Friday, December 11, 2015

Lucky Numbers

For our final First Friday “Leave your Mark” Question of the Month (henceforth known as FFLYMQOTM…or not) I asked the question:

If you could add a 13th day to the 12 Days of Christmas, what would it be?
A few brave souls left some options. As human behavior would have it, if there are fewer slots to be filled, then fewer people will participate despite extra boards for more answers. I guess the overflow boards must equate with being on the children’s table of importance. I am not going to repeat the first 12 days, we all tend to know the song from #6 on down, and fake our way through the other 6. Maybe your subconscious will substitute one of these choices during the church carole sing and everyone will give you a stink eye of condemnation.

13 painters painting        13 skaters skating
13 strippers (and a question mark)  (are you like 12 and can't figure this out?)
13 bees a buzzing             13 chicks a clucking
13 gardeners planting    13 drunks a drinking
13 turtles snapping          13 bakers baking
13 dogs a humping          13 shelters accepting birds
13 horns a playing            13 artists trying!
13 willows weeping         13 hamsters shaking
13 cats a singing                13housekeepers cleaning
13 reindeer flying             13 ducks a quacking
13 stores a selling             13 orphans finding a home
13 children sweeping     13 Hoovers sweeping  (maybe 13 Hoover children sweeping?)
13 beers a brewing          13 AP students crying
13 cats a purring               13 hearts a loving
13 reporters writing        13 Brown’s fans a’crying
And some kid that took up three spaces learing to write…..

Our Memorial tree did very well and is still up in case anyone wants to add a bulb and some names. The next FF will be February when the new Journey Studios/ Snarky Art …the studio, reopens as a different type of destination. There will be a Community Project of some type, I am still working on that idea but we will definitely expect you to come play as always!

One final note on the promotion that was held last month, the one where people spend $20 on art and can then turn in the receipt for $10 back in cash.  The intent is to get these folks to then go spend that cash right back in the District. However, I bet most of those people headed out to the Strip or the mall and spent that cash someplace else (or just put in the pocket to tip the sitter). Now I am not an expert on marketing, but I gots me some good old fashioned common sense…..what if….    Patron A spends $20 on art or whatever as intended, then turns in the receipt for a voucher or certificate or coupon worth $10 (of “free” money) that is good at the establishments in the District only, for perhaps 30 days. When used, the Owner of the biz who is honoring the coupon keeps them all then turns in all collected coupons after 30 days for the cash from the organization who is giving it away in the first place. That way the cash stays in the pockets of the people whom it was intended to help in the first place and we don’t look like we have to bribe people to come downtown and shop. This method also serves as a way to keep track of where people are going in the District. Chances are that if Patron A gives the coupon to a friend, Patron B, she may come downtown and buy a $50 dollar item for only $40. Then the artist/owner will get the $10 back therefore making more money than he would have before.  Just seems logical to me. All those convoluted story problems with doodles in the margins may have paid off after all! I just don’t like the idea of money donated to support the arts being handing out in the form of cash to people on the streets.

Have a very Merry Christmas (or whatever PC saying you wish to insert, but I am sticking with this one for my own post).  May there be Peace on Earth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stark County Artists Exhibition 2015 MassMu

Envision the scene in all the Frankenstein movies when the doctor screams out “it’s alive!!!”  Next shot is on the monster, breathing once again, and in our version, the creature is wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Realism”. Yes folks, realism is alive and well and well represented in this year’s Stark County Artists Exhibition currently on view at the MassMu.  (Full disclosure: my Daily Doodle Diary Dress from Hoard Couture Wearables is included in the show.)

To better understand the voice of this show, for once, I actually looked up the jurors and their backgrounds. Not making any judgements here one way or the other, as the overall show is better than the past view years (even the clunkers kicked it up a notch), but one can see why the creature is alive and kicking. One juror has no hands-on visual arts background that I can find, the person is an administrator. One is an independent studio artist/instructor of realistic oil paintings. The third juror has a background in psychology before getting another degree in photography.  I will let you draw your own conclusions. I am sure they are all really nice people and very good at what they do. And for once, this show was not overwhelmed with photography , the few included stand out for a reason.

That all being said, there are some truly fabulous works of art in this show and many that reach the bar I personally have come to expect from area artists. And….there are some pieces that have been around the block a few too many times and a few that should have been left on the curb. No sense beating a dead cow (I like horses) and stating the obvious again so if you don’t know my peeves by now, I’m not wasting the word count. On to the works that I want to call out for your eventual viewing pleasure…..

In no particular order, the stars of the show are Anna Zotta’s digital “Leifeng Pagoda” , both paintings by Tina Myers “Cats in the Window” and “Living in the Trees”, Carol Mendenhall’s “Fires of Summer” and Lindsey J. Bryan’s “Swan and Fox”.   Zotta’s small piece is sophisticated and proportionally perfect down to the frame, capturing the vib of classic 50’s/60’s advertising.  It is gem hidden on the massive wall but a better location than another piece by Lindsey Bryan entitled “Ghost Kids” that I walked right past several times, mounted alone on a column.  Bryan’s Honorable Mention digital print “Swan and Fox” is beautiful in its delicate rendering but also disturbing as the featured creatures are dead. The composition is both reverent in how the animals are presented and a bit grotesque in that they are perhaps being offered up for a feast. I liked that juxtaposition…or I completely missed the point, but I came back to it several times. Tina Myers has two large acrylics with abstracted forms (so realism still counts in this case as some objects and elements are recognizable). They have good bones and she is a talented painter, sort of an Alexandra Nechita-esque technique with a bit of trendy zentangle tossed in. Finally, Mendenhall’s “Fires of Summer” which has no realism whatsoever, but whose reds and golds are a perennial favorite of many. I found myself torn between wanting to view it on the horizontal as it is displayed (giving me the impression of a spectacular sunset reflecting off of a wet sidewalk) or wanting to turn it 90 degrees to the vertical and capturing the same sunset reflected off of a window. Both ways would work and both would be equally successful.

Other pieces in the show that one should not miss are Brain Robinson’s pastels “Simple Waves” and “Hocking Cathedral”. He is a master of his craft in both use of media and knowledge of composition. The tilt of the trail captured in the latter piece with its expertly placed lower left sunspot is amazing to see (having worked in pastels myself).  Tom Migge has three wood-works in a showcase dedicated to his pieces and to single out just one would be wrong as each is so unique.  L-64 got an Honorable Mention however and I would guess it is because of the oh so delicate change of grain and grade on the “sides” that one would overlook if savoring only the obviously difficult parts. Three other noteworthy entries include Nancy Matin’s “Frostbite” which really pushes her abstraction skills with fresh layers of paint.  William Bogdans’ “The Doe Lay Dead in the Field of Asters: No”, a woodcut that is bold in scale and incorporates the overall format and composition as part of the imagery more so than before.  And finally, a dimensional, sculptural work by Diane Belfiglio entitled “Fleeting Fall II” which really has her (I have to do it, I’m sorry) thinking outside the box.  Oops…one more….Bruce Humbert’s “Emerald Beauty” with its “just a bit too big eyeball” on the bird, I kept going back…acid green vs traditional black…intriguing to say the least.

