Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Grandma's Flowers, Part Three

I hope you don't mind if this is not planned.  No rough draft or MLA style composition here.
I'm starting with a snapshot of a memory that came back to me today.  And the snapshot is not just a snapshot of an image, it's a multi-sensory snapshot of layers of memories,  feelings, & history.  Who knows why this clicked into place today, like a time-released puzzle piece.
I was driving home from work today, I saw some irregularly spaced Hosta in some landscaping in a yard that I passed.
 For a few moments then, I was standing with my Dad & my sisters in my Grandparents' front yard a year or so ago, and I was noticing how my Grandma's Tulips had seemingly wandered out of her flower bed and out into her front yard.  And in that moment then, I remembered being a child, loving her beautiful, blooming tulips in those precise flower beds. I looked forward to seeing them, then, when my life was so insecure and chaotic:  Grandma's flowers were welcoming and reliable. There was a security in that. Grandma was good at things like that, predictablility and structure.  There are no words for it. Life as we know it, and life passed.  Changes happen so fast.
It's worthy of some deep reflection.  There's a sadness, and a beauty to that, those wandering tulips.  I'm thinking about how they became free, how much time has passed to let this happen?  Has it been so long that my Grandma tended to her tulip beds?  I thought there must have been a heavy rain.  A  long lasting, deep pool of water must have collected, loosened the soil around the tulip bulbs, and let them drift up and out of the garden bed and down into the yard.
My Dad disagreed, he said that squirrels did it.  Squirrels dug up the bulbs and re-buried them in the yard.  I don't think he was looking closely enough, though.  I think it was water that did it, because the movement was like a gently, pouring, rippling wave.  It made sense the way the seasons make sense.
I'm thinking about this as an analogy to life lived and lost now.  Aren't you?
I'm thinking about the painting I did of my Grandma's Flowers that I brought home from her funeral service, still dripping with vibrant life---but different than the wandering tulips.  My Grandma's life and bursting, beautiful tulip beds, my early life,  were part one. The painting was part two, flowers in a vase,  placed in the square confines of a canvas.  And the tulips in the yard.....part three. 
Someone will come along and gather them, put them in order, or replace them.  That's it.  It's played out.
I don't know if I could convey all of this in a painting or even a Haiku.  There are things we understand in a moment that are like lifetimes coming together in synchronicity.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Being my own Theo

I'm assuming you know the story of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo.  I think there was a movie called, "Vincent & Theo".  Maybe I'm a bad blogger because I'm not posting links and references, but this is the age of Googling things, so if you're interested in their story, google it!
Anyway, Theo was Vincent's brother and helped sell his art, he helped Vincent all that he could and promoted his work.
This is wonderful!  Every artist should be so blessed!  But how often does this really happen?  I mean, we all have our proud parents and siblings and various relatives that brag about us and embarrass us by pulling out some chintzy high school painting in front of our friends (ugh!) but do they market us?  Do they hit the pavement, and get our work into galleries?  Do they build our websites and organize our receipts (yikes!)
I'm thinking I need to get used to being my own Theo.
The major obvious reason would be my hoof-in-mouth sydrome, lol! (I am a proud Sagittarius, hoof-in-mouth syndrome is one of my many calling cards), But don't most artists have that?  I mean, we can let our art speak for itself, and that's easy.  It sells itself.  But people need or expect more these days, they want a tagline, a story, a sales pitch, an explanation.  They want niceties and returned favors and etiquette......oh my gosh...  And I'm telling you, with my best intentions ever, it's so hard to measure up and do all that!!!! (Theo, Theo?  Where's my Theo when I need him?!!!)
It's not that I mean to be rude, and I don't think any artist does, (we all wanna be loved, right?)  It's just, we're out of practice.  We're loners, intellectuals, visual thinkers, visionaries, if you will.  So when it comes to parties and press know, the room goes completely silent right at the moment that I hoarse-whisper to my sister, "I have really bad gas, I'll be right back"!  (Unfortunately, this really happened). It's so embarrassing!
Since I don't have Theo to help me, I am trying to learn to do a lot of things like this myself!  Please forgive me if I mess up, hahaha!  I'm trying!
But I'm motivated, and I'll tell you why:  While trying to get artists to join a group is like herding cats, it helps the artist, and helps elevate the art scene for everyone.  It's important.  And I realized lately that though I pretty much despise contests and awards (they are usually the inner circle of people awarding each other, right?  Am I cynical?) I think it can be important in regard to selling my work.  People that buy my work are proud of it, and they want to brag about it, and it definitely helps if they can say, "Yeah, she won such-and-such an award, and she belongs to this Art Organization", which is validating for them, and validating for me, and validating for the organziation, and validating for future awards, see?  It raises the bar for everyone.
Let me just add now that I will get back to you on this, and let you know how it pans out for me!  Right now, it's a theory.  I've had some wins & I've had some rejections.  If I keep having rejections, I might say, "forget everything I said!  Every Artist for him/ herself"!!!
Because, you know, I'm not typically a "Joiner", and aren't I looking for any excuse to get back into my comfort zone and say it wasn't worth it?  It didn't work for me?  I'm going back into isolation!
Frequently, people say to me, "You're art is awesome.  Why aren't you doing this full-time"?  That question irks me, I admit.  But I've recently begun to view it as an opportunity to educate people and say, "Hey, Painting is the easy part for me.  The business/ marketing side is what I'm working on.  Knowledge on how to do that just doesn't come naturally, you know"?  (again, THEOOOOOOO!!!!! Where are you?)
It's a challenge, and I accept.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What if Van Gogh went to therapy?

