Wednesday, January 31, 2007

INVENTORY: “Footfly”

Footfly..... That says it all. I totally believe in synchronicity. I believe when you need certain things in life, those life lessons come to you. I need this lesson right now.
Things are happening faster than I can comprehend. I have a whirlwind life right now. I am getting ideas for new work by the hour. I am starting to realize that I can do just about anything I want to do. I have been in contact with friends and particularly a BEST friend. We talked at length about life and life stuff. The thread of our discussion can be distilled to include the idea of time marches on, we only have so much time on earth, and we need to use ever minute wisely. (I will speak more on this issue in a future post.)
Thus, the title of today’s post is “Inventory”. I can’t think about or predict how much more time I have to make my art and experience this life. I realize that fact intensely. That is why I wanted to write this blog. I want to be accountable.
Not to beat a dead horse or bore you with the ideas of past rants, I just want to speak on about my latest gift. A kid came to me last week and gave me this pic of her foot. It was such a wonderful scenario. She gave this drawing to me, and then began to defend it. She told me “This is my foot.” “This is a picture of my toes in my shoe.” “The name of the shoe is FOOTFLY. That is why I wrote Footfly on my drawing.” That is the best "artist statement" I ever heard!
OK…. I thanked her and gave her a big hug. I loved this little weird drawing. I realized it had more meaning to me than she could ever imagine. I interpreted it as a Universal message. That message reads: “Sheree, it is time for your feet to fly!” I understood and agreed.
Thank you little sweetie for sharing your art and your Universal message. You are wise beyond your years! Your gift came at exactly the right time!
So that brings me to the INVENTORY title. I can only take things a few weeks at a time. So this month I can say I have done well! This January 2007, I have created blog posts nearly every day. I have worked on my art in a consistent manner. I have accrued new ideas for future art at an optimistic pace. I have survived and enjoyed my day job. I have realized that I am very busy and moving forward. This is a good thing. I think I have a case of the "FOOTFLY".

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Eye of a Child


On any given day, I feel like this. This is true art. As I mentioned in previous posts, I want to paint what I know. I want to paint what I feel. This is another child’s drawing that has been hanging in my studio for a couple of years. A kid gave this to me. He was one outrageous little kid who loved to draw. I looked at it and immediately related. Also, this drawing connects with my last post and the new series of work I am beginning and contemplating.
I am learning all over again. Maybe I knew this all along, but now I am rediscovering the obvious. We have heard sayings like “Out of the mouths of babes” or “create like a child”. It sounds almost cliché. Yet, there is so much truth there.
I am not saying I want to do cartoons or magic marker line drawings. I am saying I want to be able to capture the moment, the emotion, or the feeling of my world in one definitive image. Like the image shown, it says so much with so little. Bravo!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Where are you going?

“Where are you going"
With your long face pulling down, don't hide away
Like an ocean that you can't see but you can smell
And the sound of the waves crash down
I am no superman [woman]!
I have no reasons for you
And I am no hero, oh, that's for sure
But I do know one thing
Where you are is where I belong
I do know where you go
Is where I want to be
Where are you going?
Where do you go?”
Dave Mathews: “Where Are You Going”

I was reminded of this song this past weekend. While working in my studio, I just let the sh$& hit the fan. I am trying to let my art go where it wants to go. Before leaving last night, I took a look back over my shoulder and then took pictures. I have no idea where all this is leading, but it feels good.



