Art by Cecil Herring©
a book on my website
of being a Space Artist all my life
by Cecil Herring
a Baby in Miami"
and Mrs. Cecil Darby with little Cecil
hear my mother tell it I had an 'idyllic childhood.' I probably
did, considering my own moody temperament. I find now that I am
quite happy when left alone to pursure my art. I have made art
projects as far back as I can remember. It was/is my salvation.
I remember awful times too. My Mother Naomi had green eyes she
could narrow into slits and black bouncing curls and thin lips.
I loved her but she made me hate her with her incessant demands,
put downs and control of my every movement and thought. She was
a verbal abuser.
no presents at Christmas for years for various infractions I had
committed. Santa did not exist in my house. It was all the time
games. I guess I still hate her but then it is convenient to hate
her still. It is always convenient to have someone to hate! Poor
thing. She has me hating her finally after loving her so much.
it is up to me to love her despite my hate. Forgiveness is our
only function as Bulgasi said.
was a boxer and fought professionally under the name "Killer
Darby" in the featherweight class. He trained all the time
and I 'trained' with him, jumping rope, using wall pulleys, and
generally jumping all over the place with him. I remember going
to the boxing matches downtown on Miami Ave. near the Miami Herald
office. I don't actually remember the fights because I was very
young, maybe 3 or 4. I remember the bright lights and sounds.
When I saw "Cinderella Man" with Russell Crowe a couple
of years ago
and cried because I understood why my father was a boxer. He was
trying to make a meager living, make the mortgage, feed the family. We got caught in the 30s depression
alone in Miami far from a helpful family my mother hated back
in South Carolina. Feeding your family by hitting people seems
a strange occupation even now. He hit me hard too, from time to
time. I know I had a rough time as a child. I may have hated it
but despite the abusive parenting I had I find I am comforted
with these faded memories from so long ago.
born in Miami and the doctor got a bunch of nasturiums as payment
because my poor parents did not have money to pay for me! I have
forgiven my mother and my father for their fighting over money
and crazy behavior. Poor people do the best they can in awful
financial times. They hopefully survive as I did.
every family has bad memories. Looking at my Mother and Daddy
in old sepia tone I realize a 'book' will never solve anything.
But I will understand more and it will be very interesting. Writing
this now, I am remembering a lot of wonderful things too. I looked
miserable in most of my childhood pictures. I remember not wanting
to smile for the camera. Anytime a camera came near me I got a
big scowl ready! I do remember yelling when we had to stop for
a traffic light. As I got older I would argue about everything.
said," Tootsie, you'd argue with a signpost!" My parents
called me Tootsie because I definitely didn't look like a little
'Cecil.' Actually, I don't think they planned ahead about the
name thing. It has remained a problem for me too. To this day
people think I'm a man until they actually meet me. And my
Mom was never just plain Mom. I never called Mother or Mom in
my entire life. She huffed and turned up her nose at me whenever
I mentioned it and said "don't call me that."
when I was about 20 I made the mistake of telling Honey I thought
my childhood had been awful. She had a big fit. Honey was sort
of a Scarlett O'Hara type. She said people told her she looked
like Wally Simpson, the woman who got the King of England to abdicate
the throne and marry her!
was very charming and in a southern belle way always got her way.
She had contracted polio when she was about two years old. She
said her daddy had carried her everywhere! The polio did leave
her with a thinner, smaller leg and foot. Often she was sick and
I would have to stay home from school to take care of her. I hated
that and vowed never to be in any caring profession. I took an
aptitude test. Many of the questions were about would you rather
sit with a sick friend or read a good book. I always chose anything
not in the helping category!
always seemed to be having the 'big one' and would hold her heart
and act like she was going to swoon over something I had done.
Despite my shenanigans, I'm glad to say Honey did live to the
ripe old age of 80, still charming and beautiful with black curls!
She dressed wonderfully well; I always admired her taste. I can
remember her outfits to this day. Back then they made gorgeous
clothes with real leather lined belts, bugle beads on them and
wore matching hats and gloves. She was an elegant lady.
her Honey because I heard my father call her that and she never
discouraged it, I guess. It must have been when I was really young
because I don't remember that. She did fancy motherhood though
and I had a great baby book with every detail written down. She
called me her little rosebud on one of the pages! I did love her
in a mixed up kind of way.
and Daddy said my first word was 'Moon.' They said I was sitting
up in my crib, by the window, pointing to a huge moon just like
the song "Moon Over Miami."
remember 'playing' constantly. I had dolls, made ant houses, doodle
bug farms and played with my pet duck in the puddle at 43rd street!
I painted and drew constantly and pretty much wrecked everything
around the house. I made paper dolls out of my father's Bernarr
McFadden physical culture books. I painted the flowers in the
crystal glasses with red nail polish and made pieces of rooms
with furniture out of little boxes, made little beds and covered
them with napkins. I used my mother's little figurine collection
for lamps and decor.' I made a sumptious set of 'tiny doll 'silverware'
and dishes from the huge Hershey Bar tinfoil ball I had stockpiled.
I made a farm with animals and rows of crops out of paper colored
with crayons. I made doll clothes out of my hand made silk dresses
that my mother's friend Chai from Havana had made me. I got into
big trouble for that. I just cut up the dresses and covered the
dolls with the pretty silks!
I was around 5 or 6 years old, Honey, Daddy and I would go to
the Cuban American Club on Brickell Ave. on Biscayne Bay. My mother
and father loved the exotic international flavor of Miami. They
had immigrated there from South Carolina in 1926. Miami was very
different from South Carolina!
got to know a Cuban musician Tony Quintana who played in a band
with Desi Arnaz at a Miami Beach night club. They had bongo drums
and those fabulous multi colored ruffled shirts and sashes. I
can hear them singing right now. "BABBA-LOO-OO-OO!"
lived near downtown Miami, just a few blocks away from Flagler
Street. Honey would take me in my little buggy for walks to a
little zoo, where I could watch exotic flamingoes, herons, ducks
and other creatures walk in a little pond.
we went to Bayfront park and walked on the docks and looked at
the boats and big trophy fish caught by visiting sport fishermen.
There was a famous taxidermy service right on the main dock and
I always looked at all the stuffed, 'color enhanced' fish on display.
we went to the Seminole Indian Village by the Miami River. Open
huts with palmetto roofs called Chickies housed the poor Indians
who were actually on display. The Seminole mothers had their long
black hair bound up in protruding front leaning styles that looked
like hats, using cardboard shapes, weaving their hair over the
cards.They sat on the raised hut floors with their swaddled papooses
strapped to them while they made multi colored dresses with tiny
single stitch sewing machines, sewing the skirts and blouses with
rows of multicolored ruffles .They made pretty jewelry row after
row of multicolored beads to wear around their necks. Now, looking
back I think they were gorgeous and want to make some new clothes
like the Seminole women had.
going down there. We paid to go in the village.The Seminole men
wrestled big alligators in the mud by the river. The big audiences
would gather round and watch!
Indians near their 'chickee' houses in downtown Miami in the 1930s.
Seminole squaw women hairstyles were quite pretty.
Seminole Mom with her Papoose
women at Miami River Seminole Indian Village. They made their
dresses using tiny chain stitch sewing machines in open air huts
covered with palm fronds. The public paid admission to visit their
little village. The women worn many strings of beads around their
necks and wove their long black hair over heavy combs. They were
very pretty I thought.
parents took me everywhere. I remember my first interest in art
came when I went to a play at Miami's beautiful Shrine Temple
auditorium. I don't know what the play was about but one of the
actors told how he made paints from violets and roses and showed
the colored pictures he had made! I think I was 5 or 6. and sat
high in the balcony. I was amazed when the actors said they were
making paints out of bunches of flowers. A couple of years later
I was making pictures with paints in the first grade! I don't
remember making any connection to flowers when I started painting.
took me down to Dnner Key where Pan American World Airlines had
its headquarters to see big Clipper Ship seaplanes take off from
Biscayne Bay. They flew out of sight, going east into the blue
sky. A huge topographical globe of the world rotated in the lobby.
It had deep Prussian blue for the deepest oceans and light yellow
ochre for the highest mountains - the Himalayas in Tibet. That
globe stood about 2 stories high and had a catwalk around it.
