Thanks to Mom I Am Exhausted

Thanks to mom, I have been exhausted everyday getting ready for another art show.  Mom gave me the creativity, drive and confidence in myself to be an artist, like she was.  She made artistic endeavors a safe haven for kids growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.  She lead by example that trying new things was fun and exciting so I relish experimenting with new art modes and subjects ( like water fountains, LED lighted sculptures, metal work, mosaics with a twist, etc.)

Thanks to mom, I am totally renovating my kitchen, from demolition to designing the new space to building cabinets to installing everything myself (and with the help of my boyfriend and son).  Mom gave me the skills to plan, organize, and follow-through. She gave me the gumption to do a big project like that and to feel certain that it would turn out well.

Thanks to mom I am exhausted. But it is a good kind of feeling to know how to set goals and be able to accomplish them and enjoy the fruits of your labor. So breast cancer took mom from this Earth but she lives on through her children, grandchildren, family and friends whom she touched with her magic.

Thank you mom!


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

At the request of the Kuumba Collective, a phenomenal group of African American artists, my "Two Faces of Eve" sculpture will be shown in a special breast cancer awareness section of their brand new gallery. "Two Faces of Eve" makes us question whether it is ugly, confusing, erotic, calm, elegance, merely a representation of disease in the body, or a pictorial of how cancer makes women feel going through chemotherapy, or . . . . ? You tell me what you think the sculpture represents.

The KUUMBA COLLECTIVE FINE ART GALLERY / GIFT SHOP is located in North Sacramento, at 1001 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, CA.

This sculpture will be in the gallery until November 9, 2009.


For more information, please contact: iristeagarden@yahoo.com or deanero2002@yahoo.com



What’s a BRA SHOW?

The Women’s Wisdom Project (WWP) and Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation are preparing to host their second ART BRA SHOW to bring awareness to the plight of breast cancer in Sacramento and its effects on all women. Artists have been invited to sculpt, paint, stitch and/or embellish a piece of artwork that uses the “bra” as a symbol.

The show will be held between Sept 10-19 at the 40 Acres Gallery, 3428 3rd Avenue, Sacramento, CA. Pieces will be auctioned on Sept 12 from 6-9 PM.

Come and see my “Puttin’ on the Ritz” metal and clay wall sculpture and the other interesting bra art there in August and plan to buy some art to further these good LOCAL causes.

Remember that Breast Cancer touches all of us. One in every eight women will get breast cancer during her lifetime. A cure needs to be found and you can help with your art purchase.

The Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation is a local non profit 501 (c) 3 dedicated to breast cancer education, outreach and screening in the greater Sacramento region. Their mission is "to save more lives and empower people with breast cancer through awareness, education and support." Please visit their website at www.albieaware.org or call (916) 927-1592 for more information.

The WWP is an art program of the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, for adult women who want to broaden their creative lives. Women's Wisdom is a free, drop-in program that includes art classes taught by professional artists. The WWP provides a free, hot lunch, a supportive staff, counseling, referrals and a unique opportunity for socialization. They accept women from all backgrounds and walks of life. For more information, please call (916) 456-1980 or go to www.sfbs.org and check out their programs.

For more information about the show and/or if you would like to donate funds ANYTIME for these causes, please contact the WWP program manager, Helen Plenert, at (916) 456-1980 or at hplenert@sfbs.org


A Blast From My Mom's Past

A friend of mine e-mailed the following Sacramento Bee article about my mother, Mary Marshall, and me. It brought back some amazing memories as mom and I were being profiled for a special showing the Crocker Art Museum was having on our artwork in 2000. I hope you enjoy the article and learn a little about my remarkable mom!

NOTE: The Blue Moon Gallery will feature my and my mom's artwork in June 2010.

Mom's prints are available HERE

SACRAMENTO BEE February 2000, People Edition
By: Celia Lamb

If art is an expression of the soul, then African ancestors speak through the hands of mother and daughter artists Mary and Kanika Marshall.

Kanika sculpts with clay, and Mary prefers to work with watercolors. But they share the goal of creating art inspired by the cultures of a continent they have never seen but are connected to by blood.

In recognition of Black History Month, the Marshalls' Africa-influenced art will be on display at the Crocker Art Museum store Feb. 19 and 20.

Mary, who lives near Mack Road and Stockton Boulevard, began painting about 10 years ago. At that time, she retired from a career in school administration that included serving as principal at Bret Harte Elementary School in Curtis Park, Camellia Elementary School in Elder Creek and Pony Express Elementary School in South Land Park Hills.

Mary always had planned to explore her interest in art after she retired. She enrolled in art classes at Cosumnes River College, experimenting with various media before focusing on watercolors.

"You just can't get any other medium to do that wonderful juicy feel that you get from watercolor," Mary said.

Artistic talent clearly runs in the family. Mary said she encouraged Kanika's childhood interest in art. "One of the things I know I did, and I wish more parents would do, is that instead of just buying the plastic, premade (toys), we always had the crayons and the paper and the pens," Mary said.

