I don't normally just post links to other people's blogs but I just thought that these thoughts on "giving" from superhero journal were profound and humbling. Sometimes it is how we receive that really matters.
March 2006 Archives
Ok, I admit that I am extremely skeptical when it comes to the medical industry. I use the term industry because what used to be the art of healing is now just another machine for the economy (wow that sounded cynical) but am I wrong?
Granted I have been wildly blessed on being healthy and healthy people make lousy sick people when they ARE sick because they haven't built up the tolerance for it.
But even after going to the doc, and having her tell me nothing new I went ahead and paid for the meds and for two days endeavored to be a good little patient and take them.
The vertigo got worse, and the meds sort of did this up-down, energy, go go go, then crash-and-burn thing. I felt crappy all weekend and to top that Bryan and I had the grumps (which never happens) which made sunday really icky all around.
So yesterday I decided to forget the meds and just "let the thing work its way out". The result was the contrast of the original vertigo versus the drug enhanced version which was torture. Simply put things into perspective. So I feel better, sort of.
Building up that tolerance I guess.
Back at work anyway.
I finally went to the doctor about the dizzies and she didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. The funny thing is what I have is called labyrinthitis. She gave me meds to help the symptoms but don't do anything for healing(one of them is valium). I hate taking pills that don't really do anything. Anyway, the thing is supposed to go away on its own...eventually. My doctor, who is this young, cute, persian woman, said to me..."yea, it really sucks, doesn't it." Ha. The real question was if I could scuba in two weeks and she just sort of gave me this look. So I hope it goes away before that because I was looking forward to shooting all the pretty fishies! We just got some underwater housings for our cameras and planned on getting some underwater video for the planet. Working vacation. Always.
I am still plagued by vertigo and so I finally got really fed-up with the sea sick sensation and made a doctors appointment for tomorrow. But for today, this pic says how I feel, both in the style of the phone, and how it is labeled.
What a great find. After being oh-so-disciplined spending the entire weekend finishing up my absolute least favorite task as a self-employed business-owner, being TAXES, I got to spend some free time with wonderful hubby on tuesday.
He had a day off from work and it being a weekday made it so great. No traffic, no hassles, no work. we started the day filming Daniel at school working on a new painting. I needed to take some still photos for a promo piece for his senior show, and Bryan shot video for the planet, and for... well just having some video of Daniel doing what he does.
After that we headed off to the little "pickle diner" for breakfast and some undefined time. I say undefined because so much of our time lands under defined categories, or obligation. And we are not always the best at setting aside this necessary kind of time for ourselves. Undefined time is characterized by a string of unplanned activities and can be very refreshing when things go well. It can also be horrible if the expectation is to have a wonderful time and something goes wrong. Today was not that day. After breakfast we had no set plans and so we wandered into a store with a huge sign on the front that advertised "Bookstore going out of business", or some such thing. Big yellow and red sign that implies that anything in the store is probably not worth having, but we wandered in anyway. What the heck, it's undefined time.
If you had been paying attention you may have heard the sucking sound when we walked through the big glass doors. The vacuum effect of both bryan and I being drawn to stacks and stacks of books. We unconsciously wandered apart, zombie-like, toward the various book categories. Signs were placed atop all the tables proclaiming...
ALL Paperbacks $1.00
ALL Hardbacks $2.00
Sheer joy. For a family who spends more on Amazon then on anything else this was a slice of heaven. And the titles weren't all reject leftovers like I expected. I scooped up a number of useful business books right off the bat. Bryan discovered three copies of "Letters to a Young Artist" by Julia Cameron. I found a lone copy of "Cluetrain Manifesto" which I had wanted to replace after someone had borrowed our copy and we couldn't recall who. I was standing in an aisle with a stack of books in my hand, totally engrossed when Bryan brushed by me,
"Ill go get a cart".
This was one of those guilt-free indulgences. Books for a buck. Who could resist that?
We floated around the warehouse-like space looking at title after title. I was delighted to find a whole section of beautiful hardback children's books (dustcovers and all). Even though Daniel long outgrew these, I am a sucker for the amazing illustrations and was delighted to find a book done by David Diaz. I have a series of framed pieces in our dining room that until discovering this book, I had not known were done by him. We found stuff for Daniel, and gifts for relatives. Bryan found various books on music and faith. We also found a book called...
"How to Pay for College".
Ha. I guess buying books for a buck is a good way to start.
