When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

"Color! What a deep and mysterious language..." (Paul Gauguin)

Archive for February, 2011

Art and Adaptation

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Adapt “1a: to make suitable or fit (as for a particular use, purpose, or situation) 2: to adjust oneself to particular conditions or ways: bring oneself or especially one’s acts, behaviour, or mental state into harmony with changed conditions or environment.”
Art “1b(1): skill in the adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses of human life … 2d: systematic application of knowledge or skill in effecting a desired result … and to production according to aesthetic principles…” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary).

Living room details. Painting: Sugar Maple Leaves, 1996Art is all about adaptation – of materials to circumstances, to changes in initial plans and set expectations, and staying open to the serendipity of the inevitable unknown in order to recognize opportunities when they unfold as mistakes. A painting goes through alternating stages of chaos and resolve, of full-on confident energy intermittent with periods of reservation and study. One never knows when the process will be finished, and sometimes great efforts result in nothing great to show.

Adapting to life changes is very much like painting. The materials are different, but seeing it that way, moving personal and professional life to another part of the world does not seem so disruptive. That “life imitates art and art imitates life” never quite made sense to me until now. It’s about seeing the picture as a whole while manipulating sections of it, without getting so involved in the details that, ironically, the focus is lost.

All the travel last year was rejuvenating. By the time Fall arrived I was good and ready to apply those experiences to some dedicated painting when, during September my husband accepted a job in Oregon. As folks who know us know, he moved there in October while I stayed behind. With all this attention to house-duty, I’ve been feeling anxious about not being able to maintain all my career commitments during this transition. After not posting any new art on this blog for about six weeks, it’s important to my reputation as a professional that clients and associates (past, present and future) know that I have not stopped working; only have briefly been working on something else.

http://www.nikkiartwork.com/photography/song-and-dance/I’m looking forward to the drive from Texas to Oregon; one phase completed and another beginning. Regardless of location, ideas and inspirations are infinite, always available and uninterrupted in the grand scheme of things. Best of all, these things are portable! You can take the girl away from the art, but you can’t take the art away from the girl!

Saying that change is good sounds cliche, but here’s how I think it works: change pushes us into discomfort, which in turn pushes us to seek innovative ways out in order to regain comfort. In that sense, discomfort is motivating and progressive. Now that I think of it, too much comfort can be uncomfortable! When one set of dilemmas is resolved we instinctually go searching for more. Life and Art are a soul’s song and dance.

Above: Basil roots and stems garden sculpture entitled “Song and Dance”

Five seconds of beauty

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Dallas, TX early Feb., ice dripping on Dogwood branches forms alien-like figures

There are days when a falling leaf is just a falling leaf, but today one caught my eye as it floated down then caught an updraft, then flipping sideways and rolling over a few times, it seemed to be avoiding its final destination as long as it could. It was five seconds of beauty I will never forget!

I’m sure my friend and mentor, Jo Williams will not mind me passing along her note of a quote by Judith Hanson Lasater: “As many times a day as you can, find something to be grateful for because that will connect you with yourself, with others, and with the wider world. And we need to do this MOST when things are their most difficult in our lives. ”

Dogwood buds and branches - ice formed by melting roof snowMaybe the leaves have fallen like that all season, but I was too busy grumbling about raking half of them from our neighbour’s yard. I’ve been too busy detailing the house inside and out, trying to get it listed as soon as possible. There have been issues this winter of solid ice in the eves-troughs, and having to chip away and melt trails with boiling water so the roof run-off would flow properly. I was too annoyed to notice the incredible phenomena on the other side of the house that were created by the very same problem.
Left and above: alien-like forms were created when slow-melting ice dripped from the eaves-troughs onto shaded Dogwood branches.

Icy Pansy, Lewisville, TXBefore the snow and frigid temperatures last week, the pansies were finally filling in and gorgeous alongside the back yard fence. When winter came with a vengeance and would not let go, so did my view that, “Aww, the pansies are frozen!”, but yesterday,it changed to: “Awe! The pansies are frozen!”

Thanks for sharing, Jo!