Loving Somebody Who Doesn’t Want to be Loved

This post needs a soundtrack. I could hear the Beatles while I was writing this.  Here is a nice link so you can hear it, too.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsxtImDVMig

Love, Love, Love…
All you need is love……

Unconditional love.

SOUNDS GOOD.
Application?
SO HARD!

Sometimes love is not enough.
Sometimes nothing is enough.
Sometimes nothing is the most loving thing you can do.

I was born a fixer.
First born.
Fixer.

I know I can’t fix everything.
I KNOW it.
I don’t believe it.
There is shame when I can’t fix the proverbial IT.

Last night I gained some clarity.
Appropriated some wisdom.
I ALMOST believe that IT was not my fault,
At least not in whole.
I ALMOST believe that I can let IT go.
I ALMOST believe I can move on,
Free and freeing.

I did the best that I could in that moment.
THEY did the best they could in that moment.
I ALMOST believe that.

Nothing can be changed.
I can offer forgiveness.
If forgiveness is not returned,
I can forgive myself.

I am free.
Most days.
Most of the time.

Free.
Free to love
with no expectation of reciprocation.
Free.

Directional Kindness in 2016

Happy New Year!   As mundane an expression as that is, it is most often delivered with sincerity.  Friend or foe, I sincerely wish you a happy 2016.

Yes, I know that January is trending towards February and the stores are already pulling out Valentine decorations, but it is STILL January.  A new year.  A new beginning.  A fresh start.  The world collectively contemplates what has come transpired and what might be.   We look back and we look forward.

  The New Year is a good thing to pause and evaluate life, to make course corrections and embrace possibility, but the New Year is NOT the only time and it is not necessarily the best time.    

Mornings are opportunities for micro-evaluations and course corrections, but mostly mornings belong to routine and auto-drive or no one would make it out of the house.

First of the month.  Bigger than the morning but smaller than the New Year is the first of the month.  Twelve opportunities to pause, evaluate and make course corrections.

Seasons are bigger than months and more fluid.   Some places get four distinct seasons while others just get two or three.   Do you have a favorite season?  Do you, COULD you tie a new beginning to your favorite season?

Birthdays, like New Years, are singular opportunities.   Although they come around annually, they are never the same.  I was 55 on the 3rd.  It feels significant.  A new year, a new age, a new season of life.

Death is a cruel opportunity for course correction.   Mortality is not something most of us consider on a daily basis.  When death of one near or dear interrupts our routines, it is an opportunity to contemplate personal mortality and consider personal legacy.   Politicians do it.  Maybe we should, too.

I could go on and on but (HOORAY!) I won’t.   The moral of this story is that our lives are filled with opportunities to start fresh.   I am not saying that we can nor should avoid the consequences for our choices.  I am saying that there is power and there is mercy and there is grace in new beginnings and we don’t have to wait for a new year. 

Set aside a time and seek out a place to pause, evaluate, and calculate a course corrections.   Pause long enough to discover where we are and to remember where we are going.  Minor course corrections, early, will impact on the trajectory of a life.  Less correction is required the sooner the flaw is discovered.

Museums are a good place for contemplation.   The artwork allows you to see the world, be it landscape, still life, portraiture, or abstraction, through the eyes of another.  Art enables us to see ourselves in and through the work.  Take a journal.  You might be surprised where the art and your heart take you when you visit a museum.

Nature is the number one worldwide place for reconnecting with one’s self and direction.   New research is showing that our brains work differently exposed to nature.  EVEN a potted plant (not a pot plant but maybe that, too) can reduce cortisol (stress hormone.)  Take a pencil and a journal.  Write. Sketch.  Listen.  Hear.  Record.

Cozy places, be they at home or in a favorite coffee spot, make room for contemplation and new beginnings.   Again, the journal.  (3×5 cards work well, too.)

There is a kindness to a fresh start.   We usually think of kindness as something extended to others.  That is important, but what I am speaking of is kindness to oneself.   Allowing ourselves to pause.  Allowing ourselves to look back and to look forward, not with judgement or condemnation, but with love and kindness.  Allowing for and enacting course correction is vital.

I have been painting for over 30 years.   I assumed being a good painter would be enough to earn my living painting.  It is not enough and I am making those course corrections and learning to share my art (and my heart) with those outside my circle.   Thank you for journeying with me.

