Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude, Thankfulness, Best Wishes

Made a fire, grabbed the Sunday NY Times, and sat down outside in front of the chimenea. It's so nice to have a sit. Should I feel guilty about that man over there who's raking the yard?! 

Another moment of clarity, this time with a note of peace and gratitude. My boy flew in and shared good food, good times and a couple of walks around the neighborhood. It's been a long semester and now the next few weeks promise that the Christmas holiday is near--more time to listen and share stories from the East and the West. 

 Did you have family gatherings that you will now cherish as your loved ones return to the demands of work? Perhaps you'll write some of your best memories in a journal, perhaps images will come to mind that you'll paint about later. This reminds me of genealogy research. There are significant dates in every history, but those that include stories (silly or serious) and images (photos, drawings, paintings) make a history worth remembering. 

I continue to be thankful to all who visit here. I'm especially grateful when you comment and when you teach me new things. It gives me joy to know that there are kind hearts out there painting and overcoming all the trivia that seeks to keep art from existing. But, of course, we all know that that is impossible. We are unstoppable! With best wishes--m --

Here sits a visitation of joy, captured by a flickering light 
Easing the cry of a world yearning to rest 
Just for a moment 
This is my gratified wish 
To be present in this warm light 
Not far away 
Where I am of no use 
mse ©2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unusual but True: On Being Art 'Tagged'

From the truth window: This really made my day. Barbara of Barbara Paints tagged me yesterday. What a delight. I had been a bit discouraged this week...with the usual questions, you know, "Shouldn't I get a real job?" "Who am I kidding?" and "There are so many skilled, expressive, and talented artists, who needs to hear from me anyway?" Then, I had a deadline--make mailart for Ell and send it off with a food package before the post office closed, and, after creating a piece in two hours that I liked. 

I felt that it is worthwhile to make the art I do, that I'm like the bird who builds a nest, gets it blown over, and builds again. It's what I do. To have a talented artist tag me...well, it was more than swell. I am extremely grateful to everyone who visits and offers comments and camaraderie. You have no idea how meaningful it is to me, but, I will hazard a guess that you, too, find the art community to be as essential as water. I drink from this well feeling refreshed and renewed. I will continue to offer a cool drink in the summertime, and a warm cup of tea in the coldness to any who wander through, seeking art medicine from a fellow traveler. These are the rules for being tagged. You need to:
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you. 
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself. 
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know. 

Here are some truths about me that some may find unusual:
1. I knew a "Russian prince": 
When I was a kid, my folks were friends with a man (Alexis Badmaieff) who had been smuggled into France during the Russian Revolution. He wanted to become a doctor, but, instead, became an engineer. He operated on my foot after a run-in with a sharp shell on Santa Catalina Island in southern California. He drank a glass of vodka every day with a raw egg in it. He died in his mid 50s... I later found out that, in fact, his father (Dr. Alexei Badmaieff) was friends with Rasputin and not a Russian prince. (I continue to research him)
2. Almost became a professional actress: 
I started performing at a young age. In high school, I was nominated best actress in AZ during a theatre competition. I was subsequently offered a full scholarship to NAU as well as a small role in a movie being filmed in Texas. I turned these offers down, believing I wasn't good enough. 

3. Thought I'd become a classical pianist: 
While I started out playing folk guitar in my teens, I really wanted to play classical piano (or play lead guitar in a rock band). I studied with a woman whose instructor studied with Rachmaninoff. I used to play an impressive Prelude in C# Minor, but my teacher said my wrists were too weak for a professional career. After a traumatic brain injury in 1997, I could no longer play anything on the piano, but my guitar playing is coming back and my artwork is much improved! 

4. Art found me when I was in my mid-twenties: There was a lot of tragedy connected to my early adulthood. I wandered around lost until a week of intense grieving produced two words that seemed to come to me from God--like lightning--STAINED GLASS! They were powerful words. With only $60 dollars to my name, I set out to teach myself to work in glass. I returned to Tucson with six crooked pieces and lots of confidence. I landed a job and began designing windows. As a 'commission only' artist, I made $15 my first two weeks, but four years later, I had completed two large restaurant commissions totalling over 200 square feet between the two. It was then that I felt the need to get some proper schooling in art and I later earned an associate's degree at our local community college. 

5. I cleaned the pools of the wealthy: After graduating from college, I got a job cleaning pools. I felt very lucky to spend my days cleaning and swimming in pools at million dollar properties while the owners slaved away in order to pay the bills. I made enough to work part time to buy an MGB Roadster (which I loved working on and pretending to race), and to work on art the rest of the day. 

6. I held a tarantula in my hand: When my boy was in the fourth grade, the teacher had a contest in which the student who brought in the most crickets would win the class tarantula. Most people are afraid of spiders. However, I had a serious phobia. I couldn't even look at photos of them in magazines. But, you know, it was my opportunity to overcome this fear and teach my son about changing one's mind. I made lots of artwork from our Molly Francesca Gomezina. We had the very special gift of observing her molt. She'd come to us with one leg missing (a common thing), but after her molt, she had eight new legs. 

7. I married a man ten years younger than me: After community college, I organized drawing sessions in my home. One of our models became my roommate and asked to invite her friend from school. We married two years later. I always feel ten years younger. I think he mostly feels ten years older...I am grateful that he provided the safest, most nurturing environment in which to raise our son, and for me to finish my BFA in 2004. I couldn't have done it without him and my son tutoring me in math and other subjects. It's been an amazing journey so far! 

Please visit the following artists who inspire me and give gifts of beauty, insight and wisdom to so many: Karen Silvina Loriann David Jeffrey Martha What a challenge to limit tagging to only six or seven. I hope to do this again sometime. Thank you, all, for being so generous and supportive of me and your other fans!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Mexico Light

Although the painting currently on my easel is a portrait, here's a small painting (5" x 7") that I finished about a week ago. I reworked this puppy several times and am okay with it now. Funny how a small painting can almost break your resolve to see it through. Life is just so much better this week, yes?!

Wishing every artist a new start.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Keep Painting

Make art because you love it. Paint because you must. Don't worry about rejection. It doesn't have anything to do at all with that moment...that moment when you smile, calmly satisfied, after struggling with hue, composition, contrast. Not a thing. One of my favorite artists, Grace Hartigan, said, "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers---only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." I got an email notice today from the National Portrait Gallery that my submission was rejected. I had submitted the self portrait that can be seen further down the page (She Learned Obedience Suffering). It was good participating and I'm looking forward to seeing the paintings that were chosen. It's a wonderful exhibit. Thank you to those who viewed my selections and gave me really good feedback. I might even try again next year. Les Brown wrote, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." Journaling last night, I finally finished a small study of a place near San Simon, Arizona and Lordsburg, New Mexico. I snapped this photo while traveling to Silver City, New Mexico this last spring. The little bushes were so interesting. Easy to pass by at 85 miles an hour and not take any notice. But, being a shutterbug, I'll snap photos through the car window without even looking through the lens, just to see what I catch. This is another Caran d'Ache, but this one is on watercolor paper. (8 1/4" x 5 1/2") An exciting day tomorrow. I hope to work in the studio but may be too darn distracted. Wishing all artists a calm day. One last quote that causes a chuckle each time I read it..."Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven't tried before."--Mae West.