June 21, 2010

It is pretty apparent that people are uncomfortable with anything on this blog other than stories and drawings.  I guess I can’t blame someone for not wanting to read about difficult things.

Maybe it’s time for me to stop writing.  I’ve probably covered all the bases anyway…and it would look ridiculous to keep trying to come up with something relevant to say.

I suppose this is a pity party I’m holding for myself.  I’m not questioning my art, per se, I just feel really tired of trying to be optimistic and upbeat about it.  I guess I don’t see the point of keeping at it, other than doing something for myself here and there…

People say, “it takes time” to get your work noticed.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I haven’t sold a thing at the Art Bazaar.  I sold some stuff at the art festival, yet that was mainly to my  friends and family.  I don’t discount this and do not mean to sound like I do…it’s just that friends and family can only support you for a while.  It’s not their job, really.

I think I may have been really stupid to leave my old job and go for this art ‘thing’.  Time to live and learn.  The world doesn’t need more artists.  It needs more cogs in the wheel.  I’m not being a good cog by trying to be different.

I think what is depressing me the most these past two days is that I feel foolish in ever thinking I could be something other than what I have always been.  Someone who does what is needed and that has meant that I have a job, and I go to work.  Period.  I earn the appropriate amount of money, and I pay my bills.

None of this frilly, free-time-to-create stuff for you, Missy.  You don’t make enough money with your art to have that luxury.  What in the world were you thinking?

Yes, that’s what my head is telling me.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

My heart is not saying anything.  I think it knows better.


June 20, 2010

My friend, Peg, says that when you find yourself back in your ‘gunk’, so to speak, you are operating from 3-D space, rather than the upper levels of consciousness.  The 3-D place where things are solid, unmoving, and rigid.  I can’t breathe in this space.

Guess where I am today?  Right.   Somewhere sub-terranian in thought or consciousness, I would imagine.

It’s just that today…I don’t want to play anymore.  My shoulders are burning with tightness and pain, I miss my dad, it’s too goddamn hot, I’m tired of worrying about money, and I’m just tired of being me.  Everything seems stupid to me today.


What the heck happens when this happens?  Did I miss a step in the last 24 hours?  Did I detour while sleeping so that when I awoke, I was alone and wandering this wasteland?

I have no idea.  I just feel like shit.

I’ve tried quilting and drawing and reading to pull me out of this spot.  Looking for that thing that is just barely out of reach.  Just barely there on the horizon.  I just can’t reach it.

These are days when I wonder whether I am nuts.  Maybe I’m just honest, though.  I look myself in the eye on these days, and I don’t turn my head.

Or, maybe not…

Miss you, Dad…

June 20, 2010

Well, so it’s Father’s Day.  I wasn’t going to write more about Dad on this day, yet here I am doing so…

I just wish he were here so we could give him the usual array of FD gifts;  a can of tennis balls, some cashews and a Playboy.

Hope you are well wherever you are, Dad…  Much love, Ali…

Mountains of memories…

June 19, 2010

Most of my summers growing up were spent in Logan, Utah where Dad taught a few courses at USU and the rest of us frolicked in the low-humidity, mountain air of Cache Valley.  Man, those were good summers.  We took tennis lessons, gymnastics lessons, inner-tubed down the cold water canals out of the canyon, played “Frisbee in a box”, barbecued, and slept under blankets at night.  Yes… blankets at night.  The canyon breeze would blow in and snatch away any residual heat from the day.  Man, I miss the mountain air.

I was thinking about all of this today as I sat on the couch and quilted…listening to the a.c. running and the distant sound of the wrens on the deck.  I miss open windows.  I miss cool air.  It’s ridiculously hot these past days, and I wonder about how long it will continue.  How in the world did we survive without air conditioning?  Those summers long ago were luxurious out West.  I don’t know how fun my memories would be if we had not left Missouri during the summer months.

When I was about 11, I had a candle collection.  They were all candles that were made to look like something else.  I had a peach, a cupcake with a cherry on top, and a Snoopy.  Those are the ones I remember most clearly.  My sister and I shared rooms upstairs in that house on West 7th, and this fateful summer, my candles sat on the dresser upstairs in my room.  In August when we returned from the aforementioned delightful time in Utah, I remember going upstairs where it was unbelievably hot (no a.c. in those days…) and there on my dresser were just puddles of wax.  No more groovy candles…just piles of melted wax.

That was one hot room.  Hot enough to wipe out my candle collection.  I was too stunned to cry, for I must have known that it was lucky that *I* didn’t have to endure that hot room for the summer.  I had escaped to the mountains.

