Category Archives: cats

Crafty

Pumped, 16" x 12", watercolor, 2002, $95
Pumped, 16″ x 12″, watercolor, 2002, $95

So far, my entire summer has been a giant ball of butterflies in my stomach.  I’m happy – all the time, and excited about all the great things that are happening.  That WILL happen.

good things are going to happen

My little sister is a yoga instructor/interior designer/flea market furniture refinisher/furniture designer/a lot of other things!  She let me borrow a bunch of items to use to enhance my display  at the Craft & Craft function at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St. Syracuse, New York 13202 this Thursday from 5 – 9 pm.

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This is what it looks like now all tossed into the trunk of my car.  Hopefully I will create a cute set up that matches my modern, vibrant watercolors with these brass vintage bamboo-patterned fixtures.

Dark Magic, 18" x 24", watercolor, 2002, $200
Dark Magic, 18″ x 24″, watercolor, 2002, $200

I just found out that I will be inside, rain or shine, in the Sculpture Court (main floor), so that is great news.  It’s just one table of unframed paintings in all different sizes and it will be a BOGO sale, meaning you will get two for the price of one but no half price onsies. You will have to buy two.  And see?  It’s a win-win.  You get two, and I have to say that my watercolors do look best in multiples, or you can give one as a gift!  I get to go home with less artwork, which is the goal.

Blue Star, 10" x 7", 2002
Blue Star, 10″ x 7″, 2002

Yes, making money from sales is an obvious goal but the one that really tickles me is the idea that people will enjoy my artwork.  That it will have a home where it will be loved, cherished, what have you, for many years to come.

Blue Mandala, 18" x 24", watercolor, 2001, $200
Blue Mandala, 18″ x 24″, watercolor, 2001, $200

I’m not sure if I told you about my cat situation, but my two knuckleheads had a falling out.  A couple months ago, Georgie got a plastic bag caught around his waist and was running around the house screaming up a storm.  He looked like a bull with a rodeo cowboy riding him as he tried in vain to buck off the bag.  Naturally, Pablo was chasing him up and down the stairs and throughout every room until I caught up with Georgie and helped him out.

pablo & georges portrait

This was approximately less than five minutes of our lives but it took its toll on the siblings’ relationship because after that Pablo wanted to attack Georgie.

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It got pretty awful.  For three weeks, I was living like the Sister Wives with my pets.  One spent twenty four hours living in the kitchen and back porch while the other had the rest of the house and a spot in my bed, and then the reverse.  I tried to give them equal time but whenever Georgie was in the kitchen, he managed to bust in using his giant thumb paws – and then the fur went flying.  Very stressful!

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I tried these $35 calming collars, but Georgie just ate his.  Finally, I brought Georgie to live with my sister and they ended up falling in love with each other.  I visit him and it really is all good.  Georgie just has a new home where he is equally loved, cherished, what have you for many, many years to come!

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Just me and Pablo here now.  So I am no longer a stereotype!  And to add to my sister’s list of attributes, great cat mommy is at the top of the list.

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Hope to see you on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at Craft & Craft! $10 for members, $15 non members.  There will be food and drink and art – bring money!

everything you can imagine is real

universe talkAnd P.S.: for those of you who miss my outfits of the day on Instagram – I will be wearing a new BCBG Max Azria dress at the event.  Can’t wait!

Natur-Tyme Flier

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I just received the business cards I created through moo.com so I decided to take some over to Natur-Tyme, Dewitt, NY where I am showing and selling the Echolalia series through September 2015.  I dropped some off in one of the little cubbies and on my way out, I came across the store’s flier.

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Someone had mentioned it the other day but I hadn’t seen it until now.  A few months ago, Maria Rizzo, Tom Huff and I did a photo shoot at the store.  It was so fun.  I felt like a celebrity.

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I had no idea what to expect and I am very pleasantly surprised.  This is just so amazing.  I’m grateful and thrilled to be in the inaugural exhibit!

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Adopt An Echo

Rune 1, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 1, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Rune 7, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 7, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

Bet you didn’t think you’d see me here again so soon.  I’m sure my Facebook friends will all end up blocking me because I’m posting so much.

Echo 6, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 6, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Rune 6, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 6, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

But it is summer and I am in full-on art marketing mode!

