Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Blog: The art world OUTSIDER

I spent 45 minutes writing a post this morning. It was a response to something that happened this morning in regards to my art “career”. After writing, I looked at it and then threw it in the trash. I just felt it would serve no positive purpose to sound like a curmudgeon. I don’t want to bitch and moan or display a story that reeks of sour grapes. I just don’t want to think or go in that direction here. Nor do I want to sound like Pollyanna and tell how wonderful being an artist is. Oh yes, it is such a wonderful, delightful privilege. I am rejoicing with ever paint stroke (NOT). See, this is why I threw the post away. My sarcasm is showing. Sorry. It is gone now. I spared you all!

So many things came to mind today. I wanted to post an entry and I have tried to narrow down a topic. However, I am hoping right now, this very second, my typing fingers are going to tap a path to some kind of thesis. My mind is whirling like a mental patient running from the orderly. Eventually, I will fall into a submissive heap.

It all started about 48 hours ago. I was reading art blogs. I mean the art (STAR) blogs. Somewhere I read that the art world is collapsing. Oh, I think that was Nancy S. Baker’s “Amuse Bouche” entry at Tire Shop. After reading, I felt bad for THEM. Not really.

I moved on and read much more. Since I am such a fan and love the work of James Kalm (Loren Munk), I read a few of his past articles in the Brooklyn Rail. One titled “The Ethics of Aesthetics”. kept my attention. I thought it was interesting while being very humorous. I had to laugh because after reading this I wondered why I bothered to keep reading. After all, I am not part of that society. I am not even close to a place in which any of this information is really relevant to me or my art life. Yet, I still peeked in like a voyeur.

I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop. I felt like I was a party crasher. So what! I am not a part of their world but I am going to sneak into the party. Shhhhhhh. I am small. Maybe nobody will notice. I ventured on to read a post by Sharon Butler. In the post titled “me-me-me-careerism-vs-new-generosity”, she speaks about how the economic crisis will force a shift in the art world zeitgeist. To sum it up, she predicts there will be a lot less ME and a lot more US when it comes to art production. It was at this point I felt vindicated. At least, I didn’t feel like such an alien invader. I too have suggested this thought in a number of my posts. Like I have said, the pendulum swings. It will never stop.

OK. So it is time to wrangle in this flying fish of a post. As I hold on to the rod and lean forward to bring in the catch, I ask why you do what you do if you aren’t a part of the “real” art world. I ask myself this all the time. Why do I bother? My work isn’t in a gallery that will be reviewed or critiqued by a world class critic or even one of the art star bloggers. The downfall of the art world has no effect on me at all. I am not a player. I am not a “me, me, me careerism” kind of art girl and my art “generosity” is not going to be a new thing at all. My decades of art work have been far more about giving than receiving. I guess I am in style now.
The swinging pendulum doesn’t matter to me at all. So what is the point? Why the hell do I do all this stuff anyway?

"Outside looking in."
I know you relate.
Hey, there are more of us out here than there are in there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Art Blog: Authentic Self

I can feel it coming. I can actually feel it. I have been working on this for so long. I have planted the seeds and nurtured it for decades. I smile, look down at the earthy soil, and know for sure it is about to sprout.

I have always had this weird fascination with elder, female artists. If you read this blog, you already know I am a total Ruth Gordon fan. She is the actress who played Maude in my favorite movie ”Harold and Maude”.

In the art world, I have always been fascinated with Agnes Martin. She is gone now, but I admired her over the last twenty years of her life. She was a brilliant light.

Then there is Clyde Connell. I have a few videos in which she speaks. There is something about her demeanor and words that always sends me into a heavenly bliss. She is so right on despite the odds. I loved her. I love her still.

Recently, I discovered Maria Lassnig . She was featured in the January 2009 issue of Art in America. Oh shit! I read the article and wished she had been my mother or at least a neighbor. We could have gone to lunch and just talked. She is my newest hero.

You might wonder what all these women have in common and why I am so enamored. What is the common thread between all these mentors? It is simple. I want to realize my authentic self. I want to be the artist I am meant to become. They have shown me the way. They all have or had the BALLS to keep going and making their art. It didn’t matter to them what others said. Their age didn’t stop them. Their life experiences enhanced their art. I like them because they are my kind of people. They are the true celebrities of the world. They are the ones who just kept going and doing what they know they have to do. To me, that is a bird’s song. That is the reason for all this; for everything. That is true, true life. I know for sure, I am going to get to this place.
I know it.

