Art, Words, and the Body Electric

October 21st, 2007

I SING the Body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the Soul. — Walt Whitman

Under different circumstances, I believe my mother might have become an interior designer to Liberace or the Shah of Iran. Her colorful palette extended to nearly every room in our house on Valmar Place. Our kitchen was a brighter-than-found-in-nature, high-gloss orange, accented with dark walnut cupboards and avocado appliances. Our bathroom had silver foil wallpaper with bright pink flowers, pink shag carpeting, and a ceiling covered in silver-veined mirror tiles. The bedroom I shared with my sister had an avocado shag floor; pink, green, orange and white striped wallpaper; and brightly colored geometric sheets covered by a flowered bedspread.

Whether sparked by this 1970’s-era hodgepodge of color or some inherent defect in my vision, I grew up color-stunted and decorating impaired. Wall and furniture colors never look right to me in my own house unless they are in the stunningly diverse beige family: eggshell, sand, off-white, or some other variation of barely-there color.

Yet, when I can, I love watching HGTV. I love watching Candice Olsen, Vern Yip, or some other talented designer turn chaos into sanctuary, or boring into beautiful. I love the sneak peak into other people’s colorful worlds offered by magazines like Southern Living, and often find myself inspired to try something new by photographs, the decorating efforts of friends, or even furniture showrooms.

I can’t count the number of couches or pails of paint I’ve tried on and then discarded. The foray into primary colors left my living room looking like a kindergarten. The striped teal couch with a teal accent wall left me feeling cheap. The black-and-white design was not only too stark, but a double nightmare to keep clean. Burgundy left me feeling anxious, and a muted flowered couch looked like an sad and unwanted guest.

My most recent purchase of an olive-colored couch and chair looks gloomy to me, and even more so when dressed up with red pillows – like a bag lady wearing a bright corsage.

There’s an artistic gene in my family that bypassed me. My grandfather Eugene took up Art by Adam, 2nd Grader at Brookfield Elementarypainting after he retired and by the time he died, he was creating some very detailed and beautiful pictures of birds and scenery.  My daughter has a natural drawing ability, and a passion for photography. My son, as a teen, freehanded comic book figures. I cannot draw a proportionate A-frame house, and anything crafty eludes me. As a child, I once sent my very sweet Ukranian granny into a fit of frustration after she tried to teach me to crochet. I’m not, I learned, capable of counting and moving my fingers at the same time.

Still, I’m always driven to broaden my horizons and try new things, especially when they promise to be an outlet of sorts – a way to expend excess creative energy and relax. Writing sometimes does that, but more often, especially when I’m focused on a novel or an all-consuming story, I’m left with residual energy and emotions that can’t be expressed in 12-point Arial font. It’s the type of energy that wants to break chains, throw caution into space, and wordlessly tilt the axis towards relief and understanding. It’s a raw and naked energy that cannot be tempered by words, no matter how honest or deeply felt.

So, inspired by my recent online introduction to the Art Army, and intrigued by the idea that a journal can also be a piece of art – and in no small way desiring some outlet that won’t necessitate the buying of new furniture – I am once again dipping my clumsy hands into the world of artistic expression. $89 at Michael’s buys an entire bag of glue sticks, paints, brushes, charcoal pencils and colored oil crayons, which is about 90% less than I spent on the woebegone-looking chair that has taken up squatter’s residence in a corner of my living room.

Admittedly, my first effort was a copycat.   Linda Woods, who co-authored Journal Revolution with her sister Karen Dinino, (the entire family is freakishly gifted with writers and artists) sells her own work through Etsy.   I particularly enjoyed this piece by Linda, likely because I’m a coffee afficiando and the next cup is pretty much always on my mind. Linda’s rendition of coffee looked inviting – it had a artistic, sit awhile, let me pour you a cup feel to it. My attempt, though, turned out looking anything but tempting.  It looked, in fact, like a painted turd.

Linda shares her belief that art is “easy”, and that the color-block I have can be overcome. She encourages me to keep trying, and to read her book which should be on my door step Wednesday. I am reminded, though, of years ago, when I took singing lessons.

Inspired by an infomercial selling taped lessons, and promising that anybody could sing –proclaiming that the voice was like any instrument and one only needed to learn to play it – I contacted one of Reno’s most recommended vocal coaches and was pleasantly surprised when she agreed with the instrument analogy.

