Thursday, July 24, 2014


I am 100% serious. I want opinions. I especially want the viewpoints of artists. I have this art concept idea. I have been thinking about it for months. I have already titled it. It will be called "9-22 Project". It has to do with finding out what my neighbors think about art. I live in a low/middlish class neighborhood in my city. Nobody really knows I am an artist. In fact, my next door neighbor was shocked to find me in my studio recently. She didn't know what to think. The weirdest part is I could see on her face she had no clue why I would do the stuff I do. Nobody talks to anybody around here. We all just live on this street.

Months ago, a mayoral candidate came to my door and we talked. ART is a hot topic in the downtown area of the city. However, the general populous is not very well informed about the arts or culture. One thing I said to him was "People in this area of the city have no idea about art. I doubt they have any art in their homes!". He listened and then left. After he was gone, I started thinking. I have no idea what my neighbors do or think about art. I just said that on a hunch. That got me thinking.

What do my neighbors really think about art?
What is their perspective or thoughts?

I decided to create the "9-22 PROJECT". I would like to send a snail mail letter to everyone in the 1.5 mile stretch of my street and ask them about ART. My current idea is to ask them to take a photo of the most artistic thing in their homes. They don't have to tell me their name. They don't have to tell me their address. I just want them to email me a photo of any "art" in their home. From this, I want to create new art in response to their art "inspirations".

After that, who knows. I haven't gotten that far yet. An exhibition? What if I actually met the people who sent me photos of their concept of art? That right there blows my mind.

This is why I have my hand out to artists.
What is positive and the drawbacks to this kind of art project.
I want your opinions.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Art Blog: See the FIRE

Artists know. Any and every life experience could be potential fodder for inspiration. Sometimes it is a surprise when something will trigger an epiphany. Those "a-ha" moments can come anytime, anywhere. I had a huge revelation last night during an very unexpected moment.

This crazy insight was a total shock. I was tired and frustrated. I am struggling with my art right now in a way that has not been rivaled in my over 30 years as an artist. The past year has been comprised of making stuff, throwing it away, painting over it, or keeping it and hating every time I look at the finished work. I have been trying to figure out what is wrong. It became clear as day last night. As I laid on the couch flipping through the channels, there was nothing of interest to watch. Rather than turn off the TV, I settled on a VH1 program called "Behind the Music". This episode was about the musician/songwriter/producer, Linda Perry. After a few minutes I was hooked. Just the way she looked drew me into a world of awe.

The bio show was terrific. Then it ended. It was followed by a show called "Make or Break: Linda Perry Project". I didn't change the channel. I didn't feel like looking for the remote. So I watched. This is a kind of off the beaten path version of an "American Idol" type show. Linda found musicians around the country and wanted to mold them. Ultimately, the prize will be a contract with Linda Perry's record label. OK, whatever.

The show started and of course, there were bunches of young musical brats running around a mansion prepping for the showdown. Ms. Perry would call each into her studio for a type of initial audition/debriefing. One of the first young things was a man from the NY subway. He would play for his food. He was a really great musician and singer. However as he sang in front of the mic, Linda kept yelling "FIRE, FIRE, I want to hear the FIRE". The look on this young guy's face was heartbreaking, yet informative. He sang great. He sang what he knew. He just sang what was familiar to his heart and boring for the rest of us. That's it. Linda Perry recognized this. She saw his potential.
She wanted MORE.

As I watched this kid struggle, I got it! I watched him sing the same old songs as he looked down at the floor. It was almost as if he was going through some kind of rote maneuvers. I bolted up from the couch. This is what I am doing too. I am painting verbatim. I am making art in some kind of rote memorized way. I am not giving anybody the FIRE.

I need to get a lighter.
Thank you LINDA PERRY.

Thank you Linda Perry!
Click pic to find out more about this great show!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Art Blog: Relatability

Do people like your art? Do people respond to your art? Do people relate to your art? I have been asking myself these questions a lot lately. As my mind buzzes with questions about the art I create, I also wonder why it seems so many people don't really understand what I am doing or care about my work. I want to be brave and brash and say it doesn't matter what others think! However in my heart of hearts it does matter to me.

