Thursday, August 27, 2015

Art Blog: The CLICK

This has happened to me before. Whenever I am in dire straits, I wander and whimper for while. Then, there is this CLICK. All of the drama goes away and I am back on track. This recent bout of turmoil has lasted quite while. I dug deep into my toolbox to find a way out. It seemed nothing was working.

I watched tons of art videos. I read bunches of art blogs. I stood in the middle of my studio only to walk out a few minutes later. For the first time in my life, I thought "Maybe I am just done making art(?)"

I have been having some health problems. Nothing deadly, but still worrisome. I didn't care about this except for the way it was effecting my art motivation. There were moments I thought I was doomed. However, I kept digging in that toolbox. I kept thinking, I just need to hear the CLICK.

I decided to resume my bucket list project. For the past few years, I have had it in my mind to continue to show in all the states united. I have shown lots in Michigan and Florida because I have lived in both states. However, I want to show my work in all 50. So, I entered a show in Minnesota. This is one state in which I have never shown my work. Weeks later, I was notified I got two pieces in the show. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm......................

This morning, I woke up very early and packed up the work to travel. I filled out the forms, paid for shipping, and dropped it off to put it on it's way. I love thinking of my work going to all the places I have no desire to visit. It is like my art is my proxy tourist. This is fine with me.
I came home after dropping the work off and fell asleep on the couch. The hours of prep made me tired. Then, I woke up. I got up and picked up some canvases and started working. I even got out my graphite pencils and worked on preliminary ideas. I realized I heard the CLICK.

THANK GOD!


I have 20 something states and 3 international exhibits so far. I have to recheck my resume to make sure the numbers are accurate. In the meantime, I am on my way. Now, I have to find shows in places like North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, etc. At least, it gives me a goal.
I want to keep clickin.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Art Blog: There are no SUPER HEROES.

I have never felt this way in my entire life. NEVER. I decided to quit my most recent job because they wanted me to do something I could not do. It was a matter of principle. I don't want to get into details, but I was so pulled and torn with my decision. I really didn't want to quit. However, it was a moot point. If I can't do something physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I just can't do it. The End.

So after giving my notice, I had to go pack up all my belongings and fill my SUV up with all my teaching props, gear, and toys. When I was in my art room, there was a little part of me that wished a Super Hero would rush in and tell me it would be OK. We fixed it! We want you to stay! I really thought that! Packing boxes in the darkened room, I kept thinking the warden would call and announce the reprieve. I will not get the death penalty after all! Yet as the hours passed and I kept packing, lifting, and loading, nobody came to say anything. I was all alone feeling kind of crappy, but a bit relieved all at the same time. I have always known there are no super heroes or super anything for that matter.

So now I have all my art teaching junk polluting my own art studio. One big pile of mess. It reminds me of my life right now. It is kind of a wreck. It is so funny because so many times in my life I have been told to concentrate more on my art. However, I am always in such fear because of money. My art is not "commerce qualified", so to speak. I don't want it to be either. If it sells it sells, if not, I have always had my paycheck. This sounds so cliché, but maybe now is the time to just "BE AN ARTIST". Maybe I should rely on my own super powers?

I can find simpler jobs to pay bills. I have always figured out a way to support myself and have done a very good job for five decades. Maybe I am weird for thinking this way, but it just has to be time for me now. Things will work out. I have no idea why I was thinking someone would run into the art room and rescue me. That is nonsense.

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY OWN SUPER HERO!

I have always been crazy like this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Art Blog: Time To Move On

For weeks, I have been in a droop. It has been a kind of downward spiral. As reported in my last post, my friend Gilda died. Her death has rocked my world. She was a fantastic person. However, she represented so much more to me.

We went to school together way back in the 70's. So losing her represents the end of that era. It is strange. Recently, we spoke about death via FB message. So many of our friends were dying. I told her that we are at that age. It is going to happen whether we like it or not. I just never thought it would be about either one of us.

So now, she is gone. It has taken a month for me to even say this. I need to let it go. I need to let her go. I need to get on with my art and life. I am so glad we shared a history. She was one person who I could talk with while voicing the same kind of "art speak". Right now, I am talking to myself. NO. I am still talking to her. She just doesn't answer immediately. I am sure she will send me signs. I am sure she is still listening to my crazy rants. I am sure she is thinking "That Sheree. She is like that."

She will always be part of my DETROIT memories. It is my hometown. She was my home girl.

Love ya Gild.

Click pic for larger view

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Art Blog: LEGACY

I remember the day the space shuttle blew up on January 28, 1986. I had been teaching all morning and I was on my school lunch hour sitting at a red light. The news was on the radio. It felt like I was stung by a million bees. After finishing teaching the rest of my afternoon classes, I left school. I drove to my Dad's house. I walked in, saw him drinking his beer at the table. The first thing he said to me was "Where did all those brains go?" My daddy was not an academic. He never finished school. Instead, he worked in printing factories for his entire life. Yet, he had a very primal wisdom. "Where did all those brains go?" This was his less than elegant way of asking what happens when we die. We accumulate all this knowledge. Then, we die and are silenced. Our physical bodies give out. Where does our essence go?

This week my best art friend died. Her name was Gilda Snowden. I cannot start to tell you what a phenomenal woman she was. I met her in the mid 70's at Wayne State University. We were comrades in undergrad and grad school. We have maintained our friendship for nearly 40 years. Her sudden and unexpected death has left a hole in my heart. She was more than just a friend. She was part of my spirit.

