Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We exercised our right to vote today. On Saturday I smacked myself in the head when I realized we were going to be out of town on election day. Of course it was too late to get a ballot sent in the mail, so we had no option but to go to the Election Board.

I didn't want to miss this particular election because there are some big issues on the ballot here in Missouri. I am kind of passionate about some of them, especially the one on Stem Cells, enough so that I have a bumper sticker on my car that says Yes on 2.

And Lordy Lordy there was a big crowd. We stood in line for probably 45 minutes which I didn't really have in my schedule since we are leaving town tomorrow and I had a long list of stuff that needed to be done. Apparently there was something on the radio or in the paper that suggested elderly folks may want to vote early at the Election Board in order to get personal instruction on the new computer voting machines.


Make that elderly folks and John and Mary Beth.

Seriously, it wasn't too bad as the line moved quickly. And frankly, I was pleased to see such a high level of interest in the election. I just hope they were all voting the right way. Or maybe that would be the left way.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Paper & Paint

Several months back I mentioned an Altered Book swap that I am doing. It's the only swap I am involved with; this group meets once a month and we exchange books. There are about 22 (?) people participating in the swap, so this has been nearly a 2 year project. Yikes, how time flies!!!

Anyway, here it is, my final spread, for Harriet's Favorite Things book.

All I did here was gesso the pages and then glue down scraps of my paste painted paper. I was pretty happy with how it turned out though and it even seems like a happy piece to me. Probably cause I was working with 2 of my favorite things.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Almost Play time

I am holed up in the studio readying myself for the next show, which also happens to be my last outdoor art fair for 2006. It is hard to stay in the moment as my mind is racing ahead to all the things I want to do once the shows are over. I am taking a long time off, months in fact, to replenish the well and explore all the ideas I have been journaling. Because I have been very focused (oh, you think I'm obsessive?) with the shows and have simply not allowed myself the luxury of dabbling in other mediums or even varying my process too much.

That is a luxury you know, all that Play. I have several friends who spend a lot of time at Play and I can't believe how envious I am. That is the kind of thing that can make me jealous(if I let it), seeing other artists with the freedom to engage in full-time Play. Because I used to do that myself before I made the decision to have a business and put myself fully "out there." This making of art for business, the business of art to earn a living, changes everything. It has to really, if you expect it to work and any reader knows I am nothing if not determined.

I remember being a wild horse, running free, stopping here and there to munch, sniff, scratch an itch. Then I was pastured, but still had quite a lot of freedom to ramble around at will. Now I would say I am harnessed. And sometimes, on those bad days when I am feeling completely overwhelmed (yeah, that happens even to Pollyanna girl) it feels like I am dragging a cart behind me.

Don't get me wrong, no complaints here, I love what I am doing and I am not just saying that because I write these words on a public blog. I reallyreallyreally love what I am doing, it is so inextricably linked to who I am I simply could. not. stop. I check myself with that silly old question: What would you do if you won the lottery? And of course I would do exactly the same thing I am doing. Possibly not as many shows because this was an extraordinary year. I was naive to enter so many shows. Then I had amazing good fortune to be accepted into so many of them. Being new at this, I didn't want to decline any opportunity. In retrospect it got a little crazy at times, that being a slight understatement which will cause my husband to snort while reading this sentence.

So here I am nearly at my season's end. A little tired. OK, make that a lot tired. But also feeling very fullfilled and certainly proud that I have accomplished what I set forth to do. I am blessed beyond belief. And this little horsey is champing on the bit to P-L-A-Y and see what comes up next.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

And another thing

Don't talk on the cell phone while you are in a public bathroom. Actually this extends to any bathroom. You would think this goes without saying; I mean get a clue people. No one wants to share your potty experience.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Potty talk

It has been awhile since I shared a pet peeve. It's one of those subjects never discussed, a dirty little secret of sorts. Yet something I notice all the time in public women's bathrooms. You ladies all know what I am talking about - women who pee on toilet seats.

I mean what's up with that?

The thing is, I'm guessing most of us can plead guilty to this at one time or another because it is drilled into all girly girls that we must not ever, under any circumstances, actually sit on a public toilet seat. Which means we have to learn to pee while squatting and that is when the potential dribble occurs. OK, I'll be the first to confess, I've done it myself. But at least I have the decency to clean up for the next person.

In fact, I believe I have refined if not perfected a Squat, Swipe and Kick/Flush technique. It goes something like this:

Perch yourself over the toilet. It really works best as a squat, like if you have ever lifted weights, a true squat with your butt stuck out in an unseemly fashion. This allows for proper balance (even in stilettos) and ensures that you are actually over the toilet bowl as opposed to the seat.


