Monday, March 30, 2009

bar stool racing...right down the street

Only in Newark, Ohio can a man buy or design his very own bar stool racer. I personally do not know this man but I do admit to seeing him "driving" down Kelley Lane on his bar stool. Today all three major news channels covered his arrest for OVI...operating a vehicle while intoxicated! He some how wrecked his bar stool going 35 mph on Kelley after drinkng ...just 15 beers. He swears that alcohol had nothing to do with the actual road accident. I don't know about you but I first thought it was just one person's dream to drive his very own bar stool but tonight I have discovered this is a hidden racing event in Licking county. Do you think I need to notify Susan Fryer at the LCCVB of the new and upcoming hobby right in my very own neighborhood? Life never fails to amaze me... are there guardian angels of patron saints for bar stool racers? Smile and Good Night! Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

the first day of Spring break...Yahoo!

Dentist appointment ...yuck but necessary. Then the girls and Tina and I went to Red Lobster for lunch to build up our fortitude. Tina rushed off to work and the girls and I ran a few Maya Rose's ears re-pierced with lovely pink flowers...went to Mr. Don's to pick up a few more things and Maya and Sabrina each got an old briefcase to be personalized into their own "Art briefcase" that makes everything portable and ready at a moments notice. We then made our way to the cabin and were met by three young deer waking from their afternoon nap. The three of us made a chicken recipe with fresh bright red peppers, onions and mushrooms, rosemary and I had the girls each peel the carrots for the last of ingredients. It was a simple meal with long grain wild rice and mushrooms but I enjoyed working with them to prepare a homemade dinner. They worked on their watercolors and brush strokes at the dining room table and both were enchanted by adding a sparkle finish to the layers of colors... Maya worked on a portrait image and Sabrina painted the church steeple from Oberlin College ...Marilyn Stocker had given me two back issues of the OWS exhibits and I shared them for inspiration. Tomorrow we have some printmaking on bright yellow tee shirts for the Spring break and then we will sew tropical buttons on the neckline for pizazz. We may try to do some Nature sketching from the front porch if I can keep Miss Sabrina quiet enough not to scare away the wildlife. Finally I want to share my King Tut coffee table book to see if they would be interested in going to the Columbus Museum of Art...we will see about visiting on Wednesday in case of predicted rain. Tonight I have been putting our supplies together and getting my quilting ready to be close enough for advice but not in their way. They are becoming more and more independent and ever so helpful in helping me collect "metal elements" for my sculpture I am trying to pull together. They have quite an imagination and they seem to understand what I want to happen. Children can empower the fear right out of the "what if" I fail thoughts that can creep into my mind when I do something new. Have a great night. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, March 29, 2009

a chill is back in the air...please bless my baby plants...

I spent the whole day in my pajamas working and sorting in my studio. If you remember a few months back I had the opportunity and the audacity of sharing my messy messy studio and with no shame and even a great bit of pride. Vicki Noble and I will be working on a collaborative project as soon as I get a proper walking path worked out. Safety first is my motto and since my balance is still catty whompus ( spelling?)I have to take great care not to trip myself. I was so engrossed in this project...I have also started sorting summer colors and clothes to inspire my need to embrace the warmth of Spring. Tonight I am optimistic that the sun will return and my lilacs will survive these next cool nights. Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment and we had planned on a day of painting at Dawes but I do think we will have to reschedule and move indoors to work on an indoor and warm art project. Maya and Sabrina have been creating stone assemblages on their own with special collected stones from their back yard. I found this refreshing and told them about another artist that worked with found stones and wood...Melissa Panko.
I hope you enjoyed the additional photos and such in yesterday's blog... thank you Mr. Ken for your continued technical support as I attempt to improve my relationship with the computer. I love working once again with Ken and trust me he is very patient as I dig through the art process. Thank God for the Basketball on the educational sports channel and the rest of the family continue to stay in touch by long distance and emails. Sorry to say I am out because the Louisville Cardinals lost but the tournament continues its March madness.
I guess I better close early for tonight and get back to my "nest building" and storage consolidation. I have to admit I have been inspired by Somerset's publications about Women in their studios and where creative women work...the answer is simply splendid. EVERYWHERE! I am pleased to see a little progress with each step and reduction, reuse and recycle take on a total life of their own. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, March 28, 2009

why I blog and why I read them....

