Yesterday I placed Google’s ART MOVEMENTS as the first item on my browser (link below). G going to this site before the news might be better for my soul. As I hack my art education, I’m going to create or curate work(s) in the style & order the movements appear on the site. Continue reading →
While sorting old photos I was struck by the frequent composition I’ve shot for decades. The dominant landscapes of my life share something quite powerful with my sense of self. The proof is in the piles of photographs I need to sort through.
Without lots of breathing room, easily feel claustrophobic.
Walking Town Neck Beach on Cape Cod I get a familiar sense of spaciousness..and then often an accompanying longing for the South Dakota prairie where I grew up. The way these sensations are intertwined, my native Nebraska artist friend, Elizabeth Bunsen, and I have named our “interior geography”.
Interior might not quite describe how truly primal these feelings are for me.
I was going to edit all of these photos of photos which would’ve taken hours. However, since this is the first step in a series I’m working on I thought showing the images raw was more interesting.
Last week over coffee with friends we discussed checking our day-to-day reality against the news and social media feeds. We all agreed that our own experiences/interactions average about 97% positive out in the world.
Our lives are bombarded with constant messages designed to provoke an emotional reaction—a click to like or share, make a purchase, or a donation.
Does my experience map to what I’m told I should be feeling? What is the motivation? Who profits? Who or what is harmed by this message? Why?
I remembered the October testimony before Congress of FACEBOOK whistleblower Frances Haugen so I looked for some of her quotes. I included the C-SPAN link below.
“I’m here today because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.” —FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER
FACEBOOK obviously isn’t alone in this practice—corporate advertising, influencers, lobbying groups, politicians, churches, colleges, non-profits, the list goes on and on. Many organizations are well worth our energy/resources AND many are designed to either create outrage or tug at our heartstrings.
If profit is to be made off of manipulating my emotional life, it seems like an act of revolution to first put my response through a reality/values filter.
It takes just a moment and when I take the time, I feel less manipulated and more in control.
manipulate: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose
emotion: a strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear)
profit: the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business
reality: something that actually exists or happens, a real event, occurrence, situation, etc.
values: something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically desirable
filter: to pass or move through
“There is a pattern of behavior that I saw [at] Facebook: Facebook choosing to prioritize its profits over people.”
When looking through my photos of 2021 they didn’t reflect the heaviness of the world I was often feeling. I noticed that I captured the creativity, playfulness, people, and extraordinary beauty I was experiencing on a daily basis. What sparked and amused me helped me manage all of the stuff I couldn’t photograph.
This year we’ve all been greatly affected by the pandemic, the January 6th attack on our democracy and all of the events and circumstances our family, friends (and the world) have been through. Today on the first day of 2022 I see one zig zaggy path forward for me…a motto I will need to remind myself of frequently.
Life is absurd. Enjoy the ride.
This is one of my favorite photographs this year was taken at Halverson’s on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont in April. Willa had just dyed her hair…just imagine a world without color?
I don’t see this guitar in any shape or form except when I preview this page. Instead of wasting more time when I want to take a walk and a dip, I’m leaving this ghost guitar drawing.
sparked, amused & embracing the absurd:
“Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable.” ― Albert Camus
Yesterday in my South End Studio NIA class, my friend and instructor Sabrina talked about lingering. She spoke about savoring moments…quiet, personal awareness, and being intentional about not letting those moments fade from memory (or sensation) too soon.
linger: to be slow in parting or in quitting something
This had resonance for me. I’ve thought a lot about lingering over the last 24 hours.
I find beauty and inspiration in so many realms all day, every day. I generally see this part of me as a gift. Sometimes, however, the frequency can feel more like a curse…perhaps lingering is the solution.
I want to linger in the face of…
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore, And the individual withers and the world is more and more. —Tennyson
SCAVENGE: search for & collect (anything usable) from discarded waste
For a few summers, I’ve walked Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Massachusetts at sunrise and picked up trash. I’ve collected so many items with no idea how I would ever use them. So, I categorized and stored them…seeing their potential.
Late last summer I surveyed my scavenged goods and an idea was sparked.
I went to work, the hours flew by…
CREATE: to produce something new by using your talents and imagination
Thank you Russell for trying out my sea chair after rambling upon us on a chilly Town Neck Beach morning.
“Only we humans make waste that nature can’t digest.” —Charles Moore, Marine Researcher
“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea.” —Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer
Throughout my life I’ve spent too much time thinking I needed to remediate areas of perceived weakness: organization & executive function, time management, follow through, and prioritization. Sometimes they are still true, and I now solidly in midlife, I have strategies in place.
I don’t let too many things fall through the cracks and I meet deadlines when I have them.
I get a lot done most days & creative work takes a lot of time that is often unknown.
I do follow through on a whole helluva lot of my ideas and often help others when asked.
My home, work, health, and relationships are in pretty good shape.
Sure, I could be more organized or learn how to set better priorities for my time, but what might be lost if I’m constantly trying to correct areas of weakness instead of highlighting my strengths?
I’m pretty good at making art out of stuff I find and I can shoot a decent photo…to hell with my executive function and time management skills.
I found all of this rope on the beach. I brought it home, organized it and made a weaving. I think I really love weaving.
I’m researching/experimenting natural dyes/stains to create a body of work. Thank you Elizabeth Bunsen for inspiring this type of experimentation. I painted this with beet juice, red wine, coffee, and tea. I’m thinking maybe this series is the flags of unknown places, or untold stories…something along those lines anyway.
I shot these two images last week by ever-so-slightly pivoting just past sunrise on Town Neck Beachin Sandwich, Massachusetts. The moon is barely visible. The sun was uniquely red from the haze of wildfire smoke drifting from out west.
“Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.” ―Roald Dahl, author
The first shot was a funny accident…so I shot more. Fist bumps and hi-fives seemed like images I could use as personal emojis in some circumstances.
It’s time to let go of old stories about ourselves from childhood.
I often have a flood of ideas while walking the beach about what I want to create, write, transform, design and so on. Then I get home and the idea’s intensity subsides. I used to feel quite defeated by this. I don’t anymore.
I can’t possibly create all that I imagine…and there’s some sadness that sometimes accompanies that understanding. However, in this middle school stage of life (I’ll be 55 in October) I finally appreciate (accept maybe) the inevitable ebbing and flowing of my inner creative life, and stop fighting the tide so much.
Here are a few ideas that actually did come to life this week:
I think I’ll give myself a high-five for what I did accomplish. Beating myself up over what I didn’t do this week seems pretty absurd.