Tag Archives: hearts

OZ & Me

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Twelve of my Talisman series paintings are hanging in the Community Room of the Sullivan Free Library in Chittenango, NY.  I installed the show yesterday and the work will be there until I go back to school in September (2016).

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I love my connection to the Chittenango community and with Karen Fauls-Traynor, who pops me into the calendar every July!  The Community Room can be rented out for events and so, there are always people in there.  It is part of the library but is accessed through a separate door at the entrance.  I heard there will be a graduation party in there today!  They also have afternoon movies (free) every Wednesday at 1:00pm.

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The paintings are $200 each.  They are 18″ x 24″ mixed media pieces comprised of oil & collage and chalkboard paint.  I created them in the summer of 2008 in a studio space on my front porch while the television in the living room played Harry Potter videos 24/7.

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It is pretty fascinating how positive energy and the idea of magic can create magnificent outcomes in our lives.  One of my friends told me I need to immerse myself in painting again, but I don’t feel ready to go back to that type of isolation.  I would need to sell quite a bit of art to fuel that inner motivation again.  That seems to go against the grain of how other artists see themselves – as though art making is a desire that surpasses all consequences of the act.

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Oh well.  It is what it is.  The idea of someone else valuing what you do, what I do, is what I crave.  My friends in Florida have several of my paintings in every room of their house.  I visited them last month – I hadn’t been there in thirteen years, so seeing my presence in their home filled me with so much gratitude and love.  The idea that I matter to people.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  I just don’t want to make a bunch of art that sits in a pile in a closet somewhere, unable to breathe or see the light of day until I am gone or something.  That just seems yucky to me.

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If you are interested in purchasing one of these paintings, contact me.  I can sell it off the wall and replace it with another.  There are twenty-four pieces in this series.  And they all need homes…. <3

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The Sullivan Free Library is located at 101 Falls Blvd., right off Route 5 in the village of Chittenango, NY.  It was the former State Bank of Chittenango.  Click the link at the top of this post for hours of operation.

 

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Treasure in the Trail

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Some say there are no coincidences in life.  That everything in front of you is either a gift or simply put there as a lesson.  And it is up to you to figure it all out….

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When you check your surroundings, you can immediately be in tune to how you are feeling.  Life is a reflection of you!

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So what does it say about me, the woman who paints hearts, surrounds herself with hearts, says I-love-you all the time – even using it as one of the steps in a plaster of Paris lesson, lol  (my students know what I am talking about) that I am seeing hearts on the trail at Green Lakes?

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They are EVERYWHERE!

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It doesn’t seem real.  I mean, I never noticed them before, you know? And yet, here they are – hearts in mulch, in leaves, in stone….

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It’s just so beautiful and adds another dimension to my happy place!  I guess I am in love with love.  It is so special.  I am soooo grateful to have Green Lakes State Park in my life. It is the best! <3

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The Dada in Me

The hardest part of this Shopify business is reading the instructions.  I’ve been working on it all afternoon and it’s still not in any way perfected.  I just get really frustrated with my lack of computer savvy, which means I definitely need to take a break.  I have uploaded twelve paintings to the site, but I’m confused about how to use their templates and I’m sure it is the simplest thing in the universe, and…blech.

Domino, 18" x 24", 2008, mixed media
Domino, 18″ x 24″, 2008, mixed media

Hopefully, I will get it together and it will all be good.

Perfect Fit, 18" x 24", 2008, mixed media
Perfect Fit, 18″ x 24″, 2008, mixed media

Here is the link to the sugar shoppe – http://karen-tashkovski-visual-artist.myshopify.com/  I uploaded the Talisman paintings.  There are twenty-four in the series but I only picked twelve.  The challenge will be getting those paintings to the customer with as little erased chalk as possible.  But when I added the chalk text, it was inevitable that the paintings would eventually erase.  The idea that love is fleeting, I guess.

4 Ever, 18" x 24", 2008, mixed media
4 Ever, 18″ x 24″, 2008, mixed media

What is your opinion about the duration of art?  Because these paintings have more than one fragile element.  I decided that I would not allow returns.  Not sure if that’s a bad idea – I mean, I can always change it – but who buys a painting and then thinks it is disposable?  The artwork could get damaged.  Pieces could fall off.  But I am not the art repairman, am I?  I know that Jasper Johns doesn’t offer to repair the found objects that break off his art.  If they do at all.  I’m pretty sure they are handled so carefully by art gallery and museum minions in white gloves.

