Friday, January 23, 2009


Still haven't heard about the art school scholarship. There is now a little over one week before classes start. If the school grants me a scholarship I believe that morally I ought to take it. I asked, and I believe that I should follow through with my stated intention. But if they do not offer the scholarship I have an alternative course.

The goal has never been to learn more about art. I will listen to instruction but I am so stubborn, and so set in my style, that I doubt I can be easily influenced. The teachers, to their credit, never tried to overtly influence me. I simply want to go to art school to be with people. While I was in school I never made a friend, but I think, this is what I hoped for all along. A friend who makes art. Better, a friend who makes art that I can respect. Someone who is passionate and committed. The best thing so far about art school is that it introduced me to new colors of paint, which I now use extensively. A bit about shading. A bit about perspective. I laugh, some people go to River Gallery Art School to have fun. To exercise their creative side. Compared to them I am grim and obsessed. I planned my painting, took it home with me, worked on it everyday, and came back with it a little further along than the week before. Nobody else took their work home with them. Most complete a painting in the two hours of class time. If not, they left their work to dry, and took it up again during the next class. I clamped my wet painting to my table top easel, collapsed the easel so it was easy to carry and prayed that it didn't snow or rain so I could get it to my car without water beading on the oil paint. When I work I am grim, fanatical, absurdly precise and cloaked in concentration. Art school students would walk past me, look at my art, but few bothered to start a conversation.

And yet, I dressed myself with care for class. There was always wet paint traveling around the school rooms so I had to wear something that I didn't care if it got paint on it. Most of my clothes I don't care if they get paint on them. Paint is the mark of who I am. A badge that says this is my profession. But I always cared to look tidy. To look artistic. To seem hip. I liked best wearing a black shirt and belted jeans. In the summer I wore dresses. The art rooms can get very hot. I would sweat, go to the bathroom, and remove the sweat with toilet paper. If I cared about the way I looked it was only because I was very aware of the strangers surrounding me. Aware and perhaps longing for things to be other than the way they were.

My consolation if I do not get an art school scholarship is that my mother has offered $100 toward the $200 yearly fee to join a cooperative gallery in downtown Brattleboro. This gallery is run by artists. You must submit images of your artwork and be accepted, but I have no doubt that I would be accepted. Every month they put up a new exhibit. Sometimes certain artists are featured. There is a small maze of free standing walls in the rear for small, single works. For the most part the prices are low, I don't think the gallery takes a cut of the artist's profit. And I don't know if anyone sells any artwork.

If I join this gallery I can establish a presence and reputation. I paint slowly, so I would only wish to join every other year. But artists and collectors would get to know my style. I would love to have a reputation. There is one artist there, her first name is Amy, who has a style I admire. Several months ago I saw a painting of hers that I would love to own. A large eagle was standing in a room, on a wooden floor, eyeing the mouse-like hole in the wall. Within this hole, surrealistically, a green fish flops. Not the mouse you would expect. I like the switch, I like the surprise. As creative surprises goes it is very simple, but I believe, simple is powerful.

A plan is in the back of my mind. Would this artist exchange the eagle painting for one of my own? I dream of a trade amongst equally admiring, artistic, friendly, peers.

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