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Evelyn McCorristin Peters: 01.2010

Evelyn McCorristin Peters

Fine art for everyone


Later this week...Part 3 of "How Twitter Changed my Artistic Goals"

I'm looking forward to the next post about a truly kind and gifted artist.
While you wait why not visit 140hours and contribute to the aid effort for Haiti! 100% of proceeds go directly to assistance! My piece currently has a bid of $150, don't miss out! Click here!



"At the Vet's" by Maura Stanton, from Immortal Sofa

At the Vet's                                                                        

by Maura Stanton

Immortal Sofa) --

The German shepherd can't lift his hindquarters
off the tiled floor. His middle-aged owner
heaves his dog over his shoulder, and soon
two sad voices drift from the exam room
discussing heart failure, kidneys, and old age
while a rushing woman pants into the office
grasping a terrier with trembling legs
she found abandoned in a drainage ditch.
It's been abused, she says, and sits down,
The terrier curled in her lap, quaking
as the memory of something bad returns and returns.
She strokes its ears, whispering endearments
while my two cats, here for routine checkups,
peer through the mesh of their old green carrier,
the smell of fear so strong on their damp fur
I taste it as I breathe. Soon the woman,
Like the receptionist with her pen in mid-air,
Is listening, too, hushed by the duet
swelling in volume now, the vet's soprano
counterpointed by the owner's baritone
as he pleads with her to give him hope, the vet
trying to be kind, rephrasing the truth
over and over until it becomes a lie
they both pretend to accept. The act's over.
His dog's to stay behind for ultrasound
and kidney tests, and the man, his face
whipped by grief as if he were caught in a wind,
hurries past us and out the front door,
leaving the audience—cats, terrier, people—
sunk in their places, too stunned to applaud.

© University of Illinois Press, 2008.



Robert Genn ~ Twice Weekly Letter: "Sunny Side Up"

I tend to be an overly optimistic person. For the most part I think this is a great thing, but I realize I sometimes really get on people's nerves. My family has always called me their "Polyanna." Recently they found a letter I wrote to Santa when I was seven. I ended saying that what I really wanted was for everyone to have a Merry Christmas. When rereading it before the holiday, my family all uniformly groaned at that point. My sister (who is not overly optimistic, a bit sarcastic, although with a great sense of humor), said she was surprised I didn't put "and world peace." (all references in this post have links to explore!)

I'm sure many of you know about the 140hours art auctions generated on Twitter by @140hours. I believe this is an awesome program! It promotes artists in an exciting way and gives to charities. I "retweet" like mad during this event trying to support my fellow artists. I tweeted to @MagZoxBrownArt, artist Margaret Zox Brown, that I found her success inspirational. She tweeted back the following comment: "It's all in the mind you know. You think it, believe it, feel it and so it is! Really." I stopped and thought, she is absolutely right. I guess that's why I keep plugging along hoping for the best!

Robert Genn's current "twice weekly letter" hit on this very same subject so I thought I would post it here. We all need reminders sometimes to keep our chins up, especially when it's freezing outside, even here in Southwest Florida!

Sunny side up

January 12, 2010

Dear Evelyn,

Our attitudes determine our accomplishments. Recent emails about shared studio spaces, male-female dynamics, creative progress etc., showed us those who see the glass half empty and those who see it half full. Could it be, we wondered, that the half-empty folks were destined to have emptier and emptier glasses, while the half-full folks were bound to have fuller and fuller ones?

Could there be truth in such a simple and timeworn concept?

Maybe it's the time of year--dark days in the Northern Hemisphere (right now our Down Under subscribers are generally upbeat). Anyway, a lot of negativity is out there. Okay, so maybe it's tough being an artist, but maybe we need to delude ourselves that it isn't tough at all--like it's a joy, a privilege, an opportunity to enrich those around us, and a lot of fun to boot.

Psychologists tell us we tend to believe what we say, especially when we chant it over and over. It doesn't seem to matter how unlikely the stuff is either--actions following words is one of the hazards of speaking, writing and thinking.

