Monday, December 12, 2011

Happiness isn't happiness without a fiddle-playing goat. Word, Anna Scott.

Not sure if you know this feeling or not...
Sometimes I don't want to do something so I just put it off. I convince myself I have more important things to do (and I legitimately might). I occupy my time, my conversations, my mind with other things.

Inevitably, however, I'm not really putting "it" off. Whatever "it" is may not be an all-consuming thought, but the notion of "I should be doing XYZ" lies there in the background, subtly guilting me, subtly posing questions as to why I'm avoiding addressing whatever "it" happens to be. In putting it off, I thus cause myself more aggravation and frustration that just taking care of it ever would.

Such is the case with the homework assignment I gave myself last week. I had mentioned that I have a hard time articulating what type of art I like and subsequently (...and foolishly) mentioned that in the next post I would provide a more intelligible and meaningful response. Well, insert before mentioned scenario.

I understand the insignificance of this assignment/writing prompt. Yet, it has remained an unsettling mental "to do" for the past week. I've thought about it nearly every day, reminding myself that I needed to just sit down and start. But then I made fudge. And played with Wendell and his new cat toys. And made a drum out of an oats container. And looked at friends' Pinterest boards. And [insert anything other than "write about what type of art I like"].

I know that you all haven't been on the edge of your seats waiting for my response. I know that even reading this now, you likely couldn't care less about the art description that will follow...and to be honest, I really don't care if you inevitably like the works or styles I ultimately describe. My hesitancy thus has very little to do with feeling pressured to "perform" at a high level. I understand that with every post, I run the risk of offending, disappointing, or simply boring every reader. My avoidance, instead, has more to do with the simple fact, "I just don't know." Despite criticizing the "I have eclectic tastes" cop-out, I find that in most cases, there is little pattern or linear progression to the things I enjoy. I'm just "all over the place" most of the time. I fear that any description I provide of my tastes will reflect incoherence, hypocrisy, or cliched naivety.

Usually there reaches a point, however, when the consequences of procrastination become more tiresome that just doing the task. ...

I like earthy colors (whether they are muted or richly-hued). I am drawn to work that reflects movement and loose brush strokes. I appreciate simplicity, but not in the "This sole yellow dot on a white canvas actually reflects the universal pangs of longing that define the human condition" sort of way." Oh, shut the hell up. I typically don't care for portraits (although I do like Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Milkmaid, both of which feature individuals and are somewhat realistic [but not rigid]). I like when artists play with light and shadows. I prefer post-impressionism over impressionism, but have favorites from both eras. War imagery does not move me. Dedicated efforts to achieve depth don't impress me that much. I can be intrigued by surrealist and expressionist works, but I likely wouldn't put one up in my house. I'm not familiar enough with even relatively obscure painters to attempt name-dropping. I like splatter. I find abstract to be interesting, but primarily when there is some geometry or structure to define it (but I often abhor art deco stuff). I prefer honesty over shock value. I like when the finished project seems like a dedication, as though the artist is infatuated with the landscape, or the person, or the emotion expressed. I don't mind Jasper Johns, but am leery of works that border on contemporary kitschy. I love sarcasm, irony and wit, but not necessarily in art; let me just look at it and see beauty. I like Degas' dance class paintings, de Toulouse-Lautrec's work that has inspired pseudo French movie posters, some of Kandinsky's early works (pre-super geometric), Chagall (and not just because Julia Roberts gave an original to Hugh Grant and followed with the "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her" line), and a lot of Picasso and Van Gogh work (original, I know).

Therefore, while I think it would be neat to group myself into some exclusive "cubist, with a touch of romantic sophistication and transavantguardia symbolism" fan club, the truth is that I simply fall in to the "modernist" club that leans more toward the late 19th, rather than late 20th, century. I suppose I am a post-impressionist.

Vivian Swift is working on my painting of Lucy as we speak. I can't wait to share it with you.
I imagine most of you picked up on the fact that this isn't just about art. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to just put brush to canvas; to get out of the gray; to decide what to be and go be it.


  1. Love this entry! I am always in awe of you and your writing. Reading your words makes me realize how much you love learning. You do put brush to canvas. Your life is full of color because you choose to live it. I so admire you!

  2. I'll be honest...I'm not familiar with 90% of the art-related terms you used in this piece. And I couldn't even begin to say what art I like, because I share the artistic ability and eye of one of Adrienne's kindergartners. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading it.

  3. Thank you so much for reading and commenting Mom and Zach.

    Mom, I am in awe of you every day. And, I'm not just saying that to be nice. You manage to keep a beautiful house and farm running, you do more for others in one day than I do in a week, and you teach your kids to put brush to canvas by doing just that yourself. Love you!

    And Zach, go watch some reruns of Bob Ross. :)

  4. I made myself finish my own before reading yours because I wanted to be sure I interpreted the question in my own way. It's completely different than yours, but I LOVE this! I love the quick musings on lots of styles, love the intro, and - well - I just love it. Sending you mine now. I need to become a "member" so that I don't miss these...

  5. C, I LOVE your take on the assignment. I'm looking forward to posting it...IF I get your permission:).
    Seriously, I'm honored to have such a neat, articulate, smart, ridiculously interesting best friend:)