Maria Lassnig, “You or Me”, 2005, Oil on Canvas
I love this painting. I get it! Oh, do I get it! How can you not love someone who paints with this much truth? Go Maria! I love you!

I forgot to mention the QUEEN of my elder mentors: Louise Bourgeois! In this simple, BRIEF, one minute film clip, she says exactly what I am thinking in this post! Thank you Louise!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Art Blog: Data

I mentioned my exhibition timeline yesterday. It is such a great help. I chart all the exhibitions I enter. I record entry date, works entered, notification date, delivery date, and exhibition date. I love being this anal. I suppose this is why I have been able to thrive and survive teaching too. I really love making charts and collecting data. Maybe in another life I was an actuary(?)

I had made an off the cuff remark in a recent post about looking at where I have shown my work. I think sending my work off to places is so fun and so ironic. I hate to travel. Yet, my work seems to love it. I wish it well on its journey. I kiss it goodbye and then, I give it hugs when it returns. That remark about wondering how many states I have shown my work was simply a passing comment. However, it started to weigh on me.

Simultaneous to that thought, I found an old map placemat my daughter used as a child. Immediately, I realized this was going to turn into another data chart. Today, I went through my exhibition record and put a star in every state I have shown my work. There were a whole lot of repeats. Obviously, I am very heavy with Michigan and Florida showings. Also, it seems I have a number of shows repeatedly in other eastern states. I only put one star for each state though.

I got my chart done and I was shocked. Look at it! I can’t believe how many states I haven’t shown in yet. It seems I have concentrated on the east side of our country. Is it because most exhibitions are there or do I get rejected more in the west?

This is so cool to see. I added my Mexico, Germany, and New Zealand travels. I was totally shocked to see I had never shown in Ohio?????? Oh come on now! I mean I lived in Detroit. No Ohio? It is also a shame I have never shown in places like Texas, New Mexico, or the northwest. So many U.S. states are without a star! Hmmmmmm.............

Westward HO!!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Art Blog: Subjectivity

I got a jolt of adrenaline, mixed with ice water this morning! Yesterday I got another rejection letter. Oh well. I got up early this morning with every intention of getting out in the studio and starting anew. As I tried to wake up, I got on the computer to read my emails. I looked over next to my computer at my “exhibition timeline” chart. I realized I had to update it to reflect my REJECTION. I opened the timeline file on my desktop and noticed I had omitted notification dates on a few shows entered. I went to put them in and realized one date had passed. I had never heard anything. I went to the website and they had the list of people who got into the show. My name was there! Whhhooo-hooooo! Then, I freaked out. Why didn’t I hear anything? Well, I looked in my email SPAM folder and there was the email sent three days ago! I looked at the shipping deadline and it is this coming Wednesday. YIKES!!!!!!

At that point, I was up and running. (ARTISTS PLEASE NOTE: Did you notice how I quickly forgot about the other exhibition from which I was rejected? I will speak more about this in a moment.) So I ran and got the piece that was accepted, found a box, frantically filled out more forms, gathered shipping supplies, and zoomed to the post office for a priority shipping. It took me about three hours to do all this, but at least that painting is flying to Illinois as you read this. Hooray for Sheree!

Now I will speak about the rejected pieces. I know I have mentioned this before in a post long ago. It must be an important memory because it is fresh in my mind always. One time I worked with this woman at an art center. I was telling her about an upcoming show and how I was so happy I got into it. She said “Sheree, you get into every show!”. I looked at her with a scrunched up face and said “NO I DON’T! It just seems that way because I enter so many shows!!!!!” I remembered this exchange again today. Those pieces that were rejected have been a few shows. Somebody liked them. Yet, this time the juror thought they sucked. Well at this moment, I think his judgment sucks, but that is water under the bridge. The Illinois juror liked my work. I want to think about that interpretation right now. All this is so subjective! Please remember that.

Sheree, are you listening?
The moral of the story is just to keep on doing what you do. Keep on entering shows and looking for opportunities. Like me, you will probably have more acceptances than rejection. Let us pray.

This is a perfect example of subjectivity. I am having a GREAT hair day. I have been trying to get my very fine, hay stalk, straight, bleach blond hair to do a kind of Japanese anime thing. I have been growing it out and trying to make random strands point in every direction. I did good today! Now I know for a fact, some people look at my hair and think BED HEAD or what in the hell is she thinking? However, I am doing this look intentionally because I like it! That is my opinion and I am sticking to it! LOL

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Art Blog: Artist Economic Stimulus

Today I finally got a response from one of the MANY college teaching jobs for which I have applied for in the past six months. Here is an excerpt:

“Thank you for submitting your application and materials for the position of Professor, Art….. Currently, the needs of the College for this position have changed and we have cancelled this position.”

