The Quest for Understanding and other stories

Printmaking/woodcut; plywood and canvas
Work and photo by Margot Myers
Those of you who have been around for a while might remember that I'm on something of a quest to understand modern art.

It's something that comes to mind a lot in Bellingham. Sometimes—e.g., when walking around the giant macaroni noodle on the street corner, or navigating my way across the abstract-statuary-punctuated WWU campus—I feel shut out, as if I'd attempted to get to know someone and they'd snubbed me.

On account of which, I've been offering eternal gratitude to anyone who helps me understand modern art in any form. Masha and Christie have begun that work for me in poetry; Jade carries it forward musically; and Margot Myers joined that list of teachers a couple of Sundays ago with a beautiful visual piece called "Traces."

Margot is my friend, and maybe friendship is the best way into understanding art—or maybe I'm drawn to make friends with people who call me forward artistically. Whichever be the case, I see a lot of my own feeling reflected in her artistic statement:
The incredible, ordered power in natural systems and organisms is the main thing that informs my work. I respond to the great beauty and delicacy that I see in the sky, the ocean and in the dirt.... I want my work to increase consciousness of and a connection to the fleeting, intense and sometimes frightful beauty that exists around us. 
"Traces," she explained in a statement that accompanied her exhibit, is about travel and the traces we leave behind us as we move around the world. She studied everything from vapor trails to boat wakes in the creation process, and invited strangers to participate by leaving painted footprints; when you get close enough, you can see shoe treads marked in yellows.

Detail of "Traces"
Work and photo by Margot Myers
I had to read the words first, because I need explanation so badly. After that, though, I walked around the piece, considered it from different angles, and saw everything she'd mentioned and then some: dots on a map, headlights and taillights, land and sea and motion, salmon traveling upstream, and even comings and goings between stars. And, because my mind works this way: ferris wheels, tiger colors, film reels, peacock feathers, and Golden Snitches. (I think the latter actually represented a map symbol, but am not sure.)

Sometimes I just looked at the sweep of line and color across the boards and canvas and thought, "It's beautiful."

It was nice to meet a piece of modern visual art and feel like it said hello and smiled at me. I'd like to meet more. In the meantime, I recommend Margot's site and her Facebook page! Enjoy.

* * *

*grin and blush*

So. On March 27, I was finally able to sign up for orientation at Utah State, SAT scores in hand. And I was able to tell them that I got a 620 in Math and an 800 in Critical Reading.

Required score for getting out of college math entirely: 580. :D

I'm tempted to light off fireworks, even though they're not legal in Bellingham (not that that stops anybody). Since I'm not in possession of any, however, I'll have to settle for a VERY LONG AND EXUBERANT HAPPY DANCE OH MY GOSH.

:D :D :D :D :D

* * *

This is not the first time in my life I've worked thirty-two hours a week. What I can't figure out right now is when I used to do stuff. When did I go to the grocery?—do laundry?—sleep? I get up at six and go to bed at midnight and I still can't get it all done.

Meanwhile, the flowering quince is blooming, and the fruiting quince is leafing out; there's another peony coming up in the lawn; Lou found a brick border buried an inch deep under sod around the front gardens; I rode my bike to work for the first time today (terrifying and exhausting, but it'll get better); I'm drinking rose-and-jasmine tea sent me by Masha (best-smelling package EVER, Em! That oil! And I keep cuddling the scarf for feel and scent, and thinking of you <3); and I keep smiling because Saturday brought me some rather lovely friendship and music, like a thoughtfully-chosen gift.

The music you might just get to hear one of these days, as the composer is a certain aforementioned friend, and the vocalist is a certain aforementioned husband. ;)

Oh, and I never got you a cat picture last week. Laura, thanks for giving me permission to miss a few. George and Maia, I'M SORRY.

Harry Potter post coming soon; Masha put up hers, and Christie is planning to join back in before long as well. In the meantime, I hope you're all having a great week!


  1. Congratulations on kicking Math's rear end!!

    And that picture of Maia could probably qualify as modern art. But it's actually quite good. A mysterious, ethereal quality about it. Plus, it has a cat in it. :)

  2. Congratulations!

    And a cat WITH a telescope! You have my permission to take the rest of the week off.


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