I loved running around the world.
read me books about Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. "A Princess
of Mars," stands out now in my memories because there were
horses and people running around on Mars. We had some strong binoculars
and Daddy would point them towards Mars and say, "We will
go there one day! That is the Red Planet!"
went everywhere: barn storming air races at Opalocka Airport,
saw ships sailing from port, went to murders and wrecks too. We
went to see world champion Ice Skater Sonia Haynie skating at
the Orange Bowl when it had wooden bleachers. They brought in
a ton of snow and the kids got to throw snow balls after the show.
saw Amelia Earhardt in a parade down Biscayne Blvd. before she
took off on her last flight around the world. I was sitting on
the curb and there she came, so pretty and blonde and young, sitting
up in back in an open convertible, waving and smiling.
was truly an exciting city. It was a banquet of possibilities.
and cried when we moved away. I still miss it.
1957, my husband was tranferred by the PHONE COMPANY away from
beloved Miami to PENSACOLA, 750 miles away. What a strange otherworldly
place it appeared to me, cold, desolate and colorless as we drove
into town that overcast December day. I immediately hated it.
There was no bright blue sky, no waving palm trees, lush tropical
vegetation, flowers and hibiscus blooming. Instead there was red
clay covering a strange uneven terrain with scrubby pine trees.
I saw my first snow flurries the first winter we were there.
good ladies of Pensacola all seemed to wear dark dresses, hats,
gloves and sensible dark pumps. Several ladies standing together
in their black wool coats at Gayfer's Department store stared
at me as I came in wearing a home made navy and white linen polka
dot number and white sandals and straw basket! I had stepped over
the line. It was a hot day but also BEFORE EASTER.
Miami, I generally got a bathing suit for Christmas put it on
and went swimming. I never heard of seasons.
turned out to be a great place to continue my art studies. I immediately
found my way to an old jail that had been transformed into the
Pensacola Art Center. The uneven concrete floors were pocked with
holes where cell bars had been and the stark brick walls were
white washed but you still got the penitentiary feel. It was gloomy
but turned out to be a wonderful place. I actually felt like an
artist when I walked into the building. I studied with Emil Holzhauer,
a German American artist who had studied with Robert Henri, the
great American Impressionist. Emil was a wonderful teacher who
immediate gave me hope that I could indeed make art my career.
all the time along with keeping house and having my 4th child.
I even got blue paint on new baby Claudia, born April 18, 1961
(Bay of Pigs). I was glad to have a little girl after the holy
terrors of 2 boys, Marty and Mike born 2 years apart. She looked
at me knowingly when I said, "you are my baby girl."I
made up my mind: "This is it! From now on it's art for the
rest of my life!"
depression lifted as I began to have exhibits and sell works.
I got my first 'press review' that said "her works draw the
eyes and hold them!" I had several works accepted into national
shows. I got a wonderful housekeeper 3 days a week, dear Willie
May, who seemed to have a better way with the kids than I did.
Of course they were all mischievous, high spirited and did a lot
of bad stuff since they sensed my mind was always elsewhere. My
head was bent on art. Well, my children did try to please me though.
day, my 4 year old son Marty, ran up to my car as I came home
from art class and announced he had "painted the house!"
house was on a hill, so part of the foundations were basement
with concrete blocks with ventilation holes Marty and his little
friend Skippy had colored the entire basement with crayola colors.
"I put curtains," Mom," he said proudly. I thought
it was pretty funny but Skippy's Mother came over with lots of
rags and scouring powder and ordered the boys to clean it all
usual, I had my head in the clouds of art. I read biographies
of Rembrandt, Cezanne, El Greco, Utrillo, Van Gogh and Michaelangelo
and listened to Beethoven Symphonies and Rachmaninoff's Piano
Concerto #3 constantly. I enrolled at Pensacola Junior College
and studied figure drawing and painting. Carl Duke, an instructor
there was a fabulous sculptor. When I saw his carved stone woman,
I fell in love with sculpture. I found it meaningful when Professor
Duke said "Art is my religion."
was a fairly sophisticated little city with cultural activities
for 'nice' people, bred and born into the quasi southern aristocracy
of Alabama - North Florida, Georgia. Everyone was not accepted!
People from 'out of town,' strangers and even those cute Naval
officers and their wives were not accepted with open arms! Somehow,
I was invited to a tea where one Grand Dame fastened her beady
eyes on me (since horrors! she had never seen me before). She
told me pointedly there had been a time when people crossed the
street rather than speaking to any newcomer!
a growing population of Naval officers, Admirals, Naval Air Cadets
(NavCads) and transferees from Miami to Pensacola with the phone
company, which we were, that attitude still pervaded the region.
People there enjoyed ballet, art exhibits and had a colorful Mardi
Gras. It was not far from New Orleans and Mobile on the Gulf Coast.
I tried to fit in, played bridge and went to many parties. We
had a lot of fun in the 6 years we were there. I continued to
Cape Canaveral, FL, Feb. 20, 1962. John Glenn Jr. becomes the
first American to orbit the earth.
our little black and white TV and held my breath and cried a bit
as Glenn's rocket lifted off!
to the Big City!
School Teacher Betty through the PTA. She would stop by after
school and have coffee and talk. I welcomed the visits since I
was always alone painting and waiting on the children to come
day she asked me if I wanted to go to New York with her during
her Christmas break saying she had a cousin who lived in Manhattan
that we could visit. We made plans for the trip, got tickets to
a play and hotel reservations. I was thrilled since I had never
been there. I wanted to go to the opera, see the new Guggenheim
Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. I sewed up a winter wardrobe
in some spiffy wools I purchased and bought a leopard felt hat
that gave me the cool look I wanted in my newly sewn black wool
suit with the long calfskin gloves.
soon as we settled at the hotel that cold Saturday afternoon,
I headed out, blindly seeking the opera house. It was mindboggling.
I got confused because the cabs were all going in opposite direction
from where I wanted to go! I was too backward to know you could
hail a cab and they would take you where you wanted to go. All
the tall buildings and people running everywhere hit me like a
ton of bricks. I walked all the way down the street to the opera.
It was so cold. It must have been near freezing.
I got there and bought a ticket! It was practically a sell out
and I did not know even what to ask for. So I just asked the man
in the box office for a ticket. This was at the old Met with large
sections of really bad seats and a section for SRO (standing room
only) at the top. I purchased a seat that was just under SRO on
the left side.
only see performers enter from stage right. I was almost at the
top of the opera house and far on the left side so about half
the stage was obscured. I could hear the music though.
was played by the great soprano Leontyne Price, I 'think' because
I could hear her voice but I could not see her. In my flustered,
panicked state I did not even get a program! I could hear her
though and her voice sounded beautiful.
I started coughing. It had been so cold outside and was so hot
inside and with my running so far so fast, my asthma kicked in.
I coughed and coughed and could not catch my breath. Here I was
finally at my dream opera and had a full blown asthma attack,
in the Metropolitan Opera in the first act. People were looking
at me so I finally got up and left. I finally saw Aida last year
in Orlando 45 years later!
I was at the opera, my friend Betty had gone out on her own. We
met back at the small ugly hotel room where we had twin beds.
announced she had met a man she said was "fascinating. He
is wonderfully knowledgable about art. I have arranged for us
to get together tomorrow to see art and visit galleries, she said."
went over to the Guggenheim Museum. It was new and designed by
Frank Lloyd Wright. Some called it a giant wash tub but I thought
it was wonderful with a show of 20th Century sculptors. A huge
Alexander Calder mobile spun in the center openesss. There were
works by Matisse, Archipenko, Arp, Giacometti, Gaston Lachaise,
Henry Moore, David Smith, Rodin, Amazing.
night we visited Betty's cousin, a man with a 'partner. They had
an unbelievably gorgeous apartment that overlooked Manhattan.
The huge windows took in enough of the New York lights to still
give me goose pimples when I think an evening that happened 48
years ago. Everything in the apartment was modern, beautiful.
There was a huge arrangement of exquisite white lilies in the
center of the glass topped dining table.
we ate, the two men and Betty chatted in a certain obscure way
I now realize was double entendre, saying things that mean things
that can be taken several ways. I realize now they were all gay
but I didn't know much about gay! I was confused but happily enjoyed
the glittering splendor of New York from a high place. Everything
seemed so different from my simple married with children and interested
morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and then met Betty's 'art
expert.' He was a wizened little old man with shabby clothes and
furtive eyes but seemed to 'know art.' I wish I could remember
his strange name. I was looking forward to seeing New York ART.
We walked and arrived at an art gallery close by. I was trying
to take in as much as I could. There was just so much to see.
a short time, Betty put her hand to her head and announced she
had a headache and could no longer continue with us. She said
she would see me later. I was left alone with this little man
who seemed pleasant enough.
forgotten his name but the two of us did see many galleries that
day. He was a wizened looking little fellow, not much taller than
my 5'2, only older and quite thin. I feel sorry for him now some
45 years later. He perhaps had ulterior motives but introduced
me to wonderful artists like Chaim Soutine and Aristide Maillol.
