I recently had a conversation via text with John Marcella Grant who I am acquainted with as a result of Facebook. I can’t fault Facebook that much. Many friendships and connections have happened in this fashion over the years so I am grateful. No, I don’t go on it too much because it would affect my creating if misused but it is a useful way to connect to other creatives. John wrote “Discovering The LA Artworld” with many of my fellow colleagues in it. No, I am not in it as we just recently met virtually, but I look forward to receiving my copy. He had contacted me to exchange ideas and more and then apologized for it being Christmas. I told him “Art Does Not Stop For Turkey.”
Here is me at a gathering stopping for Turkey. I am here with my friend of many years Dee Wallace. She is a working actress (you may remember her as the mom on ET, the movie and she also writes books on healing) Dee always does this huge gathering. I bring the yam dish. Most of our original friends have gone to that party in the sky but we are still here. Just three of us left but she always finds new friends for the table.
The Christmas Holidays is not an easy time to create. I manage it as best I can. Balancing social media, websites, applying for grants (once in a blue moon I get one), and art business in general can be daunting. My compulsion is to draw and paint so I only make time once a month for a computer web day like today. I work until my dyslexia takes over. At one time I thought I was allergic to computers. My hair rose on the nape of my neck just going to my emails.
Today I wanted to work on this painting but needed to catch up on my art business responsibilities. Remember that tomorrow will come!
If I don’t draw or paint every day I feel heavy at heart. I have this need to unload the images and thoughts in my head on a regular basis. No matter how much drawing and painting I do, my head continually fills up. The weight of my thoughts cause my head to unscrew and end up on the floor. It is a bloody mess to clean up and I often feel a desire to apologize at holiday gatherings for being headless. No one notices but me. I avoid mirrors at all costs just in case I see my headless reflection.
Here is Pickles reminding me that I am not “Headless”.
Today has been a headless day spent updating this site and others, keeping my word to curators and galleries to “spread the word” for a number of exhibits coming up. I am not a multitasked personality, so I meditate first, make a list and go one step at a time. My writing of this blog was on the list and my determination to fulfill the list is based on my word and the goal that if I do my homework I will be able to paint tomorrow. My mantra is: Do my art business work today and tomorrow I am free to paint.
Pickles the laid back monk with the dark glasses taught me this mantra:
I am only as good as my word and keeping my word leads to freedom . This is truth: plain and simple.
Today in the 21st Century artists are one man shows. There are many who can pay for the luxuries of promotion, Facebook management, Instagram likes for hire and more. I am not in that category but have shown with many who are. I, like many of my collegues have been exhibiting and working on projects for decades and yes, we do get money for art. No, It is not regular but better through the years. I’m fine with that and happy for other’s successes. Their great wins and energy often overflows my way. We are here to be purposeful and rejoice in each person’s successes. If one has the money for promotion to help that along, then they should! Remember if you are in a group show with that person, the overflow can benefit everyone, so be happy for them!! Help each other succeed when ever possible.
The holiday is a stressful time for me and others. We have all suffered losses of loved ones. Some can’t help but go back in time for that nostalgia, especially if it was happy. I avoid going back as my childhood was pain, loss and chaos. I do remember wanting to be a nun when I was 7. I saw this old movie with Audrey Hepburn. “The Nun Story”. I was hooked. She was a heroine , pure of heart and was my role model for that whole year. Every time things were confusing at home I would close my eyes and imagine I was her. Is there a movie that gives you hope? Watch it if you can.
If you find that memory lane is a journey down a dark path of regret then turn around and get off the freeway. Binging on Netflix, and stale donuts will not lead to the studio exit. Yes, a nice sweet is tasty but only in moderation. There are remedies one can do. Ask Pickles, the laid back furry monk! If you are not mobile, coping mechanisms can be trickier but determine to do your best, not my best- YOUR BEST. I have had many surgeries through the years. I use my sketchbook to hang in there. It is not easy but if determined you can prop pillows in bed and sketch. If I can do it, so can you. Accept that healing takes time and will eventually bring you back to your old self.
Here are ways that might help:
Read a good book to keep you on track.
I love the book “Do It” by Peter McWilliams and have re-read it many times as there are many pearls of wisdom I wish I had when I was young.
See how worn this is? Each page is a gem.
Create everyday . You can’t just “want” to be an artist. Being an artist is not romantic. It is a job so don’t wait for that “feeling”, just do it. Wanting doesn’t mean anything. You have to contribute your abilities while you are here. This is your purpose. That purpose will keep you alive. When I was pregnant with my son, I had to stay in the hospital from 29 weeks on. I drew in bed and knew I had to be patient and get past my fears. I made a decision that my purpose was to have my son as safely as possible and to do what ever was required even if it meant being hooked up to an IV, not moving around, and being washed by nurses every day. I was weak and was given an “option” to not have him. They said he was fine but I was not. I knew he and I would be alright. I listened to my heart. It was a leap of faith. I flatlined during delivery but am still here. We both are fine. He is 28 now and very dear to me. What does this have to do with art? Everything! I made a hard decision not knowing the outcome. Art is not an easy road. You finish an exhibit and move on to the next. If you are lucky, someone writes about you. There is no real ring to grab on the merry-go-round. You go round and round. Once a project is done, the next one begins. Fine Art careers are fluctuant. Be wise and accept this. It is easy to give up and give in but this is not what makes life worth living. It is the compulsion to keep doing even with the knowledge of uncertainty.
