Part of the process of making art is thinking about what to say. I am taking a close look at what makes me feel well and asking if these things are shared by my fellow humans. And what does being well even mean?
Almost every day someone asks “How are you?” or ” How’s it going?” And even if someone close to me is battling cancer or my knees are very cranky and will require replacement surgery or, after 42 years of marriage, there are times when my husband doesn’t understand me, my answer will be “fine” “good” “well thanks”. And the thing is, I AM fine and good. I’m not fleeing civil war, haven’t lost my home or my eyesight, and don’t live with crippling depression.
I have a lot of freedom. I am not a small child, I am in my old-people golden years between the age of fifty and eighty-five, I still drive and I still decide what I want to do and when. My responsibilities (cooking, child care, studio time, laundry, curating, mentoring, weeding, and pre-op knee exercises) still feel chosen rather than foisted upon me. Adjustments are needed when mother nature gives northern Wyoming afternoon thundershowers for 10 days running, but this is my fine and good life – getting the weeding completed before noon!
We have already established that I am no longer a spunky tree-climbing roller-skating girl. I haven’t jumped or galloped in ages (decades). Therefore I don’t have the freedom to do a cartwheel or leap into the air! (as the piece above shows) But I do have many moments of feeling joy and gratitude because I have a lot of freedom. Many of my fellow humans do not share this kind of freedom, but would probably recognize it when expressed in artwork inspired by this concept. What photo reference will I be looking for to show freedom?
My days are filled with the best kind of work: varied, creative, and achievable. Much of my work is a contribution to others – I make my world more aesthetically pleasing by creating art, gardens, and meals. I curate art shows, participate in music, and babysit grandchildren. There are also minutes in a day spent in leisure, with my feet up reading, watching a ‘textile talk’, staring out the window, or comfortably zoning out in front of the TV. The balance of productive work and downtime is fine and good. “Good Balance” is the title of my Nov. 2022 blog post, where I talk about the balance of order and chaos in parenting, gardening, education, and play. In this blog, I am thinking about a slightly different balance of leisure time and productive work.
I do have reference photos of people engaged in leisure activities, but I have almost none of people engaged in work! Step one in creating artwork that shows satisfying work, will be to start taking more photos. I will also make sketches and list words in my journal to develop ideas about abstract ways of expressing work and leisure.
I will be thinking about the privileges I enjoy with my freedom-autonomy-independence and the flip side of the coin, which in my mind is someone needing my help. Not surprisingly, some of the help that we give others is also satisfying work!
It is time for my end-of-blog recipe. Healthy Smoothie You probably won’t have the broccoli sprouts that I use, but you might have alfalfa sprouts or spinach. You must have a Ninja or similar machine to blend the ingredients. Put one dollop of frozen pineapple juice concentrate, 1-2c. frozen broccoli sprouts, 1/4 t. turmeric, 1/2 t. ground ginger, 6 frozen strawberries, and then fill the Ninja with coconut almond milk until it reads 16 oz. total. Process and enjoy.