Art show opening this past Saturday

Today I am Dazzle Yellow and I have a lot to say!
“Today I am Dazzle Yellow and I have a lot to say!”

I appear to be in-between crises today so I’ll take a moment to write a little about art!

This past Saturday, October 1, 2022, was the opening reception for the Art Saint Louis show, “Declaration”. Above is my contribution to the show. It’s made of found papers, paint sample cards and image transfers from found papers made with packing tape. My artist statement reads as follows:

“When I started, I was inspired by some found images of rug designs from a catalog combined with some of my own mini postage stamp inspired collages juxtaposed with paint sample cards in tints of yellow. I work part time in a hardware store where exciting possibilities are everywhere. Bright paint sample cards, caution signs and caution tape and anything in the store that is colorful are parts of life I greatly enjoy. One of the colors on the sample cards was named Dazzle Yellow. I made some image transfers on packing tape out of sign images from a catalog and pieces of found papers that incorporate yellow, basically making my own version of caution tape. The purpose of such a bright yellow is to get attention. Once you have it, how do you use it? Yellow could mean stop and be careful, stop and enjoy, or “Look at me, I’m full of possibilities today!”

This was not an easy art show to look at, because as you might expect, a show with the theme “Declaration” is heavy on political themes. I had my share of political ideas for art pieces I considered making for this show but I decided to go in a different direction – I desperately need a break from politics and I figured art show patrons might like a little break as well! Whatever the subject matter, it’s always an honor to exhibit among a group of artists as talented as these.

I’m on the left posing with my collage and Dad is on the right next to a panel outside on the sidewalk that we were all allowed to add to with chalk markers. I’m very grateful to my Dad for coming with me – my husband Tom was busy at a homecoming event at his high school at the time of the opening and I certainly don’t begrudge him that! My Dad has been coming to my art events for decades and I’m eternally grateful for his support!

I custom made the frame for this piece at the last minute – I hadn’t done any woodworking since making a memorial box for the funeral of my uncle last year. Due to tragic events of last year I had been in such a brain fog that I didn’t trust myself with saws, mat knives and things until I was kind of forced into making this frame. That’s part of my motivation for entering these shows – it’s therapy for me both because of the opportunity for expression and because the deadlines force me to get things finished.

I have made so many picture frames in a similar style that even though it had been awhile, I had little trouble and was vastly relieved when it turned out ok! I had been intending to buy a frame because I thought I didn’t have enough time to work up to making one, but in the checkout line after looking in three stores for one the right size and shape I discovered that I had forgotten to pay my credit card bill and the charge would not go through. I immediately made a payment over the phone but it took a couple of days to re-activate so I was forced to hurry up and make the frame. I’m now glad that happened because now I have a lot more confidence and the next frame or wood project will be much easier.

Here are some helpful links with more information about the “Declaration” show:

My photos from the reception (plus one of me and my collage that my Dad took – click right arrow to see more)

Image gallery of all the works

Promotional video

A public service announcement for those who own or rent condos at Brentwood Forest

August 29, 2022: Another entry from the #whydidntyouwarnme desk

This summer we had historic levels of rainfall in the St. Louis metro area which have resulted in a lot of heartbreaking damage and costly repairs for many people. My husband owns a house and I own one house and one condo. We were fortunate to escape the ravages of water damage on our three properties until last week – and it wasn’t from any natural disaster.

I own a condo at 1544 High School Drive in Brentwood Forest Condominiums, of Brentwood, Missouri. It’s a long story how I came to own this, which I’ll get into later. I lived there as my full time residence from November of 2004 until August of 2018 when I got married to Tom Winkelmann.

