A bunch of questions, answered in a ledger, filled with humorous stories of this life & #HowIGotHere titled:
“How Many Folks, Exactly Does It Take To Hold A Good Woman Up?”
Because I’m tired, part of my “Can We Talk” Series that will drop as soon as it gets picked up.
Debating whether I’ll include original art in the series, probably. Why not?
Can we talk? Inter-generational discussions, from Camp Do It Yourself, literally a camp where campers create activities, to climbing telephone poles while pregnant to where I am now, with my paintings in Crop of Kismet Exhibition and later this week, my art showing in the “Salve” exhibition at New Art Corridor Gallery in Newton.
And I’m also so very proud of last month, when fourteen of my paintings were featured in a solo art exhibition in episode 4 of “Naomi” the newest DC hero airs on the CW Network.
What if art, by its very nature- the use of our eyes as we view it, to make us feel what we see- also makes us feel empathy? And compassion?
I look at the word heART 💜 and I see the word “art” in it.
Of course I’ve typed it so it would be easy for you to see, it’s a little subliminal, but there it is, plain as day. See it “heart” ? I do too and it makes me smile.
Lately my observations of every day experiences have been like this, a tad awe-inspiring. It’s almost as if everything is an epiphany, as my “Ah ha” moments become more and more plentiful.
Or perhaps, I’ve grown up enough to slow down.
I see little things more often, and as if for the first time. Because although I can be certain that the word “art” has always been part of my vocabulary, from Valentine’s Day candies to Mother’s Day cards, I’ve never noticed it before. Or perhaps it’s been used as a symbol and has lost some of its power in translation, on it’s way to becoming a universal icon: ❤️
Whatever the reason that I didn’t notice it before, I’m noticing now, and now that I’m aware of it, I’m sharing it. Fun facts 🙂
I’ve also noticed the word “small” includes the word “All” which makes the word a bit oxymoronic…? (Ok so I just made that word up, as an example of “moron” which is included in that word. Are you picking up what I’m laying down? 😉
It’s all been a bit of an adventure, making connections between seemingly separate things, which brings me full circle back to us, people…
We too are alike, there are part of ourselves mirrored in one another, we are indeed more alike than we are different.
We need to see and feel our connectedness. We need to have empathy when we see one another. We need to acknowledge and have the capacity to feel sympathy. Because the sad truth is, that whenever we see a homeless person, or a refugee or someone being challenged by life, it very well could be anyone of us “But for his grace, go you or I”
Imagine putting on their shoes and walking a city block wearing them, running in them. Ouch! The discomfort should lead to sympathy, which should lead to compassion, which should lead to action. Imagine that. No more homelessness.
Heart. Seeing and realizing that we can do better, making art that rite of passage, so we see one another and care.
How about you? What are you seeing? I’m listening to see 👁👁
Remember when Hallmark’s Mahogany card collection first launched? Back then the brand was partnered with Dr. Maya Angelou and it was exquisite. Her words graced the inside of your cards & the art work on the outside was reflective of the depth and richness of her words and captured the black market’s sentiment succinctly.
I don’t know who needs to hear this… but you need to change your cover work back to the more colorful and uplifting art that was at least on the upper end of your greeting card spectrum. Dignified & queenly.
Someone told me don’t bother to write to you here on social media. But I say, why not?!?
They tell me it’s only a low level Hallmark employee who reads & runs your social media content. I don’t care.
I tried to reach out to Hallmark cards via the traditional avenue, no reply. So here I am. I make my own greeting cards.
My art can be seen in the “Crop of Kismet” exhibition and recently I had a solo exhibition on television’s #Naomi in the opening scenes of episode 4 ( Airing and streaming on The CW Network)
Next month my work will be included in the curated “Salve” exhibition at the New Art Corridor Gallery and upcoming exhibitions include a showing in Texas.
Me at my 1st Group Exhibition September 2020. I want to use “circa” but I know exactly when this life changing moment happened.
