Sunday, October 31, 2010

Only Treats for Me

Babe in the Woods 5 x 7" framed in antique frame. Encaustic on wood panels.
Vampire World 6 x 6" Encaustic on Wood Panel
I spent this weekend doing only what I wanted; no more, no less.

The jaunt at the Farmer's Market netted me my victuals for the week, as well as lively conversation with artist Marko Shuhan  whose inspirational paintings revealed to me the beauty of line, color and form in abstraction. 

I met Marko when he worked at R and F Paints and gallery, which was in the same building as Studio 8, the gallery that I ran for a year with Lois.  It was above the Kitchen Supply store in the historic Millard Building on Broadway in Kingston.

Come first Saturday, the building rocked.  There were several other galleries besides ours-  R and F (usually the main draw), Joel Mandelbaum's gallery, as well as Bardet Wardel's (Everyday Goddesses) studio, which later became Mandy, the Mad Hatter's space.  There were a few businesses there too, which made it a bit tricky for noise as there were massages, yoga classes, and acupuncture going on during the hours we were hanging shows, or featuring an late evening soiree, many times with live music by well known local talent. 

We hosted which might have been one of the first Erotica shows in Kingston, as well as one on War and Peace while Megan served as a soldier and diesel mechanic in Iraq.  Sometimes the shows were controversial and painful, other times pure poetry through the visual arts.

Marko and I laughed that it was one of the best times of our lives, and what was even better about it was that we were pretty sober during that time...and we STILL had that much fun.

This afternoon, I am hiding from all the Trick or Treaters. I will call up a friend, or hide in the house with the lights off, doing my school work, or watching a movie. Larry is always working in Woodstock that day, and I never participate.  They come in carloads, imported from the less affluent areas of the city.  I don't blame them.  I loved when my kids went trick or treating here..they came home with jars of local honey, good chocolate bars, etc. The only treats I am going to have is a drink and an appetizer in some city eatery, using the money I would have used on candy.Sorry, the economy has really hit hard on this purse this holiday season.

Oh, and I have included a way to purchase my art should you love it. I hope it is not too obnoxious. I would never want to annoy my readers. But us artists have to get our art out in as many ways as we can. Never let it be said that I don't try! Now off to update my website too!!

Patti O Vampire

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lucie Awards

I am still in recovery from the late Wednesday night jaunt to New York City.  I don't do going till 3 AM well, and I am still feeling hungover from lack of sleep.

The organization Larry has worked for the past 17 or so years,  "The Center for Photography" was awarded a Lucie Award which was presented at Lincoln Center. I knew it was going to take a feat of mightiness to make it with my schedule, and I did not want to go.  More stress. But when I saw Larry's face when I insinuated that it was OK if he went without me, I bit my tongue and just moaned for a few days about how difficult it was going to be to pull this off, and about how I was not going to be able to wear my little black cocktail dress because I have no pretty shoes that my feet/ankle will tolerate trekking thru NY. 

The Metro North ride along the Hudson River is beautiful in any weather, so I shot many photos on the way down. We all met up at the Radio City Apartments which reminded me of my grandmother's apartment in Brooklyn, (a little depressing) then a cab ride to Alice Tully Hall.  More photo ops, shot from the cab...which was not moving too quickly through Times Square at 5:30.

It was a balmy 70 something, and the storms were moving out. Perfect evening for a martini, and a ceremony celebrating Photography.  Though I was excited for the organization,  I secretly thought that they should have given Larry a longevity award as he has been there longer than any of the employees now working there.  He's been there half of its 33 years of operation.  But, like his art, he does it out of love, and not for any grandeur. 

It was an interesting evening meeting some of the people that Larry has known for a long time, and who make a lot of things possible for CPW.  I was thrilled to see Michael Nyman win the "Double Exposure Award", reserved for someone who works in multiple mediums.  He is a composer, and I am always moved by his score to the movie The Piano, a movie which set me back 5 years in therapy.  He also wrote the score for Man on a Wire, a movie about the walk Woodstock resident  Philippe Petit did between the Twin Towers
in the 70's.  (ps one of my other favorite movies scores of all times is by Ennio Morricone from The Mission, starring High Falls resident Aiden Quinn.)

 The work was inspiring, moving, humorous, and entertaining. I am glad that I did not miss the show, and the experience with my husband.

Now, this weekend, I need to kick back a bit, buy some food for the empty refrigerator, make some art, and take care of some business before I have to be on the run again.

Here's to FFF

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Fall Swing

You know the week was busy when I only managed to finish one small piece of art this week and did not write a blog.  My week was eaten by school, meetings, private students, and a weekend conference in Albany, hosted by the NYS Teacher's Union for those teachers who service special needs students in BOCES schools across the state.  

