Interrupting our camera discussion…for an evening at the art gallery

Three photos and a poem

Welcome to Gallery 325 in Baraga, Michigan.  Thank you for visiting our small art gallery.  Would you like some snacks?  Punch, coffee?  Please sign the guest book before you leave.  Thank you. 

This month’s theme is Domestic Violence.  Let’s think about those who have suffered from domestic violence.  Let’s see how folks have created art around this theme in a variety of ways.

Karen's painting

The first photo in this blog shows my three photographs (and, of course, a poem) dealing with this challenging subject.  It was the first time I’ve entered anything in an art show.  I chose three photos…the spirit rock from last year’s outdoor blog (click here and scroll to the third picture), Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (click here and scroll to the last photo) and an angel with missing hands from this year’s blog.  Click here to see the angel.  The title of my showing was (c’mon who can guess?)  Angels. 

Sue's painting "Bent but not broken"

It was challenging for many of the participants to portray artwork representing this theme.  I was super challenged…not having too many photos which fit into the aforementioned topic.  But you would be surprised.  Many folks entered artwork which displayed forbearance, courage, hope. 

Others created pieces which cut to the heart of domestic violence, portraying agony and pain. 

Another piece from Karen

It was an enjoyable experience to truly admire all the different works, to see how creativity births itself in different ways through different mediums.  We are all so unique!  

Yet another face of Domestic Violence

Perhaps 30-40 people wandered through the gallery between 7-9 p.m. I loved seeing old friends and acquaintances–and meeting new ones.  The best part of the evening was talking with a fellow who expressed his challenges with creating art.  He feels like a blocked artist.  He has so many ideas…but never seems to be able to follow through to create.  He feels too much of a perfectionist. 

I became super excited and began offering suggestions.  How about creating a corner in his house dedicated to Imperfect Art?  How about insisting to himself that he can only create Imperfect Art?  No perfect art allowed!!  Find a corner in the basement–perhaps–and make all sorts of imperfect pieces.  How about ten imperfect pieces to start?  Then, every time his mind starts carrying on about the art being inferior–he must write the Mind’s judgment on a piece of paper and tape it on the wall. 

I told him about the drawing project Kiah and I did this summer.  We did a 30-day drawing project.  (Never told you regular readers about that, did I?)  We drew stick figures, crazy childish scrawlings, baby art!  Oh was it imperfect art!  It was so imperfect we laughed until we almost fell on the floor in glee.  She’s still laughing about the picture I drew of a Yogic guru, and I’m still giggling about her stick figures.  Funny, I loved the pic of the guru and she loved her stick figures.  Tis all in the eye of the beholder, ye Imperfect Artists! 

One of the visitors at the art show last night...isn't she adorable?

We do so much violence to ourselves in our internal judgments.  Here is the poem I typed and displayed next to my photos.  It describes the violence we do to ourselves every single day when we slap, push around and knock ourselves over.  Next time you’re tempted to do this to yourself, remember this:

Oh angels, how many hands must break,

how many bruised cheeks turn from the sun?

How many times must you slap yourselves

in the bedroom of your thoughts?


How many jeers must you endure?

How many sleepless nights of despairing earthen feet,

clay around your eyes, the

endless refrain of not being perfect.


Oh angels, no more brutal love—

no more beating yourselves up, pushing sideways

into walls of ancient defenses.

No more domestic violence.


Be gentle, Oh angels, be sweetly gentle

unto yourselves.

The mirror of the world reflects back

bitter hurled hatred of our inner despair.

Refuse to engage.


When thoughts of self-recrimination rise,

walk by the lake instead.

Let the spirit in the stone sing herself into your

dreams, healing broken pain.

Thank you for visiting the gallery.  Help yourselves to more chips and dip before you go.  Remember, sign the guestbook!  And come back in November to view some Native American works of art.  Good night…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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40 Responses to Interrupting our camera discussion…for an evening at the art gallery

  1. Love your choices for your entries, Kathy, evocotive, compassionate, right ON!

  2. Especially the Angel Rock.

    • Kathy says:

      The Angel Rock was really the only one that I loved–as a photo onto itself–but the others fit the theme. So in they went. Did you remember that the I took the picture of the Angel/Spirit Rock the day I wrote the sweat lodge blog last year?

  3. Kathy – this is beyond wonderful. I want to emphasize B-E-Y-O-N-D wonderful. I work with so many people whose lives are enmeshed in the tapestry of domestic violence — victims and perpetrators, both. Thank you for the invitation to view this showing. It resonated with my heart.

    Have I told you lately that I appreciate YOU? In the event I haven’t, I appreciate YOU.

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, so glad this resonated with your heart. It is so disturbing to think about the suffering of those “enmeshed in the tapestry of domestic violence.” Thank you also for your words of kindness. I so appreciate you, as well.

  4. victoria says:

    stopping by to find myself being embraced by angelic presence . . .i love your ART, kathy !

    signing the guestbook ❤ victoria

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Victoria. I am just a baby artist…but learning to love expression in so many ways. Loving that you signed the guestbook, dear friend!

  5. Marianne says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful is all I can say. Very touching.

  6. Elisa's Spot says:

    Thank you. This one was hard for me.

    • Kathy says:

      Hugs, Elisa…may that which is hard also, somehow, contain healing light.

    • Cindy Lou says:

      For me, too, Elisa…..for the most part, I think I’m over the effects of being in two abusive marriages but then……

      Blessings and prayers to all in DV situations that they find strength and courage and love in their journeys.

  7. P.j. grath says:

    Lots of people pushing beyond their comfort zones for this show, obviously. Good for all of you, and thanks for sharing, Kathy.

  8. Robin says:

    I love your choices and your poem. Beautiful.

