Saturday, April 28, 2018

The show went up, the show went down, other kinds of painting going on...

Nothing much to see here, right?

 Nothing to see except the neutralizing handiwork of two out of shape, middle aged people who painted all the woodwork of the main floor of a cottage spurring on by said middle aged woman who had wanted to do this for 20 years and decided her "birthday getaway weekend" was when she could talk her husband in to doing the work. you know, as a present!
 Gone with the bright blue and yellow eighties sponge painting. Gone are our backs and knees. In is our pride in doing a good job, TOGETHER.  And, of course, we painted to put it on the market.  NOte to self: do the darn projects on the next house so YOU can enjoy them.  You can see our handiwork here.  Tell your friends. Please.
 My other big "self care" event for my birthday weekend? Got the car washed! #lowmaintainence

Friday, April 6, 2018

Maybe not so alone after all.

Being an artist can be a solitary business.  Some folks do well creating in public. Weirdly I have no problem doing my collage work with an audience but am really uncomfortable with folks looking over my shoulder when I paint.  But I love sharing my process.  Maybe I should say being an artist can be a little mentally fractured...

I must confess I love, love, love the work I have been doing lately. Please don't take that as bragging. Sometimes creating is a struggle and sometimes it is pure joy and this series has been that.  So it's really exciting to get words of encouragement from friends, family and fellow artists. Makes me feel like I am connecting both with myself and others.  That's a good thing.  It also help assuage the feelings of isolation I have with my present nomadic life.

In my last post I wrote about going it alone.  I must say it's been a great couple of days for my ego when I see reactions to a post like this-

Feeling the love!
Thanks friends!
Get all the details for my show "Sea Change"  here.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Leaving a Legacy

Pick One:
One of the hardest things about running a creative business is
+it can be solitary
+ business tasks takes more time than creative effort
+it's hard to stay focused artistically when you are trying to make a living
+it's tricky to know if you are making an impact

Leaving a Legacy 1 of 2 My caring, creative, empathetic daughter.
How about all of the above?
One way of addressing these issues is to connect with people online. Following artists on social media inspires me to get back to my own art and subscribing to various business of art newsletters compels me think proactively.

I was reading art business consultant Maria Brophy's newsletter this morning and was struck by her blog post on leaving an art legacy.  Funnily enough this article did NOT spur me to wonder how I was going to be a success artist myself.  It did make me think about all of the people I have helped get started in business. Whether in my twenty year career as a headhunter or in my ten years as a gallery shop owner I LOVE(d) to help individuals articulate and realize their goals. Being a small part of others success is a huge source of pride for me. Especially when people circle back and tell me how impactful I have been in their lives.

Leaving a Legacy 2 of 2- My intelligent, kind, droll son.
Ironically I have realized I made a career of that because I was too chicken to represent my own  goals beyond a collective. Weird to consider edifying others a crutch. The joy and satisfaction I get out of helping other is true and pure. It is also true that it takes my time away from understanding my own creative aspirations and goals.

Stripping my business back to just me is very revealing. Down right naked in fact.  Can I survive without the support of a group? What happens if I put all of my efforts into an endeavor and I fall flat on my face? Am I even capable of leaving a legacy on my own?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Color Ways & Observations

We knew when we bought our Retirement Although We Are Not Retired House that the area we were moving to was far less ethnically diverse than where we moved from in Northern Virginia. But then I noticed something interesting.

8 version of the same groovy vintage linen make for a fun pillow. 8 kinds of people make a fun friend group.

When I went to the grocery store up on the "corner" near the highway and I saw folks of various flavors doing their shopping.  But when we would head to our favorite watering hole it was all white. Then we would head out to buy some goodies for the house and the clientele would be predominantly black. Then we would head to a different restaurant and the entire staff was Latino.  It's almost like everyone is running in packs as opposed to working and playing in multicultural groups. I think I notice it more given today's high feelings and charged political climate.
It's awesome when vintage buttons find a home.


Maybe it will be different when we make some new friends and meet true "groups" of people.  The tricky part is we zip down to the house when we have a couple of days free so we really haven't made any new friends yet. Really haven't found a new church yet. Really haven't explored much beyond our neighborhood yet.  What we have found here in the Tidewater area is that EVERYone is friendly and very willing to help you and answer the stupid questions you don't the answer to when you are the "new guy".  Just like people were so welcoming when we moved into Falls Church over twenty years ago.
Pay no attention to that big mess on the shelves!

