No artwork to attach as of yet for the day, but rather some early morning (at least here in California) food for thought. We watch CBS Sunday Morning every week. Today’s episode was about the future. Interesting stories about past World Fair exhibits, what was predicted and envisioned , and what actually came into being. Jules Verne and how he inspired scientists as children, an amazing story about 3-D printing, where not only are plastics formed to make objects, but human tissue recreation. What struck me the most however, and then led to an entirely 6 degrees of separation train of thought, was how we as humans and our DNA have evolved. In particular how technology and its evolution doesn’t require us to use our brains as much. In a small way I see this in my own life. I know the phone number of each and every friend I have, as well as those of my family. The idea of that seems to be beyond the comprehension of my twenty-two year old son. (“Get to the point”, my inner “Don’t be the long-winded old lady type”, is screaming.) So here it is…. As we get further and further into technology what do we lose? My son had barely, if any attention paid to penmanship in school. He has a horrible signature (sorry Brian), and rarely puts anything on paper. Notes are typed into his phone, I am sure the thought of writing a hand written letter would seem absurd to him, and many of his “friendships” are over a game console during an internet session of what ever the latest video craze is. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of connecting with people from around the world. That in part is why I started this blog, to put myself out there, but what I fear losing, or even worse, what this younger spoon-fed on the internet generation won’t even know to miss, is a little old-fashioned sentimental humanity. This blog is about my life and art. In my struggles top find my artistic identity, and to get past the a fore mentioned “not good enough” voice that resides in my head, I have used particular tools on the computer to help myself. I have taken photographs that I would like to paint and put a filter on them. Not to use for any other purpose than to blur the lines, to help me get over my artistic perfection chip, but often when I look at these printed copies I realize that with say a paint filter, how easy it is to manipulate something and call it art, virtually no skill required.
This is where my six degrees comes in. As I was cooking breakfast I looked at a block of wood that sits in my kitchen on top of the microwave. It is a scrap off a two x four piece of wood that has a nail driven through it, with the words “RAY FISH SKINNER” written on it. It was my mother’s. She made this odd tool after she severely cut her hand trying to make fish for my dad. I rarely make fish, and certainly don’t ever envision myself skinning a Ray or any other fish, but it’s the words written on it in my mother’s handwriting that make it so valuable to me. This is where I worry about the loss of human connection. I have hand written hundreds of notes and love letters to my husband in the last twenty-seven years. They are not typed, they are written in my hand writing, and I hope some day that will mean something to my children. As for art, I have seen countless books and photos of art, I have quite a collection of art books, and have always loved looking through them. Then I went to Paris, I went to the Louvre, I went to Musee d’Orsay, and visited both Versailles and Giverny. Here in the U.S., I have been to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Getty in L.A., the Museum of Art in Milwaukee, the list could go on and on. What struck me at all of them is that until you see the paintings of the waterlilies, and Van Gogh’s Iris, and the countless other spectacular works of art in person, until you see the brushstrokes and see the three-dimensional thickness of the paint, and the real life color, you haven’t really experienced the paintings. My children could have photos of my art, but when I am gone and they can touch my brush strokes and know that their mother created that piece of art with her hands it will hopefully bring some part of me back to them. There isn’t a computer screen that can replicate that. There is no technology that can replace my mother’s handwriting. The show visited the Library of Congress this morning, and the reporter held a book in her hands that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Could she have read that book on her Kindle? Sure, but to hold in her hand something that had once been in the hands of Thomas Jefferson made all the difference. As all of us rely more and more on iphones, lap tops, ipads, lets not forget to leave behind a piece of ourselves. Something not contained in a screen, but something that can hold a value that can never have a price on it. Get your kids to go outside and actually interact within the community, unlike internet connections, human connection can’t afford to be lost.
I close this rambling with what someday might be called a piece of folk art, by a little known but much beloved artist named Mary Ann Power Archbold. She was my mother, and she left this world without ever realizing how much talent she had.