Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life Reviews

There are times in everyone’s life some event or feeling will spark the onset of a life review. The REVIEW might take the form of one fleeting image or quick memory of the past. However, sometimes they take the form of a tsunami of emotions and years of memories. I have had a wonderful life full of ups and downs. I am sure it would be considered scandalous if judged by some. It would be considered tame by others.
From the time I was a teenager and entered adulthood, one of my mentors and life directors has been Joni Mitchell. From the times of Woodstock and the Blue album, I have always used her words and sounds as my life theme songs. In recent years, I tried to move on and listen to many other artists. However, Joni’s music is the fabric of my soul and it always will be.
Joni Mitchell released a new CD titled “SHINE” this week. I preordered it with a bit of hesitation. I guess my hesitance came because I didn’t know what to expect. It has been a while since Joni has released anything new. As her art grew, so did the styles of her work. Artistic growth is mandatory, great, and good. However, I have always loved her early work. Wondering what would be on this new CD was worrisome. I just didn’t know what to expect from my Joni genius. I bought it anyway, waited for it to be released and delivered. It came today. In fact, I am listening to it now.
For those of you who are Joni fans, you will not be disappointed. It seems this CD is a perfect complilation of the old and new. With each track, I smile. The instrumental intro “One Week Last Summer” sets the tone and mood. As soon as the track starts playing, I can’t help but smile. It is as if the piano, mellow sax riffs, and Joni’s faint hums all provide notes, which fall over me, like a soft, warm, familiar blanket. I am back in Joni heaven again. As the tracks proceed, there are new words and old flavors all at the same time. Yes, this work will bring back a life review of memories, but it will also help to create new ones too! BRAVO!
Oh Joni, you do SHINE!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

“Signs” from above

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA I just think this is so funny! My last post spoke of thinking POSITIVE. I refuse to think any other way! Then, I went almost a week not posting because I have been having a hard time thinking of positive things to say! To me, that is hysterical! LOL LOL LOL LOL
Today, things are looking up. I have been thinking a lot about my next move. Just for fun, I divided my life into two parts. I figure I am beginning Chapter Three right now. I am projecting the next 27 years. What do I want to do? What do I want to accomplish? How should I proceed? I decided this week I needed to DO SOMETHING! Take one step to move forward. I registered for Entrepreneur classes that are offered by the city. These classes explain how to start a small business, explain business start up procedures, and how to succeed. I figured this would be a great thing. I actually like the fact these are generic classes. They are not art related. I think learning about the business practices related to the masses might be a great thing. I have taken art-marketing workshops. However, those are so customer/art market specific. I want to see a bigger picture. Also, it is a win-win situation for me. I figure what I learn in these classes will help me replace my day job, as well as help me market my art. Sounds good to me!
I want to work for myself.
I think my money business might not be art related. I am thinking of a service company. The reason I have been thinking “ART” will NOT be my focus is because it takes too much time and money to create my art, thus it is too difficult to make a REASONABLE profit. This has proven to be a difficult task. I don't have a husband or inheritance to act as a support. It is all about me. Therefore, I am going to start a service company. A clear, concise business description is yet to come. I will figure that out in coming weeks.
So keeping in this spirit, I have been sitting in my living room reading a year’s worth of Entrepreneur magazines this morning. I read all about million dollar start up companies, selling online, tax dos and don’ts, etc. I skipped articles about companies selling products. I just don’t want to do that. I told myself: Look for articles about service companies Sheree! YES!!
THEN, I saw my mail carrier pull up to drop off my mail. As she walked up to my front door, I saw she was holding my Suzi Orman MONEY books from She knocked on my door. I opened it and we began to chitchat. Then she asked me…..
“Are you ever going to have a sale or something like that?” I said “What”?? She responded: “Everyday, I come here and wish I had some of your stuff. I look at your door and your mailbox and I want it all”. I just stood there looking at her as if she was an angel from heaven. I think it was so ironic she said this RIGHT NOW. Still in a state of mental fury and numbness, I thanked her, joked a bit, and then closed the door. I thought people want this stuff I make. This is not a new concept to me. I have a work colleague who has repeatedly asked me as she walks through my little Florida bungalow, “Why do you keep working at our job, when you can do all this?” I keep asking myself the same thing, but I haven’t had the courage to make a move. I just have to figure out how I can make stuff faster and cheaper.
I can say with confidence, today is a great day because I realize I am moving FORWARD!

