All Things New – and Old

It’s definitely spring now and the tulips are beginning to fade in the warming weather of San Diego.  But I find them beautiful still.  Hence the photo that accompanies this site. My grandmother, a mistress of the garden, loved a book I gave her with photos by Irving Penn of flowers in all stages of bloom.  She pointed out to me how beautiful the withering and faded blossoms were and said, “They hold the seeds for the next generation.” As my life changes and the wrinkles (smile lines!) become more visible every day, I think about her words.  She lived to be 103 and was beautiful every day. In the art world, they refer to young or new artists as “emerging.”  I like that word.  I think of butterflies emerging from cocoons, chicks from eggs, babies from wombs, and new lives – no matter how old we are – from whoever we were before. I’m not an emerging artist yet.  Maybe I never will be. I’m still trying to regain whatever footing I once had back in my days at art school and with later workshops.  I’m experimenting and learning all the time.  I’ve been brave enough to put a few things in small local art shows and was happy to get feedback, but I know enough to know that “I like that” is not the kind of critical feedback artists need. A “crit session” is part of the education of an artist.  In a serious crit session, you listen.  And you learn.  “I like it” is not part of the vocabulary in a crit session. I’m in a new life now and it takes time to find your tribe in a new place.  Meanwhile, I do the work and keep in mind the words passed on during a crit session at Maine College of Art – words from sculptor and instructor Gary Ambrose:  “What you want is something rich and complex, not complicated and confusing.” Words to live by.  In art and in life.

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