He knew a lot about art.
I saw a story written in the New York Times about Diena Vierny,
the girl who was Maillol's muse and model. Then I remembered for
the amazing life sized bronze that stood in the foyer of the first
gallery we visited. "She is alive even in bronze," my
guide murmured as we stood gazing at her.
think I saw her move.
Vierny, Sculptor Maillol's model
look at that bronze," he said as we walked into a gallery
with a life sized sculpture of a graceful young girl tripping
in the front entry.
is made of cold metal but she lives. I had to process the words.
I had never heard talk like this. "This is a young girl with
life rippling through her!"
remember the lithe bronze figure. He was right. She was a light
as a leaf, floating through a garden. Maillol remains a favorite
of mine to this day. A few years later, I saw a Maillol sculpture
in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art, an oversize
woman reclining by a pool of water. Rather shocking. Then a closer
tie. I found out my favorite sculptor, Isamu Noguchi studied with
Maillol. (ed. note: I shall say more about Noguchi later since
I actually met him in 1976 at a World Sculpture Conference in
New Orleans, LA. He stayed at the same Holiday Inn where I stayed.
He had pure blue eyes from his scottish mother. Of course he looked
totally Japanese except for those shocking blue eyes!
Back to to New York in 1961.
Soutine seemed to be his favorite. He told me the story of how
poor Soutine had such an awful time with his career, starving,
rejected at every turn. "He realized he had to go to the
center of the world so he walked 700 miles to Paris from Latvia!
Soutine now for his unique wildness and try to keep my own wildness
alive. Yes, even Soutine made a drastic impact on me. I got an
art education that day! I see now in my old age how much that
day and that forgotten little man means to me.
we went to the great Metropolitan Museum. My guide explained how
Soutine's works were not allowed to hang there until a major benefactor
demanded Soutine's entire works be hung, along with the other
acceptable bequests. At that time, even the surrealist Salvador
Dali hung in the basement! He was not considered a great artist
on par with Rembrandt and Rubens.
saw Rembrandt's "Man in a helmet, a recent Metropolitcan
acquisition on a special easel in the front gallery. "That's
a fake!" my man exclaimed. I don't know how he knew that.
walked through gallery after gallery all day. I remember walking
past beautiful food displays in windows after window. It grew
quite late. I just stupidly plodded along with this strange little
man in a strange city. I was cold and hungry but said nothing.
We walked miles and miles.
the man declared out of the blue we were near his 'studio.' As
I look back now I think we walked out of 'up town' with all those
gorgeous hotels and galleries and restaurants with food in the
windows to down town with rows of shabby colorless buildings.
He asked me if I would like to see his studio and before I knew
it, we were going up and up several flights of stairs.
much described 'studio' was one room with some sunflower paintings
and a few unused brushes in a jar. There was some meager furniture.
Even at my then young age, I realized he was no artist and that
I had gotten myself into a tight spot.
wearing that black wool suit I had made and the leopard hat and
gloves. I guess I looked pretty grown up. I began to realize 'this
guy had other ideas. I was not THAT DUMB!
immediately began his script. "You must come to live in New
York! You will never be an artist in Pepsi Cola or HoshKosh. You
must come to the center of the earth. Soutine walked barefooted
700 miles from Latvia to Paris! You must come to New York. I will
teach you everything!"
evenly, "Well, I have 4 children and a husband and couldn't
possibly come to New York." I sat at a safe distance on an
old couch, contemplating my predicament.
inside as he suddenly moved closer and abruptly lifted my leopard
hat off. He said ,"Let me have a look at you," he said.
I had my hair all bunched up underneath and it all fell out.
said guardedly,"Oh, I see you are a lot younger than I thought."
that moment, I grabbed my hat, gloves and scurried out and down
the flights of stairs, saying I had to go. Terrified and weak
from hunger, I rushed down the stairs and out into the street.
I looked back to see if he was following me. He was not. I walked
a while in the dusk among the gloomy building not knowing where
I was. Finally I saw and cab and yelled. I paused one second to
look back at he dreary tenement building to see that the man had
not followed me down! I breathed a sigh of relief as I got in
was waiting back at the hotel. I now realized she also posed a
certain danger. I reported my incident with the man she had set
me up with. Her dark eyes grew sort of hazy and overcast and she
just sort of said "Hmm." and indicated that she had
expected that to happen. I wondered why she didn't warn me. Some
friend, I thought.
had gotten us tickets to see "No Strings" a musical
with Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll. So we quickly set off
again for the theatre where it was playing. I had still not eated
since breakfast. I don't remember much about about the production
except there were blocks of black limosines with chaffeurs standing
nearby waiting for their rich charges. Also once during the production
Betty sort of laughed at the name "No Strings." I still
didn't get it.
we ate, we went to Sardi's. I ordered FOOD and Betty ordered one
alcoholic drink after another, then ordered strawberries in cream
of all things. I looked at all the charicatures of famous people
on every wall. It was a place theatre people went after the theatre.
Our black clad waiter stood at attention nearby with a white cloth
on his arm. Finally I looked around the room and saw we were the
last people there. The waiters stood around looking stiff in a
row while Betty put on quite a scene. What's going on I wondered.
I had never seen behavior like this.
returned to the hotel where she continued a kind of fit or tantrum,
throwing things around the room. claiming she still had the headache.
I walked around the room asking her what I could do while she
entoned "No Strings!" I didn't know what to do so I
got a white hotel towel from the bathroom, dampened it and brought
it to her there on her twin bed. She threw it across the room!
know what to think. Finally I fell into my own twin bed, exhausted.
We were flying back to Pensacola the next morning.
I went to sleep immediately. I was awakened from my sound sleep,
sometime in the night with Betty climbing into my bed! She whispered
would it be all right if she slept next to me for a while!
I said adamently and slid off the other side of the bed! I sat
up the rest of the night in the chair in the corner. I can remember
the awful hotel yellow wall paper to this day. I was so glad when
daylight came and it was time to leave.
so upset I can't remember whether she was on the flight or not!
husband met me at the airport.
"Oh boy, what a trip!"
answered with a bit of a grin, "What? Did Betty make a pass
angrily, "If you knew so much, why didn't you warn me?"
He didn't answer.
after that my husband announced he wanted to go back to Florida
to study law. I immediately said, "YES! I think that's a
great idea!" I was thinking of how I could study art . Besides,
I loved Gainesville and the music and the campus.
left in several months. I was left to sell the house, pack and
get 4 kids and Calico the cat to Gainesville. Calico jumped out
of the car when we stopped for dinner at the Tallahassee Mall.
I called"here, kitty, kitty all over the parking lot. We
finally got her back.
had rented us a nice furnished house in a good section of northeast
Gainesville. We were soon evicted. Lttle Claudia, by then around
18 months old, drew all over the white vinyl furniture with a
ball point pen. I scrubbed and scrubbed but no amount of vasoline
or Comet would remove the blue scribbles so the ever vigilent
landlord ordered us out.
we had been assigned a 3 bedroom Flavet Village apartment on campus.
Rent: $34 including water and electricity. It was formerly a World
War II army barracks and was illuminated with one bare light bulb
with a string in the middle of each room. The shower was a metal
stall and the kitchen had a sink and a little gas stove. This
was Cecil's version of the artist's garret, I suppose. It was
kind of fun though. It was so hot in the summer I had to go swimming
and wear my wet bathing suit while I cooked dinner.
of the Artist as Aida"
this oil self portrait in 1964 while I studied art at Florida.
Abbott studied law 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. I thought
it was wonderful that he was studying law and I was very proud
of him. At that point, I had no desire to get a degree and no
one encouraged me either. All I got then was a P.H.T Degree. That
stood for Putting hubby Through. All the wives got them.
was the 60s but still like the 50s. It was like that movie about
beautiful wind up plastic doll wives.
were expected to pretty much dress and act like 50s wives, poised
and proper. Law wives were encouraged to encourage their men and
pose no demands on them at all while they cracked law books at
the law library. We also got a lot of recipes for elegant entertaining
and tips on protocol at judges'wive's teas!
that I think back I realize that was when I began to have my "I
led three lives" identity crisis." I had several wardrobes,
many colorful paint smeared, arty clothes and I set about creating
many "Paris Originals" from the fabric shop. I had taken
"home Ec" at Robert E. Lee Junior high school and finally
owned a portible sewing machine ($5 down, $5 a month) that saw
many late hours.
managed to leave the kids with a sitter and run off to art classes.
