Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Death, Birthdays and Houseguests

Fourteen months since I left NYC for the quiet beauty of Santa Fe. How has this time and all that has occurred since affect my art?

My life in the big city was never dull and only on occasion easy, still I managed to paint consistently throughout my time there, with or without money. The support system that I developed grew to be a reliable source of means to keep me afloat.

Over the past several years that support system would be marked by loss, death, people losing their jobs, a relationship that ended and collectors who just stopped collecting. So like a mad man I put on my sales hat and voraciously approached any viable collector, often working with them and their means in order to get the cash that I needed to leave and start fresh somewhere new.

The transition to New Mexico came easily at first, found excellent housing in a wonderful neighborhood, was situated quickly and began painting immediately. Then the reality shock kicked in and I found myself in a place where the social terrain baffled me, where employment seemed unobtainable, regardless of my having been an associate director in a contemporary gallery for five years.

Through all of my first missteps here, what did take place was a renewed source of inspiration, the landscape, the light and the natural colors. So while continuing to be a starving artist, struggling to pay the rent, I painted, and painted. I was in the studio at least seven hours a day, this new body inspired new buyers, and soon enough I was able to sustain my life as an artist.

The job search became depressing, I would go through periods where I didn't even bother looking, developing some kind of mental block to the humiliating process. The list of new buyers dwindled, I was back at zero. So I painted.

I became a caretaker for an elderly ill neighbor, the money was enough to sustain my needs, food, lower shelf vices and art supplies. Life on the edge, not an unusual predicament for me, one that I feel is necessary in order to have my time to my self to paint. I had to borrow money to pay the rent, still owe a couple of friends, and then questions, should I stay? Should I go? Where to? How do I get there?

Mother died, she had been sick for a while, still quite a shock. Upon my return from her deathbed I found myself alone and lost, she did not have much, in fact very little, and there was no real family  home, but without her here I just didn't feel like I belonged anywhere. The process of mourning took some time, just logistics and not having the opportunity to be where my family was in order to grieve together. We did finally accomplish that though, and once that was taken care of, I thought to myself, I want to go home, to Santa Fe.

So now here, with all of the negatives and positives, I find myself renewed and energized, its like I feel the need to stay and cause some change, minor or radical. Just paid the overdue rent, am working on the next payment, which is due in ten days and after that we'll hope for the best.

In the meantime I have recently celebrated by fiftieth birthday and have a fellow wandering starving artist staying with me. The Artists of El Zaguan have a group show opening this coming Friday and a pending snowstorm. So now it is time to paint.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Deck the Walls: Celebrate Art with the Zaguanistas

Adam Eisman

OPENS:  Friday December 2, 2011, 5 to 7pm
WHERE: El Zaguan (James L. Johnson House)
               545 Canyon Road, Santa Fe
HOURS:  Monday - Saturday 10 - 4pm
                Friday evenings 5 to 7pm
                Studios by appointment

We invite you to celebrate works by Greg Tweed, Max-Carlos Martinez, Brenda Roper, William McLane, Bethany Orbison, and Adam Eisman in a variety of media including painting and photography.  For more information on the artists of El Zaguan or the Historic Santa Fe Foundation please contact: cara@historicsantafe.org

Holiday, ART, Joy, Celebrate, ART, Holiday

Max Carlos Martinez "Blue Hill"

Brenda Roper "Merida Series"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winter is coming or maybe it's already here. . .

I go too long in between writing and then there is too much to say.  Too many thoughts.  And a belated photo to thank those of "occupy Traverse City, Michigan in front of the State Theatre on Front Street resurrected by Michael Moore -- and thank you too. The job thing (for me) is evolving quite nicely.  Two new jobs mind you not just one.  Back to my normal three (3) part-time somethings.  Hopeful it will cover the bills, pay off the Visa, the loan to my sister, and maybe a little extra at the end of the month.  If not I am having fun, meeting interesting people, meeting  my patterns face to face (oh my!), walking across town in the dark (at 5:30pm) --yes winter is here.  I love the light in the morning but too early this darkness.  It is a difficult adjustment.  I start a fire, crawl into pajamas, a glass of wine, swiss chard and chicken.  Sigh.  Maybe no Mexico this year and I suppose that will be okay though I haven't ruled it out completely.  Open. 

The good news is that I was accepted into the juried show Odes & Offerings at the Santa Fe Community Gallery for 2012.  Excited.  I will be paired with a poet and create a work based on his words.  This is who I am.  A poet who paints.  A painter who poets.   A good ending to a day that started with tears because a neighbor is grieving and I am too organized or something like that.  Everyone is a relationship and we give and we take and at the end of the day there is an exchange --an understanding and it is okay. 