Lessons one and two were all about scales and exercises, which I proudly, loudly, and non-stopped practiced whenever their wasn’t a crowd around. During lesson three, I was to sing my first song as Tawny accompanied me on the piano. A few notes in, Tawny stopped playing and took my hand. Looking me in the eyes with care and warmth, I thought perhaps she was going to congratulate me for my dedication – and tell me that those hours in the shower and car had really paid off.  Instead, Tawny looked me in the eyes, all empathy and compassion and said, “Jane, some people are musicians and other people are fans. . .you are going to make a great fan.” I was crushed.

Likewise, a year of guitar lessons never resulted in more than my being able to competently play the first few chords of Down in the Valley. Tawny was right, though, I am a great fan of all sorts of musical talent, from old school rock ‘n roll to Lloyd & Weber musicals to Mike Oldfield’s soul-stirring Celtic instrumentals.

Whether my experience with visual arts will parallel my experience with music, or whether I’ll eventually find my color voice remains to be seen. I’ve put the endeavor on hold until I can absorb the information in Journal Revolution. Until then, I’ve put creme-colored throws over the tormented olive furniture and hidden the wilted red pillows in the closet.

*Header art by Shawn McNulty.  Children’s art available at Artsonia.

52 Responses to “Art, Words, and the Body Electric”

  • Oh, Jane, how I can relate! I do keep my hand in artsy-craftsy things, and can knit a little, but I never feel I have progressed beyond the “beginner” phase. Color boggles my eyes. I actually bought a color wheel and someday (ha) hope to learn something from it.

    I like the painting in your article (your grandfather Eugene’s?) very much. I didn’t see “this piece by Linda” (of the coffee cup) in your article, so I’ll look for it on her site.

    Reading Rosie’s blog every day since her departure from The View has whetted my appetite for dabbling in painting again. In fact, I saw a $1 set of children’s watercolors at the store just yesterday and, on an impulse, bought it. I Googled around for some free online watercolor classes ( looked promising) and for the first time in decades, have thought I’d try to paint again. I just dipped my cheesy paintbrush in water and dabbled away on a sheet of paper yesterday; it was fun, relaxing, challenging, and made me want to spread my wings (fingers?) a little more in this area.

    There was a site I found about a year ago (cannot recall the name!) that was so fun. It featured an artist who painted I think a painting a day. It was his or her attempt to overcome painter’s block and he/she made no apologies for this fast-food version of painting. He or she just wanted to do it! The paintings were displayed on the website. It was so fun to watch the progress. I hope I am remembering this accurately. Does anyone remember this site?

    Good luck to you in your endeavors. I hope it is fun for you. I suspect you read Rosie’s blog and have seen her art, as well as her latest movie about painting with her kids. From reading her readers comments, it looks like she has really inspired a lot of people to find their inner artist.

    Hi Prudy, the art in the post is by a second grader named Adam, who possesses far more natural talent than I do. Linda’s work, if you click where it says “this piece” is shown on the Etsy site. (My links should show up better, but unfortunately don’t). I actually discovered Rosie’s blog, in a backdoor way, through writer Tod Goldberg. I’m a fan of Tod’s work, and clicked on his link to his sister’s site, where I discovered Visual Chronicles and the Art Army. From there, I found Journal Revolution and Rosie’s blog. I didn’t even know Rosie had a blog, or painted, before I discovered Linda and Karen’s site. Rosie’s blog, along with the news, inspired me to write about music and controversy, and another internet friend interested me in Celebrity Detox. Inter-connections are everywhere, and the internet is often just like one big connect the dots page. Always something new to learn and explore. - JD

  • “like a bag lady wearing a bright corsage”….. so funny, Jane! This is so much I how I felt in my hand me down years, first while in college, then again after my divorce. I thought it was passing as shabby chic, but it was just shabby, no matter how I tried to dress it up with pretty pillows and throws.

    I learned that, in the long run, cheaper to buy things that I actually loved, even if I had to scrimp and save for them, than to keep trying to cover ugly things with things meant to hide ugliness.

    Will check out Journal Revolution because I love to read and although it’s been awhile, I do enjoy creating something artistic.

