Monday, June 8, 2015

The Story About My Move to Sonoma County

I've been trying to spend more time down south in Sonoma County where my mother and sister live.

And where the weather is warmer and sunnier than here. And there is a new art market waiting to be tapped. I've been trying to move or live somewhere else for several years.

I tell people I'm moving. I haven't been able to pull it off so far. There are lots of reasons why I can't quite seem to up and leave. In the meantime my friends keep on hearing that I'm moving, and asking about it. I'm starting to feel like the girl that cried "wolf." Or like one of those bargain stores that has all kinds of drastic sales - "Everything Must Go!, Big Clearance Sale!, Fire Sale! Going Out of Business! Moving Sale!" My friends should rightly think, "I'll believe it when I see it." It was even in the newspaper that I'm moving - having my last show here. It's just not that simple.

First of all, I've been here since 1978 in the same house. That's nearly 40 years in one place! I turned 21 here and obtained a bachelor's and master's degree here and raised a boy to adulthood here. I'm on the fast track to turning 60. I'd really like to see new vistas, explore new territory, experience change, try something new.

Over all these years in one place, I've accumulated a lot of "stuff". This was probably due to to an innate sense of scarcity from living life as an artist on the peninsula, six miles from town. Other reasons for all that stuff include my values and world view and sense of practicality - too many people just go out and buy shit and more shit just to create landfill with all their discarded junk which is a big part of the huge problem that we're facing as a planet. So I have sort of created my own personal landfill - and supply storage for my over-reaching capacity as an artist to turn materials into art. I have enough supplies to create for the next 50 years, full time. Now I'm trying to change, relearn, rethink the way I relate to stuff and engineer a process of getting rid of most of what I have without too much emotional distress.

 Last summer I wrested my mobile home rental from a son of the devil grower who completely trashed the place and squatted there for months before finally leaving. The place was so devastated that I had to do some serious thought about whether to rescue the mobile home or whether to tear it down. After all the horror stories I've heard about dealing with county planning and the coastal commission, I decided to try to rehab the 600+ square foot single wide.

Did your grower live here? You'll never know. But you wouldn't knowingly smoke something that was grown here in this rat warren.

A 35 year old guy who moved back to Ohio lived here. And when he left he owed PG&E over $8000. More photos at   Know Your Grower
That's been taking a HUGE chunk of energy, time and cash. I've had to replace the electrical system as it was completely fried and it was necessary to rip everything down to the frame and insulate, replace subfloor and walls, ceilings, electrical and plumbing. Really everything. I've had a lot of trouble finding guys that I can afford and work with to move forward with the job. Most of the workers I can afford have serious life issues with addiction and other problems that make it nearly impossible to rely on them for more than a few days/weeks at a time. Despite that, I am slowly moving towards a uniquely restored space which is about the size of three tiny houses. I am learning so much on youtube and other sites about building concepts and how-to-do what needs doing.

I first started the process of "moving" 3 or 4 years ago. I have a house down there. But it is rented out till the end of this summer. I decided renting it out was best as I still had too many commitments here - getting my son through high school (accomplished this month), finishing up my term on the Manila Community Services District board (happening soon) and determining my future with Arcata Artisans Cooperative - of which I'm a charter member and have been with for 12 years. I'll be staying on as a half member there, and providing remote tech support and financial duties - which is a perfect arrangement for both of us, I think.

Wine Country Villa awaits touch of charm.

There's some other details but most of them are inconsequential compared to the tasks of dealing with my property and my stuff. And a sort of ennui that both keeps me here and makes me want to leave. Possibly the biggest hurdle is my personal transformation from borderline hoarder to minimalist. I've been joking lately (jokes are usually based on uncomfortable truths, aren't they?) that whenever my life is too overwhelming, I deal with it by taking on another big project.

Another interesting detail to add to the mix is that after nearly 40 years, changes are taking place in Manila that might make it a nicer place to live. I'd like to see some of that.
Manila looks forward to a hub of commerce and socialization (photo by Jack Durham/Mad River Union)

Here's my best scenario: I will live in Santa Rosa and I will have a space here (totally doable). When I want a change from either place I'll head north or south, depending. I will continue to have my studio here and establish a studio in Santa Rosa. I'll continue being represented as an artist in Humboldt County and I'll seek representation in Sonoma County and surrounding regions. Then I have to figure out where I'm going to vote, have my driver's license, doctor, dentist, tax preparer etc. In other words, where I am going to spend more than half of my time. I plan to try to do this in Sonoma County, thus the word "move" comes into play. Only time will tell whether I enjoy spending more than half my time there.

That seems like a difficult achievement to pull off at this end of the journey, but I'm working towards it. Often I feel nearly paralyzed with fear and apprehension and doubt that I have the efficacy to do this on my own. At the same time, I feel so fortunate and thankful that I'm in a place in my life where I can actually make this happen.

I do love my garden here. And I relish the idea of starting another garden in wine country. The house there could really use some beautification. Gardening is one of my biggest pleasures. So, whether I am here or there, up or down - I'll be in the garden or in my studio. And you can always find me on facebook!

Years and years of love and devotion is rooted here in my Manila garden.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Northcoast Open Studios - 2015

It's been a busy week for me. I woke up on Monday with a cold, that's still lingering almost a week later. I spent most of the week pulling the yard and garden together for Open Studios. Mowing, weed-eating, trimming, pruning and general organizing. At the end of the week I realized I hadn't really spent much time getting my studio in shape for the event.

Well, yesterday, the first day of Open Studios went well. Folks navigated their way around and found lots of things they were interested in. It was a regular stream of traffic with a few lulls in between. Not heavy traffic, about a maximum of 4 in my studio at once, which is good. That way I get to spend more time talking with and meeting my visitors.

Here are some of the things that my visitors left with:


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Big Sale at Northcoast Open Studios this year!

I am planning a move to Santa Rosa in the nextyear, so I am avidly shedding possessions - including most of
my paintings, after over 30 years
of living and working in the same space.
I see the move and the load lightening as clearing the
way for new creative and life explorations.

I'm going to have a box of $10 each or 3 for $20.
and another box of $5 each or 3 for $10 plus more

Feel free to call for a studio visit if you'd like to
see more of my work, or stop by Arcata Artisans Cooperative,
where I am a member and regularly exhibit my art.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Raven-haired Angel

This is a mixed media angel on paper.
I'm listing it on etsy. She is a bit timid, but
also right at home in nature. She is standing
in the winter with a sleeveless shift.

I like to do angels because they are sort
of like self portraits of my better self.
They are also ally/helper spirits that get
me through difficult times or commemorate
events in my life.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


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