As I troll the internet, I have found many artist's works which stop me in my tracks. This got me wondering. WHY do I like certain art works and not others. One artist whose work amazes me is Stephen Magsig. Time and time again, I see one of his paintings posted and I just stare at it. Often, his work takes my breath away. What is it that draws me in and fills me with such awe? I am not always attracted to representational work or landscapes. I love painting in general, but his work really jumps out and grabs me.

For example, when I look at this painting of the Fisher Building in Detroit, I have a visceral reaction. Not only is the painting executed with precision, I also react to the subject matter. I have looked at that building throughout my life. In fact just before I left Detroit, I lived a few blocks away from the New Center area. I could stand and look out my studio window at that orange glowing dome.

In his series "Postcards From Detroit", he has painted many night or low light images. These small paintings are dense, yet glow with street lights or the burning fires of industry. They capture the atmospheric mood of Detroit. When I was a little girl, I remember peering through the windows of our car and watching the wavering lights and smoke on the horizon of my motor city. It was dirty and at times, smelly, but it was my home.

After thinking about Mr. Magsig's work, I realized I relate because his imagery is part of my life and deeply rooted in my artist's soul. As an artist in my own right, I have the tools of the trade down pat. I have the art experience under my belt. Now, it is time to strive for what artist's like Stephen Magsig bring to the art table: RELATABILITY.

Belle Isle Aquarium
Oil on linen/panel, 5x7"
Click on pic to see more wonderful works by Stephen Magsig.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Art Blog: JULIAN

I have been trying to write this post for days. I was having such a hard time even thinking about Julian Schnabel. Usually, words pour out onto the page when I decide to write. Not this time. I started to wonder why I was so resistant.

I learned about Julian decades ago. I remember his coming out in 1979 when he showed at Mary Boone and Castelli. Out of nowhere, his fame rose with a cosmic boom. His meteoric rise to celebrity status included the high life of the 80's and pals the likes of Warhol and Basquait. Like being glued to naughty paragraphs in tabloids, I would climb into art magazines looking at his broken plate paintings and read the gossipy words about the painter. I was fascinated.

Notre Dame, 1979
oil, plates, bondo on wood, 90" x 108" 12", 1979

Over the years, that same art magnetism that drew me to his early work slowly flipped to the magnet's other end. I became repelled. The more I read about him the more I started to develop this picture in my head of the type of person he was. I have never met him, but so much has been written about him and I read a lot of it.

Much of the text about Julian as a man is unflattering. Phrases like arrogant artist, rocky relationships, name-dropper, narcissistic persona, and bad boy pepper reviews about him. Yet in those same articles words like mythical, legendary, and phenomenon are used freely and often. It makes me think Julian started to believe his own press (at least the complimentary parts). This could explain his braggadocios. As his star rose so quickly in the 80's he became a primary purveyor of self promotional hype and puffery. Some report he even stated "I'm the closest thing to Picasso...." This kind of talk didn't help to build his reputation as a humble guy.

This caused a backlash. Consequently like the disappearing vapor of a meteorite, Schnabel's fame became nebulous and dispersed over the past decades. Yet the urge to pull him down off the pedestal still continues today. In a recent Hyperallergic review by John Yau mentions unattractive traits of Julian's painting practice.

"The problem with Schnabel’s work is that his marks and actions are made by someone who is easily satisfied by everything he does, which makes what he does an inadvertent parody of genius. Some artists, like Matisse, will work very hard to make everything look easy, while others believe that, thanks to their innate gifts, everything is easy."

I suppose this is exactly the reason I felt uncomfortable writing about him. I was riding on the bandwagon that waves the banner "Schnabel is a Pompous Dweeb!". However, I think my feelings go deeper. Even though he does come off as a pretentious jerk at times, I still love his work. He is experiencing a resurrection of sorts now. Currently, he has work up at Gagosian Gallery. After watching this James Kalm video, I was reminded of those early days of excitement and interest in his work. Also, I forgive him for being so supercilious. I think I would have become uppity too if I had been anointed as a member of art royalty back in those days. I get it now.

Julian Schnabel A View Of Dawn In The Tropics: Paintings 1989
Click pic to watch

Julian Schnabel: In The Course of Seven Days
One more thing I will admit. I think I have always been jealous of artists like Julian. As I watch this video of him working on humungous, outsize canvases with giant paintbrushes, I wonder what it would be like to have endless resources to make any kind of art and know it will be shown.
It must be nice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Art Blog: Young Energy

Today, a little girl walked into the room. She was supposed to be in an academic group. She walked toward me and said "I got kicked out of my group." I asked why. She told me it was because she was trying to help a friend and gave her an answer to a problem on the work. The teacher saw this as cheating. She was banned and told to leave.