I write on my blog to see my words and then dare to share them with others in search of a community where their marks and visions are free to just be. I have been reading Seth's Altered Page blog for almost a year and we "chat" informally about different collaborations like my latest "disintegration" project with about 100 other adventuresome artists. I enjoy creating work and the process with others even though it will never be in an exhibit for the world to see. Words are powerful and can generate a place and time for sharing in a spiritual communion. I guess I do not care if I am read but I feel empowered by putting my own opinions and fears out there in the Universe. I do believe this is a positive avenue for energies to be shared without a judgement call or a grade. It is like a photo... a moment in time.
Thursday at the gallery while I was a docent I realized I was bored. I found myself in admiration of Marilyn's watercolor class and her gosh darn dedication to spreading good news. Her students and Marilyn were engaged in an exciting play exercise of exploration. I know now that I am no longer needed except to do my work and support the LCA family. Working in the background is fine and I salute all those who are dedicated to growing and expanding our vision and mission. My dear Ken was watching both little ones and I would rather be there with them for this moment in time. Marilyn is off for an adventure in Art in California as I speak and I know she will come home even more energized with new ideas and inspirations to share. The work for the Spring exhibit continues to come in but honestly I have seen most of the work but Bravo goes out to Chris Lang's Mother Nature Chair in handfelted wool from her sheep. Kathy Anderson's newest painting vibrates in vitality on the wall and Melissa Panko's works need to be seen to totally appreciate. I need to refuel and refill my vessel and doing my work is my answer for right now. Please forgive me but I need to be needed and valued for more than just a clerk. I enjoy my outreach experiences and projects and possible exhibitions outside my comfort zone... do any of you ever have the courage to go where you might not be accepted but realize the risk taken is a reward in its own.
I am still mending and fighting my post procedure enormous headache...did they miss something? I have to trust that this is what is to be expected after this new method of saving the human brain. My vision still needs to show improvement but at least I can still see...fuzzy sometimes with no pattern or predictability as of 10 days later. Matisse... no I do not have a big head but I do find comfort in knowing he had to adjust...discovered new styles and techniques when he experienced the detoriation in his eyesight. Last night I made a "Danger Men Cooking" Curious George apron for Cole second birthday party today. They have a family night on Fridays where they all help to make a homemade pizza and now he is officially my special chef! Sewing at night is problematic but it was good to just not give in to frustration and a little "lack of proper vision" hold me back. I felt vindicated when I iron Curious George for my embraceable little monkey man!
Today we attended a two year old birthday party with three generations of family and friends uniting to celebrate the optimism a loved child can give the world. Bubbles, play dough, sugar cookies to ice or skip the cookie altogether and just eat the colors of icing right from the plastic knife! The children ranged from 3 months to 9 years old and the big kids... the adults had a good time if they allowed themselves to be free and play as an innocent child. Maya, Sabrina and Hannah went with us since their parents were working and just seeing them all playing and giggling together warms my weary heart by creating another shared memory for all of us. I know others who do not enjoy being with the young ones but once I lay the ground rules...1) no nose picking 2) no bleeding and 3) no vomiting...everyone can have a great time. I am thankful to Erin and Chance for sharing their moments here and now with everyone! Well I have been very verbose tonight but ...well that is just the way it is. I love so many things about my today and I realize our families hold the authentic key to our Happiness threshold. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

project runway in my background and daily OM

I have a hodgepodge of influences in my actual work process. I have been writing in my women's journal (especially the notes I rapidly took at Queen Brooks and her generous artist talk), listening to project runway and their problem solutions and listening to my daily inspirational music on daily OM. Today's music is about the great teacher...water. It shows us how to move with an ease, grace, to move through the world in determination and ease.The flow of energies and breaks and rings remind us of the process in making our own marks in our own valid manner. Today a gentle rain is invigorating my awakening garden and the lilies are bursting forward as well as the clematis. Just by looking at a resting clematis during the frigid winter months you never know if it really will come back and bloom once again. I am fortunate enough to have a deep violet variety outside my door but I have been drawn to Zinnias and their rainbow of colors...Are they hard to grow? Do my dear deer enjoy them on their salad bar? I have already decided to move my vegetables over to Tina's house because I doubt if they get many deer right off Main Street. I just love the anticipation of Spring.
Erin called yesterday and they have found a house in Reynoldsburg right off Broad Street. It seems they really like having grandparents nearby to be with the little ones. Chance has a rough schedule with working nights and we all can appreciate how this can affect the normal bio-ryhthmns in family life. Ken will go through the house inspection tomorrow so let us hope they receive great news. I am so happy to have my girls nearby and raising their beautiful families right in our backyard. It is the ease of just spending time with simple activities like a walk outside exploring through the eyes of a very curious child. My life is made up of small moments in time with those I love. I am so proud of how hard working you, my children have grown to be and what loving parents you are. Thank you for creating spiritual rituals and fun experiences that I look forward to sharing with my grandchildren this summer.
I have continued in my sorting exercises for my "Ramona" pieces and I can't explain the feelings I have when I hold their marriage certificate and family photos in my hands as I decide how to best incorporate whispers from Ramona's life as an artist. I continue to collect the fragile fibers and fabrics with handwork on them so I will run out real soon for my Goodwill run and treasure hunt. Have a peaceful day and take time to see the buds and blooms coming to life in the moist earth. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

better living through chemistry...

