Monday, March 12, 2018

Busy Monrh

 Been a busy month but not sure why it included no time for reflection. And I don't know if I have done anything really major. Too much social butterfly time. That is what my sister titles my meetings and having coffee with friends. But some of the friends have been four legged. 

Boca has been here for two weeks and Avy joined me for just three days. And Carol brought over Emory for a romp in the fenced yard for a couple hours. 

Happy Dogs.
Avy and Emory

My quiet time has been focused on the orchids which are beginning their blooming season. There are 13 orchids now. I figured I did not have this color but who remembers from a year ago and rehoming some orchids from others.

The newcomer

An orchid which is blooming again for me

And then painting small watercolors of flowers to add to note cards. Making and sending these little creations and sending them to friends. But if I had to pick one word for the last month it would be Water. Seems I am always filling some container - to water the plants or keep the dogs hydrated or clean water for pure color. 

Flowers for spring

And then there is the lack of snow or rain. We need sky juice. I did finish a large watercolor. And is my tradition added water to the scene as a prayer for a return to a wetter time. Let spring be wet.

The Source
28 x 20 Mixed Media on Canvas

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bring Back the Note Card

I have a friend who sends thank you notes. Not via the internet but by snail mail. For over a year now I have been delighted when I receive one of these thoughtful missives. They are not wordy but she has obviously spent some time in the process of selecting the right note card with the right image. I find that I stand these notes around on my desk to view as I ponder the correct response. Sadly, until recently, it was often a quick personal message on a social media platform saying I received her delightful card.

Anyone who takes the trouble to find an appropriate card, research the correct address, buy stamps and send it off deserves at the least to know it has arrived. I used to make all my Holiday cards and eventually discontinued that because of an ever dwindling response. And email, and social media seemed to replace them.

But there are things the digital media just is not adequate to address like condolences and sympathy and offers to help out in trying times. Or even just a thank you note. In quick order I had a friend at last graduating with a advanced college degree, a stepdaughter's wedding, a new friend who lost her mother, and two other friends undergoing health issues. 

I spent an hour waiting for my sister at the airport perusing a variety of note cards looking for something appropriate. I settled on a few with blank insides so I could have my own say. 

I am an artist, and a photographer! Surely I could make my own. Amazon Prime has an endless supply of blank cards with envelopes in any color. I could paint on them. Or. . . well, the possibilities seemed endless. And that was not factoring in my photography. The opening image has been used on a couple cards. I try not to use them more than a couple times. This is not a new product line.

First four hand painted note cards.
I unearthed in the flat files of my studio watercolor paper I used to use to paint on. I now watercolor on canvas. What a great use for all the paper I always over bought. And the watercolor pencils and crayons! And my huge array of markers and pens. If nothing else I was making use of my overstock. And doing something other than playing solitaire on the computer waiting for the paint to dry on the latest painting.  And practicing brush work!

On watercolor paper

I sent one of my first cards out to my sister for her birthday. And the challenge was on. Debbie explored Hobby Lobby scrapbooking section and produced an original card to send me. It is the second from the left on the bottom photograph. Well, that raised the level. Back I went to shop at Amazon for stencils, and stamps, and stickers, and inks. The more cards I made the more people I found to send them too. One of my friends who got one is taking up water coloring to be able to make her own note cards. And a housebound friend has found that making note cards fills her days and allows her to contribute to her friends and relatives with something special. 

The hardest part was addresses. The advent of cellphones has almost killed out the telephone book. And in my rural area where they live isn't where they get their mail so you need P.O. Boxes and zip codes. Sometimes you just have to ask straight out. I thought groups and clubs I belong to would be a source and one was -- the garden club my thank you note friend got me to join. I began to spearhead movements to have some of my other groups to actually have mailing lists of at least their steering committees. 

I now have reasons to go to my mailbox to see what is there. And I stop in at the local post office to buy international stamps and mail my creations. My collection of handwritten missives grows. I found I had to have a way to display them. They remind me of the prayer flags in Tibet. The one on the far left is a handmade card using folding paper. It was made by an artist in Guam and sent by a mutual friend. (I have rice paper around!) The one on the far right is from my sister, again raising the bar, it invites me to begin planning our next road trip. The one immediately to the left of that is from a friend just exploring a creative side she is discovering.

The one to the left of that one, with the typewriter, is from the friend who started all this. Thank you, Ana. And Leslie, and Patricia, and Ramona, and Dianne, and Debbie. Yes, we are friends on Facebook, but this is a higher platform. One which cannot be hacked by Russian Bots. And so much more meaningful than "Thoughts and Prayers" post.

And clearly a new hobby. If you want one, send one.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Misread or Misunderstood

In the midst of emotional angst I wrote a blog, My Day to Whine, which was either not read or misread but definitely misunderstood. Which has resulted in my being really annoyed. Annoyed sometimes at me because I must have not said it right.

One of the survivors of the most recent school shooting said she should have the right to feel safe in school. I never felt safe at school. My first grade teacher had a huge cricket bat she used to spank us with. Second grade on Roswell Air Force base began duck and cover. Then the bullies. 

Then high school my art teacher and his mat knife and getting kicked out of class because I screamed and he slammed into my drawing table with knife raised over my head. The school counselor was trying to get me to change my story about the teacher so I could be reinserted into his class.

