Journal

    1. We all know someone . . . Chip Taylor's "He's a Good Guy (as well you know) from "Little Prayers Trilogy".

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    Where words fail, music speaks. ~ Hans Christian Andersen

    When I first heard Chip Taylor's "He's a Good Guy (as well you know), it stopped me in my tracks.  I listened to it over and over.  I purchased his "Little Prayers Trilogy" album and quickly fell in love with all of his songs.

    Tonight I listened to it again, and thought about my travels up and down from Skagen to Hurup, Denmark last November.  I cried a lot on those trips, and I played Chip's songs a lot.  I felt a sweeping emotion of joy and love coupled with a bit of sadness.  I was on the road in the land of my Ancestors.  My great grandparents, both sets of parents of my Farmor came from Jylland, the western coast of Denmark.  Tears ran down my face each day while I was there, because my Farmor would have loved that place and I was so grateful I could take her there with me.

    It was during the time she would have been telling me the stories of growing up on the farm in Montana, how the winters were and most of all during the time she'd be cooking a big turkey for all of us.  She and my grandfather married about 75 years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, so all of those memories came crashing together as I observed the wildlife along the route, the wide open skies, and the beauty of farming landscape coupled with rich marshland for as far as the eye could see.

    Just felt right to share a bit about this reflection tonight.  My work in the coming year will focus on my time in Denmark; the beauty I saw and emotions I felt.

  • A full year of Art

    A full year of Art

    My life has shifted significantly.  I'm living the dream.  I left my full time day job in the library to pursue making art and seeing the world.  So far, I'm making it.  

    Cross your fingers, dreams can come true.

    I'm not living in a bubble, nor a fantasy, just reality.  I'm fully aware of the uphill battles making a life shift.  I know I will have those as I move forward.  Life is about taking those risks.  Georgia O'Keeffe's quote, which has resonated with me for years, "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.", has never been more important and more real than right now.

    Moving forward in my journey is hard work, making new choices and a lesson in perseverance.

    My walk into Ashøje Forest this past November and May, in Denmark allowed me to connect with something much deeper than I have ever felt.  My new work will focus on those days in Denmark.  

    Open Studio this year, is showcasing work that had begun in 2013, finished these past months.

    Going forward, I have a photographic/artist book stemming from my residency in Denmark, completing a conceptual piece begun in Ashøje, and creating 5-9 new paintings of the open sky/land I photographed there this past May.

    I welcome your comments and interaction with me as I go into 2016.  

    Cheers,

    Robbin

  • Midyear Mud

    With news about shows and news about personal journey, I think it best to keep it short and sweet.

    Many moons have passed since I posted last and now with a new page (a need because the old page would no longer update), I'm basically starting fresh.  

    With a little patience I am piecing together and combining webpage/socialnetworking/blogging in one place.  Ahhh... it will take a while until I'm fully satisfied.

    This is a test page.

  • A bit of Meandering...

    or Musing may be more accurate.

    Well December is upon us, and the weather has definitely changed to say "brrr, it's winter"... hats and scarves and sweaters. My favorite time of year really, the fall for sure... love the changing of the leaves, the rain, the morning frost...

    When I put away any thoughts about the day job (and lately they tend to crowd out my creative imagination) and any thoughts about how to survive in our crazy world, I tend to imagine a studio space with large walls and light, and time to paint again.

    That is still present in my life, and I recently found myself re-energized by taking a quick hike into NYCity to roam and wonder.

    Today I felt a pang of longing for artists; the energy they bring.  I thought about how it would be to have a "feeding of soul" venue to once again be part of a thriving artist circle.  Long gone are the days of Mills College, critiques and even my colleagues' monthly "get-togethers".  We've all gone our way, and those of us that have to have a day job to survive seem to be on the outer perimeter just trying to find time to create.  That's where I am.

