Saturday, May 30, 2009

Art Blog: Self Destruction

The other day, I watched Suze Orman talk about her action plan for 2009. I have listened to her financial advice for years. I don’t have any big money. My financial plans are demure to say the least. However, I have listened to her and made lists of things I should do with my paltry piggybank. Even though I don’t have millions, I knew I could do better. So I took my list and started working on it. As Suze spoke of actions we should take this year, I was so happy and proud. I have come a long way since last year. I have been taking care of business. Good for me!

I wish I could feel the same about the rest of my life! Right now, I am in one of my “gloom and doom” cycles. If you have never experienced clinical depression, you might not understand what I am about to write. However it is so real, energy sucking, and devastating, it almost defies a verbal explanation. This is familiar territory for me. I am thankful for this because I have been fighting the good fight to keep this malady in check my entire life. My genes are full of mental and emotion wackiness. I refuse to take meds because I don’t like having to be reliant on any kind of medication. I stopped seeking therapy a few years ago because I saw the fruitlessness of having a 20 something year old therapist tell me how I should run my life. No offense to the youngsters, but it is very hard for me to heed life advice from anyone who hasn’t lived much life yet.

So, I go it alone. I realized today maybe I need to make an action plan for Sheree’s mental and emotional health. Summer is here and I have tons of art work to do. However, it isn’t going to get done unless I work on making Sheree a happy camper again. Rather than recreate the wheel, I turned to Google and found this prepared list: 10 Easy Paths to Self Destruction I looked at this list and realized I have a LONG way to go. I giggled because this is the same feeling I had listening to Suze Orman two years ago! Right now, I am self destructive in certain ways. As I read down the list of self destruction, I have a few of the tips under control. GOOD! I am not doing as bad as I thought. However, I still have a lot to work on in coming months.

Whenever I get into this blue funk, I always ask “WHY” am I beating myself down? Lately, I have learned to forget about asking why. That isn’t the issue. The real question should be “How can I turn this around?” So I am going to do just that. I know how because I have done it many, many times before. The driving force when I spiral down is APATHY. So the first step in climbing the mountain to find my true self again is to reteach myself to care.

I have my list. I have to start working on it. NOW!

“True” by Sheree Rensel
Acrylic on wood panel
Click pic to enlarge

Monday, May 25, 2009

Art Blog: ART Workaholic

Holiday? What holiday?

I am being facetious. I am not a holiday kind of girl. The only reason I might like holidays is because it gives me more time to work. I know if there is a holiday, I will be able to seclude myself and do whatever I want in order to get things done. I have designed my life this way. I am single. I have one daughter who has her own life and lives a distance away. I have never celebrated on holidays because I saw these days as opportune moments to be creative.

Sometimes I feel bad for my daughter. She (literally) learned to walk in my studio while trying to maneuver between hammers, pliers, pieces of wood, and broken glass all over the floor. There have been many times in her life that Mom was busy with art or creating one project or another. I feel bad about this sometimes. I feel bad she didn’t have a “Leave it to Beaver” kind of Mommy waiting for her with cookies as she walked in after school. I am not that kind of woman. I never have been and never will be. I have even told her that I don’t want grandchildren. If she has kids, I don’t want them to come over here! That sounds so terrible, but it is true.

I just want to do my work. I am driven. I am obsessed. I am crazy in an irrational, art way. I have a one track mind. All I want to do is create and make things happen. I have always lived an art life. This is what makes me happy. This is my passion.

I know this is why I am alone. However, this is a funny thing. I love being alone. My isolation is intentional. Some would feel sad to be alone during a holiday. Not me! I rejoice. Yes, I smell the barbecues burning and the kids laughing outside. Yet, I don’t regret my art life alone here in my house and studio sans holiday celebration. Nope.

So how did I spend my day today? It started with prepping wood for some assemblages and a sculpture. I have hired someone to cut and drill various pieces for me. I love the fact; I can pay someone to do my dirty work. Then, I worked on the Twitter Art Show blog post and prospectus for more than 5 hours. Holy Macaroni! I am surprised I am not blind. I wrote, read, and reread that thing until I was cross-eyed. I got it done and uploaded it!


