Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rainy Day at the Park

Sandy Point State Park

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nothing Says Fine Art Like Lime Green Spandex

I had a few minutes to spare before painting class yesterday evening, so after photographing some delicious full-flowering trees, I swung by the National Portrait Gallery.

I was greeted by a synchronized alien invasion.

Space-age thongs look uncomfortable
The green spandecized invaders were, it turns out, part of a life-sized, living video game. Kids lined up to run through a parade of orange foam wielding troopers.


Meanwhile, in another part of the galaxy, another complicated ritual was taking place.

Warrior, King, Hipster & Crew
The crowning of a new hipster? Falling stars beaning flowers? Questioning ideas on astronomy?

I couldn't decipher the scene, but an official photographer zipped about documenting it with his impressively long lens.

Spring burst into bloom this week in DC, and the pollen is rushing to our heads, making us goofy with the fever of warmth, waking the slumbering spirit of play.

After a week emcompassing events such as attending my first cocktail party with secret service patrolling the crowd (why yes, they did give me probing looks; I must look shifty when I wear mascara) and a multitude of more mundane conference room meetings, I found I was most in my festive spring element with the alien invaders.

Still: I'm not wearing lime green spandex no matter how many flowers bloom.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A)political B)Ad Mouth

Totally unrelated photo #1: Frog on the
ceiling of a Mexican restaurant
near Dupont Circle
or Why I Don't Write About Politics

Of the many reasons on why my personal kingdom here at Artful Mistakes will never reach the big time, one of the irritating ones is that I do not launch into screeds on politics. While I read others' screeds (and balanced discussions) here and there, and have opinions, I keep them to myself in the public forum.

When I don't, I find it too easy to slide into the Land of Righteous Indignation.

And Righteousness is addictive. If just feels so good to be right, to stride around in that moral high ground and point fingers at those lesser folk that haven't seen the glory of the light.

While no fan of relativism, I distrust that righteous judgment. Righteousness is where listening goes to die.

Unrelated photo #2: Sign for sale at fleamarket
in Georgetown
Other options for the global local sociopolitical-minded include the calculated self-interest approach. This mindset ignores any ethical considerations whatsoever and instead focuses on how to make sure you're on the winning team. It often involves skewing information to the betterment of the home team, slopping, erasing or manipulating details for the “good of the organization.”

I find that reasoning distasteful enough to make the Land of Righteous look like, well, the right choice.

There is a third option that I've seen rarely, but does exist as a space held by those who enter into the fray of public debate: passionate engagement.

Unrelated photo #3: Chapel in graveyard
near Dumbarton Oaks

The enthusiasm to do good and right here is coupled with an openness to changing and refining opinions as more information is collected. Engagement takes colossal amounts of patience, doesn't include the giddy rush of righteous living, and it is almost never lauded or rewarded (“He changed his mind! He's willy-wallying! We need action, not thought. Get the rope, the pitchforks, the righteous and the press!”).

This graceful engagement is exceptionally rare though. Most people filter through information to collect that which serves their existing point of view, and discount anything new as being biased (which, of course, it may very well be.  But if you never listen, how exactly will you know?). 

So if you're looking for me to go on a rant on the relative merits of one party or another, the hypocrisy, deceit, cruelty, or ineptitude of another politician, corporation, government, spiritual approach or other heavy-hitter, you may be waiting a long time between screeds.

Artful Mistakes is a personal blog. It is about process. It's about changing directions and changing your mind, changing your life, generally through the somewhat less inflammatory and accepting world of art, where no one pretends absolute authority, knowledge, or objectivity.
Leo listening hard to his dreams

By its nature, exploration is willy-wallying, going left, then going right, going over the mountain and then down by the stream, painting a portrait and then twisting wire forms into a horse.

It may be that down the road that I'll find a way of holding the Goldilocks space of passionate engagement, and I won't mind the screaming of the righteous or the cutting herd of the self-interest. My Goldilocks voice may yet sing a little louder and hit unexpected high notes a little more clearly.

For right now, however, I value looking, exploring, and listening.

And I am listening.

And voting.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In Process

As yet, untitled

I haven't decided if the lobster will make the final cut of the painting or not. 

But I'm having tons of fun pondering other objects he could be holding and accompanying cheeky titles.

We'll see what I decide to do when I next pick up the brush.