Write

I have been feeling like I need to be writing again. More and more. Hopefully that will land here. I need to get over the excuse that I don’t have WordPress downloaded on my phone which matters because I don’t have internet at home right now other than on my cellphone. But really its just another thing that I’ve put off arranging. Now that words are starting to bubble up again I think. I hope. I do. I need to make it more easy for me to put them somewhere.

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A Human. Being.

I woke early today. No reason, just awoke.  Generally I go with Dr. Dyers suggestion to listen to what the early morning quiet wants to whisper to you. The gentle silence of the dawning day does lend itself to contemplative thought and often words will bubble up. Essays or poems given the all clear to swim up to the surface of the mind to be scooped up and prepared for consumption like so many fishes.

I’ve sometimes thought that I should make a habit of rising early in the morn to get a jump on the live-long day in one way or another. Alas, it does not come naturally to me at all, barring these occasional lapses.

I lived my entire childhood with a woman who was naturally an early riser and annoyingly perky with it. At least to the grumpy bear she was poking with a stick to try to wake from hibernation every morning. To me, I’d rather you didn’t coat the stick with honey. The situation was sticky enough without gumming up the works any further.

Eventually, as most (relatively) reasonable humans do, we worked out a system that worked pretty well for the most part. Mainly: I used an alarm clock and she steered clear of me until later in the day.

But, of course, I digress.

Back to this early morning business.  I think that it is rare anymore to sit in complete silence without any electronic sounds going or machines running. That is one of the chief benefits of camping, I’d say. We don’t camp much. It involves entirely too much planning and organization for my brain to really contemplate it seriously as a task I want to take on. I do need to try to make more of an effort to do it, tough, as my husband is an outdoorsman at heart and needs the air and sky and dirt and trees in much the same way he needs food to eat and water to drink.

He is determined to return to hunting. His expectation was this season, but i think he is not recovered enough yet from his most recent poor health adventures to accomplish it so soon. But I think it could be managed next year if all goes well and he is determined to regain his weight and strength. At the very least, a camping trip or two seems only fair.

Back to the topic at hand (again), I was talking of the rarity of sitting in silence, free from the whir and buzz of modern contraptions and contrivances. Or even just the bustle of other inhabitant’s habitation.

I live fairly rurally and am able, on occasions such as this, to pause and just listen to the birds chirping. Even they have settled into quietness for now. I suppose it is a blessing that even the refrigerator must rest from running sometimes. As must we all, of course.

Some people panic at the thought of being alone with themselves, I’ve heard. I’ve always been prone to dwell in my head a lot (too much, I suppose some might say). I’m comfortable with only my thoughts for company, at least for a while. Eventually I would need to seek out distraction in one form or another, whether that form would be the pages of a book, the flicker of a screen, or the society of a companion.

Of course, some of the best companions are those who can accompany you in your silence.

I am often more eloquent in my head or on the page than i am in person. So interpersonal relations can be hard sometimes to figure out and maintain. I’ve noticed that a significant number of my friends over the years have been horse people. It’s interesting to me because I’ve never particularly been interested in horses beyond my general affinity for all animals. I was thinking recently that that might be because they are more aware of body language and unspoken communication than most people. It occurs to me as I write this, though, that they are also usually calm and fairly well grounded so as not to transfer a nervous energy to the horse and also not to spook them.

As a person who derives much of her energy/mood from the people around her, I find that I need steady, calm folk around me who won’t transfer their nervous energy to me or spook me.

Obviously I am the horse in this scenario.

I suppose it’s clever of me to instinctively seek out good “handlers.”

the middle of the night

Sometimes these things

these things weigh heavily on my mind.

Pushed up from my heart where usually they lay in dormant slumber.

These hard things. Sad things. Difficult things that are here or else are coming.

They are there. Things that must be done. Or staved off.

Things that are bigger than me. Overwhelming and tricky things.

A list of things a mile long that must be done, figured, taken care of.

These things that get the best of me more often than I care to admit.

Mostly I sleep well. Sleep is healing and keeps the gears running,

but sometimes this list just ticks on through. Not letting me rest in it’s demanding urgency.

The clock is ticking, the list is ticking, time just keeps on ticking by

and still I just keep swimming upstream it feels like. Awash in a sea of mixed metaphors

and similarly confused similes like a salmon throwing itself up the rapids, desperate only to hatch these ideas into fruition.

I’m tired and need to go back to bed, but I needed to get some of this junk out of my weary head.

It will keep until the morning.

My tender heart will not break tonight even though it is stretched tight. My brain paces around itself looking for the lightswitch.

Turn out the lights, it’s bedtime.

Six Word Friday: Question

I suppose the only question is:

what the heck do I write?

Exit Essay For Graduation

When I was getting ready to graduate, one of the requirements was to write an exit essay. This goes in your file for whoever (potential schools, employers?) looks at your school records. It was supposed to show something of what you’d learned, where you were headed. As I was being scrutinized as to whether or not I was going to be signed off on by my committee and what, if anything, I was going to be contributing to society as an artist going forward should they let me, this was also written to answer (hopefully) that question, at least somewhat.

