Pen Pal

He had come to the museum to pick up a bronze for a friend. The exhibit had ended and his friend was unable to retrieve her work anytime soon. He introduced himself with a tip of his hat as Curtis Fort. He was a cowboy and an artist, with his crisply starched jeans tucked neatly into his buckaroo boots. I held the door so he could carry the heavy bronze to his truck. The infamous Amarillo wind caught his straw hat. Turning to me, he said “push down my hat, please.” I also wear my hat too high and have to smash it down on my head just as a bull rider does as he readies for the gate to open. I obliged, being sure to push at the crown. “That’s perfect…you knew where to push on it.” “Yeah, I ride.” I said.

I opened the cap to the bed of his truck and remarked how clever it was organized, with a tall, sturdy shelf toward the cab. He explained that he found the best way to sell bronzes was to carry them with him so he can show the actual work, as a photo on the internet just doesn’t work for a three dimensional piece. He’ll stop in and visit with people, chat about his work and then they go out to the truck and take look. He said you have to experience a bronze, you can’t just look at it. We began to talk about making art and making a living as an artist. We were just enjoying the conversation that artists tend to have when they find one another. Curtis then asked if we could start writing letters, like the old artists used to do. He has several artist friends that send illustrated letters and he collects them all on a wall in his home. He just loves them. He said he would return the favor and write to me as well.

The next day, I wrote an illustrated letter to Curtis. Yesterday, I got my first letter. I studied it a good while, smiled, and stuck it on the wall. I hope it’s the first of many as I intend to write him again today. I think that would create a connection that I feel is missing from my life.

Why did I decide to actually write a blog post today? Well, I read an article (sorry, can’t find the link) the other day about ways to be more creative. First thing in the morning, you should immediately write down those half-lucid, weird thoughts on paper before they dissolve into the reality and organization of the day.

So as I woke this morning, I decided to try it. I recalled my interaction with Curtis and realized that his need to haul bronzes around in his truck for people to experience the actual work in person is a good analogy to friendship and connections. Interactions with people on the internet are nice, but don’t come close to replacing the value in a real life connection with people. And you have to put in the work to do it. I live a very solitary life here in the Panhandle. Perhaps the letters can help rekindle more ideas, such as my interaction with Curtis sparked something in me. And I might need to work a little harder at getting out and interacting with more artists. I actually think I’m going to see if I can get a couple of my artist friends to exchange letters as well……

100 Day Horizon

Today is the start of a conceptual art project in which I will photograph the horizon at a specific location each day. The location will not change.  I will attempt to take the photograph at the same time daily, but “life” may predicate otherwise.  I will do this for 100 consecutive days.  I will then line up the photos as if they are one continuous landscape.

My life in recent time has become a relatively solitary existence. The time here passes like the landscape does; with little perceived change.  But there is something to be gained from this experience as it is beautiful in its simplicity, fairly conducive to a constant meditative state.

It is my hope that the addition of this experience to my routine adds a chance to reflect on life daily and perhaps show me that there are changes in the seemingly unchanging sequence of days and that I should be more aware of such changes.

#100DayHorizon

Starting Again….

I didn’t imagine that this is where I would be at 43 years old.  Not that I had anything in particular in mind….but this….this is definitely not it.

And it’s not so much the place (physical or societal locale), but more the emotional spot I didn’t think I’d be in.  I imagined it more stable, really.  And I’m not implying I’m not emotionally stable.  I am.  It’s the moving and the constant nagging pressure to reinvent myself.

I was fine for quite some time.  I had an identity that I liked: Horse-Trainer’s Wife.  It suite me well.  Long days, but it didn’t feel like work for a very long time.  Until I started to feel like an employee and not a wife.  That’s when it just didn’t go well.  I probably didn’t handle it as well as I could have.  But that’s part of life, learning what you didn’t do quite right and trying again next time.  I left.  And I didn’t expect the loss of identity to happen.  But it did.  And it was awful.  I was never me to begin with; my identity relied on being someone’s something.  I did a little art between the leaving and the moving on.  I was actually kind of getting somewhere with my work in Ohio.  But a “dream job” beckoned in Texas, an opportunity I knew would never present itself again.  So I moved to Texas to chase a dream job, because, why not.  I was trying to find “me” anyway.  I loved that job with my whole heart.  And I was good at it.  I would have worked there until I died.  I actually told my boss as soon as I was debt free, he could cut my salary back.  I just loved the work. But for reasons I will never understand, I was let go.  Again, I had made the same mistake I had before: my identity was too tied up in what I was to something else (this time, a job).

So now we come to one year ago, looking for work, selling all of my crap, and working on a horse farm to make it through.  Six months later, I finally found work in the horse industry (I wasn’t looking there, I would take pretty much anything with a decent check).  But it meant another move.  This time, to Amarillo, Texas.  Now Amarillo isn’t just Texas.  It’s the Panhandle.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  The weather is very Ohio like; there are seasons and winter days where it’s negative 14.  BUT the sun shines.  A LOT.  And it’s nice.  Ohio doesn’t do that.  It’s just grey and miserable.  ALL OF THE TIME.

But I digress.  (This entire post is one giant digression, as I’m not a writer.  I’m a rambler).

Anyway.  New job. New town.  No friends.  That last part kind of sucks.  I’ve been here damn near 6 months and nobody.  Nice people here, but no buddies.  But this is important.  Because it has forced me to actually be OK with me.  Just me.  All by myself.  And OK with it.  My job is “meh”.  It’s fine.  My co-workers are amazing.  The work…..the work is boring.  I was used to working my rear off.  But there’s a perk to this, and it’s important. My job doesn’t define me.  The best of me is actually saved for me.  It doesn’t go into my day job.  The best of me is actually available in the evenings, when I’m most apt to create art.  Which is….amazing.  I finally now get to the point of this rambling post….starting again.  I graduated college with an art degree and wanted to paint.  And here I sit, 21 years later, not as a full time artist (yet??) but as someone who has time and energy to produce work.  And they are selling.

I am currently at a point where I’m trying to diversify my skill set again.  So perhaps I can have even fewer “day job” hours doing something and more time to work.  A huge part of me wants to sell off all non-essentials and just go for it….try to be an artists full time, and see what happens.  I’ve been told to do this, you have to reject societal norms.  I’m not sure I buy into this.  At first, I did.  But I’m not so certain.  And I’m really not sure I care……

That option is still out there.  If life continues in the current pattern of trying to kick me out of society, I might just drop out and give it a whirl. Because, why not?

Stay tuned…….