  • Jane, I remember the puke green shag in my own childhood house. Did you have the rake that went with? We did. It was my job, after school, to vacuum and rake the carpets, including the one in the bathroom! Yes, we had shag there too.

    My mom wasn’t as pink and orange as yours, but we had all this macrame over the house. Huge macrame plant hangers with big hanging balls and fringe at the bottom, and macrame owls. As a teen, I received my first set of “grown up” furniture. It was this plastic looking, Asian black lacquered furniture, and the headboard had mirror tiles. I loved it! LOL.

    Thanks, well kind of, for bringing back those memories! I wonder if the next generation will laugh at our stainless steel appliances, speckled granite, and sage green everything?

  • If you want to succeed at art, whatever that means to you, I know you will put all of yourself into the effort and create something you’ll eventually want to share.

    LBJ, I used to rake my carpet and then hated to step on it. What the point of that ever was makes no sense to me now.

    Barbara & LBJ, yes, I think we all had the carpet rake and I do remember macrame art. There were things from that era I loved though, like wing windows in cars, lace up jeans, and (old style) Laurel Birch earrings. - JD

  • Oh the early 70’s colors! Those are back just like the clothes.
    My kitchen is bright sunshine yellow, dark terra cotta, with bright blue cupboards!
    I have mexican talavera pottery and tiles. I am a color person.
    I also enjoy earthy wilderness colors and will use those choices when we move to Alaska.
    I love warm rich woods, and a mixture of neutral and bright colors together.
    I don’t paint but I was born to sing and do so every day.
    Music is like breathing to me and I surround myself in every type you can think of.
    That is my creative outlet. I also really get into Christmas decorating!
    I have been building Christmas villages for years. Very Unique, detailed villages.
    I have 45 buildings. I have trains, and tunnels, one year I had a working ski lift my husband made with a bbq rotisserie motor! I even have a waterfront harbor. It’s crazy, but I am good at it and it makes me very happy. Whatever makes you feel comfortable in your own space. If you want to snuggle up on your white couch with beige pillows, then that is your color. I recently went into someones house for the first time, it was a beautiful log home, huge. She had the entire house decorated in cocoa brown. Every thing, every room. Wouldn’t have been my choice, but she clearly loved it. I guess it was her color!

  • Oh my, Allison, terra cotta. . .

    I love that color, which I envisioned in an Italian-inspired bedroom. I fretted over just the right shade and even got a professional opinion before I painted. Well, the color was beautiful. . .on the paint chip. . .but it made my bedroom look like a dark cave.

    I bet you, though, that I’d love your house. I like rich woods, too — no blonde wood or oak for me — and I like bright colors although I’m not very good at putting them to work in my home.

    I don’t think your villages sound crazy at all. You sound very creative!

  • Well, I kind of have a problem not so much with color but with decorating, period. Like you, I watch the shows and see the pictures, and feel inspired. But I’m afraid to try something major. I’ve had the same living room furniture for over ten years, although I do change up the pillows and curtains. But it looks outdated as does most everything in my house except my six year old daughter’s room, which is the prettiest and of course newest room in the house.

    I know I’m in a rut, and I know I just need to make the leap, but I’m just stuck right now.

    One thing I do really love though are my pictures and paintings. I didn’t create any of them, except for some pics of my daughter, but they definitely give me the feeling of home, and each of them is special to me in some way.

    Good luck on the art Jane, and with your novel. I have enjoyed reading your blog and will continue to check in for new articles.

  • I loved this piece!! Interior design is a passion of mine. I had actually considered it as a career path but decided not to because I have a hard time visualizing an end product. I love color but usually use it on accent walls or on items that are not too expensive to change like throw pillows, rugs, art, etc. because I am notoious for changing decor often.

    My mother (now deceased) and I went to Europe 20 years ago. I fell in love with the Tuscan countryside and it has been the inspiration for the color and decor of my home.

    I love to listen to and dance to music but am not coordinated to learn to play an instrument. My children, however, are both gifted musicians.

    Jane, I enjoyed this piece so much.