I cried this all out to my father who knew a member of the board of education and they tried to get me sent to Sandia High instead of Manzano. That was scary because my friends were at Manzano. Not to worry because the principal was not going to allow that and sent me back to art class where the offending teacher called me into his store room, shut the door, and demanded I apologize to him. As he walked toward me I screamed again. Ran out of the storeroom, out of the classroom, out of the school, and became a minor missing child incident for the rest of the day.

For the following two years of high school I refused to ever take art class again. I took, after my study hall imprisonment for misbehavior, creative writing. If my mother had not filled out my applications for college I doubt I would have gone.

I did at last have the guts to go back to an art class in college but I always sat as close to the door as possible, would not enter without another student present and escaped as soon as possible.

So as far as our kids having to right to feel safe in school, since when?

Friday, February 16, 2018

My Day to Whine

I loathe, hate, abhor, and dislike making posters. I feel diminished, dismissed, degraded by being asked to do them.  I dream about leaving groups who believe they "honor" me by asking me to do them. I even come to dislike those friends that so dismissively assign me the task of SIGNS. 

I got rid of my large format printer to make it more impossible for me to do them. Nobody seems to have noticed. I just have to do them by hand. 

I have tried to process all the horrible Post Traumatic Stress which in unearthed whenever I face another lettering task. I have decided it is entirely too enmeshed in my memories to just vanish it. I can name it and the participants. Mr. Featherstone, the art teacher; Mr. Brown the principal; a school counselor I have relegated to the unnamed witches of my past; Mr. Mealy, the hero; Manzano High School, which will never be a fond memory because of lettering.

I want to be cremated when I die. Please lay for my memory no stones to mark the spot. I would hate to have lettering associated with my name.

Not a Social Network Butterfly

I get my news from the internet. No, not Facebook, but Youtube and sites for MSNBC and CBS. I do not have access to television via airwaves. And have not had subscription television since the six feet snow of 2006 when Dish and I came to a major parting of our ways. I refused to pay for the two weeks when I did not have access. They refused to give me credit, which launched a debate on me paying for 11 channels of religious channels ($1 per channel) which I saw as a suppression of my freedom of religion or not religion.

But I have become very good at finding the sources of news and even entertainment I do not have to pay for though sometimes I have to wait overnight to view. And I love Youtube and Google.

So once longed on I frequently, right after Rachael Maddow, open my Facebook window to check up on my few close friends there, and update my Binford-Bell Studio fanpage with the newest photograph of the day. I also have a couple secret groups I belong to there. Have have several long term friends I check up on. But I play no games, only occasionally get enticed into quizzes, and carry on in depth conversations on Personal Messenger but just with my closer friends.

I see Facebook as a tool. I see the internet as a news source, Google as a reference library, and YouTube as an education opportunity. But I bore very, very easily bored. Language should move us forward, not mire us in anger and hopelessness. So beyond what I list I see no value in social media.

Make it march is probably my motto. Unless you are moving the conversation forward why bother. And if I hear about thoughts and prayers once more time I will probably barf.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Looking A Gift Horse In The Mouth

So in January I get this letter informing me that a financial institution is holding some unclaimed funds for me which will be turned over to Missouri if the don't hear from me soon (there was a specific date all that much closer because it had taken some time for the letter to reach me.)

As a child of the Nigeria hoaxes I approached it very cautiously. First I called the number on the letter. They answered appropriately. Then I looked up the company on the internet. Highly respected and having the same number as on the letter. I called back with my questions. They were going to give me information before I gave them any.

To this point all was in a prior name at a prior addresses in regard to pension funds with a company I used to work for. They seemed to have more past information on me than I did. I just had to verify I was that person. Do not ever throw your old passports away. I got reacquainted with the box which holds "important" documents.

I do not know how their unclaimed funds department got from Bernhart in Lee's Summit, MO. To Binford-Bell in Ocate, NM. The route would take me through four states, a marriage, two divorces, and the death of an ex-husband, not necessarily in that order. And several long expired mail forwarding orders not to mention at least one move with no forwarding. And the company which funded the annuity has been sold and name changed. 

A friend and I were discussing yesterday how much information is available on the internet. Before I ever had a blog or a Facebook page I googled my "new" name and was shocked at the number of entries for me. Google informs me I am the only Jacqui Binford-Bell in the world. I googled Bernhart since this whole thing began and was rather stunned because that incarnation never was on the internet. 

So for those of you who stay off the internet platforms because of information you will "give away" let me say you already have. Not to worry. There are times all that "public" information can work in your favor.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Been Four Weeks

Thicke on his throne in the sun

It has been four weeks since I did a Sidetracked Charley post. Obviously words have failed me. But have been involved doing lots of things including sharing the afternoon sun in the studio with Thicke.

The Source
28 x 20 Mixed Media on Canvas

 I have begun and finished a new painting. Well, it still needs the hanging hardware installed and inventoried. Maybe even still playing with a name. Like I said words have failed me in the last four weeks. And that seems like an odd time to begin a note card campaign. But note cards don't take a lot of words. Just some inspiration on what to paint on the front of them. But I confess I have also just used photographs.

And did I mention the cold. The worse cold I have had in a decade laid me low. I didn't even pick up my camera for eight days. It just seemed beyond my level. But when I did it was for an awesome dusk. And a tiny yellow orchid in my studio.

I could go on about all the other things going on but words still fail me. I will let these photographs speak for me and the last month since I blogged.