2013: My Year of Visual Art

I’ve been remiss in keeping my artist blog up-to-date. I started this blog last June in an effort to rekindle my passion for creating visual art. I’d like to say that the reason that I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been busy painting, drawing, and experimenting with new mediums. The truth is I’ve allowed my poetry to dominate my time – which is definitely not a bad thing at all. In 2012, I had more individual poems poems published than in any previous year. Also, two friends, Jayne Marek, Mary Sexson, and I started a poetry group called Company of Women which had many “gigs” between May and December and kept us all traveling between Toledo and Indianapolis on a regular basis for our readings. Again, not a bad thing at all.

Then there’s that little thing called employment that keeps me busy, and as an adjunct instructor of creative writing classes and assorted composition classes for two community colleges I have a lot of student writings to tend to besides my own. This is not a bad thing at all as: A) I enjoy my students, and teaching, and B) I need the income.

Toward the end of 2012, I found out through more many medical tests than I ever had in my life that I had a large gallstone and that my gallbladder needed to be removed. This was both a good and a bad thing – it was a good thing that it was discovered before the stone moved to block any number of ducts that would cause me a lot of pain and send me to the ER at any given time. The bad thing – as an adjunct, I have no medical insurance. Having debt is a stressful thing…and as a starving artist through the years I’ve learned to deal with not having money, but the stress is still a burden. But by going back to school I thought that maybe, just maybe, after I had my degrees and was able to teach that those days of financial stress would finally be behind me. Unfortunately, as an adjunct, not so much. I digress.

So what does all of this have to do with my art? Well, it’s a new year – a new start. Three days into 2013, I had that gallbladder removed and I healed much faster than I ever thought I would. And, the surgeon was very good to me and lowered his fees and I have a decent payment plan that I can handle to pay him back. Even though I didn’t have a lot of down time from the surgery, it did give me some time when I could think and plan for this year and the future. In those plans, of course continuing my poetry, but art is set to make a strong comeback. How with teaching and writing? I’m going to make time to create new pieces and experiment. I have some big plans in the works which will be debuted right here later this year.

It’s three weeks into the new year and I’m happy to report that I have a one-person show at Starbucks in Perrysburg, OH, titled “Faces: Pet and People Portraiture,” slated for February and March; I have a new pastel piece, “You’re Giving Me the Blues,” (pictured in this post) that will be hanging in the Music Mania Exhibit at Way Library, also in Perrysburg. Both of those exhibits are graciously sponsored by Prizm Creative Community.

And, I just received word that I will have a one-person show at Downtown Latte in downtown Toledo in October (It pays to be a coffee lover!). So I’m claiming 2013 as my year of visual art, the year where I keep adding more and more work, where I keep adding more places to have my work seen, and where I commit to keeping up my artist blog. You're Giving Me the Blues

Visual Art Immersion

June was when I last posted on my blog. I feel bad about that, because I’d intended on posting a blog a week once I started; however, the purpose for starting this blog was to find my way back to my passion for the visual arts and to sustain it this time.I’ve accomplished much of that goal this summer, and for that I have no apologies. I started out by being inspired by a quote I found by Georgia O’Keefe. From there, I read a book of her letters, Lovingly, Georgia, and then a book about her: How Georgia Became O’Keefe by Karen Karbo, and found them both inspirational. My friend, Glenn , and I went to all of the Art Walks this summer in downtown Toledo, Ohio. We attended Art in the Park in Plymouth, Michigan, and the huge Ann Arbor Street Fair which was a show that I’d helped prepare art for when I worked in the studio of F. B. Fogg, back when my dear friend, Ann Johnson owned it, but had never had the chance to attend. I also dragged Glenn (who at one point said he’d been “art-ed out!”) to the Cleveland Museum of Art where we saw a great exhibit, Youth and Beauty, to the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, and then this past weekend we went to one of my favorite places of all time: The Art Institute of Chicago. I got to see Hopper’s Nighthawks, which is a favorite, and not always there since it goes out on loan. In college, during one of my drawing classes, the professor told me that my style reminded him of Hopper, and I’ve never forgotten that (no, that’s not why I’m attracted to his work, but it doesn’t hurt). In addition, I found that there’s an entire gallery devoted to Georgia O’Keefe and Alfred Stieglitz, and then there’s van Gogh, who I’ve loved since I first saw his work when I was in high school. I was also happy to see the special exhibit, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, before it closes on September 3rd.  If all that weren’t enough, I’ve had a wonderful correspondence the past few weeks with Ann, who has been so inspirational to me since she was my art teacher in high school – and again, she’s given me so many words of wisdom and encouragement. Nevertheless, all of this art immersion wouldn’t have the same impact if I actually didn’t do art myself. And I’m happy to report that things are starting to happen – I’m actually starting to be productive in the visual arts again. I’ve taken part in the Toledo Museum of Art‘s Doodle! where they actually put my doodle up as one of the featured Doodles! of the week. Some of my art is on exhibit at Way Library in Perrysburg, Ohio, through September 20th – with some new pieces in it. And, here’s a couple of other drawings I’ve completed – so far:

A drawing I made for a friend

The drawings are both done in soft pastel. I plan to utilize more pastels in my work, but I’m also anxious to get back to some oil painting. School starts for me next week, so I’m hoping to not only be more faithful to my blogging, but to keep up my productive trend with my visual art, and to continue, as always, with my poetry – as I keep up with all of my classes that I teach so that I can keep doing what I’m doing.