    Social networking also creates a "mock" but real circle of friends, and I began to wonder if there was a concrete way to share work in progress, encouraging and critiquing work for those of us, like myself, that tend to be isolated from a real artist community.
    Of course, nothing beats showing up in a coffee shop or a colleague's studio space with work in hand, showing and discussing. 

    Just thinking aloud about it, thought of a potential critique space, but would anyone participate?  Would people share work in progress, share honest opinions about what they felt worked with a piece and what didn't?  Be able to talk about their process or about what they were trying to convey?  I feel very rusty at this point.

    In the digital social environment, I'm sure something like this exists.  I'll take a look around.  Part of me wants to create a space for this, because it's my need.  But I fear it would be my own monologue. 

    Several of my social networking friends have spaces that can create dialogue, are we too busy to do this?  Food for thought I suppose. 

    I'm needing a jumping off place, a place to be re-energized and once again feel back in the fold of creative group.

    Maybe there are others like me, needing collaboration, needing to fuel creative inspiration.  Maybe not.

    Not that there needs to be another page on facebook or the web, but truly, I'm at a loss right now how to fit it in, in a busy week, and really feel the need.  A critique forum, or a way to really share others work, past artists and mentors, or those that inspire us, images, writing, music, all venues that go into creativity.

    I think I'd like it to be a collaborative venture and would be open to discussion from all artists; after all, creativity comes in so many ways.  Process, unfinished work, coming back to work and being re-ignited to bring new life to it... well..    I'm meandering in my thoughts...

    Basically I miss the intellectual stimulation and other sets of eyes on work, and sparking new directions. 

    Lately I've been getting this from going to museums and seeing work in shows.. all part of the creative venture too.. I think I just want immersement (is this a word?) in my work again and am having trouble setting aside all other worldly things.  Seeing I need a sabbatical and a residency of some sort to break this cycle.  My NYC trip really gave me insight into the energy I still have to create.  And yet, back into the rut of everyday grind, I find myself just trying to escape it (the grind).  

    Tonight is the first night again, I will pick up the tools and scribble something.
    I guess that's all I can do for now.




  • Labor Day 2012

    Okay, so I broke my truce to be silent the rest of today, Labor Day, 2012. 

    I just heard from a friend that called me an "addict" to Facebook.  Putting posting and commenting (especially about politics) first before my basic needs, like eating and painting.

    Well, sure, I'm an addict by nature.  But no, I've been pretty calm over the past 4 years, weening myself from CSPAN due to the overwhelming frustration of continuous obstruction from the Republican side of the House.  I just had more on my plate locally in "my own backyard" so to speak, politically, over the past 2 years and have opted to be quiet.

    This particular friend had not seen my rants about Bush over the past 12 years... prior to him taking office and during the ugly 8 years he was there, plus the lead up to Obama taking office when we had the ridiculously inept candidates of McCain and Palin.  Remember those days?

    Well, they're back in disguise and backed fully by the same culprits we had in the days of Bush.  Rove and now Koch Brothers are swinging full tilt into moving their candidate in, and as I recently saw on the Jon Stewart clip, probably to pave the way for the younger Jeb Bush in 2016 if Mitt doesn't make it.

    I write today because I read more and more about the insidious process we are obliged to follow because that's all we have.  The election.  The election that is now more than ever funded by corporate interests.  NO one has to tell me it's on BOTH sides.  I know that.

    But I write more about how we as a society tend to throw away everything if it doesn't work in an instant.  Yes, even candidates and Presidents.

    When you look at the bigger picture, you can see that none of what we've been going through this past 4 years with Obama is really HIS doing.  NO, it's more about what came before him.  The upswing of the economy was an aberration with the Internet and the fast money and the banks loaning frivolously and without regard to law really.  Of course he had responsibility for changing things, and he has done more than people give him credit for.

    War, (at least Iraq)  was really unnecessary, went into full swing and fed the corporate gluttons that were Bush's friends.

    Then the economy dumped.

