Monday, June 22

Art. Sheesh, It Keeps You Busy.

I have come to the conclusion that it is both a blessing and curse to see art in everything all the time.

This, for example.

Why yes, as a matter of fact, it is the front window of my car in the rain (because what else is there in June in Boston, really?). I was waiting in the pickup line at Phoebe's school. Of course, I was there, and this is a movie, and this movie is streamed over the web, so I will understand if you don't see it, but here's what happened to me. There I was, sitting there with my engine off (it's a No Exhaust zone, I love that), with light rain falling, thinking about nothing in particular. Obviously, since my engine was off, my wipers were off, so I was getting that interesting impressionistic view of the world around me that some people spend hours in a Photoshop class trying to achieve. But what I noticed most of all is that each drop looked as if it were a drop or point of paint, like pointilism, like one shard in a very fine mosaic, like one stitch in a tapestry. It was as if an image of the car in front of me (and everything else, for that matter) was being painted on canvas, one drop at a time. It was amazing.

I know. I'm weird. This is why it's hard to drive with me.

I mean, all of us have, at one point or another, seen animals or shapes or figures in clouds. I see them in everything. Ivy. Cracks in the sidewalk. Stucco. Tree bark. I see them all the time. They are usually highly detailed and realistic, not puffy cumulus bunnies....although the other day, I did see a rabbit in my neighborhood--they're all over the place--standing up exactly like a chocolate easter bunny, with its paws up and its ears up and everything. Oh great, now I'm hungry.

I am also under some sort of illusion, every time I see them (not the rabbits, the figures), that if I only had a pencil and paper, I could draw them and suddenly be able to render a version that was as realistic and lifelike as the lion that I see, toothy jaws yawning wide, in a ripped poster that has been tacked on a telephone pole in the rain. The thing is, I do usually have a pencil and paper, and it somehow just doesn't work out that way. I draw just as badly when I am struck with the sudden appearance of images as I am any other time. Bummer. It has occurred to me that I might be able to draw those particular images better (in the moment, that is) with my eyes closed, or with my "other" hand, or with my eyes fixated on the object, but never looking at the paper, a kind of "blind" drawing. I've been thinking on that one for a long time, but have never managed to try it. Maybe that's because I'm often in traffic or otherwise in transit when I see this stuff, and getting out drawing materials and closing one's eyes is generally frowned upon while in control of a motor vehicle. I don't know why that would be. Have you ever tried that (not driving with your eyes closed, I'm talking about drawing)? I've heard of it somewhere. If you know anything about that, let me know. It's a nice illusion, in any case. I feel like a brilliant artist for a few seconds, and who could argue with that? Okay, so there's no evidence--what's it to you?

Of course, in cases where we're supposed to see shapes, like constellations, I never see them, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many people point and say, usually in increasingly exasperated tones "It's right there!". It figures, doesn't it? Maybe it's because I don't get how anyone can point into space. It seems kinda nonspecific, doesn't it? Hardly like pointing at that third pastry from the left in the glass case and saying "I'd like that one." I mean, really. "You see that star right there?" Ohhh. That star. Sure thing.

I guess what I'm saying is that it can make it hard to get things done. Where I live, for example, people throw out the most amazing things on a regular basis (no, I'm not talking about going through people's trash, though I'm not above that given the right purpose). I don't get how people can drive the streets, with all that stuff that is ripe for art, for recycling in any form, and just focus on where they're headed. I don't get that at all. Today I stopped three times. It was raining, so the cool stuff was largely ruined. Of course, rather than saying "Oh, well, I guess I'll just go home today, most stuff is wrecked", I am cursing the stupid people who put such lovely and wonderful things out on a rainy day. I ask you: Would they put the Mona Lisa out in the rain? Well then why are they putting those rusted 1950's aluminum TV trays or that broken Lite Brite out there? Tell me that, why don't you. I mean, Come On! Don't they know budding art when they see it?

In a few weeks, it will be time again for Brimfield, the largest outdoor antique market in the United States. 6000 dealers.

I love it. A lot. I love to go with other people. But it somehow just hasn't worked too well. We walk around, and they say "I'm hoping to find a period mirror that matches my dresser that I picked up at that antique store" (which, of course, they will, because it's Brimfield, and you can find damn near anything there, and they also have terrific french fries, but the Brimfield "food court" is a whole 'nother subject). And me? I'm looking under tables, to see if there's a junk box that the dealer of--well, anything--has thrown all those little spare pieces, hardware, buttons, pages, and whatever that falls off of their good stuff into. The stuff they can't sell. The stuff that they don't know what it is, what it goes to, or what to do with it. You have no idea how great some of that stuff is. Last time I went, I got a couple large ziploc bags full of antique watch parts from an estates dealer who cleaned out a watch shop. Free. Now that's my idea of a day well spent.

I make things. I see things. I pick things up. I use things. I save things. I investigate. I imagine things. I play with things. I create things. Take two, they're small. I think that's my new motto.

I've heard--no, I know--that there are people who are brave enough to live their lives seeking treasure, eschewing the "should". I'm not there yet. But I'm closer than I've ever been.

Ooh! Look!

Sorry, gotta go.

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