Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Art World Immersion

I feel like I have jumped into an art swimming pool! I go through cycles in which I immerse myself in reading about art, looking at art, and watching endless art related videos. This weekend I dusted off a DVD I bought last year. It was kind of an accident I bought it. I was placing an order and bought a bunch of art videos. This was one of the bunch. For whatever reason, it didn’t catch my interest when it arrived. I finally watched it this weekend a couple of times. It is very interesting and thought provoking. I watched with eager eyes because it made me think about stuff I already knew but learned a long time ago. The video is cut into segments of various artists (Hockney, Chamberlain, Johns, Stella, Clemente, Poons, etc. ALL MEN, of course!! Arggghhhhhh!) talking about how Henry Geldzahler had an impact on the art world. “Henry” is the subject of this film. The entire video tells his story as it relates to the New York art scene from the 50’s-90’s. I never really thought about him or how he played a role in the lives of artists of that era. This disinterest is probably due to the fact I just never pay attention to how the peripheral art aficionados work their own type of magic behind the art scenes. I have always felt artists were the true movers and shakers. Of course, this is a very na├»ve way of thinking. I would love to think artists get famous or sell their work due to their own artistic merit. LOL LOL Now that I am older and wiser, I know there is a LOT more to that equation. Overall, I think this video is very informative on many levels and I gained a new outlook in regard to Henry and the lucky, "famous" artists who were influenced by his life. It is worth the watch.

”Who Gets To Call It Art?” (2006)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Soundtrack of my Life

Ipods are the best invention since peanut butter! In fact of all the technological gadgets I own, my iPod is my best investment hands down. I use it just about every day. In fact, this marvel was made for people like me. I have always been one to hide in a self imposed “Sheree World”. This is my way of coping. In fact, I made a comment about being a “wallpaper women” in a previous post. Even though I am at an age that I fit into the category of females who just blend into the scenery and are ignored, I have to take responsibility and admit some of this lack of attention is self-imposed and intentional. Last night when I went to the gallery to see the movie about the homeless, I walked in, sat down in the front row, began to write notes in my notebook and never looked up. As far as I was concerned, I was the only person in the room. Yep, this is one of the symptoms of purposeful mental and emotional isolation. It wasn’t until the movie had started and I heard someone talking behind me, I realized bunches of people were all around me. SNAP!!
Sheree world was in full force today. I went out on a little adventure. All the while I listened to my iPod. I love it because I can’t hear anything except my chosen music. People will talk at me and all I have to do is point to my earphones and mouth the words “Sorry, can’t hear you!” As I listened today, I was thinking of the idea of having a soundtrack of your life. For hours, I walked, looked, and listened. I suppose if I had to pick one kind of music to represent my current state of mind, it would have to be Philip Glass
and his work titled “Glassworks”. Any one of the tracks could represent any given moment of my life right now. This is speaking generally. If I am in a feisty, kick ass mood, U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” would be my mantra. I listen to that when I am on my treadmill or riding my bike. When I am loosy, goosy and just want to chill my anthem would be Dave Mathews (any one of his CDs). However, when I listen to him I get a craving for beer. I guess his music brings out ghosts of the party girl left in me.
My iPod is the best. I love it. Now, if someone out there would invent an iPod that can work without a chord attached to earphones (wireless?), I would be ever in debt to them. However, they wouldn’t have to worry about my piddly contribution because they will become a zillionaire.

Sheree in Ipodland

Saturday, February 24, 2007

“Houseless”

Tonight I went to one of the most interesting galleries in St. Petersburg.
Studio 620 is a small gallery and has a variety of exhibits, lectures, and events. Recently, they have been showing the documentary movie Easy Street. The theme of the movie details the lives of the homeless here in St. Petersburg. I intentionally made the trip to the gallery looking forward to seeing this documentary. There has been a lot of press about the homeless primarily because the city is going through a period of renewal. In the downtown area you can’t look in any direction without seeing cranes and new high rises going up. These new complexes will be full of high priced condos, townhouses, and apartments. We are talking big time $$$$$. Besides buying up all the land and displacing a lot of low to middle class housing, the homeless are getting attention because they are now more unwanted than before the city’s renaissance. I don’t know what to think of all this. Since my opinion was blurred or at least middle of the road, I was hoping the documentary would help me to see things with a more informed eye. That didn’t happen. I am still straddling the line between having sympathy for those without a home, yet understanding why people don’t like having them around. Even though I am very liberal and empathetic, my skin crawled when some “houseless” (as they call themselves) men obviously drunk, joked and laughed as they displayed their creativity showing a batch of “We Work for……” signs on cardboard scraps. They looked into the camera and asked, “Why work?” when they can get money panhandling with their signs in tow. Yet, I cried when I watched those with severe mental or physical impairments who obviously needed genuine assistance.
I don’t know the answer. I wish I did. As I drove home from the gallery, I passed one of the “tent cities” constructed by the houseless community. The visual of all the rag tag tents, shopping carts, garbage, and wandering souls reminded me of this installation I did years ago. Looking at my little colony, I can’t help but think with all the zillions of dollars coming into this city and creativity being put into its rebuilding, there just has to be a way to accommodate those in need. You would think, right (?)


