Friday, October 31, 2008

Art Blog: Let’s IMAGINE

Have any of you ever watched TMZ and seen the latest/greatest starlet running around Hollywood wining, dining, and shopping? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have that kind of life? I have.

However as I have drooled, I am not thinking of what it would be like to have the newest Prada purse or the most elite Manolo Blahnik shoes or even throw money away for a dinner at STK. I think of art supplies, a HUGE studio, nouveau riche friends, and patrons with old money. I fantasize about having time in my studio to create without a worry in the world about how to pay the mortgage. I would have assistants. Yes, lots of assistants. I would tell them what I want to create and their expertise would help me build the sculpture or drive the crane. They would help me maneuver wall size canvases. I would be able to focus on art. The world would be my art oyster!
Here is a video with commentary from ONE of Judy Pfaff’s assistants.
HEY, it is nice to dream.

Did you notice he said “A LOT of us”. She doesn’t have one assistant. She has a LOT. Let’s imagine what it would be like. I can. Oh, to dream!
P.S. I LOVE Judy Pfaff. She deserves every single assistant she can afford. Good for her!!! You go girl!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Art Blog: Artist EGO

I remember when I was 13 years old. I was living with my father that year. I hadn’t spent any time with him since I was 5 years old. It was a great time to get reacquainted. He bought me an oil painting set. HE KNEW. He could have been an artist, but life got in the way. His gift of a painting set was like a strand of gold to me; yet, it was a gift to him too. My mother who had been raising me never encouraged my ART side. She knew I had it, but since my creative side was paternal, she didn’t want to nurture it. When I started to paint in oils, I was in heaven. There was no agenda. There was no criterion. I just painted. I remember the first painting I did was an awful painting of a clown. I remember kids in the neighborhood coming over to my porch and “Ooooing and Ahhhhing”. They thought I had so much talent and that painting was so cool. I thought it was cool too. I really felt like a REAL artist.

I think this is how many of us hang on to our art dreams. We are GOOD at something. We feel the vibe from others. We get figurative pats on the back. We finally feel like we have a direction. Even though I made the decision to become an artist in kindergarten, this middle school oil painting experience signed the deal. I WAS an artist on that California porch.
Due to my new step mother’s distress, I was unable to continue living with my father. However even as I flew over the plains states back to Michigan and despite all the life trauma, I planned my artistic life. I continued to paint and impress my high school friends. I would use all my babysitting money to buy art supplies. If my friends ever needed an artist to do a project, I was the “it” girl. I gave my art away. I didn’t care about marketing or making a name for myself. I just wanted to be known as Sheree the Artist back then. I was so proud of myself. I felt successful.

Now, it is different. I hesitate when I start a new piece. I imagine the whole series. I wonder how all this fits into the art world that I am not even a part of anymore. Sometimes, I even think I forgot how to paint. I can stare at a blank canvas for hours because I am feeling so unsure of myself. The insecurity is so riveting and scary. My ego is so worried now. There is this lingering voice that shouts “Pick me, Pick me, Pick me!!” when I enter every exhibition. I don’t like this anymore. I really don’t.

Just like the Maisel quote I posted yesterday, I repeat with vehemence:

“Despite her doubts and distractions, a brave artist will routinely approach her work each new day, as naturally as she breathes and stretches.”

This is the way I was when I was 13 or 16 or even 18. What happened after that? I went to art school and got entrenched in all this art world stuff.
This is an inevitable part of becoming an artist. However, it is a struggle trying to understand how you fit into the scheme of things if you don’t live in New York or have wealthy patrons or have art that is of investment quality (per powerful people). All I know is the “PICK ME” voice is louder than ever right now. I want to quiet it. No more “ME ME ME” Sheree. I want to be that little girl on the porch just painting because it makes her feel alive.

“ME”, Misbehaviorists Series, by Sheree Rensel
Click for detailed view

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Art Blog: Art ROUTINE

Taken from “Affirmations for Artists” by Eric Maisel

I know this sounds awful and insensitive. I have never been the type of person that dreamt of having a brood of kids or even one. I do have a daughter and I love her with my own life. I am so glad the Universe decided against my wishes to remain childless for numerous reasons. Besides just having her in my life, the primary reason I am thankful is because I doubt I would have lived this long if I hadn’t had her. She got me on the straight and narrow. She provided a reason to push on. She demanded a life routine. She is gone now. I have too much freedom. I need a routine.

Routines. Think about it. Think about all of your routines. To me, a routine is something you do without a second thought. It comes natural. Routines reflect a habitual behavior that you can predict without a doubt. For example, when the alarm clock goes off each morning, my ritualistic behavior is as follows:
I hit the snooze alarm about 5 times. I have the alarm set early enough that this does not interfere with my time schedule. I am always to work on time. I need the snooze routine because it makes me feel like I am getting away with sleeping for that extra twenty minutes. I know. It is weird. Finally, I get up and do all the other get ready for work chores quickly. I can feed the dog, take him out, do my hair, put on some kind of make-up, and get dressed in less than 30 minutes. Then I am out the door. The same precision happens when I get home from work. As described in yesterday’s post, I usually do my things and end up on the computer, eat dinner, and fall asleep with the TV on. Then, I do it all over again the next day and the next day and the next day, etc. I know for sure this routine will continue unless I make changes.

My weekly routines suck. I know this. So I was a good soldier this weekend and I made up a new schedule. I wanted to plan things to do after work to change my habits. WELL……………..I got a very nifty schedule put together. I had planned on sharing it with you all. I will not because I printed it out and put it on the front of the frig. I have come home each day, looked at it, and then I have proceeded to do the exact same thing as last week. LOL LOL LOL LOL
In fact, this is the point of this post. If you want to change your routine to reflect your desire to be a productive artist, you not only have to plan the routine. You have to DO IT. Duh…………………….
When I read the Maisel quote shown above, I nearly started to twitch. This is my problem. I do let doubts, demons, and general life distract me. I have to give myself credit. I set up another paint workstation in my living room. I had planned on painting during the World Series. Well, we know what happened with that. Even so, there are no excuses. I sat there last night looking at canvases waiting for me and I ignored them. I fell asleep while they beckoned. My bad!