It is the Dadaist perspective, like when the glass broke in that Duchamp piece, and he actually thought it enhanced the work.

to be looked at (from the other side of the glass) with one eye close to, for almost an hour

I would need to find the kind of patrons with disposable income who really understand this mindset and their responsibility in acquiring art.  I see the new owners as the guardians of…I was going to say my children, but that sounds so cheesy even in written form.

But if they are like children, then the analogy is the one out of SATC, when Miranda tells Steve, you try not to kill Brady when he’s with you and I’ll try not to kill him when he’s here.  I’m paraphrasing – can’t remember the exact line, but you get the gist.

 

 

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.

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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. <3

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

Emotionalism at Play

This morning I woke up in tears, the kind typically reserved for when Oprah interviews you.  I guess my life sometimes feels like I’m in a labyrinth, one that seems to be a lot easier for other people to navigate but incredibly road-blockey for me.  I’m sure I’ll find a way to laugh about this later but not now.  The crummy weather day is insisting I remain miserable, sad and hopeless.

The good news is that I’m going to try to bottle the feeling and use it later as an element in a new series of paintings.  I have a vague idea of what they’ll look like – I often tell my students that I tend towards having psychic visions of future work, which helps to focus me during the process of going from thumbnail sketch to reality.  There are no thumbnail sketches yet.  Just feelings, colors, and fleeting imagery.  The planned series will be titled Futura, which is funny that I know that  – the way I knew I would call my cat Jasper before I met him.

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I didn’t have a working title for a series of paper collage works I displayed back in 2004.  I received a grant from Senator John DeFrancisco and subsequently was granted a lot of press on the show that accompanied the artwork.  It didn’t actually work that way, but in reverse.  I made the art a couple years before, secured an art show at Pastabilities restaurant in Armory Square (downtown Syracuse), charged up a storm to frame the art then applied for and received the $1,000 grant (or was it $1,500?  I don’t remember).

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I used to teach at Bryant & Stratton, my second job out of college, in the long-defunct Fashion Merchandising program where as a business college professor, I learned and taught students to write press releases that would get them noticed.  I had a lot of success with my own press releases, frequently getting follow-up articles about my work published in the local papers.

John DeFrancisco is someone I’m following on Twitter.  Yeah – I tweet now.  You can see the link somewhere on the side of this blog post.  It’s https://twitter.com/karentashkovski.  I’m @KarenTashkovski.  I’ve tweeted a handful of times, mainly links to my social media activities – Pinterest, Facebook, here, etc.  I’m learning the whole hashtag culture or as I refer to it – number sign.  And I’m re-tweeting and following back.  Cyberspace is a vast black hole but it has the dichotomy of being a small world as well.  Kim Kardashian (yes, I’m following her – who isn’t?) could easily flick a thumb and retweet to her universe and all of a sudden as a consequence because we’ll become besties, I will be able to identify a Kanye West song (or not, probably not.  I’m more of a classic rock/alternative person).  Hopefully the real consequence will be resulting sales.  People have a lot of power at their fingertips, to friend you, connect with you and know you or at least your on-line persona.

I have a google email now too.  It’s ktashkovski@gmail.com.  I needed it for something, I can’t remember what now – and used it successfully to send Linda Bigness those videos through google docs.  So they should be up shortly on You Tube and on here.  Oh yeah, that’s what it was.  I’m on You Tube.  I have a channel (meant to be said with a posh British accent).  I posted three videos, two of them of my students in my super secret (not so secret) Harry Potter club at school.

The hope with that is to seek a fairy-godmother-wizard person who will pay to send my students and their families to Harry Potter World in Florida.  Oprah, are you listening?  Because I’ve mentioned you twice now.  And if you want to do a surprise interview first, then I will be well prepared.  I have mastered the ugly cry and everything.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFc9d1i6QGQcQBsimYyWyQ

 

 

Artist’s Dozen

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So when I create art I have this thing about crafting a dozen pieces in a series.  It has to be twelve for some reason and when it’s not I feel a little bit like the the TV detective Monk – a little OCD-ish about it.  You can imagine what this is like for me when I sell only one out of a series and I’m left with stupid eleven.  It is, I don’t know – I’m weird, let’s just put that out there right now.

If you watch New Girl on Fox, you would have caught the last episode where Jessie explains about how we all have stupid stuff wrong with us – we’re all weird.  It’s a wonder anyone ever finds anyone to love, really. (Or am I the only one who identified with that episode?)

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These pieces are meant to be purchased together, so they are technically one work of art even though I signed each one for some reason.  They are 12″ x 12″ canvases, layered with thick canvas and painted with latex paint.