As I prepare for my “day job” vacation, I had stacked some paintings on a table. I am trying to decide whether to plaster them all over my living room or put them away in a crate. In the meantime, I looked at the stack. I paint the sides of my paintings or at least let the paint run down to create a mottled edge. I walked by this stack today. Just looking at the edges of the paintings took me aback.
Isn’t it pretty?
Welcome to Sheree World!
Koo-Koo, Koo-Koo!!! LOL

life, wizzlewolf, painter, studio, art job, workaholic, living your passion

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Art Blog: Art MODE

Oh my. Oh my. I hacked my way into my studio today. I say “hacked” because I still had all kinds of crap in my way. I bought a new washer and dryer. In order for the delivery people to have an easier job, I temporarily moved all kinds of laundry room stuff into my studio. This morning, I took care of this. I put everything back in it's place. Now, my studio is my studio. Thank goodness.

I started to paint. Oh my. Oh my. AGAIN! I realized one of my problems (challenges?). Sometimes, there are times when there are gaps in my productivity due to LIFE circumstances. This causes problems because I lose my momentum. I am working on lots of stuff. I don’t think anything is really working right now. My solution to this is to just keep painting.

One thing I have learned is artists need to get into an “art mode”. I know what this is because I have been there many, many times before. It takes time to get your mindset back to reflect your artist’s self. I realize there is this interim period of time when this mindset is elusive. It is like an athlete getting into the “ZONE”. You have to work and get the muscles moving in order for the appropriate brain cells to function at full speed. Waiting for this to happen can be very frustrating. Not to mention, the isolation of my studio is freaking me out. I feel so alone in there.

One thing I have learned in the past month is to post work when it is DONE. I am no longer interested in posting work “in progress”. The reason I am making this decision is because I don’t like the feel of that pressure. If I wait until I have a piece finished and ready to show, there are no questions. It is finished. There it is. It is a reality! However I have noticed (for me anyway) that if I post photos or comments about works in progress, everything goes to hell. This is why I haven’t shown my newest work. It is all garbage because I talked about it before I should have! LOL

So, I will refrain from now on. I am showing only work ready to show. I will show little snippets of ideas. Like this one. I just love this tiny passage I have created on one of my “Treasure Map” works. That yellow and black “caution tape” makes me laugh and it makes me interested. Let’s see what happens here.

In the meantime, I am preparing to send myself into the art ZONE. In just six more work days, I will only have to worry about my art. I will have freedom at last. Ten weeks to think ONLY about art is a wonderful thing.

There will be issues though. One of my terrible faults is I am a THINKER. I found this video in which the artist, Greg Parker speaks on creativity. YEP! I love this. I think the same things. Now, I just have to apply my philosophies to my art making.

I can do this!

Click pic to watch video
This video from David McDonald’s series “The Mystery of Creativity” presents painter Greg Parker speaking about the mindset of creativity. This guy is a smart cookie! Watch and think (along with me!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Art Blog: Lordy, Lordy

I can’t believe I haven’t written a blog post in 3 days. This is because I opened my mouth and inserted my foot. I have been working to dislodge my toes from the roof of my mouth for days. LOL

Seriously as my last post mentioned, I had this idea to get a Twitter Art Show going. I tweeted the idea and all of a sudden, things went crazy. I have had hundreds of emails in the past few days. I was a good girl and went through them all. I have compiled lists of interested artists. I have asked for info so I can collect needed data. I have created (another) blog. I have started the process to make this TWITTER ART SHOW happen.

I have to be honest. I have a bit of skepticism. The reason for my distrust is because I am old and experienced. I know the idea of showing your work as a TWITTER ARTIST sounds great. However, some artists don’t want to do the work to make that happen. Hmmmmmmmm. Enough said.

We will see. In the meantime, I only have seven work days left. I am so excited about this. I am already trying to move into ARTIST MODE. Yes, I am always an artist. However, I need to get into a total mindset in order to work in my studio every day. It will happen and I can’t wait!

