Street Performer

General Info, New Art
the view from my studio

I have unwittingly become a street performer.

Relocation often brings about changes to more than physical space. New schedules emerge, new habits take form and new places become open to exploration. Such has it been with my relocation from the northeast to central Texas. Changes abound. For one, the housing is different. There are no (or rarely any) basements in these homes and the basement is where my former home studio was housed so, what to do? I’ve found that probably 98% of Texas garages do not shelter automobiles but rather are mainly used for storage. Of course, my studio had to be set up in the garage.

For the most part I find that I enjoy working from the garage. I have natural light and fresh air and the weather is more often than not sunny and warm. Even on hot days the garage stays fairly cool and during the spring and summer months I know I have 10-14 hours of daylight to work by.

Almost every day I pull my easel to the front of the garage, turn the music up, and paint. Eventually come the dog walkers, the joggers, people going to and from work, the school bus passing by. Delivery trucks make their rounds as does the mail carrier, and food delivery, and I paint. Before long they all wave, call out the greeting of the hour: “good morning”, “good afternoon”, “have a nice day”!  I reciprocate the greetings and I paint, or draw, or organize, or read but always with my easel sporting a work in progress and facing the street. It’s open studio on any given day.

In the past year this practice has leveraged 7 commissioned paintings, two paint parties, direct purchases from my inventory, and a new student – each customer a neighbor. Turns out they have an appreciation of seeing the paintings progress from beginning to end, to watch the transformation from blank canvas to finished product, to witness something emerge from nothing, to watch an artist practicing her craft.

I don’t have an upturned hat or jar for tips but everyday I get a smile from some passerby, or hear a horn blow as a car slows and the driver throws a hand up to wave.  And everyday I perform for an unknown audience … my public awaits.

Another EOY Recap

Event, General Info, New Art

Well, we made it! Happy? New year!!

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.

Lemons to Lemonade

General Info, New Art

Here we are in the throws of the last month of 2020 and what do we have to show for it? I can’t speak for you but Covid-19, quarantine, social unrest, and these past 9 months has had me up, down, and all turned around, unaware of the day or time, frustrated, enraged, depressed, and tired. lemons

 In the last 9 months, I have lost friends and family members to Covid. I could neither visit or speak with them while in the hospital nor attend their funerals. Additionally, hubby and I, in our retirement, have taken on roles of caregivers to my brother who now lives with us. By all accounts 2020 has been a pretty sucky year and it doesn’t look like 2021 will start off much better.  more lemons

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, any of the holidays or any given weekend that normally involves family gatherings have all been altered. A lot of family members will be sitting alone at the dinner table without the company of children, grandchildren, distant cousins, or friends; without the laughter, conversations or even the drama that occur on these occasions.  so many lemons

But here’s the kicker: 2020 has also been a blessed year. I had immediate family and close friends either sick at home or hospitalized due to COVID-19, yet thankfully they survived. Everyone in my house has pretty decent health insurance that we have not needed to use since this all started and we are all retired so we were not subjected to loss of employment or wages, and staying home – well, that was already a thing with us.  add sugar

Despite the challenges there are still many blessings to be counted. We’re not hungry and we have plenty of toilet paper. 😊 We have a roof over our heads and though we’ve been cooped up in the house for months on end we still like each other. We have worked long and hard enough to be able to live comfortably off of our pensions. Mileage and maintenance on the vehicles are practically non-existent. add water          

I made some new online friends that I meet up with virtually on a regular basis. I’ve learned a few new recipes. I am especially thankful to be able to still create, and in the past 9 months I have COMPLETED a record 18 paintings, five of which were commissions and two others of which I have sold prints. And oh yeah, I realized a dream to start my own brand of art supplies by introducing my MOJOVE artist brushes in September. stir

This year has better instilled in me renewed humility, tolerance, patience, perseverance, gratitude and hope. 2020 – the year I made lemonade.

No time for April Foolery – It’s scary out there.

Event, General Info, New Art

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.

All in the Family

Event, General Info, New Art

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!

Forced Initiatives

Event, General Info, New Art

“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.

2018 – A Recap

Event, General Info, New Art, New Release

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.

Inktober2018

Event, General Info, New Art

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.

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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.

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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.

Inktober

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. 😉

A Measure of Success

General Info, New Art

How do you measure success? For me, the measure of my success is gauged by how much I’ve grown in a specific area. Like a fitness plan, if the goal is to lose weight and I can see the pounds coming off, then voila, success!

My constant goal is to be better at executing my art and in that vein, I subject my paintings to constant comparisons – sometimes to that of other artists but more often to art I’ve created previously because I am only as good as my last painting. We all have our favorites and then there are those creations that are recycled or painted over – much to my husband’s chagrin – because I have no desire to hold on to works that I feel are subpar or that I’ve lost interest in.

Then there are those that, at the time of creation, I thought were fairly good (sometimes great). Those are the pieces I hold onto even though I sometimes cringe as they pale in comparison to more recent work. I keep them because they are great indicators of my growth, therefore my success as an artist.

When I think of growth, I’m not talking changing my style of painting or making art. A change in style is acceptable and expected as an artist matures, but a noticeable change in technique, composition, color harmony, etc., are, I feel, better indicators of growth, therefore success. Often when I look at some of my earlier works, I think “do over” and challenge myself to a rematch.

There are not many things in life that allow us the privilege of a do-over. Luckily for us artists, do-overs are available at any time. All we need is a fresh canvas, piece of paper, sketchpad, chalk board, piece of clay, wood, some wire, cloth, yarn – whatever our medium, and we can start again, and again, and again until we think we’ve got it right…

Until the next time we stop to measure our growth.

Which brings me to these two paintings. I am still not overjoyed with my execution of the hands on the lower image, but boy oh boy, I think I’ve traveled a great distance towards crossing the line of success with this painting. As for the top painting, which is well over 10 years old, I am planning a do-over very soon. I’ll keep you posted.

As long as I continue to work at my craft in earnest and I can see some growth, I am happy. Sometimes I grow by skips and hops, other times by leaps and bounds! Either way, with growth success is eminent.

What yardstick or scale do you use to measure your success? Drop me line below.

Spin Cycle

Event, General Info, New Art

(2 rights don’t make a wrong)

Fathers and sons
Caught up in a spin cycle
Heavy loads with
Temperatures rising
Debating euphemisms
And imagined truths
Ideologies
In a whirlpool
spun out and
Hung out to dry
In a world pool.
No fluff.

Ancestors agitated
Visionaries aggravated
Fruit-of-their-loins
Clotheslined by
Societal “norms”
So oxy clean
They’re oxymorons.
More on principle
More fodder for the principal.
Old school
New school
Home schooled
School of hard knocks.
No time for recess.

Cool down
Tumble
Tumble
Low heat
But never quite dry
Never really clean
Slowly revolving
Quickly evolving

Wash.
Rinse.
Repeat.