Don’t call me an artist

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A couple of years ago for my birthday, my kids fixed up the old back room…really an attached barn…to be a studio for me. Once I got over the shock…. They painted and installed an easel, a drafting desk and a selection of stark white canvases… I began to imagine that I might actually create some art. And over the last few years, I have been trying to sneak art play into my otherwise packed life. But aside from my family and a few close friends, I have kept this little dream a secret.
You see, I was/ am a bit embarrassed. Though I have stenciled and painted the canvas of my old house for years… outside murals, stenciled walls, painted doors, decoupaged medicine cabinets…. I have never taken an art class since junior high when Mr. Johnson, who I loved, took us outside to sketch old buildings.  And what kind of delusion says I can become an ARTIST at this late stage in life?
So I looked on line for artists and tutorials, and sneaked off to one class, and perused galleries and museums, and slipped into my studio when no one was looking.

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My progress feels painfully slow and it seems as if everything and anything knocks art making out of the week’s schedule.

But recently I went to a small portion of a wonderful conference at Skidmore College called….Women’s Voices, Women’s Vision.  http://womensvoiceswomensvisions.com/ . Started by Jan Phillips and joined by my creative friends, Ameyo Amyot and Lin Murphy (check out Lin’s blog at http://linmurphy.com/blog/  .  They invited women to bring together art and activism, creativity and spirituality.  Some magnificent women were there sharing there work… painting, writing, organizing, singing.

I joined Lily Yeh,

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of Barefoot Artists whose mosaic extravaganzas I had searched out in Philadelphia and in Rwanda, as she led us in a community building arts activity with such genuine humility and joy. I shook my booty as well as I am able to —- soaring songs of sisterhood and redemption .

I also attended Rampant Sisterhood: Social Media Basics, a workshop by Susie Banks Baum. She brings such a loving clear focus to everything she touches… Whether it is a participatory project of slips or inquiring after someone’s approach to life. She blogs at laundrylinedivine.com.  Check it out. In a class that ran for barely more than an hour, she moved my focus over a smidge and transferred a little of her effervescent enthusiasm into my quivering veins. It gave me the determination to write about these efforts in the realm of art-making. So here we are.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.’

This was said by Neil Gaiman at a graduation speech. I am a sucker for those speeches. Neil is a hero of my grandkids. Talk about creative!!! Take a look at “The Day I Swapped my Dad for two Goldfish” or ‘Coraline’. He is also endlessly prolific and married to Amanda Palmer who plays a mean ukelele.

So you heard it first. I am going to share some of my little art pursuits here.

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Original or not, beautiful or not, ready or not, here I go. My feeble but well intentioned effort to become an artist by the time I am 70 has begun. Heck I am going to be 70 in 5 years anyway…. I might as well aim for art.

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