She said, “I just want something you made. I love your mailbox. I love the way you use colors. I want something like the things you make.”
She has me thinking now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Believing MY Secret

Thoughts become actions. Thoughts become actions. Thoughts become actions. A few months ago, I wrote about the book “The Secret”. I can’t remember what I said exactly, but I do know I spoke about the Law of Attraction. I learned about this concept a long time ago and my belief in it was confirmed when someone gave me the book “You Can Have It All”. It speaks of the same information as the Secret albeit it was published 25 years earlier. The Secret is more popular because it is a new age self-help book that was launched and backed by a big buck marketing campaign. I like both takes on the LAW. I really believe in it. I listen to the Secret CD just about every day while driving. I take some of it with a grain of salt. Some of the claims of the “experts” on the CD make my eyes roll a bit. However, the brass tacks message is one close to my heart. If you strip off the glitz and expose the bare bones, the true message is basically “You are what you think!” This is an oversimplification, but you get the idea. Throughout the CD you will hear speaker after speaker reminding us that thoughts become actions. If you think positive thoughts and images that is what your life will reflect. Sounds so simple!!
I try so hard to sort out my thoughts. I am working hard on visualizing what I want my art to be, where I want it to go, and seeing my own future. I truly believe in this technique because I am living my past visualizations. There was a time I visualized my current home. I actually meditated on obtaining my current job. I thought positively in order to live the life I live right now. Yesterday, I had a grand light bulb moment. If I am supposed to be thinking about the POSITIVES, I have to stop thinking and writing (bitching) about the things I don’t want in my life anymore. I realized I am focusing on those things. Therefore, the law of attraction keeps sending them back to me over and over again. I have to SEE and THINK what I WANT. I am done thinking about what I don’t want. If you are a reader, do me a favor. In future posts, if I complain about the status quo, call me on it!!! I will thank you for your head thump!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why I am going INSANE

After all this yadda yadda yadda about how I hate my day job, I know there is something that tells me deep down inside I am where I am supposed to be. I know, I know! You are probably thinking she is friggin whack! Let me explain. OK… Lets look at the positives. I get a decent paycheck. I have a lot of days off due to holidays and summer. I have health insurance. Yes, it is very, very hard changing hats when I get home from work. It is either a matter of being so tired OR just needing more time to switch hats. If I have two or three days, the switch happens. The most important bit of data is these “lost kids” respond to this old lady. They think I am funny. They think I am kinda cool or OK. They listen and remember my life wisdom advice. For whatever reason, they give me hugs, run to me, tell me stories about what they remember about experiences in my art room, and finally, they remember me even after becoming an adult and starting the next generation of struggling kids.
The reason my life search is going in this direction is because I got an email from a “self-supporting” artist whose work I admired. I saw her work via a magazine article I read. When I saw her work online, I thought ..”This is a really great compromise!” It doesn’t look like hotel art. It is abstract, but in a way I can relate. So I emailed her. To my surprise, she thanked me for my compliments, but there was an edge in the text. She spoke of my resume, how hard it has been for her to be a “self supporting” artist, and there was an unspoken feeling of “I wanna be you too.”
So here we are. I wanna be her. She wants to be me. I think we both want to be someone in the middle. Needless to say, this email made me think big time. I have a lot going for me. I few “F*** YOU B**** or S*** MY D***!!!” comments that I hear from my students daily is not going to kill me. For anyone reading this who might be offended by this language, I am sorry. If it offends you, here is a wake up call. I hear this from kids even in lower elementary (Grades 1-3) It gets more creative in grades 4-12. As long as I don’t get hurt physically, I think it might be OK. However, I hear these words EVERYDAY in various scenarios. After those words, I get pushed around, verbally/physically assaulted now and then. Ironically, I am expected to get them caught up on their lessons two or three classes later when they come back to class. None of this is a big deal to me. I have done this long enough to realize this seems to be the plan. It isn't right. It isn't just. I just is.
Do you blame me for thinking about whether it is worth it????
Remember…On this blog, I am thinking on my feet. We will see.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where is this going?

