Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Finally Reemerging

Well, it's been quite a ride for me over these past six months since I've last posted.  So JK and I realized last summer that our house in Deering Center in Portland was just too big for us and didn't suit our needs as a newly "retired" couple.  And since the market was so hot, we wanted to find someplace first before we put our place on the market.  Mostly b/c of the expense/hassle of storing our stuff and where would we find a place to rent that would take two dogs and a cat?

So since our next door neighbor was a RE agent and we told her she could have the sale when we decided to move, we started looking.  We had deal-breakers of course - like covered parking for us both with access to electric outlets since we are now a plug-in hybrid family and a decent size kitchen and 3 bedrooms and 2 baths ... but not too big to heat and cool.  It's getting hotter and hotter in Maine like it is in your neck of the woods - climate change... please do your part.

Upshot is that while we found a great condo in a 55+ community in Falmouth, much closer to Casco Bay,  we had huge problems dealing with a not savvy (or very good - could never recommend them.) architect who took forever to draw up plans and didn't listen to our requests. If you live in Maine and want to avoid them, please email me for their name.

We had found a contractor who gave us a 3 month deadline to re-do the kitchen, refloor all the downstairs and build a dormer so we could have a 2nd floor master/bath/walk in closet space that would fit the king bed and our furniture.  Nice to have only one set of stairs now instead of three like the old house.

Then we escaped for two weeks to take the dogs in the van to St Augustine FL... to this great dog friendly condo a short walk from the beach.  We were lucky to see my brother and sister in law - Bill & Janine so we could make them dinner one night.  We liked the place so much, we've already booked it for next year.

Of course why not have a back surgery before you need to downsize and move?  If the pain had let me put it off, I might have, but I'm glad it's over and done with today...  had to have a nerve decompression by a talented neurosurgeon here in Maine in the same area where I had surgery out in LA a dozen years ago.

Getting permits was an adventure as well as getting OKs from the HO association.  But we thought we were finally ready to go in January when we started getting some bad weather and they really needed to do the dormer first....  While our contractor was a really nice guy, we realized by March he didn't know how to meet deadlines and we'd have to hold off on the sale of the house for at least another month. 

We ended up having to move in on May 9th b/c our closing was on the 11th and we needed to get a cleaning service in on the 10th... and yes, we had to move into a construction zone and store everything (including clothes) for the bedroom and bath in the garage. 

Better yet, we also had to hire the moving company to come back to move the stuff from the garage upstairs.... glad to report that now there are only a few boxes left to unpack, and we still need to set up the guest room which should happen in the next week or so.

But if you should want to come visit, please don't come during brown tail moth season (May-beginning of June).  The caterpillars have invisible, toxic hairs that float around and if you're wildly allergenic like me,  after a month of stinging, itching, burning, you will BEG your doctor for steroids.  In our little community only the front part of it bought into spraying, but next year, the HO board says spraying will be all over, which hopefully will mean I won't have to run away for May.

If you're local, come on down to the UMVA (Union of Maine Visual Artists) member show opening First Friday, July 6th from 5 to 8 pm at the Portland Media Center on Congress St., right next door to the Maine College of Art (MECA).  This is a new encaustic piece that was developed at a workshop with Dietland Vander Schaff this past April.

For those of you who can't make it...  here it is

"Carbon: a Penguin's Story" is the name of this encaustic and mixed media on wood cradle piece.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Waxing Away

A couple of weeks ago I went down to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton to see the #NEWAX show there... here are some of my favorite pieces in the show.

I do have to tell you that #OttyMerrill is a friend and a former mate from when we had studios at #RunningWithSissors in #PortlandMaine.

Her work is sublime... Symphony in Black

Ken Eason
Pamela DeJong
Donna Hamil Talman
This was done on paper then hung with a plastic sort of hanger so it floated against the wall... this reminds me of the work I've done infusing photos with encaustic and putting them in frames

Angela Dean
  These are encaustic with transfers....something I've done as well

and then these two other sculptural objects caught my eye...