Some general comments are warranted for this show. Comment one: The MassMu staff did a wonderful job hanging the show and providing an overall visual experience that makes each entry just as important as the next (except to the Ghost Kids thingy).  Comment two: Do not paint over a previous signature in order to update a piece and leave part of the old signature showing….or use outdated and scratched up frames.  Comment three: Beware of the ‘one more thing’ monster that kills many a good work. Know when to stop, when to step away…sometimes that one element is what you are trying to “say” but often the whole conversation is far better than the point itself. Comment four: This show left me wanting to get back to painting again, to end my self-imposed hiatus away from the canvas, but sometimes one needs to just play in order to reevaluate purpose.

I give this year’s show an A-.  What would make it an A or an A+?  A few more daring pieces to savor over rather than just some pretty pieces that do not require much observational thought. Overall, great job Stark artists! Now get back to work for the upcoming May Show.

I wanted to also see and review the CAL show on exhibit in Studio M but there was a meeting going on and I could not access the room….maybe in the weeks to come. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Braided Rivers…the Journey Continues

Have you ever seen a braided river in the wilds of Alaska? They are wide, meandering beds of water that flow not in one big solid body of current, but as an assortment of narrow paths that ebb and flow and weave and turn as patterns (wind, rocks, quantity) change. The narrow river-ettes (I made that word up) all tend to go the same direction eventually, but are called “braided” rivers because the pieces criss-cross and entwine as often as they run alone in a wide arc back to the main branch. They are constantly under redirection within the confines of one wide river bed.

Such is the concept and the vision of the upcoming merger of Journey Art Gallery (returning to the Journey Studios name) with the Snarky Art studio, to become a new entity on the west coast of the Arts District as you know it, and an anchor tenant of the Canton Fashion District as we see it.

Now that Su has made public the changes to come, it is my chance to look back (and look deeper) so you all understand why this is happening. Simply stated, all artists must grow and explore and create or they will wither away. The Journey Art Gallery as it exists today has served its purpose, served its community and fulfilled its original mission statement. The journey was a success by all measures of what she wanted it to be and to what point it could and would aspire.

That being said, in an ever changing world of what constitutes “art” and what the public wants to consume and accept as “art”, it becomes a necessity to stay fresh, current and viable. Television studios constantly add new shows to their lineups and drop what is not working. Movies are new to the screen each and every week. Clothing styles are introduced worldwide multiple times a year during fashion weeks. Even your local restaurant menu changes fairly often….so why not “art galleries”?  To stay solvent in this business of ours, one must not be afraid to take a new look and a different point of view based on what has been learned. The art world of even 5 years ago is not the art world of today because of many factors, not the least of which are technology, online shopping, transient communities and people wanting to live with less. The permanent is out, the consumable or usable is in.

With thoughts such as those in mind, we had many conversations over the past several months and worked very hard to come up with a solution to make “creativity” a viable and relevant business plan. Toss in a leap of faith and with hard work and a vision based on a braided river, what will emerge on the corner of 4th and McKinley will be anyone’s guess at this point if one is trying to pin a label on us. The path will be in one direction but how it gets there will be up to our creative muses of the moment…..we want to make new ways for art to happen and to be relevant not only to the Canton community, but to a broader, wider audience of consumers. 

For certain, there will be fashions that are one of a kind creations, hers, mine, ours, other artists who specialize in the textile arts. There will be painting, painting as fashion, painting as art, and an exploration of how technology affects this fusion. There will be the fruition of visions and ideas, the creation of concepts that have been trying to find time to be realized, and a space where 2 artists can work and people can shop, all while having as much fun as we can possibly provide. After all, if life and hard work are not fun, then what is the point?

We are counting on YOU, to shop locally, to continue to participate in our community projects, spread the word and bring people downtown.  The friends and supporters of Journey Art Gallery will not be disappointed at what is to come, we know you like art, you like to see different things, you like to get your hands dirty once ‘n awhile and you have trust in us to keep our corner alive and active and inspiring. So stayed tuned…..the best is yet to come.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Its just not fun anymore.

An early JK, I am the one in pink on the left, facing away from all the others.
I love it when a title just drops in my lap!  At the Mask Affair opening last night, Chris T., his wife and I had a wonderful back and forth about the status of today’s classroom. His words were that educational reforms have “just sucked the fun out of everything!” which could be applied to just about everything nowadays thanks to regulations, expectations, and the PC-ation of our nation.  However, for the sake of not requiring you to wade through a rant equivalent to War and Peace, I shall limit myself to “what if I were back in the classroom…..?”

25 years and counting on maternity leave so no chance of my getting my old job back, but nor would I want it. The school switched over to block scheduling 20 some year ago and I did not understand it then, nor do I now.

Substituting worked for a while until I dropped off of that list too. When it became my job to track down a job and not their job to fill the job, I decided the early morning auto calls were not worth the potential back wrenching to get the phone. Choosing between options (without knowing what was being offered to teach) seemed counterproductive to the process.  Back in the day (oh stop groaning), the “caller” called the night before and offered the job by subject and grade….6th grade math anybody?  Sure! A buck was a buck and if a lesson plan (or movie) was left for me, I could teach anything.

Fast forward 20 years or more. The substitute teacher (me) now checks in at the desk…after breaching security, getting a badge, registering my car and posing for a mug shot.  The exasperated secretary hands me a folder (binder size) for my use that day. I merrily make my way down the hall (with the use of a GPS in today’s mega schools) to my assigned room and settle in to look over the lesson plan……

But first, one must read through the security lock down or crisis in the classroom procedures. Check. Then it was the fire drill, tornado drill, bee in the hallway drill etc for evacuation or shelter in place procedures. Check. On to the custody and information sharing status for students who had this unfortunate situation regarding which parent could know what about whom and when and who could pick up or sign out who and when and when I was to not notify anybody about anything. Check. Okay, good now I can read my les………………nope, nada, first have to read the medical status and procedures for kids with allergies, medications, special requirements and when during the day such needs need to be met (and who I could tell, when and why and heaven forbid there is a bee in the hallway!!) Check. Now I can………………….sorry, first one has to go thru the do’s and don’ts of the particular class room such as restroom breaks, number of tissues per student per day, looking out the window violations, and so on…..  Check.   OMG a student has arrived!

