Grace told me this was her favorite piece.
(photo by Kevin Tully)
Grace told me this was her favorite piece.
(photo by Kevin Tully)
My perfectly wonderful granddaughter, Grace Ann attended my opening. I hope someday she will remember that night, when I am old and ‘grayer’ (hard to picture more gray) and too old to pick up a brush, or assemble a collage. Maybe there will come a day when I am sitting in a big comfortable chair, watching her make art for my old eyes.
(photo by Kevin Tully)
The opening of These Foolish Things seems like only yesterday, but time has flown by and my hasty departure only one day after the show left me with many things undone. Mostly the chance to thank everyone who not only made the opening a wonderful and successful evening, but helped in any way before , during and after. That includes all the lovely volunteers at The Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, friends and family, my secret lettering artist, Kevin Tully and especially David Smith for taking down the show in my absence and getting it all safely back into crates and storage. I thank ALL my special art patrons and hope you will enjoy your new purchases… it is an honor to sell a piece of art.
I am embarrassed to say I still am not prepared to post the full body of work on my site, as I’m at the mercy of those with technical skills that are beyond mine though I do hope to have it up by the end of this month. Good things take time you know.
In the meantime, I will attempt to post a series of shots on my blog taken by Kevin Tully, who graciously volunteered his talents on opening night.
With endless thanks again to all!
(photo by Kevin Tully)
There seem to be plenty of articles lately on retaining your memory. As we depend more and more on smartphones to keep all our important information at our fingertips, we rely less and less on our memory. Gosh, I used to have over a dozen telephone numbers as well as addresses (zip codes too) memorized and ready to recall at a seconds notice. No more. I’m mortified to admit (sorry mom) I even have to look up my own dear mother’s phone number, now having grown lazy of mind, since at the push of one button I can dial her automatically. So when I read this great article entitled, ‘ The Power of the Doodle ‘ , it brought back a few important memories that I had long forgotten.
The article pointed out that doodling has the power to improve your focus and memory. This increases both the focus and attention you pay to your doodling. It can serve to increase your memory retention during that time so engaged.
Flash back to my 5th grade book report on the explorers. I had chosen Sir Frances Drake. It was my first serious book report and in all honesty I found Sir Frances Drake fairly dull subject matter. I remember discussing the assignment with my mother, who always seemed to know how to bring out the artist in me. (thanks mom!) She suggested I write the book report in a diary style, which I did, but then found myself adding doodle illustration drawings in the margins of the paper. Little wooden sailing ships. Antique map details. Things that helped to illustrate his ocean voyage, which suddenly became much more interesting to me now that I could connect to his journey through my doodles. I got an A+ for my efforts. God bless my teacher for not deducting points for drawing on my book report.
Now I’m in junior high school. ( still don’t know how I lived through that) I’m in Mr. Michael’s American History class and he is droning on and on about the French Revolution as I desperately try to stay focused. Mr. Michael’s was always kind enough to tell us that the test we would be taking would come directly from his lecture, so paying attention and good note taking was imperative. I’m listening to his words, but not looking up as I am doodling Marie Antionette’s head, cakes, and peasants in rebellion when I hear my name being called out…loudly.
“Miss Massaro, would you please care to share with me what is more important than what i have to say!?”
I just about fainted and now am about to be called up in front of the class to show that I am sketching instead of note taking. Public humiliation 101. I hand him my crazy looking notes with my weird little doodles in between historical facts, ready for the humiliation hammer that is about to fall. Instead he hands it back to me and says,” Well, I am very happy to see someone is paying such close attention to my lesson.”
God bless you Mr. Michaels for seeing that I learned a little differently than other kids and keeping me on my young creative path.
I was red faced by the attention, but so relieved that I did not get chastised in front of my peers.
Art vindicated me again and I passed the test too. It seems the power of doodling indeed helps you focus. Not only that, it enriches the information you are surrounded by in a very physical manner.