Oh my goodness. Here I am all into changing my life and trying to take steps to make this happen. I love the analogy “How do you eat an elephant”? The answer is: One bite at a time! Well, I have been trying to find out what to bite first. I will be honest. Right now, I am overwhelmed. I have been researching artists and potential art lifestyles. For those who read my blog, you know I have spoken of coming changes often. Trying to get some kind of control in my life, I decided to weigh all the options. I don’t want to just QUIT my day job. I don’t want to be that stupid. Therefore, I am looking around and trying to figure out the truth of what I want my reality to be in the next ten or twenty years without throwing out the baby with the bath water.
I can say this because I came to my current job through the back door. I had been an artist-in-residence in school situations for years. I NEVER had aspirations to be a teacher. One day, I just showed up at an interview as an artist and for whatever reason, I got hired as a teacher. Consequently as the years flashed forward, I got the credentials to become “legal”. I have so appreciated this opportunity and experience. I think the last 15 years have been magical most times. Yet in the bottom of my heart and soul, I know it is time for a change.
I started to sniff around for new job opportunities. I looked through the classifieds for the first time in fifteen years! I found an Artist-in-Residence job. I figured this job would allow me to figure out if I wanted to quit teaching or quit teaching the kind of kids I teach. In other words, I am tired of being told to "F" off when I tell them to get their projects out. I am tired of being told all kinds of other extremely vile things just because I showed up for work. I don't deserve or desire this kind of life.
I sent my resume, applied for the job, and I got a call for an interview today. I was excited. I spoke to the coordinator and started to plan an interview date. When I asked her where I would need to go for the interview, she stated it was at a rec center in the same area of town as my school. She continued to explain she needed an artist who would help kids create a mural at this community center. Stunned and disappointed, I realized this was not the job for me. This rec center hosts the same kids (or their relatives) that I teach now. I want new experiences!
I guess I have to move away. I don’t want to do that either. For some weird but true reason, I keep thinking about my kitchen. I spent months to mosaic my kitchen. I have such an emotional attachment to this room and all my rooms. The saddest part of all is that I feel like if someone else moved into my house, the first thing they would do is tear the mosaic wall down.
What the hell should I do….?????
I will figure it out. I will.

I have had my house for six years.
In that time, I have made many “artistic” improvements.
If I have to move away, I will feel so sad.
I am not sure others will appreciate and keep the changes I have made.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hotel Art

While on vacation this week, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Brandon, Florida. I love this little hotel. It is clean, quiet, and calm. Just the kind of atmosphere I need these days. Dead tired after the concert, I dropped onto the sheets, snuggled the down comforter, and turned on the TV. As I lay there, I looked up next to the bed and took in the “hotel art”. It was a fading print of a watercolor by an artist I will call “Hotel Artist”. The painting was a courtyard type scene with various bushes surrounding a garden urn. The colors were basically cool blues, grays, and greens. I didn’t have to study it for long to determine it was extremely boring. In fact as I looked at the details, my eyes wandered up to the ceiling wallpaper border. That design held my interest more intently. There was another one of “Hotel Artist’s” works on the other side of the room. It was a monotonous twin.
Snapping my gaze back to the first work, I thought, “I could paint paintings like that!” Since I am in the marketing mode, I am open to at least entertaining all kinds of possible art paths to follow. Immediately I thought of being in Mrs. Bigler’s watercolor class back at Wayne State University. She would set up flower arrangements for us to paint once we understood color theory. She would walk around barking out orders or come over to the piece of Fabriano watercolor paper you just spent a week’s worth of lunch money on and mark it up with a red permanent marker. Oh those are such fond memories (a-huh!) Eventually, I got quite good at doing florals. Even Mrs. Bigler gave me a compliment or two during those years. My favorite flowers to paint were geraniums. Yet, I never painted flowers again after putting in the time to get credit for these mandatory watercolor classes. I just found that medium, subject matter, and genre too humdrum.
Likewise, I found this hotel room art just as uninteresting. The images exude no passion and make no statement. The work says nothing. They are vapid. They are just there and take up space. In this case, they didn't even match the furniture. Since I have stayed at this hotel before, I noticed they updated the bedspreads, but kept the old art decor. This kind of art reminds me of Wonder bread. It is mass-produced; there is no flavor, yet people buy a lot of it. My next thought was “Well, “Hotel Artist” is probably far richer than you, Sheree!” Yep, that is true. After doing a search for this artist, I saw more works on all the art print websites. You can buy one of those prints for less than twenty bucks! That is cheap enough for the masses to fill their homes (hotels) with bland, sedate, uneventful, pretend paintings. I suppose they have their purpose in this world. If an artist chooses to do this kind of work, I say more power to them. Also, if you admire this kind of art, go for it! I wish you well. I don’t see the value. I could never crank them out. It would remind me of times BEFORE Mrs. Bigler’s classes. I was working on a factory assembly line mindlessly stacking and boxing TV guides at a rate of hundreds per minute. I don’t want to go back there again not even for the money.

