Monday, December 31, 2007

Yoo Hoo Boogaloo

Boogaloo is my universal nickname - I use it for the cats, the grand kids and in this case, my blog readers. A term of endearment if you will indulge me. It sounds especially nice spoken with a slow drawling southern accent (mine is really a lazy midwestern speech pattern). Anyhoo, why am I so excited you might ask?

Well it's New Years!!!!

I am one of those crazy people who actually enjoys moving into a New Year. Cause I like change for one thing and because I lovelovelove a fresh start. A chance to clean out drawers (done), straighten closets (yep, done too) and move on to new and fun stuff. No, I haven't done that yet, but I am champing at the bit as I have so may ideas my only fear is possible spin out from moving too fast.

I have good feelings about 2008 and am sending warm wishes to all. May your coming year be filled with the joy of creating lots of art.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I am very drawn to Mosaics as they appeal to the organizational side of my brain, that OCD, anal part that kicks into gear every so often, usually right when I am trying to get "loose." Ha, such the life of an artist, huh?

At any rate, I heard about THIS website today and these murals are oh so cool. I especially love the horse and find myself drawn into his eye - click on that square to see the detail.
It's an intriguing concept and I think it would be fun to participate in something like this.

Thanks to Best of Missouri Hands for bringing the site to my attention. I am a new member of BOMH by the way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beads, glorious beads

Last week I took a Paper Bead class from my friend Dana. Each year at the end of my "season", I find it so fun to play with a completely different media, such as the basket weaving class I've been taking, or, in this case, the paper beads class. It helps me to clear my head and I think I eventually come back to my own medium with a new perspective.

But I didn't mean to digress into a serious topic. Because right now I am just having fun making these beads. Perhaps I'm just a wee bit crazy about them. I have discovered all these new (to me) techniques and it is oh so much fun! Not to mention the fact I have been basically house(chair) bound with this bum ankle which has not allowed my usual activity. I have, however, devised a way to make beads while still elevating my ankle according to Dr.'s orders.

And there are some folks who may find one of these necklaces in their stocking. I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you. Tee, hee, hee.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Riddle me this, Batman

Why do cats eat tinsel off the Christmas tree?
It makes them barf tinsel and shit tinsel, yet they continue to eat it, presumably while we are in bed, because I have never caught them in the act.
I clean up cat yak every single day and then remove a little more tinsel from the bottom branches of the tree; right now the lowest third has NO tinsel whatsoever and it looks kind of silly.

I guess maybe the real riddle is why do I PUT tinsel on the tree!??!?!

A star, a star

The last couple years, we haven't had a tree. Either I've been in a crappy mood, we've had travel plans, it seemed like too much work; you've undoubtedly heard all the excuses, maybe even coming out of your own mouth.
This year I feel good. Energetic. Optimistic. And all that stuff. Plus we'll be home (woo hoo!) and I wanted the house to look nice for the grand kids.
Sooooooooo, John went out of town and I went to town decorating the house.
First I hit the wholesale floral spot and got some terrific fake swaggery. I don't think that's really a word, but it should be. I had previously bought vintage ornaments - glass ones of all colors and tiny pipe cleaner people (they rock!) - I envisioned a swag around the fireplace, lush greenery with wonderful vintage treasures peeking out between limbs.
Here are some pics of my work.
It was a fun project. Other than that slight ugly turn when I fell off the ladder. Ugh, I was nearly finished, trying to place the star on the top of the tree. I thought I was on a 2 step ladder and I was really on a 3 step ladder. I stepped back thinking I was going to the floor and instead "landed" in mid-air. On the outside of my R foot by the ankle bone. Total wipe out.
Ugh, I am such a dork I swear.
Lucky for me, no fractures. Just a black & blue ankle with a nasty sprain - I have to wear a splint for 2 weeks, elevate, ice, no driving, etc, etc.
But the house sure looks pretty.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Art Pub Studios Blog News!

Art Pub Studios has it's own blog. Hip Hip Hooray! Thanks to Kathy Wasilewski, Deb Trotter and Lelainia Lloyd for all their hard work in setting up our group blog. If you link on over there, you will find all sorts of cool things, such as Tutorials, Freebie images and a giganza give away (wowza, I'm in the company of some generous and talented women here).

Sure we all have our own blogs, websites, etc. But we thought it might be advantageous to work together as a group promoting ourselves and our art businesses.

I've decided to use the Art Pub Blog as a site to share images and offer give-aways. I'll be on there about once a month and will give you the heads up here on my main blog in case you forget. Because I know you all want to be in on free stuff.

And yeah, I'll still be here with my usual observations on art and life - stories of collage and painting; the thrill of artistic success and the agony of picking up rejected work; tales of cats and porta-potties. Sometimes funny, frequently perverse, and rarely appropriate or grammatically correct. Let's hope it's just not the LOWEST Common Denominator.

But now, for a change in programming, just click on over there to Art Pub.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I felt a little puny the other day and Merlyn decided to nap with me on the sofa. He is such a sweetie and I think it's hilarious he was actually under the comforter. I suspect Gilligan was at my feet. I woke up twice this week with all three of them in bed with me. That is what I call a 3 cat morning. And I love it when that happens.
We've been having lots of kitty issues lately as Gilligan and Isadora are "aging." Hmmmm, I think I know how they feel. Anyway, since they are both 15 years old, our vet suggested full blood/urine workups and it turns out they are in the early stages of renal failure. He (the Vet) said that word "failure" makes it sound a lot worse than it is because their test results are just barely into the danger area. Therefore, we can control this (not get rid of it) through a prescription diet. Translation, really expensive cat food. And yes, they are worth it. This will hopefully alleviate any symptoms they are having (we haven't noticed any other than their usual weirdness) and also prevent it from getting a lot worse.
I presume. Perhaps I am optimistic.
But allow me my optimism.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The land of commissions

I've been a busy little bee lately, working on commissions mainly, so I can meet all my holiday deadlines. Here is one of the new ones; I love the way it turned out. The client furnished some amazing material and wanted me to use as many of her photos as possible. Typically, I use perhaps one or two central photos of people only, but these were such(!) cool images I wanted to create more of a "scene." It was a compositional challenge because this is just a 12x12, but I think it worked, don't you?
All my commissions are special because it's an honor to work with family photos and I feel a little connection with the subject each time. But this piece holds an extra special place in my heart. Maybe because my grandfather also owned a gas station? Or maybe it's the depth of field or composition? Or the color? I don't know for sure, but I do know the client *loved* the piece. And that means the world to me.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gallery Talkin'

I did it and lived to tell. The gallery talk is over and officially a success, or at least I have deemed it so.
It was a polite and interested group of art lovers - I really dig it when people engage with the art and I felt that many did yesterday.
My talk was sort of rambling, but I had a comfortable dialogue with the audience, at least it seemed that way. Such nice people! I talked about my rocks from the shore of Lake Michigan, how they mean so much to me and have inspired this series to some extent. I talked about my beliefs on the importance of accessibility for art. How I want people to look, think, ask questions, maybe (or hopefully) relate to the art. I talked about my circuitous path to fine art, my lack of formal education and my P-L-A-Y with the various media I use. And finally, I talked about Community, what the series means, how the pieces relate to one another and how they can be viewed from various orientations. I took a piece off the wall (God only knows if this is ok??? during a gallery talk, but it is my art after all) and I even passed around some other works so people could actually touch them and feel the surface.
Thanks so very much to my dear dear friends who drove in horrid torrential freezing rain to hear me. It means the world to have your support. And you know who you are.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I have been such a delinquent blogger lately. Too many things going on I suppose, seems this is the way of my life. I tell myself it will slow down - after the shows, after the weekend, after my class, after the openings, after I finish the commissions. Perhaps I am simply delusional because it just never seems to happen. I am not complaining; my solution is to live in the moment and enjoy life as it unfolds.

