Orange You Glad…

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Not sure if these pictures do justice to the beauty that is Green Lakes in autumn.  OMG, yesterday was spectacular.  Talk about being in a happy place!!!! It is just so wonderful.

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Sometimes I think there’s no place I would rather be and when I am there I feel like anything is possible.  It is such a profound thing to find a place that feels like home where I can be the real me.

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When I am there, any silly drama that has gripped me ceases to exist and I am just filled with happiness and joy.

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Corny, I know.  But there are certainly times when I can get lost inside my head – and then I start thinking too much about a disappointment, thinking what I could have done differently so that I could have had the outcome I desired.

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They always say that everything happens for a reason.  The universe is on your side and all that.  That life will present you with everything you ask for as long as you are grateful.  As long as you shed your worry, fear, stress and doubt.

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They say that you can be a magnet for miracles.  I have seen loads of miracles happen throughout my life and so I do have a lot of faith. But then, something happens once in a blue moon and you just can’t understand why it didn’t…why it doesn’t work out.

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Walking around Green Lakes now, with the crisp orange leaves crackling at every step, creates a sort of blanket of love around me. And I am free to trust in my dreams again and know for certain that they will come true – maybe not in the way I thought or expected, but I know in my heart that it will be a magnificent outcome nonetheless.

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Wrath of Tash

Trina Turk dress, Steve Madden boots
Trina Turk dress, Steve Madden boots

Here are my #ootd (outfits of the day) from the last couple weeks.  Am dying to buy something new, but, I know, I know…I should be grateful for what I have and for being able to figure out a way to wear what I have in different ways – mixing designers, changing up the shoes, etc.

My classroom is weirdly one of the warmest rooms in the school, so I am always wearing a cardigan or blazer thinking it will be a lot colder than it is only to end up flinging it on my desk chair as soon as I get to class.

BCBGMaxAzria sweater, Banana Republic pants, BCBGGeneration booties
BCBGMaxAzria sweater, Banana Republic pants, BCBGGeneration booties
Lord & Taylor cashmere beanie, Black Brown 1826 cashmere sweater, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt (underneath) and leggings, Eitienne Aigner boots
Lord & Taylor cashmere beanie, Black Brown 1826 cashmere sweater, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt (underneath) and leggings, Eitienne Aigner boots

I almost always toss on an apron too.  Students are painting in two classes, clay in one and colored pencil in the others, so it’s not that messy yet.

JCrew cashmere hoodie, BCBGMaxAazria top and leggings, Ralph Lauren boots
JCrew cashmere hoodie, BCBGMaxAazria top and leggings, Ralph Lauren boots

But still – the minute I get paint or marker on the sleeve of something, I get so frustrated.  The lure of on-line shopping rears its pretty little head and I’m like, please let me have new stuff!!!!!  I want, I want!

Lord& Taylor cashmere cardigan, Banana Republic cashmere dress, BCBGGeneration booties
Lord& Taylor cashmere cardigan, Banana Republic cashmere dress, BCBGGeneration booties

The joke is that you haven’t really lived until you have experienced the wrath of Tash.  Usually I’m just angry with myself but…if someone is behaving inappropriately, I’ve been known to turn green. Steam comes out of my ears and I say, “Tash mad.” (lol)  I am always laughing at my own jokes, sorry.  I guess you have to be there.

Bailey 44 top, INC pants, BCBGGeneration sandals
Bailey 44 top, INC pants, BCBGGeneration sandals

This kid in the hall told me he’s going to be all cammo for Halloween so I said, “No one will see you.  You’re gonna end up with no candy.”  I laughed and laughed at that one.  I’m telling you – camouflage jokes just never get old.

Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGGeneration booties
Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGGeneration booties
Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria skirt, Honora necklace, BCBGGeneration booties
Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria skirt, Honora necklace, BCBGGeneration booties

Another thing that never gets old – finding money on the ground.  I love when this happens.  It’s like the universe is saying – see, you can manifest cash anytime you want.  In the US, the streets are lined in gold…sort of.

Target, Fayetteville, NY
Target, Fayetteville, NY

Nickels, dimes and mostly copper pennies!  And we all know those are really worth two cents because that’s how much, apparently, it costs to make a penny these days.

Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru, Eastwood (Syracuse, NY)
Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, Eastwood (Syracuse, NY)
Dunn Tire parking lot, Dewitt, NY
Dunn Tire parking lot, Dewitt, NY
Greenwood Winery, East Syracuse, NY
Greenwood Winery, East Syracuse, NY
Greenwood Winery, East Syracuse, NY
Greenwood Winery, East Syracuse, NY
BCBGMaxAzria sweater (reversible!), Banana Republic skirt, Ralph Lauren boots
BCBGMaxAzria sweater (reversible!), Banana Republic skirt, Ralph Lauren boots
JCrew blazer, BCBGMaxAzria top, Banana Republic pants, BCBGGeneration booties
JCrew blazer, BCBGMaxAzria top, Banana Republic pants, BCBGGeneration booties

It’s a fun game to see how much you can find in a year.  Whoever wins gets to brag and then all the money is given away.

Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt, 7 For All Mankind jeans, BCBGGeneration sandals
Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt, 7 For All Mankind jeans, BCBGGeneration sandals

You can’t really hunt for it.  Money usually just finds you.  You just have to believe.

Free People cardigan, Banana Republic (leather!) top and pants, Coach booties
Free People cardigan, Banana Republic (leather!) top and pants, Coach booties
Banana Republic sweater, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Nine West boots
Banana Republic sweater, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Nine West boots
BCBGMaxAzria top and leggings, Ralph Lauren boots
BCBGMaxAzria top and leggings, Ralph Lauren boots
BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt and pants, BCBGGeneration sandals
BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt and pants, BCBGGeneration sandals

 

Those That Teach, Do!

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There is this weird Catch-22 about the teaching profession.  I think I heard this growing up a lot. Those who can’t, teach.  It is such a strange statement.  And to grow up thinking your teachers are less intelligent than people who choose other professions – like being an engineer instead of a math teacher or being a rocket scientist instead of a science teacher, and in this case, being a professional artist instead of an art teacher…it’s so bizarre.  It was probably the reason I went into teaching reluctantly, because I perceived it as a death sentence to my creativity.  Of course, I was way off base.  Totally wrong.

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In this town, there is this weird thing where people perceive the university professors as “better” artists than public school art teachers.  Again – utter stupidity.  In fact, the public school teachers have a much better gig.  There are very few full time art professors – most are part-timers without the benefits of a decent salary and amazing insurance plans.  So the teaching gig is actually the best possible outcome, especially for people like Barabara Vural, who took time off from making art on and off, while teaching and while raising her family, but somehow managed to still find time to create this massive inventory of work.

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Barbara Vural’s current show at the Manlius Library in Manlius, New York proves my point.  She is sharing sixty years of artwork including current work that she has prolifically executed now that she has retired from teaching.

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Here we see a body of work that contains different media (pastel, acrylic…) as well as landscapes, still-lifes and portraits that are as well executed as a Mary Cassatt.

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Brilliant use of color – and lyrical rhythm that takes the viewer inside a beautiful mind.  There is so much beauty here – line quality that is so precise and just a complete mastery of art skill.

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There were sold stickers on many of these pieces already.  Her prices are extremely reasonable, from $75 to about $1,000 depending on size and detail.

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Artwork is on display until November 14, 2015.  Contact Barbara for more information including how to purchase and library hours, at bvural@twcny.rr.com.

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Field Tripping

On Friday, I took my Studio in Art students on a field trip to three locations.  It was a tight schedule that we stuck to like organized folk and not the fickle dreamers people imagine we are.

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The first stop was the Community Folk Art Gallery on Genesee St. in Syracuse, NY, where we toured the facility – we saw student art studios where high school portfolios are prepared for Scholastic Art awards and where kids get the benefit of learning from some of the premiere artists living locally, like ceramist David McDonald.  There was also a dance studio, a black-out performance room and in the gallery space, the magnificent photo collage/assemblage pieces by Najee Dorsey, who gave a talk the night before and was supposed to be at the gallery that day but we couldn’t stay.

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I didn’t want to leave, to tell you the truth.  I would have LOVED to have met him. The narratives within these works told stories of pain and triumph, and were saturated with incredible pink hues that left you, really, in awe of his mastery of the media.  I am always amazed by the passion a self-taught artist brings to the table.  It is a fearlessness mixed with passion.

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We learned that the story of the Lone Ranger was based on an African slave who escaped imprisonment, befriended American Indians and later become a Sheriff.  And that another woman, who is still alive today, paralleled Rosa Parks’ infamy with another back-to-front-of-the-bus challenge as a fifteen-year-old girl, to help change the injustices of the laws in the South.

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Next we moved to the James Rosenquist show and the private holdings of the Syracuse University Art Gallery at Shafffer Hall on SU campus, a space that not enough people in this city even realize is there.  I mean, no one else was even visiting aside from our group and they, apparently, have a bigger art collection (majority of it: prints) than the Everson Museum of Art has.

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I learned that Rosenquist is a frail eighty-one, and that is why he did not attend the opening reception last month.  We  discovered more about his journey, which made me love him all the more.  When you see the work in this manner, you really recognize its value and contribution to Pop Art and to the art world in general.

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Assistant director Andrew Saluti’s knowledge took the cake.  Again, a sense of passion for his job and for the art in his charge.  It was such a profound experience for me.  Sharing it with my students was something I really wanted to make happen and I did that – but you know how kids are.  When I asked them their favorite part of the trip, they all said McDonald’s, which was our lunch break destination (in Cazenovia, NY) before we settled at the top of the Stone Quarry Art Park hill.

