Thursday, August 31, 2006


I continue to be amazed by the amount of Spam that is sent to my website (what do the spammers get out of this!?!?). Good grief, as if I could ever find real mail in and amongst all the crap. What humors me is the "subject" entered by the spammers. I suppose they are trying to avoid filters but seriously, do they think an email with a subject of Better future, whip snake is going to simply sneak in and appear like normal mail!?!?!

Crazy dreams last night. In real life, I am down to the last 5 shows of the season and have been working on biz ideas, thinking about how to end the season with a bang, contemplating shows for next year, considering options for the booth. I pretty much think about it 24 hours a day because, regrettably, my mind does not rest while I am asleep. In the midst of all this, our dishwasher went out last week so I did research on options and bought a new one which was installed on Tuesday.

So on to last night's dream. The new French wall was in the booth, my work hung pretty much like I normally do. I was considering display options, possible purchase of another French wall for the back of the booth or a bigger counter/table, this all happening in my dream. And suddenly there it was........a dishwasher installed front and center in my booth, somehow embedded within a mesh wall panel.

Clearly, I need a break.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I've found my clan

We are home from the show. It was successful in a number of ways; the money was good which is always nice. But better than that, I had a wonderful time, probably the most fun I have ever had at a show. The weather even turned out ok which was pretty amazing considering it rained a ton yet somehow managed to stop during the exact hours of the show each day. That was truly miraculous.

I was next to my friend Rhonda and a booth away from my friend Marcia. Rhonda's friend Miky (who is also my new friend) was behind her. I cannot begin to convey how much fun it is to do a show when surrounded by people you like. We had an absolutely blast.

Miky is a potter extraordinaire who also goes to culinary school. She lives in Des Moines and traveled to the show with a cooler full of fabulous food she had prepared. On Saturday she had a rice cooker behind her booth! That was the day she brought us a wonderfully healthy lunch selection; sesame spinach, braised tofu, thinly sliced beef, seaweed wrappers, kimchee(did I mention she is Korean?) and rice. All artfully arranged on a plate along with a napkin and chopsticks. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful treat!!

I also had a chance to see Rick and Sally Martin again, having met them at Laumeier earlier this year. Also friends of Rhonda's, these folks know how to have a good time. Rick is just too much fun; what a total cut up he is, doing his Ricky Martin moves, cracking jokes, making up nicknames for everyone, and leaving funny gifts which is a story for another time. His wife Sally is smart and beautiful in addition to being funny. They furnished me with Margaritas each evening and Ricky hooked Rhonda and me up with personal fans clipped to our chairs (powered by a battery source he also furnished). This after he determined it was too hot on our side of the tent.

On Saturday night John and I were invited to join a group of about 20 artists for dinner at a Japanese restaurant, one of those places where you sit around a grill and a chef cooks/performs your meal in front of you. We were at 2 tables with the chefs in the center, trying their best to out-do one another. Ours set the entire grill ablaze which was pretty spectacular. Also made an onion into a flaming volcano which was very cool and it was obvious from the hooting and hollering that we are all a bunch of pyros at heart.

It was when I was sitting at that table, laughing so hard my face hurt, that I looked around at my old and new friends, my fellow gypsy artists, and it struck me. For once in my life, after years and years of not really fitting in and always feeling like the odd girl out, I was finally at home.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Can I be in 2 places at one time?

AIR Small Works Invitational
"diminutive works
with a powerful presence"
Aug 26 - Sept 16
Artist in Residence
LaGrange, GA

What a great lineup of artists the amazing Signe Grushovenko has curated. Wowza, just to be chosen as part of this group is such an honor for me. Signe saw my work on the 4 Bridges website and chose me "blind," apparently the only person in the show chosen that way. When I met her at Uptown, she seemed possibly nervous (or maybe that was me, ha, ha) since she had never viewed my originals. Thank goodness she liked my work in person. I made 2 tiny pieces especially for her show and once she saw them she wanted more (!) so I let her pick from my inventory. I just wish I could see the show and attend the opening. But alas, here is where I will be instead:

19th Annual Midwest Salute to the Arts
Longacre Park
Fairview Heights, IL
August 26, Sat 10 - 6
August 27, Sun 11 - 5

This is my second year at the show; last year I was recognized with a prize in the Mixed Media category and what a rush that was, getting a ribbon and a cash prize, woo hoo for me. This is just such a lovely show held by wonderful folks who really believe in taking care of their artists (they have selected some amazing talent too). There is also a very fun Prevue Party on Friday night; more details on the party and exhibiting artists are available on the show's website. So, if you are in the greater St. Louis area, come on out and see me!

