I LOVE LOCAL

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We recently invested in new countertops for the kitchen.  The old ones were a pretty fugly old formica.  I like classy.  I like pretty.  But I also like fun.

I decided for the counter barstools that we’d create something that celebrates everything we love about South County Rhode Island.

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I went with the National Public Seating stools.  Reason being – they are cheap and indestructible.  They are so well designed.  You can adjust the bottom height and back rest height.  They are metal which I am always a big fan of.  Let’s see my kids and husband break these!  Do you remember them from high school science lab?

Next I let my kids have at them.  I gave them a range of 4 colors for each stool.  The blue stool has 4 different blues, the red stool has 4 different reds…ect.

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They were pretty cool in themselves…. but not personal enough.

Next I we went through town and hit all our favorite stops.  Surf shops, diners, towns, bars, stores…we hunted for all the “local stickers we could find.  I next bought a 100 sticker pack of skateboard stickers…

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The back rests are what the finished project should look like – more local stickers than skater stickers.  The seats only have skateboard stickers because we have more collecting to do.  But that will be the fun part.  As we go to more great places, we will add on more stickers.  I love them so far.  It’s like a bright, happy piece of graffiti right in my kitchen.

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I even let the kids decorate the mailbox ;)

Narragansett Art Festival

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OK.  I am going to be honest.  As an artist, this years festival was NOT good.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

The weather was just too darn nice.

The first amazing weekend of the summer and guess where everyone was?

The Narragansett Art Festival?    – Ummm… no.

They were at the beach.  The Narragansett Art Festival 2016 was a ghost town…

It was sooooo hot.  HOT. HOT. HOT.  It was sweltering.  I am telling you I had eyeball sweat!  It was definitely not the kind of weather for strolling through an art festival.

So #1 complaint.  Good weather = Bad show.  No people = No one to show your art to.

Ok. Now let me turn this around and tell you some good things.

I was floored.  Someone who reads my blog traveled quite a distance to introduce herself and invest in a piece of my artwork.  I don’t care if I had actually sold thousands of dollars at the best attended art festival in my area – that them there was the most touching thing I’ve ever experienced as an artist!  First of all, someone I don’t know actually reads my blog???  And my words and images have connected with another human being???  That allows me to see; I can have a positive impact on the world.  I can connect with other human beings through my art.  PERIOD.  Simply-amazingly-awesome!  I met and talked to a lot of wonderful people in the last two days.

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The next good thing is a friend.

16 hours of a poorly attended festival is enough to sugar myself and stick my head in an ant hill!

Artist Karen Stackow of Signs of Fire shares a booth with me.  We do not make similar artwork which allows us to perfectly compliment one another.  But really, the best part is cursing under our breath, laughing out loud, spitting cherry pits and having one another to keep each other company.

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What’s more?

Having someone to grab a margarita with to celebrate it being over!!!!

hallelujah!

Art Fest Prep

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Finishing up…

Wrapping everything up. Loading the car. Trying to think of every little thing I might need for 16 hours out in a field with art. Ah, I always forget something!

I made these little prints based on the larger paintings framed below:

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So many more… I have little paintings hiding in every nook in cranny.  I hope I remember them all!

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The weather for the festival is predicted to be 80 degrees with an ocean breeze and low humidity.  That would be amazing especially after last year’s hurricane conditions which blew down tents and destroyed art.

I think I’m ready.

I’m exhausted from trying to create work for this show at the same time as being home with my kids for summer break.  Somehow Monday morning will come and I’ll catch up on a bit of rest… But for now, full steam ahead…

I’m off to the Narragansett Art Festival!!!

 

My Affordable Art Frenzy!

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The Narragansett Art Festival is coming up this weekend.

I’ve been sort of drifting for months in abstract painting la-la land, but about a week ago, I snapped out of it and started to work my butt off!

This art festival is right off the beach.  It’s a bit of an informal gathering.  People in flip-flops and sun hats.  I have found the average price point for sales during the event to be $250  or significantly lower.  This means don’t bring your giant formal work because you’ll be sitting there for 8 hours a day not selling anything!