Wipe, but hold onto to the toilet paper for a second longer as you quickly peruse the seat to see if any dribbling has occurred. If so, use the paper to quickly swipe the seat clean, then drop the paper into the toilet. Turn and flush using a karate-like kick of the handle. Voila. It's quick, it's efficient and no flesh ever touches a questionable surface.

Don't even talk to me about how I handle all the Porta-Johns I encounter at these outdoor art fairs.......

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kentuck - o - rama

Well, what a show this was. Fun. Fresh. Freezing cold, not necessarily in that order, the cold sort of lurked underneath it all.

First of all, the fun. In addition to being an art show, this is also a music festival which attracts terrific groups, mainly southern musicians. My booth was situated close enough to one stage to hear some of the music and it was neat to hear groups who were new to me. Such as The Avett Brothers (what a hoot!) and the Pine Hill Haints. The music was blues meets country meets rock with that southern influence thrown in for good measure.

Fresh refers to the artists, many who I had never met before. You see, all year long I've been part of this roving band of gypsy artists traveling from show to show, where I see largely the same people every weekend. But this was sooooo different. I met Chris Hubbard, standing next to his Heaven and Hell car, in the first photo. Click on the link to read more about Chris; a really neat guy. I would have bought some of his art if he hadn't sold nearly ALL of it by the time I met him early on Sunday morning (hence the atmospheric fog hadn't yet cleared). I don't know who owns the other car but I saw it in the parking lot every day. I can't see doing this to my beloved Saab(at least not just yet), but I enjoy seeing Art Cars.

Below is the space that was next to Chris. I didn't meet the artist, but his medium is 5 gallon plastic buckets which he melts down and fashions into his art. He is sort of a legend and was working with a gallery owner when I happened to be over there, so naturally I didn't interrupt. Clearly, he has quite a following. I believe he and Chris were both "Guest Artists" which means the festival invites them to attend, they don't actually jury in like the rest of the crowd. It seemed like most of the "known" folk artists were guests of the festival. It was fascinating to see such an amazing range of folk art, from painted rocks to found object assemblages to funky fiber, quite an assortment. I was so rocked by the show in general. I would love to do it again and hope I get in next year. Even if I don't get in, I think I would attend just because it's that cool and that fun; really something to see and experience.

The last picture shows the back hoe removing water that had accumulated after a heavy rain on Saturday night created several "lakes" throughout the park. Ugh, what a mess. Luckily, we were on high ground, so it didn't affect us, but it was horrible for some booths and the festival staff did an amazing job removing water and placing wood chips on the ground.

And freezing, well yes, it was that too. Supposed to be mid-70's all weekend, but we awoke to 38 degrees the first day with a projected high of 70. It's pretty hard to make a clothing selection that will cover such a wide temperature swing - can you say layers? And despite my 5 layers, I was still very cold for the first 3 hours of the day. That was before John located small Coleman Propane heaters (which he bought for me & 2 of my friends). I put that thing under my chair and nearly set my ass on fire. Which felt really really good.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

We are heading out today, down to Kentuck, a fantastic (at least I am hoping) show in Alabama. A friend of mine did the show last year and has talked about it at length, about how it showcases such interesting art. The show was written up in a couple big name magazines and it apparently is known for featuring folk/outsider art. I have no idea if my art will be a hit or not, I mainly hope I don't spend all my earnings buying other people's work, ha, ha.

And I am also hoping I can catch some rest in the car. After being sick for about 3 days and getting tons of sleep, I felt energetic and back to my perky self yesterday. Which means I was also back to my insomniac ways. Ugh. Nothing worked......Bedtime Beats CD, Hypnosis tape, Tylenol PM....it was horrible. John and Merlyn were both snoring of course. But the worst part was that I hadn't made up the guest bed since Rhonda was here, so I had nowhere to sleep. I was wandering around the house like Linus, dragging a blanket and a pillow, moving from futon to couch to futon to couch, hoping for a spot that would do the trick. Even the cats stopped following me after awhile.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More pics from the Opening

This first pic is Rhonda, Chris, Jennifer, and me. Rhonda is one of my best art pals who I met several years ago doing the Venus Envy event. John actually met her first while they were vacuuming a huge room together. She has become our very good friend and also my "mentor" in the Art Fair biz. She actually introduced me to Chris (he & Jennifer are the gallery owners) earlier this year. Lucky for me, Chris had seen my work and urged me to contact Jennifer (which I did) and the rest is history. Rhonda works in Clay and she had some of her vessels in the show too.

