The person I am becoming worries less to never and struggles far less with outside influences, and I can safely say is 10,000 x infinity happier – this post though from my former self; it is still relevant in that I can see growth and see potential, once again, as inspiration from the person I was and the person I will be.
It’s already half-way through the school year and with the semester over, we decided to try to replicate some of the latest photo fads to contribute to the school yearbook. They are so much fun to do – no photo shopping. I think I might turn it into a class lesson, maybe they can come up with new ideas for fads that can go viral. I just love these. I love anything stupid-funny, and the kids are such great sports!
I’m still hoping to try #cookie-on-shoulder, #eating-money, #batmanning (way too dangerous!), and whatever else is out there.
My work colleague, Sherry Spann Allen, is the lead artist in a group exhibition at the Tech Garden. It is an office building across from the Hotel Syracuse in downtown Syracuse, New York. This city is all about alternative venues for artwork where a captive audience is forced to make visible what is ordinarily invisible.
Sherry’s work is all about texture, playing with it to the degree that her canvases literally pop off the wall with geometric, amorphic and combination shapes that emit a feeling of the sea. Gorgeous turquoise encaustic and oil pastel mix with pinks and creams to produce the feeling of being on vacation in the Mediterranean. I will be surprised if she doesn’t sell every one of those paintings in the next three months.
I know that at least one artist made a sale last night at the reception, which is great news for our talented community. Steve Nyland curated the show from a list of emerging and already out there localites who’d been queued for a coveted spot at a local Armory Square bistro. When the place changed hands, the art space was nixed in favor of god-knows-what. Kind of a blow, but we artists are like cockroaches, emerging from the disappointment and ready to infest the world with our aesthetics. Beware – we are not going anywhere!
Joan Applebaum was the only other artist I knew who exhibited – landscapes of familiar landmarks that resonate with local audiences because of their emotionally charged nostalgic-inducing vibe.
I took a few pictures of some other work as well, and I couldn’t help but take a few snaps of the food. They had quite a spread. In their defense, it was an excellent turn out for a night that started out fine and quickly turned into a blizzardly drive-from-hell-frozen-over drive home.
The show, entitled Winter Recipe, continues through March 27th, 2015. The Tech Garden is located at 235 Harrison Street and features in addition to Sherry and Joan, the artwork of the following: Holly K. Austin, Theresa Barry, Emily Bender, Willson Cummer, Christophe Ennis, Cat Gibbons, Arianna Lynch, Ashley Marie, Yegor Mikushkin, Kathryn Petrillo, Gail Reynolds, Doreen Simmons, Ray Trudell, and Missy Zawacki,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I finally repaired my painting, Dream Time. I’d lost a couple of the Scrabble pieces because I had it leaning against the kitchen door for the longest time and one or both of the cats must have knocked them off. My sister found the exact letters I needed at the flea market and gave them to me for Christmas. Best gift ever. Because I think that this painting is one of my favorites and now I can share it with you.
This was the first piece in the Dream Time series. I stretched all the canvases myself with a thicker canvas, added collage items – coasters from Empire Brewing Co. and playing cards, and then I gessoed the canvases, added Martha Stewart latex paint in Milk White, and painted them with oil paint. There was this routine that gave all the paintings harmony, as well as devices like drawing in pencil, but I used a different color scheme in each one. This one is my favorite because I am in love with its buttery color and how effortless it felt to create it. It was seriously like a dream the way it all came together.
My favorite paintings are often the first in a series, I guess. I never noticed that before.
I keep the above painting in my bedroom and probably will never sell it because it is actually a narrative of one of the last times I returned to Ft. Lauderdale, FL after living there for two years. The rest of the Pompano Revisited series were variations on the theme – the puzzle piece layout, the shark, the Goodyear blimp; but none carry the same emotion for me as this one does. And there’s that light Naples yellow again.
