Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Again??? Really???

Ok so what's up?  Forbes,  really? All of a sudden we're on everyone's radar! Very cool though! check it out here.

Monday, July 19, 2010


It was late 1960's early 1970's.  There is a picture of me with peasant top, bellbottom jeans and "frizzed hair" the style of the times, I would braid my hair in as many braids as i could and then let it dry and unbraid it for effect.  Yeah, I was cool.  Artist in training.  I stood in the picture amongst my best friend and siblings, all who looked quite "normal". My Nanny cringed at my independence and free thinking.  She would tap me on my bare belly when I wore short shirts and very low bell bottoms and lecture me about how I looked.  It didn't matter. I knew who I was then and it didn't matter to me what anyone thought.  Boy those were the days!

In junior high we had all the required classes to take in a specific order, the usual curriculum, plus the girls had home economics (sewing and cooking) and the boys had woodshop. I loved home ec. we all had to sew an apron, mine was a purple calico with a heart shaped pocket with the word love embroidered on it. It was one of several chosen to be on display during a PTA luncheon for all the Mom's. ( my apron round robin friends will enjoy this)  Invaluable lessons were learned in those classes and I feel sorry for today's students who because of budget cuts and other reckless decisions don't get to experience this.

Then came freedom.  We could choose what we wanted to pursue further. well, I wanted woodshop. The times were just starting to change and it was a whole new experience to let a girl into woodshop.  The first day of the new semester, I was on my way excitedly to class when I was met at the door by the teacher, my guidance counselor and another student, a boy.  well it seems they overbooked the class and a choice had to be made. I knew as they all stared at me as they told me of the dilemma that they expected me to bow out gracefully.  Sorry fellas, not happenin. So it was decided to flip a coin, i won and promptly excused myself and went in to take a seat in class.

My mother loves to tell the story of how at Christmas break, all the boys got off the bus with a jewelry box they had proudly made for their Mom's for Christmas. Me? I got off the bus with an end table!  I loved woodshop and continued to take it until I went to high school where it was no longer offered.  In addition to the end table, I made a coffee table, 3 legged stool,  a reproduction of the art stools in our art class, a baseball bat on the lathe for my brother, bowls and mini woodturned vases.  I spent every available minute in that shop, even skipping lunch to work there.

At home I was embroidering on my jeans, making candles and in general probably driving my family crazy with my next "project"

My muse was loud and strong and I followed her with conviction.

In high school things changed though. The art teacher was intimidating, you could hear him yelling all the way down the hallway. It was a known fact that he only liked students with "real" talent, so i never signed up for any art classes. I would walk down the art hall, with the metalsmithing studio and the art studio and wish i was in there. I envied all those students who were. But I didn't feel "good enough" for the class.

OK, so i'll pursue that nursing thing instead. I got on the college prep track, became a candy striper in my free time and set my sights on my future.

In my first year of high school I was grounded for 2 weeks for spending the night at a friends' house so that i could go see the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was told i couldn't go and I went anyway.
So I spent my prison time painting the ceiling in my room. My bedroom had a dormered ceiling and i painted a scene of the Emerald city with the yellow brick road on one side and the hookah smoking caterpillar on the toadstool with Alice and all the beautiful flowers on the other all with my acrylics.
I still wore my independence proudly, making clothes that were my own style, wearing my hair the way I wanted but my muse was being silenced. Little by little her voice was growing more faint.  I started to conform. I was growing up right?

So here I am, all grown up, desperately trying to find my muse again, needing to follow her on MY path. I know I am heading in the right direction. This blog is my connection to her. There are moments now when i can hear her screaming in my ears but the words are still undecipherable. I have faith though. I am just so grateful to know she hasn't left me completely.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best Beach Town? Really???

This past week the news broke that our little island of Chincoteague was rated number 1 best beach town by aol travel! See the article here !

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crayola Moments

There are few things in childhood as pleasant to remember as a brand new box of Crayola crayons. So full of promise, all those sharp points, perfect for outlining and then filling in, bringing a simple black skeleton of a picture to life with all the imagination of a young child.

Who am i kidding? I STILL love a new box of crayons, this one pictured here is mine, Oh yeah, I said that I bought it for the grandkids to use but in truth....mine. And yesterday i got to use them, legitimately. I had high hopes of coming home from work in the morning and doing a little picture taking and uploading, posting here on my blog and then getting ready to return to work having fulfilled a little creative urge.

