Danielle - if you are reading this - this is the work I want to do... But no one in Winona would pay anyone to do it.
Just kidding - or at least partially. I would like to do something like this, maybe not as a career, but as performance art or community/collaborative art. But I think I would have to develop a style first - or at least a style that someone would admire.
There is nothing wrong with reading fiction. There have been books - novels - that have changed my life, made me stronger and more determined and less apt to be taken advantage of, more willing to risk giving voice to my own ideas and opinions.
There have been novels that have saved my sanity during times when reality was just too damn awful to deal with, times when an hour or two (or ten) stolen now and then from what everyone else expected me to do and be, spent reading about some alternate world, some faraway place or time, kept me from ending my life...
So, you see, I love fiction, good fiction, of any kind, except maybe romance novels - not saying that they do not have their worth, just that I could never get into them much. Perhaps that had to do with being afraid to be caught reading one, more than any actual romance novel itself. I think my ex would have considered it disrespectful to his manliness if I needed to read a romance novel - after all, wasn't he the be all and end all in regard to what a woman would want? ugh...
Well, what I meant to write about this evening, instead of my love for good fiction, was my intent to do some more academic reading.
I am starting with Ethics and Visual Art, edited by Elaine King and Gail Levin, published by Allworth Press (New York, 2006). It contains 19 essays on various ethical concerns with art, art collection, authenticity, cultural appropriation and artifact repatriation, censorship, ownership and copyright, and more that I cannot remember right this moment.
It will be like reading short stories. I like short stories because they are short - I can read them at the end of the day and have a definite ending place (so that I do not read half the night, or more).
I may not read all 19 essays in this book, but I am hoping that a few of them will serve as jumping-off points for additional research.
This weekend Abelisto and I went beachcombing. We like to go up and down the Mississippi and gather interesting debris (natural and man-made) for art, and for just collecting.
We ended up stopping at several gravely beaches. Abelisto found the best agate that I have ever seen come out of the Mississippi. It was over an inch in diameter and this translucent deep red color.
We found bones, river glass, and interesting rocks. I do not know exactly what I will do with it all, but something will come from it, I am sure.
We found some interesting driftwood too. That I will likely use in my encaustic work. I recently attended a show at SMU of an encaustic painter that works on weathered boards which was inspiring. She did not work on driftwood, though. I think that the wood we found will make interesting foundations for a different sort of painting than I have been doing.
We ended up driving up river on the Minnesota side of the river, and back down on the Wisconsin side. It always seems strange to me to be able to look across the river and say with certainty, "That is another state, right there, those hills that I see..." Usually borders like that are much too arbitrary to say those kinds of things. Even at the Grand Canyon, I could not be certain what state claimed the territory I was seeing across the gorge, since the Grand Canyon twists and turns back on itself so much. Not so the Mississippi. I know which state those bluffs I see are.
Anyway, we went across the river at Red Wing Minnesota and headed back downstream. We stopped in Pepin Wisconsin (near the birth place of Laura Ingels Wilder, if you were curious). We found a very interesting and vibrant arts community in Pepin. They were all so friendly and interested in us - we were, of course, driving the art car. We ended up being invited to join their fledgling arts association, urged to dine at the local eatery before it closes for the season, and to attend a music performance next Saturday.