Tag Archives: dad

Blast from the Past!

I’m getting back to work this week. I think my husband and I were in shock after his uncle’s motorcycle accident. It’s taken over a week to snap out of it and get back to our routine. Aaron’s uncle is still in ICU, but he is healing, slowly. Aaron still visits the hospital everyday, I go every so often. It’s so difficult to see someone in that condition, my empathetic self has a very hard time with it. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must be going through, not to mention his kids and wife and the rest of the family.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Newspaper clipping from one of my first ever art shows in 1991.

Back in the studio. I’m working on an art book of my “Paula Beck Prints” pieces from the early 1990s. I’m also negotiating a contract with a local management/publishing company to represent my art and specifically this book.

Sevier Station pencil drawing

“Sevier Station”, one of the first drawings I did as Paula Beck. Part of the Historical Building series I did in the Tennessee/Kentucky area around Clarksville, TN and Hopkinsville, KY.

I’ve been going through all the old images in my flat file and came across an envelope I had almost forgotten I had! Back in the early 1990s when I started selling my art, it was still that period in history when people wrote letters and sent things by what we now call “snail mail”. LOL! Luckily for me, my dad was pretty sentimental and he saved all of the art prints, photocopies, postcards and newspaper clippings I sent him. I found it after he passed away while cleaning out his things. Nine years later, I have rediscovered that envelope and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

Another newspaper clipping from one of my first shows in Clarksville, TN

I’m working on photographing and editing all those images from the past. There are about 25 of the historical building drawings I did in 1990-91. The newspaper clippings are from the very first two art shows I did in Clarksville, Tennessee. This was my first year after leaving the military at Fort Campbell.

"Abraham Lincoln", part of my Civil War series.

“Abraham Lincoln”, part of my Civil War series. I did portraits of Lincoln, Gen. Grant, Jefferson Davis and Gen. Forrest

I’m going to stop there. For more of the story you will have to wait for my book! 😉 I hope to have it finished by the end of September, but it may be longer than that before it’s published. I plan to share excerpts here leading up to the release.



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

I figured today would be a great day to share this listing in my Etsy shop! I’m VERY happy about the SCOTUS decision making marriage a RIGHT for ALL! Congrats to all those who have waited for all these years to be legally recognized as a couple. I am a straight ally. My dad was a gay man and I am only sad that he didn’t live to see this day. My hope for humanity has been restored!


Available in my Etsy shop!

Available in my Etsy shop!

Peace, Love and Grief

Interesting how the brain works. As you may have seen from previous posts, I am currently working on paintings for my February show “Peace and Love”. All these thoughts of love and peace have stirred up feelings of grief and sadness in me. On January 9th, my beloved great Aunt (“Auntie”) Evalynn passed away at the age of 93. She had slowly retreated into the world of Alzheimers and it was a relief for the whole family that she was finally released from this terrible disease. My grandmother (her sister) also succumbed to the disease back in 2003. Thinking about her and how much I will miss her independent spirit has brought back thoughts of my dad, of course, and so I find myself once again dealing with grief. It’s interesting to me how one death can be so welcome while another is unexpected and like a slap in the face.

I still miss my dad, naturally, and at times like this I have a difficult time believing that we are coming up on the 2nd anniversary of his death! How could time pass so quickly and peacefully. My dad was right that life goes on, I know this now, but it’s like he was here just yesterday. I keep going through life, working, painting, loving, breathing, eating, sleeping, but he is gone, Auntie is gone, my grammy is gone. Are they really though? There have been so many times that I have felt them in the room with me, just like it felt when they were physically here. It always happens unexpectedly, when I am not thinking of them, busy in my daily life, doing mundane things. Then, out of no where, there they are, POP in my head, thoughts, feelings of love.

I used to believe that death was it, we live, we die, one life is all we get. I don’t believe that anymore, I’m convinced that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, convinced! How could it be any other way? I spent some time yesterday afternoon reading my past blog posts in the months after my dad’s death, revisiting the grief, it doesn’t change, the pain is exactly the same. I believe everything we go through in this life is a lesson, so what is the lesson in death? It’s so simple, appreciate every minute of this life, though it’s not truly all there is, it’s a one of a kind life, we will never relive this life, we may get another chance in another life, but this is it for this time around. I’m rambling on, I know, just dumping my mind out. So many people suffer here on earth, the earthquake in Haiti is just another example of human suffering, it’s part of the human condition. It’s part of life….and death. People die and suffer everyday, another thing my dad was right about, but it’s how we handle it that matters. It’s what we do with the death and suffering, dwell in it, sadness, depression, hopelessness. Or turn it around and appreciate the good in life, gratefulness for our blessings, look for the positive in every situation, enjoy moments of joy and love with our family and friends still with us. That’s what I choose to do most days, but I’m human and every once in a while I slip back into the negative aspects of it all. I did that yesterday and for a bit today, but now, I choose to be grateful, for the past, the present and the future. Life is beautiful, death is what makes it so, without death we would never appreciate the brevity of life, never go for the gusto, enjoy the moment! Thank you for that!

Back to me, maybe? Someday!

I’ve been so busy with the gallery, it seems to be taking over my life! Not that it’s a bad thing, I’m really enjoying it, I just have been neglecting my art and myself because of it. Time just keeps speeding by me at the speed of light. I’m living in a dream world, everything is going so awesome right now! Chroma Studios won an award for the Best New Business in downtown Albuquerque last Saturday night! How cool is that? I didn’t even know there was such an award until we got the notice of nomination. The awards banquet was awesome! All kinds of local celebrities were there, news people, politicians, artists, business owners. I spoke with the mayor and invited him to our gallery opening this Friday, got a call from his office, so apparently he will be attending!

Everything is so awesome, wish my dad was here to see it all! I’m so overwhelmed at how quickly everything is happening, I’m convinced dad has something to do with it all. Wherever he may be now. Every so often, I still feel his energy around me. The other day when Michael Jackson died it was extremely strong. We both loved Michael’s music. Thriller was an album that brought us together at a difficult phase of my life, I believe I was 13-14 when it came out. We were both heavily into MTV at the time. Dad LOVED the Thriller video, especially the part where Vincent Price did the voice over and laugh. I was really affected by MJ’s death. Death has a different effect on me since dad died. It’s like all the emotion of losing dad comes back to the surface again. I wonder if it will ever go away. I feel bad for MJ’s kids, they are so young. 

Funny how I can go from being totally happy and content, to sad and empty in an instant by thinking about that loss. I guess it’s a good thing so many great things are happening to keep my mind off it. Life is good and life goes on and I have so much more of it to live! I’m grateful for it all. It’s so cliché, but it’s all these things that have made me the person I am today.

Last night I had a wonderful talk with my oldest son who was feeling down and doubtful about his life right now. I heard words coming from my mouth that I remember hearing from my dad years and years ago. All that wisdom that I brushed off as bullshit 20 years ago, makes all the sense in the world right now. I’m grateful that I had such an awesome dad and that I can now pass that wisdom and advice on to my sons. Maybe someday when I’m gone, my son will hear the same words coming out of his mouth for the benefit of his children. I hope so. Thanks Dad!