    That is some very powerful art at Gallery 325. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, it leaves me wanting to return for another show soon. It is amazing that a small community can create such powerful art. Bowing deeply to the men and women who were brave enough to show their work…

  9. Carol says:

    So perfect. How great that such a huge, damaging problem is being brought to the forefront like this.

    • Kathy says:

      It is good that this subject is not being “swept under the rug” and out of sight, Carol. There was a Domestic Violence walk in our community the same night.

  10. Awesome capture of a difficult subject, for many including mself. Bringing the stories out into the open.

    I would love if you could e-mail copies of you photos so I could se them closer

    Laurie- I love your depiction of “being enmeshed in the tapestry of domestic violence—Continue your wonerful work you two!


    • Kathy says:

      Kim, If you click on the links that I mentioned, you can see the photos in big high resolution (I highlighted three links that will bring you to blogs which show the bigger photos.) If those aren’t big enough for you, please let me know and I will find them and email them to you.

      Blessings to you!

  11. Kiah says:

    Oh I love it! Everyone’s work is great! I’ve found that poetry resonates with me more when I read it aloud so I just put on a show for my plants and read your work to them–the liked it too.

    P.S. Nice frames.

    • Kathy says:

      Kiah…you read the poem to your plants??? How I love you! I love that you called so excited yesterday to find out how the gallery shooting went. You are the sweetest daughter in the Universe.

      P.S. Thanks! It was such a relief to discover that the photos didn’t need to be matted and that you could just find frames that matched.

  12. Susan D says:

    I’m tardy, and tired. So I will just say stunning work by all … intense poem, lovely! And echo what everyone else has stated so beautifully…

    Thank you for sharing. Above all, so glad you enjoyed the showing and everything/one about it!

    • Kathy says:

      One is never tardy on the Internet, the great CyberCity that never sleeps! I wish you could have come, Susan. You would have enjoyed it, I think. Thanks for liking the poem. I think we have to look at the violence we do to ourselves first and foremost. When we start to come to terms with that, then maybe we can come to terms with what is reflected in the larger physcial word. (Not to say that we can’t do anything about that…but most people judge external domestic violence and not internal…)

  13. Mike Dineen says:

    Kathy, these are superb, One quibble I often have with “art dealing with violence” is that the “art” itself tends to be violent, you avoided that pitfall beautifully, yet dealt with the subject in depth, Brava!

    • Kathy says:

      Mikey, thank you so much! You are so right…I never thought about that. To be able to reflect something back to people that doesn’t just ignite more violence. Bless you, birthday twin!

  14. Dawn says:

    Stirring. Loved your poem…so much of what we all struggle with is inside. Loved all the art. Especially like the painting of the woman with two faces. Wish I could have been there. Darn job.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, thank you. If I had to choose which artwork was my favorite…don’t know what I would choose. It is such a small gallery (actually an old house) that everything feels real intimate. One of these days you’ll have to head back to da Copper Country.

  15. Cindy Lou says:

    I was deeply touched by everything – your poem and artwork, the art of others, your advice to a struggling artist. I’m taking that advice and will get on my assignment from you today instead of waiting for ‘perfection.’

    Thank you again for sharing your heart, your love and your unique compassion! Love you!

    🙂 That’s for my mental image of Kiah reading poetry to her plants! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, I am glad that this inspired you to share from imperfection rather than perfection. I used to always think of a phrase “We are Imperfectly Perfect”. I wonder how many people keep themselves quiet because they are afraid? I know I used to. Can’t wait to see what you create. And I, too, adore the image of Kiah reading poetry to her plants. That made my day yesterday!

  16. Karma says:

    I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said, but I wanted you to know I was here and that I can appreciate what you’ve shown us.

  17. Martha Bergin says:

    Thank you for this post. It touched something deep within me and set it free. I guess I can be specific. As I read the words–I think it was about the imperfect art that this came into my conscious awareness–I realized that so many times I stayed silent rather than speak up, because I really had no understanding that what I have to offer can be good, and create goodness in the world. I know this sounds about as ultra-simplistic as it gets, but that’s the truth.

    • Kathy says:

      Martha, your words made my heart soar yesterday. When we can read or see or hear something…and suddenly some of our inner fear/resistance begins to melt away. Every time you have written/shared something I have felt the goodness of your essence shining through the words. Some times–I think–what counts comes from the space between the words, if that makes sense. Blessings, dear friend.

  18. Pingback: Deja vu all over again… « Lake Superior Spirit

  19. Kathy, nothing like starting out on the tough ground for subject matter for your first show. Congratulations. And thank you for sharing what others have submitted. My life has rambled through passages of violence at the hands of men and then I worked in the area preventing violence against women up until 2006. I never forget but sometimes I choose not to remember. Yet the strength and courage and hope… it is found here too.

    • Kathy says:

      Terrill, you are right on that one. If it had been the previous month’s show (something about Falling Leaves) it would have been possible to find three good photographs, I think, without too much digging. But this one needed to dig deep…to be a little messy, even…to be a little imperfect…and mabe that’s because this subject of violence is deep, messy and imperfect. Yet the strength and courage to speak and show and reveal rises alongside it.

  20. jeffstroud says:


    Thank you for digging deep, thank you for gently lovingly approaching a theme which could have been dark and bitter, instead was and is encouraging and supportive.

    Good of you to be supportive of the “blocked” artist, to guide him with suggestions that are reasonable and doable!

    I Love the Poem!

    Congratulations on your first gallery showing!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Jeff! Since we are all blocked artists–in some ways–perhaps I was just thinking of ways which might help me when the blocking starts to happen. I really like the Artist Way because it gives us the potential to move through some of those blocks. Thank you for your kind words. It is nice to hear these words from a pro. 🙂

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