In the meantime, if you are interested in the TWITTER ART SHOW, go here:
Twitter Art Show Blog.

Check it out. Read. If you want to be a part of this project, email me at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Art Blog: The TWITTER ART show

There are bunches of really great artists who use TWITTER. I want to organize a TWITTER ART show (EXHIBITION TITLE TO CHANGE AS PROPOSAL TAKES SHAPE.). I am willing to write a proposal and send it out all over the U.S. I can do this. I know how. However, I need help from those participating. In the coming week, I will make a simple webpage to list interested artists, as well as post questions to those interested. We need to work on this as a group.

If you are a TWITTER artist and would like to be part of this exhibition proposal, all you have to do is send me your FULL artist name, Twitter name, and the URL to your website.

There will be many steps to this process. First, I will start to collect interested artists. Second, we need to decide on many issues and questions. When we agree, I will present a proposal and submit it to the group. When we agree on the proposal, we will need to formulate a plan of submittal. We need suggestions of exhibition venues. I will send out the proposal to any gallery that might consider our proposal. It would be super great, if we could have the show move from one city to another. However, we all need to work together to make this happen.

You just never know. I realize this is a long shot. I cannot guarantee anything. However, it is a great idea. I am very willing to donate my blood, sweat, and tears. I just need a thumbs up from all of my TWITTER ARTIST friends and colleagues.
Let’s do it! Why not!

IF YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS SHOW, you must be a Twitter Artist. Also, you need to send me your FULL (real) NAME, Twitter name, email address, and your website URL.
I am compiling a participant list right now. My email address is:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Art Blog: Prayer for Farrah

Did you know that Farrah Fawcett studied art at University of Texas at Austin before she was “discovered”? I didn’t. In fact until last night, I knew very little about her. The only thing I knew for sure was she was a Hollywood pop culture celebrity with big teeth and bigger hair. I am of her era. I remember the commercials she did. I remember that poster. I also remember that first year of Charlie’s Angels. I never really thought much of Farrah. It isn’t that I didn’t like her. I was just indifferent.

Last night, my opinion of her changed dramatically. I didn’t plan on watching “Farrah's Story” last night. I flipped through the channels at 9pm, but saw nothing of interest. So I decided to watch it. I was fully prepared to be bored or change the channel within minutes. I didn’t. In fact, I was mesmerized. I couldn’t believe that within the first fifteen minutes I was glued to the screen while wiping away involuntary tears slowly running down my cheeks.
I haven’t stopped thinking about Farrah and her story in the past twelve hours. This video documentary about her fight with cancer was extremely gripping, courageous, brave, and awe inspiring. She was adamant that the film show everything. She wanted people to know what it was like to live with cancer. She wanted to show how much you have to want to live. This was no gloss and polish Hollywood production. Some of the scenes in this video are brutally honest, sometimes ugly, and horrifying.

I respect you so much Farrah. I am not sure I could be as strong or willful. I am not sure I could do what you have done for the past two years. You taught me bunches of life lessons last night. I want to thank you for this.

Even though you are now frail and have lost your beautiful golden locks, you are more beautiful now than ever in your life. I say Godspeed to you on this part of your life journey. I will say a prayer for you. However, I am sure God knows you well. You are one of his true earth angels.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Art Blog: Artist DAY JOBS

Recently, I wrote about my current teaching job. It is a love/hate relationship. Yet, I have only been doing this for 16 years. I have been an artist a lot longer than that. I started thinking last night about all the different types of day jobs I have had. Oh, I have had some doozies!

Of course, I have had many art related jobs. I was adjunct faculty in the fine arts department of two colleges. I have been education and exhibition coordinators at an art center. I have been the traveling, arts council artist. One of the most bizarre jobs I had was called “The Artist on the Street”.

I was hired to take tables and a carload of art supplies around town to paint a portrait of the city. No. I didn’t paint a thing. Each day, the art center director would give me the address of a local street corner. I was supposed to go to that corner, set my tables up, and ask passersby to paint their own portrait on a 12” x 12” piece of masonite. The idea was to assemble all the paintings together to create a portrait of the citizens of the city. I got the job done, but holy macaroni! Some of those street corners were very scary!! I mean, just imagine explaining to a hooker or a drug dealer why you are visiting their corner!! LOL
However, there were times in between art jobs when I needed bucks and I would take just about any job. I was a single parent of a kid who needed to eat and go to the doctor. You do what you have to do!