This is not the print in my hotel room.
I couldn’t find that one.
However, this is very similar.
I am sure there are some who love this kind of art. I don’t.
Now that I think of it, I don’t think Mrs. Bigler would have been impressed either. Where is that red permanent marker????

Yeah!!! Much better!!! Tee HEE HEE

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Art SCAMMED..(Well they tried)

I have worked with computers since the 70’s. I have been online since 1996. I have gotten my share of phishing scam emails from Nigeria, South America, foreign lotteries, and bunches of other idiots. However, I had never been “art scammed”. Well, I guess I am coming UP (?) the world. I became a potential art scam victim this week. What a crock of shit!! Here is how it went down. I got an email from
tina_brown100 at I received the following email from “Tina”. Notice the bizarre wording, misspelled words, poor typing, and awkward composition of this email.
**This following message was sent to you by a person who found your
artwork on Artists Space's Artists File Online website. Please report any problems or concerns
regarding this email to

Hope this message finds you well ,I came across your web page while
searching for good artworks and I will like to buy some of these creative
artworks directly from you which i think will be perfect for my walls

Fresh Start
2007-04-18 17:44:24
Acrylic on Arches
36\" x 24\"

Universal Dump
2007-04-18 17:50:57
Acrylic/Mixed Media on Canvas
24\" x 24\"

I will be happy to have these selected artworks in our new home.What are
their prices exclusive of shipping cost? We are travelling from our
Alabama home to our new apartment in London, I will appreciate an earlier
reply. Thanks.
Best Regards

Thanks so much for your response to my query about those creatives works.
I am presently away in London for my twin sister's wedding even though
it comes at a time when i was preparing for a big move and also expecting
a baby but it means so much to her. I should back in some few days.

Yes,i will like to proceed with the purchase
Mixed Media/Acrylic on Canvas
$1000. and Universal Dump" is $2000. artworks .
I think they are lovely works that will add alot of colours to our new

Meanwhile,i will like you to forward your mailing address and phone
number so i can inform my husband to send you payment by a cashier check
asap for the payment for those creative artworks.

And also I can also forward your contact info to the local cartage
company that will be moving all our house decors so they can get in touch
with you to arrange shipping details. They can arrange pick up FedEx pick
up of the artworks from your gallery.

I will look forward to hearing from you so i can know how best to
proceed. Cheers.

Best Re gards

It is very obvious these emails are from a scum bag on a mission. The weirdest part of all this is the scammer actually went to my website to find a second offering! She took the time to look through my art, and picked another piece to use for this hoax. How bizarre is that? This is a shipping/check scam. There is a link at the bottom of this post if you want more info on how this scam proceeds if the victim is gullible enough to take the bait. However, if you ever get a suspect email, simple “Google” the email address. That will give you clues as to whether that email address has been used for scams.
I feel so sad. Why artists?? This is so low. Artists are one of the last groups of people on earth to target for money. However, I understand the strategy. Artists are so vulnerable and eager to sell their work. They want to think the best of people and could get carried away with the romance of selling thousands of dollars of work online. I mean really, wouldn’t that be a wonderful reality. I can’t help but understand how some artists would/could fall for this scam. However, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. So to all my optimistic artist friends out there, just be careful. There are assholes out there. Moral turpitude is a common attribute in our world today. Sad, but true.

