Pinning Web Dreams

Karen Tashkovski, Web, 30" x 30", 2000, oil, latex & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Web, 30″ x 30″, 2000, oil, latex & collage, $675

I can’t stop drinking coffee nor do I want to.  I like Green Mountain Dark Magic Keurig cups (w/two Sweet and Lows).  I try to get two cups out of one but the second cup is blech in comparison to the first and so, as of recently, I have been going through a lot.  I don’t know why the sudden obsession.  I go through phases like this where I like something so much that it becomes the be all and end all of my world.

keurig dark magic

If you want to buy me something for Christmas, I’ll take one of those giant 48-packs of the stuff that you can get at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  We don’t exchange expensive gifts at Christmas anymore.  It’s silly when we can buy stuff for ourselves.  I bought two gifts for myself already.  The first is the Dan Brown novel Inferno – the illustrated copy.  I really wanted it, wanted to read it then give it an illustrious place of honor alongside the other two of his picture books sitting on top of my grandfather’s cedar armoire in my dining room.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/2670976394106?r=1&kpid=2670976394106&cm_mmc=Google%20Product%20Search-_-Q000000633-_-2670976394106PLA-_-Book_25To44-_-Q000000633-_-2670976394106

The second gift?  I upgraded this website to business grade status, which means a new facade and the ability to sell artwork from here and/or from an off-site venue like Shopify, if only I could figure out how to do that.  (If you have any tips to share, by all means help a girl out).  I believe it will take more money to operate, as money seems to be the only way to make money these days.

I will then try to curb my spending and start saving (easier said than done).  Someday I’m going to go to Paris – climb to the top of the Eiffel tower (or take an elevator depending on how old I am when I get there), stare at the Parisian city-scape and think, been there, done that.  No, I’m sure it will be phenomenal enough to elicit a better response than that.

I have 194 pins of the Eiffel Tower on a board on Pinterest.com.

http://www.pinterest.com/KarenTashkovski/eiffel-tower/

I’m thinking its shape should and will manifest on the yet unplanned/unfocused series of paintings mulling about in my head (Futura).

eiffel tower 2

I actually paid for a passport a couple weeks ago.  Then I’ll have ten years to make this Paris thing come true.  Hopefully, I will figure out how to both save money and sell art by then, right?

What is on your bucket list?  If you had unlimited wishes, what would you wish for?

 

Tree Time

We had our first bout with cold weather here in Syracuse, NY,  enough to constitute school delays for some – minor flurries and icy conditions.  We usually win the trophy for the most inches of snowfall in New York State, but I will be more than happy to concede to Buffalo this year because the alternative of catching up to them is something I don’t even want to fathom.  Nothing here really even stuck and I’m hearing a weather forecast that I’m liking for Monday – sixties!  So it was like a Braxton-Hicks.

This false holiday weather tricked me into a desire to decorate my home for the holidays.

Yes, you heard.  I put my Christmas tree up.  In my defense, I will probably trim the tree at my parents’ house again this year and it’s kind of like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you can calm down and breathe your way through the chaos of it all.  Or in this case – me.  So I can breathe.

My house always looks messier at first until I decide where to put everything.  I rearranged furniture then put it back and so it pretty much ended up looking like it did last year with minor adjustments.  This took all day for some reason, a lot longer than I remember taking in previous years, but maybe that’s because it is like a pregnancy.  Labor intensive then you (not me – I’m just guessing the analogy fits) tend to forget all the annoying parts and all that’s left is an aesthetically beautiful thing.

christmas tree 2014

I love the way the house looks with this extra bit of decor.  I am partial to reds and greens in here anyhow so it all looks as harmonious as a Christmas song (I played the Sarah McLachlan Wintersong CD about a dozen times during the process – I ❤ her voice).  The trick now will be to try to prevent the kit-cats from climbing it.

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The above picture was taken in 2011, their first year with me.  They were launching themselves off my great-grandmother’s chair and hurling into the tree despite my protests.

pink tree- Everson 001

For about fifteen years or so (give or take), I’ve donated a Christmas tree to the Everson Museum of Art for their annual Festival of Trees event.  It’s a fundraiser for the museum.  They used to give the donors free tickets to the patron party and so that was the best part.  Create an artistic tree that pretty much cost well over $200 to put together and enjoy the glamour of sipping champagne and eating little roast beef sandwiches and slices of sage-infused cheddar while traipsing through the galleries until you found your creation then hovering around it waiting to eavesdrop on someone saying something complimentary, allowing you the permission to think they like me, they really like me! 

