2018 Annual Seasonal Memo

I worry about the Christmas card industry.

Everyone this year seems to be sending photos instead of cards. You know.  The ones where you have to use a magnifying glass to see faces and even then you don’t know who they are!
 
I do admire the efforts of writers of the traditional letter – that document complete with tiny photos urging us to enjoy vicariously their many trips and adventures.
  • “Wonderful experience seeing the glories of _________, eating fermented_______which is their culture’s traditional food.
  • Kudos to the service personnel who transported us so quickly to the hospital where the hours in the emergency room weren’t that bad!
  • And even though our luggage was lost we managed to find bargains at the airport gift shop——-“
 
Well that is not my thing. Not that I have a thing. Perhaps my life seems boring in comparison. Though I enjoy writing a blog every once in a while. 
 

So I am not grumpy.  

I do enjoy a lot of the holiday season. But in retrospect it seemed to work better when the kids were tiny.
 
In those days, Christmas music didn’t start overwhelming the airways until after Thanksgiving. Santa was for real. Plus you actually ENTERED a store to buy a gift or you made one (oh the horror!)
 
Now everyone picks out their presents online, complete with sku info, places the order and acts surprised when they open them.
 
Watching young people’s nascent consumerism- I think I used that word right -(nascent -just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.) is hardly uplifting. Tear open present, look at toy/gift, move to next one. Repeat. 
 
But at least they won’t have to return them. Although if they did Amazon makes that chore fairly easy. Who knew Santa’s elves delivered by drone? Taking over the world one delivery a time. Screw the magi- why didn’t they just bake cookies.
 

Speaking of baking

The family does want to continue some traditions- dipping dates with granddad and making kolocky cookies with grandma, but hey everyone is just too busy . Does this sound familiar?
 
So cookie dough sits in the frig for a while until you decide to bake it yourself rather than toss it. The bread dough ornaments sit waiting to be painted when things get less hectic – yada yada. Let’s not forget granddad’s high octane eggnog. Not for the kiddies, but it keeps grandad and grandma and some selected adults happy well into the new year. Traditions are good.
 
We started a new tradition this year.  We bought an artificial tree at last year’s post season sale. It is PRE-LIT! I hung our ornaments and am determined to leave them on and wrap up the tree carefully for storage after Christmas.
 
No more crawling on the floor on our aching knees while watering the fresh tree or finding old pine needles stuck in the carpet in April. Time for new traditions like watching the Hallmark movie ‘Christmas Kiss’ so I can spot my artwork in the dining room scenes (a little plug there!)  Those extra bread dough ornaments might be painted pink for Easter. I may actually call people by phone whom I’ve not spoken with in years!
 
And of course painting something totally different to remind myself that the best is yet to come. I still have a few years to catch up to Grandma Moses!
 
So happy, merry holidays. Take a breath, then start prepping for New Year’s Eve and Day, Superbowl Sunday, Groundhog Day, Casimir Pulaski Day, Valentine’s Day, and so forth and so on.
 
Long winded as ever,
Gloria
 
Seasonal Memo with Christmas Tree

Rant on Packaging

Packaging CartoonsDear Packagers of America.

You have taken child-proofing and theft control to such an extreme that most of us – not just the older demographic- cannot open anything without the help of scissors, pliers, wrenches, and in some cases, hammers.

  • A carton of milk has a tab that can almost break a fingernail.
  • A huge impenetrable plastic square that surrounds a teeny camera chip.  I know. It’s too small so too easily stolen so let’s pollute more of our environment rather than find a better solution.
  • A pull tab on the second layer of dairy products like yogurt that cannot be gripped by average-sized fingers much less pulled off.
  • A cereal box with glue so strong you demolish the box before you get to the inside plastic packing that needs scissors to open.
  • We groan at the words “pull here” knowing that won’t work.
  • And on and on.

Is there a solution? At least for the environment, can’t hemp (in addition to CBD oil for our aches and pains) be used to make a paper product suitable for packaging? Isn’t one of the reasons W. R. Hearst fought to make marijuana (from hemp) illegal so he could print his newspapers on paper from his tree farms without competition from hemp?

Are we really stuck with plastic islands in the Pacific and non biodegradable plastic in our landfills?

Maybe not. Come on folks- rise up! Demand our grocery stores customer service open our packages. When they get tired of wasting their time maybe they will demand that our packaging become better and easier to open.

Next rant: graphic design with illegible lettering.

P.S.  On another more jolly note …  I’m so proud of my son, Tad, with his new book, “The Santa Claus War.”  If you’d like to purchase a Kindle copy, please go to Amazon.   If you like it, will you leave a review?

2018 Art Show Success and More

Getting ready for the 2018 Art Show and SaleThanks to all who made my 4th Annual Art Show and Sale last night at Associates in Dermatology enjoyable and successful. I had an opportunity to meet and talk to everyone who came.  I am looking forward to next year’s party already!  