Sunday, January 28, 2007

Making Connections

One difficult decision for all artists is the subject of their work. What do I want to say with this painting, sculpture, drawing, etc.? What is important to me? What kind of visual statement do I want to create and share with the world? I have heard you should make art about what you know. Ok well, let’s see here. I see palm trees every day. Do I want to paint tropical landscapes? NOPE. Hey! People are all around me. Maybe I could do portraiture? No chance. For me, what I know is the stuff inside my head. So the next question for me is how do those snippets of information get in there and how do I make connections in order to make art?
After reading about A.M. Baggs and watching her video (yesterday’s post), I was reminded of a piece I did a few years ago titled HIZZUM SKIZZUM. Like I mentioned, I have worked most of my life with individuals with various challenges. Most of them have had mental and emotional disabilities. I am very familiar with the “system” which surrounds them and for the most part, I am not a fan of many institutional strategies. I am not going to try to be a Monday morning quarterback or an amateur shrink and tell them how to do their jobs. My job is that of an artist, so I speak with images/words. That is why I did the Hizzum piece. I “appropriated” the figure from an image of Australian Aboriginal Art. The pic of the primitive art struck me because I made the CONNECTION of how this figure reminded me of some of the individuals in our society to this day. My first thought was how our world has come so far (in some ways) and hasn’t evolved at all in other ways. Un-civilization is alive and well in our culture. I am not talking about the people who have the challenges. The aspects of this discussion that I call uncivilized are the ways we chose to help or not to help people with (dis)abilities. That is all I have to say. So my art stands for the rest of my commentary on that issue.
The next connection was made instantly when I took a look at that piece again today. I had been working in my studio yesterday and I was looking at this little drawing of a funny figure a child gave me as a present. It caught my eye because I am working on a new series of little paintings that have little figures in them. I picked up the tattered little magic marker fellow and saw the same life essence in him as my Hizzum Skizzum figure. So the connection went A.M. Baggs->Hizzum Skizzum->Child’s drawing->New work
This reminded me how our mind is such a marvel. We store tidbits of info here and there. Then all of a sudden as new thoughts enter, those little tidbits jump forward. Connections are then made.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Human Languages

I was reading another art blog this morning and the author discussed art theory, philosophy, who-ha, and general yadda yadda yadda. It was getting so deep as I read, my eyes started to roll to the back of my head and my mind began to fizzle. It reminded me of being in a grad school seminar. With each paragraph, I found myself skipping more and more words just to get to a point of interest. I thought, “Who talks like this??” Oh, I know very well who talks like this. Art academics or artists writing incomprehensible artist statements are a few. Art dealers talk art mumbo jumbo to support and give value to their wares. I am an art maker, not an art talker. That is why this type of discourse is boring to me. However, this stream of thought brought visions of being at art openings and seeing all the art aficionados yap away. Artists are in their own little world. We symbolize just one of zillions of societal microcosms. We do and act certain ways to gain acceptance from our peers and ourselves. That is why I understood the blog's blah, blah, blah. I have been trained in that language. I just use it rarely. Even our art speaks our own individual languages. Some understand what we are saying some do not. However, our set of behaviors and language is no more special that any other microcosm or unique group of people with a particular interest.
Ahhhhh…..finally I got to a point of interest within his blog post. The author also spoke of a YouTube video by A.M. Baggs a.k.a. silentmiaow. I have read her work before. However, I hadn’t seen her videos. The reason I know of her is because I have worked with individuals with disabilities most of my adult life. A.M. Baggs is autistic. She is not an “artist” as we know that label. She is a human being. Her videos tell of her human story. After watching “In My Language”, I was struck by her candor and insight. Take the time to view her video. It will make you think about the languages we all speak.


“In My Language”: A. M. Baggs
Click to go to Video

Friday, January 26, 2007

PASSION!

One of the issues on my mind lately is PASSION. As artists, we know what it feels like to love what we do. We know what it is like to feel special. We feel special because we are a part of the privileged who get to do what we love. We feel passion for life and our work. Or do we?????????? I have been questioning that about myself lately. I have been helping kids paint a mural on a wall. I was stirring a cup of paint the other day and as I stirred, I started to have flashbacks of me as a very young artist. I remembered that FEELING. I remembered painting anything and everything during my pre-adult years. I was in my own creative heaven. Creative bliss was common. I still love my work as an artist, but I want that FEELING again.

Today, a friend sent me photos of the work of Julian Beever I do not seek out the work of super realists and I will never paint in that manner. However, I was struck by his work for two reasons. One thing that occurred to me is just the strange, bizarre, unbelievable technical tasks he accomplishes. His work makes your mind ask "WHAT"? It is truly amazing! Also, the other thing that struck me as I looked at photo after photo of his work is the PASSION he exudes. You can see the look of pure joy in his face in the photos in which he is included. He is in his own heaven and PASSION screams loud! I want to be like that again. I will. Now that I know what I am seeking, the search and recovery is within arm’s length. Meanwhile, check out his work. It will make your brain hurt!! To say it is unbelieveable is an understatement!! LOL LOL


Julian Beever
Artist
Click to go to his website to see more
This is a FLAT chalk pavement drawing!
Yes, I know. HUH???
Go to his website. His work will boggle your mind!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Money MoNEY MONEY!

