Honore Sharrer

I hope the reblog works this time:

I am reblogging this from The Women’s Studio, a blog I discovered through the Sketchuniverse blog. I love this great resource for women’s art history. The post’s link at the end goes to a Youtube video of Honore Sharrer’s work: A Dangerous Woman. The danger lies in the way much of culture gets buried in the rush of life. I hope that we all continue to find resources to understand and preserve those who have marginalized by a false narrative.

The Women's Studio

1920-2009

Honore Sharrer was an artist who made paintings, lithographs, aquatints, photographs, and drawings. Her colorful paintings, with their blending of Social Realism and Surrealism, showed the experiences of everyday people but with a slight air of unreality. Her early paintings depicted American working people in a Social Realist style. Her work then transitioned into Surrealism, often with humor and political overtones.  Later she would explore the imagery of myth and fairy tales to free herself from “the punishment of ‘realism’.”  

Sharrer studied at the California School of Fine Art and at Yale University.  During World War II she worked as a welder in a shipyard in San Francisco.  She created storyboards for the movie industry.  She moved to New York and worked in a shipyard in New Jersey.

Her adherence to representational and figural art in the 1950s and 1960s came up against the…

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Inside Joy

I’m still working on my moonflower series of paintings for my supporters on Patreon. I’ve mailed a few out, but the winter storms have all but halted the mail. I think that this is the first time in my life when the mail actually stopped running.

Epic icicle in the epic storm, but Love Never Fails by Frankd Robinson is a bright spot still

In Memphis, we’ve been iced and snowed in for 8 days. Yesterday we got a boil water alert because our city reservoir is running low, partially frozen and partially over used. We all have to keep our faucets and taps running to keep our pipes from freezing and breaking. The plumbing here is not designed for weather this cold for this long.

I tried to get outdoors in my wheelchair one day to experience the snow, but immediately got stuck. I didn’t even make it down my front porch ramp. My son got me back in the house and I’ve been indoors, inside, ever since. But we haven’t lost power and my son did a big shopping last week, so we’ve done okay.

Even though I’ve been unable to get out of the house (me and most of Memphis), and I’ve not been able to talk to doctors or the pharmacy, I’ve been mostly okay. Working on paintings, reading, and even writing in my journal again — I realized I’m lucky.

Good fortune is a comparative thing. If I compare my situation to beautiful summer days, then I can get really unhappy. But if I compare myself to those who are homeless in this weather, those who lost power, those who more complex medical conditions, then I’m doing well. I am grateful.

When I painted, I brushed off extra paint on a small 5×7″ canvas. Then I squirted the paint with water, let it blend and separate, and did that several days in a row, until I saw something emerge in the painting. And I saw something in myself. My ability to hold on to a feeling of contentment has improved so much over the past few years. I have cultivated better ways of looking at, speaking to, and talking about myself over the decades. I do get depressed, but it’s only one part of who I am. Who I am, at my core, is this person who values contentment and has done the work to keep it alive within me. Even at my darkest, now, I can remind myself that I have great friends and supporters (and doctors and medication.)

That’s what’s been nice about creating the moonflower paintings now, even though I wanted to finish them last month. I am spending time each day creating something for people who appreciate my creations. I’m restricted in who I see, or further restricted, since we’ve all been restricted by COVID 19. But all the connections I’ve made, all the ways I’ve grown, all the ways I’ve spent in the garden watching things grow — all of this is entrenched in the core of my being.

So, when I finished up my leftover paint piece, after I began to see shapes in it, I had been inside the house for 7 days. But it was okay. I was going to call this piece, She was often late for the party, but never for the dance. Instead I called it “Inside Joy.”

Inside Joy by Joy Murray, 5×7″, acrylic on stretched canvas

What do you think?

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Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.

This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways. 

If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/my/profile

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.

Patreon Gifts

Anyone who supports me on the Patreon platform will get an original work of art once a year. The size of the painting depends on the level of donation and how long the patron has supported me. Patreon is platform that allows you to make monthly donations to me to keep me in art supplies, medical supplies, and other financial necessities. You can read about it here.

I’m doing a series of moonflower paintings this year and as I get them finished and send them out, I’ll post them. One of my friends and supporters got his this week. He practices Tai Chi and I do, too. I love the base position called by my instructor “embrace the moon.” I know other instructors call it other things — hold the ball, embrace the earth, etc — but I like the moon metaphor best. So I painted this for him:

Embrace the Moon, 8×10″ by Joy Murray, acrylic paint and ink

Here is how he displayed it, with the painting he got last year:

If you’d like to receive an original art work by me, please consider becoming a supporter through Patreon. For as little as $1. a month you can be a part of my support base and a patron of the arts.

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Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.

This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways

If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/my/profile

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.

The Journal Project

I’ve written before about going back through my old journals and sharing what I find. I want to do this for the story and the art. I want to share how I’ve managed to live my life, learned to appreciate it, with a long term degenerative illness. I didn’t get a correct diagnosis until I was 57, so for most of my life I’ve had a mystery disease, or a diagnosis that wasn’t quite right.

I’ve kept a journal most of my life, but I haven’t kept the journals. I’ve moved around a lot, and I’ve destroyed what I saw as unnecessary baggage.

I remember going for a long time without keeping one, almost a decade. And when I started again, I felt so paranoid about writing down my thoughts, when I finished each journal, I would burn it. But then I stopped burning them and started to see them as friends, trusted places to share my fears and tell my stories. I was always afraid someone would read them. I had a terrible incident with my mother when I was a teenager, and she found a diary in which I talked about her alcoholism. Lord have mercy, she screamed the skin right off my bones.

Now, even after she’s dead and I’m a 60 year old woman, sometimes I worry that she’ll find out what I think, and be hurt and angry.

A journal or diary is a place to express sorrow and anger, as well as joy and triumph. Parts of my journals deal with my ongoing bi-polar disorder, with trauma, and with heartbreak. These are things we’re encouraged to keep to ourselves or to just get over. Some of us have histories we can never talk about for fear of depressing others. What do you think of that? I know that a burden shared is a burden lightened, but sometimes people just don’t want to hear about the more complicated and sorrowful parts of life.

I’m starting with the oldest journal I have, from 2005, when I was 45. I’ve kept it because it’s the journal where I started using a kind of personalized prayer to help me cope with my disability. And it’s the one I started using illustration and art as a way of calming and expressing myself. I’ll post highlights from it in the coming month, or however long it takes, then skip 10 years into the future.

Here are the first entry and illustrations:

Sunday

March 6, 2005

7:10 pm

I haven’t been able to write in my journal for the past few days, since Thursday.  I had my appointment with the neurologist Dr. E, and got my diagnosis of possible Multiple Sclerosis changed.  He found no evidence of it, but found a spinal cord injury.  My 9th thoracic vertebra has an old fracture and is compressed.  We don’t know what caused it, how long it’s been there, (long, long time) and it’s not repairable.  The fact that I’ve degenerated over the years could be a combination of the injury and a malabsorption problem that has weakened me.  He wants Dr. M to give me a malabsorption workup.  The test Dr E gave me for Celiac disease came back negative, but, he said, I may still have problems with digestion and to NOT start eating wheat again.  There is really nothing he can do for me.  

It’s all very puzzling.  I know I fell out of the back of a pick up truck just as it was starting up when I was about 11.  I was sitting on the open tailgate with some other kids.  I wasn’t hurt enough to go to the doctor, but I wonder if that was the cause?  Or was there some violence from my father I’ve forgotten?  I remember throwing myself down some stairs at my grandmothers to get attention.  I think I was around 7.  My sister had really fallen, and she was getting all kinds of special treatment, I thought. (She was probably miserable.  All my fall did was make my mom mad.)

But if it was one of those old incidents why didn’t I start limping and having seizures til I was 16?  Why did it take so long for my bowel and bladder to deteriorate?  Why do I get these hot spots and tingly feelings up and down my legs?  Why are my reflexes so hyperactive?  Why am I so tired?  Why is it so hard to walk?

It’s so hard to deal with.  I made up this prayer:

Oh Great Spirit

Give me the strength

To live the live

You’ve given me.

Amen

Not that I have a real sense of who God is.  I just use prayer as a way of comforting and strengthening myself, of that feeling as a child that someone all powerful is taking care of me.  I remember after Amen, we touched our head, heart and shoulders: father, son and holy ghost.  I’ve made my own

Acceptance

Love 

Forgiveness

Awareness

I wish I knew what it was like to be, to be alive without having to first overcome so much, just to be at a normal level of life.  But this isn’t my fate.  Not today.

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Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.

This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways

If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/my/profile

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.