“Popular culture and counter-culture cannot be truly independent and diverse if weighed down with the onerous burden of having to constantly regurgitate a partisan creed. True art thrives when it can connect with people at the level of universal human archetypes; ideas, sentiments and concepts that exist beyond the realm of petty, sectarian, political squabbles.” – Paul Joseph Watson
I start blog posts and leave them hanging without finishing. There will be a slew of them coming as I finish them up now. Sometimes they need pictures and sometimes I get going on the writing and stop mid-sentence. When I go back, I often have no idea where that train of thought was headed. I do this in my journal as well. I was looking back at some things I had written earlier in the year and one of my pages was about self-discipline and the need to finish what I start. Then I proceeded to write half a sentence and quit right in the middle. I had no idea what I was trying to say. If I did, I might have tried to finish the sentence all these months later. 🙂
Above is a photo of one of my doodles. I like to draw and doodle. Someone wrote a book about it and called it Zentangle. I don’t like that word, but its what doodling is now called, at least on the Pinterest pins that I have added to my “artwork” folder. Some people combine them. Zentangle doodles. That’s better maybe. Another person calls them Zenspirations, for their creative, meditative quality. Either way, I have lots of examples of this method of drawing patterns in strategic sections, creating fascinating, sometimes complicated designs. I started a dragon on a very large sheet of paper, with various patterns, last summer. When I’m not working and homeschooling and doing my own schoolwork, maybe I will have time to doodle again. I guess Zentangle is a good description, because it is mezmerizing. It can be very relaxing when all is quiet except for some ambient music. A fun thing to try might be to doodle to different types of instrumental music.
Check out my “artwork” board on Pinterest and try something while listening to Spanish Guitar:
Lakota Sioux – Vision Quest
Artist – Laura Seaman
Graphite and Charcoal
In 1979, I began my study of art outside of public school art classes. My mother had discovered an art studio a few miles from our house in Wauconda, IL called The Studio in the Woods, and decided that this would make an excellent extracurricular activity that she could share with both me and my brother on the weekends when we all came together to do family activities after a week of work, school and long commutes kept us apart most hours of the day. The studio taught oil painting, watercolor and charcoal drawing. We started with charcoal, so that we were well grounded in light and dark values, shading and shadow before we moved into color. I had the opportunity to try my hand at all of the media offered at the studio, but I eventually found that drawing was my preferred method of artistic expression. In this drawing, I experimented with different types of lines and shading techniques. My own mind is drawn to the simplicity of the black, white and shades of gray, without the ‘clutter’ of color.
The owner of The Studio in the woods was a subscriber to Southwestern Art magazine and an enthusiastic patron of Native American paintings. I spent many hours looking through the old magazines she let me take home and I saved many photos of works for inspiration. My studies ended when high school ended, but I would continue to draw from time to time. The drawing “Hembleciya” is a compilation of those inspirational photos. The Lakota Sioux word for Vision Quest is “Hembleciya” and it translates ‘crying for a dream’. A young friend of mine of French and Native American decent describes this rite of passage:
“I’ve been on a vision quest before…It’s sort of like deep-entrancing self-meditation where you pray to God and commune with your soul inside your mind.In the old days, they used herbs to do this but nowadays you just build a medicine bundle and do this with deep prayer to God. It’s like an ultra-prayer. The French call this “dream-crying.” It’s amazing.”
During this quest, the person would seek a remote location on a mountain or butte and relinquish all worldly comforts, relying on their spiritual strength. In this way, they would seek guidance from God and vision.
(Thank you, Lord Kansas :0)
Dexter Graves Monument, Graceland Cemetery
The rain dripped in a half-hearted drizzle as we drove up Clark Street past Wrigley Field. It was late afternoon in mid-January as we toured the north side of the city with my Dad. “We’re coming up to Graceland cemetery here, kids,” he said to his grandchildren. “Do you remember this neighborhood, Laura? I think there are gangsters buried there…Machine Gun Kelly rings a bell.” Someone has a smart phone and checks this bit of trivia. I turn into the cemetery and check the hours to make sure we don’t get locked inside. We see a light on in a building nearby and joke about it being a gift shop where we can purchase a machine gun keychain. The smart phone answers. It seems the Valentine’s Day Massacre took place across the street in a warehouse, but no mention of gangsters buried in this cemetery. Grandpa’s memory was a little off, but we continued to drive slowly through this fascinating cemetery under the gray sky and barren trees.
Graceland Cemetery in Chicago is home to many monuments of interest to the artistic and architecture communities, but one of the more notable is the brooding bronze sculpture entitled “Eternal Silence,” also known as the “Statue of Death”. I spotted this sculpture and stopped the car to take a picture, unaware of its history, but still drawn to the large, haunting figure. It stands 8 ft. tall, and was once black, but the bronze now reveals a weathered patina. The face, looking on from deep within the hood remains black. Form and content work together here to communicate a discomfiting confrontation with death.
“Eternal Silence” was commissioned by the son of Dexter Graves, a former hotel owner, successful land speculator and businessman. According to the black granite base of the monument, Dexter Graves is credited with bringing the first colony of 13 families to Chicago. He ran a hotel called the Mansion House and lived from 1789-1844. The bronze figure for his monument was created in 1909 by sculptor Lorado Taft, whose unfinished work “Fountain of Time” sculpture is located at the University of Chicago Midway. Homeschooled by his parents, Taft received his master’s degree from the University of Illinois and was a sculptor, educator and writer with exceptional public speaking skills. He is actually better known for his writings than for his sculpture, authoring The History of American Sculpture and Modern Tendencies in Sculpture.
(My midterm student gallery assignment – Introduction to Art – Spring 2013)