We left the store with our newly acquired treasure, a box of books. Later the books were sorted in piles on our coffee table. When Daniel came home he buzzed around the stacks like a bee. He grabbed one of the Julia Cameron books and I had to resist the urge to say, "hey that's not for you!". We had three copies for cryin-out-loud.
Books make great gifts. Especially if you can get the dollar sticker off.
What occupies the mind of a second generation artist? My son's musings have been leaving me in the dust of late. I, after all, was raised in an environment where realism was the art form that was respected and abstract was misunderstood, even scoffed at. Other than my own studies in college which hardly brushed up against the other forms of art, and the odd movie that may give a popular and easily digestible explanation to an art form (Mona Lisa Smiles), I have had little reason to explore these concepts at depth.
Daniel has been exploring this realm with great zeal. Bringing home large canvases that he rolls out before Bryan and I has triggered many engaging discussions on the roll of art in the world (political and spiritual) in the upcoming decades. It is great to see your offspring, literally "springing off" of the foundation that you provided and leaving you standing in his creative wake.
It gives me new inspiration. And has also required me to brush up on the concepts of non realism. It would be impossible for us as parents to keep up with the discussions, otherwise.
Nothing like being left in the dust by your kid.
So, here is an excerpt of a recent post on Daniel's new blog. It is actually more than an excerpt but if you want to read the WHOLE thing you can go here. Otherwise you can read the section that I found most intriguing, below.
Excerpt of Discovering The Splatter Effect
...a friend of mine, who i will admit is a walking encyclopedia, that said "abstract expressionism is already done". Pollock came and went, the New York school happened and now we've seen it.
i see it differently.
if there is still a fire in an artist for a particular meaning, or technique, or image, or style then that form of art isn't done yet. artist's don't take dead art and reproduce it - true artists, at least (oooh, this is getting tricky), always have something new to explore, even if the particular idea was already visited. abstract expressionism, including work like Pollack's, started in the 50's yes, but those were just when the seeds of a postmodern, global, relative world were beginning to sprout. Pollack was before his time, obviously, but that begs the question, what do we paint now. i largely don't have a passion for creating the realistic - aside from it being my artist personality at the moment - because i don't see it as a relevant art form for the postmodern context. that's a big statement, i know, and i'm not trying to say that realism is dead. it's not; philisophically nor practically. but the current world is an abstract one, filled with relative meaning, perception, and cultural disconnects. it is an unequal world that cannot rely on absolute standards set by hierarchy we no longer put trust in. what was Pollock painting? fractals? nihilism? communism? postmodernism? i don't entirely know, but he was painting a feeling that spanned cultures, ideals, philosophies, and time periods. Rothko did this too, just in a different way. the inherent problem with realism is that you are depicting something, and depictions have roots - therein, boundaries - in what they are depicting. but the further you get into the abstract, the further you get from the realistically bounded and more to the fundamental: therein, commonality. Rothko spoke to me of great unity. Pollock spoke to me in a similar way. what i'm trying to do is restate that principle (those principles) in my own way and, on occasion, add archetypal characters as commentary on the direction and challenges of that unity.
why restate something?
because people don't get it yet.
there are still people stuck in an absolutist mindset because they're not willing, or too fearful, or so entrenched in their modern political worldview, to take a look around and see that things are becoming relative. a simple example is racism in America, which we should all know now is alive and well. it's not legislative, but socio-economic, and it's wrong. fixable? i have no idea. but raise awareness first, and then you may begin to see a solution arise from the discussion. another example is absolutism in North American Christianity, which i've visited and revisited so many times, simply because there's this deep part in me that says "it still matters today".
but it won't matter as long as Christian stay in their absolutist, American cultural bubble, trying to stay relative through very short, very bad bumper stickers and over-logicalized, literal sermons.
End of excerpt.
So... making a difference in our world as artists means putting some of our entrenched and comfortable notions aside and embracing growth.
isn't this what Micah meant when writing these words?...
O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
And it makes me revisit my question a few weeks ago in this post. As artists, what legacy do we leave behind for future believers?
Just came back from baltimore. Took a drive with hubby to drop off three big-deal scholarship applications. The last few days have been a blur with the next step in the process. I now hold in the highest esteem any parent who has run this gauntlet. There are so many incremental steps that has brought us here that I keep having flashbacks. There is still so much to do.
