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!

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.

What’s going on?

Event, General Info

Can you believe that 2018 is almost halfway over? Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions? How has that been going for you? Or are you like me – instead of resolutions I set certain goals to accomplish throughout the year. And my goals usually revolve around creating a certain number of paintings each year (7-10) and of course have more showings and hopefully make a few sales. I am always trying to move my art forward and learn more about myself in the process.

Quick recap of 2018 thus far: In January I submitted to and was accepted to a juried show at Limner Gallery in Hudson, NY. The exhibit, Neoteric Abstract, ran from April 5-28, 2018 and my painting RAINFOREST was hung at the gallery entrance, the first piece to catch one’s eye. 😍

In February I answered the call to exhibit at Market View Arts in York, PA. I created a new painting specifically for this exhibit titled SPIN CYCLE (see my earlier blog post of the same title). The exhibit, Generations, ran from May 4–26, 2018.

I recently submitted to two other exhibits in York, PA. I just received word that I was not chosen for one but if accepted to the other, I will be exhibiting again August/September. I hope by year’s end I will have secured an exhibit space/event in Philadelphia. In the mean time I have just completed a commissioned painting that I hope my client will be thrilled about, I have 2 other paintings in varying stages of completion, and 1 brewing in my head.

Another goal for 2018 was to be more active with my social media. In that vein, I’ve uploaded a couple time-lapse videos to my new YouTube channel  Handy Concepts Arts with more to come, perhaps even a tutorial in the near future.

So, I’ve been keeping busy and working towards my goals. I hope you are also moving forward and making great progress. If not, be encouraged, there is still plenty of year left to make some things happen.

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.

 

March Madness

Event, General Info, New Art

Every year during the month of March I celebrate my birthday with some whimsical make believe adventure. Last year I “cruised” around the world sailing to various countries on multiple continents (a virtual bucket list of vacations) and posted gorgeous pics that I borrowed from the internet. The year before was filled with very colorful hot air balloons in all shapes and sizes and colors, photographed during spectacular sunsets, beautiful sun rises, rainbow colored skies, and over breathtaking landscapes.

I like to refer to this year’s fun as the celebrity edition (My brother said I had too much time on my hands, :-p) So for every day in March this year, I chose a celebrity whose birthday was that day and inserted myself into photos with them. Each with a caption that identified them via song lyrics, movie titles, or quotes and together we sent out birthday wishes to all of my friends.

This little exercise was particularly therapeutic for me as I had been experiencing a mental block with creating my own original art and this proved to be cathartic while providing me a creative outlet needed to maintain a daily routine – and my sanity. For everyone that played along thank you. I hope to be back to creating new original works real soon.

 

Happy New Year

General Info

Artist photo

Welcome 2018

Greetings of the day and welcome to my new site. In the coming month I will be transitioning into this as my primary site to showcase my art work. I plan to have more items for sale here and be more active with my blog.

Please be patient with me and my humble new beginnings. I look forward to interacting with you in 2018 and forward.

Ride or Die

General Info, Uncategorized

Many of you know that in the last couple of years I lost my two best friends – the best of the best. These were the friends I’ve known since 3rd grade, which translates into 47-49 years. More than friends, they were my closest sisters.

Joni and Velda were an intimate part of all of my childhood secrets, my teenage blunders, my twenties relationships, my marriages, my children, my jobs. For a long time I could imagine us as “old” friends still hanging out in our 70’s and 80’s. Still enjoying each others company, still causing havoc, still laughing, still there to answer the phone at 3 am, to open the door in the middle of the night, to offer a hand, a shoulder, a dollar. And even though they have both gone on, I still imagine.

I hope it’s understandable that for more than a moment I felt really alone after Velda passed. When Joni died, as much as it broke my heart, I still had Velda. And when I thought I couldn’t hurt any more, my mom died, but I still had Velda. But when Velda died…

Jokingly (not really), I told my husband that he would have to step up and be my new best girlfriend. To his credit, he is seriously trying to fill that void and I love him for that. Recently though, I had a revelation. It wasn’t a surprise to me really, just a realization about something I had not looked at in this way before.

I had the pleasure of visiting with some other friends not long ago. Some old friends actually. These are friends that I don’t see often or talk to on a regular like I did with Joni and Velda. But when we got together it was familiar, fun, and special. And I was reminded that these friends watched my children grow up and I theirs. Somehow, it just occurred to me that Angie has been my friend for close to 30 years, and Lori has logged 23, Verona 15, Dietra about 20. There’s Brenda and Rita for at least 36 years and Michelle too, who has been there from the very beginning. I am so blessed to have so many more people who have lasted through the decades. I hope I am as good a friend to them as they are to me.

One thing I know for sure is that my old secrets are forever safe with Joni and Velda. Still, I wish we had more time to ride.

Counting my Riches – Mother’s Day 2015

General Info

angel's wingDespite thousands of commercials and signs everywhere I still somehow managed to let Mother’s Day sneak up on me.

Hubby and I were vacationing in Florida last week and while there I met a white woman who happened to be from my home town. She didn’t live in my neighborhood but she worked there. When I told her the name of the street I grew up on she stated very matter-of-factly, “Oh, youse lived over there, your people had money!” Funny, I don’t remember it that way.

What I remember is growing up with a woman who had strong morals and work ethic and with a heart so big I have nothing to compare it to. I remember a single mother who worked every day to take care of her children and very often one if not all of her five brothers. I remember standing in food lines to get our bag of groceries – you know the one that had that good Government cheese in it. I briefly remember food stamps.

We were, however, “rich” in other ways.

I can remember mom pulling out her sewing machine to make clothes for my Barbie doll and kneeling with her beside the bed to say my prayers. I remember how she twisted her left hand on paper turned sideways when she taught me how to write right-handed. I remember when she was the cook who could make a meal out of anything and I was the baker, making cookies and cakes from scratch, beating the batter by hand. I remember the etiquette lessons as a teenager, how to stand tall, sit like a lady, walk with head held high. I remember how often she told me that I could do anything I wanted to do and be whomever I wanted to be and she made sure I had the education and skillset to accomplish just that.

It’s true my brother and I did attend 12 years in tuition-paid parochial schools. I never remember being hungry. There were always presents under the Christmas tree and always cake and gifts for our birthdays. But what I remember most, money didn’t buy.

My mother was my biggest supporter and my loudest cheering section. I remember all the times she told me, “It’s ok, everything will be all right,” and “You can do it.”

She was my toughest opponent. I remember when I couldn’t take her anymore and I just had to get out, be on my own.

She was my greatest ally. I remember coming home again and again and again… until it was her turn to come and live with me.

It’s been 7 months since mom passed and this will be my first Mother’s Day without her. I haven’t even thought about the gift I would have given her if she were here. Probably something silly since we are long past fancy and elaborate. She wasn’t a fan of flowers in the house so potted plants was the “go to” gift after homemade gifts had run their course. I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have been able to give her diamonds and furs before returning to homemade when she received original paintings from me, but we’ve since both reached the age where a simple phone call would lift our spirits and warm our hearts because the other stuff wasn’t important anymore.

So, this is it. In the last 7 months I’ve survived Thanksgiving, Christmas and her birthday – November, December, January – all in a row. Then there was Valentine’s Day in February, my birthday in March (thank God for a reprieve in April). But here it is May and yes, I’m a little snot-nosed and red-eyed as I write this but my momma left me rich beyond even my dreams, so I know I’m going to get through this as well. No, my people didn’t have money. We had momma.