May 21, 2021 Weekly Musings

Christine Alfery

Posted on May 21 2021

May 21, 2021 Weekly Musings

Featured image: Just Walk Away

Announcements:

"Just Walk Away" was juried into Annual Associates Exhibition 2021

Posted May 21, 2021

Just Walk Away was juried into The American Watercolor Society Annual Associates Exhibition 2021.

The exhibition will be a vertical exhibition and can be viewed at: AmericanWatercolorSociety.org from June 7th-August 20th.

 

Blogs:

Aesthetic Moment: The Eagle

Posted May 17, 2021

 

Featured image: Eagle

Last week while listening to the small birds in the woods fly about – gentle sounds of wings moving – I heard a louder slower flap, flap, flap - a more powerful flap, flap, flap approaching from behind my Adirondack chair. I looked up and saw an eagle flying overhead. Low enough to notice the details in the underside of his wings and belly. He was low enough to notice his talons tucked in amongst his feathers.

He flow to a very large pine tree on the other shore of our land and perched. How glorious to watch this majestic bird sitting there and calling out. When he took off, he flew over me again and landed in a birch tree not so far away. Again, I watched as he sat, watched and looked about.

I quickly made a sketch of the eagle and today I gave him some color. Happy to share this sketch with you all.

 

Working in the Middle

Posted May 17, 2021

 

Featured image: The Middle Is Anything But Grey

Continuing my thoughts on the concept of universal, a la neutral, a la blended middle. One size never fits all. Just as when thinking about values and morals and the arts and the question of how will folks work in the middle when they do not blend. I think of it this way – blending our morals and values would be like saying one universal set of morals or one universal set of values fits all. That is where we get into trouble. Again, it is the respect of another’s values and morals, not the blending into their morals, that is important.

Working in the middle -what does it look like? How does it work? Does working in the middle mean we are blending into each other so we have no edges? Or does working in the middle mean all of our edges and uniqueness are there and respected as differences and that there is nothing wrong with difference? Working in the middle means thinking objectively. Working in the middle means respecting others choices including their morals and values - respecting them as unique and one of a kind. Objective reasoning is the only way for all those differences in the middle to "be."

 

There Should Always Be Choice and Freedom

Posted May 18, 2021

 

Featured image: Talisman

A couple of days ago I stated, “For the most part, art has become an object to possess and not something to treasure like an aged wine. Art today has become objectified.
Remove objectification and have art be valued for its creativity, and authenticity.”

There is a difference between and objectified art object and the objective reason of the middle. Art was never meant to be part of reason, let alone objective reason. That is why the individuals in the middle are unique and one-of-a-kind.

But the question becomes, how do all of these unique individuals work together? (Again, I state, "Objectively.") For me, I believe that there is no need to like all the people in the middle. There is only a need to respect them and their individuality.
Morals and values suggest that there needs to be one truth and that this one sized truth should fit all. Once we realize that that is an impossibility and that as individuals we make individual choices based on what we know and our histories, we recognize there is no one size truth in the middle.

What color would you paint freedom? It exists in the middle. What color would you paint happiness? It exists in the middle. What color would you paint uniqueness? It exists in the middle. My guess is that each of these concepts would be many colors. Don’t let others choose what colors you are – and don’t let others choose who you are as an artist and what you should create. These things are all part of your uniqueness and cannot be objectified.

What do I mean by objectified? Objectified and objective are the same but they are now the same. Objectified means that an object has been given superficial value by their culture. Visual culture has become very objectified. Appearance is objectified. An example I use frequently is to have your artwork match your interior décor – ie have teal be the main accent in a room – and your artwork has teal in it. Choosing art this way makes art objectified. Other examples would be: who owns the biggest house, the nicest yard, the most expensive car or the biggest diamond. Frequently women become objectified, they are objects or possessions of another and not themselves. For example, they are the prettiest in the a group, their hair is blonde, their nails painted, their jewelry top-shelf. When women become objectified they have lost their authentic, real self. I am sure it is the same way for men but I have no experience there.

