Sunday, October 2, 2011

Canary in the Coal Mine theory on the Arts and How I Spent My Summer

“I sometimes wondered what the use of any of the arts was. The best thing I could come up with was what I call the canary in the coal mine theory of the arts. This theory says that artists are useful to society because they are so sensitive. They are super-sensitive. They keel over like canaries in poison coal mines long before more robust types realize that there is any danger whatsoever.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

I haven’t blogged in many a month, mostly because I’ve been sunk into the silence of myself as things go from worse to worser.  The quote from Kurt Vonnegut has been strong in my mind throughout, is what I think of when I think about whether to write in my blog – or not.

There’s been precious little paid work and making ends meet  in the midst of rising prices is difficult.   To say the least.

Those who support the Arts and Artists,  don’t so much, lately.    

But, I say to myself, I’ve been here before, the country I live in has seen  peril and hard-times  before, I’ll just keep putting one foot in  front of the other and hope for the best.

The best  has been that I’ve had much time to spend and much of it has been on my Art.

In the midst of these hard-times, I’ve spent much more than 2 hours a day working en studio.  I’ve designed projects that require no expenditure.  I’ve spent much time playing with paint in sketch books from the past where pages were left blank  when I stopped using them and went on to another. 

There was the surprise of finding a brand-new sketch book I forgotten I had.  

I’ve filled these sketch book pages with small paintings.   A few weeks ago, in the spirit of keeping it simple, I began sketching my composition with brush and paint, which has been a constant source of amusement, for me. 

Rather than spend gas & put un-necessary wear and tear on car and tires,  I’ve been staying home, painting from my windows, front porch, from my lawn chair somewhere in the yard around the house….  Home Beach, I call it, and a wonderful place it’s been for me these past many months.  With the sound of the brook running through the culvert out back, the sound of crows and other birds ringing through the air in the peace of this neighborhood, I can well imagine myself at Southford Falls, a place where I love to be for the pond & brook feeding the pond, the open land around it, trees and few people.  There have been people on my Home Beach and the encounters with them has been part of the fun.


Since The Internet,  George Bush and 911 I’ve been more politically active than I was since the years of the Clinton administration;   this past summer, I’ve doubled my online activism and in my own way, have strengthened the power of my voice and my vote.  I am glad to see that People have begun to act up, speak out and stand up for the power of their convictions.  For the first time in ages, I feel a sense of hope that the 99%’ers will be able to make a change that we 99%’ers so desperately need.   I'm with them in spirit.  

Off and on this past summer I’ve been thinking about participating in a Paint Out at the Kent Art Association, where I’m a member.  Sometimes I think Yes, with a great deal of confidence.  Sometimes I think NO, it’s too public an event and my stage fright is overwhelming.  On this topic, I feel that I’m on the high diving tower at Sandy Beach, vacillating and hesitant to dive into the water or go back down the ladder.  I also remember how good it felt to let go, dive in and do it over and over again.  I haven’t  yet signed up as an entrant in the Paint Out but I did sign-on as a runner for the auction later in the afternoon on the day of the Paint Out, so I’m that committed.  The weather looks good for next Saturday and I discovered a ¼ sheet of watercolor paper so there’s a good chance I’ll be in Kent next Saturday,  Painting Outside with all the experience from practicing all summer at Home Beach.

1 comment:

  1. Go for it! Do the Paint Out! Let yourself become immersed in whatever you decide to paint and pay no mind to those who stop to watch - unless they want to talk with you about what you're doing and, believe me, these people are ALWAYS friendly and appreciative. I just found a quote from speaker Bruce Baker: "To the ordinary public you (an artist) are the people who ran away to join the circus." They are fascinated that you have chosen to take chances, to express yourself creatively and to accept the lack of security that entails. I too have become more politically active, signing petitions and trying to speak out about things that are important to (and hoping I'm not becoming too annoying:-). Keep up your spirits - and EXERCISE! I just read an article about how exercise is vital for keeping creativity going.