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Counting Knuckles, An Introduction

A vivid memory came back to me recently, almost eight years ago to the day that my father died. After waking from a nap I remembered how he used a system of counting knuckles to determine how many days are in each month. If you are not familiar with it, you clench each hand into a fist and, beginning with your left hand, count the knuckles and the spaces in between, (the valleys) moving left to right to the first knuckle on your right hand.  The first knuckle on your left hand becomes January and February is the first valley and so forth.  All the knuckles represent months with thirty-one days.

Why the image of my father performing this act of remembrance resurfaced when it did is a mystery, but I knew immediately that I wanted to use the name, “counting knuckles” for my blog. In the past two years of writing, I have often used memories of my childhood as source materials. My mother, my suburban upbringing and the landscape of my past all served to inspire various posts. Whether I am writing about other artists or about my own experiences, I intuitively pair my memories with the project at hand. In this way, the image of my father counting knuckles struck me as the perfect title for my blog and a symbol for the act of recollection; a card from the major arcana in my own tarot deck.

One more thought: Writing these past two years has been a curious exercise.  For someone who has identified and expressed herself through the visual arts for most of her life, it was challenging to use words rather than images.  But having a conversation about writing is also rewarding in a way that is very different than discussing your artwork.  Mainly, as an artist it is a luxury to find an audience to discuss your work, either in the studio or the gallery.   While it is possible that people may look at your abstract artwork and say, “That happened to me!” or “Here’s what I think about that”, it is unlikely.  Your audience may have a visceral response that doesn’t warrant a verbal response. However, when you write, you are using the same language as the reader and that facilitates the discussion. So when a blog post receives a written or verbal response, I find that hugely rewarding.  I uncovered a desire to communicate with words.  I don’t pretend or want to be an art critic or assume a posture of authority. I just want to start a conversation. Please join me. 

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In addition to new entries, I will post some of the writing I did for Art Cricket LA in a slightly different format and in some cases, newly edited versions. Thanks again to Diana Kohne and Rhiannon Gillis for being so encouraging when I first started blogging.

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