Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inspire Me Thursday 11/92 topic "Label"

I created this mixed media piece in honor of the lovely friends & family who attended the opening night of my gallery/studio. I used labels from the wine we shared as well as red wine in the piece.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inspire Me Thursday 11/12 topic "Tree"

My ink illustration, "When Trees Attack," is a response to the overdevelopment of land near my neighborhood. For more tree inspired art, check out http://www.smackinart.com/!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Illustration Friday topic: "Unbalanced"

I created this after my doctor informed me I was estrogen dominant with low progesterone among other imbalances (low iron, low Vitamin D, Iodine deficient).
Struck by the word dominant, I kept imagining this hormonal dominatrix ensuring my other hormones stayed low. See what happens when hormones are unbalanced?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Illustration Friday topic: "Blur"

He was so in love with her that all else was a blur. Hmmm. This is my illustration for "blur" and i'm sticking to it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Fast" is the Illustration Friday topic for 10/23

Fast seems to sum up most things today. We want our service, our food, our commitments, our opportunities to come ... FAST! Some children want to grow, up fast and the media is certainly accomodating them.

For me, fast is how my children are growing, how I gain weight, how the days-months-years roll, how I must make decisions sometimes...

My illustration reflects my daughter's growing up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone to Watch Over Me

This song has been stuck in my head since my daughter and I saw the movie "Fame" two weeks ago. I have always like it. And, honestly didn't realize it was written by the Gershwin brothers in 1926. Great music really does withstand the test of time.
Although I can relate to the wistful romantic soul of the song, I like my illustrated homage that points to Halloween.
'Tis the season!

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Frozen" is the Illustration Friday 10/16/09 Topic

How many of us heard the words "Watch out or you're face will freeze like that..."? Well, Eddie didn't listen, so his face is frozen in a goofy pose for eternity. Sounds like an episode of Twilight Zone, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creative, Motivated Artist Seeks New Space

The first photo shows the outside of my cute little studio. The next one shows a wall of the front gallery and the last shows my work room.
I've begun to have a love/hate relationship with my studio.
In the beginning, I saw this awful, ugly building and wanted to make it my little creative nest. I had the walls painted, floors replaced and other repairs made. I added bits of furniture. I took doors off cabinets so I could see my supplies. It was all good. I loved it.
Now, why the hate? I guess hate's too strong a word. I'll skip my personal gripes (i.e., wanting a studio at my home, lack of foot traffic) and stick to what's really driving me mad.
The parking lot is a combination of grass, holes, dirt and gravel. The building needs a new roof, a new ceiling, insulation, etc. My landlord needs to get motivated. And, his handyman needs an attitude adjustment.
Okay, the last two are personal gripes. I'll just say, "put your money where your mouth is, Mr. Landlord," and "don't call me sweetie or patronize me, Mr. Handyman." (If I screwed up the punctuation, sorry.)
When I signed the lease last fall, the landlord promised the parking lot would be asphalted (is that a word?) very, very soon. He said, "he had to, because the city was on him."
Cutbacks. Recession. Better things to do. Whatever. I'm still waiting. As long as I can park out front, all is good. If I have to park in the back, I definitely need the SUV.
The roof issues started when the ceiling nearly fell in on the back half of the building. Called the landlord. He had the roof replaced and ceiling repaired over the back area rather quickly.
During the repair, his handyman told me the wood was rotted. And, that the whole place needed a new roof, too. And, that most handymen charge too much, but he's different. Hmmm.
To their credit, the back room feels great now. The dampness and "old" smell is gone.
All was good for a week.
Then, I noticed the bathroom felt damp. The toilet paper and paper towels felt like those you'd find in a porta potty after a rainstorm. A few art pieces fell off of the wall in the gallery front. It felt damp in there, too. My watercolor paper felt damp, as if I'd painted on it an hour before.
I looked over the bathroom, noticing a light around the pipe running from and through the ceiling and the floor. Someone (who?) left my cellar light on and I could see down into the cellar from the bathroom. No wonder my studio was covered in spiders and dampness.
I had never really noticed the gaping holes around the pipes in this room before. Now, I couldn't walk into the bathroom without staring at them. Plus, the ceiling had started to bulge like the back room's ceiling did before it dropped.
I asked a friend who owns a roofing company to give me his opinion of my concerns. After a brief walkthrough and head nodding as I complained, he asked to see the cellar. His muddy footprints spoke before he did. My cellar was a mud pit. The cellar runs under the bathroom, to the side of the middle gallery and across the front gallery.
At his suggestion, I placed a dehumidifier in the front room. Every five days, it fills to capacity. No wonder the place was damp; this was definitely not good for my art or my allergies.
I called the repairman to give him a heads up. He told me irritatedly that I needed to call the landlord. Sorry. I knew that... I just thought a heads up... Oh well.
I called the landlord who apologized for all the problems I was having and promised to fix everything.
Meanwhile, it's getting chilly outside and raining every few days. And, if the winter prediction hold right, it's going to be cold and wet.
I called again asking about repairs. I also mentioned the puddle of water in my bathroom next a pipe and new dried brown stains that run the length of the pipe. The landlord promises repairs.
The handyman calls me and explains (not so nicely) that the roof was patched already, the ceiling will be taped and an insulation will be sprayed around the pipes.
What about rotting wood? What about the dampness? The cellar mud pit?
He started with a "sweetie, you don't know what you're talking about..." and ended "I'll get to it in a week or two." The middle was a mishmash of angry blah blah blah.

