2.17.2009

Ubitquitous spots of multi-colored happiness that become increasingly pervasive during Framing Week.

Okay contestants, raise your hands if you know the answer (we don't have real signaling devices because this is only blog "Jeopardy").

Or I guess I mean the question . . .



What . . . are . . . polka dots?




Ding, ding! That's correct! And I'm not even going to make you feel a little dumb by correcting your pronunciation like Alex usually does. On the other hand, I can't give you any money for the right answer either.

Why polka dots?

Yes, that's the question we're pondering today on Small Works, because during framing week I get to the point where painting them is making me

-- I can't help it, I have to say it --

dotty.




The short answer is, I have no idea whatsoever.

It's not because they're easy to paint. Sure, the little ones you make with paint dots from the end of a paintbrush handle are, but the big random ones that cavort across my frames are a freehanding nightmare.

I don't have unresolved "yearning to visit Minnie Mouse" issues either, because I've seen more than my share of all the Disney characters as a result of living in Florida and owning the annual pass.



And they are a source of never-ending frustration when they cause people to pause in front of my booth for a nano-second, take in the dots and then comment, "Oh, cute. For kids."
And then walk away in search of more adult entertainment
before I even have a chance to say "But . . ."



I guess I think they're just fun and happy. And they sometimes serve to add a layer of meaning to my work, for those times when there are not-necessarily-fun-and-happy undertones.

They're the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

I hope they help my pieces work on several levels. It's not that I'm against selling my art for kids. Who doesn't want art for a child's room that they won't grow out of and that will give them something to think about once they're old enough to see past the bright colors and dots?

At my last Chicago show, one of my friends (who is a great cheerleader for me) said he really wanted to see my work
get a little edgier.

"Susan Unplugged", so to speak.

It could happen -- I'd like to do it, since I spend half my life
reigning myself in, in one form or another
(which is what grownups do, I know).
But even at my most "unplugged" I'm pretty sure
there would be polka dots.

Because even at my most sour
-- no surprise here --
I'm addicted to sugar.


And then there's my favorite poem ever. And that's reason enough for all the spots in the world. It's by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and thank goodness it has saved me from ever having to write my own ode,
"In Praise of Polka-Dots," and therefore has also saved you from having to read it.


His exquisite words elevate spots to the level I want my dots to function on -- enhancing the beauty and meaning of whatever they touch.




You have my undying gratitude, Gerard.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is art.

7 comments:

lchedblom said...

i agree, polka dots are like sprinkles of joy -- good for kids of all ages. (but then, i like grass best when it's dotted with yellow dandelions, so my taste is possibly highly questionable.)

luanne

p.s. this is the second time in several days i've seen the word "pied" in a blog... so where has it been for the last 50+ years of my life?

susan m hinckley said...

It is a great word, isn't it? And I love how Hopkins expands it to include things of dual nature, not just color.

And sprinkles of dandelion joy in the neighbors grass? I agree -- much improved, because who doesn't like yellow polka-dots? But for some reason I keep trying to get rid of them in my own lawn.

Now I want to know who else's blog I can read where they used the word "pied" . . .

lchedblom said...

here's the other "pied" address -- only used in the title, but it made me look it up. (you vocab superstars!)

http://wethreecats.blogspot.com/2009/02/prodigal-pied-cat.html

go visit, jackie & the gingers are a treat.

luanne

april said...

while i feel for your baltimore insomnia and danger of ingesting chemicals with your food, i must say this post just induced great excitement in me for seeing your booth in baltimore.

(and yes, ales is soo annoying when he corrects people.)

april said...

alex - not ales. my bag.

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks, April! We're excited to see you guys, too -- we've got passes for you, so we'll call and find out when you're coming so Russ can come meet you. See you next week!

Melanie said...

I love the polka dots. So what if some people just don't get it. What do they know anyway? I've had art quilts in shows and seen the lookers who "don't get it" and what can we say? The art either speaks to you or not. Anyone's art is for those who do get it and when they do it is marvelous!

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