Some who read this post won’t get it. Others who read this post will say “Ahuh!” Recently, I have been reviewing Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. I have her book and CDs. I listen every day to and from work. In one chapter, she speaks about artist stereotypes (starving, drunk, messed up, weird, etc.). Of course, she explains these stereotypes are fictional. Artists don’t have to be any of those things to be good, accomplished artists. In one passage, she mentions how some artists are addicted to poverty. Years ago, I didn’t understand that concept, because I was so very poor. Decades ago, when I first heard her speak of this; I laughed and thought, “How could anybody be “addicted” to poverty??” Well, I understand now. The reason for my shift of understanding and perception is because I am not really poor anymore. I am sure not rich, but I have money to pay my bills, buy art supplies, have an nice little house/w/studio in a nice neighborhood, and the most important thing is that I can go to the grocery store and buy whatever I want. If you put all those ducks in a row and then look at 90% of the world, I am very wealthy. However, when I watch any segment of entertainment news and see the 21-year-old zillionaire who lays down 10K for a party, I feel like a pauper!! LOL OK, so I am so I am somewhere in the middle in the financial scheme of things.
Although today, I had an epiphany! My day job requires that I go out and buy supplies. I hate this. Each time I get the company credit card, I start to sweat. I do not like spending the money. When I return the card to the secretary, I get stiff with anxiety. The weird thing is they never balk at the amount or chastise me in any way. They know I wouldn’t abuse this responsibility and only buy what is truly needed. When I walked out of the secretary’s office today after turning in my receipts, I froze up again. This isn’t even my money, yet I hate spending it! I realized this attitude comes from all the years of being really poor. I also realized this may be another reason I hesitate to sell my work. That would mean I would be going against some bizarre “starving artist” stereotype. Oh my goodness, this is so stupid! Please learn from my mistakes. I am trying to do just that!!


ICON
Acrylic/Mixed Media/Wood
12” X 10”
Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

FEAR

I got a surprise email a few days ago from another artist. It was a dream email. It was from another creative who spoke to me in a soul bearing way about his work and what he thought of my work. As I read the text, he mentioned I had posted about having issues with my life and day job at the moment. He told me that he had been watching my work for quite a while and it seemed (to him), I was a person who had it “together”. My very first reaction when I read those words was to scrunch my nose. It is so easy to feel unworthy and deny my successes. However, I realized that reflex was an old, knee jerk reaction. Almost immediately, my true self said: “See, you are right! You aren’t doing so bad!!” LOL LOL
I am not a fool though. I realize that no matter how well we do; no matter how much we accomplish in our lives; we still want to strive for more and reach our potential. I suppose the reason this email struck a chord in me is because I realize even though I have done a lot in my life; I still can do much, much more. I am not living to my potential. That made me ask my inner self: WHY? The answer to this question is simple: FEAR! I am not really sure what I am afraid of at the moment. I am working on that. However, it interests me how this seems to be a running thread in my life.
A few years ago, I did this painting about my FEAR of bridges. As I worked on it, I needed to paint the vehicle in the water. I owned a truck at the time. I didn’t want to bring myself “spooky Karma” by painting a truck submerged in the water. Therefore, I thought, “I will paint a sedan! I will never have one of those!!” I did just that and before the end of the year, I WON a Chevy Malibu SEDAN. It scared the crap out of me! Needless to say, I never drove that car over a bridge!!! LOL LOL In fact, I traded it in for a new SUV! Thank Goodness!!
The bottom line is I realize fears are irrational. I have got that part. I just have to move on and flourish in my art life despite some weird, unknown fears. In other words, I need to spit in the wind and defy my art fears!!


