Monday, October 29, 2007


Two boys make a discovery that unleashes evil. Once it has been awakened, it cannot be undone. The question is...Who is hunted?
A film by award winning director, Mike Barker
Starring: Max Barker (Kindergarden Rock and Monkey bar Mayhem)
Nick Barker (Then There Was Two and The Fifty Dollar Envelope)
and indroducing Jackson Cole Barker as himself.
Copyright 2004
Arctic Assins Productions

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Art and the Oldest Profession

Saturday I went to the cattle call and presented my artwork to the Snow City Cafe. This is the 4th time I have gone out for coveted privilege of showing my art there. But the rejection is killing me and I am not a stranger to rejection; I know it is just a numbers game and it takes so many nos to get a yes and if one door closes another one opens. Blah, blah, blah, yatta, yatta anyway...

In a past life I was a car salesperson. I know I've heard all the derogatory things we say about car salesmen: shysters, phonies, slick, liars the third most hated profession. Real NICE people! Hey! It's a hard job; you compete with other hungry salesmen for a client, sometimes waiting for hours in the cold and rain, at other times there are so many clients that it's hard service them all at once, you prospect all the time and even make cold calls, if you're real good then you'll get repeat customers and they will refer you to friends and family. You learn the fine art of games-mans-ship. You sell the sizzle not the steak. You develop a thick skin and get a little jaded. It's allot like the oldest profession. I digress...

My artworks are like my children each one a special one-of-a-kind jewel. I pour my love energy into my artwork; they are pieces of me my dreams, my art is my joy, my pain and my point of view. I love to share it. . So I peddle it and hope people will love it enough to buy it. Somehow the rejection is not the same it's personal. I've become so thin skinned and overly sensitive.

In the car biz I was good and tenacious; If I got rejected, I would shake it off and move on.
So I guess its just the same game only the stakes are higher.
Note to self:get gallery representation.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mary a Byzantine Icon

Title: Mary a Byzantine Icon
Size: H 30" X W 15"
Date: October 2007

The paint is still wet on thid one! "Mary a Byzantine Icon" was donated to the St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Anchorage for their annual formal dinner and art auction, November 4th at the Hilton Hotel.

Please bid generously. Mary needs a good home and a beautiful frame.

I Always Fantasized About Being A Torch Singer

I want to be alone
but you're always here
even when you're away
I wake up thinking you'll be gone
but you're here to stay
just another day wanting to be alone
wating by the phone

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rhaya's Witch and a Flying Ointment Recipe

The little witch is making her annual flying ointment recipe before the other witches arrive on All Hallows Eve. All the witches from far and wide want to know what is the secret ingredient that makes Rhayas flying potent the best. It's a secret.
3 grams annamthol
30 grams betel
50 grams extract of opium
5 grams cinquefoil
15 grams henbane
15 grams belladonna
15 grams hemlock
250 grams Cannabis Indica
5 grams canthreindin
blend with your choice vaseline, safflower oil or butter.

Caution!!!! Don't try this recipe at home.

#1 Jong, Erica "Witches" page number 154, 1981, New York and Scarborough, Ontario

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Virgin Mary - A Byzantine Icon from the 15 Century

Mary was copied from a tiny picture of a Byzantine icon from Turkey. So far the painting has 5 coats of paint. I adore this indirect way of painting, layers of translucent paint make the painting look like a jewel and work wonderfully for icon paintings. I have some 24 carat gold leaf that I will use for the embellishments. I imagine this framed in a heavy gold baroque frame.

The milk mustache will have to go though. When she is complete I will post her again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My public apology and explanation: I'M SORRY FOR STEPPING ON YOUR BIG FAT TOES!

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a local art group my desire to be helpful and get the word out to more artists backfired. I will change the names as I write this as it is just a tantrum and my venting about some art group drama, e-mail being miss used, egos being stepped on and things being blown way out of proportion. This is the e-mail......

Dear (artists organization) members: The Boys and Girls club of ALLISAW is making an artist call.If you would like to contribute your knowledge to a small group of enthusiastic young kids, this is your opportunity.The Boys and Girls Club is working to bring unique skills to it's kids and art is one of them. They are looking for artists in any medium, willing to donate any amount of time to broaden the horizons of their kids. You could offer a one time demonstration to teenagers, or set-up a 3 week session for elementary students, or even offer one-on-one classes in your specialty. The time, dates and age of students would be up to you.This could be good exposure for those of you who like to have students for private lessons. And for the rest of you artists this is a great way to 'spread the art' and give back to the community. Your efforts could inspire some young artist to follow their imagination.Please give this opportunity some thought and call Jeth Melley at the Boys and Girls club @ 123-4567 or e-mail him at for more information.PS. In exchange for volunteering, the Boys and Girls Club can offer meeting space. They often find it's large meeting space empty and would like to see it used for functions, classes, meetings, workshops, etc. Thank you for giving this consideration. (Name of Person who wrote this message, position, the web site e-mail etc)

So I called (Jeth) to discuss the possibility of giving a wax demonstration to the boys and girls and teaching a class. In the course of the conversation, he asked me if I knew other artists or venues he could use to get the word out? I said sure a Yahoo group that posts events and happenings in Alaska. I could post the message there. So unconsciously and without thinking copied and pasted the body of the message (IN RED) to the yahoo group. To be fair there is some bad blood between (artists organization) and the person who started that Yahoo group. Not my problem.

I got a call a week or so later from (insert name) apologizing to me for the strongly worded e-mail she sent to me that she should have never mailed it. (The e-mail I never recieved) We had a nice chat and everything was fine.
I sincerely said I am sorry for stepping on any toes, explained the conversation I had with Seth etc. and admitted it was inconsiderate of me to not at least call before I foreward any e-mails. Then I followed it up with an e-mail just to make sure she got my apology. Following is the e-pology.

Dear (insert name),

Whatever you said in your e-mail did not come across into my box. Strange. But if you were harsh I understand why.
Like I said I am challenged in certain areas where common sense and diplomacy should prevail.
Again; my apologies for not paying you a phone call, using your words and not saying where the info came from.
You’re doing an excellent job as president of the (ARTISTS ORGANIZATION)
I will watch your art career with interest.
I appreciate your deference towards me.

Very Sincerely
Judy Vars

Was that ass kissy and contrite enough? Then I forgot about it.
she writes back.....

Thanks Judy, I appreciate your friendship and was afraid I might have jeopardized it. I glad I could explain myself and we could work it out.
Talk to you later.
(author of the call for artists e- mail)

Now a few weeks later and over the weekend I get e-mails from a local business woman and artist, saying "I emailed Ms (author of the call for artists) and told her that her response was unprofessional and inappropriate and to please take me off of her list. She was over the top. This is silliness I just don't have interest or time for something that small minded. Who really cares? Nobody I've seen is a master artist here in the valley. Even the most popular are just that. The egos need a reality check."

Up until them I thought it was better if I didn't see the e-mail but (business lady) got me curious just what was in the e-mail and why did she see it??? I thought it was sent only to me and I somehow missed it. So I had MsBusiness Lady to foreward me a copy of the e-mail she had recieved.
The following e-mail was sent to everyone in the artists organization a large group of other people on the mailing list!

Dear Judy and whomever else sent this message:

I have a problem with this. The writing below is taken directly from an e-mail that I composed and sent to the membership of the (artists organization) a week or so ago. Yet, my name and the name of our group has been removed from the original text. This is plagiarism. The opportunity with the Boys and Girls club was offered directly to the (artists organization)by (director of Boys and Girls club) when he attended one of our meetings after contacting me. I understand that some of our members are also members of other groups, but opportunities from our (artists organization) cannot simply be copied and pasted and offered to the other art groups without the permission of the (artists organization). Neither should anyone simply omit the name of the original author and sender. This is misleading. I do not have a problem working with other art groups to support a good cause like the Boys and Girls Club, but information must be shared properly. The rights of each group, and the possible special nature of these opportunities must be respected. I would appreciate that this matter be rectified, either by an explanation being sent to the members of or by this e-mail I have sent you being forwarded to the members of (Rival Yahoo Group) though the yahoo group site and any other place it was sent. Again, with this particular opportunity the (artists organization) does not mind, it even encourages artists from all groups to participate with the Boys and Girls Club. However, credit for where these opportunities come from must be made clear and permission should be sought before forwarding to other art groups. I hope the same is done from any other groups to us. Respectfully, (insert name of person and artists association here)

Well I'm aghast! and quite embarrassed! So before everyone throws me into stocks and pelts me with rotten tomatoes, may I publicly offer my apologies for presuming that other artists in the valley might be able to pitch in and offer their talents for young people.

I learned my lesson:

  • Never cut and paste someone elses words.
  • I will always give the author and source their credit.
  • Always have the courtesy to call someone on the telephone and ask first.

The older I get the less things like this seem to matter. I just can't please all of the people all of the time (although I try) and I can forgive myself for not being perfect and other people for there inperfectuns and sillyness also. WoW I've given this waaaaaay too much of my time.....

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Latest "Drama Queen"

Title: Drama Queen
Medium: Encaustic Wax
Size: H 16" X W 13 1/2
Artist: Judy Vars
Price: 175.00
Today I stayed home because I was a sicky, sore throat, coughing. What an opportunity to paint. I started an icon of Mary, worked on an encaustic painting of Peter, played with the Drama Queen, started to make myself an altar, rearranged my bedroom and watched "I Madman."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Storied Alaska

First Fridays art walk has come and gone. The best exhibits were "Rarefied Light" the juried photographic collection at the Gallery for Contemporary Art. This is one of my favorite images. People sure scowl when I take pictures, but I always ask permission and give credit to the artist.
For every woman whos ever loved a man.
There are sacrifices she can't understand.
Michael Conti

At the MTS Gallery "Storied Alaska" Michael Conti created photographic essay about Alaska with the stories from Jack London. Michael Walsh took a palette knife and painted note able Alaskan caricatures on found objects. This show was funded partly from an individual artist grant from the Rasmusson Foundation, which confirms my suspicions that they are biased towards Alaskan themes.

This is Don Young the sole representative from Alaska for the last 100 years or so. Currently under federal investigation for allegedly taking bribes, illegal gratuities, and unreported gifts.

This is Senator Ted Stevens also in a whole buttload of trouble with IRS and FBI. He is currently under investigation for his relationship with an executive at VECO an oil service company who pled guilty for bribing Alaska Legislators. Stevens also served as president pro tempore.

But where was the pretty Governor Sarah Palin? He could have painted her portrait on a cheer leader's outfit or a vanity mirror. Mirror ,mirror on the wall who's the cutest, smartest and the most popular one of all?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Purging, Alchemy, and Purfume

Lately I've had this idea to give away and destroy all my art. I've told others about this feeling and they have mixed reactions, like "are you nuts?" or "give it to me!" or "are you depressed or something"?
I have mixed emotions about this and don't really know where this urge to purge is coming from. I just want to give it away. There are pieces that I will leave to my children in a "ethical will" when I am dead. Perhaps my identity/ego is too wrapped up in my art. I explore dreams, emotions and questions of life and death. Then put myself and my artwork on front street for everyone to love or hate.

Like most things serendipitously I find my answers. I read an interview in the Alaska Wellness Magazine an interview with Jerry Wennstrom in 1979 he destroyed all his art and gave everything away. I looked at his pre 1979 art and some of it was disturbing and ugly (in my opinion). Then he took the leap to consciously empty himself of his identity. He went on to face his fears and seek GOD transform himself and create new phenomenal art. He speaks of surrender and tending to the requirements of the moment paying attention and working reverently.

Alchemy, the power to turn baser metals into gold and finding the universal solvent the elixir of life
. Speaking about alchemy and elixirs...........
I rented "Purfume" a surrealistic film about making purfume in 1800 France. Obsession, serial murder, visually stunning, artistically challenging. all the good stuff! See it! I told my husband it was a chick flick (my kind of chick flick).

Here is to transformation....