It's just a thought I had the other day, what if Van Gogh went to therapy?
Do you ever think about how the lives of your idols that have passed might have been if they hadn't lived life so hard and fast, or if their lives hadn't been cut short by some tragedy? Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Vincent Van Gogh, many others....
I was thinking about it like this, this is kind of an example or an  analogy for my way of thinking.  When I was little, I used to love looking through the medical dictionaries that my parents had, especially the sections that had sort of like cellophane, peel-away layers that you could flip through, and it would show the progressions of body parts in layers.  Have you seen anything like that before?  I found it fascinating as a kid.  Maybe this was the start of my love of layers in painting, and the beginnings of my understanding of layers in people, in personalities, layers of spirituality.
There's this thing that I do, I've talked about it before.  I imagine, sort of like those transparencies in the medical book, aging or youthfulness in people.  I imagine layers of sickness and health.  I imagine layers of different lifestyles people could live.  I don't know why I do that, or when it started!  It's just some kind of habit.  I just imagine different things, and I feel what I think fits.  I love to imagine the best a person could be, and I have fun telling them what I see, and encouraging them to attain it.  It's fun to find a match, for instance, when my vision of someone actually matches the vision they have for themselves, you know?  And they tell me, "yeah, that's always something I have wanted to do"!
So, I was thinking about Van Gogh.  What if Van Gogh went to therapy?  What if he was figured out that he had some kind of food allergy (like me!) and he just really started feeling better, and lived a healthier, fuller life?
I've had these discussions with people before, and yes, I realize that his art may not have been the same if he had been "healthy", but I think his fingerprint would have been the same, and I think it would have been a risk worth taking.
This takes me to my next idea:  that there is always a trade-off.  I think ultimately, people are not victims.  I think they choose the life they want to live, for whatever reason, there may be a trade-off for them.  People get what they want.  Sometimes, they are what I think of as "awake" in their decisions, and sometimes I think they are "asleep" in their decisions.  Being asleep are people who I think are acting out of addiction or past victimization, repeating hurtful behavior, having to re-enact being hurt.  That's a funny cycle that is actually not funny to witness.
Once a person wakes up to what they can truly accomplish in this life, and steps out of slavery of addictions and hurt, man, now that is amazing to watch!
Something my Mom said to me recently comes to mind:  She said, "Remember Jennifer, that we are spiritual beings that are visiting human experiences".
I do believe that, and that is powerful to me, because there is a choice in it.
The choice is this:  How many times must I re-visit certain human experiences of pain?
When I wake up and make a choice, I can step out of that cycle and aim higher.
A choice I'm working on now is to work as an artist.
When I painted at my friend's party last time, the little kids asked me if I was a famous artist, or if I wanted to be a famous artist?
My answer is that I don't want to be a famous artist, but I want to be a working artist, earning my living as an artist.  I want the time and money to learn more as an artist.  Isn't that what every artist wants?  A way to pay the bills, have everything I need and some, (or most!) of what I want for my boys and me.
What if Van Gogh went to therapy?  Could he have been healthy, lived longer, had a family, painted more?  Could he have been more socially accepted in his time?  Would he have wanted that?  Was that important to him?
What's important to you?
Do you cling to things that hurt you because you think that they make you, "you"?  Are you afraid to let go of those layers and see what's underneath?
Here I am, encouraging you now, to let it all go.  Peel the layers.  Let go of fear.  Go for it!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I just wanna keep this simple, I had an idea awhile back that I would like to create a blog to go with my new artist web site.  Almost completed, it is:  I want a place where I can talk about art, and if that's the kind of thing that people want to read about, then they will tune in.  Facebook seems mostly for family and community things going on, and while my art and my family are a part of my community, I just want a place where I can talk about art geek things!