Probably Last Post Before Vacation! Should Be About Vacation!

What to say about vacation this year that I did not already cover about a year ago?

I am following my new rule about taking at least 14 days off. I will be away from the afternoon of Friday, July 12 through the afternoon of Monday, July 29, which turns out to be actually 17 days if you count the two half days at beginning and end as one day, so I am pleasantly surprised as I thought this year I could only miss two weeks of work. Essentially I will miss the two weeks and maybe a few more hours total.

Why care about missing days? For one, Money! Money, as I have blogged about it before, is quite important, especially when planning a vacation. First of all, I don’t get paid vacation days or sick days, so every day off is a day I am not making any money. In addition, vacations always cost money. This year, like last year, there are no expensive plane flights, just car rental and gas costs. Staying in a friend’s cabin upstate means no extra hotel costs, so it is a pretty low budget great vacation. Those of you that enjoy camping and being outdoors in the middle of nowhere would appreciate my choice of going again to the Froggy Pond Cabin in upstate NY near Cuba, NY which is close to the bigger town of Olean, NY. Another reason to care about days I will be on vacation is really just that I discovered the hard way that one week is not enough for me. It takes me a while to get used to being away from the noisy energetic city and adjust to the relative peaceful, calm and silent aspects of the woods. Then coming back involves transitioning back to civilization, so usually there is a visit at the end to old friends in Ithaca, which is a small town but not in the woods in the middle of nowhere!

Some of the great things about taking this same vacation for the third (I think it’s three, might be more) year in a row is that I get the same benefits at a low cost: being in nature, away from the city, for the most part away from the internet though I check emails from time to time, but it’s really a vacation from the annoying distractions of TV and internet, then the frogs again. Going there in end of July is a perfect time to hear the frogs wonderful chorus, especially at night! Plenty of time for art making out doors and making art on vacation is different from making art in NYC. This year wanting to pack light, I will not bring a ton of materials but will have the fun of shopping at JoAnne’s, which is really fun, as usually I get things from there online. There is a Joannes in Staten Island but I have no idea how to get there. Plus shopping on vacation is more fun anyway. There are cool dollar stores with odd kinds of things and surprises, plus JoAnnes which has a lot of crafts materials, and once in a while some random shopping mall has cool outlets to check out. There is also some planting to do, so going and buying soil and flowers and stuff like that is fun and different.

Each year we try to think of new things to do. Last year we went to a drive in movie, which I think was the first one I’ve ever been to! So we will do that again. Maybe some berry picking and hiking. For me always there is reading as I love reading but seldom have time to really read a whole book. This year I am being strict with myself, no books related to my work, so I will bring some kind of book of poetry, one or two graphic novels and maybe a memoir…

Ok. I’m off to a movie, so I will actually post again before vacation! as I haven’t finished with my thoughts on vacation…

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Endings and Beginnings, Dealing with Change!

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”

-Joseph Campbell

I saw this quotation on Facebook and thought it was perfect for my current state of transition/transformation. I have spent the last week in a deep state of “termination” or loss of my old studio, which I made art in and spent time with others and their psyche’s and others making art for the past ten years in the building of which I had occupied 3 studios in in the past 20 years, the second third and fourth studios of my life as an artist, and of my native New York city. In this same week, I also signed the lease for my new studio, my fifth, which is luckily around the corner from my old studio, so I am not leaving this neighborhood that I have been in for the last 20 years of my life! And it represents 20 of I guess 22 years or so of my being a professional artist…

Ok, so I guess I am repeating myself as I looked at my last post of more than ten days ago, so I will try to post new info in this post!

