July 8, 2013

Guest Post: Brad Clark - Married to an Artist; A Juxtaposed Narrative

My husband has long told me that he needed to make a guest post on this little space, especially because it directly impacts his life.  With my years of teaching art at MHS ending, he thought it would be a fitting close. So here he is:  friend, husband, and apparently quite often artist assistant.

My name is Brad Clark, and I’m the husband of Susan Clark. We have been married very happily for two years, and what I would like to do is to give my experience of what it has been like being married and living with an artist/art teacher/photographer/blogger. This will chronicle my first interactions with Susan and learning early on about the free spirit/rule follower characteristics we have.  Yes, I would be the rule follower. An “intro” to what colors really are, and how leaving the house is always a great opportunity for a “drive-by” shooting (taking pictures of different things while the car is still moving; i.e. power lines, trees, grass, mountains……) Also included will be an in depth look at what goes on at home when school ends for the day, and there needs to be an example made for the class, they need paint, paper, or artist soap (yes, it does exist).

The first time I got to hang out with Susan was on the infamous “zoo trip”.  When trying to plan a trip to the zoo with friends, only Susan and I could go…. so we did. We had a lot of time to visit and learn about each other, and one story I would like to tell is about Susan’s dream house. She talked about living in a glass house in the middle of the forest and just being immersed in God’s wonderful creation. So of course I, being the rule follower, trying to wrap my mind around this abstract thought, started asking questions. “Well how would you get the building materials out there, how much extra would it cost to build a road to get the concrete truck out there?” As well as “what if a tree branch falls on the house, wouldn't the glass shatter?” Well, obviously I was missing the point, because those weren't concerns on Susan’s part.

Another interesting aspect is that colors aren't what I thought they were, and using the description of “I think its medium blue” will send my artist into a laughing frenzy. It has been very interesting learning that to Susan, colors are feelings, and they are everything to an artist. If you go into an arts and crafts store, we’ll use Michaels for example, they will have 100 different shades of blue, red, green, or basically whatever you can think of. Not only that, but there is oil, acrylic, watercolor, to include different levels of each kind of paint. I won’t even get started on paint brushes! What I wanted to say is that to me, it’s a mess of confusion and I just want to paint something blue, but to Susan, the different shades are everything, and the different types of paint depend of the different technique that will be used. Whether it is a wet on wet oil technique, short strokes/long strokes, bleeds, glazes…. It’s a fascinating world!

Susan has been an art teacher at the high school level for the past three years. I have been a part of two of those years, and I would like to share a couple of my experiences. I think I also have to mention that Susan always has a camera to take pictures on the way to or from work, of her “favorite tree”, the cows, and of course her favorite plant, the fern. Something I have experienced many times, and have learned to appreciate, is the “We are all out of (blank), and we need to go to the store tonight (insert late time) because we need it by tomorrow". It has given Susan and I the chance to talk about our day, and I know it’s a pain for both of us, (since we currently live 35 min from town) but we make it our own little adventure often camera included.

Another part of Susan being an art teacher is getting sample projects or supplies ready for the next class day. Of the many examples I could share, there is one in particular that stands out to me that occurred this past school year. We had to melt down about 25 pounds of wax and pour it into small cups, and we needed about 60 to 70 of these. I should note that the wax came in the form of 11 lb. sheets. So here is the scene, I am on the kitchen floor with a hammer and a flat head screw driver, hammering the wax into smaller pieces. Those pieces then went to Susan who was melting and pouring into the cups. What a night, we finished about 11:30! I hate to say that latter we found out that it worked better when we just cut chunks off the sheet instead of melting it down, but what fun would that be! (susan- it should be noted that he wakes up at 4:30 am for work, so we are normally in bed by 9:30pm)
In writing this post my intention is very simple. Life being married to an artist has been wonderful. Being able to share these experiences, as well as learn about art has opened up a whole new world for me. There has been no greater joy than to walk on a nature trail, go to an art museum, or just sit on the porch and seeing Susan’s eyes light up at the sunset and explaining the amazing colors! We have been intentional about making sure we have the camera wherever we go, we don’t want to miss a thing!

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”
- John Muir

“Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
- John Muir

3 comments:

  1. proud of you guys, thanks for sharing this

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  2. Brad, you should guest blog more often. I think I woke up Dan with my laughter! Good description of life as you know it. Stephanie

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    1. Thanks Stephanie. I thought it might be an interesting insight into our life.

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