  • Dear Jane ~ you have inspired this older women to not be afraid of this new contraption called a computer. (my daughters laugh of glee as she disconnected my rotary dial phone from 1940s to plug me in!) I have been brave enough to do alittle more clicking to other sites ~ Thank you. It has been a pleasure to have found you and your bloggers? My next adventure is to the how to paint site…Looking forward to your new writings and hope to find you here once in awhile. Thank you everyone!
    Humm…guess the shag rug will never be considered retro…

  • I understand what you said about needing an additional outlet, Jane, so so so much. I usually run as release, and find it takes the edge of my day. Even when I don’t feel like it, I go because I feel better afterwards. It’s alone time, and it’s amazing what thoughts become clear while I’m pounding the sidewalk.

    But there are times it’s not enough of a release. I have a very high pressure job, one that involves me taking a lot of work home and getting phone calls, sometimes constantly up until 10 pm or so.

    Our city just opened it’s first “knit and coffee” shop and I am totally loving it! Who would have thunk? I am not at all artsy, usually, but there’s a real satisfaction to using my hands, and watching something grow. I haven’t finished more than a potholder yet, but am hoping to work on a blanket. It’s an outlet I didn’t expect to enjoy, but I do. And the type of release is totally different. Running is pure adrenalin and stress release, while knitting is this calm meditative type of activity.

    Anyway, love the post! Good luck on your endeavor!

  • Jane, your childhood home sounds cool! I love the 70’s decor, and yes I know that’s wierd. :-) I have a retro shag rug I bought from target last year, and a furry pink bedspread. I collect lava lamps and other 70’s paraphenilia whereever I can. I just bought a Mrs. Beasly from E-Bay! :-)

    I was born in 78, a few years too late! My mom was really into pastels. I grew up in peach and mint green. Really love the bright colors much better.

    Oh, and I keep a journal, but don’t paint. I draw sometimes in my journal though. Mostly just thought bubbles or doodles or things like that, but sometimes it helps me with the words I want to say.

  • Sandra, I was inspired to, just to start communicating on the internet again. Jane’s is a very comfortable place to be, and I’ve enjoyed my discussions here.

    Now to the source. Jane, I read those letters you got and am amazed at what people try to pass off of themselves onto others. You were very clearly in your rights to take that post off. I have never found bashing anywhere to be apart of your website and good for you for stnading up against that attempt to drag you and your posters down.

    I am only sorry I didn’t discover your blog sooner, and sorry that you’ll be taking time to focus on your book. Well, no, not sorry your writing a book, just sorry you won’t be here as often. I’ll be at your bon voyage online party on the 27th, though, and here every day until then!

  • a.p., i bet your home is beautiful. i’m not sure what decor Tuscan is, but it’s Italian, right? i love the look of something that’s not everyday, but my house is unfortunately very country looking. which is to be expected in Arkansas i guess, but it’s just grown thin on me. most of me & the dh’s stuff was inherited or given to us over the years by realtives. stuff i can’t throw away because there’s sentimental value. but alot of it i have really grown sick of. just waiting for the day i can pawn it off on my kids, lol. if i had my heart’s desire, i’d go for something much more modern.

    lbj, what letters, where?

    cattgrrl, if i knew you i could send you a whole slew of 70’s stuff from my husband. like the furniture, its stiff i want to get rid of! remember the farrah fawcett poster in the red bathing suit? he has that in the garage, in a poster frame. he won’t get rid of it and now calls it a collecters item!

  • Rose, the letters here (hope this comes out), Some delusional blogger called Jane’s site a “trash and bash” site, but she was the one doing the trashing and bashing. Jane removed her ugly post and now the girl’s on some sort of trash-talking rampage.

    I do remember the Farrah poster, wow. Hadn’t thought of it for years. I also recall all the fun metal lunchboxes, including Charlie’s Angels. I was older then, but I still bought one. Have no idea where it is now.

  • Ugh to ugly internet drama, and bravo to art and the written word. Beautiful post, Jane, and I love Walt Whitman! Those gals at the Art Army really create some wonderful work, and thank you for sharing that with us!

