Shelby, where have you been?

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog or shared any artwork. Some of you may have wondered where I’ve been.

On March 22, I woke up at about 6 a.m. feeling strange. I was hot, clammy, and I had some pain in my arms. I felt bad, strange and I began to suspect I was having a heart attack. I called my husband, who had already left for work, and told him to come home, I needed to get to the emergency room.

I should have called an ambulance but I was still in denial, so I waited for my husband and we took an Uber to the ER. The staff at the Brooklyn Hospital moved much slower than I was comfortable with until they took the first EKG, then things began to move faster. Test after test, doctor after doctor, I knew it was getting serious. They confirmed that I’d had a mild heart attack.

They did a heart catheterization and found no blockages and no need for a stent–thank God! In fact, the nurse said my arteries looked really good.

The next day, I demanded my release because of the complete incompetence of the nursing staff in the hospital–that’s another story. They sent me home with 5 medications and I was told I would be taking those meds for the rest of my life. Whatever–I just wanted to go home.

One of the medications I was given was a blood thinner that I reacted badly to. When I called the doctor, she immediately called in a prescription for 2 more medications! I began looking for another doctor the moment I hung up. I wasn’t going to end up taking 20 pills a day!! No thank you!

To make a long story a little shorter, I found another doctor and I like him. We don’t know what caused the heart attack exactly. I will tell you that I was taking quite a bit of Advil for various reasons. I was practically living on the stuff. Just after my heart attack, the warning came out about the risk of heart attacks while using Advil. My first thought on the morning that this began was that the Advil had something to do with it. I still feel like it was the major risk factor. I was also feeling a lot of stress and that certainly added to the mix to form the “perfect storm”.

Over the past few months, I’ve been my own health advocate. I knew I didn’t want to take the drugs that had been prescribed for me. They made me feel sick and I knew they were horrible for me. I read every thing I could find about the heart, cardiac drugs, diet, and nutrition. I came to the decision to take my health into my own hands and go on the Mediterranean Diet and eat mostly plant based food, rather than take the medications.

I bought a Vitamix and started juicing fruits and veggies. After the first smoothie, I had so much energy! Instead of grabbing a coke for kick, I grab a smoothie. The boys love them too! Now, we can’t keep spinach in this apartment! I’ve taken to buying 2 shopping bags full at the local farmers market.

Our small NYC apartment has a tiny kitchen with little room to actually cook. The plan was to eat out or order in–not cook!! Now I’m cooking all the time in that small space. I’ve spent a lot of time organizing the kitchen and looking for ways to make it functional. There’s no dishwasher so I feel like I’m washing dishes all day. It’s a learning process and it’s taking up all my time.

The good news is: I’ve lost 7 lbs. over the past month and I’m feeling really good. I’ve made some incredible food that the whole family loves. I’m learning to meditate and de-stress. I’m taking time to live in the moment and relax and focus on me for a bit.

The bad news: I haven’t been able to paint in months. I’ve had no choice but to focus on my health and so painting hasn’t been a priority. I’m not planning to stay away for much longer. I’m itching to get a paint brush in my hands and I’ve got lots of ideas bubbling inside.

This event in my life, having a heart attack, still seems so surreal to me. It sounds weird when I say it to someone, “I had a heart attack.” Writing about it seems like I should be writing about someone else, not me. But here I am, it was me. Wow! It takes time to sink in. It has been overwhelming and terrifying, but I’m thankful for every moment I have.

That’s my story. That’s why you haven’t seen my in a while. I’m doing well and my doctor says I’m going to live to be a cranky old woman. I hope I’ll be a sweet old lady covered in oil paint.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, safe, joy filled summer. Live in the moment!

Finding a Way

20160913-img_0075Where there’s a will there’s a way!! The past few weeks have been challenging for me as an artist. As some of you may know from reading my blog, I’ve been struggling with space issues in our tiny Brooklyn apartment. I just kept running into issues (and walls) that kept me from working freely.

In order to save space in the apartment, I found a solution online, called the”Rue Wall Easel”. The first one I ordered came with the wrong size rods so it wouldn’t hold the size canvas I use. We contacted the artist that manufactures the easel and he’s been wonderful about helping me get what I need. After hanging it I found I loved it so much that I ordered a second one.  I really should have been using these all along! If you’re interested, these are the websites where you can purchase one or two: watermarkstudiosllc.com ,  jerrysartarma.com .

We hung the easel in the hallway which is also where the kitchen is. There’s just enough space for me to maneuver without actually sitting in the refrigerator, which could have been an extra benefit with the hot flashes and what not!  The second easel will hang next to this one and will help me work faster as well as giving me some drying space.

With the easel up, I’ve been painting like crazy and I hope to start posting new work in the next couple of days. I can’t tell you how good it feels to get back into some kind of creative rhythm. I’m going to buckle down and work like crazy in the next few months. I haven’t been settled like this since last October when we made the decision to sell our town home and move to New York City– almost a year!

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So, it’s been a challenge but thankfully, with the help of my wonderful husband, I managed to find a way to function.

