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Spacescapes Art by Cecil Herring©

Writing a book on my website

Memories of being a Space Artist all my life

©2009 by Cecil Herring

"Being a Baby in Miami"

 

Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Darby with little Cecil

To 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.

I got 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.

Daddy 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

I cried 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.

I was 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.

I guess 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.

Daddy 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."

Once, 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!

Honey 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!

Honey 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.

I called 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.

Honey 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."

I do 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.

Once 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!

When 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!

They 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!"

We 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.

Sundays 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.

Sometimes 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.

I loved 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!

Seminole Indians near their 'chickee' houses in downtown Miami in the 1930s. Seminole squaw women hairstyles were quite pretty.

Seminole Mom with her Papoose

Seminole 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.

My 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.

Daddy 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.

Daddy 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!"

 

We 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.

I even 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.

Miami was truly an exciting city. It was a banquet of possibilities.

I cried and cried when we moved away. I still miss it.


 

In 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.

The 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.

In Miami, I generally got a bathing suit for Christmas put it on and went swimming. I never heard of seasons.

Pensacola 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.

I painted 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!"

 

My 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.

One 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!"

The 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 off.

As 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."

Pensacola 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!

Despite 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 paint.

Flash: Cape Canaveral, FL, Feb. 20, 1962. John Glenn Jr. becomes the first American to orbit the earth.

I watched our little black and white TV and held my breath and cried a bit as Glenn's rocket lifted off!

Going to the Big City!

1960

I met 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 home.

One 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.

As 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.

Finally 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.

I could 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.

Aida 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.

Immediately 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!

CHAPTER 2

While 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.

Betty 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."

We 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.

That 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.

While 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 in art

Next 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.

After 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.

I have 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.

Recently 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.

I do think I saw her move.

Perrin/Corbis/Sygma

Diena Vierny, Sculptor Maillol's model

"Ah, 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.

"She 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!"

I still 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!

I digress. Back to to New York in 1961.

Chaim 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!

I honor 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.

Then, 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.

We 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.

We 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.

Suddenly 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.

His 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.

I was 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!

He 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!"

I said 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.

I quaked 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.

He said guardedly,"Oh, I see you are a lot younger than I thought."

At 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 the cab.

Betty 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.

She 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.

Finally 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.

We 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!

I didn't know what to think. Finally I fell into my own twin bed, exhausted. We were flying back to Pensacola the next morning.

I guess 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!

"NO!' 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.

I was so upset I can't remember whether she was on the flight or not!

My husband met me at the airport.

I said, "Oh boy, what a trip!"

He answered with a bit of a grin, "What? Did Betty make a pass at you?"

I answered angrily, "If you knew so much, why didn't you warn me?" He didn't answer.

GAINESVILLE

 

Soon 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.

Abbott 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.

Abbott 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.

Fortunately, 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.

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"Portrait of the Artist as Aida"

I painted 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.

This was the 60s but still like the 50s. It was like that movie about beautiful wind up plastic doll wives.

We 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!

Now 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.

I still 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.

I took 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."

PR 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.

I had another professor, Hiram Williams, who seemed disdainful that I was even there. He influenced me too by making me more determined.

He 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.

Williams went on to say he liked Francis Bacon and that critics had compared his works to Bacon!

I never 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!

There 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!

Really, Williams was kind of mean. He irritated me so I acted egotistical and indicated he was not helping me.

"Who do you think you are?" he snapped when I complained.

I see 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.

I was Aida, the tempestuous heroine of the Verdi opera I almost saw in New York!

The 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!

 

*

 

I loved 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 up.

Abbott 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!

 

WE 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!

Again I cried and felt awful, a fish out of water, diva with no 'divadom,'expected to be a dutiful wife and mother!

Aha! 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.


Space, 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.

It 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.'

' I heard some of the 'wives' said I was kind of an air head.

There 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.

I was 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!

Brother 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.

He said things like: "Abbott, why don't you give the 'little woman' a break and take her out to dinner? " while I slowly disintegrated!

I felt 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."

By 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?

Christmas 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!

Later, Abbott said I was ungrateful when I said I hated my present!


Don't get Mad, Get Even

Things Go From Bad to Worse.

I heard 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?"

