Dog update and slight rant / inquiry

Hey there,
If you've landed here to see some of my art, try clicking around on the links to the left, since this post is going to be about my dog and thoughts about education (and about arts education.)  Topics aren't really related but oh well!

I know some people have a "just art" blog or site, but I do best when I don't silo things off.

So, Topic 1 = dog!  Grayson, who had a catastrophic accident and subsequent emergency back surgery just two weeks ago, is actually starting to walk on his own now.  He's got that "drunken sailor" thing going on, but the relief that he will not be an 80-pound paralyzed and incontinent dog is just HUGE for me.  Selfishly, I just can't take that much lifting and cleaning up.  Plus, it's such a joy to see his joy at moving around and sniffing the outside air again.

I have some fundraising on my etsy site to help with the $8,000 surgery bill.  (Check here if you want to help out:  Basically, any art you buy from me goes directly to cover that vet bill.  Thanks in advance!

Topic 2 = education and art.   My friend Alora posted something on Facebook the other day about how schools are basically prisons, so no wonder kids didn't want to be there.  And that got me looking up similar articles and wondering what the alternatives would be to "standard" school, wondering what kind of research or thinking there had been about this.

One school of thought described how people how had been institutionalized in someplace like a mental hospital or jail needed "de-institutionalizing" to get them thinking independently again and extrapolated that we need to do the same for our school's children.

This introduced me to a new term (to me) - "Deschooling".
Much more on that here: and here: and here:

It makes complete and utter sense to me and pushes some of my buttons in that I just ache for the child I was, in the institutions I was, and imagining how wonderful an education borne of following my own natural interests and curiosities would have been.   I longingly browsed web sites of schools where, essentially, they let the kids decide when and what to pursue - and saw how creative and intelligently engaged the kids were in their pursuits.

If someone had "let me loose" at age 15, what would I have done?  It was fun to scratch around in the memory vault. The things I wanted to spend more time on back then (but couldn't due to all the other things I was asked to sit through all day) included:

- what makes for a good poem?
- what happens if I try writing many, many poems and share them with other poets?
- how do I make that lighting board (in a theater) work?
- why do some people identify with certain bands or types of music?
- how can I bring a theatrical role to life on stage?
- how much discarded stuff can I find that looks cool to me and what can I do with it?
- how can I make my painting look more like the thing I'm looking at?
- what makes for an interesting painting?
- why do some people think of a dandelion as a weed? what defines "a weed"?
- what would it be like if I went blind and needed to learn to use a Guide Dog?

And the list goes on and on.  Since we can't go back in time, I asked myself what about this emotional reaction and trip down memory lane could be something to learn from today?

I'm still mulling that one over, but it seems an interesting thing to bring to considerations of art education.  I see brochures for MFA programs and feel wistful.   I read about people who spend all day on their art and feel a bit green with envy.

But is an art school just an institution I'd be better off avoiding?  What would I be trying to make happen by getting an MFA?  I think it boils down to - I'd like to have more time for making stuff and get some kind of "official validation" of my art.   I understand why I want the former, but I don't really get why I want the latter. What's with the need for recognition?  Is this just a midlife crisis?  Who knows?

However, no matter what art education I pursue (or don't), I love the idea of asking myself how I'd design my own learning based on my own interests - and giving that greater credence / validity thanks to the experience I see others learners have had when trusting themselves in this way.  (I hope that makes sense.)

At one point last night when I was thinking about this, I felt angry about how much money the art schools all require and thought I should just create my own individual fake school with an MFA, where the "MFA" stood for "My F***ng Art".   Excuse my French, but it cracked me up.   I might just do that because, heck, I haven't heard of anyone else doing that and I can't afford tuition and it would be amusing and perhaps help me  motivate and organize and create.  And maybe it would also spur someone else to feel empowered to just get on with artmaking too.

OK, that's the end of the rant / inspiration.  You pick which!


  1. Really enjoyed these thoughts. Honestly I will have to come back later with responses after they percolate. I have the same longings when I hear about Montessori schools or any school where the student's interests are considered (what a concept!). Sigh! Said the C+ student who knows she is "smarter than that." We're not all meant to excel in math and science...(or even pass them!)

  2. Thanks Camille! I just had to write this and my hope was that I wouldn't annoy anyone with my rambles. So to hear that it resonated with a fellow artist is extra nice to hear!

  3. It's great to hear that Grayson is doing better.
    God bless,


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