Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Art Blog: Young Energy

Today, a little girl walked into the room. She was supposed to be in an academic group. She walked toward me and said "I got kicked out of my group." I asked why. She told me it was because she was trying to help a friend and gave her an answer to a problem on the work. The teacher saw this as cheating. She was banned and told to leave.

As she told me the story, tears welled up in her eyes. She was a "goody goody" type of kid. You know the kind. There are many adults like this. I am one. We want to do good. We want to be perfect. We want to be stroked with words of kindness and well being. We wait to hear the words of a job well done. When it doesn't work out this way, we are devastated. I saw this mortification in her watery eyes.

I motioned for her to come closer. I whispered in her ear. "You meant to do good, didn't you?" She nodded, YES. I told her that sometimes we try to do good things and it just doesn't work out. I told her to learn this lesson. Maybe it wasn't a good time to give another student an answer. I went on to say, all she could do is learn from this little lesson. She nodded and moped away.

At the end of the day, she came up to me to say goodbye. It is doubtful that I will be her teacher again. Yet her hug was so tight and so meaningful, our future distance is of no concern. Her energy touched me. My energy touched her.

This is why I know I am on the right path now. Young energy is filling me up. Yet, my words and wisdom are helping them to be full of that same energy. She is young. I am old. We both learned.

Life is Good.

"CHILD", Alex Grey, painter

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Art Blog: Art Crush

Every so often, you see the work of another artist which hits you like a shot of adrenaline. This is what happens when I look at Tony Fitzpatrick's work. I have an art crush on his work. I love all his work. I love his onscreen personality. I love that he is an artist in many forms. I love that he has an obsession for creating.

I have an affinity for birds in art. However, Mr. Fitzpatrick has a wide range of subject matter. His color is wild and wooly. It screams "LOOK at me!" Yet to see and hear this artist speak, there is a surprise. He doesn't look like an artist. He looks like a car mechanic. However if you listen to his words, it becomes crystal clear. He is an artist of the best kind.

Here is a chance to hear him speak for himself. He does it far better than I could. BTW Mr. Fitzpatrick, thanks for the artistic jumpstart!

Click pic to watch this brief, but entertaining video interview

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Art Blog: Renewal

On my 13th birthday, my father bought me my first oil painting set. He knew. My art genes came from him. Despite my Catholic upbringing, I felt this was kind of like my Bat Mitzvah. It was my coming of age. I was a true artist with a box of REAL paints. The first paintings I painted were terrible and very cliché. My first work was of a clown. I went on to paint many Jesus paintings, copied masterworks, and I remember a ballerina that was so stiff looking, she could have been made out of wood. I remember one of cat eyes. Actually, that was a cool painting. I painted the eyes very detailed, but let turpentine and linseed oil drip all over it. It was kind of progressive. I don't even like cats!!! LOL None of that mattered. I was an artist. I was a real artist.

My art life was good then. I didn't know about the trials and tribulations of being an artist. I just painted. I would paint and give all my work away to admiring friends. I have no photos because I didn't see the need for documentation. I just wanted to make art and did just that.

Then, I became a college art student. This is when it started getting complicated. Every college student needs to learn art history. I am of the era in which Janson's "History of Art" was the bible.

Even back then, I realized how sexist, racist, and ethnocentric that book was. However, it was all we had back then. Consequently, my foundation of art history knowledge was based on the work of bunches of European white men. I knew that was all wrong, but I had to go with the flow.

At least, I had that verve and energy to make my own art. Back then, I was taught art was so special and sacred. I believed that and still do. However, times have changed. I have changed. Longevity has taken a toll on me. Technology has brought on a new dynamic. It seems everyone is an "artist" now. I have changed too. I don't have that youthful enthusiasm anymore. I wish I did.

Needing to get that "feeling" back, I have thought of many things to give me a kick of art energy. I need to renew my Florida teaching certificates next year, so I have to take a class or two for credits. It dawned on me. I can do two things at once. I will get my credits, but I will hit myself up with a shot of art adrenaline too! I signed up for a basic art appreciation class. I did this on purpose. I want to go back to the time when I knew nothing. I want it all to be new again. I need a spiritual revival! I just got my textbook and it is fabulous. It seems well rounded, up to date, and inclusive. It is fresh. That is what I need, a FRESH start.

I will proceed with an open mind.
I will proceed with an open heart.
I will proceed.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Art Blog: Melting the Wax of Nostalgia

Whenever I see an article about a person turning 100 or more, I always think about their history of memories. I think back to 1914 or earlier and wonder what went through their minds as all the decades passed. I am intrigued by what they think of the "now" compared to the "before".

Like anyone who stays alive, I am getting a taste of how my mind is filling to the brim with sights, sounds, and experiences of my own past as I age. I have lived quite a few decades. I noticed recently, my dreams at night are filled with glimpses of years long gone. In fact in one hour of trying to get to sleep, I might think about happenings in 1964; I turn over and close my eyes again, then 1975 antics fill my mind. Once again I shake my head, but suddenly land in a scene from 1999. It goes on and on. Sometimes all the imagery and memories are pleasant. Other times, I wish all my dated thoughts would just go away.

The same kind of unsettled feelings come with my memories of my art life history. If you read this blog, you already know I have been on a quest to find my true home and feeling of belonging. I have gone through all kinds of gyrations. Maybe this discomfort is due to the kind of art I make. Maybe I should move back to Detroit. Maybe I am not social enough. Maybe I have the wrong day job.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

After all this indecision, I recently had a revelation. So much of the ART "world" rubs me the wrong way now. It doesn't feel familiar. All the writings about the art fairs. So much of the art is comic booky or grafittiesque. There is so much emphasis on product. So much I read is written in what they now call "International Art English" which is just a fancy way of saying "unintelligible art blah, blah, blah, B.S."

Then it hit me.

I think my feathers are ruffled because the present isn't my past. Time is moving on. Things change. It isn't 1974 or 1984 or even 2004. You can't ever go back in time. You gotta go with the flow of the years just like the centenarian blowing out a hundred candles!

The irony is I don't really want to live in the past. It is an absurd idea. This is the first house I lived in back decades and decades ago. I remember laying on the ground in front of that house when I was four years old. I would look at the clouds and think poetic thoughts. I knew I was going to be an artist even then. Yet, I wouldn't want to be still laying there now. I grew up. I started living an artist's life. I need to continue to do just that. There are times when waxing nostalgic is OK. However eventually, it is time to move on and let the past go.
You can't see the road in front of you if you are always looking in the rear view mirror!