And this is me and Robin (with John looking on). Robin is another one of my good pals. She wins the award for best companion at a flea market or antique mall. She manages to find the coolest stuff and is exceedingly generous in turning things over to me for use in my work. I mean that's something special, a friend who will share good finds with you!!! She also has a wicked sense of humor and we routinely crack up during our little escapades. You can't see it in this photo but she is wearing the greatest Sailor Jerry's t-shirt. I would love to get me one of them if only they were still available.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Am I really this short?

Here we are at the gallery, me(short, even in 3 inch heels), my friend Claire (sporting her new adorable haircut) and John(his ever handsome self.

We traveled to Columbia with our teeny tiny entourage, that was Claire, Rhonda, and Robin, plus John and me. I was so happy to have my friends along. It meant a lot to me.

And the Opening was faboo. Jennifer and Chris are simply the best providing not only a stunning exhibition space, but excellent food, good wine, lots of people. It was exciting to see my art on the walls in such a setting; one of those "pinch me" moments. Also surrounded by other incredible art. The Asst. Curator of the gallery, Joel Sager, is part of this show too, with a new series of oil and tar paintings that are absolutely stunning. The kind of paintings that make me want to fall on my knees in worshipful adoration.

There are about 15 of my paintings on the walls and a group of 9-6x6's on a table. John took these photos early before the crowd arrived. Later it was pretty hard to get shots of the art because there were lots of people all around.

It seemed like my work was well received. One of the pieces actually sold during the opening and that was a thrill.

But alas, now I am sickly. My sleepless nights have apparently compromised my immune system and a sore throat and cold snuck up on me yesterday. Ugh, not really what I needed. So I am resting and taking it easy(actually I am writing a blog post, but I am going to rest shortly), trying to get better before we leave Thursday.

(And, just in case you are wondering about this psycho arrangement of photos and text, Blogger, has a true mind of it's own in this regard. It simply will not allow me to arrange photos in the way I want; it tends to put things wherever it wants.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gallery Show

I've been talking about it for months and it is finally here. My work is part of a the fall group show at Perlow-Stevens Gallery in Columbia, MO. I made the delivery last week, drove the truck all by myself; really, I am quite capable despite my princess reputation. They hung the work on Saturday and the show actually opened on Tuesday although I haven't seen it yet. The reception is tomorrow night and I will be attending with my own teeny-tiny entourage - ie, very good friends who will give up a Saturday night to drive an hour and a half for dinner then stand at a gallery with me for 3 hours then drive an hour and a half home. My parents declined the opportunity. Thank goodness for my adopted family/friends.

I am just a wee bit excited. I will take pictures of course because I will remember my camera this time.

And, if you're anywhere near Columbia, MO, check it out. This is a wonderful classy gallery. I can't say enough about the owners Chris and Jennifer as they are delightful people.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So, life resumes

Whew, just like the title of one of my collages, I am coming up for air. Mom and Dad are gone, I have finished the laundry and the house has mainly been restored to normal (whatever that might be).

It was a good visit. Mom and I spent a lot of time in the studio and I set her up at my paste painting station. She painted a lot of papers that she will use in projects for a home show she is doing in November. I think she had fun getting messy because she usually works in her kitchen and I am guessing she holds back a little bit because of not wanting to completely trash the place.

Many funny moments over the weekend. I won't allow my Dad to smoke his obscenely stinky cigars in the house (duh). So he smokes out on our patio. He actually stands outside the door and continues to watch TV through the door. Mom said he does the same thing at home although he even pulls a chair up to the door. It is pretty hilarious and unfortunately I didn't think of getting a picture of this till it was too dark.

After my parents left, John and I celebrated our 13th anniversary yesterday. We thumbed our noses at all those naysayers who said it wouldn't last. And yes, there really were such people. It is pretty funny to think of today, but I remember actually discussing that "objection phrase" when we were working on our marriage vows. Because I knew someone would really object.

We have the last laugh though and I thank my lucky stars I ended up with this man as my partner. I could not have wished for a better friend to be at my side during life's journey. I simply cherish him.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Check it out!

Last week I made a piece for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. They have an upcoming event called eARThworks:art for an endangered planet. I challenged myself to produce something different and I really stepped out of the box. I was pretty excited about the result which can been seen here.

