I am a visual artist and educator. When I am not teaching, doing nature jaunts, and traveling to exotic places, I am usually in my studio trying to make insightful artworks. This activity is an intellectual exchange and I find it very challenging and complex. Hopefully, I plan on doing some relief work overseas with my husband sometime in the near future.
When you venture out to places, do people become too familiar? Have you seen them before, think you have seen them before or perhaps you are confusing them with someone else?
Does our society promote sameness? (Hell yeah and I fight it all the time......) Does place become too common a visual chord? It is hard not to create patterns and we repeat ourselves daily. Trying to change the negative ways into positive affirmations go neglected; difficult to encourage newness and promote original and alternative ways of thinking are ideals and then these standards go misinterpreted. AND, poor Imus! Our freedom of speech has been turned inside out into polite commentaries on what we are expected to say and when we should say them. Many times our dialogues become camouflaged and masked into a vast sea of phoniness and rigid behavior. I see a general strain of awkwardness in America.
Every so often, I pull out the Cook's Illustrated that my sister gave me for my birthday last January. I decided to make some Enchiladas Verdes (stuffed and baked corn tortillas) and one of the ingredients are small green tomatoes called tomatillos. Tomatillos are these pale-green orbs with an outer papery husk and I was delighted to find them at Carr's grocery. Trying new recipes bring me in touch with another culture while learning new foods, new methods and not to mention some great flavors!
Last night in class I had a student who was talking about her art collection. (I had asked her what she owned.) The discussion led into quite a lengthy survey of her material possessions; her furniture, the house design, a general description of her other acquisitions (and not so general) and the conversation went on in excess. It made me wonder about "things" and how much is enough?
I recently started the book, Anthills of the Savannah, by Chinua Achebe. He also wrote When Things Fall Apart, another book I intend to read. Achebe is Nigerian and writes about contemporary Africa; the political and emotional turmoil of his homeland. There seems to be an emphasis on African writers today - the current trend at this time.
Time that I have on my hands to think and do my work is not always the easiest task. Sometimes, I get up and feel very directed on what I should do and it all falls into place. Other times, I am forced to be quiet and reflect. This blog urges to me write and evaluate my position when I am stuck; it is a repose and a challenge at the same time.
Blue checking out the territory and keeping guard of the grounds. (Yeah, right!) One might say that she could easily be mistaken for a bear herself.......
This past week-end we headed out to the Kenai, Swan Lakes Canoe Trails and started at the West entrance. On the way to our launch pad we saw two black bears, one quickly sped into the bushes, but the other stood at the center of the road and hung out for a bit. He was quite large too. There were also some wonderful bird vocals from the lakes that created daily enchantment. We tested our new canoe - (the Wenohan named after a city in Minnesota where they make these crafts.) We had a dog to train so we began our adventure slowly. Bugs were at a minimum and the weather was mild. Interesting how nature puts things in perspective,and how little you care about the outside world.
I can never be too sentimental with my blog entries, so I decided to add one of Jeff Koons sculptures of huge obscene/lollipop balloons that leads to the new section of the Los Angeles County Museum. This addition of the museum hosts a feast of 60's art; very Southern Californian and indicative to the times when the art market first started commercializing. (Although Jeff Koons lives in NYC........?) Also, I am reading the new novel by James Frey - Bright Shiny Morning. It is a fat book but easy to get through and great contemporary fiction. He combines a lot of juicy narrative peppered with a vague history of Los Angeles. It is a combination of very good and very bad equal in description - very similar to our times.
One of my favorite times before sleep is reading by the Alaskan light. There are punctuations of chirpy birds and distant loons and the vague hum of the world falling asleep.
Our anniversary is this Saturday, June 7. We have been married seven years. Here we are standing at one of my favorite journeys, at one temple site in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, where a silk-cotton tree seems to swallow the ruins.
This photograph is a 12th Century Buddha face in stone seen in Angkor Wat. There are several shrines, temples, bas-reliefs, bathing pools, royal gates, towers, carvings - the list is endless (and much like the place) which encompasses nearly five-hundred acres of land. At one temple, everywhere you turned you could catch sight of a Buddha face - reminding you of this magical presence. A total gestalt!