This is Really Happening!

I can’t remember anymore what anthology story program on TV had the episode that comes to mind just now. The tale was that of a sleepy small town whose residents felt underappreciated—maybe unnoticed entirely—and decided that what they needed for a jolt of attention was a good ol’ natural disaster. Not a real one, mind, just something that seemingly put them in jeopardy and therefore brought the attention and (most importantly) big bucks of the agencies that offer rescue and succor to those who suffer. This tale being, of course, an entertainment and a very silly comedic one at that, the town’s geniuses made a little film documenting their tragic miseries, complete with deeply unconvincing special effects and some acting that, while it did evoke horror, did so only in the sense of its rich incompetence. The highlight of their marvel of a movie was a scene where a group of people did a stupendously fakey shaky act while accomplices waggled objects on the shot’s periphery to simulate a massive earthquake and one of the would-be actors shouted “it’s an EARTHQUAKE!” to another who looked straight into the camera and yelled, “This is really happening!” Spoiler alert: the government aid agencies being courted with this tomfoolery were not fooled.

Thrown

Thrown. Limited edition print from a (Not For Sale) one-off stone lithograph. I am trying hard not to be thrown by my own fake earthquake, whether it’s my art exhibition or not!

And I feel, lately, that I might be reenacting those village idiots’ little cautionary tale myself. While I’ve been genuinely working hard and keeping busier than I can easily do on a long-term basis, and I’ve gotten a lot less sleep than this sleep-fiend ordinarily requires per night, I know that the run-up to my art exhibition is only a finite project and I’m not even remotely experiencing what any sane person would call suffering! So I try not to whimper and whinge too loudly or I’m quite certain I’ll get called on the same kind of specious pity-party as those fictional townsfolk were throwing themselves. But as the day of the show approaches, I do succumb a bit more frequently to the weaselly wiles of tired self-absorption.

And then I remember that this is really happening, and soon. And truthfully, it’s been a very long time coming. So when I can snag a few hours of semi-sound sleep and get a moment to sit down and reflect while not madly framing and making art and all of the accoutrements of a carefully planned exhibition, I am in fact very happy that I chose to brave the adventure of a solo show again after a long hiatus from the scene. And I’m enjoying the uplifting responses of all who are cheering me along the way and even lending their capable insights and hands to make it go as smoothly and joyfully as possible. In honor of that kind of support and to encourage myself to get out of my own crowded little head a bit more, I took on and continued some side projects. Helps with the whole perspective thing.

AND-anna #19

AND-anna #19, available at Art of Where in up to 50″x50″ sizes and up to 20 colorways.

One ‘side’ project is simply a longtime ongoing one in which I’ve been designing a whole group (well over 60 in number by now) of scarf and shawl designs that I will be selling. Many of these I hope will eventually become part of a line of fundraiser items for research into the treatment and cure of Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes, and Lupus, some very real trials suffered by large numbers of people (who deserve far better, and number among them my two mamas and my beloved niece, respectively); they are available online at my Art of Where store and will evolve for their higher purpose when I’m able to recover a little from the show.Scarves.AND-anna—#19.2017.modeled

Two angel artworks came alive recently, both resembling but not entirely copying previous iterations of those otherworldly, nondenominational guardian creatures who do frequently seem to appear on my paper, canvas, or alternate substrate whenever I’m approaching both a show deadline and an exhaustion meltdown. It seemed apropos that these two avatars of support-staff excellence should serve a wider purpose than only my own, so the proceeds of their sale will be combined and shared equally as gifts to two choirs my husband conducted in different past interim positions here in Dallas.

 

The third and quickest project was getting to make a wreath for a charitable auction that will happen in early December. It’s a fundraiser selling one-of-a-kind custom wreaths made by local artists to raise money for a wonderful health center in town for at-risk and underserved populations. I chose to use a mental health theme for my ‘From Dark to Dazzling’ non-seasonable wreath, and I had a great time planning and making it, not least of all because it took me away from art-exhibition wrestling for a little while. Coming back to the show work again became a bit easier to face after those diversions and a few outings to see and hear great friends performing in concert and opera around here.

From Dark to Dazzling

From Dark to Dazzling (26″diameter wreath, 8″D; mixed media)

Coming back to the show work again became a bit easier to face after those diversions and a few outings to see and hear great friends performing in concert and opera around here. Ticking a few more items off the lengthy exhibition prep list each day doesn’t hurt. And having an evening to sit down with my remarkably unflappable spouse and work out a few of the other lurking puzzles is beyond helpful. Tomorrow seems slightly more approachable and manageable than yesterday or even today. And the Thing That Is Happening will happen one way or another, but how much better that I will be able to welcome it when the time comes!

