Wes and Will: More Good Questions

On good weather school days, my father Wes often managed to be in the farmyard when the school bus pulled in to drop off the three of us kids. We enjoyed seeing him there. But as we made our way off the bus, we prepared for the certainty of him asking, “What did you learn today?” Answers could not include “nothing” or “not much.” My dad was a lifelong learner; I suppose some days our good answers gave him something new to think about.

Will is one of my young creative friends whom I trust to give me good suggestions for my art practice. Several years ago, he stopped by one of my local exhibits. As we chatted about some of my recurring motifs and techniques, he said he asked himself upon the completion of a work, “What interests me? Where do I want to go next?”

As part of my six-month sabbatical from commissioned work, I am evaluating work I have completed in the last three years, years of great productivity. I am revisiting Wes and Will, using their questions as a foundation for evaluation. Not “what sold?” Not “what was juried in?” Not “what got the most SM attention?” My aging hands and eyes dictate that my work changes. The purpose of my art practice shifts 37 degrees. I revisit my father’s passion for learning. I frame my efforts with Will’s authenticity.

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