Category Archives: dad

What to do with old Vinyl?

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

Wall of records, 1 of 4!

For the love of God, don’t ever paint on a priceless vinyl record! Check that stuff out BEFORE you paint on a record worth lots of money! I don’t have to worry about that. I ONLY paint on records that I or anyone else for that matter should NEVER listen to ever again! lol. Seriously though. I have blogged before about my dad’s record collection. I inherited it 9 years ago when my dad passed away. There were originally over 40,000 vinyl disks. In the 9 years since the first move of records to our house, we have moved said records another 7-8 times, at least. Last year, we sold a big bulk of the collection. 30,000 45 single records. We didn’t get near what I would think they were worth, but they did take the ENTIRE 45 collection. It was quite the load off, seriously, those things are NOT light! They are bulky and heavy and only have two songs per record! We never listened to them. We like albums. We are now going through the albums (about 8,000) to see what we will listen to and what we will never listen to. Everything gets at least one full listen, unless it’s REALLY bad! There is always the GONG option if either Aaron or I feel the need to stop the torture. Long story short, THOSE are the records I paint on!

vinyl record painting in progress

vinyl record painting in progress

I’m currently working on a new vinyl record painting. Actually, I’m working on a group of them for my show at the Sierra Club in August. This one is getting very close to finished. Recycled art is my favorite. It’s guilt free. It’s a dilemma I face as an artist. I am very conscious of my carbon footprint on the planet. I do what I can. I make recycled art whenever I have the chance, from my recycled vinyl paintings, to recycled guitar art and painting over old paintings. I guess I overcompensate in my life by not having a lot of other stuff. I often joke that I could easily live in a tiny house, as long as my studio is separate and LARGE.

The Grief is Real

I have been in a fog for the past day and a half. I’m still in shock. It doesn’t help that I was feeling emotional as it was, before I heard the news about Prince. My first reaction was disbelief. It certainly could NOT be true. He’s too young. After frantically searching for the snopes article saying it was yet another internet death hoax, it became obvious that it was true. I was devastated. Truly.

I didn’t know him personally. I had always wished I could meet him. I was never able to see him live in concert, though I had recently hoped to make it to one of his shows on his current tour. I don’t have any personal stories of running into Prince in a hotel lobby. Though I do have a story about trying to buy a Prince CD in a Walmart in a small Arkansas town in 2004! Let’s just say, people there are racist and I had NO idea they still had “black” and “white” lines at the Walmart in 2004 America! I made the mistake of going to the “black” line. So, when I came back in to exchange the CD because it didn’t play, NO ONE would wait on me! LAME, I KNOW!

Fans like to think they “know” their idols. They WANT to know them. They mesmerize us with their enthusiasm and inspiration. Prince’s music came into my life at a very formative time. I was 13 years old. My parents got divorced. I had my first kiss. I became a teenager. My brain was being formed with the music of Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince,  The Eagles and so many others. These musician/celebrities showed me how to be an individual. They showed me who I was! They showed me that I could follow my heart and live my dreams. Their music was an inspiration but it was also the soundtrack of my teenage years. A million memories are tied to every song.

I watched a video earlier today that was discussing the reasons why my generation, Generation X, had such a strong connection to Prince. They talked about Prince being the product of a broken home, like so many of Generation X. Our generation saw the largest number of divorces of any generation before it or since.

I’m sure everyone has their memories of where they first heard the song Purple Rain or 1999. That is the biggest connection we have to our favorite celebrities. There are memories connected to music, always. In fact, I’ve been told that the music we love at the age of 14 is the music that sticks with us forever. When the album Purple Rain came out, I was 14 years old. I have distinct memories of opening the album and listening to Let’s Go Crazy for the first time. I was blown away! I sat there with that lyric sheet and memorized every word. As a shy teenager, I had a secret dream of being a singer, I KNOW I’m not the only one!

