Wednesday, August 11, 2010

“You and Art” a poem by William Stafford.

“You and Art” a poem by William Stafford.

I was reaching for something that did not exist. My efforts yielded feelings of exhaustion, disappointment and a sense that I was missing out. What I have learned – and am continuing to learn- is that there is a beautiful perfection in embracing the imperfect.

If we give ourselves permission to get messy, take risks and let go of expectations, we can then create art that is real, raw and even powerful and exciting. The uncovering of truth is enlightening and even spiritual.

When we witness children at play, there is a part of ourselves that resonates with their laughter-a laughter emanating from uninhibited states of freedom, creativity and joy that once came so easily to us, and that we long to connect to.

Play is essential for healthy child development and growth.

The creative process is a form of self-expression replete with experimentation, development of ideas, the practice of techniques and skills and exploration on a variety of levels. Often it is through art that artists attempts to make sense of their experiences and that of the greater world.

We should never stop learning and growing

Even Imperfection may have its ideal or perfect state

“Even Imperfection may have its ideal or perfect state.” – Thomas De Quincey

I’m a creative person by nature, but over the years I have stopped exploring and expressing my creativity.

How do you handle “imperfection” in your art and in your life? Do you embrace it? Do you run from it? Or do you “fix” it in an attempt to make it “perfect” or close to perfect? Imperfections feel my head with dread and frustration.

In my attempts to achieve happiness by trying to attain what I thought was “perfection” I was actually missing out on my own life. And I was stressed and unhappy.

My art room is full of infinite possibilities: drawers of paper, paints, brushes, beads, glitter, magazines, sketchbooks and unfinished projects.

I’m striving to be the “imperfectionist” though it’s something I still struggle with. Slowly over time I have slouched off many of these desires and needs for perfection.

We can lose ourselves in the flow of the creative process; some artists refer to it as the “zone”. The feelings we get while in the “zone” can be exhilarating even if what we are experiencing is emotionally difficult.

The Art Class

So I was clearing out old school papers and other junk from my computer, when I found this Diary entry in my words document. I wrote it back in 2006.  I can't even begin to express the sadness and frustration I feel knowing that girls as young as five are conscious of body image. How can we as a society reverse the damage of TV, magazines or even parents whose own negative self image may be rubbing off on their children to help their children feel good about their bodies?


The rain was coming down hard in Seattle; plinking off the windows, gathering in the puddles and soaking the clothes of parents as they rush from their warm cars to Roaring Mouse Art studio to pick up their children. It was typical weather for Seattle but it seemed out of place when for the last three weeks Seattle has seen nothing but blue skies and sunshine.

For the last month I have been working at Roaring Mouse Art Studio, it is a great place for kids to come and do arts and crafts. I love finger painting! Some how I always manage to get more paint on me then any of the kids, LOL. I guess the head teacher finally caught on to this because instead of placing me at the painting table she had me manage the coloring table, which is totally fine with me! I love crayons! This is making me sound more like one of the little kids rather then the teacher’s assistant, but really I am a big help to “Big Teacher” as the kids call her and the children love me. While managing the coloring booth I decided to conduct an experiment. I drew two girls who looked identical except for one was larger than the other. Then I held up both pictures and asked Elsie who is 5 what was different about the two girls. She looked at them for a second before bluntly stating “she is thin and she is fat!” “Is there any other differences between the two girls?” I asked? She studied then for a minute and then answered tentatively “I don’t think so.” “Which one would you rather be friends with Elsie?” “That girl!” Elsie said pointing to the picture of the thinner girl. “Why her” I asked? “Because the other girl is fat!” She said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. And why wouldn’t you rather be friends with the skinny girl? “She would be more fun to play with. If your fat you cant play hide and seek because you stand out and people can see you and that’s not fun if you don’t have to look. And fat people’s clothes pop off!” “Have you ever seen someone’s clothes pop off?” I asked her. “I have seen fat people’s clothes pop off on TV.” She answered. “This is fun ask me more questions!” she said bouncing up and down in her seat. “Who do you think is prettier?” Elsie pointed to the skinny one. “Would you rather be dumb and skinny or smart and big?” Elsie bit her lip, thinking. After about a minute she pointed to the skinny girl, “I want to be her.” “So you would rather be thin and dumb then fat and smart.” Elsie nodded. “So you must really not want to be fat.” Elsie nodded again. “Ask me more!” I shook my head, “I have to go and get snack ready.”

I watched Elsie closely during snack time to make sure she that she ate. I did

Me & Why I Blog

My name is Maria Christine Tarte, but everyone calls me Mia. I’m nineteen years old. I have wanted to start a bog for some time now but have been too afraid to write down my thoughts and what I have been going through for fear that my loved ones might read over my thoughts and be upset or disappointed. They have been wonderful listeners and supporters but I limit what I say because I’ve learned its upsetting and straining to hear too much.

Since middle school I’ve had an eating disorder. I’ve bounced from bulimia to anorexia to bulimia to over eating and now back to bulimia. I should mention that during these years I have had periods of normal, almost stress less eating but these moments have never lasted long. My weight has been stable form almost the last two years. Aside from a few minner set backs such as last fall when I lost 20 pounds when I went to college. I’ve been gaining it back since Christmas break because my doctor Cora Brunner threatened to pull me out of school and not allow me to study abroad in Europe next school year. You would think that me being nineteen years old wouldn’t allow her to do this, but a part of my acceptance was agreeing with the University of Portland to stay healthy and in touch with a doctor at school and back home in Seattle. Failing to do so would result in termination from my school.

So right now I am fat at a normal weight and signed up to study abroad in Europe next school year.

I suppose I am writing because I’m tiered, tiered of keeping things to myself. Tiered of the constant worry that I’m going to disappoint, and tiered of not understanding who I am. I think writing down my thoughts will help me to discover who I am and why I do the things I do. Maybe then I can change my behavior once and for all. And I’m not just talking about the eating disorder. There are numerous actions I’ve taken which I’m not proud of.

So here are my thoughts, memories and daily activities. Make of them what you will, but they are my attempt to gain insight into myself and release these bubbling emotions inside.