Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Memories of Art

Williamsburg, Brooklyn; A Journey/Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
An Altered Book
Mixed Media, 2003

chapter 2: Hands

the words here (and they are the actual text of the original book) say
the hands/shoulders/ears/eyes/hands/face./body/feet/hands eyes/ shiver/hands/eyes/hands

the "read me" pocket has words on a twisted thread and the words say (in the tiniest letters possible, I don't know how I wrote them so small):

how to make a dream real?
a real dream?
How to make a dream real?
dream real?
make it real
make it real.

It's been many years since I made this artist book. And it's kind of interesting to look back on it. I am not "in" the place I was when I made it, and I don't really know what my intention was here, but I remember it, and I remember it fondly. That time of life. The explorations. The freedom. That me.

Interestingly, I was looking back at my journal from about a month ago, and the same thing happened. The interesting part is that a month ago, I still had swine flue, was terribly stressed out and was trying to pack up my stuff and get ready for a move, all the while hoping we could pull out a new job and a better move, and never managing. Really always feeling like I could never do all that I "should" do and always feeling like I was falling short.

So while I was drawing in my journal, it seems as if I captured the best parts of my life and let the stresses and illnesses and blues fall away. I looked back and I said, wow, that was a nice time. However when I was living it, how often did I look around and say, wow, this is a nice time?

I'm not sure what the lesson here is. That maybe I should accept my life, in all its chaos, and embrace the beauty that is there. I keep trying at this and keep failing, thus adding to that stress. Which probably means I am not doing the zen thing quite right. Well. There's a reason why there aren't little buddhas running around the streets of every town. It's HARD to be zen and live in the moment.

Maybe the lesson to be learned is that art is a way to understand, to transform the life that we are living. Maybe art can find a way to distill the living. I think that's what it should be. For me, anyway. I suppose my art is pretty autobiographical in nature. My illustrations of my outfits are a straight journal of my days, as are the drawings of the little leaves and twigs and flowers my kids give me. But the more abstract pieces, the collages, the doodles, these also serve as a memoir of my days. And so do the flying girls. These are a journal of my internal life. Even when I simply sit and paint a scene out my window... if I look at that painting years later, I am sucked right back to the time of the painting and I am there, again.

It's very interesting.

When I was a kid and studying art along with all the other kids, we had a pat answer about what art was. The purpose of art. Every class, every year of my HS education asked this question. But I didn't know. I didn't understand. I didn't understand WHY I was painting or WHAT I wanted to paint. I didn't understand what the point of it was for me.

I am very thankful for my education as an artist when I was so young, but it is life that taught me what art really was for me. I'd say I was probably 27 before I started sharing my internal world in my art. And everything I experienced in life added to the meaning.

And the meaning is still developing, still growing.

Huh. This is not where I meant to go with this post. I think I was going to say something about writing my post while the kids were sitting right here, watching Max and Ruby, so that when nap/quiet time came around, I could actually do my writing work, my 100 hours, my novelling, my brainstorming, my revising. But the old altered book took over my head space and hijacked my post.

This is kind of why I like using art work in all my blog posts. It adds something to the meaning of the words. It gives it a different tilt, a different perspective.

I like throwing dissimilar things together and seeing what comes from the collision. Speaking of... I think I'll do that with my werewolf girl story. Taking an old, unfinished novel, an old unread short story, and the idea of the paranormal werewolf story and smoosh them into something.

Well, the kids have decided I've written too long without paying attention to them, so I've got to go back to the day job and get the munchkins some lunch.

1 comment:

aquamaureen said...

I really like the fact that you are willing to yield to what obviously wants to come out, like with this post. Yes, you start with an intention, but when something else starts to surface, you allow it center stage. I thing that is when you write the truest.

You've got a lot going on now, Rowena, if you are in the middle of a move . . .cut yourself some slack, okay? love the moment . . let weregirl out to play . . .see where playing with your kids leads you . .

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