While visiting the old village yesterday we said hello to the son of the original barber; he had two hoop earrings and a large braid down his back. A photographer is taking photos with fish eye lenses of town personages, they'll become postcards. Our lunch at the corner restaurant remains the only constant since my first encounter there in 1973.
We passed by our past homestead...it looked like a Disney crisp...no desires or sadness surfaced.
Worked on a retro piece for another open call at the museum in Islip. Cut photos, mounted the bits on muslin and overlaid all with shoe wax and crayons. Accepted. The opening was traumatic ; I never really want anyone to see me in a chair if they haven't before. People wall to wall are legs and asses to me.
On to the computer. Definitely a seductive medium; almost anything the computer/printer spits out has a finished purpose. After all it makes straight lines, perfect curves, smooth and very intense color! The hard part is knowing whether one has actually made new insights and not a brighter turd.
So...I stopped the first series and experimented with the peripherals as tools pushing beyond their ordinary output descriptions regardless of breakage or mess. I took out long term repair contracts just in case.
A wonderful occasion; my daughter marries a transposed Californian in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Everyone who could traveled to the red mountains in early fall to celebrate: native Americans, ex-hippies, cowboys and girls, east villagers, artists, musicians, Chicanos, corporate and blue collars.
The bride was beautiful and the groom handsome. In my chair my emotions topsy turvy...the mother of the bride is the one to do...I watched and thanked the universe.
Dancing with the groom was not an option; an artist friend said to try anyway. He of the past harmonious convergence now with a walker between us we swayed. Grace is ever present.
The groom's mother owned the very saloon in town that inspired me to daydream of past cowboys and roaming ranges. She took Mom, son and I on a grand tour of one of the largest privately owned ranches remaining in this country. Marlboro used the locale for their ads. Angelica Houston was there for some Western movie. A set ghost town remains.
Lolling ranch hands around the pens, some on horseback. Perfection.
My ex gave me an antelope bone; it has a lustrous quality and the hole down the joint part meant it was used as a tool. A photo by my brother of the pueblo ruins inspires me to do a collage series utilizing photography, watercolors, printing and digital enhancing. Energy again.
We return home for a quiet end to the year.
Come February...enters a new being. A granddaughter to give even more meaning to living.
Baptism here; the three travel to NY via Explorer. Whenever I'm blue the love for family keeps me fighting and clear. Pictures of every get together fill albums and shelves. Send me photos I write; tell me more.
Meanwhile therapy modalities extend to water exercises. Finally find a place with a 90 degree tank. Walk and kick up a storm. Unfortunately the same does not occur outside.
Hope springs eternal.
photo Geri Reichgut
stints as a paste-up artist meant more than a minimum of frustration.
Art directors gave me the teensiest pieces of type to cut in and line
up with tweezers. Now I have always been desirous of perfection but
this was definitely not my forte. Those male directors wanted to keep
the women out of top positions anyway.
Fortunately PSA hired me as their art director. It was a great responsibility affording me regular income and the discipline of 8x7. Out of the house and in the mainstream.
Engrossed at the drawing table, as usual, when I received a call that my house was on fire! It was not a joke. Dylan had a friend staying with us because he couldn't live at home. The two boys had set up a huge Plexiglas fish tank with a large heater. It did a slow burn on one of the lentil posts that held the house up. With the basement gutted and the house smoky and water logged we were literally homeless again.
Fortunately two friends, the Scardinos, offered Dagna and I a place to stay until the house was renovated. Dylan and his one live fish went to stay with a classmate and his family, the O'Pizzis. The ex-roommate of Dylan's had an enormous insurance policy; his family owned an agency for car and home insurance. He made out quite well claiming everything he owned as lost. We had no renters insurance. My parent's had the coverage to redo the entire basement , electric and some painting. The losses and splitting of our family was quite traumatic.
Cannas (1978) was the only oil during this time. I didn't have a studio and was finding it difficult concentrating on graphics and fine art.
The library was known for its monthly art shows. There were a lot of artists living in Sea Cliff and we all were willing to exhibit there. One was assured or local press and a lively attendance at the opening. It had been seven years since I put a body of work together.
A series of fine Rapidograph drawings were the newer pieces. Using stream of conscious writing techniques for drawing garnered some magical results. This rock formation moved from concentric to convex as one stared at it. Totally uncalculated. Joan Marcus and Joe Krupinski organized the show; Joan set prices similar to top Manhattan galleries. She and I were in some other zone! Nothing sold.