Which time is, by the bye, next Saturday. It’s 4-9 pm on the 18th of November, 2017, at 5656 North Central Expressway, Villa #100, Dallas, Texas. And I like to think it’ll be quite the fun shindig for all of us who show up there. Betcha I won’t even have time to feel tired or distracted or worried at all anymore.

Show to Go

As the date of my art exhibition approaches, the task list gets strangely longer rather than shorter. But it’s still pleasing to see what little items I can tick off of the list as I’m piling new items onto it below. Two steps forward, one back, and so goes life.

At the moment, one of the tasks is to be sure I’m documenting each piece reasonably well so that I’ll have a truer record of what I did and what I put in the exhibition. But I’ve made it a little awkward for myself (longtime visitors here and other friends will not be surprised at this regular occurrence!) by doing tons of works with shiny, iridescent, high-gloss, translucent, and other kinds of colorations and techniques and media that are hard to pin down in photos. The first new painting I did for this show is a classic example.

0 Jazz.Ella_Goes_Platinum.2017

Ella Goes Platinum—and multicolored, iridescent, and scintillating. Visually and musically. Yes.

When I did this Ella Fitzgerald portrait, I did my usual hybrid of drawing and painting on canvas, layering individual colors and small sets of them at a time and letting some show through windows in subsequent layers and others, merely by virtue of not being blocked out by the next layers’ transparency or thinness. Which suits my approach fine, but as a finished product makes for something that looks different in every light and from every angle. I made a tiny video clip just to prove my point, and even video doesn’t seem to get the whole of the thing. Obviously I’m not going to be having any exhibitions of my work either as a rock-solid documentarian or a filmmaker!

But I’ll keep doing what I can. I’d like to have a catalogue at the end of all of this that at least works as a souvenir—shareable in print as a book, if I’m lucky—and perhaps even as a portfolio of sorts. After all, I do like making books of various kinds. Of course, that leads me back in some kind of infinity loop to cataloguing all of my publishable images, or at least the thousands of them that are in printable formats. Trust me to find endless ways to make more work for myself.

Good thing I enjoy my work! Not that I don’t like sleep, too, and other life activities. Not very good at setting boundaries and finding the exact life balance I want. I hear that’s a common disease among the self-employed and artists and all others of my ilk. But it’s a trick to get my inner eye closed and my brain silenced for the night when they want to keep springing new ideas on me without much regard for the hour. I’m hoping that it’ll abate for a while after this exhibition is packed away again.

Because I’m nothing if not a fantasist. Oh, you noticed.

Abstracts.Overtones.2017

Overtones. An abstract representation of soundwaves interacting. And also, naturally, of light and layers and media and all of the other things involved in my paintings. Not to mention the interactions of my buzzy little synapses that won’t shut up when I’m trying to get to sleep. Me, I will shut up for now. See you later!

Ready or Not!

FB-1-SHOW-inviteOne month from this date, 18 November 2017, I’m crawling back out of my chrysalis. It’s been nice in here, curled up in my artistic bubble and reinventing myself yet again. With masses of support from spouse, family, friends, and community right on through, of course, I’ve found productivity and a few adventures and plenty of novelty in untested or forgotten media to charm and challenge me. Besides which, nothing’s more motivational than having a deadline. November the 18th.

And not having participated in an art exhibition in approximately a decade, surprisingly, is a fair catalyst for setting a deadline to, you know…have an art exhibition. Yep, highly motivational. Oh, did I mention that despite the longtime plan to have a show and the subsequent immersion in art-making, the show itself is essentially all on the fly? Story of my life as an artist. My life in general, perhaps. Good thing I’m surrounded by such richly (perhaps weirdly) supportive people.

Now, finding a workable date was one of the first stumbling blocks. So many of the same friends and loved ones who are always on hand to cheer me on have such busy lives—foremost among them my conductor spouse—that it’s a trick to merely find one date when less than 90% of them have a concert, a rehearsal, a gig, or any other impediment to their at least getting to see the stuff they’ve, however foolishly, encouraged me to create. From the date-setting part of the adventure followed the inevitable cascade of logistical hoop-jumping and list-making and head-scratching that make every art exhibit similar to every other limited-edition event I’ve seen in the planning and execution. I guess I should just be glad that a literal execution is not what I expect awaits me on the day of the show.

