Here is a mannequin I made for Passion Pie Cafe. They are using it to display their logo T-shirts that are for sale. When the mannequin is dressed, you can't see her sparkly lacy red lingerie or her tattoo, but I wanted her to have these features, anyway. You can't tell what most women are wearing under their T-shirts, but it can make a difference in attitude! I made the mannequin almost completely out of recycled materials. In return for this work, I've been drinking coffee at no charge for a while.
Several years ago, I started being a "professional artist" in Edmonds, Washington. What I mean by that is, I would make mosaic artwork and galleries would show it and people would buy it. It was a good gig. I'd have fun gluing stuff to other stuff, and then people gave me money for it. What could be better than that?
Then I took a hiatus because of getting divorced. I moved to a different community where there were artists in every house and only one for-profit gallery. After a year there, not getting a foothold anywhere, I got rid of everything, moved into a 22-foot motorhome, and went exploring. After some months of looking around, I chose to live in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
"T or C," as we call it locally, is a really great place to get your start, or to restart, working as an artist. There are lots of little galleries. There are also lots of artists, but there are enough opportunities to go around. It's taken me a little while to get going, but in December I'll have work in two galleries and two local businesses.
Here is the mannequin's tattoo and a glimpse of her lingerie. She's a really happy gal and, if weren't for that chrome stand, I'm sure she would be doing the mamba.
I'm getting a lot of guidance and support from other artists in the community. Most of them don't seem to have a competitive bone in their bodies. They are a big help to me and to others. We have a monthly Artists Salon where we talk about a topic of interest, such as "the role of the viewer," or "spirituality and art," or "where do you get your inspiration." Some local artists are nationally and internationally known, and their insights at these meetings are really helpful to me. I'm learning to relax and not worry about who likes my art, who doesn't like my art, whether my art sells, etc. They tell me to just do my artwork and keep having the courage to put it where people can see it. I'm really grateful to have kind, accomplished artists share their perspective with me.
Here is the finished mosaic wicker desk that is currently at Grapes Gallery for the Trash Bash Recycled Art Show, which is a benefit for a local organization called The Bountiful Alliance.
That said, I have to get to work! I was just allotted 10 feet of wall space at Grapes Gallery for their upcoming "Treasures of Truth or Consequences" show, and I only have sketches so far of local landmarks, scenes and people. I have two weeks to move from sketches to finished works of art. I also plan to complete a couple of 4 x 6 inch pieces for the December Postcard show at Happy Belly Deli. I'll try to take a few photos as I do my work to share on the blog, or at least pictures of the finished pieces.
My kitchen window. I know I am really settled here now, because I have two houseplants.
The rest of my life is going really well, too. I started out working four days a week at January's, but have cut down to three so I have more time to do artwork and to sell on eBay. This is working out really well all around--there are two other people working for January now, too, so everyone has some time on the schedule every week. This means that there will be coverage whenever anyone is sick or on vacation, too. That's great, because I'm planning to be in Florida for February and possibly ranch-sitting up in northern New Mexico for part of next summer. Maybe January will even take a vacation! I hope so--she works really hard and deserves a break.
I'm experiencing my first cold weather here in TorC. It's not bad at all so far--temps sometimes hovering around freezing overnight, but it warms up to the 60s on sunny afternoons. The mornings and evenings can be cool enough to wear sweaters, drink hot chocolate, turn on the heat, etc. I bought myself a used bread machine at the thrift store this morning, and I just returned from the grocery store, where I bought ingredients to make several soups this week. I also bought a big thermos, which came in the mail today, for taking hot lunches to work for January and me to share.
Steve was here recently for a week-and-a-half visit. It was great. I miss him, but if he was here right now, I'd have to mostly ignore him and work, work, work on my art. When he comes back to visit me sometime in December, I'll have all that work done and on exhibit here and there, and I can relax and enjoy Steve's company.
Life is good.