Someday I want to move out West.  I’ll be sure and take my candles…


June 18, 2010

I’ve been thinking about my Dad lately.  Perhaps in part that we are nearing Father’s Day.  My sister has posted old photos of him on Facebook this week, as well, so his visage is on my mind in many ways.  Hard to believe he’s been gone for 4 years now, and just like many people, I can indulge in thousands of images and sensory experiences from my time of knowing him.  I suppose that is all we are left in the end.  Our memories and how clearly they still pulse in our space.

One of the things I wonder about now is; what would Dad think of my leaping into the world of art and the unknown??  Would he be pleased or would he worry??  I tend to think that he would be envious.  My father always wanted to be ‘an artist’, and then seen as such, to boot.  He dabbled in pen and ink drawings of owls, landscapes, and the like.  He had a series of ‘thumb funs’ published in the local paper, and there are numerous watercolor paintings around of his work.  I know, too, that he never felt like his work was ‘good enough’.  He often griped about being told he was just a ‘technician’ from an artist he clearly respected, and, indeed, he wanted higher praise in lieu of this title.

What my father had, though, was artistry in his teaching and his interactions with people.  I think that many people fail to realize that being an artist is much more than just the literal translation of the word.  It is much more than being able to paint, or draw or sculpt.  My father was adept and skilled and ‘painterly’ as he lectured and sketched his notes across the blackboard.  I know this first hand as I had him for class at Westminster all those years ago.  His use of colored chalk and his flourishes of arrows and symbols emphasized an already mesmerizing lecture about evaporation, osmosis, soil composition, and any other topic on biology you can imagine.  He was a Master.

I spoke at his memorial that May of 2006 at the Churchill Memorial on Westminster campus.  People from all over attended.  Former students, colleagues, friends, and neighbors were there, and it was standing room only.  I was in awe of his impact on this world and in their lives.

If I can add one smidgen of his influence in my time here with my art, then perhaps I will have done something.  I will have contributed. Maybe I will be able to call myself an artist.

My father was an Artist.

Afterall, Dad…it’s just a word.  You made it real…

Me, Dad and Sara... a long time ago...

Leonard Cohen

June 17, 2010

So, I went to the library yesterday to get some books…(yay, actually have time to read AND do some art), and while I was there I dropped off an application for part-time work, thinking…this would probably be a decent environment for some extra dosh.  We’ll see…

Opened the new book I borrowed to read, and ran across this quote by Leonard Cohen:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything.  It’s how the light gets in”


Not long after the library outing, I ended up in a long overdue, and delightful conversation with my dear friend, Patty Lou, and lo and behold…she mentioned Leonard Cohen and referenced something she had read of his that day as well.  Coincidence?  Perhaps, yet I prefer to think it’s a sign of sorts to pay attention to his words.  I think I shall…

Leonard is cool.  What a songwriter and artist, he is…

I started thinking about the lyrics of one of my favorite songs of his, “Bird on a Wire”; and these lines came to mind:

“I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,

he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,

she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

So, Leonard.  Groovy man with some groovy words, yes… but what was I supposed to be hearing?  I wanted to pay attention just in case this was more than a coincidence. After I stopped thinking about it so much, this is what I got:  Perspective.  It’s all about perspective.  Keep an open mind and greet experiences from a place of neutrality so that your perspective can be unfettered by preconceived notions (be they positive or negative).  There, in that space…might you be the clearest channel for the Moment.

I know…maybe I’m nutty, but that’s what I got…

Oh, and…always remember that sometimes the cracks are there for a reason.

This is all there is…

June 16, 2010

When my sister and I were young, we used to play this weird game called, “this is all there is”.  First step was to contemplate that the Universe went on and on into Infinity and then, we would wrap our wee little minds around the notion that ‘this world’ (as we knew it) was “all there is”.  We would stare at each other and chant the phrase, “this is all there is”, over and over and over, holding those types of thoughts in our mind.  Pretty soon, our three dimensional brains would kind of warp and we would lose touch with reality for just a moment.  It was enough to make us shudder and scream out in horror and delight.

I can still do it.  So can Jen.

I once wrote a post on her Facebook page that said, “this is all there is”.  It doesn’t take much to elicit the same response from all those years ago.  Freaked her out.

So, do I have a point?  I think my point might be that at a very early age, I explored the nature of things unseen, and sought out the unusual.  I believe that for the most part, it has served me well (i.e. I have one hell of an imagination!), yet I also think that when one opens a door, invariably others open as well.  Not always those desired nor noticed at the time.  So it goes…

Sometimes if you travel too far ‘out there’, it’s hard to be Here.