Since our marriage, we have used the condo to store some of our extra stuff while I have used it on occasion as a crash pad and a studio for art and writing when I need some quiet time away to get some creative work done. Until recently Tom had a cat who liked to pee on everything so I avoided moving things over there like my favorite furniture, pillows, and blankets until he was gone. The cat Leo was ancient when we got married and he passed away this summer. Eventually I plan to rehab the condo and get it ready to rent out. Over the last four years I’ve encountered a number of obstacles which have made it hard to get this done (if anyone wants to know more about these obstacles I’ll get into that but it’s not critical to know for this first section). This is going to turn out to be one of those blog posts I’m going to keep adding onto as I go through an unexpected problem caused by a water leak from the condo above mine, 1542 High School Drive owned by William and Laurel Mahon of St. Charles, Missouri. My unit is on the first floor of a two-story building.

Last Monday (August 22, 2022) I entered the condo to do some cleaning and moving to get ready for rehabbing. I broke my foot last year and was grieving over the loss of my uncle and the suicide death of my brother which happened at this time last year. I haven’t really been able to function close to normally until a couple of weeks ago. When I walked by the closet where the water heater is, I stepped in water. I opened the closet door to see if it was leaking, and saw that that the inside of the closet was full of mold and when I looked up I saw the ceiling of the closet was moldy, and the ceiling near the closet spreading into the living room and the room I use as an office was also moldy. Part of the wall on the outside of the closet had mold. So did part of the kitchen ceiling and the pantry. The last time I’d been at the condo was about two weeks before that and none of that mold was there then.

My water heater was brand new as of 2017, and it seemed unlikely to me that it would have leaked and leaked into the ceiling above it even if it did. I asked my Dad to come over and diagnose the problem. Was the leak from my level or upstairs? He diagnosed the leak as being from upstairs, and later that week he met with the son of the owner of the unit above me to show him the damage and let him know that there was likely going to be a claim made on his insurance for the damage to my unit.

My Dad told me he was under the impression that the son was going to try to deny responsibility, even though he had a plumber to his unit to shut off the leak upstairs, which had apparently originated with the air conditioning unit in 1542. The leak not only caused the mold growth, but ruined my water heater, which will have to be replaced. I’m sure the upstairs owners would rather my insurance pay it than theirs. But since the leak was upstairs, their insurance should pay. I will keep a log here on this blog of what happens because I’m probably going to have to explain this several times, perhaps in court if it comes to that, and it’s easier to just have it written out and documented as it happens. I will add photos and updates as I go.

My Dad met with the plumber hired by the owners of 1542 along with the property manager of Brentwood Forest this morning, August 29, 2022. The plumber confirmed that my water heater was ruined because the box with the electronics was completely flooded. The property manager appeared to be there not to help me, the victim, but to blame the presence of mold on two aquariums that I have near the damaged area. Those aquariums have been there since 2005. They don’t leak and until last week I didn’t have mold in any of those spots. I don’t understand why the property manager wants to railroad me. Whatever the reason, I will not let myself be financially abused for damage I didn’t cause.

Instead of helping the wronged party, me, with the giant inconvenience and time suck this is going to be, the property manager was more interested in threatening to have the city condemn my unit for having mold in it. If I ever want to sell my condo, I’m not really doing myself any favors by telling anecdotes about what the condo association here is like. But I care more about warning people, and I’m sure there are other places on the web where you can read similar accounts. If you must live here, rent, don’t own. And don’t make a long commitment.

You can read some of the reviews of the Brentwood Forest Condominium Association on Yelp. I’ll likely be adding mine soon.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/brentwood-forest-condominium-association-saint-louis

So here is my warning to people who own units in Brentwood Forest. If your unit is on a lower floor, before you go out of town, or leave the condo for awhile, such as on vacation or for the winter or whatever, take pictures or video of your ceilings to show they are clear of damage. Then if you get back and find a problem, it will be harder to pin the damage on you. Even though they admit the leak started upstairs, and common sense says water doesn’t flow upwards, it appears I’m going to have to fight for fair treatment. So there is a bit of advice to help you avoid a similar situation.