Hi, what’s your name?  Troy.  Oh, hmmmm you are not on my list.  Its under Joseph R Smith, but my cousin is named that so I use the abbreviated version of my middle name but I have three middle names because of a hyphened name someplace along the line after the divorce, but then “she” got a dog and named it my other middle name so I had to go to plan B and now I spell it with a silent “e” so I am not confused with Troy E who is a girl.  Have a seat.

Found the lesson plan after skipping a bunch of stuff that would probably not make any difference because class would be over before I got thru it all.  Seems we are going to be drawing today  (everybody should spend math class drawing when the lesson plan is written in a language I no longer speak and requires a computer).  Hey, one has to be flexible in these trying times of modern interaction with the future leaders of the world.  Kids, take out a pencil and paper.   Pencil…it is the long skinny often yellow stick like thing with a pointy end and a pink rubbery thing on the other.  I know, some are plastic and click to dispense the lead, try and work with me okay? Thank goodness we aren’t in the Snarky studio room where my personal pencil sharpener is mounted upside down and backwards…much to the delight of dyslexics everywhere. 

Everybody draw a circle.  Chaos.  How big? Where on the page? How many? Right now? With what?.... Smarty pants in the front has to inform me that they are now required to justify their work and the process of how it was done, why and how they feel about it.  Um…it is an f-ing circle kiddo.  But I am game so let us proceed with this required element of our educational development so as not to hurt anybody’s self-esteem.  (Seriously, could we please just have a tornado drill about now?)  The simple circle….Troy(e), how do you feel about your work and why did you do this particular shape?  I know I told you too but that is not good enough…. Oh, your result is making you feel sad because it is not a big as girl Troy’s circle?  Is this a problem for either of you? Does anybody care about how “I” feel about this?  No I will not tell your aunt’s sister who is on today’s list as your legal guardian until 4pm when it becomes……..what? You need to use the restroom?  Nope, can’t allow that, could be a bee in the hallway.  I don’t care how that makes you feel, I have to go write down my justification for the answer and how I came to that conclusion and its effect on the rest of the class although only the janitor is going to be inconvenienced by this situation. 

Suddenly cries ring out…..Mrs. K do you hear that? What? Quick what is our crisis code procedure for whatever is going on? Panic!! It is a car alarm in the parking lot, page 6, second paragraph, grab your work and proceed in an orderly manner to the hallway outside of the main gym unless the alarm is on the west side of the lot then turn right and trot at a reasonable rate of speed to the cafeteria….unless it is lunchtime then go….oh forget it.  Hey kids, inside that circle you made, put two dots and a curved line. We call that a smiley face…, it is not an emoticon. It is art. Have a nice day.

I love teaching as do so many artists I meet. The front of the classroom warriors who claim the title of “art teacher” however are a special breed doing a job I could no longer stand to perform if everything a student did had to be justified, verified, validated, rated, recorded and dissected in minutia for its’ process, purpose and product. The powers that be have truly “sucked the fun out of everything.” Even art, which I would justify as a crime against humanity and it makes me feel sad.  Kudos to Chris and his fellow art teachers that face this crisis in our classroom on a daily basis and still make it work. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

100 years from now.....

A little late on this First Friday update, but I lost the answer list in my personal dumpster (aka the van). However, since excavated and deciphered, below are the responses to our Question of the Month.

100 years from now, I hope we have……

Peace -  no violence -  tolerance - no wars
Every zig for great justice ( huh?)  - justice – better world – more wisdom
Everything organic
Jet packs – space ships – hover hats – teleporter – flying cars
Clean oceans – cleaner air and water – a happy earth
Love for all – universal unconditional love – self love – alien lovers – respect for human life – end of abortion – love – each other
Heath – happiness and harmony - kindness
All Christians – a world accepting of Jesus and showing love – faith – equality – a place where everyone is accepted
Plant life – trees – flowers – water – eternal summers – a planet
Vanilla crush – no hunger – steak – infinite pizza – more bacon
People – still alive – nicer people - kids
Live in outer space
150th Superbowl
No mental illness – hope – free health care – free education
No kings
4 Cookie Divas cookies – ice cream city
America – quiet downtown Canton
Zebras -  dogs – giant turtles – fewer homeless animals – unicorns – flying pigs – talking pigs
Freedom of choice

Our community project was very well received and resulted in the best final product so far! Not sure I can part with it so for now, it will be hanging in the Journey Two Boutique. Which, if you have not done so already, one must visit! Sales have been great and will only get better for one of kind, handmade clothing and textile related items. All made in America so come support your local art and artists!

November will be the last Community Project until March.  December conflicts with a family function.  We are closed for the January FF as that is on New Year’s Day (Journey, J2 and Snarky Art will all be closed).  February will be nuts so stay tuned for that! March will return with the Great Square Inches of Art, a favorite project from this past year.

As always, thanks for playing!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Where do we go from here? A few observations and comments about the Akron Arts Prize.

Winners were announced last night at the Akron Art Museum. Many of those who came to hear the list did so during the last half hour or less before the official 9:30 podium time (maybe the really loud band had something to do with it?) 

Only four of us for sure were Canton entrants and perhaps a couple more were as well but the majority of the 200 pieces were from Akron area students and artists. Being “outsiders” we stand no chance of winning but it is fun to see what is chosen by the general public. (The awards are by popular vote via an app while in the footprint of the venues.) That being said, it is possible to game the system by taking ones friends to lunch within that footprint or having them drive by and vote, with no need to see the work. A total lack of media coverage probably did not help either. Not one mention in the ABJ this year that I could find. The Rep did a better job with a color article about one of the local entrants.

This is a short posting so let’s get to the interesting observations.  Keep in mind that the general public votes, only once for a piece and only 5 (or six if one fills out a survey) votes total.  The participating artists voted for one of their own to be the favorite and the winner was April Couch for her Mandela Table, a truly wonderful piece of drawing and construction. She was the only female in a field of older men who swept the remaining 6 awards. (Yes Bill L, you are gett’n up there like the rest of us).

Animals ruled this year. Bill Lynn’s dragon piece (sorry all, too lazy to scroll thru the app and find official titles), Tom Baldwin’s rhino head carving, Brian Parson’s circular snake and grand prize winner Fredrick Shortridge’s carved walking stick, which had some animals on it, are all 3-D pieces as well. 