As she told me the story, tears welled up in her eyes. She was a "goody goody" type of kid. You know the kind. There are many adults like this. I am one. We want to do good. We want to be perfect. We want to be stroked with words of kindness and well being. We wait to hear the words of a job well done. When it doesn't work out this way, we are devastated. I saw this mortification in her watery eyes.

I motioned for her to come closer. I whispered in her ear. "You meant to do good, didn't you?" She nodded, YES. I told her that sometimes we try to do good things and it just doesn't work out. I told her to learn this lesson. Maybe it wasn't a good time to give another student an answer. I went on to say, all she could do is learn from this little lesson. She nodded and moped away.

At the end of the day, she came up to me to say goodbye. It is doubtful that I will be her teacher again. Yet her hug was so tight and so meaningful, our future distance is of no concern. Her energy touched me. My energy touched her.

This is why I know I am on the right path now. Young energy is filling me up. Yet, my words and wisdom are helping them to be full of that same energy. She is young. I am old. We both learned.

Life is Good.

"CHILD", Alex Grey, painter

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Art Blog: Art Crush

Every so often, you see the work of another artist which hits you like a shot of adrenaline. This is what happens when I look at Tony Fitzpatrick's work. I have an art crush on his work. I love all his work. I love his onscreen personality. I love that he is an artist in many forms. I love that he has an obsession for creating.

I have an affinity for birds in art. However, Mr. Fitzpatrick has a wide range of subject matter. His color is wild and wooly. It screams "LOOK at me!" Yet to see and hear this artist speak, there is a surprise. He doesn't look like an artist. He looks like a car mechanic. However if you listen to his words, it becomes crystal clear. He is an artist of the best kind.

Here is a chance to hear him speak for himself. He does it far better than I could. BTW Mr. Fitzpatrick, thanks for the artistic jumpstart!

Click pic to watch this brief, but entertaining video interview

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Art Blog: Renewal

On my 13th birthday, my father bought me my first oil painting set. He knew. My art genes came from him. Despite my Catholic upbringing, I felt this was kind of like my Bat Mitzvah. It was my coming of age. I was a true artist with a box of REAL paints. The first paintings I painted were terrible and very cliché. My first work was of a clown. I went on to paint many Jesus paintings, copied masterworks, and I remember a ballerina that was so stiff looking, she could have been made out of wood. I remember one of cat eyes. Actually, that was a cool painting. I painted the eyes very detailed, but let turpentine and linseed oil drip all over it. It was kind of progressive. I don't even like cats!!! LOL None of that mattered. I was an artist. I was a real artist.

My art life was good then. I didn't know about the trials and tribulations of being an artist. I just painted. I would paint and give all my work away to admiring friends. I have no photos because I didn't see the need for documentation. I just wanted to make art and did just that.

Then, I became a college art student. This is when it started getting complicated. Every college student needs to learn art history. I am of the era in which Janson's "History of Art" was the bible.

Even back then, I realized how sexist, racist, and ethnocentric that book was. However, it was all we had back then. Consequently, my foundation of art history knowledge was based on the work of bunches of European white men. I knew that was all wrong, but I had to go with the flow.

At least, I had that verve and energy to make my own art. Back then, I was taught art was so special and sacred. I believed that and still do. However, times have changed. I have changed. Longevity has taken a toll on me. Technology has brought on a new dynamic. It seems everyone is an "artist" now. I have changed too. I don't have that youthful enthusiasm anymore. I wish I did.

Needing to get that "feeling" back, I have thought of many things to give me a kick of art energy. I need to renew my Florida teaching certificates next year, so I have to take a class or two for credits. It dawned on me. I can do two things at once. I will get my credits, but I will hit myself up with a shot of art adrenaline too! I signed up for a basic art appreciation class. I did this on purpose. I want to go back to the time when I knew nothing. I want it all to be new again. I need a spiritual revival! I just got my textbook and it is fabulous. It seems well rounded, up to date, and inclusive. It is fresh. That is what I need, a FRESH start.

I will proceed with an open mind.
I will proceed with an open heart.
I will proceed.