I was a bar waitress many times. I think that helped me hone my wise cracking, verbal “come back” skills I use now when my current students get in my face with their trash talk. One time I was a waitress at a Mexican restaurant. That was a complete drag (literally and figuratively). I was hired at the same time as another girl who happened to be around 6 feet tall. I am just shy of 4’9”. When the restaurant manager brought out our lovely, Mexican blouse and skirt uniform, he said “It doesn’t matter which one you take. They’re one size fits all!” Say what??? They wouldn’t let me alter the damn thing, so I tripped over that skirt for six months!

When I first got down here to Florida, I worked at a costume store. I had to go do PR for them dressed in stupid outfits. The one they favored for me was “Peter Pan”. Believe me; I never want to see my thighs in green tights ever again! Also, I did a year and a half stint working as the Education Specialist of the St. Petersburg Fire Department. I loved making props, writing scripts, and doing shows for kids in schools. I hated working with all those firemen. Long story.

I think one of the most interesting and fun jobs I have had was working at the Science Museum.

I got to present live animal shows. It was so cool letting tarantulas and snakes scoot and slither all over my hands and arms.
I wasn’t too thrilled about the scorpions! Another irritating part about that job was occasionally they would send me out wearing an inflatable, gecko costume. This costume was made for a tall person. I had to walk around all day with my hands up in the air because the arm holes were above my head. I learned how mean kids can be while wearing that costume. They would kick me, punch my stomach, and stand on my tail.

This isn’t the exact costume, but it is similar. I look at this pic and realize I am glad I don’t have to do this kind of stuff anymore! LOL

Have you ever had any WEIRD, FUNNY, or UNUSUAL day jobs???

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Art Blog: What really MATTERS

In this media age, it is so easy to lose perspective. We all look here and there wanting and wishing. Images, lifestyles, and dreams flash before our eyes countless times a day. However, there is a very primal, basic part of life that we sometimes forget. If we take time to stop and think, we are reminded of the true needs of life. This is a good thing. In fact, I believe realizing this is the essence of artistic inspiration. It helps us get our thoughts lined up in a rational order. It is like a really good, slap upside the head!

Click pic to find out just one of the things that really matters to us all.
Think about it.

P.S. One thing you might not understand is here in Florida, we get very little rain. Life gets so dry. It effects us all. This is why we realize water is so important.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Art Blog: Jimi says it BEST

I remember the first time I heard Jimi Hendrix. I was 14 years old. I was visiting a girl friend. We were in the same Girl Scout troop. YES. I am that much of a dweeb. I was a late bloomer. What else can I say? As we talked on her patio, I kept hearing this music coming from the second story of her house. I asked her about it. She told me it was something her older brother was listening to on the record player.

This is the very moment I became the true SHEREE.
I wasn’t a Girl Scout very much longer after that!

Today, I feel like shit. I listened to this Jimi song and for some reason I felt better. Even thought the topic of the lyrics is a bummer, I got a thumbs up feeling knowing I am not alone. I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Jimi, we are kindred spirits. Thank you for that!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art Blog: The FUN part

I am sure you have heard the expression “We make plans and God laughs!” I think about this all the time. I knew I was going to be an artist before I started kindergarten. I have been self motivated to create for all these years. This has been my highest goal. The one thing I didn’t want to do is teach. Hear God laughing now? LOL LOL LOL

I can remember being a student at Wayne State University in the fine arts department. I had such disdain for art “teachers” back then; I would make fun of the art education majors. I remember walking through THAT department and looking in the windows of the classes and make faces at all these studious, aspiring art teachers. I would even think “Look at them. They are all wearing nice clothes and sitting at desks!!” On the other hand, I was trudging down the hall in my grungy, paint splattered overalls and combat boots. I wore this uniform with pride. I was a PAINTER!