Here in the dark days of winter are a few words that might just keep your sunny side up:

Have a decent ego; cultivate self-esteem and individualism.
Keep an open mind; there's more than one way to do things.
Focus on your processes; that's where the joy comes in.
Be kind; it never hurts to give to others, even praise.
Be innocent; have a childlike--not childish--approach.
Be thankful, even for the smallest of blessings.
Be a perpetual student--be curious and seeking.
Filter your priorities--and don't suffer fools.
Be creative. It's the highest form of life.
Honour and respect time; it's the main gift.
Be optimistic; the opposite holds no charms.
Develop good habits--they will develop you.
Be thrifty--waste not, want not.
Work to please yourself.
Be hard to please.

Best regards,


PS: "Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviours. Keep your behaviours positive, because your behaviours become your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny." (Mahatma Gandhi)

Esoterica: A note regarding the clickbacks: We treasure all our mail. Very often, depending on which one of us is looking after it, we assemble the clickbacks from the first 50 or so letters that come in each time. We try for a range of opinion, new angles, fresh insights. Other times we're dealing with conventional wisdom. Further, many excellent letters are too late for inclusion. As you may have noticed, we sometimes add these to the live comments. Wisdom and humour are always appreciated. Recently, an anonymous subscriber reminded us: "People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."



Pere Lachaise Cemetery

During my recent trip to Paris we decided to focus on a different experience than the museums. Which was good considering they were all closed due to a strike! For the New Year we thought about birth, death and renewal. One of our outings was to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. We saw the graves of Delacroix, Jacques Louis David, Theodore Gericault (my favorite), Moliere and others. It is a beautiful and peaceful place. Even though many of the graves will never be visited individually I thought it was wonderful how the often felt conception of death was twisted around, this cemetery was full of life. People everywhere walking around trying to find a specific person important to them and in the process finding the resting places of people they know nothing about. What a magical place to be put for eternity, somehow no one is ever alone here.
Click on the link below to see some photos!

Pere Lachaise Cemetery


Happy New Year! Robert Genn Twice Weekly Letter ~ "The Mystery of the Non-depressed Men."

Just liked the sentiments of this letter.
I hope all had a wonderful holiday. I wish you all peace, love, tolerance and compassion in the new year.

December 29, 2009

Dear Evelyn,
Research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has determined artistic men are less likely to be depressed than artistic women. Professor Jostein Holmen and others studied the lifestyle and mental health of 50,000 folks. While both men and women benefitted from attention to music, literature and painting, it was the men who ended up sunny and optimistic.

This can't be right, I thought. I always figured depression was an equal-opportunity condition. Then I started thinking it must be the men who were under-reporting their depression. Just yesterday, for example, I painted a particularly lousy painting. Feeling myself slipping into my usual post-painting depression, I quickly phoned a couple of friends and told them I had just painted a dandy. They believed me, and I was soon back on the sunny side of the river.

Later, with the help of eggnog, I was reading an interview with Garrison Keillor in a recent edition of Time. Keillor is a guy who always picks me up and makes me feel the universe is a benign and pleasant place to hang out. Asked, "How did you master both writing and oral storytelling," Keillor replied: "I didn't. There's no mastery to be had. You love the attempt. You don't master a story any more than you master a river. You feel lucky to canoe down it."

Speaking of canoeing down a river, have you ever taken part in the creative act of couple-canoeing? Ninety percent of the time the woman gets to be in the bow, "for the power," while the man is in the stern, "for the control." So there you have it, the woman is up front taking in the first mouthfuls of mosquitoes, while the guy sits aft just happy to be there. But then again the guy has control. He can point that Grumman anywhere he wants. He can even shout over and tell the other canoeists he knows what he's doing.

Apparently, one of the great anti-depressants released by art is the feeling of community--of being part of a greater whole. One would think with all the sophisticated networking going on with women artists in North America, they'd be the most under-depressed on the planet. Are Norwegian females defying the trend and working alone in snowbound cabins? And why do North American male artists insist on paddling their own canoes?

Best regards,


PS: "There is less depression among men who participate in cultural activities, although this is not true for women." (Professor Jostein Holmen)

Esoterica: I've always held a secret belief that men are more prone to self-delusion than women. When push comes to shove, most of the male artists I know are legends in their own minds. Contrary to the conventional wisdom they're losing their marbles, the condition may be the glue that keeps them together. I'd appreciate if you would keep my secret belief under your mosquito net, as I'm just about to go into the studio and paint another dandy.