Monday, November 26, 2007

I have been such a delinquent blogger lately. Too many things going on I suppose, seems this is the way of my life. I tell myself it will slow down - after the shows, after the weekend, after my class, after the openings, after I finish the commissions. Perhaps I am simply delusional because it just never seems to happen. I am not complaining; my solution is to live in the moment and enjoy life as it unfolds.

It's all good and I am blessed with abundance in many forms. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving shared with loved ones. I sure did - we met up with my siblings and parents at my middle brother Chris' house in Arlington, TN. Lots and lots of laughs that are just too silly to mention, you had to be there kind of stuff. It was a lovely holiday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anyone watch Oprah today? It was the Favorites show and, thankfully, Tivo allowed me to fast forward so I didn't have to watch the audience stroke out with excitement. I can't abide by all the screaming either.

Many of the items seemed boring and/or repetitious. Bath products. Check. New electronic items. Check. Ugg boots. Check. Same ole, same ole. I don't even want that stuff anymore. I got into a frenzy one year and thought I just had to have the specific body scrub Oprah mentioned. Well, after searching everywhere, I finally scored some of it and big whoop. It just wasn't that great.

This time John actually did want one of the items though. And I am happy to report his daughter got him a Breville Panini grill for his birthday last week - thank goodness since it will now surely be sold out.

That refrigerator made me laugh out loud. Can you say "over the top." I mean seriously, who wants a LCD TV in the front of their fridge? One that plays DVD's??? Huh??? Oh yeah, like I need to spend any more time looking at the fridge. What was LG thinking when they made this thing? And what the heck was Oprah thinking when she picked it. It apparently even has a computer with recipes.

OK, here's an idea. How about a fridge that will tell you when things need to be tossed or when you are running out of something. A computer could send you a message that food is spoiled or even make a shopping list. Or perhaps it could suggest meal items based on the food contained within. Or maybe even slap you on the hand when you reach for the ice cream. Now that would be something.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wild Art Weekend

As we move into the holidays, I wind up my art year with 2 final events, all jammed into one weekend as you know I like to make it a challenge, tee, hee!

First up is Abstractions at Jacoby Arts Center. Twenty two of my newest Community series are featured in this show, along with art by David Burns Smith and Sandi Shapiro. I couldn’t be more excited about my latest works - organic abstracts on claybord. You’re invited to join me for the Opening Reception on Friday, November 16 from 5-8PM. Or come by for the Artist Gallery Talk on Sunday, December 2nd at 2PM. All three artists (yes, me too,, giving my very first gallery talk!) will discuss their art and be available for questions. Jacoby Arts Center is located at 627 East Broadway in Alton, IL. The show runs through January 7th. Tues-Sat: 10-5 and Sundays from noon-4PM.

The John Burroughs Unique Boutique is also this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, Nov 17-18. This is a lovely and classy holiday event open from 10-4 each day at John Burroughs School, 755 Price Road. Admission is $5 and it is well worth it – I nearly finished my shopping last year when I attended! This is an indoor, “invitation only” show, so you can be assured the quality will be high. I will offer lots of whimsical pieces including special “holiday only” products within all price ranges.

Hope to see you this weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In the company of friends, 8 x 24, 2007 copyright Mary Beth Shaw
I frequently crack jokes about my abstract work, how much I struggle over it - that a piece isn't finished until I've bled on it. Well, I really did this week. Bled on a piece, that is.
Yep, I stabbed my finger a few days ago with a cooking implement (that will teach me to mess around with kitchen tools!). This stupid fork/tong thingy chunked out the index finger on my dominant hand and it is taking forever to heal, probably because I keep knocking my finger into stuff and making it bleed. Hence the painting injury.
I really like this piece though, despite the blood it drew. It's for the Jacoby show and probably one of my faves. For some reason this painting makes me happy. I am finally finished with all of them - twenty two paintings total, ranging in size from 8x8 to 36x24. I deliver them tomorrow.
If you live in St. Louis or the surrounding area, come see the Abstractions exhibit which opens on November 16th with a reception from 5-8pm. Jacoby Arts Center is located at 627 Broadway, in Alton, IL. I will be giving a gallery talk on December 2nd at 2PM. And the show will be there until January 7th, if you can't make either of these dates.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Living on the edge

I turn to Molly Gordon for inspiration today. Right when I needed it too, which is always a good thing. I bolded a section that really hit the spot this morning, after wrestling a couple paintings until 2am. It occurs to me that so many of my techniques have developed from dealing with mistakes in my art, "mistakes" being a word I should just eliminate from my vocabulary because they truly are opportunities that lead me on paths of discovery. Which is such a thrill to this ever curious girl. But it does create some anxiety at times, which I have come to welcome.

So anyway, I brought away a skewed interpretation of Molly's article, more applied to process, but it did provoke my fuzzy brain to think so I thought I would share. I am hoping to show some pictures of the new paintings tomorrow.

