Friday, August 7, 2009

Looking Back

It's a new day.

I like to spend a little time on Friday on Twitter discovering new things. If you are reading this, you are probably a Tweet too. I like to follow other people's discoveries. Mostly I like to find other artists. I love looking at their galleries and reading their blogs. I live out in the country with 8 cats and a dog, two kids and a husband. But my universe is pretty small. My inspiration usually comes out of my gardens and the wildlife I see each day. One thing I know as an artist is that you cannot create art in a vacuum. You need to observe, take in life. I may not be jetting all over the globe or conversing in smoky cafes in the metropolises of the world, but I have my computer and with it I can soar to places I know I'll never see and chat with people I'd otherwise never get to meet.

Technology really has expanded the universe in so many ways. With over 5 decades behind me it is an interesting perusal back over time. What I learned about art 3 decades ago has morphed into something a bit different. Change is always essential and even expected, but as it happens it's always a wonder. Which leads me to a piece which I started nine years ago and just finished. I have this habit of setting off to create a piece, starting in headfirst and then realizing that something has changed or perhaps needs to change in order to complete it. I really think this is an essential element of art. It is an observation of the element of change. Not an easy one to grasp.

"Nancy's Garden" was originally meant as a sort of an art connection between myself and a dear friend. Each square in nine were created within a month's time as a monthly art letter to the friend. At the end of the 9 months we were expecting to see each other and I would assemble the piece for her to keep as a whole. In the meantime she was creating her own art for me. Within two months time the whole plan fell apart. She was not as enthusiastic about the venture nor was she coming home in the time planned. She sent me back my first two installments. So I lost my inspiration to continue. Our friendship really tanked about three years after that and I have no contact with her at all anymore. After the pain of the lost friendship subsided a bit I picked up an interest in continuing the piece.

This is when I started to realize my own limitations in my abilities to create what was in my head. I worked off and on for a few years as I was working other less important pieces. I learned how to bead much better and it brought me to this month when I took out all nine completed pieces and beaded them together. What is usual for me is to let it sit for a while as I decide if I am finished with it. But for the most part it is a complete piece which can be viewed as a whole.

There is so much of life stuffed into it that when I look at it I marvel at how we deal with the changes in life. I have moved twice since I started it; moved the essential flowers that I love and drew originally, twice. Taken a studio in an old refurbished mill and sold it. Moved my studio into storage for 3 years until I moved into the home I now have with a large sunny studio space. My children have grown into young adults, my hair is white, I was divorced and am now remarried. I have never seen or heard from my friend, Hannah, again. All of these huge life changes are sewn into the quilt, like tiny stitches.

And so I resolve to look back more often as well as I look forward because the lessons of living art are not always linear. You will be seeing all of this as I progress.


  1. "All of these huge life changes are sewn into the quilt, like tiny stitches."

    That ^^ choked me up. Wonderful post.