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All of the Above


On one of the rare weekends this summer we weren’t camping, my husband and I attended our church’s outdoor service. We sat beneath an umbrella on a beautiful morning, the sky broad above us. Our friend, Niesje was leading worship. Before beginning a song about bringing Heaven to Earth, she reminded the congregation that, with God, anything can happen. 


God often speaks to me in wordplay (I like to call Him the Wordsmith). As Niesje spoke, I heard in my heart the phrase “all of the above.” Such words and phrases usually arrive simultaneously with layers of meaning, and it can take me a moment to unfurl them. One layer to “all of the above” was Heaven, as in: all of what is higher, all of what is possible. At that moment, beneath the expansive sky, I was reminded of the vastness of possibility. 


But “all of the above” also referred to that pesky option on multiple-choice tests. 


I was never a good test taker. I could study, and I did—hard. But because I didn’t have the knack of knowing what test makers expected, I spent way too much time trying to memorize things instead of learning their context and how they worked together. 


When required to answer essay questions, I could “show” my work and explain nuances, which helped. But for multiple choice tests, there is just one right answer. Pretty black and white. Unless there is the shades-of-gray option D: All of the above. 


In school, I loved and hated “all of the above.” It meant there was more than one correct answer (which I secretly believed about most everything). But it also meant I’d have to know the subject well enough to know that A, B, and C were all correct, too. 


That Sunday beneath the Heavens, I recognized that I’d been slipping back into old patterns of limited, either/or thinking—of believing I’d have to choose just A, B, or C. I was reminded that God is big enough to be both/and—even big enough to offer an alphabet-length set of options and for all of them to be possible! He is big enough to offer all of the above.


I was recently reading about dialectics, which is basically a fancy way to say “both/and” thinking. It’s the paradox of seemingly contradictory things being true, like feeling sad and hopeful at the same time. In other words, there is usually more than one “correct” answer—or at least more than one way to arrive at it. 


Life will throw tests at us—both essay and multiple choice. But it helps to remember that God offers more answers than any test key. It also helps to remember that He is not sitting around in Heaven with a big red pen, waiting to tally our mistakes and write a low score across our lives. In fact, I have a feeling God isn’t really into tests. Humans? For some reason, we seem to like them. So here’s a test on subject matter I’m trying not to memorize but to learn, to embody: 


A. God is not a test maker, waiting to fail us


B. God is love, and love is BIG: bigger than our closed either/or thinking and bigger than our most open and noble imaginings


C. He invites us to dream with Him and Heaven—to get to know Him well and to embrace the mystery of what we do not know


D. All of the above

 

 

Truth Teller Tribe Returns

During my 40 some years of being an artist and teacher, Tribes of Truth Tellers have manifested themselves in many ways.

I taught Sculpture for many years in public schools and tall, cylindrical sculptural forms showed up in paper maché and clay forms. It was so fascinating to see the variety of expressions that resulted when a challenge was put forth to 30 students and they found 30 ways to express it. I worked along with them in order to teach technique. As always happens, we all inspired each other to make our sculptures unique.

The Tribe has also shown up in layered textural acrylic paintings and in collaged, cut, and layered painted paper forms. These two new ones are acrylics painted on paper with a forest in mind. However, the Tribe inserted itself into my consciousness, so I cut them free from each other and re-assembled them on painted wooden panels. I also cut a tree from another painting to add to the mystery.

There they were in all their glory, telling me Truths I hadn’t known before. As it turns out, the story they tell each viewer is specifically tailored to each individual.

Brief Beauty

So brief, these.

So long from seed to blossom

then so quick to drop their petals.

But worth the pink while.

May-June 2021 Art Opportunities


Ashland Galleries
May Visual Arts News
May = Art Opportunities

We’re excited to share a handful of art opportunities that are being offered this month to foster your inner creativity.
 
Allen Smith, Skin, Oil on Paper

Central Art Gallery
Display Your Artwork!
Deadline: No Deadline 
Central Art Gallery is a 650 square foot exhibition space located at 101 N. Central Avenue in Medford. The gallery will be offering exhibition opportunities for visual artists monthly during Downtown Medford’s Third Friday Art Walk.  

