The wall of art

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Our art wall. It’s about 60% complete but I have been MIA for far too long. Basically, my hubby and I have been painting up a storm to pass the cold winter months. We had originally planned to do a mural on this long wall that goes from our dining room to the living room. When it came down to it, we couldn’t agree on a theme for a mural, so we came up with a new non-permanent solution. If we created a collage integrating all our works, it would create an interesting blend of color, subject matter, and form. This picture does not give it justice, but I promise to update soon-when we hang a few more pieces. Indeed, it’s always the subject of conversation when people visit the homestead! I suppose it helps distract them from the dirty floors, and dog hair covered furniture! HAHAHA What do you folks think?

BUFFALO ART

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TRIPTYCH BUFFALO CITYSCAPE W/ NIAGARA FALLS

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 CENTER

 RIGHT

 

 BUFFALO CITY HALL

 BUFFALO SHEA’S THEATER

 BUFFALO CLOCK TOWER

 

These paintings were a commission for an insurance company in Buffalo. It was such a pleasure to explore color and texture, while showcasing some of Buffalo’s architecture and landscapes.

Craft Art Vs. Fine Art

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I often struggle with the notion that being crafty is beneath the fine arts world. The truth is-being creative comes in all forms and just because there isn’t some deep conceptual meaning behind the piece, doesn’t mean it’s of lesser value. I think all creative forms serve a purpose and have a time and place. Well, the time came for me to make some crafty items. The reason being it was an idea I had and I simply followed through. It all started with our habitual walks to the creek. We gear up and set off with our yellow lab, Riley. He really loves it down at the water and has developed a new game. He goes “fishing” into the creek for rocks. He finds rocks that fit nicely in his mouth and he carries them to shore. As I saw him carry on with this task, I began to think about my childhood. I used to paint rocks with glitter and glue pictures on them. I then thought about how great it is to have a creek nearby with endless amounts of rocks…AKA free art supplies. So it began, I started collecting rocks in attempts to paint them and sell as crafts. I made a slew of animal rocks and will be presenting them for sale at a craft show this Saturday. I must say it was fun seeing the end result. What began as dirty, moss-laden rocks in a creek ended as an assortment of man’s favorite animal paper weights; one of a kind desk ornaments made in attempts to bring a smile to someone’s face. As much as I imagined this being fun, I have to admit I rushed through them to “get it over with.” I learned that I wasn’t making them because it gave me joy, I was making them in hopes to make a few bucks. There’s nothing wrong with that-but I have concluded that making art should be about serving my gift and expressing myself. Anything less than that and I am selling myself short.

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So back to fine arts…I agree there is nothing wrong with crafts of any nature, but my heart does seem to be devoted to fine arts-the quest to express ideas or feelings. If anything, this crafting adventure served as a period for growth and understanding. I feel excited in a way I haven’t felt in years to get back to that canvas and really convey some deep conceptual thoughts. So rock art, I thank you for centering me and reigniting my inspirational flame.

A change of seasons…

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Painting of Letchworth in the Fall- The scene of my wedding ceremony.

Fall: my favorite time of year. Chai tea with hazelnut creamer, a pumpkin spice candle lit, a cool dusk breeze flowing through the window, and I, snuggled up on the couch with my yellow lab as I escape into a good Stephen King book. Does that set the scene for you? No? How about a brisk walk in the woods on a blue sky sun-shiny day, making sure to “crunch” the crispiest leaves as you stomp through? I can tell you that the ONLY thing I despise about fall is that winter will arrive at its conclusion-but hey, I can’t hold that against fall.

This year is particularly special, as we will be celebrating our one year wedding anniversary with a road trip to Pittsburgh, followed by a camping trip. To kick off the vacation, I will be participating in one of my favorite art festivals- The Music is Art Festival. The hubby will manage my booth of paintings while I perform “live art” nearby. On a colossal canvas-I will create one of my “music men” as it seems fitting for the event. What a perfect way to start off a long-awaited vacation and of course, my favorite season.

This brings me to my next endeavor: A Fall 2012 Bucket List. I’ve been inspired by other bloggers who have created their summer bucket lists and who now are updating and crossing off all the adventurous things they’ve accomplished. Well, I totally missed the train on that one, but why not spark it up for fall? Maybe this will inspire some of you to partake in creating your own fun fall expeditions. Please share- I’d love to hear about your seasonal plans! (Sorry folks who know not the joys of colored leaves and cool breeze…cinnamon sticks and naked trees)

So here is my fall bucket list (which I may update from time to time if I desire more escapades)

  • Dirty Girl 5K race: an obstacle course in the mud, ladies only…breast cancer benefit “save the boobies!”