Stay tuned! I hope this doesn’t get as ugly as it looks like it might. But if it does, you’ll get the news here as it happens.

I usually don’t have back pain, but I have it today just from the emotional stress, so after I shut this laptop down I’m going to go swim in the excellent Brentwood Forest pool – probably the main reason I haven’t sold this place yet.

08/30/22

I’m going to be keeping a time log each day it’s applicable of how much time I’ve spent cleaning this up and managing and mitigating the repairs.

Time spent as of 08/30/22: 33 minutes

I sent the following email to Kent Allen, the BFCA general manager:

“I just want to let you know that as I make repairs on my condo, I’m going to be keeping track off all the expenses and time involved. I’m on the bottom level, and the water originated above me. That makes me the wronged party in this case. Since I’m the one who received the leaking water into my unit, I’m going to have to remove a lot of stuff so the walls can be fixed. This is going to be a lot of time for me, and the people upstairs are going to be charged for it. I’m going to be documenting all my time and expenses.

If you try to make things harder for me by making me spend extra time and extra fees to get this work done, say by trying to get the County to condemn my unit because of damage they caused, the extra time and expenses it’s going to take to reverse that will be charged to the insurance of the people in 1542, not me. So I hope you don’t try to hurt me that way because it will just end up hurting them in the end.

I’m not eager to cost the people upstairs more than is necessary because until now I have had no problems with them. They offered to pay for a leak from the bathroom up above mine before, but since I’ve been planning to rehab that whole bathroom anyway I told them not to worry about it. If they try to say the new damage is actually old, they are going to get a very different response. There is damage in several spots that came from above. I know what came from above and what did not. I have let the minor damage go in the past, because I’ve been planning to rehab and repaint everything, and it wouldn’t matter. But this damage is a lot more serious and it does matter. So please don’t hurt them by trying to hurt me.

Thank you for your time.”

Response from Kent.

“I’m not calling anyone. “

09/04/22

My expense tally so far:

08/24/22 – 64 OZ Air Dehumidifier Q=2 21.69

08/31/22 – 42 OZ Damprid Refill 4.86

1PT Concern Neem Oil 16.31

35 PT Dehumidifier 246.26

Subtotal: 289.12

09/09/22

Time spent as of 09/09/22: 142 minutes

Photos and videos of damage visible in this online album:

Condo Project

Here are is a photo and some videos that help show the mold did not come from my aquariums as your clients claim. I’ve had these aquariums since 2005. I never had mold around them until after 08/08/22.
A photo from 2010:
https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2262798733710&set=a.1176293771765

Some videos from 2012 showing aquariums and rooms where some of the damage is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnqekmYIYI0

Those aquariums had been there for 7 years at that point with no sign of mold. I think if you take all the evidence together you can see that the idea that the mold just happened to come from my aquariums at the time when they admit that water was coming in from upstairs is not credible and is an attempt at fraud.

09/12/22

Time spent as of 09/12/22: 180 minutes

Two upcoming art shows

“Nourish” virtual exhibition by Art Saint Louis

Art Saint Louis is having a virtual exhibition on their web site, from July 1 – September 1, 2022. I have had one piece selected for this show so I’ll be in it along with 25 other artists.

(all the) Feels show at Art Saint Louis

I’m also in an upcoming gallery show at Art St. Louis called “(all the) Feels”. It runs from July 30 – September 8, 2022. The opening reception is August 6 from 5-7 pm. One of my collages was selected for this show.

For several years I had pretty much given up on producing “fine art” pieces, even though I still had lots of ideas. The main reason was that my time seemed better spent making more craft-oriented things that helped promote my Etsy shop, the blog posts I was writing for Schnarr’s Hardware, or the teaching I was doing at the time. By then, life had taught me several times over not to put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to making a living. I was trying lots of things to see what worked and what didn’t.

