Suspended in waves of heat and other such ponderings

I lived in Jackson, MS for a short time in the 80’s. Although I wasn’t there in the heat of the summer, I noticed that the people of Jackson moved at a different pace than I was accustomed. My husband and I both asked around. “Why does everyone move so slow?” One voice remains in my mind, a thick, molasses-slow Southern drawl, “It’s ’cause of the heat.” I must say, I just didn’t get it then, but this summer, this particularly hot summer, I think I am beginning to understand.

So I’m blaming the heat for my sluggishness, my frequent naps and lack of drive. I have an exciting list of goals with deadlines and am moving at the pace of my great grandmother to get them accomplished. But my mind is still plugged in. I suppose this is the summer for pondering. Let’s all sit in our rockers on the front porch for a spell…

My greatest current ponder is about the true intent of some people. This group of some includes both artists and preachers among other shifty characters. I’ll focus on the former so as not to mix too many metaphors.

Now I haven’t always thought of myself as an artist. I don’t have a degree in the arts, but rather in accounting. When I first began my journey into creativity, I suppose I was wearing my rose colored glasses. But I had every reason to. Almost every person that I met, instructors and students alike, seemed so warm, friendly, generous and kind. I felt so very encouraged.

My first shocker was when a mixed media piece of mine was juried into a local art show. When I dropped off my painting, I was treated with disdain. To the curator of the gallery in which the show held, my piece was obvious crap and my experience lacking. I found this highly discouraging, but pushed forward.

Maybe the curator was right about my piece not fitting in the show, but I still love it.

Second shocker was being called out for copying a class that I had taken. While there were similarities to the other class, and I was using a technique I had just learned, I had not thought at all that I was copying. When confronted, I could easily see the other instructor’s point of view as she wasn’t familiar with the prior classes I’d taught, but then I was verbally attacked in an email by a friend of hers. These gals were from the same group that I had declared my tribe. When I tried to share my feelings about what had just happened, my words were dismissed as “drama.” All of a sudden, my tribe didn’t feel so safe.

And most recently, there is a blog post floating out there written by a professional artist. In the post, she makes some very relevant points about her topic, but does it in such a way as to instill a feel of exclusion and disdain for those outside of the “professional” realm. I will not refer or link to the article for a couple reasons. One is that I do not want it to receive any more traffic or attention than it is already getting which seems to be her goal. Two, if anyone tries to point out any holes in her post or address the underlying feel of contempt which is conveyed, she comes back with a comment as to how the person has missed the point and gives a detailed example as to how it was missed. In other words, negative or “other” responses are not truly being heard.

I’m learning so much through all my pondering. My biggest “aha” is to take off the rose colored glasses. In any group, some are bound to have a different approach to life than my own. I often make the mistake of assuming we all have the same end goal of sharing inspiration and art for the greater benefit of individual growth. I guess the hippie in me wants us all to be one big happy family.

Now that I’ve had a few bumpy experiences, I kind of wish that I could have do-overs. I have a wise artist friend that has assured me that some of what I experienced will happen again, so I guess I will get another shot at navigating the frustrating. I think next time I may be better prepared to see the other person’s intent rather than trying to understand what the heck just happened. And as for the last example of the “professional artist,” I know that there are so many professionals that are truly an encouragement and inspiration to others of us that are still a bit knock-kneed. I am so thankful for the beautiful group of strong artists I have been so fortunate to encounter, many of which have grown to be dear friends and mentors.

Just a glimpse of many in my tribe. They do have the best sense of humor.

It is them I desire to emulate. It is that group that spurs me on to push deeper into my own artistic voice. Thanks so much, ya’ll. xxoo


8 thoughts on “Suspended in waves of heat and other such ponderings

  1. patricia baldwin seggebruch says:

    Fiercely holding those I count dear; generously circumventing yet praying for those with shovels dipped into the cess pool. Amanda, the arms that hold you are genuine and honest; from heaven, and here on earth. Iluso. Xxoo
    May I please borrow this and re post relentlessly?!

  2. Brenda Tassava says:

    I want to be in your tribe—not that other one you mention! We learn, we do, we teach….no one has the right to tell you what you can or cannot teach to others. You are spreading your love for creativity and sharing it with others. The backlash….the negativity you mention? That’s called fear. They are fearful of your shining example as a creative, talented, sharing artist. I’m amazed when others feel the need to demoralize others in the name of being a professional artist—-it is more than likely a direct result of their own insecurities as an artist and I’ll leave it at that! You ROCK Amanda, and I’ll take your tribe over that other one any day:)

  3. Carollida says:

    I don’t know you well, but what I have learned of you is that your are very talented and inspiring. Unfortunately, I think every road has a bump or two along the path that we travel. It’s to teach us or so I have heard. No matter how far you have come in life there will always be someone or something that can make you knock kneed. Keep your head up. I’m still searching for my tribe so I can relate in many similar yet different ways.

  4. janet says:

    ok I guess I am not surprised…this is a dog eat dog world we live in. However, I am so dismayed that you of all people encountered this negativity. Being around you is an inspiration to our creativity and you see such greatness in all of our works. I am so appreciative of this and it inspires me to see the good in all the other works I ponder. My brother is so appreciative of others work and gives inspiration to me and others when quite obviously you and he are in a much higher realm of artist than I! The world needs more of you and Bubba and we could all be inspired to be kind and great. thanks be for you. j

  5. Gayle says:

    It is so amusing how the human spirit works when holding on to worldliness…fame, power, money, status…But the true creative spirit is revealed when the human spirit is not held by these “traps” of worldliness. When we can be free to create for the sake of creating and not be in fear that we will upset someone else who is “trapped”, we’ll find freedom in community. But as long as we have some who cling to the snares of this world, we will have to learn how to deal with situations such as these you’ve mentioned. We must listen to the voice of Our Creator, and less to the voices that are ensnared. Be encouraged my friend!

  6. Mtyokawonis says:

    Don’t get discouraged by the attitudes you will encounter in the “arts” centers, juried shows, galleries etc. Please understand there is always going to be a degree of sniping, haughtiness and downright cruelty when entering any kind of competitive show. It’s a competition and sometimes people forget that winning and losing aren’t supposed to be what art is all about. I’ve been showing my work in juried shows since at least 1985 and I can tell you that the ability to keep on smiling in the face of rejection and callous attitudes is a plus. I can’t even keep track of the rejections anymore. It just comes with the territory. All I can say is I always pay my fees on time, make sure my applications are done EXACTLY the way the show prospectus dictates, and only submit work that really makes me proud. That’s really all one can do isn’t it? I’m not doing work for a cheap piece of ribbon and the accolades of groups of strangers who mostly show up to the openings for free wine and cheese. I makes works that speak to me and my reward is only got to be the one other person who hears what it said. Hopefully the work will go home to live with that person but even if it doesn’t if they have absorbed something from it then I have succeeded no matter what frustrations the show may have produced. I work for the one not for the many.


  7. Kim Henkel says:

    I am finding (though I am a slow learner) that the most important thing is that I like and enjoy what I create. When I do others will too… not everyone of course. After that I do my best to tune out the mean stuff the best I can. Mostly there seems to be good stuff, but that whole “professional art” thing does get trying at times. Your work is lovely, but best of all I was so happy to see that you like it. Keep on creating and enjoying your beautiful work.

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