And before you say “huh?” to that last item, I will confirm that this is not only a one-day reception but a one-day, pop-up exhibition. As I’ve never sought representation by or an affiliation with an agent or gallery or shop in Texas since moving here, I knew from the beginning that I’d be lucky to afford a single day’s showing. And I’m luckier than I even dared to hope because a very clever friend with excellent connections found a perfect venue for me and convinced the owner I was a worthwhile risk.

Now it’s my continuing task to prove him correct. Did I say Motivational?!

This’ll be the first time I’ve shown any of my digital artwork in the real world. It’s the first time I’ve seriously revisited painting in many years. I’ve adjusted and edited a number of the graphite drawings I’ve made in my years of blogging here and during the non-painting time in general so that I can make limited edition prints of some of them and sell the originals of others. My forays into designing patterns, styles, and finishes for clothing and furnishings through online wholesalers and retailers will get a first physical airing, and the seven of the eight books I’ve put into print will be in the space as well.

Thus far, I’ve been scrambling to separate more clearly what is, or isn’t, going to be included in the show not only so that I can push to insure that all the Yeses are framed and ready to hang and the Nos don’t get in the way of that deadline which will now be officially looming, being a month away. Things to do, places to go, people to see, and yes, a post or two to get my blog in gear enough for me to clarify in my own mind just where all of this is headed.

More to come; for now, I’ll just hand you a pair of the invitational materials so you can join in on the countdown with me. Come along, if you’re up for it!FB-3-SHOW-sampler

It’s What I’ve been up to These Days…

In case you wonder where I’ve wandered off to for the last couple of years instead of sticking to my daily blogging!

I’ve been producing, refining, updating, and otherwise detailing hundreds of my artworks, from photography to drawings, paintings, prints, digital illustrations, collages, poems, essays, book designs, and more. Many of these have already gone up for sale online at Zazzle and Art of Where (prints of artworks on paper, canvas, acrylic; household objects like cups, plates, lampshades, pillows, and the like; and clothing—T shirts, aprons, scarves, shawls, and more) and as books of my writing and visual arts at Amazon and Blurb.

Most importantly, I’ve been enjoying the process of getting back to my art roots and producing and editing my own work just for the love of it. I am immensely grateful for the freedom to pursue this vocation, and for the many friends and loved ones who support me in the craziness!

And in case you can’t tell, since I’ve become a silent lurker 99% of the time, I do still love visiting my friends’ blogs and reading and viewing when I can!

Source: https://www.zazzle.com/greenwater_1_spring_fed_acrylic_print-256065941087134226?CMPN=emc_en-us_ProductCreationForStore_Inky_Wordpress&tc=emc_ProductCreationForStore&emid=L6XyXAbYfUO0a05I5Lks0w&rf=238625503972086358

Peace be with us all

In a world of seeming absolutes, Nature loves nothing more than to surprise us. Ice is always cold, except when it burns. Drugs, whether entirely from a single natural source or concocted in recipes of great scientific ingenuity, can heal, though the very same dose of the very same medicine makes one person miraculously hale again and kills another on the spot. The supposed Dead Sea has richer and more varied life forms than a multitude of other lakes and seas, while the so-called Sea of Tranquility is often enough a seething mass of storms.

And we gullible human beings, here in the thick of things, study deeply and grow wiser, yet can rarely tell the honest truth from a preposterous lie. May we learn, if nothing else, to know our limitations better and to show consideration for those whose ignorance is only naturally different from our own. And may we all remember our own imperfections before we devote any energies to defining and rooting out any others’.

Photo: Peaceful Stockholm

Stockholm on a more peaceful day.

I wrote the foregoing paragraphs quite a while ago, but am struck anew by the thought as yet another would-be Statement-Making evildoer commits an attack on innocents, this particular one today in Stockholm. How killing other innocent people, and usually in a barbaric fashion, is going to bring back the killer’s lost loves and goods, going to win hearts and minds to anyone’s cause, or even remotely change the world for the better for the attacker or anyone else, is absolutely impossible for me to fathom.