Echo 1, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 1, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Echo 11, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 11, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

The Natur-Tyme show has only been up for a week. No sales yet.  My thought is it is something for customers and the area to need to warm up to.  Art seems to be not in the forefront of the average Syracusan’s mindset these days.

Echo 10, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 10, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

Since they are small (18″ x 18″) and they are paintings of cats, and they are ten years old, I decided to go the way of the SPCA and other animal rescue shelters and price them the way they would an older cat who needs adopting.

Echo 9, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 9, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Rune 11, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 11, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

This morning I changed my prices to reflect that.  Each painting is only $75!  A steal by any standards.  It’s dangerous to price paintings so low.  In the eyes of anyone, it may appear that I don’t believe in myself or that I may think my art is not of high quality and therefore not valuable.

Echo 7, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 7, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Echo 8, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 8, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

The opposite is true.  You must know that about me by now.  But making a living off my art is a dream, not necessarily the only reason I do it.  It’s really about sharing myself – sharing my hopes and dreams, and all that emotional stuff with an audience.  Artists are formalists and create their own versions of the world with detail but above all else, we are emotional creatures filled with this unquenchable desire to be loved in some way.  Our personalities, our quirks, our talent.  We are pretty  needy people.

Echo 2, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 2, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Echo 4, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 4, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Rune 5, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 5, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

And so, I am trying to compromise.  I want people to enjoy my paintings.  I want them to take them home at a price point that makes them feel like they didn’t overspend – I certainly don’t want anyone to experience cognitive dissonance after purchasing a final sale item.

Rune 12, 18" x 18", oil  & collage, 2005
Rune 12, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Rune 4, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 4, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

The Echolalia series is a piece of me.  At its core, it’s really about how the past shaped me into who I am.  I cannot run away from it.  I can only move on from the dark stuff, own up to it and say – wow, you have really come a long way.

Rune 3, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 3, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

You assume these frolicking cats are about happy thoughts and in reality they were created out of despair.  They are all about me looking for ways to find happiness in a time when nothing at all was going my way.  Now things are so different and I see how I found and still find solace in these works.  How now, they represent a lifeline to the future world I’ve found myself in and everything is okay.

Rune 10, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2015
Rune 10, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2015
Rune 2, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 2, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

Is that too heavy?  Sorry – for me, as you know, art is about exposing myself.   But in a way that works, like the game board in Concentration.  It’s not spelled out for you but sometimes you can still decipher it.

Rune 9, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 9, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

The goal is to sell all of the Echolalia paintings so that I can start moving this massive inventory of work.  Either that or start looking for a bigger house.  I will put both out into the universe and see what sticks.

Rune 8, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Rune 8, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005
Echo 3, 18" x 18", oil & collage, 2005
Echo 3, 18″ x 18″, oil & collage, 2005

Here is the link to Maria Rizzo’s article about the venue.

The Big Reveal

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And now, the big reveal:  Starting today through September 2015, I will be showing and selling artwork at Natur-Tyme, Erie Blvd. East, Dewitt, NY.

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Maria Rizzo, Tom Huff and I are the premiere artists for this amazing experience.  Maria is the curator.  The store owner invested in the window space, purchasing a hanging system, partitions and hooks that make the art look fantastic.  The space is off to the side of the customer service desk and you can also see the art from the front window overlooking Erie Blvd.

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For those of you in the Nostalgic Syracuse group on Facebook (shout out!), it’s the old Goldberg’s Furniture store.  Natur-Tyme has been there for five years.  It’s not just a vitamin shop; it’s more of a healthy lifestyle kinda place.  They have food, a juice bar, cosmetic and hair care, a salon, fresh vegetables, vitamins and all sorts of things.  Even if you’re not in the market for art, I urge you to discover its many contents for yourself.  It’s like an oasis of bliss in there.

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Maria told me that she picked me because, aside from liking my artwork, she was impressed with the way I used social media.  She said she liked that this blog was not just to promote myself but other local artisans and cultural things.

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Isn’t that such a nice compliment?  You really never know when helping someone can lead to someone helping you.  I am very impressed with Maria as well.  She’s very young, but has this unwavering self-confidence and drive to succeed as an artist.  She uses social media wisely and has recently won grant money for a show of tree paintings.

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Framed prints of those paintings are available for sale at this venue too, in addition to other landscape paintings.  They are located on the left side facing the gallery area in the cubbies.

