Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Heart and Turkeys for Thanksgiving

My friend's Lauren and Erik raised turkeys at their farm this year.  I was over at their place a few times this month and always spent at least five minutes watching the flock of turkeys and talking to them.  They would come right over to greet me upon my arrival, probably hoping for some grain.  When I said something to the flock they would collectively gobble up a storm in return.  It was so comical.    They really are neat looking: prehistoric and dinosaur like I think!  These two toms posed in a heart shape for me...handsome, eh?

Hope you have a lovely day....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Art, Cheap?

Claymation figures that were made by my students at Balboa City School in San Diego, CA back in 2004.  Yes, we made awesome movies too!  Past life moment.... I taught visual art for 6 years in secondary schools.

I feel I need to say more about my ideas on art and economics.  This word CHEAP, in regards to The Why Cheap Art Manifesto, has been making me feel a bit edgy since I posted my thoughts on how I am going to go about selling my work here on my blog.

First of all, I see Bread and Puppets’ Cheap Art Manifesto as a humorous yet provocative statement.  I chose to post this on my blog because it is a simple, idealistic, political yet funny statement that relates to some ideas about how I want to sell my work. 

However, I realize that the word cheap is a loaded word especially in relationship to art.

By no means do I think of art which is well conceived and executed with an artist’s soulful expression as cheap, meaning that is of little value, vulgar, or inferior.  Creative expression is hugely valuable!   This word Cheap, as used in Bread and Puppets’ Manifesto, means that there should not be walls between the elite collectors, corporate collectors and museums charging fixed and often high admission fees, and a viewing audience or consumer.  Art needs to be accessible to everyone regardless of economic status.  Artists also need to be valued by society.  It is wonderful when we artists can receive something in return for our energy and sharing.  Money is very nice.  However I believe that art cannot be consumed just to increase one’s investment portfolio or show one’s elite standing or status.

Art is humankind’s life blood.  It moves one, it tells stories, it is a record of where we’ve been and where we are going.  Art is at times mysterious, sublime, painful, exuberant, dreamlike, super realistic, reflective, beautiful, ugly and the list goes on because art’s expressions are infinite.  Art, whether it is visual art, performance art, music, theater, film, poetry or story, is meant to be shared, enjoyed, pondered over and discussed.  How do we put a price tag on this?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Full Frost Moon

"Illumination"  2004    Kimberly H. Wachtel

"If the moon shows a silver shield,
 Be not afraid to reap your fields."

The Farmer's Almanac Gardening calendar that hangs in my studio has the above quote written under the name of this month's full moon, The Full Frost Moon or Beaver Moon.  The quote fits in perfectly with my thoughts and actions in relation to this full moon.

A cool book I have called "The Secret Language of  Symbols" states:  "The full moon echos the symbolism of the circle to signify wholeness, completion and achievement." 

The Full Frost Moon has brought with it a heightened time of self reflection.  As I turn towards winter and the darker, colder months ahead I take stock of the past year.  I think about what I am thankful for, what I have accomplished, who I am, where I've been, where I'm going, what to let go of and what to hold on to. 

The full moon illuminates,  like the title of my painting above suggests.  It provides an opportunity to look at time passing, how the cycles shift and shine light on one's achievements, talents, shortcomings and/or areas of needed work.  I gather my harvest, take stock of what has been gained and lost and move towards the darker months.  This is a fertile time of dreaming and creating.  My gardens are just about put to bed and I'm ready to move forward with the next cycle of growth.  As of this week I'm back in my studio drawing and painting.   A month and a half ago I began studying music theory on the keyboard with a great teacher and I practice, practice, practice.  I sing everyday.  I'm reading books that go along with my interests and relate to what I am learning.  I meet with a talented and gifted artist, mentor, friend regularly for meaningful conversations, reflections and work.  All this is so rich and important to me especially after some big personal decisions that were made earlier this year.   This is coming from someone who was intently considering and applying to go to school and get another formal degree at a college or university but this time in music.   I could have been in Boston attending Berklee School of Music this winter but honestly I am so happy with my decision to create a course of study using local teachers and resources.  I can feed my head and my soul in the comfort of my home and in my community.  I look forward to sharing more thoughts on my studies in future blog entries.  Stay Posted.  Happy Full Frost Moon to you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Why Cheap Art Manifesto, Bread and Puppets

I'm changing how I sell my work on this blog because I've been thinking a lot about the economics of art and the current state of the economy.   Before this recent election I became convinced that my voice, power, choices and vote are expressed most honestly and clearly through how I choose to spend my MONEY.  What do I want to support in this world? Art? Yes.  Beauty? Yes.  Local Healthy Organic Food/Farms? Yes.  Local Business?  Yes.  People and organizations that create positivity in my community and in the world? YES!!!  

