A Sad Little Story with a Happy Ending

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve visited these pages. I’ve been working, working, having surgery, rehabbing, working , creating, working and working. And after a conversation with my son Ben this morning, I realized that I miss sharing my life and experiences in this way.
Many people have asked me how I got to this point after listening to my interview with Ben on his Mad Potential podcast (shameless nepotistic plug), and so here we go..my sad little story.
Many years ago, perhaps during the Jurassic Era , I went to Art and Design High School in New York City. I was 15 1/2, a self proclaimed hippie, complete with twiggies (ask your mother if you don’t know what they are)fringe, and a giant portfolio that made life miserable for every business man taking the subway at 7 am weekday mornings.
My life consisted of music, art, Beatles,weed and peace signs. Our teachers told us that e could make a living in the art field, and I believed them. Had I known how hard it should have been, I might have never tried, but after graduation and a brief flirtation with F.I.T. I had a job IN MY FIELD!! I worked in the garment center drawing fashion illustrations for the sales department of a large textile company…. I will leave my job interview with Al Goldstein for Screw magazine for another blog. So much to say about women in the workplace…but I digress.
And then on to several 9 to 5’s…fashion coordinator, screenprint designer,director of fashion marketing.. making some money, always drawing and happy to be able to use my art to make a sort of living.. When I had my sons, Josh and Ben, I worked as a freelance artist, designing prints for children’s wear and part timing at Tower Records and The American Red Cross to make ends meet.
All of those years, I dreamt of doing my own art..not being an artist for hire,but an artist for myself, making enough money not to always be worried, doing what I wanted to do and leave as a legacy.
After my husband Pete died suddenly at the age of 52, there I was again with a 9 to 5, working as a decorative artist in a retail store, wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants, trapped in world where I couldn’t even wear the clothes that expressed the way I felt each day. I was EXTREMELY grateful to have a job that would provide for me and my guys, but still struggling to make enough to live. I started doing murals in peoples homes on weekends to supplement my salary. It helped me keep my house, keep painting and ruin my knees and hips.I worked 7 days a week, but it helped me work thru my grief and my loss.
Being in creative arts, the struggle for me has always been the same,,..lucky enough to fulfill my heart and my muse, but rarely making enough $$

After taking a leap of faith and getting invaluable help from my visionary niece, Nicole, I opened my first shop on Etsy.  Now, six years later, I have two shops there, and my art website, where you are reading these words.

My happy ending?  I look forward to getting to work in my home studio everyday, doing what I love, creating new art for myself and my clients, memories of moments in time in caricatures, and wearing my pajamas all day if I want to, ’cause my boss is just SO understanding. She rocks.

 

Groundhog Day

i woke up this morning and had my first cup of coffee and read some online news and laughed at the idiot politician and his need to share his underpants pictures.

and i went online and answered my mail and convos and shared some stories with friends and promoted my work and got into the studio at 10 am and started to paint..and stopped to research the justin bieber bank that i was painting (no, i am not kidding) and then i had to peek at my mail and then went back to the bank and then it was time for lunch..but i had to finish something before i stopped to eat, so i painted a wipes case and went to the kitchen and hated all the lunch choices , so i made more coffee and went to Yahoo news and laughed about an idiot politician who thought that paul revere was warning the british.

and i went back to the studio, and painted justin and then i went online and answered some mail and convos and did some research on a new group of caricatures that i wanted to do for Lesliemehlart and then finished the bieber bank.

and I put on the TV and heard on the “news” that Kimye did something and I wondered why that was “news” and I got pissed off and misspelled a name on a frame.

and then i started a step stool and while the name was drying finished another wipes case, and realized that i had to order some inventory and was on hold with a supplier til i realized that i had listened to the same music for so long that i was humming a tune that i had never heard before.

and so I went online and looked at cat videos , but then I felt guilty that I wasn’t working..groundhogday

so i finished the step stool and it was time for dinner.

and after dinner, i went back to the studio and went online and answered some email and convos and shared some comments on facebook and promoted my work and realized that i couldn’t remember what day of the week it was.

