Blog | Painting updates and musings.

Category
  • Ashøje Forest.

    Ashøje Forest.

    This is one piece of the 11 in my Denmark series.  The series is named "Hygge".  I've been looking at this piece for a few months now and I'm not feeling it needs much more.  I have another piece called, "Ashøjoe: Witches Grave", it's still in process.  This piece is 36 inches square on wood panel.  

    While in Denmark, in the town of Hurup, where my great great Grandparents came from, this forest, Ashøje, was planted near the family farm.  Beech trees I think.  In Thy, there are many beautiful trees and the light makes it's way through the leaves leaving a kaleidoscope reflection, angles and symmetry.  It is a joy to be there and walk in the quiet of those that live there.  The bugs, the wind, and all you cannot see.  

    I am putting a Ted video here because I truly believe there is communication in these forests.  I went here daily during my visit to Thy, and during my art residency there in 2015.

    I hope to return and do a series of work for all the seasons in that little forest.  Small but grand in my memory and visual language from that experience.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un2yBgIAxYs

     

  • Zuniga, sculptor.

    I happened across an exhibit in Los Angeles going on right now, not seen it myself, but lately I've been looking at Mexican art and artists.  I was specifically looking at Kahlo's work lately, and today finding this talk on Zuniga's work was exciting.  He has captured so curiously the distinct beauty of women, their strength and sensuousness.  Take a look at his drawings here too.

     

  • The Blues

    The Blues

    The Blues speak to me.  Folk does too, because of the ballad like lyrics.  But with the blues the instruments, including the voices resonate a certain tone and emotion: passion.  Music overall is a real inspiration for me in a general sense but especially in my art creating. 

    Today I ran across one of Daniel Castro's covers.  Albert King's "I'll Play the Blues for You".  The drawing was done back in 2010, as an exercise, "waiting" to venture to Europe on my own for the first time.  I did 90 drawings, one a day for the last 3 months leading up to my trip to keep me focused.  I was working fulltime in the library then too.  It was a good flashback moment.  Set me off to listening to some good blues again.  Music does that, it inspires me in so many ways.


    Here's Daniel's Cover:

     

  • Today In the Studio

    Today In the Studio

    I am working on a series that has now grown to 11 pieces.  Each are 36" square.  This piece is the least resolved.  Three are being shown in St. Charles, Illinois.  One, "Mesinge" is completed.  The rest are in various stages of completion.  I have taken a break from this series while traveling and today I come back to the least resolved work to move it forward.  This piece already has a name, "Odense - HCA". 

    My intent in these works, which I'm calling the "Denmark series", is to abstractly translate my 'hygge' experience during my two trips in Denmark.  I traveled to Demark for the first time, in late fall of 2014, to arrive in København (Copenhagen) on my birthday that year, and it also was to celebrate my Farmor, who passed in 2012.  

    She gave me my first experiences of "hygge" which I never realized until I was in Jylland later that trip.  Jylland is where her parents immigrated from to come to the US.  As I work on this series, I'll share more of the story.  

    I'm hoping and working towards showing the entire series in one show, maybe even back in Denmark where the series first gestated.  I would like to present it in Doverodde, at the Komandsgaard I was so graciously offered as an artist in residence there in 2015.  I will also be putting my thoughts/stories along with the finished images of work inspired from there in a book format to present to the center in Doverodde.  The project continues . . .

    This morning I was listening to a Danish Quartet, and it reminded me of the lovely music performance I saw there while in residence, in the presence of a full space of paintings and Danish light coming through the windows.  I can dream.

    Danish String Quartet: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

     

  • Leaving Facebook After 10 years.

    Leaving Facebook After 10 years.

    I've decided not to post my work to Facebook any longer.  New work will be here in my journal and added to my webpage as appropriate.  If you'd like to follow my work, here's the place to be.

    I would love to have my followers comment on my work and be involved with it as they have over the years, but I just can't get behind a social media venue anymore that curtails free speech.

    So here is where I will share my thoughts, my images, my music.  

    Thanks everyone who's been with me this past decade.

    Robbin

    "Illumination", part of a triptych completed in 2016  oil on panel

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

      0:00

    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.



  • anger and the artist

    ~~~~~~~~

    It is such an appropriate topic
    In this culture of fast pacing
    In this disposable world
    out with the old in with the new
    It's important to take time
    and feel emotions that
    are rising inside to be expressed.

    Artists, as Anais Nin addresses in the video below
    are expressing those emotions that are in all of us,
    expressing what is universal
    but pushing those expressions
    to another level, to be seen and heard..

    Tonight I attend the reception for couRAGE 

    a show that cultivated artists in my local community expressing many levels of emotion for multiple issues of importance.  I am pleased to say, I did risk putting in a piece not ordinary for me to create, nor for me to show in public.