Kanika, a resident of Elk Grove, took up art later in life as a means of exploring her heritage. "In the 1970s, when I was in my 20s, I was searching for my identity," Kanika said. "I'm very fair-skinned, so I didn't fit well into either the black or white cultures." At about that time, Kanika read Alex Haley's epic novel "Roots," which told the story of Haley's African and African-American ancestors.

"That got me on a mission to learn more about African cultures," she said.

Kanika studied African history at California State University, Sacramento. She also took a pottery class at CSUS from artist Ruth Rippon. "Pottery was really making cups and bowls and plates, but I wasn't doing that. I was doing this," she said, holding up an African-style mask. "I was trying to do this on the sly."

Later she enrolled in art classes taught by sculptor Yoshio Taylor at Cosumnes River College. "He was just a great inspiration," says Kanika. "He's a Japanese American, so the influences of his culture definitely are displayed in his work."

Under Taylor's tutelage, Kanika said, she began to explore the African influences in her work. She said she is inspired by West African influences, creating proud clay figures wearing traditional brightly colored fabrics and flashy headdresses. Sometimes she depicts people from East African cultures with simpler, lighter-colored clothing. She recently made a figure of a southeast African Zulu warrior carrying a spear and shield and wearing white and blue garments. She also sculpts clay masks and pendants.

Kanika says she likes the tactile sensations of working with clay.

"I don't think a lot about what I do. It comes through my hands," she explained. "It's kind of exciting for me, too, to see what's going to come out in the end."

Many of Mary's paintings depict Kanika's sculptures. Mary also paints images of African people, still lifes and abstracts. Painting abstracts isn't easy, she said. It takes time to develop a style. "If I had my way, I'd do all abstracts, but I'm working my way up to that," she said.

Kanika began showing her work in 1993. Her mother joined her a couple of years later.

Kanika's works have been displayed at the former I.D.E.A. Gallery in Oak Park, the Barton Gallery and the Blooming Art Gallery in midtown, the Sacramento Fine Arts Center in Carmichael and the Auburn Arts Centern. The two women also have participated in various art shows and competitions in Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Kanika and Mary displayed their work at the Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St., in the 1998 and 1999 holiday art shows. February's showing in the museum store will feature only their work, Kanika said.

Celia Lamb

Problems? Suggestions? Let us hear from you. Copyright © The Sacramento Bee



Every year since 1993 I have submitted artwork for consideration for the State Fair Fine Art Show. I have been fortunate the last seven or so years to submit pieces the judges-of-the-year found worthy to be in the show to win awards. There are several different categories among the major visual art arena that artists may enter, sculpture, ceramics, and mixed media. There are also some special categories, such as cultural, wine, and equestrian. Each year, I try to enter at least one of the special categories. This year I tried for the wine category with "The Wine Tasting."

A group of African women in beautiful, long flowing gowns sipping wine. Different types of wines and wine glasses line the right side. Different types of wine grapes align the left side. Yes, maybe this would be best in the cultural category, but it's always fun to try something different!

So why is this on my Cancer Survivor Blog? Why not? It is a celebration of life, of wine, of good friends, of gratitude, or acceptance, of fun.



Heart of my heart. In February 2009, I created a new line of textured ceramic hearts using luscious colors. Chopping up a 25-pound block of red clay into roughly triangular shapes, I rolled it quickly to about 1/4" thick, generally making a heart shape. Then I made and bought several textured rubber and clay stamps. Stamps that look like hearts, lace, and leaves. I stamped the clay with interesting patterns, then used my trusty chopstick to incise more lines. Using a needle tool, I cut the outline of each valentine.

But how to make the texture really POP? I painted a black underglaze lightly over the top of the texture to make the pattern really stand out. The sculptures were fired in a kiln to cone 05 (almost 1900 degrees). After cooling, I painted them with underglazes and cover glazes, using vibrant color combinations. One more time in the kiln. Then I strung copper wire through the holes and attached them in a delicate fashion to form the hanging mechanism. And voila! A great addition to my new romance collection.

In honor of my blessed mother, Mary Marshall's, birthday I shall select one winner among the fans on my Fan Facebook page. SO SIGN UP AS A FAN ON THE http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kanika-Marshall/50402302085?ref=ts KANIKA MARSHALL FACEBOOK PAGE and see if you are the winner on May 31st.

More hearts can be seen (and purchased) from my webpage: http://kanika.us/1gifts_pp.htm.


What is Genius?

A friend recently e-mailed me a thought-provoking presentation from Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of "Eat, Pray, Love" that lead me to write the following. Listen to the presentation first (click on the tan word above), so the following makes more sense. Or will it?

Interesting presentation. I am normally a rationale, realistic, logical (I think!) person, but I truly do believe that my ancestors work through my fingers to help me create my artwork. I rarely spend a lot of time (any time, really) thinking about what I will create. I simply say to my muse/universe that I would like to make a figurine, or plate, or tile piece, or goddess. Then I get the bag of clay, cut off a piece that approximates the size of artwork that might work, and then I look at the clay, trance-out, dive into the clay (in my mind, of course). Very soon, I receive - from somewhere - how I should proceed. Either roll it out and see lines and shapes in the clay and incise it there, etc. I do not draw a picture first. I do not imagine what colors the finished project will be - I throw glaze on and mix, layer, paint wherever my fingers lead. Almost all of my work is freehand, non-prethought. It makes for a liberating, exciting experience. And I thank my ancestors for inspiration.

