Monday, June 29, 2020
Teaching is a big part of my life. In my practice as a studio artist, I'm mostly alone, so teaching gives me a way to be with people. I have the ability to see and understand, at whatever level my students are at, what they need and I feel connected and close to the people I work with in ways we don't normally get to be. My ego seems to shrink to next to nothing, and without that old ego bobbing up and getting in the way, incredible things often happen with my students, not always, but more often then not. I often feel as if I have mind-melded with them, and can see exactly where they need to go because of it.
With Covid 19, my teaching is on hold. All workshops and classes have been cancelled this spring and into the summer. In September of 2020 Anderson Ranch is going to try using our class as a test to see if it’s possible to teach with face coverings and social distancing. It's still not for sure if we will have enough students, and I think we are all nervous about the outcome. I don't know if we will all be able to stay on the horse and ride, or if distancing and the uncomfortableness of wearing a face mask will cause us to all slide off, landing in the dirt and dust on the ground as the horse takes off.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
At a very tender age, I went into intense negotiations with my parents: I would give up my bottle if I could have a pair of cowboy boots. Next were horseback riding lessons starting from the age of four. By about age six, our family moved to a house in the country where we could have horses and since my mother had kept a horse every summer in Colorado when she was a girl, she always made it a priority that I would have a horse as well. I started with Rio Grande, graduated to Hondo Bay, then a neighbor's horse, Charm, then a gift from another neighbor of Rebb, a retired race horse. So I put in my 10,000 hours (as Malcolm Gladwell says), and was as comfortable on a horse as any person could be. My horses were my best friends as well as being my main mode of transportation. I spent most of my time alone with them, and that's what carried me into those other worlds where my imagination and my curiosity could rule the day. But, as I got older and had children of my own, my life moved me away from horses and I went on without them.
This winter I met a lovely woman who had a horse that needed riding, "Stormy", a young gray gelding. What started out as a casual offer to ride, has now turned into a consistent, regular part of my life, not to mention that, like the teenager I once was, I have fallen head over heels in love with this lovely, goofy, sweet, and talented guy. That world has reopened up for me, and I find myself learning about horses in new ways, understanding how they work with the brain of an adult as opposed to one of a child--entire new philosophies have emerged about how to treat and train horses. But mostly, I find that I take a huge amount of pleasure and joy from, once again, having a horse in my life.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Life is very strange in this epoch of Covid 19. Most of the country has been locked down--sheltering in place--for the last two months of March and April. When one does have to go out, one has to be careful not to breathe another person's possibly infected out breath, so we practice "social distancing" and we wear masks. We can't see each others faces because we should be wearing those masks, but when we are outside, exercising, we don't have to be as careful with our masks, we just can't get close to anyone and we become very anxious when a stranger comes too close. The country is torn politically, with the democrats being good mask wearers and social distancers, the republicans, not so much. Everything seems normal, but terribly not. Same air, same TV programs, same food, same relationships with people but a constant stream of information coming in about the horrors of the disease, the deaths and the terrible economic toll. We witness shaming behaviors from others, and we ourselves want to shame those that aren't taking precautions, while at the same time people go out of their way to be open, friendly, and encouraging. It seems crazily, bleakly hopeless, but still, we seem to be muddling through it, just hoping that we will land, somehow, on our feet.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Frightened Child, Monoprint, 22"x30"
Frightened Child, Oil on Silver print, 20"x24"
Sunday, March 29, 2020
I have memories of always owning and riding horses, having traded my bottle(when I was four)for a pair of cowgirl boots so I could take riding lessons. We owned horses throughout my childhood, and I always had a special horse that was mine, progressing to better horses as I got older. I rode mostly bareback, treating my horses much as other kids did their bicycles, and having those horses in my life is probably what most helped me arrive at adulthood (more or less) in one piece,. However, when I started riding again, now a much older person, I was shocked to find that, although I still had all that muscle memory, things were different. When I went to get on, the horses' back seemed miles away, and the ground seemed just as far once I did manage to get up. Where I could once throw my leg over a bareback horse and spring on, I now stood futilely by his side, tossing my leg up only to slam into his side with it, again and again. A ride meant that I would be sore for days after, and I found that I was nervous being around the horses on the ground--they just seemed so big and unpredictable.
