Art can bring joy and courage to artists and viewers alike

Published 9:09 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

I recently received a note from Stacia Lang from Los Angeles, whose fashion and technology display is part of the “Art in Fashion” exhibit currently showing at the Albert Lea Art Center. She says, “I really enjoyed being a part of this exhibit. Everyone made me feel welcome, and I’ll always cherish the time I got to spend with old friends, new friends, relatives, past teachers and aspiring young designers!”

Her comments made me think about the joy that art brings and also the courage it takes to make art a significant part of your life. Stacia has accomplished what few others are able to do. Creating is her life, and while I’m sure there are downs as well as ups in her career, she is determined to follow her dream. What an inspiration she is to others.

What about you and your creative side — be it writing, photography, music, junk sculpture, wood carving, etc.? What do you do to satisfy that urge to make something that is yours alone? And does your age make a difference?

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There is a Mother Goose rhyme that goes like this:

“Dear, Dear! What can the matter be?

Two old women got up in an apple tree.

One came down, and

The other stayed ’till Saturday.”

That wonderful bit of nonsense was the inspiration for my “Old Woman” poem.

“When I am an old woman I plan to spend my time

Sitting in apple trees and spinning rhymes.

Lest you think that I’m crazy or a little bit off,

Let me tell you of my childhood and my apple tree horse.

“When I was a little girl, my favorite place in the yard

Was the old apple tree where a branch had been sawed

Off so to make a saddle for my horse.

Other branches were stirrups for fine riding, of course.

“On those bright summer days and then into the sunset,

I’d ride with Gene Autry for fun and adventure.

With my jump rope for reins and his songs in my heart,

Those rides were exciting on my apple tree horse.

“I’m much older now and contemplating the time when grey hairs and wrinkles are a part of my life,

And like those two old women in that Mother Goose book…

Who climbed the apple tree to take a look

At the world from that spot, a higher place than routine,

I plan to do the same — to write and to dream.

“I can just imagine that comfortable place

With my paper and pencil and a cup of tea.

I might need a pillow so my bones won’t get tired.

I’m not quite as spry as I was when that child,

“I’ll be much more grown up now, sophisticated and wise.

Long gone are the days of Gene Autry and rides.

My thoughts now are more lofty, my visions more clear.

Life’s lessons more powerful, some happy, some dear.

“I’ll write of my family — our sadness and joys.

I’ll write of my hobbies, and travel and toys.

I’ll write of the people who’ve entered my life,

Who’ve been my inspiration — my own personal miracles.

“I’ll not bother with those people who think I’m a nut.

They can go their own way and live life as they please,

And it just might happen that my children might think

I’ve gone a bit daffy or over the brink.

“But I’m warning them now — that life is far more pleasant

When you’re in an apple tree looking over the horizon.

That’s where dreams can come true, where great rhymes I can spin.

Am I an old woman yet? I can’t wait to begin.”

Come to think of it — why wait until you are older? What about connecting with your creative side right now?

Bev Jackson Cotter is a member of the Albert Lea Art Center where the exhibit “Art in Fashion” will be showing through August 27.