Thursday, March 29, 2007

PERFECT days

About two years ago, I was walking back to my car after spending the day looking out on Tampa Bay, reading, making art, listening to my iPod, and talking to friends. As I strutted the way down the Pier approach to my parking spot, I thought, “This has been a PERFECT day!”
Today was such a day. I worked in my studio for hours; I took a bubble bath; I went to a tourist hot spot to shop; I spent a while at a dive beach bar; I shopped again; I rushed to the beach to take pics of the sunset (TOO LATE by 10 minutes!!!!! However, I wasn't upset. There will be another one tomorrow!); and then, I took myself out to dinner. While waiting for my food, I read a FANTASTIC new book by Twyla Tharp: "The Creative Habit" (I will speak more about this book in a future post.)
I made my way home and as I unlocked my front door, I thought, “This was a PERFECT day!!” I quickly thought about how often I have perfect days now. For a moment I thought: "Too bad all my days can't be this good!". Then I stopped myself and thought positively. After rethinking, I rephrased: “WHY can't they all be perfect???!!!” I know now, it just the way I interpret my world.


Too Late Sunset
It’s all good though!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Artistic Chicken or the Egg?

This is a week full of art and creative thinking. Yesterday, I took myself on a date. I stopped at some thrift shops and got some odds and ends for my art. I love finding little, old, useless things to use for my mixed media work. Also, I can find some great bargains on old frames. These days if I frame things at all, the frame becomes part of the piece. Therefore, the more scratched up and ugly my frame finds are, the better.
I stopped for lunch and read the newest issue of Art in America blocking out all the noise of spring break babble and babies crying.
Then I went to a great little museum here. The Gulf Coast Museum of Art is a wonderful place. It is surrounded by a botanical garden and the Florida wild life is out in full force. The show on exhibit was “An Adventure in the Arts: Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY”. Geesh, that’s a mouthful!! Since this is a tiny museum, the show was small. It took less than twenty minutes to look at all the pieces in the show which included Chamberlain, Close, de Kooning, Ernst, Flack, Krasner, Johns, Rauschenberg, Pollock, and Warhol to name a few. Ironically, the piece I found the most captivating was an Alfonso Ossorio. He wasn’t listed on the postcard. It is easy to understand why his work fascinated me. The color, vibrancy, and compositional hysteria of his found object work was mesmerizing.
There were black and white photographs of Krasner and Pollock, as well as a few of Elaine and Willem De Kooning. All four artists had paintings hung along side their photos. The De Kooning painted in 1972 wasn’t his best work. I looked and shrugged. One thing that struck me was how the Krasner was so “Pollockesque”. The work was painted in 1947. I stood there thinking about which came first “the chicken or the egg”. In other words, I wonder who really came up with this style of painting first, Pollock or Krasner? I guess we will never REALLY know. In any case, I amused myself thinking back to 1977 when I met Lee Krasner. I was in school then and some students were invited to have an intimate talk with Krasner who was having a solo show at Susan Hilberry Gallery near Detroit. She sat in the middle of the gallery on a low bench. Students surrounded her like she was a guru or goddess teacher. I was front and center; sitting at her feet so close I brushed against her shoe. I am not one to idolize anyone, but in my naïve way, I was in awe. Then she started to speak. I think she was one of the most bitter, angry people I have ever been around. The vibes she sent out were vicious. The talk was a downer. I guess if I had painted all my life and watched my partner rise to fame while I stood in the background would make me pissed off too! So it goes!!! Tee HEE HEE



Work from permanent collection of Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Drive and Tenacity