FEAR
Acrylic/Wood
20” X 15”
Click to Enlarge

Monday, January 22, 2007

A “BABY” Comes Home

This is my biggest problem. For the past years, I have not marketed my work. I have been going through a phase of making, showing, and KEEPING my art. I suppose a psychologist could explain this, but who cares! I have my own theories. The most logical reason comes from an experience I had fifteen years ago. In order to move from Michigan to Florida, I had to have an art “fire sale”. I told anybody and everybody who would listen to come buy my art for drastically reduced prices. I sold almost everything I had made during the previous ten years. That freaked me out! The money helped me make the move, but when I got to Florida, I was almost artless. It has taken me years to create a new decade+ worth of work.
Now, I live in my little, Florida bungalow with art everywhere! It is like the Sheree Rensel Museum. (Come by and see! I don’t charge admission!! LOL LOL)
Everywhere I look there are paintings, assemblages, and collages and I LOVE IT!! These are all my children!!
I send the work out to be shown, but I am so relieved and thankful when they come home. This is the case with the painting/collage shown, “Universal Dump”. It just got back from a worldwide journey. It was shown in Germany and New Zealand. When it arrived on my doorstep yesterday, I couldn’t unbox it fast enough. When I saw it, I was in love all over again.
This painting is meaningful to me. I remember when I started it, it just didn’t work for me. It sat in my studio for a couple of years. Then, I got an urge and idea to help it come to fruition. Now, I love it. It is so weird and quirky. I just love the hyperactivity of the image and the message. Now, I have to change my paradigm of thought about selling my work. I have got to get over all this emotional attachment! I need BUCKS!! Tee Hee


“Universal Dump”
Acrylic/Collage
24” X 24”
Click to Enlarge

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Way We Work

One of the things I love about the Internet is we can see the world from our homes. It is so wonderful to be able to learn about other artist’s lives by seeing their work in image folders, artist websites, or blogs. We can even peek into their studios and see works-in-progress. This is amazing to me! One thing I thought about today is how different artists work. Even though I work in various media, I am a painter. I watch how some painters fill sketchbook after sketchbook with preliminary drawings or paint sketchs. I have never done that. I have tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. I work in two different ways. I carry around images like puzzle pieces floating around inside my brain. One day the pieces come together and I rush to go create that vision. Other times, I work extemporaneously. I set up my workspace, look at the canvas, and just start painting.
Today, I worked in both ways simultaneously. One work is already done in my head. I just have to figure out how to make it look that way in reality. The other work is taking on a life of it’s own. I have no idea what, why, or how it will turn out. I am letting it talk to me.
There isn’t much to look at yet, but here is the start of two new pieces. I can’t wait to see what happens!


Studio 1/21/07
Click to Enlarge

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just Plain B.S.!

Is there any truth left? If so, where is it hiding? Fake images, false truths, lies, imaginary scenarios, and just plain B.S. everyday, all day long, 24/7, surround us. As I watch TV, I see all kinds of examples of B.S. From the politician spouting off promises, to the aspiring singer boasting to the “American Idol” judges, it is all masterfully composed illusions. There are more “artists” around than we think. Creative dishonesty flourishes! Some B.S. is very entertaining. As you stand at the grocery store and look at the tabloid rags, the B.S. filled headlines and photos blast away to create illusions that any Renaissance painter would envy. Some B.S. is hurtful. Look at the state of our country right now. (I will say no more on that bountiful load of B.S.)
There is so much deception there is even a book on this subject!
[snipped: amazon.com review quoting book]
On Bullshit (Hardcover) 2005
by Harry G. Frankfurt
“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much BS. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize BS and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry.”

I still haven’t made my point. Here it is! Despite all the lies we are told everyday, the WORST B.S. is that which we tell ourselves. We all do it. It is a form of denial. We tell our self we will do this or that tomorrow. We don’t. We tell our self we are fat because of our genes or our age or whatever! That’s a big lie! We are fat because we eat too much and don’t move enough!! We say we will spend 40 hours in our studio this week, we don’t. The list goes on and on. The reason I am writing this is because I got so mad at ME this morning, I yelled at myself! Really, I yelled out loud: “Sheree you are such a B.S.er!!” The irony is that I hate lies, liars, and B.S. I despise that about people and our world. Yet, I am just as guilty as anyone else in the area of self-deception! Yes, I do it every day to myself and I want to stop it right now! Let the truth be told. I can’t control the world, but I can at least be honest with others and myself.



"TRUE"
Click to Enlarge
Acrylic / Mixed Media on Wood
20 X 15

Friday, January 19, 2007

You Just Never Know

Today’s post is about doing what you do with faith. I have been an artist since I was born. I am not kidding. As a child, I was just too serious. I didn’t like cartoons (except for Popeye). I hated toys. I had no favorite childhood game. Even at a very young age, I was all business.
I remember walking by the bedroom in which my sisters would talk and speculate about what they would name their kids. I scrunched my face because I thought this was so stupid. I didn’t want kids. I was going to be an artist. I knew the perimeters. I knew what it would take. Children were not in my picture.
Well, things happen. At the age of 29, I was expecting a baby. Hmmmmmmm. I thought long and hard about this. I realized this was meant to be. I had my “Art Baby”. I have absolutely NO REGRETS. I truly believe she has helped me live the life I wanted to live. Of course, it was difficult trying to manage, pay the bills, make sure she had what she needed, but it all worked out just fine.

