Thursday, December 27, 2007

You gotta WANT it

Still head trippin. This is nothing new. Shoot!! If thinking burned calories, I would have a skeletal figure! I have had the past six days off from my day job which gives me too much time to realize my own reality. I am in a blue funk. Like many, I am taking a tally of the year’s events and I don’t feel as successful as I want to feel. As far as art sales, I can’t GIVE my stuff away! Ironically, my horoscope yesterday told about the ebb and flow of life. I KNOW this. I have been successful, shown my art in more places than I will ever visit, and sold enough work for me to be clueless as who has it all. I guess I don’t like the “ebb” part of life. The FLOW suits me better.
There is a personal responsibility issue here. I have to be honest. I recently joined a fitness group to get my head wrapped around taking better care of myself. There are people in the group who want to improve their health, but sit around and bitch about how it isn’t working for them. Between each moan, they are chewing on a candy bar or sitting on their butts only moving their mouth. I keep thinking “They have to really WANT it if they desire change!”
HOLD YOUR HORSES SHEREE!!
Bingo!! Yeppers!! Who are you to talk??? I can switch this observation to fit my own art life dilemma.
I started asking myself “Do you really WANT art success?” I give good lip service, but am I doing what it takes? No. Not really. I have worked on a lot of art this year. In fact, I get into these manic fervors to the point of exhaustion. Then I get depressed when I put it out there and nothing happens. I get impatient. Another example is preparing for exhibitions. I have had a number of opportunities to show work this year and I let the deadlines pass by. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………………..
A month or so ago, Art Calendar magazine contacted me. They wanted to use one of my pieces to be included as an illustration for an article.
"Coaching the Artists Within
Relationship Skills: Presenting Yourself"
By Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
What kind of artist do you want to be?


This article is included in the January issue. When I saw the name of the article, I thought how funny that is! Yeah, what kind of artist DO you want to be Sheree? I subscribe to this magazine. When this issue arrived I didn’t open it before I put the rest of the mail down. In fact, it is sitting on my coffee table unread. I didn’t even open it to look at the article. This psycho drama behavior is why I am reflecting. I have no idea why I am doing this. That doesn’t surprise me though. I have always been one of strange ways. This too shall pass.
So DO I WANT it? I thought I did.


Click to go to Art Calendar website
If you don’t subscribe already, you should!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

WISH Granted!

This happens to me so much lately, I wonder why I am surprised each time it occurs. Yesterday, I wrote a simple but sincere letter to SANTA. Something has been bothering me lately. I don’t want to get into the details because it is boring. However thoughts of this self created drama is affecting my art life. It is stupid in many ways. Yet, I need to address it because it is debilitating.
So I asked Santa for a jar of contentment. It was a tongue-in-cheek request. I was thinking about what I really want right now. The idea of peace of mind fit the bill. A few hours after writing the post, I “met” someone online. I am not going to tell you in detail about her. I am still so shocked and mesmerized; I want to keep this to myself. I can tell you she is a triple threat artist. She does multimedia work. She is so unbelievably awesome; I can’t understand why I have never heard of her before this. Regardless, I have found her now. I have been reading all about her. I have been amazed with every line of her resume. I have looked at her multimedia art projects with heart-felt and intense thought. She blows me away. I emailed her, she responded. I felt like I wanted to bow to the computer screen. I am not worthy, I thought. WAIT!!! Oh yes I am!! In fact, what I learned while reading into the wee hours of the night is that I am not alone. I am not so weird. I am part of a human community that is out there albeit eclectic and not of the popular media ilk. She isn’t either. So I will run with that truth. Popularity is NOT my goal. Unique, sincere, concrete, soul searching, emotional authenticity is. I want my art to express those same attributes.
So I want to thank Santa for pointing the way. I have no idea how I found this new mentor. It was a circuitous path indeed. All I know is I am HAPPY for the discovery!


”Happy”
Acrylic/Gallery Wrap Canvas
8” X 8”
$150.00
FREE SHIPPING!!
What a deal!!
Click to Enlarge and see detail views

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
I want to thank you for all the wonderful things you have given me over the years. I know I haven’t been perfect, but I have tried my best. :-)
This year, I do not want any more stuff. I have more than my share. Give any gifts with my name on them to others who need and deserve them more. I do have one request though. Would you please leave a little jar of CONTENTMENT on my front porch? I want the feeling of “go, go, go, gotta do better, gotta be better” to be a condition of the past. I want to sprinkle this potion over my head and be able to calmly say
“Things are good enough and I am happy with it!”

Finally, I could RELAX and ENJOY life as it is now!
Thank you Santa for doing all you do for all of us. Thank you for keeping my baby girl safe. Thank you for giving me good health.
Thank you for being SANTA. I love you!


Godspeed Santa! Be safe on your journey tonight.

Give Rudolph and all the reindeers a hug from me!

Give Ms. Claus a huge kiss tomorrow morning for putting up with all your “all nighters” over the years. LOL LOL LOL

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Artist of Note

When I started to watch YouTube videos regularly a month or so ago, the first thing I did was do zillions of searches using words like fine artist, artist studios, artist vlog, etc. As I found anything interesting, I would subscribe to the artist’s channel. Over a period of weeks, I would revisit those channels to view their recent video offerings. Slowly, my subscription list dwindled. I would unsubscribe from many. The reasons I would become disinterested are multifaceted. Some artists seemed too silly. Some were making videos more about creating YouTube popularity than art. Some of the videos (and art) was just boring. Some art work was just of an ilk that didn’t grab my soul.
Last night, I started doing a new round of searches. I came across the work of Nancy Worthington.
Her work has substance. She is a thinking artist. I like that. Much of her work is social commentary. I found it particularly interesting when she mentions her “George Dubya” series (which can be viewed at her website) has been shown around the world. Yet, it has not been shown in the U.S. without being censored. This doesn’t surprise me and that fact alone stands as a grand social comment.
She is an artist worth noticing
.

Here is her YouTube video,
“Conspiracy of Silence”
– Nancy Worthington

An interview film by Dan Villava

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ideas of Separation

It is so interesting the way this blog post idea came about. I ordered a gift for someone via amazon.com. I accidently ordered two copies of a particular CD. Therefore when the order came, I had two CDs for deep meditation. OK…… At first, I was bummed. I was disappointed I had made the mistake while ordering. Then, I was disappointed with the idea I had to return something. Yet, I thought for a moment. I decided to keep this CD. I believe things happen for a reason. I must need this CD. As I continued to think about this CD and meditation, I realized I hadn’t done Yoga in a long time. I decided to do a bit of research on both Yoga and meditation. This sequence of events made me laugh. It is just like the creative process. One thought leads to another and another.
This is where this topic came to the forefront. I was on a website and I read about “Ideas of Separation”. I had an “A-ha” moment. I am so guilty of this. I do it all the time. IDEAS OF SEPARATION are when you see yourself as separate from others. For example, “THEY are rich; I am poor.””I am not successful; THEY are.” “SHE got attention; I didn’t.” “SHE has a great art career; I don’t”. “HE is young; I am not.” “People like him.” Nobody likes me.” You get the idea. All this is such psycho B.S.!
I think this way a lot. Maybe I don’t express it out loud. However, I think it all the time. I have a lifelong habit of separating myself from others. I have glorified my isolation in my own mind. Maybe this isn’t such a healthy thing to do. Even when someone relates to one of my art works or even one of my blog posts, I feel shocked! What???? Someone relates??? Really??? I have to see the truth of this concept. I have ideas of separation all the time. I have to stop this nonsense. Not only is it a lie, it is nonproductive.


