Journal: Sunday, December 15

Art exhibit at Nadine Baum Studios, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Art everywhere!

My friend Erin and I spent all day yesterday at a holiday art function, milling back and forth in front of a display of our respective work, shaking hands, smiling and nodding, chatting with the visitors whenever the opportunity presented itself, generally being sociable. The word, I believe, is schmoozing.

This sort of thing is not something I’m particularly good at: my recent works include a very precisely-rendered pen and ink representation of a carnivorous beetle, shown eleven times natural size; a realistically-modeled life-sized human heart studded with shards of broken glass; a trilobite fossil built up out of trash; and a large acrylic painting of the serpent lurking in the Garden of Eden. Light cocktail conversation about my artworks is sometimes a bit difficult to bring off.

That said, the event was fun. Sometimes you get lucky and you find yourself facing a crowd that is interested in the plastic arts not just as decor but also as a form of expression, no less valid than a novel or a film; this was that kind of audience. They asked the right questions, and they were interested in the answers. There were other artists there whose work I admired, and whose opinions of my work I solicited and valued.

Tiring? You bet. Worth it? Definitely. Very slowly, step by step, I’m beginning to learn how to go beyond just producing the art to actually presenting it effectively to people who might appreciate what I’ve done. I still have a long way to go, but I feel as though this weekend has taken me an appreciable distance down that road.

 

Journal: Thursday, December 5

I’ve had a string of good luck over the last few days: a package of artwork that had gone astray in New York City finally found its way to the intended recipient, who is delighted with the pictures; a possible complication to Hartley’s spay surgery cleared up on its own; I was able to get a fresh supply of propane for the cabin heater mere hours before the roads closed and the truck would have been unable to reach me; we’ve had no interruption in our electricity all day, despite the ice storm outside … All in all, it’s been a good week so far.

Despite that, I find that the sleet and freezing rain outside, the darkness, the sense of isolation, is wearing on me today. Winter storms like the one we’re experiencing tonight and tomorrow seem to increase the distance between towns, between houses, between people, between the lighted windows in the dark.

Snow I can handle: snow is different, lighter, more like a natural expression of natural forces; but ice … ice is sinister, destructive. Snow reflects the light, ice absorbs it; snow shelters the birds and beasts, ice paralyses them, crushes them, smothers the spark.

We have tonight and tomorrow to contend with — that’s all — and then the sky will begin to clear. Temperatures will still be brutally cold, but at least there won’t be all this ice falling everywhere. Another week after that, and temps will work their way back above freezing.

I think I’m just going to pull the covers over my head and hibernate until then.