It's all good and I am blessed with abundance in many forms. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving shared with loved ones. I sure did - we met up with my siblings and parents at my middle brother Chris' house in Arlington, TN. Lots and lots of laughs that are just too silly to mention, you had to be there kind of stuff. It was a lovely holiday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anyone watch Oprah today? It was the Favorites show and, thankfully, Tivo allowed me to fast forward so I didn't have to watch the audience stroke out with excitement. I can't abide by all the screaming either.

Many of the items seemed boring and/or repetitious. Bath products. Check. New electronic items. Check. Ugg boots. Check. Same ole, same ole. I don't even want that stuff anymore. I got into a frenzy one year and thought I just had to have the specific body scrub Oprah mentioned. Well, after searching everywhere, I finally scored some of it and big whoop. It just wasn't that great.

This time John actually did want one of the items though. And I am happy to report his daughter got him a Breville Panini grill for his birthday last week - thank goodness since it will now surely be sold out.

That refrigerator made me laugh out loud. Can you say "over the top." I mean seriously, who wants a LCD TV in the front of their fridge? One that plays DVD's??? Huh??? Oh yeah, like I need to spend any more time looking at the fridge. What was LG thinking when they made this thing? And what the heck was Oprah thinking when she picked it. It apparently even has a computer with recipes.

OK, here's an idea. How about a fridge that will tell you when things need to be tossed or when you are running out of something. A computer could send you a message that food is spoiled or even make a shopping list. Or perhaps it could suggest meal items based on the food contained within. Or maybe even slap you on the hand when you reach for the ice cream. Now that would be something.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wild Art Weekend

As we move into the holidays, I wind up my art year with 2 final events, all jammed into one weekend as you know I like to make it a challenge, tee, hee!

First up is Abstractions at Jacoby Arts Center. Twenty two of my newest Community series are featured in this show, along with art by David Burns Smith and Sandi Shapiro. I couldn’t be more excited about my latest works - organic abstracts on claybord. You’re invited to join me for the Opening Reception on Friday, November 16 from 5-8PM. Or come by for the Artist Gallery Talk on Sunday, December 2nd at 2PM. All three artists (yes, me too,, giving my very first gallery talk!) will discuss their art and be available for questions. Jacoby Arts Center is located at 627 East Broadway in Alton, IL. The show runs through January 7th. Tues-Sat: 10-5 and Sundays from noon-4PM.

The John Burroughs Unique Boutique is also this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, Nov 17-18. This is a lovely and classy holiday event open from 10-4 each day at John Burroughs School, 755 Price Road. Admission is $5 and it is well worth it – I nearly finished my shopping last year when I attended! This is an indoor, “invitation only” show, so you can be assured the quality will be high. I will offer lots of whimsical pieces including special “holiday only” products within all price ranges.

Hope to see you this weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In the company of friends, 8 x 24, 2007 copyright Mary Beth Shaw
I frequently crack jokes about my abstract work, how much I struggle over it - that a piece isn't finished until I've bled on it. Well, I really did this week. Bled on a piece, that is.
Yep, I stabbed my finger a few days ago with a cooking implement (that will teach me to mess around with kitchen tools!). This stupid fork/tong thingy chunked out the index finger on my dominant hand and it is taking forever to heal, probably because I keep knocking my finger into stuff and making it bleed. Hence the painting injury.
I really like this piece though, despite the blood it drew. It's for the Jacoby show and probably one of my faves. For some reason this painting makes me happy. I am finally finished with all of them - twenty two paintings total, ranging in size from 8x8 to 36x24. I deliver them tomorrow.
If you live in St. Louis or the surrounding area, come see the Abstractions exhibit which opens on November 16th with a reception from 5-8pm. Jacoby Arts Center is located at 627 Broadway, in Alton, IL. I will be giving a gallery talk on December 2nd at 2PM. And the show will be there until January 7th, if you can't make either of these dates.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Living on the edge

I turn to Molly Gordon for inspiration today. Right when I needed it too, which is always a good thing. I bolded a section that really hit the spot this morning, after wrestling a couple paintings until 2am. It occurs to me that so many of my techniques have developed from dealing with mistakes in my art, "mistakes" being a word I should just eliminate from my vocabulary because they truly are opportunities that lead me on paths of discovery. Which is such a thrill to this ever curious girl. But it does create some anxiety at times, which I have come to welcome.

So anyway, I brought away a skewed interpretation of Molly's article, more applied to process, but it did provoke my fuzzy brain to think so I thought I would share. I am hoping to show some pictures of the new paintings tomorrow.

Now, onto the article:

Why Lessening Anxiety Doesn't Help Your Business
If they gave merit badges for anxiety, accidental entrepreneurs would have a bunch of them. The quintessential anxiety-provoking circumstance is a gap between how things are and how you want them to be coupled with uncertainty about how to close that gap. That just about perfectly describes self-employment (or any learning situation, for that matter).
There is so much uncertainty involved in working for ourselves that we can become habituated to anxiety. We assume that there will always be situations that require gritting our teeth and sucking up. If the rewards of self-employment outweigh the emotional cost, we keep going; otherwise, we get "real" jobs.
So far, it might seem that finding ways to reduce anxiety should be a high priority. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's why.
To begin with, looking for ways to reduce anxiety presupposes that anxiety is inevitable, and it's not. Yes, self-employment is full of situations that commonly produce anxiety, but it's not the situations themselves that make us so uncomfortable. It's our presumption that uncertainty is a problem.
Tell that to an inventor, and he'll cry, "Nonsense." Tell it to an artist, and you'll get the same response. To the creative mind, gaps and uncertainties are not problems to be solved but opportunities, possibilities, invitations to be explored. When we live as creators, the very situations that might cause us to shudder with anxiety evoke excitement and curiosity.
The second reason that reducing anxiety doesn't help grow a business is that it works too well. What I mean is that reducing anxiety causes us to feel better, at which point we stop doing whatever we were doing to reduce anxiety. In time, the underlying problem re-appears, and we get anxious again and take action.
A classic example is how the accidental entrepreneur approaches marketing and sales. When business is good, who thinks about marketing? When business slows down, anxiety goes up and we use it to spur ourselves on in search of work. As soon as we have enough work, we stop doing whatever we were doing to get it.
How do we break the cycle?
First, let's acknowledge that anxiety can arise in spite of our best efforts to be creative and go with the flow. I don't want any of us to beat ourselves up for being anxious – as if that would help. (Hey, if that worked, I'd be on cloud nine all the time.) Rather than mustering our resources to break the cycle, we would do well to make space for anxiety when it arises.
Thinking about the causes of anxiety does not create space. Bringing awareness to how anxiety feels in our bodies does. As you turn your attention to your body, notice where you might be contracting or resisting the way you feel. See how it might be to open up instead. Make room for the feelings just for the sake of seeing what happens.
Making space in and of itself evokes a different way of being. When we make space for anxiety, we become its witnesses rather than its puppets. As witnesses, we can also observe the anxiety-provoking gap without turning it into a problem. If what lies on the other side of the gap is truly meaningful for us, anxiety will give way to inventiveness.
Making space is anxiety transformation, not anxiety reduction. The cycle becomes anxiety-awareness/space-inventiveness-action. When we know how to transform anxiety, we no longer need to avoid it.

This article originally appeared in the Authentic Promotion e-zine and is reprinted with permission from the author. Molly Gordon is president of Shaboom Inc., a coaching and training company that delivers hope, help, and hilarity to Accidental Entrepreneurs so that they can build a business that fits just-right. For more information, visit Copyright 2007, Shaboom Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Live at the Archives

When I lived in SF (yeah, yeah, I know I talk about it like the good ole days, but it is a place near and dear Tony Bennett and my hearts), KFOG was "my" radio station. It was like they somehow crawled into my brain and put together a mix of music that always suited my mood. World Class Rock, that's what they call it. To this day I am a registered Foghead.

