“The Jealous Curator”

The Canadian Danielle Krysa describes herself as a curator “who is inspired (and just a tad jealous) of amazing contemporary art, every day.” Each day she presents a new artist on her website, and on Saturday Krysa records a podcast interview with an artist, “Art For Your Ear.”

I began listening to her podcast back when she first started it last year, and now she has a rich archive of interviews. Something calms and focuses me about her voice (often infused with a chuckle) and relaxed interview style. Often infectiously inspiring by their dedication, artists talk about their back stories, studios, and working methods. Alone at work I feel like I’m eavesdropping on an interesting conversation between people who share my proclivities.

Krysa becomes part of the narrative. She’s got a great sense of humor, and I’ve liked hearing about her own struggles (art school) and successes (books: “Creative Block,” “Collage,” and a new book, “Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk,” all published by Chronicle Books, and hilarious collages on Instagram with 96.1 K followers!) (https://www.instagram.com/thejealouscurator/?hl=en)

You can listen on iTunes or by this archive link where Krysa provides images of work by the artist. It’s a treat to see the work and listen:

http://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/art-for-your-ear-podcast/

(If you are curious, here’s a fascinating one to start with, the English installation artist, Rebecca Louise Law: http://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/2016/08/05/painting-with-flowers/)

I’m about to go to Alaska for the arrival of Baby Brother either as scheduled or in a lickety split hurry, so after this I’ll post a little series I’ve been working on (often while listening to “The Jealous Curator”).

Jealous Curator

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Mother’s Day

On NPR a story told how Mother’s Day began because a daughter sought to honor her mother. But as the holiday grew popular, and Madison Avenue got involved, the founder objected to the increasingly commercial aspects. A lot of marketing surrounds Mother’s Day, and it can be a complicated holiday, but I like to hear reports of how people spend the day presenting gifts of weeding, chores accomplished, cemetery visits, flowers, phone calls, festive meals, and even pipe cleaner butterfly mobiles.

Because my husband was out of town, and our beloved house sitter was hosting her mother on the bluff, I’d spent the night before with my old friend who lives on Bainbridge Island. On Mother’s Day I planned to go to Seattle with my niece (home to Bainbridge for a well-deserved break from medical school) to have brunch at a favorite place, Plum Bistro.

But early in the morning, in a fine drizzle, my old friend and I took a long walk on the road by Rockaway Beach. When I first visited, we used to leave the children with their fathers and run this route – a hilly road, skirting the water across from Seattle.

Now 40 years on, there are changes. One obnoxiously sized house obliterates the view for a patch, but at a spot called Hall’s Hill Lookout, the Portland artist and landscape architect, Jeffrey Bale, built (at the request of a local landowner) a stone mosaic labyrinth in a forest glade. His complicated and very beautiful paving forms a meditative path, and the stones chosen from Washington beaches vary in color in meaningful ways. I loved reading Bale’s blog about how he gathered beach cobbles without disturbing the tiny sea creatures sheltering below and hauled thousands of pounds of it in buckets to construct this treasure: (http://jeffreygardens.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-labyrinth-project-beginning.html).

In this quietly landscaped place and near the labyrinth, a bronze prayer wheel by the artist Tom Jay provides a chance to spin the wheel with something in mind – nine times round, the bell rings, and one’s thought goes out into the world.

And a little further along Rockaway stands a memorial to the terrible day in 1942 when the 246 Japanese-American residents of Bainbridge Island were taken from their homes by soldiers with rifles, brought to this harbor, loaded on a ferry, and sent to interment camps. A long and beautiful wall and walkway with terracotta friezes and tiles with family names memorialize their walk down the pier. It’s a sobering reminder of an awful and unconstitutional mistake – the motto of the memorial is Nidoto Nai Yoni, which translates as “Let It Not Happen Again.”

I’d always heard about this part of Bainbridge and American history – but never before knew the faces and stories of mothers and children, farmers and students, integral members of the Bainbridge community, two thirds of whom were U.S. citizens.

The website tells much more about this beautiful contemplative place:

http://www.bijac.org/index.php?p=MEMORIALIntroduction

We were cold and wet, moved but content at the end of our Rockaway tour. I’d be glad to make that walk and brunch a Mother’s Day tradition!

Flower burst 1

Flowers Revisited

One January day the wordsmith came by bringing me “A Shakespearean Botanical,” a beautiful little volume by Margaret Willes. In it woodcut illustrations from the 1597 herbal by John Gerard accompany quotations from Shakespeare. Willes also includes bits about the medical and cooking uses of plants and gardening in Tudor England. She mentions a new theory that Gerard and Shakespeare were friends, certainly they were contemporaries.

