First Exhibit

There’s always a first exhibit. Mine was this past Thursday evening and Friday during the day at my daughter’s high school along with local artists. The main attraction ran through the center of the gym with hundreds of works exhibited from the past 9 months of art classes. Students had contributed everything from mixed media to photography to watercolors and pottery.  Local artists displayed their own work along the edges of the main attraction. I can’t decide what I enjoyed more, talking with the artists or looking at the amazing talent singing through the center of the gym. Or hearing for the umpteenth time in reaction to my dots: “patience…wow…such patience…” I confessed at one point that I’m not sure it isn’t just my more intense, slightly suppressed control freak streaks coming out in these lil dots of exuberance, whispering passionate and somewhat heated thanks for being allowed an outlet truly worthwhile. HERE is where control-freakishness is WELCOME. Life has insisted I let go on so many levels, this sense of control dot dot dotting along can be quite satisfying. Patience? Nah. (Yes, I supposedly have epic patience but I think I’m more strategic than patient.) Uber focused flowing exuberance blurring into trance without actually losing track. (Some psych masters might be a bit concerned!)

This was no fancy display for any of us. A high school gym is make-shift at best but I was touched my daughter’s art teacher remembered my dots and asked if I’d be a part of the fun. Me? Cool. Now what? I’ve got NOTHING matted or framed or…no worries, we can improvise…a humble start…

artist sister, Caroline, takes phone photo...

Apparently several classes had been instructed to identify local artists and interview them. Oh my. I don’t think of myself as an artist since I can’t even draw without major assistance (verbal coaching from my multi-talented daughter who is truly patient) and long lines of paint evoke a desire to stick my fingers in and go for the total hand contact-painting smear across a canvas asking for a bit more regard. Or they make me come unglued with frustration for having to let go the lil bitty specs and dots of color that could’ve piled up…I’m one extreme or the other and dots are the order for me, apparently. But, artist? What? Isn’t that what happens after you’ve mastered drawing, watercolors and can work with acrylics and oils and? Hey, I’m dead serious. I don’t yet qualify! Give me time! But, do I? So, there was one question that rankled. Besides the whole “artist” bit, it just didn’t make any sense to me. The question:

“When did you decide to become an artist?”

I balked and laughed. “Does anyone decide such?!” Then I realized I had just been my usual blunt self without thought. Ohhhh…this is serious. But I was struck. It’s that Tao of Art thing, I suppose. Capitalization essential? Are we not all artists of some kind? If we “decide” to be artists, does it make us more legitimate? More truly artistic? How do you answer that kind of question when you’re a dotty control freak uber focused on the layers of meaning in one petal and one question? I wouldn’t want to interview me. So I pulled out the hands covered with paint and said “It was always something calling me. I would try this and that and finally landed on dots. That was 7 years ago.” But I was dotting here and there in the middle of “paintings” over 20 years ago and didn’t realize it at the time. In fact, in a quest for more of my art scattered in my attic bedroom I came across old works and there they were…dots and stipling and. I laughed. Had never seen it before. Dispersion techniques trail through almost all the “stuff” of my past before I “decided” to “become” an “artist.” But I didn’t notice the decision. So, did I decide? Does it matter? Sometimes it does. We have points and bits of moments when we face something growing and we say “I am this and what am I going to do with the expression?” Ah ha. A decision to acknowledge what one is becoming…but…

You either is or you isn’t manifesting the artistry of soul in some form or fashion. And it isn’t always as obvious as “artist.” There’s the artistry of counseling, of teaching, of leading, of gardening, of managing a home and parenting and. I’m not much for labels in spite of their highly useful and sometimes liberating bonds. So, first exhibit come and gone. Next one in September and this time I’ll not balk if someone asks me such a question. I’ll smile and say “Over 40 years ago but especially when I sat down at the age of 9 and lost myself in the finger paint…” In the meantime, there’s such joy in seeing my daughter’s artistry unfold…

mrk, copyright 2011

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2 thoughts on “First Exhibit

  1. Wow. Your work looks great, there. Conversation about art is always so inside outside upside down. Everyone is an artist. It is just that some people don’t know it yet. I am willing to bet that in your case “patience” is synonomous with “being in the zone”, Jruth. 🙂 Congratulations on your first show!

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