Monday, August 24, 2009

enough of me..........

Above is Ken's work and design. The finished masterpiece; a sideboard made from paduok and canary wood laced with ebony on the cabinet drawers and door handles gives density to the piece.
Above is another view of the sideboard. This is a wedding gift to Noah and Amanda, which will be delivered next week-end to their home. This project took quite a while; tedious detail, attention and the learning mechanics on getting a simple door to function was a feat. I couldn't imagine doing this type of artwork. Ken and I have lengthy discussions on what comprises art. This doesn't need any explanation because it speaks for itself. As artists say good work!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

and on the other hand........

My sister called me from Brooklyn yesterday afternoon to tell me that a childhood neighbor had died. Mrs. Crouse was considerably older than us but was one of the fixed stable of parents on our block. She lived across the street from us, had a great sense of humor and spirit, we knew her daughters and could always see them coming and going from their home. Marie, my sister, was walking from the subway station talking to me on her cell telling me the news. I was at home looking over our large quiet green yard with the sun shining through our front windows and caught her call. On her end, I could hear a fire engine barreling down the street, noise and clatter making our connection fuzzy. Contrasts.

And on the other hand......

Remind me that I am an artist. I constantly think outside the box. I am not associated with any routine of a work place that meets everyday peppered with a community of people. I free lance. My adjunct position at the university is from semester to semester, I do odd jobs, workshops and substitute teach in the local schools to supplement my income. I work in the studio with uninterrupted periods of time and then I don't work at all. I think too much.

I deny the right that what I am is valuable to my community and that being an artist is a career path in it's own right. I make expressionistic paintings that are on the wall of my home and some people look right by them or comment questionably or they don't know what to say at all. And that's okay! Remind me that I am an artist and that what I do is important. I think too much.

I observe my garden in the front of my home; it's beauty, the sacred flowers that hold subtle scents, sublime colors with their divine arrangements, the dampness of the grass where I walk to catch the lingering summer warm, the sun that I often take for granted. Didn't Voltaire say that you must cultivate your garden? Doesn't that mean that you can be anywhere but you need to be happy with yourself? Remind me that I am an artist.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

sometimes a great notion

While the summer affords me more time to read, I found the most difficult lingered with me; wondering if I get sucked into a fast consuming literary market; easy reads that take little to no time getting into the fabric of the book had me rethinking my book taste or my facility of patience. I switch from light to dense finds and if I decide not to finish the book it is because of the lack of prose.

Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion and Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls were two novels of density, form and content. But during the reading, I found myself wondering if I wanted to continue. Both these books took my total attention and a strong concentration to finishing each labor. Both of these books were completed nearly fifty to sixty years ago. Has the craft of writing changed that much over the years? Have I become lazy?

Kesey's book goes back and forth with hidden psychological identities. His character thoughts are fused with one another so you cannot decide who is who. Kesey is a master poet while Hemingway's feat is a tedious journey, taking the day, a thought or motion stretching into an epic narrative. It was a dry read, but it's simplicity was dense with emotive clarity. I relate to Hemingway's emotions and relationships; a profound sensibility especially when he talks about animals and nature. He is a perfectionist when it comes to sensitivity.

At the moment I am beginning the novel by Zadie Smith On Beauty. I support young authors and like to study their craft and surely if I hadn't been a painter, I would have become a writer. Now I understand the full meaning of the love of labor and what it produces. Hopefully we can still take notice.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm assuming

It is a quiet Sunday morning; a great time to write, reflect along with the ominous clouds that linger forecasting rain. Last night a friend and I were discussing small town living. As much as the quality of life is wonderful in Alaska I still have issues with groups or cliques that seem prevalent on surviving this part of the world. It is important to be part of group activity in one way or another. Myself, I guess I belong to a group of artists (although I don't regularly meet up as groups often do, but we are linked together by the work that we do.) I feel that groups become exclusive; they separate and make people feel left out.

How many times have you gone to a gathering or party while running into people you know; conversation sometimes turns into talking about friends or acquaintances that we may know indirectly or directly. Assuming you know or supposing or guessing, conjecture or theory about this person who lives in the abstract, we try to make a story about what is going on with their lives. Oftentimes, we state, I don't know - (the better supposition,) or I think she is going to stay in state, or perhaps he isn't taking that job position or maybe he/she is still running or maybe he/she has a bad injury. We are assuming we may know when in actuality, we don't know the details but we formalize and judge without really knowing.

While I lived in Los Angeles, your identity about who you were dissolved into the masses and situations often became diffused and forgotten. When you said something, it was often taken with a grain of salt and people really didn't care or hold you to it! You were allowed to change, move and evolve into a free individual. I feel that living in a small town you become this fixed identity by what you say or do without people really knowing or asking or really trying to find out. To me, this is scary and confining. On the other hand, we live in a community; people giving and helping, perhaps in a surface way, but doing the best they know how. I'm assuming.