I am watching the Oprah show about how they can now regenerate body organs for future transplantation in bodies who need new vital organs to sustain life...a quality life. Calorie restriction diets that could allow us to live younger in the later decades of our life... all of these studies and research experiments allow us to rebuild our own bodies in an incubation laboratory environment. Stem cells are the key to making science fiction before now an authentic reality. The art of science may allow us to regain strength and vitality to regrow an organ, our own organ with stem cells from our own bodies, to fill the transplant shortage. This is an incredible transformation in how we can fight disease and replace our own regenerated organs instead of tired,worn out and diseased organs. I am hopeful and positive that immune systems will offer hope for those surviving with a system that attacks its host body. I truly believe that God is guiding the minds and hands of these brave doctors making drastic changes in how we will heal in the very near future. The University of Pittsburgh grew a new finger tip for a man in his 70's by growth stimulation hormones and within 4 weeks the gentleman had a new complete finger.
For those who look at the time on my blog you will see that I am on Pacific time. I do not know how to change it so hang in there until I figure this out.
Oxygen therapy is another new method of restoring the bodies system for a calmer and more awareness and possible treatment for stroke victims to keep tissue alive after the damage of a TIA or major stroke. I wish I could share the sparks of energetic colors I could see with the eyes were closed last week during the intervention process. The only comparison I can make is the images of fireworks exploding in a dark sky and that is totally inadequate and short charge in the energy I could feel. Blood flow and good circulation is vital maintaining brain alertness and visual acuity into our eighties. I know I am looking for a miracle and read my "Real Age" emails daily and even got caught up in the free acacia berry controversy to improve my immune system. I am such a sucker but I will have to continue to increase my fresh fruits and vegetables daily to build up strength like David Murdock who went from 6 cents to a multi-millionaire. Real estate and Dole pineapple people made his first millions and now a well-being center for all who are struggling with cancer in North Carolina ...research in nutrition and disease research can make for better health. The study of metabolism in one drop on our blood and how our nutrition choices can include the super foods analyze which foods we need to continue to heal and regenerate cells that help to keep us feeling young. The healthier you eat the more you can create your beautiful works of art! If we feel good we can make great art! Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, March 23, 2009

Painting is not a means of communication or even self -expression, but rather a process of discovering or uncovering. Louis de Brocquy

I attended the Licking County Democratic Women in Public Service caucus where Jennifer Brunner, our Secretary of State as the honored guest speaker. This was a new experience for me but I felt informed and reassured by Mrs. Brunner's informative speech how we all can give service. No, I will not run for office but it is good to meet another woman, wife , mother who graduated from Capital Law School and went on to improve the election fiasco left behind by Blackwell. Our very own Julie Barrett was one of the women who received recognition for her service and dedication to lives in Licking county. Bravo Julie! I listened and learned and passed on information about our new location... many were still unaware that we had moved to 38 south Third Street. I received an email about the possibility of hosting one of their events in the gallery and have forwarded this question and possibility for further development and marketing. Each one of us as members can advocate for the LCA and the chance to share the space with others that may not be coming in on their own. It is just a thought....
Saturday Ken and I helped Mr. Don with his cocktail and wine soiree to promote his "tag" sale. Ken opened the bottles and I poured while others served delicious finger foods to potential customers. Even if you did not buy anything there was a good time socializing and seeing persons closed in by the Winter weather. There were some wonderful buys and precious memories to take a little piece of Don home to your individual studio to cherish. At the end of the night I washed the wine glasses and kind of enjoyed the hot sudsy water and the process of putting life back into some kind of order for Don as he downsizes from 2 condos to 1.
Today I needed more rest than usual but the sunshine filled my spirit as I went through collage materials, watercolor papers and just played with "art stuff". Little by little I am organizing clear plastic containers that stack and I can sort by month, season, and processes the stamps and colors I would need to start each month's projects. I found my inspiration for my spring fling piece but with everything going on I probably will not get to finish it on time. That is the problem with my fluctuating energies and it is easier to pick up my quiet needle and threads. Have a great week and I will hopefully see you at the opening. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturdays are for catch-up...

Ken is passing the day away with his beloved NCAA tournament and I am attempting to catch up with my emails...I have not been on the computer very much this week but Thank You Vicki for your kind words. Yesterday I got a new tire and rotated the other three to insure proper road security. I know it is a simple thing that we often forget to be grateful for especially when they work properly! I enjoyed my girls yesterday and we made plans to make some collages for Spring Break! WooHoo! We are helping Mr.Don with his "tag" sale tonight so that should be fun and I hope he gets a great turnout.
I am beginning to add the precious beads that I have been collecting for the Kath Walker piece... This part of the process gives me energy to continue on with a blaze of colors and possible textures. Tonight I will return home to continue my process as the headaches are beginning to let up and keeping me in bed more than I would like. I am getting back to my journal about my daily or almost daily influences as this exhibit slowly comes to life. When the weather is warmer and secure I want to dye some experimental colors on my cloths that I am collecting to incorporate into the assemblages. I work so slowly that sometimes I do get frustrated until I give myself permission to just let go and enjoy the steps I need to take to satisfy myself. I do know some short cuts for smaller projects but if I am going to do something I want it to be my best mark possible. Have a great weekend. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, March 20, 2009

I have had one of those weeks...

