Are you a Hummingbird?
Do you know how to sit still? I don't.
This is a very long newsletter, but there are some chuckles and some cool “news”.
If you have hung out with me online at all, you know a few things about me.
An important one is that I can’t sit still.
I am a Hummingbird, but even a Hummingbird can be still in the right circumstances. Not me.
Remember when “sit still” was one of the “commands” of even a wonderful childhood? I had a wonderful childhood - with six siblings - at one point all under the age of ten. I was ten. My parents said “Sit Still!” a lot. So did I.
I say that five times a day to the three (yes, I said three and you only know about two) Siberian Husky rescue pups we have recently adopted. The oldest won’t be two until July. The youngest is almost eight months and has been with us since she was four months. Sitting still is not in their vocabulary, and if you know Huskies, they have a large vocabulary. Just search Husky on Instagram and you will see for yourself. When I tell them to “Sit Still”, they look right back at me and say “Seriously?” I told you they have a big vocabulary.
And here is one of my biggest marital discord scenes:
Me (holding a heavy pot full of dirt): “Honey, could you help me get this into the garden, please?” (Sometimes the please part isn’t actually there. My bad. I am thinking it. Does that count?)
Mark (sitting in a chair reading news and whatever else on his phone): “Sure” and he gets up, but heads in the wrong direction.
Me: (puzzled, though I should not be by now). Perfect husband response, but contrary action. I have seen this before.
Mark: “Just let me throw my laundry in the dryer first, and I’ll be right there.”
Me: “Ok, so I’ll just stand here and hold this while you put your laundry in the dryer.”
Mark: No response. He is busy putting his laundry in the dryer.
That sounds agreeable under the circumstances, but was not how it came across. It’s all about tone of voice.
Standing, or sitting still is not my thing - especially holding a heavy pot of dirt.
So, over the thirty years that I have owned an art gallery, I moved it thirteen times. Few people know this and it sounds very foolish. Please keep it under your hat.
One move was from the Bay Area in California to here (Santa Fe). That one made sense because we moved from the Bay Area in California to here (Santa Fe), and did not want to commute.
The other twelve moves happened here. Strange but true. It’s sort of a retail space version of musical chairs. “Location, Location, location.” I’m quite sure you have heard that one before.
Why am I telling you this? Because location 13 was location last. I have only begun realizing this almost a year and a half after we decided not to re-up our (13th) lease. There were good reasons for moving on, because rusty, disgusting, water had been dripping through our ceiling for four and a half years, and Georgia O’Keeffe was about to tear down the adjacent block (not really Georgia’s fault - she’s dead - but her minions acting on NOT her desires, as always). Long story not worth shortening. They still haven’t started their project, and the space is now a Tequila Tasting Room that sells pottery too.
I thought we would just find a better location. But we already had been in the best location downtown. Canyon Road (the “HeART of Santa Fe”, was the only chair left in the game. But the lowest rent for a space worth having is about $8000/mo, and common sense came to visit - not to stay probably, but good for the moment.
So, now what was I supposed to do?!? ALL of my life I have made art for the art marketplace. Where would it all go? My closet?
“Online!” said everyone.
I had been online for 21 years already. It was the same musical chairs thing as Santa Fe retail. My favorite part, to be honest, was the early Yahoo Group period. There were excellent virtual communities, all free, where everybody saw the posts and responded. There was real conversation and sharing, and real “community”. Now, I cringe when the word community comes up because it now means private “clubs” and “memberships” that cost in excess of $250/yr.
Best of all, Yahoo Groups were the closest thing to a real life classroom ever. I taught MANY classes there. You could set up a Group as a private classroom, where the lessons could be posted, the assignments could be posted by students, everybody could talk to each other, and the teacher could give feedback on work the students posted. All the students could see everything the teacher said to other students. Learning was supreme. That was, honestly, the best time of the internet art life.
Yes, I know about Facebook Groups. I run one. There is no comparison.
Like so many other folks, I am sick to death of “social media”. Even Instagram, where I love to follow certain artist friends, has become more pain than gain. I go without posting for long periods because so few of my followers will see it anyway.
I needed to explore everything I could find in the way of genuine communication vehicles. There are a lot of venues out there, but nothing spoke to me.
Before I walked away from all of it in total frustration, I found Substack, which has the most freedom and the most creativity, and the best communication tools I have found on the internet since Yahoo Groups.
So, I jumped in with both feet, and I am putting my internet art eggs in this basket. May they hatch.
Among many ideas, is one to actually share some of my online workshops on my paid subscription - lesson by lesson.
The first will be announced in an addendum post to this one with the Introduction video in the post. It is a class I have on Skillshare, so I cannot give it away free anywhere. But publishing it on my Subscription is not free, so it will be just fine The introduction will be here on the free channel so you can see if you like it.