I am a visual artist and educator. When I am not teaching, doing nature jaunts, and traveling to exotic places, I am usually in my studio trying to make insightful artworks. This activity is an intellectual exchange and I find it very challenging and complex. Hopefully, I plan on doing some relief work overseas with my husband sometime in the near future.
Today I gathered long stemmed straw flowers from our cottage garden because the sun was out and they were open. I took this chance of putting together a huge arrangement to bring into the house; will watch the subtle changes that evolve from these hardy plants during the next few months. These flowers become their own personalities while they dry. The last to bloom in the summer, they withstand the first frost, are haughty, sport a defiant nature to each flower head and each one has an amazing individual arrangement of colors, are showy but down to earth at the same time.
As much as Facebook can be pretentious, over the top, time wasting and superficial, I have found great things about it too. It has connected me to friends from my childhood and friends who I have spent time with in other parts of the world or perhaps they are friends of friends. Of course, this obliterates the notion of what real friends are; while some store up to over thousand friends on their list, others do not enlist on Facebook either because they find this act ridiculous in nature or else intimidating because they will not have enough people on their queue? Of course, it can be time consuming, but I find myself checking in here and there, not more then five minutes a clip and sometimes I just let it go for a while hoping new things will reveal themselves next time I open my profile. It has been especially good for me; connecting to the LA and NY art world, hearing the newest fads, seeing other artists artwork, reading the latest Utube sensations or just scanning the quirky "share" quotes. Let's face it; you wouldn't spend this type of time with your closest of buddies but I view this exchange as a game and as a fun outlet. Do I have better things to do? Probably so, but so what.......Facebook has connected me to a cyber and abstract communication channel; some where and no where but an in between space that reveals some of the true personality of the 21st century.
Pictured above is Ken's parents, his mom and his dad. Ken called me from the research station in Cooper Landing today and told me his dad had passed away. Pete was nearly 90 years old and had been suffering from Alzheimer's.
I didn't know Pete well; we had visited him in Cable, Wisconsin nearly five years ago. We attended a graduation at Claremont College in California, then flew to Chicago, rented a car and drove nearly eight hours to see his parents. Because we got a late start, we stayed overnight at a quaint roadside motel, ate down the street and had wonderful steak dinner for under twenty-five bucks. It was a short adventure traveling to the Mid West but a signficant passage. I had often spoke to Ken's parents on the phone but this was the first time meeting them face to face. It was a delightful four days of cruising around the area, hanging with the folks, meeting with neighbors and one afternoon we drove to Lake Superior.
It is sad how little we know of each other. I knew Pete via Ken who would tell me stories from his childhood; family dinners and heated discussions, the Lithuanian neighborhood in the south side of Chicago where he grew up. There are many other accounts that I will never know of I suppose, perhaps secrets that shall remain forever hidden.
The past is always around the corner while we take the present many times for granted. Sometimes I cringe in fear about dying. Who wants to die? Not me I shout inside myself and I go on living like I never will. People's deaths remind us of our own. And to every season, change, change, change. And to Pete, my thoughts are with you this evening.
I spent two days in interior Alaska. Flying into Fairbanks, Nancy Burham, curator of the Annex Gallery picked me up at the airport.An exhibition of my tapestry works called Comfortably Red was opening that night. The show space is in Ester located about five miles from Fairbanks. The trees were beginning to turn but the weather was dry and hot, almost 70 degrees. This is hunting season around the Fairbanks area and I got to see a production of four wheelers headed out to the Tangle Lakes region for a twenty day moose hunt. I wanted to go along with the crew and hell with an art show! But, I met with some Ester characters; visited the Golden Eagle Saloon while dogs were coming and going out the front entrance of the pub added to the lively chatter, beer and hand on hamburgers was a treat making me think that you could be in upstate NY or the Berkeley CA area. Something to bring home to Anchorage; an interior difference in every shape and form made it a specialty stay.
Since I left Los Angeles nearly eight years ago, I have kept in better contact with my friends via Facebook and emails. It sounds pretty sorry doesn't it? I told my husband that I cannot live in Alaska without the internet and cyber services. Sandra, my LA correspondent and great friend, communicates almost everyday via emails. We spoke about travel this morning and how important it is for me to get out and see and experience. Travel gives me my edge, fuels me, gives me insight and inspires my work. For the next few months, Ken and I will be scrambling around pooling our ideas, planning and visualizing our routes, making contacts abroad and rearranging our schedules that will entail almost six weeks of a trek to the southern part of India.
Tomorrow, we send our visas out for our trip that takes us to Mumbai, our starting point early December. This trip especially excites me because it will be a mental and physical challenge. We traveled to New Delhi and across the northern part of Rajasthan in 2006. It was a difficult trip for me; the pollution and poverty especially upset me and I came home not knowing if I truly enjoyed myself. It was an acute pleasure/pain experience. For our future plans, I will prepare myself with armor and learn to readjust my eyes. BUT, you can never be ready for India! I told my girlfriend that you have to travel now! Who wants to wait for retirement when you suddenly lose the nerve to go, to take long journeys across the continent?