Today is Friday and this has not been my week. I did do well at Riverside Hospital with the brain exploration. I was awake for the whole procedure and held in the hands of qualified physicians. I was very exhausted from the whole ordeal but it seems that the blood flow is working well. The headache is how I pay the piper to keep everyone involved and alert to the progression in my brain. I came home and slept for hours but I think that is the way my body copes with the invasive procedure. On Wednesday we went to pick up Penny Boy but my best laid plans went awry to say the least. Penny Boy was a much larger dog who was really 12 years old and had bad cataracts and to top it all he was deaf. The ride home was stressful for the poor creature because everything was foreign to him. We had to lift him into the RV because his hips were unstable. When we got to our home we walked him slowly around the premises but he seemed to be agitated because nothing was familiar to his senses. He walked around the first floor of the cabin and could see shapes and shadows so he did not crash into the furniture. We laid out his bed and bedding with some of Brenda's clothing next to my bed so I could hopefully coaxed him to relax. That was our plan at least in the beginning. Ken was extremely patient with me and the poor dog. Then he got underfoot and tripped me down and proceeded to walk over my body. I was bruised and saddened by the fact that Penny Boy was a much stronger animal and facing panic at every turn. I would be the one to spend most of the time here in the house and I now knew I could not stop him if he going to make an escape. Ken drove him back to Sharon Brooke while I cried and put frozen vegetables on my ever growing bumps and bruises. On Thursday I went in the morning to the funeral for Brenda and Penny Boy came over and put his big brown eyes into my lap as if to ask me what was really happening. The animal was grieving , refusing to eat and totally unable to grasp the situation. I left in tears and felt that I had let Brenda and Penny Boy down. I went to docent at the gallery and kept busy painting with little LuLu Argyle and listened to Marilyn give lessons on color wash and a stenciling technique. Vicki Noble made a contribution to my rusty sculpture adventure and when I went out to leave I had a big old flat tire. The POT hole wins again and the GEO takes a hit. The Tire guys over on second came over to fill the flat enough to get it to the shop. There we discovered the tire was spilt and would have to be replaced. Thank you Vicki for helping me to keep calm and now today it has been replaced. The tire and balancing and rotation was not exactly in what I used to call "my budget" but "que sera sera". I picked up Maya and Sabrina at school and they have spent the last couple of hours here at the Stewart homestead. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers and today is a better day. I learned a lot this week and now I am planning to give back and play it forward to all. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Brenda and hello to Penny Boy

Today we all felt the warmth of the breezes of Spring as we walked outside to greet the morning. I was gathering green and white surprises to decorate Brenda"s wheelchair and a St. Patty's scarf for Penny Boy in order to put together our painting exercise to "play" and Paint the afternoon away. When I arrived, I had a small circle of curious ladies sitting on the couch waiting much nearer to our work table in the large receiving room at Sharon Brooke. The piano was playing Gershwin as I laid out our watercolors, brushes, pencils and a couple of artist magazines on our side of the table by the window so others could participate vicariously. As I keyed in the security number and entered on my way to Brenda's room, two staff members stopped me and asked if I had received a phone call this morning. "No..." I replied. "Why"? My friend Brenda had died this morning in her sleep. I was shaken to my core because I felt she would last until Fall...I am a queen of denial and she was so full of living in the moment. Even when last week when we just shared stories, recipes and brief histories about love and life ...I felt she...I mean I...had more time. Penny Boy paced back and forth between the two of us the whole afternoon and I felt he was trying to tell me something. I even went and talked with Amy the director and the the Hospice nurse to ask if there could be anything else arranged to keep her comfortable and a possible evening out to get coconut shrimp at Red Lobster. Penny Boy did not want me to leave last Monday and today he tried to follow me out as if he was asking me "What happens to me now?" Yes, I fell apart but if Tony asked me again I would sign up for this outreach with this extraordinary woman again...I know I would be there. It is not what we really do with the fragile and elderly but what we bring to them to share in the present moment. If you think about it we should all live as if we were in Hospice care...full of love without any pain. I will miss you Brenda but you are in my heart's memories forever. Did I tell you Penny Boy would be moving into the Stewart home on Wednesday. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, March 15, 2009

a quiet lazy Sunday afternoon in the middle of March madness...

Today is a catch up day with time out to watch rented movies and read the paper in the bed. I just read Tony's (our LCA president) weekly email and the possibilities are bustling and continued expansion of ideas and programs. I am working with my friend Brenda at Sharon Brooke and Ken has helped me put together a program for the Newark Public library for Babette. She contacted me last week and I hope I don't step on toes but she had already asked me. I am peacefully working on my series of collages and my large quilt dedicated to Kath Walker. Ken is watching the differnt NCAA teams duke it out for the final show down. We had long distant phone calls until midnight with my Louisville family and the Louisville/Syracuse final game. My brothers are avid fans and now my sister is in on the craziest of times for basketbal fans. I am hoping I can work late tonight to complete the collages so they will have adequate time to dry before shipping. Tuesday is already booked so my time is of the essence. I am in a quiet mood so little to say so I wish you peace, Mary helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday...time for art and basketball