Gwen

CONGRATULATIONS! The HOLIDAYS ARE OVER!

The Holidays are OVER!  YOU MADE IT!
Wait, WHAT? Aren’t the holidays supposed to be magical? 
 Yes.  Yes, except when they are not.
Recently I read:
HAPPINESS = REALITY – EXPECTATIONS

What does that mean?   It means that EXPECTATIONS defeat happiness.
Expectations move us out of the present into the self defeating land of
Would’ve
Could’ve Should’ve.   
A steady diet of Disney-esque fairy tales, romance novels, movies, white knights and sunsets has us believing that happy-endings are our due. 

Fairy tales, romantic novels, movies, gleaming armor and sunsets are not bad things.
Expectations, though, can be devastating.
Expectations rob from the present moment.
Expectations keep us from enjoying the here and now

when the here and now is all that we really have. 

As my Grammie Hannan used to say,
“The world doesn’t owe you a living.”
She also told me not stir poo with a stick.

This is not the blog that I expected to post on January 3rd, my 55th birthday.  That blog was light-hearted with clever reminders that holidays are hard for many (most) folks and offer a reminder to give yourself a pat on the back for making it to the other side of the holidays.   If I had posted that blog on January 2nd it would have been fine.  The next day it was not fine. 

Backstory:  All six children (including two spouses) were here for Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.  The 2nd I was back to work writing the aforementioned brilliant blog and painting on a new painting.  The next day, my birthday, was a good day.  After supper I dusted off my internet connection and, while trying to remember my password, I allowed Facebook to distract me. 

A photograph in my feed took me back almost 40 years.

The photograph was of a high school classmate, Gloria, at a football game, but something was wrong with the uniform.  The headline didn’t make sense until I realized that it was not Gloria, but her daughter Sara Mutschlechner.  Sara, 20, a UNT (University of North Texas) student, had been shot in the head while driving friends home from a New Year’s Eve party.   Sara was dead.  The descriptions of Sara sounded like they were describing her mom.   The world shifted.   

Sara and her parents Gloria and Clay made it through Christmas, but now Sara, their only child, was dead.   I began weeping.  And not just for Gloria and Clay.  I wept for my sister, and my cousin.  For Pam, Jeff, Dianne, and Melodie.  I wept for the ones I love who have lost a child.

I was contemplating unspeakable loss.
Unimaginable loss that we all imagine.
A loss with no name.  An alienating loss.
I claim that my paintings represent stories of hope.  I claim to make paintings reflecting nature and journey.   Paint laid down like seasons.  Past seasons shaping but not defining the present.  The present influencing but not determining the future.   Clear medium stretching the  space between applications of pigment marking the passage of time. 

Some layers are hidden during the process while others remain visible, even if only partially, through completion.   Each choice influences the next.  The impact of the unseen layers ripples through the painting. 

I work with the painting, I fight with the painting, until chaos is resolved and beauty revealed.

It is easy to say art is a metaphor for life.

It is easy to claim art has a power to affect lives. Do you know what is not easy?  Hope.  

 

Hoping that my claims are true.
Hoping that others can find their stories in my work.
Hoping that, finding themselves,
they will be imbued with hope for their journey and their beautiful end. 

Are my claims valid?
Can hope be represented with pigments on paper?
Is there anything more hopeless than losing a child?  

I watched Clay and Gloria share their hearts on the news, professing gratitude for the 20 years they had with Sara.  They are people of faith.  They are clinging to hope.  I am a person of faith.  I am clinging to hope.   As a community we are clinging to hope because expectations always let us down.  

Maybe the equation is not one of subtraction but of addition.

Maybe HAPPINESS = REALITY + HOPE.

Time Does NOT Always fly.

Have you ever worked on a project for five years?   Of course you have.

We didn’t get to where we are, wherever that is, without putting in the years.  So much of what we do is ongoing.  ON GOING can be discouraging.   Like feeding kids and pets.  You feed them and six or seven hours later they want to eat again!   So little of what we do is a done deal.   I try not to think about it.   Oh, you were trying not to think about it and now- ELEPHANT! – you are thinking about it, too.  Sorry.    

So, about ten-ish years ago I received a proposal for an art show with the word “liturgical” in the title and my experience (Southern Baptist and Bapticostal) led me to believe liturgical was a flow-y dance form with lots of wanna-be ballet moves.  I started researching.   A google search was followed by books.  (By the way, the word liturgy is summed up as “the work of the people.”)  