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I traced a heart stencil I hand-made and cut up all sorts of textures to attach resulting in individually unique hearts.  I added playing cards, suede and other fabric, and photographs from old calendars – Pre-Raphaelite imagery as well as Harry Potter film photos and international pictures from Paris, Greece, Scotland, Venice…and maps.

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I don’t travel at all but I feel like a traveler in a way because my artwork can go anywhere in the world and I can feel transported by it. I almost can’t believe how many people from different countries have viewed this website, by the way.  People from every continent.  I assure you that I have no cousins in South America or Africa.  I really need to get a passport and put myself out there for real, but then I would probably want all my pages stamped in the united colors of the over fifty countries represented here.

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The finished hearts are stitched with embroidery floss then I added collage items – checkers, Scrabble pieces, wooden spools, tinker toys, buttons, sea glass and coins.  Each is a separate entity but when together they tell a story, like always, a puzzle of my life or yours, or whoever embodies them/buys them and adds their own interpretation.

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The one above now resides in a friend’s house and I can’t tell you in words what that means to me because it is poetically emotional in a way I just cannot express.  It’s supercalifragilistically amazing when someone else cares for my work as much as I do.  If you want one of these sets, let me know.  I think I have five of them ($600 for a set of twelve).

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Heart of the Matter

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After cleaning the house – vacuuming, dusting, Windex, etc., I sat back on the sofa to admire my work.  You know the feeling, when the house is camera ready and you fantasize it looks good enough for the pages of an interior decorating magazine.

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When you live in a small space, even though everything has a place, it will still read cluttered to a minimalist.  But to me at that moment in my little corner of the world, that  feeling of pride for my place filled me with a kind of home-sweet-home bliss.

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I worked with this science teacher who had animal bones and carcasses, and taxidermied things all around his classroom, many dangling from the ceiling, like something out of a horror movie.  I had to substitute for him once and in my mind, I could hear the screechingly haunting scream-music from the movie Psycho as I turned and locked my eyes on the individual grossness of each object.

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So there I was staring at my own artwork covering literally every wall of my home and I noticed that my art is virtually littered with hearts.  I didn’t realize, you know what I mean?  Evidently, I am obsessed with hearts and consequently, with the idea of love in all forms.  I’m in love with love.  I love to love.  I love things, fashion, foods, exercise, art.  I love  friendship, intimacy…and  romance too, of course; who doesn’t?  I say I love you a lot.  Or I love this or that or I’m in love with stuff pretty much all the time to the point that some of my students have labelled me a creeper.  And some say I love you back.

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I can imagine what adults who don’t easily love would think of the overabundance of heart motif on every wall of my home.  I’m like a love psycho.

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Paper collage, oil paintings, encaustic….it’s really all about the heart in here!

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Artists see beauty all around them.  There is beauty in symmetry and in rhythm, and texture.  My perception of the world is that it is a beautiful place.  I’m lucky that I get paid to color all day.  It might seem frivolous to people who are close-minded to aesthetics, and I have to say I feel sad for them.  Because life is a lot more fun with love in your heart and with hearts all around you to remind you of it.  To remind you to love. <3

Good Fortune, 11" x 14", 2012, $100
Good Fortune, 11″ x 14″, 2012, $100

On Pins & Needles

I’m on Pinterest now.

It is very addicting, especially when you start to see all of your boards come together.  I found pictures on the site to illustrate found object items I use, like game pieces and fabric.  That was fun.  I still need to figure out how to add the widget to this site and all of that computer speak in order to successfully link the two, but I am working on it.  The site is a business site rather than a personal one so it will feature primarily art and art inspirations.

The paper collages I recently “pinned” haven’t been uploaded to this website yet so here they are –

Karen Tashkovski, Joie de Vivre, 11" x 7 1/2", 2001 mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Joie de Vivre, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001 mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Throne, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Throne, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

I created these in February 2001.  This was around the time my maternal  grandfather passed away.  I was living in Eastwood in a two bedroom flat where there was not much space to make art.  These could be constructed while sitting on the sofa.  I cut up some abstract oil paintings created on paper canvas.  Some of them have abstract watercolor hearts as well and so, these pieces combine literally all that I am as an artist!  Sewing, drawing, collage, painting, and two of my favorite motifs – hearts and kittens.

Karen Tashkovski, 40 Days, 11" x 7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, 40 Days, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Pink, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Pink, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Ruby, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Ruby, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Bien, Merci, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Bien, Merci, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Connect, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Connect, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Devices, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Devices, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, La Tete Me Tourne, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, La Tete Me Tourne, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, The 5th, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, The 5th, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Rhythm, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Rhythm, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Sands, 11" x 7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Sands, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50