    A journalistic piece, expressed in a moment of frustration about multiple issues I feel strongly about. The ongoing wars, my own personal acceptance and struggle with a son entering the military, the inequities i witness daily between the labor and management of business, politics, the crumbling as i see it in our world of democracy, or at least the crumbling once more of my perception of how i see or thought the world was. The discrepancies of life, living on life's terms of course, we have always known, life is not easy.

    We are never in a vacuum. Others around us are always creating some influence. It is up to us to sort through what fits for us and what is someone else's projection. I am in a place of total circumspection, everything is under scrutiny, nothing is trusted on face level. Times are such; ripe for birth of expressing what is or has been kept under wrap or corked inside. Intentions to bring world peace or even peace to a small corner of our own world can be inflationary and grandiose.

    Being honest and real is primary. All expression is worthy.

  • Seeking Collaboration - Keeping the Focus

    difficult times have
    a way of creating
    a different focus
    life

    heart and guts
    grit and gruel
    what it takes
    life

    artists and art
    dedicated to their truth
    exposing core
    life

    rm 2012

    Mary Gauthier is a woman with heart and grit.. taking her own life story writing songs and performing, that's my intention too, she is an inspiration..

    http://youtu.be/d2gq1r7DKSo



    http://youtu.be/3DB5d5xPIZc




    I recently came across a great children's story that i will be making illustrations for and short picture book formats.  I hope to find a singer/songwriter to collaborate with me on some music for the children's illustrations.  This book speaks to me on so many levels, I look forward to exploring it thoroughly.

    The opening paragraph is this: 

    "THERE IS NOTHING lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.  A small calico cat.  Her family, the one she lived with, has left her in this old and forgotten forest, this forest where the rain is soaking into her soft fur."  Appelt.

    Each short chapter is full of vivid heartfelt pieces of a story of love and hurt and tenderness... I've got to find my cat image, but for now this one seems to fit... 



    I've never done illustrations and I am exploring this for my heart only.
  • Tasha Tudor

    “Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is. Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!” ~~ Tasha Tudor

    Last week, a patron at the library asked me for Tasha Tudor's works, and as I searched our catalog she began mentioning a particular poem she was searching for: Take Joy or in the book Take Joy.  And as I searched and continued to ask a few questions, she sternly looked at me, leaned in and glaringly said, "don't you know Tasha Tudor!!???"... well, I calmly looked back at her and said, "ma'am I'm sorry but i don't know
    everything about everyone."

    It was a springboard for her to launch into the many works this author/illustrator has done, and like so many other things in my life (ie. music/songs/lyrics/poetry), I sometimes don't retain names with titles or pieces.  It's a shortcoming of mine, no real recall memory. 

    Anyway, of course I knew her illustrations, (when i realized who she was talking about), having loved the secret garden, and child's verse and other stories I'd read growing up, but this shaming jolt from a patron led me to look more into her work as an author and person.

    I pulled out and dusted off my old copy of  Secret Garden  by Hodgsen Burnett, (which i just whisper netted to my kindle, free, because it's old enough now for free use in the public domain - should be interesting to see what the drawings come through in a digital format) and found a note inside, not in my writing, maybe my Aunts, about one passage on page196 about creating magic, even the sentence had light pencil brackets.. Hmmm a puzzle since it's been years since i opened the book.. it was purchased from the San Rafael book store, when my Aunt Judy lived in Mill Valley, more than 40 years ago.  I think I was about 9 when she gave me that book one Christmas.  I don't think I read it though until I was about 12.

    Regardless, this insatiable curiosity of mine to dig in and find more, led me again to a fine love of her work, and to discover her pioneering spirit with gardening and way of life.  This video, though not in English, shows her in her garden and gives a bit of flavor to her person.  (there are parts where she speaks in English about her life and work; i wish i could find this film - i will continue to search.)

    http://youtu.be/9zU-15to8d4

    I am drawn to writing and illustrating, though my pull in art school was for big expression and large body movement in my work.  The smaller illustrative work seems tedious and consuming, though this past year, in doing my quick one a day drawings while waiting to travel to Europe, I found it especially rewarding.  I love the scratchy feeling and looseness of my work when i work quickly and i see some of that in her work too.


     




    Tasha Tudor's work


    I have a desire to take old classics or even some adult stories that have particularly vivid scenes and illustrating them.. One could imagine a picture book for the adult.  And I'm not speaking of the not so new genre of "graphic novels" on shelves everywhere now, I'm speaking of an illustrated version of some of the adult fiction.  We'll see.  I've always enjoyed being read to and even as an adult reading to my grand babies, it's a special honor, and I love to hear a story read aloud.  Here is the Christmas Cat (though I think I'd read a bit slower, to allow your eyes to travel around the page looking at all the story told in her illustrations):

    http://youtu.be/8EHhhgWoR1A

    This re-discovery of Tudor's work has inspired me to continue with my own ideas of what my work will include.  I love painting large panels and canvas as in my spirit of the tree series, but I may scale back and try some smaller intimate work.

    http://youtu.be/y4gIrxrA0hk

  • Goodbye 2011

    It's nearing the close of 2011 and I'm looking forward to it.