By this time an organization of artists' had formed under the inspiration of Newsday art critic Jeanne Paris. About fifty of us met at her home and by the next meeting at the Harrison House our numbers were in the hundreds. It was there that I met Lillian Gates and Otto Erbar.
Otto and I became fast friends; he and I would leave for the Hamptons, dance for hours and return to our respective homes early the next morning. A large article in The Record Pilot chronicled my life in a full page spread.
Geri Alterman-Reichgut had used me as a subject for her photography project. There were photos of me and the house that the paper used readily. We had met at a school for music and art that she and her husband Steve Alterman created in the former Bohack's.
Now as Cafe Harlequin25 the favorite hangout for dancing, jazz, eating and drinking. I started going there for coffee, dessert and dancing. Then I started to enjoy drinking.
In fact I put together an exhibit there of the deceased illustrator Mead Schaeffer. I had met his widow, a resident of Sea Cliff, she was grateful for the exposure.
Lillian started an artists' organization, Hempstead Harbor Artists Association. The first exhibit was in honor of Adelaide Lawson Gaylor, 90 plus years and a colleague of John dos Passos and his literary circle. There was a very small fee to join, if you didn't have it, then none was expected. Our first exhibit was in a large contemporary gallery in Port Washington, the Odin Gallery. A diverse and professional exhibit.
Adelaide lived in Glenwood Landing; a separate building for her studio. She had originally shared it with her husband, Wood until his death left her alone and quite lonely.
I Will Not Be (1979) was painted on a bed sheet that I tacked to the upstairs wall using house paint and
crayons as they were handy. Going stir crazy without art. The message is somewhat obliterated.
I hung it in a group show that I organized at Cafe Harlequin. A sure fire way to meet other artists. Eventually Ray Johnson who now lived in Locust Valley became involved with our group in a peripheral way.
Friends and acquaintances met there included: Wendy and Frank Csoka, Mimi and Stuart Cassell, Susan and Nick Scardino, Harvey Edwards, Steve Romm, Bruce Curtis, Gustav Hauser, Karen and Rich Santoro, Bob Cohen, Jay Jaffee and many others. I spent most nights there for a period of my life, looking for a way to assuage the loneliness.
On another level there were friends that I met at Harlequin's tha I spent time with professionally. Kyle Morris asked me to design a set for the play 'Mendola's Rose.' He was directing. No pay, lots of work, fun...
His neighbor Joan Owen and I hit it off, she a professor at CW Post and a transplanted Manhattanite. Dinners at her place with women friends reminded me of days back when. All bright, sophisticated ladies. A year or so later she married an English collagist and writer, John Digby. Through her friend Lorraine they sold a large quantity of works on paper until the latter left for the South and a career in the dry cleaning business. Stable and financially rewarding.
David Herbert and I became reacquainted; he in turn introduced me to Maurine and Robert Rothschild (his sister the artist Judith). They hung my work in their John Widdicomb showroom and the Studio School in NYC and bought two for their extensive collection...which included CÚzannes. Their duplex was originally under Greta Garbo's, now The Rex Harrison's lived above them. At dinner with Theodore Stamos and David, we discussed his Rothko catastrophe.
My life again ridiculous to the sublime. I really enjoyed Maurine's company so gracious and knowledgeable. The daily struggle to just survive was a constant.
The Doorway At The End Of It All Is Golden (1980) became a mantra of sorts. Metallic paint, watercolors on heavy Arches was shown with the Locust Valley designer Carolyn Guitilla. She favored the work of a past friend, Danny Basen and put our work side by side again.
Wall Street Gallery opened in Huntington and it was an innovative, serious spot to exhibit. To my surprise Ray Johnson and I were hanging, as well as, reviewed together once again. After the opening my car rolled downhill into a ditch. Ray rescued me. He said it was his calling; he seemed to be there for people in distress!
Through Lillian's influence I was given a large space to work in. An enclosed mall was the vision of Nat Zausmer; unfortunately retailers did not find it profitable in downtown Glen Cove. So, after walking up a wide carpeted stairway, under a glass chandelier I found a large storage space with racks, tables, ephemera and no heat; it became the next studio. The back end of this immense space was all
windows overlooking a parking garage. Great light and an expansive vista. Di Chirico came to mind. Started an easel size homage then a very large triptych Life, Truth, Love (1982).
Cold weather chased me out of there. Adelaide Lawson Gaylor allowed me to use her old studio tucked away on the hillside of Glenwood Landing. All those ghosts and energies! I finished the painting. She enjoyed my random company; I did too. Lunches and snacks reminded me of another era, another place, Europe I suppose.