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to [email protected]


Sarah F Burns, Late Spring, Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR, Oil on Panel

ART BEYOND
Saturday in the Park: Lithia Park Plein Air Painting Event 

Saturday, June 19, 2021 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Open to all, artists can come and go throughout the day. The general public will be encouraged to engage with the artists between 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. where artists can talk about their work and process. Artists will be invited to show one piece created at this event at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum from June 21 – September 16, 2021. Art will be sold at and by ScienceWorks, with 50% of sales prices going to the artist and 50% to ScienceWorks.

Please register here to be a participating artist by June 1, 2021.


Charlotte Peterson, Three Pink Ladies, Watercolor

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center 
Community Gallery Exhibitions
Deadline: Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center invites artists to submit a portfolio of work for the 2022 Community Gallery Exhibition Series. The gallery is a smaller, more intimate exhibition space. Shows include one artist and special themed exhibitions. Artists working in all media are encouraged to apply.

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to [email protected]


Northwest Ceramics Studio

Northwest Ceramics Studio
Ceramic In-Person Classes
May 20, 2021 
Times Vary 

Come have fun and get a little dirty at Northwest Ceramics! They offer ceramic classes at all different levels. It is recommended to register for classes early due to small class sizes.

As of right now, a Beginning Hand-Building Workshop and One Time Clay Class on the Pottery Wheel are available. For more information, please visit, https://www.northwestceramicstudio.com/book-online



Vince Carl, Wound for Rebound, Acrylic

Grants Pass Museum of Art
Rogue Valley Biennial 

Deadline: May 16 and May 17
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

  The Grants Pass Museum of Art is hosting the Rogue Valley Biennial and the exhibition will be juried IN PERSON! The call for art is open to artists living in Jackson and Josephine counties only. Artist(s) must be able to hand deliver artwork on May 16 or May 17 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. for jury consideration.

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to o[email protected]

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Thank You! 

To thank and support the Ashland Gallery Association, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is offering a couple of discount codes to view performances. How exciting! 

Currently streaming until May 29 is Snow in Midsummer. This 2018 U.S. premiere production interweaves two stories of a young woman who curses her city from beyond the grave, and of a wealthy businesswoman who must face the parched, locust-plagued city. This modern ghost story beautifully reimagines a classic myth and explores the legacy of trauma, the heart of injustice, and the lengths to which we go for love.

Length: Approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes, with one intermission.
  Codes:
$5.00 Tiks Code: Connects (If you’re experiencing a hardship) 
$5.00 Student Tik Code: StudentSpring5 
$10.00 Indigenous Community Code: IndianC10Spring 
$10.00 Theatre Lovers of Color Code: TLOC10Spring 
$10.00 Teachers for Social Justice Code: T4SJ10Spring 
$15.00 Group Price (Up to 30 people: per show/per group) 
https://www.osfashland.org/en/shows-on-o/groups.aspx
 
Website:
https://www.osfashland.org/en/productions/2021-digital-plays/d-snow-in-midsummer.aspx

Copyright © 2021 Ashland Gallery Association, All rights reserved.

Of literature & Landscaping

 

I am being lazy on the literary front by not writing something fresh for this post, but all my spring creativity has been going toward landscaping!

So for this month, I’ll just say: I am delighted to have won an Oregon Book Award for my poetry collection, Hope of Stones. It was far more rewarding than making my own mulch! Immense gratitude to everyone at Literary Arts for honoring these poems and to dear Press 53 for publishing them. 

Here’s to words and wheelbarrows and wonder,

Anna 

Oh, So Many Choices

Oh, So Many Choices

I have used collage as a technique in some of my paintings for many years. I also keep every scrap of paper left over in case I need it later on in another painting. Needless to say, I have hundreds, maybe thousands of colorful scraps in my flat files.

It struck me that I actually could never need to paint on another clean white sheet of paper again.  Of course, that is an impossible thought because I love those clean white sheets and watching the images appear in the layers of color and texture applied. But I did decide to dive into an exploration of only using already existing scraps to collage together new creations.

With three different sizes of cradle board surfaces to collage onto which gave me some structure as well as variety. I started by letting my intuition guide me to select scraps as anchors or focal points to build onto.