    Kathy Moore

  • Dear JD,
    I do so love coming here and just wonder about the ‘art’ of photography…
    Seems, not true ‘art’ to me…although I’ve seen many masterful chemically produced reproductions from nature to mechanics.
    Maybe it’s because after more than 20 years working with Graphic/Commercial Artists, and wanting to become one, I just got numb.
    Or maybe I’m jeoulous, or didn’t work hard enough at it, or really didn’t want to be ‘that’ after all.
    The first painting I attempted was on a huge 6 foot canvas, first I stretched the canvas and built the frame, then I applied the gesso, then I sketched the ’subject.’
    I purchased my ‘oils’ little by little, and the very expensive brushes…and I read and read, and sketched and sketched…I filled notebooks with drawings of anatomy…human parts.
    Anyway, I did pretty good…then I didn’t have time to finish my project…
    Worked from 6 or 7 a.m. until sometimes 1 or 2 a.m. in the morning…worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs…just to try to support myself.

    I remember that green shag and the rake…wasn’t mine, never liked it…rather high maintenance to keep it looking good.

    Love Always,

    PS. I love Italian/Tuscan dishes and have a very small collection…the good stuff is really expensive.

  • I love what Linda and Karen are doing and the fact that they have so many women expressing themselves through art. It’s so positive and beautiful, and they really do show that anybody can do it. This year, I am making my own Christmas cards, just about fifteen or so, for the people closest to me. There is just something so personal about receiving the gift of someone else’s spirit, which I always felt when friends and family sent me things they made and didn’t just buy.

    And Jane, don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from work you love. You’ll be surprised at what comes from that. It’s not always what’s expected, and often a whole new thing!

    Love your writing, Jane.

  • Jane, will that “internet craziness” be part of your novel? I found it fascinating on so many levels. I have to wonder how common people like that are. Scary.

    Well, we can’t all be crafty or artistically inclined, but like you I’m a big fan of artistic things, including most especially, music. You mentioned Mike Oldfield. I have his original Ommadawn album, on which he plays something like twenty different instruments himself. I also enjoy Voyager, and think it’s one of his best albums.
    When you wrote your other article, about how fame isn’t always logical, I thought of Oldfield. He’s made a good living, and is bigger in the UK, but his fame and exposure doesn’t match his talent, which is huge. And for those who don’t know, Mike also wrote Tubular Bells, the theme to the Exorcist. It’s his best known work, but not his personal best.

    And whatever happened to Mason Williams? He was one of the best guitar players, yet only had one hit in Classical Gas. A one hit wonder.

    Decorating is easy, Jane and Rose. Just buy everything in neutral colors and throw a color or two in. Done! ROFL. That’s my strategy, and I’m sticking to it.

  • Freida, I would have guessed that you have some artistic talent. Do you do anything with it now? I remember you talking about the journals you kept as a girl, and how your mother destroyed them. So sad. Have you ever journaled again?

    Jo, I love what Karen and Linda have done, too. I think it’s awesome. They are very talented women, fostering the talents of others. No higher calling than that.

    Patty, wow, another Oldfield fan! He is amazing. As for the novel, the internet plays a part and that’s all I’ll give away. I’ll post excerpts here when it’s finished, and I’m still aiming for the end of June.

  • Freida, I know how you feel. Time and work are always the enemy. I hope you’ll get back to your drawing and painting soon!

  • Jane:
    I have tried and mastered every form of needle work there is. I can decorate a room like a pro, all genes from my Mom. My whole family is like that. there is something you do that is far more important that knitting a hat. You use the written word, I can see through your writing the people you write about. I can imagine their lives and yours, you paint sometimes a sad picture sometimes a happy one, but your pictures are always worth seeing twice.

    P.S. Every goodbye Ain’t Gone……That sounds like a Maritime saying.

    Always the best for you

  • ugh Kathy m. I agree.

    jane i found this poem today & thought of you. you are not impersonel, but full of heart, but your voice does give wings.

    I’d be but a voice
    That I may sing the songs
    That wing the souls of men
    So that they rise from wrongs.

    I’d be but a voice
    To prophesy and warn
    That men may shun the dark
    And hearing, seek the morn.

    I’d be but a voice
    Repeating once again
    The words of power and love
    That greed and hurt restrain.

    I’d be but a voice
    Impersonal and just,
    That those who doubt may hear,
    And hearing, see and trust.
    …..Dr Leo Rebollo 2007

  • jane, you said in your letter there was an article about bipolar coming…. when?
    very interested to read.

