June 8, 2017

The Secret to Getting Happy




Presently this doesn't have anything to do with my artwork, but I wanted to tell you about this article I posted on FB this morning. It was about the science behind getting happy. Apparently getting happy is an actual physical battle going on in our brains. Despite their differences, pride, shame and guilt all activate the brain's reward center, and worrying actually makes our brains feel better.

Ha ha on us because not only are we fighting with emotional things we can't see, we're actually fighting our physical selves. According to the website, GRATITUDE does the trick. Gratitude produces the same chemicals naturally that are found in antidepressants. It goes on to say that even if you can't think of anything to be grateful for it doesn't matter, it's the searching that counts. Just remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence, and with higher emotional intelligence, it will actually take less effort to be grateful.

I thought this was all fascinating.. I can't recount the entire article but I will tell you how it ended; of the four ways to make yourself happy, the last one was TOUCH. Apparently rejection activates the same 'circuitry' as physical pain. Touching someone you love actually reduces pain. A hug, especially a long one, releases hormones that make you happy!

In conclusion it said, "So spend time with other people and give some hugs. Sorry, texting is not enough. When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better. What about when they just texted? Their bodies responded the same as if they had no support at all."

très intéressant.. don't you think?
You can read the full article here: 

May 22, 2017

The Aftermath: New paintings

The month of May has been a crazy whirlwind!
There are so many details to tell you about, but I'll sum it up like this:
I now have a fourteen year old daughter!
I've successfully completed my first season as Director of Beacon Open Studios, which generously rewarded me with much appreciation and love from my little art community.
I've started a lovely vegetable garden for the first time in five years.
And I'm very happy to say I've finally gotten back into my painting studio!
The other day I caught myself in the garden out of nowhere with a big grin on my face. I realized that maybe the past few months have been nothing more than a simple case of lingering winter blues, and that all I really need in life is some sunshine and gratitude!


Momento (ribbon), 2017, oil on paper, 33.5 x 38.5 inches


Momento (#2), 2017, oil on paper, 33.5 x 38 inches

Momento (#3), 2017, oil on paper, 37.5 x 33.5 inches

Momento (pink), 2017, oil on paper, 31.5 x 41 inches


Momento (#5), 2017, oil on paper, 33.5 x 37.5 inches

April 13, 2017

what does success mean to you?

I'm posting this on my birthday, in the hopes that this year will be more successful than the last....

IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs is a très interesting book of interviews. The founder of Design Sponge, Grace Bonney, asks this diverse group of inspiring women a series of questions describing their creative paths.

A book like this, with artists answering the same questions over and over, makes me imagine how I would answer the questions myself. It's only natural to make those comparisons. I won't bore you with the details, but what I want to talk about is the one question I was stuck on.  

What does success mean to you?
This is, of course, a completely subjective thing but don't you find the very notion of success a bit fleeting? It seems to change with the times, at least for me. When I was young I thought fame and fortune played a big part. Recognition, accolades, raising a family, being a good person. But any one of those things just by themselves doesn't really do it for me. I've thought about it a lot.

And then I read Ping Zhu's reply, that "when things are harmonious, even for a moment, I try to savor it." 

Paul Klee, New Harmony, 1936
That's it! That was the answer I was looking for. Success is not a concrete thing after all, it's a moment when everything is working together in perfect harmony. And if that's true, then there's the possibility for moments of great success every single day in everything we do!

I recently watched an episode of Chef's Table on Netflix. I can't say enough about this series, I absolutely love it. This one was about the Korean Buddhist nun Jeong Kwon.
Jeong Kwon used the word orchestra to illustrate the kind of unifying harmony where everything is working together. She was referring to nature and her place in it, but it's indicative of her all-inclusive philosophy about her food, her means of expressing her life, and her gratitude. Even more interesting was Ms. Kwon's notion that that very harmony was what she considered true freedom.

Hmmm.
I love this idea that maybe what success really means is true freedom. A freedom almost like a weightlessness, where all the elements are equally balanced, where nothing is too heavy or too light, nothing unnecessary or out of place, no interference, no mistakes. Even if it's just for a brief moment.

It's so simple isn't it? True freedom, true success, is the ability to get past our own selves, our own disappointments and desires. To not be burdened with expectations but to allow things to fall into place. I think the more we get away from the idea that we are the center of the universe, that life should wait for us, should adhere to our every want and whim, the closer we'll get to feeling at peace with ourselves and the things around us. Everything has a place and a purpose if we choose to see it that way. If we get out of our own way, perfect harmony can be happening all around us.

Henri Matisse, The Dessert: Harmony in Red, 1908









Success is harmony and harmony is freedom.

And there ends my sermon for the day! haha


March 24, 2017

HOW TO TELL IF LESS IS REALLY MORE

Last week feels like it flew by and I got nothing done, but as I sit here I can honestly see how "busy" is such a relative term.

I haven't been in my studio since I moved, making it two whole months I haven't painted, so it means something that I at least prepared for 5 new paintings. I also cooked a week's worth of family dinners from scratch from brand new recipes, which again might not seem very interesting except that I recently became a vegan, so it makes it more of an accomplishment. I donated a drawing to Planned Parenthood, finalized the Beacon Open Studios catalog, which I've been working on for two months, submitted work for the Dorsky Museum, and applied for twelve full time jobs. Yes, twelve. Actually thirteen if you count friendly inquiries that don't include cover letters and resumes. Oh, and I learned how to write a cover letter, which I had no clue how to do. I have been self-employed for a long time! Turns out I haven't had a boss since 1998.

