MIND OF AN ARTIST: STUDY A BLADE OF GRASS

My mind is a monkey mind.

I know it's my ADHD. There is a quality of my life that resembles a circus. I'm always trying to train those monkeys to perform the right way. Okay you guys get yourselves in order.

I actually become the lion tamer trying to force my creativity to perform. Not only to perform but to kick ass perform.

Here's where pressure to be a creative genius sets in. In other words here comes the artist block! I HAVE TO DO THE BEST PAINTING OR DO NOTHING! So I do nothing.

The monkeys are doing nothing so out of boredom they start to act out. Avoidance creates havoc and chaos. I end up hating myself for being unproductive. It's a great big circus ring ready to explode.

My thinking is creativity needs to be a high experience with lots of bells and whistles going off. There's no sanity. There's no peace. Every work of art has to be created from a psychedelic experience. Don't forget I come from the original hippie lifestyle. The Magical Mystery tour. But it's becoming clear that flying by the seat of exploding pants is not working.

So that is why I am choosing to study a blade of grass. Slow down get off the merry go round. Be a quiet painter. I cannot be a superhuman artist. Study a blade of grass.

Here are plein air paintings done with the mindset of "study a blade of grass ".

A WOMAN ARTIST OF A CERTAIN AGE 

So we all know Grandma Moses as being the most famous woman artist over 50.  We respect her talent and giggle about her being a grandmother who was a self taught artist whose art hangs in many museums and auctions for big bucks.  I don’t know of any other woman artist so celebrated in this age group.  Please feel free and let me know if there are women artists who were successful after the age of 50. 


I began showing my art at the age of 56.  I came out of a 30 year artist block then.  I went back to the Art Students League in NYC to study.  The first thing I noticed was some of the male instructors would ignore me but were very helpful to the younger women.  Most of the monitors were young men.   So I became aware of being a second class citizen.  I want to say that I did get enormous support from a small group of instructors with integrity.  Thank you Michael Burban, Oldrich Teply, Dean Hartung Max Ginsburg, Barney Hodes.  

I did my first group art show of my paintings in the Chelsea Room in the infamous Chelsea Hotel in 2010.  That night was very exciting and as I looked around I noticed that I was the only woman artist in the show.   And the only artist over 35!  But I engaged the younger men and I never thought I was too old.  After all an artist is an artist.  Now after many years of showing my work I still am the oldest woman artist in group shows.  Some of the young artists ignore me and some engage me as another artist.  Sometimes they talk to me like a mother.  


But the idea of being a creative woman of age has been a bee in my bonnet (talk about an old phrase, yikes!).   There is a lot of age and gender discrimination in the art world.   However, I push through it and have been successful for 10 years as a professional woman artist (of age).  I don’t feel any difference because I’m good at my art and I don’t feel old next to anyone.  We are equal with respect to being artists.   And I do command respect for my talent.  I also respect the talent of any artist.  

I will continue to celebrate who I am:  a talented ageless woman artist.  Never stop pursuing being the artist you are. 

Thank you Grandma Moses. 



I AM A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST -I DO NOT GIVE AWAY MY TIME FOR FREE 

I have to reinforce this.  To myself and others.  I have a special talent and skill and it needs to be compensated for.  A lot of non profit organizations try to get me to volunteer my services.   When they ask me to create a flyer for them they don’t realize the work that is involved.  Actually, I never realized how much work I have been doing for free thinking it’s not a big deal.  Well recently I did a lot of free creative work for my congregation.   I was never thanked for the service I did.  Nor was the congregation aware of my creative contributions.   A member finally monetized my work.   I have given my time away for free.  I made my talent and skill not important. So I have given into the belief that art is not that important.  I spent almost 4 plus hours creating and designing advertising that will bring in business.  I give a professional product that will attract attention. 

And I have not been given credit or appreciation from these organizations.  So I am posting the flyers that I gave away for free.  And from now on I will be paid either with money or a service or membership payment.   

Here are some of my promotional projects. 



THERE IS NO COLOR


I have taken a quiet time the last couple of months to restore my mind.  As an artist and inspired individual where do I go from here.   How do I use art to heal this broken world?

The world is broken because we don’t think creatively.   Every person has this ability to be naturally creative.  It’s suppressed and replaced with following formulas that don’t work for everything.   Schools don’t engage students to think.  They memorize to pass tests.  The individual is lost. 

Art has been tossed out of people’s lives.   Not important.  Today’s craze of adult coloring books is a farce. Again no creative thought is used.  Just color in someone else’s creativity.  

There is a fear of being creative.  Being creative is not “keeping up with the Jones”.  Not following the pack. 

I am mentoring a young woman artist.  A beautiful Latino woman who has given up her art.  I looked into her eyes and I saw a spark of hope that she could do her life differently. 

I’m going to get her to think like an artist. 

SHOULDN’T EVERYONE?

PEACE TO THE WORLD 


A FAMOUS ARTIST BLOCK  –  GEORGIA O’KEEFE 


Sometimes I think I’m alone in my artist block.  The ability to see that others have been in this position and they have gone through the pain of not creating for a long time helps me identify and not feel alone.   Even hearing that a person has survived being hospitalized for a mental breakdown is inspiring and hopeful for me .  I’m always in fear of having a mental breakdown.  I’m afraid people will leave me for being crazy. I’m afraid of never being creative again.  