Back then I was so happy! I was invited to my first showing. And I sold my first painting and it was to a buyer over seas. I was such a novice, I needed the gallerist @erik.grau to explain everything to me. Thank you Erik 🙏💕
It was the first steps to what’s become an amazing art journey. And even though it was during a pandemic, it was truly the best of times! So grateful for all the wonderful opportunities.
I’ve since joined the NYC Crit Club where I’ve met and talked with some fantastic artists, gallerists and teachers. I’ve learnt how to price my art, how to showcase my work and most importantly, for me, how to archive my work.
It’s humbling to people appreciate the work you do. I try to pay it forward, stay upbeat and encouraging. And most importantly try to install some do the confidence that so many people who’ve never met me have given me. Shining their light so that I might see.
I’ve been interviewed quite a few times. And I was nervous at first, but I’ve discovered that I like it. I suppose I’ll share some of the interviews at a future date, but for now…
Painting shown: “She Named Her Daughter Hope” (courtesy photo)
I started to explore the world of art, not as a creator, not as a business, not as an admirer, but as a patron. I wanted to understand who bought art, why did they buy what they bought. Who collected art and who was making money from all that art being bought and sold.
Sadly, not the artists. I purchased a book titled “The Art of Buying Art”, by Alan Bamberger.
I didn’t know how to show my art and I didn’t understand how to price my art to sell. There’s choices an artist has to make in order to be commercially viable. Decisions on whether or not to outright sell an individual work versus making quality prints and selling those.
Then there’s platforms to sell your art on, like Etsy and there’s established sites like Artsy, who won’t necessarily allow you to use their platform to sell, but you’re welcome to see what is selling.
Then there’s renting and leasing your art, there’s a company online named TurningArt they’re art brokers, with a set of clients who rent/lease art from them. They actually sign artists on specifically hoping for commercial success so they can rent/lease the prints that they make from the artist’s original work (at no cost to the artist) they then give the artist a percentage of the lease or rented art.
I took an art critique class and learnt there’s a formula for outright art sales, length + width times a predetermined dollar amount. That predetermined dollar amount is tricky if you’re an emerging artist, probably on the low end of $30.
And oh, apparently there’s discounting, so even if you do use the formula, depending on who’s buying, they’ll expect a discount. My goal is to sell to contemporary art museums, so I’ve factored their 40% discount into the price 😉
There are commissions to galleries that range from as high as 60% of the price of a sold piece of art that was shown at the gallery.
There’s shipping costs that a buyer pays and there’s shipping costs that the artist must pay for if a work is accepted for a showing, because the gallery won’t pay for it.
And there’s insurance fees that are the artist’s responsibility based on the shipping and replacement costs of the work being shipped.
Before I forget, there’s art packing supplies. Yes from bubble wrap to corner packers. Those special boxes for art work can be expensive. However, there are companies that will do everything for you, packing and driving your Art to its USA destination for you. I’m not sure of their costs, but it’s good to know they exist.
I suppose you’re wondering how much a shipping box for a painting can cost, I purchased a corrugated box last month and it was $62.00 before sales tax and without shipping.
These were the thoughts I had while I painted. I wondered if anyone would want to see my art. I wondered if anyone would want to buy my art, I wasn’t sure. But just in case, I kept on painting…
Up next… I’m invited to a showing and I sell a painting!
I started painting in 2016. By then I was nearly six decades old and had lived the proverbial “Good life”.
I had been happily married for nearly half my life and I was a mother of two adult daughters. I could righteously say that I had “been there, done that,” and smile about my achievements.
So when the doctors entered my hospital room and said that I was seriously ill and solemnly released me, it was life-changing. Painting then became therapeutic for me and I embraced it.