”TRANSLATION”
Acrylic/Canvas/Mixed Media
10” X 8”
Click to Enlarge

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Unconventional Creativity

I know I have very eclectic tastes and a love for those who have unexpected or unconventional artistic spirits. There are so many talented people in the world. We are all born with the creativity gene. We just use it (or don’t use it) to varying degrees. For example, we can all play piano. Some of us plunk “Chopsticks”, while others are master pianists who play concerts.
Likewise, anyone can throw paint on a canvas. However, there are those who make it their life work, learn, grow, and discover themselves through this endeavor. Regardless of the medium, I thoroughly enjoy finding artists who surprise me. The older I get, the harder it is to do. The more life you live, the more you have seen. Discovering something that makes you sit alert and be mesmerized is a true joy.
I was wearily wondering around the internet the other night trying to combat boredom. I came across a video of an indie rock musician Joanna Newsom I heard her voice on another artist’s webpage. At first, the sqeaky, pitchy squeals sounded like a child’s voice. However as the song continued, I was taken in by the melody and repetition. The sound was so unusual. The singer was not credited on the webpage. (Arggghhhhh!) So, I listened closely to the lyrics and Googled a phrase. Immediately, I got hits for Joanna. The song is Cosmia. She has a number of CDs out. She plays the harp and sings in such an unconventional manner. That is the wonderful thing about her. She has a unique style. I am sure her audience will be select. However, the content and richness of her performances are far superior to the pop tunes of this era.
She is a true artist.
There is a certain magic here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Healthy Artist

I promised I wouldn't talk about my "issues" with body image. Therefore, I will not get into any blah blah blah dialogue about this dreaded and boring subject. However, I will say we all have to take care of ourselves (mind, body, spirit, and emotion). If we don't, we are not doing our best for ourselves or others. Also, our art suffers. We must have energy, stamina, and a clear mind to produce work which is substantial. This is why this topic is important to me.
I started doing 5K runs in 2004. I stopped doing 5Ks in March of 2006. The reason I stopped is complicated and I don't want to bore you. However, I realized at the beginning of this month, I HAVE to continue with stuff like this. I just HAVE to. The reason for this decision is multi-fold. The most important reason is when Sheree finishes a 5K, she feels like Superwoman. Likewise, she feels like SuperArtist. Hey, this sounds GOOD to me!!
I decided to do my first 5K in 20 months, last night. I didn't do as bad as I thought. I was so proud! This feeling of pride will spill over into my work and my art life. How good is that? Take a look at last night's 5K. I WISH I could run this fast in real life!!! LOL LOL LOL Whoopeeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

ONE more day

You would think I would lie about my Dad. I suppose I should say he was so perfect. He was not. He was a mess in many ways. However, I LOVED him more than I can say. Today’s Oprah show was about Mitch Albom’s new book “For One More Day”. The book asks what you would want to do with a loved one who has died if you had ONE more day with him or her. For me this was an easy vision. My dad died more than ten years ago, yet it still hurts just as much and as hard as if it were today. I miss him in a way that is indescribable. Even though he was not an ideal person and had many flaws, I related to him more than anyone on earth.
If I had ONE more day with him, I know what we would do together. I would go visit his house in East Detroit. I would drive past 8 Mile Road via Gratiot Ave. I would make a U-Turn after passing the huge sculpture (advertising oddity) of the steer on the meat market. I would walk into his house and he would be sitting there sipping his second, third, fourth? beer. He would laugh and tell me to go get my own beer out of the frig. I would do so. I would then sit at the vintage linoleum print stainless steel dining table and ask “So what’s up?” As soon as he started talking, I would start laughing. He was SO FUNNY!! He would fill me with stories about work or show me one of his recent “projects”. He was SO CREATIVE!! He was not well educated. He didn’t know about ART. He just made things. His art was very simple and without taste. Things like plastic violins mounted on black velvet thrilled him. His van immersed in red plastic upholstery with rivets was his nirvana. He would always boast and be so proud of his newest creation. I loved that part of him. I realized I got my creativity from his genes. He didn’t understand my art. He didn’t even graduate from high school. Yet, he KNEW. Each time I would visit him, he would always have some found objects, stacks of paper, or some box of materials he had saved for me to use in my art. Even though my art was so foreign to him, with his simple intellect, he had the primal knowledge of creativity and knew I needed stuff to create.
Gosh, I love you so much Daddy. I miss you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

SHOWING VS. SELLING

One of the things I am grappling with right now is the issue of showing vs. selling. I have been trying to create bodies of work. This year, I have hesitated to enter juried shows because I am planning to create proposals for shows that show a complete body of work in 2008. I just don’t want to chop up the series. In other words, I want to keep painting and not feel obligated to show until I get a cohesive, consistent body of work. I want to show the series together. This isn’t possible (or feasible) some times. Some of you know what I mean. It is hard to “wait it out”. I am a very SLOW painter. I just can’t crank them out. Therefore, it might take years for me to make a new body of work. This is very frustrating sometimes. I want to keep an active exhibition record. Yet, I am very happy I am FREE to do what I want to do. This is not a do or die decision. However, this is still perplexing. The “bottom line” is what should I do.? Show em or sell em? What do you think?


Click to Enlarge

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pity Party

Today is a Boo Hoo day. You know the kind. We all have them. Maybe I am just too tired. Maybe I haven’t been taking good care of myself. Maybe, maybe, maybe, whatever! Anyway, WELCOME! Grab a beer out of the frig and sit down. We can be depressed together! LOL LOL
I have always been an overachiever. I zoom, zoom, zoom and then the blast of energy deflates. I have to land somewhere. Usually, I end up with a day or two like today. I don’t want to do anything; yet I feel totally guilty for not accomplishing anything. And so it goes….on and on and on. Sometimes I get into these creative tangents that rival out of body experiences. Case in point: I got a Google alert with my name on it. I didn’t recognize the website, so I went to take a look. There on the page was a “Teaching Philosophy” written by me. Apparently, this blogger was collecting examples for teachers. I read the writing and actually thought “Wow, this person really has it together!” For a second, I forgot I had written this blah, blah, blah. To be honest, I don’t remember writing it. In retrospect, I do know I wrote it to get a college teaching job. It worked. I was hired. The classes didn’t run. So much for being articulate.
See what I mean. I hate when I have this attitude. I hate it. I watched too many art videos today. I went to too many art websites. It is fine to go visit other artists once in a while. However for me, I have to do it in “moderation”. Otherwise, I start feeling like I do right now. I start feeling like what is the point? There are too many artists. I am not “good” enough. I have to do more, more, more, more, more, MORE!
STOP IT SHEREE!

Today, I am going to do NOTHING.
That is just fine.


”Translation”
Click to enlarge
POST AFTER THOUGHT: This is why pity parties really don’t make sense.
I went to go get the URL for this picture.
On my way there, I had to go through my webpages.
I was thinking, “Gee, this site looks really nice!
I sure have done a lot of work lately.
OPTIMISM!! Huh??? Crap!!
I can’t even be depressed properly!

LOL LOL

Friday, November 30, 2007

People to see, Places to go

There is such a plethora of art venues online right now. My head wobbles due to the variety. There is…………………
Etsy
Café Express
Squidoo
Artbreak
Proud Artists
Ebay, of course.
Oh the list could go on and on. Most of these sites sell art marketables. Crafts, wearable art, or design oriented paintings/sculptures/mixed media work. I have investigated these sites due to my interest in the “self supporting” opportunities for artists. I wish I could give a great, optimistic report of my findings. I can’t.
Yes, people sell their creative wares on these sites. However, the compensation is not impressive. As an artist, I know what it costs to make a piece of art. I know about materials costs and time spent making the work. I cannot understand why some artists will sell a piece for under $50. That hardly pays for materials and that is for a TINY piece. Maybe it is feasible if you can crank out great drawings or paintings on the hour. If you can do this, good for you! I am trying in a questionably enthusiastic manner to create some stuff to SELL. I can’t get my prices low enough to satisfy the masses. I guess some artists want sales so MUCH they will sell for cost. I won’t do that. I would rather keep the work for my own pleasure and/or a reminder of my accomplishments. That is probably why I have a “day job”. I just can’t see giving my work away for peanuts. Those who question the price of art, I ask, “How much do you make an hour?” “How much is your paycheck this week?” It is really time for people to see and understand what it takes to make art. It can take so many hours to finish a painting. Most people don’t understand this time investment.
Yes, art is a luxury. However, it is something that is human made. That is such a rarity these days. That alone should make it worth the price.
Despite my skepticism and uneasy feelings about selling ART, I have been trying to make stuff that relates to my art, but is more economically feasible. I have started work on my “WIZZLE WORKZ” webpage. This is for stuff that is a bit less austere, more fun, and marketable. Yeah, I guess that is the ticket!