Willes has much respect for Shakespeare’s familiarity with plants, and she’s plucked lines from the plays containing familiar names – rosemary, roses, and rue – and less familiar, long purples and mandrake.

Many criticize Gerard’s illustrations for inaccuracy (they are copies of copies of woodcuts from continental sources), but in this lovely volume they are regular and rhythmic illustrations. Willes uses the copy owned by the Bodelian Library as source material, and notes that perhaps because of copper in the pigments, colors in leaves have sometimes turned from green to turquoise.

Looking at these five hundred year-old woodcuts I think of the flowers that remain the same – violets and the tiny daisies in our scrubby lawn. But also I think about the changed nature of others like primroses, colorful offerings outside the grocery store this time of year.

So Gerard’s illustrations will be my starting point for February days with a line (or more specifically brushstroke). In the tradition of medieval woodcut artists, I’ll copy – not for accuracy but to see where it takes me.

Gerard - Viola nigra

Gerard Bellis

 

Sumi-e On A Saturday

A good way to have a good time? Spend a Saturday at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, in a classroom full of sunshine and students eager to try their hands at sumi-e painting.

The instructor, petite and gracious Louise Kikuchi, told us a little sumi-e lore – about the indelible ink and how it is made, about absorbent paper and brush strokes: “the only stroke you can make at this moment.”

On large pieces of newsprint we copied each introduced character, beginning with the symbols for one, two, three, graduating to horse, cat, willow tree. We finished the day with a landscape.

Each time after we did our best effort on a piece of rice paper (often not so interesting as practice marks), Kikuchi would hold up our offerings and gently comment, describing her impressions of our lines: lively, fierce, graceful.

I loved having a brush in hand all day – making me realize yet again how important it is to focus, devote time, and have materials ready. So if I fix these lacks, posting results will bring some color to February.

And I will use color, because luckily I haven’t a sumi-e ink bar, or I would get sidetracked grinding the bar and making ink rich and dark like Kukichi’s.

Sumi paintings

 

On Painting

For years I had a print ad for the venerable Art Students League on my wall. Below a small line drawing was the art school’s motto: “Nulla Dies Sine Linea” – “No Day Without a Line.”

So when I read about the book, “Art Students League of New York On Painting: Lessons and Mediums, Styles, and Methods” by James L. McElhinney and the instructors of the Arts Students League of New York (offered by “Blogging for Books”), I was curious. I spent several days in January reading with pleasure this hefty volume and taking notes.

Written by instructors at the school, the book is divided into three sections with different formats: Lessons and Demos, Advice and Philosophies and Interviews. Two-page spreads titled Lessons in Print give instructions about accomplishing particular paintings. Writings by these different people provide an expansive view of the history of painting, introduce artists (both traditional and innovative), describe techniques, inspirations, and studios, and reveal working and teaching methods.

While they share technical details, much of the pleasure comes from painters’ revelations about the underpinnings of a life in art. They speak of artistic awakenings, (many were struck at a young age by an experience at a museum), paths to becoming an artist, and methods of work. Pages of the artists’ paintings are followed by a gallery of images from accomplished students. The reproduced art, both lavish and beautiful, often fills the page.

Much about art and painting is to be learned from this book, because artists accustomed to communicating describe the making of paintings. With some the artspeak gets thick – but others deliver words of wisdom. Sharon Sprung who paints figures and gorgeous textiles says: “My advice to everyone is to look harder, look more than you paint. Immerse yourself in the visual world. Ask a lot of yourself, but without negativity and self-doubt. You need to risk being wrong if you ever want to be right.”

James L. McElhinney, the author, works in the field and paints in long skinny Moleskine books, making visual journals. Of artists and sketchbooks he writes: “The greatest benefit of journal work may be that it returns painting to a devotional scale – an environment in which painting can be experienced on an individual level where painters and viewers might pursue more intimate conversations.”

Near the end is an interview with Knox Martin, an artist who vehemently distinguishes drawing from sketching. He answers a question this way: “One lovely thing I do: I had a botanical print because it’s descriptive of the plant itself. Every stem and joint is exactly, honestly detailed.” He describes drawing from the print in pen and ink and then enlivening it by extending leaves and pushing stems – “Without making it unrecognizable, the leaves and folds began to rotate this way and that until the whole rectangle was activated.”