Even Gizmo, looked up at me with this sad sack look. I think if he could talk, he would say “Come on now, snap out of it Mommy!” I will Gizmo. I will! I am not giving up on changing my routine. Apparently, I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. LOL

SIDENOTE: The World Series. Hmmmmmmm. Tonight it might end. There are less than three innings to go for the make-up game. If the RAYS choke, so be it. It would be super cool for them to win just so they could at LEAST come back to St. Petersburg one more time. I am not sure that will happen. I hope so. It would be so great. However, I am not upset with these baby Rays at all. They did a great job. So did the Phillies. It was a good run. It made me proud! Go RAYS!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Art Blog: Crazy ADDICTION

Oh this is bad. This is really bad. I came home from work, took Gizmo outside, and headed for the computer (as usual). Ironically, I had a post prepared called “Artist ROUTINE”. Well, my routine got side tracked big time today because after turning on the computer and clicking Foxfire, I was greeted with a very unwelcome dialog box. It said, among other things: “SERVER NOT FOUND”. In a panic, I diddled with a few settings, looked at my DSL modem, and rebooted multiple times. Nothing worked.

I started to sweat. I felt like I had the dry heaves. I struggled to grab the telephone while looking for the Verizon tech services number. I was in a state of shock, mixed with anger, and showing signs of addiction withdrawal. It wasn’t pretty.
After speaking with “Miss Automaton” numerous times, I was told there was an outage in my area. My instructions were to turn my DSL modem off and on again and reboot my computer when the outage was over. She neglected to say: WHEN THE HELL WILL THAT HAPPEN? So, I called again and spoke with “Chris”. He was a great liar. He told me not to worry. Since I had called previously to report the outage, Verizon would call me to let me know when the outage was fixed. That was total B.S.!
I laid on the couch for over an hour. I clipped my dog’s toenails. I washed the dishes. I tried the computer nearly ten times. Still nothing.

So I called Verizon again. This time the automaton told me there was nothing wrong with my line and hung up on me. I called back. (I am tenacious, remember?) This time I talked with a real person named “Richard”. He was wonderful and quite entertaining. If any of you watch the show “Top Design”, you will understand this comparison. He reminded me of the contestant “Wisit”. He had a high pitched, sweet giggle. He tee hee heed quite often as my addiction pangs ached and were expressed through sarcasm and dry wit. I have to give Richard credit. He kept his sense of humor even though I was obviously in the throes of a nasty withdrawal. He patiently walked me through getting my DSL hooked up again. Hallelujah!!
So I am back online now. I feel a bit better. My sweats have disappeared. The shaking has subsided. However, I am now behind on my ROUTINE. This is a perfect segue to tomorrow’s post. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Do you remember when there was no such thing as internet? Today, I actually considered selling my computer. I thought this is idiotic. Why am I so upset because I can’t get online? Why am I freaking out? I can’t imagine my life without the internet. I really can’t. However, there is a little voice inside me that says it might not be such an awful thing. Maybe? Hell, no!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art Blog: TRUE Hard Times

The very second I clicked the “publish” button for my Happy Camper post yesterday, I heard a voice inside my head. It said:

“Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!!!”

I mean, come on now. Shoot! LOL LOL I am laughing out of nervousness and shame right now. No matter how much I boo-hoo about stupid things like my own frustration, I have NEVER had to live in the circumstance of true disaster. Take any time in history and there are a plethora of tragic events that stand as examples of true, devastating, hard times. So how dare I complain about my trivial, petty problems? I felt guilty even while writing the post. I hate to admit it, but this is true: I am spoiled and act like it sometimes. I sit here on my well cushioned behind, in my nice house, wearing clean clothes, looking forward to a meal of my choice, and I have the NERVE to mope? Get a grip girl!

Yes, whining (opps, I meant writing) was a bit therapeutic, but in a very bratty way. This point was punctuated like slap upside the head shortly after posting. I flipped on the History channel and watched a show on PBS “Surviving the Dust Bowl”. I watched the documentary and just kept thinking “Oh my gosh! This is so, so horrible!” Of course, I had learned about this era in school at some point. However to review this footage with adult eyes and being able to comprehend the horror and ramifications much more thoroughly, boggles my mind now. I watched the scenes of the sun scorched land spewing swirls of dust so thick it caused midnight at noon.

Known as the Black Lizard, thick clouds of dirt rolled towards the houses as people and animals scrambled for cover. Everything was dirty and dry. Even in the shelter of their wooden houses, people would struggle to breath. Food was scarce. Water was even harder to find. Yet many of these people lived through this for a decade. Can you imagine living like this for ten years?

Making matters far worse, the depression was in full swing. There was no place to turn. Yes, there was the migration west, but those migrants met with more hardship and poverty. I look at this photo by Lange of this poor, little “Ghost Child”.
How dare I complain about anything? Shame on me!

Child living in Oklahoma City shack town. August 1936.
Farm Security Administration photograph by Dorothea Lange

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Art Blog: Obama WOO-HA!!!

OMG!! OMG!!! This is just plain great (and funny)!!!!!
Hey, if Opie, Andy, and the FONZ say so, we better listen!!!
Too cute and RIGHT!!!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Art Blog: Happy Camper!

OK. I want to preface this post by saying I do not need an INTERVENTION. I am going through one of my weird, mind game sessions with myself. Luckily, I am old enough and wise enough to know this too shall pass. Also, I realize there is not a lot of REALITY going on during the ping/pong tournament being played in my mind. In fact with almost every thought, I have some kind of wise, well grounded come back to counter my paranoid alter ego’s rants.

