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!!!

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 na├»ve, 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!!
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


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

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.”
“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.”
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
(At least this is true when it comes to explaining my work.)

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"!

CREDIT: "artorbust"
sheet series # 3

Friday, October 19, 2007


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!


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?
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!
Yep! That's it!
This girl is going to FLY!!


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!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Process vs. Product

I went to my business class this week. I had a great revelation. I know now why I have been pushing all this stuff into the background. To sit and listened about business, forming your own company, market feasibility, taxes, etc., you realize fast it is excruciatingly and unbelievably boring. However, I realize it is a necessary evil. I sat through the entire class. I still have more classes to attend this month. I will go.
I am doing this because I want to hear the words. I want to learn the lingo. I want to start to set my mindset in motion. Even though I hated the class, I have been thinking about the lesson for the past two days. I have been thinking about these foreign concepts. I have already done SOME of it. I have had a business license. I have sold my art. I have marketed in a wimpy way. However, I have never done it full force. I have never taken charge and done it like a true business. Like I have said before, I let others do that for me. I think those days are gone. I want control. I want to learn how to do all this myself. I don’t want to give my art to others to sell, disrespect, lose, or destroy. In fact, that is one of the reasons I stopped avidly doing the gallery thing. I am tired of paying for everything and getting damaged work back or work back due to no sales. I want to just do it myself.
Now I will explain the title of this post. I am a PROCESS artist. That is what has always been the most important. I find the experience of making art the absolute, paramount priority. I know this is idealistic and maybe, stupid. In our world of commerce and product, this philosophical question doesn’t hold water. Our society is attuned to those who sell widgets. I don’t see my art as widgets. There lies the problem.
Even as a teacher, this has been an issue. I can say that I don’t care about grades or products for school system art shows. I really don’t. I care that my students have the opportunity to experience the creative process. That is what is most important. I don’t care if the outcome sucks. I care that each student had the experience of solving the problem and expressing their response via art materials. If it doesn’t look like a masterpiece, I feel like “Oh well” and it is unimportant to me.
I picked my painting “Fresh Start” to illustrate this post. I did this on purpose. The reason is two fold. I have been asked by customers to buy this painting. I have always refused to sell it. This painting is MY painting. It represents my mantra. We always need “Fresh Start"’s over and over again. I sit each night and look at it. Now each day is a fresh start and I want to remind myself of this. I have to figure out how I can create a fresh start relating to the business aspects of my art career. Oh my, it sounds so easy. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm……….

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Going downhill fast

I keep waiting. Each moment of the day, I wait for my all too honest students to say something about the way I look. I am getting old. It seems I am witnessing a conspiracy. All my wrinkles are in communication with each other. Each day, I wake up and there are more of them. I am a firm believer in being the age I am. After much thought, I realize the discomfort of looking old comes from the borage of youth oriented media I see and hear every day. Has anyone else noticed 30-something actresses on commercials recommending the lastest wrinkle cream? Oh geesh, come on now! What the hell?? Show me someone who really needs wrinkle cream all you advertising assholes! I am being sucked into the B.S. Shame on me!! Hell! To be honest, I am shocked I lived this long! I never thought I would live past 40. Really! So now, it is all icing at this point.
My mentor is MAUDE as in “Harold and Maude”. I am so in tune to her spirit, I often ask myself “What would Maude do?” She didn’t give a flying flip about wrinkles. If you have ever seen the movie, she prances naked in front of her sculptor friend as if she was a twenty something vixen. Despite her 79 years, she was just there. She was the woman she had grown to be. She had no regrets. In fact, her pride allowed her to seduce poor, young Harold. Yet this seduction wasn’t crass or obscene. It was a real, human, attraction. Age played no part in the drama. Ruth Gordon played the character of Maude. I always related to her. She was ordinary and little. She was told she was too short to ever be a leading lady. At 4’9”, I can relate to that physical limitation. She didn’t care though. She went on to become a great actress. She is one of my heroes. Even in my twenties, I wanted to be her. It is terrible that most of American society doesn’t prize those who hold her attributes. Physically and youth seems to be the end all and be all now.
I have no desire to find a Harold. I just want to be able to live my life with the confidence of Maude. I want to be able to live in my little bungalow with my memorabilia, tell stories of my past, and coyly smile when I am over seventy and asked about sex. I really want that.
I learned a new word today.
physiognomy \fiz-ee-OG-nuh-mee; -ON-uh-mee\, noun:
1. The art of discovering temperament and other characteristic qualities of the mind from the outward appearance, especially by the features of the face.
2. The face or facial features, especially when regarded as indicating character.
3. The general appearance or aspect of a thing.