And every year, I wait for Live at the Archives to come out. It's a compilation CD of tracks that KFOG records and puts on a disc to benefit Bay Area Food Banks. I have a collection of maybe 8 years? Who knows. One thing I do know is they are always great CD's (top picks for road trips I might add!) and this year is one of the best as my Foghead pre-order arrived yesterday. So, go to this link, preview the tracks and order one for yourself. Great tunes for a good cause. Get some Peet's coffee while you're at it, cause you order off Peet's site. Love that Peet's.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One might wonder where on earth I have been lately. Hmmm. Wish I could say I've been doing something exciting like leading a dog sled across frozen tundra. Or learning to tango. Or seeing the world from a hot air balloon.

But alas, I have been sick with a cold/flu that my darling passed along to me. I am currently breathing through my mouth since my nose is all stuffed up. I have just been wiped out by this wicked thing - it' started like a cold/sinus but there was a lot of body ache and possibly a fever. I can't say for sure regarding the fever since I used the thermometer in Merlyn's butt a few weeks ago and therefore can no longer use it in my mouth. That's probably tmi. But anyway, despite all the work piled up, I've been sleeping like crazy; it seems I have to nap shortly after I wake. I was scared to death I had mono again, yikes!

Today was the first time I've been out of the house. We went to the grocery to get more Gypsy Cold Care tea since John and I blew through a whole box of it last week. We have been living on that. Plus Sinusin. And Vitamin C, along with Zinc (squirts up the nose) and my Neti pot. Think I had enough holistic remedies going at the same time? You can never be too sure.

I am so grateful to be feeling better though. Today I even got a little work done and was pleased to see progress toward the Jacoby show. And woo hoo the first of the holiday commissions is finished and gone. Ding dong girl (once again!) forgot to photograph it. Duh. Somebody hit me in the head already.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Love it!

Silver Lining, 2007, Signe Grushovenko, copyright held by the artist
I am absolutely thrilled to have been gifted this painting by my friend Signe. Having not crossed paths all year, it was fun to catch up with her at Kentuck. She fell in love with one of my little pieces and of course I love all her work, so we exchanged gifts and I will now look at this piece every single day as it hangs in my office.
Signe and I are influenced by so many of the same things although we obviously move in different directions with our work. This idea interests me about artists, how we can see the exact same thing but bring away different meanings. I have always wanted to curate a show about that - a display of various artists reacting to the same situation/scene/stimulus and how they present it from their own vantage point.
But I digress.
Check out Signe's website to see more of her work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Colors of Kentuck

What an invigorating show. The art inspired me it was so raw and loose. Some was in your face while other pieces were sneaky and you had to get really close to appreciate the subtleties. Lots of artists offering insightful commentary, waaaayyy more political than usual. Artists pushing the envelope, making the viewer think. I love that.
I'm charged with ideas for my own work. In fact, I can't really put it into words right now. It is more a feeling than anything I can verbalize. Stay tuned to see how it all unfolds over the coming months.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jacoby Preview

Beamish, 2007, 8" x 24"

This is one of my new pieces for the Jacoby show. It's on claybord with acrylic, ink and oil pastel plus some collage materials.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The whirl called Monday

Wow, that was quick. Just a few blinks and the weekend and Monday are gone. Poof!

I have lots of photos to furniture and organization plus a painting; but alas, Blogger is not playing this morning (or last night for that matter) and won't allow any uploads. Ugh.

I feel much better that my painting block has ended. Thank goodness. When the painting gets tough, the tough And organizing. And moving stuff around. This is my pattern, over and over which is what makes it a pattern, duh. My friends chuckle because how many times can a girl re-arrange her studio!?!?! I mean seriously.

But it keeps me moving and I can delude myself that I am productive even if I am not making art. Plus it feels so amazing when it's done. This time is no exception, it is the best ever. All this fresh energy inspires me and I'm back to late nights into early mornings.

Oh, it's all good!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Across the Universe

Julie Taymor's newest triumph opened in St. Louis yesterday and with a little help from my friends, I was among the small crowd who watched it on the digital "mega" screen. Can't imagine why there weren't more people as I've been anxiously awaiting its release. But of course a (shall remain nameless) local film critic dunned the movie in the paper. Naturally he is entitled to his opinion, but his review might have been different had he taken his head out of his butt.

The film was intriguing on so very many levels. It is upbeat, downbeat, happy, sad, political, provocative - all while being a clever ode to the Beatles. Simply put, it's an artistic masterpiece. The movie is intentionally light on dialogue as so much is told through the songs. I personally liked this as it allowed an opportunity to think about the words and to really contemplate the Beatles meaning.

Bottom line, I loved it and have already ordered the soundtrack. I feel sure I will see this film a second time, definitely on the big screen. It is a creative feast for the eyes that yanked me right out of a horrible painting funk! So I am grateful to the movie for that. Plus I woke up singing the songs in my head.

I don't want to spoil too much, so just go see it. Experience it for yourself and let it be. If you've already seen it, click here to read some fun facts about the filming.

And I've gotta get back to painting right now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just call me Sybil

Today's Daily Om talks about the various voices living inside us and how to handle conflict. You can click over there if you want to read the article. I had to chuckle though because it suggests you call a "meeting" within your psyche by meditating or journaling.

Wow, what fun would that be? Just imagine the early morning conversation........

Ruth(responsible mother) - eat your fiber cereal
Mynah(whiny child) - but I want peanut butter m+m's
Gypsy(bohemian artist) - oh shit, I accidentally put my paint brush in my coffee mug

Wasn't my second divorce prompted by this type of behavior?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our anniversary was so nice. We celebrated at a fancy schmancy restaurant called Monarch, reputed to be one of the best spots in our town. It's actually owned by the son of one of my collectors and I have always wanted to dine there. A little bit pricey but the food was divine.

We don't do gifts for our anniversaries, but we do exchange mushy cards. Silly me had forgotten to make John a card. I remembered about 6am when I woke with a start, leaped out of bed and bolted down to the studio. My completed card was at John's place on the kitchen table by the time he woke up. Nothing like waiting till the last minute.

But back to dinner. Shortly after being seated, we noticed a greeting card on the table. Our friends Marian, Bud & Claire had arranged to treat us with a bottle of wine! Within moments, our waiter approached. He sounded like Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies. I swear to God. At first I thought he was faking the accent, just trying to keep up some pretension, but the more he talked I realized it was for real. I could barely keep a straight face. Naturally, the moment he walked away, I launched into my poor imitation, "I would like a rheum......"

Too funny. It was a great night though. Good wine, yummy decadent food and the best company I could imagine.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Rockin' and rollin' lovebirds

We interrupt the art programming to bring you talk about relationships.
I share with you today, shots from a wedding we attended over the weekend (they had a Photo booth, how cool is that!?!?). Congratulations Jeff and Donna! Your wedding was a delight and your touching ceremony came at the perfect time for John and me - kind of a renewal of our own vows.
Tomorrow is my 14th anniversary. They (that being the usual naysayers) said it wouldn't last. And I do not exaggerate, "they" really did say that. Probably due to our age difference (fifteen years in case you are wondering). Or perhaps due to our different personalities. John being the rock of Gibraltar/Jack Ryan(if you read Tom Clancy you know what I am talking about) kind of guy. And me being a roller coaster of wildly unpredictable moods and whims. Or maybe "they" thought it wouldn't last because of my poor track record in the marriage arena. But that's a story for another day.
Hmmm, who knows. All I know is I found the right guy this time. I'm in for the count and I know he is too. He is my rock and I am his roller coaster. It's a match made in heaven. Happy Anniversary baby.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Quilt National

Yesterday I went to see Quilt National with Claire, John and Nancy. It's the 15th year for this biennial exhibit of contemporary quilts. An international show, Quilt National is juried to the strictest standards. The fiber artists I know absolutely swoon if they are accepted and many of them enter year after year after year before they achieve success. I am thrilled for 2 of my friends who are in the show, Emily Lewis (from Cincinnati) and Pat Owoc, from St. Louis. The Foundry, in St. Charles, is very lucky to have this exhibit as it's the only location in the country (other than the Dairy Barn where the show originates) to have the entire show.

