Monday, August 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Who's the Fairest of them all

New products, yippee! Come find these mirrors in the booth Sat + Sun at Lincoln, IL - an art and balloon (as in hot air balloons!) festival. Come on out - the weather will be perfect and I am looking forward to being inspired by the beauty of the balloons.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fear vs. Love

I completely believe the following to be true. I could not have said it better myself.

(copied from Daily OM, click this link to subscribe)

August 25, 2009

Fear of Losing What We Have
Seeing Beyond Fearful Delusions

One of humanity’s biggest fears is losing what we have. It is healthy when fear of loss helps us take steps to protect what we have worked hard to attain, but it is unhealthy to continue to fear something we can do nothing about. We need to remember that focusing our energy on fear can actually create what scares us, and holding tightly to what we have keeps us from participating in the universal flow of abundance and instead creates stagnation. Since we can only really control our thoughts and our responses, gaining proper perspective may be key to conquering such fears.

The letters of the word "fear" can be used to stand for "False Evidence Appearing Real." Fears of being separated from something or someone we feel we need for our security or happiness comes from a delusion—a distorted way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. When we understand that possessions are only representations of the energy at work in our lives, we can shift our attention to the right and proper place. We can stop fearing loss of money or success because when we understand how it is created, we can always create more. We can stop fearing loss of possessions when we realize that they are not the source of our joy or well-being but only icing on our cakes. And when we understand the energy of love, we need not hold anyone too close for fear of losing them for we know that love does not diminish when it is given or shared but expands beyond boundaries of time or space.

By focusing our light on our fears, they are revealed as mere shadows that disappear in the presence of mind and spirit. We can choose instead to direct our thoughts and creative power toward things of true value—love, abundance, peace, passion, and joy. These are energies that are always available to us when we place ourselves confidently in the universal flow of abundance.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All art all the time

Sorry I've been gone. We had a bad storm that knocked out our Uverse tower, hence no Internet and no TV. It was kind of weird, but in a good way. John and I had a lovely dinner with intelligent (hmm, maybe I'm going too far, lol) conversation. We typically have this strange habit of eating food while watching food shows.

Anyhoo, I am working on new ideas for my book and submissions for teaching gigs and shows. I'm experimenting which is fun. I feel kinda like a scientist when I am doing this. Sometimes it is frustrating though as I have trouble manifesting my grandiose ideas. But I truly believe that is all part of it, this struggle. I have found that managing a reasonable balance of spontaneous play along with implementation of your plan (or intent) is paramount. If only it were that easy, huh?

I was talking with some friends about this yesterday. There has been a lot of published information about letting go, feeling free to play, discovering your inner child, etc, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong; I think this is all very good stuff that we all need. But it has bred or spread this idea that art is instant and even easy - ie, that if that artist can let go, achieve some sort of voodoo altered state, and slop a little paint around, he or she will emerge an hour later with a masterpiece. Oh, if only!?!??

Its not really that easy. Yeah, the zone is great, that 'all the planets are in alignment' feeling, when the painting is easy breezy and perfect. Yeah, of course I love that - I live for that! It just doesn't happen on command and certainly not as often as I would like. But I digress...

Here is a lil video that I made the other day.

More claybord. I am obsessed, but you already knew that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Amazing gift

Check out this belated birthday gift that I received from a dear friend (thanks, John!). Is it fabulous or what!??! You can see the little mica window from the inside as well. And holy cow, how about the binding. Utterly gorgeous. It is filled with a nice heavy stock water color paper, but I am hesitant to use it right now. It is currently sitting in our living room in a position of honor so I can just look at it.

And here's a picture of Jasper Johns. I couldn't convey how much I love this guy. He is not Merlyn, but he has definitely helped all of us move through our grief and I am so grateful for him. My friend Karyl joked that Jasper hit the cat lottery when we adopted him from a rescue group. Well, I think that we hit the lottery too.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Of swings and caves and slides

Art programming has been interrupted for PLAY, yippeee, as I've been entertaining my youngest brother, wife and kids who arrived here on Monday. Their children, my niece and nephew, are nearly the same ages as my grand kids, so it was one big ole play time as the kids all got to know each other. They got along famously, as you might expect, all speaking the common language of kid (and Wii and Star Wars).

The City Museum was probably the biggest hit of the visit. The word museum is a misnomer; it is really so much more than that. Imagine a fire engine, slides and airplanes (yep, real ones) all suspended amid a gigantic monkey bar structure. Imagine the world's largest pencil, that actually writes and erases, naturally we tried it! Imagine knotted ropes where you can swing like Tarzan, a 7 story spiral slide, indoor caves where crawling is necessary. It is just so friggin' cool you can not believe.