In the meanwhile, excepting the small pieces that were exhibited in the reception room on display panels, the remaining art will continue to hang for the holiday season or until they are needed elsewhere. If you were unable to attend the showing last night, contact me for an appointment.  We can schedule a time for you to see the paintings after regular business hours or on the weekend.

Thanks again to all who came out!

 

Getting Ready for Art Show and Sale

Spent the day earlier this week putting up paintings throughout Associates in Dermatology to start getting ready for the 4th Annual Art Show and Sale.  There are more to come, but wanted to share a few new paintings that will be available. 

Come out and join me on Friday, November 9th beginning at 5:30pm.

See you there!

Flying Kites

Playing the Fife

4th Annual Art Show and Sale

Annual Art Show and Sale

As hot as it has been in SE Virginia this fall, I’m working hard to think about the coming holidays and gift giving.  I’m sure many of you are as well.  So…

Get ready for some super prices on my paintings for the 4th Annual Art Studio Show and Sale!!!

When:  Friday, November 9, 2018

Time:  5:30 – 7:30 PM

Where:  Associates in Dermatology office,  17 Manhattan Square, Hampton, Virginia (map / directions)

Come by, browse, shop and bring a friend.  Delicious hors d’oeuvres will be served.  There will be many paintings offered in addition to those hanging in the Aiderm offices.

See you at the 4th Annual Art Show and Sale!

ARTS on Main Show in Gloucester, Virginia

ARTS on Main ShowYou may have noticed many of my recent shows have been closer to home, but there are so many amazing venues to view great art in coastal Virginia!   I am honored to be exhibiting at the ARTS on Main from October 5 – 27, 2018.  If you hail from the Northern Neck or Gloucester area, this a great opportunity to check out this wonderful facility for the arts right in your backyard.

Here’s the scoop:

ARTS on Main
Poetry, Music & Motion
October 5 – 27
6580 B Main Street
Gloucester, VA 23061
804-824-9464

I’ll be there for the Opening Reception on Friday, October 5 from 6PM – 8PM.    Hope you’re able to stop by and visit!

New Exhibit in Dare County, NC

Dare County Art Council GalleryI’m Dare Count Art Council Galleryexcited to share a new exhibit in Dare County.  I’ve been selected to exhibit my paintings at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery. 

Here’s where they’re located and their hours:

300 Queen Elizabeth Ave.
Manteo, NC 27954

Summer hours through September:
Monday – Friday:  10am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 10am -4:00pm
Closed Sundays

Website:  https://www.darearts.org/

Come by and see mine and all the rest of the amazing artist showing in the Outer Banks. 

Dare County Art Council Gallery

Same Colorado Trip

 

We recently spent a week in Colorado where, yes, the scenery was beautiful,  no, the altitude did not affect us, and yes, the tour of Colorado’s most interesting crop was – interesting; but I have to tell you my moment to remember story.
 
Our Colorado friends found us a second floor room at a lodge right outside Rocky Mountain National Park.  It sits on one of those fast moving rocky mountain streams that provide background noise to sleep to. Because of the heat wave, our windows and sliders were wide open.
 
Around 1:30 am I was awakened by a horrible animal cry!  I got up and looked out the window into the darkness beyond the light that illuminated the walk beneath our room. The cries got louder and I could see a shape about the size of a fox pacing by the waters edge. it was obviously in distress.
 
About a minute later, I looked down onto the back of one enormous mama bear. Biggest I have ever seen and obviously not in captivity. She jumped the chest high fence into the thicket, the cries ceased, she (out of my range of vision) jumped back and, followed by her baby , proceeded back to the parking lot where I later learned she reunited with the two cubs she left behind to rescue her baby.
 
My heart rate returned to normal.  I returned to bed.  When the couple on the first floor heard how close the mama bear came to their wide open slider, they re-evaluated being first floor with an open door.

I brought my art supplies to Colorado hoping to paint by the side of the river while our group learned to fly fish. Well, I didn’t learn to fly fish, but I didn’t paint much either.

It was a learning experience though. I learned I am not a plein air painter. I don’t enjoy the process of hauling my stuff to a location and then preserving the memory on canvas. My iPhone does that. Rocks are hard to sit on, flying insects are a bother, keeping palette, water, and canvas or paper under control on an uneven surface is impossible. And the worst of it is that the final product is terrible. So back to the studio!

Visiting Colorado but no plein air painting

Artistic Rambles: Why the Sketch Was Better

Sketch was BetterI have been working on my painting for three days, weeks,months and it still doesn’t work. Why? My sketch was really incredible.  My sketch was better.  I  loved it.  But what could’ve gone wrong.

This happens to artists all the time and sometimes the error is that you probably never checked to see if your sketch’s proportions matched your canvas.