Scot McKnight’s “Praying with the Church: Following Jesus Daily, Hourly, Today” was the first book I read. Before I finished that book, other books were speeding on the way to my house (I tried to buy local, but they were not available so I slipped back into my addiction and ordered off of Amazon.)  Phyllis Tickle’s “The Divine Hours Pocket Edition” quickly followed by her “The Divine Hours” volumes 1 through 3 (Prayers for Summertime:, Springtime, Autumn and Winter)  and  Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours.   

This was all new to me.  As the set prayers and rhythms became more familiar to me they began to remind me of the relationship my heart had with hymns growing up.  We would sing hymns again and again and we never labeled them “rote.”  Why did we call prepared prayers rote?  

I also noticed that having a prayer written out for me was particularly wonderful when life was particularly hard. Instead of praying “oh, God, oh, God, oh, God HELP!” A beautifully constructed prayer keeps the desperation of the moment in perspective.  

Life circumstances become part of the larger picture, not the center of it.  This changed my art, my approach to painting and my approach to life.
This became the SUBJECT of my abstract paintings.

Five years ago enter a new 9 x 12 spiral bound Strathmore Visual Journal and Bobby Gross’ “Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God.” This book did not offer prayers for the hours of each day, but four short prayers to be used during bible study and a collection of verses for the week. This was more akin to the traditions of my childhood.  

The blank art journal needed a subject and the book was right there so I started doodling the verses for the week.  I liked how it turned out (God nursing, plugging into heaven) so I challenged myself to doodle and draw through Advent. A single drawing for each week mashing all the verses together into one image. My goal was to keep up my bible study and prayers and have fun.     

A couple weeks into the project my illustrator daughter walked past and challenged me to do an entire year. WHAT?!  I had not purposefully ever taken on a project that long and intensive. Challenge accepted AND I FINISHED IT! I was thrilled and relieved until Ruth said,  “Make it a book.”   GASP!    Who raised this slave driver! Oh, yeah-me!

The second challenge was harder than the first so here we are in 2015 and, finally, Liturgical Sketches Journal & Coloring Book is available for purchase.
I set up Liturgical Sketches Facebook page where drawings and insights can be shared. 

While I am hoping the book will earn a profit, I do post the week’s drawing each Sunday on the Facebook page along with the verses. Anyone is welcome to print off the drawing and go for it. Some weeks have two drawings. I started again but could not keep up with the new drawings, my painting and getting the book out. Each drawing takes 15 to 20 hours including bible study and research and a tiny nib on the Sharpie Pens. (I don’t like rushing God unless I have to!) 

I had a grand time with this project. I utilized a mixture of traditional and contemporary images, a little snark and more than a couple of puns. Finding the connection between verse and image is akin to finding Waldo. I do hope that it is a fun project for everyone. 

God and I have a decent relationship. I heard a preacher once say, “God is the kindest person I know.” Well, good for you, Graham. My relationship with God includes lots of heavenly eye rolling followed by a divine sigh.  

 Hey!  Not that different from how my kids roll their eyes and groan, “Mommmaaaa!”

 You can find “Liturgical Sketches Journal & Coloring Book” here: http://drawneartogod.com/LiturgicalSketchesBook.asp

 It is a bible study. It is a journal. It is a puzzle. It is a coloring book.  A way to slow down and wait on God and your heart to sync. 

http://drawneartogod.com/LiturgicalSketchesBook.asp

A childhood friend (from my neighborhood and Baptist church) is now a monk and he sent me an article saying coloring has the same benefits as meditation. Cool beans!  

I know this is a departure from the paintings, but like my paintings, my life is layered and I wanted to share. 

I saw a TED talk about polymaths, read an article about polymaths, heard a radio program about polymaths. I Tend towards polymath. Drawing and doodling has always been part of me since my toddler years. Thank you for all your encouragement and support.

Happy Coloring!

The Fat Free, Gluten Free & NO Processed Sugar Choice!

Too good to be true?
NO, and it is yours to discover!
What is this heart healthy, zero calorie find?
What indeed?  The answer:  beauty.   

Beauty comes in a myriad of expressions.  A couple ignoring their electronics and looking into each other’s eyes at a table in the mall food court.  Baby toes.  The memory of a shared secret.  A cool breeze after a long hot summer.   A warm breeze after an icy winter.  A blue feather on a gray sidewalk. Pink pebbles.  Books.  A well worn journal.  Grammies.  