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I was meticulously measuring – doing that OCD Monk thing until I was satisfied.  It took me like 2 1/2 hours to completely install twenty-two paintings.  I have two that didn’t fit, which I will add once I sell two!!!!!

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And if I sell more, I will go over there and replace them with another series.

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These paintings of cats frolicking in geometric fields are from my series called Echolalia.  I just love the way they look when they are on display together.  I created them in 2005.  The last time they were exhibited was at the Rome Art Center in Rome, New York – in their library room – back in September 2008!  Since then they’ve been in my closet or on display somewhere in my house.

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It’s such a refreshing and exciting feeling to bring them out again. To see the light of day, as I mentioned about the paintings in my Sullivan Library show.

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As I was working to get everything up, a woman approached me and said, “Oh, are you the artist?  These are wonderful.  Very industrial!”  Said she’d be back to look at them again.  Whether she buys or not really doesn’t matter at this moment, because that feeling that she gave me – that thing where I realize that I am an artist.  I have a body of work that I don’t really go on ruminating about – you know what I mean?  It felt amazing.  I’ve been so busy with teaching and in my free time I’m basically doing mundane chores or exercising, or writing these blog posts.

I haven’t had time to sit down and make art.  I have this idea for a new series but stuff gets in the way or I don’t feel the passion.  I spent all day yesterday re-staining my 20 square foot deck.  Let me tell you, the idea of picking up another paintbrush anytime soon does not sit well with my sore shoulders, lol.

But put forth a compliment and I come to life like gangbusters.  I can’t wait for you to see the show. Please go to Natur-Tyme if you are in town and let me know what you think.  And if you want to buy something, I guess you just take it off the wall (get a sales associate to help) and take it to the register.  My paintings are only $200 each.

 

 

Green

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My redecorating project is complete!  I ended up using the Benjamin Moore paint in Navajo White, Barely Beige, and Seedling for the kitchen; and the Home Depot paint in Leather Clutch for the upstairs and entryway trim.

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I love a green kitchen for some reason, but I’m all about neutral walls everywhere else.

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I love when the house is finally camera ready, but it is always a fleeting moment in time.  There is always something that needs putting away or another dish to wash.  It’s a never ending saga.

Honestly, I cannot believe how much work I did.  I was like some kind of crazy Tasmanian devil or whatever.  There was a bit in the middle where it was so overwhelming that I had a mini meltdown but that’s how I seem to accomplish everything.  Confidence then doubt and then push through it, and finally, completing the vision.

Tomorrow it’s back to the real world and to more art stuff.  Work. An art reception on Friday night.  And on Saturday, I’m judging an art contest.

Now it’s time for Orthodox Easter dinner at Mom & Dad’s.

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Texture Goddess

Yesterday was one of those perfect days where I did everything I set out to do.  It was kind of a thinking week and I finally executed decisions from the think tank.

Diana Godfrey

I was thinking about the Academy Awards.  In the past (read: up until yesterday), I scoffed at those who thanked their families for an award they received at work.  It seemed to me that the SHORT speech should reflect the specific aspects of the work and thanking co-workers was the way to go.  But then I had the flu and the subsequent bout with a debilitating sinus infection and the truth is that I could have never gotten through the week without help from Mom and Dad.  Mom for running to the grocery store to get me oranges, bananas, Jello, and meds, and sitting with me without any fear of getting sick herself, and Dad for helping me shovel/snowblow my driveway at least three times so that when I was ready to go out, I actually could fall back into civilization.  No matter what other successes I may have had otherwise, I owe so much of it to them for being there for me always, including supporting me and my decision to be an artist.  I am grateful they decided to get married when they were basically kids and are still going strong after fifty-three years of marriage.  So thank you, Mom and Dad.

