Tag Archives: Andrea Davis

47 Reasons I Love Andrea Davis

So…on December 12, 1966, the world welcomed the little girl who would someday grow into the woman who became the love of my life. Sandwiched between holidays, mixed with too many distractions, this year her birthday isn’t getting the attention it deserves, so I’ve put together 47 reasons why I love her (not in particular order):

  1. She’s the mother of our children. That alone is pretty big. She’s made our family strong.
  2. She understands the minds of my children, helping them be better people. She says she’s raising future husbands and I think whoever gets them will be grateful for her teachings.
  3. She helps me be a better person. I’ve learned so much from her and learn more every day. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have poo-pooed the notion of “emotional intelligence”, but when it came up in a class, I recognized all the things she’s been teaching me – consciously and unconsciously – over the years.
  4. She makes me laugh. Laughter is so important and I love busting up over something she says.
  5. She laughs at my jokes. And she tells me when my jokes are bad (… though she sometimes laughs anyway).
  6. She has a kind and caring heart.
  7. She’s not sweet. Oh, that’s not a slight – just an acknowledgement. She’ll tell you herself: she’s kind, caring, considerate, loving…but not sweet.
  8. She has great color sense and decorating sense and an abundance of common sense. She knows when stuff “talks” to each other in a room, or when something has to go. If I am resistant, I know that she’s always spot on, so I get over it!
  9. She reinvents herself all the time. I love, love, LOVE that about her!
  10. She’s an artist. That encompasses so much that I hope the breadth and depth isn’t lost by condensing that to three words.
  11. She introduced me to a larger art world. I had no idea what was there. I still don’t get a lot of it, but I’m growing because of her.
  12. She can navigate with the best … even in convoluted cities like Busan, South Korea, she doesn’t get lost.
  13. She’s a great cook. She can adapt recipes, make exotic dishes, and make “standard” dishes better. And her butterscotch has real scotch in it.
  14. She never starts small or easy. Really. She wants to make a quilt? Picks the hardest pattern imaginable for her first (and only) quilt. Reads Julia Childs’ book? Makes Boeuf Bourguignon (a dish that takes eight hours to prepare!) Doesn’t know anything about collage painting? Gets a commission for 50 collage paintings for the Dallas Omni Hotel. Never made a puppet?…
  15. 15.   …makes a giant 13 foot tall puppet. (I bet you didn’t expect to see Rhoda on here, babe!)
  16. She’s a cake artist. What’s a cake artist? Some people frost. Some people decorate. You should see some of the cakes she’s done. For one Navy Ball, she made a Dixie cup out of fondant that fooled a lot of sailors into thinking it was mine from my enlisted days.
  17. She forgives people. That is one thing about her that amazes me all the time. Oh, she may get mad, but she gets it out of her system and moves on and forgives…
  18. …even people who have been horrible to her. I have a harder time with that, but she’s better than I am on that front.
  19. She has a four foot snake whip…and a Taser! What’s not to love about that?!
  20. Where I tend to the technical, she lives on the creative side and imparts that to our children. She asked me once if I thought that not focusing as much on math and science was doing our sons a disservice. My response was quick: absolutely not. I feel that you can learn math or technical knowledge at any time, but I think there is more value learning to understand motives, themes, ideas behind books, music, plays, and movies before those synapses shrivel.
  21. She will go out of her way to make you feel at home. Dietary needs, allergies, you name it. She even had a separate Panini maker for her vegetarian friends when she hosted a Mom’s Night Out.
  22. In Korea, our friend Rick once introduced new arrivals to us, “These guys are great! You can talk about the big four in their house: sex, money, politics and religion.” She made the Gatherings an open forum…or not…whatever you’re comfortable with.
  23. She knows what she wants and gets it. Yep.
  24. She took on a business and transformed it. I’m still in awe.
  25. She handles the finances. Paraphrasing Bill Cosby, I’ve seen that job and I don’t want it.
  26. She puts up with my quirks.
  27. She has sweaty DNA from Rick Springfield’s arm in case she wants to make a clone. How cool is that?
  28. She pushes me in the right way.
  29. She stepped up on the house reconstruction, working hours and hours every day with the contractor to overcome the insurance shortfall. She made it her mission to have our home ready filled when we move back in. And it will be ready.
  30.  She finds me cool beers…beers with fun names like “Santa’s Butt”.
  31. She speaks multiple languages.
  32. She can defy all known laws of the universe in going from kind-but-not-sweet to Momma Bear faster than the speed of light.
  33. She tries everything, because she doesn’t want to be afraid to try new things. She will dive into everything with gusto – welding class, self-defense, snorkeling with manta rays – gusto.
  34. When she likes something, she will stay with it – I’m thinking food here (ordering the same item again and again), but it’s more than that.
  35. She can never have too many white tennis shoes……or black ones….or silver…or…
  36. She has a chair closet. And if you have to ask…
  37. She advocates – for our sons and for friends and for people she met late one night in a line at Wal-Mart. See #21 & #32.
  38. She researches, reads, digs deep – whether for homeschooling, her art or our son’s hearing, she does the research.
  39. She loves technology…as long as it works. (I used to keep a stash of extra keyboards…just in case. Don’t ask.)
  40. She has some really awesome friends (and by extension, so do I.) When she makes you her friend, you stay friends for the long haul. Years can go by between contacts (it’s the military way), but when they get together, it’s like no time has passed.
  41. She’s the one who pushed to home educate our kids…and she’s done all the legwork to make it happen.
  42. She loves to sing and made sure our children were exposed to music…which they all love in their own ways.
  43. She loves animals and nature but has no desire to go camping. Neither do I, but if she did, I would. {But I’m glad she doesn’t want to.}
  44. She’s one hell of a shopper. See #29.
  45. We finish each other’s sentences.
  46. We tell the same stories. If we’re feeling sorry for the people in different rooms as we make our way around, we might ask first, “Did Jim/Andrea already tell you about…?”
  47. {Sorry folks…this one’s private…wink}