I was thinking of how people are all the same basically. We want love, safety, food, home, and laughter. Even if we are different shapes, ages and colors. I was looking at this designer fabric sample I was playing with this evening and thinking that all these samples were like people.  All the same, all different.  And wouldn't it be nice if it was as easy to sew us together?
My mission going forward is to start and COMPLETE projects leaving no scraps. For my next project I am planning to incorporate the fabric into the canvas that I painted , um, 3 years ago and make something wonderful using only supplies from my studio.  This will NOT be hard to do! Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018- a different one to be sure...

It was New Year's Day 2018 and I was sitting in a 4th floor apartment a stone's throw from the Vatican.
New Year's Eve fireworks over the Tiber in view of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

After 3 years of saying we were coming to visit my lovely friend Laurie we finally made it happen.
It was a weird experience being completely away from "the usual" on New Year's Day.
No shop to keep. No hosting our annual neighborhood football bowl games party. No kids back to school on January 2nd.
Family Portrait at the Colosseum 

 Weird but good. No, phenomenal. To do something extravagant and ephemeral is radical for me.
I have always been a planner. Ultra thrifty "just in case". Structured so I can plan for the future. Structure is the way I make sense of the turmoil around me.

The Maddening, yet well behaved, Crowd enroute to the Sistine Chapel
 As I reach a solid middle age though I am finally forced to acknowledge I can't control the universe.
There has been a huge gap between blog posts as I have been caught up in change. Change that I can't control.

Amalfi Coast - even on a rainy grey day the water was spectacular
 My radical changes included vacating my brick and mortar shop, selling my home of 20+ years, doubling down on my art, dealing with loved ones health scares, watching my kids graduate, and gaining weight while panicking over the tumultuous news cycles.
Trodding the ancient streets of Pompeii 
 I went into 2018 vowing to strip things down to the essentials and not get caught up in the "what ifs". I had NO idea how hard that would be to do as I am so competent at making "what ifs" concrete.  When one has less to "do" one must concern oneself with just "being".  This is hard for me.
Strolling the porticos of the Baths of Diolectin
 I miss writing. But I wasn't writing because I felt I had nothing positive to say. You know, the old "if you don't have something nice to say- don't say anything."  There has been a LOT of things not good happening since my last post but also amazing things also. I am over letting outside forces steal my joy. So I begin again.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thoughts on The Morning After

My sister and I grew up in the same household, with the same parents.  As we moved a lot as kids we were best buddies, a constant as everything around us changed.  We share the basic morals, religious beliefs, intelligence level, work ethic and sense of humor.  She has always identified as liberal and I as a conservative.  Interesting.  Especially given the political climate of the day. We still see pretty much eye to eye on things even today, even in this climate.

"You? a conservative?" I have had friends say.

Well, let's review issues- Guns? I was taught marksmanship and gun safety from my NRA range master dad. Do I believe in background checks? Yes.  Do I actually own a gun? no. Religion? I am a professed Christian, though seemingly a belief in any deity these days seems to make you a fundamentalist of the worse flavor. Am I intolerant of others religions? no. Do I think there is a God shaped hole in man that needs to be filled? yes. Sexuality? I am the most boring creature - a monogamous married white woman. Do I think it is any of my business who anyone else has in their bed? no.  Do I think people should be in non-abusive, committed relationships? yes.  Abortion? Do I believe life begins at conception? yes.  Have I had an abortion? yes. (I had an ectopic pregnancy between my two children and had to go through a procedure to stop the growth of an unseen, never found baby that certainly was not in my uterus. Not fun.) Employment? Do I believe there is dignity in work? yes Even washing dishes or manual labor? yes (I have done both.) Do I think people need safety nets for hard times? yes Do I think a vast amount of one's personal problems can be solved by working hard? yes

"Doesn't sound that conservative to me." other friends say.

Maybe the point is labels aren't doing us any favors in today's issues driven world. I don't vote according to a single plank in any political platform.  I have long quit saying liberal or conservative and have wanted to be considered a moderate. A moderate sounds so wishy-washy though.  I am not neutral with no beliefs, opinions or passions. Whether you agree with anything I have told you about myself or not doesn't change who I am or what I am passionate about.  My God, my family, my friends, my art.