Friday, August 18, 2006

What were they thinking?

Snakes on Planes. I can not imagine anything worse. In fact, I can't even watch the previews or read an article about this movie. The idea of snakes slithering around on a plane and dropping from the overhead bin makes my skin crawl. Literally.

A neighbor boy threw his pet snake on me when I was perhaps 12 years old. Tossed it across the yard and it landed it's snakey ass on my neck and shoulder before I flailed about and it fell to the ground. I nearly peed my pants. Needless to say, this incident pretty much terrorized me for life.

So, Snakes on Planes? I think not.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Restoring my soul

Painting painting painting.
Taking walks.
Writing in my journal.
Going to a used book sale.
Doing Yoga.
Painting painting painting.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What has life come to?

Longtime readers know of our cat woes from about a year ago. One of our animals (ok, it was probably Gilligan) was pooping in the dining room. That is when we first blocked the dining room from cat access.

For basically a year now (could that really be true?) we have been living with a child gate at one of the dining room entries and an entire door screen across the other, that being the wide entry off our foyer. During the blockade period, the dining room has somehow migrated into a staging area for my shows, with art leaning against all the walls, the table utilized as a work surface, boxes and other supplies stacked on the floor. Since we have so many shows going on (and generally only a week in between) it makes sense to store things in the dining room rather than carry everything downstairs then upstairs again between shows.

It is such a blight though, I mean total eyesore. We are like that crazy cat lady who lived down the street from me when I was growing up, the one who had newspapers stacked from floor to ceiling. Who ever imagined it would come to this? But I can't think of a better solution at least until the shows are over. And the thing is, I can block the room from my vision. I walk by day after day and don't even see the mess. It isn't within my frame of reference; I think I have simply rationalized that it just IS at least until the shows are over.

It's only when we have a visitor that I come to my senses, smack myself in the head, oh yeah, I have a bunch of crap piled up in the room previously known as our dining room. And oh yeah, we are using a screen door as a barrier. The guest is typically too polite to say anything, but you can see the wheels turning. At that point I usually make some joke about it, suggesting I took the whole "decorating with room screens" thing too literally.

Now the upside of this more cat poop, at least outside of the litter box and certainly not in the dining room. Whoever was doing the pooping (Gilligan) seems to have resumed use of the litter boxes. Thus I concluded he was better, "over" whatever had upset him, reconciled to Mom & Dad's gypsy lifestyle, hopefully contented with his catsitter Karyl.

Until Saturday that is......I was in the studio where we have an auxiliary litter box because God forbid the cats would have to walk back upstairs to go potty. Yes, they have a litter box in my studio bathroom right next to the toilet. And yes, there is simultaneous use on occasion.

So it was on Saturday afternoon when I heard a mournful cry from one of the cats; I knew instantly it was Gilligan because a good cat mom, like any mom, recognizes the cry of her young. It wasn't a whine, but a true mournful sound. I jumped up like a rocket and found Gilligan standing in the middle of the litter box. Doing nothing, just crying.

Oh my gosh. I was so sad for him because this is a sign of cat constipation. And I can so relate although that is a story for another day (or not). Anyway, I waited till he was finished doing nothing and picked him up to massage his abdomen and see if he had specific pain. He was fine with my examination. I checked Google, found some vet-sites and decided to try this petroleum remedy that we happened to have on hand, salmon flavored no less. This online vet said to give a dose 3 days in a row to get the system back to normal. I checked him again yesterday and his belly did not feel so tight as it did before although truly it is hard to tell because it's like doing an exam on a frozen turkey. But I think he may be better.

In the meantime I have asked John, master of the litter boxes, to keep an eye on the cat poop and alert me to any change. We discussed the usual quantity, size and consistency of turds at length yesterday afternoon. We (that being the "royal we") are looking for small dry turds as a sign of cat constipation. We were in John's office, me lying on the floor, John in his chair, seriously evaluating and analyzing the pooping patterns of our animals. Truly.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Our neighborhood is pretty far out from St. Louis proper. We are in the county, way out west as some say, ha! and near lots of narrow winding roads. Like the road I travel to "The Valley," a strip mall extravaganza of a shopping area that has brand spankin' new box stores, chain restaurants, an enormous movie cinema, our fave local coffee shop and a gourmet ice cream parlor. This is all about 7 minutes from my house, an area of excessive commercialism with which I am in a love/hate relationship; probably more love because it is darn handy to have it all so close to home.