This is where the plot thickens. Every piece I added affected every other decision and the possibilities were so immense that my mind boggled. Since pieces were still loose, I took photos so when it was time to glue, I’d have a map. Well, there was still so much fluidity that the glued results were never exactly according to plan.  

The Home Planet

Being used to following circuitous threads, I am pleased with the results.

The Poet Wonders

Nationally, it has been poetry month, but personally, it has been gardening month (with plenty of gravel schlepping!). In the realm of poetry, my collection Hope of Stones was nominated as a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards. I wait to hear the results. In the realm of gardening, I planted seeds. I wait to see the results. 

 

I’ve always honored the timeless metaphor of a garden, but it’s one thing to write about it. It’s another to prepare the soil and plant the physical seeds. 

 

Since I’ve spent far more time with a shovel than a pen this month, I thought I’d pull out a poem from Hope of Stones. Unlike the opening line, it is still the “month of April & maybes.” So much waiting. And even more than the results of the book awards, I am excited to see what this coming harvest season will bring. 

 

The Poet Wonders

Oregon, October

 

The more I wonder, the more I love.—Alice Walker

 

It is no longer the month of April & maybes. 

It’s October & root vegetables—the soil-

pulled concretions of harvest. What we seeded 

in spring has grown up & down & waits 

for us to lift it from the skin of earth. 

 

How silent prayer was revelation & heresy.

 

The clouds roll in. The leaves redden. 

The cat’s coat thickens. We gather 

the tangible close & prepare for cold. 

 

How physics is the science of prayer.

 

One friend is dying. Another is trying to love 

someone who doesn’t love her back. 

 

I visit the first friend, & we sit on his deck 

watching tractors in the adjacent forest dig 

foundations for new houses he will never see. 

 

I visit the other friend & notice the old 

potatoes she keeps on a shelf. They’ve 

shriveled a bit but have new eyes—new shoots 

already looking for somewhere else to grow.  

 

How a perennial can inspire prayer.

 

The Baumann Effect Live Demo

Central Art Supply logo

541.773.1444   101 N. Central Ave., Medford, Oregon 97501   centralartsupply.com
MON-FRI: 10-6 | SAT: 10-5


Thursday May 6, 2021 / 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Central Art is proud to announce a FREE [in-person] painting event:
“The Baumann Effect” presented by Stefan Baumann
Live in-person demo Thursday, May 6 2021 From 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Central Art
“Fundamentals – What Every Artist Should Know”


“The Baumann Effect”  is new series of classes/workshops based on Stefan Baumann’s successful YouTube channel and his PBS Painting Show “The Grand View”. This FREE introduction lecture and demonstration will be presented Thursday, May 6 from 2:00 to 4:00pm in-person at Central Art and is open to the public.

During the introduction, Baumann will introduce his 12 Keys to Painting demonstrating many proven keys that will improve your painting instantly, and set your painting on the path to success.

These lively talks will be part of an overall series that dives into “The Baumann Effect” and answers questions that many instructors fail to address. There is so much more to painting than color, value, and drawing. In this series, Baumann will explore the secrets to painting with the audience.

Through the study, exploration and evaluation of mastering art in Baumann’s lectures, along with your participation, you will discover not only your style but your core – the essence of why you paint. Students are encouraged to bring a painting for critique and a list of questions that they wish to have answered.

*Registration required. To sign up, visit centralartsupply.com


Stay in touch with us!   Facebook   Instagram   YouTube

AGA Art Classes and Opportunities

Ashland Galleries
April Visual Arts News
April = Art Opportunities

We’re excited to share a handful of art opportunities that are being offered this month to foster your inner creativity. 
Ashland Gallery Association
AGA Summer Art Show!
Saturday, June 19, 2021 
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

  Open to members, and in lieu of the traditional Open Studio Tour, the AGA is coordinating a Summer Art Show at Ashland Art Works that will allow members to showcase their artwork outdoors! 

For those who are interested in participating, please register here no later than April 20, 2021.