This “Wizzle Workz” page is just the beginning.
I am trying to find ways to make stuff to sell.
At least, I am TRYING!
Click to go to WIZZLE WORKZ!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ART (home) SICK

I have lived in St. Petersburg, Florida for sixteen years now. I can’t even believe that. Time truly does fly! I consider St. Pete my home. I love it here. I will die here. I have said I will NEVER go back to Detroit. Well, now I understand the phrase “Never say never.” I got a promo a few weeks ago for a party scheduled to be held this week at the Detroit Institute of Arts. I knew for sure bunches of people from my past would be there. I wanted to go! WHAT?? Sheree go back up to Detroit??? No!
I thought about it. I thought about the cost. I thought about the feasibility? I thought it would be too impulsive. I didn’t go. I don’t regret that decision. I can live with it. However, I am sitting here right now realizing I am so homesick. No, not home town homesick. I am “ART HOME” homesick.
I have never connected with the Florida art scene. I have tried. I have done the work, invited people to my studio, I have spread myself all over the web, NOTHING happens. When I was in Detroit, there was a community. There was always something going on. There were things to do art wise. I miss that so much.
I was almost over this homesick feeling and then today, I got an email from my BFF Gilda (the famous artist). She has a spread in the Metro Times, a Detroit area publication. She send me the link to the article. When I saw the first picture of her in her studio, I melted. I miss her so much. The flood of DEE-troit feelings came back again. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…….maybe someday I will go back just to give this BFF artist a big, giant hug!


Gilda Snowden, Artist Extraordinaire!

Click to see "Motor City Cribs" article.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Few FAMOUS Women Artists (?) Huh?

I can remember it so vividly. As a freshman in college, I enrolled in a class titled “Women in Literature”. Those were post hippie days and on the heels of the Feminist movement. Sitting there with my made up face, cute new shoes, and a body full of naïve enthusiasm, I listened. There were all kinds of women in this class. Little girls, like me. There were plaid clad big women who seemed very loud. There were a myriad of every sort of female. I became distressed during the very first class. There was so much noise and angst. I couldn’t understand it. In my eighteen year old mind, I just didn’t get it. Coming from an all female family and never being told about being female in America, I just didn’t understand. In my world, I thought I could do whatever I want; I could be whatever I wanted; the world was my oyster!
Well………………………………….It took a few more years, but I finally got it. In grad school, I was totally aware of my female stature. TOTALLY. Now, I know this kind of stuff is like talking about religion or politics. Words suggesting discrimination of any kind are like drops of gasoline dropping on sparkling kindling. Too bad! This is the way I see the world. It is so obvious. I remember a few years ago, I was ordering art posters from an art supply catalog. There were over a hundred posters available showing artwork by male artists. I could find four by female artists. This just isn’t right. I wrote the company and told them I was so ticked; I would never buy their products until this inequity changed. I saw their catalog recently. I can report I noticed very little difference.
I was so happy today to read an article on ArtNet.com. Jerry Saltz has written about this female/male dilemma as it relates to New York museums. Read it! For those who think this is B.S., you are so wrong. Discrimination in all its forms lives, big time! Yes, even in 2007!


”GIRL I NEVER WAS”
Acrylic/Mixed Media
5” X 6” X 4”
Click to Enlarge

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back to ART BUSINESS

Oh geesh!! I am going to need a vacation after this vacation! It has been a whirlwind week. I have gotten a lot of ART stuff done. However, I have found the holiday festivities coupled with this mode of creative overdrive has been exhausting. I wanted to get into the studio early this morning. Last night's holiday party with friends nixed that idea. I woke up and thought “I was having a lot more fun at that party than I am right now!” My dog gave me a nudge to get up, but my body was not too happy about this need to move. I have been dragging all day.
One thing I just have to do this weekend is get caught up on my soft sculptures from my “ONLINE: Lost Souls, Lonely Hearts” series. I have never shown them to anybody. I just make them. I would like to exhibit them together some day. I am not sure how many I have done because as soon as I finish them, I put them away in a box. It is fun to look through them occasionally. I decided not to start any new ones until I get the ones pictured below done!
Another thing I accomplished this week was getting more YouTube videos up. I am finding I have to be careful though. YouTube can be addicting!

Here are some of my “Lost Souls” waiting for their “toe tags” to be attached. Gotta get it done!

This was the YouTube video I uploaded yesterday.
YouTube is a blast, but it is just another thing that
takes time away from all the things that need to get done.
But it is so much FUN!!
If there is a blank box here,
it is because YouTube is down.
Shockingly YES! It happens!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #1
My BABY GIRL

No words can describe the magnitude of my feeling of thankfulness.











For her, I am MOST THANKFUL!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #2
GIZMO, “Wizard of WIZZLEWOLF”


Ten and a half years ago, my daughter wanted a dog. Actually, she wanted a cat, but her allergies and my resistance to living with a cat caused us to settle on getting a puppy. I found Gizmo. He was a mess when I bought him. He was a mean little devil and not as “pure” as the pet store claimed. He is a Yorkie. When I got the paperwork to fill out for AKC, I laughed. He was such a wreck; there would be no point in spending the money on papers. However, I thought about all the fancy dog shows and the dogs that have million dollar names. I decided the reason Gizmo was such a terror was because he lacked self esteem. Therefore, I deemed him
“GIZMO, WIZARD OF WIZZLEWOLF”.
Now he has class and pizazz!

The name wizzlewolf came to me because it is silly (wizzle) and fierce (wolf). What a great combination! The next day, I stole the name and became wizzlewolf (the second). I have been using that name for ten years now. Gizmo doesn’t mind. He is my true buddy. My daughter has grown up and left. Gizmo is still here being my helper around the house and studio. He is my true friend. I love him more than I could have ever imagined. He has turned out to be a sweet, loyal, smart doggie. He loves me unconditionally. What more could anybody want?


Here is a shot by shot demo of Gizmo doing his “Ballerina” routine.
Even though I put him though such humiliation, he still loves me.
I am REALLY thankful for my Gizmo the wonder dog!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #3
My HOME

Some of you might not get this post. Having a house and a home might be something that has always been there for you. I have never been homeless in the true sense of this word. I never had to live on the streets, but there sure have been a few close calls. There have been moments when I surely had no HOME. No matter how much art success I obtained, I still didn’t have enough money to buy a HOME. I was busy raising my daughter, paying bills, and surviving. Six years ago, I FINALLY had enough money to buy a house. After living in apartments for so long, I had saved up a series of visions that illustrated how I wanted my future home to be. As soon as I moved into my new bungalow, I got busy. I wanted to make my house MY HOUSE. The biggest compliment I get is when someone who knows me comes through the door and says “Oh my gosh! This house looks like YOU!”
I smile a huge smile.
Now this may not seem like a big deal, but it means a lot to me. Back 25 years ago, I was doing a lecture about my art at an art association. At that time, my portfolio consisted of crude, primitive, architectural sculptures. After the lecture was over, I went to the bathroom. An audience member was in there. She looked at me and said “After seeing your little house sculptures, it seems you are looking for a HOME!” Her statement hit me like a brick. I was.
Years later, I thought of that woman during the closing when I bought my house. I have a home, my HOME. HOORAY!! I struggled with the decision of what photo to use for this post. My house is so visual. I decided to use this little sampler. I found it at thrift shop right after buying my house. The weird thing is the embroidered image IS my house right down to the yellow, red, and green. The main part of the house is to the left. Then, there is a little addition on the right that is my studio. Finding this little artistic replica of my house is an experience that encourages me to believe in Universal Principles. Very spooky, but comforting.


All my life, I wanted a HOME. I have that now.
I am ever so thankful!

Monday, November 19, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #4
Being an ARTIST

Last Friday, a woman I work with asked what I would be doing during my vacation. I told her I would be painting in my studio and making movies for YouTube. She said “Movies? About what?” I said I am making movies about art. She scrunched her nose and said “Ohhhhhhhhh, I thought they would be about something I was interested in…..” I walked away not knowing whether to laugh or cry. A few minutes later I realized I felt so sad for her. I can’t imagine a life without art.
I was born an artist. I knew I was meant to be an artist before I started school. At that time, I didn’t know being a creative person had a name. My uncle was a painter. I remember going to visit him when I was four years old. His living room had an easel in the middle, canvases lining the walls, and the potent aroma of turpentine drifting in the air. I didn’t think anything about his lack of furniture. I can remember thinking in my preschool mind “I don’t know what he is doing, but I want to do this!” So, I was very lucky. I had a head start honing my creative skills from a very early age. There hasn’t been a time in my life when I wasn't making, building, painting, or thinking of creative things to do.
Even though I don’t sell enough work to support the “lifestyle I desire”, being an artist has helped me experience many interesting employment situations. I know I have complained about my current JOB. However, if I have to work somewhere, it might as well be there. I am allowed to be creative and help others find their artistic spirit too. Also, it gives me the funds and security to support being the kind of artist I want to be.
I think right now I am having the best time in my art life. I am more creative now than ever. Age has helped my sense of humor grow. I certainly make myself laugh every day as I am creating. Also, the years have taught me to appreciate my art gifts and never take them for granted.


