Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Joy of Painting Protest Pictures
In these grim times in the United States of America, almost everyone is anguished and/or frustrated.  Those of us who believe in the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps are horrified we have legislators who believe we should do without them.  We can't see erasing the gains we, our parents, and our grandparents fought and worked for.  Since I depend for more than half of my income on earned Social Security (40 years' of work), I have been fighting depression.
Facebook has given me a way to express myself and fight back.  Everybody and his turkey is posting captioned pictures of all kinds to prove their points.  I decided to add my dressed-up cats to the mix.
For years I had been frustrated painting smiley, happy cats for public consumption at craft fairs.  Not surprisingly, my initial impulse to draw was founded in operatic photos.  Some of those are none too pleasant, because opera deals with all the emotions.  Lately I have done a couple of works that let those feelings out, and I shall see how the public reacts to a painted box of operatic scenes.
Then, suddenly, I had a purpose for emotional art.  I, too, could express myself on Facebook, in my articles on Examiner.com, and here.  I've been cullling every photo or image I could find among my collection, looking for pictures of worried, unhappy, or angry people.  These images include ones taken from magazines, art books, costume histories, movies, and operas.  I usually change the clothing so the original source is not too obvious.
This is immensely satisfying emotionally.  I draw and paint with a purpose, working out my anxiety and hoping someone will benefit from sharing these images.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Our First Language Is Music"
 That's what my son told me several months back.  I was shocked; I had never dared think that way.  Yet it is true for both of us - the first way we think to express our feelings is in music.  This is partly natural affinity and partly because - at various times in our lives - music has been the safest way to think about our emotions and let them out.  That's how music has made its way into my novels.  It's my natural way to express myself.
I thought about this tonight because of an experience I just had.  Lately I've been really depressed over a nasty financial bump in a life that's been filled with bumps.  I wanted to crawl into my hole and work very quietly and very hard at home.  But I had been invited to take part in an interfaith choir singing the Faure Requiem.  I have done it with the St. Joseph's folks before, and their choir director is very exciting to work with. - In fact, their choir director and mine form a marvelous pair for any singer.  My director was on the piano tonight, helping his friend.
Psychologists tell us that getting out among people and doing something when you're feeling down is always a good practice.  Tonight's rehearsal brought me back into a world where I feel I'm valued and can make a contribution, no matter what.  And the Faure Requiem is a wonderful piece to sing right now.
You see, I am extremely angry about the government shutdown and the political woes of retired folk like myself on both the state and federal levels.  The "Libera Me" section of Faure's work is just the right medicine!  Anger and retribution are right there, and I can sing my feelings right out.  The magic of shared music flowed through me, and I felt strong enough to bear up.
That's why you find Mussorgsky's Field Marshall Death taking his place in science fiction.