Airing My Creative Laundry

Okay, here it is. Time to air my dirty laundry, as Mama Pea suggested in an earlier comment. Time to disclose the deep secrets, my quirks, my irritations,…. Here I go:


There. Now you know. A farm without a camera is, well, sort of naked.

So I’ve been cruising through my photo file and have no choice but to go off-topic, sort of. I figure if I do this enough, a fund will be started to collect money for a new camera.

Since farmers and writers need to blow off a little creative steam now and then, I often participate in an Artist-Poet Collaboration held at Crossings here in Zumbrota. Talented poets submit poems, the best 20 are chosen, then artists create art to accompany the poems—paintings, drawings, pottery, fabric/fiber, anything goes.

The poem I chose to illustrate was light and lively, with many images, but I fixated on the line about laundry blowing in the breeze. However, my deadline approached and I still hadn’t painted anything because I didn’t know what laundry blowing on the line really looked like. Where were the shadows? How did the fabric move?

So I hung out a shirt and pair of jeans and waited. No wind. No movement. Finally a tiny puff came up and I snapped a shot, seconds after the wind died.

I’m not going to confess how long I stood out there in the chilly March air waiting for my laundry to blow in the wind. I have many photos of laundry just as it stopped blowing. Breathtaking.

Finally the wind picked up and I got some movement.

Still not great. I waited for more, then gave up. At this rate, my deadline would blow by faster than the laundry.

Here’s the result, called “Line Dancing,” done in pastels.

The piece sold, which was flattering. Of course, it was purchased by the poet’s mother, who buys all the pieces connected to her daughter’s work, which is very sweet. That might be why I tend to pick this woman’s poetry. I know her mom will buy anything I make!

6 thoughts on “

  1. That is… fantastic!

    I knew you were a great writer, but I didn’t know you do illustrations too. And waiting for the wind to come and flap that creative laundry around… well, THAT’S a great metaphor for a lot of things!

    I’ve been wrestling with metaphors all week. I agreed to be a guest preacher at our church, a church on the brink of going under because of “a perfect storm” of poor planning and economic mistfortune. The assigned bible passages for this week left me, well, flapping in the breeze. But the sermon’s finally done. All that’s left is to print it and preach it and dodge the spiritual tomatoes!

    Hope you find a way to get that camera soon… I agree that a farm without a camera is sort of naked. Maybe enough strategically-placed laundry will cover it?

  2. I love the artwork! And thanks for pinpointing Zumbrota for me…from reading your book last year I was still guessing your location – I am from Red Wing but live in VA now…I was debating with my mom whether it was Zumbrota or possibly Goodhue, LOL! Love your blog and following along with your farm adventures! Reminds me of home…

  3. Why should it surprise us: you are a terrific writer AND you are a tactile artist, too?

    Can I be you when I grow up? 😉

    P.S. But wait: how did you not know what laundry looks like blowing in the breeze? Especially when you had that great clothes line already up?

  4. Did you hear me laughing in delight a couple of minutes ago?

    When I saw your second and third photos of shirt and pants on the line I thought, “Omigosh, she caught them line dancing!” Then I scrolled down to your pastel and ’bout fell off my chair.

    Prose, pictures or drawing . . . you can do it all, girl.

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