My Wash is a Mountain…

Mt. Wash- ington means something entirely different in my house. A towering colossal of pants and shirts that seem a mile high stares down at me from the peaks of panties. I can feel a deep sigh materialize from the very pit of laziness as I begin to shovel a load of clothes into a reluctant washing machine. It is the never ending cycle of life and wash……….

What On EARTH does This Have to do with Art?

If there is only one lesson I learned from doing the wash it’s persistence. Seriously stop laughing…….with 2 remarkably dirty kids and husband the wash has life cycle all on its own. Making sure that everyone has the correct shirt, socks, and shorts on the precise day can be a full time job. There is an unusual amount of dedication that one needs in order to make this possible. Persistence is continuing firmly or obstinately in the course of action in spite of difficulties and opposition. If this doesn’t describe wash….well I don’t know what does than. But I digress, standing in front of my easel I erase over and over and over again until I draw correctly. Sitting at the piano I go through each note, line by line, tying together each measure until it sounds like music. Or I write lines and words, scratching and erasing paragraphs until it flows naturally.

3 different forms of expression all manifested through the same pattern of persistence. It was a concept that I believed was a God given talent. Much like last week’s post, I’ve learned that it is less about feelings and more about decisions. Will I push myself harder and further today than I did yesterday? Will I decide to erase that line on that paper that doesn’t look right or will I leave it and shrug my shoulders? Will I practice that song one more time or walk away? Will I knock on that door or shrink away from opportunity? Do I put myself out there exposed to the harshness of criticism and judgments one more time? Or is the definition of insanity, repeating the same actions expecting different results too similar to the definition of persistence?

That’s a question everyone asks themselves at some point in their lives but I take my advice from the strangest places sometimes. I revisited a clip of Robin Williams when he did stand up comedy. Taken in 1977, 3 years before I was born, I remember watching this as a kid and absorbing his message deeply. Grateful now that all of the adult humor soared way past my young head, his spark of madness is what imprinted itself in my psyche for years. “You’ve got to be crazy because what is reality? You’ve got to be crazy because madness is the only way to stay alive” – Robin Williams. It is definitely madness. It is certifiably crazy. It is “full tilt bozo” to hope. It is madness to believe things will change or be different. Is it madness or persistence to hope that the actions you take every single day will result in the outcome you want? But if you don’t have that spark of madness what do you have? “Nothing “- Robin Williams says. If there is no hope, than no actions will be made to make the outcome any different thus fulfilling its own prophecy.

So when I get up in the morning I have the same question I ask myself every day………have you decided to commit yourself to believe and hope that things will be different and work towards that belief? Though it is madness, though it is crazy, my answer is always a resounding and whispered yes.

What Are You Mad For?

Wash, art, music, relationships, jobs, politics, wishes and dreams…….I hope that you all stay mad!

Art: the Killer of Lonliness

Loneliness, I’ve read, is the source of growing mental and physical health problems across America. It is felt from the very young to the very old. As jobs hold more of our time than in the past we have less time to spend with those we care about the most. Coupled with social media,we are even more isolated than before. The aging population are greatly affected by this growing concern and resources are slim to accommodate the inflated need for companionship.

Once we have isolated ourselves from the rest of the world we begin to believe that we cannot relate to nor believe others can relate to, ourselves. Interactions can become difficult and awkward. The cycle of thoughts stemming from our awkward interactions validates our belief that we are, indeed, unworthy of companionship. Competitiveness and comparisons crowd our thoughts, and feelings of inadequacy reinforces that feeling of unworthiness. It is a difficult pattern to break.

This pattern can be broken though, through many different forms. Music, dance, journaling, meditation, prayer, spirituality are some that come to mind but the form that appeals to me most is the process of creation, namely of art. Not just because of the benefits proven time and time again by researchers, but because I have seen and experience this power before. I can list the researchers and the articles and the specific benefits that creativity can bring all day long but I am a personal creature by nature and I draw (no bun intended) on those personal experiences as proof. The many people who have come to my classes I have remained friends with to this day.

The creation of art brings people together by sharing the experience of creativity . Ideas, techniques, and frustrations as well as joys and success are all shared around the table. Jokes, laughter, concerns about topics that are much deeper than just how to apply paint on canvas come up. I’ve seen tears shed in laughter and in pain across the easels. I’ve seen children that never met before instantly become friends through their simple interest in painting unicorns and mermaids. Under the roof that is art, strangers from different backgrounds find their community. Art kills, for a time if not forever, this illusion of separation of the other. Art kills the illusion of us and them.

I know that the mass majority of us are not Rembrandt’s, including myself but why should that stop us from enjoying the elements that make up art? Do you ever stop yourself, dazzled by the intensity of a color or how the light dances across a face? Do you get lost in someone’s eyes, or become transfixed on a sunset. Before art can be made, beauty has to be appreciated and most of us have that innate ability. I urge you to find yourself a beginners class, a sip and paint, a drink and draw, and all the other clever titles that they might have to capture your attention, and take your brush boldly to a canvas among the many others who are seeking friendship to paint badly but without care for everyone can find comfort and much needed humor that lightens the soul. I promise you it is not like any other experience and most people walk away a little more connected. After all who could argue with all these smiling faces?