Category Archives: Art

Hero Cult?

In this world of super heroes and avengers, it seems as if everyone needs to get on the band wagon. I see in the news that an actor has been named for a re-make of “He-Man”.  I didn’t realize there had even been an original movie, although I do remember the original tv cartoon series.

Apparently the first movie was a flop (or as they say in Hollywood “a commercial failure”) which leads me to wonder why anyone feels the need to try again. But then I see that the latest Avengers movie completed Sherman-tanked its way over box office records last weekend, so who am I to say that people don’t want more super hero movies.

I guess in a anxiety-filled world, imagining that there are super beings who can control a little more of their destiny is somehow comforting?

Tell me about the worst film you’ve ever seen. (Or worst book you’ve ever read.)

May Day

I read a couple of advice columns every day – makes me feel better about my life choices. A couple of days ago, the advice seeker was complaining about how much work his wife was putting into preparing their kids’ lunches.  She has cookie cutters for decorating their sandwiches, debates with the kids about which items goes in which lunch box compartment, includes little notes.  The writer thinks this is a complete waste of her time.

I am that woman. When YA was little I usually had wheat bread and light wheat so that I could use cookie cutters to make dual-toned sandwiches.  Until she was about 11 we had some seriously over-engineered birthday parties with themed games, food and goodie bags.  (Child enjoyed these very much at the time although she says she doesn’t remember them well.)  I make little treats for my office mates on various holidays, send mountains of greeting cards; those of you in book club know that I can’t stay away from bringing a potluck item themed to the book we’ve read.  Can we say Pi Day?

This is not competition. In fact, when I meet someone who also likes to celebrate like I do, we usually end up comparing notes and collaborating.  I met a woman about 4 years ago who can outdo me with one arm tied behind her and she gave me a great tip.  Whenever you get a new stamp set or die, you have to make at least 4 cards with it before you’re allowed to put it away.  Life changing for me.  I sent her a thank you card.

So all of this is to say that today, about the time that today’s blog was being posted to the trail, I was sneaking around my neighborhood in the dark, delivering May Day baskets!

What would you like in your May basket (size is no object today)?

Budding Artist and Art Dealer

Today’s post comes from Plain Jane.

Thursday afternoon a boy of about nine or so rang my doorbell. Turned out to be Marcus, a budding artist who lives in the neighborhood. He showed me a 14″ x 17″ watercolor painting and asked if I’d be interested in buying it. It’s an abstract piece, and in addition to some pretty watercolors he has used salt on it in some places to achieve a different effect. I told him I thought it was pretty interesting, and asked him what he wanted for it, and why he was selling it. He needed to raise some money, he said, and would take whatever I thought was fair. I gave him five dollars, but could tell from the look on his face that he had hoped for more, so I gave him another five bucks, and he seemed pleased. He then offered to rake the leaves in my yard, an offer I declined. He then pulled a long piece of turquoise yarn from his pocket. He had finger-knitted it into a chain, and offered it to me. I politely declined, but he insisted, saying “it’s for free.” I thanked him for this gift, and he happily biked off down the sidewalk.

About ten minutes later my doorbell rang again, quite insistent this time. When I opened the door, there was Marcus with an older sister who appeared to be about twelve or thirteen. Pointing to his sister Marcus said, could you please tell her that you bought my painting. Would you believe it? Marcus had apparently gone home to report on his art sale, and either his mom or his sister had questioned the veracity of his story and took him back to our house to verify it. I thanked his sister for checking up on him, but assured her that I had, in fact, paid him ten dollars for the painting. Thank you, she said, and turning to Marcus her face lit up in a big smile, and she said “congratulations, you’ve finally sold your first piece of art.”

This incident made my day. I had never met Marcus before, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the last of him. He is a testimony to good parenting. Polite, creative, and showed good initiative, glad he’s in my neighborhood.

How do you support local talent and initiative?

 

Ethics

We returned on Sunday night from Santa Fe having purchased 1.5 pounds of ground Chimayo chili, woven place mats that came from Guatemala, a Green Chili cook book, a New Mexico history book, and two Pendleton baby blankets for some new arrivals of our acquaintance.

A person could sure spend a lot of money in Santa Fe on all sorts of Native American  jewelry and clothes with Indian motifs, but there is something about them that make me very hesitant to wear such things. I don’t normally like to draw attention to myself, and I would feel so fake and pretentious wearing silver and turquoise jewelry.  I think one of my problems with all this is that we have so many Indian friends.  I would feel so odd and out of place if I showed up wearing their sacred cultural symbols on my clothes and jewelry.  If we had more time and luggage space I would have bought pottery.  I love the rugs and textiles. I know that many native Americans depend on the tourist trade for a living and want us to buy their wares. This makes me conflicted. I think I would rather donate to the American Indian College Fund.

