I didn't forget my weekly reflection, I just was busy celebrating. And what was on my mind last week, has continued into this week. It is more of an observation and a realization of how words, ideas, and values can forge deep roots over time while we stay distracted by the details of our days.
series of prints by Sarah Ahearn
When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper for a seminar on Women and the Arts about a local gallery owner who was a pioneer of sorts bringing International art to the region and forging a career in a field dominated by men. I had a number of interviews with her and to be honest, what I wrote in my paper I cannot remember. The only thing that stuck with me was when she talked about the impact of her career upon her family. She said "My kids grew up in a home where we had little furniture, but we always had art upon the walls." I have carried that image with me for over 20 years. It excited me to think we do have those kinds of choices: what is essential to one person - a coordinated set of living room furniture - would be unimportant to another and that owning art could be seen not so much as a privilege, but a necessity.
"flying free" and "pink buddha" by Kristen Walker
Then last year I read this inspired piece on supporting local artists by fellow artist & blogger Kristen which got me really thinking about how support is a two-way street. So I jumped aboard the Etsy bandwagon if you will, and have tried to purchase gifts whose makers I had a face I could identify or at the very least, work that showed the touch of an individual's hand upon it. All of which led me to making this year a Artful birthday. And as I looked around my home for the perfect spot to hang my new pieces, I happily realized supporting artists and surrounding myself with art has been a life-long habit.
I think back to my college dorm rooms where I hung art posters chronicling my visits to the blockbuster Museum shows. My walls were covered by Van Gogh, O'keefe, Monet, and Picasso (I've come to realize, I've always been eclectic). But my first purchase of real art was a gift to myself (see the seeds of a theme developing here?) after I graduated from college. My adviser's husband was a print maker and I had seen this piece hanging in their home when I decided to buy it for myself.
detail of "Fractured Mirror" by Sandy Kinnee
I knew all about the piece: how it was made while their were living in Paris and my adviser was researching and writing about Toulouse Lautrec. Her husband explained how he wanted to explore the challenge of creating a balanced composition within the shape of an oval. He was also inspired by oval mirrors they had seen hanging at Versailles and there is a segment of the piece that replicates the look of antiqued glass.
This piece now hangs over a side board that my husband had his cousin make for us. She was a master of faux finishes and this piece reminds me of the years we all lived in Boston and she was first learning these techniques. We also have a print by her mother, depicting a scene in Telluride, Colorado where we all have vacationed. I got this piece for my husband's 40th birthday. Sadly, his aunt now has alzheimer's and the piece I bought was one of her last works.
Whenever we travel, we bring home something to remind us of our time abroad: cheap papyrus prints with our names in hieroglyphs from Egypt;
watercolors purchased by artists working outside the Uffizi in Florence; a batik image inspired by the Book of Kells from our honeymoon in Ireland; as well as works from galleries in New York.
Our home is a wonderful mixture of high and low art. I have pieces Cowgirl made hanging in her room; I have pieces made by myself and my brother from years ago framed and hanging. We have a pair of nineteenth century portraits of a rather severe looking Yankee couple hanging across from a playful Andy Warhol piece; I have a framed poster of Krishna and Radha in my yoga room along with a watercolor series of Cape Cod. And I now have my art scattered throughout the house.
I will be curious to see what the impact of living in a home filled with art will have upon Cowgirl. At the very least, our home is rich with stories and with memories. It is filled with the spirit of all these people who live by creating. I know that inspires me to get up and spill the world inside my mind onto the page in some fashion every day. And if nothing else, the art in my home speaks of a life well lived, people and places and moments savored and who could ask for anything better than that?