One of the big deal scholarship apps that went out this morning was quite the project. A presentation notebook with six divided sections displaying different academic, artistic, and cultural achievement. Writing excerpts, essays, letters of recommendation, scores, etc and all wrapped up in a highly designed presentational piece. (ok it turned out really cool I must admit) Daniel stayed home from school to finish this thing and is now thoroughly brain-dead. This was quite evident when we dropped him off to school before going to baltimore. Upon getting out of the car he was clutching these three scholarship packets for dear life like he was taking them with him. He gets zoned now and then, but this was really funny. Between little sleep and writing(and re-re-writing) essays for three days straight, I don't think he would have been able to tell you his name at that particular moment.
brain dead. totally tapped.
I peeled the packets from his hands, asked him if he was alright, said goodbye and then Bryan and I headed to baltimore. Crazy days are ahead, no doubt.
The big looming transition is probably going to affect this family in unforeseen ways. It is already starting to show and we have just begun. Thursday, after paying a deposit for housing I got off the phone from MICA and started to cry. Totally surprised myself. A few days ago I went into the living room and Daniel was sitting on the couch with a blanket over his head (he later explained that it was shielding out the world). It was very funny seeing my eighteen year old regressing to such a childlike state, but I totally understood. We are all feeling a tug of reality.
The big thing that falls on my plate today is finishing up my tax info to give to my accountant. I stress about this on normal occasion, but there is now a real fire under my butt because scholarships won't be fully processed until all of the tax info is in. Got that little piece of info in a letter yesterday. Nothing like a little pressure.
Finances + Maternal Instinct = Motivation!
Last night shooting more art for scholarship apps. This piece was too big to photograph in it's vertical form so they guys opted to hang it horizontal and shoot sideways.
Friday morning. We get up, get ready, make coffee, and we are out the door on our way to visit the school that might be "the one". Much has happened in a short period of time and a visit to MICA is one more step in the series that leads us forward. It is interesting to have a sense about a place and all it represents for the future of your family before you have ever been there. That gut feeling was so strong that I paid the deposit to hold Daniel's housing before we even set foot on campus. After having visited I can say one thing...
The gut feeling was bang on.
It was kind of weird from the start. I felt like we had somehow stepped past the guards into a secret club in which Daniel belonged. Saying that the place was a good fit for our son would be understating it a bit. Sitting through the introductory presentation we were already sold. Then we got the student lead campus tour. The student leading the tour was a senior graphics design major named Nick who very politely ushered us around the facilities while walking backwards in order to talk while moving. From the historic building holding the admissions dept, our little group followed as he showed us the various departments and what went on in each. We walked through several student exhibits in different stages of installation. We got to spy on a couple of classes in progress. While walking past the sculptural department we witnessed a class of about ten all busy doing a variety of things with one student siting in the middle of the group on a stool with what I can only describe as a giant metal grid on his head. I laughed out loud as we walked by. That was just one example of the unconventional nature of the place.
As the tour continued I had questions answered without the exchange of words. The kind of things a mother needs to see. Subtle things emerged, like the friendly way the students greeted each other, and the inspiring environments. True dedication to the art form and respect for what it takes to really be an artist. This place isn't messing around. Even the housing was designed for the artistically inclined. Apartments with bedrooms that were expected to be used in the making of art, and separate studio spaces for doing larger works. And more.
Having a faculty that are active and successful in their fields was a pretty good selling point too. We aren't talking ivory tower stuff, but more like intelligent, change the world with art, stuff.
As our tour continued our guide described how he chose MICA for himself after "looking" at a host of other well known art schools. Pratt, Parsons, Art Center, he listed about ten schools and said that MICA was his final choice. After the tour I cornered him in the cafe and appologetically asked him if I could ask him a few questions sans group. I did not want to put him on the spot in front of the group with the question that I had.
"Of all the schools you 'looked into', how many were you accepted to?" I thought this was an important question because if MICA had been the only school that accepted him then what was the big deal? It is one thing to say you are "looking into" a school, it is quite another to apply. And if you list all the top art schools in the country it seems kinda suspect.
Nick had been accepted to all of them. He had also been offered scholarships to all of them.
After our tour we met with an admissions counselor. First off she congratulated Daniel and then Daniel plunged into asking some really great questions.
It was a surreal moment watching him pelt her with questions about what MICA could offer him and how the program would fit with his particular personality and goals. Would MICA meet his intellectual needs as well as artistic. Were the academics as rigorous as the arts? How would MICA help him as a writer? Etc.