    Obama came in with his plate so full, that not only did he have to sift through the shit he was handed but to work with a Congress that from the get-go wanted him to fail.  All you have to do is google that.

    So of course we all have struggled for the past 4 years.  Never in my wildest dreams would I believe it to be as widespread as it has become.  The poor are now also those that make nearly 40K a year, really? 

    And we again mustn't forget that all the while, CEO's and corporate and top public officials are still making top salaries.  Not to mention Healthcare Insurance mucky mucks.

    I've decided not to source any of my comments today, I've said a lot over the years, I've said a lot this weekend on my page, siting different articles and opinions. 

    I basically write to say, taking out  the person in office today will lead to a bigger black hole.  More of what we saw the 8 years prior to Obama, and worse.

    Those of you who know me more than a face online, know that unions are under attack.  That is a direct reflection of corporate $$$$ in politics and their agenda.  Break down unions, bring wages and benefits down, to feed their pocketbook and keep labor from having any power.

    After watching what happened in Wisconsin, all over the nation and in my own state and county government, it's a big big movement.  Don't let anyone tell you different.  Koch Brothers funded Wisconsin's governor, and you bet they're in the mix all over the country.  It's no secret what's behind Romney camp, they just try to hide it.

    I think what's most sad though is Ann Romney's speech:
    Ann Romney at the RNC 





    Kat Geiselman hits it on the head for me:

    Ann Romney May Love Me, but I don't Love Her

    What concerns me most is I don't feel she represents ME as a woman.  A white woman.  It's creepy, but I feel nervous that she would work to roll back any freedoms women have come to have over the past 50 years.  Kate mentions too that she feels she is genuine, but watching the video, I didn't feel so.

    I love you WOMEN!!  uhmmm yeah, ok.  Sorry, my cynicism was up.

    Kate mentions this in particular in her article: 

    "It incenses me when womanhood is reduced to maternity and marital status. But what’s spooky about Ann Romney is that she is utterly sincere. Her view of the women she “loves” is just that narrow. I believe she empathizes with the stories she has heard about struggling families. I even believe she has struggled. But her view of the world -- and modern womanhood in particular -- is chillingly limited, and is echoed profoundly in her party’s rhetoric. Yet she doesn’t even hear what she’s saying."

    Read Kate's article in full, she says it better than I ever could.  I had some of her same questions.

    So it's time to dig in and chant again for the Democratic ticket even though I've been silent mostly, and also not altogether happy with some of Obama's policy.

    Obama is the only choice this election cycle.  I'm marching with Labor.
    Unions Member on Obama: "He Did Save Our Jobs"







  • ReOrganizing, REframing and Reordering Life

    Well, a little late but that's life lately, doing my spring cleaning in the heat of Summer.

    Taking a well well deserved break from as much cyberspace as I can, and while I will miss all the virtual friends I have, I would be remiss in not paying attention to my LIFE in the immediate state it's in.

    It needs some attention.  Painting yes, but reading and writing and making stories come alive, all the while fostering some REAL relationships here in my immediate surroundings, even if it's just the dragonflies or the butterflies, my intention is to ween myself off the daily time I'm on the computer.  Between work and home I am online nearly 10 hours a day??? can that be true? yes... sadly.

    I am beyond ready for a solo retreat of sorts, self imposed, to be with music and my creativity.  All is going in LIFE... it's LIFE for goodness sake... ups and downs, turns and twists.  I'm making a LEFT turn and saying it's time for a rest.

    I am available via email, but truly want to let the posting subside.  I am excited to be digging into my childhood stories and tales I want to illustrate and write, and I'm also preparing for a show of NEW work next Summer.  This is my beginning.  A solid holiday.

    Have a great rest of your Summer and say hello to the warm Indian Summer we will most likely see in September... au revoir... I'm off to continue to learn two languages.. both of which I will be using in my work going forward... new ideas, new work, and rest is where I'm headed...

    Smiles to all,

    Robbin

    From my letters series:.