First of all, Great News about my new studio! It is not the one I described in the last post. In a strange moment of synchronicity, just as I was on the subway reading about one of my favorite artists and her small collages and getting myself excited for a “small and intimate” new studio and imagining how I would make it very different from my old one, I got off the subway and the guy who showed the spaces had contacted me to tell me I still had the option of taking the big one I wanted in the first place, Studio 205! When he first showed me the spaces on Franklin Street, the best space was an interested space with two rooms and a lot of storage space. The wall was only half built in the second room, and he told me the owner was deciding whether to build up the wall and make that the space, in which case, I could afford it (a little more expensive than my current one but well worth it for the high ceilings I am used to and the novelty of having two rooms!), or he would knock down the wall and make a much bigger space way out of my price range. So I spent 3 days waiting nervously to find out the verdict and finally was told he was going to make the big space, so I reserved the other one. Suddenly now I got to have the one I wanted! I was very excited, as the move would be more exciting and at least I would be going a step up from my old beloved studio. This space is a little bigger but a weird shape. Anyway the ceilings are at least pretty high and I won’t have to paint over a dark color, though I will need to paint the walls eventually. Also, as they had to build the wall, I would need to do 2 moves. One was last Sunday and it went from morning until about 1 am with some great movers, friend of a friend of mine. It took forever for them to take out my 2 big flat files and all the rest of my stuff, and as they were loading the truck I was still rushing to wrap up paintings from the now destroyed painting racks. As I used to long ago make very big paintings, I had a lot of those to wrap as well as many medium to small size canvases I had totally forgotten about. Even with everything I threw out, we filled the truck up and I had to get a very large storage space which we filled up completely. Then we went back to my studio and packed about 15 boxes in the truck to take to my home. So by the time I was giving the movers a late meal at my house it was about 1am! And there still was lots of other stuff in my studio that needed to be dealt with over the week up until the last day, Thursday, Feb. 28!

I “surrendered” my studio 307 at about 3:30pm on Thursday. Luckily I did not have to paint the floor or walls and the inspection resulted in a promise (with a signed document) that I would get my entire deposit (a hefty sum of money that would come in handy for paying for two moves…) back!

That same day my new studio wall was up and I had my desk and some wood and other items stored there. I had signed the lease by then and gotten my keys, so I now had my new address, Studio 205 at 59 Franklin St. The new studio has a cool looking column in it as well as a closet and other random kinds of storage. I went there today with a bunch of boxes, a table to use until the next move and some folding chairs. I tried to mop the floor which was dusty, and it was strangely still just as dirty looking afterwards, but hey, this is an art studio and my old floor was very nicely covered in paint and ink spills! I set up the table and opened boxes of art supplies of all kinds, some client art work, and my special box of my tea boiler and my cups and many kinds of tea, so I’m ready for action starting tomorrow morning. I am excited to make something in there before my first 9am patient as I want to make sure I make something before anyone else does, just because… And I will bring my sage as I did not have time or remember today to sage the place.

Speaking of sage, I saged my old studio two times at least. One on the last day, in order to purify the space and remove all my personal energy and the collective creative energy and psychic energy that had accumulated in there over the last ten years. Even though I felt kicked in the face by not being able to choose to renew that lease, I felt a responsibility to leave in a dignified manner and to “clear” the space for the next people. Now I need to purify and sage my new space!

I took many kinds of photos of the old and new studios over the past week, and it’s quite striking how quickly it went from what it was to an empty space…

Tomorrow I will take photos of my temporary set up for this week and then next Sunday after the move the studio will be transformed again…

These are the words of Hannelore Baron, one of my favorite artists, who made very tiny intimate things, words that I identified with: (strangely my own artistic journey went from making very large oil canvases to smaller and smaller things with mixed media on all kinds of surfaces, and I repeatedly arrive at an intimate scale where I am also most comfortable:

“I don’t relate to large things. I don’t like anything large; large things sort of dwarf me… and I don’t like anything that makes me small now…” Hannelore Baron

At the same time, I do love large things and large spaces, but I don’t like the emphasis in our society on “Bigness” somehow being better. Looking up to tall people, big buildings, large art work, etc. There is plenty of beauty in the smallest tiniest spark of color…

To be continued… This will be a transition week, and it almost makes sense that my move is going in phases, as a way for me to cope with all the change better and also have that time to end one chapter and begin a new one…

Note: I will try to post more photos soon. It’s not working!