Wednesday, June 30, 2010

celebrating the best of friendships after over twenty years....















Yesterday we celebrated with two dear friends who have blessed our lives for over 20 years...Jimmy Acord and Susi Shie's 20th wedding anniversary! Jimmy had just arrived home from Michigan for a fishing expedition with some of his fly fishing clients and a week of camping in the best of Nature. He may have been tired but we tried to ease him into relaxation and pure celebration. Susie had worked all week on her healing quilt for our beloved and besieged Gulf of Mexico for her political call to arms for the next Quilt National in 2011. They arrived around six pm and we headed out for a steak and lobster feast at our Ruby Tuesday restaurant. This is a very rare extravagance for our budget but the night was young and we had not had intimate time to just sit, laugh, chat and share our lives together ...well for a very long time. Why is it that we often put our friendships on the back burner and forget to include them in nourishing our lives with time to just be together? I realize health, careers, families, economies and well Life just gets in the way and we all ended in the promise to make time for each other...because time is all we really have to give. We came home and had a dining room table counsel about our dreams and new journeys...teaching abroad in England...further travel with the incredible fly fishing committee...Ken's return to teaching the gifted program in the fall ... and me moving my studio downtown back in the middle of the art world here in Licking county. We were all safe and surrounded by love in an environment where we could risk sharing our dreams and ask for advice in the next couple of months. A wonderful bottle of delicious Merlot and hours of laughter with Natalie Merchant's melodic voice flowing through the room in the back ground. I hope you can feel the magic I held in my heart with these loving friends...the night was cool magic with magic moments to cherish as we move forward in our lives. Our inspirations, devotions, inspirations and affirmations for our futures...open and oh so fragile exposure in a night of dreams.

I am watching Bravo's "Works of Art" tonight where the individuals are asked to create their own shocking works...Andres Serrano had a gallery exhibit of his most controversial images to provoke the minds of the artists to widen their lenses and stretch their individual comfort zones. Serrano believes his works should evoke a strong reaction... a shock...vs. our society's indifference in their responses to seeing Art. Photo shoots with nudity and exposure and the male gaze following her every move, sexual abuse against children, the Catholic church's shame and perversion with pedophile priests, amputations phobias, perversion in sexual diversions, contour line drawing of Disney's mouse with inappropriate genitalia, twins in a dark herpes and syphilis advertisements and contradictions and a structure created by insects and possible aliens ...we will have to wait to see how the program develops in a very provocative inspirations.
The questions remain to what direction each individual is taking in their lives journey as a contemporary artist in the new century... what will be their personal limits they raise for their mark making and what technologies will be employed as their design elements in these controversial works of Art. Religions and spiritual beliefs are frequent themes and sexual gratifications have risen and a confusing alien performance art in a discovery process...there do not seem to be any evident clues to this artist conclusion of her hypothesis . Now they have been told that two people will be eliminated in this particular competition. Competition is a very tricky experience when an individual is given a time limit to perform an assigned yet difficult task. The time passes quickly and this exhibit is definitely questionable...I am questioning my artistic ethics and prejudices...maybe that was Serrano's whole objective? Black men as sculptural live bombs...who will come out a winner??? Is this the right word? I do not know. Iconography for some of the youngest artists is an eye opener for me and my personal experiences. Inferences, misunderstandings, vandalism, revelations, cosmic explorations and confusing explanations but disturbing uncomfortable recognitions of metaphors for really seeing violence and possible homelessness as aliens. Ritualistic approaches and uncomfortable feelings with social complaints and last supper compositions...the competition is thought provoking and confusing simultaneously for my personal interpretations of this project. I think...no I know I am grateful to not be in this type of Art competition. What does that say about my prejudices and my ideas about making Art? Abdi's blackman bomb sculptures won the competition and two other taboos were just not up to par...Naomi and John were eliminated this week. (John won last week's challenge and Naomi's failure was accepted as part of the artist's life process.)

Tomorrow I need to make a few errands and deliveries early in the day and do a couple of loads of laundry so we will be equipped and ready to share our home with our next guests. In the evening there is opening night for Weathervane's Theater production of "The Producers" and the opening evening get together with the audience and cast after the show. I have begun to write my thank yous for the people who came to my opening and luncheon gallery talk. I feel I have been generously supported in my vision and have so much work to do...well to say this is an exciting time in my heart's work...living openly my life as an artist. This community is embracing my vision and I feel hopeful in taking this step into the unknown.