I like this word. YES! My physiognomy tells the secrets and tales of my life. Sometimes I think wrinkles and aging are God’s cruel joke. I look in the mirror and realize how I have always been so animated and expressive. This is a good thing! Yet, these acts of emotion have caused my face to be scarred with the emotions of my years. Oh well. No plastic surgery for me! Right Maude????

A Universal BOP in the head!

Gosh. The last 48 hours has been a huge, fast, hard, universal bop in the head for me. In fact, if I distilled the conclusion of my thoughts about the week so far it would have to be the memory of my mother saying something like “Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!” In other words, there are times when any bitching I want to express is truly menial. There will always be someone else who has something to really BITCH about and with good reason!! During these times, I get a wake up call. I am not all that different from zillions of other people. We all take things for granted. We all do things that are stupid and not in our best interest. We all complain about silly things. We just keep doing whatever and figure things will be just ducky. Life goes on or does it?
Well, this week started with a Sunday newspaper story about one of my former colleagues who died this past March of breast cancer. In 1999, she became engaged and two weeks later was diagnosed. She was treated and got better, got married, and had a child. Then in 2005, “it” came back. She had planned on being a chairperson for a local charity run this year. She didn’t make it. The newspaper told her story and how her husband and son stood up for her at the charity event that day. Her husband spoke of how cancer stole her beloved job, her life, and stole his son’s mother. This is just too sad.
That same day, I heard the news of another colleague who was killed in a tragic car accident this weekend. She was only 26 years old. It hurts me to type all this.
Feeling very moody and on edge, I settled down for an evening of TV last night. Flipping through the channels, I came across a documentary titled “Crazy Sexy Cancer”. I didn’t immediately sit up to watch. Due to the news of my day, I didn’t want to think about death anymore. However, I watched a few minutes and I was pulled into the story. The documentary was about Kris Carr. She is young, WONDERFUL, WISE, and an UNBELIEVABLE spirit of a woman. In 2003, she was a working actress in Manhattan. She learned she had a rare cancer that expressed itself in the form of 24 tumors in her liver and lungs. The video tells her story after the diagnosis. She tells her thoughts and dreams. She cries, she laughs, and she triumphs during the film. All I can say is WOW!!! I feel so small and insignificant. She is the REAL DEAL. I aspire to be as deeply intelligent as Kris. I was glued to the TV for the duration of this video work. Her story is amazing! You can check out her CURRENT thoughts via the Kris Carr Blog. If you get a chance to see her video “Crazy Sexy Cancer”, don’t hesitate. WATCH IT!!
Seeing her documentary has been life changing for me. I want to shake myself. We all have to be thankful for every day. I learned that each day is so precious. I always knew this. However, Kris Carr just gave me a kick in the ass!
Thank you Kris!! Maybe some day I will be able to be as cool as you are!

I agree with you!
You are an amazing, beautiful woman.