Hey “TINA” buy (BITE) this!!!
Click pic!
The “Tinas” of the world shouldn’t be called “scammers”.
I think SCUMmers is more appropriate.
Click this link for more info about shipping/check scams

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cave Walls Vs. Concert Halls

Yesterday, I wrote about my DMB (Dave Matthews Band) vacation. Whenever I go to a concert these days, it takes me a few days to decompress. These experiences are nearly overwhelming and aim for sensory overkill. Gone are the days of a few guys playing instruments on a stark, black stage. Oh no no no. In this 21st century, rock concerts are extravaganzas. There are colors, lights, digital sounds overlaying sounds, video screens blasting quick fire moving images, and pulsing audio that penetrates every organ in your body. “A list” bands like U2 throw mega millions into their stage sets. In fact when I went to see them, I actually had to go out into the concert hallway just to calm myself down and prevent sensory overload.
The DMB concert was like this too. It is just too much to take in all at once. As I watched and listened, I kept thinking about ART. All the components of these concerts are forms of art. Multimedia artists of some sort create the audio and video spectacles. The backdrop hung behind DMB fascinated me. It was made of industrial gauze like material with strands of colored lights on the back side and video images being projected on the front. This combination created a translucent, moving image any installation artist would envy. Of course, these artistic statements are collaborations and have huge budgets supporting them. That doesn’t matter really. This is what the public sees and expects in our society today. How can solitary visual artists compete? I kept thinking of my piddly paintings. A snapshot of any moment of the DMB concert would make one of my paintings look like a boring postage stamp. The question of competing is a moot point. We can’t.
So I started thinking another way. Our society experiences multimedia overload every day. Maybe my art could be a respite from the frenetic, sensory bombardment we have to endure each day. Then, BINGO! While catching up on my email yesterday, I had a moment of synchronicity. I saw an article by UK artist Gavin Turk. Titled “Why be an artist?” the essay is very thought provoking. One passage made me smile because it linked to my thoughts during the concert. Speaking about prehistoric art, he writes:
“The cave walls became not windows to the outside world, but some form of testament to the inside one, in both senses of dwelling and mind. These pictures were made to last, made to remember something. The author was making something for the community to use as a thinking space.”
That is a perfect way to think about art in today’s world. I love the idea of my work being a “thinking space”. So I will not try to compete. I will do my work and offer it as a different kind of visual experience.
(Thank goodness there is no audio on this blog. If there was sound, you would know why I am a visual artist and not a singer!) LOL LOL

”Hizzum Skizzum” by Sheree Rensel
Click pic to go to Gavin Turk’s article “Why Be An Artist?”