Michael Marras’ salvaged materials man (3-D) and the aforementioned snake were both made from metals and repurposed materials.  Only J David Norton had a “2-D” piece but not a traditionally flat one like canvas or paper, it was glass depicting a sunset….and gorgeous as usual, a repeat winner.  So you notice, no paintings or drawings, no ceramics or printmaking, nothing truly contemporary in an abstract or interpretive sort of way, nothing that required a deep thought process to appreciate.  The pieces are all well-constructed and/or extremely detailed and time consuming, and in most cases truly gorgeous, but nothing that requires much “thinking” to understand or appreciate.

So these results lead us to many questions for consideration:

Does the general public want art that is easy to digest, easy to understand and can be instantly recognizable for what it is?  There were many wonderful entries in the show but they had to be contemplated to be appreciated.

Should work that is “deep” or requires a bit of processing and contemplation be avoided? Viewers don’t want to spend much time when they are going place to place and free drinks are waiting.

Are the worlds of social media and shallow entertainment television dumbing down our audience and filing them with a need for instant art soundbites? Some people want to know what something is right away because understanding context takes time.

Is paining dead?  Note for next year, please include the media on the labels, not just artist name and title.

What is the appeal for objects in the round as opposed to objects on the wall? That could be a real study in the psychology of personal space and the transient lifestyles of contemporary culture.

Are pieces with animals less threatening than those with figures? As a culture that is losing its ability to interact with live people, are animals more relatable? (After all they are pretty cool creatures in the fantasy genre, movies and TV)

As a culture that is now focused on repurposing and recycling, does choice of materials play into likes and dislikes? There was a definite Don D influence.

Wonder why it was an all-male line up for the top 6? Is there something innate in their work which appeals more to people?

Congrats to all the winners and kudos to the team that put together this 4th year of the event.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vista Botanica at Gallery 6000

Not very many exhibitions are able to immerse the viewer into the world on the walls. Usually one just passes by the artworks and enjoys the view, offering comments of approval or disapproval. Sometimes even that much effort is asking too much. “Vista Botanica” however, will pull you in to the room and into the energy happening within the works as well as between them.

Not a conventional gallery space, but well suited to be one, is the Kent State Conference Center dining room also known as Gallery 6000. Okay, one has to abbreviate that a bit for the official CV listing, but exhibitors new to the space are always quite impressed. Full disclosure clause, I have five works in the show and have been included in exhibitions here before, so no reviewing of my own work.

Tom Wachunas curated and installed this show which has been garnering well deserved attention for its impact and quality of work. Regular diners and visitors to the Conference Center have let it be known this is probably their favorite show to date and it has been at least 5 years or more of installations. Why the good vibes? Because of the bold colors, pleasing subject matter, and variety of styles, media and scale that all work as one big hug of nature. United under the concept of botanically inspired imagery, artists and pieces were chosen to make a vista emerge on the three walls that surround the diners. A real vista inhabits the fourth all glass wall. So come into the garden with me and explore the works of my four fellow exhibitors.

Photographer Carolyn Jacob is familiar to many in the area who have been to 2nd April Galerie. She has a great space on the second floor. All four of her pieces use different methods and presentations within the genre of digital photography. “Red Maple Trio” is a luscious moment of sunlight captured on three graceful leaves. The eye of the artist then uses contrast and composition to add that regal touch which elevates the subject from being just leaves to structures of almost glass-like fragility.  “Floralique” fooled many of us as we thought it was rendered in colored pencil, the surfaces were that luminous and delicate, but again, the relationship between artist and camera worked their magic.

Eleanor Kuder, a name not familiar to me until now, is someone to watch for in the local arts scene. Her four mixed media pieces, large works in large white frames, both rich and deep in markings, show a true understanding of composition and the principles of design. Layering of bold shapes and colors overlaid with linear markings and the highlighting of one area over another, create depth usually not found in the typical mixed media category. Kuder is able to capture the dimension and organic qualities of plants without the overly annoying aspects of collage that sometimes reduce works to the amateur level. Her ability to integrate the media and as I stated, grasp with firm understanding the science behind composition, will draw the viewer into her vision of the natural world. “Watershed” is by far one of the highlights of the whole show.

The charcoal drawings of Ron Watson may at first sound like an odd choice to include in a show that vibrates with reds and oranges and greens, but his renderings of local landscapes are not to be missed. The lack of “color” is what allows these pieces to punctuate the overall exhibition. “Near East Liverpool in Winter” could be considered a master work of capturing light and atmospheric conditions with limited materials. The crisp water and stark branches against what I consider a “Magritte” sky will force one to stand and explore this location for quite some time. These are not your smuggy type charcoal drawings that many expect when hearing the media. Vine charcoal is a different animal and allows for a layering of fine marking achievable only by those artists who really know how to draw in the classical way by hand. For “delicate” pieces to hold their own in this room speaks to the power they have in what again is a superb understanding of the elements and principles that comprise our language of art.

The large oil paintings of Margo Miller are the perfect choice to anchor the show. Her scale of markings and layer upon layer of blues and greens frame areas of reds and oranges that manage to escape and entwine with the plant life depicted. An interesting dynamic takes place with how her pieces are located at the end of each wall. Each artist included has a level of abstraction that is different from each other so when placed next to one other, the images create a sense of growing…or emerging and changing….or blooming and morphing….. Whether by intent or by happenstance, this visual phenomenon enhances the concept of botanical art and the definition of vista. Difficult to explain in words, one needs to witness this occurrence. The tall and vibrant canvases of Margo Miller are physical paintings in that the hand of the artist are on full display. No tiny delicate markings, no hesitation of deciding whether an edge needs highlighting, she enters into her environments with confidence as if trying to unearth the location from the canvas itself.

My pieces are from the cactus and stained glass series that has captured my imagination for this past painting season and will continue when the next session starts. You can see them on my website or at the Snarky Art studio.

The show runs through October 30th. The building is open to the public if you wish to stop in and see this show which I sincerely encourage you to do, especially to see works by artists unfamiliar to many. Avoid the lunch hour time frame of 11 – 1 and it should be no trouble wandering back to the Gallery 6000 (dining room) location.  If you know where the H of F balloon launch takes place, you know where the Conference Center can be found.  (Notice how I got football tied to art?) HA! Score one for me…..okay, time to quit. Game over.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor We Must

A little late on my First Friday Community Participation Project wrap up (notice the use of capital letters to make it that much more impressive) and our Question of the Month answers. As usual, just a few words about the evening itself to start us off. The theme for our west coast location was “Secrets Revealed” to tie in with the grand opening (of the door) to the re-purposing and reincarnation of the former Journey Classroom into the Journey Two Boutique.  Two as in T-W-O for textiles, wearables and one of kinds, is a work (or space) in progress. Starting small to measure response and building upon plans in place as support allows, this venture fills a void in the existing fashion scene of Stark Co.