As an artist, I even love the messes I can create!
God made me an ARTIST and I am truly THANKFUL!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #5
FRIENDS

This week I got an email from an old friend. Actually, he was one of my first professors when I started college. As I look back on my university experiences, I can say he was one of my best teachers and greatly influenced my life as an artist. His name is Jim Pallas.


As our emails zoomed back and forth this week, I realized how this friendship has endured for so many years. This made me realize how I have been so blessed to have so many friends during my lifetime. I have always thought of myself as being “anti-social”. Yet, I can sit here and think of bunches of people who are my friends: Richard, Dayna, Todd, Debbie, Janet, Martha, Karen, Ron, the list goes on and on. We all have acquaintances, but I consider a friend someone to whom I could tell my secrets.
My all time BEST friend is artist Gilda Snowden.


Here we are wide eyed and bushy tailed just after grad school. We are sitting in Gilda’s classroom at Center for Creative Studies (CCS). (The art in this picture belongs to neither of us. It belongs to her students. LOL LOL)
Our relationship has endured marriages, babies, art success, art rejections, and all kinds of life in between. Yes, I have been blessed and very lucky to have so many wonderful people drift in and out of my life. However, the greatest blessings are those people who have been with me for the long haul.
Love you Gilda!



Gilda and I cuddle with artist John Lees back in 1978
1978??????
That was 30 years ago!
Time flies when you are having fun!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #6
Being AMERICAN

I have never been a flag waver or political. My first recollection of being American (whatever that meant) was in elementary school. I remember hearing about the commies and how they were going to come and get me. I had nightmares about air raid drills. My childish mind wondered if climbing under my school desk would be protection enough. Duh!!! Do you think? I remember when John F. Kennedy died. I didn’t understand the word “assassinated”. I think watching the funeral on TV was the first time I realized how being American was something very special.
Now I watch TV and I am continually reminded how lucky I am to have been born in the U.S. Even though our current politics are maddening, I still think this is the best place to be in our world. The sheer abundance of our American lives can be taken for granted. When you go shopping, do you ever really stop and LOOK at what is available to us? The richness and variety of services, goods, and opportunity are truly breathtaking.





When I bought my house, I decided to buy a flag. I had never owned a house before. I had never owned a flag either. Now, I get so excited on one of the days you are supposed to put up your flag. I am proud of that flag now. I am not proud of our wars, but that is a whole bunch of other posts. I am proud of all the good America does and I am proud of our country's positive potential.

So, as I look out my window and see the sun shining, I can say I am THANKFUL I have been given the privilege of being born an American girl.



Also, I thank God everyday that I live under our American sky.

Friday, November 16, 2007

THANKFUL COUNTDOWN #7 FREEDOM

I have decided to countdown for the next seven days. I want to account for the TOP seven things for which I am THANKFUL! Number 7 on my list is FREEDOM. I have always been independent. I laugh as I think back to my childhood. I have always been a petite "tomboy". Even as a preschooler, I would
walk the neighborhood carrying a step stool. I did this just in case I had to climb something outside. I didn't want to ask for help. I wanted to do everything myself. This was a good thing. I learned to take care of my needs very early in life.
As time went on, I remember when I got my first driver's license. Oh my gosh!! I felt like I had been born again. This feeling repeated itself when I would buy each new car or with each new job. I was collecting skills and experiences to be FREE!
For sure, this attribute and desire has played havoc with my social life. I have never wanted to be accountable for my time or energy. I just want to do what I want to do. Looking over the years and through my card catalog of relationships, I see the demise of these relationships was my own fault. I just didn’t want to tell anyone where I was going or what I was doing. Devulging this kind of information would be totally against my nature. I was never up to anything negative or suspect. I just never wanted to be predictable. Needless to say, not many people want a partner like that. I don’t blame them! I am not sad I am alone now. In fact, I rejoice in my state of isolation. In my younger years, I did the relationship thing because I thought that was what was expected especially for women. It never felt right for me. Now, I realize I LOVE being alone to do what I want, when I want, how I want, and however I want. I am as FREE as I could be and I am thankful for this!



There is no comparable feeling.
To be FREE is the joy of life.
"Free", 24" X 24"
Click to enlarge

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bizarre

One of the GOOD things about getting OLD is that you have a history. I was googling the name "Rensel" tonight. I am not an egomaniac. I have a goal. Many of my techie references have to do with teaching. My GOAL is to get it so when I do a search for myself it will come of with ARTIST links first. I know this is trivial. However to me it is a big deal right now. I want to be an ARTIST who teaches, NOT a teacher who is an artist. There is a difference.

So I googled myself tonight to see how I was doing. I came across a link I had never seen before. It freaked me out. I had never seen the stuff I have accomplished in a BLOCK of text. Extremely weird. I saw this:

Sheree Rensel
...
Biography - Sheree Rensel is an artist and art educator in St. Petersburg, Florida. Holding a BFA and MFA in Painting from Wayne State University, and one year completed toward a Ph.D. in Educational Technology at Walden University, she strives to juggle the demands of teaching and working as an artist. Originally from Detroit, she relocated to Florida in 1991. For the past twelve years, she has worked as a teacher of SED (severely emotionally disturbed) students K-12 while exploring new ground as an artist using traditional media, as well as, investigating the possibilities of the new, digital media.

