Thursday, July 29, 2021

Christmas in July

I've been feeling a little uninspired and overwhelmed by papers and stuff, torn by needing to clear the decks and get rid of everything that fails to spark joy, and then saying oh no, what if I need that some day? It's a paralyzing dilemma.  I threw a pile of stuff into a shopping bag with a sign that says, 
"Stuff that I can't use but I can't throw away.  If you can use it, help yourself." I'll put it in the building's mailroom when nobody's looking.  Then I tidied my pencil drawer, and that was invigorating; maybe not life changing but it's very satisfying to look at the newly created order.


Still stuck in the doldrums, I thought of that song, "We Need a Little Christmas" and I remembered this broken Christmas tree ornament that hangs on a shelf in my studio.



It used to say "JOY" with a little train on top but the "J" fell off.  So now it says "OY", and when I first saw it I thought, "Well, that's not inappropriate," and I hung it on the tree.  
Oy, or Oy veh, is a Yiddish expression of grief and dismay but I like to keep on the sunny side.  Instead of Oh, woe is me, I say, What am I gonna do now?  

I had one of those moments last week.

My work is going to be in a show titled Women Celebrate Women at El Barrio's Artspace PS109 on East 99th Street.  I asked some of my artist friends who also live downtown if I could deliver their work for them.  My car has a big trunk, I thought.  When I arrived at the door of my friend Diana she brought out a painting that was bigger than her.  It didn't fit and as we stood there thinking Oy Veh, two very handsome men descended upon us.  In the twinkling of an eye they opened both backdoors, unhooked and lowered the backseat, which I've never figured out how to do, slid in the painting  and voila! We were all set.
 These handsome fellows told us they were visiting from Italy, staying in a hotel across the street.  Arthur is irked that I keep saying they were handsome but I'm just being observant.  Really, they could have modeled for Raphael. 
 It was an oy veh moment that turned into joy.

I could also turn my little ornament around...




 so that it says YO, which the google dictionary defines as an informal expression used to greet someone, attract their attention or express excitement. 

Yo!  How are you doing?  Are things getting you down like they're getting me down? Do you feel like you need a little Christmas?  If so, you could go to

https://www.barbaraswansonsherman.com/christmas-videos

and listen to the choir of the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York singing nine of the carols from 




This is my book of Christmas carols.  As I did last year, I'm offering what I would have had to charge thirty dollars for, for the price of postage.  I'm able to do so because of all the help I received from old friends and friends I haven't yet met, on my Kickstarter project.   So, if you would like  a copy, go to

https://www.barbaraswansonsherman.com/shop

and I'll send you 12 Carols in plenty of time for Christmas.  Or I'll send it directly to anyone you like.

Plan ahead-get ready for Christmas-send a book as a gift or a Holiday greeting.  

YO!  thank you all so much!

Am I pushing the season? Sorry, here's a picture of the Morning Glory vines blooming on our terrace!




Thursday, July 22, 2021

THREE TRIPS THAT INSPIRED ME

I've been thinking about ideas and how they come to me and what I do with them.  I can't remember who said this, "The muse doesn't t come every day but woe unto you if she comes and you're not home." I've written about this before, how sometimes an idea lodges itself in my mind and I can't move on until I put it on paper.  Other times I sit and stare out the window or at my nails and say, "Okay, Muse, whenever you're ready." 

 In 2002 my mother said to Jessie and me, "let's take a trip--you decide where."  I wanted Italy, Jessie wanted Australia so we compromised on Greece.  We took a cruise on a sailing ship from Athens to Istanbul.  Our first stop was Santorini, and who should I meet on the street but this happy couple(the Pelicans.) The mermaid was painted on the wall of a restaurant. That's our ship in her hand.  


The pictures I take when I travel might drive someone else crazy. Here's a sample from an album I put together. That's our ship. in the harbor.


 No labels, no identification of place or time, just images I like and think, "Maybe I can us that."

've shown up in many of my drawings. They absolutely grabbed me and I did a whole series of staircases.  That may have led to my series of open houses-I often start with a staircase.



The next year my sister-in-law, Kathleen, invited me and my other sister-in-law, Donna, to visit her daughter, Shelagh, who was doing her junior year in Seville. That was the closest I'll ever get to a sisters trip, and it was wonderful fun. We went in November but the weather felt like September, my second favorite month, and the streets were lined with orange trees full of fruit.  I'll never forget tinta verana, red wine mixed with lemon soda-it may sound weird but it's delightful and perfect for a long lunch on a sunny afternoon.  I tried it here in New York but it wasn't the same. Like the campfire stew I made in Girl Scout camp; I went home and told Mom, "We have to have this at home--it's so delicious!  You just brown hamburger and stir in a can of Campbell's vegetable soup!" Mom said, "You know some things taste better when you're outside and really hungry."  She was a good sport, or maybe she knew that a good teacher lets us learn for ourselves so we tried it at home and I had to agree. Some things belong in their moment.

