There was a post in one of my Facebook groups the other day, that posed the question "what inspires you?". A question that is posed to artists a lot, and is interesting to ponder. When I first went to college (at Minneapolis Art Institute) it was the rocking and rebellious late 60s and beginning of the 70s. Statement was king. Art was 'purposeful' (but extremely strange) and what you were saying about your work was often more important that how you created it. I found a lack of profundity in my work. I made stuff because I needed to make, not say. While I had political and social views, communicating them through my work was not important to me. I reveled in color and composition. I wanted to draw, not pontificate. So I left the fine art world for the world of advertising and design. There I could use my talent to express the message of others. That was fine with me.
Now I am back in the more finer side of art! Making things - not for purpose - but for .... uhm.... well.... maybe... not really sure what 'for'! Because I can? Because I need too? Because I have the time now. But back to the question "what inspires me?" Little things. I take great joy in the world around me. I am blessed with eyes that see in compositional and artistic ways. I have only, in later life's moments, realized that not everyone sees what/how I see. So that is what inspires me. Looking around documenting what/how I see and hoping it expands the sight of others. (I still leave the politics and social statements to other artists!)
Last night this balloon went over our house. It was very pretty from that vantage point, but I knew that from my urban mountain-top perch on top of the parking ramp, it would be better. So I ran there. and watched and waited until it passed by the setting sun; there was the sight that I wanted you to see. The inspiration was the balloon, but how I see it is the picture. The Grand Canyon is awesome (in the true sense of the word) but equally as awesome can be the sidewalk shadows right under our feet, or the kid marching across the street. Stop and take a look sometime, it will inspire you.
I purchased a beautiful spring bouquet at the Farmers' Market. Soon the inevitable happened, the stems weakened and the petals became frail. As I went to throw them out, I realized they hadn't stopped being beautiful, it was just a new type of beauty. A more subtle beauty, and a more unique beauty individually forged through their experience. Sounds kind of like a number of us, huh!?
This getting older stuff is, as they say, "not for sissies". But it does have its upsides, and once it happens to you you actually can see some of those.
I was sitting around a table with about a dozen other women last week. There was colorful clothing, funky haircuts, and vibrant talk of adventures, creations, personal history, families and hopes. Most (with the exception of a couple of young whipper-snappers) were women "of a certain age". That age where we have ceased to worry so much about thighs and more about thoughts. We have histories; we have survived traumas - emotional and physical; we have traveled -geographically and educationally; we have cried - with joy and sadness; we have loved and been loved; we have lived.
And now we know life is finite, so we embrace it more fully and a little tighter than when we thought it had no end. We have learned that beauty is not just for the perfect and youthful, that there can be even deeper beauty in the imperfect and aged. We express and create out of internal need, not just external applause. We are almost comfortable... much of the time. We are beautiful, even past our prime.
This is our first spring here in Virginia, and all I can say is "wowsers!!! When one is used to the momentary spring that appears between winter and road construction in Wisconsin, Virginia redefines the word spring! The warm hits and the snow is gone - without leaving grey mounds of debris in its wake! The blooms have time to sway and glisten in the breeze and mist of spring rains and sunshine! I could get used to this! Good thing I got a new camera just in time! Click any of these to see them larger and as a slide show.
'The Matriarchs' took a road trip to Cary, North Carolina to be in the 'Reminiscence' show, put on by PAQA-south. I drove down this weekend to check on them and join them at the Artist Opening. The event was held in a beautiful venue. The Page-Walker Arts & History Center is a wonderful old building that now houses rotating art shows. They filled two floors with the entries juried into this show; and it made for a beautifully curated, diverse and high-quality exhibit of a wide range of styles of art quilting.
It was a real surprise to walk in and see my ladies, greeting everyone as they hung, front and center, over the guestbook! I also found out they had appeared in the mailings and advertisements for the show - I thought it looked like their heads were a bit larger than when they left home!
The show was fantastic and only surpassed by the wonderful people I met while there! The organizers from PAQA-south were enthusiastic and welcoming to all the attending artists. Great show - and a fun dinner of camaraderie out afterwards with many of the attendees. Here are a couple more shots of the venue:
But wait! There is more!
The awards were announced during the opening, and 'The Matriarchs' were given a judge's choice award!
A second judge's award given to Susan Lenz for the fabulous quilt made with vintage gloves and fabrics (shown below) and a gallery prize given to Cindy Pryer for her innovative 3d quilt (also shown below). Click on the photos to see them larger!
And a couple non-quilt related shots of the venue!
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !