another new thing I’m learning…

My last studio newsletter was a number of months ago- and I like to put out a couple a year. Because my list is nearing 200, and I’d rather not deal with composing in a Word document- which makes the file wayyyyy too large. I’ve decided it’s time to buckle down and learn how to use Mail Chimp.

Which gives me way more functionality
and easier ways for people to opt in or out.(plus did I mention it’s free for a nice small business like mine)

Wow- they provide so much support and tutorial help, I’ll be swinging through the email trees in no time.

But- on a larger note:  it’s challenges like this to the brain that keep us mentally sharp as well!  So, I may never get around to learning Spanish like I probably should- (or maybe that should be Mandarin Chinese?) …  but my little synapses are getting exercised by all the tasks I do to try and generate interest in the work.    So.   Be looking for my latest newsletter soon….

plus, ya gotta love the Firefox cupcake header on my browser!

facebooking in the new year

yup- I guess I waited a respectful amount of time to let the youngsters have their say, but then my daughter informed me (with a note of indulgent disdain) that everyone’s parents are doing it, so it seemed like the time to jump in.

The ironic discovery is that so many people from my graduate school and other past lives are to be found this way, and I was really happy to reconnect with this virtual art group, having never really found a similar experience where I now live.

Maybe it has something to do with a shared language or experience of what it meant to be truly committed to thrashing around and finding a unique voice- don’t know.

It also has made me look back and evaluate some of the choices I’ve made career-wise, and learn that I can perhaps resurrect myself one more time (at least).

Even if we had our insecurities early on, back there in the Midwest, we were not prone to indulge in them at the expense of others. No one seemed overly needy and we all supported each other’s efforts.  Everyone embodied ambition for the work, more than for its own sake.  I truly admire the paths these people have taken, and the integrity with which they have traveled.

(I just have to make sure it doesn’t become a huge time suck!)

I also have to decide when to make a move with the newest body of work.

Still starting new paintings!

Is the world still contracting and reeling? or are people ready to expand and add more painting to it, build new environments and reconfigure older ones?  Soon we shall see.

why I write . . . and play

I used to keep a studio journal – sort of a running compendium of comments about work in progress,  mental detritus from former teaching jobs, thoughts about what I saw in the paintings, technical ideas… (“move this over, make that more light, open up that area”…).

‘just occurred to me that since I no longer do that, I can always refer back to some of these entries as a substitute. Heck, even if no other living soul ever reads it, that’s good enough reason.  It should, theoretically, exist somewhat permanently here.

As I mentioned once, I often like to listen to podcasts of Speaking of Faith, or the broadcast on Sundays.  It’s become my version of attending church-  or really attending to the spiritual/ethical ideas that are most interesting to me.

Recently, I was listening to an intriguing program with Dr. Stuart Brown, who founded The Institute for Play. He studied many deviant/criminal types and found overwhelmingly that the one thing missing from their early lives was the opportunity to play.  I can’t fathom a life so grim or joyless.

Brown explained how kids learn and take into later life lessons in problem solving, empathy and conflict resolution- from dealing with each other in play situations, and having a fantasy life, and being free to explore. It made perfect sense.  As artists, we try and allow that sense of wonder and non-productive play to stay in our lives, because it allows for discovery, innovation, and the unexpected gift of being outside of time.  It’s a very easy thing to lose as an adult.

My studio overlooks a public plaza that has, as one of its main attractions, a system of water streamers and sprouters that shoot out of the ground and disappear into these lovely dark rock whirlpool sculptures.P1010083 During the summer months, it’s a major distraction, but also a fascination to watch the toddlers and how they interact with these pieces.  It also encourages me to sit at my table with sketchbooks, ink, and other drawing materials and just play with ideas for the paintings of the future.

When I taught drawing, I occasionally read from several authors while my class was working. When we started using color, I chose Diane Ackerman’s book, A Natural History of the Senses, because she talks about color and how we describe what we see in such evocative ways.  Turns out, she also wrote a book, Deep Play. Here’s what she says about poetry, but I think you could easily substitute the word painting.

“There is nothing like poetry to throw light into the dark corners of existence and make life’s runaway locomotive slow down for a moment so that it can be enjoyed” … “Poetry offers truth based on intuition… we ask the poet to teach us a way of seeing, lest one spend a lifetime on this planet without noticing how green light sometimes flares up as the setting sun rolls under.”

so … enjoy the sunsets, and the toddlers