(I am in the front row to the left w/ pink bandana)

  • Music is Art Festival: Performance painting, hopefully sell a few paintings, live music, drinks, food, and a plethora of paints, what more does an artist need?

  • Wedding anniversary trip-we will be seeing our favorite heavy metal musician- Devin Townsend. Who goes to a heavy metal show on their wedding anniversary: This gal!
  • Tent camping in Allegheny

  • A trip to Lily Dale for a spirit guide reading with my Mom & Mom in law ( SEE BLOG POST “WHAT’S YOUR JOURNEY?” )
  • A haunted theater experience with “Ghost Hunters” (not going to lie-I’m already scared SHEETLESS!) (SEE BLOG POST: “I AIN’T AFRAID OF NO GHOST”)
  • A visit to NYC to see our bestest buddies all awhile going to see the stand-up show of Louis C. K.

  • 2 fall weddings that I am extra excited to attend

 (Paintings gifted to the married couples for their weddings)

  • Live Art Performance for a wedding in November

  • Crockpot galore-new fall recipes and the all-time favorites: spicy chili, pork loin with cranberry and goat cheese, beef stew, a plethora of pumpkin recipes!

  • And finally…an abundance of painting sessions!

FALL WAS GOOD TO ME THIS YEAR!

I ain’t afraid of no ghost

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October 13th was windy, damp, and cold. This set the tone for the evening as we ventured off to our very first ghost hunting investigation. In Niagara Falls, NY, there is a place called Rapids Theater. This hall is said to be inhabited my many spirits and the television show “Ghost Hunters” did an episode on it. One of the ghosts is said to be the spirit of a woman who hung herself in the back stage area, after having suffered a miscarriage and possibly lost an acting role at the theater. There is a lot of speculation as to her motives, but it is certain she committed suicide on the backstage rear right storage room. There’s more spirits to describe, but let’s first set the scene for our evening of investigating…

We arrived at 7PM sharp. We were greeted in the front entrance by the ghost hunting crew who were all very friendly and excited for the events of the evening. The ghost hunt was comprised of about 25 participants and 8 ghost hunting crew members. We were divided into 3 teams. Our team included my mom, dad, husband (Scott), married friends (Jen and Michael), and myself. We were led by two crew members-one female who was a medium and one camera guy who captured our investigations with his night vision camcorder.

The eight of us first investigated the basement and tunnels of the theater. The first room in the basement had a patched brick whole in the wall. This whole used to be part of the Underground Railroad. The tunnels in the basement were also part of the escape routes. This room was known for having spirits who whistle, whisper, slam door and cupboards, and jingle keys. We didn’t have any luck for the first 30 minutes, so we went to climb through the tunnels next. We were given equipment for the hunt which included Electro Magnetic Field meters, temperature guns, rings with mini flashlights, ghost hunting notepads, a compass, and glow sticks. We picked up activity on our equipment in the hallway near the stairs of the basement, and heard what sounded like keys jingling, however that was reduced to the fire alarm system. It started to rain which cause quite a bit of contamination due to the noise. We got word on the walkie-talkie that it was time to switch locations.

Next, we went to the balcony and set up in the hallway of the office rooms and break room. The hallways is said to be inhabited by the spirit of an old man who used to work the projector of the theater. Along the hallway, there was a little half-door which led to the projection room. Our team member, Michael, volunteered to sit in the tiny projection room to try to make contact with the spirit. He sat in there with the door creaked open an inch, while the rest of us spread out along the hallway and break room. The medium would ask the spirit to show themselves and that we were friends and meant no harm. The old man who used to work the projector died in that projection booth due to a heart attack. His body was found when the projector had run the film to the end and co-workers went to investigate why he hadn’t stopped the reel. This is the man who is said to whistle and jingle keys. It was hard to detect any spirit communication due to the rain and noisy cars driving along the street.