Last night Ken and I had a ceremonial renewal of kindness and friendship with dear friends at an adult "Big" city restaurant known as Del-Mars in Granville. Do you remember Cheers where everyone knows your name? I felt as soon as we all got seated we were in for a real treat in both the art deco/eclectic atmostsphere and delectable foods to taste. No lemon cellos were on the menu for me; I had learned my lesson the hard way. Laughter filled the rooms with friends in all age groups and the hum of generous conversations. I am a little late on the uptake because I realized these kind folks came together to help me relax and live a little bit more in the present moment. Ken and I are so blessed by the kindness from so many directions and friends from all over. Take time to fill your day with acts of kindness and small celebrations in every day situations. How did you like Cole in last night's video where we all unite to make a home style pizza and a memory for the heart to share. Mangia!
Today Ken and I went to hear a dear artist speak from her heart about her life's journey as an artist. Queen E. Brooks shared her inspirations, troubles and trials and the numerous upcoming exhibitions she was working toward. There were about 24 of us in the studio and the time flew by before we all were encouraged to try our hand at her perfected wood burning techniques and approaches to using the textures of small wooden discs. I was almost beside myself with anticipation as the members of the room created their symbolic metaphors onto their own work to take home. I had selected a card with the symbol for the "right path" and working with Queen's super industrial wood burner tool that heats up immediately! No more waiting for the correct temperature. I want one now but I have no idea what something like this will cost. Ken made his lightning symbol and added color to his piece that he said was a one of a kind. It is wonderful but I am prejudiced I know. I left with my rough-hewn circle and my symbol with the pride a first grader might run home to share with Mom for refrigerator art. I can still smell the fragrance of burning wood and will embellish my small wonder with some gold markings and a protective coating. I told you I was very proud of my little mark making exercise. Thank you Queen and for introducing us to another young artist named Jonathon and your dear friend Janet. I was exhausted when we finished our errands and I went home for a nap. Please check Queen's website to check out the days images at and to check out her wonderful works!
I need to get back to work as Ken watches the big basketball dance with Syracuse vs. Louisville...yikes this could be a very long night. Go Cardinals! Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, March 13, 2009

...the embrace...

Sometimes do you find yourself overly tired and the day appears to be way out of my control? Who do I think I am? Superwoman? No way. I take to heart when others share their pain instead of joy and I think; I appoint myself, to try to find a way to fix it. Listen folks I am barely in control of myself and many times I am just acting OK to get through the normal ups and downs in my Life. I am not asking for the unrealistic because we know we all share moments of sorrow but after ten minutes try to get on with whatever it takes to make it through the day. FEAR is not our friend and inhibits us from discovering what we really want to be and be doing. I sometimes need more rest than I am prepared to set aside the proper time needed to rebuild stamina. Making my marks with a needle and thread are one manner for me to meditate. But I will warn you there will be moments the the b...h can appear and I need to be alone to deal with it. Next Tuesday I will be investing in my 401K...Riverside Hospital with Dr. Budzik to perform another cranial radial intervention to investigate the issues in my Brain. It sounds scary because it is scary. Somehow I know I am on the right path each events forces me to question how to use my time. My happiest moments are when I embrace the present moment completely with thos I love. Ken just played his "Pizza night" video for me and I could feel my heart swelling inside my chest and that with all this worrying I could have been playing with a child who rules my heart. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Am I using my time wisely?

I have been home from my docent duties and for the second week in a row I have come home feeling frustrated and more than a little out of it. I agreed to docent from 11 to 4 to keep my painters able to come down. Something is out of sorts and for whatever reason only one or two bother to show up. Today after two months I had my first sale with a "woof" necklace by our dear Melissa Winters but our customer came in after the computer and the lights were off and I needed to get home for a required appointment on a phone conference. Melissa I did make the sale dear friend for a customer who came in looking just for me. I wrote it down and ran the charge but will let tomorrow's staff enter into the computer. Am I using my time wisely? I don't think so and I don't have the feeling of connection because I am not there daily. I am considering just working in a solitary outreach with selected persons who seem to appreciate what I can give. Believe it or not I am MORE than just a clerk and have work I can do here in my studio without dragging "stuff" weekly to the new location. I am an artist...not a babysitter or clerk or a body for coverage of a new space. I will sleep on it but I think at the end of March I will let others who enjoy this more take over. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the smallest of daffodils teaches us courage...

