When Wolves Enter

Recent 8"x 8" right panel of a diptych, in-progress.
Much to the excitement and agitation of our
dog, Wimpy "The Protector", we now have
wolves in our rural area. I mean, close! We can
hear them howling on our land. They are most
likely having a feast on the many deer who have 
been very comfortable here. For the 17 years we
have lived here, this is a first.

Knowing how the wolf population is increasing,
it isn't a surprise, but this is a synchronicity that
an artist can not ignore. Wolves entered my
work just a few months before they entered our

Fox have been on our land and in my work for
many years, but the curious nature-intimating-
art and art-imitating-nature event is that the fox
left my work around the time that the wolf
entered. Coincidentally, the same thing happens
in nature, when the wolves move in the fox are
no longer around. Or to be more precise, the
coyotes often enter in-between the fox and
wolf, which did happen on our land, but not in
my work.
The coyote are in the space/time-in-between,
the ones pushed out by the wolves and then in
return push out the fox. And, in-between spaces
are a theme in my paintings recently. Maybe
coyotes need to be examined further in my
paintings. Or maybe I just need to shut up and
paint, and see what happens in our woods next.


Is Originality Free?

The act of viewing and reading art & poetry 
is usually pretty free and easy, but is making art 
so free? I don't mean the cost of supplies or the 
investment of time to make it, although those are 
issues. My poet friend and sometimes collaborator 
LouAnn Shepard Muhm's recent blog post has 
me thinking about the cost of putting your work 
out there.

Detail of recent painting in-progress.

No more free-bees, only details of my 
paintings before my August 2016 exhibit, 
'Spaces In Between' at Great River Arts in 
Little Falls, Mn. My word for 2016 is FREE, 
in its many implications...

Detail of recent painting in-progress.

To put truly new work out there is daunting,
and few do. In her post Muhm says, "And then 
you will go back to your comfortable life, to think 
your comfortable thoughts, to bite your tongue 
when you think it is prudent, and to answer 
your 'crazy' dream with silent admonitions to 
be realistic and to focus on achievable goals." 
Next, I cracked open the new book Originals:
How Non-Conformists Move the World
and Adam Grant states, "The last time you had 
an original idea, what did you do with it? 
Although America is a land of individuality and 
unique self-expression, in search of excellence 
and in fear of failure, most of us opt to fit in 
rather than stand out." Grant does go onto say 
that the most successful originals among us 
"know in their hearts that failing would yield 
less regret than failing to try." Are Muhm and 
Grant conspiring? Okay, okay. I will get to work, 
and free myself to make bigger messes. I won't 
be like the others who do not dare.

Both Muhm and Grant, pose a challenge. Have 
an idea or something to say? Do something 
about it, but do not expect it to be easy. One 
thing I know for sure is that when your art is 
shared, it really doesn't belong to only you 
anymore. It is out there, and people do with 
it what people do.