Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reflecting on the Past, looking ahead

This week I have scheduled a meeting with the Activity director at the Veteran's Home of California.My plan is to do a presentation and demonstration of how I make hand-painted gift rocks. I will provide each observer/participant a syllabus and a step by step guide as to how to find a decorate a rock of their very own.

This venture will be a first for me.I have never demonstrated or have revealed my craft to anyone.I have chosen to show veterans how to do this for one simple reason.I want to give away what has been so freely given to me, so that I may keep what I have.

What I have, is a gift that has been given to me.

I will tell the story about how I lost a job that I loved and ended up out at the beach, feeling hopeless.It was there that I asked God for help to know what to do next with my life.I began to pick up rocks along the beach and discovered that they just felt good as I held them in my hand.They seem to help me focus as I meditated,asking for guidance and direction.

Art has been a theme in my life, but it hasn't always been on the front burner... so to speak.Having graduated with a degree in Art in 1974,my skills were not in demand and no one was knocking at my door.I found work in the Hospitality business as this was the type of employment available to me.Although I also eventually found work in the field as a production artist,this got repetitious and really was not really my calling.

Being a people person, I was certain that service positions in the Hotel or restaurant industry were what I was best suited for; working usually up to two or so years as a bellman,server,host,valet etc. After many years and set-backs,I finally landed a great job as a Concierge at the Culinary Institute of America.

It was there that I was able to step up my game.I held this position for a much longer period than any job prior (and) after seven years,felt like a seasoned professional.This was my career...or so I thought.

Politics exist in any corporate environment where people want to move ahead.This was very true at the CIA and the careers of some great people were being formed around me.One day,after having watched several episodes of the T.V. show "Survivor", I became aware of the importance of forming alliances.It hadn't occurred to me to rely on the approval or disapproval of anyone to do a good job.Ultimately, this attitude did not serve me as one of my co-workers misrepresented me to my supervisor,and when my word was challenged I was shown the door.Or, put another way, I was voted "Off the island."

That hurt

Well back to the beach.I brought few rocks home and began to paint them and was surprised at how stunning they appeared to be.I then explored ways to decorate them that would really make them shine.The biggest revelation was when I found some glow in the dark paint that transformed these simple rocks into something beautiful.

I gave a few to some friends,and more people began asking me about them.I did not want to sell them initially, because they were like jewels.I knew which ones were the real dazzlers.Two summers ago, I began to sell them at the Farmers Market in Calistoga.Since that time I have been able to keep my car payments up and a roof over my head.The good lord has provided well for me.

But the story does not end there.In fact, my creativity has blossomed and I am continually thinking of ways to showcase these rocks. Last year I had an Art show featuring posters of my work at the St. Helena Public Library! For almost three years I have been building a business that is becoming my life's work, and the opportunities continue to unfold.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Freaky February

The days have been sunny and up in the 70's which is fairly unusual for February in Calistoga.I ran into my friend Larry Nowlan who fly out with his wife Heather to take part in the ceremony at the CIA's Wine History Museum.Larry is a sculptor who does very high-end relief sculpture in Bronze.He just completed several more busts of some of the luminaries in the wine industry here in Napa. Ceasar Chavez was one, and I know Robert Parker was the other.Larry is a positive, happy go lucky guy who enjoys life. He and his wife Heather are both likeable people. It is just a little freaky that he keeps appearing at various intervals in my life.He must have something I want. We have made arrangements to meet Tuesday evening before he heads back home. He and I met when I was still working at the CIA. I told him I was a tea totaler (which I am).I had a cup of tea this morning before heading off to church.

Life goes on...

Saturday, February 02, 2013


I met my friend Veda at MacWorld in S.F.and we had a great time exploring the exhibit floor.As you can tell from the photo to the right I took advantage of the Adobe "Space Alien" exhibit and really hammed it up.Later,We went downstairs to a booth where Veda was one number away in a raffle for winning a computer backup storage device.When the numbers were announced she smiled, groaned a bit in disappointment, and walked from there to have lunch across the street at Jillian's Restaurant. It was then that we rested our feet and chowed down.

Months ago, I submitted an image for the Digital Gallery at MacWorld, and discovered it's location in the Moscone West's Atrium reception area. I was proud to have it posted along side other artists who were also having their art showcased.Below is a picture of Veda displaying my Rock Art with all the charm of Vanna White.Moving on,We left the event after collecting lots of "Schwag" and quaffing numerous dairy-free cheese samples that were being passed out on the showroom floor. This was around 5PM and so eventually Veda ended up driving back to Novato to meet with her friend Bill.

I went from there to my sister Martha's house on 21st Street,not too far away.My brother-in-law Ernie was there preparing a fish dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans. I helped cut the green beans and herbs while he cooked the fish. The three of us had a nice meal together, and then it was time for some entertainment.Ernie opted out, but Martha and I drove to the Fillmore Auditorium for a concert that was free after I had won 2 tickets on KRSH radio a few days prior.

Performing was Ian Hunter of MOTT THE HOOPLE fame. He put on a knockout show which was very loud. Luckily we found a suitable viewing place upstairs overlooking the stage. At one point, the music was so loud I could see my sister holding her fingers in her ears. A nice lady standing behind us noticed this, and gave each of us a pair of ear plugs! (How absolutely thoughtful don't you think?) The show ended around 11:30 PM and I dropped my sister back off at her place and got to Calistoga sometime around 1:30AM Saturday morning.

Thankfully, I was up early enough to participate in the Farmer's Market and even made enough cash to defray the cost of my trip to the city. Life is good!