Martin is an abstract painter, and no image accompanies his words, but words, descriptions in a good book, can inspire – set one off on a new path!

(Following the example of blogger friends, I signed up for and received this book from the “Blogging For Books” program in exchange for an honest review. More information about the book here.)

Art Students League book cover

So Many Books

So little time – so the saying goes, unless you gain time by flying a lot and spending happy hours holding the sleeping Sweet Baby! After Book III of Knausgaard I texted Mrs. Hughes and asked for a quick recommendation – she suggested “Euphoria” by Lily King.

Reading Knausgaard is a little like enduring some physical ordeal. To turn from Scandinavian cold and gloom to King’s novel transports by Dickinson’s frigate to lands away – a good story replete with rituals, mysteries, and passion in a setting full of tropical heat.

In the novel King imagines the life of the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead during a time in the 1930s when she did field work with her first husband, and met the man who became her second. King says she “borrowed from the lives and experience of three people [Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson] but told a different story.”

I have only the barest knowledge of Margaret Mead, so could enjoy the protagonist Nell as her own person without wondering if the depiction of her and the others held true. I thoroughly enjoyed “Euphoria” – the intellectual and romantic heart at the center of it, the characters, the cultural investigation, the excitement of collaboration, and the pain of competition among peers.

Priya Parmar’s “Vanessa and Her Sister” is another book bringing real people to fictional life. It’s an amazing book about the much more familiar (to me) lives of Vanessa Bell and her sister, Virginia Woolf. Vanessa is the center of this book, though through imagined postcards, letters, diaries, and narrative, we hear the voices of other Bloomsbury characters – and much about a young Virginia.

Vanessa was the older sister in the Stephens family of four children – the one who stepped up when first their mother died, then their father, then their brother Thoby. The one who would be painter to Virginia’s writer.

In my years of unabashed Bloomsbury reading I could never read enough about Vanessa – she kept no diary, but she wrote letters (often taken up with running a house and caring for a family, and always expressing longing to be in her studio). Vanessa seemed such a whole and admirable person to me – serious about her work as a painter, competent, reserved, beautiful, an unquestioningly loving and devoted mother, and sufferer of a tragedy and a long and unrequited love.

I began Parmar’s book with trepidation, not sure I wanted someone telling me what Vanessa thought. But Parmar has executed this imaginative leap with such excellence.

I’m grateful for these books – and for time!

Virginia

“Serious Noticing”

Now my birds hang in the gallery, along with the other birds, some of which are big but none bad, and in this time without travel I’ve been casting around for what’s next.

I’m reading “The Nearest Thing to Life,” a book that collects a series of lectures by the literary critic James Wood, and in it he devotes an entire section to describing how writers go about “seriously noticing the world.”

A phrase in Wood’s piece concerns what he calls a kind of death that novelists save us from, ”…the slow death that we deal to the world by the sleep of our attention. By congested habit, or through laziness, lack of curiosity, thin haste, we stop looking at things.”

Being a fan, Wood describes Karl Ove Knausgaard’s world as, “one in which the adventure of the ordinary – the inexhaustibility of the ordinary as a child once experienced it (‘the taste of salt that could fill your summer days to saturation’) is steadily retreating, in which things and objects and sensations are pacing toward meaninglessness.” And Wood says: “In such a world, the writer’s task is to rescue the adventure from this slow retreat: to bring meaning, color, and life back to the most ordinary things – to soccer boots and grass, to cranes and trees and airports, and even to Gibson guitars and Roland amplifiers and Old Spice and Ajax.”

Reading this helped me identify what Knausgaard’s books do for me. He reminds us to look for the meaning in the everyday, as novels often do. But his, with their piling up of the detail of ordinary life, operate like some magic elixir delivering the engaged liveliness I want to feel.

The concept of some inevitable “pacing toward meaningless” horrifies me. I want to retain the excitement that comes from paying attention, from engagement – the way I used to always feel about observing flowers, trying to capture their variety, their shapes and colors, an adventure that seemed endless. And in the interstices without an object or a flower to attend to, I always knew the way back was to begin with drawing – or writing – to try and bring “meaning, color, and life back to the most ordinary things.”

Every once in a while I need serious reminding about serious noticing, a reminder that paying attention is the secret. I used to thank Virginia Woolf most of all for this thought. I still do. And I’m grateful to the bottom of my heart to a thinker like James Wood, to novelists like Knausgaard and Woolf, Austen and Ferrante – for the great writing that, as Wood says, not only asks us to look more closely, but “asks us to participate in the transformation of the subject through metaphor and imagery.”