LOL LOL LOL LOL Gee, I wonder why they canceled the position? LOL LOL LOL All I could think of is Gomer Pyle saying “SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!!” LOL LOL

This is no surprise at all. In fact, I found out this week that my current job is facing a 10% salary reduction. Holy ShhhhhhhMacaroni! What is a girl to do? It doesn’t matter to me. My day job gives me 1000+% more money than my art career. With a 10% pay cut, I will still be making at least 900% more than my art sales. LOL So it goes.

All this is such an example of synchronicity. Just yesterday while preparing a blog post, I was sitting here thinking about all this economic stuff and wondering what would happen if the government started up a “NEW AGE WPA”. If it did, would you apply? For the fun of it, I looked at photos of WPA art and wondered what would happen now. How would that program look? What kind of art projects would be assigned? OK, I will admit, I was bored and I just wanted to follow all of my zany thought patterns. Actually, it was fun thinking about it.

Then today, I came home, settled down, and watched the Kalm Report on YouTube. This video made me laugh. I thought it was such a great idea albeit tongue-in-cheek. Who would turn down an “Artists Economic Stimulus Grant”? Watch the video and you will see what I am talking about here. Tee Hee HEE

Money for Artists, James Kalm
Click the pic to go to the video

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Art Blog: What REALLY Matters

I am so happy right now. I feel like Sheree the Artist is doing quite well. This is a super, terrific feeling. Let me tell you more. I know this post will be an example of circumvention. My words will seem like I am going in circles until the end. That is fine. Please read on.

I bought this book at Barnes and Noble. I don’t need another book in my house. However, I couldn’t pass this one up. It is a book on the artist, Gustav Klimt. I have always loved his work. I have never been so interested in his figure work. It is his patterns and compositions that amaze me. This book is huge. It measures just a tad over 14” X 17”. It was only $19.99! I bought it because I realized I have never seen a Klimt original. I have never seen a Klimt close up. This book offered me a bird’s eye view of his paintings up close and BIG.

I got the book home and wondered where I would put it. For the moment, I decided on the coffee table (of course). I will get around to looking at it in a day or two. It has sat there for a few days and I have gazed at the cover. That’s it.

Yesterday a friend at work cornered me in the hall. She said “I need to talk to you.” I thought that was kind of weird. At least, I felt some kind of bizarre vibe going on. I looked at her, smiled, and said “Let’s go to my office.” This woman has been my dear friend for over 15 years. We have shared many good times. We got to my room and she looked at me with tears in her eyes, told me her husband has cancer, and the prognosis is not good. I could feel a jolt run through my body. I know her husband. I know her entire family. My head started spinning immediately. This woman married this man when she was a very, young woman. This has been her only serious relationship. She idolizes this man. I cannot relate to this. Shoot. Since I was 22 years old, do you know how many “relationships” I have had? (Oh that is getting way off task. I will have to report about this in another post!) I stood there looking at her with tears welling in my eyes. I couldn’t imagine what she is feeling right now.

My friend and I talked for an hour. The emotions ran the gamut. We both expressed sadness, desperation, contentment, peacefulness, and anger. We hugged and left for home. I drove home with an eager sense looking to express road rage. Luckily, I walked in the house innocent, unharmed, and I sat on my couch.

I have spoken to quite a few people about how when you get past 50 years old, it is common to hear of friends and loved ones becoming sick or dying. This is life. I have not assimilated this information yet. It is still shocking to me. As I sat on my couch trying to make sense of it all, I looked at the Klimt book sitting there unopened. I grabbed it and flipped it open. This is the page that appeared.

“Death and Life”, 1910, Gustav Klimt

I looked at the painting. I looked at it again. I remembered I have felt so very happy in the past month. I was honored to look at this wonderful painting. I was excited because I feel a kinship to Klimt’s creative pursuit. Then, I realized. This is all that really matters. In fact, that is the true purpose of life. It is going to end. In the meantime, it is important to make yourself happy via any means possible. For me, that means is being an ARTIST.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Art Blog: Sketchbook Project

Well, here it is! I wanted to make a webpage to show the pages of my sketchbook. That will take a while to set up the code. However, I just made this video to show the cover, inside cover, end page, and all 30 pages in between. The page below is my favorite! Click on the picture to see my video!

