Friday, February 6, 2009

The Artist in Me...and You

I always loved art class. Fortunately I grew up the 60s (there you have it…I am old in the blog world but very proud to be this age…I had to work hard to get here and would never want to be 20 again). Most of my art teachers in high school and middle school (the 70s) had come through Woodstock and Peter Max and the Beatles. What a privilege this was to work with art teachers (who the other teachers thought were a little wonky) who really understood that creativity will come out of everyone in the right environment. The more one liberates themselves to embrace that creativity, the more rapid the growth in our brain and very soul to not only find creative solutions but to express them.

Being pegged as the dreamer type of kid who liked art and reading, I had the privilege to like what I wanted because artists and dreamers don’t seem to be on a fast track, and we seem to resist being corralled. Most people don't think we will make much of anything in the world; so we are (for the most part) left to our own means. Relatives and friends keep pushing us to do something constructive with our time and our hands. Mind you, I learned how to sit in my seat, not be seen and try to stay out of the teachers’ radar (all likely reasons I became a teacher myself as a need to free those creative souls in the world). And I enjoyed my years as a teacher immensely. I wasn't big on a lot of rules. My biggest peeve rule was teachers who expect kids to ask to go to the bathroom. I always told the kids if you have to go to the bathroom...don't ask my permission....just go. So suffice it to say, I loved the other teachers who taught me how to bring out the big ideas in kids and help them find the biggest dreams and visions. See my p.s. at the end of this blog and you will get an idea of the kind of teacher I am....that's the kind of person I am.

In art class, I learned color theory not in a dry way but rather by painting and listening to my art teachers lavish over curious color explorations. I was especially drawn to pop art and studies of shapes. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author and illustrator. I remember writing a book when I was around 7 that I was so very proud of. I showed it to my teacher who taught me the word plagarism—big word for a little kid but I got the picture real fast. Indeed, the book was written about a cartoon I had seen. While it didn’t stop me from writing or drawing, it made an indelible impact on my life as far as observing and respecting the creative efforts of others.

So, why didn’t I become an artist? My real dream growing up was to move to Paris and live in a flat and be an artist and roam the streets studying great artwork. I don’t have real knowledge of any of this but I suppose someone told me Paris was the place to be if you're an artist. Or maybe I was affected by the guys wearing the beret and the paint palette on their hand in the cartoons (see a pattern here?!). Have you ever seen the movie “Christmas Story” where the kid is told he can’t have a bb gun because he’ll shoot his eye out…I suppose that is what happened to my dream of being an artist? It didn’t seem like a logical way to support myself and I knew I had to do that (a very clear message since I wouldn’t likely ever want someone else to support me).

Now before you get sad for me, let me tell you that I enjoy the most creative life and always have even though I didn’t get to Paris or have a degree in art history and a minor in painting. I have had the privilege of expressing my creativity in finding creative solutions and interspersing whimsy and inspiration in every walk I have had the privilege of journeying.

But the best part is I now play in a medium that has all kinds of flexibility and expression…FABRIC!! Recently, we got the trunk show from Blue Underground. Talk about an explosion and exploration of color. What a fun time this has been to study these quilts. Some of them I like to call two-steps. Taking two complementary colors and matching them singularly. Then there are the ones that do a bit more of a color dance. And some throw all abandon to the wind.

They were so inspiring that I finally bought myself a couple of bundles of batiks that have been crying out for creation. I made Modern Thinking and then took the leftovers and made up Circus. These are my sun room quilts….comforting and the colors of nature. I love it, love, love it. Some days I just wander around to the corner where they are displayed at Pine Needles just to stroke and enjoy them.

The designers of Blue Underground are brave and inspiring. An artist knows they really have reached the viewer when the viewer launches off and expressees themselves in their creative venue. Perhaps that is why sewing is contagious and so affecting to so many of us!

All the Best to You

p.s. This last note is tribute to a quilt after my own heart. See the back of the Jester's Court quilt. Black and white....fabulous finish to a bright expression. I think if I were a quilt, this is the quilt I would be....a clear and concrete side and a playful side. But even the clear and concrete side of my life is whimsy and play.

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