Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unusual but True: On Being Art 'Tagged'

From the truth window: This really made my day. Barbara of Barbara Paints tagged me yesterday. What a delight. I had been a bit discouraged this week...with the usual questions, you know, "Shouldn't I get a real job?" "Who am I kidding?" and "There are so many skilled, expressive, and talented artists, who needs to hear from me anyway?" Then, I had a deadline--make mailart for Ell and send it off with a food package before the post office closed, and, after I created a piece in two hours that I liked. 

I felt that it is worthwhile to make the art I do, that I'm like the bird who builds a nest, gets it blown over, and builds again. It's what I do. To have a talented artist tag me...well, it was more than swell. I am extremely grateful to everyone who visits and offers comments and camaraderie. You have no idea how meaningful it is to me. But, I will hazard a guess that you, too, find the art community to be as essential as water. I drink from this well feeling refreshed and renewed. I will continue to offer a cool drink in the summertime, and a warm cup of tea in winter to any who wander through, seeking art medicine from a fellow traveler. These are the rules for being tagged. You need to:
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you. 
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself. 
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know. 

Here are some truths about me that some may find unusual:
1. I knew a "Russian prince": 
When I was a kid, my folks were friends with a man (Alexis Badmaieff) who had been smuggled into France during the Russian Revolution. He wanted to become a doctor, but, instead, became an engineer. He operated on my foot after a run-in with a sharp shell on Santa Catalina Island in southern California. He drank a glass of vodka every day with a raw egg in it. He died in his mid 50s... I later found out that, in fact, his father (Dr. Alexei Badmaieff) was friends with Rasputin and not a Russian prince. (I continue to research him)
2. Almost became a professional actress: 
I started performing at a young age. In high school, I was nominated best actress in AZ during a theatre competition. I was subsequently offered a full scholarship to NAU as well as a small role in a movie being filmed in Texas. I turned these offers down, believing I wasn't good enough. 

3. Thought I'd become a classical pianist: 
While I started out playing folk guitar in my teens, I really wanted to play classical piano (or play lead guitar in a rock band). I studied with a woman whose instructor studied with Rachmaninoff. I used to play an impressive Prelude in C# Minor, but my teacher said my wrists were too weak for a professional career. After a traumatic brain injury in 1997, I could no longer play anything on the piano, but my guitar playing is coming back and my artwork is much improved! 

4. Art found me when I was in my mid-twenties: There was a lot of tragedy connected to my early adulthood. I wandered around lost until a week of intense grieving produced two words that seemed to come to me from God--like lightning--STAINED GLASS! They were powerful words. With only $60 dollars to my name, I set out to teach myself to work in glass. I returned to Tucson with six crooked pieces and lots of confidence. I landed a job and began designing windows. As a 'commission only' artist, I made $15 my first two weeks, but four years later, I had completed two large restaurant commissions totalling over 200 square feet between the two. It was then that I felt the need to get some proper schooling in art. I later earned an associate's degree at our local community college. 

5. I cleaned the pools of the wealthy: After graduating from college, I got a job cleaning pools. I felt very lucky to spend my days cleaning and swimming in pools at million dollar properties while the owners slaved away in order to pay the bills. I made enough to work part time to buy an MGB Roadster (which I loved working on and pretending to race), and to work on art the rest of the day. 

6. I held a tarantula in my hand: When my boy was in the fourth grade, the teacher had a contest in which the student who brought in the most crickets would win the class tarantula. Most people are afraid of spiders. However, I had a serious phobia. I couldn't even look at photos of them in magazines. But, you know, it was my opportunity to overcome this fear and teach my son about changing one's mind. I made lots of artwork from our Molly Francesca Gomezina. We had the very special gift of observing her molt. She'd come to us with one leg missing (a common thing), but after her molt, she had eight new legs. 

7. I married a man ten years younger than me: After community college, I organized drawing sessions in my home. One of our models became my roommate and asked to invite her friend from school. We married two years later. I always feel ten years younger. I think he mostly feels ten years older...I am grateful that he provided the safest, most nurturing environment in which to raise our son, and for me to finish my BFA in 2004. I couldn't have done it without him and my son tutoring me in math and other subjects. It's been an amazing journey so far! 

Please visit the following artists who inspire me and give gifts of beauty, insight and wisdom to so many: Karen Silvina Loriann David Jeffrey Martha What a challenge to limit tagging to only six or seven. I hope to do this again sometime. Thank you, all, for being so generous and supportive of me and your other fans!


loriann signori said...

Thank you Melinda! I consider it an honor to be tagged by you. I will try to live up to the challenge, even though it may take bit of time. I really enjoyed reading your "unusual facts."
Painting is amazement.
Here's to you-

Barbara Muir said...

Wow Melinda,

You made me want to change my facts.
I suddenly realized that I could say things like that my husband's great
grandmother was an Indonesian Maharajah, and that's why he acts like
royalty sometimes. It's in the blood.