We have all experienced this kind of thing. If you haven’t, you are very lucky. As I move along to make SOMETHING, ANYTHING, happen in my life, I realized this is a very hard thing to do when you are feeling dumpy in the first place. After expending all kinds of energy trying this approach and then that approach, then feeling like the world is standing still, I feel my spirit sinking lower and lower. As Joni Mitchell says in one of her songs “nothins any good, nothins any good!”. I hear her voice in my mind right now, but SHEREE snaps back quickly “Yes, there are GOOD things and they WILL appear!”

I just can’t get over how my life seems to be stuck at some kind of bizarre stand still. This moment could be an illustration in the dictionary under the word INERTIA. The lack of future direction creates a disheartening moment for someone as sensitive as I am and so eager to run in the fast lane. It is like a vicious circle. I want things to change, but the more they don’t, the more I don’t want to move to make things happen.

Does anybody understand what I mean?

For example, I look around me right now. I have so much work to do. I have art in my studio waiting to be worked. I have loads of prospectus for shows to enter. I have enough housework to call in the Merry Maids. My yard looks like a disaster area. Yet, I don’t want to do anything. I just want to sit and stare. This is not good.
I know if something encouraging happened, I would snap out of it immediately.

However, that isn’t the way it works. Like I have said many times before, I believe in making stuff happen. So I have to think of more bars to rattle and more boxes to shake. I have to make change happen no matter how long it takes or how crappy things seem to be. I can do this.
One thing I have decided to do is get more involved with the local art community. Gee. I have only lived here 17 years. Why not? LOL LOL LOL
Actually when I first moved here, I did become involved. Then I just got to a point nothing really seemed all that exciting and I drop the ball. It is now time to try again. I have to pick myself up from this blue funk. I have to have something to look forward to and of which to become a part.
I want to be a HAPPY CAMPER again!

After all! Just look at this. I could have been the model for the original HAPPY FACE! Tee hee hee
P.S. GO RAYS!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Art Blog: Becoming ME

Some of you know I am a true fan of the movie “Harold and Maude”. One of the attractions is because I have always seen myself as MAUDE for multiple reasons. If you haven’t seen the movie, rent it. It is bizarre. Ruth Gordon, the actress that played Maude is my true, alter ego. I loved her and the character. She was a spitfire. I love that about her. I love that about me.

This weekend I went out on a mini bike hike. I drove my car with my bike in tow downtown. I went to the Bike Bash at the park. As I wandered with my bike through the booths, I watched as people snickered at me and my bike. My “Violet” as I call her is a Schwinn Stingray adorned (by me) with a purple leopard seats, handmade light/lock covers, and tinsel tassels hanging from the high handlebars. I kept getting compliments and thumbs up about my bike. That was very awesome considering these people were bicycle aficionados. However, there were other people in the crowd that would look at the bike and then at me and make these kind of raised eyebrows look. Yeah, Shut up!! Some think I am too OLD to be the way I am. That is their problem. Not mine.

After the bike festival, I rode over to the Pier and settled down with a drink and a book while listening to the blues. The book was “Affirmations for Artists” by Eric Maisel. The first page that appeared as the book flipped open was a section on Artist’s Temperament:

When I read this passage, I just laughed. This paragraph is about ME. I have worked so hard to become ME in all my weird, eccentric glory. Shortly after reading this passage, I wandered over to a kiosk because I wanted a soda. The young girl who works there has seen me around for years. She has seen me dressed in my hot pink leggings, flower pot hats, and all my bizarre outfits. When I drove my bike right into her shop, she started laughing. She said “I would never expect you to have any other kind of bike!” That was such a compliment to me!

All this ties into a lot I have spoken about lately. It is OK to be me. If other people don’t like that or don’t feel a kinship, well, I can’t do anything about that! For example, the suggested affirmation which accompanied the passage written above is as follows:

Yep. I can be bizarre. I can be outspoken. I can be slightly off center. I am not the norm or of the usual ilk. However, I see this as a GOOD thing and I am harmless. I am just being me and I am proud I have been busy honing and fine tuning this persona.

This next week is going to be difficult. I am already exhausted. This World Series has got me going. The RAYS lost last night. I am so sad. However, my crazy lady self is looking at this whole Tampa Bay Rays World Series opportunity as being similar to the honor of being nominated for an Academy Award. They may not get to be the world champs, but they are in the WORLD SERIES! We must think positive. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. I still think it is awesome they made it this far! So tonight, the World Series is being played out 5 miles from my house. I am trying to wave positive energy to the east of my house. Go Rays!!
(Sorry Detroit Tigers. You know you have my true heart of hearts, but I am in St. Pete territory now. I gotta do what I gotta do!!!)

After all, this is all part of becoming ME.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Art Blog: To POST or not to POST

“To post or not to post, this is the question!”

Ok kids, gather around. Sheree is sitting here waiting for you. Please form a half circle around me. I want to tell you a story. Yes. I even say this to college kids. They get it. I am not patronizing. I just create a routine. “Storytime” is just a silly, but fun way to tell students it is time to learn about art history, being an artist, or learning about art life. If you know me, it fits my personality. After the first or second lecture, the students get it. In fact, they smile with delight. It is almost as enlightening as a library story time you might have experienced as a child. However, this is the grown up version.

So, come along. Scoot in. Make a half circle around Sheree. I have a story to tell.

Ok. It is 2008. We are in the age of the internet and the World Wide Web. Just like George Orwell said………….Do you all know about George Orwell? His book, 1984? Well anyway, our privacy or lack thereof is an issue. As you all know, I have been looking for a new job. I very willingly participate in internet activities. I have a website. I have a blog. I do YouTube videos. I have nothing to hide (or do I?)