And, as my family used to add when I was I kid…“one to grow on”…not the last, nor the least reason I love Andrea is:

She married ME!

Happy Birthday, babe!

 

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On Understanding Art…or at least trying to…

The title might be a bit misleading, for what prompts me to write this is actually trying to understand juried art shows. But I am engaging in an off and on again quest to understand art. Tonight, it was on.

I have a working definition in my head of what is, and what is not, art. That definition is like a viscous fluid: it changes, but slowly. That in itself says something, because it didn’t always change. And it was a narrow definition.

I’ve written a couple of pieces for Dangerous Intersection on struggles with right-brained phenomena: “What makes a poem a poem?” ( 9/13/2011) and “A gene for artistic interpretation and 2001′s odyssey” ( 12/13/2010). I’ve read some Dan Pink – “What really motivates us”  (2/2/2012) – sort of unrelated, but not entirely…Dan Pink wrote the 2006 book “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future”, which I started but set aside for a couple of others. I’ll get back to it, but I’ve also been reading a manuscript (or book, now, I guess) – “Right: A new design perspective for business innovation: Right thinking in a left‐brain world” so I could offer feedback. And learn something, perhaps.

Enough digression…that ought to demonstrate that at least I’m trying (title tie-in). I am just back from another Plano Art Association 125 Show (for artists residing within 125 miles of Plano, Texas) – the 7th Annual installment. And again, for some reason, this show challenges that working definition … demanding that I change it. The problem is, I don’t respond well to demands. I tend to question them at the least and more often than not, resist them. Whatever it is about this show, I find myself disconcerted more than any other.

A back story to explain something before I continue… as I’ve noted before, my wife Andrea’s  emersion as a professional artist two years ago, as well as her taking over CityARTCal, Inc., and publishing Fine Art in Dallas this past year, has exposed me to a world far outside my comfort zone. Almost two years ago, she came back from a visit to The Modern in Fort Worth, excited about what she saw/experienced. She was showing me some pictures of pieces she found inspiring and one exhibit was of a huge array of wrapped hard candies. I said out loud, “That’s not art.” You might anticipate the reaction, but I have it etched permanently in my brain: “You can leave the room now.” I left, but now when she asks my opinion (a rare occurrence…she knows me) and if I think to myself those three words … I simply say “I can leave the room now.” No argument. Simple, eh?