More on that topic at a later time. This month’s CCP (now reduced to mere letters since it is now a commonly recognized activity) was part two of the two part “Keeping Secrets – Secrets Revealed” project. The August FF was well attended compared to September’s FF but granted there were just too many events from which to choose: Stark Co Fair, Cleveland Air Show, HS Football, Theater opening, Holiday weekend travel… is a wonder anybody came down at all!  By my count though, we had 123 people who wanted to play and 84 that left their “question” mark.  Once again, human behavior was on the front burner.  The simple medicine bottle with its childproof protection cap proved frustrating for many until the secret of how to open it was revealed…a bonus revelation for the project concept!

Inside were the secrets recorded last month, the answers to one of 8 possible questions contained in each bottle. The question were:

Before I die I want to _______________.
I am terrified of____________________.
People think I am really __________ but I am not.
My secret indulgence is__________.
My greatest fear is someone finding out I ___________________.
I have always wanted to _____________________.
I have never heard my parents say __________________.
It can never happen, but I wish I could___________________. 

I was amazed to find all but three were clean enough to share and 90% were truly touching and heart felt. All 160 have been posted and can be seen on the Snarky Art door from the Boutique.

The undoing of the project however was asking people to make connections. Using the five colored squares inside, matching one or two colors together and keeping the pieces straight proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.  Imagine a Massillon McKinley match-up between the OCD's and the c’est la vie’s.  Needless to say, in this case, the process was more fun than the final product but sometimes how we make art is more important than what is actually made.

On to the Question of the Month: (Labor Day inspired) As long as you had to work, what do you think would be the perfect job?  For ease of tabulation, I have organized the answers by alphabetical letter (not order mind you so don’t get all spelling queen bee on me)

A – actor, animal rescue, advice columnist, arts brain-stormer, advertising director, already have the perfect job (oh yeah? So what is it?)
B – beachcomber, bookseller, boutique owner, Broadway dancer, book reviewer, band manager, baby holder in the NICU, bird calling
C – care for baby animals in the zoo, craftaholic
D/E – dreamer, dancer, designer, doula, dance choreographer (some of you should get together and start a business), event planner
F – FBI agent, food critic, furrier, fire fighter, film director
G – gardener, great person (so what are you now?), gigolo, graphic designer, gospel singer
H – helping people, housewife, hole digger, horse trainer, helicopter pilot
I/J – jewelry designer, interior designer, ice cream taste tester, international journalist/photographer, jockey (I corrected your spelling from jokey which I hope was what you meant)
K/L - (nothing!)
M/N – middle school counselor, musician (5 votes!) military nurse, musher
O/P – opera singer, pianist (2), playwright, pilot, pole dancer, pro football team owner
Q/R – retiree (that is not a job), reporter, R and D at Malone
S – spy, spy kid, stand up, SNL star, student of the world, singer (2), security guard at a nude beach
T – teacher, travel tester, travel agent, tea master (2), translator at home, Terri Gross replacement (?)
U/V/W/X/Y/Z- vacation planner, wine taster (2), writer, winery owner, wine maker (you could work for the other guy and two taste testers are ready to go too!), WNBA basketball player, volunteer work, you-tuber.

Pretty impressive. I will close this with a word to those who support what we do (and are trying to do) every day and every month on our little corner of the CAD…thank you! But remember, “little” is used a lot, as in the Little Engine that Could and the Little Red Hen. If we all do a little, we can make big things happen but if we think things will happen because we think they should or just because we want them too, could result in nobody getting anything. If confused, dig up that old folk tale (okay, wiki it if you must.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shameless Self Promotion

Samples of products now available online. Su Nimon and I are both on Fine Art America.
Recently chastised for not writing more often, I have to admit that I do miss it. My excuse? I have not been anyplace to review because I have been working behind the scenes on multiple projects.  Granted there have been some recent events that inspired me to blast off a few lines but my mandatory waiting period to cool off before posting had me hit the delete button. My husband’s current favorite saying ringing in my ears….”not my circus, not my monkeys”.

The title of this blog should give you a clue as to its content. If interested in what I do, keep reading. If you have better things to do, we will catch up after a review of the upcoming Akron Arts Prize opening.

Behind the scenes project one (and in no particular order) has been the creation and installation of my piece for the Akron Arts Prize competition. This is a multi venue exhibition of pieces voted upon by the public via an app that records 5 votes per person, each vote for a different piece. The voter must be within the footprint of the venues for a vote to register. One does not however have to be in the location of the work itself, so going to lunch in a nearby restaurant and voting works just fine. Advantage to winning goes to artists who have friends in Akron. Out of area artists have to encourage imports to make the drive up (or down) so they can vote. Good luck with that.  My work, the “Daily Doodle Diary Dress” is at a new gallery called Ro3 or Rule of Thirds on the second floor of the building across from Summit Arts Space.  If you don’t see this piece in Akron, if I am juried in, you will see it locally come November. But go to Akron starting Saturday (their art walk) on a Thurs –Sat 5 – 10 pm until the first Sat in October and vote. Google the Akron Arts Prize for more detailed info on this whole process.

A second time consuming project is now over, the BSA Float for the H of F Grand Parade. Six grand prize awards in a row has been wonderful for a team of dedicated people. We figured about 650+ volunteer hours went into this one. Except for a temperamental bubble machine, all went well. Nobody fell off, nothing broke down and the boys had a blast despite their initial reluctance to participate. Try telling a young man he has to push a 10 foot canoe along a 30 foot channel for over an hour, using wooded blocks and a makeshift “paddle” while smiling for the camera…oh, and he was from Brazil so the language barrier to explain all this worked in my favor. Not sure if we will return next year, but thanks to all who cheered us on!

Project three has been helping Su N to re-purpose the Journey Classroom. What fun! My roots (not the gray ones thank you very much) but my professional ones were called upon to assist in the transformation. Not my place to tell what happened in there, but come First Friday, you all can stop by and see for yourself. The result of one of those conversations where someone says  “what if?” and the other says “why not?”  followed by “where would and how could?”  met with “right here and with help” so we did. So many new possibilities have opened up now….damn it. A brain already overflowing with ideas now has to go rent space in an imaginary storage locker. 