All of my life, but especially as a teenager, music was the one thing that connected me with my dad. He loved music and collected records from the age of 16. By the time I was 14, he had over 30,000 records! I have a vivid memory of my dad introducing me to Prince’s older albums. Controversy is the one that really stuck out for me. The memory is my dad pulling out the poster that came inside the album and asking me if I thought Prince was gay. If you’ve never seen the poster, it was Prince standing in a shower with water running over him and wearing nothing but bikini bottoms. At first I was shocked to see a nearly naked man! At the time I was somewhat irritated with my dad and said, of course not dad! Of course, he may have been onto something. Prince was definitely not your average guy. He was never afraid of blurring the line between gender roles and I admired him for that as I got older. This was 4 years before I found out my dad was gay. No wonder, I thought years later.

My dad introduced me to so much music, most of my musical tastes and influence came from him. In short, the death of these celebrities from my childhood and especially teenage years, brings back all of those memories of growing up and listening to music with my dad. I suspect it’s the same for all the fans out there feeling sad with the losses of 2016. Watching MTV, Prince hair styles and fashion, learning all the words to the songs by following along with the lyrics on the record sleeve, it was all a generational thing, but Prince transcended generations! His career spanned 37 years and five decades! Though the man will be missed, his music will live on forever and with the music, his spirit will always be alive!

Whether we knew Prince (or David Bowie, or any other celebrity) personally, have a story of an encounter with him or just loved his music, we all have those shared memories of the music and how it touched our lives. That is the joy and sometimes sorrow, of music. It enriches us, it enriches our lives, it enriches the World and perhaps even the Universe.

Love Knows No Gender

Love knows no gender hand painted guitar

“Love Knows No Gender”, acrylics on full size wood guitar, still not quite finished but CLOSE!

I’m just about finished with my latest guitar painting! “Love Knows No Gender” is dedicated to all the people who are STILL fighting for equal rights in this so-called equal and free country we live in. I BELIEVE in marriage equality, YES I DO! LOVE should be the ONLY prerequisite for marriage! PERIOD.

Side view

Side view

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that my dad was a gay man. He was the most loving, caring person I have ever known. He would bend over backwards to help his family and friends and even strangers knew his kindness. He was a high school math teacher for 38 years and his students loved him too. He has been gone from this plane of existence for over 6 years now, but I can still feel his love whenever I think of him. This guitar is for him and every other LGBT person on the earth. I love you all! 🙂

other side

other side

loveknowsbottom

“Words”

oil painting on canvas and wood

“Touch the Soul, Touch the Heart”, 12 1/2 x 12 1/2″ oil on canvas and wood, SOLD

2014 has been a great year so far! I had planned on continuing my weekly blog posts, but my computer had a different plan. I love my iMac but it’s getting a bit old (6 years this October). I decided to take it in for a checkup and we found out that the hard drive was fried. Long story short, I had to have a new hard drive installed and then had to buy a new external cd drive (the old drive hasn’t worked for years, but I had to get a new one to reinstall my software on the new hard drive). Needless to say, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a working computer. It took a few days for our computer guy to retrieve my files from the old HD, luckily I didn’t lose any files! Then I had to wait for the cd drive to be shipped before I could reinstall, yadda yadda yadda!

oil painting on canvas board

“Love Yourself”, 8 x 8″ oil on canvas board, SOLD

Today I have my fully functioning computer back! Thank goodness it cost me under $250! Much better than the $1,500 it would have cost for a new computer!

In the meantime, I have been a painting machine! Not only did I complete 8 new paintings last month, I sold 5 of them before they were complete!

I’m working on a couple of new series currently. One is called “Words” and it’s a collaboration with a good friend or mine. We first met because he was a long time friend of my dad’s. Since my dad’s death in 2008 we’ve kept in touch and last year he came for an extended visit here in Albuquerque.

He recently retired and has been writing poetry. We discussed this long before his visit and I expressed interest in collaborating on a book of poetry with my art for illustrations. This is where the “Words” series began.

Honestly, I cannot remember how long we talked about it before I FINALLY got to work on some new art work specifically for this project. At first, I had thought I would use older pieces that fit his themes, but as I thought about it more I decided it would be much better if I included some of the words from his poems/quotes into my paintings.