Okaayyyy. It's not my fault the place has problems. I've cared for this little place.
But, in that moment, I was done. Whether I just lost that loving feeling or simply removed my rose colored glasses, I'm not sure. Pick a euphemism.
What I do know is that when I'm there, I feel the dampness. I can't stand the bathroom. It feels like a porta potty. I see floors that seem to cough up dirt because of a mud pit cellar and parking lot.
I worry about my art, my supplies. I get angry about the repairs that could make this place better. I fret over the money spent fixing it up and paying enormous electric bills.
I should've guessed that my studio didn't have sufficient insulation. I certainly never guessed that my electric/gas bill would be $350 in December. I was only in the studio for two weeks that month. When I was there, I kept the thermostat at 65 degrees.
Two months in a row, I paid more than $300 for an 850 sq ft. building with a thermostat setting of 65 degrees. I was thankful to pay a bill of $166 in the spring. When I got a $62 bill for July, I got a clue. I recently checked same-sized properties that have adequate insulation and found the average bill was $50.
I also found landlords that care how a property is maintained.
So, here I am, looking for another space to nest and spread my creative wings. I feel sad, like I'm abandoning the little building. It looks so much better, happier if you will, since I moved there.
My lease is up October 31, 2009. I haven't paid this month's rent yet. It was due the 8th or maybe it's the 15th. I always pay early. I've been advised to hold my rent until the repairs are made.
If my landlord does call to ask for the rent, I'll probably buckle and send it. But, maybe, just maybe, I'll apologize for the problem and tell him I'll fix it by sending a check very, very soon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Flying" is Illustration Friday's 10/9/09 topic

Fill in the blank: Never do __________ faster than you guardian angel can fly. Here is a lovely guardian angel/fairy of creativity flying through sun drops.
I did this watercolor piece years ago, when my daughter was 8. Now, she's 13. Those years flew by and the moments keep flying! I almost illustrated "flying" related to time. I still may. "Time flying" has been on my mind a lot lately.
Enjoy the angel/fairy. I did while the phase lasted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Germs," Illustration Friday's 10/2/09 Topic

This week's illustration topic is Germs. Above is my sign of the times.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Pattern" is the 9/25 Illustration Friday topic

Below is the quote that IF sent out with this week's topic "Pattern." My ink illustration "Sangria" is one of my favorites that show a pattern.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


"Infinite" was September 18th's Illustration Friday topic. "A Day in My Domestic Life" sums up how I feel sometimes... like my household responsibilities are truly never-ending, infinite!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Illustration Friday topic: "Welcome"

This week's Illustration Friday topic "Welcome" arrived with the quote: "The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcom the ecstatic experience. - Emily Dickinson."
I immediatly thought of this illustration for my entry. When I pulled up the jpeg on my computer, I was pleasantly surprised to see the word "welcome" written at the door.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Illustration Friday topic: "Strong"

This week's Illustration Friday topic is Strong: "Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong. ~ Mahatma Gandhi" (suggested by Andre).