Gallery Affiliations - The WORLD

Exhibitions - One Person Exhibitions , 97/05 Sheree Rensel Online, http://www.wizzlewolf.com , 1994 Song of the Snowbird Sheree Rensel, Macomb College, Mt. Clemens, MI , 1988 Sheree Rensel Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI , 1985 Recent Work - Sheree Rensel Paint Creek Center, Rochester, MI , 1984 Art Babies Detroit Council of the Arts Gallery, Detroit, MI , 1981 Gun Show Willis Gallery, Detroit, MI , , Selected Group Exhibitions, 2006, Human Artifakts - Galerie im Atelierhof, Bremen, Germany, Women, Men, Masculine, Feminine - Ayer Lofts Gallery, Lowell, Massachusetts, 50 by 50 - Online Collaboration, http://www.markcotton.com/50by50.html, Human Artefakts - Jane Sandelin Gallery, Richmond, Virginia, 2005, Human Artefakts - Preliminary for Traveling Exhibition (VA, Germany, New , Zealand 2006), - http://outofsight.co.nz/Artefakts/default.htm, Re-Visioning National - Maitland Art Center, Maitland, Florida , Out of Pocket - Gadsden Art Center, Quincy, Florida, Women, Words, Im ges National - Smithtown Township Arts, St. James, NY, Self Portraits - Mail Art Project, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, Hope Springs Eternal - online: http://virtual.tart.co.nz/exhibit.htm, New Zealand, 2003, Powerstories Theater - Catherine Hickman Theater, Gulfport, FL, Acts of Creation - Women Artists Rising, MAS Gallery, Viva La Frida, Tampa, FL, 2002, FAEA - Member Exhibition Seminole Comm College, Sanford, Florida, PCCA - 20th Anniversary Exhibition Paint Creek Center, Rochester, MI, 2001, Up from the Streets - Detroit Art, James Duffy Collection, Wayne State University, 1996, Faculty Exhibition Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Belleair, FL, Pinellas Art Educators Exhibition Octagon Art Gallery, Clearwater, FL, Out of Solitude Michigan Gallery, Detroit, MI, 1992, Environmental Issues Florida Center for Contemporary Art, Ybor City, FL, 1991, Invitational Exhibition Quincy Art Center, Quincy, IL, Artists of Florida Sarasota Art Association, Sarasota, FL, Faculty Exhibition The A ts Center, St. Petersburg, FL, Hard Choices Michigan Gallery, Detroit, MI, 1990, Motor City Revue Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI, 2-D 3-D Regional Art Exhibition South Bend Indiana Art Center, Art For Life Galleria Officentre, Southfield, MI, Faculty Exhibition Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, MI, 1989, Motor City Revue Institute of Culture, Zacateca, Mexico, AIDS and Art- A Day Without Art Paint Creek Center, Rochester, MI, Urbanology Marygrove College, Detroit, MI, Kost, Rensel, Sepanski Sisson Gallery, Henry Ford College, Dearborn, MI, Weathervanes and Whirligigs Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, MI, 1988, Hoyt National Drawing and Painting Hoyt Institute, Pennsylvania, Motor City Revue Lee Hall Gallery, Northern Michigan Univ. Gallery, MI, Faculty Exhibition Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, MI, Art and Architecture of the Birdhouse Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, MI, Matters of the Heart Michigan Gallery, Detroit, MI, Glass: Sculpture and Mixed Media Detroit Artists Marke , Detroit, MI, 1987, The Form of Color Nawara Gallery, Walled Laked, MI, 8th Michigan Artists Competition Battle Creek Art Center, Battle Creek, MI, Extended Media Detroit Art Institute, Detroit, MI, A Visual Tribute to Martin Luther King N'Namdi Gallery, Detroit, MI, Michigan Fine Arts Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Assc., Birmingham, MI, 1986, W.S.U. in Michigan Selected Alumni Wayne State Univ., Detroit, MI, Detroit and Vicinity Detroit Focus Gallery, Detroit, MI, Other Spaces Brooksfield Office Park / Detroit Artists Market, Bloomfield, MI, GM-UAW Human Resource Center Premier Exhibition Auburn Hills, MI, Artists Interpret Fantasy Michigan Gallery, Detroit, MI, Jurors Select Artists Pontiac Art Center, Pontiac, MI, Transformations Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, Michigan Annual XIV The Art Center, Mount Clemens, MI, 1985, Signatures - 21 Michigan Artists Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, Picnic on the Grass Meadowbrook Art Gallery, Rochester, MI, 1984, Artists Against Apar
...
9, 1986 WSU in Michigan Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, pg.26, 1983 Formed Paper, Sight / Insight Marygrove College, Detroit, MI, pg.4, , Published Works - Sheree Rensel, Author , , 2002 Through the Eyes of a Child Teachers.net Gazette, online: EYES, 98/99 W.O.W. Newsletter Editor-Publisher, Educator Newletter, 98/03 Artspirit art and art education web page, available online: artspirit, 1990 Billy Name Detroit Focus Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 2, 1990 A Garden of Visions City Arts Quarterly, vol. IV, no. 3-4, 1990 Inner Views Detroit Focus Quarterly, Detroit, MI, vol. 9, no. 1, 1989 From Artist's Studios Bielat-Eddy Catalog, Detroit Focus Gallery, , Visiting Lecturer / Workshops , 1996 Pinellas Art Educators Association, "Sheree Rensel- Artist", Florida, 1993 Robinson Challenge School, "Teacher's Workshop", Clearwater, Florida, 1988 Central Michigan University, "Sheree Rensel", Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, 1987 Dominican High School, "Art Careers", Detroit, Michigan, 1987 Warren Consolidated Schools, Artist -in-the Schools workshops, Warren, , Michigan, 85/87 Whitmer Human Resource Center, "Teacher's Workshops", Pontiac, Michigan, , Art Administrative Experience , , 1985-1990 , Exhibition Coordinator, Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester, MI, , 1985-1987 , Education Coordinator, Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester, MI, -Established, developed, and managed exhibition / education programs, -Developed structure and procedure for exhibition selection committee, -Contracted artists and jurors for exhibitions / teaching positions, -Designed and su
________________
It stopped there. It looked as if the number of characters was to the max. I love it. I look at this and say "Yep Sheree, you have been there done that." It has been good. Have I been a lucky girl or what? This week, I am going to start a series of "THANKFUL" posts in honor of Thanksgiving. Too bad I wrote this now. It would qualify!

WORD to any younger readers: Love yourself now. This pic is circa late 80's. I can NOT believe I thought I was fat and ugly back then. I look at this pic now and think "Oh SHIT! You were such a cutey and a really good artist too!
Lost time and misinterpretations!

Stupid but LOVELY

I am a painter. I went to school a long time to have the credentials to be a painter and get that M.F.A. stamp of approval to be a REAL artist. LOL
Despite all my years of educational experiences, I never took a ceramics class. Clay is not my thing. However when I got hired to work at my current "day job", I realized I had to learn about ceramics like it or not. I taught myself how to work the clay and how to fire a kiln. I even dabbled in making pinch pots and various other ceramic monstrosities. Believe me, I am NOT a ceramic artist. In fact, if a ceramic artist looked at my work, they would ask "So which 3rd grader made this?" "Second grader??"
The odd and wonderful thing about this is that I am just like a third grader when it comes to making stuff out of clay. My work is crude and basic. Truthfully, my work is an example of a child's amateurish attempt to be a ceramicist. I don't care though. This is just for FUN. I have no agenda. I am not going to upload pics of my ceramic work online or on my website. This is just plain entertainment. Also, I like the primitive, funky look of the stuff I make in clay. I use my pieces to silly up my house.
I had made a lame looking bowl for my kitchen last year. I had a jar behind it to hold some pens. A few weeks ago, I thought I should make a little vase similar to the bowl for my kitchen to replace the "pen jar". I did that this week. I glazed it. It came out of the kiln today.
Believe me, I was seven years old when I opened the kiln this morning. I saw my little, pitiful vase and thought it was a masterpiece. I brought it home and put it next to my bowl. BEAUTIFUL!!
Hey, this is why we are alive. To see something that you create and promotes pride represents the reason for living. I don't care if it is stupid. It is LOVELY!! Also, EVERYTHING an artist makes does not have to be part of their portfolio!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A VIRGIN NO MORE!

Well............ahhhhhhhhhhhh...at least I am not a You Tube virgin anymore! I FINALLY finished and uploaded my first You Tube video. It took me 12 hours to do this two minute video. It isn't even 2 minutes long. It is 1:52 to be exact. I love doing these kinds of projects and the only thing that prevented me from playing and creating with technology is because I didn't have the STUFF. See, my old computer crashing is turning out to be a good thing!
This video is basically an art commercial. It shows my "Misbehaviorists" series. Even though my body feels like a stale pretzel from sitting at the computer all day, it was worth it. I can't wait to do another one!
Here is my "Misbehaviorists Movie"!

Friday, November 9, 2007

SchizoARTia

I just got home from my day job “Happy Hour”. The people I work with are not artists. I love them all, but they don’t understand my “double life”. So after a few beers and well wishing for a great weekend, I came home. I plopped down on the couch. I sat for a moment thinking of the weekend art tasks at hand. I looked down at my “coffee table”. (What a misnomer considering I have never drunk a cup of coffee in my life.) I looked at the array of stuff. I started to do a drunken mental inventory. Even though I was buzzed, I saw something in this pile of stuff. I realized I have schizoartia. This disorder expresses itself in the way individuals who are creatively inclined, yet don’t really know which direction to go collect all kinds of crap to support their lack of focus. They are artistically confused.
So look at this picture. Starting at the left, we have a Jasper Johns video on top of Art 21. Those are both sitting on top of a Jonathan Talbot art marketing book. At the top of the picture, there is an Artists Magazine which embarrasses me, but is good to have for teaching purposes. Directly below that are Art Journals from the College Art Association. The right side of the pic shows RAW VISION, my favorite magazine on top of two books about artists studios. Those books are my dream books and illustrate all the studios I wish I had. So there lies the problem. I am all over the place. Obviously, I need to concentrate. To put it bluntly, all these art artifacts represent different directions. I suffer from SchizoARTia! It is just so hard because ART covers such a huge span of definitions and interests. I told a woman once I was an artist and she said “ME TOO!”. Come to find out she made prefab frog soap dishes and sold them at flea markets. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! No No No No No! I am not that kind of artist. Absolutely no offense to her, but I am a DIFFERENT kind of artist. So I guess it will be my job in coming days to hone down this crazy mess of categories. I just have to figure out where Sheree belongs. In other words, I have to pick a personality. I don’t like being Schizo.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Patience