But now, I'm finding that once again, being around horses is helping me get through the stress and worry of this tough time of Covid19. It's very hard to think about all the things that are going wrong when you might find yourself being dragged through the dirt, or being stepped on, or run away with. So, in many ways I find I'm back to my 14 year old self, escaping the world through the wonderful portal of being with a horse. The ride is a little different now, but I'm getting the two things I most need--a different focus and a connection to something that isn't dark and scary.
Sunday, March 15, 2020
the wolf is at the/(one's) door
Some danger, threat, or calamity imminent or at hand.
Since I don't have photographs of wolves, but only of coyotes, I used a coyote for my canine in Coyote at the Door(Five Trees). The two faces in the windows of the house are my husband and I, but it could be, of course, anyone. When I made this painting, and two others that are similar, all having to do with canines at the door, I was dealing with friends recently diagnosed with cancer, the ever present threat of climate change, the decline and eventual death of my parents, and political leadership that was(is)terrifying just to name the most obvious. But little did I know that all of that would become secondary to what seemed like not a big deal at the time--out of China--a flu like illness called Covid 19, or, the Corona Virus. Currently, this is all my friends and family can talk about, and we watch the news and read the internet obsessively to find out the latest. A week ago, most of us were still taking it lightly, but now, when I go out to shop, I use hand sanitizer after every entrance in and out of a store, and once I get home I wash my hands for 20 seconds with soap and water singing "Happy Birthday to Me" twice. As well most of us are trying hard not to touch our faces and practicing some form of social isolation(not so hard for an introvert). Shelves are bare of strange things like toilet paper, bottled water and dog food. All of our plans for travel for the spring have been cancelled, including an opening reception in Tucson at Etherton Gallery for a show called Go Figure. The stock market has tanked, and people are becoming more and more frightened as the weeks go by and the numbers of victims goes up. Who knew that things could get so much worse when they already seemed so bad?
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Finished version(start of the flu), of Five Birds
First (pre-flu) unfinished version of 5 birds
Thursday, February 13, 2020
We live in a germy world, surrounded by viruses and bacteria, not to mention environmental pollutants and toxins. It almost seems a miracle to me that we do as well as we do, and having just gone through the deaths of my parents at or near the age of 90, who didn't die of any illness, but of just of being old, I have to think that we either dodge those zinging particles of illness and death or we don't. Either way, we just keep on keeping on, and hoping for the best.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
But not to be. On my arrival I noticed a slight drippy nose, then a cough, then of course, the start of a cold. It lasted a few days, then turned into a sinusitis. After spending a small fortune on humidifiers, herbs, and nose sprays, at the end of the second week I began to feel better. But again, not to be. To my great dismay, I realized, after a day spent with a dry, hacking cough and muscle aches and joint pains, that I had started up with the flu. For the next few days I wobbled around campus feeling sorry for myself, finished up with my class, packed, and headed home(which meant a 9 hour drive including a snow covered 10,000 foot pass). Still sick, back home in New Mexico, I marvel that there was ever a time when I felt well, and wonder that I could have been so cavalier about feeling good.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
In 2000, after the Gore/Bush fiasco, when we waited for the Florida votes to be recounted, I thought things had hit a new low. Everyone was anxious and unhappy as we waited for the results of the vote to come in. I remember walking around for several weeks with a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach Now, at the end of 2019, I look back almost nostalgically--what a sweet and innocent time it was. A few votes gone astray, a president I didn't much like, but, what the heck, in comparison, now it seems like a chapter right our of Leave it to Beaver-"Not to worry. We'll get it all worked out Beav!"
Currently, all seems terrible, horrible, awful: the climate, the shootings in schools, houses of worship or anywhere people gather, the huge schism between left and right, the courts, the enormous discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots, the persistent racism--all the tough issues we thought could be taken care of are now hopelessly lost in a quagmire of anger and hatred. As we roll forward into 2020 I can only hope that, as the poet Robert Bly liked to say, we have to go deep into our ashes-the misery, the hurt and the anger-before we can rise up and see the world in a different way, and that, hopefully, we are at or near the bottom of those ashes. But I think that’s Pollyanna of me. I think we have further down to go, much further, before we can start back up.