I started to research artists who have had breakdowns and blocks.   Here’s one that surprised me.  Georgia O’Keefe. 

In 1932, after falling far behind on a Radio City Music Hall mural, O’Keefe suffered an intense nervous breakdown. It was only after a period of hospitalization and NOT PAINTING FOR TWO YEARS that she was able to rekindle her life’s love of creating art. 

I was blown away by this story.   I’m in great company with my mental breakdowns and blocks.   It happens.  So what.  

I’M NOT ALONE!!!!!   HERE’S TO YOU GEORGIA!!


THE HUDSON RIVER IS ALIVE WITH ART – WAVE HILL SHOW “NATURE POPS”

The Hudson River is alive with art.  I attended the opening reception of The Glyndor Gallery show Nature Pops. 
“A half-century after the emergence of Pop art as a revolutionary response to new norms of consumerism, Nature Pops!, Wave Hill’s summer 2016 exhibition, brings together work by artists who calibrate this movement in contemporary terms. Continuing to re-evaluate popular culture, particularly the increasing mediation of our experience by technology, artists question whether we can still have an authentic experience―even in the natural world. Interpreting nature and the environment through a populist lens, Nature Pops! includes recent work that is especially relevant in an age of digital overload and environmental crisis. Presenting the show at Wave Hill, a stunning garden and cultural center located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, adds particular depth and dimension to the discussion.

Nature Pops! affirms the fascination that the aesthetics of pop culture—the culture of everyday—still has for artists, but offers nuanced perspectives, sometimes subversive, sometimes playful. Cartoons and comics were accessible media that Pop artists elevated to fine-art status in the 1960s and ’70s. ”

There is a tremendous amount of talent in the Bronx and the Hudson Valley.  If you have not been to Wave Hill you are missing a world of nature and art.   It is a hidden gem in the Bronx.  My friend, Jamie Passevento, a fellow artist friend and I attended the opening of the above exhibition.  It was exciting and colorful.  It was a fun show expressing nature in the form of the Pop Art movement.  Here’s the art and artists who participated in the show. 

EMILIO PEREZ – his unique prints inspired by outer space. 

 KIRA NAM GREENE – amazing paintings in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils.  Kira weaves incredible patterns with food in Pop Art tradition ala Warhol. 


AMY PRYOR – Amy uses collage, sculpture and painting to explore commerce and culture. 


JOANNE CARSON – extremely colorful paintings of flora and landscapes. 


GABRIEL DE GUZMAN – Curator 


THE DR. SEUSS THEORY OF MY LIFE

I purchased Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go ” 15 years ago.  It’s my favorite inspirational book for what life is about.   So this morning my daily writing practice turned to the voice of Dr. Seuss.  

“OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO…” 

Oh the people 

you’ll meet 

It’s a journey worth taking 

But it’s not a small feat 

Though you may want to quit 

Hide your head in the sand

If the fear takes over

You can hold someone’s hand

So be courageous and go towards the light 

Never use avoidance 

To deal with your plight 

This world isn’t pretty 

In fact it is sad

When you keep giving to others 

It negates some of the bad


As an artist standing at the turning point 

Not knowing how far

Keep being creative 

Be the artist you are

THE ART OF … SANITY 


I HAVE BEEN STALKED AND CAPTURED BY THE DARK CREVICES OF MY MIND.   I CAN UNDERSTAND VAN GOGH’S FIGHT WITH SANITY.  BUT I AM A VERY LEARNED WOMAN WHO HAS SPENT A LIFETIME EDUCATING MYSELF ON HOW THE BRAIN WORKS. 

KNOWING IS THE FIRST STEP IN BEING ABLE TO STOP FIGHTING THE DARKNESS AND LET IT JUST FLOW THROUGH. 

DURING THESE TIMES I HIDE IN MY HOME AND RETREAT.   I’M TAKEN AWAY FROM INDULGING IN LUSCIOUS OILY PAINT COLORS AND BUILDING LAYER UPON LAYER OF RICH THICK PAINT.  I’M IMMOBILE TO ACTION. 

I accept those times even though I shut the world out and fear I will never escape my demons.  But I have to always avoid giving in to false evidence appearing real. 

A month ago I experienced a new mental twist…anxiety disorder!   I didn’t know that I had it.  But I have to say I chased my recovery from it and sought help.  I don’t have to go through pain alone anymore.   And all through this I let the luscious oil paints flow on canvas and shared my experience to a troubled student in my painting class.  

I don’t give in but I also don’t fight my mind…my darkness is another part of being an artist.  I even used darkness in a series of paintings.


I’M BACK TO BEING JEAN.  I’M BACK .   I trust God and give to others.   

MY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE NOT A MORAL ISSUE.   THEY ARE THE PIECES OF THE MYSTERIOUS PUZZLE CALLED JEAN MESSNER. 

IN REMEMBRANCE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH. 



KEITH HARING-ARTIST OF NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS 

Keith Haring began his art career at my subway stop on 96th Street and Lexington Avenue number 6 train.   

I remember the first baby drawing on black unused ad space.  A few stations away another.  I knew something was happening. BUT WHAT??

Weeks passed more babies with more levels of complexity.  More creatures too.  I kept watching a growing art phenomenon in the subway.  This was late ’70s early ’80s.   I feel so lucky to have been witness to the emergence of an artist who was really exploring the canvases of the city.   History before my eyes. 



SUMMER PAINTINGS-A RETROSPECTIVE