Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Response to Yesterday's Post

I received an email in response to yesterday's post. After I read it I felt rather badly, and immediately wrote back, telling Michael that for the most part I do use my local art supply stores.  Those of you who know me know that I can't stand the "box" stores, but somehow, because the chain store Michael's contains art supplies, I forgot it was one of "those" stores, and that spending my money there is not the most economically wise thing to do in these difficult times.

Michael also told me that such stores often hike their prices way up, so that even with the 40% discount coupon you aren't getting that big a deal.

So remember folks, that if you can, make the most of your money buy purchasing from local  individually owned businesses.  You are doing everyone a big favor, rather than benefiting corporate America! Read about their 3/50 Project and when you are in town visit the Newburgh Art Supply Store!

Hi Patti,

Caught your recent blog post on google alerts.  As an small,independent art store owner, and artist of sorts myself, I can relate. It may be daunting up here in the Hudson Valley to find supplies in
spite of being home to many artists.  A lot of the reason is the internet, but also the big box chain stores like Michael's.

We opened our shop almost 3 years ago because it was so frustrating finding quality supplies by us- and by our friends and acquaintances.  I can tell you that it is a joy to work in such a shop.  The customers are the greatest and we get to interact with everyone who comes in.  It's how we determine our orders and it's our friendliness, experience and advice that bring them back.  Try that in a Michael's!

You're really lucky up in the Kingston area because there are 7 or 8 independent retailers/suppliers all within a half hour driving distance.  I'd just like you to understand that if you'd truly want to work in one after you retire, our survival depends on customers to support us.  We may be more expensive with some things, but we also have products you're unlikely to find in a chain and too big or expensive to ship- and the convenience sometimes trumps all the rest of the reasons.  If more artists spent a small amount each month at their local art supply retailer, it would go very far in continuing a business that will give back more than coupons ever could.

Btw, great job with the blog!

Sincerely, Michael

Monday, February 21, 2011

All in a Day's Play

I am registered with Michael's craft store to get email coupons.  Most of the time I get one for 40% off one item, and one for 60% off custom framing - which I never use because I am my own framer. 

This week was the mother load of coupons, and to make a long story short, I bought 8 canvases, 7 tubes of paint (some expensive tubes) a set of colored graphite pencils that I have been coveting for a LONG time, and some colored charcoal pencils - all for 100.00.   It was an orgasmic experience.  I think my heaven  will be working in an art supply store after retiring from teaching art.....and I will be like Salad Fingers and his rusty spoons, getting great pleasure out of touching the rows and rows of art supplies.......

Full of resounding vibes from my purchase, I went into the studio to paint for the afternoon.  I finished up the Mt. Tremper Bungalows then worked on another painting which has been an ongoing project.
The painting has taken on many forms, this being one of the final ones.  It is imaginary;  it reflects a combo of images and memories in my head.  I took a photo of it with my Droid using Retro Camera and honestly, I like it better than the painting.  It reminds me to simplify, and less is sometimes more.  So much for the painting, and I am going to finish it, let it go - and get out those new pencils, and work on abstracting it.

All in a day's play. 

Tomorrow - back to the classroom!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

From Hearts to Shamrocks

Valentine's Day was barely over before I went into full steam ahead production for St. Patrick's Day. I know that is not a huge card sending holiday, but I have been asked to put my cards in the Storefront Gallery again for their show next month, which is featuring paintings by an Irish artist.

In the cold dreary months, I am desperate for ways to make money to pay the studio's heating bill.  I feel like I work to pay the heat, but at least a few paintings get done along the way, which makes it more palatable. 

Much of the greeting card design that I do is "bricolage", a fancy seductive word which basically means making art out of materials that you have on hand, which is the detritus in my studio.

Now I do cheat a bit.  I found a few things on Etsy and eBay that fit into the genre of work that I do, but the majority of the papers and ribbons etc. that find their way into my work are what I have laying around from another project, another shopping trip.

The St. Patrick Day cards are made from three things: postcards from my collection, some FAB place cards I found on Etsy that depict a white terrier in a top hat smoking a pipe, and WWII corsage pins with ribbon that say ERIN GO BRACH.  There is a finite amount of each of the things, so I will make a maximum amount of 20-30 cards.

For now they are listed on Etsy in both my shops Pagibbons and Nurserycrimes, and when the show opens in two weeks, I will probably pull what is left from my shop and bring them to the gallery, and hope that THIS month does not bring a snow storm like what happened to last month's openings.

Have anyone special in your life that is Irish, or just want to surprise someone with a card? Stop by my shop and see what's happening there on a daily basis. 

Patti O' Artist

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

From the Heart

I just have to get through all of this - the cold, the ice, the lack of sun, the difficulty of watching my aunt do the final crumble and leaving us to pick up the pieces and move her into an adult assisted living residence.

When she left her home for that ride to the hospital, she had no idea that this was how it was going to end.

Neither did we. 

But it did, it is done, and she is safe, and we take the rest of the situation day by day.  We do what we can do, no more, no less.