Maybe I need to remember that this moment is all there is.  Be here now, and all that jazz…  I know I can over think things.  One need but read my blog to suspect such a trait.

Perhaps it’s also good to remember and believe that even if “this is all there is”, it’s enough…

(Thanks for playing, Jawknee)

Art legs…

June 15, 2010

I have never been at sea long enough to require sea legs.  Most of us have probably heard the phrase, however, as it is defined:  “The ability, when walking aboard ship, to anticipate the motion of the deck so as to walk steadily without losing balance; Ability to travel by ship without becoming seasick.”

I wonder if there is such a thing as “art legs”?  Perhaps it could be defined as ” the ability, when deciding to become a full time artist, to anticipate the ups and downs therein so as to proceed thusly without losing one’s mind;  Ability to make such a leap of faith without becoming nauseous with anxiety.”

Yeah.  I don’t think I have those yet.  Some friends say, “relax and just take it easy for a while”, where others are “what are you going to DO???”  I’m somewhere in between.

My friend, Dawn, recommended the book, “Art and Fear” to me and I have it in the other room.  Maybe I should read it since I took the time to find it on Amazon.  I’m almost afraid to.  Afraid to feed either parts of my psyche.  Fear and Art.  Yikes.  That about sums it up.

The Bodhisattva is supposed to be a god that straddles two worlds…one more physical and one more esoteric and mystical in nature.  A bridge.  A connection, if you will.

After leaving the ‘real world of previous employment’ as of last week, and joining the realm of the ‘new Art Ali’, I feel somewhat like I am straddling as well.  Not so gloriously as the Bodhisattva, however.  Rather clumsily and wobbly, in fact.  I know change is a process, not an event, yet I typically do not allow myself much time for such things.

I suppose I should be more kind to myself as I garner those ‘art legs’ in order to traverse this new landscape.

Sometimes that feels easier said than done.


June 15, 2010

I bought a new journal yesterday.  I have lots of them around.  Some filled with old words and funky pictures I clipped out of a magazines and glued on the pages.  Others just empty, like I had the inclination to write, yet nothing ever happened.  I also have sketch books that are similar in whether the pages are filled or not.  Always good intentions, not the best of follow through, at times.

THIS time, however, I intend to write.  Probably completely different stuff than what I write here, for it will be with the notion that I will be the only one reading it.  I noticed that they don’t make them with those little keys anymore (at least not the grown up kind).  I’m pretty sure my sister and I had diaries where the keys were interchangeable.  We were snotty little brats one time and read each others’ words, unbeknownst to the other (until later when it was revealed in a ‘not so pretty’ way).  Kids can be mean.

I want to write about what trips me up in the process of making art in this current environment.  I want to write about my worries of lack.  I want to write out *all* my negative self talk and inner demons and watch them disappear as if I were using disappearing ink with which to write.  Cathartic measures, perhaps??  Surely writing and drawing such things can be a useful endeavor?  A cleansing endeavor?  I hope so.

Maybe if I do this and I stick with it, I’ll so empty myself of all things negative that there will be room for more light.  More art.  More motivation.  More power…more me.  Maybe I’ll be so light filled that I’ll just poof away like a dust mote…

Or maybe in a year from now, I won’t just have another empty journal laying around…

Child art??

June 14, 2010

I’m not a mom.  I’m a stepmom, but I think that is different from being a biological mom.  I’m pretty sure it just has to be different given the nature of giving birth and all…

I was thinking that now that I am a full time artist, I might get tired of doing my art all the time.  I have some fellow artists that have said that they would never want their work to “become just a process”, so they avoid doing anything that would possibly make their art profitable, or marketable.  Hmmm.  Seems like it is already, though, isn’t it?  A process??

I’m going to go with the notion that there will be some days that I am kind of like the ‘mom’ of my work.  I will look at it and think, “gosh, how delightful!”, and other days I might think, “can someone take this thing away, please?”.  I’ve no doubt that it’s best to approach the inherent love of my art and all that it entails with the thought that there will be days that it just isn’t my thing.  I’m perfectly fine with this.  I don’t mind the process.  It just is.

When I get to see one of my sculptures again at my brother’s house, or another work that I’ve created at a friend’s house, I am renewed.  It is like visiting children of mine that have grown up and moved on.  I spend so much time with each piece, individually, that they *do* feel like extensions of me.  Myself.  My soul.

I think this is the cool part of making art and being an artist.  The connectivity to that which one creates. You can let it be of you and through you, but it doesn’t have to own you…

That’s enough for me…

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