Blog: Why Be Normal

Christine Alfery

Posted on December 15 2021

Blog: Why Be Normal

Featured image: Expect the Unexpected

How did this piece get its name? Well, when I started this piece during the tour, my goal was to recreate the feeling that I get when I go to Lake Superior, walk the shoreline searching for rocks and rest in the sun while looking out at the very big water and a very big sky. The Monday before the tour was no different. I was sitting on a big rock and soaking it all in and wondering which do I enjoy more - the big sky or the big water? I couldn’t decide. I love them both. So, during the tour I started this work, "The Unexpected." The washes for this work were turning out wonderful and everyone who saw it said to leave it just like it was. It was beautiful but something didn’t settle with me about the blue painting with all its different values and that wonderful horizon line where the sky and water meet and a forever happens. Infinity.

But then something happened. A red umbrella happened and a figure appeared in one of the corners of the work. Suddenly, the work became alive for me. So, I added more umbrellas and  more detail. The work was no longer just the big water and big sky but the totally unexpected. As I was I was thinking about titles for the work, I couldn’t decide if I liked the umbrellas upside down or right side up. In the end I decided on right side up. I titled the work “Expect The Unexpected. “I sure didn’t expect to be putting red umbrellas in the work. But it works as that is how I believe life is. It is filled with the unexpected. If we think of the unexpected as not normal, and I think we do – and if we think of the unexpected as unwelcome – and I think we do – I suggest that we examine the unexpected and ask ourselves,  "Is this bad?" Most of the time I believe that it's not. We  have just been taught to think of it that way.

But that isn’t life, and if we expect life to be organized, planned and normal then we will miss a lot. One of my favorite magnets on my magnet board says “Why Be Normal?” And I agree, "Why be normal?" So, my big sky and big water became the Unexpected. And it became a really fun work.

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