I won't get into details here, but I learned a lot, realized how much I don't know about education law/and what's to come in the future in regards to teacher evaluations,  Special, Alternative, Career Ed and more.

Any of you who poo poo us teachers, and say---- ah, you have bankers hours and look down upon us like something less than scum (like Sarah Palin's rolling eyes) should try their hand at it before they ever open their mouth, especially in a school such as mine--- and that goes for any teacher's job.

I was inspired, enjoyed the companionship of those who have worked hard to keep the Union going.  A Union is as strong as its members...and I am at a point in my life that I am willing to stand up and support my Union.  A great editorial on Unions can be found on Michael Moores site titled Happy Fuckin' Labor Day! I don't think I need say more.

This week promises to be just as busy as last week.  Meetings, dinners, consultations, a private student, and a midweek trip to NYC to take part in the Lucie awards at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.  It is the Oscars of Photography, and the Center for Photography is receiving an award.  So after school, off to NYC with my husband, and I am sure it will be an interesting way to spend a Wednesday evening.

Last week's painting is a 6" x 6" encaustic(wax) on wood panel. I need more panels...I have used nearly all that I have.  Hope I can fit a visit to the art store in somewhere........

Patti O Worker


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Fate of Flowers.....

"If there were nothing else to trouble us, the fate of the flowers would make us sad. "
John Lancaster Spalding

It had been too long since I had visited my mother in the nursing home; each weekend I  would make excuses to myself as to why I couldn't go...  I was on vacation.  I was recovering from vacation.  School started.  I was tired.  It was too cloudy-windy-rainy-sunny outside.

The reality is, it is difficult to see her trapped within her bed, listen to the litany of aches and pains that she mumbles as soon as I walk in, barely audible with her slurred post-stroke speech.  I dread and cringe at the endless screeching of the old folks who have lost their minds and moan/cry/wail up and down the hallways of the home in their wheel chairs.  I close the door as they try to barge into my mother's room when I am visiting, like zombies. I ache because they too were once vital.

What precipitated the visit today was the call from the surgeon awaiting me after school on Friday, wanting to take a suspicious lesion off my mother's back. It is an out patient procedure, but knowing my mother, and her wishes regarding surgery and hospitals, I had to convince her that it was a necessary procedure to have done. 

Thus I HAD to visit her today.

The visit went well -  she agreed to the excision, understanding that non-treatment it is a sure and painful death.  The remainder of the conversation was a monologue about the family, and what's happening in my life. She lets me know that the Katherine Hepburn book I gave her last visit is still cherished by the way she hugs it close to her body.  She has a stuffed animal tucked close to her side.  She eats half of the apple turnover from Diesings, and makes a sign to agree that a mutual relative is crazy.

After an hour or so I am ready to leave.  I promise to be back in a few weeks. She is already busy reading the Sunday paper I have bought her.

As I leave the beautiful grounds of the  Nursing home that stretch along the Hudson River, I find it sad to see the walking paths empty, and filling in with leaves.  The people who live there are too broken to walk their paths, and I sigh.

I was not ready to head home; I needed to process my visit. On the way home I stopped at Poet's Walk for a hike down to the river, stopping only to photograph the landscape.  I take in the day, the buzzing of the bumblebees, the few grasshoppers that are still scrambling about in the tall grass. I listen to the sound of the crows in the trees, and of a bi-plane circling about.  It is with a bittersweet gratefulness that I enjoy this afternoon...

Tonight's art features two small encaustic paintings I did this weekend. I am enjoying working with the challenge of painting with such an unpredictable medium, and am finding ways to tame it. It forces me to work quickly due to its quick solidification and I am less apt to muddy my colors and over think my work.....



Monday, October 11, 2010

Variation on a theme....

Time to make art has been brief these days, but I have managed to work on a few projects.

I am trying to focus...either on a series, or on my medium.  I have been selling off my earrings and other decorative objects d'art that I have made with the hope that the feng shui-ing of my old stock will help me to focus.

In my planning for my future, I need to keep it simple. Art, cards, and a few gift items for my Christmas show.  This year's gift items will most likely include little collaged Moleskine notebooks,  my lovely ornaments, and decoupaged Workman's lunchboxes, like the ones that were done in the 60's and 70's. I coveted the ones that some of my class mates had in elementary school, and I think it will be so fun to make some now.  And, as my brilliant sister pointed out, they can hold more than lunch items.

This weekend I have been exploring an image which is stuck in my head and heart - three little bungalows that sit on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper. They remind me of the bungalows of my youth  and stir up some deep memories.