I have done a nose dive a few times under the covers, refusing to come out - not to play, not to party, not to eat, not to visit.  I just want the dark, the electric blanket, and the drone of CNN or the Weather Channel to drown out the chatter in my head.

But I pick myself up pretty regularly, dust myself off, and go onto the next thing. Fortunately Larry has been sensitive to my needs, and took good care of me this Valentine weekend; the symphony, a lovely Valentine's dinner, a bag of chocolate and teas.  And always the lovely special piece of jewelry.

I made him a  Valentine collage that I framed, and an iPhone - ok a fake phone made  of cardboard wrapped in a risque box, as they could not deliver it till today.  Through all of my stress humor and my art is what has kept me going, and the love of family and friends.    

So tonight I leave you with my Valentine art. The Blow cards were a huge success and I suspect about 30 men got lucky.  Larry......well, I didn't give him one of those cards...because he had seen it in progress.  But he still took a raincheck.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Show Days

Saturday, in spite of the snow and ice, I attended all three openings that I submitted artwork to. I don't know how it all came together, and I was amazed that I pulled it off.

Today I dropped off two pieces to WAAM in Woodstock, and was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of artwork that had to be juried, much of it by well known and prolific artists.  I felt rather insignificant amidst the rooms full of art, so I am bracing myself for rejection, something that I have not experienced in a while.  Rejection however, keeps me humble, God forbid I might ever have any kind of an artist ego. 

This is the first time I submitted art for the main and small gallery that were of the same subject matter, these being part of the series of works in different medium of little bungalows on Route 28 that I used to ride past every day as a teen on the school bus.  They tell a tale of another time,  a time whose frayed cord is about to be severed with the future sale of one of the last of the properties my family owned in the sleepy little town of Phoenicia - a little red cabin on the creek, the very cabin I stayed in as a child.

These bungalows, acutally any Catskill Mountain bungalows, remind me of my childhood, when a sad little girl from Long Island fell in love with nature,  the Lone Pine, a little red cabin, the Esopus Creek,  the taste of fresh picked blueberries and concord grapes.  My grandmother's ghost, and that of her two sisters live in those memories, as well as the feel of the wind as I ran wild around the yard, and the shock and power of the cold waters of the creek.

I can still smell the roses, the newly mowed lawn, the dampness of the carport, and the dank odor of the swamp that I passed on the way to the creek.  I  can still feel the brief fear that I had every time I had to climb over the rough broken wall destroyed by a flood in the 50's, which led to the creek. If you fell off you were in a thicket of brambles, skunk cabbage, and unknown creatures that lived in the dense undergrowth.  I  still hear the thunderstorms on hot summer nights, whose fierce echos bounced off the mountains, making me travel deeper under the covers. 

I will soon own 1/12th of the property, whose decaying cabin needs to be torn down. The wall is long overgrown, the blueberry bush gone from lack of care and light.  The last flood destroyed the yard, and the stone wall and path are overgrown and not to be easily discovered.  No one in the family has the money to renovate the cabin, and pay the taxes, so come spring, we will probably sell it.

I am not done with my series of art of such cabins,and come spring, when the snows have melted, I will make a trip to see the little red cabin, so that I can photograph it and paint it back to a prettier time. 

And if my art is rejected, I will gladly steal it away, and hang them in a spot in my house reserved for such memories.

Patti O

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow Daze

Today is the second snow day in a row, and I savor the time that I am forced to stay indoors by the terrorist weather channel propaganda, and the simple fact that I have a car that sucks in the snow. I am a teacher, I work very hard for these snow days, and I simply just don't go out.  If you have a truck with a plow, or a Hummer, then you can entice me.  If the sun breaks through and miraculously melts everything and the birds start singing, I might go out. But otherwise, I stay put.

Snow days mean I can sleep in a few hours more after the snow chain call, and I actually get enough rest to make up for all the hours I am up with night sweats.  I get to take a long steamy shower instead of feeling like I ran through a car wash.  I eat my breakfast when I am hungry, and it lasts past noon. I work on the taxes with relaxation while I watch a movie. I might do some house beautification, which is my new mindful way of saying house cleaning.  I spend some time listing art or paper in my Ebay and Etsy shops, do some marketing or searching for shows to consider, and I try and get out to the studio for a bit to make art.  Late afternoon we start a fire.  I cook a pot of soup or some conglomeration of veggies and I love every wonderful moment of this gift of a day.

Oh, and did I mention, I get to blog - one of my loves  - too often cast into the back seat of life.

And then, when the fire dies out,  the last piece of chocolate devoured,  I crash.  I realize that all this time off comes with a price, and that price is going to be a loss of my Easter break, which this year, is late enough for me to get garden prep work done to be ready for the peas and the greens. 

I dread actually getting UP at six, instead of answering the phone and going back to sleep.  I dread the kids who will be as cranky as I am, and know I will have to figure out something to make us all feel better about what we are doing together at 8:15 in the morning with me saying TIME TO MAKE ART, while our hands and faces bear creases - evidence of deep sleep.

But the day is young, and I won't go there yet.  There is still so much to do and enjoy yet....

patti o snowed in

Amaryllis which was given to me as a bulb for xmas. Love the color and now am working on some paper whites.