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I don’t care if you call me a cat lady (at least you think I’m a lady) but I would also like to thank my two little indoor gin-gins for their companionship.  I tend to think they loved having me around this week.  My life was much like theirs.  Eat a little, dream a lot.  Go up and down the stairs and wonder what the hell I was doing up there once I got there, etc.  So thank you, Georges and Pablo.  Georgie is named after Georges Braque and Pablo for Picasso.  I’m kind of hoping they will want to help me make abstract watercolors this summer – I would love to see their polydactyl footsies stomping on Arches paper.

me and gin-gins

They are not my first multi-toed nutters.  I found a picture of Meet-zee and me recently.  He was our first cat.  We got him on Halloween when I was about nine from a house on Erregger Terrace.  I was telling the story to some students the other day and it did seem a little weird, like not something that would happen today unless scripted into an episode of Criminal Minds or something.

me and Meetzee 001

My sister, Kathy, and Anita Suritis and I were invited into the trick-or-treat house, went into the downstairs rec room and saw the orange and white kittens along with their mother in a comfortable cardboard box.  Their eyes had just opened making them about six weeks old, I guess.  We called Mom from the house and she came over in her bathrobe (not uncommon) and we got Meet-zee.  He only lived a year, hence no artwork.  Thought he ran away but only a few years ago Mom and Dad revealed that he was buried in the yard.  He’d been hit by a car over by where Kathy lives now.  Yeah, we used to let him go out at night and he would go hunting at Barry Park.

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So, back to yesterday, I re-joined Gold’s Gym, went grocery shopping, came home, gung-hoed on doing pilates, and went to an art show! Thank god for people like curator Anne Novado of Cappuccilli Fine Art, LLC!  She’d posted the event on Facebook, called Fine Art pairing at Wine 105 (105 Green Street, Syracuse, NY), and I had checked that I would be going.  Then the weather got all snowstorm again and I could have easily reverted to my specialty, staying home in jammies with a Duraflame log in the woodstove, but I did it.  I said I would and I did.  I ventured out (and I’m really glad I did)!

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I had a great conversation with the eternally youthful sculptor Arlene Abend and saw and chatted with Cheryl Chappell, Marna Bell, Sherry and Peter Allen, Linda Bigness, Anne Novado, and many others.

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I really love a captive audience so here it was – an art show at a wine store.  And I really, really love it when it isn’t a group show, when it is a one artist thing showcasing the depth and breath of one person you can truly fall in love with.  That person is Diana Godfrey.

Diana Godfrey (left) with Arlene Abend
Diana Godfrey (left) with Arlene Abend

Now, I’m not an art critic and I find that it isn’t really a job I want to have being that I am a colleague, a fellow artist.  With that said, I am completely head-over-heels for Diana’s work.  She is a texture goddess.  There were straight paintings, and paper collages – paintings on paper then torn and arranged in magnificent compositions on display, all framed by Cheryl Chappell from Edgewood Galleries.

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I met Diana for the first time last night and she had such a regal elegance.  I was born in Syracuse, lived two years in Florida – end of story.  I mean family is what brought and kept me here.  But Diana recieved her Master’s in Iowa and came here because her spouse had gotten a job at the university – not sure how long ago.  She spoke to me about the business of art and I loved that she could bridge both worlds – to be that talented and business savvy.  She makes a living selling art and well she should.

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I just love her sense of color and the texture in her work and the holy trinity of putting those together with the ease of rhythmic expertise. There is so much to see in her world.  It’s what I’ve always wanted in mine – a sense that once you are drawn in, you never want to look away.  You never want to leave.  Her prices are reasonable so you may want to head down there and pick up a few.  While you’re there you can throw in a few bottles of wine to enjoy while watching the female Superbowl tonight.  You’re welcome.

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Immortalize Me

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The above picture is the current state of my classroom blackboard.  We’re working on a portrait lesson in Studio in Art and these are some of the drawings I created as samples.  They all began as class demonstrations.

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The above is a self-portrait in the style of Gustav Klimt.  The portrait lesson has since transitioned from self-portrait in colored pencil to celebrity portrait in pencil.

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sleepy hollow Tom Milson

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young bill murray

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I can’t find the photograph I used for this 19″ x 22″ colored pencil on Canton paper illustration of Colin Firth or as I like to call him, perfection-in-a-man.  Created this one in 2004.  I can’t believe it’s eleven years old.

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Here’s a picture of the actor winning a SAG award.  I don’t think any of my sample actors are nominated for a SAG this year.  Too bad, because that would have made a way better blog post.

colin firth and wife

I’ll be watching tomorrow night anyhow.  The fashionista in me prefers award season over sporting events (I haven’t watched a Super Bowl in I don’t know how long), although you know I will be watching the kitty half-time show of the Animal Planet puppy bowl.  That’s just perfection-in-cuteness.

kitty half time show at puppy bowl