It was difficult for me to select an illustration. My first thought choice was an ink of the Christian wooden cross. Jesus of Nazareth was an itenerant preacher and the Christian Messiah who was brutally tortured and crucified, despite his message of peace. You can find this illustration "I am the Vine" on http://www.smackinart.etsy%20com/ in my "Prints and Note Cards" category.

My second thought was my ACEO commemorating a rowing team from the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City. Interestly, Santiago, Chile, had originally been awarded the games; but, political upheaval forced a change of venue. You can find this ACEO "Ochre Bleu Grenada Row" on http://www.smackinart.etsy%20com/ in my "ACEO" category.

The third, above, was my whimsical interpretation of John Lennon. Mr. Lennon wrote many songs of love and peace. My favorite song is aptly titled "Give Peace a Chance" written in 1969. Sadly, Mr. Lennon was gunned down in 1980.

What is it about the nonviolent that causes such a violent reaction?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why "should" I want to buy that?

Last week, a man walked into my art studio, looked around and stopped at a table display of my ACEOs.

"Now, what are these?" he asked.

I explained the cards were ACEOs, small art pieces similiar to the wallet-sized cards European artists from centuries ago gave away to advertise their work. And, although ACEO stands for Art Card Editions and Originals, at this time, my cards are original and one of a kind.

"Cool," he said casually flipping through the stack. "Now, tell me why should I want to buy one."

Easy. ACEOs are an inexpensive way to collect an artist's work.

After he looked through the stack on the table, I directed him to other ACEOs around the room. He chatted about the different styles of cards I offer: ACEOs with original illustrations, collages and watercolors... some embellished with fiber and some with stamps I collected in the late 1970s - early 1980s. (However, my latest ACEO sports a recent postage stamp of Seabiscuit.)

"Nice," he mused hand on his chin. "What would I do with them? Like, where would I put them?"

The possibilities are many. Some collectors keep ACEOs in a photo or card collecting album. Some mat and frame a grouping of the cards. An ACEO can be proped on miniature easel or tacked on bulletin board. They make nice a bookmark, keepsake, card enclosure, meditation piece or graphic element in a scrapbook.

"Great! Thank you! I love your work," he enthused, then shook my hand and left.

Well... I admit I had hoped for a sale, large or small. No such luck. Another day...
Check out my ACEO cards at http://www.smackinart.com/ and http://www.smackinart.etsy.com/.

More about ACEOs:

(1) ACEOs are the size of a sport trading card (2 ½ X 3 ½ inches).

(2) ACEOs are sold, while Art Trading Cards (ATCs) are traded.

(3) The ACEO Movement was founded by artist Lisa Luree.

(4) (information courtesy of Art-Cards.org) Sixteenth century art cards were typically nude paintings of mistresses commissioned by men from the same artists who painted large portraits of their children or wives. Eighteenth century artists used art cards as an advertising tool. Impressionist artists traded art cards among themselves to study and sold or traded to others for supplies, food and lodging.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My illustration above is "Aly the Great."
I knew this young girl who was having problems with anxiety. I wanted to help her somehow. So, I drew her as Aly the Great, master of Mt. Fearless. Not only does Aly have wings, she has snazzy red boots. The little girl loved it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Icing on the Shoes

I published my first magazine (only one copy) when I was in 6th grade. Titled "Dogs," it contained nothing but clipped magazine photos of dogs pasted onto construction paper and newly captioned by me.

A few months ago, I posted my second homemade publication "SmackinArt Zine: Poetry & Essay Issue" on www.smackiart.etsy.com. So far, no one has purchased one. Bummer. I still have hope though... you know the thing with feathers... the thing that floats.

With that, here is one of the included essays: Icing on the Shoes. Enjoy!