To be objectified is different from being objective. For a decision, a statement or a concept to be objective, the only value placed on it is that its value is not determined subjectively or through emotional states. Rather, the value of these decisions, statements, concepts or objects comes from facts, from the evaluation of the facts present in reality according to a rational standard of value. Rational means derived from the facts of reality and validated by a process of reason not subjectivity or emotional sentimentality.

The middle can be objective. The middle should not be objectified. A universal value in the middle should not be based on the idea that one size needs to fit all. That should be understood. If one size does not fit all and objective reasoning prevails in the middle, then universal respect for the individual and the choices the individual makes can exist and rather than painting the middle grey, it can be painted many colors.

Art and creativity live in the middle space.

 

Grandmother's Shawl

Posted May 19, 2021

 

Featured image: Grandmother's Shawl

I have some things in my house that had belonged to my grandmother. One is a lovely teapot hand painted and trimmed in gold. Some that were my parents such as several old antique lamps that my son calls retro lamps. There's also a very small green stone that my father brought back from the wall of China when he served our country. I have some things that belonged to me as a child that bring back memories of playing as a little girl. I frequently talk about those memories in my blog posts. There are many things in my house that have a history. All of these things are also part of my children’s history.

The very idea that I would destroy any of these memories and objects of affection would destroy part of who I am, who I have turned out to be as an adult. My history is not always rosy. Sometimes it's filled with sorrow and very unhappy memories, but they are all part of my history, and part of who I am and have helped me create the solid foundation that I now stand upon.

We cannot destroy our history. As much as some of us would like to. We cannot rewrite history. But, what we can do is fill in the gaps that might exist because those who wrote our histories did not always include everything from the past. They chose not to include some moments in history because they wrote with a bias, and ideological flare.

Art is an excellent example. Why were there not female artists written about during the Renaissance? Or, if there were, it was because they were part of a family of artists. Recently, art historians are finding that writing about female artists did not suit the male ideology of the time. The same applies to women in the Bible. Women in the Bible take up a very small part of the Bible. It's only recently that Biblical historians are filling in what many of the people written about in the Bible.

We cannot change what has been, we can only live today, learn from the past and write as complete of a history as is possible. Which is why I will pass along to my children the few things that I've kept from the past. It's why I will tell them the stories that are linked to these memories and talk about what we can learn from them.

I painted Grandmother's Shawl for that very reason- to have a story to tell about out memories and how they've helped to make us who we are today. They are part of the foundations that we've built our lives on. We add to these memories and continue the story.

Frequently when I enter exhibitions, I am asked to verify that the work is mine, uniquely mine and that I have not borrowed/stolen from another's intellectual property. I always stop and pause when I read that question. Why? Because we build upon the past to create the present. If we have destroyed all the history, we would never be able to know if we have stolen another’s intellectual property.

Again, we need these histories to build upon the present – not to copy them but to create our own new and fresh ideas and moments to remember.

 

Traveling Gypsy

Posted May 20, 2021

 

Featured image: Traveling Gypsy

Our son is visiting us in the Northwoods and working on some carpentry jobs in the our area. Our son is a gypsy. He won’t stay long. He travels about the country, working as a contractor and living in his tiny house. His backyards are frequently mountains, lakes and oceans. He journeys on dirt and gravel mountain roads and has built houses on mountain cliffs and along ocean views. The sun shines brightly on his tiny house and on him. And while I choose to live a more settled life, I frequently write about his very unique individualism and one-of-a-kindness. I respect his choices, and I can dream with and visualize with him his vistas and journeys as he shares his journeys with me. This piece, “The Journey Of A Gypsy” is about traveling with the windows open, music playing and red landscapes passing.

 

New Works:

 

Eagle

 

Red and Pink Roses In A Jar

 

Blue Peony Flowers

 

Seduction

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