Last month I painted 5 paintings for this series, two have my words in them not his, so they aren’t really part of the collaboration but I am including them in the series anyway. I don’t currently have my friend’s permission to post his quotes but I will share the paintings that were inspired by them. Remember, the words in the paintings are just a few key words from the actual quotes/poems.

original acrylic painting on vinyl record

“Fool of Love”, acrylic paint markers on 12″ vinyl record, SOLD

The second series I’m working on is a continuation of my recycled vinyl series. These new paintings are a bit different however. In the past, my record paintings have all had a spiral in the middle section. These are “In the Flow” records and don’t have the spiral in the middle.

original acrylic painting on vinyl record

“Moonlight”, acrylic paint markers on 12″ vinyl record, SOLD

The titles for these paintings are located on the label of the record and I have circled the title on the record and then the painting has evolved organically from the label, sometimes incorporating a design or element from the label itself in the finished painting. I’m really loving this series and apparently so are others as I’ve already sold 3 of them!

original acrylic painting on vinyl record

“Phoenix”, acrylic paint markers on 12″ vinyl record, SOLD

Wake Up Call!

The past couple of weeks have been quite a doosy! (sp?) During the last week of March, on Tuesday/Wednesday I started having heart palpitations that really freaked me out! I have had them before, but usually just once in a great long while. Last week they started and didn’t let up. I had a bit of stress on Thursday and started having chest pains. Even more freaked out, I told my husband who immediately took me to the emergency room. Because we don’t have health insurance, we have to go to the local University hospital. This is an awful place to go to the ER! I figured with chest pains I would get back to see a Doctor right away, WRONG! It was over 12 hours before I was finally lead back to a bed at 4am in the morning. They ran every test possible and apparently my heart is healthy, thank God, but they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Now, for those of you who don’t know it, my dad died almost 4 years ago of a heart attack. He was only 64 years old. His first heart attack hit when he was 59. So, needless to say, I was a bit shaken. Perhaps I have always had a fear that this would happen to me, perhaps I caused it with my worry. Or perhaps I have inherited my father’s heart issues. We still don’t know. I go back tomorrow to get a mobile heart monitor which I will wear for 2 weeks. After that I will go back for another echo cardiogram stress test. Update: I now have my heart monitor and will be wearing it for 4 weeks, not two.

This scare was my wake up call. I have always been pretty healthy, last time my cholesterol was checked it was 93 for crying out loud! Of course that was 5 years ago and I have since turned 40. After my gall bladder surgery 2 years ago, we stopped eating so much meat, in fact, we usually eat vegetarian and recently switched to organic fruits and veggies. I have slacked off on my exercise routine lately and we have been doing a bit more social drinking than usual. However, as of that visit to the ER, I am back to my regular exercise schedule and eating right. The Dr. also suggested meditation which I have tried to do regularly, but now I’m back to everyday with that as well. Working on staying stress free as it seems stress makes it worse. Now that I’m wearing the heart monitor in my everyday life, it’s interesting to see how often my heart rate goes up.

Once again, I have been reminded of the brevity of this life. My sense of urgency has been renewed and I am working on getting back on track with certain goals I made for my art. Recently, I have slacked on those goals and let everything slide. NO MORE! It’s time to live my life to it’s absolute fullest!

If they could see me now…

Today is one of those days. Actually, it’s been one of those days for the past month. 2012 started out full of energy and positive outlooks, but by the middle of January, I fell into the deep pit of lethargy and self pity. I am pretty good at faking it, my outer demeanor is usually pretty happy. Unless you live with me. Then you know the real me. The insecure, scared, never lives up to her own expectations, hypocritical me.

I have been thinking about writing a blog about this for weeks. Knowing that if I could just get this dark side of myself out in the open and expose her weaknesses then maybe, just maybe, I could get past this “phase” of the moon (or sun or whatever universal force is weighing me down). I don’t like to be this way, I feel like I’ve gone back into the body of that teenage mom I once was, the one who had no self confidence and hid out in her living room watching TV all day and night because her life was such a mess. That teenage mom who could totally relate to the Jerry Springer show and even contemplated going on the show at one point! I KNOW I’m not that person anymore, but every once in a long while, she comes back to haunt me. WHY?

