Friday, May 27, 2011

Artists Foundation at Brush Creek Ranch

I am so pleased to say I returned from Chicago recently from an amazing trip. It was brief but I finally feel like the ball is rolling on my future endeavors. Saturday morning five women sat around a table in a beautiful apartment overlooking Lake Michigan. Decisions were made by this fledgling board on the future the Artists Foundation at Brush Creek Ranch.

Oh, did I mention on got my dream job?! Yup, the new Director of the Artists Foundation at Brush Creek Ranch, yours truly. This unique residency program will be opening this fall with select residents. The first application deadline is September 15th, 2011 for the Winter/Spring of 2012. Length of stay from January to May are two weeks long; June, July and August will be four weeks long; and September through mid November two weeks long. Residents are responsible for airfare to Laramie Regional Airport (LAR). The Artists Foundation will provide transportation to and from Laramie, private living space/bathroom, individual work spaces, and all meals while in residence. We will have room for 8 artists at any given time-- 4 visual artists, 2 writers and 2 musician/composers. All are welcome!

This amazing location is near and dear to my heart-- situated between the Sierra Madre and Snowy Mountain ranges on the high plains of South Central Wyoming in the North Platte River Valley. It is my home, my axis mundi, and where my roots have always been.

It is my great pleasure to be part of this developing project, hopefully for years to come. While we are in the development stages I wanted to informally keep you posted on things in the near future. Come back soon for more information. Please spread the word about this unique opportunity!

Best wishes,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Precious Time... No more wasting it!

I've been having really whacked out dreams as of late. Last night I dreamt about old high school friends whom I haven't spoken with in years. One of them was getting remarried and wouldn't let Joel come to the wedding because he was mean to her. In real life, they've never actually met. In the same dream, I was watching a basketball game in the mountains with log trucks zooming past the court made of grass. Because I don't really watch sports, I decided to help out the plants. On the edge of the court were little delicate green shoots forcing their way up from the detritus of the forest floor. I started pulling away dead brown organic material to reveal the bright lovely green of new plants, when all of a sudden, I looked down at my hand. It was covered with little black beetles that were boring into my skin. I was peeling away the skin on my hand to get the creepy crawlies out.... and that’s when I woke up!

What is the moon doing right now, I wonder? And then I think to myself, "I spend way too much time online!"

As someone who seeks little visual culture through moving pictures (i.e. TV), the internet is a dangerous thing and I have gotten sucked in. Lately I've found myself with little to no studio time because of end of the semester cleaning, painting and general re-arranging. So what have I been doing? Digging deeper into the soul sucking world wide web. AAaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! This is not very mindful behavior and it has got to stop.

So this is what I do to stop wasting my precious time on the internets:

1. Go on daily walks
2. Ride my bike more instead of driving my car
3. Get back into morning yogacizing
4. Do something art related when I go to the studio (duh!)
5. Start a calendar of deadlines for exhibitions to enter
6. Attend a birding class on the 14th of May
7. Set a timer for Facebook and other social media
8. Draw in my sketchbook and write more often.

Any other bright ideas for not wasting time on the web are greatly appreciated! Let me know what you do to engage in the outside world.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Compassion for others

Last night, as I was sleeping, my friend sent me a text message. This was nothing out of the ordinary. They stay up late; I often go to bed early. And not I'm-an-old-lady-and-get-up-at-5am-early, but it was sometime before midnight. The text read,

" The US military just killed Bin Laden. Obama is about to speak."

As I read the words in my dreamy sleep, I really only hoped it was Joel saying he made it to his campsite and was also hunkering down for the night. Slightly confused by what I read, I closed my phone, put it back by my bedside and quickly fell back asleep.

Checking email and the non-essential social media this morning, my heart has been a little sad all day by the number of rejoiceful and yet hateful things I have read. I can't shake the overwhelming feeling either. Yes, the news of Osama Bin Laden's death brings joy and comfort to many people, especially in the US. Perhaps they feel like they don't have to live in fear anymore. Perhaps their loved ones are one step closer to coming home. I do not fully understand the consequences of this news. And quite frankly I am not sure anyone who celebrates this news can fully grasp the situation either.

Does it mean that we can stop fighting?
Does it mean these wars will be over and people will suddenly decide to be peaceful?

Ten years ago, I did not (and still do not) own a television. I remember walking through a common space in the art building and there were small groups of students, ghost-faced and staring up at the events unfolding on the screens above. At the time, I was horrified by what I saw and heard. "Did you see the bodies jumping from the towers?" fingers pointing, videos played over and over as ovals highlighted the falling figures. After the first morning, I chose to not look at images if I could help it. Sheltered from images of 9/11 tragedies, it was only years later that I was struck with the emotional drama that most people could not rip themselves from watching on their TV sets. Perhaps it was my chosen shelter that makes it more difficult for me to understand the hateful things I hear now about Bin Laden's death. Maybe I don't have the same emotional attachment and vindictive sense of relief.

One thing that strikes me during all of this is the need for compassion. I am thankful for our president with his somber response and respect to Bin Laden's death. We need more leaders leading with compassion and thoughtfulness for all parties involved. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and try on their life for just a moment. You might not like what you see when you look in the mirror wearing another person's shoes. I cannot imagine what it has been like living under Taliban strong holds. I cannot images what it has been like living in a family who risks losing their home. Whether in the Middle East, or right here at home, there are people struggling with life and with death and with money and with love and with fear and...

It is moments like this I am thankful for everything that I have been given and worked hard to achieve, for all the people who have come in and out of my life and all the sacrifices others have made for me. I am not defiantly patriotic, nor extremely religious but I read something today that seemed quite fitting (minus the jesus part at the end):

"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble."

So, now I do what I know best. Dive into my work, inspired by readings and try to create a more balanced world. I think there is a place for beauty in this world. I think there is a place for empathy and compassion. We can make change, even if it's quiet. Sit and meditate on that for awhile.