A few weeks ago, I noticed a coincidence. I looked at one of my blog widgets and thought (very innocently) “Oh, that is in the same location I just applied for a job.” There was no further thought on the issue. Then a day or two later, I noticed the same thing again. Different place, but same coincidence. I started to see a pattern. I did a little research via my widget database and I found out that people are reading. I am not sure who. I am not sure why. I do know those people live in the exact same towns as the jobs for which I have applied. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

OK. OK. There is nothing wrong with that. So employers do their research. This is a good thing. However in my case, it makes me wonder. If you are a reader of this blog, you know I am honest. You know I am blunt. I say nothing that is that offensive, but there are moments I say things that SOME people might think is not politically correct or at least, palatable. To be perfectly honest I must say what I want. I even debated myself when I chose to put up my OBAMA logo. I thought, "Ooooh Sheree. Some people won't like that!" Then I thought again. I realized if somebody doesn't like me because I support Obama, I don't care. LOL That is why it is up there in all its glory!

I am not so outrageous. The only thing that makes me worry a bit is if someone takes me out of context. If they don’t take time to read a number of posts so they can get a true reading; this is very troublesome. If you want to learn about me, take the time to see the WHOLE picture. If someone just reads one post and thinks that represents everything I stand for, I don’t want to work for them anyway. Yet there is this little voice inside me that says, “Stop! Stop it all! Don’t say anything! You want that job, don’t you?”

Yes. I want a new job, but not at the cost of my integrity or beliefs or what I stand for as an artist. So……………………………….today’s assignment is this.

Answer this question:
Do you think I should continue to post my thoughts or not? Maybe I should just stop and be silent. Maybe I should blab away. So, should I post or not post? What do you think?

Click for detail view
“Watching” by Sheree Rensel
Click to for detail view
Just like "1984". People are watching.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Art Blog: Passages

We all go through this. If you haven’t already, you will. I am talking about wandering aimlessly in an unknown territory. I am experiencing a kind of “What will happen next?” time in my life. I went on a bike ride to clear my mind, think about art and life, and get a bit of exercise. It was such a productive day. I did some really good work. I learned a lot.

I was very lucky in that a blues guitarist/singer was playing at the Pier. I sat and listened. It reminded me so much of the music I heard at Alvin’s in Detroit years ago. I think that was one of the happiest (or at least) most creative times in my life. For a moment, I thought about how our past and present are linked by this peculiar, invisible thread. I can still feel my feet sliding on the dance floor at Alvin’s. It was a slinky, bluesy rhythm that propelled me into an artsy, bohemian psychic dream. I was in “Sheree’s Artist World” back then. I like being there. I wish I could stay in that state of mind always. I was back there today. I loved it.

During the bike hike and impromptu concert, everything seemed to fit together like a perfect puzzle. I was out in the sunshine. I had my wonderful “Violet” bike. People looked at me, giggled, and smirked. This is just fine. I am the weird (oldish) lady who doesn’t act her age. They look and either snicker or give me the thumbs up. When that happens, I am reminded that life is good.
So I am going through this passage. I am not going to tell you how awful it is or express my angst. No. Today, I realized this is going to be remembered as a very, very great time in my life. I see how things are the way they are supposed to be. I am at a turning point. I am at a crossroad. I have no idea which direction the Universe will lead me. This is freaking me out. However, I just have to let my shoulders down and relax. The Universe has never let me down. I have to just sit back and wait for the answers to appear. In the meantime, I recorded this video for you. I hope you appreciate my attempt to express these thoughts with visuals and sound.
I just wonder what will happen next. I can’t wait to find out.
Ohhhhh, the suspense!

This is a video of my ramblings today and a wonderful song performed by blues man, STERLING MAGEE aka Mr. Satan.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Art Blog: Finding Myself

Busy, busy, busy. I have gotten some stuff together for my new "Red" series. Luckily, I have a bunch of 8” X 10” gallery wrapped canvases that will be great for this new experiment.

Meanwhile, I look over my shoulder at my “Treasure Maps”. They are going nowhere fast. So I have been thinking about them for the last 24 hours. I was wondering what the purpose of this series is and why am I fixed on this idea for new paintings. After mulling it around in the back of my mind, it dawned on me. I am in such a strange PLACE mentally and emotionally right now, I think I am trying to find myself. I am trying to find the paths that I will take for the rest of my life. That gave me the idea to find where I am right now! LOL LOL

I went on Google Earth and found my house. I took the original photo and experimented with the map image. This is a simple jumping off point. It is kind of interesting. I am looking at the images and wondering how I can use these.

I am taking some time today to get out and about. I am going to the Bike Bash at the park and then I will ride over to the Pier to listen to some Blues music. While relaxing today, I am sure my maps will be cooking in my “brain oven”.
Happy Sunday!

This is where I live. “1300”

“1300 Red”

“1300 Yellow”

“1300 Blue”

Friday, October 17, 2008

Art Blog: Tenacious ARTIST

No matter how much I sulk; no matter how much I kick the dirt; no matter how much I feel bewildered; I am always tenacious. ALWAYS. I suppose that is why I have lasted so long!! LOL LOL
It is Friday afternoon. I am planning my ART weekend. It is time to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get to work. All this teaching and applying for jobs is making Sheree a very dull and unhappy girl. So now it is time to get on with my real life! I still have my “Treasure Maps” sitting out there waiting for me. I have been thinking about them for weeks.

This reminds me of something a kid said to me this week at school. One of my autistic students was pacing and pacing for nearly the entire art period. I kept telling him to get to work. I told him to produce SOMETHING. I have coddled and comforted him enough. It was time for him to fly on his own. I knew this. He knew this. A few minutes before the end of class, he shuffled up next to me and presented a clay worm about 5 inches long with two polka dot eyes. I said “Oh come on now “A”, you mean to tell me that it took you 45 minutes to create this????????????” He had this cockeyed smirk on his face and responded in his low, dry, unemotional voice, “Ms. Rensel, this didn’t take 45 minutes to make. I made it in 5 minutes. It took me 40 minutes to think of the idea!!!!”