Every day, while dinner cooked and in spare moments, I painted
furiously in the cramped quarters. I took canvases and paints
out in the countryside and painted the glorious Gainesville shifting
planes landscapes. There is the most wonderful violet cast to
the light there.
art classes only (no time for academics) Noone recommended I go
full time. I just got in line at enrollment time in the gym and
the guy at the desk was PR McIntosh. He said, "Hi."
and I said," Hi, I want to study painting."
said, "I teach painting. Come study with me!" So I did!
He a was great teacher, showed me how to buy acrylic medium components
before they were popular, thickeners, pigments, where to order
canvas, and how to stretch large canvases. He invited me to his
wonderful studio at Lake Bivins Arm. PR painted big glowing figurative
paintings. He was wonderful to me and influenced my style a lot.
another professor, Hiram Williams, who seemed disdainful that
I was even there. He influenced me too by making me more determined.
actually told me nothing and said pointedly, "I don't show
my works to women because women don't generally like them."
I felt like a gnat on his index finger due to be crushed when
his thumb closed on me.
went on to say he liked Francis Bacon and that critics had compared
his works to Bacon!
heard of Bacon except in a frying pan! Many years later I saw
his fabulous paintings in London. Later I also saw Professor William's
works and they are also quite wonderful although I could not see
any Bacon in them. There was just no comparison. Bacon was a great
colorist and designer. His works have great emotional impact.
Williams had a cold way of working and used sort of drab greys
in a kind of abstract haze. He said was an 'existentialist' and
of the God was dead school!
is a Hiram Williams etching in the Daytona Museum of a man's face
with no features except a nose. It is brilliant and I love it.
It's a Williams not a Bacon!
Williams was kind of mean. He irritated me so I acted egotistical
and indicated he was not helping me.
do you think you are?" he snapped when I complained.
now by digging this portrait out and photographing it for the
first time, I took myself very seriously! I thought I was good
and that noone could teach me anything, I guess.
Aida, the tempestuous heroine of the Verdi opera I almost saw
in New York!
gold llame hat came from a Gainesville department store and I
draped the red wool cloth around me for a CAPE, stood in front
of a mirror and painted my self portrait!
Gainesville, the music, all the smart people scurrying about studying
and learning. I could hear the bells chiming every day in the
gothic tower at the center of the campus. A concert hall was there
too. Once Smetana's "Mouldau" was being played and a
BAT actually came out of the high wooden rafters and began to
swoop around during the performance! Perfect moment. I also hear
Leon Fleicher play Bartok and Eugene Ormandy conduct Petrushka
in the gymnasium! I went to all the concerts alone and all dressed
graduated in August 1965, receiving his Juris Doctor. I dressed
up the four children in matching outfits and made myself a white
linen and lace dress and sat proudly on the front row!
MOVED AGAIN! Dumb, provencial Melbourne. I thought about the prophecy
of that strange New York man and the center of the world. I was
going backwards to an even smaller town where my dear husband
declared he could/would begin a law practice!
I cried and felt awful, a fish out of water, diva with no 'divadom,'expected
to be a dutiful wife and mother!
Wait! You just never know. There were deep rumblings from SPACE.
On the beach, about 20 miles away, midst sand and mosquitoes,
men were lighting rockets and sending them into space! Little
did I know that before long my little baby making /picture making
world would collide with great people. Al Neuharth, of the Miami
Herald came up to the Bureau in CocoaThe Cocoa Tribune was turning
into the Today newspaper with an orbiting statellite as its logo.
Dec. 16. 1965 -Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford, aboard Gemini
6, achieve first rendezvous of manned orbiting spacecraft when
they maneuver within one foot of Gemini 7.
was the same wifedom fiefdom boredom I had encountered everyplace
we had been since Miami. I just didn't seem to fit in.The Junior
League contacted me to join. Apparently,I didn't act right so
didn't get in. I felt bad that I was so weird and arty and longed
to be 'normal.'
heard some of the 'wives' said I was kind of an air head.
seemed to be no art at all in Melbourne except for one record
shop owned by an artsy guy who sold classical records. Dear Bob
Horn had this wonderful dry sardonic attitude and was on the town
council. He had paintings and drawings hanging around his little
music shop in Indialantic by the Sea.
pretty miserable. Abbott was by then completely immersed in his
new law career, opening an office and hanging up all his degrees.
He said he had to go out a lot at night "to meet clients."
He seemed to drink a lot more and smelled awful when he finally
got home. When I acted irritable and sullen, and complained I
had no life, he said "if you don't like it, get out!"
That definitely did not help!
Bud from California appeared on the scene, declaring he (and his
dog) wanted to stay with us until he could get his new wife and
family settled in Brevard county.
said things like: "Abbott, why don't you give the 'little
woman' a break and take her out to dinner? " while I slowly
like a second class citizen with no job, no college to speak of,
home with the kids and no place to go. Then Abbott's mother and
her husband appeared along with Bud's new red haired wife. Peggy,
wearing white Correge boots and a mini skirt with two blonde daughters.
She called Bud "Denny."
this time, it was Christmas. The Herrings all gathered at Bud's
new place on a Merritt Island Canal. I kide you not, there was
a pile of presents that took up one whole 12 foot wall, several
feet high and several feet deep. Bud/Denny said, "Hun, why
don't you open one of your presents? She said, Oh Denny. Which
one? Bud picked up one and handed it to her. She opened it. It
was a gorgeous white wool suit with white mink lapels and cuffs.
Peggy breathed: Oh Denny, is it a six?
Day they all came to our house where I was cooking a turkey, and
all the trimmings. Oh yes, I got an electric can opener for Christmas!
Abbott said I was ungrateful when I said I hated my present!
get Mad, Get Even
Go From Bad to Worse.
an old Peggy Lee song on the radio as I washed dishes and found
myself crying in the dishwater to "Is This All There Is?"
phone rang and one of those wives I was talking about called to
ask if I wanted to go to Mexico!
begins the next chapter:
Dr. Zhivago - 1966-1994
have to stop now before I bare my heart. I must get a publisher!
I don't believe in making my readers sit at a cold impersonal
computer while reading biographical prose I plan to write about
personal subjects like love and sex and romance. I think the next
chapter/s should be read from a book with real pages! Even with
art in it. I see this has become worthy of being a book. It has
gone beyond being a blog, an internet journal.
always looks better on pages I think...
to shadows and TIME PASSING... LARGE CHUNK OF HIDDEN LIFE - More
later as the journalists say...
Dec. 16., 1965 -Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford, aboard Gemini
6, achieve first rendezvous of manned orbiting spacecraft when
they maneuver within one foot of Gemini 7.
Note: The Interview below explains Cecil's Love of Space Art
Millennium Project interviews Cecil for her ideas for making art
this amazing website and read the inspiring art ideas from great
engineers, scientists, composers, artists, musicians and philosphers.
art paper published by NASA © 2001
Cecil Herring painter and sculptor
" discipline is the most important quality an artist can
How were you motivated to choose your particular field?
I have trekked down many blind alleys, tried many technologies
for my space art. Welding, electroforming, spraying vinyls, painting,
recycling space junk, casting plastics. I have experimented for
decades. I never quite understood my drive until now, as we approach
the Millenium, plan space colonies and stations. The puzzle comes
together in a magical way!
early memories are my Father, Cecil J. Darby, pointing out constellations
and stars to me, reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of
Mars, The Chessman of Mars for bedtime stories! He
would point to Mars and say, "See that red star? We'll go
there someday." I remember thinking of the colors, strange
shapes and having vivid dreams every night!
sure I got my love of space and space art from him. He was a dreamer
with a car garage, welded and built racecars. We went everywhere.
Pan American World Airways Clipper Ships took off from Dinner
Key in Miami, my home town. We watched the big planes taxi out
on Biscayne Bay and takeoff. We went to air shows where planes
did looptloops and dives all over the place. Somehow
it all got jumbled together my passions for art, metals,
space and technology. I studied art and breathlessly watched the
space launches on TV.
1965, we moved to Brevard County where there were weekly launches.
By 1967, I was a space writer - photographer for the local paper.
Then, I got to watch every awesome launch from a press site three
miles away. I got to meet astronauts, Dr. Wernher von Braun, and
climb around in the Vehicle Assembly Building. Press and famous
people were everywhere. We all had stars in our eyes! It had a
huge impact on my art forms!
welding steel and 'space junk' armatures I got from area junkyards
and sprayed polyvinyl chloride (a material used to mothball Navalfleets)
over the welded armatures. I added electrical wiring so they would
light up! That is how my Spacescapes© came to be.