I am hoping you will enjoy my photographs...my days are busy selecting supplies, furnishings, and work on a small work for an exhibit Kindred Spirits. My mind is processing but my body is just tired and needs to make up for a too busy couple of days. Have a great week. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday all day and I am finally recovered from my week with the CSI....


















On the last day of the workshop I came home and fell asleep..the children were absolutely great but I was extremely exhausted from the hot, humid and hazy weather. It was 94 degrees and with the heat index it felt just like 104 degrees. Ken had driven to Marion, IN to visit Mom Stewart and to play golf with Bubby and Kaz :O)! Whenever I over do my body responds to deep dark bruising in the most unusual places...places I may have bumped ever so gently but now I look as if I have been in a car wreck. I am including the last of the photos to document the closing of an energetic week of chasing 16 investigators on their individual quest to discover the hit and run driver who abandoned the victim on the side of the road. I immediately began revamping my outline for the next session in July...this group will be a little older and on the ball with the science and manipulative materials.

I must have had six or seven phone calls on Saturday morning so sleeping in was out of the question. I got up , showered and headed to a friend's garage sale to purchase an oak bar with a black slate top and storage underneath to employ in my new studio space ...wooohooo! I need to stop but this came with a family history and will look great after I sand the top a wee bit and apply minwax to the finish. I bought some glass mugs for nearly nothing for my Tina...the family goes through glasses like crazy and these will be great for both hot or cold foods. I had lunch with the girls...my favorite peanut butter and jelly and cold iced tea. Then I headed to the grocery for a quick pick up of milk and bread and fresh fruit. I came home and collapsed into a deep sleep. We had thunderstorms and lightning most of the night so the pup and the cat stayed close to me in the bed as we watched the natural light show outside my bedroom window.

Ken came home and I cooked some beautiful thick pork chops with fresh garlic and carrots and we had a baked potato for a round "square meal". It was good to have him home and I knew I would not have the energy to make the five hour journey to and from Marion. I enjoyed my quiet freedom to nap nap nap ...whenever I needed to escape from my fatigue. I spent time watching old movies and National Geographic specials while I reorganized my art supplies for the next workshop and made mental notes to include several books that share personal artist journals so we can see more than one style and perspectives. I will need to get a few more Tumble Dyes for the students to experiment with stencils and alphabets and profiles...this proved to be a popular exercise for all.

We are celebrating our friends Susie Shie and Jimmy Acord's 20th wedding anniversary tomorrow with dinner and homemade fudge. Then on Wednesday we will all go down the the gallery and I will give a brief artist talk to anyone willing to stay and listen. We have been close friends for over 20 years and through thick and think we stay in touch with each other family as they have grown up and flew the nest. now we share grandparent stories and adventures as well as our journeys as artists. Life is good. Have a great week and hopefully the humidity will break this week...the 4th of July celebrations are already exploding around here and if you enjoy fireworks Ohio has something every night. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, June 24, 2010

a gentle summer day....

videoToday was one of those almost perfect days for our 2010 summer and it was a moment where the sun prints were glowing and flowing in our courtyard. The shadow prints delighted the children and the inner child in all of us. Select your objects, position onto the pages, cover and carry outside and expose until the paper appears to be white. Then we come in and dip into water...just "plain water" as one of the boys exclaimed and your images miraculously appear. Easy...success...joy....exuberance... and once again squeals of laughter. We returned to our fabric pages to sew our buttons onto the surface and then back to the courtyard to our spraying box with our tumble dyes to add the last layer of "evidence". When we came in we addressed our envelopes to collect the final bits and clues of information for the investigation. Tomorrow we will iron our final works and mount onto matte boards and label with each artist's name for the gallery reception in the afternoon. The last step will be our scratch process to make a portrait as if a eye witness reporting to the CSI investigators....and clip all together onto the matte board for the cookie and lemonade reception. This is when I really miss having my old self 's energy and stamina. The favorite part was when I could spend one on one quality time with the children or witness the interactions between this very collaborative group of energetic personalities. Ken brought Popsicles for the court yard and then wild abandonment of pure freedom exploring the Inner Urban train and the science interactions in the courtyard with new best friends in a full week of science and art camp activities... goodnight for now for the big girl is exhausted. Thank you God for some wonderful young interns and incredible young free spirits. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesdays ...documenting with more photos






















I am trying to keep up with all the children and the photographs for each student...I do not want to leave out anyone :O).
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The blogger is not cooperating right now...I need to add them in the morning. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

The Art Lady....Fern Stew....Art Saves Lives....


We check our blood pressure at the end of the three very busy hours with 16 very busy little artists.