Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life as Art in Progress/Inspiration

Been very busy preparing for my Open Studio on Saturday, which is part of the Arts Society of Kingston's Tour.  I have a "soft opening" at the ASK gallery Thursday evening in order for people to see the work of the participating artists, and also meet them.  I don't think that I will stay the entire three hours, but I will show up.  I also have art in "Art on the Line" at Seven21 Gallery on Broadway in Kingston, and my 5 pieces are at the Unison Gallery at Water Street Market through next weekend.

I have not had time to write as I have been putting things away, and cleaning off surfaces in order to show my art, and serve libations.  I don't do it very often-- every 2-4 y years, as cleanliness in my studio is a conundrum.  Just how neat DO I have to have my studio for the public to visit?
I have cleaned up a lot of surface junk, cleverly hidden things under my working table and thrown covers over the tables.  No matter how much I clean will not cover up the fact that it is a busy place, with lots of things about, and spending a few moments in there will give you a good idea of what it is like to be inside of my head. 

Today I was a guess blogger on friend/artist Chaska Peacock's Blog ART ALCHEMY.

I was honored to be asked to write a blog on what inspires me, especially after a hiatus from the studio.  I realize that I could have written so much more, but I tried to distill it in as few words as I could.   I have not been writing much, mostly because I have to keep focused on the most important tasks at hand, which has been to be present as a teacher for my students, and prepare for having my studio open to the public.

Be back soon! 


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stayin' Alive

A friend of mine wrote to me basically saying "Am worried. No blog, no email back from you. Are you OK? Hope nothing bad happened". 

I work two jobs. 8 hours a day as an art teacher to youth at risk, then on the days I don't have faculty or union meetings, I go home to private students, orders to fill, or shows to get ready for.  I do the job of 2-3 people in the course of a day.  

But I love my life. Every single f'in second of it.

I take it one day at a time. Every day above the ground is a good one I say.

My night of total abandon is Saturday at the Moby/Mercury Rev concert at the Woodstock Animal Shelter.  I plan on staking my claim in a field, and taking in the experience. I'll be the one looking like Joni, dancing under the stars.

Photo of the Mid Hudson Bridge. I love bridges.
The metaphors....the structures.

I am still very much alive.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reasonable or Free: Part III

 Money is tight this year, probably right through January.  In a way, I am glad as perhaps it will push me into doing the real life homework for a book I want to publish - even if I have to publish it myself.  I am not going to talk about it as I don't want someone else to take my idea and run with it....as has happened a few other times in my life. And it smarts when that happens on two levels--you feel betrayed and robbed (esp. when it is by someone you know and have talked to), and you want to kick yourself in the ass for not taking the ball and running with it.

I am back in the Hudson Valley for a while now, perhaps taking day trips here and there. No stays at the Red Lion, or at any other place for that matter, unless it has a free couch/bed/air mattress to sleep on.  But I am restless, and as long as I have gas money and a few dollars in my pocket, I am on the move.

Yesterday was a fabulous day  - 74 degrees according to the EOS, and I rode around with the top down.  That in itself is a mini vacation, but I grabbed my friend, and we headed to the Ashokan Reservoir for a walk.  You can do a 5.6 mile walk there, but we opted to do half the distance as the both of us can still feel the effect of a 2+ mile walk on our legs/hips, though my ankle seems to be holding up pretty well these days.  At over 50, I have learned to listen to my body, and not push it further than I should. 

The walk was stunning...and as we walked I took photos.  We wished we had a boat and a fishing license so that we could be drifting on the serene water, surrounded by the Catskills.  When I walk   I think about the foundations of the towns that lie beneath New York City's water supply, and the stories the stones whisper. Occasionally, when the water is low (which is was yesterday) you can see the remains of what I imagine to be walls, foundations, or detritus from the construction which took place over 100 years ago.

Afterwards, Karin and I were thirsty and craved a beer.  Since Skytop was on the way home, at the end of Route 28, we stopped in.  We sat outside, with a view of the traffic circle and some of the buildings in Uptown Kingston.  We were disappointed to learn that they are no longer brewing beer there, but soon will be serving their brews from the Hyde Park Brewery. We opted for a Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, and split an artichoke and asagio dip w/pita bread.  Fin, our waitress was not only adorable, but kind, smart, and a great waitress. Tab for each - including a nice tip (I always tip well) was 11.00.
And for the price ticket of about a gallon of gas, food/drink and 3 hours of fun, it was well worth it.

A  photo of the view from the restaurant, and a panoramic view of the reservoir.  You can click on the photos to see them larger.

Till the next adventure...

