outflows and inflows of creativity

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Semblance of Order

What an incredible whirlwind of a year this has been. I have been stretched, pulled; reshaped like a lump of Silly Putty in the hands of a child. To say I have been busy would be a gross understatement.

Working two jobs and attending college with a full course load, I have struggled with 500 word MLA style papers, constructed sculptures composed of sticks and leaves, and studied until the next day - all fueled by copious amounts of caffeine.

I took my first trip to New York. It was love at first sight.

My art has expanded as I have begun to learn to speak and better understand it's complex language.

The world around us has become increasingly toxic and volatile during 2008. Many lost fortunes and jobs, homes and hope. A senseless war still rages. This is old news, and most are weary of the day- to- day reality of it.

But risking cliche, on this New Year's Day, it is good to begin anew. As artists, we have a mandate to decipher the world around us, to make sense of it in some way. Lines become shapes, shapes take on form and mass. Simple marks, all put together, can become an expression of a place, person or feeling.

Here's one of my student works, pen and ink on paper, which was ridiculous in it's complexity, and quite a challenge to render. It's really amazing what you can do if you just try.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


In between all the miscellanea I still, to my shock, have managed to do some sketching here and there.

Here is my latest, titled "Please".

Special thanks to Tom Stone, whose photos broke my heart and inspired me to do this work in progress.

Somethings got to give, folks. Is this still the USA???

Ahhh, New York!

What a summer this has been. After the crush of summer school, I took a much needed breather and traveled to New York with friends and colleagues.

I was warned by some fellow Southern natives to be wary of the Big Apple - the hustle and bustle, the traffic, rudeness of the dwellers. "They" said "Watch out for the subway riders and the taxi drivers," and "The big buildings might make you claustrophobic" . . .

What utter nonsense.

I have no doubt "They" were trying to be helpful, but I had the best time of my life. Went to the glorious Metropolitan Museum of Art and my eyes beheld such beauty in the works of Monet, Renoir, Matisse . . . no printed copy could ever do them justice. Went to MOMA and saw Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" - and oh dear God the colors, I had no idea it was so small. Went to Central Park with dear friend James and listened to the NY Philharmonic on a blanket
under the stars . . . pure aural ecstasy.

Experienced my first transit train ride, NY cab ride, subway ride, NY pizza and bagels. Dear friend Ellen Zisholtz had a hugely successful first exhibition of her work in Soho, along with fellow artist and writer Pat Kaufman.

Gee. I survived it all, with much aplomb.

"They" usually mean well, but you cannot listen to their voices of fear. To be afraid of the unknown and unfamiliar is to stagnate and die. Even in these perilous times, and I think especially so, grab life, hold on for all it's worth. It is vitally important to sing your song, paint your masterpiece. Don't let "They" hold you back!

This kept playing in my head all the way back home. Thanks, Billy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kickin Back on Edisto

Hard to believe the glorious days of Summer are upon us. Where did the time go? Either we are living in extraordinarily busy times, or we have been already sucked into one of those tiny black holes that CERN may inadvertently cause when they fire up the big collider later this year.

In any event, I am glad to slow down a bit, dip my toes in the ocean, and just chill. I am looking forward to catching up with friends and family, and taking a long, deep breath. I'll touch paint to canvas, and pencil to paper, and hopefully something decent will come of it.

Here's a shot of a recent foray to Edisto, a quiet little island that I go back to time and time again.

Ya'll have a great 4th.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I learned . . .

Pleased to meet you all, I'm Harriett and I used to be a pretty regular blogger, until I started college in middle age . . .

Glad to be back! School is out, I did decently, and am getting ready for Summer school and then a month off before Fall semester.
I learned:

I can figure out m=y2-y1/x2-x1!!!!!! Took me all semester . . .

The immense value in disciplining yourself to do a sketch a day, even if it's seemingly worthless.

The comfort of friends who really understand if you don't return their call.

A new appreciation for those who struggle and sacrifice so others can achieve a dream (namely professors).

Here's a page from my sketchbook:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Back From The Dead

I just realized it's been over a month since I last posted! I have no excuses, just reasons:

1. Spring Break was just that - a much needed break from all things except food and sleep, Hubby and the company of treasured friends.

2. My new found respect for college grads continue to grow with each MLA -style -500 -word paper -that's -due -2 -days- from- now.