Even though I am an artist, it is so ironic I ended up teaching as well. I didn’t go looking for the job, it found me. When I got this job, I had never taken any kind of education class. I just had this intuitive sense how to teach kids. The tougher the kids, the better I teach. Weird. All this isn’t really surprising because my own formative years acted as my “internship”. All through elementary school, junior high, and high school, I always had art projects going. In fact, all my free time was spent making stuff constantly. I created sculptures, paintings, scenery for plays, costumes, etc. etc. In essence, I was my own art teacher and art education department!

A lot of those same art project ideas are used now when I teach. Maybe this is why I am such a successful teacher. I don’t have a teacher brain. I have an artist brain. The students love that I hate art textbooks and educational dogma. I just come to class and say “Hey, what if we made……..?????” You can fill in the blank.

Occasionally, a student will request to learn a specific thing. I do my best to rustle up the needed materials and we have at it. A couple of months ago, a little boy asked me to teach him to do animations on the computer. Hmmmmm… I had to think about this one. Most of my special ed students have a very short attention span. Also, they can get frustrated very easily. I wondered if they would be able to handle the rigors of animation even if it was simple. I decided to try it out and see what happened. I ordered FlipBoom Animation software. It is a very basic program. We started using it a few weeks ago. Just as I had expected, there were immediate challenges with anxiety, frustration, and anger. I told them this was a great way to learn patience. We were in such a hurry to use the program; I didn’t have time to make an example animation. I saw this as a big problem. They just didn’t understand what to do or how to do it. So this week, I took the time to make a very silly, short animation to use as an example to show them. When I showed this video animation to them, they laughed and laughed. It also gave them a little lift to keep trying to make their own little animation.

Today, I sat at my desk and watched this animation over and over. I was giggling like a little girl. I realized this is the FUN part of being an artist. We get to be kids for our entire life!!

I guess teaching isn’t SO AWFUL! LOL

Monday, May 11, 2009

Art Blog: WHAT IF?

These thoughts have been featured in a reoccurring daydream. I sit and watch endless YouTube videos about the art world. I read seemingly zillions of blogs about the newest and the coolest in Manhattan or international art fairs. I watch my Twhirl twitter screen regurgitate message after message about high end art sales and distant art lives. I feel the disconnect.

There are many art worlds. Sometimes I feel like I am cupping my hands and looking in the window of a pricey, high class store which is far beyond my means. I look at the window display and just wish I could afford that designer dress or I glance behind me to see a high priced, unattainable car parked in front of the store. Regardless of the way my head turns; I am reminded I am not one of the lucky ones.

I have limitations. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, I know! Oh yes. I have believed if you think positively and do the work, things will happen for you. The attitude I love/hate the most is a quote from one of the TV show “Housewives of New York”. While being interviewed by the BCC in her palatial Manhattan apartment and asked about her financial status in these economic times, she said something like “Well, if you work hard, you get this!” If I could reach through the screen to strangle her, I would have. No Honey! I have worked HARD for longer than you have been alive and I don’t have “this”. Shut the “F” up!

OK. I take responsibility. I didn’t go into business or make a rich man my husband. I am an artist. Yet, I still drool when I see things like huge, cavernous studios. I feel jealous when I see an artist given the opportunity to do a huge installation in a lily white walled gallery. As I look at the art fair wares, I wonder what it would be like to be featured in one of the carrels. I realize my limitations. I wonder what it would be like to have the “rich and famous” as friends. I dream of having so much money that I could create for any amount of time or with any amount of materials to create a huge, impressive room size work of art.
Yes, I wonder. I dream.