Today I had an off day where my body could not do what I had planned...could that lemon cello have been strong enough to throw off my inner balance? The answer is Yes and I should know better. I ended up catching up on my housework ...yikes I must be sick. I am quilting now and that is my most effective way to find my equilibrium. A good herbal tea with antioxidants will also be an additional bonus so tomorrow will be a more normal approach. Ken came home with a wonderful batik from South Africa to incorporate into the exhibit about Motherhood around the world. The student, Heather Pritchard spent the last couple of weeks in a small village named Khayelitsha, South Africa. Heather stayed in the shanty towns with her community service work and visited historical landmarks for three weeks. I will work very hard to make Heather proud as I piece my narrative together. The creator of the batik was a woman artist who lives a half hour drive outside of Capetown. I can't wait to get started on this piece!
I am working on my collage exchange with others from around the globe for the collage exhibit in New Zealand. Does this mean I can now back to New Zealand? Maybe!!! I am using a "theme" approach to this process and I want to tell a story about my life here in Newark, Ohio with my family and friends. This means I really will wait and see how this process evolves for me and be surprised along with others when I get to the final stage. I am witnessing Seth's process where he is using "rough in texture...withered in rhyme... a crossing of surface sublime." It is wonderful to experience another's work steps and gradual development of this project. Admiration and enthusiasm is contagious even over the Internet...who knew?
Tomorrow is my docent day in the LCA gallery at 38 South Third Street and I am hoping to bring a new member into the fold. I met her last night, Sharron England is an artist who works with drawing and colored pencils; she is a close friend with Tawna over at the Works. She has invited me to their convention over in Columbus in August with other decorative artists to see how they network to teach around the USA. I was mistaken to believe that decorative arts was tole painting but I discovered that I am misguided. Sharron has her own health issues but continues to carry on and we plan another night of art making in the near future. "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." Thomas Merton
I need to get back to my work but will see some of your tomorrow. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunshine floods my spirit with hope...

I sat outside this afternoon in my robe and listened to the cacophony of bird songs singing the praises of Spring just around the corner. My daffodils are very close to blooming and small green sprouts of lilies are pushing up from the leaves I have yet to clean up...we still may have a late snowstorm. My lilac bush, almost a tree now is budding outside my kitchen window and the forsythia is turning green with each passing day. I understand that tonight under the full moon our temperature will drop drastically and I won't feel the caress of today's warm breeze on my skin. I do love the seasons we experience here in Ohio but some more than others. I find the rebirth of the earth I share with others a continual affirmation that Life will continue to flourish.
Yesterday I went to see my new friend Brenda at Sharon Brooke but she was having a very difficult day and was terribly exhausted so we spent two hours just visiting with one another. I met her guardian Mary who had purchased a new flat screen TV for Brenda to enjoy on days such as these. I think I am going back tomorrow to check if she is improving because she did want so badly to make her paintings but the body was in dire need of extra rest. I totally understand this when a person sometimes has to delay what they really want to be doing and take a moment to stand still. I think she was reteaching me a lesson. Her constant companion Penny Boy rested his regal head on my lap as if he was thanking me for staying. Witnessing this sacred friendship...woman and her dog is an art of making a beautiful life. We have so much to share and I am sharing my grand children with her and she tells me of her life in Cleveland with her beloved husband. Time is the truly greatest of all gifts.
Tonight I attended a Ladies Night out making fused glass jewelery with about two dozen new friends. Laughter and giggles filled the studio as we shared tools, techniques and finished products with our schoolmates. Did I tell you there was wine and lemon cello plus luscious humus spreads and delicious salads to aid in our artistic endeavors? Oh what a night to inspire the inner child in all of us! I also attended our CALC meeting to help finalize our Final Friday activities coming up in 2009. I feel a great sense of pride in watching the great happenings that are blooming for downtown Newark. I also saw Tiffany Auman from the Advocate and she will be teaching a freshman writing class at Zane University this Spring! Bravo Tiffany!
Well I need to get some work done here on my "wandjini"...made you look! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart p.s. I really should not drink lemon cello but it did taste so good!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A time to reflect...

It is Sunday already and we were happy to have warm temperatures for the whole weekend when last year at this time we had a blizzard with 21 inches of Snow! Ken and I moved some little things for Mr. Don and will move a bed and box spring mattress over to Tina and Ryan's and move one for Don so they can have a little room to stage the materials that will be packed and moved to Houston at Jon and Irene' home. Yes, everything is in disarray for the moment but stay tuned for his cocktail party/tag sale as Don downsizes his estate and makes this next transition a wee bit easier. I am sorting and attempting to condense my valuable art stuff but I came home with vintage aprons that I plan to incorporate into my tribute to Working Women. Research dear Ken research! I also came home with a much loved and in desperate need of repair at the leather /shoe repairman's shop...but an old worn leather satchel Don carried for years as an architect. I had wanted my own father's briefcase but somehow it disappeared or was donated before I had a chance to speak up. I plan to refurbish, stamp and maybe even brand this artifact to have for my daily commute to here and there??? I found an old art publication and there is a fascinating article about Marcel Duchamp and his unique processes he could visualize and produce with found objects. I am an awesome fan of dumpster diving and tonight on 60 minutes they had a college professor who reclaims other people's throw aways and uses them himself or finds homes in the church free giveaway project. His house is art deco with original lamps and furniture from the 1950's... real collector items that others would peruse ebay to locate just the right item they require for their decorating sense. In this economy maybe we will see more generations recycling, reusing and reducing the trash in out landfills. I am still collecting my "rusty items" to make my sculpture that will disintegrate in my backyard garden throughout the coming seasons. You may be surprised because this eclectic work is evolving a little more with each day and I am not quite sure where it will end up. I told Ken I am visiting the pony-tailed welders as soon as the weather warms up to begin the transformation stages. Enough day dreaming for now since I need to get some more work completed tonight. You are in my prayers Nobles and Wagners as you encounter the ordeals in tomorrow's passage. Walk in the white healing light and go in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, March 7, 2009

a shimmering glimmer of Hope...