But I don't believe in fairies (well, there might be a few of them . . . )


To Artists: Scam Alert!

Hello all,

A word to the wise: beware of e-mailers claiming interest in your artwork.

I know all about scammers who try to buy your work using a Money Order or Certified Check. I know about scammers who promise to pay you MUCH more than what your product is worth. I know about scammers who steal your digital images for their own $ use. I know about scammers who claim to represent stores or galleries or art shows and want you to send your artwork to them for photography or prizes or advertisement.

Yes, I am wary. But a couple of weeks ago, I received the following e-mail from STEVEN PALLIN (probably not his real name):
Hey There,

Just moved into a new apartment did some search on-line and came across your.I am considering decorating the wall along the stair case with either a painting, ceramic or sculpture. The wall where the item will be hanged is already painted with my favourite coluor ( Cream ) so the displayed item have to be catchy. Am considering a price range of between $900- $1,500 for this commission.

Conversely, most appreciated if you send me a link to your website again or attach and send to me some of the images ( between 3-5 ) of work you may recommend so that i can choose. My address is 1017 Oneida st. Fort Wayne,IN 46805. Your swift response will be appreciated.

Your's Sincerely

Steven Pallin

So the guy left his name, his address, and some detail of what he wanted. The red flags went up immediately: poor spelling, why would he need my website URL again? The only way he could get my e-mail address would be from the website URL. He mentioned prices up front before letting me know which piece he wanted.

So I attempted to qualify him as a bonafide customer by sending him an e-mail asking him to e-mail a picture of his space so I could better choose which of my sculptures might work best. I figured that a scammer wouldn't respond to questions, but he did and indicated he did not have a digital camera. He again asked me to send images of some artwork to his address. I sent another qualifying e-mail asking him to describe the types and colors of artwork he likes (e.g., figurative, landscape, bold colors, abstracts), again thinking he would give up if he weren't legit. But he responded something bright and figurative. So I sent him a couple of low-resolution images with the prices and sizes. He selected one of the artworks that I sent and asked what type of payment I took, to which I responded PayPal. He said he could only do a Certified Cashier's Check. WARNING! I responded that PayPal is all I could accept. I haven't heard from him since.

I have made many safe web sales over the years, but most of the smaller pieces on my website have PayPal "Buy" buttons that allow the customer to easily purchase what they want without my inervention. PayPal verifies their credit card and e-mails me the buyer's contact info so i feel confident that PayPal will deposit the purchase money into my bank account with no problems. Some people do not like PayPal, but bonafide customers would try to work with the artist regarding payment terms. Anyone who insists upon a Money Order or Cashier's Check as the only payment option is likely a scammer. So be careful.

This guy may have obtained my e-mail address from any number of sources. Since I have a new Facebook account, I decided to change my e-mail to something that I can easily identify as coming from Facebook, just in case scammers are using that means to work their dirty business. Be safe out there in the world wide web.


Mental Block Against Breast Cancer?

I don't know why, exactly, but lately I have had a mental block with talking about the subject of breast cancer. Perhaps it is because I have been concentrating on my new line of hopeful heart sculptures.

Perhaps because I've been more concerned about my dad's Alzheimer's Disease and how to help his wife accept that he will never be the same husband she married. Today, my siblings and I met with her siblings and a counselor who is knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s issues. To try to get through to her, I expressed the sadness that we had when we heard the doctor say he could do no more for our mother’s cancer. Traditional and alternative medicine therapies no longer worked. I recounted that we kids did all that our mother would allow us to do for her during her last months. We sure attempted to find out as much as we could to ensure that she was taken care of the best she could be. We had to face her impending death, but we did it together, and gave mom the grace to die as peacefully and pain free as possible.

Talking about this difficult experience today brought back a flood of memories. Mom would not allow us to get her a helper. She wouldn’t let us stay with her overnight, or bring her meals, or anything. She had been so very independent most of her life that she did not want to “burden” us. So although we desperately wanted to help, we gave her the dignity of continuing to make her choices. But one night mom fell in her house. She couldn’t reach the phone to call for help and had to stay on the cold floor all night long. When I came to see her the next morning, she was nearly frozen, sprawled on the floor. She had hit bottom, literally, figuratively, mentally, physically. She accepted that she needed help and we got her what she wanted.

I shared this story today at our intervention in hope that my stepmother would accept that she cannot fix dad’s medical problem and that they both need help. The counselor urged her not to wait until something bad happened - like dad falling down the stairs at their house. Unfortunately, my stepmother is simply not ready to deal with her reality.

It was an exhausting experience, to be sure. But I was glad both families got to talk about the elephant in the room. As my stepmother takes dad back home tomorrow, 5.5 hours away, overlooking the ocean, we hope she will think about all of the information she was given. And that’s really the moral to this story. When we are beset with a setback like breast cancer, learn about it, stare it in the face, fight it, and ask for help. Namaste.