Project four….joining the 21st century of online shopping. Sad in a way, because I realize how much of my own work is lost forever because we did not have the technology to record it at the time. High resolution as I am learning is not what our old cameras were able to do. Slides are just junk now. Kodak prints are faded and transparencies are worthless. Basically the first 20 to 25 years of my own work will exist only in some uploaded digital files that are not really salvageable for any sort of production purposes. Multiple transfers between computers, outdated technology and corruption of files have left my legacy in the limbo of cyber space someplace. Sort of like the one guy on Star Trek who never fully beamed back to the transporter room… just sort of all glittery in a lost dimension of time and space. However….some of my things are usable, so I have joined one of those online sites where you can purchase my images as things! Yes, I could walk into a bathroom someday and see my art on a shower curtain! Maybe my work will be on somebody’s tote-bag ( I promise not to accost you on the street and offer to sign it), or a phone case, or my favorite, the pillow!  I am being serious here, I think this is pretty cool…just because everybody has been doing it for years….this old dog has learned a new trick. So go to and check it out. I am trying to add new images every so often to get started. If you have a personal favorite from years past (the “Women” series is retired now ) I may be able to dig up a usable image for a one time production of a greeting card or small print.

Hmmmm… I suppose I could go on about some other projects going on, but now is not the time. Many thanks to Jamie W for helping translate the language of technology  not only for me, but also to set up the online shopping program at Journey Art Gallery. Now we can all sit around in our pajamas and buy art! Christmas is only a few months away so ho ho ho, it is time to go (to the internet!)

PS: First Friday is almost here and we have 160 medicine bottles filled with secrets and pieces of a larger puzzle. Stop by and claim one to be a part of the art and leave your mark!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bottles and Brew - August First Friday at Snarky Art

First Friday on Hall of Fame weekend is always interesting. The crowds are different, far fewer than in past years due to the concert and perhaps also the layout of the events within the district. At least the free popcorn got a few folks to venture past the obstacles on 4th street.

Our question of the month was geared to the H of F crowd. The answers are clever for sure and do reflect a cultural interpretation this time. Reactions to the question were interesting to me. As this activity progresses I am finding that quite a few people read it in advance, think about their answers and come prepared with more than one entry. Therefore, gauging our number of respondents by the number of answers is no longer a reliable figure. A handful of people refused to participate because they either don’t drink or would not want to have inherited such a liability. I find this a rather serious approach to the activity, as if it were a real situation and not an exercise in creative thinking.  Regardless of how this “Leave Your Mark” activity is received, it is successful at engaging the public to participate in the process of art by being drawn into a space they might otherwise pass by. Below are the answers I could read (or publish)

(Sorry about the formatting issue, but it does feel rather like having had a few...)
You just inherited a brewery. What will you name your signature beer?

Ansiek                                  Bodytwist            Stompy Stew
Bloat Belly                           El Chompo          Mine
The Girls Are Prettier After 3                      Black Flagg
The Tangled T                                                    Belly Buster
Snarky Art Ale                   Volatile                 Witches Brew
Gutfer Wataelzia              Bjyork                   Royalty
Ty Brew                                                Cash Cow            Nate’s Nectar
Nite B4 Morning After   Aresnic                 Take a Knee
He Had It Coming             Hoegarmen        Cnatt Marunit
So Fine                                 Love Potion #9
The Great Labrewski      Barefoot Ale      The Liquidator
Rose’s Round Trip            4-Play                    So College
First of the Month           Soviet Flattner  Future P
Brewhah                              Vermilion            Lorna Beth
Friday Nite Fright             Bladder Buster  Superman
Breath of Phydeaux        Brew Ha Ha         Money Maker
Gistlister                              Plan B                    Ziggy’s Brew
Mary’s Rack Ale                                Snockered Stout
Pompous Assperations Teezer                  The Impaler
Ipea Beer                            Lola’z Buzz          Jack’s Pony
Galaxy Juice                       Effinguud            Smooth Hoperator
Another Trip to the Can                                Stagger Back Brew
Brews and Spurs              Carousel Curve Good Night
Shivin                                    Hide My Phone Last Resort
Rhino Stout                        Hoppy Hour        Schlobberknocker
Gratefully Dead(unreadable)
2 removed for inappropriate content

Our Community Participation Project did have approximately 230 participants. 280 bottles were prepared in advance and we only had 30 left so now the second part of the project must be prepared for those who come in September. “Keeping Secrets” was the title and participants chose a random medicine bottle from a bag, answered one of 8 possible questions found inside, and colored 5 squares using only a limited number of colors. The question and squares were placed back in the bottle, the lid locked on and then tossed into a basket.  Your secrets are safe with me for now…..

For September FF, participants will select a bottle by choosing a number. All the bottles will have a number assigned to them at random. Upon opening, the secrets will be posted on a board (they are on stickers) and the squares will have to be matched up to each other somehow, color to color, to create a large work of art. How difficult or fun that will be depends upon what the person did who colored the squares found inside.

Actually three works of art will be made next FF, the color square project that develops by creating a consistent diagonal line grid, the secrets revealed text project and the chosen number board that will become a pattern of random dots. “Secrets Revealed” part 2, is not only about the Community Participation Project but also about new things happening in our Journey Art Gallery family.  We hope you will come by and see what awaits!

Thanks for playing!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

10 things I’ve learned on the Tow Path Trail

"Spike Shadows" Acrylic on canvas 12 x 25 2015
If you are a local, you know about our park system and its extensive network of trails that lead from the Lake to the River (as in Ohio River). My husband and I decided to dust off the old trail bikes and go a few miles (28 each time but who is counting) a couple of times this past month. As a walker, one sees the journey differently than one on two wheels so I have learned. Allow me to share this new perspective….literally and figuratively.

No this is not a Letterman List so there is no particular ranking of least to worst vision violations.

1.      The parks and trails have lots of rules posted. They remind you of them at most access points and break spots…most people don’t follow them. If one follows the rules and someone else does not, who is at fault when a near miss occurs? The “oh my gosh there is no room to pass bell dinging fool” or the “I don’t care, my conversation is more important bird flipper”?

2.      Bike shorts on men over 50. Don’t. Just don’t……at least not without some type of looser shorts over them…

3.      Sports Bras…..never could figure out what sport they are for, but jogging is not one of them. Even when you are on your own side of the trail, I have to time my pass so I don’t get knocked off my bike by those knockers. I also have to not run over my husband who has since fallen off his bike from the centrifugal force of his own whiplash.

4.      Turtles. There are monster turtles lurking in the canal. They sit on logs sunning themselves looking all passive and sleepy…I bet they eat little kids.

5.       Little kids. Teaching your kid to ride a bike for the first time on a busy trail is not a great idea. The wobbly little munchkins could run into a defensive middle-ager minding the trail rules. Defensive (and now wet) middle-ager can swim or at least stand up in the canal. Your kid is turtle food.