We left with a solid sense of MICA being a really good fit. I was blown away with how intimately the faculty strive to guide each student. Even to the point of selectively pairing students with mentoring profs, and other students based on personality. The success of each student really seemed to matter. And with only 1500 undergrads they must be pretty selective. It is weird to think that MICA is smaller than Daniel's high school.
Now there is the next step in the series... the scholarships.
arrival in the main building and waiting for the tour to start. Daniel was either taking pictures or writing in his notebook.
on the tour
Trying to focus on work for the planet today despite all the goings on in our somewhat busy house these days. I am working on a new collection called "lost frescos of christ". Shot mostly in the small monasteries of tuscany, some of these amazing images are crumbling into oblivion like the walls that they were painted on due to lack of care.
These I shot in Rome.
They tug on my heart. I think it is because viewing them and standing where the artist may have stood, gives me a sense that I am connected to history and the legacy of artists. It is humbling. And encouraging. What legacy do we leave behind for future believers? Something to ponder don't you think?
Gut feeling. Some people call it discernment. Instinct, intuition, sixth sense, even the Holy Spirit. Whatever. It is a sensation of knowing that you just can't put your finger on. It happens somewhere between your head and your heart. It may last for a fleeting split second, but the revelation it leaves is unmistakable and I have learned, worth heeding. Sometimes the message is, "this is it", or "bad idea". Sometimes I have gotten it in regards to the nature of a person as one to trust or not. Sometimes the sensation is so strong that it can't be ignored and forces action. After years of experiencing it and both heeding it and ignoring it (with the consequences) I have learned to listen too it. The other thing about the gut feeling is that it has never been wrong.
I have had it strike throughout my life on a number of occasions. These are just a few...
When the tornado hit our farmhouse in Indiana. (something was really wrong but I wasn't old enough to understand what)
When my father left. (I knew he wasn't coming back, I think I was five years old)
When I walked forward at an altar call in a baptist church. (I knew my life was about to change-fifteen)
When I met my husband. (yep, gonna marry him)
Jumping on a soccer field with my future husband. (the knowledge that we would parter in ministry)
Moving from L. A. to Alberta Canada (the right thing to do with our newborn son)
The idea to start a little thing called avisualplanet.com
O.K. you probably get the idea without me listing every event in my life in which I have experienced this. I simply know that I have this sensation that I call a gut feeling. And now this feeling has appeared again in regards to which college Daniel should go to. (The voice of my gut actually uses the words "will go" not should, but we just wont say that out loud).
I can't explain it. It is not pragmatic, rational or sane in the worldly sense (usually the nature of the gut feeling). But I know I can't wait to see how this all unfolds.
Anyway, we visit the school on friday.
Today the "thick envelope" arrived from MICA. Daniel ripped open the huge envelope to an artsy presentation folder that said...
Needless to say this house in in a state somewhere between giddy, and utterly confused. It is an incredible honor to get accepted to this school. It is also incredibly expensive (hence the confusion). So... lots of scholarship apps are soon to follow. But today we put that aside and celebrate this great accomplishment.
Daniel, WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!! Words can't express it.
The saga continues...
Isn't it interesting how we covet other peoples gifts. Somehow the things that take extra effort seem more valuable. At least this is what I think. There are some things I know I do well and so sometimes I take these things for granted. Then there are those things that I would like to be good at but it takes me more effort.
Writing is one of those things.
There are so many amazing writers out there that I am almost embarrassed to do this but it is my blog after all, and someday when I can hardly remember my own name I can look back at this and say, "oh yea, that happened then". Hey, some people scrapbook.
So I celebrate a silly but satisfying accomplishment of having something that I wrote published. In print. Paper and ink, and all. Ok, I admit it is a tiny little magazine that has a very limited readership, but still...
It is mine.
The actual article (which began as a blog and is the utmost in "preachy writings") continues here...
I have had some sort of vertigo for the last week, and I don't mean the U2 song. Some inner ear thang has made me feel like I am in the first stages of sea sickness. The place just after you know something isn't right, but right before you know you need to hurl. And I am working on taxes.
This must be what dante experienced before writing inferno.
It made painting kind of interesting last week, but the spinny head feeling is getting kinda old. I would go to the doc, but after reading copious amounts of questionable medical info on the internet I am confident that there is not much a doc could do and that my inner ear just needs to recalibrate it's fluids.
If it doesn't go away it might make doing the labyrinth at National Cathedral next week a bit of a challenge.