January 20, 2012

working in the city

The top of the Met Life building in New York City. Really, really cold but such a spectacular view. It's definitely one of the perks to working in the film business. I get the opportunity to see things I wouldn't ordinarily have access to.

 It felt very apocalyptic up there.

January 17, 2012

cold weather

We went to see a birds of prey demonstration. It was cold but worth it. 

this little sol whet owl was my favorite

Then quickly back home....

Sorry about the unevenly spaced photos. I played with it for quite awhile and just couldn't get them to line up. It's just one of those days were things aren't lining up!

January 16, 2012

working through it

In all the sadness of last week, I forgot to tell you about these. Beacon Open Studios is doing a fundraiser called The Big Draw.They asked artists to submit up to 3 works on paper that are 6x8 inches. All are being sold for $50 with half the money going to open studios and half to the artists. I really love selling art for a reasonable price. I want what I make to be appreciated out in the world instead of sitting in a corner,collecting dust and I believe everyone should be able to afford art. This kind of show makes me really happy. Now, here's the thing: I've come to realize that I can really only work with a deadline so this was good! What was bad was the process of figuring out what to make. There was some nasty stuff said about myself. I made  the dog and bird ( after some other false starts), got really frustrated and stopped working. When my husband woke up and I told him about how "I can't make anything, and what's the point!" I showed him what I had done. He response was" what's wrong with those?"I looked again and realized that I actually liked them. I slumped off and made the rabbit. Which leads me to the second part of my " here's the thing" thing: I'm so used to thinking that I can't do it that it clouds my ability to see what's right in front of my eyes. These bad habits are so hard to break! 
I made these before I heard the news about Jan Groover so it's understandable that I wasn't ready to show the world these when I was feeling so sad and lost. I went to work this week, which was really good for stepping out of my head a bit. I came home friday night to an email about how all of my pieces had sold before the show even opened. crazy. wonderful. scary. Here's me making myself( and Jan) proud.

January 13, 2012

 I've thought so much these last few days of Jan's influence on me. I've read on facebook and other websites about the impact she had on so many people. The thing I keep coming back to is that it wasn't just a way of seeing art but a way of being in the world. Many have mentioned that  it wasn't unusual for a student to cry at some point in her class. I wasn't one of them but I understand why someone would. I always left her class exhausted. Jan insisted on you being present. She insisted that you show up in your art. She made you look at what for some may have been too uncomfortable to recognize. She made you see the little spaces in between, all the parts. And she called bullshit when you refused. I've struggled so much in my life with this idea. A good friend of mine has been writing a book for years about his demons. We talk a lot about the artistic process and how your demons won't let you see all the parts for fear that if you saw all the pieces, you would solve the puzzle and the demons would lose. Jan insisted that you see all the parts. It was painful sometimes. I've made some internal adjustments this week in honor of her. It's scary which is how I know that it's the right thing. I've been shaking for days. I feel foolish saying that I miss her after not seeing her for years but I feel the loss of her presence. A friend recently wrote, 
"She lives on in so many of us and certainly a privilege, if so. I do think she knew she was loved by her sprouts. let's try to make her proud".
I will. Thank you, Jan.

January 8, 2012

a sad day now

Jan Groover was the first person who taught me to see.
I read today that she died on January 1, 2012.
She was my teacher and mentor in college. She was the first person who taught me to trust my vision. The first person who made me feel like what I had to say as an artist was worthwhile. When she asked me to house sit for them during christmas break I felt like it was the highest honor. She and her husband Bruce  lived on the Bowery in a huge loft that was tucked between restaurant supply stores. It was pretty sketchy at night but I didn't mind. In their living room they had floor to ceiling photographs by Weegee, Walker Evans and countless others. She had a darkroom and a still life studio. Bruce had his own painting studio.It was an artist's playground.It was so foreign to me. One night me and John Tremblay, ( another house sitter at times), cooked shrimp scampi with pasta (what we considered to be a sophisticated dish), acting as if their home was ours, playing at being artist, even though we already were and just didn't know it ( or I didn't know it). Their art was their lives. One time she hired me to help her out in the studio and while we were going through some prints, I accidently called her Mom. A freudian slip but also, she was my artistic mother, guiding me through an artistic life, nudging me without force. Throughout the years she hired me to make prints for her. At the time I was nothing but grateful, as I still am, but now I wonder, " why did she hire me?" " I couldn't have been that great a printer? I like to think she saw something in me. I hope she did. She and Bruce sold off their photos and moved to a house in rural France. We stayed in touch for awhile. Sometimes I would print for her when she came back to the states.
She got sick. Stomach cancer? I  never really knew. I did know that she smoked a lot( remember her buying stakes of merits at Purchase?), enjoyed food and drink. They didn't have kids so their lives were for themselves it seemed.

For years, I would write to her apologizing for not taking pictures. She finally pointed it out to me explaining that it just doesn't matter what I do. Her lack of disappointment in me was such a relief. In 2004 we moved upstate. I had asked our neighbors across the street to check in on our dog when we needed  to be away for a long day.  I went over to drop of our keys and the first thing I saw, upon entering their home, was a photograph by Jan. The couple had been her students the first year she taught at SUNY Purchase. It was so comforting to know that wherever I went, Jan would somehow always be with me. I expect it to take a while for the knowledge that she is gone to sink in. I think about her all the time. In every piece of art that I make.  I've mentioned her here, here and here. We weren't in touch these last 5 years or so but I know that she's always been with me. I wish I had written that last letter. I wish there was one last time. I can't believe your not here anymore.

January 1, 2012

happy new year!

This is our xmas kitty. Everyday there was more and more pine needles on the floor and fallen ornaments. She's very feisty. She's biting my hand right now so I'm typing with the other. It's taking a long time to type.

 The Transit Museum at Grand Central Station. The first of our city adventures over xmas break.

I'm preparing for the next open studio in Beacon. They're doing it in April now so I don't have much time. I've been thinking a lot about style. I keep thinking I should work within my "style" but what if I want to do something completely different? Shea Hembrey seemed to come up with a good solution for this. J would say that it doesn't matter what or how you make it. What unifies it is that I made it. I like that thinking. I'm looking forward to school starting again for j. It's been really fun but I kind of need to get back to making stuff. I tired to keep it going during the winter break. A duct tape wallet gift, some cashmere fingerless mittens for me from an old sweater. A drawing of a hippo. I need to devote some real time now. maybe that's a resolution? Yes,that and to see more of the people who really matter to us.
I'm liking me a lot more these days. It's nice.
I'm going to keep that going as well.

Oh, and thank you Cappy for reminding me to this!