Thursday, December 27, 2007

Alas for Bhutto

My first full year as a resident of Gainesville is winding down. It has been quite an adjustment. And I am still adjusting.

The lake dwindles, and I find myself morbidly half-hoping that the water will completely disappear just so I can see how Atlanta handles the crisis. My parents-in-law brought their own drinking water when they came for Christmas, just in case. My kids are helping with the water crisis by eliminating bathing, and we have been just busy enough not to notice.

And I finished my first semester as a grad student. It went better than I expected, after I got over the going-back-to-school jitters. Only 4 more semesters to go! And it is so interesting! And I am learning so much! However, my thoughts turn back to calligraphy in this "break." Can I crank out some things in the next week or so? Or will I just keep sewing? (I have been sewing Christmas presents.)

And now I am going to roust my youngest for a bath, even as I mourn for Benazir Bhutto. She was an amazing woman, and I will miss her presence on the world political scene. We need more such good women.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I have been working on this wall hanging some more, to see if I will like it. It looks kinda crooked. (18" x 23")

Thursday, April 12, 2007

the humor of bad art

I like reading medical blogs. I read a post here that got me thinking about humor. This particular line got me:

Midwife's comments (dang, I see she removed them but they deserved to remain) about being able to laugh at tragic circumstances provoked some anonymous comments about insensitivity, which is the other side of the coin to humor (all humor has this Janus quality... it is insensitive to laugh at that poor chicken's difficulty getting to the other side of the street).

Insensitivity the other side of the coin to humor! Something to ponder.

On Cyberscribes someone once posted a link to a website. Of the site he said, "and for a good example of what NOT to do." or something like that. An uproar ensued. Some CSers responded by writing that we should be supportive of everyone's efforts, and should never poke fun at anyone. I responded by thanking the sender for posting the link; I think I said for me it was like suddenly seeing a large group of clowns pass by. The website contained an element of surprise because of the sheer volume of 'artwork' the owner had generated. The only possible response was laughter, and it bubbled up in me like a geyser, providing me with a needed outlet for stress. It was wonderful! I would revisit the site except the effect could never be as marvelous as it was that first time. I prefer to cherish the memory of a good laugh. (I would post the address of the site but that would be cruel in the context of which I write. And I didn't save it.)

Personally I think some people go a little too far in offering verbal support for others' efforts. Support and encouragement are great when someone is pursuing a new hobby, but when that new hobby becomes a for-profit venture then some criticism should be expected. Hopefully the criticism is constructive, but we're not always perfect. Occasional involuntary laughter in the face of work posted on the web should be excused. As was the case with that website with the plethora of bad work--it was all for sale! (oops--did I just call it 'bad' work? wait wait I can say something positive: the colors were very cheerful.)

There's no kind way to contact that artist and tactfully offer advice. Advice is certainly not desired. (Just in case you're wondering, my advice would be: you should take a class with a good teacher and get these particular books for good examples etc.) All you can really say is, "hey, if there are suckers out there willing to shell out good money for that stuff, more power to you." But isn't that dishonest? (no no it's just Capitalism at its finest!) Does the artist of that site really not understand how much farther he has to go before he should qualify himself as an illuminator? Has he never looked at (good) work done by anyone else? I would never call myself the Calligraphy Police! But where are the Calligraphy Police when you need them?

Maybe this issue continues to eat at me because I wonder when I will be 'good enough'--I hope that attitude just shows honest self-appraisal instead of sheepish humility. (I did feel bad about publicly posting my enjoyment of that site, but I wanted to stick up for the vilified CSer who had originally posted the link. And I have to say that appreciation of humor has so much to do with your viewpoint.) So some people laughed, and some did not, and the ones who did not became angry at the ones who did. The lesson here is that the people who laughed did not become angry.

So I can happily announce that I love and support bad artwork! There is even a site devoted to it. Their tag line is: 'Art too bad to be ignored.' In this world anything to provoke laughter is good!

I myself have created much that is bad, and continually hope something good emerges. Each time I sit down to attempt to fulfill a vision I am aware that I will do something horrendous first. Don't we all? Is there anyone who makes only good art? (ok, maybe John Stevens)

Disclaimer: as Shrink Rap says:
(Mind you, I am not talking about "humor" where one laughs at another's misfortune in a way that is intentionally harmful/evil/superior to that person... that is not what I am talking about here.)

Ah, and now I suddenly realize that some people got upset at the poking-fun-at-the-bad-website thing because they thought we were being superior! Oh no...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When googling Gainesville looking for movie theaters, I found a documentary made in 2006 called Lost in Gainesville. My first thought was that someone had made a movie about me, but a closer look reveals it is about the steady stream of illegals coming from Mexico to find work here because of the construction boom. The movie tracks three individuals as they make their arduous way past many hurdles to the paradise that is Gainesville, only to be disappointed that things are not as they expected. And by then it is too late; they are out of resources and must stay and try to work things out. I have to say that in many ways I can relate to these people, although in my case I had no particular desire to move here, and I think I knew what I would find. It is curious that the movie was made by a UK company. I hope they can get it distributed.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spring has Sprung!

Suddenly I have a lot of work! Of course it coincides with the kids' spring break. Always good to have them leaping around like monkeys and throwing balls, little cars, shooting rubber bands at each other, etc. when I'm trying to work!

And the weather is beautiful--it finally rained enough so the ground is ripe for digging and planting seeds. Everything is green, and the 'grass' (weeds) needs to be mowed. And I am in the basement working away industriously. Although I have to take frequent breaks; thus I am able to update my blog.

Above is a bonus picture of the parakeet with his new friend, Grover the turtle, whom John rescued as it was attempting to cross the road.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Today I have been working on yet another fabric thing, using words from Cat Stevens' Moonshadow. I got really excited about it and thought it was working out wonderfully, but the overall picture is drab. This close-up is much better. Will I do it again? Everything is so is easy to forget in what order I did things...the pigment has to dry between applications, or in some cases if I am on a roll it doesn't have a chance to dry and then new interesting things happen.

Springtime in Georgia

It is good to live in Georgia in spring. I remembered this today; in fact, this is the only reason to live in Georgia. And the best thing about spring is wisteria.

This wisteria grows across the street on our neighbor's property. I have never met them; I have only seen them at a distance when they stop by in their pick-up to get stuff. They moved out a year ago or so when a tree fell on their house and they decided not to live there anymore. (Can you see the tarp on the roof?) More recently we've seen the fancier cars of realtors and developers stopping by. It is only a matter of time before the house is bulldozed and a small development of 'quaint european-style cluster homes' or some such thing goes in. That's the way of it in my eclectic neighborhood. (Our realtor also told us her brother caught lice from the girl who lived in this house when they were in high school. Uh, yes, go ahead and bulldoze away!) I hope they don't take out the wisteria-covered tree, though.

The other reason to live in Georgia is to be able to stop on the side of the road and get boiled peanuts. I loooove boiled peanuts, good and soft and salty! I am sorry if you do not live in Georgia and cannot enjoy these things right now. Let's say if you have to live in Ohio, for example. Do they even have wisteria in Ohio?