The sky is not the limit but the beginning. 

Freely and often we label people, places and things beautiful.   Still, too often, we fail to recognize beauty.  We confuse pretty and beauty.   Pretty is wonderful in and of itself, but pretty can quickly slide into shallow.  

Pretty requires Photoshop and airbrushes. Beauty glories in imperfection.   Pretty is fleeting.   Beauty endures.   Pretty is skin deep.  Beauty comes from a deep core. 

Both inspire tears.

I aspire to create beautiful paintings.  The process tends towards intimidating because the blank paper itself is quite beautiful.   My mark disrupts the perfection of the pristine paper, the well stretched canvas, the birch panel.  It is uphill from the first mark. 

I changed my diet. No more processed, sugar-coated lies about the frivolity of beauty.   

Beauty is not extraneous.
Beauty is not dessert.
Beauty is the main course.
Beauty feeds the soul.    

Watch for your pink pebble.
Smile at the couple in the food-court.  

Sit with a painting.  Be well fed. 

Next time I will share some of my process and some of my painting vocabulary.  Thank you for sharing your time with me.  

OUT of My HEAD & INTO My BODY

I have two horses.  My horse and my horse’s brother.  We love our stables (Will’s Ranch on Hwy 377 in Benbrook, Texas) and we love our stable director, Cherie.   Over the past three years our families, mine and Cherie’s, have intertwined and we have come to care for each other and we do what we can to be mutually supportive.  Cherie has ceaselessly encouraged me to get my art out into the world.   I have a tendency (HA!) to be more passionate about making art than pushing it out the door.  All artists need Cheries in their lives.

This week I chose to shovel horse pooh.  Our lead worker is leaving to care for a family emergency.   My help this week freed him to finish up specialty jobs before leaving.  (Confession:  I don’t think I would have jumped in if the temperatures were still at Texas summer heights, but Fall is in the air and the breeze is beginning to cool.)

Shoveling horse pooh might sound awful job, but yesterday it was freedom!  My mind took the morning off and my body was the boss.  (Is this why runners run?  I ran once.  Shoveling is better!)  I was so busy trying to keep that stray ball of pooh from falling through the space in my rake with the missing tine that my mind completely forgot to stress over social media, likes, hashtags, or followers.  FREEDOM!

When I paint or write my head takes over and I forget I have a body.   Inside my head, when I am in the zone, hours pass without any awareness of time.  When nature’s call gets too loud to ignore and I am forced to stop painting, I am shocked that my body refuses to comply.  My joints get stiff when my head forgets we are a team.

Presence is a hot topic these days.   Cleaning the horse runs and stalls forced my mind to acknowledge my body and let it lead.  The dance reversed.  I remembered that I am physically strong.  I can’t handle the wheel barrow, but I have wicked rake skills: ambidextrous raking!  The young folks work with headphones.  For me, it was a relief to think about nothing but the task in front of me.  I was present in body and mind.

I had forgotten why I am an artist.   Caught up learning the business side of being a professional artist, I forgot I was an artist.   (My business skills are- um – lackluster.)  Yesterday I remembered that I am and always have been an artist.  I noticed that pooh comes in a wide array of colors.   (Storm’s dropping were the most glorious green.)  Rocks, dirt, feathers, a raccoon skull, shavings, a sprig of grass defying the odds by growing in a dark corner, the blue sky with glorious clouds, the fat chickens, the peacocks and Lobo, the tabby cat, with his yellow belly and paws recharged my observation batteries.  I rediscovered beauty.  For four hours I was immersed in beauty: sans electronic screens.

At home I showered, ate almonds and an apple, slathered aloe vera on my sun kissed arms, took two naproxen and a nap.  Refreshed, and very aware of my forearms, I finished and photographed ten small paintings and started four new ones.   When I did check my computer I realized I had missed two online webinars.  OOPS!  But the important stuff happened.

Is there a moral to the story?  Why yes, yes there is.  All work and no play makes Gwen a dull, creaky, crabby artist.