6.      Alligators. No, there are not any that I know of, but what a great prank! If I owned one of the canal side docks, I have a remote control alligator in the water, just waiting to start swimming along when someone is leisurely riding along enjoying the scenery. Gotta feed my turtles somehow!

7.      A sign that reads “no buggies on the trail” means you have gone really far! Wonder how many Amish have gone rouge and drag raced their buggies on the trail after dusk to prompt such a warning.

8.      The divided highway….sort of along the lines of biker shorts. This would be the baggy pants version of biker wear. Pull up those yoga pants ladies!

9.      Sasquatch. Another great prank. Way out in the remote sections of the trail…nobody around….a Sasquatch crosses your path in the distance, hesitating long enough for the image to register for an accurate reenactment of size for when Bobo comes to conduct a town meeting about the recent rash of Sasquatch sightings. Too bad bored kids in Amish country don’t have access to TV, or perhaps that is a good thing! Getting ambulance access to the trails for heart attacks or broken bones could be a bit dicey.

10.   Some people take this hobby way too seriously. Biker gangs (the pedal pushing kind) do occasionally terrorize the middle-agers moving along at a steady pace. “Passing on your left” comes the call, then a dozen or so spandex wearing, helmet clad, hunched over, speedsters zoom past…with one or two lagging behind just when you thought it was safe to ease on back over from the edge of turtle town. I ding my little handlebar bell in protest.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Win Win Win

Chalking the walk under the watchful eye of our sunflowers, which bloomed from seeds that fell out of  our bird-feeders!
Yes, that is what one needs to do to be a Triple Crown winner, which was the topic of our Question of the Month. “You own the next potential Triple Crown winner! What is your race horse’s name?” Even with the challenges we faced this past First Friday, our turnout was fantastic all things considered. 78 people left their mark on our chalkboard, and another hundred or more left their mark on our sidewalk and street.

The Community Participation Project was to color in a shape that was connected to other shapes in a necklace like affect around the perimeter of our building. The initial 52 were done within the first 90 minutes so we had to keep adding and adding and adding…. Though intended for adults as usual, this project quickly became a favorite of families with little kids so we let them have fun and be creative much to the delight of those who came over to the west coast.

Next month my project is back indoors for the first step of a two phase project so be sure to stop in! Which brings me to the point I wish to make with this essay. The concept of the trifecta….how all of us can win with what we have been doing for, and with, the community these last 7 months or so. If you are an artist, you know that we are constantly asked to “donate” for “exposure” to what seems like endless charities and parties and events. Yes, I have commented on this numerous times, others have posted Facebook links to articles that address this issue and it is a touchy one for sure. However, let me keep this logical and local by proposing the following. 

The Journey Classroom is currently offering for sale our community projects. These are framed or mounted works made by the people of Canton. These are original works of art, one of a kind, made with love and offered for sale to benefit a scholarship fund for artists and to be able to offer more projects (supplies cost money) for the community. Several non-profit organizations have recently asked for donations of artwork, 3 in the past 4 weeks alone. On the horizon are requests by even more. This is no common core math problem, a simple solution is easily achieved.  What if…..someone came in and bought one of our works of community art (win for the scholarship and future projects), then that person donated it to the organization requesting art (win for the donor who gets a full retail tax write off) and the organization can then auction it off (win for the organization) and a fourth win for the people of Canton whose work is acknowledged! If one wishes to truly and genuinely support the arts...then buy some art.

The Stick Figures would be perfect for the waiting room of a pediatrician, or a dentist, or any other medical office as they are cute, entertaining and non-offensive. The Hearts could go in a cardiologist office waiting area or a children’s center, or anyplace that needs a little more love and a lot less big box landscapes. Our Fusion project is very contemporary and totally non-objective, perfect for a law office perhaps or a trendy restaurant. The Great Square Inches of Art, same deal, add some glass over the top and you have the perfect original work and the ability to brag that your organization supports the local arts scene and the local community. I will even toss in the photo of people working on your purchase. If one is going to talk the talk about being a supporter of Canton and of the Arts…well walk the walk down 4th street and put your money to a good cause. Don’t just give dollars to these non-profits, give a piece of your own community back to the community it will benefit.

The Jelly-wish could go in a place where people may want to make a wish….lobby of a medical facility or a specialty department? Our Pollock Pieces are available in a variety of sizes and who doesn’t love a little splatter art? Perfect for a lobby, waiting room, public hallway….your personal office…..don’t like my titles, feel free to find your own images hidden within. Have I made my point? Only one more month to shop for original community works!!  Journey Art Gallery, open 12 – 6 Tues – Sat!!

Now on to the Question of the Month:  “You own the next potential Triple Crown winner! What is your race horse’s name?”  (Sorry if I cannot read your handwriting and got it wrong, some are pretty odd!)

Rorg                          Light-Foot                    Not Dog Food
Stolen From Pasture                                       Turtle
Buddy                      Olaf                                Dunk Tripper
Its in the Lead                                                 Neapolitan
Billy Bob                 Falcon                            Glue
Dank Meme             Ruin                               Eshter
Doc Antoon            Calvary’s Secrets            Lady on a Ten
Dreams Come True                                        Sky Wave
Childhood Dreams                                          Alien
Frau Blucher           Pretzel                             Lucky Seeker
Given’in                  Legally Wed                   Bowling for Dollars
Bawarrior                Shampoo Dream             Hoof Hearted
Off Da Charts         Justin Timberlake            Ziggy
Running $$$           Sigh Kick                         Rufus
Cheat the Glue        Factory                            Eat My Dust
Good as Gold          Refuse to Lose                 Medic
‘bout Time              Diva Days                       Fleet A’Foot
Furry                        Diva Dash                       Naked Boot Leg
Hit the Hay             CoopCal                          Magnificent
Lord Castner          Bootie                              Millennium Falcon
Bob The Erd           Horatio                            Cost-A-Lot
PBAIOT                 Skyler                              Treble Cleff
Run Toto Run         Around the Bend             Luna
Run Like the Wind                                          Dash
American Pharao Deuce                                Thunderbolt
Yesterday’s Tomorrow                                   Dunk my Donut
Glue Factory          Run Forest Run               Electric
Stud-ly                   1-HPWR                          4 Rent
Amazing Grace                                               Old Time Hoofer

Again, thank you to everyone who came out to play!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Life lesson number one...make time to play!

Open studio drawing on First Friday in the Journey Art Gallery classroom.

