Sunday, January 29, 2012

Springtime in Winter?

I went on a 2.5 mile hike on the rail trail, which is an old railroad track bed that runs between Kingston and New Paltz and perhaps even beyond. 

I have never walked the path in the winter, nevermind the end of January, but with the temps near 50, and the sun shining through a thin blanket of spotty clouds, I donned my waterproof muck boots and a few layers of fleece and headed out with my best friend.   

The ground was not frozen, and only small patches of snow dotted the woods. In the cooler shady parts  there were patches of ice, but a majority of the trail was mushy and muddy.  The little streams that run along side the trail were full, and the ice on the areas that pooled and on the beaver pond were thin and you could see where an animal had nearly gone in. 

It was very odd, and though the effects of global warming are not good, such as the release of methane through the thinning artic ice, and endangering species of animals, etc., we looked on the brighter side of a bad situation; we were saving money on gas/oil, on winter sports, and we were not feeling the effects of winter as badly as we had in the past on our psyche.  I grumbled about not having any snow days, but if I had to trade snow days with ice/snow/cold/wind, I would give up the snow days.

The soggy, semi frozen/semi liquid landscape was different in color, texture, smell.  It was not only a good walk, but it was a visual adventure.  I took a few photos with the Droid to capture the Hudson Valley in the middle of a very mild winter. 

By the way...the spinach is still green in the garden, and the larkspur seedlings are a few inches high. The garlic is poking above its insulated bed of mulched leaves, and nature is so totally confused. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Art For the 99%

I have a page on Facebook, called Art for the 99%.  I also have a page for Patti Gibbons Art, and then my own Facebook page, each one serving a slightly different purpose. 

I also have three stores on Etsy, because they consist of three different facets of my art.  1) the art  2) the stuff the art is made with 3) the naughty left of center art/cards.

I can't just stick with one thing in my art or my life because I have some many things that I do and   love.  It's just all so EXCITING. Of course, it does make for a complicated life at time.

But back to the Art for the 99%.  It is a page that is primarily used for  feng shui-ing out  art so that I can make room to make new pieces AND to be able to keep income rolling in so that the studio propane bill can be paid.  So far I have moved a few paintings this way, and their owners are delighted . I am happy that they are happy and I go back to the studio to make more more more. 

The painting of the month, which is posted above, is a  6 x 12" oil on canvas. It is of snow on a gravel/sand pile on Route 9 north heading towards Olana. It is a surreal landscape, but it seems even more surreal that when I drive by that same spot,  in mid January, it is devoid of snow and ice.
In fact, some of the geese are still hanging around, and once in a while, I see another group finally pull out of the fields to head south.  I miss the snow storms which chase me into the studio to work as the snow flies... 

Here's to some snow on the ground tonight, and a delay at the very least. If you are missing the snow, you could buy this painting and stare at it pretending it is the window.  Oh, and it's 50.00.  A deal.

Patti O 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mid January Blues

Tonight Larry and I stripped the Christmas tree of its tin and glass icicles and  ornaments. I am always sad to put them away.  I find delight and comfort in the twinkle of the white lights, the glow from the tree topper that dances across the ceiling, sips of glugg, and nibbles of cookies and chocolate on long cold winter nights. 

Tonight was the end of the glugg, and the end of the tree.

I am already planning on what to put up next to help get us through another cold month.  Perhaps a valentine tree made from a branch from a fallen tree in the woods, decked with lights and handmade valentines.  Maybe candles, and flowers in bud vases along the mantle.  Maybe I will leave up some garland to decorate......and make some raspberry Linzer Tarts. Something, oh something to bring charm, delight, surprise and some magic to the last few months of winter. 

Oh where oh where are those valentines.........

(top photo by Moi, and the bottom by Larry)

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Pin

I was heading out to meet a friend for happy hour at a local bar after a very long week for both of us. The wind had kicked up, and the temps were dropping below freezing.  What was once the norm,was an unusually cool evening this winter. 

I sported a knit vest, an extra layer of warmth (which I can ditch when I have a hot flash), and it needed that "something extra" to keep it closed for insulation.  I scurried to my bedroom to scour my pin collection for one that fit my mood and my outfit.

As I gazed at my pins which were scattered upon my dresser, pinned to an antique piece of lace, and to a hat I made for High Falls Crazy Bingo night, I waxed nostalgic on the stories that each one held.

There lay the 40th birthday gift from my dear friend Denise, a faux ivory etching, showing a Renaissance-style hand of an artist drawing a beautiful sun.  Pinned to the band of my Bingo hat, front and center, was the pin from my girl friend who died of cervical cancer when she was in her 30's. The irony of the gift was that it sported the adage "Life's a bitch and then you die".  I will never forget Mary, who would call me from her hospital bed to see how I was getting by after leaving my horrid marriage with my two young babies.  Those were tough times for the both of us and each time I see that pin, I blow her a kiss and hope that I get to spend time with her in the next life.

