Friday, July 4, 2008

I can still feel the laugh (hierarchical ranking: near the top) . . .

I once met a student/writer who said, "Everyone ultimately gets what he most wants out of life." That statement made sense to me then and it still makes sense to me now, because whatever we most want, we put a great deal of our energy and resources into. And we eventually achieve, at the very least, that one most important desire.

I went to the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit this week. Thiebaud is famous for his food paintings, but this exhibition featured a lot of beach pieces--dogs on the beach, people on the beach, swimsuits--as well as land- and city-scapes; ballroom dance images; and some food. I liked the entire exhibit. And one of the reasons was because each time I returned to a particular painting or viewed it from a different distance, my experience changed.

I have a painting by my brother that hangs near my bed. I like to trace the painting's lines and discover new images within the main abstract "image." (My brother was surprised to hear that I had found a cat and dragon within his painting. I've also found a lot more images, shapes, and patterns. And I have experienced layers of color and texture and all the thoughts that go along with art-inspired meditation.)

I want to write a novel about an etching that I own. I don't know what the story is. I just know that in that one image (and really, one is misleading, because an image is made up of smaller images) is a universe. I want to explore, probe, investigate a section of that amazing space.

I admire people who take leaps--artistic, altruistic, or otherwise--off great canyon walls, even when their wings are seemingly too tiny to sustain their weight and projected flight path. I met a writer who worked a job just enough to cover his expenses, allowing him to focus most of his time on his writing. And then there's the ballet dancer who gave everything to his career--such time and energy it requires to master the body! When he retired at age 30, he moved onto the next phase: earning a bachelor's degree to lead him toward his second career. What must it feel like to risk so much--time, energy, money, certain relationships--for a glimmer of something so magnificent! You know, even if the person never dances professionally or gets picked up by a big publisher, she's done something magnificent with her soul.

Wayne Thiebaud
gave me an hour of viewing pleasure. I can still see the spinning candy-looking beach ball anchoring the viewer before releasing her to the dogs playing in the sand. I can still see the precipice that looks ordinary until you back up ten feet and then to twenty feet and then WOW. What depth! What color! What an experience!

I can still feel the laugh that resonated through me when I saw the painting: 35 cent Masterworks. Yeah, I connected to that one on a philosophical level, and well, thank you artists and writers for taking such big risks!

Sincerely,
Olive

P.S. I want to experience this.

8 comments:

Betty Edit said...

Hey, I'm about to jump pretty soon, and so far I have neither parachute nor safety net. And it's a real jump this time, not bungee jumping. Will you be there to see? I'm hoping to not splat.

Olive Kite said...

I will watch you soar.

Olive Kite said...

I've been thinking about leaping for some time. And I wonder if you have to fully believe in what you're doing, but also have contingency plans or time frames or at least anticipate various scenarios. The key is just to keep the focus on the leap--once you're ready to take the leap--right?

Sheila said...

I think the point of it being a leap rather than a jump is that you don't entirely know what will happen once your feet leave the ground.

I want to go to an art exhibit with you. I don't see nearly the cool stuff you write about in this post.

Olive Kite said...

When I make it back east, we will go to an art museum. Does that sound good?

Sheila said...

Yeah! And I know you're going to be insanely jealous, but Don Knotts Appreciation Weekend is this coming weekend. . . Morgantown is his home town. He has a star downtown on the sidewalk and everything.

Olive Kite said...

That actually sounds really really fun!

When is your university back in session?

Sheila said...

Only three and a half weeks of freedom left until I have to go to silly university meetings . . .