October 18th, 2011
When I was young my dad used to say, ”The customer is always right”. He also said “You catch more flies with honey.” Kill them with kindness… that’s another cliche that comes to mind. Yesterday I voiced a concern with a company owner regarding the bags that I have been having produced for sale in my studio and at shows. I hoped that my dissatisfaction would elicit a response like, ” How can we make this right with you?” or, “Your business is important to us, how can we resolve this issue?” Boy was I wrong to think that would happen. Instead, the business owner denied any responsibility for a miscommunication and became defensive.
This is interesting timing as the subject of this week’s sermon was conflict resolution. So, with the words of the sermon in mind, I tried to express my point to the woman at the other end of an email. To say that things went downhill quickly is an understatement. She continued to be defensive and argumentative. I must admit, I did get a bit sarcastic when she said she “assumed” I would want something done a certain way. I just replied “For future reference, never assume.” I politely left out the rest of that saying. The resolution was, I informed the young lady that I will no longer be doing business with this upstart company. I found her to be very unprofessional and the product I was purchasing from her was not worth the hassle. I followed our minister’s advice and when compromise was not an option, I walked away.
So,why did this keep ME awake last night? I am not the one who lost a customer. I guess I am so unaccustomed to conflict that it left me feeling sad. I have certainly worked with enough surly teenagers in my day to be able to get through to this young lady… but no. What can I learn from this situation? #1. I will NEVER treat a customer of mine with anything but respect and gratitude. I hate to use the phrase, “in this economy” but it applies here. When someone wants to buy an item that is not a necessity in these challenging times, it is such a special thing. #2.Places of business that pride themselves on customer service should be recognized. I think I will write a note to a couple places I frequent and commend them on the excellent service that brings me back time and again. That was another thing my father taught me. Thank the people who work with and for you when they do a good job. #3. Maybe in this world of instant communication through texts, emails and tweets, we should all take the time to pick up the phone to actually make a call and talk to someone directly. Would we actually say those things if we were speaking to them directly, or even, face to face? I doubt it. Food for thought.
Please enjoy a new piece that I just finished. It is called “Lemon” and is about to find a new home in a child’s room.
- These are two 10×30 canvases made to hang together
September 9th, 2011
Here is a sneak peek at the brick that Mark and I completed for the 2011 brick auction. It is inspired by the Beatles lyrics-”The love you take is equal to the love you make.” You can purchase this brick and have a great afternoon at the Cintas Center on October 30 from 2-5. I have often been asked- “Why bricks?” Here is the motivation for this unique fundraiser.
The “Bricks Along the Journey” Project was established as a symbol of life, rejuvenation, and hope. Bricks salvaged from the rubble of old buildings have been transformed into stunning works of art. This transformation is the perfect metaphor for the experience shared by all Breast Cancer survivors. We take these bricks that have been knocked down and bring them to life again. The brick auctions have been instrumental in raising money for various, local Breast Cancer agencies. In part from this effort, Cincinnati was able to place a delegate on the National Board of the Breast Cancer Alliance. The University of Cincinnati and Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati secured a $9.6 million dollar grant for Growing Up Female. The National Institute of Health granted this money to study the impact of the environment on Breast Cancer.
Ellen Ganson was a co-founder of “Bricks Along the Journey”. She lost her battle with Breast Cancer on September 26, 2006. Her love for life and her passion to ardently work for the eradication of Breast Cancer will continue to inspire her three beautiful children, husband, as well as countless friends, family, and artists.
September 2nd, 2011
Tonight is the Artist Reception at the Administrative Headquarters in Springfield Township. We will celebrate the completion and installation of my banners! The people at Springfield Township, especially Kim Flamm-marketing guru-have treated me so well. I feel like a rock star! Please feel free to stop by between 7-9! I will post photos tomorrow!
July 19th, 2011
Four and a half years ago I was beginning to develop my collage painting process. Newly retired, I was eager to proceed but not too sure which direction to go. Being an educator, I thought a class might be the right place to start. I signed up to take a class with Greg Storer, an artist I have admired for many years and a colleague of my husband, Mark. (not to mention a former Buckeye who played for non other than Woody Hayes) After working for a few months with Greg he decided to open a studio in Northside and sponsored an exhibit of student work. I elected to show a piece that I had just completed- not something from class. Little did I know at the time, it was a decision that would change everything. On the way to the show I told Mark that I was tired of beating my head into the wall and maybe I should just “get a job in a bank”, and give up this crazy and difficult process. During the show Greg came over and told me someone wanted to meet me. He said she was an important person in the art world of Cincinnati and I should feel honored that she wanted to meet me. The lady was Pam Kirchner. She was the painting curator at the Cincinnati Art Galleries. She told me that night that she really liked my new process and that “I was on to something”. She offered to mentor me and invited me to visit the gallery as soon as I could. I took her up on her most generous offer and visited her many times for critiques. Panera salads and Diet Sprites were my only repayment of this precious time. One day I asked Pam if she thought I would ever show at the Cincinnati Art Galleries. She thoughtfully replied, “You aren’t ready… give it about 5 years.”
Little did I know at the time, our visits would soon end. Sadly, Pam died. I was not family, or one of her closest friends-I was just a blip on her radar. She did make me feel important and special when we talked. Her death was a huge loss to me as well as the art world of Cincinnati. I still wonder if I adequately expressed my gratitude to her for saving me from a retirement of cashing people’s checks and boredom. Her words are in my sketchbooks as well as in my heart.