Patti and friends

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Reasonable or Free: Part II

Another freebie (or could be very expensive, depending upon whether you take out your wallet) was the visit to Eataly, in the Toy Building at 200 Fifth Ave. between 23rd and 24th streets.

Having just opened two days before, it was packed. and we had gone at noon, lunch hour for most people.  I caught founder Oscar in a photo (on right) while I was wandering around the massive building full of various foods and restaurants, thanks to Frannie who noticed that it was him.  (I am one of those people who could have a movie star or president right in front of me and I would never know it.  When I was at the bar at the Bear Cafe, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke were across from me and I thought..who are they, they look familiar, lol)  I felt like I had walked straight into Europe, reminiscent of the markets I went to in Valencia.   English was a second language, and wished friend Gabrielle (author of "Dirty Italian") was there to translate the conversations of the many Italians who had flocked to visit, as well as the labels on the food. 

We did not spend any money THIS TIME, but will be back when I am flush,  to snack, and bring some goods back home - pastas, hams and sausage, cheeses, wines..

Another stop was at the Chelsea Hotel, home to many famous writers/musicians such as Bob Dylan, Arthur C. Clark, Sid Vicious, and others, who met, wrote, and possibly even murdered there. The lobby was a mini museum of artwork, and it was fun people watching, one of my favorite free hobbies.  I hope that the talent of so many people who passed through the doors will rub off on me during my brief visit, and someday I would like to just go in, sit in the lobby, and sketch.  I wonder if anyone would ever stop me or throw me out.. Somehow I doubt it. 

Final stop that day was The Family Jewels, an incredible (but expensive) vintage clothing store that sells vintage clothes from 1980's and older.  The clothing was in impeccable shape, and had I more time, I would have tried on some of the dresses.  A skirt from the 70's made out of a recycled quilt went for 169.00, and a dress from the 30's had a 495.00 price tag on it.  It makes me want to dig out my vintage clothes (which also date from the 20's to the 50's) and put them on eBay or bring them down to be sold, though I suspect that if I got 10.00 for a piece of clothing, I'd be lucky.   I have some lovely pieces, many of which no longer fit me as I no longer have a 5'7" frame that weighs in at 115. 

Though I wish I had some money to spend,  we had a blast discovering places that we might have otherwise passed by, and laughing..two good friends on an adventure, happy to be alive, in NY and in one another's company.  It's all good.

patti o


Friday, September 03, 2010

The Best in Life is often Free, or Reasonable: Part 1

With the advent of some financial changes in my life, I have had to put a check on the spending. Usually by this time of year I am pretty broke, and a good thing too, otherwise it might be really hard to get me to go back teaching.  After 18 years, I am getting weary.  It gets harder and harder to go back to work after the summer off (though I do work-just for myself!) 

We've taken a hit...with Larry not having a photography class this semester.  Whether it is bad luck, or students not interested in old fashioned darkroom photography, the result is the same. Loss of a chunk of change.

Though I do not live "high on the hog", I have become accustomed to having what I need or want, and going out, and making the occasional trip.  Until I get a grip on my finances, and do a budget to see how much money there is for frills, I am keeping a tight grip on my wallet.

My recent trip to NYC was not hampered by my lack of money.  In mapping out our adventures, my friend and I used three criteria to plan: 1) since it was 95+ degrees out, it had to be close to her Chelsea apartment. We were not walking in the heat.  2) it had to be free, or close to it.  3) it had to have air conditioning. 

Having done my homework, our first adventure was to head over fashion and textile history museum at FIT.  Current exhibition is Eco-Fashion-Going Green which examines the impact that the textile industry has had on the environment, such as the chemicals used in the production of fabric, and the near extinction of some species of birds during the Victorian era, when hats sported the feathers of exotic birds. 

Each article of clothing/accessories had an icon that related to the following themes: re purposing and recycling of materials, material origins, textile dyeing and production, quality of craftsmanship, labor practice, and treatment of animals. 

The museum was quiet considering the students were in their first week of school. Perhaps they were too busy purchasing books, getting settled in their dorms, and milling about the city.  It was all the better for us, as we poured over the amazing collection of clothes from the 1700's to present, some of which I drooled over, and I left thinking about how inspiring the show was, and how necessary for me to make my students aware of how to "be green" in their choice of clothing.  (for example, the average person buys 84 lbs of clothing a year, a majority of which goes to landfill in the end, and many of the synthetic fabrics do irreversible damage to the environment!!)

The only down side was that I was not allowed to take any photographs inside of the gallery.  I am going to find out if I can get special permission as an educator so that I can use the photos for visuals in the classroom. 

I may be back to the show again. 

Part 2 to follow: The Chelsea Hotel