Send promotional images of artwork to [email protected] and sign and send the attached Liability Release Form along with the $20.00 participation fee to: 

Ashland Gallery Association
PO Box 241
Ashland, OR 97520

Image Credit: 
Suzanne Etienne, Ashland Art Works, Acrylic
ART BEYOND
Saturday in the Park: Lithia Park Plein Air Painting Event 

  Saturday, June 19, 2021 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Open to all, artists can come and go throughout the day. The general public will be encouraged to engage with the artists between 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. where artists can talk about their work and process. Artists will be invited to show one piece created at this event at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum from June 21 – September 16, 2021. Art will be sold at and by ScienceWorks, with 50% of sales prices going to the artist and 50% to ScienceWorks.

Please register here to be a participating artist by June 1, 2021.

Image Credit: Sarah F Burns, Late Spring, Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR, Oil on Panel
Rogue Art Gallery
Figure Painting with Ilene Ginger-Stanfield
Friday, April 16 – Sunday, April 18, 2021 
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Welcoming all skill levels and utilizing oil or pastel media, 
Ilene’s three day workshop will introduce the technique of identifying shapes within the composition to find the visual truth, cover the fundamentals of drawing, shape, value, and edges, and then address the properties of color. Color is powerful, it can inhibit or control its application in art. The workshop will give students a clear understanding of how to navigate this wonderful element of painting. Following lecture and demonstrations, students will paint from live models and photo references.

Please register here to participate by Friday, April 16, 2021.
Members: $300.00 and Non-Members: $325.00 
Materials List

Image Credit: Illene Ginger-Stanfield, Untitled, Oil  
Northwest Ceramics Studio
Ceramic In-Person Classes
April 18, 2021 and April 21, 2021 
Times Vary 

  Come have fun and get a little dirty at Northwest Ceramics! They offer ceramic classes at all different levels. It is recommended to register for classes early due to small class sizes.

As of right now, an Intermediate Pottery Workshop and Floral and Leaf Inlay class are available. For more information, please visit, https://www.northwestceramicstudio.com/book-online

Image Credit: 
Northwest Ceramics Studio
  Ashland Public Arts Commission Opportunities!
Become a Commissioner

The Ashland Public Arts Commission (PAC) is involved in building the city’s public arts collection and educating both residents and tourists about the value of public art. 

The mission of the Public Arts Commission is to enhance the cultural and aesthetic quality of life in Ashland by actively pursuing the placement of public art in public spaces and serving to preserve and develop public access to the arts. The continued vitality of the arts in the City of Ashland is a vital part of the future of the city as well as of its citizens.

If you’re interested in becoming a commissioner, please review the PAC’s website, sit in on a meeting, and fill out an application. Each of the steps are listed below. 
 
Website:
https://www.ashland.or.us/CCBIndex.asp?CCBID=212

Meetings:
Meetings are held on the third Friday of each month at 8:30 am. Access to the Zoom link and agenda will be published on the website. 

Application:
https://www.ashland.or.us/SIB/files/Commission_Committee_APP.pdf

The Personality of Process: On the Enneagram, the house we built, and marriage

The house foundations last August


Blobs, spots, specks, smudges, cracks, defects, mistakes, accidents, exceptions, and irregularities are the windows to other worlds.—Bob Miller

 

Part One: In Which I Vent About the Enneagram (Though I Love It, Too)

 

If you know a bit about the Enneagram, you know that you are likely one of nine types—and that each type has specific fears and desires and motivations. Learning about this framework helps us understand ourselves and others. 

 

However…I’ve also learned that you can come into this world as one type but can learn to adapt into another type that appears to serve you or others better. And then you can be very confused.

 

There are various schools of the Enneagram, and many of the types have different names according to which one you study. I believe I came into this world a Four—the Romantic or Individualist. But the world rewarded my ability to be a One: the Perfectionist or Reformer. I joke that I’m either a Perfecting Romantic or Romanic Perfectionist.