They are lightweight, other worldly, holey, curvilinear shapes,
covered with a spanable cobweb material, built up into a durable
hidelike covering. Using a diesel compressor and a pressurized
spray system sprayed the molasseslike liquid that floated
over the armatures, leaving holes. I painted them in swirling
had black-lights blinking and some included moving parts. Naturally,
they all had spacerelated names like Crater Craft, Cool
It Charley A Lunar Experiment, Take Me to Your Leader.
They were shown in black rooms, illuminated with a pulsing black
light system I synchronized with synthesizer music of eery screams.
roars and thumps sounds of outer space They glowed in the
dark! They were a hit at my onewoman show in New York in
1971. I called the show Spacescapes©. I was even invited
to be on ABC Eyewitness News Channel 9 there in New York City.
30 years, I've kept the name and spacey imagery going through
some tough times. I don't weld or use metalforming methods
now. I got very sick in the early 80s with metal poisoning. My
lungs were black. Give it ALL up or die, several doctors said.
I thought I was through as an artist. All metals, solvents, chemicals,
plastics, even oil paints became toxic tome. I thought I was through
as an artist so I went to college, EVEN LAW SCHOOL! That was a
10year down period in my life! I was glad the Digital Art
Age came around in the late 80s, just in the nick of time for
me! It is cleaner and safer, believe me. Now, I recreate three
dimensional art works in a two dimensional medium, using many
of those old space images I stored on CD Roms!
What can you share about your creative process?
I am at the process of making art all the time,
refueling my visual tanks with movies, trips to museums, circuses,
shows, theme parks, the Space Center, real action stuff. Then
I dream a bit in my orchid garden, play loud classical music,
make paintings or drawings for practice works or try new digital
techniques, doing things a little differently each time.
print a digital print of a new work. Then, I laminate it to a
gessoed masonite board and apply layers of special ultraviolet
inhibiting varnish (important to reduce fading), embedding computer-generated
transparencies (printed on transparency film) in the varnish.
Then, I cover the work with plexiglass, painted on the inside
with enamels, plus brilliant stain glass glazes. I frame the layers
together. This will give me my favorite effect of seeing images
through colors, or iridescent stained-glass effects. Sometimes
these techniques are modified, with additions of metallic powders,
cut stencils, sprayed straight lines and areas in the plexiglass
paper, or pieces of thin metal.
I may paint a painting on canvas or watercolor paper and layer
that with the above techniques. I am able to print beautiful archival
prints using my big 36" printer, on canvas or watercolor
paper. But I find a greater challenge in making EACH work one-of-a-kind
in some way. Spraying the inks with water to get droplets and
then over painting it with oil paints. I want a work that SPEAKS
TO ME every time I look at it. Sometimes, that takes months. I
rework endlessly, have huge failures. It's difficult to say what
I might try next. I DO TRY TO SHOW UP for my working hours! I
guess discipline is the most important quality an artist can have
and having the courage to change.
What ideas do you have for a future human community on Mars?
It is one thing to make art on earth and quite another to actually
have 'enduring' art on a distant planet. Shipping big sculptures
or paintings to Mars is impossible unless you can call the Internet
a spaceshipping service! But there IS a way to have ART on that
distant Planet. God loves artists! Soon after I began my digital
art studies (1989) I heard about the Internet. Art online
became a reality. 1995, I got a web page and started having 'conversations'
with other artists in Hawaii, California and Colorado, even South
Africa! I made my own web site and started 'shipping' art 'files'
around the globe or at least to a service bureau for printing.
art on a Mars Millennium Project, a file transfer protocol or
other derivative software easily could transport digital art to
liquid crystal display screens that show the latest 3D or other
imagery, animations, 'still' art or perhaps manipulated photo
images on colony walls. We already have the technology. Using
digital cameras, software programs, and computers, we might have
a digital art exchange program between Earth and Mars. Some of
the first Mars inhabitants might get homesick. We could beam up
a view of their favorite scenes.
may be created by the 'force' of the artist, by thought, touch
or voice. There are materials to be used on Mars rocks for
lasercarvings, etchings, Mars Dust Art. Artists could collaborate,
with the entire space community networked and collectively creating.
That is called Renga, (Linked Images) similar to a Japanese form
of poetry collaboration or 'Linked Verse.' It creates a new image
that has no author.
imagine Martian colony art in the traditional 'enduring' sense.
The digital art world is electronic, not concrete. That's what
makes it so workable for a Martian Colony. Technologies we already
have are Caves Virtual 3D environments. Sculptures would
be perfectly 3D. Virtual walking through art environments such
as I designed 28 years ago is completely possible and easily transportable!
Once a base is operational, technology no doubt will develop media
to inspire permanent works beyond our conception now. Remember
form follows function.
2001. Cecil Herring
Imagine Mars | Art/Sci/Astro Entrance | Visions |
Artists | Engineers & Astronauts | Scientists |
Millennium Project is a joint NASA, Planetary Society, NEA, Getty
Foundation website. It is an interactive site for students around
the world learning about space travel and technology. Many students
have designed space projects through this educational website.
The idea was to put the students into direct contact with the
scientists, engineers, inventers and artists.
invited to contribute to this worthy project by the noted rocket
scientist Charley Kohlhase, who designed the successful Cassini
- Saturn Mission. Cassini, after a 7 year voyage achieved Saturn's
orbit June 30, 2004. It has successfully sent back 100s of images
revealing new data about the beautiful Saturn's rings and moons.
York, New York
West 57th Street
Gallery, 49 West 57th St. NYC. Installation photograph
worked tirelessly to put together a show in the 9 months since
Sydney Hyman, New York manufacturer had purchased one of my Spacescapes®
sculptures in a Palm Beach show.
offered to sponsor a New York show for me!
discovered sculpture in 1969, welded constantly, creating sculptures
that miraculously stood alone right away using old car bumpers
and space junk from the Cape's wonderful junk yards.
satisfied with mere cold metal, I researched space age coatings
and hides. I found sprayable liquid polyvinyl chloride which I
could spray over the welded steel armatures and get a very spacey
a heavy diesal compressor and used my recently purchased Binks
industrial spray system that required oxygen and compressed air.
I used 85 psi and 23 cfm to break up the molasses- like viscous
liquid. It had a very low flashpoint due to the ketones in its
dry day could cause a spark and blow up the entire operation I
was told! (It has since been outlawed.)
magic that came out of the Binks gun made cobwebs that floated
onto my armatures! The spanability factor was 24" - meaning
this stuff floated over nothing from points up to 24" (60,96
cm) (and created a heavy skin that hardened overnight! The sculptures
are still great 33 years later.
used liquid pvc to mothball naval fleets but I got some pretty
not satisfied with the pristine white hide, I painted the entire
collection with Day-Glo paints so they lit up in the dark with
ultraviolet light (black light!)
trying to establish an 'outer space' experience for my audience.
the show I set up 3 different lighting sytems synchronized with
a special sequencer a techie friend built me. All the lights,
white, colored and black lights came on in sequence and pulsated
to Morton Subotnick's moog synthesizer music called "Silver
Apples for the Moon."
music's eerie screams and sounds of chains dragging gave a wonderful
outer space experience. I was asked by the gallery visitors what
drug I was on and why wasn't the show at the Guggenheim? (I never
took drugs and don't even drink!)
have many visitors and appeared on Channel 7
New York television on the evening news with my far out show.
trademarked the name Spacescapes® since I had coined it as
the show invitations were being printed and the gallery director
asked me "what do you call this stuff?"
didn't like the lighting set up, fussed a bit and said, "My
customers will think I'm closed!" She kept turning on the
lights every time I turned them off so my lighting system would
think actually it was the right gallery for my experimental, avant
garde work. Mostly this particular gallery sold prints by an artist
who did work that looked a bit like Miro but called himself "EMRO!"
and pvc, painted in Day-Glo
of the artist.
30 years after the Aida" portrait, I was quite a different
person, having gone through many tragedies of operatic proportions.
just married again. It had been 6 years since the tragic death
of my dear husband Abbott in 1986. Second husband Paul and I were
in Paris for our honeymoon!
sitting on the 2nd bloor balcony in a resturant the great French
writer Voltaire frequented. Lovely Paris, the Sorbonne district
and its historic architecture was the backdrop for this painting.
was just about the only happy moment I had! Paul was difficult
to get on with and I was devastated to realize after a week of
marriage that I had made a big mistake.
night, I cried into the Seine River on that bridge with the very
famous Pont Neuf bridge with the gargoyle abutments. Christo wrapped
it with a huge tarp for an art project.
myself with my third eye and thought, this would make a great
Paul as soon as I got the energy!
took this picture on the one happy occasion.
we got home he developed it, said it was awful and threw it away.