It was during the picture taking in my garden that my grandaughter spotted me and wanted to come to "Nanny's" house. Well, wanting soon turned to wailing and so the plans changed. How could I refuse????

"Can I color?" Sure you can. "will you color with me" I'd love to!

When I think back on my childhood, art and creativity was always an important part of who I was. The story in the family goes like this.. when i was about my grandaughters age, 3, I am told that when i met my Aunt Elaine i promptly told her that I was going to be a nurse and an artist when I grew up. I remember waking up in the morning and playing with colorforms in my bed. Not the kinds you see now, but the originals, the ones that just had colored shapes with which you had to build your own pictures. As I mentioned earlier, a new box of crayons and a beautifully illustrated coloring book was a treat.

At Christmas we were told we could ask for something special, not like kids nowadays whose lists are endless with mega electronics and everything that goes with them, no we could pick something special and then maybe a few smaller things. My list ALWAYS had some form of art supply that i HAD to have! There was the year i got REAL artists oil pastels and a REAL artists' easel and canvases. Then there was the REAL wooden artists' box complete with REAL oil paints and turpentine and linseed oil in the small glass bottles. Can you smell that? That's the smell of a REAL artist! Next came the acrylics and the watercolors and the calligraphy sets and pens with nibs and the ever exotic India ink. There was the year of the battery operated pottery wheel which was great until I tried to actually put my hands on the clay and form something, the pressure slowed the wheel to a complete stop. One day I will get a REAL wheel I promised myself! There was sewing, and cutting and pasting and saving everything in sight because "I can make something out of that, Mom!" There was no place that we went that i didn't inevitably come back with something that i was going to "make something" out of. Not much has changed but I'll leave that for another post!

I always wanted artist lessons, not something a young growing family can afford so i signed up for a program at a local library when i was about 8. It was on Saturday mornings. The last project we did was to illustrate a story. Each of us had a part, I don't remember the story but the part I had to illustrate was the melting of the ice cream mountain! Perfect! I had just the pastels for the job! I think I used everyone I had, colorful melting ice cream mountain. We were actually critiqued and i remember the instructor told me my technique was like Salvadore Dali and i should research him.

The first real validation I felt as an artist was when my Aunt Elaine asked me to do an oil painting for her. Really? Yes, she wanted something Jackson Pollack-esque. Just go outside and splatter brightly colored oil paints on a canvas. Are you sure? That's all? But the cool part was she actually hung it in her living room, for like a long time, not just to make me feel good. It was really part of her decor. Thank you Aunt Elaine!

So my point with all this rambling? As children we seem to instinctively KNOW who we are and what we're meant to do. It's as we get older that we lose our way, we let the everyday get in the way of our true purpose. We let the voices creep into our head telling us, "you can't do that, you're a grownup now, you have responsibilities" " what makes you think you are an artist?" Stop in the middle of the day and color? Nonsense.

Well, I say raise your box of crayons, declare "I am an artist" and toast to a hefty dose of nonsense!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Every year , family and friends gather for the annual 4th of July harbor party picnic, held at the harbor on Chincoteague Island. All of the boat slip owners get together and have a picnic/party which ends in watching the local fire company set off the annual fire'works display on the carnival grounds. The fireworks are visible from the dock which makes it a perfect place to watch from. The kids ( now all growing up) always ask my husband to go sit on the bow of our boat and watch from there, this year being no exception. It was especially nice to have our grandkids there to celebrate this year. We all shared a feast of hardcrabs, steamed oysters, clams, scallops, steamed shrimp, grilled vegetables from someone's garden, fresh vegetables and dips, salads of every description, fresh salsas, hot dogs, hamburgers, and carribean jerk chicken, cakes and pies and puddings oh my! We had a birthday cake to celebrate my son in law's birthday, I made chocolate covered strawberries and Ray and i made snow cones for the kids. Food and drink was followed by sparklers and then the fireworks. A good time was had by all!

I am dedicating this post to my nephew and Godchild Daniel who is currently serving somewhere in the gulf, on the USS Truman out of Norfolk, Va. It is because of all the men and women like him that we are able to sit home comfortably and celebrate our freedoms, relaxing with family and friends, having a cold drink and watching re-enacted bombs bursting in air! May we never forget how we got here! May God Bless America and all who love, serve and protect her!

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