As time goes on, and life is ever more cluttered with possible distractions, and the spectre rises of the “sleep of our attention,” I want to stay awake, engaged with the ordinary!

Sweater beginning

I <3 My iPhone, But…

When it dawned on Manoush Zomorodi from “New Tech City” (WNYC’s technology show) that she had never been bored since getting a smart phone, she got curious.

To investigate what’s lost by banishing boredom, Zomorodi spoke to the U.K. psychologist Sandi Mann, who deliberately bores people in her experiments. Mann finds that after 20 minutes of true boredom, participants think up more imaginative solutions to a set task (what to do with two paper cups). Mann concludes that “idle minds lead to reflective, often creative thoughts.” She says, “minds need to wander to reach their full potential,” and encourages “embracing boredom” to allow the resultant dip into the subconscious we know as daydreaming.

The neuroscientist Jonathan Smallwood studies daydreaming, and told Zomorodi he defines it as the “ability to think independently of our surroundings,” a time “when the brain self-generates thoughts that do not arise from perception.” Other scientists call it “the default mental state of the human mind.”

Zomorodi also found this photo essay produced by The Atlantic with pictures of people from all over the world with their phones. I was teary and grateful for cell phones by the end, and somewhat unsettled. They’re everywhere and important.

And I’m a little leery of daydreaming because voices echo about “wasting time.” The scientists above would disagree, they encourage real daydreaming.

So I am curious about the challenge Zomrodi designed for us on Tech Nation: “Brilliant and Bored: The Lost Art of Spacing Out,” to run from the first of February to the sixth. She invites anyone to sign up to participate and receive daily inspiration for changing a relationship to technology (specifically the smart phone). Of course, a free app will measure phone usage.

I am curious about this. I always look for ways to encourage creativity, and although my numbers of views per day aren’t what Zomorodi talks about – hundreds for some people – I could rearrange my phone checking in the name of research. (Candy Crush doesn’t tempt me, but Instagram is a huge lure.)

For a week in February it will be fun to have company in this experiment – I’m signing up!

iPhone on perch

Je Suis Charlie

I’m not really Charlie, nor am I Ahmed, the murdered Muslim gendarme. I paint flowers and teapots, write about granddaughters and good books. I don’t offend, but I could. I’m among the privileged few in this world who take freedom of expression completely for granted.

The brave journalists at Charlie Hebdo died for exercising their right to picture rudely a pope or a president or Muhammad, for presenting outrageous depictions of power, for pointing out the emperor has no clothes.

After the Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed three years ago, the editor known as Charb said that he couldn’t imagine a world where it wasn’t OK to laugh at dogma and authority, that he respected the laws of France, not religious laws. French law, like our law, protects free speech, a right defended many times over.

Now he is dead. This photo posted on Instagram by the cartoonist Wolinski’s daughter undid me. I know that drawing board and those bookshelves and the jar of pens – the forlorn chair waiting for Wolinski to come back to work.

I think about intolerance closer to home. I know how infuriated I felt when confronted by the hirelings who stood in front of the post office presenting pictures of President Obama with a Hitler moustache. I told one of them he should be ashamed of himself. He laughed and told me to have a good day. He could make the poster, and I could say my piece. Both safe.

In England we saw “Charles III” – a satire about what might happen when Prince Charles becomes the King of England. It was very funny and irreverent, and performed not far from Buckingham Palace without threat or danger from royal guards or royalists. “The Book of Mormon” is even more outrageous and insulting – and funny – and plays on Broadway and the West End.

A YouTube exists of people yelling at John McCain and calling him a traitor. John McCain and I would probably agree on little – but calling him a traitor? The heckler can speak.

Freedom of speech isn’t pretty. A much more conservative friend than I once made an amazing statement referring to the problem she perceived of “civil rights rearing their ugly heads.”

Ah yes, the inconveniently ugly heads of freedoms. Freedoms that allow things we don’t like – protestors outside abortion clinics with scary tactics, offensive New Yorker covers, or lord knows, political cartoons from the other side. But believing in freedom of expression, we just sigh and groan and allow.

In these days after the murders, I watch people express their belief in the freedom to create – they attend vigils, leave pens and flowers, and post to #jesuischarlie on Instagram and Twitter. I plant hearts on posts of strangers who are illustrators and artists. I’m with you, I try to say with my “likes.”

