Become an Artist and Create More than Thursday’s Meatloaf

I have read of women with a family of 5 children and a business to run, a husband and meals to cook, going to University to get their Master’s or Doctorate degree and still doing charity work, socializing, and looking immaculate; that’s where I got the idea I could go to University to get a BFA.

I hesitate to write this.  Yet it saddens me to frequently hear from women I meet, who would love to become artists, how they stop themselves with notions of so-called sensible reasons.

This was:  My Journal entry August 6th, 2001.  It came from a hand-held cheap, Mead, Five-Star in a class by itself, spiral bound,Neat Sheet Perforated Pages, with 200 ruled sheets, and 400 ruled pages.

Runnng a family is at best fun and rewarding but a woman needs to be as free as her husband and children to be an artist, even if it only means designing her life to fulfill her dreams. Dreams that don’t cost her her family, but allow her to feel proud of accomplishing her vision.

When we are in our teens we have a million ideas – do these ideas get pushed back – do they become expanding waistlines, huge backs and hips?

If you had a short sentence period of life left to live because you are dis-eased would you make certain that you cleaned the house, picked up the cleaning, paid the bills, washed the car, and did lots of laundry between doing all the other self-imposed obligations you didn’t want to do when you felt forced to say yes.

Taken from the Series 'Cold Cereal'

Each day is so precious even when you are not compromised in your health.

My personal discovery is that nothing in the house changed while I went to University full-time for two years.   (Notation:  two years for a diploma worked into being five for a degree).  The dust still sat on the top of everything.  The house still looked the same at the end of a day even when I hadn’t spent ten hours wandering about in it.

The same little imperfections were on the walls.  The messy areas, where there was no other place to use the messy items or to store them, still struck me in an uncomfortable way; even though I had not walked past them a million times a day, as in the past, wondering what to do with them.

But while the house lived its life without me, I created hundreds of projects, got a diploma in Studio Art and following that a BFA degree, showed my work in galleries, was published on the cover of two literary journals, wrote, painted, entered juried competitions, and put my work on the Internet.  And I didn’t know I had it in me when I was taking the garbage out regularly for something to clean up.

Art School was one of the dirtiest and messiest places I had ever worked in.  I learned we were focused on the project not on our surroundings  We had great relationships; we learned what we had never known about ourselves and each other.  The mystery of life came upon us and we had feelings; strong feelings!

We became sleep deprived and were told to do things we had never dreamed of.  We were let loose!!  I called the courtyard full of industrial junk our play pen:  our toybox. Sometimes we felt isolated when we worked and sometimes we worked in groups.

There were many times I ate pizza, celery and peanut butter, plain bread, cereal, or junk near the end of a term, but it did far less harm than resenting the doing of something I no longer wanted to.

There was one time when I had to wear the same clothes for three days – that’s about as much inconvenience as I remember. (Notation:  This is when I remember feeling like a REAL artist having read up on Louise Nevelson, one of my favorites, who would roll on and off a small bed in her studio wearing the same clothes for days while she worked on a wall-size sculpture.)

I never knew a house could run itself.  My family was amazed and thrilled with the difference in me.  My secret self shone.  And to my amazement they all knew how to look after themselves.  It wasn’t a slice; I have never worked harder in my life; had only 5 hours sleep a night, worked 7 days a week, and pushed myself to the, and beyond the, limits of my imagination.

Every new term Dad would go into the hospital for a couple of days for cancer treatment. Usually he announced it without any warning and always when a printmaking project was due. Our business dropped when Bailey, our soft-coated wheaten terrier of 14+ years, got old suddenly and collapsed.  For seven months I was sick at heart with the thought of soon losing her. Bills piled up and at one point I measured the pile:  it was over 10 inches high. We had a robbery in our home and lost $25,000 in property that we were very fond of; some was sentimental.

What a blessing to have something so rich to focus on as my art:  my heart’s desire.  It was a ten year dream that still continues.  Our wheaten had a seven month old age and died a natural death, my Dad died in the hospital on the 3rd day after an operation a year before my graduation, and a very close friend died soon after.  I couldn’t prevent the deaths and I couldn’t control other lives either.

What I have learned to do is concentrate my attention on my gifts and talents and make something from these instead of living through other people’s lives:  ie. family, friends, people in newspapers, on TV, celebrities in magazines, etc.

How does your own life look, could you write a story about turning down a different road now and becoming what you dreamed you would when you were still in high school?

Start here!  This space is for you…………..

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

iPages

"Frenchie"-Tulle over Fur

I consider my journals a collection of me! – in a visual and voiced format.  A formation of me; a framework generating a material composition of my days.