Leo Sewell
I loved this sculpture made from reclaimed objects...

Hank Murta Adams
and this cast glass piece... I didn't know you could cast glass....

Monday, October 23, 2017

October Odditites

September seemed to fly by after we got back from Halifax.  It was a fun trip but it was back to business when we jetted home.  Because I could not vent encaustic wax fumes from my studio, I was on the hunt for another  one with windows - which I found at the State Theatre building in downtown Portland on the corner of High and Congress streets.  I should also be able to set up a mini studio in the back but that hasn't come together yet.  The one thing I miss about Running with Scissors is the community there.  I have peeps there who have influenced my art making and I hope to catch up with them in the near future!

I've got the place mostly set up, but will get some help from Hilary at abode on better organizing the space once a few other events have come to pass.  I've been a member of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) for a while now and went to a meeting last month where it became clear that someone needed to step up to curate the November member show.  Since I've done this before with Asylum Gallery back in the day in Sacramento, I said sure, I'll do it! 

Then I get an email from the digital art professor Matthew.Smolinsk (UM Orono) asking if I would like to be a visiting artist and talk about my work for two classes in October.  Since they were willing to pay me, I agreed.  I'm looking forward to it this week as I always learn so much about life and art by teaching.

In addition to the UMVA show that opens November 3rd, First Friday here in Portland Maine, there will be a sculpture of a giant, naked woman in DC.  You can read about it here. 

If you're on the opposite coast, you must check out the work of Maria Maiolino in this great article by Carolina Miranda.  I htink it's interesting that she used eggs for her performance but in a different way than I used them in my installation at Running withe Scissors, before I moved.  Yes, eventually, I will be posting all the documentation of that here.  I do need to put it up at another site somewhere.  I need to have the documentation all in order to do this however.

Monday, September 4, 2017


We took a quick birthday trip to Halifax in August.  Neither of us had ever been there before and a new airline was offering some bargain rates and when JK asked me if I wanted to go, I said Of Course!  I love traveling and exploring new places and places where I was once there years ago.  So, yes, I've got some Irish Traveler genes. 

One thing I loved about the city was it's waterfront - Portland you could take some lessons from our Canadian neighbor!  Like the photo above.  Yes, Virginia they are huge hammocks just out there for anyone to loll around in!!  Although you must have to get up pretty early to snag one, as they were never empty when we strolled by.  Had dinner our first night at a great place called The Bicycle Theif while sitting at an outside bar and chatting with the very friendly local folks.  And of course we met another couple from Maine 

You wouldn't know it from the photo of the island that sits right in the middle of the harbor, but Halifax is a boom town right now.  That's why not so many city photos (except the ones I posted on Facebook) b/c construction is not pretty or even interesting at times.

What was interesting was the Arts Gallery of Nova Scotia and that they did a special project with autistic kids as evidenced here:

The photo above shows some of my favorites from the exhibit.

What follows are some other favorites from the museum.

Mermaid by #EmilyFlowers

Titanic by #JimSmith

Tree by #MattWendel
Probably one of the most amazing things they have in the place is the old cabin Nova Scotia's most famous artist - Maude Lewis - lived in with her jerk of a husband.  You must see the movie Maude to understand.  She is the Maritime Provinces' Grandma Moses.  The inside of the cabin is completely painted too.

I think Lewis painted the original "grumpy cat".
I also loved that the museum paid attention to the First Nation artists as well as those whose families immigrated here.  I really loved #MichelleBaikie and her photography featured below:

Spirit Drummer
We also rented a car one day to travel around to the SW of the city to explore the coast and found this charming fishing shack which looks abandoned, just south of Peggy's Cove,


Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove

Low Tide at Peggy's Cove

Low Tide at Peggy's Cove
En Plein Aire 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Thanks for Your Support

Doing multi-media installation is a lot of work and since it can't be "sold" like a painting or a photograph, it means you have to eat the costs involved or get it funded by a grant or foundation.  But to apply for those, you really need to have documentation of your past work. 

