my date most attentive.
Finally, a quick stop to my son’s house who was “uncle sitting”, to retrieve my brother who is under our care, only to be surprised with a beautiful Orchid, a cake, some serenading and the most thoughtful cards that said the most thoughtful things. I know it was my birthday but everyone really made me feel extra special, even more than I would celebrate myself, as if the universe knew I needed a little extra boost to get me through the day. Thank you all so much! I needed that pick-me-up. Happily for me the month is still young and mine to enjoy.
Like so many others around the world, I lost family members and friends due to the pandemic and I too am weary of wearing masks and social distancing from the rest of my family and friends. And in the midst of all this, my husband and I took on the job of caring for my brother. The role of caregiver is sometimes funny, oftentimes tedious, but mostly sad to see someone you love so much decline so rapidly. So, even though the new year has begun nothing yet has changed. But we press on.
2020 was not a total bust however, as I managed to complete 18 paintings and numerous drawings last year. That may not seem like a lot but it is a new record for me. I am pretty proud of many of the year’s art projects and hopefully this year, in 2021, they will see the light of day at some exhibit venue somewhere, anywhere, outside of the studio.
I really enjoyed working on my series “Ode to the Old Masters” having completed 7 of my planned 12 renditions of some famous paintings. I also completed 6 commissioned paintings and a few artworks that were born of the re-birth of social unrest in America. Some of these brought me great pleasure while some hurt me to my core. But what they all have in common is the passion and fire and freedom I felt as I painted, with the need to express myself as a person of color, which is something I didn’t do often because on the most basic level as an artist I wanted to appeal to “everyone”, create art for sale and profit. 2020 made me realize that I no longer care to appeal to the masses. Discounting the few commissions, the rest of the paintings I did for myself, including my series, so that I could see myself in my work. It’s not really that I don’t care any more what others think about my art but, then again, it kinda is. I’m so much happier when I create just for me. And so much better.
Also, in 2020 I had an unsolicited interview published by PoseSpace that I thought was pretty neat. You can read it here. Careful, site contains nudity. Finally, I received the first inventory shipment of my newly branded artist supplies, by MOJOVE. I started with a set of brushes and have plans to add other items later this year. First, I need some of you, well a lot of you, to buy up some of this inventory that can be purchased here 😉.
My New Year’s resolution? My only goal in 2021 is to harvest every heartache, squeeze every pain, stir up all the misery that presented itself as lemons in 2020 and make a helluva sweet, refreshing lemonade to sustain me for a very long time.
Wishing you all peace, love, prosperity, and plenty of lemonade.
We have all been stuck at home for the past few weeks and looks like we will be for a few more. As individuals we all approach this time differently. Like eyewitnesses at a crime scene, we all have skewed versions of the event but for the most part we all share the experience in similar fashion. Most creatives like myself have enjoyed our “free” time to delve into our respective cultures, be it music, painting, dance, theatre, poetry, comedy, needlework, etc. But even we are susceptible to cabin fever and stress and simple boredom.
I have been using this time to work on a new series that I hope to unveil when all of this over. I have completed half of my goal of 10 paintings – my nod to the Old Masters – including Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and more. So, my plan for the next few weeks is to continue to stay put and buckle down to complete the remaining 5 paintings. It seems that I am turning them out in record time but then again, never before in all my years of creating, have I spent time painting all day every day. Silver linings abound.
I hope you all are staying in and staying safe. I hope that you are all keeping busy physically and mentally, and lifting up each other. Prayers and kudos go out to those essential personnel who put themselves on the front line going about the necessary work that will soon bring a sense of normalcy back to all of our lives.
My cousin Chrissy (Christine Lawrence Trice) makes these wonderful shadow box assemblages that are full of history and intrigue and just plain fun. She has mentioned that she doesn’t have my eye for art but her eye, how she puts things together is nothing short of incredible. Her found objects are great collector pieces for art collectors and historians alike and each one has a story to tell.
She’s a few years older than I am so we didn’t really grow up together but now that we are both women of a certain age, 🙂 we communicate well, we find that we enjoy the same things, and we get along swimmingly. I still look up to her like I did when I was a little girl, and when she “kidnapped” me one week a few months ago to give me respite from a stressful family situation, I got the chance to really look at her collection and experience her thought process.
I was there when she sent the email, introducing herself to a small gallery recommended by a friend. I was there when the response came back a noted recognition of her genius – and the interest in her having a solo show. Yay! We were both so excited.
And so it comes to fruition, her very first gallery showing. So, if you happen to be in Millville, New Jersey this month stop by the Quirky Turky gallery at Village on High to see her work. The Artist reception will be March 20, 6-8:30 pm. You will definitely love the exhibit, I promise. Don’t slack because I am confident that she will sell out. But don’t look for this little diddy shown below as I absconded with it when I left – happy birthday to me!
You can see more of her works on her Instagram @momsnacks but you really should check out the gallery showing to see them up close and personal. Enjoy!
As per usual at the end of the year I do some sort of recap of the paintings I created and other artistic things I accomplished during the year, charting my progress or lack thereof and making plans or listing goals for the coming year.
I guess it’s safe to say that this year ran the gamut of life’s events. There was a marriage, a death, a birth of another grandchild, and a debilitating illness in the family. I suffered disappointment in my business and personal life and, still trying to rally back from each, I continue to push forward. So, I don’t know if I would classify 2019 as an extremely eventful year or just your every day, run-of-the-mill, what makes the world turn, kind of year.
At any rate I am grateful that my highs outweighed outnumbered the lows and I look forward to traversing new peaks and valleys on my journey. One of my highlights of 2019 that I’d like to share with you came smack dab in the middle of the year, one I didn’t expect nor reach for.
