February 2012

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All Cows Eat Grass

Hoi Moon Gee San

~detail: Hoi Moon Gee San (May Your View Always Open Onto the Mountain), 2010. Sam Hodges

A few weeks ago my friend and fellow artist, Sam Hodges and I were talking art.  Or, maybe we were more specifically speaking about how we weren’t getting much art made.  OK, that’s not even accurate.  Our conversation revolved around the fact that, though we were busy (very busy) making work, we weren’t necessarily creating the kind of pieces we are known for or associated with.

During this discourse, we both wondered out loud if we might have forgotten how to do the thing we do.  It’s true.   And, though the thought of forgetting how to draw makes me panicky.  I find some comfort in the realization that I’m not the only artist feeling that way (thanks Sam for going there with me!).

On the surface, the whole forgetting how to draw seems a little silly.  That’s like…um, forgetting how to write. Still, those of you preferring the keyboard over pen and paper…yeah, well it doesn’t come all that easy anymore does it?

There are things I use to do that, now, I can’t even imagine where to start.  For instance, algebra is a mystery.  I know that I knew it. But really….  I can do practical things that are the essence of algebra; balancing my checkbook, doubling a recipe, or factoring an additional discount on a sale item.  But, the same functions thrown into algebraic expression are Greek to me (hmmm…order of operations*…. all I can think of are the lines in the treble clef, “Every Good Boy Does Fine” – random memories of beginning piano).


It’s been said of talent that you ‘use it or lose it’.  That’s just scary.  But then, they say you never forget how to ride a bike.  I wonder why that is?  True enough, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an adult on a bicycle with training wheels (then again, I don’t get out much).

~work in progress

My conversation with Sam started because I mentioned I had some commissioned tiles with drawings that I needed to glaze.  It had been almost a year since I had drawn and I was nervous.  My studio time has been taken up with producing functional work (ooo…I think I’ve rediscovered my love of dinner ware).  Still, there is this desire, want (need?) to draw, to tell a story.  But, I was afraid that I might have forgotten how.

So then, I went about gathering up my courage and jumped into the drawings – there were three.  Each 14×14 tile took about three hours to glaze.  A little tentative at first.  Thankfully, it was much more like riding a bike than algebra.
 *order of operations: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (had to look it up!)

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