Friday, September 14, 2007


My only “hobby” is going to rock concerts. After raising my daughter, I figured it was now time to do what I want to do. I started buying EXPENSIVE tickets to concerts. Needless to say, prices have changed since seeing Black Sabbath when I was a teenager. I paid 5 bucks to see Ozzy back in the day and that ticket price included seeing twelve hours of rock bands at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
These days, Dave Matthews is my absolute favorite…(Well, U2 is really my favorite concert experience, but I really love seeing DMB for the sights and SOUNDS.) Dave Matthews was playing at the Ford Amphitheater on Wednesday. I got a hotel room so I wouldn’t have to drive home that night. I took a few days off work so I could make a mini vacation out of this week. It worked out perfectly because my birthday is tomorrow.
The day of the concert, I was off and running. I took my pup to the kennel and headed over to Tampa. Got all checked in at the hotel and headed over to the concert venue. After parking my car, I passed all the college aged kids tailgating, hootin and hollerin under the balmy setting sun. I headed toward the theater entrance taking mental notes of all the visual images. (No cameras allowed)
After guzzling a couple of beers and eating my cold hot dog, I flit from one vendor stand to another. I love going places alone. I can do whatever I want, when I want. I heard the front band starting and ran to my seat. I was so close to the stage. It was just plain cool.
THEN, midway through this reggae set the black clouds moved in. There was amazing lightning (Tampa comes from the Indian name "Tanpa", which meant "sticks of fire"). Then it started to rain. No. To say it more accurately, it started to POUR. I wasn’t worried about the first sprinkles. I was under the huge theater awning. However, the wind picked up big time and the rain came sideways. Everybody started screaming because the rain was so hard it hurt when it hit you. We were all huddled together in the middle aisle. We got wetter and wetter and wetter. I was cold and shivering. The first band finished playing despite the deluge. When they were done, I bolted to the restroom. The entire restroom was filled with wet, dirty (lawn seats) people, women and MEN! I went to the full-length mirror and just laughed. I looked like Alice Cooper after jumping into a swimming pool! It was funny because a young girl scooted up next to me and said, “Oh my god, I look like Courtney Love!!” (Alice Cooper/Courtney Love different generations, same analogy!) LOL LOL I had mascara dripping down my cheeks. I was soaked to the bone. Watching the little twenty something lovelies trying to piece together their look, I was so glad I didn’t have to impress anybody. I just wanted to get warm, so I ran between the last few raindrops, pushed my way to the front of the DMB t-shirt stand. I said, “I want anything DRY and WARM!” The guy shoved an ugly long sleeved t-shirt at me. It was an extra large and I loved it because it fit me like a huge tent. I could live in that thing! I ran back to the john and changed shirts. Just then, I heard the crowd roar. I sprinted back to my seat and DMB started to play. Beer in hand, Lights flashing, walls of video playing, DAVE on the guitar, the heavenly whine of the BOYD’s electric violin…PURE BLISS
This post has a lot to do with ART. I will speak on that issue tomorrow.

I could listen and watch DMB forever!
That would be my heaven.
If there was a guarantee that in heaven I could be in a front row seat at a DMB concert for eternity, I would go pray now!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Art Cliques

My Sunday morning ritual always includes watching the CBS show “Sunday Morning”. I love the art segments. In this week’s show, they showed art in the Hamptons. They were profiling the “Scope” art fair. While watching, I noticed how many artists explained some connection or history with the “Hamptons”. It seemed either their family had lived there for decades or their nouveau riche parents provided summers there for their privileged progeny.
It really didn’t matter what they said. I watched them speaking and realized I am not of that ilk. Shit!! I am basically trailer trash. Oh yes, I am like the phoenix coming out of the ashes. I worked hard to get my degrees. I am the first and only in my family to earn a college degree (let alone multiple degrees). I worked hard to become of a part of various art communities. However, the Sunday morning segment reminded me of whom I am. I am not in a cool “art cliques”. I am not rich. I can't change my past. I don’t have influential friends or patrons. I still feel like a bit of an outcast.
This brought back so many memories of just trying to fit in during my life. I remember high school. I was such a misfit. I was never really part of the gang or a cheerleader or a jock. When I was in school, there were the preps (nerds), the greasers (black leather motorcycle type guys and girls), the jocks, and there were the FREAKS. That is the group I finally joined. I got it together (actually I disassembled myself to become emotionally and spiritually disjointed so I could be a part of this group). These were the “post hippies”. The only reason I chose them was because they would allow me to become a member of their “club”. This may have been because they were so messed up they didn’t care. In fact, I have never gone to a H.S. reunion because I know my "friends" would never remember me. LOL LOL

The desire to BELONG is still inside me. A few weeks ago, I looked at a roster for an upcoming exhibition and it struck me. This is an exhibition showing the work of an art clique. I recognized the names and saw their online relationships. At that moment, I realized nothing really changes. We are all still in high school, picking and choosing for whom we want to be associated. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is I still feel like I am an outcast sneaking a peak through the back window. Meanwhile every echelon of society has their little, comfy, cozy, cool art cliques. Realizing this, I wonder if it is possible to climb the stairs to the various echelon levels without a “secret art clique” pass.