I dug it out of the trash and painted my self-portrait above from
I look fairly happy inspite of my growing concern about making
a big mistake.
only 2 years have past since I painted my self portrait in Paris....I
was moving into a huge new phase of my life... COMPUTER ART!!!
Angel of Paris Instructs My Philospher." digital work, 1994.
- I purchased my first Apple computer and enrolled in a Ft. Lauderdale
digital art training program while I awaited my divorce.
wanted to create digital art for several years and had already
studied desktop publishing and computer art for a semester.
first day in class, I discovered PhotoShop and saw how wonderfully
well computers could create the art I had always dreamed of. By
sandwiching layers of images and varying treansparencies I could
get mystical images showing through images.
explain this work in detail: I photographed a copper electroformed
sculpture I had created. Planning ahead for all the images I needed,
I also went to the beach and sculpted a "sand angel"
and photographed it using a Polaroid camera. I didn't want to
wait for film processing! I scanned the B/W picture on the school
I had the image into my computer, I layered it over the scanned
photo of Paris. and lowered the opacity so the 'angel' appears
transparent and used the Transform-Skew to make the 'angel' appear
hovering low over the Parisian skyline. I had readied my photo
of Paris for this work by using extreme curve setting of high
contrast so Paris looked like an atom bomb had gone off! Then,
I layered the copper sculpture image over the previous images
so it appears she is contemplating her fate!
was Photoshop 2 and had no layers. So I created the work above
in one sitting and saved it right away as a finished work. File
size is 2.3 megs and that was pushing my memory allotment at that
time. (I had 16 megs total memory for my hard drive!)
name of this work is "The Angel of Paris Instructs My Philospher."
this was my bad honeymoon! Even 3 years later, I was still traumatized
by that cold and hungry moment on the wind swept upper deck of
the Eiffel Tower at dusk.
lots more to come later...
great to make colorful art about space. That is as far as it goes...
The color of space is a mind thing I now realize.
Portrait as an Astronaut"
this digital work, I digitally inserted my own face into a NASA
recolored the work so space looks like a pretty happy place.
course, as my friend Dr. Story Musgrave says, "in REAL space,
there is no light, no up or down" and... even our friendly
sun is a mere dot of weak light.
very dark out there!
2006, Right now, I am painting constantly for a new show in Orlando's
Grand Bohemian Hotel Gallery next month! I have around 17 new
oils drying for the show. I am enjoying painting Florida Landscapes and getting
some acceptance. I got a call from London last week to be in a
British TV documentary on Apollo 13 which will air in July 2006
on the Discovery Channel.
it's been 50 years of hard work as I told someone who wrote several
weeks ago, questioning how I got into a nice gallery! Here is
her letter and my reply:
excuse my boldness, but I have a question as to how an artist
would be able to be shown at one of these galleries that are featured
on your site?
May I also ask a not too bright question?
I have a dear dear friend who is a self taught local artist (Winter
Park) I think her work is outstanding and I would like to do something
to help her. She is not a salesman, she paints and some people
have given her advice as to things to do such as making prints
of her work for moneys sake, but that is not what she is interested
My question is do artist's have agents, managers? How do they
"break into" the art world or galleries? As I said I
know this must sound ignorant, but this is how much I believe
in her that I would ask just out of the blue.
Thank you so much for your time
Michelle: I have worked for 50 years getting accepted into galleries!
In 1957, I began my painting study with Patrick Delong in North
Miami at the High school at night taking the class over and over.
Later, I studied with Emil Holzhauer and showed my work at the
Pensacola Art Center. Also I studied painting and figure drawing
at Pensacola Jr. College until 1962 when we moved to Gainesville
where I studied painting with Hiram Williams and P.R. McIntosh.
showing my paintings in outdoor shows in 1966 in Florida. Later
I added Georgia and North Carolina to my exhibit venues, driving
each weekend to the shows and staying in motels. I got up at 5
a.m. in order to get to the show in time to get my booth space
and set up my exhibit.
I sat with my exhibit on the street all day rain or shine, packed
the art works up and put them back in my van each night. Next
day I did the same thing all over again and dragged myself home
on a Sunday night to cook dinner and feed the kids!
I did that from the early 1960s to the mid 1980s.
began showing in group juried and invitational shows. Bear in
mind, I worked on art production every day all year 10-12 hours
a day, getting ready for shows, taking slides of my works, applying
to shows and hoping to get accepted. I worried constantly I would
not be accepted and hung out at the mailbox. I didn't have the
nerve to call and find out at that number everybody always seemed
to have. Truth be told, I was rejected dozens of times! Yet, it
only made me more determined to make it. I sort of thrived on
Juried art shows require professional slides and acceptance may
hinge on the juror's mood and whatever else was sent in for the
show. Sometimes it was a bit of politics and always a roll of
a nice friend like you is great but doesn't take the place of
hard work and study. The art works must be great and still they
are only a part of an art career.
It takes good health, courage, and determination in addition to
talent and lots of money to keep working when the economy turns
I only went into galleries after I got a bad back and was so worn
out I could no longer do the heavy lifting that sidewalk shows
require. I had gotten very sick breathing in all the chemicals,
driving myself and working such long hours in fumy studios. I
was just worn out. My chest xray showed black stripes the doctor
said. "Quit whatever you are doing!"
To get well and SIT DOWN AND REST, I went to University of Central
Florida and got a degree in Humanities, the Arts putting together
over 20 years credits earned when I had studied art wherever my
consumed by art making and how to do it, I learned to make art
in various media; sculpture in bronze, plastics, aluminum, wax
models, wearable art, jewelry, electroforming, welding, painting
in all media. I experimented in surface finishing and coatings
and had an electroforming and welding studio and took in commissions.
I studied digital art for a year in South Florida and later taught
digital art at Stetson University. I also had to earn money enough
to continue by writing and photographing for several daily newspapers
and wire services. I even earned a journalism award during my
I had to keep house and cook and clean since I had a big family
of a husband and 4 children and 10 grandchildren!
Have a look at my resume at http://www.spacescapes.com/resume.html
and you will see I have earned a space in any gallery in the world!
I get invited to exhibit now thank heavens and I am enjoying it
believe me. Thanks for asking. Cecil Herring
to an art friend. these have turned out to be quite a lot of bio
material. This woman turned into a terrible shrew, cursing wildly
about everything in her e-mails so I severed ties with her. I
could not take the negativity.
Vick. Thanks for writing about your art man out west and how he's
I know. What is that about - that coolness? I bet I know.
I had an artist friend on Ft. Lauderdale named Anjel. I met her
first day at my digital school in Ft. Lauderdale. I couldn't believe
it. There we stood , waiting to be assigned desks at a bunch of
the greatest things then in 1994, MAC II computers. She stood,
there, a little biddy 4'11" blond loaded with turquoise jewelry
in jeans! She was as old or older than me, a little 5'1"
brunette loaded with - you guessed it turquoise jewelry. And we
even had the same model cars, 1989 Ford LTD Grand Marquise station
wagons with power everything.
Well, we became fast friends. She was the woman who clued me in
about men and art, and about how they turned being meaner than
dirt after whining and asking and receiving all our nurturing
support and INFORMATION about a said art show, technique, style
or other art business.
THEN DROPPING US LIKE HOT POTATOES soon as they know all there
in to know. They are quite sneaky in that respect. Well, they
have those cute thingys not found anyplace else than in a sex
shop with motors. That's the best thing they got going for themselves.
We fall for them like the sweet saps we are.
We older chicks know more about these subjects due to reduced
hormones as in the ORACLE AT DELPHI. We know more about motives
and hidden agendas and become aware of those little details I
guess to protect ourselves.
Ol' Anjel came over upon learning how I was broken hearted after
leaving husband #2 a verbal abuser who told me to get rid of all
that art shit. Anjel got out my scrap book and torn his pictures
off my wedding pictures!!!
Did me good, I tell you. I definitely will add this letter to
my memoirs since I am only able to write like this when I write
you, Vick. Weird eh? I guess I have found my girl friend writing
Anyhow, Anjel said "DONT TELL THEM A THING!!!"
"I 'm tired of breast feeding men," she huffed.
I'll never forget her. She's a wonderful fabulous woman who made
me see the light.
Enjoy being with him but always be award of your art ability and
who you are. You are right. There's no female or male in art making
I think due to it's being close to heaven. AND THERE ARE ON GENDERS
IN HEAVEN! So we become powerful in art making.
More later, Cecil
understand men anyhow so what do I know? I was married so young
and always just accepted men as being men and holy beings to cook
for and wait on and have sex with. I never tried to be their friends
much. I have found them jealous, deceitful, conniving and trying
always to find out career stuff and then drop you like a hot potato.
