Sunday, October 9, 2016

Traveling with Pastels and TSA....

Sometimes traveling with art supplies can be a pain

Painted Plein Air in Douglas , MA.
Shimmery watercolors which glisten in light.
 In my Etsy shop pagibbons

Pastel done plein air last year. Pastel on Rives BFK paper.
In my etsy shop pagibbons
I see that my last post here was March. No no no.  I must be more regular. However, once I closed down my Rhinebeck studio, ( a HUGE financial weight, and time sucker)  allowed me to be a free bird for a while, so that I could really taste what retirement is about.

I have been traveling since April. California. North Carolina. Tennessee. Lake George. Douglas, Cape Cod, Maine. Hard to believe that once upon a time I had a traveling phobia!  I painted a few oil paintings plein air (one of which just sold!) and took tons of photographs for inspiration for winter's paintings.  I made many small post-card size landscape sketches  mostly executed in watercolor which I have listed in my pagibbons Etsy shop.

When I travel, at the minimum I carry is several sets of Kremer watercolors, a pad of watercolor postcards, my Moleskine watercolor books, and some 5 x 5" squares of a variety of papers and surfaces, a few markers and my Pentel waterbrushes. If I am driving, I can also take my oils and pastels, although I discovered that watercolors are far more portable and practical.

While on a trip to Tennessee for 9 days, I had work to do for a show. I was flying, so oils were out of the question (dry time etc.). I packed the watercolors, ink pens, and 2 boxes of pastels. One is a box of Sennielier, which I love for their buttery feel and application.  The other is a divided plastic bead box, each compartment filled with rice and  Diana Townsend pastels.  Both ways I was stopped and thoroughly searched, my luggage flagged.  I think I had some pastel dust on my clothes which glowed, and the pastels apparently contain some chemical components which flag the TSA since my watercolors have never been flagged. On the way back I put my pastels on TOP of my luggage to facilitate their search....

So let this be a warning: art supplies often contain chemicals which show up on the TSA scans. They also contain chemicals harmful to you, but that is for another blog. Pack your art supplies on the top of your luggage, and plan plenty of time to compensate for the delays you may experience!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

This Week in the Studio

This is a  recent mixed media drawing which I just finished for a show submission.  Blue Traveler was created with pastels, metallic watercolors, graphite, and ink on paper. 11 x 11" unframed.

My current body of abstract work is about color, light, and movement/energy. Due to the nature of the medium I am exploring, the colors in the art change  in relation to one's stance and the light in the room. Colors shimmer, then disappear with the slightest body movement, like the lenticular postcards of old. A world opens up, then snaps shut.

Under the Lens was created with metallic watercolor, ink, and reverse collage. Like the previous artwork, the colors change with the viewing angle. This little 5 x 5" piece hearkens back to a time when I dreamed of becoming a medical illustrator but did not have the money for the college that specialized in it.  It is a magical world, unseen to the naked eye -  a hidden world of line, shape, structure. 

When I was teaching art in the public schools,  I taught a class called Art and Science. One of the best units was the study of pond water, where my students learned illustration techniques, combined with sterile sampling of water in their ponds, pools, and puddles. Kids screamed with delight as they discovered the hidden world of odd little creatures that swam through the slide that got captured in ink on paper. Through them I relived the excitement of my youth.

Off to work on the taxes for a while, the bane of my life, then a walk for some cold fresh spring air. One third of my art career is spent on entering shows, marketing, and taxes!  I'd rather be making art!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hey It's Good to be Back Home Again

The title of this blog is the title of a John Denver song which is running through my head right now. I just finished unpacking another load from my Rhinebeck studio which has been my home-away-from-home for two years.

It's been a good experience. I learned a lot, met many lovely people. It was an excellent business experience, and my tenure there helped me discover who I am and what I like.

In preparation for working from home, I have been organizing my home studio. As an artist and teacher, I have hoarded many things over the years. The difficult part has been to decide what stays and what goes.  I still have not given up my collection of beads, though I no longer bead, and there are 10,000 other things that I use in my work that I just can't let go of yet. But somehow the floor is opening up, the tables are being cleared, and soon I will be able to fit 3-4 people in my studio to teach a few classes a week.

