I was *obsessed* with Frank Stella’s huge, sculptural paintings when I was in high school.
The Surprising Tale of One of Frank Stella’s Black Paintings https://nyti.ms/2V3yYsm
I love reading, reflecting, and learning new things. And often, I want to talk to other people about the thing I just learned. Folks have mixed responses to this, some humoring me, some genuinely interested, some really hoping I’ll get the hint and change the subject. Late last year I purchased Brene Brown‘s most recent book, “Braving the Wilderness.” It occurred to me that one way to have someone else to talk to about it would be to start a book group. So I did. We are only on the second chapter, but THIS GROUP IS AWESOME. SO smart. SO willing to share. SO personally invested in the material.
The decision to gather folks together was one of those quiet whispers that I could have ignored, or toyed with, but not followed through. But one small foot in front of the other, listening, and now some bit of magic is happening.
I was #inspired last week, and decided my website could use some #springcleaning (I know, #spring is just a pipe dream at this point here in #ithaca ). It’s got a new look and feel and I’m hoping its a little easier to find your way around.
I’m writing some periodic bog posts (Hey! This is one of them!) and a way to subscribe to that blog if that sort of thing interests you. It’s a pretty wide-ranging space for me. I spend a lot of time reading (books, news, blog posts) and writing. I’m interested in questions, ideas, connections between things, creating, designing, societal issues, social justice and some not always popular topics.
My website is the place to go if you want to sign up for my mostly monthly newsletter. In it I share some in-depth looks at my process, and let you know if I have any events going on.
And definitely the place to go to purchase a piece. My Square store is linked right off the site. I’d love for you to have some of my work in your home or office. I believe that art belongs everywhere, and I sell pieces in a variety of price ranges to help facilitate that.
I don’t remember a time in my life before making things. Any time when creativity and curiosity weren’t running the show.
A four year old’s wall drawing. Early Play-Doh projects (in which I always sorted the colors back out again carefully). Modeling clay creations. Fashion Plates combinations. Spin art. Chalkboard drawings. Solar Graphics experiments with objects on photo sensitive paper. I guess I just didn’t stop.
I earned a BFA from @alfreduniversity with a concentration in painting. I did a lot of figure painting with oils in those years, but also printmaking, ceramics, bookmaking, sound and video. After art school I found ways to adapt my style, my work, my content. Without access to large studio spaces or models. I stopped and started experiments over and over trying to figure out what it was for me to be an artist and maker.
All along, I was reading and thinking and writing. I started keeping a journal as a child, then sketchbooks, then something that combined the two. I still read and write and think every day. I spent over a decade as a professional problem-solver, analyst, process-designer, and manager. I loved it. I *love* information. I love reading. I love asking questions. I love thinking. I love finding connections between things. I love systems. That’s the me who comes to the studio when I create.
And then there’s this: I live with #chronicfatiguesyndrome. It is unpredictable. It can flatten me. It has left me energetically impaired every single day for five years. It has become a lens through which every part of my life is processed. And it was the unexpected launchpad that pushed me into a different relationship with my art – deciding to make art to share with others, instead of just art for myself. It allows me to show up every day exactly as I am. And send something out in the world that is beautiful, that gives a moment of pause, that provides a space to get lost in, that brings joy or contemplation.
“NO is a beautiful word that creates a whole lot of YES once you’ve said it. It may seem negative, limiting, or pejorative, but used wisely it can be a gateway to freedom, preserving energy for the pursuits that are truly high-priority.”
~ Pixie Lighthorse in “Boundaries and Protection”
I recently read Pixie’s book and found a tremendous amount of wisdom in it. I love the truth in this quote.
I’ve been saying no for a long time. I did it a lot in one of my jobs – keeping my staff focused on important work and not being pulled every which way at the whims of people who had an interest in projects that while interesting, we’rent critical to our mission. I’ve been doing it in my personal life ever since I started struggling with the early stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
No to things that don’t resonate with me. That isn’t that hard, as long as I’m not trying to make others happy. No to things that do resonate with me, that is harder. I might like to do a thing, but know I won’t be up to it, so I say so in advance. No to something I already committed to, that is harder.
I practiced that several times last week as I had a CFS crash. A few things I cancelled were low in importance and had no time restrictions (like coffee with a new acquaintance). IBut another was harder. have a standing date with a good friend to attend Ithaca’s monthly Gallery Night. I look forward to spending that time with my friend, as well as being a part of the creative community. But I knew that even if I “could” do it (which was unlikely, but perhaps possible) that I would pay so magnificently for it that it wouldn’t be worth it. So we caught up on the phone, and I watched some TV. I was disappointed, but it was OK.
But I also issued that NO because there was something else special that I wanted to say YES to. Having crashed on Thursday, been rough on Friday, I really wanted to be able to go to a play with a friend on Saturday. I rarely go to the theater, and the tickets were free. And I knew that it would require very relatively little of my body as long as I didn’t set myself back. So Friday’s NO, led to Saturday’s continued YES, and a request for a ride instead of walking, and lovely night out with another good friend and an intense, well-acted play. If I’d pushed myself Friday, I couldn’t have done that.