This has been a wonderful day. Gee, it is like I have been hit by multiple meteorites! I am just sitting here thinking. I knew all this would start to happen. I knew it. However when we get involved in the day to day humdrum, we forget to believe.
I can't tell of the specifics. Everything is still in the planning stages. However, I just have to say LIFE IS GOOD. I have posted many times questioning the art THING. I have tried so hard to be patient. I know I am doing the RIGHT thing. I know my intent is sincere. I know if I just kept holding on things would happen. Well.......................things do happen. You just have to believe and keep doing what you do best. I am doing that. I truly believe it will pay off. I am not going to predict the magnitude of the payoff. In fact, I am already pleased that my art has done as well as it has. I cannot complain because I have had more perks and opportunities from my art than some artists experience in their lifetime. I am just happy to be identified as a hard working artist. That is all that matters to me.
I intentionally decided to use this digital print of my daughter and I to illustrate this post. She was so young at that time (me too!). However, the emphasis of this pic was to teach her that life is a buffet. I wanted her to learn that you pick and choose. Then, you are responsible to create your own satisfaction. I think she has gotten that philosophy. I am just starting to get into that drift. Hey!! At least I keep trying!!!
:-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A New Mentor

I hesitated to write this post because I keep posting things I find on You Tube. The reason I have done this is because I am preparing to do some You Tube videos. Therefore, I am doing RESEARCH. I found this young artist who is so spectacular. She has such a great spirit and enthusiasm. She reminds me of ME (some 30 years ago). She is wiser than her years. All her videos are kind of weird, off center, and have a bizarre wisdom. I love them all.
Also, it helps that she has a fantastic sense of humor which is coupled with a solid sincerity. Her You Tube screen name is Suziblutube. I just love her ideas, philosophies, and videos so much. Check this one out. Listen and watch closely. Don't judge until the end. Even though I am old enough to be her mother, I see her as a mentor. She reminds me of the joy of life. She reminds me of the joy of art. She speaks the truth.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Near PERFECT Day

I had such a great, productive day! I worked creating and experimenting with digital stuff all day. I made this video intro for my upcoming You Tube vids. I am really struggling here. I have always used a Mac for video stuff. This is the first time I have used a PC and I don't like it as much. I am going to invest in some better movie software. That will help a lot. I just ate a healthy dinner. I am still in overdrive from all the busy work. I say it was an ALMOST perfect day because I had planned on cleaning the house today. Creativity got in the way. Oh gee, too bad!
Here is the video intro I made.

For Cheryl



Click to Enlarge

Friday, November 2, 2007

My Girl

I just can't say enough about Joni. Gee, between Joni and Maude, I feel like I have been set for life. What mentors. All I can say is thank you. I love you both so much. Now, if I can only live up to the expectations!
"Rationally, I have no hope. Irrationally, I believe in miracles." JM 2007
Me too Joni.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy (?) Halloween


This is me on Halloween 2005. I went to Halloween party dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. I weighed 94 pounds in this picture. That is a perfect weight for me because I am less than 5 foot tall. I stayed that weight until around mid 2006. THEN, I gave up paying attention. BOO Hoo! That is SCARY!!!
This stupid weight and body image thing has haunted me all my life.

For ME, it has a lot to do with men. Are they FRIGHTENING?? LOL I have been single most of my life. Oh yes, I have had relationships, but never traditional or long lasting. I have been “skinny” and skeletal three times in my life. Each time was because I was interested in a man or men. All the other times, I keep about 10-20 extra pounds around to scare men away. I know this is stupid. But for some bizarre reason, this is the way things work out with me.
A year and a half ago after going on a yearlong dating spree and major exercise binge, I decided I was done dating for the rest of my life. LOL It was a super fun “Dating Marathon”. I had all kinds of NEW experiences. Yet, I have been single because I like being single. I have been alone because I like being alone. So I stopped pursuing that “hobby”. The problem with this is that I gave myself permission to let go of my healthy habits. For the past year, I haven’t been watching what I eat. I walk past my treadmill like it is an unwanted intruder in my home. Looking at the Riding Hood pic makes me want to kick myself in my fat butt and SCREAM! I don’t think I could get into that costume even if I wanted to at this moment. It really isn’t a huge deal. I am not a candidate for the “Biggest Loser” (my favorite TV show right now). I am still in the acceptable range according to my BMI. However, I feel awful. I feel like a blimp. Really, I feel like somebody put a tire pump in my mouth and blew me up to capacity. I am SO uncomfortable. I know how to lose the extra pounds I have allowed to envelop my body. I just have to do the work. I am a firm believer in the calories in/calories out mentality. That’s it. However, this time I am not going to do it for men. I am going to do it for me. So tonight, I will indulge in left over Halloween candy. Tomorrow, we will see! I am not going to talk about this ever again on my blog until the first week of June 2008. I will report back seven months from now to see if I actually made good choices. I picked that month because it will take me that long to get “buff” again and I want to go swimming this summer. I don’t want to be embarrassed or seen as a big, flabby monster!!!! OOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, now that IS SCARY!!!

Happy Halloween!!

This is how I feel right now.
I am a big, fat pumpkin. At least, I feel that way.
However, this is as bad as it gets!
November 1st signals the dawn of a new day!!!
RUN SHEREE RUN!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is so worth watching!

Watch this!! It is so fantastic! Imagine one week, one wall, one continuous painting. LOVE IT!!


Monday, October 29, 2007

What IS the point??

Now, now, now….Don’t start throwing tomatoes until I finish speaking!! I remember when I was a very young artist. I was at a party and I met an artist who was 40 something. I was familiar and in awe of his work. We talked and then he told me he had decided to “stop being an artist.” I was so young and naïve, I didn’t understand what he was talking about. I thought “How can you STOP being an artist?” (Out of the mind of babes). He went on to say he just didn’t see the point. He had made the work and nothing happened. He was tired of being ignored. He was tired of being poor. He was tired of making things nobody wanted to buy. Therefore, he made the decision to move on to other things. This was so bizarre to me; it took years and years for me to understand his mindset.
I think I get it now. I am an artist. I was born an artist. I can’t imagine just “quitting”. However, I do understand wanting to move on to other things.
I don’t seem to fit into the art mainstream or any particular art clique. I don’t belong to the “frog soap dish” crowd or the “altered book collage stamper” group. Nor do I belong to the boring "Plein Air Painters of America". (Oh yeah, Sheree, alienate everyone!) I am well educated, but I can’t relate to art hedge funds or the newest blurb about up and coming artists publicized by Ed Winkleman or the NY Times. I have never been invited into that upscale group. I just don’t have a comfortable niche.
This art life can be frustrating. Yeah, I know, I know! You make the work, market it, try to network, and use tons of energy promoting the wares. I have done all that. Then there is SILENCE. Right at this moment, I feel like saying the same thing as the quitter artist: “What IS the point?”
Without sounding morose and/or suicidal, I want to grapple and grab some upbeat quip. I want to see the “bright side". I know I am lucky to be able to create my own spectacular world full of color and bizarre imagery. I know this is a very cool thing. What scares me though is I keep hearing the words of a recent blog post I read. The blogger told a commenter “The reason your work doesn’t sell is because nobody wants it.” OUCH!………..I looked at that text and stared. Yep. I think he is correct. So, I guess, I have this house full of art because I am the only one who sees its value. Geesh…….That is depressing. Oh, oh, oh…..I forgot..LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE SHEREE!!
LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
OK, it is NOW time to throw your tomatoes:
O~~~~~~~~O~~~~~~~O~~~~~~~~~~~~~But WAIT!!!!
Anybody who reads this should not be shocked, depressed, or angry. You KNOW you have thought some of these same thoughts at one moment or another. You know you have! Use the tomatoes for a salad! We will keep making our art. We will keep wondering why or when or how. We will just keep keeping. Tee HEE HEE

”Bury” Digital/ Photoshop
Click to enlarge

One of the COOLEST Artists I “Know”

A few years ago through a circuitous web search, I “met” Deborah Hayner. She is one of the coolest artists I have ever met. In fact, it just occurred to me, I have to make a “Lost Soul” about her. My “Lost Souls” are a secret project I have been working on for almost two years. I make these little stuffed sculpture figures of people I meet online. The whole series is called “ONLINE: Lost Souls and Lonely Hearts”. I have never shown them because I wanted to get 100 done and have a show. That ain’t going to happen at least in the near future. I only have about 20 done. They take a long time to make. I will have to start taking pictures and get them on my website.
Anyway, Deb Hayner does everything WELL. She paints, she collages, she assembles, she does digital, yadda yadda, etc., etc. She is also a phenomenal web designer. Every time I go visit her site, I am awe struck. Go check her work out and you will see what I mean!! BREATHTAKING!!