Click the pic to see the video about my Sketchbook Project 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Art Blog: DONE!

Finally. I am done. Well, I have a few tiny edge touch ups to do tonight, but this little booger will be shipped off tomorrow! Hallelujah! I am speaking about my sketchbook project.

OK. Here is the scoop. The ART HOUSE organized a sketchbook exhibition that will be touring around the U.S. They offered artists the chance to participate. You had to pay for the sketchbook. They send it to you. There is a theme. It is your job to fill it. Then you send it back for the show. Whooooooo! That was a mouthful!

The only glitch for me was the theme. “Everybody We Know”. Hmmmmmmmmmm. My very first thought was “I don’t know anybody. I don’t have many friends.” Then, I thought again. “I know a lot of different personalities in myself though!” So that is how I interpreted the theme. My sketchbook is called Everybody I know (Inside my head).

I proceeded to take photos or create photo montages that expressed all the hats I wear. The difference is all my personalities are expressed via my feet or shoes I wear. In the coming weeks, I am going to create a webpage of the entire sketchbook. Luckily, all my pages are digitally created. Therefore, I can recreate this book if I want to. At this moment, I don’t want to. LOL LOL It took far too much time and it was not easy at all. However, I am very proud of the end result. I love it.

Here are some sample pages:

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the webpage documenting my entire sketchbook. It will be coming in March! In the meantime, this version is off to Atlanta!
Hooray for that!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Art Blog: Confession

I have been thinking about this post for a long time. What I have to say is so complicated. My thoughts are a ramble of so many different issues. I am sure I will not be able to explain myself well in this one post.

I have been thinking a lot about personal responsibility. I feel that I am not the kind of artist I want to be because I have never worked to my potential. Yes, this is a long story. I won’t bore you. I just want to say it aloud because I need to hear it myself.

I think the last few posts encouraged me to come to this place. Even though I think my sugar cake LOVE paintings are cute and oh so marketable, I feel dirty. I look at them and other work I have done and think: “Sheree, you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing at all.” In fact, I feel like I have been living a lie for quite a few years now. I have been working small (and trite) to appease the market. Small works don’t cost much to ship. Small works aren’t difficult to store. Even the subject matter of my works is relatively simple (albeit nebulous to the person in a hurry). That hasn’t mattered to me because I just wanted to produce art. ANYTHING. Create something Sheree. However, I feel like I am not doing what I really want to do.

Today I watched another YouTube video. I watched the crowds. I looked at the gallery. I saw the work. I thought to myself: “Shame on you. SHAME on you!” I am not doing the kind of work I want and need to do. This is my own fault. This is where personal responsibility comes into play. I have been trying to fit into some kind of weird art marketing, internet, art for the masses bullshit. I can’t do this anymore. I have to figure out a way to create my true art. This is the kind of art that is inside me, but I think I have been too afraid to let it be born. Enough of this.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Art Blog: Death by ART O.D.

OH lordy lordy. Just shoot me now! I am so tired. I am sitting here nearly cross-eyed trying to stay awake. I have my Photoshop class tonight. I want to climb into bed and call it a day (and night). I can’t. I have to go.

Deadline-wise, I am on the home stretch. I had six deadlines in succession. I am done with FIVE! Thank goodness! I just sent the “sugar cake” love paintings to Arkansas. That is a relief. Now I have one more thing to get done.

I have been working on this sketchbook project. I have all the pages done. However, I did the entire sketchbook digitally. Now I have to cut and paste it all together and I will be finished. Then I am going to send it away too. I can’t even remember where that is going. Oh wait. I am sending it to Georgia. That is the first stop on the big sketchbook gallery tour of the Universe. (I am being facetious because I am tired.) So that will be mailed off by the end of the week. Obviously, I am not going to get that done tonight. So I will be working on that tomorrow night and into Wednesday night. Thursday too? Maybe. I hope not. I want to get that done and out of here. Say BYE BYE!

One thing I thought about this morning on my way to work at 6:15 in the frigin morning was I would love, love, love to work at this art pace all the time. However, I can’t, can’t, can’t because I would die, die, die! In fact, I am going to make a short YouTube video on the subject next week. I feel like I have been chasing my tail for the past month. Once I mail my sketchbook away and cross off #6 on my deadline sheet, I am going to sit back and take a few days to breathe again.
Then I will look for more deadlines.

