Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Too long in the wasteland…

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I have been remiss. But I’m back and there is a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon including a move a year ago from Reno, Nevada to Fredericksburg , Texas.

So, to make a long story short, I am about to open my own gallery/studio by the end of May in Johnson City, Texas. I hesitate to post any pictures until the place gets it’s new facelift and I’m all settled in. But I may break down and post some teasers if I can’t hold back from excitement. Let me just say that it has been quite a year and i owe much of the success to my friend Linda Haddock who owns ECHO , in Johnson City, and was good enough to house Studio Massaro within her fabulous big building at 100 Nugent Avenue for this past year. Without her encouragement and great location in the up and coming new art community I would not be having the success I have been enjoying and now this next big step.

If you have been following my journey on this website, this next comment should come as no surprise … to end is to begin.


foolish things…

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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)

promises , promises…

Posted in art, family, Fredericksburg, friends, love, memory, Reno, technology, time, travelComments Off on promises , promises…

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)

moving on…

Posted in art, beginnings, explore, friends, journey, memory, notice, ponder, secret suffering, timeComments Off on moving on…

Before I started to write this, I had to laugh because of how commonplace New Years blog postings have become. I have no interest in making a list, or boring anyone with future plans or last years regrets. But it was with interest that I read a dear friend’s recent post regarding consolidating his many sites and posts from various platforms, all of which he uses to the benefit and encouragement of  himself and others to lead a healthier lifestyle. He is an inspiration and has inspired others, including myself to greater health. His fight has been longer and harder in some respects, but where I see him now and where he has been to get there, I think we see differently. To me, he has moved on and arrived at his destination. To him, he is still ‘getting there’.

A number of years ago, I started a body of work that became , and still is, a long running commentary on living a creative life, observing life and trying to tell a three-dimensional story in collage form. It was an extreme break from traditional art as I had always done, and remains a mystery to most. Every time I try to go back to traditional art as I have done in the past, it’s like putting on ill fitting clothes. I keep making theses art pieces and they continue to teach me, excite me, and interest me … and I have no interest in defending them. I am just compelled to make them. Recently I had the pleasure of a studio visit by a dean and provost from a local university. To my delight and surprise, they got the work immediatly! Even posing the question as they observed some of the works in progress ; when did I know I was finished with a piece? I love that question, because the answer is so universal to bigger moments in life. The answer of course is, YOU JUST KNOW.

During a time in my life when I needed some heavy medication to carry on after a rough patch in life, I asked my shrink, when will I know to go off this stuff? He simply told me, ” YOU WILL KNOW.” As it turns out I knew and remember the very day even after all these years.

Which leads me back to my friend and my title, MOVING ON. The New Year always seems like a perfect time to start over, fresh, anew. But it’s just another day on the calendar of life to me. I see my friend as already having moved on with giant life accomplishments, but only he knows when his moment to stop and MOVE ON will be. Because , you just know…


” In the end, we all become stories.” Margaret Atwood



momma told me…there would be days like this

Posted in 7 deadlies, friends, love, ponder, secret suffering, timeComments Off on momma told me…there would be days like this

We all have them. I had a string of a few in a row. Nothing bad happened, yet I was feeling bad. Crying bad. Could not ignore it and could not get out of the way of it. Felt profoundly bad about the world and all it’s ills and evils. Bad about how it just repeats itself over and over, year after year, generation after generation, civilization after civilization as they rise and fall. We think we learn from history, but it seems of late… all evidence to the contrary.

My usual diversions were not working. Music, magazines, even hiking. I started cleaning closets and getting rid of things, which usually makes me downright giddy. That was productive, but I still remained in a deep blue funk. As it happened, I began to follow closely the rather troubling posts of a sweet , struggling, young woman from my past. We are generations apart, but some of her painful posts and fall downs struck a note in me. I have learned that there is really very little we can do for anyone that they must in the end do for themselves. But there is something about knowing that someone, somewhere, believes in you and can see far enough down the road of experience that …this too shall pass and better days are there for you .  I spent the day thinking about how to encourage her on and at least be mindfully present of her struggle.  I sent photos, quotes, and words of encouragement until I felt I was possibly being annoying. But today I see from her posts that the tide has turned. She turned it herself , as it should be and she has a plan. It’s a good plan. One that involves a cleaner body and mind. A direction that moves on past some miles of rough road and a hurting heart.

