Saturday, July 22, 2017

Portals of Time & Fruits of our Labors

My mother dropped me off on the corner. She turned left at the light. I walked right, down a concrete path, toward the doors.

The doors of which I speak were two metal doors to the side entrance to my high school. I hated those doors. I hated the school. I hated the path. I hated it all with the passion of an unhappy, bullied girl-child who knows the unrelenting mean-girls are waiting just inside those doors.

There, right where that green spot is, I stepped in melted water. I was wearing original moccasins. The kind without a hard sole. The leather was immediately soaked. I'd have frozen feet all day. I hated that puddle, too.

This miserable day would obviously last FOREVER! My teenaged eyes rolled hard at the thought of this grey, everlasting day stretching into eternity before me. I wanted to sit down and cry, no, howl at the long torture that yawned in front of me.

I was convinced of the truth of this belief.

At that moment, a memory was created and immediately clicked from the short-term to the long-term storage bin in the back of my mind.

I have never forgotten that moment, that puddle or those doors. A walk that lives forever but in a very different way than I thought. I don't remember another thing about that day but it must not have been too bad. I still have both feet. No frostbitten nubs.

What I created, however, was a moment that has rescued me during far worse experiences life has tossed my way. When real tears were choking me and it seemed as if all that was holy in my life hung in the balance, I see them. That puddle and those hated doors.

Cancer? Those doors to the rescue.
Disabled child? That puddle reminds me.
Divorce? Those mean girls didn't stop me.

That morning lives to remind me...I've learned that crappy stuff does NOT last forever. There is no misery that will not end. I will endure. I can do this. Whatever it is, until the day my Earth-term is up, I CAN do this.

Truth? I became a better person because of hardship. It served me well. I became stronger. I am resistant to the fairy tales of assured doom we like to tell ourselves.

And somehow my Old Soul knew that moment was valuable and locked it away until I'd need it.

Over the years, I learned to rise to the occasions to which I least wished to rise.
It turns out, courage and patience pays you in strength and a merry heart. Big dividends. Rewards unexpected.

I stopped once to look up the mean girls on Facebook. They have aged poorly, with all the ugliness they visited upon me, now resting insecurely on their wrinkled brows and thinning hair. Keep this in mind...Bitchery and cruelty pays in rotten fruit. I had no idea of about this gem of wisdom when I was younger. I share now because you should know that the best wrinkle cream will not erase such emblems. It's a message from my older teen self to younger women.

May such knowledge comfort many and alarm the rest.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Arm

This picture looks a little creepy, doesn't it?
That's my lap with a woman's arm resting on it. It's realistic, until you get to the elbow. 

There's a small story about this arm and it's a lovely story to know. It's a story about Pragmatic Acceptance, which is a very good thing but not always easy to obtain. It's a trait of very strong people.

This imposter arm was introduced to me in September. It belongs to an older woman. She's a pretty woman who still retains the charming smile of a younger woman. She was in an automobile accident a few years ago and it cost her an arm. 

Many people would moan and complain. Try to change the reality or refuse to accept it. Or maybe become a perpetual victim. 

But this woman handled it as simply as making a substitution in a recipe. She carried on just as if everything would work out. It might not be as moist and fluffy but, by God, it's still a Fine Cake.

There was a sense of determination. As if she had firmly explained to herself that, "Yes, there would still be cake and it still was up her to mix the batter."

As she told the story of losing her arm, she whipped off the prosthetic and handed it around so the other women could see how real it looked. 

It does look amazingly real. She had ornamented it with rings and jewelry. Of course, it wasn't perfect and it can't replace the original arm. It didn't move and the fingers don't flex. And it was cold. 

The important thing, though, was her attitude. Even missing a favorite appendage that had been taken away abruptly and without warning, she was accepting and grateful for what she DID have.

She was still smiling. I found her amazing and wanted to tell you about it. 


Monday, December 5, 2016

What’s wrong with the art world?

ArtNews recently presented a series on how to fix the art world. 

My response:
Dear ArtNews,
You asked 50 individuals—artists and curators, critics and historians, art dealers and an art fair director—to gather a range of perspectives. As I read the offerings you shared, I was struck by the limits in what I saw.

It was interesting that you asked only people in the art world but one of the largest contributors to the arts is NOT in the art world.
The consumers, clients, and collectors. Overlooking these "outsiders" points to an art world that behaves with a "diversity" that is most true only to the original meaning of the word. The word "diversity" isn’t a word based solely upon race or origin, though many have forgotten. It comes from the Latin word “divertere” and it means to “turn aside.”