In the fall of 2019 I started working on a Master’s Degree at Webster University in Advertising and Marketing Communications. My reasoning for studying communications is that art is a form of communication, and in addition picking up more knowledge about communications can make any of my activities more successful.

My communications classes are fascinating, absorbing, and creatively satisfying, but I cannot help but be jealous of the art majors. Many of the topics I study in communications are serious, and although art can also be serious it also can be pure play and I need some of that! My undergraduate degree is in fine art. Shortly after starting my studies at Webster University, every now and then I would walk over to the art building to see what the students were up to and to find out if there were any art shows that were open to all students and not just art majors. I found two in quick succession and to my great joy made new work and was accepted into both shows. One show was meant to be one night only, and the other show, “Back To Our Roots” was intended to be up for some time but was shut down early twice, the second time due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’m about halfway finished with the Master’s degree right now. I’m using the skills as I go, so I’m not putting undue pressure on myself to hurry to finish. Also I have taken a break due to tragedies in my family at the end of last summer that caused severe grief and trauma that are still greatly affecting my productivity. I’m going to resume taking classes again when I’m sure I can handle the course work. I’m getting there, but there are setbacks along the way that cause me a lot of frustration, as well as to other people who want or need something from me. I feel really guilty when I turn down any work that people want, or set any kind of boundaries. This inappropriate guilt causes me a great deal of distress that I’m trying to work through, but boundaries are necessary sometimes so that I can get my trauma symptoms under control. The art piece of mine that the judges selected for the “(all the) Feels” show is about this discomfort and guilt. It contains parts that I began earlier for a different reason, but that is what the final result is about.

One of the best ways I know to process difficult and complex feelings is to make art. So this spring I joined Art Saint Louis and have been making more art to enter into their shows. I’ve been in a few of their shows in the past but was never a member before. A friend asked me a few weeks ago why I was doing this – we were at a party, so I didn’t want to explain at that time and place that I was kind of doing it as therapy. Yes, entering shows is good for promotional purposes for myself and my work, I can practice and improve my communication skills, I might get a sale, I might even win a prize which would be good for my show history. But much more important to me is motivation to finish some pieces so that I process what is going on inside me. I’ve been through some life-changing events and personal turmoil, as many of us have. Yes the resulting feelings and symptoms are unwelcome and difficult, but I can’t just wish them away. I have to process them, and art is one of the great gifts from God that I’ve been blessed with that helps me do that. I am very grateful for the opportunity to express and exhibit.

More information about Art Saint Louis:

Web site: https://www.artstlouis.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtSaintLouis/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArtStLouis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/art_st_louis/ or @art_st_louis

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtStLouis

Art Dialogue Blog: https://artstlouis.blogspot.com/

Links to examples of some past and present fine art and design work of mine:

Graphic design and art portfolio on Facebook

Pinterest – Carolyn’s Art and Design

Pinterest – My Ceramics

Pinterest – My Old Artwork

Etsy – Art and Crafts by Carolyn (yes I’m planning on expanding this section more as I get time to do it!)

“Get the Funk Out” Collage

“Get The Funk Out” collage

One of my favorite ways to relax is to cut up some old magazines and make collages out of them. One reason why collages are so relaxing is that I can start them without a pre-planned project in mind and just let my subconscious and the random materials in front of me suggest the theme. Stress is a common theme, because I tend to start them when I need to work some stress out of me. Another reason is that so much printed media, like all media, is filled with images that scream out desperation.

Most media has been on a trend during our lifetimes to become more and more extreme in intensity in order to feed what some people call the “attention economy” or the “addiction economy”. Many media companies rely on an intangible resource to generate revenue – that resource is our eyes on their content. Whatever distraction can direct our attention to them and away from real life is how many corporations generate revenue now. We are not people to them, but a resource to be exploited to fullest extent possible.

