On Art as Solace

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
― Wendell Berry

I went to the neighborhood grocery store today and the line outside and crowd inside was more busy than I had seen it since the very early, very panicky days of the pandemic. There’s a feeling of impending change, chaos, something hard to define. I have been asked a lot about what my plans are for Tuesday night, election night here in the US. This isn’t something I have had to consider in previous years, so I haven’t really had a good answer.

But like Wendell Berry, I recognize that the real journey begins when we realize there is no good answer, no clear road, and that real creative and innovative rewards can come from that as well. So, like other times when I have reached something that seems impossible to navigate around, I will be in my studio for the most part. When I’m creating with my hands, it frees up my mind to process without judgment, and in that processing I often find inspiration, motivation and hope. Honestly I will probably be spending less time online and more in my studio for the next few weeks, so if I don’t post for a little bit, that’s what’s-what.

Other things that my husband and I have planned for Tuesday include a text chain with his friends so that he feels socially connected, and also the two of us planning out some fun things for the remainder of 2020; things that are within our control in terms of geography, budget and pandemic considerations and so are unlikely to change or disappear. It is so important to have things to look forward to.

It will get better, it always does. Take care of yourself. Control what you can control and let the rest be what it will be. Go to your art materials, musical instrument, the draft of your novel or screenplay. Find a way to use this time for good.

Travel Art Prints

The Texan Theater, Athens Texas. Monotype Print by Stephanie Khattak.
Grand Theater, Paris, Texas. Monotype Print by Stephanie Khattak.

I’ve been missing our more ambitious travels, but at the same time, I am enjoying the day trips that my husband and I have taken recently. Because of the pandemic and the fact that we have two rambunctious kittens at home, we are choosing day trips to scratch our traveling art adventure itches.

James enjoys photographing facades, historic downtowns and other iconic scenes of the places we visit. As I looked through the photos and admire the retro details and colors of these buildings, I wondered how they would look translated into a monotype print. I like it!

The Pine Curtain project is still my priority, but it is nice to have creative options, and to extend our travels a little further.

Coming Soon: New Art For Sale

Abstract Floral “Butterfly Farm.” Monotype Print embellished with Acrylic, Gold Leaf. By Stephanie Khattak.

After a long hiatus, I am reopening my art shop on Etsy October 15! I’ll be exclusively selling monotype prints, including the one above, in a variety of sizes. This art store launch will include ten original pieces, and I’ll do a flash/mini update for Small Business Saturday in November, just in time for the holidays. More regular updates to come in 2021!

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A Multitude of Matriarchs

“Multitude of Matriarchs,” Monotype Print: Acrylic and Ink by Stephanie Khattak.

This print was taken from a 1960s baby shower at the Homer United Methodist Church. These were the hostesses, family friends who could always be counted on to spray their hair, polish up their cat-eye glasses and punch bowls, and run the show.

Many, many years after this, I hosted my first shower for my own expectant friend, in the same church fellowship hall where these ladies stand. I remember standing in the church breezeway, cutting gladiola stems, wondering if we had enough tablecloths and feeling a connection to the community of “aunties” who I had seen do the same things over the years. I’m proud to come from a community where it is second nature to show up and celebrate people.