Waiting for inspiration leads to expiration.
This painting was months in the making. I never look at time when working. Sometimes it was just 5 hours at the canvas that day and sometimes 15 hours with little brushes. The people in the work are dear to me. Some I know and love and others I sketched while riding the metro train. They are all dear to me because they exist even through their struggles.
Gary Brewer (artist, art writer), his wife Aline Mare(artist) and son Cyrus(amazing chef) are in the forefront on the left. Truly they are dynamic artists and freinds. This is a magical family that I am blessed to know. Who do you know that brings a smile to your face or a tear of gratitude and joy? Think of them when you need to smile. You are not alone in this life.
“Mutable Delirious Confluence”, 48″ x 66″, oil on canvas, 2018
Art does not happen if you have to be in the mood. I have often sat all day just doodling and then “ZAP”! Those doodles have gone into that wonderful zone. You don’t have to matter anymore. It just is. You are there, doing it.
This is a small section of a large painting. The model is a dancer in the Heidi Duckler Dance Company. The patterns develop as a result of “doodling”.
Shower, brush your teeth and floss twice a day. “What!” you say. Yes- take time for hygeine. The first sign of fading from this life is a lack of hygeine or worst, the inability to bath due to financial burden. If you have a room and a shower, and a job that pays the bills, you have been blessed. I have lived in the worst of places during my youth but felt happy. Some places were not bad at all. I had basic jobs but could pay the rent, and had a place to sleep and a shower. I was grateful always. You must look at each day as an opportunity. The main battle faced is you. The battle of your thoughts are your enemy so make your bed, clean yourself up and have your armor on. And don’t forget to tie your shoelaces. Each decision you make will have an outcome. Make the bed that you want to sleep in, make wise choices when ever possible. Habits are your friend, so make good ones. Structure is everything. Even if you feel awful, the structure of doing will help.
And if you are really depressed, see a doctor. There is no shame in getting help and there is also a possibility that you might need to balance your hormones. Sometimes there are true medical reasons why you can’t get out of that dark place. The author of “Do It” openly admits that he uses prescribed medication for episodes of depression. He had written dozens of books and was successful outwardly but realized that he needed help.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get things done as you planned. Forgive yourself and begin again tomorrow.
De-Clutter a drawer every day.
Clean up a room each day.
Draw and video tape your art process and post it on instagram. Inspire others in this way. Help them the way you want to be helped.
Take a walk or exercise every day, even if it is only 30 minutes. It will raise your endorphins and that affects moods.
Do a good deed and don’t tell anyone. Then it is truly good.
If the holidays are painful put that in your creating. When I was young and all through my 20″s, I endured difficult years. My parents and many others close to me died early and I was plagued by depression and losses experienced early on. I lived in awful places and felt like broken glass. I got through it by creating art. I eventually formed friendships that became family. I married and had a son and made amazing friends. I am not rich in money but am richer then most in my relationships. I know that many never marry or have children but form family bonds from friends and furry animals in need, . You do not need to have children to be whole. Conception is the great misconception if it is for the sole purpose of helping a relationship. I wanted it with all my heart but that is my experience. It is the greatest pain and joy one will ever experience if that is what you really desire. I grew tremendously and love being a mom but it is not meant for everyone.
Treat each day as if it is your last. BE PRESENT in each moment. Be kind to who ever you meet. If you can make someone’s day better just by a smile or by listening to their story, do it. You are meant to be here for what ever time you are given. That time is precious. Be a leader in your garden and take care of the weeds. The best treatment you can give to your family and friends is to stay here and fulfill your purpose for yourself and others. No matter how difficult that purpose is, your job is to stay. Rome was not built in a day and the Mona Lisa took time. Be good to yourself, be good to others. And don’t stop pursuing or allow your thoughts to take you down.
I wrote a statement in a post recently and a friend (we see each other at art gatherings) and gifted curator Jillith Moniz thought it was a wonderful prose. I give this to each of you with my heart.
“How great is each person.”
My friend Genie Davis on the right always greets people with her heart. Her love comes from the inside out. She makes me smile.
January 18, 2020- SoLa Contemporary “Women By Women” Curator Sharon Allicotti Group Exhibition
January “Drawn to Dance” -Sharon Allicotti Curator. Collaboration with Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. Dates to be announced
April 2020- Mash Gallery 98% Curator: David Rubin- Details to follow
February 2022 Solo Exhibition MOAH Cedar , Lancaster CA- Details to follow