Sometimes I feel like I am an alien. My being is so based on the fact that I am an artist, there are times when I feel foreign. Often, I meet people who have no knowledge of the arts or what it means to be an artist. Inevitably when this happens, the question is asked. “What is your art like? What kind of art do you do?” It is wonderful that the question is asked. However I know from experience where this discussion will go. Most people know of a limited number of artists who have world acclaim and are “household names”. For example, most people know about Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Rembrant, and all those other artists included in the “Fine Art for Dummies” book (if there is one). I am not judging the general public due to their lack of knowledge. Sadly, it is not their fault and most people are not aware of the arts in a way that has breadth and depth. Our society doesn’t value the time and effort that would afford students that information. Understanding that, I usually give them my business card, encourage them to go to my website, and explain to them it is difficult to explain my art. I have so many contemporary artists who I love, I can’t even begin to explain their work or my own to others.
Yesterday, I spoke of longevity. Today, I thought about my previous post. I realized my “favorite artists” are individuals that would be known to a select few people on this earth. I decided to share some of these artists with you.
The first artist that I want to speak about is Clyde Connell.I love her and her art so much for simple reasons. She not only had longevity, but she had a DRIVE that is uncanny. There was no reason for her to succeed or gain notice. Oh, her work was phenomenal! However, her circumstance was bizarre. She was a Louisiana woman. For much of her life, she lived in isolation, yet continued to make her untraditional works. She made her art despite objections, weird looks, and suspicious inquiries. In the video Works by Women she mentions her first one-man show occurred when she was 80 years old! I love her work. I love her tenacity. I love her drive. I want to be like that!!!
My next favorite artist posts will be about Fred Tomaselli, Ed Paschke, Rauchenberg, Squeak Carnwath, Betye and Alison Saar, etc. etc.


"Clyde Connell"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Longevity

I have had a very interesting week. It was interesting because I feel like I am "blooming". I have had so many revelations and insights. One of the things that have come up repeatedly during this fertile time is the idea of longevity. It is so common for the criteria for “hot artists” or art that is sought after are works by artists so young. I really don’t understand this. WELL…….I do understand it, but maybe I don’t want to believe it. Contrary to popular belief, experienced artists seem to have attributes that should be of value. It is too bad that isn’t the common, accepted knowledge.

I remember back in the 80’s, I built an installation about the “Emerald City” at the Michigan Gallery. It had an emerald green sculpture surrounded by about 50 pounds of glitter and of course, the ruby slippers shined under the lights. The installation had been built in a 5’ X 5’ X 5’ wooden “room”. I came up with that dimension because I figured I was less than 5’ tall. I could stand or sit or lay in any direction within the installation and still fit! Anyway, the outcome of the installation was gorgeous. During the opening, things got out of hand, someone got in there, and ruined it. I was so angry I wrote a public letter, copied it, and pasted it up all over the art community. In the letter, I said something like “It doesn’t matter that you (the people who screwed up my installation) didn’t respect my art because I will be around far longer than you will!!” Even though when I think about this now and I realize it was stupid, I was right. I know with certainty that the odds are in my favor now. I am still an artist and so, so few of those people from that era have anything at all to do with art now.

Then this weekend, I was speaking (via email) to my best art friend in the world GILDA SNOWDEN. She told me about her new work and how she bought a couple of new griddles for her encaustic paintings. This brought on a new frustration. I admire Gilda more than just about any other artist (including Rauchenberg!). She has been there. She has done that. She is so real. She has longevity too. Yet, I read and hear newer artists talking about encaustics like they invented it. They speak as if it is a new medium. Gilda didn’t invent it either. However, she has worked with that smoking wax for more years than she would want me to mention.

So, I think the idea here is experience should be valued. Life experiences and the wisdom of the years should be treasured. I just feel sad that our society doesn’t seem to realize this.

Ha!! This is a pic my daughter and I in front of the Willis Gallery in Detroit circa 1984. I had already been an exhibiting artist for ten years when this pic was taken. She has already graduated from college and working on her career in broadcasting now. Not to sound cliché, but if I knew then what I know now………..well……you know the rest.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

SHUT UP!!

For those of you who read and write blogs, you might understand this post.
There are times when I overwhelm myself with information. A former partner who looked really good, but wasn't the brightest crayon in the box said only one thing that now seems brilliant. He said in the heat of anger, "YOU THINK TOO MUCH!!!"
Today I agree and I am telling myself to shut up both figuratively and literally.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I have always known "The Secret"