I had a great YIN/YANG thing going for the both of us. She spent most of her time growing up experiencing an art life. However, I made sure she got the middle class, suburban life too! That is, she would go visit relatives on weekends and experience a totally different world. That is a good thing in my opinion.
Well, now Art Baby is grown up. She isn’t an artist. Instead, she majored in Television and Radio. She wants to work in the media industry. OK!
Then, she actually got a job with a MAJOR media company. I was like “SAY WHAT??”
She is such a wonderful human being. She will do very well. There is no doubt. I just wanted to say, YOU NEVER KNOW. We have aspirations and hopes for our kids. We do our best. Then they fly.
I am watching my girl’s wings flutter. Every single day, she amazes me. You go Art Baby! Is that cool or what? I am smiling BIG!

"My Girl as “SheRA"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

You ARE what you CREATE!

Do you believe in synchronicity? Do you believe you are what you think? I smile at the thought. This statement reminds me of the saying “You are what you eat!” When I have heard this over the years, I wondered and questioned. The funny thing is a couple of years ago; I was on this HEALTH kick. One of the things I would do was to watch and learn. One of my ways of coping and learning was to be at the grocery store and look into the carts of other shoppers. I would look down and take an inventory. Then, I would look up and see who was buying all this stuff. It was amazing. Skinny, healthy people drove those carts that were full of healthy food. When I encountered a cart full of junk food, the cart operator was a mess physically. I saw it and I believe it.
I can apply this same logic process to art. Do you have a cart full of healthy food or a bunch of junk food? I am asking you and I am asking myself this too!
Soooooooo, I am asking myself a new question related to: “You are what you create.” This statement holds true in many life situations. I am in an economical situation I created. I am in an art-marketing situation I created. I am in a “day job” situation I have created. I am the PERSON I have created.
I am not a “helpless type”. No, this isn’t even close to being true. I am fully aware that I make choices. I made choices years ago. I make choices today. I will make choices next year. It is up to me as to what those choices will be.
I can’t wait until January 2008. I am excited to anticipate the reality of that month. I am anxious to find out what will be in my “grocery” cart then. Hopefully, I will get all my ducks in a row. In other words, I want things to be the way I want things to be. I have that power. I just need to use it. I want to be happy and be a productive, self-supporting artist. WOW, what a concept! Is there such a shopping cart? I just wonder!



"Found Faith"
Click to Enlarge
Acrylic / Mixed Media on Wood
20 X 22

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rejection and other things that Piss You Off

Will there ever be a time when I can laugh at rejection? I don’t know the answer to that question. I shouldn’t complain because my reactions to rejection have come a LONG way in the past few decades. I remember when I was a young artist; I would fall into a heap and cry. Geesh…..that isn’t a pretty memory!! LOL LOL I am not like that anymore. No, now I get really ticked off and angry! However, even this reaction bothers me. I want to become so secure that I have no reaction. I want to feel no emotional push or pull when told “WE DON’T WANT YOU OR YOUR ART!” Yes, I want to be able to turn around and walk away without any kind of positive or negative reaction. I just want to BE at that moment. I don’t know if I will ever get there though. Maybe.
In the past 24 hours, I have been rejected three times. One was “day job” related. One incident involved an Internet transaction. The last was a rejection notice from a gallery show. Needless to say, I am not in a joyous mood at the moment. I feel very moody and cross. I have tinges of feeling unwanted and ignored. This is a big pet peeve of mine. (You know one of those: you were put on this earth to learn lessons type of deals. Well, accepting rejection must have been and still is one lesson I am working to master.)
Yes, I am angry. However, I am not really angry with my rejecters. I am angry at my reaction to the rejections. I am mad at myself for letting it bother me so much I am writing these words. I know better. This is especially true in reference to the gallery show. I have been a juror and a curator. I have sat many times with other jurors while they juried shows. I know full well that in many cases if a piece of art doesn’t get into a particular show, it doesn’t mean it is bad, undeserving, or anything negative. I could mean bunches of other things too. It wasn’t the style for which the juror was looking. It may not fit into the theme of a show. It was too bright. It was too dull. It was acrylic and the juror prefers oil. It was too traditional or too avant-garde. It could be anything. That is why I am angry. I know better!
My favorite rejection story (and lesson) came in the late 80’s. I had entered some pieces in a local gallery show. They were all rejected. I cried all the way down to the gallery when I went to pick them up. There was another gallery show seeking entries in the next city. Without unpacking my truck, I drove directly to the other gallery and dropped off the same work. I not only got into the show. I also won $500. I learned a life long lesson that day. You just never know. Rejection isn’t really about you or your art. It is about other things. Now, I just have to remember those words of wisdom myself!!




