Posts Tagged ‘home’

Welcome home…

Posted in art, beginnings, explore, family, home, journey, love, memory, notice, ponder, time, travel, UncategorizedComments Off on Welcome home…

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.

Frost as you wish…

Posted in collecting, family, food, gifts, home, love, memory, ponder, technology, timeComments Off on Frost as you wish…

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.



happy home ~ 2

Posted in art, beginnings, Fredericksburg, home, journey, travelComments Off on happy home ~ 2

So my winter migration is complete and I have settled back into my Texas home /studio.

When I’m here, I get to reconnect with printmaking, an art form near and dear to my heart. I actually started out as a printmaking major and was 2 years into the program before I started painting. I ended up with a double major, not being able to choose. I must admit, choosing a major was a real botheration to me as I wanted to keep on playing and exploring as many creative processes as I could. I loved photography and ceramics and it seemed limiting at the time to focus on just one, but that’s the way school works. So I chose painting primarily to learn about color as intimately as possible. And it helped with my printmaking, because you need to know how to mix colors and what layers of colors are going to do to understand what will happen on a print. Unlike painting, there is a great deal of thinking ahead and I liked the process and discipline of that thought process. My favorite form of printmaking is the monotype – the most painterly of printmaking types, and that makes sense for me, considering my love of painting. The spontaneity suits me, the painterly feel as well. But unlike a painting, the surprise element when you pull a print off the press ,for better or for worse, it’s never quite exactly what you thought you were going to get. And when it’s better than  what you anticipated, it’s like Christmas morning – both  a wonder and a surprise.

These are the things I most appreciate about making art and it’s a mirror of how I like to live my life. Filled with wonder and surprise. Migrating back and forth like this shakes  up my routines , forces me to be in a different mind set and environment, seeing again with fresh eyes. We need to give ourselves time and space to play and expose ourselves to a place or space where the unpredictable can happen.


” For whatever you’re doing for your creative juices, your geography has a hell of a lot to do with it. “Neil Young


The Happy Home

Posted in art, home, journey, memory, notice, ponder, time, Uncategorized1 Comment

Many, many years ago, ( when I was in my early 20’s) I took a battery of psychological tests, one of which was to ascertain skills and interests.
My three highest rankings came out like this:

1. officer in the military
2. homemaker
3. artist

My lowest score was nursing.

I was initially mystified by these results. What did these three seemingly unrelated professions have in common? It was explained to me that all three of these loved organizational behaviors. In the military, following organized thinking is very important when large groups of people must follow suit to accomplish a common goal. An officer though? Well, it showed I wanted to be in charge of the goal, leading rather than following.

The homemaker, having been raised in the bra burning era stunned me as well. But here it was again – organizing a well run home, replete with children, is highly organizational. Martha Stewart created an empire on this very premise. ( I love you Martha)

Now to the artist. Artists are lumped into the crazy bin of those living on the edge of madness and poverty. To the uninitiated in the arts, nothing could be further from the truth. The process of printmaking for instance, requires tremendous organizational thought both in the mind as well as the act of printing. Artists are forever trying to figure out the organizational principals of creating ideas that begin in the mind, but end up as a sculpture, a painting, a song.

So back to the happy homemaker. I have always enjoyed my living spaces. Apartment or house, boat or campsite, it was an organizational challenge to both decorate and create a refuge. It should be a happy place, and indeed, anywhere I could set up a ‘home’ environment was a happy place to me. I like to think all my mother’s efforts to teach my sister and I the skills of homemaking contributed greatly in my appreciation of this realm. But as it turns out, it was never the ‘home’ that made me happy, it was the exercise of organizing the space. And as it turns out, organizing space , color, shapes on a canvas was not any different for me than organizing furniture, plants, or rugs in a room. Organizing things settles my mind and helps me make sense of things. So while a home can make you happy, it’s sole purpose should not be ‘happiness’. What does that mean then if we become suddenly ‘unhappy’? Is our house to blame? We cannot perfect our lives by perfecting our homes.
And just as there is organization in nature, we should strive to find that lovely balance of organization within our home to sooth the mind and create that happy place to buffet us from the noisy, complicated world we have created outside our doors.

(featured photograph by Catherine Massaro)


Posted in day of rest, family, love, ponderComments Off on home


(monoprint and photograph by Catherine Massaro)

Texas at it’s finest

Posted in explore, Fredericksburg, journey, Reno, travel, Uncategorized1 Comment

Boy there was a great write up in the Sunday New York Times travel section on the beautiful Texas Hill Country. It’s filled with many of my favorite places around the area, but with only 36 hours and lots of roads to discover, many left out. Fredericksburg, in the hill country, happens to be the location of my winter home/studio. I don’t do winters anymore as it  seems I’ve spent a lifetime escaping winter. If New Mexico had no winter, I’d surely still be there, but Texas is where I would rather be when it gets cold. So around December in Reno, NV, I pack up and head to what Jeannie Ralston refers to:

“the Hill Country—being Texas at it’s finest—is like nowhere else in the world.”

Amen to that , sister.

(featured image – HILL COUNTRY HOMAGE , canvas collage by Catherine Massaro)