We purchased a kachina corn god figure many years ago at the Mesa Verde National Park gift shop. I find the kachinas fascinating, but now that I know more about their meaning and significance, I would be hesitant to buy one, and I now know that I have to care for the one we purchased and not treat it as a decorative object.  Sometimes knowledge can ruin all a person’s fun.

How do your ethics influence what you purchase?

 

Overwhelmed

Today we toured the New Mexico Museum of International Folk Art. The main exhibit is in the room the size of a basketball court. It is filled with part of the Girard Collection, the life time acquisition of Alexander Girard and his wife. Mr. Girard was a designer who worked for Herman Miller.  The room we toured had 10,000 pieces of folk art, toys, miniatures, and textiles. It is only 10% of the entire collection, which the museum has stored somewhere. Mr. Girard arranged the collection display.  There are textiles on the walls, and cases of incredible miniatures and folk art figures from about 100 countries.  It is arranged to demonstrate the universality of folk images and folk life.  We were so overwhelmed with the sheer visual density and the colors and places of origin crammed into interconnected display cases that we could only view a small part of it.  It is not something you can ingest in one visit. Every display was full of meaning. If you get a chance, look up Girard Collection for some photos of this overwhelming collection.

 When have you been overwhelmed by art? What art is accessible and what art is difficult for you to appreciate?

Little Potato

I went to a Cantus concert last night. The first time I ever heard them sing was on the LGMS, doing Ave Maria by Franz Biebl – it brought tears to my eyes.  Even after all these years, it is still my favorite piece that they perform.

Last night they did another song that I also know from the days of Dale and Jim Ed (maybe even as far back as Garrison and Jim Ed – Little Potato by Malcolm Dalglish and performed by Metamora.

I love it when different parts of my world come together.

Do you have a favorite food song?

A Wonderful Life?

Today’s trail post comes to us from Occasional Caroline.

My aunt died at the end of January. She was ninety-onederful and a truly remarkable woman. She lived her life with purpose and gusto. In the late 60s, she created one of the first on-site daycare centers in the country, for the children of employees at a large hospital in her city. She marched with MLK in Selma. She was a trailblazer, a world traveler, an adventurer, a humanitarian, an influencer, a sailor, an animal lover, and an avid reader who instilled a love of reading in countless children. She had strong beliefs in justice, equality, and human rights, and she didn’t just believe in them, she lived them.

My cousin’s son wrote a wonderful tribute to her, that he read last week at her memorial service. Another eulogy read at the memorial, was written by the minister of the church she had attended for many years, before moving to Florida about 4 years ago. The eulogy started out normally enough, stating her date and city of birth, the names of her parents and sibling (my mother), and some accurate biographical information. Then, random events from someone else’s life began to be interspersed with the things we all recognized. I thought throughout the reading that there were things there that I didn’t recall, but I had never lived in the same city as my aunt, uncle and cousins, so even though we kept in touch quite well through the years, I accepted that I might have missed out on hearing about some aspects of their lives. However, the description of a family road trip when she and my mother were children, I couldn’t explain away.

My cousins and I discussed the service later that afternoon and we had all had the same reaction; WTH? There were life events scattered through the eulogy that none of us had ever heard of, and certainly had not submitted to the minister for inclusion in the service. When I got home, I went to see my mother, almost directly from the airport, and read a copy of the eulogy to her. My burning question was about the story of my grandparents and their two daughters taking a road trip to Mexico, having car trouble, eventually locating a mechanic who was able to order parts but couldn’t get them for several days, so he (the mechanic) invited the family to stay at his home until the parts arrived. When the car was fixed, the road trippers bid farewell to the kind mechanic and continued on their journey to Mexico. Enroute, they saw a man painting a mural and stopped so my grandfather could chat with the artist, who turned out to be Diego Rivera! My mother assured me, in no uncertain terms, that this was not something that had ever happened in any family she’s ever been a part of, or known about.

It’s a mystery, but we have two possible theories as to how this and several other heretofore unknown “family” events made it into the memorial service. Perhaps my aunt wrote her own augmented obituary, left it at the church with instructions that it be opened in the event of her death, just to mess with us. Or, more likely, the minister used a eulogy for another recently deceased woman with the same first name, as a boilerplate for the one she wrote for my aunt, and forgot to delete all the bits about the other dead lady.

In any event, the random additions to my aunt’s life story make for a quirky memory that will live on (and possibly be embellished) in family lore for years to come.

How would you “enhance” your obituary?