SOME DAYS IT’S HARDER TO GET OUT OF THE CAVE 

THE CAVE … warm and dark … no people to drive you crazy … no expectations to meet!

  
I used to love the cave.  But the cave was a hide out from life.  Today I redecorated my cave.  I call it the castle of creativity. It’s not dark.  Large trees outside my window are active with squirrels running up and down for entertainment. My easel next to the window with canvas ready to paint.  Solitude is not hiding anymore. Solitude is art. 

  

“DID YOU SELL ANYTHING?”

This question makes me want to scream!!  It probably seems like a perfectly innocent question. But when you look at what they are really asking is are you a good artist.  The criteria for good art is money.  How can an artist respond to that question comfortably. They are put in the spot of being judged based on sales. If they didn’t sell it leaves awkward silence.  So it really is nobody’s business if an artist sold.


The other side of that question is “Why do you price your paintings so high? You will never sell?”

They said I would never sell this

This is the merry go round of art.  I’ve been an artist when I did my first drawing on my parents furniture. I never stopped until the thought of supporting myself with art made me give it up.  I paint because I must.  But people are basing art on monetary success. Of course I want to sell.  I’m not giving away my work.  I have been successful in selling a good number of my landscape paintings.  I used to lower prices if the person bargained with me.  I did that out of desperation to sell.  In the beginning all my paintings were priced at $200.  I couldn’t break that ceiling. I was insecure.  I’m happy to say I no longer undervalue my work.  Here are some of my sold paintings priced prosperously.

 

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“WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE ” – OR “WOW I LOVE MONSTERS “

This post should have been done on Halloween but I didn’t think of it till I saw these photos. 

The curator of art shows at the Chelsea Room in the Chelsea Hotel likes my painterly style even though he promotes edgy art in his shows.  When I was still eager to do shows for one day only he asked me to put in a favorite painting for a show at the Chelsea Room.  The last time I was there I was the only woman artist and the “oldest ” one too!  

Well it was a big bash of all kinds of art.  I chose my favorite still life to show. 

  
I started to span the room looking at the art around me. An empty space was next to me and then a young woman with an entourage of young men carrying large canvases moved into the empty space. It was like a cloud of smoke spiraling with loud laughter and chaos and then it went still. The young woman sat down under her 2 large canvases like a queen entertaining all her young male attendants. And then the smoke cleared and her paintings were revealed.   The Frankenstein green monster and his fiancé appeared in all their glory!!  And a commotion of screeching voices of young women yelling ” we love monsters”!!!  For the rest of the night these paintings were a hit???

  
I COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE LOVED THESE PAINTINGS.  My painting was passed over and I felt it looked old fashioned and didn’t fit in with this circus.   After this show I vowed to not do these pop up art shows that cater to young artists who want to be different.  It was the end of taking any show and moving into being selective. 

   

 

SEEING ART AROUND YOU: NYC SUBWAY TRANSFORMS INTO A LIBRARY DESTINATION “THE BRONX “

  
The No. 1 train screeched to a halt and the doors opened. I watched as 20 third graders ran into the car scrambling for seats with loud excited voices. There goes my peaceful ride I thought.  Kids are squeezed into me wiggling around how can I deal with this chaos!!

Then an amazing thing occurred. They were silent!!  I looked around and each one was fixated on a book reading.  I took in this scene of tranquility on a train speeding to the Bronx.  My mind took in each young face and the beauty of their love of reading.  My artist eye said this is a life painting that should be shared.  

WE LOVE THE KIDS OF THE BRONX!!  THEY ARE OUR FUTURE.  LIFE IS A PAINTING!

   

   

1970’s TRYING TO MAKE IT AS A FASHION ILLUSTRATOR- THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY 

  

  
When I was growing up I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I loved drawing fashion illustrations as a kid and fantasizing about all the clothes I would love to have.  In 1966 I was accepted into the High School of Art & Design in NYC.  I majored in fashion illustration because sewing and making patterns was not a strong point. I did really well and my drawing skills earned me a National Schoolastic art award in 1967. 

However, in order to pursue this career one needed skills in advertising layout and mechanicals. Newspapers and printing were not computerized and knowledge of how illustrations were printed was important.  This was my demise. My ADHD and learning disabilities made it impossible for me.  So I decided to try pursuing positions as a designer sketch artist. 

1970’s garment center was not an easy place to work.   

 
I was a scared 18 year old.  I didn’t know how to work. I took the first job offered to me sketching for a designer in a well known fashion company.  She was paranoid about her designs being stolen so she locked me up all day alone in a room waiting for her to ask me to sketch a design.   The boredom and isolation as well as her impending paranoia became unbearable. I quit that. 

The next job was with a discount dress firm. I was hired to sketch their designs on figures to present to buyers before the samples were made.  I did a number of sketches one day to be shown to a buyer coming in that night.  The next day I came in and found all the sketches I did with their heads cut off.  I was so upset. The owner came and told me my heads were ugly and the only way he could show the designs to the buyer was to cut the heads off.  Needless to say I walked out of that job vowing to never work in the garment center again. 

  

 
The above sketch is not mine but the ones following are my work from the 1970’s. 

    

    
   
 

CLIMBING OUT OF THE DARKNESS OF “DOUBT ” AND ANXIETY 

  
My mind took over last week.  So I did every self help technique written on a million mental health website. I was sucked into finding the perfect way to cure this anxiety I had.  Hours reading strategies for the monster in my head. 

GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?

IT GOT WORSE!

I reached out to friends and temple members and shared my shameful mental breakdown. My community surrounded me with love.  I was safe and protected by people. That was the answer. 

All that insanity looking for an answer from books that kept saying this is the way to get out of the mental pain caused more anxiety.   

POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS COULDN’T HELP ME.   PEOPLE DID. WE NEED TO DEVELOP A SUPPORT NETWORK FOR TIMES LIKE THIS.  THE HUMAN TOUCH.  

Trying to get positive and working hard to change my thinking only made me feel more like a loser. Today I am recovering from this dark mental episode and moving forward in baby steps. I did a lot of iPad painting during the episode. Now I want to do an oil painting. I think that will help soothe my mind. 

   

    
 

MY FATHER ART AND DELINQUENT BOYS IN 1940

I have wanted to do this post for a long time. My dad was a very talented artist who didn’t pursue it. I only knew him up until the age of 5 when he and mom split. I was either angry at him or blaming myself. The way I dealt with the pain was to erase him from my mind. 

A couple of years ago my mom showed me this drawing he did that she saved. Why she waited 50 years to show me I’ll never figure out. She told me he also studied at the Art Students League. I never knew this but I was following in my father’s path.  

I guess he had the same beliefs I did about not being able to support himself in art because he ended up being a used car salesman.  But then mom told me about how my father was using his talent to help others. 

It seems in the 1940s the NYC school system was developing classes to help delinquent boys learn how to get skills for jobs so they didn’t turn to illegal activities.  They also introduced them to art.  My father was hired as an art instructor. Schools realized culture can civilize. 

Then WWII came and he was drafted. But he also had skills as a photographer so ended up being a government photographer in the Phillpines where he was stationed. 

I am proud of you dad!   (Below is his colored pencil drawing of Lana Turner 1939)

Lana Turner by George Barbella 1939

WE NEED ANOTHER GERTRUDE STEIN 

  
“On a typical Saturday evening, 60 years ago, one would have found Gertrude Stein at her post in the atelier, garbed in brown corduroy, sitting in a high-backed Renaissance chair, her legs dangling, next to the big cast-iron stove that heated the chilly room. A few feet away, one could hear Leo expounding to a group of visitors, his views on modern art. Among the crowd of Hungarian painters, French intellectuals, English aristocrats and German students, one might pick out the figures of Picasso and his mistress, Fernande Olivier (Picasso looking like an intense young bootblack; Fernande, almond-eyed and attractive). The man with the reddish beard and spectacles, looking like a German professor, would be Matisse. Next to him might be the poet Guillaume Apollinaire and his clinging friend, the painter Marie Laurencin. The tall figure would be that of Georges Braque, whose superior stature among the smaller cubists made him the official hanger- of-pictures in the atelier. In the American contingent, the familiars would be the painters Patrick Henry Bruce and Alfred Maurer, both of them early advocates of the modernist vision and both, at the same time, followers of Matisse. It was Alfred, as Gertrude recalled, who held up lighted matches so visitors could see that the Cézannes were, indeed, finished paintings because they were framed.”

Artists need to share with other artists. I think Gertrude Stein’s salon was a catalyst for a major art movement. Artists inspire artists. Talking about ideas together was important. There was no fear about ideas being stolen or competition among them. When I talk with other artists I become inspired to go further in my art. Communication and community are what is needed today. 

The art world is making artists create to be famous and make big money. Artists are not talking to other artists. At the Art Students League I always felt surrounded by jealousy and competition. Who’s going to be the instructors favorite. Artistic savages. Grabbing for attention. The art world needs to start giving to communities. Artists need to get over their egos. Nobody is that special. 

LETS TALK!  LETS GIVE TO OUR COMMUNITIES!

  

WHAT WILL MAKE ME STEP OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE?

  

THE COMFORT ZONE- I am very happy there. Why do I need to leave it?  
I have created a vision and I believe in it totally. I have a lot of interest in my iPad painting workshop. But I am stuck on approaching new clients.  I am fighting my past behavior of creating excitement in my project and then disappearing because I need to deal with making it happen. 

I’M COMMITTED TO BEING FEARLESS NOW.  THE COMFORT ZONE IS NOT SERVING ME ANYMORE. 

As an artist being visible is important.  My mission is to engage people to be creative.  That art can change the way a person lives in the world.  Art is not just for the talented. Its for everyone. I have been working with a mature woman who has been very depressed. She is retired and has spent her retirement hanging out with negative friends complaining about her life. They use compulsive shopping to have fun. Yesterday she told me she is buying an iPad because she wants to be creative.   She hasn’t been creative since she was a child.  She was attracted to my joy of living through art. This is a powerful action she’s taking.  She is letting go of her toxic relationships and taking a journey outside her COMFORT ZONE!

I know my purpose in life is to make people have bigger lives.  Everyone is in fear. People want to complain as form of communication. The news will make them sick. Negativity is rampant today. Negativity has become the comfort zone. This can change if creativity becomes important instead of frivolous.  When I get people to try art I see a change of the way they open up to the world. 

BE FEARLESS!  TODAY I WILL BE FEARLESS AND REACH OUT TO MORE PEOPLE. I BELIEVE IN MY MISSION.