    And another from the inspiring Shel Silverstein: (you can see more of these at my art page on facebook)

    The Romance - Shel Silverstein

    Said the pelican to the elephant,
    "I think we should marry, I do.
    'Cause there's no name that rhymes with me
    And no one else rhymes with you."

    Said the elephant to the pelican,
    'There's sense to what you've said,
    For rhyming's as good a reason as any
    For any two to wed."

    And so the elephant wed the pelican,
    And they dined upon lemons and limes,
    And now they have a baby pelicant
    And everybody rhymes.






  • Inspired by Shel Silverstein

    Shel has inspired me for a long time.. his poetry books I've given as gifts and read to my children and hope to read them to my grandchildren... His book published posthumously, "Everything On It  is another I've collected.  Reading his poems this time I felt an urge to paint.  Two of his works:  Masks, and Spider are the impetus of this quick watercolor drawing..

    Masks

    She had blue skin.
    And so did he.
    He kept it hid
    And so did she.
    They searched for blue
    Their whole life through,
    Then passed right by –
    And never knew.

                Shel Silverstein


    (quick sketch based on his poems - c. rtm 2012)
    Spider

    A spider lives inside my head
    Who weaves a strange and wondrous web
    Of silken threads and silver strings
    To catch all sorts of flying things,
    Like crumbs of thought and bits of smiles
    And specks of dried-up tears,
    And dust of dreams that catch and cling
    For years and years and years . . .

    Shel Silverstein


  • Robbin-Milne-Open-Studios

    http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Robbin-Milne-Open-Studios-.html?soid=1110014336056&aid=dVpPSugIV3k

    Hello everyone!

    Much has happened since I moved my studio!  
     
    I am presenting new paintings and newspaper drawings the first two weekends of June!  Please come by and enjoy the new work, reconnect and explore 12 other artists' work as well.

     
    Where & When:
     
    3098 E. 10th Street  Oakland CA 94601  
        (near the Fruitvale BART station)

    Sat/Sun June 2-3 & June 9-10  11-6pm 
    Join us for our opening reception party on June 2
    From 5-10pm we will be serving refreshments!
    Enjoy music and more!

    Access the above link to subscribe to news and updates! thanks,

    Robbin

     
  • Thank you for Protecting my right for Freedom of Speech

    Today on my way home from obtaining my temporary sales permit for my Open Studio coming up the first 2 weeks of June, I listened to KPFA, alternative/progressive radio out of Berkeley, CA.

    Being they are in a fund drive, I heard snippets of Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist at the Nation, and before that a correspondent for the US radio and TV program "Democracy Now!"... author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

    I have long been appalled at the use of drones in the Military, back in the Bush days, and Jeremy, at a Drone conference/summit,  was speaking out about the continued secrecy and movement in that direction during the Obama administration.  His speech at this summit is on youtube, 4 parts.  The pieces I heard were striking, and chilling.  You can hear the snippets at the link I provided at Jeremy's name above or find his vids here: Part 1 of the Drone Summit held in Washington DC

    http://youtu.be/aH2VE709WPk





    The collateral deaths that occur are what's most concerning, and also the training of our youth to be immune and numb to killing in assassination type fashion.

    I have always thought of myself as a Left Democrat.  I mean always, even before I knew what politics was even about, I always heard my father and mother speak of labor issues and domestic policy in the way it made sense to me, I've never questioned too deeply that was the party I affiliated with.  I still vote Democratic.  But over the past 4 years and specifically in the past year and a half, I've had my eyes open to politics in many other ways and now I don't feel I call myself a democrat.

    I tend to identify with Progressive in my thinking and now feel almost obligated to speak out for those issues that I find oppressive even if it's the Dem party presenting them.

    http://youtu.be/elMjk3uXXjE






    As Jeremy states, "I'm a journalist", I say, I'm an artist, a person with a voice.  I do believe all of us should take a deep look at what we truly feel about issues and begin to take steps to bring our values and ethics to our individual areas of deep interest and beliefs. 