I am living the movie “groundhog day”.

I wouldn’t mind that much if Bill Murray came over to visit everyday, everyday, everyday.

How I get to where I am going..

butterfly girl bestOne of the best things about creating pieces of art, is making the transfer from what I see in my mind to the end result on the page.
I don’t always have a strong picture of the colors or special touches..just a general feeling of what it is that i want to express and the mood I’m in as i work. Sometimes the picture evolves as if it had an opinion of it’s own.

That’s especially true when it comes to my ” Fantasy girls”..They take on a personality and point of view as I develop the colors I am going to use..sometimes, the hair color and eye color dictate where the art will go, as if they are telling me how they want to present themselves.

And so when those swirls of color and pencil lines begin to intrude in the day to day rolodex in my brain, i get excited. Sometimes as i refine a pencil sketch, the art goes in a different direction..it begs for an emphasis in the line work, or a brilliant burst of color..or just a line drawing that comes from my hand to the paper just as i want it..with no need to fix or fret over how i need to make it right and allow it to rest for all time as it is formed (this is VERY RARE!).

But the part that amazes me is reaching that moment when i know that the work is finished..it just is and i’m able to let it go because i know that i have made it as close to the perfection that each illustration deserves..that it is as “me” as i can give it and now it will represent me as it goes off into the world.For me the process of creating these pieces of art that people buy for their homes is such a humbling experience. It would almost be enough to just make them and have them as a testament of what i do.

The idea that people want to own them, that people enjoy them, that people want to hang them in their homes,or share them with their friends, or collect my art is almost more than i can bear..it brings me so much joy to know that i exist in another form for many different people in many different places and no matter what, I will go on even after i’m gone.

“I was alone , I took a ride ,i didn’t know who I would find there”

This is my first post on my shiny new web site and I’m so happy to have you here to share this part of my life. I am hoping this will one of many visits that you make to join me in this new home.
On these pages I will share new works in progress with you, special offers on the art in my shop and talk as if we are already old friends.

I was working yesterday, painting and i had some cd’s playing and i realized that the music i had picked was exactly how i felt.
You know what i mean..good mood..happy music..sad mood..sad music.

And as i was chair dancing to “Stayin Alive” by The BeeGees (don’t judge me!!), i started thinking about how we’re all affected by those little bits of a song that bring us back to a place or time in our lives.

After i heard “I Saw Her Standing There” (Beatles)..i put my barbie doll in a box..childhood was over..and it is such a clear memory to me now, that it could have happened yesterday. The doors “Light My Fire”.. my first bad boy infatuation..with Jim Morrison and the guy i had a crush on that summer. Beach Boys? SUMMER!! you smell the beach, the ocean, i can hear my friends laughing on a blanket next to me. When i hear “Sugar Magnolia” by the Grateful Dead, i remember waking up in the Fillmore East (a concert venue on the Lower East Side in NYC) realizing that i had slept thru the first show and my curfew and my mother would kill me. Joe Cocker? I was at Woodstock, and we were so far away that the artists were specks on the stage..but the news came up the rolling waves of people that he was onstage..everyime i hear “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends”, i feel damp, tired and happy. When i hear “Sarah Smile” by Hall and Oates..i remember being pregnant with my first son, Joshua..when i hear any song from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, i think of my younger son, Ben who was a toddler and obsessed with the album (that’s what we called them back in the day!)..not suprisingly, Springsteen is one of his favorites even now..And almost 9 years after my husband’s untimely death, music brought me back to the world..Paul, the man i began to see,who now shares my life and love of music, gave me a set of Coldplay CD’s as a gift because i loved the song “Yellow”..The first time i heard that song, it broke apart the pain in my heart.

The beauty of music to me, is the way it shapes our lives in a subtle way ..it’s there part of the moment like a whiff of fragrance, that comes back to you ,years later like a friend saying hello. I think that’s why i started to do my Rock and Roll caricatures..I suppose they were and are a Thank You to the artists that enhance my life with sound..Music is so much a part of me, i doubt that i could live without it..why would anyone want to?