I watch kids today wearing their GOTH pants.
It really isn’t all that different now.
Over 30 years ago, I wore a dog collar with big silver spikes.
Ritualistically, I would paint my nails black and then go to the mall to freak out all the old people!
Yet now, there is a Goth teen I know who emails me via MySpace
He has no clue, I was like him decades ago. Or does he??
A lot of things change, but really stay the same in so many ways.
We all want to fit "in".

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lively ART, Deadly SALES

Being ACTION oriented, I continue on my art journey to find clues to what I want to do and where I want to go now. I woke up this morning and started reading dozens of blogs and articles about the “art scene” and “art communities” all over the U.S. One article in the Burlington Free Press struck a chord. The title caught my eye:
“Art scene lively, but sales scant”
Even though Vermont isn't the hub of the art world, this could be the same headline for art scene articles just about anywhere. At least, that seems to be the impression I am getting through reading about art and art exhibitions. More often than not, artists are regretfully reporting meager (if any) sales.**
The Burlington article is simple and merely a concise report of the state of affairs in this area of Vermont. More interesting are the comments left behind by readers. This is important because these ideas reflect the mindset of art clients or more accurately, potential “customers” of fine art. Here are two examples:

“Where there is no vision, the people will perish. The art scene here is awesome. Most artists I know give generously to their communities, volunteer when needed, donate their wares to fundraisers and provide snacks and refreshments to art hoppers at their own expense. So much time and effort goes on behind the scenes to bring art to the public. Buying art is a statement, investing in local art is equal to investing into your community. Let's celebrate the poets, the musicians and the people in the world that do not cause war but enrich our lives and communities. Support your local art scene. The art is for sale all month long at the Art Hop, phone numbers are listed under each painting displayed. Hang a piece of original art in your home or office today; it will fill your environment with energy and joy.”
Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:40 am


“Flipinvt: The value of a good or service is defined as what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. If this art doesn't sell it is worthless.

Since artists like to eat, if they can't sell their work they will want government subsidies. We all end up paying for crap nobody wants to buy.”
Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:50 am

I will be a cheerleader for neither of these commenters. My thoughts on this dilemma are somewhere in the middle of the road. The first comment is too promotional. It sounds like it was written by one of the gallery owners or the event marketing rep. The second is too ignorant. I can’t even envision the person who would write that. All I do know is his/her life is surely very uncreative, unimaginative, and extremely DULL. Such a pity.
So what is the answer to this art sales question? I have no idea!

art hop 9/07/07 - BURLINGTON, VT: Beth Paul of Essex Junction finds a quiet moment to reflect on the outdoor graffiti installation at the 15th Annual South End Art Hop on Friday evening.
(Photo Credit: Emily J. Nelson for The Free Press. Freelance)
Click pic to go to article

**NOTE: If you are an artist rolling in dough and you can’t keep up with the demands of your art patrons, you can call me a misinformed idiot. However, would you please email me! I would really like to know what IS SELLING these days. :-)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Weighing my OPTIONS

I have not forgotten to write. I am just busy weighing my options. I am not a happy camper right now. I know there is much more to life than I am experiencing at the moment. At first, I wanted to just be quiet. My inner turmoil caused me to just want to SHUT UP!! I have realized that I am the captain of my destiny. I don’t have to do things that don’t make me happy. I just have to do what will promote my survival.
The positive aspects of this realization are that I am FREE to do what I want to do. I don’t have any kids. I don’t have a spouse. I don’t really have roots. I just want to be an artist, be able to pay my bills, and be happy. I am an artist. I can pay my bills with my current "day" job, but my day job sucks and I am not happy. I feel like I spend more than half of every day being attacked by a hive of bees. Really!! I come home each afternoon feeling like I have been swatting away killer bees for hours. The pace is too frantic. The sounds are those akin to an asylum. I want to go hide under a rock every day around 4:00pm. Needless to say, I am having a hard time making art. I am too busy dealing with the welts left behind from the day. It is time to weigh my options and make a decision. I have been bitching about this for two years! I am tired of my own whining. I have to do something DIFFERENT. I keep thinking about the idea of repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Well I realize now, if you want a different outcome, you have to do things differently. Yeah…DUH DUH DUH! I hope I can figure out how I can do things differently and keep my house. That is my only fear. I guess I am trying to figure out which weighs more: house happiness or artist happiness. This is an interesting question. Yet, I WANT both.