"Anger"
Click to Enlarge
Acrylic / Mixed Media on Wood
24 X 24

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

You Can’t Go Home Again…or Can You??

When I went to the university to get my BFA and MFA, we were taught certain things. Many of the lessons were very prejudicial. I realize that now. However as a young woman with art stars in my eyes, I listened intently and believed. One of the things I learned is you have to make art of value. Content was of utmost importance. It had to be DEEP. The art of the times was full of innovation. It was so important to make ART anew.
Consequently, I have a stilted perspective of art and art history. Still life? I think not. Plein Air? Oh please! Crafts?? Get real! Of course, these are not sane judgments. They are just what I was taught. I have spent decades trying to reform my mind!
There are times I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to school during a different era. I just wonder. I can’t change that, so I move on. I was wondering today if we can go home again? I don’t mean literally arriving on the porch steps of our childhood house. I mean go back to where we started philosophically. In my case, I was thinking about when I first started to aspire to be the artist I am today.

I don’t want to talk about my “day job”. I just don’t want to talk about the details. Arghhhhhhh! However, when I was at work today, I set up a still life of flowers. I felt the students needed to understand the concept of still life. Also, flowers arrangements were a colorful solution to the problem. After setting up a number of still life settings, I looked at them before the students arrived. I thought “Oh, brother!!”
The students started to file in and I did my lesson spiel. They began to paint. One student was stymied. He wanted help. I talked to him for a moment and then used his paper to show him how to start. All of sudden HOME began to rush back to me. Feeling the paint work through the brush while I looked at the still life set up was so comforting. I was right there back in Mrs. Bigler’s watercolor class. She was a professor in the “watercolor department”. That was another NO NO. (Too soft) I can still hear her gruff voice yelling out demands and strict instructions. I remember her GERANIUMS. She was really into those flowers! She didn’t have any qualms about content, innovation, or “high art”. Maybe flowers and/or still life was high art to her(?) Regardless, she just wanted us to paint flowers.

Now, I understand why she believed and felt that way about art. She taught us about the essence of art making and creativity. That sounds pretty “Ta Ta” to me!! Maybe that is why getting older is so cool. You finally “get it”.


"Stupid Digital Flowers for a Stupid Website Header"
Digital/Photoshop

Monday, January 15, 2007

Learning One’s Scale

I went to see a GREAT movie yesterday. “Notes on a Scandal” was terrific! The acting was fantastic too! Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett were both superb. I listened very carefully to the dialogue. The emotional / psychological content was striking to me. This is especially true since I am going through a life passage right now.
One of the conversations between the two characters was about living your dreams. Excuse me for paraphrasing (I don’t remember the exact words) but one of the lines was about “learning one’s scale”. While the older woman spoke to the younger woman, she told of how you have to live your life on the scale that is appropriate. She used this as a reason why she never lived her dreams or grew to her full potential. She accepted a lesser life. The older character also told of words spoken by her father to “mind the gap”. That is, be aware of your dreams and compare them to your real life. Then, it is your job to mind the gap. In other words, it is important to try to close the space between your dreams and reality.
Boy, did that hit home! In fact, I realized this is one of the predominant issues with my own life right now. I am not living my SCALE and I haven’t been MINDING THE GAP. Like the older character, there are moments when I feel like I gave up somewhere in the past few years. I don’t mean I gave up my art or rolled up into a ball wanting to die. No, instead, I just let things ride. I have been satisfied with the status quo. I use my art to reach, but I don’t stretch. I have become complacent to live small. I realized yesterday, this attitude is making my inner spirit crazy!
I learned my (true) scale a long time ago. At least my dreams and aspirations are far more significant than my current reality. So I have to remind myself to envision life’s larger scale and then, MIND THE GAP!
How about you?



