My Awkward Little Canvas

  • 2 Comments

At the end of last month, I attended an artist’s salon hosted by my mentor and photography teacher Marty Springer. At these monthly events, a group of photography students and artists come together to review each other’s work and provide feedback and critique.

The ticket for entry is that you bring a printed photograph for review.

I’ve been feeling pretty unartistic lately, so I went to the salon, but I was unable to bring a print (long story involving the horrific lack of possibilities for serious photographers to have their work printed) and endured the mild chiding from my mentor.

We went forward and had a really good session. The people in this group are fantastically talented.

As we wrapped up Marty issued us a challenge. In addition to teaching, mentoring and being a well-paid professional photographer, she also curates a small gallery at a local public library. This is the venue where we have our annual photography show, and the rest of the year the gallery hosts all manner of art pieces including photos, paintings, mixed media, quilts and more.

Marty told us how she had booked an artist for a show to span the month of February, but he had shown up with all of his pieces so poorly and cheaply framed that they fell off the wall moments after she had hung them. The artist didn’t have the desire to fix his errors, so Marty was left without a show.

This was Sunday night and the show was due to open Thursday.

She told us she wanted to go ahead with an exhibit and we were all invited to contribute. Something was going up on February 1. She spoke to us about February and celebrating Valentines, but more than that, Marty wanted to put a show on the walls that was about love and about healing.

In the wake after the very tense election and then the horrible tragedies in Sandy Hook, Colorado and Oregon, she wanted to have a show that wasn’t all lacy Valentines and light, but something that showed love and strength and healing.

She asked us if we were up to the task. Turns out we were.

I had an immediate idea for a mixed media piece that had been simmering in my mind for a while and seemed perfect for this show. I asked if mixed media was ok since most of the pieces would be photography. She told me not only was mixed media welcomed, but encouraged.

That night I came home, pulled out a blank canvas and gesso’d it (to dry overnight) wondering just how in the HELL I was going to get this done in time. At that point I was two weeks into a new job and still adjusting to a pretty long commute. My hours of free time for working on art were pretty severely limited, but I wanted to try.

This meant I had to edit myself A LOT. I guess watching all the seasons of “Project Runway” had put that thought in my head. “Edit yourself,” I kept saying as I wanted to add more, embellish more, get more complicated and advanced in the few hours I had to complete this piece.

If I was going to make it in time, this needed to be simple, quiet and powerful.

On Wednesday night, only two days after I started the piece, I turned in a mixed media canvas with glue and varnish still a bit damp. My mentor gasped and danced a little when she saw it.




It’s a bit hard to see, but the canvas is actually ripped through, then closed up with thread and staples.


I was so very unsure about turning in this piece because it felt a little…intimate…to be sharing with the world. There is a lot of me in that canvas. Also, other than a county fair a couple years back, I hadn’t exhibited any of my art pieces and showing my creations to anyone other than The Good Man makes me a bit shy.

As I handed it over, I could only see all of the many errors I needed to fix. If only there was time. My nerve began to waver, but I relinquished my canvas to my mentor with the belief she’d find the right place for it in her exhibit.

This past weekend The Good Man and I finally got a chance to get over to the gallery to see my little humble canvas. I almost cried. She found a great spot for my piece and it flows into the show really well. It both stands out and blends in.

It is so very gratifying to see my little mended heart hanging proudly on a gallery wall.




Side note: No wonder the cartoon I posted for Valentine’s Day got to me so deeply! This idea of a broken and repaired heart has been on my creative brain for a while now.

Much gratitude to The Good Man, the great State of New Mexico, The Crafty Chica for the inspiration and know-how.

Photo and canvas are both Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Some Thoughts On February

  • 6 Comments

Here we are already in the second month of this crazy New Year. I’m not sure I’m even over my New Year’s Eve hangover and here it already is February.

So to honor the shortest month of the year, I’m going to borrow from a couple of my own previous February posts.

First of all, my cross-cultural thoughts on Groundhog Day. Seems not all the world has an annual rodent pulling day:

—————-

From the post titled “You Do What, Now?” originally posted February 7, 2011.


My boss has a sense of humor about to the level of mine, so lately we have this ongoing riff.

It goes something like this:

Boss: “So, what is this, um, let’s see what do they call it…yes, this day of groundhog you people celebrate in the US?”

Me: “What, they don’t have this holiday in the UK?”

Boss: “I don’t think so, what is this all about?”

Me: “So, wait, you’re telling me that in the UK they don’t pull rodents out of the ground in order to determine the extent of winter?”

Boss: “Not as such, no.”

—————-

Really, how do you explain Groundhog Day to someone who doesn’t understand?

Hell, I don’t even understand, but my personal confusion not withstanding…

When the poor burrowing rat, Punxsutawney Phil, had bright lights shined directly in his sleepy eyes yesterday, he did not see his shadow.

I guess that means we are game on for an early Spring.

I’m totally ready.