I've always had them hanging out and wanting to have sex and then
get your contacts and even take your money if they can and tell
you you know nothing and wouldn't be able to do anything of consequence.
It's a very ancient set up and we're just now finding out that
we are actually equals or better.
Society always said women were the root of all evil and caused
all the trouble in paradise and hence weren't as good as men in
places like Afghanistan and India and the Bible. (It's early and
I'm not making much sense and don't really care anyhow!) I do
wonder if I understand anything at all or ever did.
to a friend seeking employment in the teaching field:
I had led a sheltered life and never understood bureaucracy nor
have I ever been able to work for the phone company, a brokerage
( I added zeros and transposed numbers on an old Jewish man's
credit balance, sent out checks with only 1 signature and so all
the people had to go to the bank and get a second signature, a
bottling company or anyplace except work as a writer, feature
writer for newspapers and taking photographs and doing photo essays.
I cannot do anything that requires paper work or writing down
numbers or reading a lot of stuff. .
Despite these shortcomings in 1996 I was asked to set up a digital
art department, design a digital program and be an adjunct professor
at Stetson University.
They were way behind the curve on digital world and had gotten
a huge grant to get a program started.
I quickly found out that thing you are talking about, crazy cat
fighting and stupid strange jealousies and backbiting none of
which I understood.
I won't go into all the problems I had.
They enrolled THREE STUDENTS FOR EACH COMPUTER almost 26 students
for 10 computers. It was a mess.
I taught Photoshop and Quark the first semester then Illustrator
and Painter second semester.
I graded on attendance, projects gave them in the syllabus and
a final in a system that seemed fair. I gave this one rich kid
a C minus - because he never came to class, didn't do half the
projects and didn't do the final. I got a call from the Art Department
Chair saying I needed to raise this particular student's grade
because his father was not happy. I told her to change the grade
herself and that I would not be back because I had my own professional
career to attend to. I was huffy but really what could they expect.
They never came in to see me, never gve me any feedback even though
they knew I had too many students and not enough computers.
I was only an adjunct, but got the department set up, got nice
results from the student show with many entries, many good students
and many wonderful projects.
I got only horrible flack from the music department. One prima
donna composer - really good though. He composed amazing abstract
music cutting edge I love contemporary classical musical pushing
the envelope, and computer music which already has a rich history.
wish I could compose some computer music and do a digital opera)
this music professor came in to critique me (from the music department)
saying he didn't like it that I "didn't teach the history
of digital art."
It was 1996. I said: "There is no history of digital art.
We are making the history of digital art." well, I guess
there were some early programs that morphed into Photoshop and
Painter but essentially we were seeing the beginning of digital
art in 1996-97.
I didn't think it was a history of digital art. It was digital
art and I had the kids make digital art. I was plagued by a lot
of devil worshipping kids who wore black, spiked hair, black nail
polish, had lots of piercings, changed my files to Satanic names
and downloaded Marilyn Manson late at night in the lab which was
supervised by another wild student.
The school kept the lab open all night with no monitors. We used
4 big black cartridges over the semester and only one of colors!
I decided to take the Michelle Pfieffer path in that ghetto movie
about a mean school where she was the teacher. I wore all black
leather, short black leather skirt, black stockings, a black top,
black jacket, black leather boots and long silver mobile looking
earrings and lots of black eyeliner. They all shut up and listened
A kid that was the primarily trouble maker, a troubled lad who
did a movie in the movie class about a pack of jackels tearing
up some poor gazelle! (it was pretty good actually) was a constant
problem, late, absent and tried to print on cardboard and wrecked
the Epson Printer head. He got the drift that the administration
did not back me nor support me and was always trying to get my
goat and give me a hard time putting Satanic names on my files
and always arguing and trying to do a oneupmanshipkindof thing.
I brought in a book about the great painter Hironymous Bosch and
his Garden of Delights, bringing in facts about early art works
with satirical aspects. I forget his name but this kid said it
indicated the total failure of Christianity. Now that I think
about that well, maybe he was on to something there.
But he didn't understand about satire at all due to his being
18 and having a hard time at home. One day when he came in (he
was a giant tall skinny lad and towered at least a foot over me
and stuck his giant tongue out at me and wiggled it and showed
off a big steel stud right in the middle. I said coolly "oh
wow, that must be so cool to have that in your mouth to play with!"
He didn't really bother me after that.
I guess I wasn't the type to teach because I secretly looked at
my watch constantly to see how long before I could get out of
I learned a lot though. I got several student letters thanking
me. One girl said said she didn't think she could learn so much
in one semester! I still have that letter. I taught one whole
year total - from August to May 1996 -97. I realize now how much
Stetson U. adds to this region though. The professors are quite
nice and very well trained. Some have truly become my friends!
my Spacescapes® are receiving interest 37 years later! (see original
got a query about selling my Bardo Passage which is dust covered
and in sad shape in the garage for the past 13 years. I had not
for sale on it at Absolutearts.com but am considering getting
it refurbished and bringing it in the house finally even if I
have to get rid of some furniture. I love my early works so much
now. I agreed to fix it up and have found a helper who can use
the fiberglass and chemicals needed and repaint the piece. Here
is my note to my representative at Absolutearts.com:
Janet: I found artist /sculptor in DELTONA would you believe who
can help me refurbish Bardo Passage! I cannot believe it. He came
right over and will begin work next Monday! under my supervision.
I already bought the supplies and heavy duty fumes mask.
I am so excited to get it all fixed up even if the sale does not
go through. I love my original Spacescapes® because they are totally unique
in the world of art now and forever I think. I have made many
mistakes in my art career due to personal tragedies. I even had
to GIVE AWAY valuable works when I had to move. Just put a sign
on a post with an arrow that said FREE ART! Cheers, Cecil
notes to myself: I shall rephotograph them and find some original
photosand negatives taken under black light using special UV filters
from Kodak. I shall post them all and make a book about them.
I have kept them safe and sound under ideal humidity. I have about
12 out of the original collection, including Bardo Passage. I
am just sick now I GAVE AWAY quite a few over in Melbourne. I
hope they are safe but probably not. Mostly young people got them.
E-mail if you see this, my collectors! I have many collectors,
both paid and free.
in a mood to write more on this also. I have been doing Orthodox
Buddhist Mantras and getting somewhere I think...Nam Mio Ho Ren
Images and written material on this web site is under copyright
and may not be used in any way. © Cecil Herring ©2010
my first section to the writers at Gateway Center for the Arts
in January 2010. It sounded terrible. Now, I see why. I am about
the theatre of the Absurb, authored by my heros Herman Hesse and
Entry for Feb. 2010. I am not done yet! There is this on-line
thing called Facebook. What is on-line? We are moving fast now
in this wired world. Who knew we could talk to each other all
over the world. People talk and get ignored and left in the literary
dust. It is a dog eat dog talk world.
Facebook. There was a Nobel Prize winning for Literature book
by the German Author Herman Hesse called "Das Glasperlenspiel"
or "Majester Ludi." Simplified, which is all I know
how to do, is: It is based on an abstract concept of an illusive
game, of course fictional. I never quite understood it. Now, this
Facebook multidimentional project reminds me of the book. I need
to read the book again. Hesse with his Steppenwolf is a founder
of The Theatre of the Absurd which connects to my following Edward
Albee, "Man with Three Arms." Yes, I am getting somewhere
myself..I am comin thru the Rye. I am putting myself together.
Betsy: I am sorry I missed the past two Wednesdays. I just had
to get my sequences right - where am I ? Where was I? It took
some time but by jove I think I've got it, a tiny comma to hold
onto that I can go on with my ideas. My story is not about my
life so much as my ideas. Is that ok? My life is too complex in
my headI can write about my ideas! Can I do that in your class?
I lost your phone number. Can you give it to me again? I enjoyed
your class but it was sheer trauma to read that first section.
But I got through it. I see how to go on now.
Thanks for your patience! I loved the class I took and hope to
go on now with some assurances I can do it! Thanks again. Warm
working on painting as it relates to quantum mechanics and general
relativity with the aim of merging and reconciling the two areas
of physics into a quantum theory of gravity in a painting. Why
can't painting be used as as a form of math? It could help me
solidify my thinking.
Aug. 17, 2010, yesterday:
Here is a fragment of writing
begun several years ago as I was trying to find myself as usual.
This one is really quite interesting and must be preserved for
my memoir. I'll polish it up, clean it up and present it for
my writing class.
Interject here a new comment
here about my interest in Ezekiel and add add digital art exhibits
to augment my case:
My interest was about how much
the Biblical Book of Ezekiel describes our space program. There
are descriptions of space ships and creatures floating around,
"wheels in the sky. Ezekiel saw the wheels way in the middle
of the earth..." goes the old spiritual gospel song."
I explained my slow 'subversion/conversion' from Methodism about
25 years ago when I started listening to Phillip Glass' music.
Glass says his music is influenced by Buddhist chants, repetitive
beats, bells and gongs.
Playing Glass music makes me
a Buddha of sorts. I split off myself and become another self.
It's a good feeling. Phew, what a relief! I shed my white Anglo-Saxon
Protestant persona and my colors change to multicolor, dots, stripes,
I float around like a Zebra Buddha. I forget who I am or maybe
I become more of who I am. I am transparent.
Secretly I am an eastern oriental
. I think I have been 'Eastern' all my life.
Composer Glass wrote music for
Kundun, a movie by Director Martin Scorsese about how the Dalai
Lama was thrown out of Tibet by Chinese communists who don't like
people sitting around chanting, ringing bells and making sand
I am as bad as a Chinese Communist. I'm so strict on myself
or as they say hard on myself. I think I really need to study
Buddhism but I don't know how or know anyone who does.
April 22, 2010: I watched a long
PBS documentary on Buddhism. It was far more realistic than I
had ever seen before. Or perhaps I was more realistic than before.
I am changing. The world is changing so fast I need to hold on
in order to not to be thrown off.
People are already arguing on
CNN about Mosques in Manhattan at Ground Zero where 9/11/2001
happened less than 10 years ago!
As I rewrite this in August 17, 2010 even the PBS documentary
seems out of date. The motion picture camera was (I revert to
past tense) focusing on picking a new baby Dalai Lama. They just
went out and picked a beautiful, fat ruddy boy with black shining
eyes who did, I'll admit, looked smart and wise. He was a healthy
looking baby, and dressed in a tiny robe that was really cute.
I must have changed a lot because I noticed all the flaws, the
dirt floors, the mother's dirty fingernails, the abject poverty.
I thought about the Chinese now
controlling the region. They say mean things about Buddhism and
the chanting exercises. Nam mio ho ren ge kio. Chinese now control
the region, took over Tibet, say, "Religion makes weak people."
I think about how the news said
today Chinese are close to becoming number one economy in the
world. I am editing like crazy, deleting things I said a few months
ago which are not not true, obselete. How could anyone write history
now? This makes me think memoirs are impossible. I myself am
not the same as I was last spring. The xanax has worn off!
What? I come on sentences after sentences which must be deleted
as untrue and downright stupid. Was I on Zanax? I no longer believe
in any of this drivel. I change I do to do I? I do, do I believe
in man and man's mind and zoning out? Zoning out is healing. It
is meditation and meditation is healing. It sets one off in a
good direction towards relaxation. This appears to be a kind of
Chinese puzzle. Yes, it is a Rubric's cube of a confused mind.
Angelspeak, was begun several
years before and after the Computer Age took us Over. It is
finite, a piece of our Bible. I can ground myself and hang on
and go for any ending here. Wait you will be surprised and happy
when this struggle is over. There is resolve herein.
George Bernard Shaw made the
observation that "in heaven an angel is nobody in particular",
but there is nothing commonplace about this description of angels
from the Bible's book of Ezekiel:
"They had the likeness of
And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet
was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the
colour of burnished brass ... As for the likeness of their faces,
they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the
right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side;
they four also had the face of an eagle."
"With angels like that,
it is easy to see why they have ..."
the statement ends.
I do not remember why I even wrote this all down so carefully.
I did not care about angels at that time, I was interested in
space exploration and a certain rocket scientist named Charley.
Then he was my muse and I adored him. I guess this had to do with
Charley found me on the internet
in 1996, thus ensued a hot cybersex romance before he came and
took me out to dinner. As soon as we saw each other in person,
hate developed and it was all over. Reality again set in. He was
too thin when he said he was slim. Thin is not slim! and he had
a huge adam's apple. He was brilliant and had spent his life at
the rocket factory. Both wives had left him! He was quite a miserable
man and arrogant to boot.
So much for internet romance! He was a huge liberal from California
wtih a taste for volupuous women with big hair. I was a straight
ticket Republican from Volusia county. In short I hated him and
he hated me. In between, I turned out some great art, the Ezekiel
(exhibit), two Cassinis (exhibits) and dinner in Deland at a
table next to a bunch of kids. I spent the better part of a summer
fantasizing how he was hung so I embarked on a series of nude
men. I think I have about 6 specimen men someplace hidden in my
painting racks. I could go on.
Romantic dreams are better in
the dream state.
I did see beautiful Cassini mission
leave earth for Saturn in 1997! I saw it arrive at the intersection
of ice and rocks and then drop its parachute on Saturn's Moon
Crazily, Charley is now my friend
Aug. 17, 2010, yesterday:
I'll interject a new comment
here about my original interest in Ezekiel before carnal knowledge,
I wish, had taken over. I add digital art exhibits to augment
My interest was about how much
Prophet Ezekiel describes our space program. There are descriptions
of space ships and creatures floating around, "wheels in
the sky. Ezekiel saw the wheels way in the middle of the earth..."
goes the old spiritual gospel song."
"I don't understand it either, Jose." Who is Jose?
Oh now I remember. This is a
piece of a blog I wrote to Jose on Absolute Arts, my art representative
gallery on line.
Jose is fantastic artist from Portugal who roams the world. He
paints, writes, sculpts, videotapes, makes little movies and is
now a haiku poet in Japan. I think Jose is a Renaissance man with
a great spirit. I was writing to him about Buddhism.
I explained my slow 'subversion/conversion' from Methodism about
25 years ago when I started listening to composer Phillip Glass'
music who says his music is influenced by Buddhist chants, repetitive
beats and bells and gongs.
Playing Glass music makes me
be a Buddha of sorts. I split off myself and become another self.
It's a good feeling. Phew, what a relief! I shed my white Anglo-Saxon
Protestant persona. My colors change to multicolors, dots, stripes,
I float about as a Zebra Buddha. I forget who I am or maybe I
become more of who I am. I am transparent.
Secretly I am eastern oriental
. I think I have been 'eastern' all my life. Composer Glass wrote
music for Kundun, a movie by Director Martin Scorsese about how
the Dalai Lama was thrown out of Tibet by Chinese communists
who don't like people sitting around chanting, ringing bells
and making sand paintings!
I am as bad as a Chinese Communist. I'm so strict on myself
or as they say hard on myself. I think I really need to study
Buddhism but I don't know how or anymore who does.
April 22, 2010: I watched a long
PBS documentary on Buddhism last week. It was far more realistic
than I had ever seen before. Or perhaps I was more realistic than
before. I am changing. The world is changing so fast I need to
hold on to not be thrown off. People are by now arguing on CNN
about Mosques in Manhattan at Ground Zero where 9/11/2001 happened
less than 10 years ago!
As I rewrite this in 2010 even the PBS documentary seems out
of date. The motion picture camera was (I revert to past tense)
focused on picking a new baby Dalai Lama. They just went out and
picked a beautiful, fat ruddy boy with black shining eyes who
did, I'll admit, looked smart and wise. He was a healthy looking
baby, and dressed in a tiny robe that was really cute. I must
have changed a lot because I noticed all the flaws, the dirt floors,
the mother's dirty fingernails, the abject poverty.
I thought about the Chinese now
controlling the region. They say mean things about Buddhism and
the chanting exercises. Nam mio ho ren ge kio. Chinese control
the region, took over Tibet, say, "Religion makes weak people."
A few months later, 8/17/2010, a few months later, I think about
how the news says Chinese are close to being number one economy
in the world. I am editing like crazy, deleting things I said
a few months ago which are not not true, obselete. How could anyone
write history now? This makes me think memoirs are impossible.
What? I come on sentences after
sentences which must be deleted as untrue and downright stupid.
Was I on Zanax? I no longer believe in any of this drivel. I
change I do to do I . I do, do I believe in man and man's mind
and zoning out? Zoning out is healing. It is meditation and meditation
is healing. It sets one off in a good direction towards relaxation.
This appears to be a kind of Chinese puzzle. Yes, it is a Rubric's
cube of a confused mind.
I need to finish this. But is
it 'finishable?' Yes, it is finishable, maybe someday. Tomorrow
I paint. That makes sense.
Sept 13, 2011. A sad thing
happened on Sept 4, 2011. My dear friend's daughter went on to
her best life early. That is not an easy thing to endure. I am
praying for her and can only find a nice photo of my friend at
this time. She is so beautiful and smart and light hearted. God
bless her. I only have picture of her in our writing class at
this time. Here it is.