"FLY"
Click to Enlarge
Digital/Photoshop

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tick Tick Tick

I really don’t mind getting older. In fact, there are a lot of things I love about it. I finally feel confident about my skills as a human being. I still have many things to work on, but for the most part things are going well! The one thing that is scary about aging is that you suddenly realize that this isn’t going to last forever.
I was listening to a CD yesterday and the speaker was talking about making the most of the time you have on this earth. She cautioned about procrastination and said something like “What if you come to a point and find all your time is used up?” That thought hit me hard. I diddle around and postpone things I want to do like I am going to live to be 1000! I know this is not the case.
I walked into my studio yesterday and noticed at least ten works that I started and are WAITING for me to finish them. There was no judgment from these pieces. They just hung there patiently as I walked by. I almost felt like I owed them an apology!
As I mentioned yesterday, I have been spending time looking at past works displayed on my website. I want to revamp my website, so this walk down memory lane is part of the reorganization process. While clicking through the pages, I remembered making this little piece. It was just a “sketch”.It was never anything I was planning to show or sell. I just sat down one day and made it. I had found this little butterfly dead in my yard. I felt bad that it died yet still looked so perfect. This piece was like a memorial to that creature and a sign for me TO GET ON WITH IT!!



"One Life"
Click to Enlarge
Digital/Photoshop

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The POWER of Thought

I am on one of my never-ending self-improvement kicks. I say never ending because it seems like there is always something to IMPROVE. I think this idea IS the main problem. All these years I keep changing this or changing that due to dissatisfaction with something about my life or me. Therefore, a paradigm shift of thought is in order. How about instead of improving my mind or body I think in terms of just improving my attitude about myself. Instead of seeking nebulous goals of self-improvement, I should attain an attitude of YOU ARE JUST FINE, Sheree. Yep! My new goal is PEACE OF MIND and ACCEPTANCE!!

I have always been amazed at the power of thought. The way we can think a thought and POOF! it happens. I am even fascinated by little, tiny ways our mind has power. For example, I can be sitting at this computer and think "I want a soda." In the next minute, I walk over to the refrigerator and get a soda. POOF!! It happened! The same kind of progression happens with more ambitious tasks. I want to go to a movie. An hour later, I can be sitting in the front row of the theater eating my popcorn watching the promos for the new movies coming out. Likewise, this power can be transformed into even larger things. I need a car or a job. I take the needed steps to make that happen and POOF!! Regardless of the desired outcome, there is a progression of steps from start to fruition. [Thought > Action > Realization]

Having said all this, I wonder why I don't tie up the loose ends and finish that progression when it comes to my art and art life. [Thought > Action > Realization] Of course I do this sometimes. I have an idea for a piece of work. I gather needed materials. I proceed to make the work. POOF!! Yet that is where it ends for me. I tend to stop the progression short. There is so much more that could be done. For instance, I could take the idea of that piece of work and make a series or I could take that piece, promote and/or sell the work. I have sold lots of work in my life, but it is through passive marketing. I take the piece to a gallery and let them sell it or someone comes to my studio and just buys something. I hardly ever “hawk my wares”. In other words, I have to embrace and control the MAGNITUDE and full power of my thoughts.

I have been rummaging through my old art. It is like revisiting relatives I haven't seen in years. Sometimes, I will get emails from people referencing certain pieces on my website. They speak of them using the title. I have done so much art in my life; I have to look up the piece because I can't remember which one they are talking about. I just found this one and it struck me. Just this morning I was thinking about how I am my own worst enemy sometimes. I don't need any critics because I beat myself up all the time. I have to get over that and remember the essence of this piece. I am there for me. I can be my own best friend. I am the one who has the power to make all my POSITIVE thoughts come to fruition.
I truly believe this.



"I Am Here"
Click to Enlarge
Digital/Photoshop

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Grass Is Always Greener (?)




"Mind Of An Artist"
Click to Enlarge
Acrylic/Mixed Media/Wood
24" X 24"

This is one of my favorite pieces. It is called “Mind of an Artist”. Boy, can I relate to that! No matter what is happening in the artist’s mind, it all comes down to inspiration, creativity, and just MAKING stuff. I have this work hung in my living room. It is hung on the wall perpendicular to my couch. Late at night, I will be watching TV and occasionally look over at it. There is something that I just love about this work. It makes me FEEL good. I will never sell it. It isn’t exemplary of the style in which I make art. (I don’t think I have one style and I think that is one of my problems!!!) LOL LOL However, maybe it indicates a lead to my “style”. I don’t know and don’t care at this moment. However, it reminds me of a burning issue that troubles me right now.

