Friday, September 7, 2018

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream....

I’ve been having some interesting dreams this week...and I thought I’d write them down to remember.

3 nights ago I dreamt that I found a turtle in my front yard...I looked up turtle dream and it seems to most often refer to protection, fortification... I noted it because I don’t remember ever dreaming about turtles before. (Whales and horses I dream about all the time but turtles, no)

Honestly, I think the turtle was simply from a post I had read that day about a lost tortoise in my neighborhood... I’ve been surprised at how desert tortoises seem to be popular pets in my central Tucson neighborhood. (Years ago there was a guy who would take his tortoise out for a daily walk in downtown’s that kind of flavor that makes me love this hot and funky city

and last night I had a vivid dream of being in a new house in a 2nd floor room with two antique casement windows- (another protective fortification)

the window in front of me was open, and it looked out to a sunny lawn...there were pieces of my silver jewelry on the windowsill. (I interpreted that to mean that the work was open and available to the outside/ the world)

the window to the left was closed....I noticed that it was fortified with iron bars which framed the obviously antique glass panes (you know how old glass can be wavy and distorted, and 
have an extra fragile feel?) 

This closed window looked out over a lake, which was getting agitated with choppy I watched, a series of large waves came towards the window, like tidal waves, rising up to the second floor and crashing into the closed window, which I was surprised didn’t break. 

The giant waves continued but I knew I was protected, so I watched the brown lake water wash over the glass with peaceful fascination.

And then I woke up. Another hot, sunny day in Tucson. No lake for many miles. My waking reality. 

But what about my dreaming reality? Is it less important? Or is it simply differently important? I choose the latter...

I’m fascinated by dreams- we spend approximately 1/3 of our lives asleep, so I think it’s a mistake to disregard that big chunk of our thoughts. 

The human brain is still such a mystery, and it’s something that my brain is interested in...which is kind of narcissistic if you think about it....and then when you think about that, is it you that’s thinking, or the brain? 

Oh, it’s a confoundingly humorous riddle....

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Goods on Tucson

I've been living in Tucson since 1993 (with a break from 1997-2000 when we lived in Florence Italy, my husband's hometown)
the center of Florentine life: the Duomo

I guess the biggest compliment I can give is to say that we moved back to Tucson, from Florence Italy willingly... seriously, we chose to move back to Tucson from Italy. WHY?

I'm not crazy....Tucson and Florence are vastly different for many things, but for ease of living, Tucson has the win. Florence is absolutely stunning and filled with life, it was really hard to live there, day to day ( without the typical big family support that many Italians live with- that not only help emotionally but also directly plugging one into the sea of social and economic possibilities) FIRENZE does NOT do convenient.

Tucson City Hall
Tucson is really easy to live in: the houses have big lots of land for gardening, we always have a parking space (a massive plus for any urban area) and with the internet and our small but mighty airport we have access to really, anything.

Tucson is artistic: so many great murals! The public art! The galleries! Open studios almost every weekend! Festivals! Workshops! I'm a Jeweler, so the giant collection of Gem Shows are incredibly enriching (as long as I can resist spending too much at the shows....believe me, it's tempting!) And of course, I can't forget the tremendous All Souls Procession ( the first weekend of November)

Politically, it fits me.
Tucson is BLUE and Funky.  It's comforting to me that we don't live in the BIG RED parts of this state. I appreciate not being surrounded in traffic by giant Luxury SUVs filled with blonde Barbies and Kens with their 2.4 giant athletic kids, pedigree dog and Tr@mp bumper stickers. They are alien to me.

Nope, in Tucson (aka the Olde Pueblo) I'm more likely to be driving by moms / dads on their customized bikes, heading to drop off at school (or the slightly ramshackle yet beloved Tucson racquet club). People who don't care that I choose to sport funky colored hair. Their kids with impressive personalities busy with unusual hobbies ... hybrid rescue dogs in the back seat of dusty, slightly dented Subarus with a lime green "Be Kind" bumper sticker from our Ben's Bells Kindness project.