OH MY GOSH!!! I laughed so hard. I can relate. As I bellowed a full laugh, I even got a little smile out of him which is a really great accomplishment if you know what it is like working with autistic students. BRAVO!!!
Anyway, I want to work on my “Treasure Maps”. Then there are other things to tend to as well. I have been procrastinating finishing my mirror mural door. This is because I didn’t have any mirror glass to finish it. Well, a neighbor had a garage sale this past weekend. Lo and behold I saw two full length mirrors in his front yard. I pulled my car up to the curb and said “Hey Tony, what do you want for those mirrors?” He came up and said “You can have them free!” Is that sweet or what? I offered him $5. He refused. I gave him $2 and hauled them to my studio. So they are waiting to be shattered and placed into the mosaic.

Another thing that I want to start this weekend is my “RED” series. As some of you might know, I have a piece called “Blue”. Well, I thought of doing some small works that are all about RED. I have no idea where this idea will go. However, that is why we do this stuff, right? TENACIOUS is good.

I don’t know what will happen. I am a bit curious myself.
I wonder what will come of this “red thing”?
We will see!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Art Blog: Losing FAITH

I wrote this post last night and I hesitated putting it up. I have got to get my head screwed back on right. I am so off track spiritually and emotionally. Working, applying for new jobs, and trying to get back up to speed with all my artist's work is not only making me crazy, I feel as if I am in a permanent bad mood. The catalyst for this post started with my daily horoscope:

Ambitious Aggression
Virgo Daily Horoscope
Your ambitious drive today may lead you to act aggressively as you pursue your goals. You may feel like being forceful, but remember that there is only so much in your power. We can control our own actions and reactions, but we cannot control those of others. We can take steps toward achieving our goals, but we cannot control the outcome. When we remember that we co-create our lives with the universe, we realize that we must work with energy that has already been set in motion.

Oh and then I got this WORD OF THE DAY:
otiose \OH-shee-ohs; OH-tee-\, adjective:
1 : producing no useful result : futile 2 : being at leisure : idle 3 : lacking use or effect : functionless

HA!!!! What timing!!! If I apply this word to my life like the nuns encouraged me to do, I could make up this sentence:
Sheree’s otiose attempts at applying for a new job are laughable.
Gosh, I just have to stop this mind pollution!!

Literally since I was five years old, I have viewed myself as one who held the potential for greatness and assured promise. I have no idea why I came to that conclusion as a kindergartener who was the eldest child of two alcoholics. I guess watching them with my baby eyes; I thought bigger and better thoughts. Who knows?
Anyway, I was talking to a dear friend yesterday and telling her how I have applied for six jobs in the past six weeks. The response has been a deafening SILENCE. At this point, I almost look forward to a rejection letter because it would confirm I am alive!
This should not be a big deal. Yes, Yes, Yes, I know. It might take a year or two or three to get my dream job. I mean, I might have to apply to 25, 50, or 100 jobs before I get a response. Therefore, I just have to tell SHEREE to toughen up, girl!!!!

The scariest part is for the very first time in my life, I have felt the futility of it all. I have had thoughts that my dream job will never materialize. Ever. Maybe my current job is a “life sentence”. Oh stop it Sheree! Stop it!! This is my biggest problem at this moment. I am losing faith.
This is a very, terrible dilemma. I mean if you lose faith, hope, and the enthusiasm for all the tremendous, Universal possibilities, what is left? I told my friend my spirit feels like I am covered in a blanket soaked in mud. I can feel the soggy weight pulling down my spirit. Usually, I am not like this. I have always been buoyant and full of hope. I know for sure my life transitions never reflected normal paths. I have always had things work out in positive ways that I cannot explain. I have always attributed this to my positive energy and the ways of the UNIVERSE. However, right now, this minute, I feel like I have lost this attention and deliberation in my life. There is this little part of me that says my turn is up. This little, quiet voice in the back of my mind is feeding me terrible thoughts. It is continual. It is frightening. It is sad. NO NO NO!!! I haven’t even started to show my true colors! In fact, I am better equipped now to do so much good work. I have so much knowledge and experience. Please don’t leave me by the side of the road. Please don’t!
My inner psyche is yelling, screaming, and trying to fight the negativity. Globs of mud are flying as I flail my arms. I can do this, just give me the chance. Please!

I am a kick ass girl. I always have been. For some reason, I am down and out right now. I just want to say “UNCLE”. I have been derailed. Due to the lack of notice from my job applications a whole stream of new condemnations have come to the forefront of my mind. My friend told me to stop it. Stop this negative train of thought. I so, so, so agree. I know better. However, when you spend hours upon hours, days upon days, and weeks upon weeks, months upon months trying to change your life, send those efforts off, and get absolutely no response, the emotional pain is more than excruciating. It is really hard to maintain any kind of faith or trust in the Universe. This state of panic is huge for me. I have to BELIEVE. I just have to. Otherwise, forget about it.
Come on Sheree. Pick yourself up and move on. Geesh!! Just do it now!

"Found Faith" by Sheree Rensel
Click pic for detail view
The five year old in you is shaking her head in amazement. Get it together for her sake!
Don’t let her down!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This has been such a wonderful discussion. I am so glad I got so many interesting comments. For this finale, I wanted to say my last words on this issue by bringing the dialog to the forefront. Therefore, I have included the comments submitted as a jumping point. I have included comment excerpts and responded to them. Thank you all for reading and putting in your 2 cents. This was a great dialog. I really appreciate it! :-)

Brazen said:
Some people don't buy into the notion, that humans are purely creative forms of energy. But if one does buy into that philosophy- than the ones that gain recognition/fame/ and money- are the ones that created it for themselves.