I’m full of sorrow and admiration for those who died, those who tried to protect them, and for those who will continue to make funny, rude pictures and write confrontational words. Because they can, and because it’s right.

Je Suis Charlie

The Workroom in Winter – 2015

A brief interruption in what begins to be the season of red and green all day, every day!

A new session of The Workroom is forming, and I wanted to let you know. Perhaps you’d like to put something for yourself on your Christmas list? The dates are 5 January to 13 February – six weeks to pursue a creative project (and that can encompass many, many things – if you wonder about what you have in mind, please email me at herspiritsrose@gmail.com – I’m betting your project would work).

More information here on the blog, including a little brochure describing The Workroom:

https://katygilmore.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/the-workroom-a-new-session-2/

https://katygilmore.wordpress.com/category/the-workroom/
https://katygilmore.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/her-spirits-rose-the-workroom/
https://katygilmore.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/the-workroom-fall-2013-an-invitation/

Or on my website: www.katygilmore.com

Here’s to new beginnings in January – and now, quickly – back to the season at hand!

SB Project The Workroom page 20-21

Totally Tudor

Thomas Cromwell grew rich while he ruthlessly tortured and beheaded countless people, and manipulated a king of England. Thomas Cromwell adored his wife and children, took in orphans, fed the poor at his gate, and encouraged the Protestant Reformation. Thomas Cromwell, a large, orange-striped cat, lives peacefully with Wolsey and two canines at Downtown Abbey.

So many Cromwells to fill the mind!

While I painted “Friends for Frances,” I listened to my husband’s Great Courses class: “The History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts” – entertaining lectures presented by Robert Bucholz, a modern historian with a sense of humor, passion and curiosity about the lives of common people, as well as royals.

And then we succumbed to evenings with “The Tudors,” long-form television complete with historical inaccuracies and startling accuracies – brutality (blanket-over-my-eyes scenes), bad medicine, and head lice, buffered by fine costumes of velvet and ermine, jewels and poufy hats.

My Tudor immersion worsened. Having watched “The White Queen” (gateway drug) before “The Tudors”, I grew curious about Philippa Gregory’s many historical novels. Soon in the car a plummy English voice narrated the (romantic) story of “The Other Boleyn Girl.” And I returned to Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell (so appealing he is), and read again “Wolf Hall.”

We have a lot of fun here talking about the characters and events in this period of history, so drenched in both significance and soap opera, as we ponder which Tudor version might be right (assuming there is a right).

What were Anne and Mary Boleyn really like? How annoying was Thomas More? Did Henry inspire love in his queens, or were they solely pawns manipulated by families and nations for power? Some characters transcend all the iterations – Queen Catherine, unfailingly gracious and devout (sometimes attractive and other times not), Henry, petulant, childish, and corpulent (history), but studly (television). Not to mention the elusive Cromwell.

The television “Tudors” engages the imagination and skill of so many people – actors and the creator Michael Hirst, of course, and people to manage the horses and the digital effects, to keep the bosoms heaving, and the king’s behavior in line. People to check the historical settings – getting the curtseys and the miladys and the food and the dances correct. Cameramen and sound guys, stylists with hair extensions – a zillion people making video magic.

And then there is Mantel, (described in Larissa MacFarquhar’s excellent 2012 New Yorker profile ) alone, and thoughtful in her workspace: “I don’t think one ever quite learns to trust the process,” she says. “I feel, what if I wake up tomorrow and I can’t do it anymore? I know I’ll always be able to write, in the sense of having a robust style that’s sufficient to the occasion, and I know that books can be got onto the page by craft, but the thing that makes a phrase that fizzes on the paper — you always fear that may not be there any longer, because, after all, you did nothing to deserve it. You did nothing to contrive it. It’s just there. You don’t understand it, it’s out of your control, and it could desert you.”

And still she does it, page after page.

Now I’m rereading “Bring Up the Bodies,” second in Mantel’s Tudor trilogy (much pleasure resides in revisiting excellent things in this age of constant new). But eagerly await the third book (“The Mirror and The Light”), though I will be sad to see the end of Mantel’s Cromwell.

Aah, but also – another version of the whole story will appear in 2015, when the BBC presents “Wolf Hall” in a six episode series!

a Tudor rose-1

 

Most Mysterious

Evolution designed high privacy settings for our minds, with all our thoughts potentially secret. I keep thinking that’s really true for Lady Baby – my most mysterious person.

