When does the artist step over the line?

The Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op is holding a Local Appreciation Weekly Drawing. As a thank you for your support and a way to show our appreciation to the people of Pagosa Springs, the Co-op began a weekly drawing on Feb. 15. Each Saturday , a gift will be given following the drawing. We will continue this through July 12. So, stop by and fill out a ticket, you do not have to be present for the drawing.

All Community Art Contest

February has been set aside for display of the artwork of middle school students. A heads-up fifth- and sixth-grade artists: the deadline is Feb. 28. Contest applications and rules are available at the Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op, located in the 100 block of Pagosa Street. Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-4. Call 264-2781 for details.

There will be prizes awarded, courtesy local business sponsors.

Lifting the Veil

“Want cannot blush. The pinching necessity of the artist is not tied to the law of modesty. Hunger cannot be ashamed.” These words were penned by Samuel Rutherford who understands the cry of a human heart. Wow! Too deep for me, I just write about it.

When do we dare lift the veil for truth’s sake? When do we unveil our passions? When do we step over the line that others draw for us? These thoughts have been rumbling in my mind ever since I began a new series of paintings I titled “The Human Spirit Speaks”.

I had just finished painting three new paintings when a non-artist friend came by my studio. I was so excited. I wanted to show them off, to anyone and everyone. So she was the first to response, “Did you know her boobie is showing? I don’t like it.” I immediately defended my actions. “Yes, I painted it that way. I wanted her boobie to show. I could paint a veil over it but I’m not going to.”

Then, I began to explain: “This painting is very symbolic; it is called ‘Naked Silence.’ I believe that we will all stand before our maker naked, in silence, one day.” Needless to say, she didn’t buy what I was saying. My great swelling words just got bigger and bigger and rattled around the room; she didn’t get the concept. The second person who saw the painting, saw it with a different eye. She loved it, couldn’t say enough about it and bought it.

Another friend who works at the Co-op, called and laughingly said, “When did you start painting that way? I didn’t know that was in you.” Then I began my defense again: “Well, I know they are a little suggestive, OK, but when I got out of the way, the paintings just went that way, and I let them paint themselves. Did I step over the line?”

When we are uncomfortable, is that when we have stepped over the line? Is conscience the line we are talking about? I believe it is.

There have been definite comments about this work. My youngest daughter’s comment was, “When you paint it, you paint for yourself, but aren’t you also painting for others to enjoy? Art is not in a cookie cutter format, one piece of art doesn’t work for everyone. From my personal standpoint, the paintings do not work for me; I don’t fault others who enjoy them.”

I am very comfortable with my paintings, but some have not been so comfortable. When do we veil our passion for others? Want cannot blush. When the human spirit becomes desperate enough to speak without shame, hungry enough for truth, and free enough to express itself, it doesn’t matter who hears our cry. I believe that is when we become real. When the mask that we so artfully wear in order to make others comfortable becomes too painful for us, then and only then is it when we cannot blush for want and we find our courage to express.

My conscience is clear and that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The final brushstroke, one’s boobie is another’s treasure.

Home-school teacher in the spotlight

The Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op is pleased to feature Marcia Pastuszek, teacher and mother of Angette Pastuszek, 11 years old and a fifth-grade student.

Marcia has been teaching Angette and her brother since Angette began kindergarten. Before Marcia decided to teach her own children, she felt she needed to find the right program, one that she felt confident enough in that she could give her children a really good education.

“I wanted to teach my children for some time, but until I found the right program I did not feel comfortable. When I am working with my children, if they don’t get something, I know it. There are about 10 families in Pagosa Springs who participate in this particular program offered by Connections Academy. There are other home school programs, but this one works best for us.

I heard about the Connections Academy and when I looked into it, it felt right. Connections Academy is an online Contract school with Denver Public Schools. They receive state funding like all public schools. They send your child a computer and books, one computer per family. They have certified teachers on line. There is one teacher assigned to each student for grades Kindergarten through fifth, and for the upper level grades they have several subject area teachers.

“I am considered a learner coordinator. I work with the teacher online. I have a teacher’s dummy book with the answers in the back. The children go to school six to eight hours a day. They have classes in language art, math, social studies, P.E., Art, technology and science. We save the art projects for the weekend.

I was curious how Angette like being home schooled and I asked did she feel slighted for lack of a social life and other things that the public school offers? She responded, “I like it. I have a best friend and I can e-mail her on the computer as long as I keep it clean. They monitor the computer. I play sports with the Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Program I love to write and I won a poetry contest over seven Western states. I don’t feel like I am missing anything.”

Angette is one of the contestants who is submitting a painting with poetry in the All Community Art Contest. This is a selection of one of the pieces of poetry that Angette Pastuszek wrote:

The wind of Winter

 She sweeps the pine trees. Leaving a frosty trail and a blanket of pure white snow. Blowing gently a cold winter warning. The animals go to sleep, and without a peep the children go to bed on Christmas Eve. The children awoke very early finding presents, candy canes and stuffed horse’s manes. The wind of winter peeps inside and snows gladly with pride. She knows her work is done and sweeps away

Comments from readers

“I read your article on ‘Is it my turn yet?’ Way to go girl; I think the most valued part of what you write is your honest sharing, and then moving to a place of ‘higher truth.’

JP, Pagosa Springs

If you would like to share, write to bettyslade@centurytel.net.

Quote for the week

“Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.” Wassily Kandinsky.