I look forward to being more domestic; mixing my bread in the morning so that I can bake in the afternoon, or putting on a pot of soup or beans to simmer while I work. When the weather gets warmer in another month, I will start prepping my beds for peas and spring greens. Maybe, just MAYBE, I will start some plants from seed.  I look forward to taking my daily walks, followed by my afternoon/evening work in the studio.

This is the first painting that came out of this new incarnation of my life as an artist. I spent 4 blissful hours in my studio yesterday, painting with a friend who wanted to see my process while I painted from a recent photograph using a palette knife.  She painted along side me, each of us captivated by the sensuality of the oils, and making new discoveries. This is a detail from an apple farm in Highland, NY.

Tonight, I will make it final, changing the info on my FB page, and my website. I do not regret that past, but I am ready for the future and the ultimate joy of working from home!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year Transitions!

I can't believe that I have ignored this blog for so long. It's a tribute as to how hard I work, but also a reminder to keep up with my website and blogging on a regular basis.

Part of my reinvention of self, is to constantly keep tweaking, fixing, improving, reevaluating.
Thus, I have made the decision to work out of my home studio only come the end of February, and close my Rhinebeck location.

I learned a few things about my Rhinebeck business venture.
1) it is too expensive to run 2 studios
2) too much effort to lug art supplies up and down stairs twice a week. I am not a kid anymore, and it is a literal pain in my shoulder/back, though I look forward to doing stairs as part of my 10,000 steps.
3) there is no place like home
4) I want to simplify my life- so eliminating extra driving, bills, and work is part of the simplification.
5) I should have taken that business class at Marist BEFORE I opened up a second studio, but what I learned after, helped me make a sound decision NOW.
6) I learned that I am not a person that wants to be tied down to a business outside of my home.  I took off very little time on the Thursdays and Fridays that I taught, as I not only would not get the income from those days, but I still had to cover the rent.  Double whammy. 
7) I am retired. Though I still work really hard doing what I love, I need to not do what I don't love. I owe that to myself. I guess I could say I am learning self-care through a circuitous route.

I don't consider it a failure, rather, I embrace what I learned, have been graced with meeting people whom I would not have met otherwise.  I had a great time at my studio, and love the little town. It will always be one of the towns I visit when I want to play.

This decision has forced me to clean and organize my home studio so that I can fit up to four people in it for classes. I tend to be a bit messy, and this will force me to know where everything is, and store it neatly, though I will never have one of those picture perfect designer studios that you see in those art magazines. (I suspect they have to work hard to clean them up and get them that way!)

Currently am working on my Valentines, and loading up my Etsy shop, Pagibbons, and also selling on Ebay (id catskillpaper) and I also have an Etsy shop where I sell my antique paper - Catskillpaper.
I am getting ready to frame up new work, to start showing again in February.

Here's to my new adage: Play more, sweat less.

Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


River Road- Winter Sunset - Oil on Canvas

 Up in the Clouds- oil on paper

I am settling into the next phase of my artist's life.

Having taken a leave of absence from my Monday job at the Tibetan shop, I now have two days off in a row at least until the end of August.

I am slowly overhauling my Kingston studio to accomodate all of the art supplies that will be coming back from my Rhinebeck studio.  I am still unsure of my tenure there, but  will be working there 2 days a week teaching in August, and have proposed renting per Diem to teach two days a week thru December.  Only small amount of my work will remain, such as my journals, some greeting cards, and a sampling of small works. I take things a day at a time and will know more in a week.

I sold two lovely pieces a few weekends ago; one a painting of River Road in Rhinebeck, the last of three winter scenes that I painted of this location. While finishing that sale, I received a call from a gallery in Woodstock, and I sold my abstract cloud, an oil on paper.  I was elated to say the least.  I am joyful and always grateful that people fall in love with a piece that they must take home. The joy of owning art goes a long way, much longer than an expensive meal out!

I have been putting things out curbside for free. A sewing machine that I can't use, a studio chair, and a large chipped frame perfect for someone who has the skills to restore. They have vanished, and I am glad that others can reap from the things I no longer want or use.