Everson white tree 001

Of course, the point of the thing is that someone buys your tree.  Many corporations simply do it for the publicity – here’s a tree from blah, blah and now they will buy it back insuring the Everson actually makes money instead of the hoping way that I used.  I’m not sure how many of my trees were actually purchased and enjoyed, and how many ended up in the museum’s archives collecting dust (or thrown away?).

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They don’t give artists the golden ticket anymore.  They offer one for 1/2 off the hundred dollar fee, which is still too expensive for me.  This year the Everson Museum Festival of Trees runs from December 5th- December 14th, 2014.

http://www.everson.org/events/fot.php

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I’ve done many trees with my students throughout my teaching career as well, the most recent was last year when we created a card tree based on George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog paintings.  A few of my students and I had interacted with his wife Wendy on his Facebook like page after I had posted student artwork on his website based on his beloved blue dogs.  He died last year, coincidentally, on the final day of the festival.  I still don’t know if that tree sold or not and to whom.  I hope it found a good home.

 http://www.chittenangoschools.org/teacherpage.cfm?teacher=3110

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Lost & Found

When you suffer a disappointment, the trick is to throw yourself into something that is fun, something that maybe you are good at, something that you love.

I made a painting.

Lost & Found,  encaustic on canvas panel,  11" x 14", 2014
Lost & Found,
encaustic on canvas panel,
11″ x 14″, 2014

I’m doing an encaustic lesson with my 9th period classes, using my own supplies from home – crock-pot of wax, two pancake griddles and my messy wax-only brushes.  The melted beeswax was seducing me with its pungency.  That plus thinking about Linda Bigness enjoying the bliss of mark-making.  She sold the painting that I watched her create during that video we made.

And so, when my friend Stephanie asked for a bigger painting of a heart, I complied.

I lacquered it and mounted it to chalkboard-painted masonite and added the dominoes as a frame.  It will be ready to ship to Florida in about a month.  Steph is officially a patron, owning four (and soon five) of my paintings.

IMG_1789

I want to make another series of heart encaustics now (no doubt due to my obsession with making a dozen of something – I know you were thinking it!).

In 2012, when I took that Syracuse University graduate course on encaustic with the amazing Davana Wilkins as instructor and mentor, I had this idea that I would just make a bunch of heart paintings. She convinced me to push myself out of my comfort zone and create other iconography, the result of which were the horse and cow paintings.

I’ve sold all but two of the heart paintings.  I need to take inventory of the rest.  I think I have sold four of the twelve horse paintings now and I gave away a cow painting to one of my favorite students, Zachary, who lives on a dairy farm.  The cows are more of a tough sell, I guess.

But hearts, now that is the motif of motifs.  You gotta love a heart. ❤

Faith, Fate & Fashion

This was a crazy busy weekend what with everything that I usually do and the whirlwind of art events I mentioned last time.  I found the irony in meeting some Facebook friends for the first time at the Edgewood Gallery opening on Friday night so hilarious.  It was like a Saturday Night Live skit or something.  “I know all about you,” is what one woman said to me, along with insisting that I was stalking her on social media.  “You paint cats,” she said.  It was just so funny.  Later she spoke about her dream of meeting Faith Ringgold, to which I responded that I had met the artist.  Here’s the picture to prove it in case she thought I was totally lying.

Faith Ringgold and me 001

Faith Ringgold shared her art journey at Light Works at Syracuse University in 2007.  Her visit coincided with an exhibition of her work at the Community Folk Art Gallery here.  Faith is an incredible person – so inspirational and positive, and lovely.  She autographed her book for me and we chatted for a significant amount of time considering that she’d been signing books for a couple hours and there was a long line of people behind me.

https://www.facebook.com/drfaithringgold

https://www.facebook.com/faithringgold

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faith-Ringgold-Books/429143970457474

Faith is on Facebook – her daughter posts updates regularly.  She’s currently working on an app that is based on quilting, which is geared to the elderly and can help improve memory function.  I feel like if I can have just half her energy and attitude I will someday make a difference in this world.  But I am always vacillating – that confident vs. insecure yo-yo mindset that grips just about every artist from time to time.  Did I make the right choices with my life?  Am I even good at what I do – artist, teacher, etc.?

When I was in college, Frank Goodnow, my painting professor, was surprised to find out I was a fashion design major.  “You are a painter,” he said. I think about that a lot when I wonder if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing if one believes in fate.