You haven’t seen the next two paintings yet. A few years ago, I took the Talisman series to John Dowling, a professional photographer in the area. http://john-dowling.com/
He photographed them for me. That’s why I posted them to Shopify – because they are the best photos I have. But I’ve changed these two since the photo shoot.
In the above painting, I painted the little man figure with the black chalkboard paint. It was white in the Dowling photo. I changed the ribbon in Secret. I keep them both in my bedroom too. In my defense, there are a lot of walls in my house, all plaster and in need of something to cover their blemishes and cracks.
I also have a dreamcatcher, which may actually work because I’ve only had one nightmare since moving here nine years ago and when I woke up after it, I noticed the thing had fallen off its hook and landed behind the lingerie chest. Not to be superstitious or anything….
I have been having the most vivid dreams lately. Not sure why but they are the kind with a plot, like the entire seasons of Dallas and Knot’s Landing when it turned out that Pamela had dreamed the whole thing.
(Does anyone remember that Valene Ewing named one of her twins Bobby because he was dead?)
It’s funny because as viewers we need to accept the premise and then we’re fine with whatever the outcome. It’s all entertainment. That’s how I feel about Star Trek. You just accept that they are able to go to warp drive, accept that they can transport by vanishing and reassembling their molecules elsewhere, accept that even though there are photon torpedoes and phasers set to stun and/or kill, in the end, Captain Kirk and the bad guy or Spock and the bad guy will come to fist-to-cuffs blows and Starfleet will always prevail. (I think you can tell I had a Star Trek movie marathon this weekend?)
It seems easy enough to accept the premise of world peace, accept each other for who we are and what we bring to the artistic table (or any table) without having to sleep on it. But if lucid dreams are really a thing, I want to have a dream dinner with Gene Roddenberry, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Walt Disney. The ultimate dream team.
So, ten days into the new year and what have I done to achieve goals?
In my defense, a migraine wrapped its tentacles around my brain today. There’s always an excuse to procrastinate and I will use that one. Plus, I left the camera cord at work so I couldn’t upload the student artwork to my school website. I had every intention of doing that today.
And I really should watch what I say. I bragged about being impervious to the cold then we went into a dumb deep freeze with below zero temps and it was soooo coooooold that all I wanted was to be the guy on that commercial with the sweater made of live cats.
I haven’t worked out my issues with Shopify and this website yet. I’m sure it is a minor glitch but you know how that goes. Minor turns into major, and things take a ton longer than you think they will. Really, how do I ever get anything done? I seriously could not concentrate today AT ALL.
Are things even happening? Well, kind of, yes.
*Two of my students won awards at the regional Scholastic Art Awards. A silver key for one of the encaustic paintings and an honorable mention for one of the cow paintings.
*I was asked to judge an art contest in April for the local chapter of the National League of American Pen Women. http://www.nlapw.org/ I emailed with the liaison to confirm the date and time, and wrote it in my datebook.
*My blog post, Holding the Key, will be added to the blog on www.professionalartistmag.com. It will be up some time next week. The editor saw the blog after I’d posted it to their Linkedin group and thought it would benefit their readers! I spent a chunk of the day searching my laptop for high resolution images of the pictures and popping the blog into a word document to email it all to her.
*I now have over 500 connections on www.linkedin.com, and more people are starting to endorse me for my art “skills”, as well as commenting when I post links to the various groups I’ve joined.
*I am up to over 3,700 followers on Twitter! And not all of them are there because of the cats, although a lot of them are, lol. I’m getting more re-tweets and favorites, which may or may not lead to sales, but it seems like progress. https://twitter.com/karentashkovski
Oh, and movie star Taye Diggs is following me! That’s my new claim to fame, my new middle name, as in Hi, I’m the artist Karen-Taye-Diggs-is-following-me-on-Twitter-Tashkovski.