This week I re-discovered truths I had forgotten.  The body and mind make a great team.  Presence is best served when they work together.  Balance is a requirement not an option.  If you are like me and balance has left the building, stop now and reintroduce your mind to your body.   It works both ways.   Physically demanding jobs (moms with young children, I am talking to you) require you to spend a little time inside your head.  Reading or journaling versus television, computer or radio.  Find your old flute and play your high school fight song.   If you have a head oriented job channel your mom and, “go outside!”  Take a walk.  (Shovel pooh.)  Plant something.  Play with your pet.  Go to the animal shelter and volunteer to love on the critters.

Five years ago, before the horses, I could barely manage stairs because of the pain in my back and knees.  The horses saved my life and transformed my art.  They forced me out of my head and into my body.   www.GwenMeharg.com is a result of that mind/body connection.  I forgot the lessons I learned five years ago when I committed to learn and do the business side of art (master social media) earlier this year.  This week I remembered.

The little paintings are for a project, but if you would like one just let me know.   I am nothing if not prolific and I have three weeks before the deadline.   The original large small paintings (5×5 ish, 5×7 ish) are $75 and the small small paintings (2.5×2.5 ish) are $25.  The ones in this newsletter are free as e-cards and available as prints.  It is easiest to see them on my Instagram account.  I creatively named my account GwenMeharg.  https://instagram.com/gwenmeharg/

Thanks for hanging with me and enduring the mommy lecture.  Surely all of you lead lives with a healthy body/mind balance, but just in case you don’t…see lecture above.

Pie, Creativity, and the ART of MORE!

Pie is an excellent dessert but a poor mind set.

Pie, Creativity, & the Art of More

I like pie.
Crust.
Filling!
No ice cream.  Ice cream is like sugar in tea.
It is only necessary if there is a problem with the tea.

Some places don’t have pie.

Poland – no pie.  I fantasize moving to Poland, opening a pie shop, and becoming rich and famous.  The hitch?  Besides Poland being in Eastern Europe, the hitch is I have never made a pie and I am a very bad cook.  I mentioned making dinner today and Peter (16) laughed out loud and said, “No, Momma, seriously.”  A shadow of fear crossed his face and he offered to make dinner himself.  Maybe I will keep painting.

I digress.

Pie.  Pie is an intimate dessert.  Pie is difficult to share with a crowd. Wedding cakes and birthday cakes can be sliced into a plethora of tiny pieces and slapped on a napkin to be eaten standing up.  Pie will have none of that.  Pie begs a comfortable chair and demands a fork and a plate!  Tiny slices of pie? HMMPH!

Pie, with all its benefits as a dessert,
is not a healthy mindset.  

The pie mindset sees a set number of slices.  Each time a slice of pie is handed out there is less to go around.  It is a scarcity mentality.  It makes us selfish.  It turns us against.  It kills possibility.

But I am an artist so let us speak not of scarcity,
let us speak of creativity, art, and abundance.
  

Art, the manifest expression of creativity, is not diminished through sharing.
Art shared is multiplied.  
Creativity blooms in an environment of generosity.

We see it in children.  Watch a young child share a drawing with an appreciative adult.  Sparkling in the acceptance of her offering, she rushes back to create another.  Confession time – I am no different.  Adult artists are not that different from the child sharing her creative endeavor.  Acceptance of, appreciation of, our work makes us sparkle.  (I am so glad my teenagers don’t read my blog or I would NEVER hear the end of sparkle.)  Some artists hide the sparkle, but believe me, it is there. I am far enough into my journey as an artist that my work is not dependent on universal acceptance or appreciation, but when it comes along it is definitely encouraging.

Some in the art world would push scarcity.  Artists end up competing for limited wall space in galleries. There IS a scarcity of wall space within galleries and there are fewer and fewer galleries. The economy closed doors and poor management closed even more. It is easy to be discouraged, looking at an empty pie tin. But I am a more-the-merrier kind of gal.  There IS room for more.

We are in a season of flux.  Social media and the internet are making room for MORE.  There is a new abundance in the art world.  There has never been a better time to be an artist or an art collector. The world of art is at our fingertips and we can visit in our jammies!

Did you see the quote from President Obama floating around facebook today?  Set politics aside for a moment and imagine why artists of all varieties are sparkling today:

“The arts are what makes life worth living. You’ve got food, you’ve got shelter, yeah.  
But the things that make you laugh, make you cry, make you connect – make you love are communicated through the arts.  They aren’t extras.” 

The pie mentality says that the arts ARE extra.  There is not enough to go around.  Not enough time.  Not enough money.  Not enough pie.

