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Art and Beets

Today, I pulled some beets. Beets are funny: I plant them, and then I wait. I wait some more. When the greens get lush and the beet “shoulders” push out of the soil, I know to harvest. But!! There are the coy ones that never show their shoulders. What to do? I dig around the edges, try and see what’s there, but eventually, I’ve gotta just pull them. Sometimes they’re huge! Sometimes they’re tiny. Oh, well. Ideas for art can be similar, for me. Sometimes I KNOW I’ve got a good idea. Plenty often, though, my imagination is coy. Good idea? Not so good idea? Should I pull it? Commit, or not? What always surprises me is how helpful it is to think about an idea for a while, deliberately, consciously, and then let it sit. I think I’ve forgotten about it, but there’s some subterranean process going on, and it continues to develop outside of my awareness. Then I come back, dig around the edges, and – voila! A full-fledged good idea! Or, not. Oh, well. Here are some good ideas beautifully realized by Peter Nam. As he carved he left lots of lines behind, a record of his hand moving across the plate that creates a wonderful sense of movement in the print. He packs a ton of whimsy into one bunch of asparagus.

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