This brings me to one of the biggest documentation failures I've ever had - Different Paths up the Same Mountain - an installation that I did with Sherry Ragan (who died right after the installation 2/94) who was the executive director of the Institute for Design & Experimental Art - IDEA gallery when it was in the old Oak Park Firehouse) was supposed to be filmed but there were glitches and technical errors apparently and other than an article in a now defunct weekly newspaper whose name I can't remember for the life of me. 

It really was monumental as we had a three foot wide by 10 foot tall column with a light shining from the bottom; five altars that had 2 steps and artifacts from Buddhism, Native American spiritual philosophy, Judaism, Islam & Christianity; tape players under each altar with different scores I had created for each religion consisting of sound, readings from their holy books and chunks of music which were time to play randomly; then five lights of different colors with different gobos in them which had hand cut images (special shout out to my sister, Jude who did them for us) from the religions.

So back to our opening theme - support.  A thank you to the Forecaster weekly who listed both our opening reception on July 17th, Monday from 5 to 7 pm and our closing reception on July 17th from 5 to 7 pm at Running with Scissors, 250 Anderson (behind the big UHaul place on Marginal Way) or by appointment by emailing me anntracy51 (at) gmail.com.

I'm getting a few days (planned months ago) of R & R up at a lake with hubster and the doggie boys.  But before I left town, my beautiful, artist friends Christine Sullivan and Andrea Spencer helped me prepare parts of Visual Poetics of a War Against Women.  A huge thank you goes out to them.

Andrea helping with the flowers

Christine helping gild the birdcages

A gold clay frame by Anita Holt with ancient clay figurine from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and ink saturated flowers
Look for a video link for the next post.  Having a tussle getting the old dvd player to read it so I can project it but I just ordered a new media player that is supposed to connect to the video projector.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Poetics of Dreaming

Dreaming seems to be the poetics of thinking to my mind.  I'm creating an installation using objects, video and fabric here at Running with Scissors (RWS), the home base of my studio.  I signed up for it months in advance but am now realizing July wasn't really the best of months to put it up, as the work for it needs to take place the last two weeks of June, which is also #PortFringe time.  I'm going to install it 1st and 2nd of July, but since I'm away that next week, it won't open until July 17th and will only be up for 10 days.  Hours will be by appointment only (b/c of zoning laws here in East Bayside) with a closing reception on July 27th.

This is Portland's Theatre Fringe Festival that is attracting talent from all over the US to come perform for 2 or 3 shows.  The 1st year it started, I tried to put together a re-mount of the show that my theatre company (#BeyondtheProsceniumProductions) took to Edinburgh back in 1996 - Dancing with Desire: A Poetic Fandango with the Erotic and the Bawdy.  But I was unable to cast it.  Ironically, I was asked this year to act in a show, but the producer lost too many actors and had to bag it.

So instead, I'm doing theatre without actors - or installation art as others call it.  Here's a wiki about it.  It will include the use of fabric, objects and video and be installed in part of the front gallery at RWS.   What I'm really sad about today is that although I'm volunteering Wed night., because of other plans made and work that needs to get done and my general peace of mind, I'm gonna miss the fringe this year.

Here's a little sneak preview of one of the objects that will be in the installation.

Friday, June 9, 2017

What Happened to May?

Not unhappy it's come and gone as it was mostly rainy and cold as memory serves.  But we did have the highlight of my sister coming to visit with her partner Steve for a couple of days... and we got to see Mad Horse Theatre's production of Mr Burns: An Electric Play.  if there is a decent theatre company in your area doing this piece, go see it.