Working my way through fashion magazines reminds me of my teens when I reverted into them for place and inspiration.  Each glossy page announced the promise of a beautiful future.  I spotted people I needed to adopt as role models.  The pages whispered of excitement and destinations like Paris and New York.

"Lanvin & Peonies" - I Want it All!

If you see something in a magazine that makes you think of a friend, clip it out for them, and send it off with a hand-written card or note.  My friend Sonny always reaches into her handbag as soon as we sit down together for coffee out, and produces a small sheaf of magazine clips for me, to inspire me.  I rework hand-me-down jewelry into new designs by re-assembling elements from multiple pieces.  Sonny’s thoughtfulness has led me to new ways of seeing and inventing.

My friend Elaine provides me with three huge shopping bags of fashion mags and one of Vanity Fair annually.  She passes them along to me because she knows I need them for collage, and subsequently, I pass them along down the line to friends who are also artists.  I keep beautiful floral file folders available for the parts of mags I’m saving. One for articles, one for writing prompts, and one for design tips and ideas.  Oops… there’s more:  one for creative ideas for paintings and the fifth one is for photographs I admire for their lighting, composition, or novelty subjects.  Magazines make excellent reference tools when you slip a piece of silk ribbon or a lovely bookmark into the pages you’re interested in re-visiting.

Begin this art exercise by cutting out things you are attracted to for just twenty minutes. Don’t think about it.  Pretend you’ve won a shopping spree and you’re just grabbing everything you can and throwing it into your basket.  Have a pretty basket beside you and drop your clippings into it.

These will be, what I call your ipages, or your VIP’s:  Very Important Pages.  Spend ten or fifteen minutes arranging these on a few large pieces of paper.  Choose any background to attach them to.  I like pure white or lined, but you decide on the color that best resonates for you and then take a gluestick and secure them neatly to the papers.

Now lay them out and contemplate what you’re seeing.  How do you like this glimpse of your inner workings??  What shapes repeat themselves?  What colors dominate your collages? Are there ways for you to make changes in your wardrobe or environment using these ideas and objects.  A new tabletop display perhaps or outrageous accessories to liven a conservative outfit.  Take time; sit down and record your thoughts and feelings about the work you just accomplished.

"Toney Three-Button Cropped Sleeve and Leather Gloves"

Flower and garden magazines offer beauty in landscape that can be cut out and pasted over a nondescript book or journal to enhance the cover.  Used bookstores have so many bargains jumbled on shelves or tables you might want to pick up a good solid one. When you get home with it you can paste or staple a fresh sheet of paper over a page and make it presentable for attaching particles of fabric, color swatches, ribbon, stamps, photographs; the choices are unlimited.  As an alternative, gesso can be brushed over the page and left to dry, and now you have a plain white sheet to work on.  Yes, it may be a little imperfect, but in art that’s all the better to show life in matter.

Go inside your ‘new’ journal, your source and improv book, your altered book, and live between the pages for awhile.  Photograph some of your results and post the pictures inside.  Send me images to post here and we can all be inspired.  Failing that show them to your friends and help them try something new; bring them to my blog to view these examples.  I remember when I bought my first journal; I could hardly think of what to do, or write down in it, or even what to collect in it.  Now the family is horrified wondering how many truckloads it will take to clean out my studio when I… well, you know when.  How many trucks it’ll take is open for debate.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Lamped in Animal Forms

Black coffee seems too serious for this read; let’s make it a latte to accompany a copy of Abigail Ahern’s book, “A Girl’s Guide to Decorating.”  Ahern’s shabby chic meets industrial high tech is lacquered, textured, papered, booked, lamped in animal forms, cushioned, collected, colored, diverse, rich, and mighty.

She advises: “Have Something that seamlessly holds it all together.  ie. a paint color, textural feature, or a personal choice of furnishings.”

Stacks of books arranged beautifully make excellent plinths for displaying favorite objects.

"I adore this photograph and the over-the-top tabletop"

Pairs create balance.

Equalizing with Chairs, Lamps, and Stools

What kind of mood do you want to set; cozy, glamorous, formal?  Something that is often overlooked is levels of lighting in a room. Lighting contributes so much to the inner realm. I have always advised hiring a professional lighting designer to make sure you achieve the look you desire.  To start: mix table, pendant, and floor lamps to mingle the light.

Intimate
Distinctive
Exactly the Right Portion of Yellow

Ahern offers ideas for all seasons and settings… when zoning in multi-use rooms make space feel more intimate by concealing areas you don’t want on view.  Use a decorative screen, free-standing bookcase, or a group of large plants to provide a simple partition.