Throwing red paint on a fur coat wearer is going to make her say, “Heavens! It never occurred to me that a fur coat might offend anybody, let alone hurt the animal I took it from! I shall henceforth devote my life to protecting animal rights and the activists who promote them.” Really? Shouting epithets at anyone will make him think, “Good grief! You’re right! I will stop being brown/disabled/bisexual/elderly Right This Minute. What was I thinking?” Yeah. Just as easily ask the shouter to stop decrying Otherness. It’s natural for us to question, fear, or even dislike things that don’t fit our worldview, but why any of us would think it either our job or our right to change things that are intrinsic to who others are by birth or perforce is entirely beyond my comprehension.

You see me as dyslexic, as having Spasmodic Dysphonia (along with mitral valve prolapse, clinical anxiety and depression, hypothyroidism, familial tremor, and perpetual hot flashes), never mind all the others who have unspeakably more difficult and complicated conditions and experiences all the time—and you think we do this stuff by choice—for fun and entertainment? We take the meds, we do the therapies, we study and we pray, just as you say you do. As logical asking us to stop being this stuff as us asking you to stop wearing skin, to quit that wasteful use of resources when you insist on taking drinks of potable water, or to love the taste of cyanide.

I’m pretty sure that if there were a solution to this persistent, pernicious problem of human nature, any of the far wiser people than me would long ago have discovered it and the rest of the world embraced its practicality, if not its inherent goodness. Sorry to say, we are all broken and will continue to be damaged goods as a species as long as we have any kind of free will at all. But that doesn’t mean we should just stop trying to be better. It certainly doesn’t mean we’re off the hook for attempting decency and the simplest—if also most difficult—bits of compassion and insight we can manage in the here and now. I hope with all my heart that we can commit to at least that much.

Peace be with us all.

Now, Let’s Sit & Talk about This for a Moment

Photo: Long Road 1After the flood of mindless vitriol in our American political scene—yes, an outpouring from all sides and hardly touched by facts and logic or by mere civility as everyone descends to defensive and angry namecalling—I am reminded that this is an age-old problem.

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.” – Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996).Photo: Long Road 2

More importantly, I recognize that we would not now exist, certainly not as a federation of states we call a nation, but possibly not even as the chaotic, argumentative, and colorful mass of humanity we are, if there weren’t some among us who occasionally do sit down at the same table and work to reason out the complexities that try us all. Only then can anyone come to an agreement that, while it may be deeply imperfect at best, is still genuinely aimed at the longer-term ideal of growing gradually, of improving until it offers a possibility for better health, education, safety, opportunity, and well-being for all, not just for the privileged or noisy few. I hope that the antagonistic tenor of recent times can be put behind us in favor of work and conversation dedicated to nobler causes than self-interest and fear. I hope that we can let go of redefining hot-button words to suit our mood-of-the-moment and that we can reflect on how our own attitudes and imperfections, ignorance of the larger picture or of other people’s experiences, and our own prejudices and deeply held convictions can stand in the way of simply living together. It doesn’t have to mean giving up principles or changing hard-won beliefs if we will honestly examine our shared needs and our commonalities with equal fervor and attempt to find the best ways to uphold and accommodate all of them.

I’m tired of living in a place that could be one of the few on earth these days that’s not an actual war zone, yet feels as though we are all embattled on a daily basis. If even a modest number of us spent the energy we currently waste on perpetual shadowboxing with real-or-imagined enemies and evils instead on reasoning out positive change and growth in ourselves and our communities, what a different atmosphere we’d have. I, for one, am ready to commit to turning down the volume of my critiques, and persevering in sharing what I have that can give others respite, or hope, or a moment of beauty, no matter how small it may be, instead of wallowing in anyone’s bitterness and despair any longer.Photo: Long Road 3

Waste not those feet

I am still lurking about in my book-writing space, having now pressed Publish on my fifth Blurb book and working on a number of those yet in progress. But it’s happy work. On that note, I commend to you my dear friend Celi’s superbly crisp take on happiness from her own blog:

thekitchensgarden

How to change Big attitudes with tiny turns.
sheila

You know that feeling when you are half way to somewhere and you realise you have forgotton something that you need. Or you cannot carry everything you need down the back in one wheelbarrow and must make two or three trips. And you think – Dammit now I have to walk all the way back. Lately when I have these realisations I am pleased.
cat

All this has come down to a little plastic gadget my daughter has me wearing that counts my footsteps. There are a number of such bracelets, I don’t want to advertise mine as I am not in the business of advertising, and that is not the aim of this discussion, you may even have one on your phone but counting my footsteps has turned my attitude on its head. Now instead of being frugal with movement, efficient with my feet…

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