Friday, October 3, 2014

Still Here

I had to put thought into how to even write a blog entry.  I'm a month out from this blog's anniversary.  I'll be here even when no one comes...sort like the woman living alone in the woods, but I'm not that nature friendly to be living in the woods...maybe like the woman living in the basement apartment.

Mama, age 85 and her Great Granddaughter, age 4

My creative making has experienced a boat load of interruptions this year.  Considering how it grounds me and centers me, there has been a lot of groping through the light and the dark this year.  I feel it on my skin.  I've done my best to be adaptable, nurture and hold on to faith, and just be without over thinking which I've have a tendency to do...and by God's Grace, I'm standing and holding my own.
view into the studio window

We were anticipating moving by the end of October, which included my studio as well.  So far, nothing has fit our needs.  The plan is (God stop laughing), as I was saying, the plan is for this to be a last move.  So it needs to "fit", otherwise whats the point.  My studio is in disarray and my strong inclination is to let go of household "stuff" and simplify simplify simplify.  But Peter and I cannot see eye to eye on what is or is not "practical".  Like beauty, its all in the eye of the beholder.  But this is the least of my concerns.  

An exhibit deadline is fast approaching making me aware of just how little I have completed this year.  I'm not going to meet it. The photos below were taken by Mr. Bud Dorsey, The Urban Photographer here in the city.  This was the opening reception and panel discussion held in September at the Kentucky African American Heritage Center for a group exhibit.  I have 4 pieces in the show.  It is one of the hallmarks for this year.

Still Here by Langston Hughes

Been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,

Looks like between 'em they done
Tried to make me

Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
But I don't care!
I'm still here! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Meeting other artistic spirits.

Edus and myself
I was looking forward to meeting and seeing the art by EDUS and made it to the reception yesterday evening with my friend Brittany.  

Edus' work is bright with color and filled with personal narratives and social statements.  The piece that I fell in love with was entitled Life is Like a Bicycle which tells the story of her missing the bus to school and her father taking her on his bicycle.  A very moving story and the piece has a minimal palette in blues and white portraying a face with bicycle wheels for eyes.  A small partial view is to our right in the picture.

There will be another reception next Saturday with live music.  It is at OPEN gallery at 2801 S. Floyd Street right across from UofL's stadium.

Monday, July 28, 2014

literary seeds

for visual ideas.  "...gliding over the unburied." said by Aminata Diallo in reference to sailing over the ocean of drowned Africans of the slave trade in Lawrence Hill's Someone Knows My Name.  The line gave me an instant visual for a quilt and immediately jumped up to outline it in a sketchbook so I wouldn't loose it. There is another visual for a "boats" quilt also.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


I woke up knowing that this piece is indeed a study.  I named it Together We Keep Watch.  but the visual story is incomplete as it stands now and I now know what I need to add.   I work so slowly that I really wanted this piece to be finished, but I will do a 2nd one.

As I see it now, it is about hearts and minds being in sync and of one accord.  If this is about keeping watch over a community, the landscape, being witnesses, then I need to indicate that.

Have a glorious day!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We Rise, again and again and again and again.....

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.   ---excerpt from Still I Rise By Maya Angelou

Let me just say this blog break was unexpected.  Not to bog the blog down with details, I'll summarize the important stuff, the highlights thus far of the late spring and early summer:  

Mo and I have been 2nd hand shopping for furniture and just short of dumpster diving we've been out nearly every day scouting furniture for her new apartment for a new phase in her life.  (God be with us.) The furniture finds filled my studio and we ventured with her leading the way into painting with chalk paint.  

We'd go at nights to paint so we could  pull the furniture out in the hallway...(and the AC was out in the building, luckily enough, the nights were cooler and somewhat tolerable).  The other furniture pieces are still in storage.  A couple of dressers, a headboard, and a buffet left to go.

Mo's car completely died leaving 4 adults to depend on 1, ONE car (feels really retro, but we've adjusted quite well given the circumstances).  And she is now without a job related to her continued knee issues and asthma.  But being the hard-headed determined woman she is, she is rising.

