Grit vs. Seduction



Chatter and the Blues

In 3 days, my 2 weeks without running will conclude. I’m anticipating a trail run on Thursday, and my fingers are crossed for a pain free experience. For the last 12 days, my head has been full of chatter and the blues. Though it has some advantages, pool running just doesn’t free the mind in the same way as moving through the landscape. There’s a trail run in Bath that I love to run with my dog, Oliver. The last time I ran it—a few weeks ago—I was 2+ miles in when I heard gunshots. Since the trail is in the city, I had assumed hunting was off limits! I’ve stayed clear since, but I think that’s the spot for an easy run on Thursday. This will be my running re-entry after a short break due to muscle strain. If you have any re-entry wisdom, I welcome your comments.

Though this isn’t a traditional lay-person’s running blog (describe a run, show a map, talk about sneakers, repeat), I would like to rave about two recent purchases. Many sing the praises of running jackets, but given the expense, for the last year I made do with a fleece. A month ago, when I began thinking about the cold winter roads, and, maybe feeling a little sorry for myself because of the hip issue, I picked up a Craft of Sweden PXC Jacket (pix above). It’s technically for X-C skiing, and I will put it to use for that this winter, but this jacket really enhances the cold running experience. I’m comfortable at the start of my run and never get overheated. Usually I’m pulling a fleece on an off throughout a run, but the jacket stays on without every feeling hot, bulky, or constricting. Second, because of the hip issue, I was advised to change sneakers. I went to the fabulous Maine Running Company to get some expert advice. You pay a bit extra at their shops but the tidbits of wisdom and the security that you’ve made the right choice are more than worth it. After trying out a number of options, I chose Asics, gel-DS Trainers. They’re comfortable, light, and offer just enough structure for training. What’s a running blog without at least a quick nod to shopping for gear!

Grit vs. Seduction

I was happy to address the question about grit vs. seduction in my artwork this morning (in response to Low Language), and I’ve been thinking a lot about it since. Today, in my studio, I returned to an oil painting of a swallow flying in a snowy skyscape. A huge net of gold leaf hangs in the air, and an icey globe floats below punctuated by a single bare-branched tree. This feels like just enough. Maybe the grit of the piece unfolds as the content reveals itself. Gritty-ness in art can come close to the grotesque, and work from artists like Paul McCarthy or the Chapman brothers leaves me flat. I get the art historical context that it emerged out of, but it doesn’t take me deep. I can’t get beyond the grossness of it. Beauty with an undercurrent of the sublime—that’s what I’m after. And it’s rare, in my work and the work of others. Maybe grit, for me and my work, is beauty that can’t be shaken off–something about the work wedges under your ribs, evoking a feeling, memory, desire, or idea that’s just out of reach or that takes you/the viewer in two directions at once.

Last night I had a dream that a pie was a book. It was completely both things—pie and book–with tender, flaky crust and layers of thin pages of type descending down into the fruity pie. In the world of my dream, it made complete sense. Even now I can picture what I saw in my sleep but I can’t make sense of it. I’d like to paint that feeling.


About lucindasrunningblog

Lucinda is an artist and teacher whose work focused on landscape and place. Bliss currently serves as Dean of Graduate Studies at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
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6 Responses to Grit vs. Seduction

  1. Mmm…. A pie and a book, consubstantial, fully both, literate and delicious… There’s seduction for you, right there. I don’t know what to do with the grit part. 🙂

  2. Yeah – I’ve actually got a copy of that on my hard rive at work, waiting for the right context. Pity he didn’t do a piebrarian. Hmmm. This would give Reader’s Digest a whole new meaning….
    Sorry to be so tangential here. I hope the return to running goes well. Sometime we should try a ‘run with the pack’ through the woods – maybe Kona would mellow out on neutral territory.

    • Tangential is not a problem–this is a blog that goes from shoe shopping to dreaming about a pie that’s also a book! As for a pack run, I’d love it. If Thursday goes well, maybe this weekend…

  3. mmwm says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how a pie is literate, Mike. Luce, I hope the running goes well tomorrow. I’ll be in Bath tomorrow and Fri morning … maybe I’ll run (ha ha ha … not) into you. And dreams … that’s rich territory. (A pie is rich!)

  4. I’ll keep an eye out for you at the coffee shop and not so much on the trail. 🙂
    There’s an Artist Intervention event at the PMA in Portland on Friday night, if you’re still around.

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