The phone rang and one of those wives I was talking about called to ask if I wanted to go to Mexico!

Thus begins the next chapter:

My Dr. Zhivago - 1966-1994

I'll 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.

Romance always looks better on pages I think...

 

FADE............ to shadows and TIME PASSING... LARGE CHUNK OF HIDDEN LIFE - More later as the journalists say...


Space, 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.

Editor's Note: The Interview below explains Cecil's Love of Space Art

Mars Millennium Project interviews Cecil for her ideas for making art on Mars!

Visit this amazing website and read the inspiring art ideas from great engineers, scientists, composers, artists, musicians and philosphers.

Mars art paper published by NASA © 2001

http://www.mars2030.net


Cecil Herring  ­  painter and sculptor
" discipline is the most important quality an artist can have... "
        
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!

My 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!

I'm 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.

In 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!

I began 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 day­glo colors.

Some 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.

For 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.

I may 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.

Or, 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.

For 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.

Images 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.

I cannot 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 | Systems 

 

Mars 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.

I was 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.

 

http://www.mars2030.net/

**1971**

New York, New York

49 West 57th Street

October 1971

Center Gallery, 49 West 57th St. NYC. Installation photograph

I had 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.

Syd offered to sponsor a New York show for me!

I had 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.

Not 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 environmental look.

I rented 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 formulation.

A very dry day could cause a spark and blow up the entire operation I was told! (It has since been outlawed.)

The 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.

They used liquid pvc to mothball naval fleets but I got some pretty amazing shapes.

Still 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!)

I was trying to establish an 'outer space' experience for my audience.

For 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."

The 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!)

I did have many visitors and appeared on Channel 7

ABC New York television on the evening news with my far out show.

I later 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?"

She 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 show well.

I don't 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!"

"Bardo Passage"

steel and pvc, painted in Day-Glo

4 feet high.

Collection of the artist.

 

*******

22 tears later...

1993

Almost 30 years after the Aida" portrait, I was quite a different person, having gone through many tragedies of operatic proportions.

I had 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!

I was 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.

It 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.

That 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.

I saw myself with my third eye and thought, this would make a great painting.

 

Digital Scream!

2004

I left Paul as soon as I got the energy!

Paul took this picture on the one happy occasion.

When 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 it.

I think I look fairly happy inspite of my growing concern about making a big mistake.

 

****1995****

Although 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!!!

"The Angel of Paris Instructs My Philospher." digital work, 1994.

1994 - I purchased my first Apple computer and enrolled in a Ft. Lauderdale digital art training program while I awaited my divorce.

I had wanted to create digital art for several years and had already studied desktop publishing and computer art for a semester.

The 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.

To 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 scanner.

After 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!

This 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!)

The name of this work is "The Angel of Paris Instructs My Philospher."

Remember 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.

There's lots more to come later...

**

COLOR OF SPACESCAPES

It's 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.

"Self Portrait as an Astronaut"

For this digital work, I digitally inserted my own face into a NASA photograph

and recolored the work so space looks like a pretty happy place.

Of 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.

It's very dark out there!


*

May, 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.

So, 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:

 

Please 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 in.
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

Hi 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.

I began 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.

I also 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 rejection, really.
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 the dice!

Having 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 bad.
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 husband worked.

Always 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 news career.
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

Letters 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.

Hi Vick. Thanks for writing about your art man out west and how he's acting.
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 muse.
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


I don't 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.


Letter to a friend seeking employment in the teaching field:

Hi: 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.

(I wish I could compose some computer music and do a digital opera)

Well 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! ha ha.
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 that day.
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 there!
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!

-

Feb. 19, 2008

Note:

Suddenly my Spacescapes® are receiving interest 37 years later! (see original Spacescapes®)I 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:

Feb. 19, 2008

Hi 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

More 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.

I'm 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 Ge Kio.

e-mail

 

All Images and written material on this web site is under copyright and may not be used in any way. © Cecil Herring ©2010

I read 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 Edward Albee.

 

New 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.

Yes 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.

2/18/2010

Dear 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 regards, Cecil

2/23/10

I'm 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.

 

9/13/2011

 

 

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 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 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 a man.
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 that.

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 in 2004.

Crazily, Charley is now my friend on Facebook!

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 case:

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.


 

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