Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brain Mapping

Between my husband's propensity toward left-brain thinking, and my right-brain dominance, we might just make one whole brain.

We just returned from a 4-hour trip to hang out with Fun Family. Our journey took us through south-central Nebraska and eastward through northern Kansas. (Didja get that? On a map, it's down, and over to the right.)

(Despite what some say, that area of the country is truly beautiful, especially this time
of year. The hills roll gently toward the horizon, covered with milo, soybeans, corn and sunflowers. In autumn, milo heads are a rich burnt-orange color, and for a few days soybeans dry brilliant yellow before they ripen to a rosy brown. Corn stalks stand tall and brittle. Sunflowers hide their yellow petals under heavy heads on warm green stalks. And the cottonwoods, well, they're fantastic.)

In response to my delighted descriptions of the landscape, Handsome Husband said, "Mhhm. You missed your exit."

"But didja see the shadows? They're a lovely blue-ish purple. " To which he remarked, "Hmhm. You can grab 229, merge onto 29 South and take exit 485. "

I know that exit. It's right by a great big red water tower. It can be uncommonly pretty against a blue sky. Thanks to HH and his attention to detail, we remained in the continental US and arrived in due time at our destination.

We and the Fam had a great time watching KU football and their exceptional marching band. (Some of us gather for the band performance and sit politely through the football game, which, by the way, is played on a luminously green field, a lovely counterpoint to bright blue uniforms with crimson trim.)

A day and fifty belly laughs later we hugged Fun Family goodbye and headed home. I just might add here that we live in a town of just under 2,000 people. We have one stoplight, and that's the truth. Fun Family lives in the Kansas City area. It's just a slightly more complicated kind of driving. Leaving the city we were faced with a backwards rendition of finding our way in to the metro. Suddenly HH's exit numbers were out of order and our interchanges were knotted in the opposite direction. We needed to turn south to go north and merge left to stay on the highway. His logic was being sorely tested.

It seems that in order to return safely to the golden cornfields of south central Nebraska, we were going to have to combine HH's analytical powers with my ability to visually un-knot the tangle of highways we were on.

"I'm just certain we turn here" I declare. "If we turned left on the way in we need to turn right on the way out. Take the loopty-loop backwards and we'll be fine."

And we were.

As we both relaxed into our trip homeward, HH turned to me and said, "Geez, look at the flowers in the ditch there. They're pretty against the orange milo aren't they?"

I smiled at him, pleased to know that he has developed an eye toward subtle beauty in the landscape. "Yes they are, sweetie", I say. "And you just missed your exit."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's for Dinner?

I am too stuffed to think.
My youngest son turned 25 a few days ago. Twenty five!! (Insert your own age joke here.)
Rather than discuss the passing of years and the spinning of time, let's talk about something really important.
If you could have anything - anything for your birthday dinner, what kind of dinner would you ask for?
We celebrated with grilled chicken, cheesy potatoes, garlic asparagus, crusty rolls with real butter, and angel food cake. And laughter. Man, my family knows how to laugh.
It was about as perfect a meal as could be.
What's your perfect birthday celebration?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Art of Bullying

Okay, so I'm a bully.

I made a nice lady cry recently.

Several weeks ago I had a home-town exhibit at which I shared many of the daily paintings I'd done up to that point. Many were well received, many were, shall we say...tolerated. That's okay, I told myself, be brave. It's to be expected. This exhibit is about starting a conversation, nothing more. I gave myself the usual pep talk. You've probably heard it inside your head, too.

"Be patient. Share your purpose. Explain how/why/when you chose to paint that landscape/blue cow/raccoon skull. Smile sweetly when the viewer interrupts you to tell you about their grandma/great aunt/neighbor who paints on barn boards.... Smiiile"

And then Nice Lady asked about purchasing a small painting from me.

Day 72 - Goldenrod Morning @2009

Quite honestly, I was surprised, and told her so. Of all the pieces in this show, this is not the one I would have expected you to select, I said. (In fact, I very nearly didn't put this piece in the show because I didn't expect anyone but me to love that piece. And I loved that piece.)

Nice Lady smiled sweetly and shared with me her reason for buying this little yellow landscape.

It makes me smile, she said. She shared with me her love for goldenrods, her love and appreciation for the color yellow. Her delight in how it made her feel. Looking at that little piece just made her feel good. Really good. And happy tears welled up in her eyes.

I - or rather my painting - had touched her. Deeply. It was beyond words, this moment when we both loved the possiblities of a certain experience created by color and movement. She had her story, I had mine, and the fact that the stories weren't the same didn't matter. We connected deeply, from our hearts, sharing a language that doesn't exist.

That's why I paint. Not to make nice people cry, but for those moments when the work of my hands touches the heart of another person. That pause in time when there is no need for words, when rhythm and color, texture and hue combine to reach from my heart to yours.

If tears are part of the deal, well, that's just fine with me. I'm tough, I can take it.

How tough are you?