A lot of friends pass old magazines on to me to use in collages, and somehow, I don’t know how or why, I’ve been getting US magazine in the mail. The theme of a lot of my art and writing is media analysis, so I don’t mind getting these magazines to see the bizarro world that some people live in and the desperation on display when celebrities need your eyes on them in order to make money and promote the bizarro world agenda. Excess can be both entertaining and disturbing. I’ve done some study on what kind of toll it takes on the people who view it, and I plan to write more in that vein on an ongoing basis. Paging through the celebrity magazines, I also thought about the mental health of the people who go to extreme measures to remain in the top echelon of attention grabbers. Surgeries, diets, fashions, casting couches, drugs, abuse – what won’t they put themselves through in the quest for status in an insulated and dehumanizing system? When they break down, how do they feel about entertaining the masses with evidence of their pain and destruction? When they look at images of themselves, are they looking for signs that the cracks are showing, knowing that untold other sets of eyes are looking for that too and hoping they find some? When does what is on the inside start to show on the outside?

Getting some collage elements together

To make this collage I used a stencil I have that looks like a film contact sheet to make a grid in pencil on a plain piece of white cardstock. Using a template I made with a window opening the size of the rectangle openings in the stencil, I started building up images on separate pieces of white cardstock. After adding images to each rectangle, I added textures from stencils and an a black outline with markers. I used a gray marker to add some lines to the background, and gray and black markers with the stencils to add some more texture on and around cut out words, rearranged a bit.

I deliberately tried to choose less than flattering celebrity photos on which to glue mismatched facial features to make them look more “crazy” to show how I feel about corporations and government trying to use media and celebrities and communications professionals to try to force me to accept a bizarro world as my world. The Urban Dictionary states that a bizarro world is a place where everything is the opposite of the word used to describe it. For example, “good is bad, wrong is right, white is black, logical is illogical, giving is taking, insanity is sane”, etc. It’s one of my theories, shared by many, that those who start out relatively mentally healthy generally pay a price on the inside for living in a bizarro world and being coerced into propagating its false values. Picking up one of these magazines, no I don’t believe some of the messages it’s trying to send me. Ugliness is not beauty, exploitation is not empowerment, sickness is not health, artificiality is not freshness, materialism is not happiness, and celebrities are not just like us! And no, war is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. And I don’t love Big Brother either. So there!

When I started the collage, I initially intended just to have some silly fun with some silly magazines and not necessarily think about such serious topics. I can’t seem to stop analyzing media when I see it I guess. I hope my next art or craft project will stay more on the lighthearted side!

Here are links to the stencils I used, on sale in my store:

Mini Texturized: https://www.etsy.com/listing/191860371/mini-texturized-6×6-stencil

Mini Tiny Circles: https://www.etsy.com/listing/679546395/mini-tiny-circles-6×6-stencil

Contact Sheet:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/1020629452/12×12-stencils

Mini Halftone Borders:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/1226450019/mini-halftone-borders-6×6-stencil

Are you anxious to get back out in your garden again? I know I am!

It’s been awhile since I updated the Schnarr’s blog calendar with gardening events. For the last couple of years most events have been cancelled or online. But a few in person events are starting to happen again, along with a lot of webinars and online sessions.

I’ve put some St. Louis based events, be they in person or virtual, on the Schnarr’s Blog calendar here:
http://schnarrsblog.com/calendar/

I’ve also added some pins to a couple of sections of the Schnarr’s Pinterest site to help people find gardening related webinars and on-demand content from all over the country.

Gardening Webinars and Online Courses

Garden Educational Videos, eBooks, Slide Shows and Podcasts On Demand

In the St. Louis area where I am, it’s a bit rainy and cold right at the moment and it’s possible that tasks you were looking forward to doing in the garden might be postponed for a few days. If you’re forced to be more indoors than you’d like, maybe some online gardening content will help you maintain a healthy state of mind. Enjoy!

