Friday, November 30, 2018

tiny art show (pt ii)

what follows is the second excerpt from my Honors Capstone project, which discusses the origin, inspiration, and process of my art show, 9 Semesters.

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The show began as a flurry of inspiration written in a notebook. I had lots of ideas and words to describe them, some vague images in my mind (almost none of which made it into the final artwork). I wrote them down, tore out the page, chopped it up into individual ideas and glued them, kindergarten-style, into a different notebook with space for embellishment. I added sticky notes, sketches, and questions that debated possible materials, forms, colors.

If this sounds at all exciting or impressive, I need to reassure you of my timidity and mild embarrassment in bringing this collection of scraps to my former drawing instructor to ask her to be the director of my project. To her extraordinary credit, she never said a single word to encourage my imposter syndrome. She had excellent suggestions to kick me in the right direction, handed me lists of materials and supplies that would be helpful, and told me to email when I had something show her or any questions.

I went home and ordered paint, bristol paper, brushes, watercolors, tools online. I went to the hardware store and brought home cheap plywood from the culled lumber section to doodle on. I dug my supples back out from drawing class - the pencils, erasers, my beloved vine charcoal - a bold but generally forgiving medium. And I went to work. And I got stuck. And I went back to work. And I got stuck or distracted.

It went like this in several rounds: I would plug away at a piece that I had a good final vision for, or I would wait until I was tired enough to create something without caring about what it really looked like, so that I could actually make something interesting. I would take it to Roxie and she would point out better materials or different directions the piece could go. I would go two and a half weeks without talking to Roxie and she would email me. What a saint.

Eventually the collection as it is came to be. But how much doubt we often have in our own abilities to bring a project to completion! Even in the last few weeks, I have been paralyzed at the thought of bringing my meager offering into the gallery, panicking that I need just one more piece, to fill the space, and having nothing in my creative storehouse. Here we are anyway.

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9 Semesters is on display this week, Dec 2-7, 2018 in the Union Grove Gallery at UAH (the tiny white church building between Morton Hall and the CTC). There will be a reception Wed, Dec 5, 5-7pm. For viewing outside that time, contact me.

Monday, November 19, 2018

tiny art show (pt i)

What follows is an excerpt from my Honors Capstone project, which I'm going to give in parts here. It's an art show on campus; but I'm also required to do a write up. I think it's supposed to be more formal than this, but part of the whole point of doing art is that I'm done with trying to be technical or formal in my collegiate education. Also, it came about in a story. So, I'm going to tell the story.

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Art is a way for me to express what I have a hard time expressing otherwise. I love to write; but it is difficult to find appropriate ways to share raw emotion and truth in words. Art is at once a veil and a conduit for what I want to tell the world.

Given the requirement of an Honors Capstone project, most engineers add to their senior design project. At present, I have little interest in engineering, and less interest in adding to an already full project, although I now know it wouldn't have been difficult. It was an interesting technical project and we didn't fully explore the technicalities.

What excites and intrigues me is making things. Engineering can be art, to be sure, and art can be engineering. They can both be technical, functional, require skill, calculation and precision. A good part of my art tends towards the visceral, an element only seen in glimpses and shadows of finished engineering projects.

The short story is that culture and my wise family told me I should finish my degree, but I wanted to do it my own way because I am tired of engineering classes, so here I am. A tiny art show. The slightly longer version follows.

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9 Semesters, an Honors Capstone art show, will be in the Union Grove Gallery at the University of Alabama in Huntsville from December 2-7, 2018. Watch this space for details about hours and an opening reception.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

more of the internet should know

more of the internet should know that chicken can change your life.

for me it might be a little bit of an overstatement, but listening to the Lazy Genius and in turn listening to her friends, Tsh Oxenreider and Emily P Freeman, and in turn all of their friends and cohosts, has certainly changed my life for the better. 

why does it change your life? it's one pan. it takes a bit to cook, but it doesn't take time to prepare - chop, salt, oven. you can put whatever vegetables your heart desires. you can make it fancy, you can have it on tuesday. it smells delicious. 


Friday, October 12, 2018

souls and chocolate cake. discuss.

Our souls were not made for fame and our bodies were not made for productivity. They were made for relationship.


I've had this idea bouncing around in my head for awhile about doing a Socrates in the City sort of event, but having it in my dining room over tea and chocolate cake.

Is it pretentious, or would we actually learn something? Would the hostess (yours truly) lose her sweet mind because apparently having people in her house is The Most Stressful Thing ever, or would there just be good conversation and the question, "When can we do this again?" without it being simply a pleasantry?

Our souls were not made for fame and our bodies were not made for productivity. They were made for relationship.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

less is more, but why is it so hard

Today I had milk and heavy cream for breakfast and then I felt sick. Are we surprised? But there weren’t any carbs in the house (I lie. There were definitely Saltine crackers, 3 unopened sleeves, in fact, that weren’t stale, but I didn’t want to encourage the sick feeling with Saltines, even though the point of Saltines is to satiate the ill-feeling stomach, I know), there was only lettuce and a cucumber and raw ground beef and expired soup and eggs (not expired) and just the thought of eggs, slimy, warm eggs, was too much. So I waited until the feeling subsided a little and went to the store and bought ginger ale, wheat thins, hummus, and apples (red delicious, because the cashier commented on my expensive fru-fru honeycrisp last time, and the guilt struck low), and also club soda and lemon juice and apple cider vinegar because I heard that makes a pretty good mocktail - why not?

And at the end of all this it was 9:30 and my class started at 9:40 so I decided I would email my professor to ask if there was homework, because it is so difficult to sit in an uncomfortable chair in a freezing room for 80 minutes when you think you are vaguely ill. Now it’s 10:26, I feel fine but I am not moving, and I’ve read a few more chapters in the next Life Changing Book on the rotation. The irony is that my books are about going for less, but I keep reading more.

If many is something measurable, and more is not, then it stands to reason that less is also not measurable - but you could measure fewer, and that is why the ones where you count the number of things you keep can be successful if it happens to hit your mark. The hard part is, of course, coming up with your own mark.

Monday, October 8, 2018

on mondays we write lists, she said

A list of quotes I am pretty into right now:

1. You are not going to run out of ideas. - Elise Cripe, or wherever she found it

2. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original; whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. - C.S. Lewis

3. Love is not wasted if it falls through the cracks. - Erin Loechner

3. b. Freely you have received; freely give. - Yeshua (Matt 10:8)

4. And we have told the truth. That, on most days, we're not perfect, but we're fine, and on some days, we're not fine, but we're okay, and on a few singular days of the year: nothing is okay, not even a little, and everything is terrible, and forever, amen. - Erin, again

5. For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there's nothing else. It's here, and you'd better decide to enjoy it or you're going to miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever. - Lev Grossman, The Magicians

Reread them. Write them on the wall. Memorize them. Will they change the way you live or will they just sound really good until you have said them too many times and have to move on to the next guru?

Listen to them and then go write your own words for once. Or sing them. Whatever. Go. Go. Go!

Friday, October 5, 2018


did you know that 'amen' means something to the effect of 'let it be so'?

i often wonder how many people know that. it's not just the prayer sign-off word. it's an agreement with something; a motion of the soul:

may this be as we have said.
may it be just like you have said.
may this idea rings true in my soul and i want it so badly,
may it become real and true.