Bye bye paintings! Have fun in Arkansas!
Send me a postcard, will you?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Art Blog: Psycho Artist

Don’t look! Don't LOOK! LOL LOL

Don’t look! LOL LOL Yes. I am in one of my all or nothing creativity modes. THIS IS NOT A STAGED PHOTO. I actually look like this right now. Scary, huh? I was working in my studio and I looked up in the mirror and shocked myself! I haven’t changed clothes, took a shower, or brushed my hair since Friday. I am in the ZONE. The creative zone!

When I said I liked deadlines the other day, I didn’t mention the craziness that goes on with these dates. This time I cut it too close. I have been crazy out of my mind working. I actually had moments when I thought, “I don’t know if I am going to make it this time!” I was having a very hard time coming to a point of resolution on the pieces I wanted to send.

Yesterday, I hated them both. However, it is so funny. I kept working and working, and working. Finally, I got to a point in which I am satisfied at least with the ones I want to send away. In fact, they make me smile!

After seeing the frightful sight of my image in the mirror, I was scurrying around the house prepping for shipping these little pieces. I noticed how my studio practices have spilled out into my living area. I have crap all over the place. Every brush I own is dirty. I have junk strewn all over my kitchen and other rooms too!

It is all good. I finally varnished the LOVE pieces which I am sending off for a show. I scheduled a FedEx pickup. I have to wait until they dry to pack them. Finally, I feel RELIEF.

I have one more deadline this week. I have it covered. About an hour ago, I decided to start to get the loose ends of that project finished. I started and then said “STOP!”. I need a timeout. There is a house to straighten up and a dinner to cook. It will get done in the next few days. I will be able to work on this until Thursday when I plan to ship that one out. In the meantime, take a look at my LOVE pieces. I love them. However, I don’t think the yellow one is truly resolved. It doesn’t matter. I am not submitting that one. These pieces were done for the fun of it. It is for an exhibition called the LOVE SHOW in Arkansas. I will add these pieces to my

In the meantime, I have to say: I am tired.




Talk to you soon about my last deadline. That is a humdinger!!! LOL

Thursday, February 5, 2009


If you are in the New York area on February 12, 2009, I invite you to attend this opening. I will not be there. I live over a thousand miles away. However, it is the thought that counts! LOL

“First Response”, Pen and Brush, New York, NY. Opening 2/12/09
Click to read press release.

Art Blog: FRANTIC Buzz

Buzz. Buzz. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This blog is getting spotty. I mean, I am not writing every day. I am so busy with all my deadlines, I have to choose. It is so bizarre. It seems that Valentine’s Day week is a big art deadline date. Why? I have no clue. All I know is I have been overwhelmed with things to get done by next week. I am doing very well, thank you. I have whittled down 6 deadlines into two more left. I have been working all week finishing stuff, prepping CDs, going to the post office, and worrying if I will make all the deadlines. I can say with confidence, I will.

Well, one of the shows bothers me a little. I have to get those paintings done in the next two days in order to ship them on time. I am woman. I am strong. I can do this!! LOL

Being a list maker, I have made a timeline I use to keep things straight. I have all the shows entered and what I entered. There are dates galore. I love looking at it when I am doing well. Here it is with some editorial comments on it.
I will survive and flourish! LOL LOL

I love making charts like this. I can SEE what is going on and what I need to do next. Go Sheree Go!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Art Blog: This is COOL!

Who would have thought? You know, I learn lessons every day. Thank GOD! As you all know, my artwork reflects my ADHD nature. I am just all over the place. I know it is best to have an identifiable style. I just can’t seem to get it together in that area. Anyway, one of my side ventures are my “ONLINE: Lost Souls and Lonely Hearts” series. I make them. I hardly even promote them because I am a painter. They are just there.

A few months ago, I saw this post for an online exhibition at the Caladan Gallery website. The show sounded really interesting. The title is “Creating Synthesis: Exploring Art and Technology”. I sat there and looked at the prospectus. I thought “My Lost Souls are about technology, but they are not my paintings. Hmmmmm”. Another reason I hesitated is because I saw they had a very specific format on the website to show the works in exhibitions. I didn’t really know if my Lost Souls would “read” well in an online exhibition. After thinking about it, I spit in the wind. What the hey! So I entered.

My work was accepted and the show is up now. It looks NICE!

Click the logo to check out the show!

They did a great job with my Lost Souls too. They look so perty. Also, I like the way they put my statement up at the top.
Lookin good!

Click the pic to see my page in the show.

So the moral of the story and what I learned is don’t ever second guess what you do. I made the “Lost Souls” as ART. I want people to see them. Now they have. Good day!