Every month our visitor amaze me! The question this past First Friday and the responses it generated should be a wake-up call to parents, teachers, administrators and those in government who think they know what is best to teach and test in our schools. The question was:  Name a subject, skill or topic you feel should be a mandatory requirement to graduate High School. Reading the list of answers, we seem to be failing our young people big time as far as preparing them to become adults. If these products of our educational system go on to become teachers themselves, without the skills we feel they need to know, when will the cycle be broken so it can be “fixed” with the information in place to make our world better? 

Back in the 1970’s, programs were added to our schools that fell under some type of classification whose content included practical life skills. Not woodshop or home economics type of information (still divided by gender in those days…no girls in woodshop which is where I wanted to be), but programs for students whose plans did not include continuing on to college. Programs such as these taught the stuff all of us should have learned before putting on that cap and gown (which in my case was a bright gold so I looked an oversized banana). Back in the day, our parents were still involved, but not helicopters or bulldozers by any means. They set examples of how to go to work, keep a house, maintain friendships, step in with advice but get out of the way when we had to fight our own battles, watched our grades, but not harass our teachers and so on. Somewhere along the lines, that system fell apart and a subject of some of my past postings so no repeat rantings here. (You’re welcome)

64 answers to our question were actually written onto the chalkboards, but I overheard many more say that their choice was already on the board so they did not contribute. It may be time to allow for tally marks to indicate repeats.  Before I get to the list however, a few sentences about our Community Participation Project and upcoming events related to them.

The project this month was to create a fusion of colors and shapes as determined by the numbers that turned up on three dice. (Yes, I know that “dice” is not the plural form, but the plural is awkward and not used by most people so I will suffer the grammatical wounds and use the more plebeian tense.) Each month I learn more about how people think and how much joy they get from doing something so simple but that can have a big impact. When limited to one shape and a specific number of them, decisions held greater importance. If given an unlimited number and choice of any shapes, participants were not as invested in their overall location…the restriction of these options became a personal design challenge and created a sense of belonging to a greater whole. Simple lessons were learned….some people can’t let go of the grid, some don’t want their piece touching others, colors appear to change sometimes, optical illusions are created, edges are sacred…..the power of a little piece of paper! The final product is a dazzling neon fusion unachievable by any planned process. It had to grow organically and haphazardly over a period of hours.

All of our projects (the stick figures, the jelly-wish, the heArt attack, the loom weaving (now finished to 9 x 3.5 feet off the frame), the great square inches, the fusion and many, many Pollock pieces) will be on sale starting June 27th and continuing through mid-July, to raise money to fund more projects.  Our July project will be outside as the Snarky Studio will be filled with about 23 or so of Hoard Couture dress series. Now on to the answers!

Name a subject, skill or topic you feel should be a mandatory requirement to graduate High School.
I have tried to divide these in to relevant categories….

Traditional: how to spell (2 votes) – be able to read – handwriting 101 – primary English speaker – cosmetology – roman numerals – cursive – speaking – more math – art history/appreciation – art (2) – theater – play an instrument – learn guitar – US citizenship

Personal: meditation – self love – self control – self respect – yoga

Practical: vaccinations – drive a stick shift – boil water – know how to swim – drive safely – spend a week in the woods exploring – stand up comedy

Financial: banking – value of one cent – self-sufficiency – balance a checkbook – live within means – credit management – money management – budgeting – financial independence -  make change for a dollar (without the use of calculator or device…math done by brain power)

Social Skills: kindness to animals – how to be a good listener - how to keep quiet when necessary – both sides of an argument – sense of humor – that success takes time – time management – tolerance – grace – manners – social skills – common sense 101 – morals – patience (2) – responsibility – respect

Adulthood: parenting (2) – how to be an adult – sexuality and genders  - change a diaper – relationship skills – alternatives to abstinence – spend time with and respect elders

All good answers and observations. Thank you to all who come by to participate and play. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Yes and No

Yes I can and no I won’t. Is it just artists that get asked to do things in a certain way? “Can you draw my picture?” Yes I can.  “How much does it cost?”  At least $100 depending upon (interrupted)… “Can you do it for $10?” No I won’t.  “But that is all I want to pay.”  Take a selfie.

“Can you paint a picture of my dog?”  Yes I can. “Can you do it really big from this picture off my phone, I want to put it in my bedroom.” Yes, I can. “How much?”  At least $200 depending upon (interrupted)… “Can you do by tomorrow for $50, I want surprise my boyfriend.” No, I won’t.  “But I need it right now.” Take a picture.

Now this happens far more often than one would think. Standing at the checkout and the bagger knows you are an artist….”if I bring in a picture of my husband, can you draw him?  I only want to pay $10 though”. I hear it from people wandering in off the street who like the pretty pictures, (and no, that dress is not a lampshade). They like the artwork but only want me to make something from a picture pulled out of a pocket that was most likely printed off of a website that posts pictures of other people’s work. “Can you paint this?” Yes, I can.  “Can you do it for under $50 bucks?” No, I won’t. And not because of the money, but because of the ethical issues of copying somebody else’s work. “But I like this one and you can paint.” Yes, I can, I am glad you do, but no, that is not right to copy somebody else’s art, just buy if from that artist. “But they want too much money.”  (sigh)

 I like it when I am standing there in a paint covered apron, brushes in hand, and get asked if I am an artist.  Oh how I wish to say “no, I am the electrician just filling in while the artist goes to the bathroom”. I bet they would believe me. 

As I get older, my brain is working faster than my mouth. Good thing too. Probably because there is a clog someplace in the process of getting thoughts organized enough to make a coherent sentence, a circumstance which I will gladly embrace for my own personal safety.  For instance, while working in the yard, covered in sweat and such, going in and out of the garage… a person asks “do you live here?”  Mouth says “yes”, brain says “no, but do you know how much crap I can steal from this house by hiding it inside these rocks and looking like every other landscaper in my skorts and logo t-shirt?” (skorts are a combo skirt and shorts deal so those of us who hate shorts can still stoop down to place rocks without flashing the nosy passersby.)

Back to the art thing though. Apply the question to a different profession. For example…my husband is an ObGyn. “Can you find out if I have (insert a VD of your choice)?”  Yes, I can.  “How long does it take to find out?”  You need to make an (interrupted)…. “Can you tell me today because I have a date tonight?” No, I can’t.  “But what if I do?”  Take precautions.

What about the plumber. “Can you unclog stuff that has been backed up for a few days?” Yes, I can. “How much does it cost?”  About $200 to walk in the door and (interrupted)…  “Can you just stop by on your way home and do it after work?” No, I won’t.  “But it is filling up the tub and then I will have to call a real plumber.”  To which the professional and hardworking plumber just might reply….Go to hell.