Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Attack of the Muses, Part II.

So, now you know why I ditched zookeeping for art school. You have the basics on my art school training. Now, back to those pesky Muses(behold; rare hyperlinks to the outside world!)

Muse One: Basseopeia
She whispered softly in my ear, "Grab that dusty Yamaha and play it, my dear."
I've been messing around with electric bass guitars since I was twelve years old. Actually, my first "bass" was my brother's hollow-body electric guitar. I figured out if I played it acoustically, I could get a pretty decent bass sound out of the lower four strings. I played by ear, and easily picked out the bass riffs on popular songs by Culture Club, Talk Talk and Michael Jackson. (Gimme a break; it was the eighties, okay?)

In my early thirties, I finally bought a bass of my own.(My trusty Yamaha RBX260.)I started taking lessons, but had to cease when I became pregnant with our first child. (I didn't feel good, and my stomach got too big to balance the bass on.) At that point, I put the bass in a corner, and would only get it out every now and then, when good old Fred would encourage me to play it. I got to the point where I could plunk out a funereal "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", but that's about as far as it went.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, so they say...He moved my big brother to put together a music mission called "Ventana", a great group of folks who hope to use music to reach out to people in need. I'm fortunate that Mike still encourages his little sister to tag along, so I've had the good fortune to participate. I'm slowly but surely learning to play that electrified hunk of wood, with a little help from Mike's friends.

Muse Two: Photoshoppity
"You've used this software since version 1.0; now to the people your work you must show."
I love, love, LOVE digital editing in Photoshop. I really have used the software since version 1.0, and I assume I'll use it as long as it exists. At work, I use Photoshop for creating web graphics, comping user interfaces and prototypes, and for photographic retouching. Outside of work, I love photo retouching for friends and family (and eventually clients?), and entering Photoshop contests. This is my pride and joy, (see original) though I'm darned proud of this and this and this.

Muse Three: Knittania
"Buy homespun and patterns, and needles, you fool! Since all your friends do it, to knit must be cool!"
I got into knitting because my buddy Lisa seemed to have so much fun doing it. I quickly became knitting addict. Having mastered the garter stitch, I cranked out odd hats, neckwarmers and scarves galore. Now that I've completed a beginning knitting class, I expect to crank out less odd hats and perhaps a sweater or two.

I love the tangible quality of knitting. It's so satisfying to have a creative outlet that produces results I can touch, smell and feel. (I am NOT kinky, I swear.) I can play music on my bass, but the notes exist in waveform. I can create cool digital images in Photoshop, but I can't feel them. (Other than glossy or matte paper) By knitting, my fingers can luxuriate in a variety of yarns, from slick and glossy chenille to soft and comfy cotton. I can savor the zen calm induced by the rhythmic clacking of the needles. I can delight in making scarves that my clothes-horse husband will wear, and neck-warmers that my picky daughter prefers over store-bought hats.
In short, I've gotten over the creative snobbery of my youth. I finally allowed myself to pursue an artistic career. I now indulge my interests in music, visual and literary arts, and textile crafts. Apparently there's something inside me, thrashing and gnashing to escape, to be seen and heard. Whether there's a book in my future, a gallery show, or a reputation as the scary old lady who knits sweaters for cats, I can't say.

I'll just keep juggling the whims of my muses 'til something takes to the air in flight, or crashes on the floor and breaks into a million tiny pieces.

Muse of bass playing