3. That goes triple for those 15 -color- hue- only -gray- saturation -figure- ground -reversible art projects.

4. "What do you mean you don't have 150 sketches - they are due tomorrow!"

But no complaints - I am learning . . .

It's socially OK, and even expected of you to text your 18 year old friend during a math lecture, even though you are sitting side by side.

Coffee is a magic elixir.

So is chocolate - but I knew that already.

Will post pics, of something, when I come back up for air. For now, back to looming exams. Yippee!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

From Harlem to Hubble

Taking a short break from approaching midterms. My goodness, how time escapes! My goodness, I am ready for Spring Break in 2 weeks!

A wonderful thing is happening tonight. A new dual exhibition has been installed at the IP Stanback Museum and Planetarium on the campus of my school, South Carolina State University, and tonight is the grand opening and reception. These exhibitions are The Hubble Space Telescope; New Views of the Universe and Harlem on My Mind Part II; 1940 -1959, and they are fantastic.

These images encompass where we have been, the struggle and misunderstandings; and where we are going, to new worlds and vistas we can scarcely imagine. It is hope housed in a building of brick and mortar; it is a continual fight for freedom- artistic, social, intellectual - documented and shared so we will always remember.

If you can, please make every attempt to see this exhibition. It will be available until June 15, and you will certainly be glad you did.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Golden Discovery

One neat thing I'm discovering about college is the richness of the learning environment, and the unexpected ways new ideas can be discovered. Of course there's the traditional classroom way, with lectures and interaction between professor/student and student/student.

But I discovered a real gem in music . . . and no, I don't mean Brittany's out of rehab and decided to actually attempt to sing, or any otherwise unlikely event.

No, I mean a real talent in the person of Paul Robeson.

I write and maintain the blog for the IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium, which is on the campus of my school, South Carolina State University. We are getting ready for a new dual exhibition, The Hubble Telescope and Harlem on My Mind. Harlem is a a group of photos from the Harlem Renaissance era, taken by some of the best photographers America ever produced. The Harlem part is dedicated to Paul Robeson. I found out about him after researching for the blog.

Lord, oh Lord, what a voice. This voice will make every cell in your body resonate.

Take a listen if you haven't heard him before. If you have, reminisce.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Coming Up For Air

Finally able to see a bit of daylight after being in the dark for a bit. I've been in the thick, tangled forest of school and work.

I am enjoying myself - the college experience is one I can appreciate more, given that I'm older than the average student, than I could have if I attended when I was younger.

I don't have to worry about fitting in - I don't and it's perfectly fine. Cool even.

I don't have the self esteem issues a lot of the younger students seem to have - I have a confidence that I've bought through happiness and heartache.

I don't abuse time - achieving "middle age" makes one aware of every tick of the clock.

It is a privilege to be able to go to college. Though the work load is sometimes daunting, time
has become a precious commodity (as if it wasn't before - now I'm more aware of how precious it is) and I am realizing how ignorant I am . . .

This is an exhilarating experience.

Photo courtesy of dcJohn

Monday, January 21, 2008

Act II

The second half of my life has begun. I began school last week, and much to my surprise I found it enjoyable. Of course, the key words here are "I just began". . . time will tell whether I'll regret this decision to the marrow of my bones, or just through to the first layer of dermis.

On this day, I'm off from both school and work, thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. and our government, though lately I have major criticisms of said government, at least they set aside a day to remember this heroic fallen son of America. I am using this time to study and do homework.

I've found a fountain of youth of sorts, old school memories flood my mind. I'm much more thankful this go 'round, much more cognizant of the sacrifices the professors make each and every day, and of the incredible journey many students have embarked upon just to be able to be there. Everyone in their middle years should go back to school. Just sitting in a desk again, after 20+ years, is a miracle in itself.

Time to get a cup of java, and get back at it. Here's a sketch I did for my art class. . . pen and ink on paper. We are assigned to do a sketch a day, which is a great way to build focus and skill. I recommend it highly.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rural Splendor

Had a super time this weekend riding around the countryside looking. I am fortunate to have artist friends who need company, an accomplice for restocking art at a gallery that is a long way from civilization, or the type of civilization that most of us have come to expect.

The day was clear, the sky the color of blue memories are made of. The sun bright and gentle. I am rejuvenated, and aching to tell of my impressions of that day using the language of paint.