I've been interested in the concept of Art as a Landing Place, or any landing place that people discover after a life altering experience; illness, injury, loss, etc. For me, the landing place was art. Art caught me and held me close during the seventh year of Lyme Disease treatment. After a lifetime of believing that art was something other people did, and protecting my student's art experience like a mad dog, at the age of 55 I bought a few tiny bottles of alcohol inks and did something very new for me: I used them. You might call me an art materials hoarder. My drawers and cabinets were filled with markers, paints, pencils, paper, and brushes, all of them barely used. Art materials were so beautiful to me, in fact, that they were the subject of a little Artist Date that I took myself on. I spent hours in the local art store ooohing and ahhing in the paint aisle, photographing brushes, and ogling the markers. Still, I thought, art was not for me.
There I sat, last June 2015, staring at a few bottles of ink, a felt pad for dabbing, and a large ceramic tile left over from our bathroom floor, not knowing what to do with any of them. It came to me that I should do what I always hoped any child in my classroom would do with the materials I had placed there.... just play, and so I did just that. I started playing and I haven't stopped since. Apparently Alcohol Inks are a gateway medium! From that day on I created at a fevered pitch, every single day, until it was too cold for me to work outside in my little sunporch studio. There were so many discoveries made along the way, and so many new questions to consider. Every single moment spent with my inks was teaching me something about art, color, flow, and my own fears and courage. That's right. You can't have courage without the fears, folks. I made so many beautiful surprises, and some terrible muddy messes. I loved the muddy messes, too. They were my greatest teachers, and one good thing about this kind of ink is that you can wipe it all away with a little rubbing alcohol and reclaim your tile for one more try. Nothing was wasted because everything taught me something new.
Here I am, about 16 months later, recovering from another spin. My husband and I recently moved from Pennsylvania to south Georgia, leaving our two young adult sons to test their wings. They wanted to stay there, and I am so proud of them for that, but oh, nothing could have prepared me for the feelings of loss and loneliness. I'm not just missing them,either. My doctors are gone to me. My friends are far, far away. The grocery stores have different foods and the fall in Georgia is nothing like autumn in the north. Everything I know is somewhere else, and everything here is strange.
Along came Cinnamon Cooney, #TheArtSherpa, and her wonderful Tech Hub, John, and The Big Art Quest. I'm not even sure how I found them, and all of you, but I'm pretty sure it involved Google and a search for painting classes. Somehow I ended up on YouTube. It feels inviting and comforting to have this quest in my life, and it's wonderful to be learning so much. Color is my favorite thing!
By now, I know a landing place when I see one, and this, my friends, is a beautiful place to land. Maybe we have many landing places throughout our lives. Maybe I just never noticed before. First We Spin, then we land, right? Lyme Disease probably caused the biggest spinout of my life, but this recent move was doozy. Art, once more, is holding me close.
How about you? What is your landing place? Is it art, or something else?