Leisure Time. 6″ x 6″ Oil on panel. Fond memories in this camper circa 1971.
Recently, I have noticed books, websites and podcasts for creative people about finding your authentic self – your true self. Reason being, if you can tap into that, your art-making will be inspired from within, thus you’ll create more authentic and genuine pieces. Why is this an important and necessary process? Your art needs to have integrity. For you to defend your art as the “real thing” it needs your truth. When the art you make comes from within, you will see it on the canvas. It has a ring of truth. Your art will stand out and bring you peace. You will look forward to creating and sharing.
So how do know how to find your truth? Your story? We all have a story, a point of view. I wanted to find my truth. Should I read books, take personality tests, Google and listen to podcasts? My discovery of my story was relatively simple. I stopped looking outside to find out who I am. No one knows me better than myself. My experiences, likes, dislikes, memories, ideas are only mine. I thought about it for a bit and looked at the work I most enjoy making and sharing. Then my story revealed itself. I’ll share it with you!
I’m a girl who loves the 60’s who was raised by a genius scientist and an alcoholic mother with a heart of gold. While she attempted domestic life, our suburban development house overwhelmed my mother. Four kids kept her busy. Erma Bombeck was her idol and voice of sanity. Someday, I’ll share the whole story. For now, let’s just say I watched a lot of TV to show me what normal life was. I yearned to live in the Brady Bunch house. One fond memory I had growing up was camping at state campsites in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. We were all crammed in a popup camper. It felt so great to be with other kids and families doing this “normal” activity. So, camping has a strong hold on me. I have a log cabin in the Adirondack mountains which I use as a studio for summer painting. I love pine trees and the color of pine needles. That’s who I am. I love vintage and the Adirondack landscapes. A lot has happened in my life along the way, but I can honestly say my love for life in the 60’s and the mountains pretty much consumes my thoughts. Simple? Sure. And for now, that’s just fine for me. What’s your story? Listen to your inner voice….shhhhhh. Hear it?
Staying cozy in the Leisure Time Camper, 1972. I’m the happy one in the back.
P.S. Timing is everything. I just started reading Larry Moore’s book, Fishing for Elephants. If you are struggling with finding your authentic self and your inner voice isn’t screaming at you to get your attention, Larry can do it for you! It’s a great read so far. Good luck in your journey, may you be at peace with your story.
Tub O’ Soda, 10″ x 10″ Oil on gessobord
Original page from Michne Camping Log, 1971
My father kept our camping log all the years we camped. This page has the story of the day I won the “floating mattress!”
It was July 16, 1971. The perfect summer day as I recall. My father was hosting the annual work picnic. I won a green raft that day for my athletic ability in the egg race! It was my biggest claim to fame as a 9 year old. I remember reaching into a tub of iced cold soda with what seemed like every variety ever invented. It was sheer heaven- all the FREE SODA I could drink! Pull the ring tab- wear it on your finger for a bit before carelessly dropping it somewhere in the grass. Take that long first sip…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Life was good.
Who’s Thirsty? 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
We didn’t have water bottles- there was no sippy box, pouch or fancy energy drink. If you were outside playing, and you were thirsty, you would simply turn on the spigot, bend down a bit, wait for about 10 seconds until the cold water reached the end of the hose, then take a long, long gulp swallowing, swallowing and swallowing. Of course, you would then offer the hose to the next sweaty, out of breath neighborhood friend. If you were on your game that day, you might remember to turn off the hose. Or, your father might step in huge puddle and yell out ” Who left the dam hose on?”
Cherry Kool-Aid, 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
Making Kool-Aid was hit-or-miss. First, you had to have packet. Chances are, we didn’t have enough sugar to fill the measuring cup. Next, to find the pitcher- (dump out whatever old drink was brewing in that!) After accidentally snorting the unsweetened powder when you opened it, get your spoon, add sugar, stir, then pray that you would have ice in the ice-cube maker! If all was right with the world, you would have the perfect sugary cup of cherry Kool-Aid. All in a summer’s days work!
Remember Saratoga Vichy Water? Well, they also made Saratoga Ginger Ale! Of course, everyone had the Vichy water. My mother had it for every “adult” party. Each time there was a spill, it was “Grab the Vichy water!!” Not gonna lie, we usually had Canada Dry Ginger Ale. I resurrected this bottle from the Round Lake Antique Fest and thought I’d put the little sister of Vichy in the spotlight. What is Vichy water, anyway?
(Mr. Harvey’s) Suntea
Mr. Harvey was my 5th grade teacher at Skano Elementary. He was the best. We made sawdust puppets, paper mache bowls and something using the wish bones from chicken bones. At the time, during the early 70’s, he was definitely ahead of the curve on “student engagement”. I remember outside our classroom, he had this mysterious jar with the most beautiful colors. He poured us all a cup in a little Dixie paper cup (after he added mint!). What teacher does this??? Every summer, I try to recreate the taste of that tea. After 40+ years, I think I nailed it! Here’s the recipe: Put 8 or so tea bags in a glass jar, add water. Next add peaches, strawberries, an orange slice and a bit of lemon. Let it seep all day. Add a teaspoon or two of real sugar, add ice cubes with a sprig of mint, and there you go, Mr. Harvey’s Suntea!
What is it about the Martini that reeks of class? Fancy glass? Olives in a drink? I would love to sit down with Geotge Peppard (Breakfast at Tiffanys) and enjoy just one Marini. It’s a flirty drink- you would never make one for yourself and sit on your couch drinking it. I can just imagine the music spewing out of the restaurants in the sidewalks of Saratoga, say in 1965. How great would it be to have just one Martini sitting on that sidewalk?
Note: Not even one Martini was consumed for this painting.
Merry-Go-Round, and Round
Prior to the salad spinner, there was the neighborhood merry-go-round. Being spun at a nice speed could be a very relaxing experience. You could lay down and look at the trees and blue sky above. Unless your brother was the spinner. Or anyone else, for that matter! They would start holding the bars and running with the merry-go-round. You would just beg “stop” “slow down”! Like a tag team, they would take turns gripping on and giving it a good push. You were at their mercy. There was no stopping it. You might be left on for five or ten minutes while everyone else got on their bikes and peeled out! Eventually, you would be able to stick your feet out to drag them into the dirt to stop it-if you had sneakers on. If not, it would simply spin, slow, spin, slow and finally, you would stop and then the whole earth would start spinning!