When I heard of her death, I remembered what my dad had said. "Where did all those brains go?" I thought of this because Gilda's foremost goal was to be a scholar. She wanted to be smart about art and life. OH, she attained her goal. She was one of the smartest people I know. I could talk to her about anything and everything. This is a rare gift. I too am a knowledge seeker. Sometimes I feel all alone because I think of things nobody else cares about. Gilda always did. So where do those brains go? Every day when I am teaching, I am met with smiling faces ready to make art. Gilda had the same thing happen. We all touch lives. We share tidbits of knowledge and experience. Those seeds are scattered into the Universe. Everything we do and share is distributed all over our worlds. Little pieces of us are floating in the air and caught by the people we touch. That is the answer Daddy.

The happiest thing for me is just weeks ago, I sent her a crown for her 60th birthday.
On the day it arrived, she put it on and sent this photo to me.
I will always love you Gilda.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Art Blog: In the BLOOD

I have had the pleasure of meeting 500+ new students this week. It was a hot, crazy mess. However, I loved every minute of it. I was reminded that every human being needs to learn about creativity. Also, there are special individuals who are true, young artists. It is in their blood. For example, I met one little girl who cut her own bangs. I asked her about this. I asked her why she did this. Her response was "Because I wanted to." I asked if she got in trouble for doing this? She said "NO". That made me smile. She has a great parent or two. Some might see this as misbehavior. I see this as the work of an young artist trying to express themselves.

Despite the fact we need to teach everyone about creativity because no matter where your place in the world falls, you will need to be creative. There are always individuals who "get" this already. These young human beings already know the way. They are born creative. They express themselves through their dress and style. They might be moody even at a young age. They are different. Maybe this is why some artists feel like they have been outsiders their entire life.

It is very difficult to try to get close to so many students at one time. It is almost impossible to have a working relationship with that many students each week. This is why I focus on the art kids first. I can spot them from a mile away. They were born this way. Creativity runs through their veins. They are my young artists.

These are my people.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Art Blog: Blue Teeth

SOCIETY. We have a problem. Our values are so skewed. What are we thinking? If you watch TV, you will see people spending thousands of dollars on purses or being famous for doing nothing other than posing for selfies. What is going on here?

Even though I am a wise, intellectual woman, I too fall for the joke. I will admit. I have felt lesser due to all the stuff I see in media. When I see all the star studded opulence and grand lives parading in front of me, it is hard not to think "My life sucks!"

Then, there are moments of clarity. This week I was hired to teach full time again. I took two years off. This past year, I was an Instructional Substitute to help make financial art ends meet. During this time, I realized that I am an artist without a doubt. However it dawned on me, I am a natural teacher too.

I stopped at the store after work today. As I rounded the corner of the aisle, I saw a little girl looking at me. Our eyes met. Her eyes became as big as saucers. I smiled back and said "I know you!" I was her substitute teacher for a couple of days last year. She smiled the biggest smile. I guess she just ate a blue popsicle or something. Her teeth were all blue. We talked for a few minutes. I told her I couldn't be her sub anymore because I am a regular teacher now. We hugged and I wished her well. I told her to do a great job in 2nd grade.

When I left the store, I thought about all the little bits of Sheree I have left around the world. My art is floating around the globe. More importantly, I have decades of blue tooth children who have experienced my Sheree wisdom and weirdness. It will stay with them. This is why their faces light up when they see me. They remember the experience of being around me. Like morsels dropped on a path, I have left a trail.

This is what really matters.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Art Blog: Believe In Yourself

"I have wanted to take all of my art and put it in the garbage and burn it and say "F" this!, many, many times...ahh..then I don't. I just keep going because this is all I know. It just takes a couple of paintings and I am good for a year or two. Really.. You keep the hope up!"
Heather Wilcoxon

As artists, we have the power to drift off into our own imaginations. We live in our own heads. We believe those inner voices. We heed the good and bad of those listenings. Sometimes, we believe we are alone in our thoughts. We see the uniqueness of our own creativity, but we also think we are the only ones feeling the feelings. This is not true. I was reminded of the camaraderie of artist's experiences while watching a video about artist Heather Wilcoxon. As her gentle voice narrated the film, my mouth dropped in awe. Her words were my thoughts. I could say the exact same thing about my art life. She could have been describing me.

"I have been making art all of my life since I remember. Making my own world. I lived in my little world. I am still doing the same thing. It is what I do. It is who I am. I feel very privileged on one hand." Heather Wilcoxon

Especially in the past two years, I have realized more than ever, I live in my own little world. I have constructed walls around me. Yet, if I think back on all the years of my life, it has always been this way. I have lived my life in a home blown bubble. It was for safety and privacy. However, it has also been a way to protect my privilege of being special.

"It took me years to find my voice..." Heather Wilcoxon

This quote made me step back. As artists, we all develop our own vocabulary. The images we create and the type of strokes we make form together to make our personal alphabet. Some of the strife I have been feeling lately has to do with this. I want to deny my own vocabulary. I have wanted and tried to throw out the dictionary of my own language because it seems like nobody else understands what I am saying. This is not really true at all. It is one of those negative listenings I spoke of earlier. It is my black muse talking trash.

"Because I have been a fine artist and relied on sales, I have always had the up and down. I think when you get to be my age, it gets old. You think by the time you are 65 it is all going to be paying for itself. ha ha ha ha ha! SO NOT!" Heather Wilcoxon

These words too rang so true, she could have been shouting at me. Much of the drag I feel lately is because I am tired. I keep looking and seeking some little bump that will give me back my oomph! I have been on an art marathon. I am huffing and puffing right now. I have needed time to just stop and rest for a moment. I am not done with the race. I just need to stop for a sip of water and think about the words of wisdom that we all know to be true.

"I have to pick myself up because I have been there so many times. You have to believe in yourself. You've gotta know your work is good. I know my work is good. It will have its time." Heather Wilcoxon

Click pic to watch