Click pic to see Deborah Hayner’s fantastic website and superlative work!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

TIME OUT!

I know, I know. I tend to get pissy every once in a while. It is in my genes. I have a long history of relatives who are certifiable in the mental/emotional department. I should be grateful. I could be far crazier! I only have a potpourri of little weirdnesses. In fact, it is as if I took little tidbits along the buffet of my gene pool. I am a little OCD; a little ADHD, a little bipolar; a little schizy every once in a while; I have some bizarre learning disabilities, and I have phobias. If you put an artist temperament on top of all that, it can be barrels of fun. I have learned to live and laugh at it all. However, one thing that is frightening is I get on these hyperactive rolls. I go up and up and up and the frenzy gets momentum. There is no place to go but down. Boy, this is the awful part. I plummet to the depths with a boom!
Most of the time, I do this to myself. I know when it is happening and know the outcome, but I do it anyway. This past week has been a blur. I have watched way too many artist videos and visited too many artist websites. The terrible part is that one after another, I would look at their work and think “My art sucks”. Then I would move onto another artist’s offerings and think “My art sucks”. This is a never ending mind recording playing in a loop. During those moments my Black Muse (self destructive alter ego) laughs at me. I have been reading art marketing advice to the point of being cross eyed. I hear the mind tape again! It will say things like “Who are you kidding? You are such a crappy artist!” Today after starting to read a .pdf about art business strategies, I felt like I could collapse in a heap. Right now, I am feeling the pain of landing. Grappling for the strength to turn this computer off, I thought “Ok Sheree, you need a TIME OUT!”
Years ago, I would call these times of my “Black Muse”. I made a quickie poster for my studio to remind me of this ghostly demon. Every so often I look up at it, read the text, and tell him “You might get me every so often, but I am winning because I am still here!”

Click to read the text telling of the antics
of my “Black Muse”!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What a day!!

I am getting frustrated. I am behind in my art progress. Life happens and for the past month or so, I have allowed all kinds of life events to get in the way of MAKING art. I had planned all week to make art this weekend. Then I found out this man at work was looking for a used computer.
“Desmond” is the sweetest man. He is the custodian who cleans my art studio at school. He never complains even when we use the potter’s wheel for weeks on end. He isn’t technology savvy. He just wants to try it out. At first he said he was trying to “put something together” and wondered if I had a monitor for him. WELL…………………… Big Bertha my elderly Compaq has been sitting on my computer room floor waiting for me to dispose of all her parts. The only reason she had a “heart attack” was because I had so much software on her and was trying to get on websites she had no desire to go to at all. Desmond told me he didn’t even want to go on the internet. He said he just wanted to copy music. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… I told him to come over to my house on Sunday and I would “hook him up!”
I dragged Bertha out to my studio. I spent the whole day, piecing Bertha back together. I erased her hard drive and restored the original software vintage 1998! I had installed a new DVD player/recorder about a year ago. I loaded that software too. I burned a test CD just to make sure it was working properly. I got the scanner and printer working just fine too. This will be a perfect “starter” computer for him. Even though it took a while to do this, I don’t mind. He is such a great man. However, I didn’t have time to paint. Boo hoo!
While I was out in my studio, I kept looking over my shoulder at my Misbehaviorists waiting for wire. I couldn’t help but think of the saying “All dressed up and no place to go!” This is another thing that is being delayed. I have to get some of this stuff OUT. That takes time I am struggling to find.


This is like the start of a family of children I never wanted, but I am learning to love!



Meanwhile, I have stacks and piles of more work waiting to be finished.


At least, I did a good thing. Desmond deserves this!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GREAT cause!!

I am having a very hard time right now trying to figure out what I WANT to do. I don’t know if it is age, my current state of mind, or both, but it takes a lot to get me excited about anything. I have always been a “self-help” junkie. I am always trying to improve myself. Lately, it has gotten harder. I just want to BE. Despite the desire to let go of all my lists and racing thoughts of things I want to do or don’t want to do, there is one thing I am SURE I wish I could do. I have always had the desire to own a warehouse or commercial building to renovate. I have always wanted to own a space to make studios for other artists. This desire started back in Detroit. I would go to parties at art studios downtown and wish I owned the places. Then, I had a boyfriend who owned a warehouse. He wasn’t an artist, but he bought the building and slowly renovated each floor with artist studio spaces. That was such a neat building. I was so jealous! I have always wanted to do that. I have never been able to afford to do it though.
Anyway, this week I learned of this couple in Arkansas who bought an old church. They are renovating it to live in and use as a community arts space. They have a website and many videos online about their progress. They started a memorial fund strictly for the restoration of the stained glass and the circa 1910 pipe organ. WOWY ZOWY! I think this is a really heroic and worthy cause. Send your “pennies” to:

First National Bank Hot Springs
Attn. Bill Weston
Saving Grace Memorial Fund
135 Section Line Rd.
Hot Springs AR. 71913

I am sure they would appreciate any amount you can contribute. Go to their website and view the video stories of this journey. How COOL!!!! I wish them such great luck!!

Click pic to go to the Art Haven and Stage Blog
SEND THEM YOUR PENNIES!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Art Blah Blah Blah

Back in the day when I was in grad school, there was a definite routine. I would spend tons of hours in the studio; make bunches of work, and then pound on the wall to alert Gilda (my best friend) who was working in her studio next door. This was a signal to her it was time for a break. Sometimes we would go to lunch downstairs at Alvin’s Deli and talk art. Sometimes, we would get together to vent or decide what to say about the art we made. We needed a dialog. In grad school, you are constantly asked to explain and defend what you do. Therefore, this became part of our daily routine. We would prepare the “script”.
If you have been following this blog, you know I have been watching artist videos like an addict craving a drug. I can’t get enough. I love seeing other artists working and showing where they work. What I DON’T like is hearing their artist “blah blah blah”. That is so boring and fake to me. I know it is a necessary evil. Professors, gallery patrons, and interviewers expect some kind of
deep, dark, mysterious art mantra from artists.
It reminds me of the sales pitch you are subjected to when you go buy a car. You can’t just look at the car and want it. You have to hear the spiel. Well just like I turn off the sound on salesmen, I tend to turn off the sound of pretentious artists. Some of the things they say about their art are nonsensical, trite, and meaningless. For example, here are a few quotes I jotted down while watching these videos:
“My work is moving.”
“You see movement.”
“You see expression.”
“There is tension, but ahhh, then like, you see movement.”
“It takes you on a journey.”
HERE IS A GOOD ONE (?)
“I have been working on works with color, composition, textures, patterns, layering on top of layering on colors on top of colors, using different kinds of paint, different kinds of drying techniques, some of them are vertical, horizontal, some are done flat. Some are successful. Some are failures. Some are highly acclaimed. Some others people just look at. They are representational but they are not.”
OH GEESH. SHUT UP!!!!
I swear I copied this dialogue verbatim. This is scary.
One smart series of art speak was when I heard an artist apologizing because he doesn’t build his own canvas. He went on to say, he didn’t see why this was necessary since he can buy excellent canvases for a reasonable price and by doing that, he saves time. Thus, he is able to paint more. Now this is the kind of “art talk” I like. It makes sense!!! In fact, I don’t mind artists talking sense, giving valuable advice, or saying things to which we can relate. This guy was being honest and genuine. It is the mysterious art yadda yadda yadda that is irritating and phoney.
One time I nearly had eggs thrown at me because I was at the opening of a show and unbeknownst to me, the exhibition coordinator wanted each artist to explain their work in the show. One by one the artists got up and started spewing verbal B.S. My heart raced with each speaker. I knew I would be called on soon. When it was my turn, I got up and said “My work speaks for itself.” Then I sat down. I felt like I was going to be stoned at that moment. I am sure some of the other artists really wanted to hurt me when I did that. How DARE she! Well I did it and to this day I stand by my decision to just
BE QUIET!!!!
(At least this is true when it comes to explaining my work.)