Dad is on the left, Rosie Willis on the right. 03-26-2022

This past Saturday my Dad and I blew some of the winter dust out of our bodies and minds by volunteering at Fresh Starts Community Garden. It was Dad’s first time here while I’ve been to this garden a couple of times before. It was uplifting as always to spend a little time with the inspiring and kind leader Rosie Willis and the other volunteers. I get praised a lot when I volunteer, but it’s likely I get more out of it than I give – gardening makes me happy wherever I do it! And it’s always uplifting to be in the company of people who are working hard to help their neighbors.

This week those of us who are St. Louis Master Gardeners got some nice validation by getting the Master Gardener 2021 Impact Statement PDF document in our email. If you would like to see what we did in 2020 and 2021, check out these links:

2021 St. Louis Master Gardener Impact Statement

2020 St. Louis Master Gardener Impact Statement

I’ve been reading in the last year or two about biophilia – in so many words it is the human tendency to feel a sense of well being while exposed to nature. As I’ve learned from reading horticultural therapy books, in addition to spending time in or around actual nature, pictures, video and sounds from gardens can make people feel better mentally and physically. I hope the resources I’ve linked to can help give you some good feelings immediately whether you have to be inside or outside.

Here is a link to my photo album on Facebook of some of the past master gardener activities I’ve enjoyed since completing my training in 2016.

Master Gardener Activities

Here is a link to Fresh Starts Community Garden on Facebook.

Fresh Starts Community Garden

Happy Spring!

QR Codes are handy for promotions that require a fast turnaround

When I was Creative Director for my former employer Webinar Resources, we built QR codes, that is Quick Response codes, into many of our campaigns. I liked them so much I made a header graphic for our Facebook page meant to celebrate their functionality and their high-tech look. They appealed to me for design reasons as well.

We put QR codes on any surface we could think of – door knockers, cards, posters, electronic slides, buttons, t-shirts, holiday wrapping… I’m probably forgetting some. Eventually I even had a rubber stamp made of a QR code for my online store! I also made some graphics at my boss Mark Rice’s direction along the way to try to show how they work.

A selection of a few past QR code projects I worked on, 2010-2021

I thought for awhile that it was difficult to get people to adopt QR codes and that they might die out. That possibility was disappointing to me because they are useful and a lot of fun. But while working on Marketing and Communications homework for my classes at Webster University recently, I’ve snapped some pictures while doing research that make it look like QR codes are here to stay after all. It’s possible that the COVID-19 pandemic may have helped speed up the adoption of QR codes a bit because they provide a quick way to disseminate information without people having to touch anything. QR codes are also easier to access now because in many cases you don’t need to install a special app – on my newest iPhone the QR code reader is built right into the camera.

QR code sightings within the last two years, from left to right: downtown St. Louis in the City Garden, a mobile police camera in Dutchtown, a store front in Dutchtown, and a WalMart promotional free sample bag with QR code on the bag and on the enclosed advertising piece.

I have a client who is appearing in a live performance in two days in Scottsdale, Arizona. This morning I took some graphics off of some of the existing promotional and ticketing web pages and made a collage of some of them with a QR code on it. My intention was to make something fast and easy for people to share if they are inclined to, with the link built in by way of the QR code so that people who are interested can get to the ticketing page easily no matter how the graphic is shared.

The Unapologetically American Comedy Tour
The Unapologetically American Comedy Tour
I made a graphic of just the ticket for instances when the code is too small on the screen to be read.

There is a lot you can do with QR codes if you build them into campaign planning at an early stage. Even when you are under a time crunch, incorporating a QR code into a shareable graphic for social media is a very convenient way to spread information.

Fit and Healthy on Route 66: Robertsville State Park

On Saturday, March 19, 2022 my Dad and I drove from St. Louis County to Sullivan, Missouri to attend a neon sign re-lighting ceremony at the historic Shamrock Court. The Shamrock Court is being restored and plans are to re-open it as a motel in the not too distant future. Members of the Route 66 of Missouri and many other volunteers are helping to restore the property, with labor, fundraising, and other opportunities.

