Yesterday I spent the day with some of my favorite people: my twin daughters, their husbands AND my only grandchild. We've all decided that this girl is going to be either a model or an actress because she LOVES to pose. Today she said "Grandma--look at me. I'm a mermaid". So, just had to post a photo of her because she makes me bubble inside. And, isn't that what it is all about?
She loves to draw and paint, has her own easel and when she doesn't have paint or paper convenient she'll paint with a brush and water on the cement! She doesn't need inspiration...everything is inspiration to and for her. She has the BEST imagination too. In the course of the day she was the mermaid, the painter, the T-Rex dinosauer, the sun-bather, and the princess, replete with her princess cape (blanket). She is one special girl and I never get tired of seeing how her imagination takes hold of her.
I wrote a book a short time ago that I self-published entitled "Natalie J. Bird---Imagination Way". I wrote and illustrated it and despite it being very small (only 6 pages) I am proud of it because it emulates her. The pen and ink drawings are of her and her shadow, which she was always curious about. Having taken care of her for over 2 years daily I really got to know her personality and I really have to say that her and I have a special relationship. I feel like her and I don't have to speak in order to understand each other.
I also have a couple of grand-dogs too. Each of them have their own unique qualities and individual looks. I love both of them in different ways and don't have a favorite. It's sort of like your kids: you love them all the same but in different ways and for different qualities. Not one more than the other ever. But, check out this picture of Taylor with her "gorilla lips"!. She just makes me smile!
What I find helps me get through all the trying times in my life lately ARE my friends and family. Who would have thought that a birthday party at the local bar in town where they play karaoke would be so much fun! Our friend, Sunny, who is almost exactly 9 months older than our twin daughters, turned 33 last week and decided to invite all her public defender friends from work up to "The Georgetown Hotel" for an evening of singing and birthday celebration. Now, not being the kind of person who ever goes to "the bar" (it has a history of bar fights and some sordid characters), I was a bit reluctant to attend. But, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings I decided to "suck it up" and just go "for Sunny's sake". Well, I have to tell you that these public defenders know how to have a good time. Maybe it is the fact that they are seeing the worst every working day and still having to find the positive spin to defend the public, but they sure know how to have fun. Nothing but smiles, nothing but positive comments, AND some pretty good singing voices too.!!
Karaoke is a funny thing: give a person a microphone and an audience and the inhibitions soon fade away. And, not always are the voices what they are supposed to be. Does singing behind that microphone and reading the words cascading down the screen make a person a better singer? Hardly ever! But, that night there were some pretty good voices; some powerful voices. And, it was fun and entertaining. Soon the bar was flooded with outsiders not associated with the birthday party. Maybe people are drawn to the sound of laughter and frivolity.
It just made me think: isn't that what we all want in our lives? To be with people who make us laugh until our cheeks hurt, to sing songs with people we love, to dance when the music moves us? I know that I really enjoyed myself and I didn't even have to drink to do it! Life is funny...when you least expect it (and in places you would never expect it) you can find people who are willing to come together and release all their inhibitions and create a positive experience for themselves and others.
It reminded me of artists in a way. Artists throughout history have typically been on the cutting-edge of what is going on in politics and around world. And, these happenings are not always positive; most often they are some really trying times filled with negativity. But, artists can put a spin on things that makes them seem better. Artists know how to buffer the feelings somehow and turn them into a forum that makes people aware, makes people think and conntemplate, makes people figure out ways to cope or fix potential pain and anguish. Art is not ALL about anguish and angst but when it is, it gives the public a way to deal with it and possibly make a difference...even make it right in some respects. Artists are like the "public defenders" in the art world. We know how to find the positive spin in something and turn it around in a piece of art.
We know how to do this because we know how to examine things. We know how to dissect something, take what we need from it, and then return it (not always with all the original elements in tact or even being utilized) to a form that has been re-thought and re-worked. We have altered the original but we have made something new and original to us. I find all this to be incredible and it is why I am an artist. I enjoy thinking, rearranging, changing, and putting forth something original with a positive spin on it. It, to me, is what life is all about.
I can put all this in one simple word (or two). It is THE QUEST. Plain and simple. This may not be what other artists are feeling but it is what I am feeling. It is how I explain what I do and why I do it. And ultimately, that is all that matters. I don't have to have approval or recognition to do my art. I don't even think I have to understand WHY I do it. I just have to do it.
Consider these words: SEARCH--PURSUIT--JURY OF INQUEST--AN ACT OR INSTANCE OF SEEKING--TO SEARCH A TRAIL--TO SEARCH FOR--TO ASK FOR--QUESTION=an interrogative expression often used to test knowledge-- CROSS-EXAMINE--CHANCE--POSSIBILITY. Are these not all related to public defenders AND to artists? The verdict is in for me: GUILTY AS CHARGED!!!