Archive for September, 2010

Shower speech, or what the heck do I know?

September 27, 2010

Recently when I was asked by a mother to speak about marriage, I doubt very much that the she saw the cartoon on my refrigerator that has an elderly couple sitting on a couch. The woman says to the man “when I die, you can remarry, when you die, I’m getting a dog”. Or the card that says “behind every successful man is a woman rolling her eyes”.

I tend to see everything in a funny light. I look for the humor, ironies, and just plain yucks, and always have. Not only does that make for good storytelling, but it is also a coping and release mechanism, a way to deal with situations that may make no sense to my “way of thinking”. As an aside, when my hairdresser and my sister heard I was making a speech on marriage, they doubled over in laugher.

Living with another human being is all about compromise, hard work, holding your ground to maintain your individuality, and laughter, lots of laughter.
That said, I wanted to talk today about a serious subject, and that is anger, the antithesis of laughter. I’m not talking about the “in the moment anger” in an argument, I am talking about the “safe deposit of slights” type of anger. Believe it or not, there will come a day that for maybe a second, or nanosecond you
To paraphrase the song Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads:
You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead?
You may ask yourself, am I right or am I wrong?
You may ask yourself, my god what have I done?

To answer these questions I have two rules:
1) Live by the Golden Rule and
2) Live your life like no one else is in it.

What does that mean?

Be the good person you are. Love the person you are living with be it your husband or your child. You would do that anyway, single or married. Think single for the moment. If you saw dirty socks on the floor, the kitchen a mess, and the dog needed walking, you would do those tasks, pick up the socks, do the dishes, and walk the dog. Don’t blame, guilt, cajole, or yell. If you were single, who would you be blaming? You wouldn’t think twice, you would just do it, or NOT, depending on how you felt at the moment. Too many times the anger that is underlying and not expressed in a marriage has to do with the fact that one person is not thinking “Live your life like no one else is in it”, but “why didn’t he, or why should I have to?”

Love means buying the whole ball of wax. I love my husband unconditionally. Was it always thus? No, he will tell you that I wondered if I had misplaced my love. I wondered if he was hurting me on purpose when he criticized how I stirred the pudding on the stove, or when he didn’t chip in enough with the house work, or if he had a political opinion different than mine. As soon as I was able to see him in my “live your life as if no one else is in it “mode, I realized, “hey, that’s what he believes and that’s who he is” and conversely “He is not an extension of me, and I do not have to apologize for who he is” and more importantly “He is showing me how to stir the pudding on the stove because he loves me and wants to show me how to make better pudding”.

We are not the same in mind, body and soul, but that is ok. I know that while there is a push and pull between relying on each other and being self sufficient, we both are “living our lives like no one else is in it” and as such we are our own persons. I can accept that and love him for who he is, and who I was attracted to, a creative, smart, funny, generous guy.

You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.


What to do, what to do, what to do

September 26, 2010

I got my sketchbook from Art House Co-op for the Sketchbook Project Tour 2011. I also got a set of minimal rules, and a library card for the Brooklyn Art Library where the finished sketchbooks will be housed. It is a round cornered dark blue 40 manilla paged nightmare. And it is bar coded with my name and theme: Make Mine A Double. The whole concept of doing a sketchbook is terrifying. First I have to decide on what to do. I have endless lists, and lists within lists. Not only must I narrow down my concept, I must decide on what I think would showcase the theme in an interesting way, and would prompt art gallery attendees to pick up the book in the first place. Part of this challenge is to make a piece that would be “touched”, that is to say, picked up and leafed through, a sort of democraticization of the idea. The second part of the challenge is for me to actually take a concept and fit it into the book format. I am not, by nature, an illustrator. I am a builder of sorts. I like materials, and I like experimenting with them, and ultimately I like “function”, primarily interaction connected with the “function”. I am leaning towards a book with parts that move, i.e. popping out, sliding, doors opening and revealing, those sorts of things. Here is a list of my ideas so far:
Double Helix
Siamese Twins
Shakespeare’s doubles
Noah’s Ark
“Double Down”
“Double Trouble”
“Twice as Nice”
“Double Header”

Anyone else have anything to add to my list? I am open to ideas.

Pumpkin Pie-Fat Book Halloween Page

September 23, 2010

Fat Book page-Halloween

I am finishing my Fat Book page for Halloween. I thought I would give you a preview. The top one is the front, and the bottom one is the back of the page. The restrictions were you had to make it black and white with only one color and it had to fit within a 6 X 6 cover. We were encouraged to do different sizes. This is a 4 X 6 format. I am not an “embellisher” by nature, so I preferred to make flaps that change the expression on the jack ‘o lantern, for my dimensional aspect to the page. I am planning on mailing it out tomorrow because I am expecting to get my sketchbook today or tomorrow, and need to start that as soon as possible.

Come join me and 18,800 others

September 20, 2010

I just signed up for the sketchbook project. It’s a huge public art project where for a fee you get a sketchbook sent to you, and you fill it up with drawings and anything else you want according to a theme. You can choose your theme, or get one randomly assigned. I chose to take the random option and got “make mine a double”. Then within the time frame you sketch, doodle, cut and paste, collage, pop-up whatever you like but keeping within the theme and sketchbook size. Then you send the book back filled, and it will go on tour. Hey your sketchbook will travel more than you will! Eventually it will land in Brooklyn, where you can go ‘visit’ it. Actually what people do is check it out to look at it, and you will receive a notice that your book has been viewed. Cool. Here’s the website:

Now, anyone have any ideas on my theme, “make me a double”? I’m thinking to “siamese twin everything”. Doublegangers galore.