The Route 66 Assocation of Missouri Neon Heritage Preservation Committee (“NHPC”) has assisted a lot of historic property owners in various ways to get their neon signs restored. Here is a web page with a list of some of their neon sign success stories. It’s customary for Route 66 Association of Missouri members and allies to get together for a celebratory re-lighting ceremony whenever a historic Route 66 property in the region lights up the newly restored signs for the public to enjoy. March 19 was the Shamrock Court’s turn to shine.

Left: Dad (in red hat) and roadie friend Fred Zander. Center: A big, beautiful party! Right: “It’s so comfortable on the ground here!”

Route 66 events often incorporate car shows, and this night was no exception. Cool cars and trucks filled the parking area in front of the Motel and spilled over into the adjacent street, appropriately named Shamrock St. In keeping with the motel’s theme and proximity to St. Patrick’s Day, it was also a St. Patrick’s Day party complete with Leprechaun, Lucky Charms, wearin’ o’ the green, and lots of Irish luck bestowing fine weather upon us.

On a day so beautiful, my Dad and I left early so that we could go for a hike on the way there. There are lots of choices of places to hike between our homes and Sullivan – we are very blessed to live in Missouri which has abundant parks and trails. We considered several locations then decided on Robertsville State Park. It’s one of the closest State Parks to where we live, but since when we drive by it we are usually on our way to somewhere farther away, believe or not neither of us had ever been there! The one previous time in all my years of 66-ing (23!) that I tried to take a short detour off of historic Route 66 to check it out, I had to turn back because of a flood. So we decided now was the time to try something new and go finally go there. We drove around to see what the park contained and chose two short trails to hike on.

Left: beautiful blue sky and trees not yet leafed out. Center: frog or toad eggs in an ephemeral forest pool. Right: ornate cast iron post in the Roberts family cemetery.

The park was perhaps not in it’s full glory two days before the start of spring, when there is almost no green vegetation to see yet and the ground is saturated from late winter and early spring rains. Nevertheless, we found plenty to appreciate. I have not lost my childhood fascination with ephemeral spring pools. I’m intrigued mostly because I like to look for frog eggs and tadpoles, but they also have quiet beauty in their own right. They are usually clear and still and any vegetation or critters in the water look especially beautiful in such water bodies. As a special treat for me, one of the pools we saw did contain many masses of frog or toad eggs, and some free-swimming tadpoles! I looked at one mass up close to see the different stages of development of the tadpoles. They ranged from little dots to almost ready to emerge, with feathery gills developing and eyes looking right at me! I returned the egg mass to the water and prayed that they would all get a chance to hatch while the pool is still wet.

There is something to enjoy in every season in the magical Missouri Ozarks!

For more information about the re-lighting event and the Shamrock Court project:

Saving The Shamrock Court! Facebook group

Shamrock Court web page

Historic Preservation Weekend in Sullivan, MO A previous blog post of mine about volunteering at the Shamrock Court

Updating a 2020 artist statement

In early 2020, I participated in an art show at Webster University called “Back to Our Roots”. I dedicated my entry for the show to my late friend Mark Reed who passed away in 2018. At the time I was in this show, I started an artist statement to go along with my entry and I put it on one of my web sites. Like a lot of my projects, it grew bigger and more elaborate than I planned at first, and is still in progress. I ended up including grief about several other things in the process which is one of the reasons the series got bigger and bigger. It’s expanded almost to the size of a mini book, kind of like a mini memoir using my art journal and artwork as a jumping off point to write about my life so far.

My original intention in starting these pages which I’ll link to below was to help me process my grief over Mark and explain what my art journals were all about. At the “Back To Our Roots” opening I included little pieces of paper with the QR code to my web site so that show visitors could access the artist statement in progress from smartphones. The show was forced to close early, first from vandalism and then from COVID-19, so not very many people were able to see the original show.