The roads that lead to The Valley are fun to drive. Twisting, turning, up and down and all around. Trees overhang in many spots, there is a creek (regrettably dry since we have had little rain) which runs next to the road and a nearly one lane bridge with a hairpin turn, no issue for my little Saab, but the Hummers and other numerous SUV's take it slow and even wait their turn for a solitary pass. Plus there are clearings where I know I will always see deer and wild turkey. I love this road and hope the land is never sold for development. Driving this path once a week allows me the most brief imaginary existence away from suburbia.

There is just one house that is visible; there are others I know, but they are discreetly hidden up hills, behind trees, to the point you can't even see them in the winter. But I am talking about this old white farm house right next to the road. A farmer I am guessing as the owner sells bales of hay in the fall and sometimes has a table with vegetables for sale. The yard is strewn with decorative ornaments, whirligigs mainly, that catch your eye as you drive. And signage. Oh lordy do they have signage. These folks are baseball fans in a big way. They have perhaps 8 or more signs cheering the St. Louis Cardinals, signs which cite specific players to the team in general, "Honk if you love the Cardinals."

I can just imagine the scene. The husband and wife are lying in bed asleep. HonkHonk HonkHonk. HonkHonkHonk. Beer bottles flying out the window as unruly teens careen by the house. Husband wakes up and smiles.........."Cardinal fans......."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I have had the most amazing couple of days. I scheduled a "retreat" of sorts with myself. This means I get to mess around in the studio, look at books, play with my art supplies, and ignore the ringing phone. Because here's the best part.......John fields calls for me. He tells people that I don't want to be disturbed or some such thing. I don't know exactly what he is saying; I am guessing my friends know me well enough to understand my artistic temperament. And I am sure most of them know I need to re-charge. All I want to do is playplayplay with paint.

I am having so much fun. He(that being John) doesn't even call me up for meals like he normally does. I nearly forgot about lunch yesterday until I realized I was starving to death about 2:30.

Today I left the house late afternoon because I want to get some art books at the library, pick up a gift for my aunt and grab a new brush. John asked me to get some light bulbs too. Which meant I needed to stop at Lowe's. Oh my gosh that turned into a stimulating visit. Naturally I decided to look at paint swatches and was mesmerized by the selection. I am thinking of painting the studio and picked up the first round of contenders. Also got a terrific book at the library which has tons of pictures of the SBC art collection.

All my playing has jump started new abstracts. I am very excited about this work; it feels so organic to me, different yet similarly rooted if that makes any sense. I decided to start out on paper which deviates from my usual method. The studio, as you might imagine, is a mess. And I couldn't be happier.

I will share some of the new works shortly, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My friends are good to me

I was having kind of a bad day today. First of all, I received a show rejection that set me back a bit and made me grumpy. Plus I haven't really found my groove since we arrived home from Minneapolis. I feel like I am spinning my wheels with too many phone calls, errands, meetings, and other catch up activities. When all I really want to do is sequester myself in the studio and paint like a wild woman.

But I digress. Because 2 of my friends were so wonderful to me today.

Shown at the top is a gift from my friend Missy and I have no idea what I did to deserve this treat! Missy made this tiny framed collage for a swap called Artvent that I participated in last year. Regrettably, I had to face the music this year and admit there was no way it would work with my nutso schedule; making 34 hand crafted and wrapped items just wasn't gonna happen. So I dropped out. But they are all swapping now and unwrapping their new treasures which I am following like a deranged voyeur on Denise's blog. And consequently I have had some regrets. So it was super sweet of Missy to share an "extra" that she had made. What a lovely surprise.

And then there was a package from my friend Shari Beaubien that contained this incredible painting called Inspire. Shari and I became friends over the internet. She is on a Yahoo group I am part of which is how I met her. She has been picking my brain (what's left of it) about the art show biz. Through all our emails we have discovered we are kind of twins/soul sisters/like minded princesses or something like that. Anyway, Shari sent this painting as a thank you gift for all the time I have spent "mentoring" her. How sweet! Truly, all I really want is her to freely mentor someone else when the time comes. And, as I told her in an email, I should say, "oh, you shouldn't have" but of course I can't say that because I just love this painting and the sentiment behind it. I wish my picture did it better justice. If you want to see more of Shari's art, check out her website and blog. She not only makes lots of cool stuff but she writes interesting accounts of her path as an artist. I am so happy we have become friends.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thanks Daily Sauce! Double Woo hoo to them for featuring my signature piece, Real Deal, in today's Entertainment section. To see the article, just go to their link above and click on Entertainment. They called me a "collage extraordinaire" and my friend Greg a "gifted photographer." I suspect they meant my art, not me personally although I suppose I am a collage of sorts myself, I mean, aren't we all?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The good, the bad and the sleepy