I grew up Southern Baptist.  Now somehow my little corner of the Baptist world mine was a kinder, gentler Baptist.  We danced AND played cards- oh my.  Still, there was pie-think.  Not enough.  If your work didn’t point people to Jesus it lacked value.  Imagine what that kind of pie mindset does to an artist, actor, writer, dancer?  When “gifts” were discussed, art was NOT ON THE LIST!  “Art is a talent not a gift.  We will put you down your gift as hospitality.”  (SOMEHOW the musicians and singers could be gifted but not visual artists or actors or dancers.)  Hospitality was the catchall gift when the labelers couldn’t squeeze the congregant into a gift box.   Turns out the problem was with the boxes, not the artists.

So many of us grew up with the mindset that the arts are extras, frivolous.  Sometimes the old sound track creeps onto the play-list inside of my head.   I fight it by painting furiously!  Sometimes, not often, but sometimes it wins.

“As American as motherhood, baseball and apple pie.”   Somehow we stopped embracing the artistry of apple pie and started seeing the pie as embodying limitation, not enough, scarcity in America.  

It is time to ditch the pie mentality and embrace a PI mentality. 

Mathematical pi never ends.  It keeps on going. 

Because creativity thrives when shared it offers a path for combating scarcity.   The arts (participants and supporters) have a purpose beyond “frivolous extra” in the fight against scarcity.  FIGHT FOR MORE!   Embrace creativity and embrace abundance.   The arts make something out of nothing.  The arts bring life back to dying neighborhoods.  Arts make life worth living.

There is enough to go around, it just sometimes takes a while. Watching the refugees/ migrants on the news it is easy to believe that scarcity wins. The pie mindset can’t see solutions because it doesn’t believe there is enough.  If you don’t believe there is enough you are blinded to possibility.

I am a tiny cog.  I mourn with those who mourn, but I also celebrate with those who celebrate.  I can be happy for their success because I believe there is enough for all of us.  I paint paintings that move from chaos to beauty.  I paint paintings that defy the disorder of the world and proclaim the possibility of beauty.

Today Steve Garber wrote:  

What we believe about the end of the story shapes the way we live the story.  

I believe the end of the story is beautiful and generous and lacking in nothing.   My paintings give voice to hope and happy endings.  So, THANK YOU!

Thank you for joining the newsletter.  Thank you for visiting my website.  Thank you for liking and commenting on facebook.   Thank you for sharing my work with your friends.   Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend with me and with my art.  Thank you for being part of my story.   

Thank you for inviting me to share my art with you.   E-cards of my paintings are free and so are encouraging words.   Prime your creative juices today and send someone an encouraging note.  And maybe enjoy a slice of pie while you write it. (Let me know what kind.  Strawberry rhubarb is my favorite, well maybe blueberry, but then raspberry, than again coconut cream…)

EAT PIE!

Gwen

PS:  I have added a few new places to interact more directly with me and share some of my art that isn’t on a website.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/gwenmehargart

https://www.facebook.com/drawneartogodart

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/liturgicalsketches

Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery (or Keyboards)

I have pond scum. I was moving rocks around on the bottom of  Roy Meharg‘s catfish pond in the front yard to keep a new potted plant (not a pot plant) from tipping over and OUCH, I thought something bit me. I pulled my hand out of the water and I had blisters on my wrist.  It itched like the devil. The itch traveled as did the blisters. Wrist, belly, arms, face, eye lid, neck, back.

Visit to the doctor and- well, she didn’t call it Pond Scum, but she did prescribe a cream to get rid of it and said it could take up to 4 to 6 weeks! Lordy, Lordy! No good deed, and all that. But in the big scheme of things what are a few blisters and a little itching. (Gonna cut my finger nails short, short, short before bed.)

Gives me character, right? David tells me I am already a character-hmph! (Wonder what he means by THAT!) 

I wrote a brilliant artist bio yesterday. It only took me four hours and guess what?  No, I mean it, guess. Yep. Jesus saves, but I didn’t. Tonight I spent 2 hours writing a solid mediocre artist bio and I am exhausted. Fingers crossed. Hope a single cheek bio is good enough. (Notice how I was delicate and didn’t say half-assed? I am really working on being more sophisticated.)

