The three of us are currently going through a sort of poetic exercise where we discuss our impressions of the various words we've struggled to define. Last week, we covered beauty. Masha's impressions included this revealing and fascinating idea (explained more fully in her post):
For the most part, I try to live what many people consider a life of impractical priorities.
Whereas Mr. Pond ended his thoughts with a short piece of fiction, a hauntingly lovely scene between a young Edvard Grieg and the older, more experienced Franz Liszt.
Imagine, if you will, the tableau of the two musicians standing at the piano. They are in the salon, a high-ceilinged room redolent of the era, the curtains heavy, the carpet lush, the great piano forte in the centre of the room. The scribbled bits of foolscap are spread across it....
You should really read the whole thing. It's not the first time I've thought my critique partner had a genius for the short story form.
This week's word: art.
* * *
|Red Scarf and Blue Jeans by Anne Olwin. Source.|
I grew up tracing Mom's pieces and then drawing my own, learning from her about perspective and foreshortening and light and shadow. And I grew up with her aphorisms: "What's in your heart will come out in your art." "Half of learning how to draw is learning how to see." "You don't have to draw a cross to make Christian art."
Early on, of course, I had different ideas for pencil and paper. The art teacher's oldest son, whom I reverenced, was the first to let me know that it was not normal to narrate my existence out loud. "She walked down the hall and turned on the light," I'd say, as I did just that. And he said "All you ever say is she, she, she."
"No, it's not all I say."
"Yes it is! You just said it. She did this, she did that. She, she, she."
That's how much reading and writing was a part of my life, even at five or six. I went from Curious George to Billy and Blaze to Little House on the Prairie, and read a set of the latter books to pieces. My own first stories were made of sheets of paper stapled into manila folders. They were entirely plotless. But they started me toward a lifetime of learning to write prose—which, under the influence of my mom's self-taught piano and guitar playing, later branched into music and lyrics as well.
|Dress by Mom, flowers by Beth, veil by Mom and I |
Photo by Casey Karbowski
But not one influence has done more to shape me as an artist than my first and best teacher. Art is a way of life in my mother's house. For us, it has been the planting of roses and Canterbury bells, the hanging of sheer curtains and the four-step painting of walls. Mom's work displayed around the house, and her classes in the living room. Dad building grape arbors and hammering roses out of metal. One sister's photography and another's skill with food presentation. Me with Mom's old guitar, in a chair in the corner. Mom and my sisters and friends and I designing and producing the family weddings—dresses, cakes, flowers, music, hair and makeup, favors.
Today, for every member of my family, it is the way we look at life and try to express it through our chosen media.
|Antique Roses in Pink and White by Anne Olwin. Source.|