And this is one gorgeous show. Simply stunning. It made me want to buy a fancy schmancy sewing machine, take extensive lessons in quilting and wallow in fabric for the rest of my life. Of course I would still have to throw some paint around, in this imaginary future life of mine. But it strikes me that so many of these quilters are achieving a painterly effect with their fiber, a feat that I worship as it seems like it would be so very challenging.

No photography is allowed and I had forgotten my camera anyway, so I'm afraid I can't share any images. The best you can do is to go to the Quilt National site and click on the artist's website (if they have one). If you are anywhere near the St. Louis area though, go see this show. It is totally worth it!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Still nerdy after all these years

Well, here we are, me and my friends, at our reunion on Saturday. We met up early to have a drink and catch up on each other's lives before the big event. And wow, does everybody look good or what!?!? I mean seriously. I thought we were all too cute and holding together quite well.
That's Linda on the left, then Autumn, me and Jennifer on the far right. We are spread out across the country - Seattle, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Orlando. I can't even remember the last time we might have been together, perhaps one of my weddings (!) or Autumn's most likely? Who knows, but it was sure easy to fall right back in friendship with these gals. We had a fun time and talked of doing a girl trip one day soon. I would really love to see that happen.
The reunion itself was pretty uneventful. I was bummed that people I had expected to attend weren't there. Many of "our crowd" didn't come, probably since most have moved away. But I did catch up with childhood friends from the old neighborhood and music buddies from Choir and Orchestra. Plus we got to be snarky about some of the popular people who weren't holding together like we might have guessed. Meeeooooowww.
Then, a funny thing happened late in the evening. We had been mingling for hours and our feet were whining in their high heels so we sat down at the table for literally the first time all night. As we talked among ourselves, an obviously drunk guy sloshed over (we later found out he was a reunion crasher, how pitiful is that?). He wore a skin tight Rolling Stones t-shirt and a Puka bead necklace from the 70's. His hair was long, his smile missing a front tooth or two, I tried not to look that close. He leaned over our table and declared, "So what is this, a meeting of the chess club!?!?!"
And that is when we knew, that despite our successes, new clothes, great jewelry, manicured nails, somewhat trim (ha!) bodies, we somehow still radiate nerdiness. It must go to our core. And you know what, we all just laughed and laughed because today we can finally embrace it with pride.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lesson of the day

I am in Cincinnati, facing my 29th reunion this evening; Class of 1978 from Greenhills High School. Yikes, nothing like a normally confident woman turned into a mass of quivering self consciousness. Thank goodness I am meeting up with several of my girlfriends so we can attend together. We were all the "smart and nerdy" girls during high school. The ones who rarely dated and were chosen last for sports teams. I like to think I have moved beyond those years but of course I still feel so vulnerable inside.

No matter what accomplishments I achieve, I always remember the high school days as awkward. My mom found my yearbook and I flipped through it with new eyes; it wasn't as painful as I feared. The pictures show an involved and active girl, just waiting to bud. Hmmm, perhaps my memories are too harsh?

So, with the armor of new duds and fabulous shoes; with the companionship of old friends; with the internal fortitude that has enable me to survive and thrive, I will simply Be Me tonight. This is a lesson I finally learned.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who got tagged

Aaaccckk, Shari tagged me.....these things are a little like a chain letter. But I will be a good sport.

You have to post these rules before you give the facts. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had. When you are tagged you need to write your own blogpost containing your own middle name game facts. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

Yes, my middle name is Beth, just like Shari's. Shari Beth. Mary Beth. Kind of gags you doesn't it? Like twin pole dancers or something. Actually I would love to be able to pole dance, but I digress. Back to my middle name.

My brother, the one with the recent finger surgery (he is doing well by the way, thanks to all who have inquired), was once asked about my middle name. He paused, wrinkled his brow and said, "I don't think she has one." Because I have gone by Mary Beth for so long, I presume he thought it was one word. Of course he also gave me a birthday card for "Sister" that had a nun on it. 'Nuff said about him.

B - Banter. I love nothing more than good banter. Tracy and Hepburn type, rife with underlying meaning, clever in construction. So much of the "courtship" (that's an old time word, isn't it?) with John was filled with banter as we lived 400 miles apart. He used to say, "you give good phone." Banter is made up of words and words play a big role in my art.

E - Energetic. I am kind of like the Energizer bunny in that I just keep going and going and going to the point of annoyance (my poor hubby). I have worked to harness this in a positive way and to learn to rest, meditate, recharge. Seriously, it has been a problem.

T - Twinkle. I love the stars and the moon; they are very personal to me, especially shooting stars. Which is why I have a shooting star tattoo on my right shoulder.

H - Harmony. In every aspect of my life, I seek harmony. Music, art, relationships, spirit. I think it is a higher level than happiness.

Ok Shari, I have forgiven you already. This little exercise took me on an interesting journey of thought.

And I will tag Beth, Denise, Deb Trotter, and Heidi.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I just heard that Wayne Newton is going to be on Dancing with the Stars.
This will be our chance to see if his face really moves.

God love him.....

And, in other news, I credit/curse Heather for introducing me to those insidious peanut butter M+M's. Now y'all know how I'm doing on reunion weight loss efforts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Managing Manic Mondays

I am freaking because it's a 3 day work week. I hit the road Thursday for Cincinnati. My high school reunion is this weekend, 29 years - our class is celebrating in conjunction with a couple other classes, hence the "off" year. Yikes, how could I possibly have been out of high school nearly 30 years!?!?!? Insane.

Anyway, I have lots and lots to do before I leave including 2 appointments with new commission people and a demo for the St. Louis chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art. My first meeting is in a few minutes, so that is my priority at the moment. Then I need to get organized with the demo, which I have only planned to the extent it is in my head. And I know I want to provide a handout and also a promo brochure for studio classes I will offer this winter.

In between I am working on more abstracts for the upcoming show at Jacoby. And replenishing inventory for Kentuck. Plus developing a low end product for the Kentuck crowd - something I can also market through the holidays and here on the blog (stay tuned).

Not to mention personal stuff like seeing the grand kids; helping Claire find a dress for a wedding; obsessing about how much weight I can lose in the next few days; sketches of our remodeling project; etc, etc, etc.

Yes, manic Mondays indeed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

In all the hullabaloo of my brother's injury, I forgot to post pictures of my abstract show at Third Floor Gallery. My friend Bud Hirsch took this amazing shot the other night. Obviously, it's not a curved wall, but I love this artistic effect!
I am also happy to report brother Chris is doing well and was released from the hospital today. His re-attached finger has been healing better than expected, same with his thumb. He was fitted for a splint (which he will wear for 3 months) and Mom & Dad drove him back to Memphis. I headed home to St. Louis and took only one break (or is that brake) for an antique mall in Burnt Prairie, IL, where I got some cool stuff that will make its new home in collages.
And did you know that, in a pinch, mouthwash will cut through petrified bug debris on the windshield?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In the family way

No, not that way! Geez, I'm too old.