I am excited. No longer being scared about money (as I approach things a day at a time, a meal at a time, a repair at a time) helps free the apprehension about what I am doing. I am slowly easing my way into a world of art of my own invention, a step at a time, sort of like going into a cold body of water. Once you get in and you acclimate to it, it feels really good.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In the Works

I am a woman of my word.  If I feel I need change, I do it, albeit it is on no one's time schedule but mine, and if I trust in the Universe/God/my higher power, the path is shown to me at the time that is right.

An example of trust: I was momentarily crushed that I did not get into the Hudson River Exchange show, but I quickly got over it and life went on.  Last week they emailed  me with a last minute space.  I politely declined, as I was juggling many shows, and knew that I would be crazy to try and pull it off. And what happened this weekend? It was a rainy cold mess.  Imagine setting up and breaking down in it, and then sitting for two days under a tent. Nope. Been there done that, too much for me.

Another example of trust: I have been struggling with my finances and the fact that in order to make my Rhinebeck studio profitable, I needed to be teaching 5 days a week as it was in a poor retail location. I left that life of full time teaching, and want to make art and only teach a few days a week. I had intended on keeping my studio open until the end of September, after the Dutchess County Open Studio, but when I talked to the director and said that the ONLY reason I was staying open until September was due to the Studio Tour, she said "if you are serious and want to be taken off it, tell me now, and it will be done before the brochure is sent to press." I made a quick, but not rash decision and told her to take me off.  I gave notice to my partner that I would be out by the end of July.

So here I am. I have taken leave for the summer from the only job that gives me a small paycheck, and now I am closing the space where I taught - but taught for free as all the money went into keeping the studio paid for.  I am looking at a great big wide open space of time to create, but have to figure out how to bring in some cash. 

I am looking to rent space by the 1/2 day or hour, and am open to the options. Churches, stores, other studios, libraries. 

I have 3 shows in the upcoming month;   the main one at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, which is a show of both my and my student's work from July 2-30, with the opening Friday, July 10th from 5:30-7:30.  Two of my abstract works are at the Art Bar's July show "Red White and Blue", opening Friday, July 3, from  .  I will be in a group show in Albany at the Capital Repertory Theater Gallery from July 8th-August 26th. I am awaiting word on another show, and will be submitting to two more local community galleries.

So all is well. I will survive. I will figure out how to bring in some cash, but intend on using every moment that I can -  living life and making art. The garden is starting to produce, I have a library card where I can rent all the movies for free that I want, I won't be driving all over the place, so I will save on gas, and I am throwing myself out to the universe and saying SHOW ME THE PATH.

So stay I strap myself in for the next ride!

Photo: Resolution: Pastel, ink and graphite on paper. At the ART BAR in July.
Frame size 10 x 20"

Thursday, May 28, 2015


When I signed on to make a new post, I was aghast that it has been far too long since I have written.

I have been busy- working 6 days a week, and trying to cram in all of my life into one 24 hour period.

Recently I took a much needed break from the craziness, and rented a cabin for 4 days in Truro, Cape Cod. My friend and her husband, and me and my man, rented two cottages on a few acres of secluded land off a sand road.  It was nearly four solid days of moving at our own pace, eating fabulous fresh food  made from whatever we threw in bags and bought with us. We learned how to make water kefir and bread, we taught them how to make our Elixir - aka ginger shots.  We lived on cheese, wine, bread, salads and more---food of the gods.

I showered when I felt I needed to. Hardly used the car. Walked everyday to the lighthouse, 1/2 mile away. It was too windy to walk the beach, but we grabbed a few moments to watch the sun set at the little town beach, and most importantly, we made art. And talked art, life, and about the struggles that artists face.

In the quiet moments I realized a few things, the main one being that I have filled so much of my time with teaching and working other jobs, that I was having a hard time finding the time to paint. I knew after starting to get into the flow of the art and visiting with the muse at the cottage, that this had to change. 

It has been two years since I left my teaching job to follow my passion. I have derailed a bit from that intention, and my job was to get back there.

So I have decided that for the summer to give up my Monday job so that I can have two days in a row off, then I have 2.5 days of art and design time, and 2.5 days of teaching. I will see how that works both time wise and financially.

Reinvention takes time, and is a journey in discovering what I want to do with my remaining time in this world. May I live to 85 and be able to do all that I dream of!