Mona Lisa costume 001

I was reminiscing about this with Laurel Morton, a former classmate and current assistant professor in the fashion program at Syracuse University.  I visited her studio at the Delavan Center on Saturday and we chatted about the past.  I haven’t thought about those dreams in years and so it resurrected that whole road not traveled thing.  Had I moved to NYC  and taken that job at Ralph Lauren, would I have eventually become Marc Jacobs famous?

Statue of Liberty 001

I don’t know.  Maybe.  At SU, you took foundations courses in art as a freshman at that time (not sure how it is now) then you re-applied to your major.  I had originally planned on going into advertising, but only because I thought I needed to have a reasonable art career to satisfy my worried parents who were spending all of this money to send me there.  I was the eleventh person chosen for the competitive advertising program based on my freshman portfolio but at the last minute I chose fashion design, which had no such competition.  I thought I could see myself doing that.

Medusa costume 001

I eventually found my way back to painting and art, and teaching.  I mean, I can still design clothes.  But these days I only do it to create Halloween costumes.  My specialty is coming up with something that relates to an artist, art movement or culture for a costume that goes with an art lesson at school.

Indian costume 001

Frank Goodnow was right- I am a painter.  I really cannot imagine my life without mark-making.  Designing clothes is just another thing I can do.

Japanese outfits 001

http://archives.syr.edu/collections/fac_staff/sua_goodnow_f.htm

The Edgewood Gallery show of work by Amy Bartell, Linda Bigness and Todd Conover will continue until January 2nd, 2015, btw, if you want to see it or buy something.

http://edgewoodartandframe.com/

 

 

The Unicorn Festival

Most teachers can relate to this simple fact.  Students always react strangely when they see us outside of school.  It’s either a hyper-freak out – OMG! Ms. Tash, Ms. Tash! or the total reverse; a shy backing away and a chorus of whispers – I think that’s Ms. Tash!  What’s she doing here?

Do they think we are robots that are turned off and put away at the end of the day, like a stack of I-Pads?  I talked to my sister about this and she said, “Look at it from their perspective.  Seeing you outside of school is like seeing a unicorn.”

I am a bit of a unicorn.  Because in this day and age, in a culture of me, me, me social media and with it the belief that we are all the stars of our own reality shows, it seems that everyone wants to be recognized for their individuality.  Their spirit, creativity and the like should make them the black hole of the universe, sucking everyone else inside their vortex.  Everyone wants to appear cray-cray, the risk-taking artist that deserves all that attention.

Maybe I’m the opposite.  The crazy person who just wants to be normal.  Am I crazy?  Sometimes people say I am, but maybe I’m the only sane one in the room and everyone else is crazy.  My last blog post generated a flurry of comments in the group postings on www.linkedin.com.  Mainly camaraderie in despair, which really made me wonder if they understood me at all.  Something made me feel sad last week.  I’ve had my share of ups and downs, wearing my heart on my sleeve and on the walls of my home, as I’ve shared in a previous blog post.  But my emotions don’t swing on a Vincent Van Gogh-caliber pendulum.  I’m still sad about that particular thing but it’s compartmentalized now and I’m, yes, perfectly normal.

Emotion certainly plays a chunk part in the world of art, though, and it’s funny how important it is to many that they are perceived as more emotional than another.  It’s not a competition, you know.  There are all sorts of emotions that come into play when making art.  It doesn’t have to be sadness.  It can be serenity, anger or euphoria….

Whatever it is, it should be nurtured and supported.  I have not been doing this as often as I should.  I get invited to local art openings and events all the time and I just don’t go.  I want to be a better friend.  This Friday  from 6-8 pm, the Edgewood Gallery is holding a reception for an exhibition and sale of artwork by Amy Bartell, Linda Bigness and Todd Conover.  Edgewood is located down the street from my parents’ house – you can see the house from the gallery’s front door if you look east.  It’s on Tecumseh Road in Dewitt, NY, right across from the Nottingham shopping plaza.

http://edgewoodartandframe.com/news/

On Saturday from 10 am-4 pm, the Delavan Center will open its doors for a holiday event and sale.  The Delavan is a building filled with local artists’ studios, many of them are Facebook and personal friends of mine.  Linda, of course (find the link at the end of this post to the video we made on Columbus Day weekend), and Amy plus Laurel Morton and a slew of others.

http://www.delavancenter.com/Coming%20Events.html

This unicorn plans to make a cameo appearance at both events.  I’ll be in black, naturally, but I draw the line at wearing a beret on my horn.  That’s way too cliche, don’t you think?

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 http://www.bignessart.com/encaustics.html