Art Chowder September | October 2021 Issue No. 35 Issue 35 | Page 82



What makes ME breathe ?

By Karen Mobley
hen I was a child , my mom always made sure we had supplies . We were rural people so we rarely went to town and there were stockpiles of things we might need . There was always extra food , fuel , and feed for the animals .
For my brother and me , it meant that she ’ d stock up on paint , glue , scotch tape , cheap paper , scissors , pocketknives , saws , fabric , thread , needles , fishhooks , feathers , nail polish , and whatever might be found in town . She was good with recipes and knew how to make clay from flour or to dig it up down by the creek . She made sure we all got books from the library .
She always let us have places in the house to be messy – an extra dining room table where we could make things or set up the sewing machine or let a painting dry or stack a tower .
My process as an adult artist and writer isn ’ t all that much different than it was when I was a kid . I journal . ( I like the “ morning pages ” as described in Julia Cameron ’ s “ The Artist ’ s Way .”) I go for walks . I photograph . I doodle . I save other people ’ s pictures from magazines and the internet to illustrate an idea that is interesting to me . I read books of poetry and biology . I go to the garden to plant and to weed . I watch the birds and the animals around me . I listen to the wind .
The work I make is often a combination of observation – nature , her creatures , and people – and things from my imagination . I could go on and on about color , texture , composition , how things sound , and why I stop . But usually , I am finished when it feels right to me .
The COVID-19 shutdown has been hard on most people . It hasn ’ t really changed my life that much on a daily basis . I get up early and often watch the sunrise as I journal and drink my early coffee . I work most of the day on something – art , writing , gardening , project management for others ’ art works , cooking , and often I spend a bit of the day playing with my neighbor triplet kids who make art , write poems or play with my cats .
The thing that is different than when I was a kid is that my dad , my mom , and my artist brother aren ’ t around to tell me I did a good job or make things , too . I have to be more resilient . I wait to show people my progress when I submit my work or have a show .
I wish my mom were still around to talk to me about what I just made or wrote . I can see myself running toward her with a piece of paper , smile on my face and saying , See ! See what I made ! I breathe deeply and glow with the energy of making and sharing . It ’ s still the same only I share with the whole world including you .
Karen Mobley is a contributor to Art Chowder . Her book of poetry , Trial by Ordeal , is available at Auntie ’ s , Atticus , From Here , Wishing Tree and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture . She makes and shows art . She will exhibit at Barrister Winery in March 2021 with Deb Sheldon and Rosemary Barile . She teaches art at Spokane Art School . She teaches Arts Leadership at Whitworth University . She does project management for ArtsWA and Spokane Arts on a contract basis .
www . karenmobley . com 82 ART CHOWDER MAGAZINE