Writing for me, was a dream. When I write down the last word of the last sentence in the last chapter, when I know I’ve strung together the words flawlessly… it’s a moment of euphoria. I’ve made my point and I’ve captured the human experience in a character perfectly. It’s what makes the isolated writer reconnect to the world. It’s comparable to a “runner’s high” the moment when a jogger hits their stride and endorphins are released into the body. For me, there’s that deep satisfaction in writing words.
But in 2016, the very blood vessels meant to carry the life source throughout my body began to fail to do so, my organs began to systematically shut down. By the time the doctors could stop the failing vessels, I was left unable to concentrate.
For years, I struggled with the five stages of grief that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross the psychiatrist wrote about in “On Death and Dying” a book I was very familiar with, from an earlier loss.
She writes that the stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And although I was now out of the immediate danger of losing my life, I was now fully aware that I had lost my ordinary life.
I could no longer climb up a set of stairs pain-free. Gone. I could no longer hold a thought long enough to write a sentence. Gone. I could no longer go food shopping by myself. Gone, baby gone. I couldn’t walk down the street without a cane. Gone. All gone. I was hopelessly, physically and emotionally impaired and I was mad as hell about it.
The first year I painted in silence. My work was limited to abstracts. Spatial forms, dull colors and disrupted brushstrokes interrupted by tears and the constant badgering question “why me?”
Then one day, I got my answer. It was clear, it was concise and it was absolute. My answer came in the form of a question, it was: “why not me?” And a light turned on, I got it. I understood. It stung, but I could now understand and it helped me to move on.
“Why not me?” has become my mantra. I use it in all phases of my life. It sustains me and it emboldens me. As a positive motivation it fuels and guides me along my next steps.
It would take another four years before I could pronounce the name of my disease, but I was respectful of it. I started listening to music while I painted. I began to walk a little taller with my cane and eventually, I would learn how to pronounce the name of the disease that had given me a different life.
In 2021, I started to write again. I wrote a story about my experience and named it “Grieving My Ordinary Life” it’s published in Chicken Soup For The Soul.
Long before I was a mom, I was a writer. And it would’ve been interesting to see where I could’ve gone with my dreams, but then life happened and I got pregnant, having lost a baby earlier in my life, I made the very conscientious decision to stop writing. I wanted to enjoy raising my kids.
Because the truth is, writing is a very solitary existence and I had a very real fear that I would ignore my children if I continued writing.
I was never the kind of writer who could stop writing on a dime and pick it back up on the ones-twos. I could not set aside time for writing and hope my babies could respect it.
Being of my DNA, how could they see imaginary lines of thought, crafted into sentences and held together with metaphors and dangling modifiers? They could no more see my boundaries than the man on the moon. And my mental glue couldn’t hold it together when I was interrupted by my little darlings, who liked to run around my stool.
I gave up writing, so I might enjoy their little round hands cradling my face and telling me that they loved me and good night.
I can’t speak of anyone else’s sacrifices, but mine were complete and they were absolute. I personally understood the question in Langston Hughes’ poem, “what happens to a dream deferred?” I knew, because it looked like me.
And so the years passed, until one day POOF! Just like that it was over, my babies went from pre-school to college and I looked around our home and they were gone.
Their sweet dreams were now my memories. All around me and my husband was their stuff of what once was. Melancholy looks like this…
Each thing I touched in the house seemed so dear. I was emotional, crying in the afternoon and sniffling at night, knowing that I needed to find my way back to me.
Almost overnight, we became empty nesters, aging in place with our stuff. Then one day we decided to rearrange the furniture in the house and suddenly I had what Virginia Woolf had written about, “a room of one’s own”, and it included a new view, me as a writer.
It had been seventeen years since I had written fiction. As I redefined myself, I found that I liked to explain things and that I was good at technical writing. I used the internet to find freelance jobs and Twitter as my sounding board and started writing under the pseudonym Technygal.
As a proud BabyBoomer, I found people enjoyed my tweets and my writing. These were the early days of Big Data and tech innovation, it was exciting, disruptive. I took coding classes, not to write code, but to better understand IT technology.