There was the pin from my co-worker who collected Arts and Crafts furniture and prints, and knew what good retro jewelry was worth buying.  And the pin my co-worker gave me for xmas, the pin that I bought from a co-worker who designed on the side, the pins I bought from flea markets, the pins I made from antique paper. Each one told a story, each one wearing a bit of the soul of the artist who made it.

The winner for the night, the faux ivory etched pin. 

Funny how ours lives are represented in little things. The cards, the jewelry, the art. You don't get that soul when you buy in Walmart, though I try to remember that there is a little bit of soul of all who have touched what I bring into my life, even if it came from China. 

In my reorganization and "right sizing" rampage that I am on, I never touch the pins. They are too personal, and too dear. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Looking at Houses

I have been very happy where I have lived for the past 20 years, in a simple, 1600+ sq ft. colonial revival home nestled in a fabulous neighborhood located in a small city a few miles from the Hudson River.  It is amply decorated with family heirlooms and garage sale finds, and lots of  art.

I have a lovely studio in half of my garage,  a decent yard with 7 raised beds where we attempt to grow as much as we can on our little piece of earth.  It is enhanced by cottage style gardens with flowers and veggies mixed in. 

But lately Larry and I have been toying with the idea of moving further north, to the area where Thomas Cole and Frederick Church spent their life painting the majesty of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.  Larry's family is up there, and we are very close.  The area is beautiful, nostalgic, and inspirational.  And it is filled with lovely historic homes.

We have to be able to trade the value of our house for another home, preferably a house with a view, and a large room with good light for a  photo studio for Larry, with a DRY basement for a darkroom, or similar space, and an art studio for me, where I can teach. 

We checked out a few houses this past weekend. It was really fun to see what the old Victorians look like on the inside.  Tonight's photos are of one that is one of the best streets in town, with a splendid entrance and living room, and a walk to the river (you can see squeaks of the river from the 2nd story porch)...but the rest of the house needed work, and had small rooms/bathrooms.  It still has lots of potential, but unless it is minimal cosmetic work, I want move-in condition-unless I win the lottery and I can afford to buy either what I want, or restore it to my specs.

I am not one who likes change, and HATES to move, but as we enter the our "golden years" we are musing about what we want our final years to look like, and how we will spend out time in a joyful and creative way.

For now we are looking at what's out there, working on our house ...for either our next move, or for making what we have more workable and perhaps a bit larger.  In the mean time I am enjoying looking at houses, and thinking about what might be next!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Day #2 - Get Rid of the Baggage

Yesterday's reading boiled down to: Get Rid of the Baggage so that you can be peaceful, and get to the next level in life.

It is a lesson I have to frequently learn. I think it is part of the human condition, to carry around baggage, whether it is emotional or physical.  There is an odd comfort in that baggage, even if it keeps us back from what we want or need to do, or to be happy.

I had to examine my life for a few moments, to see where I am most jammed up.  Right now,  it is  my career.  I am at a major turning point, whether by fate or by decision.  For certain I know it  involves change - and I have to keep in mind that change is not always bad.  Fear needs to be left outside the door so that I can go forward with grace, trust in myself, and that all will be well.

I also have a cluttered and disorganized house.  Job clutter, art clutter, bills and paperwork clutter.  After a crazy day at work, I want to come home to visual tranquility.    It isn't always there.  So I have been starting with drawers and closets, tossing out what I don't need, organizing what is left, and continuously downsizing and creating an environment that makes more sense.

I feel charged with the start of the New Year.  It is the start of what I feel is a new me, a new life ahead.
If I practice being in the moment, I will leave fear by the wayside, and I can step boldly into my new future.

Tonight's art: pastel drawing titled: Stillness

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Day #1

After my sister and her family left following our Christmas/New Year celebration,  I took a few moments to reflect upon the first day of the New Year.  I spent a few moments to read first installment of The Book of Awakening. Day #1:  rejoice in being a unique and special human being, and be aware - of the magic/joy/mystery/beauty of it all.

I sat and reminisced about the day that I had just experienced with my family, a dopey grin spread across my face.   It was a day of Santa coming, opening presents, playing with presents, , having a snack-fest, more play, more food.  The children were deeply integrated into the fun and the house was filled with noise and laughter. We  played like the children did, silly in our antics and trickery.

I walked away from my day, elated with the joy of play and laughter.  It was contagious.  A houseful of happy laughing people is a wonderful event, it is true celebration of the human spirit at its best. 

And what makes it even more precious, is that my sister and I had been on the outs with one another over some family matters. They were important matters, but in the big picture, most of it was poppycock.  Our relationship was in a period of suspended animation, wrapped in anger and hurt, good times frozen in the past. The feeling did not wear well, it was awkward and unfamiliar.

It did not last long. We faced it, cleansed wounds so that they would heal. We forgave, and though we may not forget, we will remember that it bought us a lesson and bought us together ever tighter than before.

Day #1 was about love.  It is the gift we have as humans, a  noble gift to give and to receive.

The you must be wondering how this all ties in...was my sister and I dressing up as Krampus after Santa had come.  We certainly confused the household, lurking around the house in our vintage crepe Halloween masks that I had  bought at an ephemera show.  It was good for a chuckle at the very least.