Seeing a new world

The task of art is to transform what is continuously happening to us into something that lasts, giving it a shape.

~  John Berger

I was recently listening to a conversation about the Overton Window. That’s a technical political term that is basically a model for how societies change over time and accept previously acceptable ideas. Things that seem strange or different at first can become something everyone loves or accepts. Looking back, imagine a time when the cool, swirly colors of Impressionism, the wide color blankets in Color Field paintings, and the splashy paint drips in Jackson Pollock’s art were seen as too weird or new to be liked by most people. These kinds of art had to slowly make their way into people’s hearts, showing us how new ideas can become popular over time.

  • This week’s artist is –  Hot Mike – an up and coming Durango artist. To learn more about Mike McCrann and see more of his work, check out his website and instagram!
  • Balthus would have been either 29 or 116 tomorrow!
  • Durango as another artists’s call out – along the River Trail.
  • Here are spoon museum exhibits – “the largest repository of antique silver, souvenir and collectible spoon information on the web. There are over 4000 spoons pictured, thousands of links, and about 500 different exhibits.”
  • Oh no, these stick figures are in peril!
  • Here are the 2023 Nature photo contest winners.
  • And as a follow-up – owl photos!
  • You don’t have to be an expert to get a lot out of art.
  • Neanderthals depicted in art over time – “Interpretations sometimes say more about their makers than their subjects.”
  • Three ways to face your fears as an artist.
  • Reading the above made me think about Sesame Street’s “I wonder… what if? Let’s try!” approach – which my 4-year old put to use yesterday.
  • Daily purchase drawings – for years!
  • Apparently Journalize is a word.
  • 😎 Fun Fact: The first photograph of a person was taken accidentally. In an 1838 exposure by Louis Daguerre of a busy Paris street, a man getting his boots polished remained still long enough to be captured.
  • Tonight is opening night of the Durango Independent Film Festival – 6:30 & 7pm at the Durango Arts Center & Gaslight Twin Cinema. Seating is first come, first served. Free movie night. It runs from today till March 3.
  • The Durango High School Instrumental Music Gala is also tonight, at Miller Middle School’s auditorium. Featuring the DHS Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, Concert Band and Jazz Band. Concert, dessert bar and silent auction! Starts at 6:30.
  • The first Friday of the month will be this week – so get ready for the First Friday Art Crawl on … um… this Friday from 4-7ish. (Including a show by Hot Mike, featured above, at EsoTerra Ciderworks.)
  • We’re hiring an MC for Animas River Days! You can get a sneak peek of their “mad skillz” when the MCs compete for the gig on March 1st at the Durango Elks Lodge, from 6-8! Learn more info about MCing at This is a FREE and family-friendly event! The public is invited to come cheer on their favorite MCs.
  • There are classes/workshops/projects available at the 4 Corners Gem and Mineral Club, the Bayfield Library, Create Art and Tea, the Dancing Spirit Center for the ArtsDurango Sustainable GoodsLet’s Letter Together, the MakerLab, the Scrapbook NookSeed Studio, and the Durango Arts Center. There are a lot more things happening that I don’t include – so if you’re ever looking for something to do, start at
  • There are a lot of accessories for pencils, above and beyond the different types of pencils themselves. You can lay down graphite with individual or collections of pencils, woodless graphite sticks, compressed graphite, the powdered version, or even through different lead holders or mechanical pencils. You can store pencils in a number of different rolls, totes, bags, or boxes. There are tools to make sure you pencils stay sharp and long enough to hold. A shield helps you only put marks where you want. Once marks are down you can smear and blend them or just remove them altogether. If you’re looking to expand your pencil repertoire, swing by to see what’s available!

Looking forward, I wonder what the next “Overton Window” style might be. How will some artist help everyone see art in a new way? The past artists who helped start new movements taught us to keep trying, even when our ideas seem too different or new. Let’s be inspired by their bravery to make something new and keep believing in our own ideas. Remember, what we create today might just be the next big thing tomorrow. Keep making your art and sharing your ideas, because the world is excited to see what you’ll come up with next!

Matthew & the Art Supply House crew

P.S. – We’re getting close! I have a lot of extra tidbits that don’t make it into this email every week – so I’m going to launch a short, daily email next month. Would you be interested in having a daily bit of art-spiration show up in your email each morning? If so – check out Morning Muse.