*I also spent a bunch of time thinking about devices I will use for the Futura series of paintings. I will start thumbnail sketches soon. I’m using my painting, Devices, as inspiration. It is one of only about four paintings that have survived from my 24″ x 48″ series of works from 1998. I destroyed a number of them for no really good reason except that I didn’t think they were good enough. Eventually, I will resurrect the canvases with the new series, but it will take a bit longer to work everything out (I have nothing, if not all the time in the world to make it happen).
*I purchased a couple of lottery tickets for the Powerball jackpot. I could be two hundred million dollars richer by tomorrow morning. A girl can dream.
Can you imagine?
So many bloggers are out there offering positive affirmations to help you make 2015 the best year ever. Things akin to believing in yourself and following your dreams. I can’t believe how many advocate quitting your job to follow your passion.
Please don’t quit your day job, people. There is plenty of time to make things happen after work and on weekends. It’s all about time management. Art is something everyone should be doing in one capacity or another. Or maybe I should just say being creative, because that is what the world is looking for – creative thinkers. Outside the box and all that.
I have a lot of goals for this year, but I have to say that 2014 surpassed my expectations in so many ways. I faced fears and made decisions that really changed my life. I’m proud of myself that I took those necessary baby steps. I feel like life is just some kind of a roller-coaster ride, and once you realize that you are strapped in, you can just go with the flow. Let the ride happen. When you start worrying about stuff, you end up like that guy in Vegas who got stuck on the zip-line and had to be rescued. It’s great that there are people out there who will always help you when you get stuck, but being a damsel in distress is the stuff of fairy-tales, and in reality, it’s way better when you can just save yourself. Or better yet, be a person who doesn’t need to be rescued at all.
Is life a roller-coaster or a dream? I wrote down some very specific things I wanted for myself this year and they happened within three months. It was freaky in a way, like I had the skeleton key to the universe or something, which explains why I wasn’t completely successful in bringing everything to fruition (I got a little cray-cray). This blog and website, putting my artwork out here in cyberspace, getting financial stuff in some semblance of order and other private-life stuff that I’m still trying to process….
Maybe I should throw out more desires and see if they boomerang back as a manifestation of more dreams. I want to sell my art. I want to fill my passport with stamps to at least three countries in the next three years (France, Scotland and Greece come to mind since they are the ones illustrated in my heart-quilt paintings). I want to fix the roof on this house before it is beyond repair. I want to live an even more creative life and spend a lot more time laughing, and making art and…I don’t know.
Maybe I should quit promoting my art altogether and just blog about my cats. I have spent several hours a day this vacation on all the re-tweeting and tweeting I’ve been doing on Twitter. I mean hours of contemplating what to tweet that will bring visitors to this website and ultimately sell the art so that I can make more paintings and enjoy the benefit of financial success; be able to live the life I’m sure I want. Just for fun, I tweeted a picture of my cats – my favorite picture taken months ago, but as you know when you have two cats, it is nearly impossible to get a good picture of both of them at the same time. They’re very wriggly. I’ve taken hundreds of shots of them just to get this one good one. So, I put it out there and it went sort of viral. The kitty tweet that went around the world or whatever. Favorited by probably a hundred people and re-tweeted so many times I was like, what-what? Are you kidding me?
Now, if I can only get half of those people to purchase some of my cat motif paintings, I’ll be in business. I will literally have a business. Lol…you have to laugh. You really, really do.
We’ve had unusually mild weather here and that’s been great! I got the green Christmas I asked Santa for and yet I’ve been kind of Frozen lately.
I finally saw it – a student let me borrow the video and I can completely understand its broad appeal. Boys and girls seem to like the message equally. I’m thinking just about everyone can in some way identify with Elsa.
We all have something that makes us feel both powerful and powerless depending on the way we handle outside influences. The song Let it Go is about the freedom of being okay with whatever that thing is. Elsa runs away and when she’s alone, she creates an amazing environment and in that moment, she feels extremely happy in isolation because no one is there to criticize her or make her feel like she is wrong, and she’s just not afraid anymore. She can be exactly who she is, good, bad, ugly or what have you, and be okay with it. It is such an empowering moment that transcends the boundaries of a cartoon character’s angst and becomes a theme song for everyone who has ever felt alone in this world.
