Tomorrow night is a big night! It is our 27th wedding anniversary and also- the first time I will show my work at the Cincinnati Art Galleries. I am honored and excited to be in such impressive company. It is my pleasure to show my work in such a beautiful space. Eight of my paintings are included. They are very different from the other works. Daniel Brown, the curator for the show and my mentor, selected a wide range of work. You will see Cole Carruthers’ still life oils of urban interiors, Pat Olding’s large scale paintings of fruit, and Sheldon Tapley’s meticulous paintings of intimate scenes,to name a few. I hope you will see the show. The opening is from 5-8PM at Cincinnati Art Galleries on 6th Street. If you can’t make the opening- the show is up until June 29th. You can also browse the show on their website:
It is always fun to exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. The tulips were finished blooming by the time of the “Tiptoe” event, but there were so many other beautiful plants to see in full color. The ladies who attended the event came decked out in beautiful attire and the speakers were very informative. All in all, it was a very good day. The minis and bags with animal themed artwork flew out the door!Thank you to the zoo PR and event committees for hosting me again this year
“Inspired” opened at Gallery 42 on April 21st. It was my pleasure to be included in this show. Shannon Godby chose work from several artists who inspire him. It is the last show for Gallery 42 before they change the venue to an educational space. The evening opening was well attended they change the venue to an educational space. The evening opening was well attended and truly inspiring!
The tulips are spent but the animals and other blooming foliage will be ready April 18th for the annual “Tiptoe” event. If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets, you may find some still available at the Cincinnati Zoo website- www.cincinnatizoo.org
I will be there for the luncheon and some early bird shopping at 10 AM. You may purchase the original painting designed for the invitation as well as some bags, cards and minis made especially for this event. I hope to see you there! Here is a preview:
OK, I admit it… I have not been in the Christmas spirit at all. It seems that ”pressures” have gotten to me lately. The pressure to keep my business afloat, the pressure of deadlines, the pressure of too many hours “performing” at shows, a perceived lack of appreciation; it’s all had me feeling burnt out. My latest favorite song is Heywood Banks “Toast”! Anyway, you get the idea.
Yesterday I decided to do some shopping at WalMart to get things rolling. Baking accessories and new tree lights were at the top of my list. I could make time to shop between art deliveries in an upscale part of town that is at least a half an hour away from home. The deliveries were at noon and 5PM, so, plenty of time to get some things done in between. I didn’t want to drive to the store all the way near my home, so, I decided to use the new APP on my phone AroundMe. It is a great new app that my niece Melissa told me about. Hit it and it will tell you what is near you in every category you could hope for. Ok, there is a WalMart within 3 miles… perfect.
I found the store with no problem, iPhones really are the best invention ever, right? I walked in and was immediately hit with the sensation that this is not like the store in my neighborhood. People of all ethnicities were shopping and working. I had the sensation that these people were very sad and suffering the harsh realities of a bad financial situation. Ok, they were poor. I felt out of place immediately. Not uncomfortable, just out of place. I did what I always do when I feel overwhelmed, I called Mark. We discussed the lighting situation for the tree and I confided in him that I was feeling overcome with the pressure of the holiday season and also that this shopping situation was not going so well. He made me feel better so on I went to conquer my list of necessities.
Cart brimming over with rolls of wrapping paper, gift bags, baking supplies, lighted garlands, popcorn tins, you name it… I made my way to the check out line. My customer for the 5PM delivery called and asked if I could drop everything and be at her home in 45 minutes instead of in 3 hours. In a hurry to get checked out and unfamiliar with this store, I made my way to the shortest line. There were 4 people ahead of me. I waited patiently, checking my email and Facebook status and probably actually tapping my foot. When I was one person away from the register, I saw the sign that said “20 items of less”. Oh no, I was in the wrong line and I had at least 45 things in my cart. I was horrified. I am a teacher and I follow the rules. There were only 2 other lanes open and they were 10 deep. I looked at the man behind me in line and he only had 2 things in his hands. I asked if he would like to go ahead of me and I expressed my dismay at causing him inconvenience (to say nothing of the 6 people behind him…) He said “Don’t worry, I am not in a hurry.” I told him that I was, and said I was sorry. As I tried to get the cart organized to make the checkout faster the man and I began to chat. We talked about Christmas shopping and how his wife was all finished with theirs. The more we talked the more I relaxed. He was so kind and obviously not bothered by what I perceived to be my rudeness. My sister in law used to tell me that I was too friendly to strangers and one day it would get me into trouble. Well, not on this day. This man, so shabbily dressed and obviously in need, gave me such a gift. He told me -SLOW DOWN and relax. Enjoy the experience. It’s not a race.
The cashier believed that I was not guilty of a horrible crime and was delightful. When the cash register totaled my items some kind of bell went off. She exclaimed, “You have been selected!” I had no idea what that meant. She told me I was getting a $20 gift card right then and there. It was probably because I went over some limit… who knows? Anyway, she excitedly handed me a gift card. Finally, the spirit of the season overtook me- I handed the unexpected gift card to the man who had been so patiently chatting with me. The man lit up brighter than the new lights for my tree. The cashier actually clapped. Oh my God, I created a mini scene… but in the best possible way. The spirit of the season filled me with joy! For that I am truly grateful.
My first year teaching we were asked to decorate our classroom doors with a holiday image that we personally favored. I chose the following words and a great big painting of the Grinch.
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! “It came without packages, boxes or bags!” And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. “Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Here I am, 35 years later, reminded how true these words are! It’s ironic that I was reminded of this lesson IN WALMART!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.