  • Beautiful poem, Rose!

    Lynda, what Jane does is her special talent, but I’d love to have an ounce of yours, too!

  • Rose:

    The artical on bi-polar is something I am interested in too. I have done a lot of research myself, but I don;t know how to use the computer to it”s full potential.


  • Jane, when one can write like you there is no need to do anything else. However, you sound like a “Southwestern decor” person. Walmart has a paint called “floura” that is a soft warm tan with a little coral in it. It changes color depending on what is in the room. It ’s lovely, but I would rather you kept writing, I love to read it.

  • Barb:

    Jane is a special person. she is able to use her talent to inspire the rest of us. Any talent I have is mainly out of nessesity, no sew ,no clothes. My Mom made my first school coat out of my Dad.s top coat. I’m the oldest of 9, I helped Mom with everything. My poor Mom, thought she was to hard on me, I told her I was proud to be her daughter and I’m thankful for all she taught me.

    I thank you for your compliment.

  • Dear Jane,
    Seems I ‘journal’ right here, LOL!
    I did keep a ‘Baby’s First Year’ calendar, when my daughter was born, in fact I loved the calendar so much I bought several, and changed the ‘pre-printed’ title to read…’Baby’s 2nd Year’…then ‘Baby’s 3rd Year’…then, my husband and I lost our jobs…we both worked at the same place.
    My husband got another great job, but, of course it was a thousand miles away, and I had to sell a house while he was away…with a three year old, and no family nearby.
    Since, then I have tried to ‘journal’ again…but really just couldn’t find the time. I would start one for a week or two, and, well you know, and so does Laurie…there just isn’t enough time in a day when you’re taking care of a child, and a husband, LOL.
    And, by the way, Jane…packing and moving and cleaning, too.
    Love Always,

  • Dear Patty J.,
    I once met, and was completely swept away by Mike Oldfield and his music.
    What an amazing musician, and person he was…awesome!

  • Rose and Lynda, that article is coming very soon, likely tomorrow. It’s an article about Kate McLaughlin’s book, “Mommy, I’m Still in Here”, which details Kate’s experience raising two bi-polar daughters.

    Rose, loved the poem. Thank you.

    Lynda, I agree with Barb — would love to have a bit more skill, however being the eldest of 9 had to be so hard. Did you have much of a chance, ever, to just be a child? My eldest sister also took care of us much of the time, and I never envied her the job.
    Thank you for your kind words today.

    Checquoline, I’d probably like Southwestern without so much West in it. :-)

    Freida, I’m all done moving, but haven’t yet had time to really unpack everything yet, just the essentials. Am enjoying the peace & quiet of my new place, though, and the walking trails in the fall season are just so peaceful. Hanna, of course, is thrilled.

  • Dear Lynda,
    I have so much respect for you, the eldest, and just wanted you to know.
    I once took care of five little girls and the eldest was not like the rest of us…
    When she was born, the cord was wrapped around her neck, and so many made fun of her.
    She was 15 and her parents were ‘busted’ for some sort of drug addiction.
    These children had been raised in tents, and hardly knew what a toilet was…yet ’she,’ the retarded one had to take care of the littler ones…and, you know even though her body was maturing at a very fast rate, her mind and heart had never been nurtured…add that to the lack of oxygen at her birth, and years of neglect…yet in about a year and a half…I had her reading Christmas stories out loud to her sisters…then her parents got them all back…
    She started wetting her pants again, and I felt so helpless to help her, or them, yet they are now members of a Church group, and the father ’seems’ to have conquered his problems (demons/addiction).

    Seems she will never know what her parents went through…and may that be a blessing.
    She’s 18 now, and seems most of her sisters are having problems in school…
    And her mother…just, really…hates me for all I tried to do for them…and still has my library card! I was too, judgemental…and could have stayed closer…yet, maybe this will all work out for the best. I’ve tried to call them a few times these last few months and that ‘mother’ will not call me back. Can’t really blame her, she’s probably embarrassed beyond belief.

    But, you know what, since my daughter was an ‘only’ child…she really ‘knows’ she is spoiled and I believe…we have all been blessed.

    What does this have to do with ‘art?’
    Everyone is an artist…everyone has talent…everyone has skill…but it takes a great deal of physical and mental work, to develop ‘the gift.’

