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.

Safe Travels

General Info

Life is not a straight road. It turns and twists and sometimes circles back on itself, offers up forks for you to choose your own direction.

Life is not a one-way street that you travel alone. You pass other people coming and going. Some are moving faster than you, slower, traveling in the same or opposite direction. Some will help you along the way, others will try to run over you.

Life has never been “fair” and often comes with road blocks and detours but it’s up to you to push through, to find your way, to overcome the obstacles. No one owes you anything.

Generally, in life you get what you give. Defeatist attitudes with a “woe is me” mentality will never move you forward on life’s road. Set your destination and move forward without regard to what others are doing, thinking, failing at or accomplishing. Be patient and kind and loving and it will come back to you.

Your life is yours, and only you can make it worthwhile. Keep your head up, eyes ahead, and move step by step in the direction of your greatness.

And if I happen to see you along my paths, I’ll try to lend a hand if you need it, give an ear to listen, pull you up if you stumble, sit and rest with you when you’re tired, cheer you on when you are discouraged.

Just remember that I am traveling too – sometimes weary, sometimes sad, sometimes headed down a dead-end street. But I will never blame you for my misdirection nor will I fault you for the decisions that I make. Those are mine alone.

I merely wish you safe travels.

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.

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. 😉

The Power of “Thank You”

Event, General Info

So many people come in and go out of our lives over the years. Some stay a long while, others just pass through for a very brief moment but all have had some impact on our being. Could have been a teacher, classmate, employer or coworker, neighbor, client or pastor. Whoever they are they all leave indelible marks, some good, some bad. Most are memorable, some forgettable but their mark, however slight, remains.

I’m aware that I have touched some people in positive ways, but I never really think about it. I’m usually just being me or simply doing my job. I’m always surprised when I hear a voice from the past, get a note in the mail, or get friend requests on social media from someone who has not been in my life in many years. This was the case recently when I was contacted by Hope Porter, who sent me an innocent request for my email address which I sent. Shortly thereafter I received an invitation to her company’s 15th Anniversary Gala. I was quite honored that someone I haven’t seen or spoken with in over 10 years thought enough of me to invite me to such a prestigious event. And I was happy to accept.

It was a black-tie event and I haven’t been all gussied up in a while so this too added to my excitement. The evening was stunning, with about 100 or so beautiful people dressed to impress, great food and inviting friendly atmosphere. There were speeches and accolades and then the awards ceremony. Can you imagine my shock and awe when my name was called?

It turns out that in one of my former positions as Leasing Director of commercial office space I ran a small business incubator where start-ups came to nest and Hope Porter brought her precious dream there to grow. And grow it did. Those precarious first five years of starting and running a business were tedious and frightening as much as it was adventurous and exciting. Exit Cheryl. Fast forward another 10 years and Staffing Etc. is a multi-million-dollar company employing thousands and doing spectacular and honorable work throughout the nation. And Mr. and Mrs. Porter remembered me. Thanked me. How awesome is that?

Congratulations Staffing Etc. on your milestone and please allow me to THANK YOU! Wishing you so many more years of success and blessings.

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

SpinCycle

Fathers and Sons in a Spin Cycle

Created 2018, this painting was originally titled “2 Rights Don’t Make a Wrong”. It is a reflection of conversations between fathers and sons who sometimes have to agree to disagree. Each has a point of view that the other cannot recognize, each holding firm to their individual beliefs and ideologies born of upbringing, experience, education, and soul searching. And caught in the middle is the next generation, tuned in and tuned out at the same time. Will he continue along generational paths or forge new ground?

This painting is accompanied by a poem of the same name and written by the artist, and a certificate of authenticity.

Spin Cycle

Original painting, 24×36″ acrylic on canvas. Price includes shipping within the Continental United States.

$1,200.00

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.