Friday, November 11, 2016

Mindful Art

Jackson Pollock at MOMA

Walking down the sidewalk as a child often tweaked my imagination. One time I saw a bullet holes all across the front a house. I ran home and told my parents that somebody had been shot (The tales of Bonnie and Clyde were rampant in my childhood.) To my dismay that was not the truth. The truth, as my mother pointed out to me when we stood in front of house, was that those places that looked like holes were nothing more than dirt and mud splashed on the house probably by some ornery boys.  How disappointing for me.  In my mind, I had created another picture. When I see a Jackson Pollock canvas I am reminded of those mud splats on the white framed house.

As I matured my eyes still saw things that others might have missed, and I began to think of these pieces as art. When I was a single parent my daughter and I put thousands of miles on our little green Toyota driving from Western Kansas to anywhere. We chased a rainbow one day for miles and miles, just to see where it ended. We drove by an old brick factory in SE Kansas. I pulled off the side of the road and drew the smokestacks, some still tall and stately while others stood broken with bricks askew in nearly every scene.  My plan was to create a macramé hanging of those geometric structures. 

Playfully, I turned the pictures of trees and various structures, upside down to create my macramé hangings and sold them in craft shows. Now, I'm grateful to use my cell phone to take photographs, but I still believe that my most vivid memories will be those that I keep in my mind.

Traveling offers so many unique opportunities to see and imagine art in various forms. While walking the streets of Santa Fe last winter, I discovered many painted doors, and my mind gleefully recalled a trip to Marblehead, Mass that once opened my mind to beauty of brightly painted front doors. Originally, or so the lore of the ocean tells me, when ships wrecked at sea the people living near  the shore would take what items washed onto the beaches, and put them to use in their homes. Whether the story is true or not it not important. What's important is that the people found a way to bring art into their homes, no matter their situation. 

Social Media offers a place for us to share our imaginative adventures.  Susan Dragoo takes professional photos of her hikes and travels, and shares them on Instagram. With her permission I'm posting one of her photos. Looking at the shapes, colors, and textures of her photograph all help to create a story in my imagination and stimulate the "I wonder?" and the "what if?"  Playing with these 

questions creates a colorful playground in my mind. It’s inspiring to me to see the photos and places that other people share.  Without ever leaving my home I’ve hiked with Sherpas, imagined ocean waves lapping at my feet, seen art in hidden places, walked the swampy bayous, visited ice castles, and hiked the hills of Oklahoma.

As I sit here watching leaves fall, listening to Pachelbel, I'm reminded to be quiet in my thoughts, and be Mindful of Art for it will enlighten the day. 


  1. Thank you, Letty, for this beautiful explanation of the value of art. I especially loved the image of you and your daughter following the rainbow.

  2. What a pleasant way to start my day. It was already pleasant due to the sun popping over the t hill behind our house. In about 10 hours we'll get to see that same sun set behind the continental divide. Enjoy your day. ss