Siri and Alexa were in their infancy, growing up quickly and I understood and wrote about that and artificial intelligence, smart technology and emerging IT, because I loved it.
I was invited to conventions in major cities and had meetings with reps from the AARP to the Washington Post! And somewhere along the line I named a corporation and had my picture on the Nasdaq tower in New York’s Time Square.
Within two years, it came to an abrupt halt when my life completely changed and once again I stopped writing, and just like that POOF! It was over.
I’d have to redefine myself, this time I’d become TechnyGalleries.
February 2, 2022: Last night, an amazing thing happened, I literally watched fourteen of my paintings float across my television screen in the opening scene of episode 104 of Ava DuVernay’s newest show, Naomi – airing Tuesday nights @ 9pm ET on The CW Network and streaming for free on The CW App. It was surreal.
On the same day that the show aired, my art was included in a curated group show I Like Your Work- Crop of Kismet, Winter Exhibition curated by Will Hutnick, wait… what?
Yes, three of my paintings are part of the month long show at the same time that Naomi airs on TV. Here’s the link: https://bit.ly/3ulNWyT
Meanwhile, way up in Watersmeet, MI my art was showing in The Contemporary at Northern Waters Resort Gallery, tribally owned and operated by the Lax Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, curated Self-Made Genius Art Exhibition.
Meanwhile, a month earlier one of my paintings had won 3rd place in The Cultural Center of Cape Cod’s A Perfect Moment art exhibition.
I’m excited to share my art journey, some of the bits and pieces look like they’ve come together seamlessly. But always there was my drive and determination, as I plotted and planned next steps. Add to this a fierce shamelessness…
I started painting in 2016. I’ve never taken an art class and have no formal art training. I’ve been called a prolific artist, archiving nearly two-hundred paintings on ArtworksArchive.Com. It’s a tedious task, logging details and information of every painting- when, where, how and what-not, when honestly, all I want to do is paint.
Two years ago, I approached a New York art gallerist, who looked at my paintings, listened to me speak and called me an “Outsider”.
It didn’t occur to me to be offended. It fueled me. I started a blog, this blog and artists like Chris Ludke, a trained artist on WordPress wrote to ask if she could share my art on her blog. And that one kind gesture gave me confidence.
But I’m finding time to write now, because last week, while I was building layers of textured paint on a new painting, my easel collapsed under the weight of the dried paint. So I duct-taped it back together, but realized it wasn’t stable. While I was waiting for my new easel… Naomi aired and well, I’m over the moon with happiness and speechless and humbled, so humbled…
By the look of things, this is going to be a long journey and that’s a good thing. Every couple of days or so, I promise I’ll come back and add to this story, my story about my art. Onward.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but we need to get back to the basics, back to sitting around with our family & friends playing card games & board games, it’s key to understanding compassion & empathy.
It builds social skills, allows us to chit-chat, to strategize and to laugh. And the good thing is, it’s sustainable. Especially during a never-ending pandemic. Particularly this weekend, during a snowstorm in the northeast. Because as hard as it is to imagine, one day you’ll look back and these will have become your “good old days” (because you were younger 😉
So… Imagine sitting in a circle, in the original FaceTime position, it’s your turn. You zoom in, playing boardgames face to face, being human feels good doesn’t it? The ultimate, put down your devices moment.
And no worries, it’s not a physical workout! Having extra covid weight isn’t a detriment as you race around the board. Likewise, dealing out cards doesn’t require athleticism, just a little basic dexterity. And your skills improve with repetition & the element of luck levels the playing field so we all can win. But the very best part is that while we play, we all have a chance to effortlessly become our better selves.
Then there’s the memories we make, little gems that help make Hallmark moments.
For those who like lists:
1. Playing boardgames is networking👏 2. It builds confidence. 3. It strengthens relationships 4. Helps us put our devices down 👍
The Art of playing games makes us feel good when we see it.