”Quiet”
Digital / Photoshop
Click see more of my wild and wacky work

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Artist or Writer Retreat for Sale

I rarely wish I was younger. I don’t regret birthdays. However now in this computer age, I have passing thoughts about how things would have been if I had a computer since birth. Wow! I can’t even imagine how my life would have been different. Besides the creative aspects of technology, I LOVE meeting new people, learning about their lives, and just seeing how everyone lives.
Today, I found artist John Robertson I just love his work. It is full of life and spirit, just like his tone in his videos. I watched a video about his California “trailer studio” overlooking the ocean. He enthusiastically gave a tour of the studio in the video. After watching, I found another video about his studio. The second video told of how he is selling this little piece of paradise. It is a very cool spot. I wish I could buy it. I was worried that he was being forced to sell. I emailed him and he assured me this was his choice. He needs a bigger space and wants to be closer to his family.
If any of you know of someone who would like to buy this really neat place, email John. I am sure he would love to hear from potential buyers!


Here is the gorgeous view from John's studio trailer.
Click the picture to go to John’s blog
which describes the property in detail.
Good Luck JOHN!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Art Business Card

I believe in "presentation". In fact, I have employed methods of unique presentation a number of times to get jobs. I have always gotten those jobs or at least some important notice. While playing with my new computer last night, I found this YouTube video called "Art Business Card". Ironically during my current art marketing reeducation, I had just read something about making your art business card CREATIVE. This video shows a technique that is so simple, yet I was smiling at the end of the film. I love this idea!
Very cool "artorbust"!



ART BUSINESS CARD VIDEO
CREDIT: "artorbust"
sheet series # 3
http://artorbust.com/

Friday, October 19, 2007

ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM!

Holy Macaroni! Well, I got my new computer all hooked up and loaded today. I installed just about everything I use every day. I even installed the DSL Broadband. I had NO IDEA how much I was missing. I can actually watch YouTube now!! Big Bertha, my old computer wouldn't even let me watch video news footage. I can actually open up bunches of windows without things freezing up! Geesh! Just now, I went to upload my new desktop pic to my server and I couldn't believe how it loaded before I finished clicking. WOWY ZOWY!! This could be dangerous. I already spend too much time on the computer. Looks like my butt might get even fatter. LOL LOL LOL
I know this desktop shot is lame. I had to pick something to put up there until I decide what art shot to display. I am excited about my new monitor. I can swing it clockwise to get a vertical display. I am going to go back to doing digital art now that I have such a great techie set up now. I need to invest in a wide format printer. That will take awhile. I have to pay for this baby first.
This is like being a kid in a candy store. Needless to say, after using the same computer for ten years, this new computer with the newest and latest everything blows my mind. There are so many gadgets and doodads. I don't know where to go on the web first. This little "Amelia" girl is a sassy little computer. Love her already!

Fly AMELIA Fly!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is Art Really Important?

St. Petersburg, Florida is a great place to live. The weather is great. The city is smallish and the crime rate is low. St. Pete is situated on a peninsula with Tampa Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Tourists flock here. If you go to any one of the many tourist areas and listen, you will realize it is like a southern tower of babble. You hear all languages and dialects. Besides “Snowbirds” (Americans from the north who come to Florida for a season) and the global tourists, St. Pete is also host to another population: the homeless. People who don’t have a place to lay their head often come here. The days and nights aren’t as harsh as northern climates if you have to live outside. The economy and community is mostly middle or upper class. That offers some comfort to get handouts or community services.
A few weeks ago, I volunteered to work at a daylong event to help the homeless. Since I work with special education students and most of them are economically challenged, nothing was shocking or surprising. As I watched the lines of people straggle in for services, I just watched and thought. One of the things that struck me was an announcement made on the PA as homeless clients shuffled from one service to another. The speaker on the intercom kept reminding people of health, food, medical, and employment services available to them this day. As the announcement kept running and repeating, I thought, “Art has no place in their lives.”
If you are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy, you will understand where my head’s at when I ponder the frivolity of art.

Click to Enlarge

If you look at this chart to see the hierarchy of human needs, you will notice that most of the services offered mentioned on the PA rest on the lower portion of the pyramid. However, if you really look at the chart, you will see the “homeless” could very well rise up to at least half of the top tier. Physiological, safety, love, and esteem are all a part of everyone’s life. Even the homeless have a certain type of community code. Very often, they have respect for each other, as well as themselves in their own ways. In fact, I believe there are many who have reached the “Self Actualization” stage. Depending on the individual, some do have problem solving skills, their own code of morality, and acceptance of the facts of their lives. Some even have their own means to express their creativity. Years ago, I was preparing a show titled “Song of the Snowbird”. I wanted to capture my first impressions of my new, tropical home. I went around the city photographing and writing about my “St. Petersburg” experience. I will never forget when I met a homeless person downtown. Sitting on a park bench together, we talked for a while. I told him I was an artist collecting information for an art show. He said proudly “I AM AN ARTIST!!”. He pulled out his wallet and showed me his drawings sketched on business card size paper. I took a photo of him with his “portfolio” spread out like a hand of playing cards. That pic was in the exhibition.
As I watched the lines of people waiting to see the volunteer doctors and government agency administrators, I just wondered. How does my ART life relate to any of this? Is ART really all that important?? What do you think?
“Casualties”
Digital
9” X 15”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rest in Peace Big Bertha

I am sitting here now spending the last few minutes with Big Bertha. She is on her deathbed. I am holding her mousy hand during her last hours. I know she has been sick for quite awhile. I have always nursed her back to health each time she coughed, had spasms, or became too stiff to move. I had hoped she would stay around for a few more years. That was a stupid dream. This morning, she had a terrible seizure. I gave her CPR and she began breathing again. Yet, it was at that devastating moment, I realized it was silly to keep trying to keep her alive. After all, I have spent money on lots of new toys for her this year. She can't play with any of them because she is just too old and can't figure out how or what to do. She wanted to go. I kept slapping her awake each day despite her specific orders “not to revive”. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to let her go. She has been an important part of my past. However, it is now time to move on.
She has been such a good, good friend. She has been there through a terrific portion of my life. Back when she came into my life, I was just starting to feel my oats. We worked together on many projects. She was so faithful and really made me shine. Unfortunately times change and her age caught up to her. Even though I have fed her, given her a couple of great places to live, and doctored her up by doing necessary “surgery” a few times, I now have to tell her “It is OK. It is time to go. I am here with you. It is fine for you to go to computer heaven. God is waiting for you!” As her eyes opened a bit and then shut, I continue to console her.... ”Just think, you will be up there with RUBY and PETUNIA! They are waiting for you, Big Bertha!” She asks with a whispered voice “What about Tiny Dancer?”. I tell her….”Oh, everything will be fine. I will be here with Tiny. She is just entering middle age. She still has a lot of life in her yet. We have to give her time, Bertha!” Not ready to let go yet, Bertha shuts her eyes and sleeps. I am sitting here admiring her. I will miss her. Even though she is overweight (Chunky was acceptable in her era!), slow (record times were different in the past!) and kind of scarred with time (Her wrinkles showed her character!), she is still a very, very loved one.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………..Let’s go outside. I need to tell you something. Bertha doesn’t know this yet. In fact, I don’t want her to know. However, I went out and replaced her today. Yep, I am going to pick up her replacement tomorrow afternoon. Oh my!! This new gal is perky, fast, sleek, and full of vim and vigor. She has parts that weren’t even invented back in Bertha’s day. I don’t want to tell B.B. about the “new girl”. I just want her to go in peace. I will always love you Big Bertha. You have been a true friend for almost ten years.
Now, I have to figure out what to name the new girl. Hmmmmmmmmm I will have to work with her for a week or two to think of a great, new name for my new baby girl computer! NOPE NOPE NOPE!!! I just thought of it!
AMELIA!
Yep! That's it!
This girl is going to FLY!!

BIG BERTHA LAID TO REST

In my frantic attempt to back up files via my external hard drive and burn CDs of her contents, I cleaned Big Bertha up nicely.
Her desktop has never looked this clean.
This is nice. She looks dignified for this last showing.
Love you Bertha! Say hello to Ruby and Petunia for me!!