"It was all about the shoes.
Dorothy learned two lessons that day in Oz: 1) there’s no place like home; and 2) some women will go to extraordinary lengths for a pair of shoes.

I think the Wizard of Oz is probably the most famous fictionalized account of shoe envy. Coincidentally, I was reminded of my own one-time obsession with shoes when an envelope arrived in the mail last week. My Aunt Mara Nell sent me some old newspaper clippings that she had found. Among the clippings was a published photo from my Uncle Aaron’s birthday party. I was six-years-old. I was the only person in the photo that wasn’t smiling.

I laughed when I saw the photo. I thought, “I guess I’ve never liked having my photo taken.” Then, I began to remember why I wasn’t smiling: Barbie shoes.

As general manager of the local Brown Shoe Factory, my uncle oversaw the manufacture of several styles of women’s shoes. His wife, my Aunt Helen, had requested the baker decorate his birthday cake with Barbie shoes.

I loved Barbie and everything that came with her, especially her candy-colored plastic shoes. However, her shoes always perplexed me as they wouldn’t stay on her overly-arched feet. I’d dress Barbie in a new outfit, put on her shoes and within an hour her feet were bare. My Barbie may have had 2 lovely homes, a dune buggy, and case of clothes, but she lacked shoes.

When my Aunt Helen set the cake on the table, I saw the shoes spread across the top. Every shoe was a different style and color. I had Barbie outfits for each pair.

I ran to fine my mom and pulled her over to the cake. She mumbled what a clever cake and started to walk away. “Mom!” I whispered. “Ask Uncle Aaron if I can have those shoes.”

“Oh, Tina,” she replied. “I’m sure he’ll give those to you.”

I smiled. I couldn’t wait to get home and line the shoes up in Barbie’s house. I wouldn’t lose these shoes. I was older now.

My mom pulled me over to our table. It was time to eat. I sat half turned around in the chair, so I could see the cake behind me. I nibbled on my roll.

The adults seemed to eat in slow-motion. They were too busy talking and laughing. I pulled on my mom’s shirt and whispered, “When are we going to eat cake?”

“Later, Tina,” she answered.

“Can I have my cake now?” I asked.

“Finish your dinner or no shoes,” she shushed.

My stomach growled. I looked at my plate with the chicken leg and mashed potatoes. I grabbed the leg and started crunching.

Finally, the plates were cleared and coffee was served. Someone turned off the lights and the candle light filled the room. We sang Happy Birthday. I sang the loudest of all. I was minutes away from getting my shoes.

My Aunt Helen took the Barbie shoes off one by one, setting them on a plate. I felt like I would explode as I watched her cut the cake. A slice of cake was set in front of me. It smelled like sugar and candle wax.

My mom was scooping ice cream. She plopped a giant vanilla scoop on top of my cake. “Can I have the shoes now?” I asked.

“In a minute, Tina,” answered my mom.

The door behind my aunt opened. Their next door neighbors walked in with their 10-year-old daughter Beth.

My aunt spun around and my uncle got up right away. They met at the cake. Everyone was hugging. He pointed to the half cut cake and beamed.

I turned back around and took a bite of ice cream. I got a weird feeling in my stomach. I looked up just as Beth was sitting down in front of me. She had two plates. One plate held a piece of cake and the other had a clump of icing-covered shoes.

“Thanks, Beth,” I said.

“For what?” she answered.

“The shoes,” I replied. “You brought over my Barbie shoes.”

“No,” she said, “These are my shoes. Your uncle just gave these to me.”

I swallowed. I was betrayed. The shoes were mine. I was family. I pushed my plate away, put my head on the table and started to cry. My mom rushed over.

“What’s wrong, Tina?” she said. Then, she noticed Beth’s plate of shoes.

“Oh, Tina. You don’t want those dirty old shoes anyway,” she shushed.” They’re covered with icing.” She carried me to the bathroom. I blew my nose. She promised to take me to Estes next week to look for Barbie shoes.

We came back out and sat down. My ice cream had melted and was running off my plate. I closed my eyes and listened to Beth suck the icing off the shoes.
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