I only have a minute to write because I am sitting in the Hampton Inn computer room. I'm here in Louisville, KY camped just 2 blocks from a world class hand center/Jewish Hospital. I am so sad to say my middle brother suffered a horrible accident with a table saw this past weekend. After no appropriate treatment was located in Memphis (where he lives) he was airlifted to Louisville where he had surgery on a severed middle finger (successful re-attachment) and an extremely damaged thumb. Other fingers were also injured but not so seriously.

At any rate, I found out on Sunday and my gut just flipped upside down. This is one of the worst things about living far away from family. I just wanted to be with him and to be with my Mom and Dad; I knew I had to come. So, my scheduled being flexible and all, I am staying here for a few days to be his "advocate" in medical matters. My parents will replace me on Thurs. and then hopefully drive him back down to Memphis on Friday, assuming he is released then.

He is healing well thus far but it is just way too early to know what kind of functionality he will have. I would appreciate any positive healing thoughts you can offer.

Normal programming will return sometime soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today was a nice day. John and I started by going out for breakfast which was a treat. And I spent time in the studio working on new paintings. I received the go ahead regarding another commission I had quoted so that was nice.
And then late today, Jacoby Arts Center called to advise that my work was accepted for their upcoming abstract show. I sent a CD with about a dozen images 6 weeks ago and have been stalking my mailbox for the last week or so, anxious to hear.
Apparently they are still putting the show together so I don't know how many other artists will be included. I do know they liked my work and requested "more rather than less" since the space is large. Lucky for me that's exactly what I have been working on. That show will open on November 16, stay tuned for details.
But right here and right now, if you happen to be in St. Louis.......I am in a show at Third Floor Gallery and they are participating in the First Friday Gallery Walk tomorrow from 6-10PM. It will be a great night to be out on the town - the weather is divine and there are lots of openings downtown and on Delmar, many associated with Innovations in Textiles 7. You will be able to find me at Art Saint Louis and Third Floor plus possibly RAC and Craft Allliance, depending on how much I can convince our group to jam into one night, tee, hee, hee.
Here are details on the Third Floor Gallery show:
Reality and Soul in Abstract Works

Michael Bolton
Nathan Marshall
Betty Brielmaier
Mary Beth Shaw

Sept 7-Oct 26
Third Floor Gallery on Washington
1214 Washington Avenue (in the Loft District)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Hometown Crowd

My California art pals thought I was a bit nuts when I moved to the Midwest 4 years ago. But I guess its time to admit - St. Louis is my adopted hometown. This is, after all, the second time I have lived here and I think we are in for the duration, mainly due to Beth and her family, but also because this is a pretty easy place to be comfy. And lucky for us, we've made tons of terrific friends plus my art career has soared, a bonus I wouldn't have imagined. Which brings me to the St. Louis Art Fair. I know you'll are waiting for an update.

I have tried to think of one word to summarize this past weekend, but it's just not that easy. You would think a show with monsoon-like rains for a day and a half would have been a bummer. Sure, it did seem perilously like camping at times, huddled in a tent hour after hour in such rainy, humid conditions. And sure, it was uber-frustrating when the police closed the show at 8pm Friday night (rain had stopped, but lightning continued) - leaving an energized crowd art-less and many artists (myself included) feeling like we missed major sales opportunities. And yeah, it was a total bummer not being able to display art on the outside walls of my hee-yuge corner spot (due to direction of the rain) for the vast majority of the show.

But, that all being said, I was quite pleased with the outcome. If you add up sales made at the show plus commissions received during and since, I officially made "career best." And it's not even over as people continue to call me to book more commissions.

I can not say enough about the quality of the show from a volunteer/artist amenity/"class act" standpoint. Oh my goodness, it was lovely, in a way that made me feel spoiled. And you know how MB loves being spoiled, tee, hee, hee.

And the people? For me it's always about the people - supportive friends; collectors who come visit; all the new folks I meet; and fellow artists. This was a particularly sweet crowd, maybe that is the hometown thing at play? Anyway, there are more stories to come, but they will have to wait as my head is still a little discombobulated and I remain tired, exhausted to the bone really....yet energized in a manic sort of way. Cause I can't wait to get back in to the studio. That is, after I do the laundry, find the bottom of my desk, read the mail that has piled get the drift.

Friday, September 07, 2007

St. Louis Art Fair

Ok, this is it.......after months of preparation and sleepless nights, the show finally opens today at 5PM. It is currently pouring down rain here and I have been up since 4:30AM for a live TV appearance, so I am tired before I start, ha! My perfect hubby is going to set up the tent for me so I can nap a bit in order to be my usual perky self. I will hang the art this afternoon. I'm no weather person, but the clouds are moving fast and the rain will be gone shortly. We can only hope.

Anyway, come see me! I'm in booth #211, on the east side of Meremac near Maryland. Here's a link to the show for more information.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I am getting ready to hit the bed since I have an early morning TV appearance, (hahahahah, I have always wanted to say that). Anyway, this is the first night I've gotten to bed in the same day I awakened in I don't know how long. I have been painting like an absolute possessed woman. Tonight I finished this 30x40 that has plagued me for I don't even know how long. It was in the shower over the weekend, it's been that frustrating to me.

And just so you can get an idea of how crazed I am, here are a few examples:

- I have not bathed. Ok, I know that's tmi, but it's true.

- I believe I might have worn the same underwear today? I know I wore the same clothes. Lavender baby powder totally rocks because I feel and smell so much nicer after I toss a little of it around.

- And there was a time today when I was wearing one pair of reading glasses on my face and another pair on top of my head.

The upside to all of this - I have a TON of new work done and I am very very pleased about that. Blessings and LOVE to my terrific husband who makes sure that I eat occasionally.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

The boys and me - what a lovely day swimming in our friend's pool and watching the air show. Perhaps I am a little biased, but do I not have the cutest grandchildren ever?!?!?
It's been a terrific weekend. I am playing a little bit and also making art in between. Today I made ugly art but this too shall pass.
Have a great Labor Day all!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Late Summer News & Events from MB's world

(below is a copy of a newsletter that I just sent to folks on my mailing list-thought my blogging buddies might also appreciate seeing this - sorry the events are here in St. Louis, but the commission offer applies if you are interested)

What an exhilarating couple of weeks (or I guess months, geez how time flies) since I last updated. I am apparently living in some alternate universe as good stuff is raining down upon me to the point I am pinching myself. I am honored and pleased to share my news.

Media(good Lord, who’d have thunk it):
First, an article in the Suburban Journal, here is the link if you missed it.

Then a filming for the Emmy award winning Austin PBS program, In Context. Wowza, was this ever cool. You can check out past featured artists (Catherine Lee is amazing!) at this link.
I am hoping that St. Louis will pick up syndication so we can view the show here, if not, keep reading my blog and watching my website as I will have a link once it is available. I can’t say enough about the terrific Producer/Editor/Director, Dutch Rall. What a neat and talented guy, I feel sooooo incredibly lucky he chose me!

And next week I will be on Show Me St. Louis. Set your Tivo for KSDK, channel 5 at 3PM on Friday, September 7th.

Upcoming Shows:
As many of you know, I will be at the St. Louis Art Fair this year, my first time ever; I am still doing the happy dance. I’m working like mad and have lots of new collage paintings that I simply cannot wait to share. So stop by and see me at booth #211 (on Meramec near Maryland). Click the link for specific times.

Simultaneous to the first day of the St. Louis Art Fair, I open in a show at Third Floor Gallery on Washington. Reality and Soul in Abstract Works features me, Michael Bolton, Nathan Marshall and Betty Brielmaier. The opening reception is September 7th from 6-10pm and unfortunately I can’t be there. The second opening is October 5th and I will be at that one. My work in this show is all abstract, done on claybord; they are a real departure from my Common Denominator series. You can see a few of them on my website if you are interested.