We all look at the work of other artists and dismiss or envy. Some want to be Monday morning quarterback critics and tell you THEIR opinion. I really don’t give a flying flip. I really don’t. My art is so personal and I really, really, really do it for me. Now, I know that is WRONG according to some, but like I said: “I DON’T CARE”. I am well educated, intelligent, and for SURE, I am an artist. So those who detract are on some other wavelength and have the right to say or do what they want. I am old enough and wise enough to realize that isn’t about my art or me at all. I am not “in it”. So I move on.

My post is called “The Grass Is Always Greener”. I have been thinking about this a lot in the past few weeks. We troll around in a tizzy, think our lives suck, and then look over the fence. We always think others have it better. Well………I am trying really hard to look at my side of the fence. Right now, I am looking out my computer room window looking at the palm trees and gads of vegetation. I am looking around my computer room and see the art. I look into my kitchen and see the beautiful mosaic wall I created. I could go on and on. Even though I live a modest, artist life style (with a DAY JOB), it really isn’t all that bad. I have so much for which to be thankful.

That doesn’t mean I am complacent. I am still striving to do the best art I can and do the best job as an artist. I have to bundle up and embrace all my insights, life experiences, and current existence. When I do that, I can move forward with confidence.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Art? Money? Do they mix?

I have been so busy THINKING the past two days. I do that a lot. In fact, this concept is very funny to me because of an experience I had when I was married (for a minute). My partner wasn’t known for his deep thought processes. However once in a fit of rage, he said: “YOU! YOU!!! You THINK TOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!” I recall that moment and laugh now. As much as I would like to disagree, he was right!! LOL

Among the myriad of racing thoughts ping ponging in my scull, the most prominent has been about Kate Kretz. Kate is an amazing artist who is so, so wonderful. Her work is breathtaking. I admire her so much. This week, she has been in the news. Things are rockin and rollin for her. This is all due to one of her paintings. (read her blog!) The reason she is so prominent in my mind right now is because I understand her point of view and reasoning/logic behind the painting that is causing such a stir. Also, I realize I have to be so thoughtful about what I wish for because it may happen!!!!!
Kate’s artist life will never be the same ever again. This one painting is going to change the rest of her art life. Is this good or bad? I don’t know and it is none of my business anyway. However, she is a really sensitive, perceptive artist. I am sure she will do just fine!
I totally understand her commentary about not marketing her work and showing at “academic venues”. I have always done that too (that is why I am poor!! LOL) However, there is always that lingering thought. What if (I could make lots of money with my art??)
My daughter just graduated from college. Her major was “Television and Radio”. She wants to be a broadcaster, news journalist, or news producer. This is so foreign to me. Yet, I support her whole heartedly! I tell her “Go for it girl!!”. For a graduation present, I gave her this assemblage. This work is foreign to me too. It is about MONEY. Maybe I was thinking about this very thing. Fame, money, notoriety, what a concept!!!




ICON
Click to Enlarge
Mixed Media/Canvas
8”X 10”

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Life Goes ON

My first post…well, this year anyway. I started a blog in 2003. It was going great and then I had a “blogger stogger” (stalker). That wasn’t cool. So I took it down. I am sure he has found other interests by now, so I will resume my daily rants.

I need to do this blog now. I need to sort things out verbally and SEE where I stand. This is a tumultuous time in my life. Yes, it is time of emotional drama. I am not talking about “screaming, pushing, punching the walls” kind of drama. Oh no, I don’t allow that into my life. However, I have been experiencing an emotional drama of the introverted ilk. My mind is the eye of the hurricane. Thoughts run wild while my rational mind stands by with a lasso. I am trying very hard to reign things in right now.

Life passages are awesome albeit crappy. Those moments in which you see the crossroads cause unexplainable distress and pain, but I have learned to say “THANK YOU”. I have to be appreciative and know the Universe will provide as it always has. These times of confusion end up being the times that force action into play. In fact, I am so glad for the abundance in my life. I have been so fortunate. I have had so much success and good fortune. However, that doesn’t stop me from striving to be the best artist I can be. That is why I was born and put on this earth. I just have to keep moving forward!
Here is a recent collage that illustrates the way I feel right now. It is called “Hurricane Brain”. Yep, that’s the ticket!


Hurricane Brain
(Click to Enlarge)
Mixed Media/Canvas
24X24