I think you are absolutely correct. I especially like the phrase “created it for themselves”. This has been my major problem. I don’t want to point fingers because my life choices and temperament have made it difficult for me to CREATE the art fame/fortune outcome. Also, I agree. The energy we emit transforms into the product of our endeavors.

Dryadart(Deb) said:
I think some people are drawn to fame, and some of us are not...

This could be the topic of another series. What is fame anyway? The 21st century definition would hold something in reference to money, paparazzi, constant ridicule or adulation, and invasion of privacy. That is what it has come to mean for celebrities, anyway. I don’t think art celebrity is quite the same. However, I sure don’t want to be bashed and scrutinized the way someone like Damien Hirst has been. Do you?

Self Taught Artist said:
sometimes the hype seems more important than the person or the art in our society. whoever looks the strangest, acts the strangest or makes the strangest art is certainly going to get more attention

I have a very hard time dealing with the rationale of some art of note. I can’t help feeling like much of the notorious art is like a tongue-in-cheek joke. It is like a game of who can portray the weirdest subject matter, use the most asinine materials, or disgust the most people. Then wait for someone important to raise their hands and yell “WOW”! Some artists try to do the most bizarre things in hopes of being seen as cutting edge. However, when I see it I want to say “CUT the crap!”

Dryadart(Deb) said:
I think collectors create this value, and artists are "lucky" if they get chosen, but I don't think that necessarily validates their art...also many of said collectors buy art as an investment not for aesthetic reasons, so I pretty much rest that case!

Oh my gosh! Collectors play a huge role! This is why I titled this series the “Anointed”. They are the chosen ones. Validation can come in many forms. I think just getting an M.F.A. is a touch of grace. Then, understanding art as a commodity and running with that concept promotes your art fame cause. If you don’t do that, you get lost in the dust.

Brazen said:
I find these inquiries fascinating, so thank you for writing them.
There is an undercurrent of resentment in both posts, regarding the underdog that "never gets noticed in spite of equivalent or greater skill/ sincerity."
Perhaps there are more questions than answers here. But you must be given a Brazen Gold Star for making me think. Bravo

It is my pleasure to write these things. There is not an “undercurrent” of resentment here. Oh gosh, no. I am surfing high on a wave of resentment. However, I do not resent the system. I don’t resent the art world. I just resent the way I feel right now. As for making you think, that is very cool. I know you like to think (too much) some times. I am like that too! P.S. Where is my “Gold Star”? LOL

Eva said:
Whoa, you are hitting some nerves here.

Thank you so much for this HUGE compliment. I am glad I am hitting nerves. It makes me feel like all this writing has a purpose after all!

Jafabrit said:
I would rather work as a teacher if I had to support my art and maintain my freedom to create what I want.

This reminded me of a poll I did last year. I was trying to research the lifestyles of “self supporting artists”. I got some feedback from a number of full time, self supporting artists. There was not one who actually lived off their salary from sales alone. Most artists either did workshops (teaching) or some kind of side job, had an inheritance, or had a spouse. Those that did live off their art made a salary that was on or near the poverty line. In other words, many who say they support themselves stretch the truth OR they live a very meager lifestyle.

Dryadart(Deb) said:
think we will probs not solve this issue here... but rant away!!

I didn’t think this was a rant at all. I was just making observations. I was just talking about what was on my mind. I didn’t complain or point fingers. Like I said in Part 5, I see any negatives as my own problem. I wasn’t bitching about anybody or anything else.

Gayle said:
The typical definition of artistic success, defined as achieving fame and making money off your art, doesn't account for those artists who achieve neither.
It's a never ending journey, not a destination.

A-Ha! “Typical definition” using whose dictionary? I believe this definition of success being represented via fame and money is not typical (or realistic) or if it is, this is a new phenomenon. Even as late as 1960, the idea of artists becoming rich and famous wasn’t the motivator at all. In fact if it wasn’t for Peggy Guggenheim, even Jackson Pollock could have applied for food stamps.
You are right it IS a destination! I certainly agree with you 100%!!

Jafabrit said:
The ingredients for art success.
luck, being in the right place at the right time, your style of work becomes popular, you kiss ass, you sell your soul to the devil, you create shocking shit and get noticed, you spend 90% of you time wearing a sales hat, you have the gift of the gab and could sell the Brooklyn bridge if needed, you create what the public wants.


Jafabrit said:
What I will say about consistency is that while it seems I jump from one genre to another there is actually consistency in the sense that all of my work represents facets of how I feel and about life and have ONE voice, mine.
Is that not the same for you?

Yes, it is exactly the same for me. It is ALL MY STUFF!! Tee hee

Hans (anonymous with no link) said:
I just love reading your column you are a very good artist in my book and I know nothing about art!! Just wanted you to know you’re a pretty cool person!!
Hans in Bradenton

I have a fan!! I have a fan!! LOL LOL This is such a great comment for which to end this post. Thank you HANS!!!

“True” by Sheree Rensel
If I can say one thing about myself, my art, and my writing, it is TRUE to me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Art Blog: The ANOINTED Part 5

When I was seventeen years old, I started my first semester in art school. I started off my “art life” wanting to be an illustrator (I thought). I can remember sitting in one of my classes and the professor was giving back our assignments. He handed me my drawing and I noticed a long note on the back written in red marker. Also, there were arrows and circles all over the face of the drawing. I could feel the heat in my face rise. I read the block of text. It was a negative verbal critique. The one thing I remember about the note is he started almost every sentence with “The client would want…..” Mortified, I sat there and nearly started crying. Of course, I was upset because he trashed my work with his words, but also I was livid he had ruined my drawing with his frigin red marker! With my jaw jutting out and eyes of hot coals, I looked at him and thought “Client? Client? SCREW THIS!!”
Obviously, that was many years ago. Yet, my mindset hasn’t really changed after all these years. I wanted to make art for me back then and now. This is a very heroic aspiration, but not very wise if you want to be successful by societal standards. Being a successful artist requires many, many attributes. Being creative or having art skills is just one component of the successful artist recipe.