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Yes, we ran around the park in the cold rain – of course, it rained during the outside portion of our day, while remaining completely sunny in Chittenango, NY.  That is the law of dumb luck.  But I knew that they were having a blast experiencing the sculptures along the way, one in particular looking like a house from Smurf village with a tiny igloo style entrance they took turns climbing into, as though they were entering a clown car, because I don’t understand how on Earth they all fit in there – it was Tardis-like in that way.  (And yes – it’s always important to throw in an obscure Dr. Who reference now and again.)

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And yes, I know they got a lot out of that packed with art-filled day. Some more than others.  Field trips are the stuff of legend.  They really bond you in ways that are pretty profound and this fifteen student community of artists are some of the best kids I have ever worked with.

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We got back in time for dismissal, so it was probably the best field trip ever in terms of both information and time management, as well as fun.  Thank you so much to everyone who helped me make this happen.  It was just so amazing to show up at a venue and have them ready and waiting for us – and so excited to see us!  If you are an art teacher in the area, you should definitely plan a day like this if you can.  The galleries were so accommodating, each with their own sensational contribution to the landscape of the arts in the Syracuse area!

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Interviewed

Hi everyone!

I was recently interviewed for a blog post on http://www.segmation.com. It was done via email.  I answered a series of questions.  My answers appear exactly as I had written them except for the part where I call myself an outward focused nurturer.  Those are not my words, lol, but I am flattered by the compliment.

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I am not sure how they found me.  I think it was through Twitter.  I haven’t been on my Twitter account in a couple weeks.  I better start paying it forward again by retweeting my followers to keep the good karma going.  I’m up to something like 6,400 followers now.  Now if I can get that many Instagram followers….  Lol, are we ever really satisfied?

Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18" x 36", 1997, oil & collage, $675

Well…I am truly grateful for anything coming my way these days.  I love being part of an international art community and I love that I move closer to the dreams I have for myself every day.  So thank you, Segmation and everyone else who has been following me here and on other social media.  I am glad we are friends.

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See the interview here –

http://segmation.com/blog/2015/10/13/outward-focused-nurturer/#comment-1986

Handmade House Warming

Panera Bread is a big part of my social life.  I’ve never been to the one in the Destiny Mall but have spent considerable time in the Fayetteville, Dewitt and Radisson, New York locations to the point that I enjoyed free coffee all summer!

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I have had some of the best conversations of my life there – with my mom, and with my favorite besties.  I always suggest it, lol, for any “date”, and try to make it like it is not my thing, like act all nonchalant and stuff even though it is my first and only go-to choice.  I should be in their commercial somehow.  If you know me, you would know that I am such a finicky eater, and yet I love everything on their menu.

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It’s where I first met Joyce Backus.

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Joyce is a friend of a friend and now she is my friend.  She’s actually subbing for me this Friday when I go on the Studio in Art field trip. She is an art teacher, currently in a part-time position with the Fayetteville-Manlius School district.  But she is also a children’s book illustrator, a visual merchandiser, a mom to three young men, and a phenomenal artist.

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Last night she hosted a party at her home, a show and sale of artwork including handmade paper combined with glassworks, watercolor prints and earrings, which she designs for a company that manufactures them.

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Here are some pictures from the function.  Joyce opens her home to these parties every few months.  If you are interested in making a purchase, contact her at (315) 415-1170.

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Competitive Spirit

I am competitive.

I like the idea that my students can become professional artists – by selling their artwork, yes, but also by winning poster contests.  So when my friend Michael Moody sent me the link to a contest last June, I immediately set about using it as an extra credit assignment during the last week of school.

Students had to design their dream education or school.

Zoe Sanve

The deadline for the contest was June 26, 2015.  On the last day of school, I mailed about 70 entries to Albany, NY.

Zoe S. won the contest.  She and her family are invited to attend a gala fundraiser in New York City on November 5th where she will be awarded a check for $100.

http://www.aqeny.org/champions-of-education-celebration/

This is just so cool!  I am sooooo excited for her.  It’s one of those moments in a child’s life that she most certainly won’t ever forget.

As a teacher, you don’t always know if you’ve affected a student’s life.  You want to think you have, but then you kind of go on with your life, you know?  They depart to the high school and you just end up with faded memories.

But Zoe….  She is very talented, of course, but still, I did try to push her out of her comfort zone, like help her improve her compositional skills and give her advice once and a while instead of saying – oh, that is so good (because, let’s face it – her work is that good).

At the end of the year, she told me that she loved the class and loved how she learned more about art from me.  Her mother later reiterated the same sentiment to me.  They’d spoken about the art class at home.  This is such a special gift.  To really know that I mattered to her.  To know that I have a true purpose in life.  So Zoe won this New York State contest and is going to the ball, but I feel like the bigger winner.