    Love Always,

  • Dear Jane,
    The gift…is ‘you.’
    Believe in yourself.
    Love Always,

  • You column here is a little too artsy for me to say anoything about, but I read that series of emails and posts back there, and Jane, don’t let the bast….I mean the fools get you down. Try to ignore the junk, and take your frustrations out in your book, which I very much look forward to reading.

    And if you need a pair of eyes while writing, you’ve got my email. Would love to help or offer feedback any way I can.

  • This afternoon I came across a book on Interior Design from the 1940s. It belonged to my grandmother and inside the pages are some of her personal notes. She took GREAT pride in her home, everything was as neat as a pin, gleaming and very thoughtfully arranged. Unfortunately I did not inherit these traits, as far as housekeeping. She was also a seamstress and very creative in her own right.

    When I graduated High School back in the mid 70’s I packed my bags and went off to Art School. I studied fine art for 3 years, and I still can’t draw. I was like a child in candy store… sculpture I want to do that, oh no printmaking, what a minute stain glass, then there is textile, you mean I have to take a life drawing class, taking photographs is an art? I became a student of many things and the master of none. I grew restless, lost my confidence and left school. I remember when I was creating it was an extension of my being. I was one with art there was nothing but that moment… no sound, no time, nothing but my hands and eyes and the medium of the week. This is what I need to recapture, the “oneness”. I need to awaken my creative spirit again…. it has been so long… like an old friend that I miss.

    Before I left school I thought about teaching, but it was a time when teaching jobs were very hard to get and most school districts were cutting back the arts. I also remember not getting a lot of support from my family to continue my education in the arts. They wanted me to prepare for a real job, and I bought into their logic.

    Which raises some questions; by removing the “arts’ from the school curriculum does it have an effect on our society? Does it take away from our learning a creative outlet? How many school systems promote creativity with the same enthusiasm as sports?

    Okay I am rambling, just wanted to share some thoughts. I am going to miss this site, I do believe it inspires me.

  • Dee
    My dauhter is 9 years old and wants to be an Art teacher. She has had this dream since she was 6. She loves to draw and anything creative she gets into. She has that “eye”. We will support her in anyway.
    My sons GF goes to Art school and she says she will probably be a starving artist living on the floor of someones NYC Apt. someday but she will do what she loves. This girl is VERY talented.
    To answer your questions Yes, it does. Yes, it does and lots.

  • Dee I think you have touched on something very profound!
    I have wondered myself. The arts are so vital to peoples happiness, and they give so much beauty back to the world. I feel it is a vital part of all our being. Whichever form, it is really showing in our society, this lack of things that feed our soul!

  • Dear Dee,
    When I used to walk to elementary school there was an Art School along my way.
    I remember peeking in at the ‘nude’ on the stool.
    Wow, was I impressed!
    All kidding aside, as I grew older I knew some that attended that school, some were friends and neighbors.
    Some, are now ’starving artists’ and some are successful, some are unhappy…mostly the wealthy ones, LOL.
    Do what you love, love what you do!
    Even if you aren’t the most creative, or the most brilliant, few are.
    Love Always,

  • Dear Jane,
    Still haven’t sold my house, glad you have your move complete.
    The peace & quiet sound heavenly, and Hanna must be enjoying the new scents, and adventure in your new neighborhood or country trail.
    You know some of ‘that stuff in boxes’ you haven’t unpacked…well, I sure can relate.
    I have ‘unpacked stuff in boxes’ from my last 10 to 12 moves, someday I’m gonna get around to unpacking, LOL.
    Love Always,

    P.S. Really love this thread…and your article…and what you write…and what ‘the others’ write, as well. Thank You.

  • After reading your post I am pretty sure I know why you feel most comfortable in beige surroundings. I’d tell you, but I want you to discover that on your own ;). Part of being an artist is understanding what the colors mean to you. This can be a really powerful thing!
    Growing up, my bedroom had Vomit Green shag carpet and Insane Asylum Pink walls. Guess which colors I rarely ever use!

  • Dee, a wonderful point I agree. And Mish, that is so great that your supporting your daughter’s artistic nature.

    Allison, I think you may have hit upon something. Less art = a less creative, and colder world.