In its positive quest for diversity, however, the art world has managed to simply turn aside. The word we really want  to employ is “inclusion.” Right now, the art world is not an inclusive world. It has no real language outside of itself and it speaks to few people outside of its protective walls. It is careful about what sorts of people it lets in those walls. Some people simply are not welcome. In fact, the art world has waged a cultural war on those “types” of people.

To test if this is true, help me to understand where you support Republican artists. Or the artists that voted for Donald J. Trump. I know some of those artists. They are artists who must maintain their silence lest they be demonized and cast aside by the art world. The art world is harsh with those that do not conform. Think about that.

Klaus Biesenbach, affiliated with MoMA, said in your article, “I am looking to the artists I know and the artists I work with to offer different ways of looking at a very challenging national and international political, economic, ecological, and societal situation.” 

I hope he means with a hearty welcome and an open door policy but I fear this is not the case. As for me, I'm tired of watching people be insulted or revolted by art but I'm not sure the practice will cease anytime soon. 

For another example, we talk about women in the arts, yet the rules by which we assess art are based in the patriarchy’s history. It started in 1568 with Giorgio Vasari. He’s the accepted father of art history who first began making distinctions between artists and their work. In his book, Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Painters, Sculptors, & Architects, he listed 160 artists but he gave a passing nod to only 4 women. It was these 160 artists and their eminence that started the standards that brought us to the present day world of art.

Why haven’t the rules of what defines art been expanded to address the way a woman’s mind works? We’ve learned a lot since 1568 and science proves that a female brain is different than a male’s. Physically, men lead with the left hemisphere of the brain, while, typically, women use both sides with reliance on the right side. The left side controls logic, structure, spatial relationships, and objective thinking while the right side is more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective. Accordingly, a woman’s art is being asked to fit itself into the narrower box influenced by the classic patriarchy that founded the art world. 

The Great East London Art Audit revealed that an analysis of the 100 highest grossing auctions in 2012 contained zero women. We're not inclusive. 

My conclusion is that a woman’s mind and her creativity are bigger than the scope the art world currently offers. What do we offer them? Let’s remember, 53% of Caucasian women voted for Trump. Are we planning on starting a dialogue with them? 

Right, now, the language of the art world mostly includes only those within the art world. People who study and work within its enclave. 

David Levi Strauss recognized the issue when he said, "The art market became increasingly separated from the actual making of art, to the point where artists and consumers of art are now living in two entirely different realms."

 Where is the welcoming invitation for those who don’t speak our language? We ask a veterinarian, a car mechanic, a lawyer, or a doctor to “give us the news in laymen’s terms” but when will the art world offer them the same in return? Professionals that can and would sponsor art, artists, and their work are rarely spoken to in language sets they can easily comprehend. Naima Keith also touches on this idea when she said, “[Museums] need to do the hard work of determining how they might expand their mission to truly benefit new segments of society that might, in turn, also become patrons—constituents that institutions may historically have overlooked.”

Would an invitation and a sincere welcome be a lowering of the art world’s lofty standards or would it be an expansion of those standards? If we refuse to value a differing mind than our own, how will we expect those minds to value our differences?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Love this shot

Great Blue Heron
The way the light falls and the color of the twilight, this bird almost looks purple.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Creative Quarterly Winner

I was pleased to see my work won and will appear in this edition of Creative Quarterly.

Nature's Ballet

Center Botanical

Friday, January 8, 2016

Four Corners Gallery

My original Silver Halide prints are represented by Four Corners Gallery, which is located in Bluffton, South Carolina located near Palmetto Bluff. They will ship world wide.

Palmetto Bluff is a resort and an upscale luxury residential community. In 2014 the Southern Living home was built and featured here. (the home on the right in the below) Most of my Great Egret shots were photographed in the wildlife conservation areas in Palmetto Bluff.

The Conservancy at Palmetto Bluff was founded in 2003 with a mission of protecting the lush maritime forests and winding tidal creeks that defined the spectacular geography of the land that is home to Palmetto Bluff. By maintaining the ecological and environmental integrity of the lands at the confluence of the May, Cooper and New Rivers, they ensure that the natural landscape is almost exactly as it has been for over 400 years.

Friday, September 18, 2015

While on the water

I haven't mentioned the birds lately, have I? I'll do that soon. In the meantime, while I was on the water photographing my birds, these three dolphins started playing.