The hub-man and I decided to house hunt for a rental and after weeks of looking we were 2, TWO, days late given notice to our complex and the best the apartment manager would do was to give us a 3 month lease because missing the date BY TWO days automatically locked us into a year lease.  And we came close to deciding on 1 of the 4 we had viewed...a 3BR, 2BA ranch, wood floors with a basement.  After five years of having a studio at Mellwood, I'm ready to bring it home and am envisioning a basement studio  So you see, looking for another place is the key. But as it stands now, October will be our deadline to move.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I had 2 bouts with pneumonia but didn't require a hospital stay, but did do time home-bound with rest.  Also, several significant people in my life made their transition and passed on, a good friend who was my best friend in junior high; a neighbor, one of "the mothers" on the block I grew up on; and my God Mother who was my Mother's oldest, dearest friend, Ms Trudie Mae Wickliffe.  She was 98 and in her right mind.  (Thank you God for the blessings)

Ms Trudie and my Mother arrived in Louisville around the same time, sometime in the late 40's and worked at the Brown Hotel together while staying with a cousin of my Mother's who lived by the racetrack whose husband was a horse trainer.  They eventually moved out together and shared apartments sometimes with another friend, Grace.  But it was Ms Trudie, 14 years older than my Mother, who remained a staple in her life and later in my life growing up.  One of the most important affirmations I received from her when I as a young woman who left a marriage after just 1 year...she got me without me having to over-explain or apologize to what appeared as irrational to others.  She later gave her understanding of me wanting to live outside of marriage with my now husband (of the 28 years we've been together, we've only been married this last year).  It may not sound like much now, but back in the 80s, in my family, it was still a dramatic thing to do and cause for too much talk.  

Maya Angelou's passing was a have one so significant in my culturally relevant formative years leave this plane jolted my eyes to open to examine how i'm living and how I've used my talents and re-evaluate how to move forward.  I love this photo of her dancing with poet Amiri Baraka taken by photographer, Chester Higgins dancing on top of Langston Hughes' ashes buried under Rivers: African Cosmogram created by Houston Conwill (a native Louisvillian).  Now, the photo itself says JOY, but when I let all of the above just marinate for a minute or so, that JOY just intensifies and I start laughing out loud!  Living is a beautiful thing!

The last of May ended my time with the co-op gallery.  More of a financial move for me since my lower priced work is depleted and my direction is not to make more right now.  It is what has sold.  I do not want to devote my efforts to "what is selling" right now.  

The piece that had been in Form Not Function 2007, Negotiating Territory, was donated to an auction at Spalding University to help with establishing a scholarship for African American students.  But then a month later, I turn around and miss a deadline for a group exhibit of African American Women Artists at a local gallery.  Even though I have a tinge of regret, I have to believe that all things work toward good in my life and its okay.  

I'm still crocheting, but not as with much gusto since I'm no longer on steroids, and I missed a friend's birthday for which this shawl I have on my hook is for...but there is always Kwanzaa, Christmass, Valentine's Day, or any other day to celebrate just being.

Reading. I've been reading a lot and I simply must tell you about 1 of 2 books by Estella Conwill Majozo (sister to Houston, see above).  First, Sister,  Please, Can You Stand A Little Honesty.  A collection of sermons that Majozo has presented over the last 10 years or so to various faith-based audiences. Each chapter is a offering of faith-based and culturally relevant steps we can take to keep our souls intact and not just as individual women but in a community of women.  I don't know about you, but I require certain thoughts and feelings, as oxygen, that speak to me, my soul, in order to ward off the numbness that grows as a result of stress.  The offerings in the book, helped and will help me to facing forward, nurture the desire to spring high and rise.  I've been carrying the book with me when I go out and re-read parts at night before going to sleep.  The 2nd book I'll talk about in my next blog post.  It also holds personal meaning for me and my family.

And finally to ward off the melancholy that occurs when I'm unable to be in my studio space creating something, I've picked sketching back up...specifically sketching faces.  A face a day is what I'm doing and then I upload to my personal FB page.  

Until next time, peace....