And you know what? Amid all this PLAY, I found inspiration at every turn. My mind is simply abuzz with ideas.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Welcome to my world

I always love it when bloggers (Misty, Beth, Judy) show snippets of their world. I have been so bad about doing that. I will try to change (my hubby can tell you how successful that is, snicker, snort)

The top photo comes from my office, just a few of my "things" - stuff that I like. I played in Photoshop to make the picture look a bit more dreamy. The glass globe is full of vintage Xmas things although it is year round decor for me. Those blue things are the feet we had to cut off my desk to fit it through the door. I couldn't bear to throw them away and kept all six for display.

Middle photo is Aidan, brave enough to try a plaster mask (I had done this years ago, but was reminded of how fun it can, thanks Misty!). Ian wussed out after watching his "brudah" suffer through the 10 minute drying time. Aidan was quite the sport though, passing time watching Sponge Bob (come on people, this is *not* a kids show, Beth & I were exchanging glances left and right as we instantly knew why we had not watched it before).

And finally, Jasper Johns. Patiently waiting.

If you wait, they will come. And surely they did, as shown in the final picture.

Hopefully you can see the bird if you click to enlarge.

Friday, August 07, 2009

a Banner Day

photo courtesy of Robin Hirsch, used with permission

For all you peeps not in the St. Louis area, this is Art Saint Louis, local arts organization extraordinaire. I joined when I moved to St. Louis six years ago and I have been delighted with the professional support, artistic exposure, friendship and fun I have found through this group.
So imagine my thrill when one of my paintings was chosen for a banner in front of the new (fabulous old) building! Yee Ha!
The banner on the left is "mine", so to speak.
Happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Is it August already?

I remember when I was a kid the summer seemed so very long. There were times when my brothers and I ran out of stuff to do; we whined aloud about boredom and my mom would literally throw us out of the house, forcing us to summon activity on our own. We usually went down to the creek to mess around with crawdads or would go to a friend's house to annoy someone else's mom. One summer I wrote a neighborhood newsletter, using the mimeograph machine at church to make copies.

I remember beastly hot weather - clothes stuck to my skin made it impossible to sleep at night (we didn't have air conditioning until I was older). I remember riding my banana seat bike with no hands, attempting to look cool by slouching in the seat with my arms handling at my sides. To my friend's house, to see the horses, to the ball field.....and up and down our street, over and over and over.

I remember adults telling me.......just wait till you are older, time will start to fly.

In just a little over a month I'll be at Valley Ridge, then at Squam. These are both new venues for me and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunities. Plus the Midwest/East coast road trip I will make to travel to these classes.

If you're thinking about taking my Claybord class, I've linked up some pics of student work from Artfest so you can see the magic that was created.
Artfest 2008
Artfest 2009
I don't know what it is about Claybord, I just love this stuff and I can't help but get really excited when I teach with it. Such versatility - it is really sturdy (masonite) so you can make stuff, books and shrines, etc. Does not have to be limited to wall hanging art. If you are thinking of taking this class from me, Valley Ridge is the ideal spot. We get 2 whole days, how freakin' cool is that!??!
Click here to sign up, I would love to have you!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hello lightness, my old friend

Framing the Light, 30" x 40" , 2004, copyright Mary Beth Shaw (click to enlarge)

I painted this in 2004. It was purchased by a lovely couple who had learned of me after winning one of my pieces in a charity auction (in addition to their "feel good" value, those donations are good for biz). I have kept in touch with them and they attended my solo show(at PHD) earlier this year.

We laughed about how far I have come since the day they toured my basement studio and then bought this painting right off my mantle. They loved how I frame my newer work (thanks, Greg). Plus the glossy varnish I am using now(I used satin on their piece) caught their eye.

So the painting came a visiting.........I want to talk with you again......

My oh my, what a time we had. I inspected it in detail and lovingly reviewed every single inch while applying the new varnish. I re-painted the sides black (it was previously a continuation of color which would have been distracting in the new floating frame). And I mainly just stared at it, marveling at how different- yet not- my work was, and is.

.....and a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping
.....and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains......

Sunday, August 02, 2009


The word of the day, the week, the month.

In my last post, I mentioned (ok, maybe whined) about the economy and my recent poor show. You all realize I have had(and will continue to have, fingers crossed) a great year, but I mainly wanted to be upfront about the other side of this biz. I so appreciate the lovely comments you have all left.

One high point of last week's show was finally getting to meet Laura Lein Svencer in person. I've "known" Laura in the online sense for several years as our paths have crossed numerous times. She was just a couple booths away from me at the show and I stupidly forgot to take a picture of her booth. You can click on over to her website to see her work for yourself. It is simply wonderful. It never ceases to amaze me how collage artists can all be doing the same thing, yet not doing anything the same, you know what I mean?

Anyhoo, check out her site. You're gonna love her work. And I am thrilled she has agreed to participate as a guest artist in my book, yippee!