I found these brand new boots for 10 bucks. I had an hour before a meeting and although I liked the shape of the boots they were too shiny and new (I just hate things to look new). So, I took them to my studio and started mucking them up. Here are the results.
October 12th was my 48th birthday. I took this photo in the late afternoon yesterday overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. I was so struck by this image when I downloaded it from my camera. It simply reflected the way I feel at this stage of my life—flawed, unique, resilient, independent and surrounded by wonder and beauty.
I am working on a commissioned painting with text this week. I wanted to take a look at the text style and size of some of my older works. These are no longer in my possession so I have to rely on my photos. (photos by Dok Wright)
The Federal Art Project (FAP) was the visual arts arm of the Great Depression-era New Deal Works Progress Administration Federal One program in the United States. The program operated from August 29, 1935 through June 30, 1943.
“Folk art expert Holger Cahill, who managed this large program, believed it could demonstrate the government’s commitment to the art community, give artists a sense of participation in American life, and provide the public a stake in American art.”
This series I created as homage to the art created during the WPA (Works Progress Administration) under the the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. I love the messaging and graphic nature of the art created during that time. Can you imagine any modern administration thinking that getting artists to work would be good for our nation’s legacy and to exhibit our government’s commitment to art. Thanks FDR, you truly were one of a kind.
This series of paintings is owned by John Canning/PCC Physician’s Computer Company in Winooski, Vermont. I hope to sell another whole series another time in my life, it was utterly thrilling. Thank you John.
I think I need to create a new series based on these posters.
CATS: Does your cat sleep with the person in the family that is under the most stress or sick? Our cat Karen does this all the time. They are such remarkable pets. Here’s an explanation that made sense to me about their behavior.
“Here’s an unknown tip inside the secret life of cats. All cats are empowered to remove accumulated negative energy from your body on a daily basis. While you are sleeping, they absorb it from your body.
If there is more than one person in the family, and only one cat, it may accumulate an overload of negativity from absorbing energy from so many people. When they sleep, a cat’s body releases the negativity that it removed from you.
If you are extremely stressed out, they may not have had enough time to release this negative energy, therefore it is stored as fat until they can. Therefore, they will become overweight — and you thought it was the food that you were feeding them!”
I loved this dream. I’ve had a bit of crisis of confidence lately in my creative world and this was just the necessary tonic. You know what my nine year old self loved to do? I loved to write stories, draw, design a whole Barbie apartment complete with art, furniture and (occasional visits by G.I. Joe), pick up trash, make things out of trash, explore the world around me, play sports, watch television, talk to my friends, travel and eat potato chips.
I guess that old man was telling my inner voices to shut up. You are doing fine.
The last few days I’ve spend some time clearing my head and cleaning out my studio. I purchased a closet of clothes a few years ago in an estate sale from my friend Funky Frank. There were some real gems in my purchase. Today I tried on a few sport coats to see what I could have tailored. I was thrilled to discover a few things in pockets. So I naturally searched through all of them. I found receipts, a few coins, a vintage hand wipe cloth and the business card of musician Adam Over from Montreal who apparently plays Jazz Bass. I thought it was so cool that Adam had a card with contact information simply stating that he plays JAZZ BASS.
I wondered about the night when this jacket was worn to a club in Montreal. I’m guessing that after hearing Adam Over the owner of this fabulous jacket needed to have his contact information—perhaps he thought he would need to hire a jazz bass player for a private party in Montreal sometime.
I’ve been doing a lot of sleuthing in the last few weeks. My life has required it. I had this realization that little stories like this have meant so much to me my whole life. And for the record, this striped, double breasted jacket doesn’t require a hug amount of alteration to fit me well. I just need to have someone nip in the waist and take the shoulders in a bit.
I walked everywhere today and I love being so much more flexible on foot to explore than when I am driving. NOT BIG NEWS I realize, but today what could’ve been a pretty ordinary day, running errands, meeting a friend for coffee, going to a meeting, dropping things off etc—turned into a pretty interesting visual experience. It’s out there everywhere, we just have to be paying attention I guess.
1. Brick on Maple Street in the sun in Burlington, Vermont.
2. A cool sticker on a sign in front of Art’s Riot, SEABA (south end arts and business association) and Speeder and Earl’s coffee shop on Pine Street.
3. An abstract painting by artist Steve Sharon at Maglianero cafe. I bought this painting yesterday while Steve was hanging the show. I stopped in to get a honey ginger latte (crazy good) with my daughter and was very drawn to the piece. It has “pasture” in the title and it instantly connected me to my roots in South Dakota. Go get a latte and check out Steve’s show. Cool work. Nice guy. http://thekarmabirdhouse.com/the-amenities/maglianero-cafe
4. A sculpture in front of The Space Gallery and Conant Metal and Light.
There wasn’t a sign about whose work this cat is. If someone knows please let me know and post a comment so the work is properly attributed.
5. I just thought this flora was cool. Bold. Interesting. This unknown flora is large tufts in groups. If anyone knows what it is please post a comment. It’s tragic to be called, “unknown flora”.
What a charming museum we have in Vermont. The Madsonian Museum of Industrial Design started by architect, David Sellers is in Waitsfield, Vermont and well worth the trip. My son is studying Industrial Design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. I wish he had been with me yesterday to poke around this charming space. Everything is so entirely Vermonty too. There was a lovely and well-informed girl who came in from sitting in the sun when I entered the museum. It’s a loose, donation museum and you may put one amount in the clear donation box on your way in and another amount on your way out because of the gems you’ve witnessed. Now, I eat this sort of design up. It’s one of my passions and what one person might not think a second about keeps me up at night thinking about the shape, color, origin and how it might influence my work. It took me way to long time to finally visit—but perhaps precisely the right timing.
From the museum’s website: “David Sellers is an architect and designer living and working in Warren, Vermont. The Madsonian is the result of his lifelong dream to honor the world’s best in industrial design. Dave got his start in architecture at Yale University. He has since been designing and building in Vermont and around the world. Dave has been named one of Architectural Digest’s top 100 architects.”
This morning I found this beautiful cicada. I thought it was dead and I wanted to photograph it with various backgrounds. I lifted it up and it moved. I had to adapt to how I reacted to my discovery. As I got on the ground to take photographs I thought about how different it looks with slight shifts in my perspective. 1) I was close enough that I could see the intricate detail on the wings. 2) When I stood up and took photographs of it, suddenly it didn’t even seem very interesting to me. 3) When I walked across the yard it basically disappeared to me. This made me think.
In our lives when we’re so close to something we can lose perspective and get lost in whatever it is. It looms so large. Simply can’t be ignored. However, when we step back a little bit and try to look from slightly different angles, we can start seeing other possibilities. And when we pull our observation away even further we can get a greater understanding of what is happening all around us. Here’s an example.
1) Your teenager always leaves dishes in the living room. When you see them it really makes you angry. It feels disrespectful and you want to make your feelings known. Loudly.
2) Your kid then steps in the door—Hi Mom, I had a great day, X happened and I’m hungry and I have homework, (A step back. A different perspective.) OK, my child has a lot on their plate too.
3) Sitting at dinner your child shares something they are concerned about and you have a discussion. (A step even further back. Hummm, maybe in light of these other things happening in my teenager’s life, fighting about a glass or mug left in the living room has me focused on the wrong things right now.)
NOTE: I am not saying I am always good at this. However, for so many events in our lives, stepping back keeps us from taking things so personally. This can help us see events through a different lens and open us up to seeing other options.