This is the point of this post. Being a successful artist is up for personal interpretation. I truly believe I am very successful by my own standards. Twenty years ago, I can remember living in a ghetto apartment with cockroaches and mice. After trying to use the ATM and being told I had “insufficient funds” for any type of withdrawal, I would actually go house to house asking the residents if they had a used can of latex paint in their garage and if so, could I have it. I would sit dreaming of the day, I could have a nice place to live, have enough money in the bank to buy any kind of paint I wanted, and make the kind of art that makes me happy. I have all that now. So I think I am very successful. However, I am not successful if I am measured by the market value of my work or celebrated artist fame markers.

I do not blame anyone for my lack of “art market” success. I believe if you point your finger at others, you have to notice that three of your fingers are pointed back at you! I have to take full responsibility for the status of my art career. My own actions have created much of the status quo. I never gathered many of the ingredients of the successful artist recipe. Oh, I am very creative and skilled, but that isn’t enough. Like I mentioned before, being a successful artist is an aggregate of many traits and attributes. I don’t have many of them or if I do, I have never honed those skills.
For example:

Realism: I have never wanted to go with the flow. Embracing the reality of art marketing has never been my thing. I am too idealistic. I have never cared what the client wants. I don’t care what sells. I have never listened or taken advice from the gallerists. I don’t care about the trends.

Enthusiasm and Drive: Oh, I have been enthusiastic and driven by my own art. However, I have not been enthusiastic about marketing or selling or getting myself out there. I have shown my work in many exhibitions, but I never spent the time or energy required to get into that fantastic gallery. It wasn’t that important to me. I guess I don’t want it enough.

Consistency: This is a huge error on my part. I have to admit I am so flawed in this area. My art work habits and tendency to jump from one style/genre to another appears flighty and undecided. However, this goes back to my desire to do what I want. This attitude does not help an art career. My bad.

Sociability: This is one trait that is nearly nonexistent in my bag of art tricks. I have more fingers than times I use the telephone in a year. I shut myself in and don’t talk to anyone. I hate going to openings because “small talk” bores me to tears. I don’t collect art patrons with a smile. I have never been able to do this and it is to my detriment.

Smooze factor: Likewise, I don’t know how to smooze. For the past few months, I have realized how I let opportunities slip through my fingers. I have been in situations that were the perfect set up to sell my art or “talk the talk” to make contacts. I didn’t. I let it go. I just didn’t have it in me.

So I guess this is my true confession. If I am not successful by art world standards the fault lies within me in many ways. I am sure there are many other ingredients for art success. Can you think of more? If so, leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

OMG! Norman Rockwell? I remember when I was in high school, I wanted to be him!
Obviously, I changed my mind! LOL LOL
There will be one more post in this series.
I want to address all the comments left about this topic.
P.S. Thanks for READING!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Art Blog: The ANOINTED Part 4

So what is a SUCCESSFUL artist? Ha! This is such a loaded question. It is nearly as potent as asking “What is ART?” Oh my goodness, if you ask that question, a brawl might occur!
I had a thought. I was wondering if there is such a thing as “Plumber stardom” or “Mailman stardom”. Feeling the tongue in my cheek, I admit this is just a way of making a point. I think the field of art is associated with entertainment. Thus, we have this art star, celebrity thing for which to expect. However the art world is really a microcosm of society. Art is a profession. There are many, many professions. This is why I ask are there stars in the area of electricians or garbage haulers? Do they have magazines that tout the newest, emerging stars in their field?

Of course, I am being facetious. However, I am serious in a way. What is a successful artist? What does that look like? I was recently dissed (unintentionally so, I think) by another artist who hawks her wares on YouTube. Besides doing YouTube “classes”, she also designs template kits to sell so anybody can reproduce her paintings. I smile and love her entrepreneurial spirit. Yet in the midst of a email tit-for-tat, she said something like “Yes Sheree, I don’t want to be like you and have to teach, I want to be a successful artist who can live off the proceeds of my work!”.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm……… I find that she sees things this way so interesting. She does YouTube classes and sells paint-by-number templates, yet she believes I am not successful because I teach? Even art stars do workshops or spend their time as a marketing managers! They have to hone their smooze skills, make telephone calls, and take meetings. They aren't in their studio all day just raking in the greenbacks! I teach INTENTIONALLY so I don’t have to make “how to” templates and I can make the kind of art I want to make sans client input! I looked at the email, thought of all I have done and accomplished with my art, thought about where she is at in her “art life” and just bellowed “Well La Dee DA!!!”
Double hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………

I know what my interpretation of a successful artist is. I will get to that in my next post. Until then, what are your thoughts? Tell me, pleeze!

This isn’t the exact ad, but did any of you do the “copy this dog” picture back in the day? I remember that ad for an art school. I think I tried copying that dog when I was about nine or ten years old. Back then, I thought I did a darn good job too!! LOL LOL LOL

Friday, October 3, 2008

Art Blog: Anointed Part 3 - SIDE NOTE

Right after posting my Anointed Part 3, I had a thought. Speaking of fame and fortune, we cannot forget a bit of luck. I thought about Tina Fey, the comedienne/actress. Now talk about luck. Oh she is good. She has the talent and ability for sure! However, isn't it such a stroke of luck that Sarah Palin comes along right now while Tina looks just like her. Not only that, Fey has the skills to imitate Palin in a way as to make you take a second look. She even has her quirky, obnoxious personality characteristics down pat. For as long as Palin is around, Fey will be raking in the moolah!
Good for her!! :-)

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm..............