In addition to the cream there is a pill for itching. I am not supposed to drive or operate heavy machinery after I take the pill. I am beginning to think maybe it should also include a warning about operating a keyboard. (Note to self: Have David check that mediocre artist bio in the morning. It may be more cheeky than you think!)

Sweet dreams! Is it the weekend yet? I am ready for it to be the weekend.

3 Essential Rules For Collecting Art

I just read a very nice article on collecting art, “5 Unspoken Rules of the Art Market New Collectors Need to Know”.  Sigh.  My favorite was rule number five: gain a seat on a museum board or START YOUR OWN MUSEUM!  Double sigh.  (I am sure it is a very nice article for someone and if that someone is you, here is the link: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-5-unspoken-rules-of-the-art-market-new-collectors-need-to-know )

Today I am feeling bold enough to suggest 3 rules of my own on collecting art for your living and work spaces.  (Home and office sounds so 20th century.  Some of us work at home and others live at the office.)

I just brewed a fresh pot of PG Tips, my favorite cup is steaming on my right, Wesley is snuggled up on my left so here goes: 3 Essential Rules for Art Collectors (who are not looking to open their own museum- not yet!)

Rule #1.  Wait, wait, wait!  We have a problem.  If you set a rule in front of an artist the artist is obligated to break it.

Can’t help it.

It is a rule.

Do you see the dilemma?

Instead of rule, I will call it a suggestion, a very strong suggestion.
Like when I SUGGEST my teenager take out the trash – NOW.  Yeah, a strong suggestion.

Suggestion #1  Love it.

The other article never mentioned love.  Maybe it was only about the market and not art but
 if you don’t love it, leave it.   

A few decades back an artist and his marketing genius brother sold the public a bill of goods wrapped in well lit velvet paneled rooms with stories of paint daubed onto prints by master hands.  They applied Beanie Baby theology to prints and sold high quality posters in gilded frames for extravagant prices, convincing customers they were in fact investors and their children would be able to sell these framed posters for a profit.  They were duped into believing they were not buying art, but they were making an investment in their future.  Art is an investment in the present that might, possibly payoff later.  You must love it now.

Like all true fairy tales, the sort the Grimm brothers collected, the ending was more cautionary than happily ever after.   Some purchasers truly love their posters and are still happy with their fantasy cottages twenty years later.  For them the artworks were a true bargain!   Those who purchased their light paintings as an investment, well, dark clouds may have dropped a little rain on that parade.

The result of all this chicanery was a public who no longer bought art because it touched their hearts or because they loved it or even because it matched their sofas.  People bought into the LIE that art was valuable only as an investment.  A generation forgot that art feeds the soul.  Buy art for an investment, certainly, but first, LOVE IT!

If your pocket is modest start small.    Small in regards to price or small in regards to size.   If it is important to you to have a certain name, it is possible to find something affordable in a mono print or a drawing or very small canvas.   I go to the Art Fair in Dallas and I see things by my art heroes that are very nearly within my means.   When college for my six is over and done with I will be purchasing one of those names.   For now I am collecting small works by friends and acquaintances who are ahead of me in their art journeys.   Sometimes I settle for purchasing their show catalogs which I cherish.  I see it as an investment in my art education and their careers even if it is only my little mite.

Beautiful work is available even for very shallow pockets.  There is truly something for everyone and with a little due diligence you will be able to find your perfect match.  Online shopping is always fun because you can shop in your jammies.  You can buy art like you buy vegetables: local, at craft fairs, boutiques, street vendors, local art departments (high school, college, junior college), coffee shop walls, restaurants, the possibilities for well priced art are endless.  As a matter of fact, my work is quite modestly priced and would look great with your sofa.

Hubby, David, reminded me to tell you about the Nancy Lee and Perry Bass family collection that we just saw (twice) at the Kimbell Art Museum. They focused on what they loved and were ahead of the curve with some of their selections and with others they joined in with what was trending.  Maybe I imagined it, but it seemed as though I could feel the love as I moved through their magnificent collection.

Maybe the works of those friends and acquaintances that I am collecting now will one day be spotlighted on Antique Roadshow 2075 with my great great great grand child jumping up and down cheering and exclaiming, “We had no idea!”   If that happens, hallelujah, but I am not worried about it because right now, I LOVE IT!  My soul is well fed.

Oh, I promised 3 rules.

Rule #2  See Suggestion #1

Rule #3  Ditto

fade out to the Beatles singing LOVE LOVE LOVE……