My last 48 hours have been filled with energetic young grand children. Cole is almost just a couple weeks. Morgan is now six weeks old and discovering the world around her and content to just be in on the "in" crowd activities. Mom Erin had her check up with her doctor and received a good report even though I am sure a little more sleep would come in handy. Dad Chance delivered an eight pound little baby boy at his day at work. We all came together to celebrate a simple ritual of making homemade pizza on "Spalding Friday Night Pizza Party". Everyone can make their own toppings and tasting was just part of Mr. Cole's assigned job. We all laughed as he prepared a fabulous pizza for every one's gourmet delight. I taught him to say "Manga!" with great gusto and Ken even caught it all on tape. I do see another travel to Italy for this young chef and his gusto for preparing a wonderful meal. We sat at the dining room table and shared our day's activities with each other but I know in my heart Ken and I had the most wonderful afternoon two grandparents could even experience. The weather was warm enough to walk three times...once is never enough when you are almost two years old. We saw a gray elephant wearing a pink joking we really did and Cole had a running commentary of his new friend. We watched the school bus drop off the Friday home deliveries and we counted each and every one of them. We walked down to watch the workmen building the new porches on the newest townhouses down from their home. We watched a huge long hair gray cat playing in his cat house in the front window and it took some persuasion to explain to Cole that we could not go into that townhouse because they were at work. I honestly do not know what Cole is telling me all the time but I will treasure these brief moments in time with my awesome grandson. Erin and Chance have a dear friend studying here in the USA who is originally from New Zealand. Angus came to Columbus to participate in the Arnold Expo for physical fitness and be in the fencing competition. We still have not heard how everything went for Angus but there is never a dull moment in the Spalding home. I feel so proud of this young and loving family and could bore those of you who do not have children, but seeing the radiance of kindness and gentle loving touches for each other fills my heart with the power of Love. At one moment for no reason at all Cole ran over to me and gave me a full body hug and sweet kiss. I pray I will forever hold this memory in my heart. I relive these moments as I quilt my woman's work piece and with every single stitch I am grateful for those I love and love me. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good day Sunshine....

Today we were hopping at the gallery with over 30 visitors dropping by to check out the latest works. Chad Sines has been admitted to Parsons School of Design and will be making his way to live in New York in September. For those of you who do not know he has been very busy with his dynamic sculptor over at OSU and will published in the Spring in American Geniuses with a two page spread soooooo BRAVO young man. I am already planning my adventure back to New York to see and visit your studio. You have demonstrated the importance of believing in yourself and pure determination. Marilyn Stocker had a wonderful color class in the watercolor section where each student created their own color wheel. Michelle Channel carved a small colt with intricate carvings from air dry clay. Wow what if she decides to make them as small charms to wear. She has a Horse affair in the Arts this Saturday in Zanesville so she will be sure to knock their socks off. The publishers from Groveport came over and made a sweet deal for the LCA but I will let her release this positive information in the next Artprint. Don Gunnerson joined us and we tried to assure him that all was going to work out with this new move in his life...I don't think I have ever seen him laugh so much in a very long time. I made intricate marks with a fine watercolor brush on the first two watercolor pages for my New Zealand collage exchange...who knows where this exercise process will take me??? Maybe back to New Zealand??? I am planning a five to six layer project to share but we will see what develops. Vicki Noble came in for a special visit and say a special prayer for her mother and her surgery next Monday! She looks great but has been iced in during our frigid Northern Blast. We all agree to send out energy for an early Spring. Good news from Ohio Designer Craftsman!!! I have been notified that I am in the Best of OHIO 2009 for ODC. WoooHooo! Has anyone else heard some good news? My "Kookaburra" art quilt will travel now until the end of the year with 79 other artists. I have failed to enter this exhibit over the last five years for some or no reason at all. Now I am thrilled beyond belief to be part of this exciting event. Getting in a juried exhibit is great when it happens... but most of us know sometimes the juror has a different idea of what he or she is looking for to create a cohesive and interesting show. Eva and Allen Montgomery came in for a spin around our new space...I have missed this wonderful supporter of the Arts here in Licking county. Richard and Jessica Beckholt came in to share here portfolio and her wonderful "stuffed" creatures that delight the child in all of us! Liz Argyle came in to set up info about a special photo shoot of our personal works so be sure to read your newsletter for details. I am working on the article for Michelle about the value of making sacred marks and developing personal art as we evolve and grow. Walking out of the gallery into warm sunshine that fuels my spirit to carry on. Have a great evening and get out to take a walk in Nature. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a wolf pup...