After no luck, we relocated to the front of the balcony and sat at the bar and round tables for a bit. We were the only ones in the large opening of the theater. We could see the stage and the downstairs bar. Everything was pitch-black except for the red glow illuminating the exit signs scattered about. The team that was at the balcony bar prior to us confessed to seeing a spirit walk past the bar. They could see the shadow of a man in the reflection of the mirrors and also heard sticky footsteps walking by. We had no such luck and were beginning to get a little disappointed. My husband’s skepticism continued to grow while we headed back to the main lobby for a snack break. As we snacked on cubed cheese and tortilla chips, we talked to others about their experiences thus far. Some people seemed legitimately spooked by the bar spirit, but unfortunately for us-we had no stories to tell.

 View of the Rapids Theater Outside

Inside main floor of Rapids Theater

Our last conquest was at the stage. We were shown the back room where the lady hung herself from the rafters and it made us feel sad for her. There have been reports of her crying, screaming, and sighing especially when asked about her suicide. At this point, we were led by new crew members. A larger man, who was another medium, led us through along with a short stocky man who had a lot of knowledge about the theater’s history. The medium told us that he feels the strongest presence on the right corner of the stage and was certain we would have some action there. Our group plopped down on stage and we first tried communicating with the spirits through light. The medium explained that this is one of the simplest ways to make contact and he turned his flashlight almost completely off. The light had gone out and he started to ask some questions. He was teaching the spirit how to manipulate the light by using its energy to turn it off and on. Then, he would ask the spirit questions and wait for the light to turn on. When it did, we all lit up with excitement. The medium then asked him to let go of the light and to move his hand away so the light would go off. It struggled at first, but then it gradually dimmed out. After a few minutes of this back and forth questions and light play, we then turned it off and tried to see apparitions in the theater. As we sat there, staring off, I started to look at the balcony and then below to the main level bar in the center of the open space. Behind the bar were the doors leading to the ticket office. To the left were the women’s restrooms and to the right were the men’s. Just right of the center doors was a closet door with a half window in it. As I stared at the window, I noticed it start to illuminate with a whitish blue glow. I said, “Does anyone else see that glow in the window?” The group all agreed that they saw this glow and we watched as the luminosity throbbed with this subtle white haze. The one crew member then took his bright mag light and shined it on the window. Just then, we started to see an apparition. The window encased a female figure. The figure’s head, shoulders and upper torso silhouetted in the window and we watched as it moved past the door, then came back, and moved out of sight again. It’s as if the spirit was walking by, noticed our light shining in on her, and she reverted back to look out at us, and quickly moved on after that. The shorter crew member then got up from the stage and started to walk towards the door at the end of the theater, his light beaming on the window of the closet the entire time. When he got to the door, he opened it and stepped in. We could not see him, but we started to hear him talking to someone. We then assumed that there had been someone in the closet to whom our crew member was conversing with. Again, we grew disappointed and started chatting to ourselves. The crew member then exited the closet and returned to us on stage. He said that no one was in there and he was talking on his walkie talkie to see if anyone was near that part of the building. No one was. From that point on, our questioning minds finally had an answer-we had in fact seen spirits. There was no doubt! There was no other way to explain the apparition, the glowing window, and the fact that we all saw it at the same time. At the end of the night, we all took a look into that closet just for curiosity’s sake. The creepy thing was that there was no room on either side of the door on the inside. It was such a narrow closet space that there was no way a body could move past the window and not be seen. This could only mean that the spirit walked right through the wall to move out of our sight. The image of the silhouette passing by the window is burned into my memory and even my cynical husband agrees that we had encountered paranormal activity. That moment on stage made our entire experience worth while.

We were then instructed to move to our next and final location where we spent our last 20 minutes investigating. We headed down the basement steps of the stage and into the orchestra pit. We were spooked by the old, dusty environment and the pit definitely had an unnerving vibe. We were told there was a male spirit there who tends to be more aggressive with vulnerable people- women and children specifically. This made me shudder and I made sure to huddle close to the group. He then started doing the light interaction again and the spirit didn’t seem to want to cooperate. He wouldn’t make the light go out and before we knew it, our time was up.

What started at 7PM was now ending at 1AM; however we were offered the chance to stay and explore some more. My friends Jen and Michael decided to stay, but we had to get home to our dog that we feared had already went potty in the house (to our delight he didn’t!). We brought flash drives to download all our recordings for further review. We talked to the owner of the theater who had plenty of interesting ghost stories. For instance: during a Stone Temple Pilot concert at the theater, there were concert goers complaining of getting pushed around. No one admitted to being the pushers. Later that night, the crew was reviewing some photographs of the show/audience and an apparition was -clear as day- pushing into the guy during the concert.