I do believe we will probably move back to Italy to retire ( who wouldn't want to do that?!) but- at least until the kid graduates High school- Tucson will remain our beloved dusty desert home.
Pass the sunscreen 😜

Thursday, August 30, 2018

what makes an ARTIST?

Recently I had a friend say they thought that they "Must not be an artist", because painting/drawing/doing art was often a struggle...

I have to say I disagree with this type of thinking...I don't think being an artist has much to do with your ability to draw (or sculpt/paint...etc)This idea is super common- when I disclose that I am an artist, often the response is "Oh I can't draw a straight line!". This way of thinking is stifling many people's creative flow. And it's a crying shame.

Because really, there’s a difference between Art and Technique. 
Many people (even those with little creativity) can master technique with enough practice and determination. 

In my opinion, an "Artist" is someone who has rich creative ideas and is able to translate their thoughts into something that communicates to others. 

Yes, in the past an artist's mastery of technical skills was essential to their success as an artist. The hand of a painter is immensely important- a Van Gough painted by anyone other than Vincent just isn't the same thing... 

However, I'd be remiss to ignore the fact that the artists of the Renaissance often had teams of assistants working with them on their large fresco commissions- often this was an apprenticeship position, where the young artists learned their craft)

A 14-year old Michelangelo had been apprenticed to the great Italian painter Domenico Ghirlandaio

Contemporary Art is less about the execution, and more about the idea. Sometimes the Creatives (aka Artist) have those precious skills that are used to create a piece of art, sometimes the skills are lacking- so they send out the job.

Having great technique which you can use in your piece is a wonderful bonus, but not every artist is a great technician- and in today’s art /design world some artists even pay others with the skills to do the work for the artist. Sometimes the artist employs an apprenticeship/ artist assistant for their techniques/ability to carry out instructions.

Occasionally, the artist is primarily the origin of the idea...and the artwork is produced by those who have the ability... (Believe me, Damien Hirst did not set those diamonds into the skull himself!)

I think my favorite description of what an artist is was from the novel "Skinny Legs and All" 1990 Tom Robbins (when the "non artist" boyfriend of the artist protagonist surpasses her artistic aspirations when he creates a turkey out of his travel trailer which makes him the new hot artist at a popular gallery) He explains that to him, ART is having an idea that you just HAVE TO see in reality. It's the IDEA that PULLS the art into reality. The artist is the one who is so obsessed with seeing the idea come to reality that they go to all lengths to see it completed.

I like that... It's how I operate. I become obsessed with seeing my ideas transformed into a tactile reality. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't...sometimes I wander into a rabbit hole...and sometimes I find a new door in the process. It's an exciting process and I wouldn't want to live any other way.
So please, don’t tell yourself that you aren’t artistic if you “can’t draw a straight line”...that’s what rulers are for😀

Friday, August 25, 2017

Embarassing Dancing and Detours to Die for

We all should have a few detours in our life- and it's even better if we have embarrassing footage to look at after it's over! (Well, This is one of mine....)

As we all do, I sometimes do google searches of things from my past. Often they are easy to find- an old boyfriend, a link to a music video, mostly things I've almost forgotten that I've just had seep back into my memory. 

This was a stumbled upon a memory of the summer when I almost died. 
Which led to the story of my one and only appearance on Italian TV.....

While watching the (excellent) TV series The Good Pope (HBO) my memory was jarred back twenty years ago, to the summer of 1998; that was when my appendix ruptured and I ended up very sick, in the hospital (coincidentally, the hospital where DaVinci did his anatomical studies) It was also the summer when I spent a month dancing with a Tuscan folk dance troupe...and we ended up on national television....

Tango, anyone?
(me in 1985)

"Una Rosa Per il 2000" (a rose for two thousand) was the name of the broadcast- it was (as they explained to me) a summer "special program" which was in celebration of the upcoming turn of the millennium. It was a typically Italian program- one which had me wonder if they just had time to fill and made up an excuse for the show. It didn't really matter- it was a little adventure and I can't believe that its actually on line! 

this is the link to the segment which has "my" dance troupe-

BLINK, and you'll miss me but I'm the shortie in the dancers that begin at 3:20. See if you can spot me! 