Here it is:

Over the course of pursuing my Art Degree, I’ve found myself inspired and reinspired with each successive art history and studio art class that I have taken.

As early man discovered new techniques and technologies, he broadened the definition of art from a minimal and conceptual idea implied on a cave wall to the full-bodied technical skill of the great masters. Since my childhood I have enjoyed a close relationship with the quintessential Renaissance Man: Leonardo Da Vinci. His inventions and interest in many areas of creative innovation have always resonated with me.

The width and breadth of technical mastery of representation was well and truly explored and eventually gave way to new ways of making art. From the Impressionists onward, the artists of the day have slowly and steadily pared the fruit of what constitutes art down until we came once again to the minimal and conceptual core of artmaking. As we have learned from Marcel Duchamp and his brethren, the idea, the concept, the decision of the artist is what makes art art.

When art is stripped down to nothing, surely it must wither and die. We found ourselves at the end of art. Or so it seemed. As Ad Reinhardt said, “Art about Art is Art. The End of Art is not the End.” It may have been the end of an era, but that only left room for the beginning of a new era.

As we add new techniques and technologies to the concepts of art and our knowledge of art history, once again art has opened wide to new horizons. It is in this open field of options that I find myself traversing this art degree and art life.

I take great inspiration from the broadening of the definition of what art is, and can be, from the revolutionary works of Robert Rauschenberg, especially his combines. For me, this expansion of painting off of the two-dimensional plane out into the third dimension is where I want to take my art. Another artist I take inspiration from is Jackson Pollack. Action painting is, for me, a way to allow the paint freedom and to loose my firm control over it.

More recently I’ve had the privilege to study the works of Lyrical Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler. I am enthralled by her delicate treatment of the paint and I definitely am planning to explore and incorporate her pouring, staining, and soft color and shapes into my work moving forward. Another artist whose work I’ve learned of recently who I admire is Eva Hesse. What I appreciate most about her work is how she blurs the line between art and craft. This blurring of the lines of categorizing is the cornerstone of my artistic sensibility. I intend to explore this avenue in my future works as much as possible.

Looking ahead to after graduation, I hope to be able to act as a conduit for creativity. I believe that creativity is a muscle that becomes stronger with use and training. I plan to pursue certification in Creativity Coaching, a new career which helps empower creative people with the tools to move through blocks, such as the infamous writer’s block.

Moving from art school out into society it is my goal to spread creativity and to help increase awareness of the benefits of, and need for, art and art education. Our society is in desperate need of creative problem solvers. This is the very definition of an artist. We need new and innovative solutions to the problems that we’ve built for ourselves. This is one of the functions of the artist in society’s arsenal.

Where the Wild Things Are.

Last week we had to write a response to an excerpt from a book our instructor has been reading to us. This chapter specifically is dealing with leaving some of your artwork unfinished to leave it up to the imagination of the viewer. This is my response:

 

Art and Illusion Response

Where The Wild Things Are

There is quite a bit of merit to leaving some, or much, of your artwork to the imagination of the viewer. In much the same way as feeling disappointed in a movie after having read the book, receiving the imagery in its entirety takes away the viewer participation in the piece. I suppose this is why the art world often disparages realism. Because the imagery is there for you already, tied up nicely with a pretty bow and you don’t have to work at it. The interaction between the viewer and the artwork (and the artist) is the goal and one very good way to ensure that the viewer is doing their part is to leave room for their imagination to fill in the blanks.

We know from drawing class that just the slightest indication of crook of an elbow or bend in the knee is enough to indicate the human form and the positioning of the limbs. The mind will take these bread crumbs and follow the trail to a finished idea. We need to use the least amount of bait possible in order to “catch our prey.” Too much bait will just confuse the issue.

In psychology class we learned that people have preconceived ideas of how things should be. They call these “schemas.” For instance, we have an idea in our mind of what a kitchen looks like and what goes in it. Often it is very difficult to imagine and remember things that don’t coincide with our preconceived notion of how things ought to be. This, I think, is the one place where you wouldn’t want to leave too much to the imagination. If the viewer is filling in the blanks, they are relying on their schemas to provide the information for them. If you want to go against that, then you will have to spell it out a little more so that the viewer is led where you want them to go. The human mind will try very hard to find the familiar, the comfortable. The imagination may find images in the vague shadows, but the more logical processes of the mind reject those and look for a more prosaic explanation. It can be a task to dislodge the logical corner of the brain from its usual function.

That is, of course, one of the functions of the artist. The artist cultivates the imagination and tries to cage the logical mind so that it cannot control everything. Then the artist creates a space where the viewer can escape their cage and spend some time with their imagination. Teasing and cajoling, the artist lures the viewer out of their comfortable schema and into the place where the wild things are. Once you’ve ventured out into the wild and accustomed yourself to the scenery there, it can be very difficult to come back to the usual, the routine, the settlement.

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