Yesterday I received a phone call from PJ Grimm, assistant to my friend and mentor Daniel Brown. (I would not have met Daniel if not for Pam inspiring me to enter that first piece in a juried exhibit that was judged by Daniel) PJ called at Daniel’s request to invite me to participate in a show at the Cincinnati Art Galleries in March. It is a group show of contemporary still life paintings. Imagine my reaction- grateful to Daniel for including me, and also emotional because by the time of the show- Pam’s prediction would come true. FIVE YEARS. Five years of hard work, ups and downs, growth and confidence building. Pam’s words echo in my head. When I am really stuck- What would Pam say? Wow. I am humbled by the thought that perhaps she knows and is proud too.
This is the piece that started it all. “Hydrangeas”, which is always included on my website as a tribute to Pam. Maybe its owner will let us borrow it for the exhibit.
July 16th, 2011
The committee from Springfield Township has spoken! The two pieces chosen from my previous work are: drum roll please, “My Life is a Tapestry” and “It’s a Small World”. They are pictured in a thumbnail above along with a crop of the commission piece that I completed for them. The banners will be showcased, along with several pieces of my original work on September 2nd. A reception will be held from 7-9 PM at the Township headquarters on Winton Rd. Please come and join the fun!!! There will be live music and food and a cash bar. Greeting cards, minis, and larger works that focus on the theme of “community” will be available for sale. Here is an article about the event! http://www.springfieldtwp.org/artistreception.cfm
I am looking forward to ZOOFARI coming up in September. The event will raise funds for the Zoo and will be a magnificent bash! Among many other things in the silent auction, I will display 2 new pieces made specifically for the Zoo. Here is a sneak peek of a crop of “2 By 2″. Tickets are available at the Cincinnati Zoo website. Mark your calendar now and don’t forget to buy some Zebra Stripes UDF ice cream. A portion of the benefits will be donated to the zoo and I hear it is yummy!!! You scream… I scream…
June 10th, 2011
I am pleased to report that 3 of my paintings will be used for banners to be used in Springfield Township, OH. This area, on Cincinnati’s west side, includes the communities of: Finneytown, Winton Woods, Greenhills, and many more. The incredibly beautiful Winton Woods is right in the middle of Springfield Township. Did you know that’s where Charley Harper went for inspiration? He lived in Springfield Township and was often seen drawing the wildlife of Winton Woods.I will be creating a commission piece incorporating the architecture of the area. Two existing paintings will also be used for banner designs. They have selected three and will use two. The two selected will be chosen based on how they look when cropped to the banner format. Artworks of Cincinnati is co-ordinating this portion of the project. A show will be held on September 2 to commemorate the unveiling of the banners and showcase the originals. Pictured below are the three designs under consideration. Feel free to contact me with your “vote”. I will be happy to pass it along to the trustees. Details of the opening/party will follow once a location is chosen.
My Life is a Tapestry
Field of Dreams
It's A Small World
May 3rd, 2011
Redtree Gallery in Oakley is hosting a special art exhibit to celebrate “National Bike Month”. The show opens next Friday in conjunction with Oakley After Hours. The opening is from 6-9PMon May 13. The show will remain up until June 3,2011. Isn’t that a fun theme for an exhibit? Can’t wait to see what pieces were chosen for this juried exhibit along with mine, pictured above.
“Seize the Day”, 24″ x 36″, is my newest piece. I have to admit, I really love the little cyclist with her floppy hat and flower pots on her Schwinn. She, to me, embodies a lady “of a certain age” who is doing her thing without a care in the world… maybe it’s my interpretation of the saying “When I am old, I shall wear purple…” (I need to look that up-not sure exactly how it goes…) Anyway, come see the exhibit and seize the day!!!
April 28th, 2011
Here are some photos of the shows I was lucky enough to participate in this month. The Middletown Art Center (MAC) show is now history, as is the one day “Tiptoe” event at the Cincinnati Zoo. The Fitton Juried show is up until June 2. The Cincinnati Nature Center event is this Saturday. Also, this weekend is Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center. We have been busy but happily enjoying all these wonderful opportunities. The studio looks refreshed and renewed with all the new work. There is even a “sale wall” of recently marked down paintings that have been looking for a new home for too long. Most are small, 12″ x 12″ or smaller. Enjoy the photos and come down to see us at PAC this weekend!!!
March 30th, 2011
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is a wonderful place. If you haven’t been there, I suggest you make the trip. It sits on the Great Miami River in the downtown Hamilton area. April the 10th at 2PM marks the opening for the Greater Hamilton Juried Art Exhibition. “Teatime with Nana”, pictured above, has been accepted for this prestigious show. I am told the competition was fierce with over 200 entries. I am pleased and honored to be included in this bi-annual event. Join me at the opening. If you can’t make the opening, the show will last until June 2nd.
March 22nd, 2011
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb? Our upcoming weekend is so packed that I think we are going out of March more like a lion. Friday night is FINAL FRIDAY at the Pendleton Art Center. We will be there from 6-10 with an assortment of sweet treats and wine. Drop in to #315 to visit but don’t give us any “spoilers” on the OSU/KY basketball game, please. We will be racing out at 10 to go home and join the action. It is a big conflict of interest in our house- art/sports…. always a balancing act.
Saturday night, March 26th, is the opening of the Middletown Art Center show “Perspectives”. My work is being shown with the work of: Barbara Chenault, Nelle Ferrara, Shannon Godby and Stacie Seuberling. All 5 artists maintain studios at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati and were selected for this exhibit to showcase varying points of view. My 14 paintings focus on nature and my perception of the beauty of nature. The piece pictured above is called “It’s a Small World”. (when you hear that title don’t you hear the Disney song???) This piece has a lot of detail and should give visitors to the show a lot to look at.
If you can make it to either Pendleton or the MAC, please say hi. I would love to see you!