I love this time of year. Spring makes me so utterly happy. It’s all full of fun and color and happy expectations.

Here’s some thoughts on February:

—————-

From the post titled “An Ode To The Shortest Month” originally published January 18, 2011.


The second month of the year. The shortest month of the year.

February is a beautiful month.

In February, winter is not quite over, but spring is not quite here. In February we start to see the brilliant yellow of blooming daffodils against the monochrome hue of stormy skies. Daffodils are the harbinger of warm sunny days to come. They give the cold body hope.

I believe the daffodils and tulips and the snowfall of Cherry Blossoms in February are meant to keep us going like the carrot at the end of the stick. The “something wonderful just around the bend” that helps the human soul stay willing to endure the cold and damp days that are yet to be endured.

In February, Punxsutawney Phil, pokes his burrowing animal’s head out of the ground and lets us know the score. The planning can begin.

The ground begins to thaw. Birds start to think about coming back this way. There is hope.

Heck, February is also the birth month of at least three of my favorite people (wait, four! Just thought of another).

I’m looking toward the second month of the year with a not-so-secret anticipation.

So I will get all poetic and speak of daffodils and warm days.

—————-


Speaking of daffodils, I optimistically purchased three bunches today. Their buds are closed up tight and I am not sure they will find a way to break free. Only time will tell.

For today they tell me, “not yet…but soon”.

Sort of the same message that February has for me.

I feel, dare I say it, optimistic.



Hope springs a daffodil.




Photo Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Meanwhile….

  • No Comments

After spending a mind boggling sixteen days in another country working her arse off and also having a little fun, our Superhero returns to home base, Casa de Enchilada, for rest, relaxation and to plan her next move.

Lacking a blog post for the last week, it’s time to take action. However, jet lag, life lag and a lack of ideas has caused our superhero to be stumped.

“To the Random Word Generator!” she cried out. And thus it was so.

——-

In one of those cosmic kinda “whoooah, I’m not drunk enough to understand the meaning of this” moments, I sauntered over to my favorite Random Word Generator this morning while looking for inspiration.

A kick start and kick in the butt for the Muse.

Upon click, this is what the generator replied:

“Your random word is: Changeover”

Well shut my mouth. That about sums it up, doesn’t it?

The changeover. From GMT to PST. From rainy ol’ England to sunny ol’ Northern California.

From maudlin faces over England’s poor showing in Euro2012 and Andy Murray‘s loss at Wimbledon to holy hell YES the Giants put on a clinic at the 2012 All Star Game and then swept the Astros.

From the barking mad Mayor Boris Johnson to the stoic and reserved Mayor Ed Lee.

From London Bridge to Golden Gate Bridge.

From cold sandwiches alone in a hotel room to vibrant dinners with The Good Man with The Feline trying to sit on my lap.

From a little lost American in London to a New Mexican in California.

Ah yes. The changeover is really a changeback. Back to where I belong.

Reunited and it feels so good.







Photo from SFGate.



Important Distinctions

  • 3 Comments

My British education continues. This time, the lesson arrived over what my coworkers call “a curry and a pint.”

At a local Indian restaurant, I tucked into some buttery Tikka Masala and we discussed the day’s events.

I’ve been watching a lot of morning television, particularly the news shows, and so I had a lot of questions.

One question burned uppermost in my mind.

Thus:

“Is the Mayor of London insane? Because I’ve been seeing various video clips on the news and he seems…well…batshit crazy.”

Boris Johnson, you mean? What leads you to that conclusion?” asked a wise coworker.

I told them of the video I’d seen that morning of Mr. Johnson, filmed just after London won the Olympic games. In the video, the honorable yet wild haired Mr. Johnson goes on at some length about how people in England used to play lawn tennis on their dining room table and it was called wiff waff. He kept saying “wiff waff” and rambling along that England originated table tennis and is the center of the sporting world and so on.

The man standing behind him is doing all he can to not laugh hysterically as an elected official natters on. (You can watch the video here, or Google Boris Johnson and wiff waff)

This video was played to set the stage for the next video, a clip that had been filmed earlier that day. In this video, they showed a large set of Olympic rings being hoisted and put in place under the London Bridge. When interviewed, Mr. Johnson went off on a repetitive rant that this adornment of the well known landmark was a wakeup call to London and an invitation to the world. His hair was surprisingly calm this day considering the wind.

So that, I told my curry crew, was the basis for my question.

Here was the reply and my lesson:

“Oh, make no mistake, he’s barking mad. However, his father was a member of Parliament and he is from a very posh family. He attended some of the best schools in the country. He was an MP of a small town for a while and then made his way to Mayor of London. The people love him.”

She went on to say, “You see, the difference between bonkers and eccentric is money. Boris Johnson is merely eccentric.”

Oh I see.

I took a sip of my beer.

Then another.

I nodded thoughtfully.

“Fair enough,” was the extent of my reply.






Image found here