The night was very exciting and I would defiantly do it again. I was not nearly as scared as I thought I would be, because the crew were all very friendly and reminded us that there was nothing to fear and that the spirits wouldn’t cause us harm. It actually served as some exposure therapy for me; for I’ve always had a fear of seeing ghosts and imagining it would be gory, scary, and tormenting. This helped me feel at ease and comfortable with the idea of paranormal activity.  The crews admitted to expanding their team and they were in need of more females. I briefly contemplated joining the force, but decided I am just fine being a spectator.

What’s Your Journey?

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I embarked on another voyage to Lily Dale, this time with my mom and mom in law. We all had consecutive appointments with Celeste Elliott. Her website gave me little feedback of what to expect, but I feel that in these situations, that’s a good thing. What I did like about her website was its tranquil imagery and uplifting messages. I have noticed that when I go into an experience with little to no expectations, I usually end up pleasantly surprised. That was certainly the case here.

We arrived with minutes to spare. We parked, and walked our way down the narrow street to a purple cottage with candles lit in the windows. It was very cloudy that day, but not raining and a light sweater was sufficient for comfort. Fall is nearing its way here and we enjoyed the journey seeing a sprinkle of fall colored leaves gracing trees along the highway.

We knocked and were greeted by a young woman-maybe in her thirties, with dark red curly hair tied up in a poly tail. She had a warm, friendly face and wore cozy clothes. I decided to go first and the moms sat in the waiting room outside her office, nearby a long wooden staircase leading to what I imagine to be the cottages bedrooms. Celeste had me sit on a couch and she sat diagonal to me in a chair, her tea resting on a small end table nearby. She started with a prayer and then she was on her way to picking up images, words, and messages from the spirits I carried in with me.

She first described the colors surrounding me-a very intense light blue. She said this is a good color and it symbolizes the balance between learning and teaching. She sees that I’ve been on a long journey of personal growth and have learned a great deal about myself and my relationships to others in my life. She said I’m now on a curve where I am starting to take my knowledge and teach others and guide them. She commented that although I’ve been quite hard on myself at times, it is important to celebrate the huge strides I’ve made. She also noted that I am at a point in my life where I’m deciding that certain relationships no longer serve me. Some people are slowly dwindling out of my personal life and it’s due to my self-worth achievements. She advised me to stick to my instincts with this, because I no longer need or shall allow people to take advantage of me.

Next, my Grandpa Lee gave her some messages. He said to her that he had to come through first, as to be the most remembered. This made me giggle-for he was known to be somewhat of a praise seeker. He always enjoyed the credit for his deeds and seemed to bask in the attention. I have to be honest; I was a little surprised he was with me that day. This was my second reading with a spirit guide and both included his visiting. I suppose I feel this way because we were not close at all. He was a bit of a drinker and was not always a great person throughout his life. Celeste pointed out that he wanted to give an apology for his behavior. He then showed her an image-“handcuffs” and she asked me who is in law enforcement? I said, “ME…or well…I used to be.” She said he held them in his hand and wanted to say how proud he was of me.

After this, she wanted to connect to my mom’s side that was there with me that day. She said five visitors all together were from my mom’s side and they were all sort of “led” by a very tall bearded man. I knew immediately that she was referring to my Uncle Jerry. He passed when I was just a baby, but I know he was extremely close to my mom and my dad. I once painted a portrait of him for my parents so I know his bearded face well and she made sure to mention his memorable smile. She talked about how he’s with me a lot and likes to play games with me to see if I notice. For instance, if I’m clicking the remote to change the channel he makes it change twice. She says he plays with me by messing with electronics and gadgets. Also, he spends a lot of time with someone else who has an old fashioned telephone in the house-one that isn’t functional just ornamental. My parents used to…but I am currently awaiting a response from my brother to see if he has one. Hmmm, he said no. Maybe I’ll paint one. ..

She then continued to talk of my mom’s pack of spirits. I didn’t know at the time, but now it’s clear as day that my fun-loving wild and crazy Great Aunt Gert was one of them. She described her as a woman who enjoyed being outdoors and had a garden. She then asked if she had cystic fibrosis and I said, “I don’t know.” Come to find out she did indeed and had a breast removed due to it.  When I was younger, my mom would drive us to visit her brick home in Cheektowaga. I always remembered her tomato garden and my mom would salivate over the big red tomatoes she would take home. She used to stand over the sink, tomato in one hand and salt shaker in the other and sprinkle, bite, sprinkle, bite, etc., until it was devoured. It used to make me sick-being young and hating most vegetables. It’s funny, now I salivate to do the very same thing!

I found it interesting that although she was dead on (no pun intended!) about acknowledging their characteristics and uniqueness, that they didn’t really have anything important to tell me. I suppose I was wondering if they wanted to give some advice or warnings as to my future, but nope…just a “hey there Lindsay, we’re here!”

Celeste did however send me some messages about my future and I’m not quite sure how she obtained them, but they made perfect sense to me. She said I’ve been waiting for things in my life to take a turn for the better and that I am wondering why things haven’t exactly happened just yet. She said that it is because the spirit guides are making sure all my “duck are in a row” so to speak for the next chapter in my life. She said it’s coming though-February of 2013 will start the clock on the new chapter which is to last about 3 years. She sees me in more of a teaching role and really blossoming in this chapter. Doesn’t it just so happen that I applied for a position in my agency that I really really want! Isn’t it happenstance that these applications take anywhere from 3-6 months to come to fruition? So, if she’s accurate and I do get this new job, which surly will allow me to flourish the way I envision myself to in this career, then February makes perfect sense for all these elements to come to a head. She also saw me moving, which left me a little unsettled. Heck-we just moved into what we plan to be our forever home! I do know that anything can happen, but I truly do not want to move at this point in my life. Perhaps it was a glimpse into the fact that this position I’m yearning for requires a 6-week training program in Charleston. I can totally handle that! She mentioned I’d be a mom someday…in a few years.

Whatever the case, I am a believer that those family members were with me that day and for that I am smiling today. I’m sure to pay more attention to my electronics and hopefully I’ll catch my uncle playing tricks on me more now. I really enjoyed my time with Celeste and again felt a better sense of my journey in this life. The moms had equally interesting experiences, but those aren’t for me to tell.

The 10th annual Music is Art Festival

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The 10th annual Music is Art Festival was a smashing success. At 6am, we ventured to the closest drive thru coffee shop and headed to the park with our car loaded to the brim with art. Once the hubby and I arrived, we checked in and found our tent location which was in the far back section adjacent to the “Americana Stage.” The good news was that a beer tent was close by and I was soon to discover that I would be painting ON STAGE while the bands played all day. They constructed a large canvas to stretch the length of the stage and affixed it to the back baseboards of the stage. The next few hours, we assembled our tent to showcase my paintings and a displayed sign for the Husband’s recording studio, and our art club. By 11AM the tent was ready and I found myself, back to audience, landing my first stroke of paint on stage. The Americana Stage had up to 20 bands upon it that day and it was interesting to let my strokes be guided by the tunes they played. Some of the challenges I faced were that a band was right behind me, so I had little perspective to observe the large scale transformation. I kept jumping off stage to get a looksee-which didn’t affect me at the time- but the next day I was damn near limping when I could muster the energy to walk! That’s neither here nor there…so back to my story. Oh yes, at midday, I took a break and checked in to see the progress our tent was making. I had sold a handful of paintings and Scott was busy talking to bands as they inquired his recording services. After some more “live art,” we decided to hit up the VIP tent for some much needed free food and booze. Unfortunately, all that was left was some cold chicken legs and watered down wine, but hey- we artsy folks aren’t going to turn down free anything. When  the mural was finished (or my body was finished squatting!), I met up at our tent and watched the crowd cheer and dance to the country band that played before us. I ain’t much for country and folk-but I’ll tell you this: that crowd was rip-roaring and it was probably the biggest crowd out of all the stages that day. This surly made for good exposure! At one point, I ventured off to explore the whole festival and see the other artist’s works. There were seven different stages with all sorts of bands playing (100 bands all day) and over 70 artists. There were murals sprinkled about with about 10 other “live artists” completing their day’s masterpieces. It was such a whirlwind of emotions-being part of such a big event here in our not-so-prosperous city. We certainly have a special charisma and this event embodied our culture, and our intense love for the arts! The sun was now down and the nightlife exploded into flashing light, techno music, and all sorts of eye candy and ear candy for the masses. When the festival came to a close, we loaded up the remaining artworks and crawled our crippled bodies into the car. It was an intense day on all fronts, but a huge victory!