You are a superb writer. You make me
proud to have tagged you. (I was anyway!) Barbara

Edgar said...

This is a fine community and the support and interaction with other artists is both nourishing and stimulating. Here's a question I'd like answered:
How come the artists in our town aren't this nice!

Melinda said...

Well, it's probably that face to face meeting that gets them...

Edgar said...

Oh! That's what they meant when they told me, "You have a face for radio — and a voice for blogging."

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melinda, for including me in your list of honored artists! I love your words about the (on-line) art community being as essential as water. I feel the same.

I don't know how I'm going to come up with 7 unusual things. How can I follow things like; operated on by a Russian prince, acting talent, pianist, younger lover, etc...
Maybe I can develop some quirky habits to write about in the next week.

Anonymous said...

Well Melinda, I took you up on it! Thanks for including me. I think you're more unusual than I am -- at least it sounds like you've had more fun!

Check out my blog post from today.

Flora said...

I found your site through Kimmi's, and I just wanted to stopp by and say that you art is very lovely!

susan hong-sammons said...

Wow!!! I loved reading and seeing you blog today. How inspirational.

Karen said...

Hi Melinda,
I'm so very flattered to have been tagged by you! As you know, I so often come by your blog for inspiration, both visual and verbal (the way you write about your work is always revealing and beautiful). And I completely agree that the community is so helpful
But, I'm boring, so I definitely don't have as unusual a list to write as you!

Karen said...

ps. I forgot, No you should never Ever get a real job!

daviddrawsandpaints said...

I would need to lie to get anything near as good as this life you have led!
At least I get to tell people I know you :o)

Thank you very much for including my fabulous name. You are too kind!

Melinda said...

I'll bet you really can think of some unusual things to list. Yet, I don't want you to feel undo pressure! This art 'tagging' thing just seemed like a nice distraction, an art aside if you will, from the seriousness of our artistic endeavors....;-)

Melinda said...

Now, now. Telling another artist that you're boring....? I can't possibly believe that. You struggle with all of life's mundane, human events AND you create with pigments from the earth and the stuff of lightning in your head.

Besides, this is not a comparative analysis. This is just sharing where you've been as it has shaped your present, artist persona.

Melinda said...

Oh, my, you are a clever man! Lie...I don't think so. But, I will be patient. As you paint, as you share your artistic exploits, the strong creative force that has influenced your journey will, no doubt, emerge in the little details of daily existence you'll share and the larger brushstrokes of a life heartily lived. And, you'll always have an audience cheering you on.

Now, I might freeze up and think I can't write anymore---I've used up all of my stories in one day...!

Edgar said...

Sure love that truth window, Melinda! When you open it, all kinds of interesting stories come flying out. Let's do that again!

Marian Fortunati said...

Talk about interesting journeys!! Wow...So many talents... so much to share!!
My guy's only 1 3/4 years younger. Does yours tease you about being older?? During 3/4 of the year I'm only 1 year older... but he LOVES it after my birthday when I'm TWO years older!! :)

The art/blogging group is such a supportive and fun community -- I get empathy and encouragement from it and hope I can return the favor!

Melinda said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Since most of us are rather reclusive in our studios most of the time, this is an important community, isn't it?

Nah, I don't get teased for being older. People who know us don't really see us as having much of an age difference (are they just being kind?!). Our birthdays are about two weeks apart. So, during that time, I'm only nine years, eleven months and two weeks older! Ahh. I feel younger already.

I'm enjoying your site and your work. Looking forward to more...and, happy posts of acceptance too.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Melinda. So is that why you asked about the truth window? Is that your house? if so, cool, we both live in straw bale homes.

Fun facts. I enjoy the community of blogging too.
and Edgar, the artists here are not that nice either and the nice ones I don't always feel like hanging out with.

Melinda said...

Yes, that is our truth window. We live in an old adobe that was added onto with some frame and stucco and we caught the strawbale bug five years ago to do an in-fill project north of that.

Five years. It's still not done, yet. We use a tarp for a curtain over the picture window that looks north and the closet is just drywall right now. That's why I can understand your "procrastination." I use the room to paint on canvasses that are larger than 4' in width and height.

It would be a travesty if you were to sacrifice any of your art time to do things that can wait!

I'm now curious about why the artist community locally isn't as nice as the online community. If you have any idea, it would be great to ponder your thoughts. It's a mystery to me.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Melinda, I don't know if it is the local community or me. Maybe I like bloggers because I can walk away whenever I want ? Does that make relationships easier?

I dont know. I have met a lot of great friends through blogs and I really dont have any good painting friends that live here.
All my painting buddies live somewhere else and we just visit from time to time and paint together.

That's my 60 second answer. I'll think on it more.

My neighbor has practically the same nicho for her truth window. I am going to go look at it and see how close it is.

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

what wonderfully interesting facts, thank you for visiting my blog so i can discover yours!

Catherine said...

Beautiful work Melinda...and what a rich resume of Life Experience you have! Thanks for stopping by my blog.