Some have wondered about my love of the wolves...I am the wolf pup living with Lupus. Lupus is a mysterious companion who travels my journey with me daily. The wolf is often maligned in the culture that creates scary mythologies that are often not true. My white wolf guides me to accept my present time and use the time I have to the fullest opportunity. Once again I am learning to see with the human heart and listen with the human heart... not always productive to others to see but a human connection is critical to making a Life.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Yesterday I spent the day with my grand daughter Miss Maya Rose at Cherry Valley Elementary school. There were four third grade classes selling their wares to raise funds for a yet to be selected fund to help the schools. I helped with our product by making bookmarks and Maya packed great FUN pencils with a monkey eraser, a spider ring and two Rolos to sweeten the deal! Twenty desirable and enticing packages to sell for $1.00. There were also chocolate chip cookies and homemade brownies. We sold OUT! The gals next to our station make bird feeders from pine cones rolled in peanut butter and then rolled in birdseed. They sold out too! The rest of the cafeteria was filled with sweet gooey treats , root beer floats, hash browns?, fruit salads, Popsicles and candy candy candy! I am sure the classrooms were hopping with sugar energy during the afternoon. In the evening we attended a four course musical program called "Go Fish!" where our Miss Maya starred as a cowgirl seahorse! Ken made a video and I am trying to talk him into putting it on the blogspot...I just loved it but I am the grandmother! Art truly saves lives even in the third grade when subjects get tough and distractions are many...Hang in there Miss Maya! You are doing your very best!
Today I have been trying to stay on top of my "stuff" and get ready for tomorrow's docent day in the gallery. I want a do the dishes, the laundry, ...just to stay on top of things! Ken helps me so much but still I keep falling behind. Rosie is sleeping on my Artwork and Ken and I are watching a movie "Grace is Gone". Tony called and I was sniffing from my tears. Congratulations on the newest work you have created from the heart in your is absolutely stunning and from my view appears to be a very female form of design element. Bravo!!!! Well I need to wake up Miss Rosie and get to work. Thank you for all your support and remember to see the invisible with your hearts. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, March 2, 2009

Time only seems to matter when it is running out. Peter Strup

Today I met a remarkable woman when I met Brenda through my outreach program at Sharon Brooke. She has exuberance and Joy for her time here in the present even when if anyone has the right to complain about her discomfort it is this dear woman. We sat in the sunshine in the corner of the large activity room and played with watercolors, different brush strokes, and watercolor pencils. We shared cups of coffee and dipped our brushed into the coffee instead of our water dishes and laughed out loud that "this would not kill us". Brenda shared stories from Cleveland and her childhood, how she came to be with her husband of seventeen years and how much she misses him every day. We have laid out our lesson plans and we will never run out of mediums we want to try as we sit in the sunshine. Nurses and staff came over to cheer her on and the other residents were very curious to see what we were doing and maybe giggling about? After about 90 minutes I could see the fatigue in her eyes and promised her I would be back soon as I wheeled her back to her room. There I met her only family member...a yellow lab/greyhound mix named Pennyboy who had to" shake rattle and roll" as he checked me out. After settling Brenda in for a much needed rest Pennyboy walked me out to the exit door as if he was my escort and then trotted off to be with Brenda. I was apprehensive when I first considered this intimate experience but after much thought I said YES to Life. I look forward to our time together and I know she is teaching me much more than I am teaching her. Thank You for your trust and your friendship!
I then gathered poster board to make my collaboration with Miss Maya and her school fund raiser early tomorrow morning at Cherry Valley...another outreach to save the Arts. We should have fun but now I have to find a cowboy hat and bandanna ...who knew? Tomorrow night she has her school program which she has a line in the performance. Weathervane Playhouse look out for Miss Maya! Some of the most influential learning is now written down on paper but in a child's heart's memory.
The stimulus packages is all over the local news and I am so hopeful to have some economic relief come to my beloved Newark; this is a community of wonderful artists who are struggling to stay afloat. Make the most of your time... it is really the only gift we can give one another. I cooked a whole chicken tonight that only costs $3.04 and now I am going to make a deep dish noodle supper for later in the week. Ken ate like a King! Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tomorrow I will share my next global collaboration in collage!!! Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baby it is cold outside! ...March is roaring into Newark

The sun was shining and the sky was crystal blue and oh so inviting...until I walked outside. The winds kicked in the windchill fact and I felt as is I was frozen to my bones. I ran errands, checked in on Don's new studio space; he is making great progress in downsizing and making some pretty major changes as an 83 year old artist. I felt as if there was a message hidden in plain sight for me...if you don't use it you must lose it. In other words one needs to share the resources and continue the process with other artists so later on you do not have to seek and find a perfect place for our precious "art stuff". I came home with some great papers to incorporate into my next art exchange with artists in New Zealand...yes I said New wonderful kiwis! I am still playing with ideas that would cross cultural lines for easy communication ...or not.
I am working a little each day on my second Australian quilt and have made it to my mischievous wandjini. A wandjini is a childlike spirit that can produce a multitude of playful opportunities and mishaps in an ordinary day for those who travel by "dreaming". I have found some beautiful mother of pearl embellishments that hopefully will invite my viewer to come closer and study the mixed media layers in this process. I am sketching into my hand dyed fabric with various colors of thread before I add the colors I loved in heart's memory still holds the radiance in my dreams.
I am getting tired and need to finish my notebook entries and sort through the collected papers I now cherish. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart