Lisa Griest

Well, well, we have the artist with us again. How utterly utterly.

Flannery O’Connor

 I recently spent time painting at the studio of figurative artist Agnese Udinotti. Anyone who visits her “Hall of Reverence,” as she calls her studio, is inevitably influenced by her work. Eventually, tired of being imitated, she will issue the command: “Find your own images!”

She’s right. Each of us has our own library of internal images.  When we bring forth these images through the process of art-making, they can help us come to know ourselves at the deepest level. Sometimes, my images show up in the faces I see in chips of bark, parts of dead trees I make into my figures.  Other times they almost emerge whole cloth from inward, startling me in the process.

As for the quote above, what, exactly, is an artist? The term seems so overused and pretentious.  Flannery O’Connor, one of the giants of American literature, was also one of the humblest, quietly pounding out stories after her daily morning mass. If you asked her, she would probably say that artists are people who get off their duffs and make things.

Because what matters is the making. We secretly hope that the things we make will be “rare events, healing enlightenments,” as Francesco Clemente writes. They almost never are. But the act of making can be.

Any other description of what we do is just so utterly utterly.

I live in Prescott, Arizona with my husband and three Basset Hounds. A former library director, I now spend as much time as I can in my studio, aka “My Happy Place.”

An old photo. I am a lot taller now…