 

From my school years through the first months of my marriage, I lived pretty well as a Perfectionist-Reformer One. Even my creativity was highly structured; I’d embark on a series of 100 portraits, 30 days of painting-poems, et cetera, et-orderly-cetera. It didn’t help that most organized religion and education love achievers—and boy could I achieve. In grade school, I memorized whole chapters of Corinthians for our church version of the Girl Scouts, The Missionettes. (Somewhere, there exists a photo of myself wearing a turquoise polyester sash with all of my badges). I worked to be high school valedictorian. Then I worked even harder to be undergraduate summa cum laude. By grad school, I let myself breathe and settled for magna cum laude. And that was probably because, while I shaped my poetry thesis, I rediscovered a wild creativity longing to play free—uncaged by a rigid grid of quantification.   

 

And then, decades later, I got married. Funny thing about marriage: your True Self emerges in a way it never did before. True union eventually squeezes out anything false. And when two become one, a lot of shit has got to go. (I could make a terrible pun here about two each becoming the most annoying parts of the Enneagram’s Reformer One, but I shall not!) 

 

Suffice it to say, that whatever façade we’ve built basically gets shaken off, and whatever’s underneath probably has some black mold and maybe a rat or two, despite however many years we think we’ve done our spirit excavation. 

 

And also, I married an Eight: the Challenger. Challengers can call your bluff pretty darn well. 

 

Part Two: In Which I Vent About Building a House (Though I Love It, Too)

 

This all leads me, most indirectly, to the process of building a house—before we’d been married a year. (In fact, as I write this, we are just about to reach our nine-month anniversary). 

 

But before I get to that, I should also mention that it took me until my forties to see an obvious life pattern. During my college years, I worked as a housecleaner—for residential and professional buildings. And then I worked as an editor in some capacity for longer than most starting editors have been alive. Cleaning and editing. Basically, I trained myself to see the mess and the misspelled and to perfect them all. But such tasks, though they felt good when done, didn’t feel good in the process; they felt exhausting and never-ending. I wouldn’t so much celebrate as check off the completion of each round of “perfecting,” even as I braced myself for the next round of trash and typos. Versus celebrating the process—mud ‘n’ all. 

 

And let’s just say that pointing out all the dirt and dialogue flaws is not a beneficial marriage skill. But the long-entrenched One in me—the Perfectionist-Reformer—was so used to doing this, that it was hard to stop. It took me a while to be grateful for the fact that my husband doesn’t really care if things are clean or if every T is crossed. “But these are my strengths!” a part of me kept shouting. 

 

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the truer part of myself kept saying she loved going off on muddy river adventures and not needing to analyze the etymology of the kayak term “boof.” 

 

One book on the Enneagram is called The Road Back to You. The One-Me never understood that title. The Four-Me is jumping up and down for childlike joy, saying, “Yes! We’re back!”

 

Marriage has invited me to return to my creative being: my True Self, the Self who loves paint splatters and rough-edged canvas and impromptu word play for pure fun; the Four who knows that all of life is poetry, not just words on a page—or a specific page count. That Self has risen up alongside our house.

 

Yes, finally, I get to the house. It has become my metaphor for building a more authentic self and marriage. 

 

Last summer, I took a photo of the foundations—surrounded by heaps of displaced earth. Where wild grass had grown in beautiful abandon, the hillside looked like a jagged scar. But we wanted to build something, and so we had to tear into what was there. We had to make a mess.

 

Now, a brick home stands on that site, finished, after months of trucks and lumber. But nothing is ever finished, is it? The wake of construction rubble and ruts surrounding the house remind me how ongoing building really is.

 

Our first day in the house

So that Miller quote I opened with; I am still struggling to love the messy process. But now that I’ve been building a life with someone and building a house with someone—I am beginning to get it. 

 

I am also beginning to embrace both the Reformer and the Romantic in myself—and I consciously choose those two labels for the One and the Four. The drive for excellence in the former helped ground the often formless creative sensitivities of the latter. Maybe I’ll call myself a Romantic Reformer—head in the clouds but feet on the ground. Imperfectly trying to bring Heaven to Earth.

 

The two types in me have finally become one.

 

Union starts in our very own hearts. 

 

Part Three: In Which I Don’t Vent About Marriage, But Instead Write A Poem About It

 

O this strange bliss—

brimming with

mess & misspellings 

mud & wonder—

I embrace all 

your stains & stars.

 

Two become 

one house 

uniting 

divided hearts

 

We build

a mystery.


Right after the land became ours last spring