Eavesdropping for Art

conversationEavesdropping for Art was a hobby of mine a few decades ago.  It was a guilty pleasure that gave me some very surreal moments.  It started out quite innocently.  I would go to the gym after work and on the walk home I’d stop at a restaurant for supper.  I was single and quite frankly after a long day it was rather nice to sit alone and read the local rag.  Sometimes I’d work on some sketches – thinking about a new project.  One day I overheard a conversation and that lead to my starting a small cartoon. The conversation was this – “So I went to South Africa for my holiday.  It was great.  No car bombs or anything’.   The next one I remember was – ” I seem to like violent men”.   All these small pieces of conversations were like a side-order to my meals.  I never was interested in the actual conversation – those small nuggets were too good on their own.



Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep ~

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ACCIDENT.


Where do You Look?

Do you look ahead or to the side or just watch where your feet are stepping?  Should you look directly at anyone and feel OK about a direct look?  Do you know when is it good or bad form?  Some of these questions hit me in the elevator last week.   I’ve debated this before.   Of course the variables change and so do the rules.  What interests me most are the checks we live with – personal rules and social protocol.

2012 - 10 037

family – no flash – lots of movement

Last week – There was this girl who stepped into the elevator and faced perpendicular to me.  I could see out of the corner of my eye, that she was short, 20 something with long, straight, dark blond hair held back with an Alice band.  Her face was long and pale.  The band wasn’t able to hold the hair well and the cotton shapeless outfit spelled youth, arts student and earth child.  She gazed up at me, to ask me something.  Normally people are not so direct.  I’m not too comfortable with gazing although I am very good at looking.  I noticed her eyes were open really wide and they looked directly at me as I talked.

I only managed a few seconds of returned gaze.  I wasn’t able to keep my thoughts together under this gaze.  The intensity was startling.   The 1st issue was because of this internal running commentary going on about looking at people and secondly it was about participating in her reality.  It was too personal.   I chose to look sideways.  Unfortunately I started to laugh at myself but she interpreted it more with what I was saying and the conversation was lightened.   I think I saw amusement being sent back at me, as she noted my off-center gaze.  Perhaps she too has the same internal conversation.

Through a certain amount of personal shyness I am sure I have rarely looked anyone in the eye, most of my days.  Contrarily,  I am also a starer.  As an artist I stare very intently.  My husband and friends, in our early acquaintance, found those stares a bit uncomfortable.  Our art class model used to comment on my stares.  I stare at all sorts of things when I’m listening or looking.

Some days I become very bold and just stare – however it isn’t without risk.  I once was shouted at – “What do you think you are looking at?!!” by a very large person.  I thought it was obvious and even though she was alarming in her reaction, I found the situation very funny.  Perhaps it was rude but in all truth I was having a great old time looking at her, watching her walk towards me.  I wasn’t critical, I was just looking.  When I was a young person I often walked along looking at the ground!  When I traveled to and lived for a bit  in California that all fell away – thankfully.  It was unexpected – nowhere else had that effect on me.

As an artist I look at everything.   Colour, shapes, movement, negative space – they are all food for thought.  One of my most common looking strategies is when I let the visual image come in uncensored.  This is a distancing strategy.  I manage to look without engaging in details.  My work is very detail oriented and critical in nature.  It can be that work  and the social looking are not always played  properly.   They can be misinterpreted in kind.

In the end I will continue to look and monitor my behavior.  Looking is fun and maybe a bit dangerous.  The alternative is too depressing.2012-6-1-BowlCrpdRszd

1st Writing Challenge – Owning a Chihuahua

I am not a writer but like many people I have aspirations.  I’m off to sign up at the Weekly Post.  I changed my mind about writing every day – have to leave some time  for my art too.

1st story


Owning a Chihuahua

Last year we decided to get a dog, after waiting for 3 years since our cat of 18 years had passed away.  My husband had some experience with Chihuahuas and suggested this breed as an answer to my desire for a walking and working companion.  It was never my intention to own a small dog – or any dog while living in a big city.  Here I am, almost a year in, owning the most adorable Chi there is.  Dali is my constant companion, my art dog and my personal trainer.  In fact I had better get her outside soon or risk much naughtiness from my darling.  I see her out of the corner of my eye, wandering from room to room in quest of some activity.  Best we hit the park for dog stimulation and calorie burning for us both.

We are back.  It is a cool rainy October day and Chihuahuas tend to dislike this kind of weather.  My Chi also dislikes outfits.  When I got my coat and shoes out she was very excited and came over.  Seeing the sweater made her run into the kitchen with a hang-dog look.  After a bit of cajoling,  the sweater was on and off we went.  We left the park for an urban walk as the grass was too wet and cold for her liking.  The temperature wasn’t too cold so I relented and took off the coat.  In the end she was very dirty and wet.   Her feet tend to splash mud and grit up her belly and sides.  We were out for an hour but she really didn’t get much exercise.  No other dogs were out to play with.  She ran after the ball a bit but mostly she wanted to go home.  When we got home she had to have a bath.

For many years I lived in the country and over time we had a few big dogs – Border Collies, mixed breeds and a Doberman.    We even had some medium-sized dogs – Schipperkes, a Rat Terrier, and Schnauzers .  Most of these dogs had abundant freedom and were great companions when farm work or horseback riding was the activity.  Along with dogs we had many cats.  Cats are a great pet in the country and the city except where there are lots of Coyotes.   My Doberman was my last dog and the city was no place for her.  As I work in the city, I got a cat a few years later and then another.  They were great companions but were locked into the apartment and balcony experience.

I don’t want to give the impression that Dali isn’t up for lots of activity.  She loves her walks and plays many games, including her racing around the apartment like a small greyhound.  This past spring and summer was her 1st and she learned so much about her environment, people and other dogs. We visited family in the country and she reveled in the freedom, exploring and playing with her pal Adam.

Adam & Dal - Spring 2011

In the city she has pals in the park and at my art teacher job north of the city.  She travels well and is quite good about doing her business before a car trip or just afterwards.  In the car, she stays in her dog crate .  The crate is where she sleeps at night and where she will go to nap when I am working.  The crate was originally for my cats and it has been a great investment.  Dali is about 9 lbs and although lighter than the cats, when she’s snuggling in her blanket she fills the carrier nicely.

Now after her bath and a nice lunch she is pressed against my back on my chair, sleeping.    Lucky for me this old chair has a long seat.  I didn’t mention it before but as I type, my budgerigar named Bow,  is sitting on my knee preening and chirping.  The budgies are free-flighted and that means they have the free reign of the back 3 rooms, flying where they want, which includes my studio.

to be continued …