Sunday, October 7, 2007


I start my entrepreneur classes this week. If you read this blog you know I have been thinking a lot about really diving into the “business” aspects of my art. I want to get SERIOUS! I want to learn about all the things art school never taught me. Until now, I didn’t mind my ignorance in this area of life. Exhibiting my art was the priority. I left the sales up to gallerists. However now, I want to know about business plans, taxes, legal beagle stuff, and all the other general business things I need to know. (In fact, there are things I can’t mention because I don’t know what I don’t know!)
Since this is the hot topic in my mind right now, I have been taking “notes”. I am learning from others. Of course as I go from website to website and blog to blog, I am jotting down things I like and things that are MISTAKES. I am keeping a list of things NOT to do. For example, I was watching an art DVD that comes quarterly and features various artists. I liked one of the artists on the current issue. I wanted to look up her work online. I used the blog URL listed on the DVD. It worked but I found the artist had nothing for sale online. Her store was empty. She didn’t have an artist website. I thought, what a missed opportunity! She has this great promotional video feature and she has nothing to sell. That is a true shame and bad planning.
Another one of my “notes” deals with artist websites that are just too complicated. I hate the websites that have the scrolling thumbnails. When you click on the thumb, you get that stupid LOADING LOADING LOADING spiral. I hate that. If I wanted to buy their art, I would be long gone before I could get through half their website. I know my website has too much stuff on it, but at least I have it divided into categories easy to access.
Another snafu is having a blog and then not mentioning where you can see the work or shows you mention. I had that happen today. I got a Google alert about a particular blog promoting a show. I went to the blog entry and the blogger goes on and on about the show. She never mentioned a gallery website or a link to it. I googled the gallery and found the website. Most buyers will not go to that trouble.
Many times during her show, Oprah has said, "Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity." She claims she doesn’t believe in just plain luck. Well, I don’t totally agree with her interpretation. Yes, being prepared to meet opportunity is the key to success. However, you have to have LUCK for those opportunities to come your way! So this year, my goal is to get more prepared to meet opportunities. Also, I am going to drum up some LUCK!

Knock Knock anybody home? Is that OPPORTUNITY knocking? LOL

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What do THEY want? What WILL they pay?

I got an Google alert with my name on it today. After looking at the alert, I realized I had posted on another blog about art marketing. The blogger, Kirsty Hall wrote a response to what I had written on her blog. The thesis of the original blog post and this current entry is art marketing. After responding to her first post about using blogs to market your art, she responded to my comment by saying she doesn’t really market or sell her art. Even though this seems to be contrary to the original post’s premise, I understood. In fact, I wrote back:
First of all, I haven't even finished reading what you wrote in this entry. The first paragraph made me want to write you again!! Your words are MY WORDS!
You wrote:
"I’m not currently set up to make money off my art."
I realized this past summer this is true for me too and it is my PROBLEM!! I don't think in terms of sales. I think in terms of creating and exhibiting. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. If I did, I wouldn't have had this mindset for the past 30 plus years. I am just now trying to change the paradigm of my thoughts. It is very ironic you chose my piece "BLUE" as an illustration for this post. That is the kind of stuff people want to buy from me. Do I sell it? NO! In fact, I am sitting here right now looking at this piece adorning my kitchen. I WANT it!! LOL LOL
I have to get over this kind of attitude if I want to move over to the side of the artists who sell. I have enrolled in the Business Academy sponsored by my city. It is free to citizens and the classes teach entrepreneurial skills. I start classes next week. I will check back with you in a few months to let you know how it goes and if it has had an impact on my art sales.
Thanks for starting this dialogue!!
Sheree Rensel
So I thank Kirsty for her candor. So many artists will talk the talk. They act as if they have a thriving art business and are “oh so self-supporting”. I have found this is a bunch of B.S. coupled with smoke and mirrors for most of those who talk it up. I certainly don’t think surviving on your art is impossible. I just think there are choices to be made and expectations to be adjusted. Also, I am looking for honest direction. To suggest you are making oodles of money with your art only to find you are hardly making a profit or not making enough money to live off independently in a less than starving artist way is dishonest. I am seeking the truth and the reality of some kind of middle class, self-supporting artist lifestyle.
I am doing the work now. My current question is:
“What do THEY (art buyers) want? What will they PAY (a realistic amount that will allow me to pay for my materials and a portion of my time in order to survive as a human being)? I am not going to give this stuff away. I just can’t. In fact, that would be a moot point, very counterproductive, and not supporting the arts as a profession. I have too much self-esteem to let that happen.