Since I began the project, I have experienced more grief of an even more serious magnitude. It was caused by the type of trauma that when I hear about similar things happening to others I ask myself “how do people live through that”? I’m doing a lot better, thanks to therapy and a lot of writing and art making. While I’m getting better, there are people I know getting one piece of bad news after another. I just heard this morning from a friend whose family, like mine, has recently been impacted by suicide. For all those out there who hear bad news and wonder “how do people live through this”, or are wondering how they are going to cope with something in their own life, maybe my artist’s statement ongoing project will help.

If you would like to read what I’ve written so far, here is an index to all the existing “chapters” in progress. Just click the “back” and “next” graphical buttons to navigate forward or backward.

A. Introduction

B. John Ortbals design class and the projects Mark and I both did

C. The hand that wounds

D. Gardening

E. Shape pictures and clay objects with Mark

F. The gratitude and lack of fear of creating shown by a child

G. The courage to do a Mail Art project again after over 20 years

H. Coloring with adults and kids in a house full of art and art books, including prints by possibly my biggest visual art influence

I. Parts from an old project that I have revisited more than once

J. The ‘zines at Webster University in the art building

K. Finally getting on to a design team

L. Gallery in a box and the Book Arts shows

M. Permission from God to make art again and building a new life

N. Collage made with Mark’s artwork that helped give me the idea for this show

O. Mark coming out and changing his art to LGBTQ themes

P. Letting back in playfulness and conceptual art – #12daysoftomsbeard

Q. Mark’s memorial page

An uplifting trip to Bloomington, Indiana and inspiration from sports

The 2022 Winter Olympics are going on right now. When I was younger, I used to really enjoy watching the Olympics. It was inspiring to watch a competition from beginning to end knowing that for some of the athletes, the years of dedication were going to pay off for them in a big way. These days I’m not tuning in because apparently it’s impossible to watch a whole competition without buying a subscription to something I don’t want, or doing something shady with VPNs. It’s not worth the hassle.

Fortunately, I was able to experience the inspirational side of sports by going on a road trip with Tom to Indiana University for a track meet in January. Tom sometimes takes jobs as a track meet official on weekends. I had a great time watching Tom and watching some of the competition. I needed to get some walking in to help recover from my recent broken foot, so I walked from the hotel to the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse where the meet was taking place. Along the way, I noticed a lot of fine limestone sculpture and limestone architecture.

I was reminded of one of my favorite books from when I was a pre-teen – Breaking Away. I bought the Scholastic Book Services version of the novel and later on I saw the movie. Indiana University is the setting for the book and the movie. In the Breaking Away story, the local young people were looked down on by some of the university students. They were nicknamed “cutters” as an unflattering reference to limestone quarrying being a major industry in the area. When I saw all the limestone, it brought back memories of the book and movie. Tom and I are going to be going back to Indiana University again, and when we do I hope to do more exploration of the stone architecture on campus. It’s really impressive! I might even see if I can get Tom to watch the movie before we go because I know he would enjoy seeing where some of the scenes were filmed.

After the track meet, since it was January and not the most comfortable time for leisurely strolls around campus, we went to the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art for some indoor art viewing. There is a lot to see in there. We toured it for three hours and didn’t come close to absorbing everything to my satisfaction, so I’ll be back. There is also a greenhouse on campus you can tour which I didn’t get to on this recent trip. I want to visit more indoor and outdoor sites the next time we go.

Seeing the college athletes competing helped inspire me to work hard to overcome my injury, and the wonderful art fired up the creative part of me. Overall, this trip was a huge boost to wellness. A road trip sure helps uplift my mind, body and soul. I’m looking forward to doing it again soon!

To see the pictures I took along my walk and inside the Field House, go to this photo album and click the right arrows:

Assorted Hikes and “Daily” Walk Photos

To see the pictures I took inside the museum, go to this photo album and click the right arrows:

Museum Visits