    As I listened to the excerpt today, Jeremy spoke of "transparency"... I cursed the radio as I drove, that word is so over used today in business, politics and the world... I screamed, if I hear that word "transparency" one more time, I may puke...

    Seriously... what is transparency?
    In politics and business it's freaking lies... it's a guise that we are being truthful, open and allowing all to see the layers right??
    That is so bogus!

    Transparency is a light fluid, coat of glaze or wash of color over yet another layer of paint.. wow.. ok.. well.. I just am very tired of the lies this country, world, all the way into business and even workplaces and dynamics within workplaces...

    I know this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, and I have a son in the Marines... probably not great timing for this post.. but Thank you all, those still out there and those gone,  for fighting for our freedom of speech!... Seriously, we need to use our freedom of speech and risk, and stop allowing the fear that we won't have a job or we might not be liked if we speak our truth.  Second strike of drones in Pakistan... wow...

    Listen, really take stock, yes.. get livid and angry, start caring for once.. oh, can I say be respectful?? .. I think I need at least 2-3 weeks of vacation away from it all... but it isn't happening.. so into the paint i sink... more time to paint... yes.
  • Earth Day 2012

    The simple question is why? or maybe that's the more complex question.  Why do we continue to deny the toxicity and damage our lifestyles cause, especially with our addiction to oil and it's products?... all we can do is continue (if we choose) to change our learned habits.  Today is Earth Day 2012. 

    The BP spill and the Fukushima Disaster are the two current "in our face" tragedies.  But the history has been on going.  The oil spills in Santa Barbara impacted me personally and was the first realization as a young adult of just how devastating neglect and error can be.  I'm also old enough to remember the scare, horror and fallout of Chernobyl. 

    We continue to have denial and obstruction to uncovering the facts about these types of operations and that is what is most concerning.

    We are not able to come to terms, be honest and make the necessary changes  that will turn around the continued havoc we create in our world.

    Most concerning is how these tragedies impact our future environments, and our children.

    Huffington Post Reports this  today, but the most searing facts are these:


    "TWO YEARS LATER

    For 87 days, through the spring and early summer of 2010, oil spewed from BP’s Macondo well some 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Slicks spread across 68,000 square miles of ocean and soiled more than 1,000 miles of coastline. In addition to the estimated 210 million gallons of escaped oil, cleanup crews introduced 2 million gallons of chemicals designed to break the heavy crude into smaller globs. . . .

     . . . On Wednesday, BP announced it had reached a settlement with more than 100,000 plaintiffs, including individuals seeking medical damage claims. Scott Dean, a BP spokesman, tells The Huffington Post that the agreement “resolves the substantial majority of legitimate claims of cleanup workers and residents of specified Gulf Coast beachfront and wetlands areas. . .

     . . . The settlement covers certain chronic respiratory, eye and skin conditions that began or worsened within a couple days of exposure to the spill. Mental health issues, cancers and birth defects are among the excluded ailments, although people can still file claims for these and other unlisted medical conditions, including ones that may develop in the years ahead. The burden is on plaintiffs to prove cause and effect . . ."

    Huffington Post also reports this on Fukushima.  What bothers me most is:

    "Spent reactor fuel, containing roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl, still sits in pools vulnerable to earthquakes". . . . and . . . "The urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity where 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0-5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Japan between April 14 and 17. This has been the norm since the first quake and tsunami hit the Dai-Ichi site on March 11 of last year. Larger quakes are expected closer to the power plant."

    The only reason we continue to use and promote the use of oil and nuclear fuel is ?  Money.  Big Money is behind it.  And ( a big AND), we (we the people) need to make a shift.

    So we continue down the path that was in place even back in the 70's knowing that "fuel/oil is scarce and not ever plentiful" (quotes are added to qualify what I've heard for over 40 years, not to attribute to any one person). 

    WHEN?  That is the question that really needs to be answered.