I have designed my gardens and chosen my house colors from the deeply etched memories of my stays in the family vacation bungalow in Phoenicia, and remember the fun I had playing with the children who were guests at the neighboring cottages which were rented out to families who came to the Catskills every summer.  I remember hours of reading Little House on the Prairie while rocking next to my crippled grandmother on the porch, the swims and fishing in the creek behind the house, picking blueberries and concord grapes and wincing at their sourness. I savor the warm memories of my great aunts, grandmother, and aunts in their dresses and thick black shoes, who stayed at the cottage in some configuration of people or another from spring through fall, all one big extended Irish/Scottish family.  They loved us children unconditionally, so unlike my authoritarian, angry, abusive father. It was simply put, a time of joy and escape.

Not all bungalow memories are happy, as there was the summer of '77 when my father got very sick and then died of cancer.   I had just moved away from home, and unknown to my family, was living part time with my boyfriend in his little bungalow. A shiksa working at the Nevele Hotel, I fell head over heals for one of the owner's nephews and spent a summer of love and partying in those little bungalows that the employees lived in for the summer season.  They were dank, messy bungalows, full of the trash from boys partying.  They were also full of deception.  They day I received the phone call that my father died, I had also found out that the man I had given my heart to  had been engaged to a Jewish girl, and she was coming to stay for the weekend.  In my grief, perhaps the deepest grief I have experienced thus far, I lost the keys to my house and car, which added another level of panic and disaster to my life.  That day I will never forget. 

So I work on this series of little sad faced houses in the mountains...that hold dirty little secrets.  As I work I make some of them brighter than the dark rainy misty photo portrays,  but somehow there will always be the yin/yang of joy/sorrow in their execution.  But I plan on working on a series of the red cottage, and that perhaps will be full of light and love.  The cottage still exists, but sadly, my remaining aunt who lives on the property in a house nearby, is not talking to me....and that is for another blog.  So I must rely on ancient photos...and on the good will of family to dig them up for me.

From top to bottom: watercolor, pastel, and a not-quite finished oil.  I plan to work on one in encaustic, and then do a large oil.  By then perhaps, they will be out of my system.  But for now, I keep on digging in the dirt.....


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Paint Out at Olana

Last weekend's Open Studio was fab. Most of the people who came were friends who always support me - four of them were high school classmates who were in town to attend our reunion. I was psyched to show them what I have been doing the past 35 years.  I was hoping that more locals would have stopped by out of curiosity, but I was thrilled to see so many of my friends and fellow artists. I made enough money to cover my expenses, and add some fuel to the tank. (at this time of year that is what I have to think of)  

My only day off was Sunday, so Larry and I went for breakfast at Dolce,  then headed up to Olana.  It was their "paint out" which I did not participate as I had too much on my plate.  But I was lucky to see friend and artist extraordinaire Jane Bloodgood-Abrams who was just pulling in when we were.  She has a show at the Carrie Haddad gallery in Hudson, NY, and The Hyde Art Museum purchased one of her paintings for their collection.  That is quite an honor to be among the Picassos and Rembrandts!  Jane's work is reminiscent of the Hudson River School of painting, but with her own color palette and style.  The painting I have pictured here is only the first step. Jane works in layers of fine glazes, And, she is as lovely as her paintings in all ways. 

Yesterday I spent an afternoon with artists Pamela Hastings and Loel Barr.  Pamela is visiting from her home in Port Angeles, and is teaching at Art Is You this weekend in Danbury, CT, and promoting her book HOT FLASH: A CELEBRATION, which features the art and writing of many artists, including MOI! We took a trip to the Zaborski Emporium where we all shopped for art "stuff".  Below are photos of what I picked up for 20.00. Beautiful small Victorian frames (186-1880's), a Victorian Paper holder (not pictured and could be used as a lethal weapon), a box of cardboard letters that smell like Grandma's attic (good smell) and a few metal fancy rings that are the decorative ring that went on sockets (or something like that)  Not sure what I am going to do with those, but am thinking a series of Peep Shows...with all these ideas, I had better live to 150.

Off to find something to eat. I am too tired to cook, and it has taken me DAYS to write this blog. Don't know if it is writer's block or exhaustion.  I hope to get into the studio for the three day weekend, but if the weather is beautiful, it is hard to resist traveling through the magical Hudson Valley!



Sunday, October 03, 2010

Super Lunch Bag !!!

I found this at the gift shop at Olana. 

A Two's Company  BOHO CHIC insulated, zippered LARGE lunch bag.  It is lined with that metallic insulated space age looking material which is good for keeping the hot - hot, and with an ice pack, the cool- cool.  The entire bag is fun and retro inside and out. 

I can't wait to try it out. Looks like it will hold my baggies full of goodies, yogurt, drinks, an ice pack if needed.  Or those hot egg sandwiches that I sometimes pick up on the way into work for me and the kids. 

Unfortunately, Amazon is sold out, and now so is Olana. 

Oh I am such a bag hound. 

Next: meet Jane Bloodgood-Abrams at her paint out on the Hudson at Olana.

Patti O Bag