You may also wish to mark your calendar for the John Burroughs Unique Boutique on Nov 17-18. This is a lovely and classy holiday event that is open from 10-4 at John Burroughs School, 755 Price Road. Admission is $5 and it is well worth it – I bought a ton of gifts there last year! I will fill my booth with lots of whimsical pieces including special “holiday only” products. Hope to see you there.

I received Best of 2D Mixed Media at the Krasl Art Fair in St. Joseph, MI. I was also delighted to learn that my piece Blurring the Lines (see it at the St. Louis Art Fair) was chosen for the MO 50 competition this year and it was awarded an Honorable Mention, yippee!

And finally, if you have been thinking about a commission, this is your chance…….for the holiday season I am waiving my minimum order for all of my collectors/friendly stalkers/mailing list folks. So if you are receiving this email that means you! And it means I will make you something as small as one 6x6 if you want. But I doubt you’ll be able to stop at just one (tee, hee, hee) cause I give nice discounts on quantity and you will want to give them to all your friends and family. I start filling my calendar on September 10th, so get your ideas and photos together and give me a call or drop me an email to guarantee a spot in my schedule. I would love to work with you to create the perfect piece of art! (small print - catch me soon as I reserve the right to end this offer when John slaps me-not really- and tells me I have scheduled more work than I can possibly make before the holidays, ha!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is anyone watching Design Star? I am addicted to all things HGTV and especially home decorating related. I can watch it for hours on end, one show after another.

But I digress.

This week's competition was to design 2 rooms in the guest house of Wayne Newton; he and his wife were "the clients."

OMG, did you see him!?!?!??!?!? It looked like he was wearing a rubber mask of his own face. His face from 20 years ago perhaps. You could barely detect lip motion when he talked.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I am convinced that every show is a gift of learning. For instance, during this show I learned that you should always check to see if ants have crawled into your Kettle Korn overnight.
Yes, I really did munch on it for a couple minutes before I noticed the presence of these teeny tiny little ants.

Lots of them, crawling all over all of it. Ugh. I thought I was going to barf.

Rhonda said people on reality shows eat ants all the time and it apparently doesn't hurt them.


And, in other news, I believe I am psychic, as all the artists I mentioned in my last post won awards at the show. Hmmmmm.......

Friday, August 24, 2007

Midwest Salute

If you are in the greater St. Louis area, come over to see me this weekend at the Midwest Salute to the Arts. It's a high quality show with work by lots of amazing artists, such as Steve Nowatzki, Ronnie Phillips, and Marcia Engeltjies (ok, I will confess they are my friends, but they are also stellar artists!). I will be situated in Tent B, next to my best art pal and buddy Rhonda Cearlock. It's so rare for us to be next to one another at a show; we are looking forward to it, Plus we will be happy because the volunteers and staff at this show take such good care of all the artists. It's a class act.
And.......we have lots of new work to show.

Rain or shine (there are "mall" like tents to keep you dry), the show will go on. The staff also sets up huge fans all around that make the heat manageable although it us supposed to break tonight. We can only hope, huh?

Here's a link to their website.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This little birdie came home with me

One of the fun parts of the art fair world is meeting other artists and making new friends. Now that we've been "on the circuit" for a few years we run into some of the same people over and over; there are couples we meet for dinner, folks I keep up with via email and others that I recognize their face or art but can't remember their name.

And then there are like minded souls such as Ann Marie Cianciolo. She is an uber talented jeweler. We have this mutual admiration thing going on as I love her jewelry and she loves my collages.

I met her in Madison my first year, that must have been 2005. She was buying a collage from me and I didn't even know she was also in the show. She wore the most amazing earrings, long silver columns tapering to a gold point. They were classy and made a statement but were also delicate. As she turned her head I realized they weren't just columns but perfectly formed female legs wearing tiny gold stilettos. I squealed with delight and asked her where she had gotten them which is when I found out she was a jeweler and had made them. Naturally I followed her back to her booth to get a pair for myself.

I ran into her at Morning Glory a couple weeks ago. She had lots of new work that I hadn't seen before, some was bird themed which is so popular right now - I can't seem to get enough of birds! Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up with this fantastic necklace which fit me perfectly. I love it so much.

Check our Ann Marie's website (the photos don't do the jewelry justice) to see more of her items and her show schedule. She's a doll and you will love everything. Especially her signature leg pieces which are a total kick, sorry for the pun, I couldn't help myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The big get bigger

For the past year folks have been telling me they love my abstracts and want BBBBB-I-G ones. Like gargantuan. For homes with really tall ceilings, for lofts, etc. Of a size that would barely fit in our little ol' truck if it was empty, not to mention when it is filled with all the stuff we need to do a show.

So.......I have pondered this at length. How to satisfy collectors who want over-sized art?

It came to me like a flash.

Paint a triptych of 30x40's. Duh. Slams self in forehead.

So that's what I'm doing. In case you were wondering.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It feels so good to be home. Yes, I know we got back nearly a week ago but I am still basking in the glorious-ness of my space. Enjoying my studio as I work feverishly to satisfy needs for an upcoming gallery show that I deliver in a week or so (when did I suddenly get so busy!?!?!).

I'm painting on Ampersand claybord again, more of my newest series, the ones I showed at the Contemporary, in the style I am teaching at Artfest. This claybord is just so much fun and forgiving to work with. You can actually erase the stuff believe it or not. I love the fact you can not only apply texture on the piece (with papers, mediums, etc.) but you can also create texture within the piece (as in carving out). The versatility allows tremendous layering capability.

I am thrilled to be sharing all these techniques in my Artfest class. Just a reminder that time nears for registration, hint, hint. Since I am taking 2 classes myself, I have been laboring over the selections. I think I want deMeng on Thursday and Bagby on Friday as first choices. If you want to got to Artfest, just click on any of these links or you can also check my website for more details.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vacation recap

We are home now. Twelve days away from home. I am such a baby, I missed my kitties something awful, to the point I nearly embarrassed myself petting every animal that came near my booth at the shows.
We drove home after Milwaukee last night which was brutal, more for John than for me because, well, he was driving. I did manage to stay awake the entire time and did my best to entertain him.

There was supposed to be a meteor shower during the drive but we didn't see anything and I was totally bummed out. Once when we lived in California we stayed up to see a meteor show that was supposed to peak at some crazy hour in the middle of the night. We knew we would have to drive miles away to see without the interference of lights, so we concocted a plan. We drove down the peninsula to the high road up near Woodside, the name escapes me at the moment. Anyway, we thought we were so clever and had the perfect spot. Imagine our surprise when we got down there and struggled to find a parking space there were so many people star 2 in the morning. That was something I loved about northern California - people were just as crazy as me about stuff like meteor showers.

But I digress. Both shows were good. Uptown fell into the mind-blowing category with sales of big abstracts. Morning Glory was good too and there were a few things that will be turn into more business down the road, such as a large commission, the possibility of a few smaller ones and a probable wholesale deal. All good stuff.
Our vacation was also fun. Door County, WI is adorable and quaint. I enjoyed Milwaukee too, we saw the Pissaro exhibit at the museum and also visited the Public Market. The Milwaukee downtown is energetic and vibrant. I so wish St. Louis could be this vital.
The picture collage above shows some scenes from the trip. I have so many stories, but such little time as I realize all the looming deadlines for upcoming art fairs, a gallery show and other events.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Until the cows come home

We saw a cow parade today. About 18 of them, trudging single file along an imaginary line in the middle of the field. Dairy cows, black and white ones. John said they were ready to be milked and this is what they do. I don't know how John knows all this stuff except he grew up in the country. It was something to see though, all these cows methodically walking toward the barn with such intent - no farmer, dogs or anyone else encouraging them. The cows just know what to do. We speculated there is a lead cow and she apparently calls the shots to get them all moving.

