February 25, 2022 Weekly Musings

Christine Alfery

Posted on February 25 2022

February 25, 2022 Weekly Musings


"The Ripples We Make" Receives Award

I'm honored that my work, "The Ripples We Make," received an Honorable Mention Award  in the 2022 Pennsylvania Watercolor Society Members Online Show. This year there had been 210 entries for Juror, Denny Bond, to choose from.

Juror's Statement:
Judging an art show is always a challenge. There should be a certain amount of fairness in judging all styles even if the judge tends to be drawn to a certain one. This particular exhibit displayed a wide variety of styles from the abstract to the finely detailed, and even some that successfully combined both styles. What I sought first in the paintings was good design… a basic knowledge of placement and movement. Subject matter, color, emotion, and creativity are all the other elements that I feel are necessary to stand out in a competition with other artists.

I immediately thought Z. Feng’s painting “Snowy Creek” was exceptional in that it combined abstract with realism in a magical loose style with an acute awareness of design. I could emotionally experience the moment, cold and silent. Kathleen Giles’ portrait “A Certain Something” relayed drama, emotion and contrast. Dennis Albetski’s painting “Refining” was a effective representation of the darker colors contributing to the subject of the painting.

Basically all of the paintings that I selected for awards exhibited qualities that made me want to look further into their process of painting.

With that said, you are all worthy painters possessing the enthusiasm to create. Thank you for the opportunity to see your creations.

Denny Bond


Featured image: Marble Game

Did you know that the mind, your brain, is very flexible? And that the brain can grow in size by increasing the number of its neurons. And much of this expansive performance, is stimulated by repetitive tasks? (Joseph LeDoux, Synaptic Self: How the Modern Age is Rewriting Your Mind (London:Rhode, 2003).13.

So the old wives' tale that age is to blame for memory problems really isn’t true! Hummm. We can grow our brains according to research at any age. I like that thought. And it can happen through repetitive tasks. Hummm. Then my theory associated with my painting “The Marble Game” really doesn’t hold true. I said that one should find one's self not by following the next marble ahead of you – but by setting out and finding your own path.

Actually, my theory associated with my painting “The Marble Game” and the theory that the brain can grow and expand through repetitive tasks are both true. As a children, we are developing our minds, growing them and expanding them through repetitive tasks. As an older adult we are also growing and expanding our minds through repetitive tasks. It is only when you
expand and enhancing your skill capacity can you discover and create as an artist or as an individual. So go ahead do repetitive tasks but grow, expand, discover and move on, stop following the same leader – find another – perhaps yourself, at any age. Knowledge and creativity take on new meaning then and we change.

Hear more about the work, The Marble Game below.



 Authentic And Unique

Featured image: Flying Fish

Should an artist goal to be to create something totally unique or something authentic?

I have always say that self and soul, are unique one-of-a-kind things – but is that the only thing about ourselves and our souls?

The concept of unique refers to being one-of-a-kind. There is nothing like it. Something, the self or soul, or an art object can be unique just by adding the color red in a different and unique place. But that isn’t self or soul or art. The shock of the new uniqueness, has been theorized and debated for some time as an art object. The artist Mapplethorpe became famous for the shock of the new.

Galleries and museums jumped on such an easy qualifier of an object being art. In general, the shock of the new has been panned by many as just a marketing tool to drive business.

But link the concept of unique to the concept of authentic and it becomes more difficult to define self, soul, and objects as art. The word authentic is defined as an object having an undisputed origin and that it is genuine. The concept authentic means you are being true to your own self and soul, your own values and spirit. The concept authentic means you are honest with yourself and with others, and that you take responsibility for yourself and your mistakes.

So perhaps an artist’s goal should be unique but also authentic.


Did You Know?

Featured image: Lion Fish in the Reef

Did you know that our visual senses process 11.2 million bits of information per nano second? Did you know that the eye alone processes 10 million bits of visual information per second? Did you know that the eye has the largest processing capacity of all the five senses? By contrast, the conscious mind, operating at its maximum capacity, processes only 45 bits of information per second.
Just thought I would share – no wonder artist's art so unique and authentic – WOW!

Ap Dijksterhuis and Loran F. Nordgren. “A theory of Unconscious Thought,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 1, no.2(2006), 95-109, at 97, https://doi.org/10.1111%2Fj. 1745 – 6916. 2006.00007.x


Fill In The Blanks

Featured image: Artichoke II

Did you know that when we see a banana in a bowl, our brain transfers that image of a banana, without any conscious awareness at a rate of 10 million bits of visual sensory information every fraction of a second? Think of it – our minds are so amazing.

Have you ever seen just an edge with a bit of color of something and can instantly know what it is? I have so many times. Our memory fills in the parts that are missing so even if we only see an edge with a bit of color we can fill in the blanks.
So, when we see an abstract painting and our mind cannot connect the dots and find something to relate to, it gets lost and we get lost. We get lost because our minds don’t know how to read the abstract. So we begin to organize the abstract into something familiar where we feel comfortable and can say, "I see a waterfall." In reality, we are looking at a blue rectangle and a green triangle.

We imagine. We create. This is where it happens. This is where the concept is born as we discover and explore. If we close down our minds to something we cannot immediately understand, we stop growing, we stop processing and we stop creating.

Using our minds to untangle abstractions, for that matter, just using our own minds and not allowing others to think for us is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

Don’t be afraid of abstraction – grow – expand – live.


New Works:

Improv I-Playing


Improv II- Discovery


Improv III-Exploring


Ms. Pileated 




As The Wind Blows






More Posts