This is the final week of Assemblage & NarrativeConversations with Bones & Barbed Wire. My solo show currently at 545 Canyon Road, Santa Fe.  No sales -- well a card or two.  This the primer when people ask "how was your opening?" --"it was good." I say.  "Great attendance for November. . .image in the Pasa."  Supported by neighbors and family and friends far and near. I am happy but always feel the need to placate "no sales" because that is what they are asking.  That is the barometer.  They want me to succeed.  And I have.  The bravado of putting "it" out into the public.  Of digging deep in a subconscious/intuitive way --that is the ease of art for me, and bravo I suppose.  Process.  Executing an idea.  It is a marriage.  A relationship--in sickness and in health til death due us part kind of thing.  Some interest.  A couple from Dallas.  A couple from Santa Fe.  I give them my contact information. A woman reads all the words.  Aloud.  A friend documents.  Flowers.  Donuts. Time.

I am busier than I want to be and grateful for the evenings where I am not --well except for tomorrow when I'll walk with a friend to the Lensic for a lecture.  A workshop over the weekend.  Not a day to myself until the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Life is like this sometimes.  Everything all at once.  I need a massage but haven't had one since my 50th birthday 3 years ago.  I buy a vintage sweater from a charming Frenchman at the recyled show on Saturday.  Just like that. A perfect fit.  It is pink and he tells me I am beautiful and I hand him my Visa.  Life isn't always rational.  I am grateful for art, for phone calls from sisters, a conversation with my mom, sunshine on the walk to work and even the clouds hanging over the mountains on Sunday to remind me of those long winters in Alaska where I no longer walk along the coastal trail or witness the moaning of the ice, a moose at the mailbox, the memories that make our lives a life.  I'm surprised at how long I lived in the grayness.  Though it was certainly beautiful.  I could not go back.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Computer, candlelight and decisions

It's not a seance.  Well maybe.  Trying to figure out whether a "work at home" job I manifested is really an opportunity  Or not.  The gut is sending signals while self-doubt is raising her voice to compensate for the bewildered interview, throw in my tolerance for eccentricity and quirky and all the projects I could do at 6:30 in the morning while waiting for the phone to ring (on commission): study Spanish, write a blog, start a new painting, etc.  Yes.  Still it comes with the feeling of entrapment and undervalue.  Who is paying my social security taxes (well me which is the point at 15.what percent).  And no training in sight since the software is "very intuitive" --well so am I but a little practice  might be good.  Is it just me?  This is like the third tourism job or maybe the fourth since I've been in Santa Fe.  It isn't like I don't have a lifetime of experience working from home, running an office, planning itineraries. . .but none of these make the mark of the past.  Maybe that's all I need to know.  Maybe it's simply time for a change in aptitude. 

Attacked an old painting yesterday and wow!  it looks amazing.  Painting with my fingers, scratching, dropping gesso all over the place (picking it up) applying pearl iridescent as if I were on fire --which I was of course.  But can't burn out.  A release to be sure and this morning a warm nervous swelling in the chest of joyful surprise (not unveiling yet).  I love that.  That calm that comes after the flame but not without the confusion of self-esteem.  I don't want to become the girl who just gets a job only to quit a week later but what is it here?  No direction.  No one taking charge.  No information.  Okay gut.  Do your work and I will go forward into this brilliant Monday morning all systems on.  The decision will become known when I access what I have to lose.  What I need to keep.  What is sacred.  How much I value myself, my time, my art, my own life.  Because I am the one to decide.  Really.  Right?  

Friday, November 4, 2011

The hours before the opening. . .breathe

Thank you Pasatiempo for including my image in Exhibitionism, a peek at what's showing around town. TONIGHT from 5-7pm at 545 Canyon Road.  Left-handed secret is about finding my biological father --rather meeting him I suppose since he is actually a man I've known (of) since I was a child, though not in that context. . . such is life.  Oh and about being left handed which I was and now I'm not, but he is. And more of course.  It is about combining words and images to find a balance of identity, joy, questions and answers and what has been lost and found.  The players.  Death and birthdays and in sickness and in health.  So much unknown.  I am grateful for the unconscious, for dreaming and the struggle for love but I can barely breathe in anticipation.  It is always this way before "exposure" --the unveiling of more self to a public view but such is the path of art.  For me.  If you live in Santa Fe please follow the farolitos and stop by for a look, a cup of cider and if I haven't met you I hope you will introduce yourself.