“Isodynamic Colony”
Mixed Media Installation
Size Variable
Click to Enlarge

Friday, February 23, 2007

SANITY and other elusive commodities

I rolled my eyes more than once this week with all the Anna Nicole and Brittany Spears B.S. going on in the media. Even though the death of A.N. and the “balding” of “B.S.” (Are her initials a pun or just a coincidence?) was startling and so sad, it worried me more that I kind of understood what was going on in their lives. No, I am far from being a celebrity and I am sure not rich. However, I guess on a primal level, I understand the confusion of their worlds. There are so many double standards, false promises, and (un)realities cloaked in a very thick, murky fog. I see how people get so emotionally / spiritually / intellectually / etc. screwed up. I just can’t blame them really. Despite my relatively “normal” artist life, I too have tried to walk that thin line between sanity and being capable of shaving my head bald. Recently, I told an artist friend I have had the experience of “looking over the edge of the cliff” many times in my years. In fact there are moments now, I look down to see if I am managing to keep even one toe on that thin line.
I think the thing that has saved many and me is the fact I don’t want anyone to notice me. I don’t seek that kind of attention. In fact the older I get, I am loving that I rarely get a second look and probably couldn’t get hit on even if my hair was on fire. I have joined the group of “wallpaper women”!
I think this is liberating in some bizarre way.
Anna and Brit (didn't)/don’t have that wisdom or advantage. It is all about “Look at MEE!, Look at MEE!” Yet as they yelled, they were being pushed over the edge into the abyss. Thank you God for making me a NOBODY.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kriya

Every few years, I break out my Artist’s Way book and CDs (Julia Cameron) to refresh my creative life. Ordinarily, this course is used for blocked artists. I am not blocked in the traditional sense. I am creative every day. However, I am at a point in my life I need a creative change. Therefore, I decided to do Artist’s Way again. I am currently on Week 5. I listen to the Julia Cameron CD constantly. Over the years and each time I have done the course, I skip certain things. This time, I was determined to complete it all and do all the suggested tasks thoroughly. I am doing a really great job and learning a lot about myself at this moment in my life. Each time I have done the work, the part about “Kriya” has struck a chord of curiosity. I never really acted on it until now.
“KRIYA”....... I asked myself what does this mean? J. Cameron explains it means to emotionally surrender to the powers that be. OK…That sounds good to me. However, I wanted more. I looked up the derivation of this word and I was pleased. In fact, I smiled with each bit of research I completed. Yes, it is emotional/spiritual surrender. Also according to the Sanskrit dictionary it means: CLEANING. Even more interesting is the fact that according to Sanskrit grammar, VERBS are called Kryiyas. The derivation comes from the root KRI = To do. In other words Kriya means action, to do, clean, and surrender. I love this. All this information is on my mind. I am acting on it too. My newest painting has to do with Kriya. I am anxious to see how it turns out. Regardless, I am willing to DO, apply ACTION, CLEAN my mind of unnecessary stuff, and SURRENDER. Sounds good to me!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Personal Evolution

Life is a series of lessons. These lessons keep returning if you don’t learn the LESSON and get it right. I truly believe this. Since I am a self-improvement freak, I am always cognizant of my faults. I know for sure when I was younger, I had an anger problem. I don’t mean I punched holes in walls. However, I was always enraged by the injustices of life and verbally let people know about it. Also, I have always been a person to say what I was thinking at any given time. I could never be a politician because it is hard for me to say what people want to hear. I tell the truth. This is a very nasty habit because even though I mean no harm and my intention is positive, there are times when people take my words personally. I was once told I am “brusque”. Hmmmmmmmmmmm
Over the years, I have worked on this trait. I thought I had it licked. However recently, I opened my big mouth again and people got ruffled. Ironically, I have been working on this painting, “Slip of the Tongue”. I didn’t see the synchronicity until yesterday. Obviously, I still have to work on this life lesson. Now I am not ever going to be one who will ever be ready to “make nice” just for the sake of being seen as a Pollyanna. However, I do need to tone it down in the interest of personal evolution!