I tend to feel happiest when I don’t let the outside world influence my decisions, but let’s face it – that is very difficult. 1997 was probably my most productive year as an artist or maybe I just feel that way because it was the year Jasper was born, the year I was finally solvent enough to be on my own again and the year I created a series of paintings that I called Messages From the Other Voice, in which I incorporated poetry infused with positive messages.
I have the above painting in my bedroom. The sentiment is still incredibly relevant to my life. It is a message for me to stay on the path I’m on and not give up on any dreams. Almost like another me telling me not to worry, which is something I pretty much need to remind myself when I have one of those weird days when nothing seems to be going my way.
I call those days comedy gold, of course, because I assure you, I always have time to laugh at all the stupid things I say and do. Maybe not right away, but eventually.
I’m not sure what to do next in regards to this art career, to tell you the truth. I guess just keep doing what I’m doing. I have a goal of having 3,000 Twitter followers by New Years Day. I have almost 2,800 now so that is not outside the realm of possibility. I know I need to upload more artwork to my Shopify site. Why I haven’t done that yet is to do with my inability to move forward.
The painting above is about a specific person, really. Someone I had a hard time letting go of and so, he was a hindrance, which is the title of the painting. It stopped me from moving forward and yet, whenever I look at this painting I’m reminded that it is okay to feel, whether it be love or loss…or love lost. I see my old self telling me she won’t let me down and that gives me the courage to just be that fearless person that I should be.
I have a lot in common with Frozen’s Elsa so that shouldn’t be a problem. At it’s core, the movie is a story about the love between sisters. Within a day of uploading those paintings to rebubble.com, my sister Sophie purchased a cell phone case decorated with one of my images. She is always right there with me. My first and best customer, and greatest supporter.
Last year, in January, we had serious below zero frigid temperatures. I’m not sure when the weather is going to turn colder around here. But I don’t care. The cold never really bothered me anyway.
Since my recent website update, I have been experimenting with different themes. Lots of redecorating. I’m sure I’ll change it and change it back a few more times before the year ends! It’s fun. I <3 wordpress.com! What do you think of the place?
I had a snow day today, which consisted mainly of snow-blowing the driveway (twice so far – I think I’ll go out there again in a couple hours). I also cleaned the house. I had every intention of doing more art career stuff but got sidetracked by a couple hours of pilates and sit-ups, as well as flopping around reading fashion magazines and perusing Facebook then finally uploading the last pictures of my students’ artwork for Scholastics.
The regional deadline for the Scholastic Art Awards is right around the beginning of Christmas vacation. Artwork is judged via JPEGs the first week of January. I’m entering ten pieces this year.
For me, winning those awards as a student was more or less the springboard into this art journey. I had been getting only packets for engineering colleges in the mail during my junior year in high school because I was in accelerated math classes. All of my classmates are now CEOs of major companies or prestigious doctors, but no matter. I still can’t tell you what an engineer does, lol. I won a blue ribbon for my senior portfolio and three awards for my three individual entries – two more blue ribbons and a gold key. And that sealed the deal for me. I thought it meant something, like a sign that art was the right direction for me.
I shouldn’t say it like that. I didn’t pick art on a whim or because of some dumb magical thinking scenario. I knew it was the right thing for me. I think we’ve had this conversation before.
My students’ art is way better than this stuff but they don’t always win. Competition these days has been taken to an otherworldly level and it will always be disappointing to at least one someone who is uber-talented. There’s no way around that. But the dreams are very much alive and the excitement is building!
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.
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 <3 her voice). The trick now will be to try to prevent the kit-cats from climbing it.
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.
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!
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?).
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.
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.