With this in mind, I decided to embrace it and why not celebrate it?   How cool would it be if you could come home from an art festival with an original work of art for around $50 bucks?

So I snatched up about 20 mini frames ranging in size from 4×6 to 5×7 and I’ve been painting, painting, painting….

  My husband came up with the idea of $55 per painting or 2 for $100.  Here are some of the mini-paintings I will be selling during the event:

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It’s actually been a great exercise in painting.  I use a large brush, I try to work quickly and minimally.  It’s allowing me to practice acquiring an impressionistic style which in the age of photography is something I greatly value.

I have lots more to share.  I will try to photograph them as I scramble to get everything ready for this Saturday.

It’s feeling good :)

The Elephant’s Trunk

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Have you ever been to a REALLY GOOD flea market? 

The kind that’s worth driving miles and miles to be there for 6:30 am?

The Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford CT is one of those places.

 

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Forget even going there in search of finding something.  No need.  Looking at the juxtaposition of all of our societies odds and ends randomly spewed across a farm field is a reward in itself.  And then there’s the people watching… you’ve never seen so much eye candy!

If you’re an antique-er, you know that Brimfield is the mecca of all antiquing.  But the Elephant’s trunk is the perfect size.  It’s big, yet you can still tackle it in 3 hours.  The quality is really high and it’s nestled in one of the prettiest areas of Connecticut Valley.  It’s a New England must!

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So, my mom went home with a 4 foot purple flower cascade…

My daughter scored a new Swiss Army Knife and a pair of vintage Doc Martins…

My husband invested in a 10 piece set of induction cookware…

We all devoured a loaf of homemade Italian Olive bread…

But…but…what could Mary possibly find to take home from the Elephant’s Trunk???

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 A 5 foot West African crocodile tribal mask …duh!

Of course it had to be good… but I’d define my find –as greatI love it!  It’s going to hang on the wall alongside all my crazy paintings :)

What I love about flea market shopping, is it allows you to surround yourself with really interesting stuff that you can generally guarantee no one else will have.  Uniqueness is the best.

I mean the tennis sneaker leg lamp was a close second choice, but I’m pretty happy with my crocodile :)!

 

Odds and Ends

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Here’s a snapshot of the little art gallery I made for my kid’s school fair.  We had over 150 drawings depicting environmentalism and social responsibility.  I also added a shot of the t-shirts I helped produce for the school.  It is so awesome to see the fruits of your labor come to fruition.  I saw a lot of pride on the kids faces as they showed their parents their contributions.  It was a fun day!

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I could help but want to share the fruits of my garden too.  OMG. Could these flowers get any more beautiful???

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Lefty mugs…completed and already on their way to their new home…

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Here’s a little acrylic painting (@ 16 x 20″) I titled UNZIPPED.  It is really weird.  I know.  It’s like these moths are escaping a cartoon.  But you know what…you can’t say my recent work is boring LOL!  I’m just letting whatever wants to manifest – manifest… entertaining for sure!

I’m finishing up a big lot of pottery…I’ve been procrastinating on the glazing part… not my favorite… but I’m getting there.

OK. Off to paint some weird paintings chuckle chuckle….

 

 

 

Crazy Painting

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Hi yall. I have some work to share…

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Can you see why I named this post crazy painting?  My abstracts keep getting more and more out there!

This rather large painting (2ft x 4ft) Is a completely made up fantastical tropical forest.

When I got to this point, all though there was so much going on, I felt like it still needed some sort of extra life force.

In my imagination I saw hummingbirds just loving that yellow bell-shaped flower.

So why not!

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What’s cool to me, is the birds do not stand out at all.  They are definitely not the first things you see.  Just like in nature.  Everything is hiding for it’s protection. Yet the more you tune in and look, the more of nature you see.

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I have to admit I am a little nervous.