I still doodle. As an artist it’s called sketching. I do it in any setting, anywhere I find myself bored or inspired. Boredom can often lead to inspiration. Sitting in the audience while my husband plays is no where near as interesting as being up there playing. So I draw. I sketch. I doodle. I am intently involved in not just the music, but the players, the audience and the environment as a whole.
I had no idea where I was going in my life back then, but others might have seen what was ahead for me. My mother, a few good teachers. We can never underestimate the influence one kind or encouraging act can have on a persons life – at any age.
Let’s just keep passing it on and on. What a difference we can make, whether we know it or not.
Facebook is awash in photos of summer vacationers in a seemingly fiendish pitch to show how far flung and incredible their vacation excursions are. Take heart those of you who keep your travels close to home… for joy and adventure can be found in the most mundane of trips. That fellow down the block who has turned his yard into a folk artists dream but his neighbors nightmare. The outdoor graduation parties loud enough and close enough to be in your yard too. Street fairs in small towns across the country. Luling , Texas has a watermelon festival! You needn’t go to the far flung ends of the earth to have FUN!
SOMETIMES THE HARDEST THING TO SEE IS WHAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES!
Does this happen to anyone else, or is it just me ? When Father’s Day comes around, even though my dear father is no longer with us, I will peruse the Father’s Day cards thinking about him, missing him and contemplating which one I would have given him. Is it just me?
My dad was an A1 father. But of all the things I miss about him, I long to hear the sound of his voice again. Or to hear him laughing. I am certainly not alone in this, knowing other’s miss those familiar sounds of loved ones gone. Still I find myself feeling cheated out of what technology now makes available to us. Instant videos, Skyping, recorded messages and all things that were not available so readily or instantaneously like they are today. I only have him frozen in so many photographs from black and white to color… a few silent home videos from the 50’s, but they are all as quiet as the night.
Now I watch my son with his daughter and remember the brief time my dad had with him, never getting to see him grown, or meet his little girl. Flashes of my childhood came back to me a few years ago when I watched in wonder as my now grown son played with his daughter on the cellar doors at my sister’s house. We used to slide down the cellar doors as a child and I almost broke out in tears as I watched my son and his daughter enjoying this old game together. The generations rolled back even further as I recalled my grandmother singing this song to me when I must have been my granddaughter’s age:
PLAYMATE, COME OUT AND PLAY WITH ME
AND BRING YOUR DOLLIES THREE,
CLIMB UP MY APPLE TREE.
LOOK IN MY RAINBARREL,
SLIDE DOWN MY CELLAR DOOR,
AND WE’LL BE JOLLY FRIENDS – FOREVER MORE.
Happy Father’s Day all you lucky people who still have the hugs, smiles, and voices of your dad’s to enjoy. They live on because we remember them with love. I see him in my son and am reminded – TO END IS TO BEGIN
if it’s not fun, then you’re doing it wrong
(photo by Catherine Massaro)
Where I grew up , in upstate New York, if you were lucky enough to be a Girl Scout, you went to Girl Scout Camp Thunderbird for two weeks if you had sold enough cookies to qualify.
I loved, loved, loved Girl Scout camp. It was two weeks of heaven. I never got homesick, and came home looking and smelling like a small woodland animal.
I’m fairly certain that Girl Scout Camp gave me my love of camping, which I have only recently rediscovered. I am amazed to see how quickly the campgrounds fill up. In fact they are practically booked solid through August already. Young , old, singles, families, everyone is out there. It occurs to me it’s the most democratic recreational activity we share in this country.
Camping is still as popular today as it ever was, and if you have not been in a while, I am here to encourage you to rediscover it . If for no other reason than the best part of camping – the campfire. It’s the very best part of the day, as it gets cool, dark, and everything revolves around the fire. You hunker down in your chair, cozied up to the smoke and flames as night surrounds you in a giant hug. And every camp site around is doing the exact same thing, having a similar experience. Sounds get quieter as voices and activity gets less and less till only the sound of crackling wood and flickers from campsite to campsite are left. Children have passed out from exhaustion and fresh air. Adults are in charge of nothing more than a stick to poke at the flames and wood and watch the fire as hours pass and embers die down.