“Slip of the Tongue”
Acrylic/Collage on Canvas
8” X 10”
Click to Enlarge

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Studio HIGH

Today was another productive day! I love the feeling I have right now. As I said yesterday, I wanted to rework a painting titled “World Windows”. It has never been shown and I had it hanging in my living room for a few months. I just didn’t like the center “window”. It needed something, but I didn’t know what. I got it down a while ago and put it in my studio. Today, I worked on it and I love the feeling I have right now. It isn’t done, but I know I am on the right track! It is so great when you know you understand the solution to a creative problem. Also, the direction of my “bird” painting came to me today too. As I worked on it, I started to see the final piece in my head. The mental image is cloudy, but at least I have some kind of future vision and conceptual idea of where this painting is going. Here are some pics of the studio work today. The paintings have the “uglies” right now, but that is OK. Sometimes you need to go through ugly stages to get to the end. I know that, so I am not distressed.

“Studio Day 2 18 07”

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Studio Day!

Multitasking! Today was a GREAT day! I worked in my studio most of the day. The day began by doing some “life work” like writing in my journal and doing some tasks to promote a healthy life. I went into the studio and started working. As always, I work on multiple things at once. The paintings on my agenda today were work on “Lonely”, “Slip of the Tongue”, “World Window” (rework), and the “bird” painting that has yet to have a title. In fact, that painting is still a mystery. I am letting the Universe paint it without a preconceived notion of where it is going. I am letting it paint itself.
I love the “World” mixed media work, but I never liked the center. I am going to change that in the next few days. I just have to put finishing touches on “Slip”. I love that little collage. In fact, I will show that in the next few days along with a blog post. There is a story behind that piece. “Lonely” is taking shape. I still have to do work on the central component. In fact, I spent a good portion of the day trying to paint one cloud. I painted and washed in off. I painted and washed it off again. Finally, I painted and let it dry. I am unhappy with the outcome, but it doesn’t feel dismal. I will get it right eventually.
I am cooking dinner now and very proud of myself. More importantly, I feel productive and successful. After dinner, I will relax and work on a few more journaling tasks. I love days like this!

“Studio Day 2 17 07”

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It is so difficult to SLOW down

Artists have it different. I can remember years ago having the revelation, simply put, “I wish I could do that! This response was a reaction to a person coming home from his job, plopping on the couch, watching TV until it was time to go to bed, and wake for the next day of work. The majority of artists can’t do that. We have so much to do. Many of us work a day job. We can’t wait to get off work to do our other work. There are paintings to be painted. There are shows to be entered. There are ideas to be worked out. GO GO GO We have no down time.
When I went on my little photo shoot this weekend, I watched the sailboats in the bay. I was amazed there are people who relax and do nothing. That isn’t such a bad idea. I just have to learn how to do it!
I am trying to do that now. Right now, I am looking out my window and looking at the clouds. I am looking at the trees and the birds going from branch to branch. There is a little voice in my brain that says “Sheree, go do something productive!!” OK OK OK I am listening, but not reacting.
There are times when we artists need to SLOW DOWN. Look at those clouds. Look at those birds. Look at those sailboats and try to understand the concept of relaxation and meditation. HA!!! Oh yeah, I know those on the sailboats probably have a “party” attitude. That isn’t all that bad either. However, the most important thing is to try to embrace the idea of doing nothing to be able to do something better. I guess I want to be more alert to the various states of conscientiousness. I want to be alert and notice the things around me and what is happening in the world. I want to gather these images and ideas to make art with substance.
In other words, it doesn’t always have to be frantic. If I can learn how to slow down, I think my art will be better for it.

“St. Petersburg sailboat on Tampa Bay”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I guess I am not the romantic type. However, the idea of Valentine’s Day is nice. I want to wish the spirit of the day to those who have that portion of their life to celebrate. I don’t in the traditional sense. I really, really, really like being single. I am so absorbed in my every day life full of "art stuff", relationships never worked for me. Also, I have come to the conclusion that I need the rest of the time I have on this earth to learn to love myself. I think this might be a lifelong progress. Therefore, I stay away from relationships. Me and Me are getting along just fine right now. LOL LOL LOL Besides, if I want flowers, candy, or some other “thoughtful” gift, I will buy it for myself. Tee HEE HEE


“Men Are Tempting”
Acrylic/Mixed Media on Wood
24” X 30”
Click to Enlarge

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

We are in so much trouble!