Anyone who has read my posts probably noticed I speak of things like synchronicity and the power of thought often. This is because I have always practiced the concepts behind Universal Principles. These age, old "laws" have a new, book/movie package and are all the rage (ala Oprah). "The Secret" teachers and moviemakers are on their media tour. I have seen them speaking of the "Law of Attraction" on the news, Oprah Show, and Larry King.
There are many, many, many books and websites devoted to the ideas behind the "Law of Attraction". In fact back in the 80's, one of the best bosses I ever had gave me a copy of the book "You Can Have It All" by Arnold Patent. This was such a wonderful gift! It taught me how my life can be full of abundance or anything I wanted if I applied certain thoughts, feelings, and actions. Oh! I know!! Some who read this will say Bull-oney!! I know there are those who think this kind of stuff is like hoodoo voodoo. I don't because I have lived it and it really works. The next question would be: "OK Sheree, why aren't you rich and famous?" That is so, so interesting because it wasn't until a few months ago, I realized certain things about myself and how the Universe has worked through me over the years. I don't want to tell my life story right here, right now. Maybe I will relate some of my "secrets" in other posts. However, I will say the answer to that question is simply because "I never asked for that!" So far, I have been given exactly what I wanted and put my mind on attaining.
That is why I find it interesting this new version of universal principles has become notable in past months. I needed a refresher. It is perfect timing. Ha!! I guess that would be an example of synchronicity again!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

It is time to stop....ONE MORE TIME

I can't stop thinking of the war. I posted a day or two ago about these thoughts. All I can say now is DITTO.

Monday, March 5, 2007

It is time to STOP

I can’t stop thinking of the war. I created a number of drawing/collages back in the early 90’s about this subject. It is sad, but true. If you do art about war, it is always timely. That is just so wrong.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

It's All GOOD

I am back to normal!! In fact, all the energy I stored up yesterday spewed out into a frenzy of activity today. I got ORGANIZED. My house is nice and clean. My studio is orderly. All the laundry in the house is clean and my bills are paid. This is my way of coping when I feel out of sorts. I guess that is logical. If I get my environment in order, the rest of my art life seems more organized too.
I have been thinking about the direction of my art today while I cleaned. One thing I need to do for sure is work on a consistent series. My current work has a schizophrenic thread. I do a little of this and a little of that. Nothing fits together in an obvious way. I like doing all kinds of different types of work. However, I am feeling a bit disjointed in a creative way. It’s all good, though. I will just keep working and it will all work out.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

What is the point?

I hate pessimism. I don't like to be around negative people. This is why today I can't stand being around myself. I am in a very BLUE mood. I hear myself asking, "What is the point?" When I get like this, I hear Joni Mitchell's voice. In one of her songs she says "Nothins any good, nothins any good...". I get that. When I feel the funk, I can't look in any direction without bitching about something. I woke up pissed off this morning. I have no idea why. All I know is I am feeling very ticked off at my world. I don't know the specific source of my discontent. I just have general "blahs". The weather is wet and gray. I sharpened my couch potato skills today. Out of complete boredom I read some art blogs. That made me even more depressed. I read about how artists over 29 years old might as well give up. Oh gee, that makes me feel good (NOT). Another blog reported women artists still have the short end of the stick (pun intended). Yeah, well…… Trying to find something to smile about, I ended up reading about the world travels of some artists only to realize I have no desire to travel anywhere!! POOP!
I am going to log off now and get some rest. I will wake up with more optimism tomorrow. I hope!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Mortality

I don’t know if you would call this irony or synchronicity. I got so busy and overwhelmed this week with day job issues; I just didn’t have the energy to post to this blog. I knew for sure that my next post would speak about mortality and how we need to be cognizant of all aspects of our well being. Since this has been on my mind a lot lately, I have been trying to make good choices and make my life healthier. One thing led to another and I didn’t post for a couple of days. Then today, I found out that a friend was killed last night. He was a young (almost) man. He was only 17 years old. I have known him since he was a little kid. His death has rocked my world because there was no good reason for his death. He was a sweetie. He had a huge heart. He was funny. He was a joy. Yes, he had challenges. In fact, he had difficulties with ADD and Autistic type symptoms. I am absolutely sure these played a roll in his death.
How did he die? He was crossing the street at 6pm last night and got hit by a Mack truck. This was an accident. He just didn't notice the truck as he went to cross the intersection. In no way would I think of pointing a finger of blame on the driver or the boy. It was a mistake; it was an accident.
My sadness today makes me realize mortality is such in intense issue. We are here now. There is no guarantee about the duration of our stint on this earth. All we can do is live today and make the best choices in hopes of a tomorrow. That’s it.
I love you Torey. You will always be in my heart. I hope you start art classes in heaven!!


“Healthy”
Acrylic/Collage on Canvas
Click to Enlarge