Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ahhhh, life.....

I have written this new blog entry many times in my head, and also given it a title, each time quite different as my focus and attitude have changed. First bit of news is that I was unable to go to Doha. Huge disappointment and frustration. Our exhibit, "Welcome To The Library" was cancelled at the last minute quite unexpectedly, much to the chagrin of both Alison and myself after all the planning and anticipation. We still don't know why but think it had to do with a lack of planning ahead on the part of the Katara folks in Doha but actually we really don't know for sure. There had been a flurry of e-mails about insurance coverage just before the art transport van was to come to pick up the work at my studio. Then, following a trip to Mexico to attend a yoga retreat (the very first time I have ever done this), I got sick. Very sick. Mistaking the illness for the aftermath of being in Mexico, I did not immediately recognize the symptoms of a flare up of ulcerative colitis (I was diagnosed with this disease in 2000) and did not begin taking the medication I have for it soon enough. Every day I thought I was going to get better, and indeed I was able to get up some days and function, usually after I had not eaten anything the day before. Even drinking water gave me cramps and pain. By day 13 I was so miserable and dehydrated and weak from not having eaten for so long I finally conceded to going to the ER. I was admitted that night, with a high white blood cell count indicating infection and an obvious severe inflammation of the colon. There were no beds available at Waldo County Hospital (which really means not enough staff, plus I was considered infectious due to the recent trip to Mexico and the intestinal problems so I required isolation), nor were there any available in Rockport, or in PORTLAND! so I went to Lewiston in the middle of the night on a long, bumpy non emergency ride in an ambulance. Once there it was even more surreal, as I arrived at 2:30 am and had barely fallen asleep at 4 am when the hospitalist on duty came to ask me many questions, yawning the entire time. And for those of you who have ever spent time in a hospital, the visits from staff and doctors then continued every hour, or every few minutes, or even less for four days. You just don't get any sleep, even in a room by yourself. I was given IV fluids, IV antibiotics and IV steroids. By day 3 I was declared uninfectious and was moved to a room with an elderly roommate with dementia. I won't even begin to write about 24 hour period. Suffice it to say I begged them to let me go home and thank god they did and my dear sister Megan came to pick me up on day 4. The third day in the hospital was when Alison and I had tickets to fly to Doha. Alison went by herself and had a rather lonely but very successful week doing the workshops we had carefully planned together. Back at home I slowly and timidly began to eat again and began to think I can never ever travel again to Mexico. Or perhaps travel abroad at all. But it remains to be determined whether this major flare up had anything to do at all with the trip to Mexico. Either way, I was not going to be traveling to Doha.
I am now following a somewhat restrictive diet to make sure I don't get sick like that again, but there really isn't any real evidence that any specific diet does the trick. I am mostly inclined to follow the Paleo diet, which as a meat eater works for me (in theory anyway). But I sure do miss drinking beer, cutting way back on coffee and milk, miss eating pasta and other complex carbohydrates, grains, and the small amounts of refined sugar I didn't pay much attention to before (as in most processed foods). So far so good and I feel like myself again. More on diet and nutrition later, I am sure, though it has nothing to do with making art. Or maybe I will discover it actually does...I have now taken a short term, part time job to help address the $5,000 deductible on our our insurance policy. Do not get sick in this country! Even with lifelong, good health insurance coverage.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Not much of a writer!

Evidently I am not much of a writer. Never (hardly ever) think about putting into words on this blog stuff that is going through my head, or through my life. However, I have a few things coming up that merit mentioning, not the least of which is an upcoming return to Doha, at the end of March. This time I will be going with another artist, Alison Rector, also from this area in Maine. Alison and I know each other from crossing paths over the years in Belfast, but the reason we thought to show together is because I am still working with books in my art and she has been painting pictures of the interiors of libraries here in Maine over the last few years. Our exhibit, "Welcome To The Library" will be in Doha at a cultural center there, Katara, which is where I did a workshop and a presentation about my work when I was last there a year and a half ago. We will do more workshops this time, and stay a little longer. Alison is excited about going which is making me realize that I really am, too. Great opportunity for us. I will be sending, among other works, several more feet of "Library" to be installed to entirely cover the back wall of the room in which the rest of it is installed in Qatar, at the ambassador's residence. It will end up to be about 16 feet 8 inches of surface, from corner to corner. In addition to this great opportunity, I will be curating and installing a show here in Maine at the Harlow Gallery, in Hallowel toward the end of March. The opening of that show, "Altered", will be March 25. It will include six artists, all but one from Maine, and address the use of non traditional materials in the making of their art. More about that on the Harlow's website. I have invited artists Karen MacDonald, Daniel Anselmi, Ieva Tatasrsky, Paula Green (who died in 2010) and Jessica Straus to join me in this show that will be up through April.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