In my case the vertical sketch was thinner than the canvas. Therefore my two lady figures were not positioned perfectly. They were a bit farther apart and I was futilely trying to correct the design by filling in the area between them and it didn’t work. The interesting posture of one of them was gone.  No matter what I did with color- more red more yellow, etc.  I had lost the flow.  Plus the acrylic paint was gumming up on the canvas creating bubbles and losing vibrancy.

But I persisted. Usually persistence is a good thing – right Elizabeth Warren? Not in this case.

My fluid ladies were becoming awkward bias relief sculptures. They could not be deader than if I had taken a knife to the canvas.

But I persisted. At this point I pitched the brushes and tackled the colors with my gloves.  I started smushing paint around knowing nothing good would come of it. I even squirted expensive pigment right on the canvas – a sign of desperation.

Deep down I knew it was over. I thought about how an artist I knew had labeled some if his failures “sailors” because he took them to the beach and “sailed” them into the bay.  I am too much of environmentalist to do that. It would be just my luck the wetter paint would slough off revealing the original failure and some beach-goer would find it, dry it out, and with my luck I would see it at his retirement party. Thankfully unsigned.

There are many reasons a painting will never be as good as the sketch . What I have talked about is basically a design problem. Face it folks, bad design equals bad painting.

Epilogue
I used up my paint smearing it on the canvas and started a more textural painting.

 

dividing line

 

Afternoons with Gloria

Artists Like to Cook Vegetables

Veggie SquashAlthough I am a good cook, I do not claim to be an expert on any food much less the undervalued vegetable. But I do have opinions and a blog. I like to cook vegetables.

Growing up in a blue-collar urban family , I was exposed to a total meat and potatoes diet which also noodles and very occasionally rice.

Most of my vegetables came out of a can.

My father demanded they be cooked for about 10 minutes on the stove so the end result was salty gray mushy peas.

He liked peas.

Having said that I must admit that my mother and grandmother made cabbage , yes a vegetable, that was to die for.

Then I was introduced to southern cooked vegetables when I married a South Carolinian and realized vegetables , partnered with cornbread without sugar, were unbelievably delicious. Corn, butter beans with little pieces of fatback, I learned to cook them all. I was lucky.

Unfortunately most folks when they go out to eat are treated to the very unappetizing steamed vegetable medley that passes for vegetables in even some of our better restaurants. You can picture it- limp zucchini , yellow squash and wilted onions in their salted water bath . Yum. I have to assume the chefs were not trained to cook vegetables anymore than I was trained to appreciate them growing up in the Del Monte can environment. ( in the interests of geographical balance. can I mention my introduction in the 70s to the southern version of pizza from a now defunct chain consisting of a generous mound of oregano on top of a block of mozzarella cheese sitting on a barely tanned bed of cooked flour? My heartburn is coming back)

Anyway, I mention restaurants because I think a lot of us get an idea of what unfamiliar recipes taste like when we first sample them prepared in a restaurant. Very few of us nowadays have an Italian or Eastern European or even Chinese grandmother bending over a hot black kitchen stove stirring a pot of ethnic wonders. (Grandfathers were doing manly things piddling in the back yard.)

Yes, we have cooking shows, but they are the new forms of entertainment, but are hardly tutorials.

So restaurants become our baseline. Unfortunately most restaurants fall well behind in their expertise in cooking vegetable dishes. They steam them to death or serve them raw. They don’t even know how to prepare asparagus so that you aren’t forced to eat rooty stems . Seasonings include salt.

So in our country you get your meat – bloody to hockey puck, bland to sugar high.  You get your seafood -,crispy fried to greasy fried.  You get your chicken, and of course everybody’s favorite white meat- pork with its bacon flavoring everything from entrees to ice cream. Then of course you get your fried potatoes and your favorite carb -bread.

Rarely do you ever have the opportunity to taste an incredible sautéed vegetable dish or any vegetable dish that is more than just an afterthought to bring color to the bland variety of earth=toned foods we love.

Dare I say my rant does not include salads- that traditional American diet food. Maybe more on salads another time- grass clippings as health food. That’s a joke folks.

As a result of lack of exposure I dare say most people don’t even know what a caramelized onion is much less caramelized spring cabbage. And we wonder why children can’t stand vegetables although you can blend them in a smoothie with 30 grams of sugar and hope they can’t taste them.

I love International grocery stores which stock a wonderful variety of foods that grow- many I have never even heard of –  but alas they don’t identify them or tell how to prepare them much less put out samples like Costco does with prepared foods.

At least we have the entertaining Korean woman on Youtube who is a joy to watch.  Now I am going out to stock up on Korean radishes to make her pickled radish recipe.

You ask what does this have to do with art? Nothing. But artists have to eat and I like vegetables.