What have I learned? I have not learned anything new, but had to be reminded again, that doing something for someone else takes us out of our self absorbed mind. I have no control over the evils of the world, but I can make one person’s life a little happier, and in doing so, made mine better. I feel much better now and it was so easy. We always make things so hard.


doodle power!

Posted in 7 deadlies, art, family, friends, gifts, journey, memory, notice, ponder, technology, time, UncategorizedComments Off on doodle power!

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.





intercept life…

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Getting out of your own way in life is no easy task. I’ve had lists of things that I wanted to do, achieve, see, make etc. And I’ve had lists of thing I swore I would NEVER do. Never say never. Next year I am crossing some oceans to do something I swore I would NEVER do.

Take a trip on a cruise ship.

 I swore to never set foot on cruise ships, convinced I was too germaphobic to not get deathly ill. Then an intriguing invitation came for a trip entitled –  the  MUSE CRUISE. The title had me intrigued. It is being hosted by an artist and coworker from my early days. The cruise is for women creatives from all walks of life. Painters, photographers, writers, jewelers , poets, and I’ve heard rumors of ranchers and homemakers, all wanting to walk a creative path. The trip has a workshop in creative journaling and docks at some fabulous caribbean ports of call. With the exception of one country, I have never been to all the others.  It includes one very tantalizing spot that is on the list of the 7 Wonders of the World. It’s a bargain for a week filled with all the energy that being surround by interesting, creative women from all over the country might afford. The MUSE Cruise is calling, and I must go! This continues my studio without walls odyssey, and gives me yet another opportunity to ’embrace the horror’ and get out of my own way in life. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I’m choosing to think about all the great things that will happen!


” …if you lead an interesting life, you’re on track to make interesting art. Your job is to put yourself on an intercept path with interesting experiences.”  Ted Orland from The View From the Studio Door


On To Better Things…

Posted in 7 deadlies, beginnings, explore, friends, journey, love, notice, ponder, religion, technology, time, travel, UncategorizedComments Off on On To Better Things…

Are you a book reader?  For me it’s both adventure and wonder on paper.

I just finished reading Philip Caputo’s , The Longest Road – Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. I was drawn to the book  not only because is it a travel adventure in a vintage Airstream trailer, but it’s also  a quest to discover how the United States stays united. From Key West, Florida to Deadhorse, Alaska the author poses this question to travelers along the 6000 plus mile journey ; how does our country stay united?

Willa Cather, another fine writer said in her marvelous novel, Death Comes For the Archbishop,

               ” Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things.

It’s not news that our country seems increasingly more divided, at least on the political front of late. But there was a time we worked and played together as a country to move it forward. Right now we seem unquestionably mired down in the muck of not agreeing how to move forward together again. Extremes have illustrated how deeply we feel about what and who should take us to a better future. People are finding the discord very unsettling and while some jump into the mix, others run for shelter and avoid the whole mess. I think these times are important. How will we know the proper way forward unless we dig deep and uncover the important truths? I don’t mind the mess or the fight. I am eager to hear all sides and remain very HOPEFUL that through the fog of confusion we currently reside in, we will find a clear path out and move forward again. 

I won’t do a book review, but I will leave you with a little spoiler that left me feeling , well, hopeful.

It ends on an observation that HOPE has been not just what keeps us together, but what brought us together. And maybe we can start moving again by agreeing to be hopeful.

At Christmas time, the followers of Christ are called to be “in” the world, but not “of ” it. Being “in” the world means that we have a calling to support, celebrate, and participate in those things which are good and positive, while simultaneously avoiding the bad. So let’s move at the speed of light towards the good and see how quickly we can come out of the fog.

Merry Christmas people.

growing up in the ‘question’… or, cheer up P. J. O’Rourke

Posted in 7 deadlies, art, beginnings, explore, family, friends, gifts, home, journey, love, memory, notice, ponder, religion, secret suffering, technology, time, travel, UncategorizedComments Off on growing up in the ‘question’… or, cheer up P. J. O’Rourke

Wall Street Journal  – dateline Sat/Sun November 30-December 1, 2013 . REVIEW section, front page feature article , THE BOOMER BUST, by P. J. O’Rourke – essayist.

