manifesto monday: artists


the first time i visited san francisco i was a senior in high school. our legendary art history teacher, cheryl hughes, arranged for a large group of students to travel there to see the art that that western city has to offer. i barely recall any of it...i was consumed with my first broken heart...unfortunately the heart-breaker was on the trip too. so, i was dealing with such heartache in the only way a high school girl knows how: i was acting tough, and went out of my way to pretend i was really enjoying myself. but a high-school relationship is not what i want to talk about. what i want to talk about is what little i do remember about the trip: a woman who was an that even non-art historians would recognize because she was that good.
georgia o'keefe. between my acting scenes on that trip nine years ago, we entered a museum with a greek-looking facade. white columns. measured to perfection. we were there to see her flowers (i had yet to learn to appreciate her deserts). have you ever noticed what happens to your heart and to your soul when you see great art in person? every emotion you didn't know was in you comes right to the surface. you become delicate. at the same time your eyes open, and i'm talking about that third eye especially. the one that brings visions of who you are, and what the world and the universe are.
the toughness had to melt. so i cried when i saw the colors of a phoenix in flower petals. i knew what it meant to be a woman when i saw the organic lines of stormy blues and grays surrounding the white pearl in the center of another flower (though i didn't know it fully at the time). this is the most vibrant of all my memories of that trip so many years ago.
this weekend cj and i visited that city together. his parents met us there for a short vacation. saturday afternoon we quickly headed to the MOMA, not knowing what we were to see.
georgia o'keefe. once again, there was a special exhibit of her work there. this time along side the photographs of ansel adams. we met and that woman. this time it was much the same, but also there was much that had changed in my relationship with that woman. first of all, i have read and studied more these past nine years about women, gender issues, and art. second, i have fallen in love with the tortured, yet beautiful landscapes of the southwest.
interestingly, i tried, still, to be tough. as soon as i approached one of her paintings with the wings of a pelvis in the sky of a moon i got that lump in my throat. the last thing i needed was family asking if i was do you explain that for some reason these paintings are bringing up every emotion including awe, wonder, gratitude, regret (for not learning how to paint), rage (for a society that doesn't value art as much as it should), etc? it is not easy to tell everyone the range of feelings that a person has acquired over a lifetime (even if my lifetime has only lasted 27 years so far).
then i was oh so grateful for a husband who is an artist. when we retured home i could cry to him about how i wish i could truly seems like a release and a way to speak that would heal a person. artists truly are a gift to our hearts and souls. perhaps because they must struggle to get by in this world...they know how beautiful yet agonizing life can be. i will learn how to draw and to paint. this will be yet another way i can speak. this i believe.


Katie said...

you have such a passion about you for things, it is infectious.I'm so grateful for your blog.