    It's been a very tulmultuous time this year and I am not clear on what's in the future.  I'm ready for a new chapter.

    I sing this weekly in the peekaboo storytime i give at my library day job.  It opens the program and brackets the half hour of joy i experience with unconditional love.  I hold that time very near and dear to my heart. 

    [Hi, hello and how are you?
     How are you? How are you?
     Hi, hello and how are you?
     How are you today? :)]

    In this world there is not enough of that love it seems, and hurt and anger and hate seems to be all around.  Impatience and distrust and a distinct disrespect is prevalent, it saddens me.

    I wish all of my family, friends and loved ones a sweet new year in whatever way you can find it.  Be well and take good care.

    [Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon,
     See you soon, see you soon,
     Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon,
     On another day. :)]

    (to the tune of London Bridge, the nursery rhyme)

    Taking the end of the year off from social networking.
    Keep smiling and shining your love, celebrate good times and small treasures...

    http://youtu.be/TmaKSpTIJzI



    http://youtu.be/AuyccNf3w2E



    http://youtu.be/3GwjfUFyY6M

  • roots

    i woke up in my clothes
    realizing i had come home and dropped dead tired
    the bed open from leaving to see my son this past thanksgiving.

    walking yesterday while at lunch
    listening to Hearing Voices: Native America
    I found myself once again moving into my body

    knowing i am who i am
    knowing i am split between sea and mountain
    a great river flowing
    blocked.

    i feel finished with a work i do and did to support my life and my sons.

    they are making their own way.

    i must make my own.


    http://hearingvoices.com/news/2011/03/hv112-native-america/?submit=Go#comment-34529





  • my voice - part 2 (Occupy)

    I would be negligent without mentioning another area of extreme importance to me and another area making a great impact on my thinking and creativity these days: Occupy the world.

    It goes in hand and hand with being a parent of a new marine, his choice, one i support for his happiness, one i find in conflict with my belief in passivity and peace.

    So... occupy the streets, use your voice for the many ... I saw so many videos tonight on my art page newsfeed at facebook, i thought, wow, i need an "occupy" page... no... i just need to post them here to feel I've voiced my concerns.

    Here are a few compelling ones:

    I first listened to this :


    http://youtu.be/xq3BYw4xjxE




    and found his Occupy Aloha after...

    http://youtu.be/H-M07v8N_eU



    be not afraid... i know it... i have been too, but i am not anymore...

    A musician took a stand at last night's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gala, which was attended President Obama and a slew of world leaders.

    Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who has performed at the White House, wore a shirt that read "Occupy With Aloha" and played a song inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests.

    "We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few," he sang at the Wakiki event. "The time has come for us to voice our rage."

    The tune, "We Are the Many", ran for 45 minutes long.

    From L.A., CA:

    The Last Straw: Bank Transfer Day at Occupy LA http://youtu.be/o8avq6CsRXY



    from Frankfurt:

    http://youtu.be/vjxUfyCSEEE




    Rede von Georg Schramm auf der Kundgebung. Vorher hatten ca. 8000 Menschen das Bankenviertel von Frankfurt a.Main umzingelt. Zeitgleich kreisten in Berlin Tausende die Regierungsgebäude ein. Aktionen mit der Occupy-Bewegung. Forderungen an die Regierung den systemischen Fehlern mit konkreten Reformen zu Begegnen: Steuerreform, Finanztransaktionssteuer, New Deal, Geldreform, Sozial-Reform, Demokratie Jetzt!

    for my italian friends:


    http://www.globalproject.info/it/in_movimento/Napoli-111111-OccupyNapoli/9969

    for my french friends

    http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/occupons-la-defense-les-indignados-a-la-francaise_1048983.html
  • VOICE

    what is voice?

    wow, it's been a long time since i allowed myself time to really hear my creative voice.

    long days where my focus has been in places that feel important, but in the long run are very draining.

    I listened to DW Wilson several weeks back, and listened to it several times because he resonated so closely to how i feel or what i feel is important in creating.

    My new series based on my trip to europe exactly a year ago this week, is the only thing right now I'm focusing on creatively.

    I have only one or two drawings i want to do before the end of the year, but the new series is entirely where my focus is.

    I have been reading about painters, photographers, and will review my images from the trip, specifically 3 areas. Paris, Honfleur and the streets of Florence. Rome will be available for reflection, but I know for sure there are several images I will focus on from that trip.







    Wilson talks about his voice, and how he doesn't begin with knowledge of where his story will take him, likewise, I begin my work only with a few thoughts and inspirations and allow for the work to inform the finished piece.