A two and a half-year old offers tantalizing hints of her thoughts, has language enough to make it known she thinks a lot, but isn’t always inclined to explain herself. (I suppose I will never know why the polar bear had to wait for its baby.)

A while back her mom sent a playground photo of Lady Baby posed between two hanging poles that wiggle unreliably, one foot on each. The text of Lady Baby’s comment read: “Baby Boy [a favorite doll] taught me to do this, and I said Baby Boy thank you for teaching your mama this cool trick.”

Clearly, I could have chosen Baby Boy as the most mysterious person I know. In a FaceTime conversation, I learned more about Baby Boy and his father Nick (who is himself a teeny tiny baby). Nick drives a jeep. He and Baby Boy have a house on Sesame Street and a cabin in Prudhoe Bay. Baby Boy doesn’t go to the cabin “much,” and when he stays home, Lady Baby takes care of him (she is his mama you remember). They have a dog named Quesadilla, and when I inquired if Quesadilla were boy or girl, Lady Baby told me twice, “Quesadilla is a grown-up dog!”

Lady Baby is such a rapidly changing comet. This month she’s this, but by next month she will know more cool tricks and be able to talk about them even better, should she choose to.

On a Labor Day visit, I learned that Nick had left his huge motorcycle parked on Water Street in Port Townsend, so he could go shopping, and that he also drove the ferryboat and made announcements on board, “on the microphone.”

Does the question about mysterious also imply there is a solution? Solving the mystery of a child might be the very definition of raising a child. Figuring them out. Watching them figure themselves out.

Maybe it’s the mystery of how all this development of imagination and language happens so quickly that astounds me – two years ago she was a “teeny, tiny baby” and so limited. Now she is such a person with relationships, likes, dislikes, and passions for pickup trucks and baby dolls.

And maybe the grandparent role makes me think about time, about how I won’t know how her story comes out. If I can’t know the end, the story stays mysterious.

LB collage

 

 

 

Do You Know About Skillshare?

On its website Skillshare offers series of project-based video classes about design, business, technology and more, presented by experts in their field. You may buy some courses outright for $19 or buy a monthly subscription for $9.95, and take as many classes as you want. Skillshare provides some classes focusing on creativity and innovation for free, and often offers a free trial month.

Skillshare knows that we learn best by doing. This year I’ve been working through classes in InDesign and Photoshop. I made the little booklet I posted last week for The Workroom as my project in Anne Ditmeyer’s InDesign class. Each time I look at her videos I learn something, and in the last month Ditmeyer has been offering helpful critiques of class projects.

Some classes lend themselves to just watching, like Jack Zerby’s “Fundamentals of Design: How to Think Like a Designer.” Zerby whips through a cogent, concise overview of design principles in videos that total less than two hours, lighting on concepts like visual hierarchy, type, and color. By revealing a touch of designer fairy dust, he makes one look anew at the designed world around us.

But best of all, a few weeks ago, a Skillshare email offered “Creative Non-fiction: Write Truth With Style” by Susan Orlean. Wow. If you are interested in writing, any kind of writing, this is a gem.

In 14 short video lessons, each so well-crafted and organized, Orlean traces her process, using as example a piece she wrote some 20 years ago: “The American Male at Age 10.” She’s funny and engaging – and so generous with the details of how she works. (More here about Orlean and the class from the Skillshare blog: http://blog.skillshare.com/eight-things-we-learned-about-susan-orlean/)

For the class project, Orlean suggested a 750-word piece about “the most mysterious person you know.” I thought about it all the time I watched the videos (I rationed myself to one a day while I worked on Frances’s adventures, though I often relistened while painting).

I’m a long-time fan of Orlean, from her New Yorker articles to “The Orchid Thief” – and I was thrilled to discover this class. And her prompt does make you consider your cohort.

Who is the most mysterious person you know?

 

Mysterious Hat

 

The Workroom – A New Session

The Workroom – a sure sign of autumn – the dates are: begin 8 September and end 17 October. Below is a little “booklet” describing The Workroom, and more information, including testimonials from past participants, is available on my website http://www.katygilmore.com. The cost is $60 for the six weeks.

Questions or to sign up, please email me at herspiritsrose@gmail.com.

Having made the blog a sort of Workroom with the Frances project, I’m even more convinced that it works to be accountable. I’d love to see you there!

The Workroom Project ID fourth iteration

The Workroom Project ID fourth iteration2

The Workroom Project ID fourth iteration3

The Workroom Project ID fourth iteration4

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