If a physical barrier seems too obtrusive, lay different rugs in separate zones to give each area its own personality.

I chose these tips for the kitchen from her book:

Push button catches on kitchen cabinets eliminates the need for door handles… this is the answer if the room is tiny!

Glass test tubes with cork tops can be filled with spices and set into a metal rack.

Elongate kitchen cupboard doors.  This is a simple and inexpensive trick that looks indulgent and luxurious.  I’d like to see these cupboard doors painted in Warhol colors.

Ahern likes the way dark smoky colors bring sophistication.

The use of lime, primrose, and hot pink

Here are a few more of Ahern’s color palettes:

  • Burnt sienna, damson, raspberry and pink.
  • Nutmeg, stone, pink, pecan, and chocolate.
  • Bronze, azure, deep grey and pearly white.
  • Salmon, buff, ochre and sage.

I like to collect paint chips and turn them into assemblages on the blank face, white pages of journals with jazzy covers.  Scissors, glue stick, imagination and possibly even a thin black felt pen:  now I have all the tools I need to keep me busy for hours.  I like to take these things with me when I go downtown so I can experiment with shape and composition over a coffee and a chocolate almond biscotti.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Back Away from McNugget in Your Fifties Chevy Pick-Up

In the fifties we never dreamed food would be replaced with manufactured “parts,” then too, we never knew that GMO – genetically engineered food would be promising to make more food available and subsequently make food more scarce.  Sure we had processed foods but there was enough of the original peanut in Skippy, or cheese in Cheese Whiz, or cake in Twinkies to keep us satisfied until we sat down to a real meat and potatoes dinner.
'50's Chevy Pick-Up

I received an email today from a great friend and she’s bursting to get this news out to everyone.  I agreed and she promised to let me help her build a blog this coming week so you’ll be able to get current information and warnings about what you’re eating out.  Here’s what she sent me.

Fast Food…??? Yuk

Hello Nicole….

I was just about to go to Google and this popped up on my screen
I think  the MSN site…

Not that I eat this “S…” and I’m sure your family doesn’t…. no wonder obesity is becoming a plague of the young, not so young and old. And illness of all kinds

is on the rise.  How did people become so ignorant???

What a world.. I’m glad I have friends like you and some others in my life that “know” what’s really going out there in the science labs ..known as the

world… at large.

Otherwise.. I would think I am going crazy…

Bye Have a great day!!!

Sonny

What’s Really in Your Food?

Learn the truth about these four fast-food favorites.

By David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding, Men’s Health

Ever wonder what’s actually in a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget? Turns out, the “chicken” alone contains seven ingredients. And that’s before you even get to the breading. Sadly, many of our favorite foods (especially fast foods) weren’t merely crafted in kitchens, they were also designed and perfected in labs. We uncovered the ugly truth when doing research for Eat This, Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide. What we found wasn’t pretty—or appetizing. Before you mindlessly chew your way through another value meal, take these mini-mysteries (conveniently solved below) into account. Sometimes the truth is tough to swallow.

What’s in a Chicken McNugget?

You’d think that a breaded lump of chicken would be pretty simple. Mostly, it would contain bread and chicken. But the McNugget and its peers at other fast-food restaurants are much more complicated creatures than that. The “meat” in the McNugget alone contains seven ingredients, some of which are made up of yet more ingredients. (Nope, it’s not just chicken. It’s also such nonchicken-related stuff as water, wheat starch, dextrose, safflower oil, and sodium phosphates.) The “meat” also contains something called “autolyzed yeast extract.” Then add another 20 ingredients that make up the breading, and you have the industrial chemical—we mean, fast-food meal—called the McNugget. Still, McDonald’s is practically all-natural compared to Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets, with 30 ingredients, and Burger King Chicken Fries, with a whopping 35 ingredients.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Reincarnation, Cat’s Nine Lives

Living Life as an Animation"
"Living Life as a Ghost"
"Living Life as an Artist"
"Living Life in a Tapestry"
"Living Life as Jean Harlow"
"Living Life as a Cut-Out Doll"
"Living Life Off-the-Wall"
"Living Life Facing Into the Wind"
"Living Life Under Shrink Wrap"

These are my Nine Lives, my Reincarnations, my Dreamwares:  My Short Story.

I’d like to thank my, “Best” Photography Student, Jannette Maedel, for taking the Photograph of Me Titled:  Living Life as an Artist.  (3rd from the top)

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets