add a wiggly dog...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
add a wiggly dog...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
It's been a frustrating couple of weeks in my studio. Some ideas that have been floating around in my head don't seem to translate onto paper or canvas. Inside my noggin, they're beautiful renditions of the acres of birches we saw in the U.P Michigan. On paper, well, it's another story. It's been frustrating, to say the least. Especially since I saw a really beautiful exhibit by Hal Haloun at Kiechel Gallery in Lincoln, Ne. Achingly beautiful.
So many people have said to me "Oh! It must be so much FUN to be an artist!" And I smile and mumble something about it being better than kick in the pants. Satisfying, certainly. But fun? Playing cards with friends is fun. Sharing a meal with family is fun. Being an artist? Mm, not so much.
When I was in college, I had an instructor who was refreshingly honest with me. During our last conversation, while I picked up the last assignment of the year, I asked him whether I should pursue an art degree, or get a 'real' job. Of course, I was hoping he would smile sweetly and tell me how wonderful an artist I was.
What he did say has stayed with me all these years (and it's been alot of years).
He said, "You've got the talent. You can do it if you want it, but it's going to be hard work."
I didn't understand the hard work part. For me, just like those people, painting was FUN! I hadn't yet spent hours trying to make the perfect mark that would hold a painting together. I hadn't spent days working on one small painting, wondering how to get oil paint to look like air. I hadn't yet spent hours in a studio, alone, facing the fear that I had no idea what I was doing. And doing it anyway.
I get that art is not like hauling rocks from one site to another, or saving babies from burning buildings. No one has ever used a canvas of mine to protect themselves from an assassin's bullet.
I'm grateful to Dr. Z for being honest with me, and telling me that being an artist is hard. Not saving babies hard, but ego-bruising hard. Not back-breakingly hard, but intellectually hard. Inventing a new language hard. Sharing your private thoughts and hopes with strangers hard. Had he not been honest with me and shared that little nugget of truth with me, I'm pretty certain that I'd be working in the food service industry, or the local Shop-n-Drop. It may yet come to that. But until then, I'm going back into my studio and face that canvas one more time. Dr. Z will be standing with me, shoulder to shoulder.
I'm grateful for that.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
As far as I'm concerned all the Talking Heads have yelled their last yell. The guys at The Weather Channel have, uh, weathered their last hurricane. In my world Christiane Amanpour has moved over to the cooking channel and is helping Duff decorate wedding cakes.
I'm ignoring warnings of recession and crashing markets and iron poor blood and cellulite. I absolutely will not participate.
I have heard my last dire warning. Play along if you like. Winter is not on it's way, and Thanksgiving dinner has no calories. I can already taste that second piece of pie.
So what gives? Well, it's been a long time since we have had much good news. And I'm weary of it, so I'm creating my own.
I'm bringing back summer. I'm bringing back those lazy days by the river, when the sun was just going down and the cicadas were beginning their rhythmic song. (I'm not bringing back mosquitos.) I'm bringing back the cool breeze whispering 'goodnight' in the trees.
Come get some for yourself. When the going gets tough, when the Talking Heads shout one word too many or that crazy Jim heads outside for the next huge storm, put your eyes on this momento of quieter, softer, warmer times.
And have a second piece of pie.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Despite the fact that the year is aging, and time for all we were going to get done is running out, it's hard not to feel excited about the coming holidays. Even though the decorations being strung from the street lights in my town are nearly antique, they inspire a fresh look at the town square. The sky is that particular tone of blue that is startling in its intensity. The air is clean, the breeze chilly and brisk and the holidays are just around the corner.
It's a hopeful time, this end-of-the-year season.
There is the obvious, the hope of a successful economic up-tick for sellers of various stuff. (This includes yours truly here.) This season carries the entire year for some.
There is hope for those whose candidates won, to have their dreams met, or at least recognized. There is hope for those whose candidates lost their races, hope that fences will be mended and cold shoulders warmed.
There are great expectations for families to gather around a common table and share not only turkey and pie, but laughter and love, or at least a feeble joke and a momentary truce. I hope I have enough silverware to go around.
Some hope for snow, but not me. I'm past my sledding prime.
I hope people buy art. Not just mine, although that would be really, really great. I hope folks do not become paralyzed by the constant warnings of dire times from the Talking Heads. I hope people turn off the negativity and look up at the aging street decorations, and the families gathering and the clear blue sky and feel good about where this year has been. And where it is going.
And where we are.
By the way, if you're in Hastings Nebraska on the evening of November 20th, stop by Graham Gallery and see what's hanging on the walls. I'm sure there'll be a cup of steaming cider for you.
Hope to see you there.