The reality is I keep doing little, tiny works because I can’t afford to do huge paintings or store components of an installation. I can’t even figure out how to store 6’ X 6’ paintings. There is no place to put them and there isn’t the money to store them. I have no high end friends who will say “Hey, she is good. Buy her art.” I don’t have the freedom of time and money to do what I have the potential to do. There is always the little thought:

I bet a lot of you have thought this too!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Art Blog: The HARD part

If you are a reader of this blog, you know I have made the CHOICE to be an artist with a day job. I say it is my choice because I have lived as an artist without a day job. Since I am single and have always supported myself, trying to live off the money I make selling my art isn’t fun for me. It is just too stressful and undependable. Also even though I am not materialistic, I want a certain lifestyle level. I want to be able to go to the grocery store and not worry if my ATM card will be rejected for insufficient funds. I want middle class things and I don’t want my heart to beat through my chest while trying to explain my finances to the loan officer. This has happened to me too many times before. I don’t want to make “marketable” art to appease the masses or my wallet. I just don’t want to do that. Living from art sale to art sale or workshop to workshop is dicey, on the edge, and for me, too scary. So, I made the decision to be an artist who teaches. It makes my art life so much nicer and predictable.

However, it isn’t all daisies and rainbow colors. There is a down side. One of the most troubling flaws with this plan are moments like right now. There are periods in my day job life that are almost all consuming. Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time, I can toss job/art tasks around with the agile skill of a master juggler. However, there are certain months of the year it is almost impossible for me to think of my own art.
This is the HARD part!

Even though I know things will change dramatically within weeks, I still hate the way I feel during periods like this. My mind plays tricks on me. So quickly, I get the feeling I am not an artist anymore. I start to get depressed as I pass my studio and have no time to work on my art. Even though this maddening day job rush hour lasts only about a month, it freaks me out.

The feeling I am not an artist is very silly and stupid. I recognize this erroneous message as a lie told to me by the machinations of my irrational mind. I have lived with this kind of crap most of my art life. There is reality vs. Sheree’s emotional drama. I am finally seeing improvement in the way I handle these moments. For example, today I am dog tired. I want to paint this weekend, but I have to play catch up and clean the house instead. I can’t function in a trashed house. Also, I have to prep space for some new appliances being delivered next week. LIFE. So I will do that. As far as the thoughts of “not being an artist” are concerned, this too is an irrational sham. In fact, I have work in two shows opening this weekend. My sketchbook is a part of the show opening in Chicago at Chicago Art Source Gallery. Also, I have work in the Southern Open 2009 at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana.

So there Sheree brain! That is reality. You are an artist. This day job schedule is going to come to a screeching halt in a mere 16 work days. You have been through this many times before. Relax. Keep moving. Before you know it, it will be easy for you to work all day long in the studio. After that, you will have many more shows in your future. Believe me because this is the truth!

"See The Light", digital sketch, Sheree Rensel

I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Things will be much better soon. I can see myself working hard in my studio without the day job worries. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I see the light. I see it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Art Blog: Art of NATURE

Moss phlox blooming in Hitsujiyama park in Chichibu, Japan.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara

Friday, May 1, 2009

Art Blog: Our CAUSE

The first portion of OPRAH’s program today spoke of the “Invisible Children” in Africa. You can go to her website to find out the details. I don’t want to promote it here. The reason I don’t want to go to the trouble and lead the way to those sites is because I am just too tired. I am nearly worn out trying to fight this consciousness and media induced frenzy. I want and wish all of us to provide the best for our own FIRST. Yes, I understand there are kids all over the world who need help. God! Please make it stop! However, it upsets me when I see and hear all the talk and encouragement for all of us to run to the aid of foreign children when some of our own children are drowning in a world of chaos.

What is up with this? Why is it so easy and fashionable to support kids in other countries? Why? I cannot explain or express to the fullest extent of my soul how this concerns me. I work with these “invisible” kids every day. Some of OUR KIDS have all kinds of problems. Not only are they emotionally disabled according to the state, but their life stories and situations should make anyone’s heart ache. These are my kids. These are YOUR kids. These are AMERICAN kids who live a tragedy every day.
I ask why they aren’t a priority. I ask WHY?
Please answer me. OPRAH!!!

Click to read text

This is akin to revelations via the art community. I have noticed that there is a bizarre attraction to foreign artists.
OH! If an artist lives in Italy or New Zealand, they must be good right? Well maybe so, maybe not.
I can say for sure, our kids here in America hurt the same way as those kids in other countries. I know this for sure because I see and hear them cry.
PLEASE support our kids FIRST! Please.