three very good questions…

Today I closed the door for the last time on my much-loved studio of 15+ years.  It’s empty.  My work is now in storage.  This is the end of one era and the start of another.

I keep thinking about something my husband, Jeff told me a few years ago.

What’s working?

What’s not?

What’s next?

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  1. The last painting in my studio.
  2. My paint covered work shirt.
  3. A layered image of me and the empty studio.

my creative life July-December 2016

July:  I worked on my coursework for my positive psychology class.  I created a handbag out of a friend’s damaged Audi seat.  I was generously given a huge amount of fabric that was just beautiful to work with for the SEABA fashion show coming up.  I read a lot about the psychology of geography—the study of how we behave in relation to our environment. I traveled to South Dakota to visit my family and was lucky enough to get to shoot some photographs at the Burke Stampede Rodeo. Oh, cowboys…

August:  I sketched, sewed, painted and made handbags…a big blitz of work.  Using the company SPOONFLOWER I got photographs printed onto fabric. My daughter, Lucy wore a skirt I made with an abandoned farmhouse photo I shot in South Dakota on it.  I used rust prints Elizabeth Bunsen created with Nebraska license plates to create fabric as well.  Burlington master goldsmith— Jane Frank designed jewelry worn in the show—the pieces were such a beautiful compliment to the clothes. 

September was a blur: The fashion show was entirely consuming the first 10 days of the the month.  I love to be in flow and entirely focused on one thing.  Deadlines are my jam.  However, this year I also needed to create my final project for my Positive Psychology course at the same time . I graduated and got to spend a week at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass with a remarkable bunch of people from all around the world.  Later in the month my husband and I went to the Champlain Valley Classic Car show, taking photos and talking to classic car enthusiasts was just great after being so busy.

October: I turned 50 on the 12th.  I was taken to Martha’s Vineyard by friends.  My husband surprised me by getting my folks, my sister and my brother-in-law to Vermont for a long weekend to celebrate with me.  That was remarkable AND he threw a party complete with my friends putting on a musical review, poetry, singing songs and making me feel so unbelievably grateful for my life.  I took a few of my favorite images ever and layered more photos. Jeff and I dressed as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo for Halloween.

November:  I traveled to Burke, South Dakota.  I took photos of Herrick that made current and former Herrick residents very happy and remarkably nostalgic.  I got to hang out with my great nephew, Liam (oh, and the rest of my clan).  I created digital images of my own planet based on a conversation with my son.  The planet New Vagus is based on the vagus nerve—the power center of our nervous system.  I wrote.  I cried when Leonard Cohen died.

December:  I made leather pendants for gifts.  I kept playing with the image of a South Dakota two-lane road, layering the photo and playing with the visuals of memory.  I created a line of scarves with my images on them.  I will post the link soon if you are interested in ordering one.

January 2017 is off to an interesting start.  I’m cleaning out the basement—sorting through letters, photos, the kids clothes I’ve saved, toys, books and all of the things I can’t believe I now have to deal with.  I’m learning a lot about myself and why things seemed so very important to me.

Turning 50 is an interesting age to take a look back, look ahead, try to stay in the moment and not get too stuck in any one place.

looking back at my 2016 creative life…why does it feel like I never did enough?

The funny thing about being an artist—it just never feels like I’ve created enough. NEVER.  I needed to look back for some perspective if I’m going show some compassion toward myself and be my own best friend.  I went through my images month by month to remind myself that, although I can always create more—I’ve actually done a lot.

I think we all need to remind ourselves that we are enough…just as we are.

 

Here’s PART I: January to June 2016.

January: I painted this mural in the entryway of our home. It took me about 10 hours to paint it on New Year’s Day.  It brings me joy everyday as I walk into our home.  I’m eyeing other walls now and looking for some dates when no one is home for a long stretch.

February: These were a few of my favorite images from a trip to the Dominican Republic with my husband and daughters.  Oh, that blue…

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March: I shot this image of my husband with our cat, Karen.  It is one of my favorite images I’ve ever taken.  Our cozy family life wearing great socks surrounded by color.  I worked a lot layering my photos with images of my hometown and two-lane South Dakota roads.  I wrote about identity.  I worked on my positive psychology coursework.  I worked with artist, Elizabeth Bunsen ecodyeing textiles and learning about that process.  I made a handbag that referenced the South Dakota two-lane image I like to work with for a group show in April at SEABA.

April: I went with Elizabeth Bunsen to assist with an ecodyeing workshop in the magical encaustic castle—an art space in Lexington, Kentucky run by artist Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.  What a remarkable group of women!  We made beautiful things.  We laughed.  We cried.  My great nephew, Liam was born in South Dakota while I was in Kentucky.  My new creative friends celebrated with me.  What an experience.

Here’s the link to her space to see what other workshops are available.

http://www.pbsartist.com/pbsartistopenstudio/

May: My friend, Maggie and I took four teenage girls to Quebec City to see Justin Bieber as a 16th Birthday present to my twin daughters.  What a beautiful city and the false eyelashes looked amazing as they headed out to catch their Uber to the Videotron Centre.

June: I shot this image of Vergennes, Vermont that I love.  My husband and I traveled to Ireland for a friend’s 50th birthday. This photograph was taken in Innishmore.  I sold this painting “She Often had a Plan B” in the new shop below my studio: DEEP 6.  I found a group of amazing photos at a second hand shop.  I cleaned my studio.

