Be Dare and Bare

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In our backyard shop-artroom, I am working on a mosaic for our Copper River cabin; a stylized salmon spawning scene that is played out year after year when the reds run aplenty, and we are blessed with the bounty of the catch. A few more months of cutting, shaping and molding until the piece is complete & ready for installation.

Because so many ideas and projects get backed up in my shop, I feel compelled to assign a completion date so I can move on to the next piece. What I’ve discovered lately is the fun of working on multiple projects at once; if the creative juices begin to lag on one, I can crossover onto another for a while and go back and forth between painting and cutting glass.

I listen to music often, noting lines from favorite tunes and writing them on the walls (no worries; the walls are unfinished and meant to be scribbled on) as I’m dancing about from light table to glass grinder to work bench. So I had the idea of extracting lines from some of my favorite songs, and doing a sketch or painting or collage to match the mood and content.

One day I was viewing art in a local gift shop when I saw my idea being played out…well, almost. The artist rendered lines from various songs in a cornucopia of fonts, each one attractive and unique. Fonts have their own reach and beauty ( ) and designers from all over the world are happy to share their creations with crafters and 
artists. It’s captivating how a font in and of itself can carry so much emotional weight.

Back to my idea of taking a song line and crafting a piece of art. Spontaneity is key…listen, feel…turn up the volume, listen some more and then paint, draw, collage.

“The bittersweet between my teeth, trying to find the in-between…” is from the song, Young Blood by The Naked and Famous. I am indebted to my adult children for continually keeping me in step with their generation of music. I absolutely love these guys. Ah, youth.


“What a shot you could be if you could shoot at me with those angry eyes…” from the song Angry Eyes by Loggins and Messina. An oldie’s favorite. Grrr.

“And it’s good and it’s true, let it wash over you…” from the song, River’s Edge by Great Lake Swimmers. Their music is down-to-earth and ethereal at the same time.

“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup…” from the song, Across the Universe sung by Fiona Apple. I admit, I like Fiona’s version better than Lennon’s (blasphemy!)…it’s mellow and hauntingly dreamy. Live vibrantly, not perfectly. Dare to bare it, as Jan Phillips says. Her inspirational words of wisdom never fail to provide guidance:

“We are healed by creation and the creation of others. We are healed when we transform the events of our lives into other shapes that can be of use—into stories and poems, music and films.”

David DiSalvo offers a more straight forward thought on the human heart’s longing to create: “Anyone who says ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body,’ is seriously underestimating their skeleton. More to the point, they are drastically undervaluing their brain. Creativity is an integral part of being human, and to deny its expression is like denying the expression of other crucial human elements that we intuitively realize we’d be miserable without.”

Or, on a lighter note, consider Albert Einstein: “Creativity is simply intelligence having fun.” And there is always more room for fun in this world.

0 thoughts on “Be Dare and Bare”

  1. It was such a pleasure to see and read about some of the many creative projects you are working on in your shop. I especially love the colors in the last painting, the Jan Phillips quote, and the Fiona Apple version of "Across the Universe."

    Taking lyrics (and poetry and prose) and pairing them with artwork is one of my favorite things to do while listening to music. You have inspired me to think about the possibility of pairing song lines with some of my photographs…

  2. I think it's the nature of an artist's consciousness to connect those cross-discipline dots in ways that are beyond logic. And, yes, to paraphrase what you wrote — fonts do speak a language all their own.

  3. On my first book, Baby Talk (1991 Perseus) the fonts used on the front cover were very misplaced…a poor reflection of the book's content. Back then, I wasn't brave enough to challenge a publisher's art department…but now, I am far more confident and maybe a little demanding. That won't happen again.

  4. I really enjoyed the video for River's Edge. And I'm especially fond of and amused by this: "Anyone who says 'I don't have a creative bone in my body,' is seriously underestimating their skeleton." That's good enough to print out and tack on the refrigerator (in a good font, of course!)

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Welcome to the creative playground of Image, Sculpture, Verse.  I live in a river town nestled in the Chugach Mountain Range of Southcentral Alaska.



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