“… I wanted to post a special hashtag#thanks2you to Cheryl Handy – Miss Cheryl had the most beautiful art gallery right in Red Lion when I was in high school, and my absolute favorite memories of that time are the hours I got to spend with her there. She taught me best practices when displaying work, gave me art advice, and continues to support me today. I thank my lucky stars every day that I was blessed with Miss Cheryl in my life. You’re who I think of when I’m seeking inspiration to keep making art…”
For me this balanced the scales of 2019, validating both my business and my personal selves, leveling the playing field as it were, so I can go into 2020 just being me, win or lose, and come out on the other side – balanced. Thank you so much Jen and all of you who supported me and cheered me on throughout the year.
I wish all of you and yours a healthy, happy, prosperous – and balanced – 2020.
For three weeks I’ve been contemplating this year’s Thanksgiving post, and these last three weeks have been a doozy!
About 5 months ago my husband and I retired and relocated across country and I left 99.5% of my family on the east coast and moved to the Southwest. Three weeks ago, we received notification that one of my mother’s brothers passed away and so we planned the trip north. Fly or drive? Even in our 60’s we are both still road warriors and we figured the cost would be comparable, so we took to the highway. Two days later we arrived and immediately realized that something was amiss. Later, after the funeral, we would find that my brother had been suffering a series of mini-strokes until that one that put him in the hospital.
Had not my uncle died, I would not have been in town and staying with my brother at the time of his stroke. Had I not been living with an EMT for the last 15 years I may not have noticed the signs and alerted my husband – “You better check him out!” Had we not gotten him to the hospital when we did, his prognosis would be much worse. Had we flown instead of driven, we most likely would have caught our return flight prior to his incident and there was a good chance he wouldn’t be here with us today.
So, on this Thanksgiving, 2019:
I’m thankful that we had the financial means and the time to up and go without having to worry about taking off from work or how much it would cost.
I’m thankful that God and my uncle/ancestors put us in the right place at the right time to be with my brother when it was absolutely imperative that he not be alone.
I’m thankful that I have lived the type of life where I can call on a friend or relative at a moment’s notice and be welcomed, sheltered, and fed with no questions, no conditions.
I’m thankful for friends and family who were genuinely happy to see us while we were in town/on the road, if only for 15 min – some of whom went out of their way to make sure our paths crossed.
I’m thankful for the Auntie that coupons and sends us on our way with items from her “store”.
I’m grateful for new tires, a reliable vehicle and traveling mercy.
I’m grateful to return home to a house intact.
I’m grateful for the technology that allows me to speak with my brother face-to-face over 1K miles away so I can continue to encourage his recovery (and threaten him as needed).
I’m so very thankful that this entire year prepared me for these last three weeks and the weeks to come.
We never know what the day will bring, or the next 3 weeks, but whatever it is, I will be glad in it – even through hard times and heartache – and be Thankful!
“Forced” may be too strong a word, but due to life-changing decisions it is necessary for me to pack up my studio to prepare for a move across country. I generally paint in oils and acrylics and the occasional watercolors, but since the move has me packing up all of my supplies and materials, which will remain in storage for a while, I will revert to using dry media while in transition.
I have not completed any decent sketches, yet alone full blown, detailed drawings, in years. I barely commit to stick figures and basic geometric shapes when plotting out a painting but now to keep my creative muscles flexed I will need to travel light and tight. That means sketchpad, graphite, maybe some pastel sticks or markers.
I hope by the time I unpack my studio at it’s new base I will have completed some strong drawings and enhanced my skills to the point of being able to produce even better paintings.
As is habit I, like many, generally reflect on the year past as I travel into the freshness of the new year. So looking back at my artistic accomplishments of 2018 I’m reminded that I’ve completed 9 paintings and a series of sketches throughout the year – a bit short of my usual goal of 12-15 paintings per annum. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I declared last year this time to slow down and put a little more concentration into my work. Also, my participation in Inktober2018 was a new and challenging effort that took me from my comfort zone and helped me think outside the box.
I tried some new techniques and new materials that I will continue to experiment with in the coming year. I also bought some clay, a medium that I’ve never worked in but am stoked to try. The clay is as yet still unopened but you should look for something very new from me in 2019.
So, without further ado, these few are my top picks from 2018, not so much because I think they were executed well but because I thoroughly enjoyed painting/sketching them and I learned something of myself in the process. Of course you can review these and more on my Gallery page or purchase a print or the original if still available. Did you have any favorites? Let me know below.
I look forward to continued creative escapades in 2019 and hope you enjoy the journey as much as I. Here’s to wishing all of you a healthy, happy, and artful New Year.
Somewhere around day 18 I had the thought that I should have been blogging my daily drawings, but by then, well I decided to wait until the end and post them all together.
This is my first year participating in the Inktober challenge. I rarely sketch at all let alone draw or sketch every day. Generally when I prep for a painting I jot down a couple stick figures or some simple lines to plan my composition and then I jump right into painting. So the daily act of drawing something was quite new to me.
Following the prompts for each day was interesting as well. I tried to stay away from the mundane or more common images for the specified word, but some days it was just easier to do something simple. I saw so many people doing full scale pen and ink paintings, and quite exquisite drawings – DAILY, even full page cartoons. I applaud them all. I was lucky to get the simplest sketch done without breaking blood vessels in my brain. Still, I think as the month waned I took a little more time to create better drawings and to give more thought to interpreting the word prompts. All in all it was a great exercise.
I will try to continue to sketch daily on my own through the end of the year. Who knows, this might really turn into a very good habit.
*Note: we are 11 days into the new month and I have only added 1 new drawing to my sketchbook. But in my defense, I have nearly completed a new painting so I’m going to call it a win. 😉