On the very first of June, we drove down to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod with the doggies so I could attend the International Encaustic Conference 11.  It was inspiring and I learned some cool things.  I also learned I really need to vent the fumes from the hot box one works on.  Unfortunately my studio here at Running with Scissors is not on an outside wall, so I'm not sure of what can be done.

And I learned a new way to mount my cell photos that I saturate with encaustic wax from the wonderful Sherrie Posternak.  

She uses RIVETS and then ties to a rod for a hanging tapestry sort of effect.  Brill way of dealing with it.  I will experiment with it hopefully without filling the air with too much toxic debris.  Wasn't that a Frank Zappa song?  No, it was Cosmic Debris.

One of the other things I've done since our return has been to create a very large digital, abstract painting.  Life's Mystery I

And this weekend my nephew Mark is coming for a visit before settling down to his PhD studies at Univ. of Virginia.  He's never had lobster, but says he will try it.  But tonight, it's brats on the grill.  Gotta go make that happen!  Until then, my dear reader.....

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Going to Venice for the Biennial this year?

No?  I'm not either, BUT one of my digital collages will be there as part of a group show via #BostonBiennialIV.  I'm so jazzed as this is the 2nd time I've been included in the show.  Know anyone with a private Jet?  Ask them to email me and maybe I will get to the May 13th opening at ARTIsm3160

More info on the Digital Artists of Maine page on FB.  But for those of you who are not on social media much, I write this blog to share my adventures.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Waxing Onward... Through the Fog

March is just about over, and the news from DC is so dismal I had to do the first in a series of encaustic paintings and my largest one ever! 

and this bad boy is already framed out to  13.75 x 16.75"...  You'll be able to see it up close and personally when Running with Scissors has it's "Spring for Women and Studio Art Sale" event on May 6th.  For deets, click here.   I'm more than happy to split the sales with four very fine groups that serve girls and women. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Painting my Way Out of It

So while this terrible #CircusOfHate is being driven by #Scrotus, I've been trying to channel all the love I can muster and I've been doing more mixed media painting!  Yes, actual painting with acrylics.  Let me present you with "Creationism: Fake Science".

This will be available at the studio here for our May 6th Open Studios.  And I will also have a digital version available for folks who would like prints. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


If you're even a little like me, you've been depressed since the election in November.  That depression seeped into the holiday season making it not quite as jolly as it could have been.  Was hoping for a miracle from the electors, but they apparently want to see this country slide into fascism and didn't have the brass ovaries to do anything about it.  Fine.  Time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  Maybe it's the new vitamin I'm taking now, but I'm no longer feeling so very tired.  After all, this isn't my first rodeo.  At last night's MLK dinner (hosted by the Portland NAACP), it was the speech of Sherri Mitchell from the Land Peace Foundation that helped to fill me with hope...

And then something happened today which gave me even more hope - a project that I thought had gone south forever, was reborn!  "Some time ago you and I spoke about interest from the Ritz Carlton San Juan in licensing your piece Day at the Beach. While the client had decided that the work was not the proper fit for the lobby space, they are now interested in moving forward with the piece in the corridors."

The piece is one of digital alchemy using an iPod photo as a base, and was shot during a workshop with Elizabeth Opalenik a few years ago.  Thanks again Elizabeth!  And thanks to my beautiful models, Rachael Schwartz and Stephanie Acacia Lasher.  You ladies will be famous at the Ritz!

Day at the Beach (c) Ann Tracy

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Black Artists Matter

When I was in Chicago this past summer, I had the pleasure of going to the Kerry James Marshall retrospective at the Chicago Contemporary Museum.  It was a great show and I got an education about an artist I had not heard of before.  Back in November, the New Yorker had an article about the show of his work at the Met Breuer.

But apparently what I saw in Chicago was only the first part of the a retrospective of his work.  That's why I'm so glad that Seph Rodney wrote about it for Hyperallergic.  You'll find his article here.

Buy Black by Kerry James Marshall