Saturday, September 29, 2007

Courage

Ok! I started this entry this morning and, thanks to my usual computer karma, am just now getting back to the keyboard. Yes, I am one of THOSE, technologically challenged. As soon as I get near a computer, poltergeists from far and wide rush to the aid of our normal house poltergeist (the one who misplaces important papers) and cause havoc never before seen on our system. Luckily, I have a patient husband who is not challenged and can unravel the damage done. And it's not just our computer. I once went to buy train tickets and ALL the computers in the ticket office SHUT DOWN. Watches also tend to stop working when worn by my sensitive electrode-producing skin. I once worked as a cashier also on a computer-operated cash register. When first learning the workings of the machine, it broke down. This is apparently normal with newbie cashiers. What was not normal was that it took ALL the managers to fix it, each one commenting that they had NEVER seen such a problem before. Coincidence? I think not. Nonetheless, I brave the odds and continue to post here and elsewhere. I should really be wearing a juju.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, I wanted to touch on the subject of courage. Normally, one might think of that word for feats of strength, endurance, emotional and physical. What I'm looking for is the courage it takes to face EVERY DAY. Ok, that's easy, you say, first get out of bed... Yeah, yeah, when you have a "real" job to go to. (Not that I'm sayin' that's easy either, but you kinda hafta go or lose your job and get a new one.)

I'm talkin' 'bout the entrepreneur, farmer, painter, the one who is her/his own boss. Even when you're a farmer you have someone depending on you to show up, plants or animals. But what if all you have is a canvas, empty or begun, to face? I'm tellin' ya, it's like looking into your face for hours and examining who you are in minute detail. There's all those voices in the background, the ones that say it's not good enough, that you're wasting your time, that you should go out and get that coveted "real" job. (Why not? In America, when I told people I was an artist, the response was always, "and what do you do for a living?") Granted, I am one of the lucky ones. I don't have to live, for the moment, off of what I create. But I do have that as a goal, albeit secondary to making really, really beautiful art. (Those that do have to make money have that extra pressure of making it saleable. )

That's where art is like religion. You just have to BELIEVE. Believe it is worth it to make more beauty or make something that reaches out to others and makes them think and/or feel and believe that you, yes you, are the one that can do it. Some days, it ain't so easy folks. Days when it is grey and rainy (pretty frequent here in the Lower Countries) or you're just a little tired, or your feet hurt from standing on cement all day (the floor in my studio). Some days you just have to go. The pay off is that once I'm there, all that stuff becomes a blur as I paint or draw, create. So, I guess what I'm sayin' is yeah, I'm lucky to be an artist, lucky that I can do that all day, but it takes COURAGE. Worth it though, definitely worth it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dressed for Success

This weekend I began the big chore of getting rid of things before the move. Starting with my closet. Most people who see me today would think I only own a few jeans and paint spattered sweatshirt, t-shirts and a few dress clothes. Wrong. In college I began an addiction to buying clothes second hand. Lots of these clothes have come with me and also ones that I have been given. Mostly, in the last, I don't know, twenty years I haven't spent much on clothes.

So where do they all come from? Well, Mom was a great seamstress and decided to make me a bunch of skirts before I went off to college. I still have those, plus a skirt she made me when I was sixteen. I'm pleased to say I still fit in all of them, but would I wear them? Well, first the skirt from sixteen is going. I will never wear orange paisley, let's face it. Then there's a print skirt I took from Mom's closet when she died. Most of her clothing wasn't salvageable because she was a major smoker, but this was. Thought I would wear it. That was, what, five years, six ago? Haven't worn it, it's going. Then there's a myriad of clothes I got second hand with a kind of wistful nostalgia for the faded, which has now also faded. Then there's the belts Ron gave me before he died, which I said I would wear. Didn't, out they go. And the list grows.

I still need to be tougher with myself. I read that it's a good idea to cluster groups of clothes that go together. That's the next step. I'll put together a few outfits that I think I really will wear. What is truly at issue here is a question of identity. Just who do I think I am? Well, most of the time I'm a painter so most of these clothes are just silly. Still, when shopping or going out with "normal" people, a few less paint streaks might come in handy. I mention the shopping because I went to get some hair accessories from Claire's boutique one day. There were two prices on the package, one more than the other because it was a transfer from pounds. Anyway, the cashier pointed out to me the higher price was the right one and then waited...as if I couldn't afford it and I would put it back. Fooled her though, I bought them. Afterwards, I saw myself in a mirror and realized I was dressed for the studio. Not that I care about how much money people think I have. I actually found that fun.

Then there's the fifties-style dresses that I got second hand, or handed down. Those are the tough ones. I love that fitted bodice and bigger skirt. Still, I haven't worn one of those since living in DC! Basically, I'm looking for comfortable but not too sloppy in neutrals though sometimes with a little flash of color. That kind of knocks out many of the skirts mom made me. They're more for business. Maybe one or two of the best would be enough to "suit" me.

Finally, once I get it all pared down, there will be nothing else left to do but...go shopping! (This, folks, is very tongue in cheek as I haven't been much in the last years, as I mentioned, and basically go into cardiac arrest when I see the prices, promise myself to become a better seamstress, and run home.) But, for now, I'm off to the studio, so...on go the paint-stained jeans, holey t-shirt, and frayed sweater...aaah, now that's who I really am. Fashion mogul I'm not, but ready to do art, yes!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Distractions

This summer has had a lot going on so I'm hoping Fall will give me the time to reflect and get back to what is primary to my existence, which is making good art. I forget that sometimes, life throws me these curve balls and I follow their direction till, before you know it, I'm way out in left field. June and July were full of personal issues and then in August we went on vacation. I got that painting done which you see posted, but little else art wise. Well, that's not true really...I thought, read, and took photos for painting reference. But not real production. That brings up the question of whether constant production is the only way to improve. Many serious artists say yes. I think so too, though time is needed to feed the creativity machine. Not too much though.

Now it's September and we're in the process of obtaining a new place to live, though in the same city. Whew! This, one week after getting back to the Lower Countries. My head is spinning! Kinda like channel surfing but not having the remote all the time. Time to get back to the center. The place where I can see clearly. Lately I've had this feeling of awareness of being yet one small dot in the whole universe, not a feeling of insignificance, but one of being part of a greater whole. This really helps to put things in perspective. All those little worries and distractions seem so much less significant. I'm going to share here a sort of poem I have kept for many years on my bulletin board. I found it while going through some papers though I'm not sure where it came from. It helps me when I lose track of what is really important.

Eskimo Song

And I think over again
My small adventures
When with the shore wind
I drifted out in my kayak
And I thought I was in danger
My fears
Those small ones
That I thought so big,
For all the vital thinks
I had to get and reach.

And yet, there is only
One great thing,
The only thing:
To live to see in huts and on journeys
The great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.


There, I feel better already. Don't you? Ciao, Kim