    He talks too about studying the masters. I normally don't do a lot of looking at work before beginning a body of work, but for this one I decided to allow myself some immersion into the painters that inspire me and have painted these places.




    Study takes place over a chunk of time, and I constantly am looking at work from many artists, painters, sculptors, photographers and musicians, poets and authors.. dancers too.. all art and artists inform me. At least the ones that I like and tend to review over and over.




    Listen to DW Wilson, then listen again, he speaks quickly, but he has a lot of great insight.

  • Simple Pleasure


    maya and i walked down her street
    she showed me the weeds in the cracks of the sidewalk
    she showed me the letters in the cement
    i asked her what she heard, "a lawnmower grandma"

    we saw the pumpkin decorations
    we saw the ghosts hanging from the trees
    we saw the black bird on the sign
    she asked me to touch the dried worm on the ground

    "let's take this home for daddy", she said as she picked up
    a brown leaf
    then she squished it and said look grandma
    yes, now there's just a stem, it was dry wasn't it?

    running ahead, she stopped and said "lets go to the park"
    sure i said, and we walked together finding solace in the sun
    i want my pony out grandma,
    and she ran along with her hair blowing in the wind

    we rested on the bench, she ran her fingers along the lines
    the metal sculpture, the legs of the insect
    she walked on the edge of the walk, just on the grass
    we found a shady tree spot and took off our shoes to feel the coolness..

    let's swing, and we did
    higher grandma
    go under me
    can we swing again before going home?

    the slide, the beam, the bridge
    jumping and laughing
    eyes and ears open
    what do you see maya?

    we looked and we saw
    the red tail soaring
    the wings outstretched
    we became birds and butterflies

    swings soaring water wet
    sweaty faces
    smiles and
    yet

    walking home we loved
    hold me grandma
    hand in hand
    will you stay for quiet time?

    I love you Maya
    I love you too
    walking walking hop hop hop
    running running
    now let's stop...

    rtm 2011

  • heating up the inward intensity




    my spirit is still strong
    but the intensity i feel 
    about certain injustices 
    are taking a toll on my mental and physical well being

    once again i set out to reconnect
    with my self; grounding again with nature
    with music and art, poetry
    universal love

    i slip into the rut of despair at times
    i find myself feeling worthless
    while doing the worthwhile
    i am willing

    willingly
    i will move forward
    i am not giving up
    the strength is there

    the world feels like the square
     i am the round peg not fitting
    this is not a new awareness
    it is just more intense

    a coworker recently said
    "you care too much"
    that may be so
    i care

    energy has been
    outward
    and moving
    outward for some time

    it's time for
    retreat
    for inward
    reflection

    like great music
    timeless
    art too
    is a retreat



    almost a year ago
    i thought i was
    beginning a
    new chapter

    now
    without
    respite
    i see

    again
    i
    will
    begin





    sometimes old songs have new meanings... 

    and this newer song, when you listen, in a more general way, not one love relationship, but 
    when you listen to the song with the "whole" of looking back in your life and 
    also looking ahead at where you may be traveling.... where i am traveling...



  • be brave...

    it always happens: i come home from a day of negotiations, feel stifled, feel like nothing is heard, and end up wanting to shout and make some sort of noise.

    sometimes i swim, sometimes i walk, sometimes i rant and sometimes i paint.

    lately, i feel very closed about expression.

    i start to mull over what action i can take.

    i rationalize that small steps are good, and better than none.

    i still feel very frustrated and see the obvious shutdowns of free speech around the world, the nation, the state, counties, and cities and workplaces to be a huge ugly disease.

    I just watched a video and read a story about a Wall street media brownout, did you hear about this on your tv the other day?  I'm guessing you didn't. Be sure to scroll down and watch the police and the protesters.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Big-medias-shameful-blackout-on-the-Wall-Street-protests.html

    The fear is palpable these days.  Those in power do not want to hear our frustration and our concerns or recognize there are very large imbalances ballooning exponentially.  Instead of looking at the root and coming to see and hear people's legitimate anger as valid; crushing the voice, singling out people that stand up, punishing or reprimanding those that risk doing the right thing for the whole, is becoming commonplace in everyday operations.

    It's not enough to be quiet anymore.
    It's right to continue to voice concerns.
    It's time now to be brave.
    (thank you to my fellow coworker for her braveness)

    http://youtu.be/EXJx2NnnxA0



    I'm not sure where I'm going with this tonight, but I needed to write, maybe i will walk, and then see what comes.

    http://youtu.be/BUSXVc73zHM

  • ~~ PEACE ~~

    I've  posted a discussion topic on my art page at facebook. 

    Peace seems to be one of those words that feels unattainable, but it is attainable.

    What will you do?  Join the discussion.

    https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=188237236765&topic=16534

    http://bcove.me/hogjayzm