Monday, November 28, 2016

No right to complain: Artist dissing

According to Psychology Today, this is the definition of a micro aggression
everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

As a woman, redheaded and bisexual at that, I have certainly experienced microaggressions. But one of the small and common put downs that hurts me the most has nothing to do with being female or queer, and therefore probably doesn't qualify for the definition, although it still fits the frame.

Yep, poor, privileged me: I'm tired of being put down for being an artist.

Artist friends and I talk about the discomfort of self identifying as an artist. Maybe the push back from the world that we feel is because of lack of financial success. I have heard many variations on the theme of “What a luxury that you get to spend all your time on this fun hobby! Aren't you so lucky? I wish I could indulge in my creative side the way you do!” Or, “Yeah, being an artist isn't much to brag about.” Or, “Calling yourself an artist just sounds so pompous to me.” (All of the above were said to me by non-artists.)

So, even writing that, my breathing has gone shallow, my stomach hurts, my heart is pounding, my upper lip is sweating, and I'm starting to see spots. Seriously.

But I feel compelled to examine this closely. This sometimes implied and sometimes explicit line has been delivered to me all my life, starting with my father telling me, in high school, that no, being an artist was not a good career, but something to do on the side. Farming, on the other hand …

This question severely affects my self worth. Now my kidneys hurt – adrenal glands – and it's getting just a wee bit ridiculous. 

Time for a walk and some meditation. Check back in.

No right to complain: Artist dissing

According to Psychology Today, this is the definition of a micro aggression
everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

As a woman, redheaded and bisexual at that, I have certainly experienced microaggressions. But one of the small and common put downs that hurts me the most has nothing to do with being female or queer, and therefore probably doesn't qualify for the definition, although it still fits the frame.

Yep, poor, privileged me: I'm tired of being put down for being an artist.

Artist friends and I talk about the discomfort of self identifying as an artist. Maybe the push back from the world that we feel is because of lack of financial success. I have heard many variations on the theme of “What a luxury that you get to spend all your time on this fun hobby! Aren't you so lucky? I wish I could indulge in my creative side the way you do!” Or, “Yeah, being an artist isn't much to brag about.” Or, “Calling yourself an artist just sounds so pompous to me.” (All of the above were said to me by non-artists.)

So, even writing that, my breathing has gone shallow, my stomach hurts, my heart is pounding, my upper lip is sweating, and I'm starting to see spots. Seriously.

But I feel compelled to examine this closely. This sometimes implied and sometimes explicit line has been delivered to me all my life, starting with my father telling me, in high school, that no, being an artist was not a good career, but something to do on the side. Farming, on the other hand …


This question severely affects my self worth. Now my kidneys hurt – adrenal glands – and it's getting just a wee bit ridiculous. 

Time for a walk and some meditation. Check back in.

No right to complain: Artist dissing

According to Psychology Today, this is the definition of a micro aggression
everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

As a woman, redheaded and bisexual at that, I have certainly experienced microaggressions. But one of the small and common put downs that hurst me the most has nothing to do with being female or queer, and therefore probably doesn't qualify for the definition, although it still fits the frame.

Yep, poor, privileged me: I'm tired of being put down for being an artist.

Artist friends and I talk about the discomfort of self identifying as an artist. Maybe the push back from the world that we feel is because of lack of financial success. I have heard many variations on the theme of “What a luxury that you get to spend all your time on this fun hobby! Aren't you so lucky? I wish I could indulge in my creative side the way you do!” Or, “Yeah, being an artist isn't much to brag about.” Or, “Calling yourself an artist just sounds so pompous to me.” (All of the above were said to me by non-artists.)

So, even writing that, my breathing has gone shallow, my stomach hurts, my heart is pounding, my upper lip is sweating, and I'm starting to see spots. Seriously.

But I feel compelled to examine this closely. This sometimes implied and sometimes explicit line has been delivered to me all my life, starting with my father telling me, in high school, that no, being an artist was not a good career, but something to do on the side. Farming, on the other hand …


This question severely affects my self worth. Now my kidneys hurt – adrenal glands – and it's getting just a wee bit ridiculous. 

Time for a walk and some meditation. Check back in.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lost Mountain Blues at Squam Lake



I just spent a weekend at Squam Lake, as part of the SCBWI retreat, at the site where On Golden Pond was filmed. 

The swimming was wonderful, the loons lonesome sounding, and the Milky Way visible. Got to make some lovely, engaging friends. 

Also, I had the great pleasure of getting a one on one session with one of the editor/mentors, the very kind Arianne Lewin, of Penguin Random House.

To which I arrived sixteen minutes late, nearly in tears, because first I got lost on West Rattlesnake Mountain for two hours.

Intending to do a loop, I went up the steep side. At the top, sweating, I enjoyed the view, but didn't linger, because I'd wanted to catch a quick shower before my meeting.



So, then I went down the wrong side of the mountain, and didn't notice. 

When I got down to the road, no clue that it wasn't even the right road, I alternated sprinting and fast walking. I was sure that the camp was just around the corner. At the office they'd said 10 minutes, but what did they know? (hah hah hah...)

