First Posting

I created this blog awhile ago, but have resisted actually writing anything…where to start?  How to overcome the self-consciousness of putting myself out here in blogland? Scanning my bookshelf yesterday, I noticed a copy of Pema Chodron’s “Start Where You Are,” so I figured that the way to do it is to just do it, where I am.  It’s a sunny Sunday morning, and for a change I have a whole day with no place I have to be at any particular time.  Much as I treasure the activities and friends that fill my life, I need these unstructured times, days when I can ignore the clock and immerse myself in a project or fritter the hours away. My plan at the moment is to start working on embellishing a blank white cigar box for the upcoming box auction at WAAM, the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum. Beyond that, I don’t know, and I like not knowing.

Highlights of the past few days: Friday I  joined 4  women artist friends an a trip to The Fields, a sculpture garden in Omi (pronounced Oh my) up near Chatham, across the river. The heat made the thought of exploring 100 acres somewhat daunting, but we took our time and enjoyed the delight of coming upon wonders rising from the grass or emerging from behind trees or from the pond.

(Hmmm, I think I just inserted pictures; don’t know how this thing works.)  Hot and weary, we found a restored hotel in Chatham with a delightful tavern where we had a great lunch. (When the waiter recited the choices of salad dressings, I was bewildered and asked him, “did you really say Pork Rind dressing?”  He looked at me as if I were nuts and replied, “Port Wine!”)  That evening, J and I treated our friend Steve to a long and leisurely dinner at Reginato Ristorante in Lake Katrine, an old-fashioned place with good food and lots of little courses.

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the cozy Village Diner and shopped for yellow tomatoes, delicate green beans, and crunchy arugula at the Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Saugerties Historical Society.  As we headed toward the car with laden bags, we paused to admire the absolute cuteness of this town: traffic stopping for an elderly shopper making her way across the street to the home for seniors, next door to the school, down the street the diner, the church spire, the Orpheum Theater…it looked like a set for a movie from the fifties.

The afternoon was steamy, so I switched on the AC and settled on the sofa with the cat to watch a documentary, My Kid Could Paint That, about Marla Olmstead, a four-year-old “abstract expressionist” prodigy who swept the art world a few years ago…until Sixty Minutes questioned her authorship of the work.  It brought up a lot of questions about what makes art “art,” the role of parents, the importance of having a story when it comes to marketing, and more.  If it looks like art, is it art?  Is it less valuable if the dad helped?  Marla had no concept in mind, no training or intention.  She wasn’t the one who chose the size and shape of her canvas, she just was able to smear colors in an appealing way.  Hans Hoffman, abstract painter and teacher, stated it well: “The difference between art produced by children and great works of art is that one is approached through the purely subconscious and emotional, and the other retains a consciousness of experience as the work develops and is emotionally enlarged through the greater command of the expression-medium.”  The documentary was well-done and quite fascinating, and I’m still chewing on the thoughts it brought up.  If you get it (Netflix) be sure to watch the extra features; they are equally interesting.

The day ended with a friend’s fiftieth birthday party, in a ceramics studio between here and Woodstock.  Her kids and sister did the place up well with decorations, bubbles, poppers, candles and champagne and music, and we all gobbled up some amazing tamales purchased at the Woodstock Farmers Market.  I’m going to be first in line there next week.  It was well worth the mud and rain provided by the skirt tails of Hurricane Hannah.  And I got to use the fancy new umbrella I bought this summer in Halifax.

Okay, I did it, I done wrote a blog entry.  Maybe I’ll do it again.


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7 Responses to “First Posting”

  1. Susan Says:

    Well, Loel, you dood it.

    I must critique you from my vast experience with reading blogs, however; I saw only one typo. That is just not right. Next entry, please get totally drunk first and put your fingers off the home key position and type. Or type with your toes.

    ART? ART? Farmers Markets? Hurricane who? That is so 5 seconds ago. Regale us with a meditation on the spot on your big toe nail.

    Not only was your story interesting, but written well. Sorry – you are way off the blogger mark.

    Try again for 9/8.


    Love ya, Susan

  2. loelbarr Says:

    How did you find out about the spot on my big toenail???

  3. Pamela Says:

    Do MORE!!!

  4. Patti O Says:

    Keep writing.

    I want to go to the farmer’s market one day!

    i have to rent that movie. First I have to finish the movie that I started so that I can return it and get it on netflix.

    Tonight I have to start Pollack, as I am showing it in school tomorrow for my Film, Art, and Writing class.

    Off for a ride however….before the sun goeth down.


  5. angela Says:

    Your writing is as charming and talented as your art.
    Looking forward to more! Keep writing.

  6. artwordstea Says:

    See, not so difficult. Good work all around. I have found my blog to be very helpful in my slog through the morass my life is right now. Keep it up!


  7. A fan Says:

    A nice read. A lovely write.

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