If you are lucky, the stars will come out. If you are very, very lucky, you will have timed your trip during a full moon. The fire will be hypnotic. The moon light is in fact, silvery. There will be a lovely comforting sense of order and whatever silly worldly troubles that consumed your day will burn away in the red coals of the campfire. It’s the cheapest therapy on earth. A bundle of wood and a match.
When morning comes, the smell of wood burning wakes you up, and the fire again is something to center you while coffee or tea taste a hundred times better in the fresh air than around the kitchen table. And I like how I feel after a couple days of camping- like a small animal again- closer to the earth, grounded and happy minute to minute, for the breeze to blow, the sun to rise or set, birdsong, stream rushing, fire crackling.
” Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” Walt Whitman
I’m on the second day of a ten day road trip heading into Canyon , Texas. Yesterday while driving through west Texas we passed a grand old homestead. At least it must have been at one time. Now it called out from the road to be looked at just maybe one last time. It was home to someone at one time, and it must have been beautiful before the ravages of weather time and neglect left it the sad, but beautiful memory of a home that it is now. It deserved to be loved and remembered one more time with a sketch.
Spent the morning at The Buddy Holly Museum, in Lubbock. Lubbock was home to Buddy as well as many other Texas greats. The museum is a lovely tribute to a hometown boy who was lost too soon.
Home. HomeTown. Homeland. You can’t go home again… Or can you? Driving on with nothing but the road ahead I am interrupted by news through the ethers that my wandering expat son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter have decided to … come home. That is , from their adventure to live abroad in Ecuador. They are homesick , and want to come HOME. Music to my ears. Welcome home. To family . To friends. To your country . You were missed more than you could have imagined.
My maternal grandmother , Catherine Feldman, lived with us when I was a girl. I was in second grade when she moved in, shortly after her husband died. And there she stayed as a household fixture until she had a stroke and was cared for at The Brother’s of Mercy Nursing Home, right up the street from our family home. Her bedroom was upstairs and right next to mine. She had a view of Main Street and a little wire cart with violet plants in front of the window, and a little black and white television that she watched the six o’clock news on with her one cigarette of the day. I can picture her still in that room, where I had everything on her dresser memorized. On the occasion I had bad dreams, I would sneak into her room and crawl into bed with her . This was a huge violation of my parents household rules, but she never ratted on me. She had a bed with a built in bookcase headboard and there resided a lovely painted ceramic Virgin Mary that played Ave Maria. She would wind it up and I would fall safely asleep. It remains one of my most favorite hymns and I still tear up when I hear it. My sister was good enough to hang on to that treasured object and pass it to me years later, where it resides on my home altar, in a place of memory and honor.
My Nannie, as we referred to her, pops up often in my life in treasured objects. Her recipes always tug at my heart when I come across them. Her recipe for marrow dumplings for instance, which I have not had since she died. Her amazing Continental Frosting that I still love but cannot make. My mother dutifully makes that frosting for me when I request it. I still make her soft molasses cookies on some Christmas’. But I came across the Hot Milk Cake recipe a day or two ago and even though I had no intention of making it, I kept it out. I found as I would move around the house, from kitchen to studio, studio to kitchen I could not seem to put it down. Finally I just sat down with it and studied it, like you would a love letter – word for word, front and back, the sound of her voice on the scrap of paper and a clear vision of her sitting at the kitchen table writing it out for me. I loved unfrosted cake, and I had to laugh as I noted at the end of the recipe, she wrote as an afterthought – Frost as you wish
My Nannie, who I was named after, was a very religious woman, and I thought about her a lot when I was making FORSAKEN. ( see ART tab for this piece ) We are never forsaken by our loved ones…even when they are gone , they are with us so often, in the smallest of things and seemingly most insignificant objects of memory. Love just goes on and on.