These are the days I wish THOSE people could get a peak into my life. You know THOSE people, the ones who go on and on about how lucky I am to be living my dream, spending my days painting and creating and BEING and ARTIST. They always say it like it’s all fun and games, like I have some rich husband (for those who don’t know, I’m married to a musician!) who pays for everything and I never have to worry about ANYTHING. Well folks, newsflash, it’s not all fun and games and I spend more time worrying and beating myself up than I do painting. In fact, I spend a LOT of my time painting AND beating myself up. At the same time! That’s the real reason why most of my paintings are so upbeat and happy….I’m trying to convince MYSELF! It’s the cheapest form of therapy I know!

To be fair, that isn’t always the case, I am happy more than I’m not, I’m just exaggerating because it’s been this way for a month and it feels like forever! I used to feel like this a LOT more than I have in the past four years. Strangely enough, it was the death of my dad that made me a more happy person. Sure, I grieved for years, but his death made me appreciate everything more. It reminded me how short life is and how we only get this one chance in our lives to DO something.

The issue now is, I feel like I’m slipping back in to the old me and I don’t know how to stop it. Painting gives me a temporary reprieve but unfortunately, I cannot spend 24 hours a day painting. I don’t know, now I just feel like I’m whining. My mom would tell me I’m depressed and it runs in the family and I should just admit to the fact that I can’t escape it. FOOEY! I don’t believe that!

See….just writing this post has already made me feel better. Looking at myself from the outside in reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for AND that I am merely human. GASP! I admitted it! I am merely human. 🙂

Following Your Dreams! (my story)

“Follow your heart

where ever it takes you

and be happy

Life is brief and very fragile

and only loaned to us for a while

Wake up every morning

with the thought

that something wonderful

is about to happen!

~ author unknown

I have my parents and grandparents to thank for always encouraging me to follow my dreams. I knew I wanted to be an artist from the age of 13. Though they asked once or twice, “how are you going to support yourself”, they never doubted that I could or WOULD do it! Now I realize, not everyone is that blessed! I also had plenty of other people (step father, in laws, friends, teachers) telling me I was crazy to go for a career as an artist.”Why not just wait until you retire to pursue your art?” “You can always do your art as a hobby”, “you should have something to fall back on” etc etc. Every time I heard something like this it just drove me more, motivated me to “prove them all wrong”. That’s me, always been a bit hard headed, stubborn, ready to take on a dare!

I have always felt an inner drive to be an artist, like it was something within me that I could not deny. No matter how hard I tried to “grow up” and do all the things people told me I “should”. Like “get a real job”, or “go to college for something practical”. As I got older I learned some valuable lessons on listening to others instead of following my heart. My heart knew all along what I was “supposed” to be doing.

After going to college so I could “have a career” as a Computer Aided Drafter, I worked in the field for almost 3 years. Though I had a great salary, benefits and a regular business work schedule, I was completely miserable! I had nightmares almost nightly about dying, being chased and shot down, falling off cliffs, etc. I had all but given up my art after spending five years selling my prints all over the world. I finally checked out a book on dreams and interpreted my dreams as a sign that I was killing my soul, I was on the wrong path, I wasn’t living my dreams in my waking life, so I was dying in my sleep every night. That was when I decided I needed to get back to my purpose in life, back to following my dreams! I walked out of my job one day and never went back, literally! I just told my boss I wasn’t feeling well and left! I later sent him an email telling him I wouldn’t be coming back. He was very understanding and told me that my job would be there if I ever wanted to come back. That was over 11 years ago!

After my dad passed away in April 2008, I started reading books on spirituality, the law of attraction, love, awareness, etc. I have discovered since then, for me anyway, life is all about following dreams, following your heart and living life on purpose. God/Universe/Divine, whatever you call your higher power, gave me these gifts to SHARE! My purpose is to use the gifts I was given, they were given for a reason. What better way to show gratitude for those gifts?

I truly believe EVERYONE has a purpose! Everyone has a reason for living, a gift to share! The pure joy of this thought is the fact that we all have different purposes, we all have different dreams, like no two people are alike, no two dreams are alike. Your inner self KNOWS your purpose all you have to do is LISTEN! I would like to be one of the people who encourages you to “Follow your dreams”! If I can do it, anyone can!

“The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you” ~ Tom Bradley

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~Gail Devers