The Joy of Art

A month of thanks…

Many writers, musicians, and other artists earn paychecks with the purchasing power of catfish and not caviar. We are idiots for our art. The love and pride in our work must outweigh the desire to eat, or most of us would give up and become lawyers.

            For writing, I’ll admit to making my husband stop at the edge of a hayfield so I could jump out and run barefoot through cut hay to see how it felt. It was like walking on a bed of nails, (tried that too). I also drove three hours to check out a yurt to be able to describe the round house accurately.

            My sister Tina is a photographer. I accompany her on art shoots. My job is to make sure she doesn’t fall off of cliffs or touch poison ivy for the perfect shot.

            My sister’s love affair with photography verges on insanity. Tina also photographs people. She specializes in newborn and senior photo sessions. She has a knack for pleasing teenagers and their parents. This feat alone should set her up in a mansion, but she doesn’t charge extra for this talent.

            Senior pictures have progressed from turtlenecks, suits, and a smile. Teenagers want photographed on dirt bikes, holding a light saber while balanced on pointe shoes, and on stage in an octopus costume. Tina’s photos of seniors are a reflection not only of the person, but also of the person’s interests, hopes, and dreams.

            A recent photo shoot found her on the grounds of a monastery to please the senior’s mom. Then it was on to a discus field for a real representation of the young man. When the group approached the field, Mr. Discus said, “Oh man, there are dead animals.”

            Bodies in various stages of decomposition littered the scene. An opossum carcass crawling with maggots blocked the gate. A few feathers and bones lay behind the opossum.

            Did the bird take out the opossum? Who or what took out the bird? Without a wildlife CSI murder investigation there were no answers only dead bodies, insects, and a horrible stench.

            Discus was a sport of strength and endurance. One had to spin in a circle then chuck a three and a half to a four and a half pound disc a long way within a designated area or be disqualified. The technique was difficult and required dedication to the sport.

            Mr. Discus put in the hard work to earn a true representation of himself. Monastery gardens, Mom what were you thinking? Tina wouldn’t let a few dead animals and bugs deter her from excelling at her art or to disappoint the next generation of dreamers.

            When we were kids, we poked dead things with sticks. Tina had this and took control of the situation. She directed the senior to roll a garbage can towards what was left of the opossum and found a stick.

            The kid threw a discus. He wasn’t used to scenes of wildlife carnage with such rank odor. He held the can and his nose as Tina cleaned up the murder scene.

            The seasoned photographer allowed extra time to air the space so as not to snap a gagging discus thrower. Mom was happy. Senior was happy. Both were appreciative for the extra effort.

            So what do you do for a living? Some of us impale our feet with hay stubs to be able to write about it. Others will now pack a shovel in case they must remove dead animals for the perfect photo.

            Do whatever it takes to give your best. Even though you have to eat, sometimes the joy you give and a heart felt thank you is worth more than a million dollars or a degree in law.

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