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. 


I’M BACK FROM FALLING OFF THE CLIFF AGAIN PHEW!!

  
I won’t beat myself up for getting lost in my ADHD head the past few weeks. I had exertion/exhaustion. I gave too much of myself and that doesn’t benefit my goals. 

I’m in the process of weeding out vampires who will take my energy away. I can’t rescue the world. 

 I must take care of my health and my mind now. Health is wealth!

I have had setbacks recently with workshops being pushed back. So I am using the free time to do more art on my iPad!  What a joy. Here are some new paintings. 

   

  

  

AN ARTIST MUST GET A TOUGH SKIN – THE ART OF SAYING NO

  I always say we need to be givers not takers but I am aware of red flags of giving to the wrong people.

I’m experiencing a phenomenon that artists are looked upon as not being serious professionals and what they do has no real benefit to the world. Artists are just a group of creative people who make paintings to decorate homes or to be collected by wealthy investment bankers.  If you are an artist who is not showing at Art Basel and the hottest trend then you are invisible.

I don’t need to be famous. But I want to be paid for my creative skills. Which brings me to the point of this post.  I will not give away my time or knowledge for free.

I am shocked at how many people pick my brain about iPad painting. Promoting my iPad painting workshops has been exhausting. I am treading a new path and there are a lot of biases to break through. So I have been giving a lot of lectures on it. In order to get people to register I have been too free on details which has given them the information to get the apps themselves and screw my workshop. I have been learning this iPad painting on my own since 2011. I consistently study all the ins and outs of every art app. This is my hard work and people want the information for free.

I joined a art organization in Riverdale when I moved here last October. I went to their business meeting and realized it was a bunch of seniors who do art. And they were rude and ignored me. The fact that they were hanging their paintings in an urgent care doctor waiting room really made me run. I couldn’t associate with them because they would tear my reputation down. But they consistently nudge me to give a lecture on my iPad painting to the group.  When I told them what I charge for the lecture the director told me that they don’t pay members to give lectures to the group.  Here is an art group that doesn’t think their members knowledge is worth paying for. Thank God my membership is over next month.

I have pitched my workshop and shown what I can do and when they ask how or what app I use I answer come to the workshop and find out.

An artist works hard to learn their skills. It is not all fun and games. Artists go to college to study art. If art were easy they wouldn’t have colleges giving out MFAs. ARTISTS ARE PROFESSIONALS!

I value my talent today and I demand respect. If you want to do what I do you need to pay for my knowledge.  

MY PORTRAIT WAS DONE BY ORRIN A SUPER ARTIST I MET IN THE SUBWAY IN NYC.

PEOPLE DON’T THINK ART IS WORTH TRYING 

today I was journaling about the brick wall I hit when I tell a person that they don’t have to be good to do art. People think art is not important. People think art is meaningless to them. People rather rack up credit card debt shopping for things that end up in their closets.

I believe coloring books should be banned!!  Kids who struggle coloring in the lines think they are failures in art. The fact is true art is done outside the lines. That is true creativity.

My mission is to get people to see that creativity needs to be part of their lives.  It is not just for the talented. Art is necessary for the brain. Creativity works the brain by stimulating ideas. Ideas keep the brain youthful.

America wake up!  Art and culture are what makes us civilized. Kids in rural America turn to destructive forms of behavior because they have no opportunity to be creative or look at beautiful art. They end up on the internet or shooting up schools. Art can help people with mental illness.

We need to stop treating art as a subject that has no importance to our lives. Creativity needs to be seen as a valuable part of everyone’s life. It has to be seen as vital to the human experience. It is not a frivolous activity to be ignored.

And please don’t tell me you can’t draw a straight line. Creativity is not about straight lines.

ART IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE!!!

The picture below is my first show at the Art Students League. My son was proud of his mother.

NO COMPLAINING BLAMING OR WHINING EVEN IN YOUR HEAD 

I went to my temple last night for services hopefully to get some peace.  At the break a member brings up her involvement with a big protest against the police in October. She started to describe how a big rally about this was important and that the police had murdered helpless children. 

ANGER. RAGE. FEAR. LARGE CROWDS. THE CROWDS MENTALITY. 

All it takes is one person to incite anger in a group. Anger is not a solution. 

Culture and art civilize people. Kids in rural America do not have access to art and music. The education system took away art and music classes. 

STOP TRYING TO FIX THE WORLD. DON’T BE TAKEN DOWN BY CROWD MENTALITY. 

My mission is to be helpful and happy. Create art. 

See how many things can distract you from your art. 

BE QUIET.  KEEP YOUR ART IN FRONT OF YOU.