But I digress.  Back to Spain.  We took the train to Grenada and visited the Alhambra. Oh those gardens with their tinkling fountains, the tiles, the arches.  The history and the Islamic culture, the feat of engineering that brought water up to the mountain. 

I didn't take any pictures on that trip but I did make this little collage book. One note says, 

"Friday- Real Alcazar-Gardens-Moorish tiles arches"

Turns out those things have shown up in my work over and over.




Now that I look at my book case I see that I made little books for most of my trips. How could I have forgotten about that?

Then Arthur found that we had a bunch of airline miles that we had to use or lose so he figured out how far we could go for free--and the four of us went to Budapest. I loved Budapest but not much came of that trip artistically as far as I can tell.  

But you never can tell.  These three trips showed up in my work for years afterward. Mainly I was enchanted by the gardens and the notion that a garden is the image of Heaven on Earth.



I never know what will capture my imagination, and I'm surprised at the things that leave me cold. I'm happy to say that I'm more likely to be delighted than to be bored. 

Early this week we went to the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass and I saw this staircase.  You may be seeing it soon!


 And this!  Sweet Woodruff and ferns.  So beautiful, and perfect for something I'm working on right now!



Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Reader Writes Back

  Remember how last week I said I'd make the great sacrifice of getting my orange juice from the grocery store in a cardboard container? Here's what my friend, Carol Skinger said.

"Hi Barbara, 

We solved the orange juice problem by stopping drinking it probably 30 years ago. 
We just get oranges or clementines. 
Don’t even bother to make juice out of them. 
Green peppers and red peppers have the same amount of vitamin c as orange juice. 

We decided OJ was just another sugary drink. 

But when we were in Stowe a month ago our old neighbor Lyndall Heyer invited us for Breakfast. Not only did she and Scott give us fresh squeezed OJ but they made us whole wheat sourdough waffles. They grind their own flour! On top was fresh fruits and homemade yogurt and Lew Coty’s Maple syrup!! OMG soooo good. And they set a beautiful breakfast table under a darling tree for shade and cooked the waffles outdoors as we drank coffee! 
Now THAT OJ was worth it." 
There's no comparison between store-bought and freshly squeezed, and the thirty year abstinence probably made that OJ absolutely sublime.
Well, thanks, Carol.  Okay, I accept the challenge.  I made my morning shake with water and an orange and it tasted fine. 
A net gain of reducing plastic, calories and sugar.  

Would you like to see some new work?


                                                                    The Sea Also Rises
                                    Collage of Two Etchings and a Pen and Ink Drawing

This is made of several pieces that had languished in my files for years.  I love this bird, called a Yellow Legs, but couldn't find a home for him.  Then I was invited by my friend, Roni Sherman Ramos, to participate in a show at The Atlantic Gallery. Well, that was great, but they had a size limit of 24 inches, and my best work is 24"by 18".  So I dove into my files and came up with a map of the world and a view of the ocean.
It's just like when I put together my beloved Pelican! 


Two elements I didn't know what to do with just fell into place.  I love it when that happens.

Here's my new piece in the gallery; It just happened to be hung with the work of my friend, Eileen Hoffman, so it's in very good company.


And here I am!

Speaking of things falling together, Eileen and I have projects that seem to work well together.  Watch here for further 
developments!


Friday, July 9, 2021

 Are you rushing to your Post Office?  As soon as I finish writing this I'm heading out to buy the Yogi Berra forever stamp. 


 Look at that face.  Yogi was known for great quotes, one of which is,

"I'm ugly, but nobody hits with his face."  Maybe he's not a matinee idol but what was Rudolph Valentino's lifetime batting average? 

We do what we can with what we have. 

Like reducing single use plastic.  I told Arthur we should quit buying orange juice from Costco in four packs of 2 quart sized plastic bottles. 

He said, "It's such an infinitesimal amount!" I look at those bottles and think of how many eons they'll sit in the landfill--or worse, float in the ocean. 

I looked for ways to re-use the bottles and their caps. I saved a lot for an art project but now all I have is a couple of jars of plastic junk on the top shelf of my home studio.  


If you have a use for any of these these items, just let me know.

I could throw it all away but then I think about how many eons it'll sit in the landfill--or worse, float in the ocean.

I did have one idea--look at my fabulous soap dish liner--no more soap dish jelly for me!  I have plenty more of these--if you'd like one,  just let me know.



