March 18, 2022 Weekly Musings

Christine Alfery

Posted on March 18 2022

March 18, 2022 Weekly Musings


The Creative Moment

Featured image: The History of A Tree -Old Growth

How do you personally get into the creative moment to create a work of art? Do you hope that it will just happen? Do you get inspired by what is going on around, politically, historically or spiritually? Do you have to put on music? Do you like to sit quietly and gather your thoughts about a certain something, idea or a concept, and work from there?

For me, I treasure my history. It is part of my memories and experiences, therefore it influences my creative thinking just because it is there. It helps to determine what I am going to create, conceive. It is from my history, not another's that makes me/myself/my soul unique and one-of-a-kind.

I know there is no way that I can create something from a blank slate. But, I also know that I want my creative ideas for my soul, my spirit, myself and my artwork to be free from another's ideologically, politically - charged thinking. If I am trapped in another's political thought, I tell myself to think about the “other” side and to think about what I have called the space in the middle where difference is acceptable.


Roller Coaster

Roller Coaster

Featured image: Roller Coaster


If you look at my work closely you will see that I put words in the work. The word, “Weeeeeee,” refers to folks screaming on the roller coaster. I have asked myself many times whether words are an art form or not. I can remember taking a calligraphy class in undergrad school and we were told to make the word look like what it was saying, like my word, “weeee” that goes along with the roller coaster ride. The simple fact that it was a requirement to take the calligraphy class as an art major gave works some credibility in the art world.

Words, like a ton of other things in the art world that are called art, aren’t really “art” in my opinion. Why? Because anyone can learn now to write letters. It is when the letters become personal, and unique, but not even then, do they get an approval from me that they are art. This includes my, “weeeee” in my work, "Roller Coaster."

I am always asking myself when I see a word or words in what someone is calling a work of art, "Why did they need to put the words there?" Sometimes the words tell a whole story. So, why have any images if you have all text? And is all text a work of art?

I am a conceptual artist who will debate whether words belong in art or not.  Who is calling words art? When you see words in something that is framed to look like a work of art, words like love, home or blessings, do you ask yourself why the words are there? Valentines are a good example. Create a heart, put the words love in the middle of it and someone will buy it. Words are popular and strike a note for a possible buyer – BUT they are kitsch. 

I am continually asking the question, "What is art?" Art is hard to define and many have tried. The postmodern artists of today think that they have the answer.

When you see a work, that is being called art, hanging on a wall, or as a 3 dimensional sculpture like the below example by contemporary, popular artist Britto has done.

Is this art?

This isn’t the first time I have asked this question and nor will it be the last. In order for me to give some credibility to my position, that for the most part, words are not art forms I will work with art theorists who have taken positions as to what art is and isn’t and have tried to justify their positions in the next several posts. 




Featured image: Figuring It Out

When I talk about my series “The Middle Is Not Grey,” I frequently mention the polar or binary opposites that are systems of thought or theories or language or concepts that are strictly defined and set off against one another. And then there are those of us who are in the middle of these two opposites. For me I imagine black and white meeting in the middle making the middle grey.

It is not so easy to define the middle, however. Many say that those of us in the middle figure out how to compromise. I visualize compromise as being grey. But I am not grey. Individuals are not a neutral color that blends into everything else. When an individual is asked to compromise on their basic principles and values, they compromise themselves and what they believe in. Why is it that those of us in the middle are always asked to compromise and to help tamper down the extremes, the polar opposites? When there is compromise, today in politics they call it diplomacy, no one is satisfied. Compromise does not lead to a general fulfillment or wholeness. It leads to frustration. Those in the middle who are asked to be all things to all people, I believe end up being nothing to no one and they become paralyzed, unhappy and frustrated.

I don’t see compromise as a solution. Rather, I see respect and value for life and the individual as the solution. We have lost that. We have compromised our values, our lives, our unique, individual selves in the name of compromise. Why just not do any of that and respect life and one another for our differences?
I am not saying we shouldn’t have rules and laws, but I am saying they need to be based on objective reason and not subjective ideologies. Subjectivity belongs to the individual, subjectivity is all about the individuals uniqueness and one-of-a-kindness. Subjectivity should never be painted grey.

I think I have been thinking about “The Middle Is Not Grey” for some time because I seemed to have been painting it for some time. There always seems to be a demarcation line in my work, contrasting colors, and forms


Flaxen Mist

Flaxen Mist

Featured image: Hilltop

Water vapor mist

Slowly drifts

Rising sun


painting the mist


Soft flaxen

Good morning 


Good morning









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