Ok so today I was speaking with some teenagers. I spoke of Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I didn’t expect them to know about Jean-Michel. However, I assumed the kids would react to the mention of Maya Angelou and her poetry. As I spoke and told the story, the kids looked at me like I was an alien. I showed them a picture of Maya and still…..no reaction. I could not believe this. For goodness sake, I saw Maya on a Target commercial today!!! That is fine and dandy except for the fact she is probably the most notable African American writer of this and the last century. Yet, the kids don’t have a clue.
Every day during my day job, I hear the “F” word and the “N” word on the hour. There isn’t a shred of remorse or apology. In their eyes (or more appropriately, their expected image and attitude), they call me the white, cracker, B(&$ch. Despite my maturity that you would think would prevent me from taking it personally, I am devastated. I am just trying to help them make their lives more meaningful. I want to help them help themselves to see and feel the wonder of life. They don’t want any part of it.
Is it I? I feel as if I am losing my mind. Many teenagers have no interest in learning. There is no interest in seeing life as an opportunity to make a difference. They don’t care about much of anything, let alone many important and meaningful issues. From my experiences, they seem to care about money and getting it ANY way possible. They don’t care about their future or your future or anybody’s future. They live for the now. They don’t seem to care about thinking. I guess this is the new state of “BE”. Moreover, they seem to be more interested in FEELING good at this moment. Well yeah, who doesn’t. However, you have to accept the consequences of that type of conscientiousness.
This is our future. To me it is scary.


“Cultural Virus”
Acrylic/Collage on Canvas
10” X 10”
Click to Enlarge

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I am so LUCKY

In my going HOME post a couple of days ago, I professed my love of my hometown Detroit. I didn’t mean in anyway, I don’t feel strongly about my new hometown St. Petersburg. In fact, I feel so lucky. I love it here in so many ways. I went on a “photo shoot” today. I am collecting images of stuff I know and see all the time. I am searching for new images and subject matter for my art. I have been perplexed because for the first time in a very long time, I really don’t know what the subject of my art should be. I am not saying I want to paint palm trees or sailboats, but that imagery just has to have had some kind of impact on my mind. I have been looking at it for 15 years now. Therefore, I decided to start a photo file of everyday images for reference purposes. These are not PHOTOGRAPHS in the big sense of the word. They are just snapshots meant as a quick record.
As I wandered around Tampa Bay today, I was reminded how I love this environment. I love the way things look. The water is so gorgeous, even though I am an “earth” baby. Also, I was reminded about the first impressions I had of Florida upon my arrival on this peninsula. The BIRDS. I couldn’t believe how these big fat birds are everywhere. As a Michigan girl, I was accustomed to sparrows and a blue jay or two. That’s it. Now I see all kinds of huge birds flying all over the place. I feel like this is the last of the dinosaur era.
Here is a friend I met today. He isn’t one of the big birds, but he is an interesting fellow. Also, I felt he was a kindred spirit. He felt the same way I did about the weather. You can tell by the look on his face, he isn’t too happy about the chill in the air. I hear you buddy!!!

St. Petersburg pelican
Snuggly wuggly
Can’t take 65 degrees!!
ME NEITHER!!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rest Now Anna

Anna Nicole, I feel so sad for your baby. I feel so sad for you. I hope you are at peace.

“Children of the Night”
Mixed Media Installation
6’ X 6’ X 8’

Friday, February 9, 2007

Going HOME

There is no place like home. Or is there? I was born in Detroit. I lived there for over thirty years of my life. My daughter was born there. I am a Tiger and Red Wings fan. I have bunches of memories developed along the shores of the Detroit River. However fifteen years ago, I moved to Florida. Oh YES!! I am definitely a Floridian now. I cringe at the thought of weather below 80 degrees! I love my overgrown yard and the butterflies that drift all over year round. I live 1.8 miles from the Gulf of Mexico (I know this because the insurance agent told me about this measurement to explain why I couldn’t get homeowners insurance. Too Risky!!!)
All this doesn’t matter. I am a Detroit girl. I have no idea why I feel such a pull. Let’s see, palm tree lined streets or Cass Corridor???? Hmmmmmmmm, let me think about this (???) LOL LOL LOL
It really doesn’t matter or make sense. There is something about your HOME that is meaningful on a very spiritual, primal level. I have the opportunity to drive the length of the barrier islands along the Tampa Bay shore adjacent to the Gulf on any given day. However, there are moments when I long to ride the length of Woodward Avenue. Tampa Bay is blue. Lake Huron is a weird gray-mud color. Yet, I daydream about walking into the muck along the shores of Port Huron and remember those sunburned days.
Oh, and don't get me started about the ART!! HA!! No contest!! The art in Detroit is world class. The art in Detroit is aware; the art in Detroit is current and relevant. St. Petersburg art is something different.
Home…….Home………Yes, St. Pete is where I live, but Detroit is my HOME.
I love you Deeetroit. Great city, I ask you to stand up to the power you have instilled in your children.