Monday, September 3, 2007

One thing I really WANT!

In an effort to pinpoint the direction of my future, I have been collecting moments of joy. I am paying attention to the things that really make me happy and inspired.
As I flipped through the channels yesterday, I came across a women’s marathon being held in Japan. I am not a sports fan, but I continued to watch because it was the last few minutes of the race. A runner from Kenya was in the lead followed by a Chinese runner. Just a little farther back in third place was Reiko Tosa running for Japan. She caught my eye immediately. Unlike the two front-runners who were obviously exhausted, but still running erect and with accurate rhythm, Tosa struggled. Her face was contorted and her arms were flailing. I was mesmerized as I watched her painfully put one foot in front of the other. Even though the end of the race was near, the suspense of whether she would make it to the finish line was palpable. To make matters tenser, this was the only chance Japan (the host country) would have to win any medal. The crowd cheered Reiko Tosa with each difficult step. As I watched the spectacle of Reiko’s erratic albeit progressive gait, I found myself routing her on by yelling at the TV. As she entered the stadium for the last lap, tears ran down my face involuntarily. She was going to make it! As I saw her round the last corner, I realized THAT IS WHAT I WANT! No, I don’t want to win marathons. I want that kind of determination. I want to be able to keep going even though I am wobbling and grimacing in pain. I want that kind of verve and fight. I want to feel that much power of will and for it to be so obvious you can see it in my face. I want to hear the voices in my head (even if it is my own voice only) routing me on to victory. Thank you Reiko Tosa. You deserve every ounce of that Bronze medal! You are an inspiration!

Tosa takes marathon bronze, gives Japan first medal

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Bright and Chipper

“The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun…”

It did!! The sun is out right now full and steamy. I am much brighter and more chipper today. I know myself well. Putting myself in time out works well. It is time to focus. I went into my studio and did one of those cartoon head spins. You know the kind. When a cartoon character does and double take and their head spins 360 degrees round and round. I have so much to do; I don’t know where to start. In fact, my “To Do” list is scattered on bits of paper thrown all over the computer room. Maybe that is where I will start. Getting all those tasks on one sheet of paper might help to focus!
I got a new camera. I have to get it all set up so I can take some fresh pics. It is a cool little thing. I can’t wait to see how I like it.
Today is one of those “This is the first day of the rest of your life” kinds of days too. I keep putting stuff off like I have all the time in the world. I am trying to keep the racing thoughts to a minimum just to spare myself the anxiety. Where do you want to take your art? What kind of work should I do next? Do I want to buy a new car? Do I just want to save money (for a change?) Pun intended! Do I want to buy a vintage truck? What do you WANT Sheree? (This is why I don’t need a partner to make me crazy. I do that fine on my own!! LOL LOL)

Decisions! Just take things one step at a time!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Brain Dead

Yep, today was one of those days. I woke up and was so tired; I made the decision to do nothing. The little bit of energy I possessed was spent while using my thumb to click the TV remote while switching from one crime show to another. One conclusion I made during this TV marathon was I am glad I am not married because there seems to be an awful lot of homicidal spouses out there.
Usually when I am in one of these brain dead states, I stare at the TV screen and listen to the forensic strategies used to catch these not so clever criminals. I am amazed at the gore that is displayed on the screen these days. There is just too much detail.
Sometime this afternoon, I became bored with all the blood and shifted my finger efforts to the computer keyboard. Somehow, I ended up reading an article in New York magazine about the Duncan/Blake suicides. Gee, that made me feel better (NOT).
I went out to get my mail and I had received a postcard announcing a show at The Gallery at Penn College. The exhibition is showing the work of Jason Godeke. The piece on the front of the postcard looked interesting. I decided to do a bit of research on his work. The very first painting I came to was the one shown below.
Geesh, I feel stuck in a death rut. Optimism seemed to elude me today. So much for the joy of life.
“The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun…”

”The Tree”
by Jason Godeke
Click to see more of Jason’s work