No, I'm not a folk dancer- I did it as a way to shake off my experience of being almost killed by a ruptured appendix and peritonitis...It's long story that I won't bore you with, the important point was I survived, but was very weak. I had lost a great deal of muscle tone, plus I was depressed from the experience. 

I needed a distraction, and a friend offered me to try her dance troupe, which needed a female dancer.

I figured, what the heck? I had just stared down the reaper...what's to be afraid of? A little light televised humiliation in a country where I had no real connections? Kid stuff, after having my recent dance with death. And so... I jumped in and danced! 

I stopped dancing with them once I decided to return to art school. It was a short chapter in my Italian life- a detour for certain, and certainly a lot of fun. I highly recommend taking detours! They spice things up and give you stories ( and embarrassing videos)

This "special" program was live broadcast in the late Summer 1998 , in the beautiful city of Viterbo Italy. it was absolutely an experience that I wouldn't have had if I didn't gather my courage and try something new. 

I tangoed with the reaper and came out dancing with a rose clenched firmly in my teeth. 
Totally goofy
Totally worth it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flash Flooding in the Southwest

I'm Horrified by the flash flood tragedy which took at least 9 lives this weekend near Payton Arizona, at Cold Springs. 

It hits so close to home too: I just realized that this accident happened at the exact same river and area where i went camping with friends a couple of years ago....and, as if in a horrific premonition, there was a violent flash flood during our time there, which we avoided, thanks to the warning of a local friend who knew the fickle nature of the river. 

Then, the news came in this least 9 people were swept away by that same little river- a "creek" by east coast standards.

Thankfully, in our case, we had heard from the property caretaker where we were camping that there were storms coming, which she knew could change that darling babbling brook that we had padded around in so happily just hours before- It could turn Dr Jeckyl into Mr Hyde......
And so it was, merely hours after we moved our tents , that charming cool little creek transformed into a raging, angry torrent of runoff water from the storm that was still up higher in the mountains. It had been raining where we were- a cooling drizzle which we welcomed after the heat of the day- but nothing about that rain could have predicted such a violent transformation of that creek.  
As I I said, some of us in the group had been sleeping in tents near the river- and some were actually camping directly IN the creek....where charming little flat outcrops made seemingly perfect private islands. IN FACT, There was a pair of journalists: husband and wife friends of ours who were part of the camping group, and the husband- a well known op/ed columnist for our city newspaper- wrote an article that following week about the tragedy that we had avoided...the exact thing which horrifically happened yesterday. 
A terrible coincidence/premonition....
And so, with this experience and knowledge.....
Just yesterday morning I saw someone who posted a video on instagram which showed a young kid happily scampering about a wash (dry river bed) in Tucson , as a line of water began to flow into the frame: the beginning of outflow from a mountain storm....Yes, it is a charming and magical sight- but also potentially deadly! 
I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but I decided that this was an opportunity to warn people of the potential of flash flooding in the desert. So I left a carefully worded comment which warned of the dangers of flooding. And I fretted that I had possibly offended, but I knew it was important to say. 
Anyone who has lived here and paid attention can tell you that a dry wash can become filled with runoff in an alarming rate. One of the highest causes of death in the desert during the summer Monsoon season is DROWNING, yes, in the desert. I believe this was the first "weird fact" that I learned when I first moved to the desert southwest. That a WALL of WATER can rush down these dry river beds faster than a freight train, and with even greater terrifying power- sweeping away anything in it's path, without warning. 
How tragic that once again, we are reminded of this fact of life in the desert by the senseless deaths of those people- mostly young children- who were simply having a little splash in the creek, on a hot summer Sunday. 
A reminder to : Turn around, don't drown. 
Avoid low areas in the deserts during monsoon season.
And remember- a dry sky in your area does not mean that flooding is impossible- Always remember, flash flooding in the southwest usually starts uphill, in mountain runoff. 
You cannot see it coming, so...this time of year, it might be best to forego the creek and go to the pool instead.


FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map