Never has there been two candidates more reviled in modern political history. Their respective champions are quite passionate in their support. Or are they as much for one person as against the other? My concern is that passion seems to be the excuse that precludes civility today.  

It reminds me of when you go to that office party and people have too much to drink and dance with lampshades on their heads or people jump in bed together that shouldn't have or someone was just really mean about some one's weight or bad breath or spouse.  And then Monday comes and we have to face each other across the conference table. You can't take back words, or lying or bullying or influence peddling or philandering or name calling or character assassinations.

My pastor at church uses a wonderful analogy of hateful words being like a nail in a board.  You can apologize, pull the nail out, but the hole from the nail is still there. It's not going away.  The barrage of hateful words is like a shotgun blast through a door. What will be left of it? Or us?

Will we be left standing or even speaking to each other after this is all over? How are we going to look each other in the eye, let alone work together to do the best we can for our families, our friends, our country, our planet?  I am frightened about the now and about the next.

That classic motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say that "People don't change their minds, they make new decisions based on new information."  One of my wise in-laws said "Actions speak louder than words." in defence of her candidate. (Makes you wonder who she is voting for, doesn't it?)

It is my sincere hope that we all can set aside our preconceptions and prejudices and gut revulsions to listen, study and watch as this election cycle unfolds and no matter what happens, wake up the next day and do what is best for our country. We need to. We must.  Will it be possible to shake hands and get to work together the morning after?

I think you have to be bold about truth telling. Staying true to yourself by speaking aloud is never bad. Is it bad for a corporation or a professional to not enter into possibly divisive discussion? Or is it a sin NOT to? In my business I have always tried to be a haven, a place of respite, and because of that know that I have been a solace to many. This country was founded as a refuge of freedom and self -expression. But that feels jeopardized today to me.








Thursday, June 2, 2016

On Being a Control Freak, Resilience & Life Reimagined

It's a constant struggle being a control freak when life is out of control.  And when isn't it, really? As I struggle to regain my house from mountains of merchandise after underestimating how much display space I have in various venues I am plagued.  The latest plague? An ache in my right foot that makes it impossible to put my full weight on it.  Hard to stand to paint, hard to walk up and down stairs to move inventory, hard to clean my house. After a month of this nonsense (I'm no quitter!) I finally succumbed to the painful ministrations of the cortisone wielding podiatrist this morning and am confident I will bounce back. Because that is What We Do around here. 
As I look to my weekend's plans I am amused as they include celebrating resilience.

"Resilience, they concluded, is a mixture of personality traits, biology, and life experience, each part shaping the other. Resilience looks an awful lot like Bob Stifel." These are not my words but an except from Former NPR Reporter & New York Times Best Selling author Barbara Bradley Hagerty.  
Bob and I met Barb when she was looking for folks who had thoughts about thriving at midlife for her new book Life Reimagined.  "Our" Chapter 8 is called "When Bad Stuff Happens" and I must say that re-reading it reminds both Bob and I how blessed we are.  Even with battling insurance companies for a new artificial leg for Bob and jumping through all my creative hoops, I can truly say life is indeed a gift to be celebrated.  
We were blessed to meet Barb.  She was recovering from a bad bicycle fall, but still full of curiosity and drive to chronicle her "deep and often inelegant dive into the research to discover how to thrive at midlife." 
To celebrate Barb, her awesome book and celebrate us non spring chickens who aspire to a better rest of our lives we are hosting a book signing at Alexia Scott's Studio Gallery at 106 Little Falls Street in Falls Church on Sunday June 5th from 2 to 4pm. Please bring a friend and join us if you can. If you can't attend but would like an autographed copy of the book, leave a comment or email me at Theresa@stifelandcapra.com and I will get it for you.


For more on Barb and her writing visit her website that begins "Welcome to my website, where I detail all of my accomplishments and none of my failings."  My kind of woman!
See you Sunday!
Theresa
PS- Look! the dining room table is back in the middle of the room and you can see the FLOOR! Proud of me???
Explaining why the book signing is not here at the house... :)