“Am Fluss” = “The River”
Acrylic/Collage on Paper
24” x 24”
Click to Enlarge

Thursday, February 8, 2007

HEALTH

Opps!! Sorry for the lack of post the past few days. I have been sick. Yep, I got some kind of bug and it tangled with other creepy crawly things to create a great, powerful concoction of sinusitis extraordinaire!! Whoopee!!
I am rarely sick, but this little malady kicked my butt! As I lay on the couch for three days in a state of delirium, I realized how much I rely on my health. Everything is all about me. I don’t mean this in an egotistical way. I mean this in regards to survival. I don’t have a significant other to keep the home fires burning. I don’t have an extended family to bring me chicken soup. It is just I. The scary part of all this is it makes you realize how we have to take care of ourselves to be able to function in the world. It wasn’t my fault that I caught this bug. However, I have to be honest and realize I could do better in the “Take care of Sheree” department. I do too many things. I stress myself out. I eat crap. Etc. Etc.
I talked to a friend the other day about why we do things that sabotage our well-being. We all do it. Some people eat too much. Other people drink too much. There are people who abuse drugs. Throngs of people deny their own lack of self-care. I am one of those people. I know what it takes to keep my body, mind, and spirit functioning well. I know exactly what it takes to keep Sheree a healthy artist. Yet like millions of other people, I ignore the recipe too much of the time! Why do we do this to ourselves? I suppose if I had the solution and bottled it, I would be a millionaire. However, I don’t. I know what it takes and there are times I sabotage myself big time. This is to the detriment of my life and my art. How stupid!!



Treadmill
Acrylic/Collage on Canvas
Click to Enlarge

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Livable Installations

It is important to live a creative life in as many ways as possible. There was a time I spent my time and efforts to create installation work. I loved working in this medium. It is a difficult one due to monetary concerns and the storage space needed to house all the components before and after exhibitions. Therefore, I stopped doing that kind of art. I miss doing installations because after creating one, I always wanted to live inside them.
I satisfy the urge to do just that by making “livable installations”. Sometimes I laugh at my “decorating” sense. It sure isn’t Martha Stewartesque! However, it fills a need inside of me to live creatively. I want to immerse myself in environments that make me smile and perk my senses of creative spirit. My goal is to make every room of my living quarters scream “SHEREE LIVES HERE!!” LOL LOL Well, I am doing a great job as far as I am concerned. This is just one of the rooms in “Sheree World”. I can’t help but feel comforted and full of energy when I walk into or sit in this room. The most important thing is it simply makes me happy.


Wizzlewolf’s Creative Living
Livable Installation
Click to see more

Friday, February 2, 2007

Emotional vs. Rational

I am an emotional being. I have heard that the wrinkles on you face are a map to your soul. Well if this is the case, I have traveled the world! My face shows every frustration, every worry, every moment of joy, and every emotional everything! I guess all this comes with the package. I am an artist and I have been told on multiple occasions I am hypersensitive. Whatever….. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I can’t change the essence of myself, but I am trying to change the way I perceive things and the way I react to life. This will help with many things. If I can teach myself to distance myself from my art in certain ways, it might be beneficial. For example, I walked around my house last night trying to make a list of the stuff I wanted to sell. This coming summer, I want to revamp my website with marketing in mind. This “walk through” was a miserable failure. I would walk up to any given wall, look at the art, and think “Oh no, I want to keep that!!” As I walked from wall to wall, the same thing happened. It is almost like I am hoarding my own art! This has a lot to do with my emotions. I just have to lose that part of me. I have to become more distant and change the way I think about my art. In other words, I have to teach myself to think rationally instead of emotionally.


“Brain”
Acrylic/Collage
10” X 8”
Click to Enlarge

Thursday, February 1, 2007

New Month New Stuff

After all the thought and self-reflection this past month, I have decided to just keep doin what I do. At first, I thought, “Oh my goodness, I need to make an entirely different body of work!!” Well, I have changed my mind. I am going to just keep doing the same kind of painting and mixed media work I do, but push it forward. Actually, this is a great relief. I really love the work I have been doing. That is the most important feeling an artist can have.
So, pushing it will take the form of taking some of the work I have and use those as a starting point. One such work is ”ANGER” I spoke about this work in another post last month. I am going to create a series based on emotions. Here is one I started and this pic shows the progression. The new work will be called “LONELY”.