Saturday, January 30, 2010

Putting yourself out there is an act of faith

I love the combination of words and images. Years ago, I was profoundly moved by a colleague in the photo department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Judy Gelles combined words with her photographs. They were everyday photographs of her everyday life but the thoughts and questions posed in her neat cursive writing had such power. Underneath a photo of her husband sleeping she wrote "I wonder what my life would be like if I had married someone different" ( the writing went on but I don't remember enough to do it justice ) We all wonder but few of us are brave enough to put ourselves out there like that.
Artists continually put themselves out there; maybe that's the reason people are so in awe of artists. Many people live their lives thinking " I wish I was artistic" yet never act on that wish. Being good at art is like being good at anything. It requires hard work, patience and an unwavering belief in yourself. I believe, deep in my soul, anyone can be an artist. 25 years of teaching art taught me that.
Making art is an act of faith. Faith takes courage. It is natural to be afraid to take a chance and risk rejection. A few weeks ago I entered these two paintings in the Concord Art Association painting show and both were rejected. Well over 500 paintings were submitted and I'm guessing 50-75 were accepted. That's a lot of rejected art. Parents, guidance counselors and society often contribute to the fear of following one's passion with the all too familiar phrase "You can't make any money as an artist." I think of all the people I know who have money but they are not all that happy.
Yet there are plenty of artists who refuse to listen. Instead they put themselves on the wall. It could be the wall of a hospital, a hole in the wall cafe or the local library. Usually they get nothing, at least nothing tangible like a sale. But that is not the intention. Artists continue to put work in crazy venues all over the place. They light up peoples lives in the darkest and most unexpected corners. Maybe no one ever tells them, I hope I told Judy Gelles. Yes, making art is an act of faith; its an act I highly recommend.

Friday, January 22, 2010

donate your coin(s) jar to Haiti

Sometimes the chaos, sadness and random state of the world overwhelms us. The t.v., internet, radio etc. blasts our senses and it is easy to feel powerless. The situation in Haiti is haunting me as I know it is all of you. In my many years of teaching at Cambridge Rindge & Latin H.S. many amazing Haiten students blessed my life. I cannot put words on these experiences for they would not begin to describe the depth of love and connection I felt. The most tangible thing I can share without question is the appreciation all my students felt for the opportunities they had and the deep love they had for their lives in America and Haiti. These young, sweet, hardworking students had such a powerful impact on me and I pray for all of them everyday. What's in your coin jar?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Endings and beginnings

It is officially the end of the Christmas season. Last week the boys helped me wrap up the tree in this marvelous tree bag. It was the first time we used one and Paul was skeptical to say the least. I insisted and it worked like a charm, virtually no needle drop! On the same day we took down the tree Peter left for Bates. I was sad all day but by the time he hugged me goodbye the sad creep had passed. I had Alex home for another delicious week and for that I was grateful. We had lunch at Helens on Wednesday, went to The Cheesecake Factory and the movie " Up in the Air " on Thursday and on Friday night we had takeout  from Chang Ann for our last supper. It was heaven.
Yesterday Alex left with his adorable friend Spence for a skating party with Spence's family at their farmhouse in NH. I hugged him goodbye and didn't cry, until later. It hit me as we were driving to see "It's Complicated". Alex is my champion, my cheerleader and my defender. He hugs me, kisses me, celebrates me and appreciates me. So it is no wonder I felt the sting of sadness last night. 
As I look out the window the winter sky is brightening. There is a downy woodpecker at the suet feeder and the juncos are feasting on the thistle. Soon we will take the pups for a long walk in Estabrook Woods. Life is full of endings and beginnings.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Letter to Peter

I am listening to the Ray La Montague cd you gave me for Christmas. I am on the Cape. It is winter. I am alone. I am in my art zone doing the cover to my most recent journal and the music is nothing short of magic. How did you know, echoes with his lyrics " where did you go? " Thank you my sweet boy. Thank you for knowing me so well and what I love. Thank you for collecting all that beautiful beach glass for me when you were abroad. You are the magic that I celebrate everyday. You are the best art I have ever created. You and Alex are my perfect diptich!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Looking back on Christmas

We had a perfect Christmas.It was snowy and festive. On Christmas eve we went for our traditional round of drinks at the Colonial Inn followed by carols in Concord center. Dina Bloom, Paul's second cousin from France joined us; bringing the memories of her father ( Paul's cousin Teddy) and our lifetime of gatherings with their family. Dina is a passionate photographer.  She shot constantly the whole time she was here. She photographed the dogs, the xmas tree, our family and Estabrook woods. She totally inspired me to integrate my camera more into my daily life. As I looked at her photographs ,as well as those that Paul and I were taking, I was reminded that everyday moments can become extraordinary through photographs. Two days after Christmas we took her into Boston so she could return to N.Y.C. As we waited for her to safely board the megabus I wished I had brought my camera. The sunset was all pinks with hints of blue and purple. The Charles River looked like a luminous ribbon weaving through two cities and the Hancock glowed with it's shimmering mirrors reflecting the dazzling colors of the afternoon sky, As Dina stood there waiting, her white scarf wrapped aroun her neck, she looked so beautiful. I wished I had brought my camera for one last shot before she left. I could hear myself saying, as I had to my students " bring your camera everywhere". If only I had listened to my own advice.