I have two local art shows I am submitting work to this month (this means exposing myself to my artistic peers!).  Yes, I post my work on my blog, but I haven’t actually shown any of these abstracts out in public!

I know to most of my public, these paintings are pretty frigging crazy.  I brought This giant 4 x 4ft abstract in for jurying last week:

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I absolutely love it. I had this in my kitchen and it brought me joy and energy every day.  But when I walked into the gallery and placed it next to a muted beach pastel, everyone in the rooms eyes popped out of their head!  Ok maybe I’m over-reacting and being super-sensitive… but high energy and bold may have been words thrown out there…

I have to prepare myself for the possibility that many people will not like my work…

That hurts.

Luckily it only bothers me about 25%  which leaves about 75% thick skin.

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I mean, when I display my work in my home, it makes perfect sense!  I just have to find a few more people out there like me – you know, totally awesome! ;)

I know that like an awkward teen, I’m just going through a phase.  Be that a crazy phase!  I can see down the road that one day I will be able to marry the craziness with my prior realistic style and when the two come together, look out! I will have found my artistic “signature”.

Gotta walk the miles in the shoes…

Just like the bobby pin holding back my awkwardly growing out hair, I still have to go outside and greet my neighbors.  Gotta keep living day to day…

Gotta show my work. Stand tall and enjoy this crazy ride!

 

 

My Rhode Island

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I just finished a series of paintings of some of my favorite local locals.

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The painting at top left was a little 12 x 16 painting I did during my 365.  Back then I had spent weeks trying to minimalize my painting style as much as possible.  I had loved the effect and promised to return to the concept, but you know me…I got distracted :)

Well, I remembered and tried again.  Even though the color palette is quite restrained and minimal itself, I tried to keep the colors as bright and vivid as possible.  No mud.  I don’t see the world through a beige lens :)

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I also knew I wanted them to all tie together like a series, so I worked on all of them simultaneously.

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First I did all the skies, then I blocked out the landscapes and then carefully, one by one I added all the details. I have to say, adding the trees, grass and rocks was terrifying.  I really liked the uber-simple landscapes and wondered if I should just stop there.  I’d love to get some viewers feedback.  How minimal should I go and still be able to communicate my beautiful locale?  My intuitive self would say make a hundred more paintings and then you’ll see clearly… but my good old regular self says “hey, that’s way to long. I want to know now!”   Yes talking to myself again… :)

I am going to turn this collection into a mini-art print set.  I’m thinking 8×10’s.  It will make just the prettiest little bathroom for someone won’t it?    ;)

Today’s my birthday.

As a gift to myself, I joined Weight Watchers and the gym in February.  My goal was to feel awesome by my birthday which is always Memorial Day weekend which just happens to coincide with the beginning of summer.  The past months have been a lot of hard work and discipline.  I put myself first very adamantly.  My exercise schedule was just as important as the kids music lessons, sports practices and play dates. Of course there was guilt in that at first, but now I am an equal citizen in our family and everyone has supported me.  To date, I have lost 16 pounds.  And guess what?  IT FEELS AWESOME!!!  Hardly anything is wiggling and jiggling and I’ve slowly decreased my addiction to salty crunchy junk food (mainly Doritos and anything orange!)

So today I will thank the universe for my good health and smaller waist size.  But I think I’ll take an extra few moments to embrace the discipline.  I come up with some crazy goals and after I declare them to the world, I WILL NOT BACK DOWN.  That’s usually why I like the declaring it to the world part.  But really, I didn’t think I could do this one.  I really like to eat – and drink for that matter ;)  I thought I’d fail within a month… maybe even two weeks.  But, showing up at WW, seeing the same women each week and routing each other on, sort of made it fun.  I don’t own a scale so I had to show up for weigh-in once a week.  That in itself was enough to get my personal drive  into OVERDRIVE.  I do like a challenge I must say.  It’s been pretty cool.

So, I did it.

The weather is absolutely stellar today. I’m heading outside with my head held high.  I’m a year older and I feel great!