The Good: Check out my new French Wall! Isn't it adorable? That's the 30" wall over at the front left of my booth. When we were in Madison, I got the idea that I wanted an extra wall up front so that people could look at some of my work without actually entering the booth. See, I noticed a lot of people simply walking by and I wanted a little something up front that could be easily viewed without making a commitment to actually come IN to the booth. And the Frenchwall rocks. It worked beautifully!

The Bad: Yeesh, check out the view behind the tents! Looks like we are camping!?!! And God only knows, this little Princess does.not. camp. We put up an awning behind our booth and our back door neighbors, the delightful and fun(!) Mary and Spence Watson, clipped on to it with a back flap. Before you knew it, we had our own private fort. Except for all the confused customers who thought the sidewalk was actually for walking and mistook the backs of the booths for the fronts. Seemed obvious to us, but not so to many people who actually stooped under our awnings, crawled around our chairs, etc. It got to be a joke after awhile.

And the Sleepy: This 8 week old puppy, Layla, actually took a nap in my booth. She was so adorable. But the fact a small puppy was able to sleep in my booth says a lot about the show. 350,000 people???? Hmmm, I guess I must have missed some of them. Like a couple hundred thousand maybe?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Show of the week

We are here in Minneapolis. The weather is gorgeous. We did our set up today; the show opens at noon tomorrow. We have a lovely spot (corner space!) with a lake view. We are kind of off the beaten path in booth #3420, but I am hoping it will be ok. My neighbor said she had this spot last year and preferred it to the hustle/bustle of the rest of the show. She said customers seemed to like it better down our way. I am holding the faith because my expenses are insane to be up here - the most expensive show ever when you figure booth fee, plus gas, plus hotel, plus food. Yikes!

So, if you are in the Minneapolis area, come visit me at the Uptown Art Fair. I've been busy as a bee creating lots of kitschy and fun new works for this show. Plus I will have my line of reproductions including the collaborative pieces I have done with St. Louis poet Bud Hirsch. Bud recently won top prizes (literally, woo hoo!) from St. Louis Writer's Guild for his poetry and I can hardly believe he has chosen to collaborate with lil ol' me. I am so happy with how all the repros have turned out if I do say so myself. You can preview them now on my website by clicking on Repro's. Hope to see you at Uptown!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My art ministry and a case of mistaken identity

I haven't published any scam letters for awhile. My email (as usual) has been simply inundated with ads, specifically for mortgage refinancing, weight loss and erectile dysfunction, not in that order. My website seems to spawn a crazy amount of junk mail.

Anyway, I was humored to see the Nigerians have a new angle - appeal to my gentle side.........

Dear Beloved In Christ,
I greet you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. My name is Mrs Mercy Aguma a widow to Late Major Frank Aguma, I am 60years old and I have just met with Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. I have been suffering from a long time cancer of the blood and it is so severe at the moment. My personal physician doctor has told me that with the stage of the illness, I am likely not to live long and I am worried about this development. My husband Major Frank Aguma was a military major who was killed in the Bakasi-Penisulla war and while our only son was killed by a stray bullet during a religious crisis in part of Lagos in 2001.
Upon the untimely death of my husband and my only son, I have been mentally disturbed and devastated. Actually, I inherited my late husband's wealth but, with the state of my illness, I am somewhat scared and I do not want the inherited wealth to go down the drain hence, I have decided to contribute it to the improvement of Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ outside my country Nigeria where I strongly believe it would be used for the purpose other than diverting to personal usage.
With God's directions and fervent prayers, I want to donate a sum of US$3.000,000.00Million to your ministry in order to enhance God's work.
Meanwhile, I wish to inform you that the funds is in a safe custody with our bank where my late husband deposited it but, never mind, my family attorney would make immediate arrangements for the transfer of the funds to your ministry without delay. I have equally informed my family attorney of my intention to your ministry therefore you, can contact him immediately upon the receipt of this message in order for him to process the transfer of the funds to your ministry. His contact information are; Company Name: F.A.Williams & Co. Principal Partner:
Barrister Frank U Williams Direct Telephone: +234 8056918933 . However, I am at your disposal by return mail should you want to reach me.
God bless you and your ministry.
Yours in the Vineyard,
Sister Mercy.