Jungle Book is done

September 16, 2010

Just a quick post to show you the flats from Jungle Book. I am still new to posting pictures, so just know that the stairs are in the middle with the two flats butted together behind them, and then there is a flat on either side.

Fashion dilemma

September 11, 2010

So, it’s fashion week in New York City, and here I sit, an overweight 60+ year old wondering where my fashion sensibilities fit in, and more importantly, where the hell am I going anyway, so why do I need to be “fashionable”? Fashion (or as I like to think of it as “personal expression”) has always been an important part of my life. Because we moved so often, I never quite “fit in” with the trends of the places we landed in. (Alien in an alien world at all times). So, my fashion coping mechanism would be to take a little of this (what would be trendy), and a little of that (flea market finds) throw in a little of something else (usually hand crafted), and make sure it was a bit oversized (not swallowing), and voila, I was dressed. My color palette changed over the years from “I hate green, because I have green skin” to “I love green, it makes my dull skin look pink”, and of course “black is everything”. I went from making a lot of my own clothes, to buying at flea markets and second hand stores, to buying from etsy, and now back to making my own clothes. And, don’t get me started on shoes! As an art teacher in a high school, I wanted my students to see that self expression and orginality can be telegraphed by clothing choices, and that there are many artists who are making really cool things that you can wear, or conversely YOU can make a lot of great things to wear. I became known by one sentence “only she can wear that and get away with it”. Now in the confines of my home and retirement, I am happy wearing that which is comfortable. Which is not to say what I wore wasn’t. In fact my mantra for fashion has always be “it shouldn’t hurt”. My wardrobe is fixed. I have enough clothes to last 10 lifetimes. But I am not “fixed”. I am moving on, getting older, shortening up, hunching slightly, slower in pace, squintier in eye, grayer in hair. So, I am picking up where I started, and designing and making my own clothes again, slowly. I just finished a sweater I adore, and have started another. I have found a pattern I designed over 30 years ago for a dress that I know will work for me now. I am excited to know that I can be in charge of my fashion sensibilities still, and instead of going to flea markets and second hand stores to add to my new wardrobe that I am making, I will just raid my closet.

Combat Boots

September 7, 2010

my new boots

Recently I saw the Boot Girls on tv, 5 ordinary women from Texas trying to make a difference for returning veterans. Simple idea really, you buy boots and some of the money goes to a foundation that supports veterans when they come home. Reality is, whether you are a hawk or a dove, we have a volunteer army that is in harm’s way. My father was a career army man. He made it up the “chain” as a non com to Command Sergeant Major. He was a gentle person who rarely raised his voice, yet he was in the army. I think he loved the tidiness, the comraderie, the adventure, and how he felt dressed in a uniform. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He traveled out of Brooklyn, and met his wife in her totally destroyed hometown in Germany where the Army decided to put their base. In the years following he had two daughters and as a family we traveled back and forth from army bases in Germany and France to civilian digs in America while he was working on base. While he was in Korea twice and Vietnam twice, we stayed stateside, and mom became a “single parent”. Quite frankly she always was the “one in charge” at home, so there was continuity. What there wasn’t however, were support groups for army wives, not that our independent and strong mother would have attended. We were always the new family in town, always the odd family out, always the interlopers. On the army bases, moving in and out was the norm, but “in the states” people generally stayed put, went to school from kindergarten through college always having a “hometown”, and “best friends” and “neighbors”. Is it any wonder that “Our Town” by Thorton Wilder is my favorite play? I longed to have those words part of my reality.

Busy painting today-here’s a youtube video that says it all

September 4, 2010

We don’t do that with sculpture

September 2, 2010

Did you see the outdoor art show that ended last month? You know the one in Madison Square Park, in New York City. Come on, you know the one where Antony Gormley had sculptures of himself on buildings overlooking the park, causing some to worry that they (the sculptures) were going to jump of the roofs? The “show” ran from March to August, and of course I had to see it. I love work that makes people stop, think and talk. This certainly did. People from everywhere simply looked up. It was the artistic version of “finding Waldo” as everyone squinted and tried finding and counting how many Antony Gormleys they could see. Except for one boy.

When going to see Gormley’s public sculpture of bronze nudes of himself in April, I tripped and fell on an elevated lip a few feet from one sculpture Gormley placed on the ground so that when you looked up at the roofs in NYC to find his multiple standing sculpture of nude him, you would have a sense of scale. Bad enough that I tripped and had to be helped up by strangers, I saw blood and started to get a bit woozey. So I sat down on a bench next to the sculpture of nude Gormley and put my head down on my lap, but continued to look at the sculpture. While I was doing that a young boy (about 3) came over, grabbed the penis of the sculpture and shoved his mouth around it. Yup, I’m bleeding, woozey and laughing and sans camera. To make it more bizarre, his mother (or nanny, it was the city afterall) came over and in a soothing voice said “oh, no, oh oh oh, we don’t do that with sculpture”.