072:365 Think 3 Steps Ahead

072:365 Think 3 Steps Ahead

072:365 Think 3 Steps Ahead
This morning, despite Monday’s brief foray into shorts-weather, there was nearly an inch of snow on the ground when I went out the door. Although it was barely an inch, it was more slippery than some of the piles of snow we got in February, maybe because it is a little warmer outside and so it melts and re-freezes as you drive on it.

After my morning errands, I arrived home and decided to walk in the bright cold air to get us some coffee and donuts. I realized that I haven’t taken many snow-photos, so I snapped a few.

So much for an early spring!

Then on the way back, one patch of sidewalk had been un-trampled and I decided to do a playful photo of my footsteps being laid out before me. Of course it is a simple photo to take, you just jump off your footprints, walk around the outside of where you’re going to frame the photo, and then snap it. But it adds a touch of surprise since the footsteps usually go behind the person, not vice versa.

And it got me thinking about how people make plans, play games, run politics. It’s almost as if we think we can know what the next three steps are in life. But it isn’t like chess, which already has a lot of permutations of moves, in life, there are so many ways of being that who we were and who we are do not predict who we will become as people.

Making the choice of studying to be an artist or an engineer; a lawyer or a novelist, changes the possible outcomes to an extent because in a world as big as ours, having qualifications is extremely important.

But I have a friend who has an engineering and a law degree who works as a circus artist and teacher. And I have an art degree, but am currently making the most money from the little bit of computer-geekiness at manipulating data and light coding that I’ve accrued by osmosis and necessity. Even my father, who speaks several languages and graduated with English and Russian majors, didn’t work in his fields of study until retirement, now publishing articles, teaching, and researching.

And those are only the very concrete things that make us who we are. How we treat other people, how we choose to react to problems, and how we are able to solve daily problems are a whole other field of being that qualifications say nothing about on paper. We may guess that a person who is good at engineering will have a neat house, or that a lawyer likes to argue, but I’ve met messy engineers and reserved lawyers.

When I was twenty, I knew who I was. It was a certainty that I had defined. Allida is this, she isn’t that. But in the last several years, choices and opportunities have come that changed my direction. I’ve met and got along with the kinds people who I always thought hated me. I’m more flexible and stronger than I thought, and though life has been difficult sometimes, I now feel a graceful balance at the core of myself. It was always there, but now I feel it more deeply.

But now, seeing all the choices ahead of me; all the steps that show the way forward in the snowy sidewalk of life, I’m not sure of myself. Those three steps ahead seem to open up an infinite number of other steps in an infinite number of directions. There are limitations set down by the first step which will mar the snow. Perhaps I’m afraid that this next first step will limit the next three.

By now, I know that you can’t always go back, but with a little creativity, like the photo, you can get around things and get somewhere that seems impossible when you start.

066:365 Clouds

Ypsi in the morning

Today another drawing from a photo, attempting in a slightly abstract way, to capture the glow and the shadow of a bright midwestern morning.

066:365 Clouds

The dynamic nature of clouds, the surface of water, and the motion of cloth along the body are fascinating. They are hard to see, hard to transcribe. Maybe that is why as I get older, abstraction in thought and in form attract me more.

Why do people make art? What are we seeking?

Maybe these almost epistemological questions are why we keep making art. We keep making visual representations of things real and imagined to figure out why we make abstractions of what we see and feel in much the same way that we keep writing about perception, society, and cosmos; biology, mathematics, and physics.

Seeking is perhaps the answer to its own question, as the oft-repeated adage: Life is a journey, not a destination.

032:365 Dreaming of Electric Mice

032:365 Dreaming of Electric Mice

Since my first Gracie narrative was so popular, I decided to do another one. Here’s our gender-identity confused cat, Gracie, asleep on my bed dreaming of his afternoon while I take a picture of him with the iPad and then set up an iterative one-liner.

"Goodnight, Gracie!"

In every cat’s dream, there is a cat dreaming, of a cat dreaming, of a cat dreaming…!

Textures and Motion

Crocheted Norfolk Pine Necklace

Recently they cut the grass along the bike path where Sydney and I walk.  Then a few days later they went up and down and trimmed all the trees.  So there was a huge pile of Norfolk Pine “leaves” laying on the ground, some of them more intact than the single needles that I’d collected before.

I picked up a little one to take home and study, realizing that I’d missed an important detail about it’s branching system.  Instead of branching from one point like a palm leaf, the needles clusters that form each “leaf” grow out from the central branch like ribs.

Seeing the needle bundle separately also made me realize that it had great potential as a piece of jewelry.  So I dug out some lovely green tweed single-twist yarn and got to crocheting.  The result is what you see above.

This attempt instantiates more of the idea I was shooting for when I made the skirt-cape thing.  Sometimes it just takes awhile to stumble on the right way of seeing something. It moves against the body, and has a confluence of roughness and softness.  Seeing the pine tree moving in the wind, it looks soft, and when it is just still, it looks rougher.

I’d say that the spark has lit a small fire, and it’s time to play.  I’m considering whether to stick to earthy colors that a pine would really sport, or if I should branch out (pun intended) into other colors.  It also could be a necklace, part of a shirt, earrings, or part of some other garment, and I’m considering how it will play with a variety of options.  Stay posted!

Photo Booths

Self-Portraits taken in a Photo-Booth

Today was extremely busy.  A friend of mine in our building has a daughter who is about 11.  She had an art show and a film festival today with photos and films by her on display in both places.  It sounded like a fun thing to do, so I went along for the ride.

The school, and the art centers were really interesting and bring to bear on a running argument that I have with my SO, who claims that there is less culture in the US in general, and in California in particular, than there is in Europe.  To an extent I can understand his perspective, but I’ve always said that we Americans have our cultural events surrounding familial units and children rather than in the streets.  Today’s events made that abundantly clear to me.

It isn’t that we don’t value cultural events, its that they are most vibrant in more closed settings.

Whereas in Spain or France, you go into the street and you see people doing art, and playing music, here you have to know where to go and usually they are open settings but with hidden addresses that you have to know about or be connected to in order to find.

I went to a bunch of different places with her along the way since she had errands to run, and things to pick up.  I saw a local school, the Electric Lodge, Staples, Venice Arts Gallery, and the Lutheran Church where the Kids Film Festival was held.

While we were at the Electric Lodge, they were setting up a photo-booth convention.  Real, not digital, photos ready in 5 minutes.  It sounded fun, so I went back later with my housemate, and we went on further adventures.

Since on a recent weekend outing we found a photo booth, and took our pictures, I’m beginning to amass a collection of photo booth photos.  There are some somewhere with me and one of my first Madrid roommies too.  When I find them I’ll publish them too.

Here’s photobooth photos (digital) of me and H in 2006 and in 2012.

Photo-booth photos 2006, 2012