P.J. O’Rourke has a thing or two to get off his chest about  being one of and observing the 75 million odd baby boomer generation. He seems to be deeply troubled by our  existence and wallowing in baby boomer’s remorse  while he speaks for ALL of us. His musings embrace  his own self- loathing and our collective one as well. Thanks for worrying about us  P.J. O’Rourke.

The baby boomers have an exact definition. Did you know that? A precise demography we are told in his essay.

‘We are the children who were born during a period after WWII when the long-term trend in fertility among American women was exceeded.’

This definition is further broken down into the following catagories.

Seniors – those born in the late 40’s.

Juniors – those born in the early 1950’s ( your’s truly)

Sophomores – those born in the late 1950’s

Freshman – those born in the early 1960’s

This time span from the late 40’s to the early 60’s was  generally characterized by a profusion of opportunity concurrent with a collapse of traditional social standards. Mr. O’Rourke opines that this perfect storm of opportunity and social standard breakdown led us ‘en masse’ to become …” greedy for love, happiness, thrills, fame, inner peace and money.”

Furthermore, we are ‘NOT a generation who listens to anybody, including God.’

We are ‘the generation who insisted that a passion for living should replace working for one.’ All we cared about was our ‘personal universe.’

                                    Hey! Baby boomers…are you feeling BAD about yourself yet?! 

P.J. concludes his essay by pointing out that we now must come to the obvious conclusion that in our dotage, ‘everything you were told , was wrong and we must despair!’

I will hold off on the despair for just a bit while I make some of my own observations… from a Junior’s point of view.

We were most definitely born in an age of wondrous opportunity – certainly more than our parents ever could have imagined for us. We were, however, just children born into that time with no knowledge that it was a ‘golden ‘ era of prosperity or that we were destined to be the gigantic know- it -all generation of selfish leeches on society that according to P.J., we have become. Anyway… as we were growing up, mysteries did still abound. Like, why did our father’s spend hours on the couch watching old black and white movies about Hitler? Why would you watch that when the Three Stooges could entertain you so much better? Hitler was boring, and we had no way to relate any of that piece of history to our young, shiny, hopeful lives that our parents had born us into. They wanted to shield us and move us on from that dark time in both our history and the world’s. It was a new day and we were destined to move it forward with their help. We added hope to our ‘personal universe’.

Much like many of my generation and the seniors before me, our parents did not go to college. Yet they were not so uneducated that they did not see the great value it would be to us in the new world we were born into. So off to colleges we marched in great numbers, as much to get educated as to spare their young sons the horror of fighting in the Vietnam War. A war, as a generation, we questioned. We added education to our ‘personal universe’, with a healthy dose of questioning authority.

Now equipped with fine college educations, hope, and a questioning mind we went on to advance technology, medicine, religion, sexual equality, racial equality, women’s choices, career stereotypes, music, arts, literature, science , and the quality of life for 75 million people – just here in our country alone.

My goodness…what had our parents wrought? We were certainly NOT the Greatest Generation. We know who they are and what they did and sacrificed for us, and they deserve that title. The Greatest Generation gave us the age of opportunity and we embraced it whole heartedly. I’m frankly mystified by what perfect world we were obliged to create to satisfy P.J. O’Rourke’s viewpoint of our wasted lives. We have clearly been negligent to his thinking.

It is my contention that the best thing we learned and then shared as a generation was to QUESTION EVERYTHING. We questioned authority endlessly and on every front until we got answers that led us to a better understanding of our world and those on the planet that we shared it with.

                                   I believe as a generation, we learned to’ live in the question’.

And in doing so, we have kept an open and hopeful mind to the future. That is personally what I believe I have passed on to my son and his generation.

I do not share P.J. O’Rourke’s snarky, sad viewpoint on the 75 million baby boomer’s impact on society over the last 67 years. Perhaps his own personal expectations and achievements have led him to this rather dark and unfulfilled viewpoint. All I can say is, cheer up P.J., and peace out.


( featured image , WHAT HAVE I LEARNED? , canvas collage by Catherine Massaro)