March 26th, 2007

I look for moments of engagement in art and life. Art makes connections. It is a tool. It is a weapon. It makes the strange familiar and the familiar strange. Both [art and the martial arts] are about occupying and negotiating space, moving through it, with an awareness of how you affect the world around you, moving with intent and ethical responsibility. – Harmony Hammond

As I read this statement by a woman who has steadfastly dedicated her life to art and feminism, the thread of my life's work begins to weave its way into a larger fabric.

Engagement in Art and Life.

Art makes connections. That is what I have been working towards for a lifetime in every medium, with every effort. Connections between the dark and the light, between the distant and the far, the real, the magical and the imaginable. Sometimes with whimsy; sometimes deeply sorrowful, frightened or angry. Always reaching. Sometimes ignorant but not intentionally irresponsible. That Quaker sense of unity and commonality saturates my pores and synapses and truly guides me.

I was speaking with an artist (who's not from our neck of the woods) the other day about the Brandon Artist Guild's "Reigning Cats & Dogs" project. They commented on my commitment to such efforts as if it surprised them. It would be excruciatingly unnatural for me to not pitch in.

The days and weeks and hours and hours that I have spent on community art projects… pigs, birdhouses, rockers, trains, palettes… what a strange way to give away your time… In the photo on the right I am putting fiberglass wings onto my new bird dog… I'll spend days on it getting it JUST RIGHT, and then off it goes to who knows where. Below on the left is Moonlight Equinox express on the Spring Equinox side, the 5 x 6 foot train I made last year for the Rutland Arts project.

One wonders why… where does the energy for that sort of thing come from. Undoubtedly there is a remnant of childhood sibling rivalry; of competition… and a basic sense of familial responsibility. It's all about wanting, needing and giving love.

Molly Cantor, a wonderful clay artist/potter and friend was just visiting with Judith Reilly, a fabric artist with a spiritual intensity that lies just beneath the surface of her whimsical work. Both are ferociously intelligent women. They were discussing the "meaning of a chair."

Why is there a chair?

Support, and comfort.

Why is there a paper clip?

Organization and control.

Why? A question often left unasked in the rush of the day to day.

So I ask, Why is there art?

Communication and mystery.

Communication of the mysteries.

Coming from a family of scientists and PhD's it's hard to be the artist, to follow these threads. So easy to just be snared in this realm of the real world, the world of shadows.

Mountain nest is almost done. It is beginning to have a glow and a sense of dimension and depth that draws the viewer in. A few more details to add in the foreground, to bring it down to earth. It's darned big. 6' x 3'… every change takes a lot of adjustment.

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