More Letters From Paris

Terribly disappointed not to be able to accompany my childhood buddy Deborah to Paris in March. I had thought I could go but it turns out the week she is planning to go is the week I will be  hanging a show I am curating. Big bummer. Given my pretty flexible schedule it is frustrating that this overlap happened but I must be here to hang the show. So instead I just continue to dream about going to Paris.
Here are more Letters From Paris

 as yet untitled, but I'm working on that. This lat one is "What For"

Friday, November 20, 2015

Letters from Paris

A series of small collages I have been working on using old letters I got in Paris, bits of maps and charts and other scraps.I am calling the series "Letters from Paris" as I think about the terror attacks and my heart goes out to Paris and all of France, with whom I have a history. Each 4 1/2 in by 4 1/2 inch collage is mounted on a 8 inch by 8 inch birch panel and is sealed but not framed, to keep cost down. I am asking $200 each and will give what I would normally give to a gallery for the commission (40%) to the Syrian refugee cause, somehow. I wish I could host a Syrian family somehow. Does anyone know if this is possible?

 Letters from Paris: Est l'un de nous en securite
 Letters from Paris: Je vais retourner

Letters from Paris:  La France, je t'aime toujours

 Letters from Paris: Mon coeur va a vous

 Letters from Paris: Nous sommes solidaire

Letters from Paris:
Votre Devoue

Friday, October 23, 2015

Back To Work!

Finally have had more hours in the studio. Before my Open Studio on October 10 I started a series called "Places To Sail Away To" and I'm posting some of those here. I have also been working on small (very small, 4 1/2" by 4 1/2") pieces surrounded by maps mounted on 8' X 8" birch panels. This is to eliminate the framing costs, which have reached astronomical amounts after all the collages this year and last. Then there are others that are the same size collage mounted on 6" X 6" panels, with the wood as background/border. Then others where I have covered the 6" X 6" panel with collage, so no border.I seal the collages with medium for protection and I tried was on some of these but I don't like the results so I am discontinuing that approach.

 Places To Sail Away To: Baha
Places To Sail Away To: France
 Places To Sail Away To: The Arctic
Places To Sail Away To: Turkey

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interruptions shape our hours

In graduate school I made a piece which I called "Interruptions Shape Our Hours." Making art in grad school was a choppy experience, but no worse than every day life these days.
Car accident, recovering from broken sternum and badly bruised knee, then a week's vacation, when I got back two days hanging the show in Bangor, then four days up at Haystack on Deer Isle, all this meant no studio time for a month. A month! Today I had to take my father to a dentist appointment, and yesterday was consumed by some essential studio clean up and painting. Tomorrow I have a volunteer meeting all afternoon. A few hours here and a few hours there this week. Maybe next week I will be able to devote the better part of every day to my art. I have a small commission, which helps. And the weather is cooling off, which also helps. Cold weather helps to get me out of the garden and into the studio every day, so bring it on. Above, the morning walk into the nearby blueberry barren. Soon all the blueberry bushes will be turning their glorious diverse shades of red.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wow, what a month

Since August 20 I have been recovering from a car accident which totaled my car but fortunately didn't total me. A guy ran a stop sign and I collided with his vehicle, the air bag went off and broke my sternum. Still uncomfortable to cough but I can laugh again! This second accident has me having some deep existential moments, never mind driving anxiety, though I know it is just bad luck. So much for the good luck I felt surviving the plan crash four years ago. I watch the other drivers intensely now. So many people on their stupid phones not paying attention!! It pisses me off.
And here is a shot of the completed installation in Bangor, at the Sohns Gallery, 20 feet of it. The show includes a few mixed media constructions and collages. I will be giving a talk on October 2 at 7 (the reception start at 6:30) for the Bangor Artober art walk for about a half hour or so, public invited. The show remains up until November 1. I will be taking it down again on November 2--too soon!!
The other thing I had wanted to write about took place on August 13 when the Smith family, the U.S. Ambassador's family, from Qatar, paid me a studio visit. It was so generous of them to spend a part of their precious time in Maine coming to Appleton to see where "Library" was created, and to visit with me. What a great family! I so appreciated that. And Dana came the next night to the opening of a show I had in Damariscotta, at River Arts.