Well mostly I’ve been here in Ohio.
Doing what? The usual summer flurry of Calls For Entry: grants, shows, etc. (yawn).
(while also pondering the next Postcard Collective exchange…)
Preparing for new Adventures in the World of Gainful Employment.
And speaking of adventures;
which has led to some culinary adventuring for Boyfriend and I.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Have you heard? It’s summer.
What are you doing tonight?
If your answer is anything other than ‘Checking out the awesome artwork Muncie has to offer at its First Thursday event, including Drawing Practice + Pareidolia at Gordy Fine Art and Framing‘ you are sorely mistaken.
Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon of finding significance in random visual stimuli. The most common examples of this are finding images in clouds, seeing faces in kitchen appliances and Rorschach ink blots. As humans, we want to find meaning in the seemingly random chaos that surrounds us. It’s why we study history, it’s why we feel cheated when fictional stories ‘don’t make sense’- we want to believe there are rules and, by extension, that by playing by these rules we can take control of what is ultimately uncontrollable- namely the Universe.
See you tonight!
Spring is here!
The 20th has come and gone, and winter is finally over. Between harvesting new spring greens and tending to my indoor seedlings and planning picnics, I’ve just been filled with springtime joy! The fresh scent of jonquils and new leaves is carried on a breeze that is brisk but mellowed with the first warmth of the new season, through my open kitchen window. Outside, baby ducks and rabbits frolic in a bucolic bacchanal of fuzz and fluff and too big eyes.
If you’ve read this blog for more than 5 minutes you know a) that I am in the Midwest and thus b) dripping with sarcasm. The truth is, despite what Martha and Pinterest and the rest of the internet is telling me, the current season is one that isn’t a season at all. It feels like it shouldn’t be winter. The days are longer, there’s a strange and firey ball of light in the sky, Easter candy abounds and yesterday I counted approximately 177 robins in our front yard. It’s definitely not SPRING- there’s a Winter Weather advisory in effect and while a few unwise blubs have started sending up green stuff through the sea of mud, all the tips have been frost burnt.
When I am feeling cheerful, I call this current state of being ‘The Mudglooms.’
Having spent the better part of the week bitching about our lack of spring like it’s my job, I’ve decided to take this transitory state in stride. Sure, every formerly grassy then snowy area has been replaced with mud- Sure, going for a run requires more layers of spandex than I feel comfortable disclosing- Sure, it seems like everyone (including yours truly) has spent the past 5 months perfecting their snarls- At the same time, though, all these gloomy skies and biting winds put one in the perfect mood for tea and rumination but without the utter despair that comes from the deep heart of winter. Having the nearness of spring so close to the current desolation seems almost supernatural. I’ll say this for the Mudglooms- they’re a great time for reading books about villages on moors. And looking at art like this:
Robert Mongomery is right- Winter can’t last forever. Let us savor this liminal state- Three cheers for sunglasses+beanies! A round of hurrahs for the extension of hot cocoa season!
A wonderful, love-filled Christmas and a blissfully quiet and Schwarzenegger-filled New Year’s Eve.
Despite all my outward protestations that New Year’s is ‘just another day’ and ‘barely a real holiday’, every year I get pulled into the list-making, vow-taking optimism that comes with a new calendar year. I have no logical reason to believe that a 3 where there was a 2 will suddenly transform me into a new being that Dresses Smartly! and Cooks Dinner on Weeknights Regularly! and Balances a Rich Creative Life with Social Outings! and yet I still find myself some time in the early days of January declaring that this is the year I become more/less ____.
In the spirit of my hilarious friend, Sharon, this year I’m trying to keep it a bit ‘mo’ real’;
- focus less on things like ‘becoming famous’ and ‘getting into shows’ and focus more on making art.
- this I will do by cultivating a daily art practice and following through on current projects before starting new ones.
- learn to cook more ‘intuitively‘.
- run 2 half-marathons (one in spring and one in fall)
- drink more water each day than I do coffee (because drinking nothing but coffee and wine in a 24 hr period can’t be great for my kidneys)
*”The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. Minute by minute they lengthen out. It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change. It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour.”
– Vita Sackville-West
Well what do you know, I not only managed to complete one last daily-practice-piece before 2013, I even managed to finish before the weekend (because technically, 11:50 on Friday is still a weekday).
This piece kind of went back and forth for me- every NextThing I did to it made me either love it or hate it. Currently don’t feel either at the moment, but I guess that’s sort of the point of practicing daily, right? It’s not always going to be something I want to frame and will to my progeny.
A few weeks ago I got to hear an artist talk by the talented performance artist, Coco Loupe that was everything you want an artist talk to be; interesting, inspiring, humbling and reassuring all in one. In it, she mentioned her ‘daily practice’ which really struck a chord with me- Most of my current projects are either long-term, collaborative, wrapped up in about 12 layers of CONCEPT or some combination of the three. While it’s all work I’m really excited about, I’ve been having a hard time the past couple of weeks maintaining momentum. I think my own lack of ‘daily practice for the sake of daily practice’ is the culprit.* It’s like playing an instrument or running- warm-ups take more than zero minutes and they certainly aren’t interesting, but they do make a world of difference, especially, in the case or running, in longevity.
All of which is to say that the night before I succeeded in living for a quarter of a century found me with a 1987 planner passed on to me by another talented woman I admire, and a longing to just make something pretty. Or, not even pretty- just to make something barely beyond the realm of doodlery for no other reason other than “it feels good.”
Why a timezone map? Because the lines made by the zones were interesting and the colors pretty. Why cut them out? Because Sunday I wanted to cut something up. Why weaving, why sewing? Because the rest of the week I felt like putting something back together. And I wanted to make art while watching ParaNorman.
Of course, because I’m still me, this is merely the beginning of a series, and of course there are Rules;
-They will be small
-They will be arbitrary
-I will only work on them during the week/evenings and save weekends for working on bigger and better things
-I will not be upset at how they look in the end.
Another idea came up during Coco’s amazing artist talk- the idea that one must make lots of crap to make things that aren’t crap. I believe one artist present mentioned a “10% rule”? (Meaning that for every 10 things she makes, maybe one will be good). By that logic, there’s a chance that, should I continue to stick with this, by this time next year I’ll have 5 good drawings.
That ain’t bad.