Art Blog: The ANOINTED Part 3

This is “breaking news” of sorts. I had been writing my “The ANOINTED Part 3” post. Then I got an email. It was a Google alert about one of my websites. This one, single email made me rethink a whole lot of things.
I am the type of person, I just don’t care about many things. Some issues that are so important to others make absolutely no difference to me. One of these non-concerns revolves around my art and copyright. I don’t give a flying flip if you borrow or steal my images. I really don’t. I have always figured I can make more. If you want it, it is yours. THEN, I got the email alert today. The email told me that one of my images was used on a particular blog. I went to the site and I was beside myself. I think I went into shock. It was a political blog. It touts itself as “extreme”. There in front of my eyes was the daily post with one of my photos on the page in all its glory. You would think I would be honored. I couldn’t even read at that moment. I was that upset. The reason for my discomfort and trauma was because the post was about Sarah Palin. Oh NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

Seriously, I couldn’t muster the cognitive strength to read the words associated with my photo. All I knew is that I didn’t want any part of me to be associated in any way with HER. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!

Quickly, I wrote the blogger. I reminded him he had used my photo. I told him to take it down. Take it down NOW. If he didn’t, I told him I would sue. I meant it too. I don’t care who uses my creativity. However, today I learned I have a limit. I just can’t approve that kind of association. Gosh NO! I checked back on the blog an hour later. The post was gone. I feel bad for the blogger. I don't mean to cause him more work. However, I just cannot stand the idea of anything I do or think to be associated with that moose lady.

So I will get back to my anointed posts tomorrow. However, maybe this is another kind of "anointed" lesson. Fame via notoriety, notice, and popular culture has a price. Nothing in life is free. I was reminded today that I am not willing to pay the price if I don’t believe in the product.

So today, this photo does not represent surrender in any kind of war. It represents surrender to all the awful, crazy things we have all endured during the past 8 years. I surrender! I surrender, wave the white flag, and wait for the new, positive changes that are there for all of us. We just have to wave the flag of CHANGE now!

In regard to my art and creations, I am very generous. I am very willing to share. However, I will not surrender my ideas without considering my values and the price I need to pay for anything. NOPE!

Oh gee. Can you tell I am cheering for Obama/Biden? Opps!!! Sorry for being so obvious! :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Art Blog: The ANOINTED Part 2

Art stardom continued. I am going to keep writing about this until I need to stop. I am holding off responding to comments until I finish writing and hear from you all. What do you think about art fame, fortune, and success?
So, let’s think hypothetically.

Scenario 1: Using this artist as a simple example, let’s imagine the various and potential outcomes of the Basquiat/Warhol relationship. Even though it was a scene in a movie, I believe some similar scenario actually happened in real life. Basquait, a street artist runs into Warhol and presents some small drawings to the master. Warhol sums up the work and the person. He invites Basquiat into his world. What if? What if? What if Warhol had thrown the work on the floor and told Jean-Michel to take a frigin hike? His art would be the same. He was still Basquiat. However, that endorsement would have been nonexistent. If that would have happened would we be able to look up Basquiat’s bio and read of his artistic acclaim on Google? Would Basquiat’s portfolio look the same had he been rejected by the NY art elite? Would he be more or less creative?

Scenario 2: There is an artistic master working in Kansas or Missouri or Wyoming. S/he works alone. S/he is not social. The priority is creating art. S/he works for years, but does not hone her connections. Her/his email list is nonexistent. The work is held hostage in the studio. It is outstanding. Yet, s/he ages and dies. The work is given to relatives and some of it is given to others who put it in their attic. S/he was not a successful artist or was h/she?

Scenario 3: It is all about the fame and fortune. Internationally renowned artist, Damien Hirst had the passion, drive, and balls to create dead animal art that was unusual, groundbreaking, and the talk of collector Charles Saatchi and the international art world. From the get go, he has worked the system to overtake Jasper Johns with a record breaking sale at Sotheby’s. For him, it is all about the buck, fame, and fortune. He is such an iconic artist, isn’t he?????? Wouldn’t you love to be him?
So what do YOU think?

I even wonder if Basquiat would be alive today had he never met Warhol.
I just wonder.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Art Blog: The ANOINTED Part 1

Around 7pm each night, I settle down to watch TV for a while. I turn on TMZ and watch the newest paparazzi attacks aimed at Hollywood celebrities. As I sit and watch the defensive hands of celebrities’ wave in front of the camera in fake disgust, I often wonder why they have been “anointed”. I mean, come on now. Some are truly deserving of their fame, but in many cases my eyebrows raise to symbolize my wonder. Why them? I think of all of their money and notoriety. I think of what got them to this place. I wonder how it would be if such adulation was poured over those in other facets of life, how the world would be different. Can you imagine the paparazzi stalking the scientist working on the newest research for cancer or the inventor down the block working in h/her garage on a truly fuel efficient vehicle or a myriad of other really important issues? Can you imagine?

I am getting off track here. My original thesis for this post was about art stars and celebrity. Hollywood celebrity and art stars are very different in some ways. Most art stars don’t make nearly as much money as movie/pop/TV stars. However, the process and outcome are the same and just as puzzling. How many times have you looked at the cover of any major art magazine and wondered why that artist or artist’s work was chosen? Is it really because their work is so “good” and earth shaking? Is it because the Gods came down from on high and anointed them with this grand prize of notoriety? Did they eat Lucky Charms for breakfast? What?
It is very, very, very complicated. Even as I watch art videos on YouTube, I realize how I am so distant from the “art world”. I stand outside the pet shop looking in and wonder “How much is that doggie in the window.” One recent video I watched had a comment from a viewer that mentioned nobody in the video was looking at the art at the opening. The attendees were facing each other talking. I commented back saying something like “Art openings are not for looking at art!” This is sad but true. Many of you know and understand what I mean.
So I just wonder why most artists make their work throughout their lives and then die. While other artists make their work and become one of the CHOSEN. Why?
I think I know why. I just want to wait and see what your take is on this issue. Tell me what you think.