This city girl found it quite intriguing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sunsets are so miraculous yet we rarely notice them when we are immersed in our regular lives. But here we are in Door County, WI, John and me, enjoying our vacation tradition of photographing the sunset. And as we stood on our balcony tonite, I saw people all around - it was amazing really, families with children, folks with dogs, romantic couples - all waiting and watching. I love that.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to rest, just me and my sweetie. To watch the sun, to feel the breeze, to hear the water lap against the shore. To think and dream and talk and laugh, no worries about appointments or deadlines. I have put them to rest for the moment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm teaching at Artfest 2008

If you've been reading my blog awhile, you know that last year was my first time at Artfest and I completely loved it; in fact, I was smitten. In case you have never been, this event is held at a State Park called Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA. It's a quaint area perched on the Olympic Peninsula. There is water water everywhere. Fabulous beach. Mountains that peek out every couple of days. It is spectacular scenery, just the place to inspire creativity.

And the creative energy is electric. Although I knew very few people, I immediately felt welcomed. I released all my fears and immersed myself in 3 days of art. It was a whirlwind of activity and I left wildly stimulated with techniques to incorporate into my work. In fact, months later I am still(!!) processing things I learned. It was that good.

What prompted me to pitch a class I will never completely understand - let's just say the spirit moved me. After I got home I started thinking about how much I learned and speculating as to whether I have anything to offer the multitude of talented Artfest attendees. It struck me that perhaps I do.....maybe people would be interested in learning about my experiments with claybord. Maybe they would want to play around with abstracts and know how to start a small body of work. And maybe, just maybe, I could share my artistic journey. My class is called Exploring the Abstract and more details can be found on the Artfest website. Read carefully and follow the instructions on dates as Artfest sells out quickly. Trust me, you won't want to miss it! To learn more on all the workshops offered, plus specifics on accommodations and costs, click Artfest 2008.

Hope to see you there!


I have some artwork in this new zine by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn. These two lovely ladies are part of the Artpub gang and they graciously accepted one of my collages for entry in this new production. I haven't seen it yet, but feel certain it is faboo and full of amazing inspiration. If you would like to order a copy, click here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Messy Mania

Yikes, we are leaving in 2 days and I am working like a maniac. I thought I would share these studio photos because it is so incredibly trashed I have to question how I even work. Good grief.

These photos (which you still can't enlarge individually, sorry about that) show, from left to right, mats(this is a small sample of the nearly 100 mats hanging out waiting for art); an abstract waiting for its mats; my desk with gesso gesso everywhere; boxes of collage parts; finished pieces awaiting varnish; more boxes of collage parts; more pieces awaiting varnish; the layout area; and the desk again. Ugh.

I've been working round the clock. Last night I made it into bed sometime after 2am. I decided to sleep in the guest room to avoid disturbing John; God forbid I might have jarred him out of his animal snores (sorry baby, this is your only shortcoming as a human being). Anyway, I had just settled down, snuggled up to my body pillow when Boom! Merlyn jumped on me. From the floor up onto the bed. I have no idea what he was thinking as he has never done that before. Scared the poop out of me and it took me forever to get to sleep.

Today I was back at it by 10-ish. Working new pieces; printing giclee reproductions; painting canvas sides. I need an assistant. Seriously, I am nearly there, almost to the point where I could keep someone busy for perhaps one day a week. That would be oh so glorious.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Open Studios

Wow, what a fun event this was! Here are some pictures which hopefully give you an idea of the scene.
The building is a fabulous art deco space - there are apartments above however we were in a vacant area on the first floor. It was raw and unfinished, just the way I like it. I would LOVE to have a studio there!
In order to be true to the concept of Open Studios, we were supposed to create a "mini" version of our home studio and also really make some art so people could observe our process. You can see that I put down a blue tarp to define my space. And yeah, I did work, my first time with an audience but I liked it because it led to great interaction with visitors.
I used this event to debut my new body of work, The Community series. I felt like a proud Mama with a new baby. I was excited, yet a little scared and protective as I waited to see people's reaction. I have designed the pieces to be modular and mix & match, so you can choose an orientation for each piece. I hung them on nails so they could easily be turned or moved. It was so cool to see folks actually playing around with them and considering options. The reactions were quite supportive, geez I have only finished 14-8x8's and I sold half of those on Sunday. Obviously I need to get back to work! But alas, I have 2 (back to back) shows and we leave in about 10 days, so first things first......
PS......some of you have commented on the new format of the pictures. I would love to claim some genius with this (ha) but all I did was download free software from Picasa2 and it creates these contact sheets. I've been trying to work with it to see if you can click to enlarge, hopefully it will happen this time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

And finally, here are pictures from the Preview Party.

That sign cracked me up. They were serving oodles of cocktails and little finger foods; folks were roaming freely around the Open Studio art, swilling drinks (yeah, me too), chomping nuts. But no food or drinks around the real art. Oh no, doncha even think about it as there were "guards" at the entry to the other galleries.

The second picture is the view of the wall where my work was hung and you can get an idea of the attendance. LOTS of people there. It was a real see and be scene.

Third pic shows my art. It's that itty bitty abstract, the sienna, turquoise and yellow one from my new Community series. Had I known we could submit a diptych (like the person below me), I would have done. I thought my piece held it's own though.

And finally, dinner with our friends John & Darryl. They looked like rock stars, handsome and attired to perfection. I, however, was wearing my sweater INSIDE OUT.....yeesh....

I am hanging the Open Studio pieces today. If you're in the St. Louis area, stop by and see me at 3615 Olive (corner of Grand, in the Continental Life Bldg.) on Sunday from 10-4. I will have the "never seen before" paintings in my Community series, some "in progress" works, in addition to a selection of smaller abstract studies (offered at bargain prices). I am staging the space like my actual studio so you can see how I create my paintings. There are 17 artists in this building and it will be a unique opportunity to interact with us about our art.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Preview Party Tuesday Night!!

I am participating in the Contemporary Art Museum's City-Wide Open Studios this year. It is thrilling to be a part of the event. It's the first time the museum has provided "alternative" space to those of us who do not actually maintain a studio within the city limits.

Tomorrow night is the Preview Party where visitors to the museum will find one piece from each participant on display. If you're in the St. Louis area, please come on down between 5:30-9:30 to enjoy the art; have a beverage from Schlafly; and food from Wolfgang Puck (I am guessing from his eatery, not the man himself?). Anyway, it is sure to be a good time and I will be there.......trying not to look like toooooo much of a dork when I ask John to take a picture of me in front of my piece.

If you can't make it, check out the slide show where you will see amazing work from talented folks here in the Midwest. Grab the online map so you can visit artist studios on Saturday. And by all means, come visit me on Sunday at the Alternative Space; I'll be there from 10-4 and then you can find me at the Starving Artist BBQ .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Razzle dazzle Krasl

What a wonderful weekend this has been. I feel a little like I was on vacation which is quite a feat. Geez, who knew the southwest coast of Michigan would be so beautiful?

After we set up on Friday, we snuck down to the beach and relaxed for a bit. Of course we didn't have bathing suits and the best we could muster up was a ratty Mexican blanket instead of a beach towel, but that didn't stop us.

Oh my, the sounds of the surf. The splendor of the rocks. It was an amazing couple of hours as I rambled along the shore. The smooth rocks were such an inspiration, I feel they may encourage a new palette. I collected quite a few, in a range of colors, to bring home and place in a water pool in my studio. How glorious.

But Krasl, oh yes, I was here to work after all.
What to say??? Why did I like the show so much? Was it perhaps because I won Best in Category for 2D Mixed Media? Or maybe because we hung with artist friends? Or because we met new people who will surely become friends? Or because our booth was on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan? Or the restaurants?? The faboo Cafe Gulistan, a Middle Eastern delight with such amazing food (thxs to darling dancing Emily(our waitress) for her stellar advice on food selection.) Or maybe because my sweetie and I were able to take a minute to spontaneously watch the setting sun?