Now, onto the article:

Why Lessening Anxiety Doesn't Help Your Business
If they gave merit badges for anxiety, accidental entrepreneurs would have a bunch of them. The quintessential anxiety-provoking circumstance is a gap between how things are and how you want them to be coupled with uncertainty about how to close that gap. That just about perfectly describes self-employment (or any learning situation, for that matter).
There is so much uncertainty involved in working for ourselves that we can become habituated to anxiety. We assume that there will always be situations that require gritting our teeth and sucking up. If the rewards of self-employment outweigh the emotional cost, we keep going; otherwise, we get "real" jobs.
So far, it might seem that finding ways to reduce anxiety should be a high priority. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's why.
To begin with, looking for ways to reduce anxiety presupposes that anxiety is inevitable, and it's not. Yes, self-employment is full of situations that commonly produce anxiety, but it's not the situations themselves that make us so uncomfortable. It's our presumption that uncertainty is a problem.
Tell that to an inventor, and he'll cry, "Nonsense." Tell it to an artist, and you'll get the same response. To the creative mind, gaps and uncertainties are not problems to be solved but opportunities, possibilities, invitations to be explored. When we live as creators, the very situations that might cause us to shudder with anxiety evoke excitement and curiosity.
The second reason that reducing anxiety doesn't help grow a business is that it works too well. What I mean is that reducing anxiety causes us to feel better, at which point we stop doing whatever we were doing to reduce anxiety. In time, the underlying problem re-appears, and we get anxious again and take action.
A classic example is how the accidental entrepreneur approaches marketing and sales. When business is good, who thinks about marketing? When business slows down, anxiety goes up and we use it to spur ourselves on in search of work. As soon as we have enough work, we stop doing whatever we were doing to get it.
How do we break the cycle?
First, let's acknowledge that anxiety can arise in spite of our best efforts to be creative and go with the flow. I don't want any of us to beat ourselves up for being anxious – as if that would help. (Hey, if that worked, I'd be on cloud nine all the time.) Rather than mustering our resources to break the cycle, we would do well to make space for anxiety when it arises.
Thinking about the causes of anxiety does not create space. Bringing awareness to how anxiety feels in our bodies does. As you turn your attention to your body, notice where you might be contracting or resisting the way you feel. See how it might be to open up instead. Make room for the feelings just for the sake of seeing what happens.
Making space in and of itself evokes a different way of being. When we make space for anxiety, we become its witnesses rather than its puppets. As witnesses, we can also observe the anxiety-provoking gap without turning it into a problem. If what lies on the other side of the gap is truly meaningful for us, anxiety will give way to inventiveness.
Making space is anxiety transformation, not anxiety reduction. The cycle becomes anxiety-awareness/space-inventiveness-action. When we know how to transform anxiety, we no longer need to avoid it.

This article originally appeared in the Authentic Promotion e-zine and is reprinted with permission from the author. Molly Gordon is president of Shaboom Inc., a coaching and training company that delivers hope, help, and hilarity to Accidental Entrepreneurs so that they can build a business that fits just-right. For more information, visit Copyright 2007, Shaboom Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Live at the Archives

When I lived in SF (yeah, yeah, I know I talk about it like the good ole days, but it is a place near and dear Tony Bennett and my hearts), KFOG was "my" radio station. It was like they somehow crawled into my brain and put together a mix of music that always suited my mood. World Class Rock, that's what they call it. To this day I am a registered Foghead.

And every year, I wait for Live at the Archives to come out. It's a compilation CD of tracks that KFOG records and puts on a disc to benefit Bay Area Food Banks. I have a collection of maybe 8 years? Who knows. One thing I do know is they are always great CD's (top picks for road trips I might add!) and this year is one of the best as my Foghead pre-order arrived yesterday. So, go to this link, preview the tracks and order one for yourself. Great tunes for a good cause. Get some Peet's coffee while you're at it, cause you order off Peet's site. Love that Peet's.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One might wonder where on earth I have been lately. Hmmm. Wish I could say I've been doing something exciting like leading a dog sled across frozen tundra. Or learning to tango. Or seeing the world from a hot air balloon.

But alas, I have been sick with a cold/flu that my darling passed along to me. I am currently breathing through my mouth since my nose is all stuffed up. I have just been wiped out by this wicked thing - it' started like a cold/sinus but there was a lot of body ache and possibly a fever. I can't say for sure regarding the fever since I used the thermometer in Merlyn's butt a few weeks ago and therefore can no longer use it in my mouth. That's probably tmi. But anyway, despite all the work piled up, I've been sleeping like crazy; it seems I have to nap shortly after I wake. I was scared to death I had mono again, yikes!

Today was the first time I've been out of the house. We went to the grocery to get more Gypsy Cold Care tea since John and I blew through a whole box of it last week. We have been living on that. Plus Sinusin. And Vitamin C, along with Zinc (squirts up the nose) and my Neti pot. Think I had enough holistic remedies going at the same time? You can never be too sure.

I am so grateful to be feeling better though. Today I even got a little work done and was pleased to see progress toward the Jacoby show. And woo hoo the first of the holiday commissions is finished and gone. Ding dong girl (once again!) forgot to photograph it. Duh. Somebody hit me in the head already.