This past week, as I was dealing with my own stress, I read an article about artists in New York which made me a little sad. There was a day when all types of artists flocked to NYC. They lived in Greenwich Village and a number of other areas. They had studios to work out of. They shared a close knit community, friendship and they inspired one another. Collectors would stop by the studios and see what was being created in these thriving spaces. But thing have changed, The Village became a hot spot where everyone wanted to live and the rents began to increase. This cycle happens over and over again. The artistic community lives and works in a place and the neighborhood becomes “cool” which then causes people to move to that area which then causes the rent to increase and eventually pushes the artists out. New York has run out of places to go, so many artists have left the city for Pittsburg or Philly but others remain working out of small apartments, just like me. Working out of apartments, they’ve lost the beautiful community they once had.

As much as the government promises”affordable” creative space, it doesn’t really happen. The city continues to gentrify and the demand for luxury condos keeps the rents soaring to unreasonable levels.

Yet, some still maintain a desire to live and work in this amazing city. They love the energy and inspiration they feel and many will continue to hold on no matter how difficult it is. It’s strange, art is what draws people to a city like this and yet the city doesn’t make it easy for creatives to survive.

All that to say, I’m not the only artist living in New York and trying to figure this out. I’m thankful that, although our place is small, the layout allows us to make use of every square foot. I’m also thankful we were able to come up with a workable solution and I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to live in an amazing place like New York City. I’m determined to learn how to live and thrive in this town and I think the coming weeks are going to be much more productive!

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New Beginnings

The house is nearly empty and tomorrow morning we’ll pick up the U-Haul and load it up with what little we’ve decided to take with us.  It’s quiet in the house as we sift through the last bits and pieces.  In the quiet, we’ve been reflecting on our time in Denver and in this house.

cropped-20131208-IMG_527012.jpgDenver has been a place of healing, restoration and inspiration to us. This house- a place of piece and joy that ultimately financed the next leg of our journey. We’re going to miss it.

We’re so very tired –it’s been a very stressful few months.  The house sold, then the buyer backed out, then it sold again with a contingency that the buyers house sold. Then their deal fell through and they put their house back on the market but within a couple of days we were back under contract and this time is all worked out.  Meanwhile, we sold our car, rented a car, made hotel reservations, U-Haul reservations, and began the process of purging and packing.

The move to NYC is filled with all sorts of obstacles and details that none of our moves have ever had before. It’s complicated and very stressful.  There have been times when none of us were sleeping well, worried about a million things and wondering if we were crazy to make a move like this. Have I mentioned how STRESSED OUT we’ve been? Anyway…

It’s scary but we’re so excited when we think about what opportunities may be waiting for us on the other side. “The Director” has already come up with a brilliant idea for a new project when he gets to the city and “The Composer” has made some awesome contacts. As for me, I’ve sold three paintings just in time to get them shipped before they were packed.  The extra money will come just as we are resettling into our new space. So good things are beginning to happen even now.

I haven’t painted in months and I don’t know how long it will be until my studio is back up and running. At first, I was terrified about not painting for a long time, and then I was worried about not finding the studio space I needed to work, and then I was nervous about finding my place in the New York Art scene. I was just terrified and overwhelmed about the whole thing!!!  But, I’ve gotten past some of that, and now I’m beginning to dream about new inspiration that I’ll find in the city.  I’m thinking about how cool it could be to have a studio space in a building with other artists. I’m excited about having access to museums and galleries and classes.  I’m not so afraid anymore.  I think it’s going to all work out.

It’s our last night here and tomorrow our adventure begins.  I’ll see you on the other side!

 

 

 

 

Start Spreading the News!

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We want to be a part of it, New York, New York!  For some time we’ve been considering a BIG move. I’ve been alluding to change and taking a leap of faith and finally we’re ready to jump!

The young Director, (my son), has written a beautiful feature film that takes place in NYC and Paris and he’s dying to get to New York.  The Composer, (hubby) wants to write for film and television and possibly stage productions as well.  And me, well I can paint anywhere but I’m so inspired by the city.

This move means we’re going to experience some major life changes and to be honest, I’m terrified!  It means selling/donating/throwing away just about everything we own.  It means giving up our car.  It means adjusting to a whole new way of life.  But, along with my terror is an incredible since of excitement too!

Our house on the market today, so this is it!  The housing market in Denver is hot, hot, hot, so we think it will sell pretty quickly. There’s so much to do in such a short period of time!

As for painting, well, I’m going to try to get a few more out before we have to pack up the studio.  We anticipate that we are going to be living in a very small apartment in the city and I will have to find and rent studio space.  So, it may be a while before I can get back into the studio.  That makes me a little anxious but I’ve decided to move towards photography when I get there and let the city inspire me for future work.

I’ll be blogging about our process and posting pictures as we go so stay tuned!

 

 

 

The Artisans

The Artisans

SOLD! I find the world of the geisha fascinating and beautiful.  The word “geisha” can be translated in English as “performing artist”, “artisan”, or “artist”.  When we think of a geisha we usually think “prostitute” which really isn’t correct.  Although, … Continue reading