If you are local, you may want to get tickets for the Gala Auction on Saturday, November 18th. John and I will be there!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My mom and dad are visiting later this week. I guess for some people that would be no big deal. For me of course, it signals massive amounts of work as I turn the house upside down and attempt to complete all the "projects" I have wanted to do in the last 2 years since they visited. Ugh. Like the guest room for instance.; the closet has become a dumping ground for all sorts of things that have no home. Like clothes I intend to donate. Old framed art we are not using. Empty shoe boxes (huh? why am I saving these?). Fuschia feathered boa (don't ask).

The room is large and bright and I have this idea it should be inviting and appealing in a bed and breakfast sort of way. At this point there is a bed and 2 little wicker chests. That's it. Spare you might say? Un-decorated is the look that comes to my mind.

My mom is a craft hobbyist and just loves my studio. She is enthralled by all the books and art supplies and I could probably just leave her down there for the entire visit. In fact, she has announced that is all she really wants to do; hang in my studio so I can teach her things. Nice? Yeah, of course it's nice and I really cherish this opportunity. But the place is simply a mess from too many back to back shows. The downside of all this space is I can spread out and the mess has moved way beyond reasonable parameters.

Yesterday I tackled the studio. Worked nearly all day long to put things back in their places. John restored the art to the gallery walls. I went through a huge(and I mean H-U-G-E) pile of paper stuff that has been stacked up on a table because I was too lazy to sort through it after I got the flat files. Finally got things into nearly all the drawers and labeled them. That was pretty cool really. I had to make something last night (I could tell you but I'd have to kill you) and it was so easy to pull out the drawer of "Painted Paper Scraps" and instantly gather up some cool stuff. What a bonus!

And I even painted again into the wee hours. This habit of working late is serving me well and I am getting a lot done in the hours from 9pm to midnite or one. It's like my special time, just me and the cats because all three of them join me. Oddly, I still get up about the same time in the morning and currently don't feel I am missing the sleep. Of course I might hit the wall at any moment.

So today I tackle the guest room and then I am going to ramble around some of my favorite bargain spots to see if I can find any cheap yet charming things to put in there. Like a small chair, a side table, lamp, even a luggage rack would be good.

Tomorrow will be the dreaded dining room.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Will it play in Peoria?

I will answer this with a resounding NO! Yeesh, what is it with the shows! The Art Fair Gods giveth and the Art Fair Gods taketh away.

After such an amazingly stellar weekend at Plaza, I barely scraped together enough money to cover my expenses at Peoria. OUCH!!! It will go down in history as my worst show of all time, the weekend John and I worked our asses off in Peoria for no apparent reason. As an aside, those of you wondering why I went - this is a highly rated show that was recommended to me by other artists - very competitive to enter, etc. So that is why I was there. I won't return though; there simply was not enough interest in my work. Despite a picture of my art featured in a newspaper article (a huge image of Real Deal, what a rush it was to see); despite the fact my art was shown a a TV commercial; despite the fact 2 of my pieces were in a Gallery Preview show.

In fact, the Gallery wanted me to sign a contract and leave some art with them, an offer I would normally have jumped all over. But I declined. I mean what's the point? Honestly I have better venues. So I said no which is something new for me as I am very very bad at saying no.

The one good thing, I saw my friend Ann Cianciolo, who I haven't seen all year long. We ended up giving each other gifts. I bestowed 2 of my collages for her to add to her collection. And she is making me a ring. I already have her absolutely fabulous "leg" earrings, silver ones with 18k gold accents.

The weather was also good, the kind of perfect fall days that are so special here in the Midwest. And the Mark Twain Hotel (if you ever find yourself in Peoria) is really a lovely reasonably priced boutique hotel. Great beds, linens, bath supplies. Plus free internet.

It also helped that there were many many artists not selling, it wasn't just me. I know that is horrible to say, but misery(after all) does love company. So sad though when the majority of us don't even make our expense money. There was an incredible ceramic artist from Florida, Patricia Mullins, who makes the most gorgeous intricate high end ceramics. One patron actually said to her, "thank you so much for coming all this way to show us your work." And that is sort of what it was like, an exhibition where people didn't realize they could buy, or they didn't have the money, or who knows? I had heard perhaps Caterpillar (the main employer in town) had recently made lay-offs. And that could have been part of the reason. I'm not sure what went wrong as the promoters did a wonderful job and threw a lovely show, covering absolutely all the bases from set-up to publicity to amenities. Very nice people, it's just too bad the clientele didn't buy.