Apparently I've been working hard on the less is more approach to life. Take for instance becoming a vegan. I thought it would be close to impossible to eliminate that many food groups and still be satisfied, but what I discovered is that eliminating choices has actually given me more freedom somehow. Limitation creates innovation. When you have less, you can focus more on the things you do have. Less choices populating your brain equals more space to ruminate, or in this case cook tastier meals.

Does that make sense?

Like when the designers for the Ford car company come out and say that the recent automobile regulations are what forced the forward thinking responses that led to their significant technological advancements... you start to think, well, maybe some limitations aren't so bad.

I've been trying to limit my color choices in my painting for years. I just know that limiting my palette will give me more freedom somehow, and I've heard other artists talk about this and agree. Yet every time I get down to it I start mixing more and more colors, more and more.

So now I'm reconciling this idea of getting a full time job with the hope that less time in my studio will somehow make it more precious and more productive.

not such a great photo of an old painting of mine
I watched a movie the other night, the one with Robert De Niro who plays the trainer for the boxer Roberto Duran. I never would've thought boxing was like painting but it absolutely is. The trainer kept telling the boxer -
It's all in your head. It's all psychological. If the opponent gets inside your head you're dead. It's about strategy and longevity. Stay focused and you win. 
I mean, this is no joke. When Duran walked out of the ring in the middle of the fight with Sugar Ray Leonard, you really understood. It really is a test of wills. Not to be overly dramatic, but it's exactly the same with making art, except that the opponent is you. Wait, actually, the trainer, the fighter, and the opponent... all you.

It's no light thing when you decide to walk out of the ring in the middle of a fight.
Hopefully that's not what I'm about to be doing. This "change is good" motto and trying new things out, well, we soon shall see just how far it takes me!







February 21, 2017

How to Make the Most out of What You've Got

So yesterday was moving day.

Goodbye to my beloved studio.

Hello to working out of the house again.

There's something très depressing about the amount of back breaking work it takes to move two and a half year's worth of paintings, just to store them in obscurity.

Moving always makes me feel like this...

It makes me painfully aware of how attached I am to these canvases, while also realizing how fragile and meaningless these things really are. After all, a painting is nothing more than some paint on a piece of fabric, and a drawing sometimes is nothing more than a doodle. Someone says it's special, puts it on a pedestal, proclaims its genius and all of a sudden it becomes something else entirely. It's so bizarre when you stop to think about it.

So, yeah, I had my little cry moment. It'll take some getting used to, but I'm already starting to feel better about it. Who knows, this could be the greatest thing ever. Last night some new friends came to visit me. What a lovely sight to see outside my window four deer quietly walking in the snow. It made me think how nice it will be to look out into the woods and the mountain from now on.

So I guess change will be good after all. Who knows what great artwork is about to get made.

Deer, the woods, the mountain... I'd say a much better view than that way-too-blue house and ugly duplex!


By the way, my white couch is still white! So much for everyone who thought moving it to the studio would be a disaster, including me. I just washed that slipcover again and I must say, this 16 year old IKEA beauty may just be the best $500 I've ever spent. Totally indestructible!




the last paintings I was working on. soon to be worked on some more
yup, the last things to get packed. the essentials: music, toilet paper and my flask of vodka

that sign didn't really work but I'm leaving it for the next tenant anyway
See ya



January 26, 2017

Hot Selling Copy

This January it feels more like a brand new year than almost any other year I can remember.

Major shifts in thinking are taking place at every level; individually, nationally, globally.  
Change isn't coming, it's here. And for anyone who's ever wished or rallied for change, be prepared, because it's never easy or quick or painless. My father used to say "struggle is good" with the conviction that nothing earned easily was worth earning, and that without the struggle, it could never be truly cherished or appreciated (whatever the it in your life might be). With that thought in mind I feel somewhat optimistic, in spite of the challenges that artists, women and the general American population are about to face.

This has been a January of change for me as well. A newer new year than usual!

I was pleased to participate in a Small Works show at the Catalyst Gallery here in Beacon, and even more pleased to have sold several drawings and a watercolor.

pastel drawing Samantha Palmeri
sold pastel drawing, 11 x 14 inches

This Saturday I'll be participating in another group show in Newburgh, and there is a possibility for a solo show of my paintings coming up this June, which I'll keep you posted on.

soon to be my new art studio

I've made the tough decision to move my art studio out of the studio building I've been in for the past two and a half years back to my home. I've gone back and forth about it for a while, but finally bit the bullet as they say. Change is good, right??   . . .  C h a n g e   i s   g o o d . . .   C h a n g e   i s   g o o d . . .   S t r u g g l e   i s   g o o d . . .   S t r u g g l e   i s   g o o d . . .




Last but not least, I'm super excited to have just become the new Director of Beacon Open Studios, a yearly event where Beacon artists open up their studios to the public. It's a huge weekend long, city-wide celebration sponsored by the artists and community members of Beacon, and enjoyed by thousands of visitors from all over. I'm thrilled to have volunteered, but it really is a huge job organizing it all. The irony is that I'm giving up my studio right before this event and will have to look for a temporary space to show my work!

Did I mention struggle is good!

My hope (and I am hopeful), is that you all are able to not just endure the new changes in your own lives, but relish them, because the reward for your perseverance is great!

My Facebook post this morning was this:

Think Big! because from one fallen dying leaf a whole brand new plant can grow



Happy 2017!