 Next up, whenever I get to it—July-December.

Happy 2017 and I wish you a wonderfully creative year—whatever that is for you!

the necessity of play.

Over the weekend, my husband and I dressed up as Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera for a Halloween party.  We weren’t necessarily in the mood and it would’ve been easy to stay home.  A few hours before the party I thought about the opportunity to walk three houses down, see costumes, have a few beers, eat some chocolate and talk to a bunch of interesting people. When I thought about it, well, it would’ve been really stupid to stay home.  Culturally, I think we sometimes consider PLAY as frivolous or unnecessary.  NOPE.  It’s really necessary. I know that play makes me feel more creative, relaxed and better able to handle setbacks.

I’m pretty sure I’ll remember dressing up like Frida & Diego for a Halloween party more than another night on the couch watching a movie. GO FORTH & PLAY, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.

I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Frida Kahlo’s home in Coyoacán, Mexico, but I can pretend I have with Photoshop.  Don’t you love my cigarette spoke.  I think Frida probably could do things like that with smoke.lisa-lillibridge-fridaFrida is worth knowing more about.  She had a remarkably interesting life. Her paintings, clothes and attitude really speak to me and provide inspiration. http://www.biography.com/people/frida-kahlo-9359496

PLAYverb (Merriam Webster)

1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  YUP, and frequently.

Sometimes a day can just shift…

even when they start out pretty funky.  That’s what happened to me today.  I’m glad I was paying attention.  I drove to Putney, Vermont to see my son at Landmark College.  As the parent of 20 and 16-year-olds, I have to stay on my toes and I was this morning…tippy tippy toes, actually.  I headed south from Burlington and made some remarkable stops along the way.  Good golly, Vermont is staggeringly beautiful in October.  WOW!

I stopped at the Red Hen Baking Company in Middlesex, VT for coffee and a cheddar bacon scone. They didn’t have them today—bummer…coffee and reading my book for a while is nice even without a cheddar & bacon scone. I’m reading “A Short Course In Happiness and Loss” by one of my psychology instructors, Maria Sirois.  I graduated with a certificate in Positive Psychology last Friday after finishing a year long certification program through the Wholebeing Institute .  I have that post big project and deadline sense of loss.  I like deadlines.  I guess I’ll have to set some new goals now.

Since, I’ve been home and working mostly alone in my studio for two decades, a certificate in anything actually feels pretty damn good.

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I’m not exactly sure how I took this picture, but it captures a moment for me anyway. I had the windows down and the music blasting because, even after coffee, I was still sleepy. The air was heavy and dark.  After I saw my son I was heading North on I91 and I missed my exit.  The sun was now shining and I was hungry, so I decided to explore White River Junction, Vermont.  I’ve driven by this town for 26 years and never stopped.  It’s so awesome.  I think we all must explore a lot often.  Our hearts and brains depend upon exploration  My whole day shifted by stopping in this funky Vermont town.

I parked downtown and ate lunch at Tuckerbox, a Turkish restaurant.  I had a meze platter—haydari, hummus, babaganoush, Turkish salsa, stuffed grape leaves. YUM!

Then I just decided to take a walk around town before I headed back to Burlington. I bought a vintage denim shirt at REVOLUTIONlevis-vintage-repro-shorthorn-denim-shirts-made-in-usa-lvc-western-big-e-jac-s-24ffc2d9d39176ea14f6d1acbe048905  One can’t have too many of those…right?

Then I walked around the block back to my truck and this is what I came upon…let’s review.  1. I miss my exit. 2. Great Lunch. 3. Cool denim shirt.

4. Then these pedals were all over the steps and sidewalk.  Who doesn’t need a little MAGIC in their day?

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I was floored…it was so amazing to come around the corner of the street and witness this. I was so wiped out.  I  was gone all of last week at school and I really needed to be home, but I would’ve missed those pedals.  Thank you VALLEY FLOWER COMPANYYou have no idea how much you made my day.  Yes, there’s still more…

So I paused for a minute to just take in the pedals on the sidewalk.  I took about 11 steps and there was this interesting little jewelry gallery called SCAVENGER.  I popped in and the work is right up my alley.  One of the artists makes casts out of bugs, twigs, flowers, sea urchins…gorgeous, organic shapes.  I bought myself an early birthday present.  I even had it wrapped, so I don’t have a picture and I can’t open it until next week.  It’s a persimmon flower, very cool shape, greenish, bronzy, patina…her work made me feel like I had uncovered the bracelet on an archeological dig.  I’m now a big fan of Stacy Hopkins.  Nice people helped me make my choose the piece of jewelry I purchased as well.  Yes, really.  I felt like I was on a movie set.

Then I headed north—smiling from my adventures…listening to Aretha Franklin really loud and singing along.  It poured for a while.  I LOVE RAIN.  Then it cleared off and the color was just staggering…Aretha and I kept singing and heading north to HOME.

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White River Junction, you have a new fan!

STRUT—part I

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Here are some images from last night’s STRUT fashion show in Burlington, Vermont.  These are the more candid shots of getting ready and going through rehearsal.  We had such a great day and hanging out together was really fun.  Thank you to all who helped make the show happen.  I won’t name you all, there are too many of you who supported Elizabeth and I produce our collection.  You know who you are.  Many thanks.

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