Thursday, February 24, 2011

Over the phone, some people sound like a labrador in a business suit

The thought of keeping a sketchbook strikes fear into my heart… the same type of fear I experienced as a child when I heard a garbage disposal. (By “child” I mean a 20-something year old college graduate.)

Give me loose paper, call it doodling & put me in a meeting or on the phone & I’m overrun with artsy ideas. Bind it & call it a sketchbook & I’m suddenly devoid of creative thoughts. It’s true… lazy sketchbooks suffering from agoraphobia snap to attention when I peruse the art supply store, practically leaping off the shelves. They want to go home with me.

So in an effort to “get out of my own way” to borrow a writer-friend’s quote, I’m going to trade in my desire to keep a sketchbook for what will possibly result in a drawer or shoebox full of bits of paper… but bits of raucous, adventurous, creative & doodled upon paper.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The art-drunk want ad & the '36 things' list

My art drunk post from last week may as well have said this:

WANT AD: Introverted, currently super-serious professional longing to reclaim formerly creative life seeks intelligent, engaging creative types to share art addiction. All enablers welcome.

I was invited yet again by the smart, talented artsy ladies I mentioned in my art-drunk post to go along with them to see some art- this time at ‘3rd Friday Art Night’ in North Little Rock, only a week after several futile attempts to restrain myself from hugging art at a gallery opening last week. Maybe they invited me again in the hopes that I would actually succumb to my urge. Then they would get to see me hauled out of a gallery staring wistfully over my shoulder at my favorite canvases as I’m shoved out the door. It turns out that some folks find my desire to hold onto large canvases & sob uncontrollably endearing. Who knew?
We met at Ketz Gallery & also went to Greg Thompson Fine Art, before having dinner at the Starving Artist Café, where we talked about all of the things we had seen & projects we are working on now. At one point in the second gallery, I just sat on a bench for a moment to take it all in, not realizing that I was leaning slightly to the left for no apparent reason.
I was also happy to accomplish another thing on my '36 things to do before I'm 37' list. :)
One of my friends walked by, nodding knowingly, “Art-drunk, yet?”

(Honestly, I’m not sure what makes me happier; being around all of these tangible objects spawned entirely by the imagination of creative people, or simply being around people who recognize a good “art-drunk” when they see one.)

“Art-drunk? Why yes. Yes I am.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Friday night we went to an art show featuring work by Liz Noble- it was amazing. Not just the artist & the subject matter, although yes- I did love those, but the feeling it gave me to be there looking at the creative expression of someone who worked so long & hard on these paintings… that is an awfully blissed-out feeling. Art-drunk, I’ll call it. I was art-drunk on Friday. With some really smart, talented & artsy people by the way.

I wanted to physically walk up & hug the paintings but that is not allowed. Completely reasonable rule; otherwise you might find a gallery full of professionally misplaced creative types sobbing uncontrollably with their arms wrapped around a canvas, “Yes, I’ll be careful with my tears & sop them up as I leave.”

Upon leaving this place & these wonderful creative people; stumbling my art-drunk self back home, I started to “come down” from the creative intoxication & became really irritated with myself. I fell into this crazy kind of love with art the first time I walked into a gallery as a teenager. Why would anyone go without something that made them that happy for so long? My self-inflicted frustration is not so much regret as it is fear. I don’t really regret the choices that got me to this point in life because I’m where I should be. Different decisions in the past may have kept me engaged in my creativity but surrounded me with entirely different people. No thank you. Surely at some point the reasoning for this circuitous route will make sense.

My problem is this: if I could just drop something from my life for so many years that made me feel this good, will it happen again? Will I wake up & another decade will have passed & I have gone 10 years without art or an important friendship or (gasp) chocolate? Yes, this is all a bit over-dramatic. Seriously though, how does someone adore something this much & not be around it for so long?

Don’t ask me, because clearly I don’t have the answer to that one. What I do know is this: I need to be creative & be around creative people. Someone hand me a schedule of classes at the Arkansas Arts Center... sign me up. And I'm planning on being intoxicated by the end of each class, because I heart being art-drunk.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Feature Art Friday: Freddie & Rudy

Rudy came along first, loyal & smart; he loved to ride in the car. Although he was very serious & a bit of a worrier, he really enjoyed “hugging” the people he owned by leaning into their legs.

Freddie (Frederica) came along five years later. She is smart, playful & carefree. She loves to snuggle & makes friends with everyone she meets.

Rudy & Freddie never met- Freddie came along to help heal the hearts in this family after Rudy died unexpectedly at age five.

What am I saying? I don’t know that they never met- I just know that they both weren’t "here" at the same time living in the same house.

Who knows? Maybe they spent time together wherever it is that dogs are before they appear to us with milk breath & puppy teeth, causing our hearts to melt.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dear Gemma

Dear Gemma,

Hi, we met Sunday. You may not remember me, which is totally reasonable considering the fact that you were less than a day old.

I’m not really sure how each child ends up born into or adopted by a specific family… I don’t know if your little soul just spontaneously appeared in a line waiting on your number to get called, or if your parents have an agent or representative where little soon-to-be-babies souls wait & there is some sort of NFL draft… your name got called, someone stuck a hat on your wee little head that said "Jeff & Lori" & everyone cheered & patted you on the back.

Or maybe you get to sit around watching all of the people going about their daily lives & you get some say so. Judging by some of the things I have seen in my life- I am sure that on certain occasions the baby has no choice in the matter, but I can’t help thinking you might have had an opportunity to at least voice an opinion on your eventual destination.

Your mom & dad are two of my favorite people. They are kind, funny & smart. I always look forward to seeing them & enjoy every moment I spend with them. They are compassionate. They are fun. They are adventurous. (Your mother was in the Peace Corps… you might want to file that bit of information away somewhere in case you ever want to try something adventurous & she makes a "mom face" at you.) Your mother has the best laugh & your father is the best cook.

I could write much more about how wonderful your parents are, but at this point you are not quite three days old & probably don’t have much of an attention span. That’s okay, I’m positive you will figure it out soon enough on your own.

So little Gemma, on the off chance that babies do get to pick their parents, congratulations sweetheart- you made an amazing choice!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Feature Art Friday: A tiny dog named Tuffy

This pet portrait was commissioned by Patti Stobaugh of PattiCakes Bakery as a gift for her mom.

Tuffy must be named more for his attitude than his size.

He's apparently not much bigger than a greeting card; Tuffy might actually fit in an envelope.

Not that I'm recommending anyone test that theory... especially with a dog named Tuffy.