So, I'm making some changes.  Here are my thoughts:

I've been thinking about how to get my art out there in the world. How can I sell it and share it?  How can I make it available in a way that is fair and takes into account the buyer's budget and/or skills along with my dream to earn some income using my talents?  

A friend of mine from years past and I were very interested in starting a cafe that ran on the principle of "Pay What You Can" based on the idea that almost all human beings are inherently good. The idea is that those who have a padded wallet will pay equal or more than the value of the product.  Those who are more financially strapped will pay equal or what they can. Those who are truly hungry and lack the ability to pay money will be fed anyway and can perhaps trade a skill in return.  I know this idea is idealistic but to me there is something inherently honest about it.  An economic yet energetic exchange can feel respectful from both sides.

Like Bread and Puppets states in its Why Cheap Art Manifesto, art, beauty, the food of the soul need to be available to everyone.  At the same time many artists including myself want to get their ideas, images, songs, poetry out there and share them.  Art requires an audience. The dynamic relationship between the artist and audience -- however difficult due to economic and social restraints -- must exist for there to be an active creative spirit threaded through society.  

In case you are wondering, Bread and Puppets is a theater troupe based in Vermont.  On Halloween I saw them do a political, funny, circus like performance at The Northampton Center for the Arts.  I highly recommend seeing them if they come through your town.

I am taking the prices off my paintings and future creations here on this blog.  Those of you who are truly interested in having a creation of mine can come to me, email me, call me and we can have a conversation.  I can't give my art away, but one can make an offer that feels fair to them and that takes into account their personal budget ($$$ or barter) with the hope from my end that they see value in the time, energy and materials it takes to create something unique.  My idea is that one person might pay $50 cash plus $50 worth of locally grown vegetables while another may have a skill I want to learn that they can teach me in exchange.  A person might have $500 cash to pay for a painting while another person might have a piece of artwork, clothing, jewelry, furniture or other handmade item that we can exchange.  I am interested in having open conversations to see how this approach can work.  If you want something that I have created to have a home with you, lets talk!  If you want to talk more about these ideas, let's talk!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rescued Hummingbird and Junco

My friend found this video on you tube and posted it on Facebook.  I watched it this morning after having a bird rescue experience of my own yesterday afternoon.  It's so sweet to watch human caretakers nurse an injured baby hummingbird back to health.  Also, it is so interesting for me to see the kinds of attachments animals of all kinds form with one another.

Gilligan, my cat, brought a Junco into the house through the cat door and proceeded to drop it on the floor next to me as I was making a butternut squash casserole.  I hoped it wasn't dead and it was not.  It picked itself up and flew into a few windows as Gilligan chased it, hot in pursuit.  Luckily I grabbed Gilligan just before he got the bird between his teeth again, put him in the bathroom and firmly shut the door behind me as I went out to the living room to look for the poor, distressed bird.  I shut all the doors in the house but couldn't find the bird.  Where did it go?  I went back to the casserole I was making as Una, my female cat, came in through the cat door.  Then the Junco jumped up from behind the coach and perched itself on the window sill above it.  Una zoned in as I caught her just in time to put her in my second bedroom.  The poor bird was panting and covered in the dust bunnies it picked up when it disappeared behind the couch.  It let me gently take it in my hands and laid there with its eyes half closed as it caught it's breath with one foot firmly gripping my pinky as if to hold on for dear life.  I inspected it for puncture wounds, blood, ect. but it looked okay other then missing a number or feathers from it's tail and back.  I just stood in my living room for a few moments holding this warm, light, soft being in my hand and looked into its bright, shining eye as I sent wishes to it, praying it would be okay and survive this trauma.  I took it outside to a Hemlock tree near where a flock or Juncos were hanging out and gently positioned its feet on a small branch in the tree.  It held on, standing there breathing and resting as I walked away to give it space to fly off when it was ready to be with the flock.