Praising the muse
Local artists give thanks for creativity


A pencil traces the outlines of a hand during an arts and crafts session

Holiday times are filled with traditions carried on by folks of all ages. For myself, as for many artistic adults, the Thanksgiving custom of cooking a turkey "just the way grandma liked it" causes tension between the recipe and my creativity. Adherence to the traditional ingredients usually leads to a stressfully achieved meal and praises from the family. During the simpler times of my childhood, Thanksgiving meant practicing the grade-school ritual of tracing our hands to create cut-out turkeys, the making of which challenged the artist in me to follow the assigned and expected procedures. Looking back I'm glad that I did, for each Thanksgiving Day my grandmother, between bites of turkey and dressing, would take at least one moment to verbally appreciate the decorated Mr. Tom handprints hobbling across her refrigerator door. Like the perfectly dressed fowl cooked to the same conventions each year, these predictable construction paper birds brought her immense pleasure. She was so grateful for those uninspired art projects gracing her fridge, thankful for her progeny.

Many years have passed since those days, and it can be difficult to find appreciation in the world for our creative efforts. Thanksgiving can be an opportunity to contemplate our gratitude for a world populated with creative folks. In the spirit of today's tradition, this column is dedicated to the voices of a few artists in our community, responding to the question, "In what ways are you thankful for being a creative person?"

Joan Levine-Russell: (I don't know) ... am I thankful for being an artist? Do I have any AFFECT on the world? I do know that I am completely focused on the idea of human value. If I pose questions about life today and its pressures, I feel I am contributing to my culture. Either by stressing the extreme of chaos and anxiety or the goal of peace and co-existence, I hope my art will let viewers in and help them understand who we are today.

Karen Pittman: I feel huge gratitude for being born to parents who nurtured my creativity throughout my life. They gave me encouragement, instruction and praise for my projects and performances. Freedom to play, express my spirit and allow me to be me were gifts of love. Grazie.

Debra Greenblatt: I am grateful not to have a 9-to-5 job and thankful that SITE Santa Fe is only a road trip away.

Alison Goss: By opening awareness and dropping limitations, I allow creativity to flow through me. I am grateful that it brings me much joy and allows me to know that I am connected to something bigger than myself. In this state, I have easy access to my heart intelligence, and I see beauty and meaning everywhere.

Lawrence Nass: I quote Ludwig van Beethoven, "The amount of money one needs is terrifying ... ." Thanks for a living doing work that I love. Mark Twain wrote, "Wagner's music is better than it sounds." Thanks for a life that explores art day-to-day. "Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana." Thanks for the people and places I have known through music.

Margaret Pacheco: My art spirit is a joyous, fierce, driving force pulling to it everything I need to create. I am most thankful for the people this gift has drawn to me. In gratitude I am as true to the gift of this incredible force as possible by reflecting their awesome beauty back to them.

Shan Wells: Great comics made my childhood rich and inform my work today. Bless all those creative souls that labored for little pay and no recognition. I'm doubly thankful I kept their work, so that my kids can learn to read, draw and dream from all my old friends with the beaks and the silly capes...

Molly Anderson-Childers: My creativity is a blue wishing well full of the sparkling waters of inspiration. It gives me such joy that I laugh aloud.It gives me strength, saves my sanity when it hangs by a thin thread and allows me to know myself and others more deeply.

Sandra Butler: True to my astrological sign of Taurus, I am thankful for being a creative person because it is very useful. Creativity has allowed me to figure out how to make my daughter into a skunk for Halloween, turn copper pipe into curtain rods and get a few extra days before my check clears the bank.

Judy Brey: Gratitude for these hands to shape, for these eyes to behold, for this body to dance with clay and wood. Gratitude for this opportunity to communicate life's love, life's joy, life's sorrow and pain, which arises, flows through and is expressed in form. Gratitude for family and friends with whom this journey is shared, and to the earth that speaks quietly through my being.

Louise Grunewald: Doing art makes me happy. I love the balance of solitude when creating and connection when sharing it with others. Being an artist gives me a voice in the world and endless opportunities for exploring how to express it. I'm grateful for work into which I can put my heart.

Ed Bolster: I am grateful for sanitary water and flushing toilets. Plumbing is the basis of all civilization.

Katherine Barr: There are those of us whose creativity seems to have been blocked in childhood. It wasn't until well into adulthood, that a friend recognized my creative eye, brought it to my attention and nurtured it. Through my inner journey, the blocks are dissipating and the creative energy flowing more easily. I am eternally grateful for the friend who recognized my creativity and for meditation for continuing to free up this creative energy.

Scott DW Smith: My vision, I give many thanks for my vision. It is my life. Not only is it my sight but my voice as well. Most importantly, I am thankful for all the people in this world who choose to be creative types. To all artists, "Thanks for keeping the color of life alive!"




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