Hello again.

Here we are at the end of October, and what a month it has been.  Along with car wrecks and other misadventures I traveled a bit; locally and out of state to visit my folks and family.  I feel lucky in that I adore my family; six siblings and we all like each other, each other's spouses, kids, and kids of kids!  My folks are still alive and kickin' but as time goes on, getting back there to help them out has become more important.  There are a couple of activities that have become somewhat traditional when I visit home, one is going to the YMCA for a work out with my 86 year old father, and the other is a visit to The Flint Institute of Arts.  In spite of its dismal economy, crime and bad press, Flint has a lovely cultural center and art museum.  An impressive and growing collection, (their most recent acquisition is a large bronze by Deborah Butterfield) classes, educational programs and interesting exhibitions all help to make it lively, robust and worth visiting frequently.  One of the current exhibits, and the one we went specifically to see is: Quilting Traditions: The Art of Amish Quilts.  While I usually prefer the crazy, asymmetrical, Gee's Bend type of quilting, after our visit, I have a whole new appreciation for the precision, limited palette and artistry with which the women of this austere community created these functional pieces of art.  I've often viewed quilting as subversive, one of few ways in which women, over time, have been able to express themselves, their beliefs and (sometimes radical) ideas, so when I viewed this beautiful collection of quilts, I couldn't help but wonder if some of them, with their bright colors, intricate stitching and sophisticated design, (and especially the one where the artist actually stitched her name on the quilt!) were the creations of rebellious, expressive women, responding to the limitations of their existence.

The Ruth Mott Gallery is my  favorite gallery at The Flint Institute of Arts.  Each time I visit I return to this gallery of American primitive paintings to see the two pieces below specifically. (I snapped these photos with my phone so forgive the quality, please.)

 Humming Bird, Red Bird, Baltimore Bird, Robbin, Flicker, Blue Bird attributed to Thomas Coke Ruckle, 1842

The Fowler Children artist unknown, 1854

Regrettably, I spent very little time in my studio, or with my sketch book, during the month of October.  sigh.   But I have just been asked to create a series of prints for the upcoming season of Advent.  Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation.  As we head into these darkest days of the year, a bit of focus and  preparation sounds good to me.  Perhaps I can channel the concentration and industry of those Amish women and create something lovely.

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