November 11, 2019

how to stop overthinking

There are little orchid babies on all my orchid plants.

I'm mesmerized that they are thriving with no concern for my feelings at all!

Completely unperturbed by what's going on in the world. They could care less about the emotional roller coasters I'm on, whether it's a bad day or a good day. They don't care about my new socks or my chipped nail polish, or the teaching gig I may or may not have. They just do what they do no matter what. 

I've watched these things all year, slightly neglected I admit. Even with yellow leaves falling off, clumps of entangled roots with barely any soil or moss to grow in, they still flourish. Regardless of even some basic necessities, they still grow, because that's what they're made to do. So simple and easy.

Orchids are thought to be a difficult plant to keep, but that's a misconception. We think because they're so beautiful and delicate they need extra care, but really they need less. Less humanness, less fussing and overthinking. I wish I could be this way. I'm exhausted from all my overthinking and feeling. I also wish my art practice was that steadfast and unflustered by internal and external influences. That way I could stop thinking about what to do next and just do it.

I haven't worked in the studio in a month, since my exhibition ended, and as usual the longer I wait the worse my mental state gets. I'm aware of course that relief from all the over thinking is to get some artwork done. The irony is that it takes so much work to get to that place of losing yourself in the work.






October 18, 2019

morning meditation

This morning I meditate
I take all the rocks off the window sill and put them in front of me
I greet the waving leaves on the trees and note the colors are more vibrant than yesterday
I think the sky has grown or I’ve shifted my seat because it looks bigger
I watch the clouds drift slowly by
And I feel the inside parts of my body moving with them
I check my pulse where my heart tattoo is to see if it is beating in harmony
It is not
I picture the blood flowing swiftly to and from it 
I wonder if I hold my finger there if I will be able to slow it down
I don’t
I go back to prayer pose
I seek the presence of the Lord but my thoughts go back and forth and there is a song in my head that keeps getting in the way
I seek forgiveness and peace and mostly Love and I think all these things while I pick up a rock from the pile
It is round and rough and I embrace the rock into my clasped hands
I don’t know what the rock stands for except that then all of a sudden I do
It is fear
It is the perfect rock for fear because it is flat enough and round enough and rough enough to feel good and fit perfectly in my hands
I think that I will let it go as soon as I hear the last gong
But I’m not ready and I squeeze it tighter
I picture it squeezing itself into my chest and becoming part of my body 
It represents the dark unknowns that keep me up at night 
It represents my longing my doubt my anger my hurt 
it is the foundation of all my frustration
it is at the core of all the dark thoughts in my head that I don’t want anymore
I let the rock go and place it on the empty windowsill 
I feel relieved 
but immediately I feel the absence of the rock
So I say a prayer that the empty space will get filled with Love 
and as I’m repeating the word over and over I hear the last gong




October 8, 2019

Art Studio Upheaval

This is a fun, and awkward post to write.

I am in the midst of a serious reorganization-upheaval of my art studio. Somehow the studio has become a dumping ground for a lot of shit I don't want to deal with.

I've been going through boxes and piles of artwork that I've been avoiding for over twenty years. Drawings, photographs, journal entries, scraps of paper with scrawled notes and sketches from age 18 until now.

IT IS SO MUCH!

And most of it is clearly like my worst depictions of teenage (and twenties' and thirties') angst and depression. Not to mention postcards, receipts, and tax papers from every failed business and art gallery I've owned or managed. All neatly piled in boxes that I've hauled from one studio to the next over and over throughout the years.

So, here I am happy to report that I have not only mustered the courage to look at all of this head on, but I've been able to purge most of it once and for all. Some of it was way more difficult to throw out, but I made a point of not only tossing things into the bin, I ripped them to shreds first.

Can you say Catharsis?

The memories are there and of course I'm still the same person and all, but I don't need the baggage anymore. I have saved a few gems, at least they're gems to me, and I suppose this is the fun part, sharing these silly self portraits with you!

This is a drawing I made when I was 18. Pastel on newsprint, 18x24". My eyes have never been that big btw and my hair has never been that straight, but there it is! It was part of an application for something and I remember the person reviewing it saying to me, what did you get bored by the time you got to the hair? Obviously I didn't get accepted into whatever it was!

This was a school assignment copied from a photograph from I'm pretty sure St. John's University, ca. 1992. Pencil on Bristol paper 16x16". I was damn cute as a four year old wasn't I?! Oh and the brown dots are moldy bits from being stored in my parent's basement for a few years.

This doesn't actually look like me either but I do like this little painting. Oil on canvas, 1999, 10x11"

... self portraits


My mother has often referred to me as stubborn. I used to agree with her but mostly because I liked thinking of myself that way. It implied that I had my own opinion, which gave me a personality, which I desperately craved when I was younger because all evidence pointed elsewhere.

But it has more to do with something else I think. It's not that I refuse to believe certain things, it's just that I need to see it for myself first. I can't believe in anything until I've made up my own mind about it. My daughter is the same way. She won't take my word for it. Maybe it's not the worst thing, except that it does end up taking an awfully  l o o o o o o n g  time to process things.








September 24, 2019

how to fall in love with yourself


Samantha Palmeri, Good Job, 2019, oil, charcoal, and pigment on canvas, 50 x 54 inches


It seems like everything happens in the fall.

Three years ago in October I was on the floor pretending to be a dolphin sobbing like a baby. sort of if I can remember correctly, in between writhing around and laying in a fetal position in a dark room full of strangers all doing the same thing. except for the sobbing part, because when the instructor said to give yourself a big hug and tell yourself you loved yourself, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who burst into tears. At that moment I couldn't have been farther away from knowing what that felt like or how to do it. Three years later I am not sobbing on the floor, but this notion of self-love still eludes me.

When you google self-love, some twenty something with a nose ring and perfect eyeliner appears on a video saying maybe you haven't done this or thought about it in like a year or so, so here's what you should do. really? Millennial self-help is such an oxymoron.

How to fall in love with yourself could very well be the most cliche thing ever. but what if it's like the most important question to ask. after all, trying to figure out how to fall in love with someone else or how to get them to fall in love with you is exhausting and counterproductive. I'm starting to understand, or at least pretending really hard to, that all that matters is the being okay with yourself part.

So, I'm willing to give this thing a try. TRY
or Don't Try as Charles Bukowski would say, but either way it's just there, and you're just there, and whether you meet in the middle, fall madly in love, or go to the bar and forget all about it, it's still gonna be there no matter what, so you might as well..........


This article might not legitimately be about life as a working artist, but you know, confidence goes a long way. My work is about relationships, and this probably is the most important one.









September 18, 2019

PAINTING WITH ACTION

Samantha Palmeri, The Things Between Us II, 2019, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Actions speak louder than words, and my paintings speak louder than me.

Unless you put your words and thoughts into action they lose meaning. In the end wishful thinking is just wishful thinking.

Friends who constantly say to you, I'd love to, I wish I could but can't, and never do, aren't really your friends. Friends actually show up, physically and emotionally. And isn't it wonderful when they do!

Then there's my paintings, which is what I really want to talk about. I'm so proud of this work that is now showing at the Catalyst Gallery in Beacon, New York.

My amazing artist friends who have seen this work in progress know what a struggle it was, my constant questioning, uncertainty, and doubt. And yet somehow the work has ended up speaking  louder than my trepidation.

I guess I'd say these are paintings of action. They showed up! Somewhere between my brain and my hand came some resolute power to pull it through.

The work is all the things I'd like to be: vibrant, decisive, satisfying.

(other people's praise not mine btw)

This reassures me, and we all need that reservoir of surety don't we, that I am doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.

Installation view, Samantha Palmeri, The Things Between Us, Catalyst Gallery, 2019


The Things Between Us is showing at Catalyst Gallery through September 29th.
I am at the gallery weekends 12-6 and by appointment any day of the week.






September 17, 2019

Current Mood






S e t t i n g   n e w   b o u n d a r i e s   s t a r t s   w i t h   m e   c h o p p i n g   t h i s   o n e   d o w n   t o d a y  



Y o u   s e e   h o w   t h e   f e n c e   w o n ' t   o p e n   r i g h t ? 




N o w   I   c a n   e n t e r   t h e   g a r d e n   a g a i n 



N o t h i n g   l i k e   a   l i t t l e   S u p e r w o m a n   a c t i o n   o n   a   T u e s d a y   a f t e r n o o n  !



June 13, 2019

How to deal with negative feedback




Most days I welcome feedback of my work. I can take a subjective opinion or a well thought out critique, even if I disagree, even from people who don't know that much about it.

But some days are difficult. There are moments when I feel especially vulnerable, and am overly sensitive and susceptive to the smallest criticism or critique. 

Recently I heard just the tiniest negative comment about my paintings and it threw me. I went to the studio and mentally applied that one comment to everything I was working on. I was more annoyed at myself for letting it affect me than the comment itself which was inconsequential at best. 

Sometimes it's good to take a step back and remember who we are and why we're doing what we're doing. I keep a journal in my studio specifically to jot down thoughts that I'm having a hard time articulating. Here's what I wrote: 

Fuck it! No one's here but me- my spirit- my soul- my body- my mind- We're working today and fuck everything else



May 31, 2019

A PRELUDE


I am about to embark on a new phase of life. One where I get to make my own decisions and have my own thoughts. I've been thinking a lot about the things that I like, that make me happy.

I like Chopin. I love Chopin. Listening to Chopin makes me almost giddy. It fills my entire person. I am paying bills this morning, which is a task that is frustrating and has brought me to tears more than a few times. But I put on Chopin in the background and I am perfectly fine. Isn't that weird!

Piano music brings me back to ballet class as a kid. Not the struggle and self-critical part, just the absolute joy. I hear the music and I picture bodies floating through the air in ecstatic pirouettes and grands jet├ęs. I imagine my own body doing all the things I was never capable of doing. It puts a smile on my face.

Chopin also is ingrained in me because I grew up hearing my uncle play it during weekly visits to grandma's house. Chopin couldn't be more of a perfect fit for the dichotomy of comfort and tension that was grandma's house and everything associated with it. Only artistic genius could capture the drama and beauty, sensitivity and chaos of so much dysfunction in such a transcendent way.