Fast forward to today. My second “125 Show”. Understand that this was a juried show, with a selection of some 60 pieces exhibited out of more than 360 submitted and prizes for Two Dimensional Art, Three Dimensional Art and Print & Photography as well as a Grand Prize for “best art in the show” (those were the words I heard – more to follow on that.) I had to leave the room a couple of times. Not just figuratively – I left the gallery…to think a bit. Last year, I first couldn’t understand how some of the pieces made it into the show and then really couldn’t understand how some of them won prizes over the ones that didn’t. Andrea talked to one of last year’s jurors and got a little bit of feedback. I had left the room (recurring theme), so missed out.

This year, before the awards were announced, one of the jurors (there were two) explained the process by which they made their selections. He said there was a lot of discussion, averaging 10-15 minutes per piece. The decision for Grand Prize took three and a half hours! The jurors shared that they would be around for at least an hour if anybody had any questions. Andrea mouthed, “Ask”. And then the coordinators announced the awards.

Stubborn me. I knew that there was no way they, the jurors, could explain in terms I would understand (or probably accept) their rationale.  So I didn’t ask. More’s the pity, for I did talk to the husband of an artist, who I gathered from our conversation also sees himself as an artist…part time, for now. The discussion went longer than I wanted and not in a direction I expected. He couldn’t understand why I would want to pick the brains of the jurors and I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t understand. I made it clear that I’m trying to understand things I don’t understand. Should be an admirable endeavor. Apparently not.

We agreed that appreciation of art is subjective, but that seemed about it. His position was that it shouldn’t matter what the jurists thought, because it won’t affect how I view the art. That’s an odd perspective. If I learn something that causes me to look at a piece differently, then obviously what they thought could affect how I think…about art, anyway…or at least that specific art. The argument seemed to revolve around the premise that we (the Association, the artists, the patrons, the world) entrusted these two jurists to select the “best” art, so why the question? How can I expect people to explain what moved them and why? My counter argument was that the jurists clearly had a process (they said so) and thus should be able to explain to me their choices. And “best” is a term I have come to dislike in these shows. I think a better adjective would be a phrase: “the piece I/we liked best”. That would be honest. I’m sure that we might someday have a computer that can analyze technique, composition, color and more and determine the “best”, but as Data on Star Trek the Next Generation could create a technically perfect work of art or music, how can a computer measure feelings? I don’t usually “feel” when I view art, which is why I’m exploring the subject. I’m given to understand that I’m missing something.

One name came up (outside of the artists presented) – Damien Hirst – and how the media and art world alike reviled his openings when he first burst on to the art scene in England. I had heard the name, but looked him up when I got home. He’s a shock “artist” – apparently quite wealthy – who does some …very different….work. One titled Beautiful revolving sphincter, oops brown painting is intriguing…I did something similar at a Boy Scouts fair when I was ten…spinning and paint…but his brilliance is that he sold it as art. And the husband was right – the Guardian had unkind things to say about one exhibit, as did The Telegraph.

Here is a slideshow of one of Hirst’s more bizarre exhibits. Judge for yourself. My take? I’m going to leave the room now.

Anyway, that was a non-productive discussion tonight, save to reveal to me how closed minded someone seemingly proud of his open-mindedness (data points from past interactions confirm formed perceptions) comes across. I still don’t get how some pieces were selected, but then again, I don’t really have to. I’d like to, but I didn’t talk to the jurists.

I know I can be closed minded on certain subjects. I’m trying to fix that. That’s why I’m reading books on right-brainers, and going to art shows, and trying to understand what makes some things art and some other things better art…even if I don’t agree. Maybe I’ll find fewer reasons to leave the room.

I’ve got lots of opportunities to learn. There will be another show on Friday as CityARTCal partners with the American Airlines Center, and yet another on Saturday (The Gallery at Casa Manana) exposing me to more art. I’ve seen some of the art for the American Airlines show and the Casa Manana show already.

I won’t be leaving the room.