 As my friend, Christine Flouton, a leader of our Earth Care Action Group at church, says,

Every Little Bit Helps 

We all have to do our little bit and talk about it! I've decided that I will uncomplainingly lug cartons of OJ home from the market.

Here's another thing-EPR!  Extended Product Responsibility!  Manufacturers will be required to contribute to the cost of recycling!  What an idea! 

There's a bill in the New York State Senate titled S1185.  You can look it up and then, if you're a New Yorker, email your state senator and say what a good idea this is.  

Not to forget our new poster boy-or stamp boy; from my Baseball in Heaven series, 


Yogi Berra and pitcher Don Larsen celebrate the only perfect game in World Series history.


We're All Doing What We Can

 Are you rushing to your Post Office?  As soon as I finish writing this I'm heading out to buy the Yogi Berra forever stamp. 


 Look at that face.  Yogi was known for great quotes, one of which is,

"I'm ugly, but nobody hits with his face."  Maybe he's not a matinee idol but what was Rudolph Valentino's lifetime batting average? 

We do what we can with what we have. 

Like reducing single use plastic.  I told Arthur we should quit buying orange juice from Costco in four packs of 2 quart sized plastic bottles. 

He said, "It's such an infinitesimal amount!" I look at those bottles and think of how many eons they'll sit in the landfill--or worse, float in the ocean. 

I looked for ways to re-use the bottles and their caps. I saved a lot for an art project but now all I have is a couple of jars of plastic junk on the top shelf of my home studio.  


If you have a use for any of these these items, just let me know.

I could throw it all away but then I think about how many eons it'll sit in the landfill--or worse, float in the ocean.

I did have one idea--look at my fabulous soap dish liner--no more soap dish jelly for me!  I have plenty more of these--if you'd like one,  just let me know.



 As my friend, Christine Flouton, a leader of our Earth Care Action Group at church, says,

Every Little Bit Helps 

We all have to do our little bit and talk about it! I've decided that I will uncomplainingly lug cartons of OJ home from the market.

Here's another thing-EPR!  Extended Product Responsibility!  Manufacturers will be required to contribute to the cost of recycling!  What an idea! 

There's a bill in the New York State Senate titled S1185.  You can look it up and then, if you're a New Yorker, email your state senator and say what a good idea this is.  

Not to forget our new poster boy-or stamp boy; from my Baseball in Heaven series, 


Yogi Berra and pitcher Don Larsen celebrate the only perfect game in World Series history.


A Stamp for Yogi!

Are you rushing to your Post Office?  As soon as I finish writing this I'm heading out to buy the Yogi Berra forever stamp.


 Look at that face.  Yogi was known for great quotes, one of which is,

"I'm ugly, but nobody hits with his face."  Maybe he's not a matinee idol but what was Rudolph Valentino's lifetime batting average? 

We do what we can with what we have. 

Like reducing single use plastic.  I told Arthur we should quit buying orange juice from Costco in four packs of 2 quart sized plastic bottles. 

He said, "It's such an infinitesimal amount!" I look at those bottles and think of how many eons they'll sit in the landfill--or worse, float in the ocean. 

I looked for ways to re-use the bottles and their caps. I saved a lot for an art project but now all I have is a couple of jars of plastic junk on the top shelf of my home studio.  


If you have a use for any of these these items, just let me know.

I could throw it all away but then I think about how many eons it'll sit in the landfill--or worse, float in the ocean.

I did have one idea--look at my fabulous soap dish liner--no more soap dish jelly for me!  I have plenty more of these--if you'd like one,  just let me know.



 As my friend, Christine Flouton, a leader of our Earth Care Action Group at church, says,

Every Little Bit Helps 

We all have to do our little bit and talk about it! I've decided that I will uncomplainingly lug cartons of OJ home from the market.

Here's another thing-EPR!  Extended Product Responsibility!  Manufacturers will be required to contribute to the cost of recycling!  What an idea! 

There's a bill in the New York State Senate titled S1185.  You can look it up and then, if you're a New Yorker, email your state senator and say what a good idea this is.  

Not to forget our new poster boy-or stamp boy; from my Baseball in Heaven series, 


Yogi Berra and pitcher Don Larsen celebrate the only perfect game in World Series history.



Friday, July 2, 2021

Happy Independence Day




Here's the Star Spangled Banner!

I went through all thirty volumes of my collage books to find what I did with the Stars and Stripes.                                                                                                                                                                         


Fireworks and Chuck Berry.

A carved Uncle Sam and a giant flag.


Jasper Johns, Winslow Homer and  a New York City Skyline.


A flag and a little cabin.


You know who.



Jasper Johns again.


Just the stars this time.


It's still a grand old flag!

Christmas in July

I've been feeling a little uninspired and overwhelmed by papers and stuff, torn by needing to clear the decks and get rid of everything ...