    Freida, 10-12 moves? In how many years? I hurt just thinking about it!

    Linda - LOVE YOUR SITE!!! I am going to order an I AM ART T-Shirt, too. So, sshhh, just between us, why does Jane like a beigey-white world? ;-) We won’t tell!

  • Mish - I happy to hear you support your daughter it is so important and I wish your son’s GF the best, she has already succeeded in following her heart.

    Allison - EXACTLY!

    Freida - thank you for the encouraging words… I am working on it.

    Linda - I’ll be ordering a tee shirt, probably two, they’re so great I can’t decide… “Create your freedom - The Art Army”

  • Linda Woods,
    What is your favorite color? and why? what does ‘it’ mean to you?
    I think you could ‘enlighten’ us.
    In fact I think everyone here does.
    Love Always,

  • Linda, Laurie, Dee
    One of you three.
    Please tell me the site, I want to check put the T’s. Maybe a nice Christmas gift for my daughter.

  • My fingers are to fast for my head and eyes this morning.
    I meant to say
    I want to check out the T’s,thinking maybe a christmas gift for my daughter.

  • Mish, Linda and Karen’s site is

  • Linda,

    I really like your prints. Do you make larger ones than 6×6?

  • Laurie: thank you!
    Freida: My favorite color is yellow and my favorite color combo is red, orange and yellow.
    When we were growing up, we’d spend the summers with our grandparents who were full of goodness and warmth, humor, love and encouragement- things we did not have in our own home. Nana loved bright colors and decorated her house in every bright color she could find, mostly yellow and orange. The summers spent with her in her house of color were the best times of our lives. When her husband died unexpectedly, 22 years ago, she repainted her house. She made a blue entry way brown and all the bright orange was scaled back to light peach. She was just too sad to live in such a happy place~ those were her words. She later moved to a new place and we were so happy when she resurrected the orange and bright pink in every room.
    In our book, Visual Chronicles, we teach how to know what colors and textures you associate with emotions and people. Here’s a shorter version I created for the Fiskar’s blog…so you can start yours TODAY!!:

    Jane: thanks for giving me space in your blog!

  • LJB: Thank you so much! Yes, I will have larger prints available in a week or so.

  • Linda,

    That is such a beautiful story of your grandma, “too sad to live in such a happy place” broke my heart, but to know that she once again brought the bright into her life — that IS a life-affirming story for Jane’s new contest.

    I’d also be interested in the larger prints. Clicked on the coffee cup one and have to say it’s one of my favorites, too!

    Jane, it’s going to take me a day or two to come up with something for the contest. I’ve had a lot of great experiences, hard to pick just one. Can we enter more than once?

  • Linda, you are so welcome! And hey, you inspired a contest! :-) CYE.

    Loved the story here, and on your site, about your Nana. What a beautiful lady she must have been, and the blanket. . .Linda, I totally understand! I didn’t get much time to spend with my Ukranian granny before she lapsed into Alzheimers, but I saved this Folger’s can she once sent me, loaded with chocolate chip cookies, for years. You could still smell the cookies. It always represented love to me. One of my roommates didn’t know why I kept it, and threw it away, but that’s one of the memories I’ll always carry.

  • Dear Jane,
    It would be wonderful, to meet someone ‘here’ from my past.
    I have known so, many hard working ‘artisans,’ and ‘critics,’ too, LOL!
    There was once someone, very special…her name was Barbara…we called her ‘BJ.’
    She had a couple of German Shepherds; one was named ‘Machen Dee.’ I don’t remember what the ‘D’ stood for.
    She had a kiln, and we worked in clay together, and we lived in the country.
    She had horses, and we rode once or twice together. Of course, I was not very good at ‘that,’ but loved it. She was a worker, and stronger than me…before and after riding, you know…you have to saddle and bridle them, and when you’re done…you de-girth (or ungirth?) them, and cool them, and groom them…and take care of all that ‘tackle.’
    It’s a lot of work, worth the pleasure.
    I love horses.
    BJ could realistically sculp in ‘3D,’ and knew the ’scale’ and ‘perspective.’ She did ‘lost wax’ bronze works of horses and African animals.
    She was amazing.
    Love Always,

  • Thanks Jane

    Hugs to you :)