nina colors

Archive for April 2009

What the heck have I been doing?  Well, I’m going to be putting the house on the market soonishlooking straight into the room, so I have been cleaning!  And worst of all has been my “studio space”.  Please tell me what you think of this.  I’ve packed up supplies until I couldn’t stand it any more.  If you were looking at a house that is very spare except for this room (which I really, really need to keep as a working studio), would you be put off? HELP!  I need feedback.

unusually organized - is it enough?




Received these thoughts today from the Robert Genn artist’s newsletter.  It doesn’t just apply to artists, but it certainly (unintentionally) shows the difference between artists w CFS/ME and those whose energy is not drained away.

” “How does an artist maintain the energy levels, motivation, and passion to realize her dreams? As hard as I try, I still get bogged down by others’ condescension, the financial aspects, and time management. How do you keep the fire burning when you’re so fizzled out?”

 Artists need to be self-sustaining, private, “follow-your-bliss” islands unto themselves. Self-directed and independent, they make their own fizz. But artists need to realize that there are more than a few ways to become enthusiastic and motivated. One size does not fit all. Not surprisingly, artists with obsessive-compulsive tendencies and an addiction to work appear to be the keeners.

One way to understand motivation is to look at the symbols represented by the things we do. A passion for kayaking, for example, might represent a desire for freedom or escape. That of dancing, for romance and love. Among other things, painting can represent a desire to re-order the universe or simply to fill the beauty gap. Nothing wrong with those. These passions, whether intrinsic or learned, are integral parts of our natures and need to be honoured. When we begin to understand our symbols, we can get on with the more mechanistic of the ploys–head down, focus, shutout or postponement of impedimenta, pump priming, multitasking and the wisdom of time-management.

Furthermore, amateurs have a wisdom that professionals know not of. One can learn from amateurs. Successful self-motivators at any level are able to regularly return to their beginner-minds and rekindle earlier enthusiasms. Never underestimate your inner kid.

Artists also need to be aware of their personal blockers–people, places and things–and be prepared to substitute positive over negative. 

YEESH!  I get exhausted just reading about the amount of energy necessary to market myself.  

oh, by the way, that painting above is of my 5th floor apartment when I move to Chicago and what I plan to bring to my new life!

Ah, the art of getting divorced.  This has taken 3 yrs and a lot of  tears and exhaustion.  But yes, I consider it part of the “living” art.

Yesterday, I took 5 copies of my divorce decree (one each for husband and myself, one each for lawyers, one for court) to a notary to sign them!  It felt momentous in the midst of all the people going about their normal banking business. I hesitated only momentarily, and then said to myself “go Nina”.  I was back home in 10 minutes and the documents were on their way to my attorney’s office, to go to his attorney and then to him. (Do we wonder why lawyers drive Mercedes?)

After he signs next week, we meet w the real estate agent and the house should be on the market 48 hrs from then. 

This process has been a really interesting lesson in planning everything almost to the hour (old habits die hard), having it all go askew, and sitting with the frustration until the steam is completely out of my ears.  I have learned so much.  This is one of the best things I have ever done.  I am very, very grateful to all of you who have helped me thru it.

I must admit the mischievous part of me wanted to draw little pictures on the copies, but I can do that on my very own copy after it goes thru court:-D

Girl With A Balloon

Usually, we go through our days and do what we need to do, with only a vague sense of our mood. Taking the time to paint how I feel gives me a strong sense of centered-ness.  I exist; this is who I am; take it or leave it.

These two paintings were done on plain ‘ole cheesecloth “glued” down with lightweight patching plaster from the hardware store.  It gives a very rough surface and practically forces you to work w a free style; no tiny details here.

 I adhered the plaster/cheesecloth paintings to watercolor paper with a wash of color on it.  I really like this technique.  It suits my spontaneous style.  I think I’ll be doing more of them.


What objects do you use everyday?  The one or two things that you laugh to yourself that you’d like to insure.  That you reach for again and again.   New items come and go, and you try them out; but your old standards are just that.And suddenly, it’s 25 yrs later, and you’re still relying on those old faves that fit your hand so perfectly.  

As a painter using primarily acrylics, brushes are at my right hand, as well as all the acrylic mediums that make the paint do wonderful things.  brushes

And I wouldn’t be able to call myself a mixed-media artist if I didn’t have the requisite pens, pencils, and other marking tools. Oh yes, paint and spackle, too!


But here are my secret weapons.  The tools that I’ve had for my entire adult life.  The tools that make most of what I do possible.  An 18″ ruler with a cork backing (no slippage) and my very, very sharp exacto knife.


So tell me, what are your favorite tools?  A camera?  Needles and thread?  A sewing machine?  A computer or iPhone?  (really. I understand you can make art with them).  A soldering iron?  Spray paint for grafitti? Sculpting tools or chisels? A Day-Timer? Please share ……..I find this subject endlessly fascinating.  And I believe that everyone is creative in what they do, whether they wield a telephone or a paintbrush!!

Last night, I was having trouble sleeping, so I went to see if there was anything interesting on my computer. Suddenly, an email popped up from a friend in another country asking her artist friends to make a card to send to a woman battling cancer in a third country!  I am deeply honored to be one of the 100 who will hopefully lift her heart with a confetti of cards.

Altho I’m exhausted from my recent editing job for a friend, of course I immediately wrote back that yes, I would do it the next morning.  Apparently she doesn’t have much time left.  So this is my contribution to the World-Wide Hug. A masterpiece? No. I had to do it lying on my back.  Will that matter?  I kinda don’t think so.


Altho this blog is primarily about art, I think I can take at least one day of the year to take note of the illness that circumscribes my life.  When I first came down with what Americans call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I was totally bedbound and extremely weak.  Watercolors were no longer a part of my life, but I couldn’t give up art, so I began using colored markers and stick figures!

I’ve made progress since then with both the illness and my artwork, but watercolors are still out.  Funnily, that’s what I majored in at art school.  And the way I learned it and then practiced it for 20 years was that you work on a painting until it is finished.

I can only work for a limited period of time and then I have to lie down and rest.  Some days, I’m too ill; others are much better.  So pause for just a minute to think about having your ability to do art, to work, to clean house, to cook, to hike, taken away overnight.

Myalgic encephamyalitis (ME) is what it’s called in the rest of the world, and is more appropriate since this is a neurological condition that affects every part of the body and brain.



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