20 minutes later, I figured that this was taking too long. Tried getting directions to Rockywold-Deephaven from passers by, who had no idea where I was talking about. One group of guys suggested going back up to the top of the mountain, which I considered, even though this would take at least an hour.

I was getting desperate. And trying not to cry. Too old to cry about getting lost.

Nearly forty minutes after reaching the base of the mountain, I found a kind family who were sitting in their car, at the base of an entirely different mountain, who helped me. They drove me all the way back to the camp. Wow. So grateful!

Confession: Not the first time this has happened to me (including being driven home by a kind stranger.) I've done this in the Alps, and in the Welsh mountains. Maybe it's time I learn the art of orienteering. Or just stay off mountains when I'm by myself, right? But no, that would be too easy, and I'm stubborn.

So, here's something comical: the site where we were staying for the SCBWI retreat was simultaneously hosting something called “Becoming an Outdoors Woman.” Clearly, I was enrolled in the wrong program.

Did you notice the mountain name? West Rattlesnake. That makes no sense, to me, for New Hampshire.

Or that rattlesnake was even more lost than I was.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

PTSD versus Resilience

What allows a reported 45 % (according to the article on PTSD in the New England Journal of Medicine – written by Rachel Yehuda, Ph. D.) of rape victims not to experience PTSD? (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

I am fascinated, especially in light of the moving letter from the young woman in the Stanford rape case, that any woman would be able to move on with her life without crushing psychomedical reverb.

I imagine, aside from the 55 percent who experience PTSD, that a significant portion still experience long term debilitating consequences. Depression, nightmares, and health complications aren't restricted to PTSD diagnoses.

I'm reading the Yehuda article as closely as I can. It's dense stuff. 

“Patients with chronic PTSD have increased circulating levels of norepinephrine and increased reactivity of a2-adrenergic receptors. These alterations, in tandem with the finding that thyroid hormone levels are increased in patients with PTSD, may help explain some of the somatic symptoms of the disorder.” (page 110)

Adrena mmph mmph? Adrenergic: working with norepinephrine or adrenaline/epinephrine (adrenaline and epinephrine are the same thing, just different name. Norepinephrine and noradrenaline are the same thing. Thank you for confusing me further … )



Okay, thyroid hormone, I know what that is – that bowtie organ at the back of your throat, without which we have no energy and our brain goes lame. 

Norepinephrine? Stress hormone, neurotransmitter, produced by the adrenal medulla (inner part of the adrenal gland, on top of the kidneys) and in the brain. It affects the fight or flight reflexes in the sympathetic nervous system, accelerating heart rate, restricting blood vessels, raising blood pressure. Wikipedia sources one and two.

“Prospective studies have shown that patients in whom PTSD, or symptoms of PTSD, develop have attenuated increases in cortisol levels in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, which may be related to prior exposure to a traumatic event or other risk factors. They also have higher heart rates in the emergency room and one week later than persons in whom PTSD does not develop. These findings suggest that patients with PTSD have a greater degree of activation of the sympathetic nervous system.” (page 112)

What the above paragraph says to me is that the author is wondering if people who experience PTSD have a history of past trauma.

How do people remain resilient? How do people heal from a traumatic event without developing PTSD?


Page listing symptoms of PTSD here

Friday, May 27, 2016

Copyright confessions

https://www.etsy.com/listing/295205993/d-for-dingo-original-animal-alphabet?ref=shop_home_active_2

Copyright is tricky. I deal with it all the time.

Who would have thought being an artist would lead to such a concern for the law? Spirit of it, at least.

Will my own images be used without my consent?
Am I taking advantage of any photographers by using their work?

I try, very hard, to be respectful of photographers. They work to get the subject, the perfect shot, and they work to make it better, and then they put it online for all the world to see, hoping, just like I do, that no one will steal their work.

Usually, I get my images from sites where photographers post their photos for free use. Sites like morguefile.com, or, when usage has no conditions, Wikipedia. Occasionally, I remember to cite their names, even when the sites doesn't ask for that. Seems like the least I can do, and, all too often, more than I do.

Some photos on Wikipedia have a share and share alike term of usage, meaning that, if I paint one of the animals from one of their gorgeous photos, I would have to make the image of my painting free, too.

Not the painting itself, but still. That's days worth of work. Not feeling that generous, apparently.

Here, I listen to the counsel of my savvy neighbor: what if an editor wanted to publish an anthology of paintings, but the share freely clause meant copyright issues?

Share and share alike beautifulness, by Henry Whitehead, on Wikipedia:

Nullarbor Dingo

And the Paul Copeland photo I ended up using, from morguefile.com, also beautiful:

http://mrg.bz/4a610a

Thank you, Paul! And maybe I will paint Henry's photo, too, because I just can't help myself...

Question: Am I not being supportive of the photography community by using photos people post for free?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Showing at Grasmere in Bristol

I'm busily completing the animal alphabet again - the giraffe, hyena, deer, skunk, turtle, and fox all found homes since last time.

I've replaced them with a goat, a hedgehog a dingo, and another fox.

And I'm working on a squid and, maybe, a three-toed sloth for T, as per my daughter's suggestion.

I'm so excited to go and visit Beth and Peter's shop, Grasmere!