Just about every artist I’ve ever known has a day job. Mine is part-time instructor in Art History and Art appreciation plus one art history course online. Last semester, it seemed that I spent most of my time – in and out of the classroom – making sure that everything worked which brings me to technology. Last year, I heard the term “digital immigrant” for the first time; it describes those folks born during the baby boom and earlier who aren’t fluent in digital literacy. Until rather recently, I was digi-phobic; I saw the world around me change but was reluctant to change with it. Then I started teaching lecture classes and so much depended on my having some fluency that I realized I needed to learn more than just some minor word processing. It seemed overwhelming until I remembered two things: first, take small bites and second, I reminded myself “If I don’t know, I’ll find out.” There’s so much information available on the Internet, it’s a great time to be alive!
I’ve always been a fairly quiet person. One on one meetings always felt more genuine, but it helped to know that individual rather well already. True, as a college instructor I’d meet a new crop of faces every semester, yet outside that setting I wasn’t very comfortable. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become imperative to reach out more often…how else could I assert myself as an artist in the community? Well, here’s a big help, both in making my presence known and for getting me to talk to people: the city of Paducah is hosting Meet the Artists 2017 in the historic City Hall building on Thursday, June 15 from 4:30 – 8:30 pm. Looking forward to meeting and greeting!
©2013 Anita L. Rodriguez, Beyond the Fall, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches
I’ve loved writing for a long while but painting always wins out; maybe there’s something about telling a story without using the written word. When I worked on this piece, I knew only that I wanted to relay my view of the pond we share with our neighbors. It was late fall when I worked on this canvas; the pond was half frozen and some of the invasive vegetation was locked in ice while the stuff near the shore was still thriving. As I painted, I thought of people suffering from some terminal and/or degenerative illness and those close to them who can only watch helplessly…like the vegetation in the pond, the leaves near the shore are vibrant but related to the fading leaves near the center of the water body. The softened shadows and reflections add to the uncertainty of the watch.
I recently spent a few glorious days in Golden, Colorado attending an artist business conference. It was a rich and fulfilling time away; it offered time to refresh and reconsider…to refill the well, as an elementary school teacher friend once told me. I met and befriended many other artists from around the country and beyond; we shared many ideas, plans, suggestions and considered new marketing strategies. There are many things I’m grateful for, some incredible breakthroughs, but the one that really moved me was one from artist Lucy Yanagida: after looking at my website and noting all the images of water and rocks, she reminded me that in Jungian analysis, water always represented “a loosening.” Indeed. More to come…
These late summer/early fall days are getting filled with good things. On Aug. 25, there’s the opening reception for the Paducah School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition. On Sept. 10 there’s Art in the Vineyard, an annual event put on by the Art Guild of Paducah. And shortly after that on Sept. 15, there’s Meet the Artists, the second annual event where local artists show their work and meet and greet the public.
Each one will be a chance for me to step out of my comfort zone. My natural tendency is to be contemplative; my parents were sometimes amazed that I could be entertained for hours just by looking at an old Sears catalog (they didn’t realize I was sharpening my observation skills; I didn’t know that then either). But life goes on, things change, habits must change too. I used to fear meeting others for the first time – not anymore! There’s too much to be missed when one hides.
Trio 3 has begun a new life with a new family. There’s something very satisfying (other than the monetary aspect) about having one’s art collected. The value of art is often reduced to the dollar value since we are inundated with news of how much a piece went for at auction. But the real value of art is more about how it makes us feel. When I created Trio 3 and its roomates 1 and 2, I reveled in the flow of the cool colors punctuated with a few drops of copper colored acrylic ink; the freedom reminded me of both my first experience swimming and my first experience painting in grade school. The new owner of Trio 3 might have seen something different or similar but from another perspective. I love this part of art almost as much as making the work…which reminds me I need to get back into the studio!
In February a few years back, this native Californian was getting really tired of winter. I painted what I wanted to see and I wrote this little prayer to go with it.
Thaw my frozen heart.
Bring me to flower.
Let me dance!
I want to live up to my potential, something I’ve never given myself permission to do.
Who was that little girl who loved to make things? When did she learn to self-censor?
Who was that high school girl who was aiming to land at the top of the heap when the rug was pulled out from beneath her feet? Why did she prefer to live in fear? Who convinced her that she was fragile?
Where is the young woman who soared in college only to fall down, pick herself up and finish with a whimper?
What happened ? Life happened. A life lived in fear. “I can’t make it on my own. I’m not enough, not equal to the challenge.”
Well,enough. ENOUGH! I’m not a little kid anymore (!) and I know I can do this. I dreamed this morning that I was climbing a steep rock while not exactly dressed for the task. I passed some young animals and gently but firmly told them to get out of the way. In spite of the dangers, I made it up to the top of the plateau and could see for miles ahead of my location. But most importantly for some reason, just as I reached the plateau my left hand touched a smooth glossy white rock that I used to climb up. What does that white rock mean? Guess I’ll take the year to find out.
Well, it’s almost the end of the first quarter … So what’s happening?
There’s a change in how I approach my work and how it looks. Late last year, I was exploring a bit and things began to look different. I liked what I saw. Above is a work in progress. As you can tell, it’s not like my previous romantic realist landscapes.
Another change: my faith is blending with my art making. The title of the above work in progress is “The Heiress at Prayer.” I believe we are all heirs as well as stewards of God’s creation and prayer is the way we converse with God. Although that was equally true of my earlier work, my latest work is also more intuitive and spontaneous – a lot like life unplanned but no less precious.
There’s a possibility of a solo show for me later this year. I may title this show “Watershed” because I feel that “ridge of land dividing the area drained by different rivers.”
“It’s a new day, a brand new day,” says Whoopi Goldberg’s character to her students in the film Sister Act 2 (or words to that effect). Indeed. 2015 is here, full of potentiality. I hope you’re surrounded by people you love and are dreaming of possibilities!