Painting to music

MixedTape 4

Just by way of information to my readers, I have recently upgraded my WordPress account, and I now have a new domain name. Be sure to change it if you have me bookmarked or if you have me in a blog reader. It’s Now I feel like a real blogger! I have a domain name!

My next step on my artist journey is to print some cards from the original art I have done and given away (but scanned) and try to sell them in my office. They might or might not sell, but I don’t have much to lose. I’m going to try. I may even try to do some holiday themed cards. On to feeling like a real artist!

Now to the meat of this blog. The image above relates to a class I am taking taught by Effy Wild, my mentor/teacher/blogging-instigator. The class is called Mixed Tape II, and you can still enroll. There is also a Mixed Tape I which is also open to new students. It’s older, but it’s still relevant.

Our last lesson in Mixed Tape II was about dancing with art. The basic instructions were to put our chosen song on “repeat” and make marks and fling paint on the paper in time with the music until we were happy with the results. The song I chose was “Which Side Are You On?” sung by Ani DiFranco.

Ani’s version has updated lyrics. The original lyrics were written in 1931 by Florence Reece during a coal strike in Harlan County, Kentucky. You can hear her sing it on YouTube by clicking the link. At the peak of the strike 5800 workers were unemployed and only 900 working, according to Wikipedia. The story of the strike makes pretty interesting reading.

“Which Side Are You On?” has since been sung by greats. Pete Seegar, who rerecorded the song in 1967, made it famous again. Numerous other versions have been recorded. The first I heard recently was that of Natalie Merchant, who uses the original lyrics, and there is a very different version by Arlo Guthrie with words that have a decided religious tone.

This version by Ani DiFranco is my favorite, though. She is really a great performer. I love her enthusiasm and her “tell-it-like-it-is” attitude. Her rewrite is closer to what is going on right now in our country, and the words make you think about how you are going to take a stand on things.

I chose the part about feminism although I could have chosen any of the other stanzas. It’s just that recently it seems I’ve seen so much of what I’ve spent most of my life working and fighting for get overturned and lost because people won’t stand up together and say “No, you can’t do that to us.” It makes me really sad. It makes me angry sometimes, too, especially when it comes to the public schools. That’s another story.

I tend to be a left-leaning moderate. I taught school too long not to be able to see both sides (mostly both kids in an argument have a point to make). Still, there are some things that are simply not worth fighting about. They don’t matter. On the other hand, some things are worth fighting about and fighting for. They do matter. The trick is deciding which is which and then answering the question, “Which side are you on?” And willingly accepting the consequences of your answer.

2 thoughts on “Painting to music

  1. Effy September 7, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately – what side am I on? What will I kill or die for? What really matters? These questions feel super relevant for our time.


    • Suzanne H. Eller September 7, 2017 / 9:40 pm

      Reading Gandhi and MLK Jr have helped me. Nonviolent resistance makes the most sense to me in terms of my value system. Maybe it is the old age of a once young hippie that makes me look a things through a this lens, but the current turbulence in the world feels more unsettling than at any other time in my life. NVR has helped.


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