I suspect it was all these reasons and more. I don't know for sure. I do know the air is clean and crisp. And this lake feels like an ocean with its restorative waters. We will be back. You can count on that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Brand New Day

Thanks to Van Morrison for the song of the day, chosen during my morning walk/run.

Wow, what a crazy few days. I've been on this manic jag, working like a wild woman until all hours of the morning. In fact, last night I did my final prep (before packing) for the Krasl show till after 1AM then couldn't get to sleep for 2 more hours, ugh, I hate it when that happens. Luckily I was able to sleep in this morning until 9:30 which is when I dragged my sorry butt out of bed to take a walk.

And brand new day indeed. I was stunned to see the weather transformed overnight into this glorious scene. If you were to invent weather, this is what you might choose, low humidity, clear skies, low 70's this morning. It did get a little hot this afternoon but it was still so reasonable. Very nice and oh so rare for St. Louis in July.

We are heading up to Michigan tomorrow for Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. I am excited to be going there as I've always wanted to spend some time on the western coast of Michigan, which I have heard is gorgeous. We are hoping to be able to relax a bit before the show starts on Saturday. And I am happy to be doing a show. I intentionally reduced my schedule this year to be more manageable, but wouldn't you know it, I actually miss the shows when I am off.

So, if you are on the west side of Michigan, come on out and see me. If you're in St. Louis, stay tuned for news about the City-wide Open Studios next weekend - I am part of the Alternative space which shows on Sunday, July 22nd. The Contemporary Art Museum's website has all the info including images of work by participating artists. It's pretty cool; there is some awesome work! Check it out and mark your calendar for the Preview party on 7/17.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My perfect birthday weekend

I had such a lovely birthday with celebrations continuing into tomorrow, geez, how did I get to be so spoiled!?!?!

My sweetie got me a new iPod since my 2 year old Mini has been a big ol' pain in the rear. The display kept getting brighter and brighter until it was impossible to read. I found that, if I let the battery run down about halfway, I could use it for a short period of time but it was such a hassle. For the last 4 months or so I've been using it long enough to last through my exercise and mediation.

So......John got me a Nano, the 8 gig red one where some of the profits go to Aids research. It is beyond fabulous, so thin and sleek. And he had it engraved with Wish you were here, our fave Pink Floyd song. We got a Lucite case for it that has a removable clip on the back so I can put it on my waistband when I work out. I think I will keep it in the case all the time because I don't want this beauty to get scratched.

I slept late on my birthday and had a brownie and coffee for breakfast, yum! John and I went downtown to see the site of the Alternative Open Studio event I will be part of in 2 weeks. I perused all the available space and instantly knew the one I wanted - small but wonderful, a lovely stretch of wall with a bank of adjacent windows. The ceiling is high, the floors are raw. Just divine. I get to create whatever I want in this space and I am thrilled with the prospect of inventing my own studio experience for visitors to this event. Mark your calendar for July 22nd if you live around here and I will post specifics shortly.

We then went to the Farmer's market, ran some other errands and came home for lunch. I meditated and took a nap mid afternoon, glorious. Talked to both my parents on the phone, played in the studio, received well wishes from my brothers and opened birthday cards. Yikes, what a huge crop this year, I feel incredibly blessed.

We went to Jimmy's on the Park for dinner, a wonderful restaurant in the Demun area of Clayton (this is a gorgeous older community where I would buy a house if we were to suddenly come in to a lot of money, ha, ha). We were joined by our best pals Bud, Claire, Marian, & Robin. They embarrassed me with an excessive number of gifts. OK, I wasn't *that* embarrassed. It was just an all round preponderance of riches, the friendships, the meal, the gifts.

John put some lottery tickets in my card and incredibly, I won some dollars. Wouldn't you know it? Too bad there weren't a few more zeros, huh?

Tonight we went to Beth + Frank's for dinner and hung out with them and the grand kids. They all sang Happy Birthday to me and it was all I could do to keep from crying, watching those sweet boys sing their hearts out. Oh my. A perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Color Play

I am back at work on my Common Denominator series since we leave for a show next week. I've been trying to split my time between the new abstracts, which are going to be shown at an event in association with our Contemporary Museum (more on that later) and the collages. It's fun to change gears like this and I think I learn something each time.

So, as I was building backgrounds, I thought about a discussion I had with another painter about color. She worked in all blues/purples and of course I work in so many reds/oranges. It was funny because she said she has been trying to branch out but can't seem to do it easily. And of course I have had the same problem. I finally achieved some success with a blue/green palette and with pinks & neutrals, but purple continues to be a challenge. Over the past year, I have tried purple over and over with horrendous butt ugly results. I feel plagued by purple.

But today I tried to take my time and do more mixing. I feel a little bit more comfortable. Now, mind you, this isn't purple per se, but it's as close as I've ever gotten. My toe is now in the water; I like the direction and plan to do a little bit more. It turns out I have some great papers that work with the palette, specifically this swell vintage doll house wall paper(say that three times fast). The second piece doesn't have a phrase yet, more thinking needed on my part, probably something about their haircuts....

What a fun time I had playing! I have a full un-interrupted studio day tomorrow (meaning I don't have to leave the house for anything. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th

Ever since I was a kid my birthday has been celebrated on the 4th of July. The cake involved sparklers, a tradition my Mom continued even on my 40th. That was the same year she insisted that no one in our family liked icing (who on earth put out that fiction!) and instead fixed a "healthy" cake with berries and non-fat whipped cream. For the record, allow me to say I love icing. I do not, however, enjoy whipped cream, go figure.

My birthday was celebrated on the 4th as a matter of convenience in that my family was already together. In recent years we had a reunion of sorts, immediate family only, at my brother's lake house in Kentucky. This year we are spread out from our origins in Ohio, to Missouri, Tennessee & Texas. Managing a get together with my brother's 4 little ones is complicated and we do well to make it happen once a year. So John and I will have a quiet 4th with some friends.

I have been thinking about my birthday though and trying to figure out what to do. It falls on 07/07/07 and I will be 47. With all that lucky 7 energy, seems like I should have monumental plans. Something profoundly life altering; something wild and reckless; or at a minimum, something really high calorie. Suggestions anyone?

Monday, July 02, 2007

In case you were wondering

I have been told that other artists appreciate my honest approach in sharing the good and bad side of this crazy business. Lately I've had lots of good news, in fact, I haven't even shared some of it. Such as I got into Kentuck, a show I really wanted. Plus I am wait listed for Plaza, which was one of my best shows last year. And I was invited to be one of 4 artists to show abstracts in an upcoming gallery show. Not to mention a couple other thrilling things I will hold up my sleeve for the moment. So, I have lots going on in addition to my active Art Fair schedule.

But today was a pretty crappy day. I was very bummed out about this white on white painting; I don't know why it hit me so hard. It's been a long time since I cried over a rejection, and I felt like a big baby, but this was the day. Probably because I am a member of Art Saint Louis and really care about their shows so much. Also because I felt my work was so on point with the topic. The piece was hard for me and I put everything into it. Not that I don't normally do that, but I felt more emotionally invested than usual.

I guess I mainly feel so stupid. Like why do I keep entering these darn shows over and over only to face rejection. Yeah, just kick me again.

I always think I have a fresh chance since it is different jurors every time, for different topics; typically I paint something special like I did this time. But it's been so long since I have gotten into a show. It's embarrassing to me and this was a tough blog to write. I would love for it all to be happy happy but it's not. And despite telling myself this was just one (or two) person's opinion(s); that I am successfully supporting myself with my art; that I have experienced regular recurring success on multiple levels this year.......despite all that still sucks big time.