Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
The artwork pictured above is titled Canyon Cup. I like these works because they are simply drawn and implied. Abstract work is the hardest to comprehend and probably the least accepting of all art movements. When I discuss the theory of abstract to my classes I inform students that we usually do most of our thinking abstractly. It is a hard concept to embrace because of it's elusiveness.
Above the piece is called Canyon Torso and the piece below is called Hourglass Landscape. Colors are indicative of the country that I saw; vast expanses of red soil, peppered with green Juniper trees and of course the brilliant blue sky was a constant.
My favorite piece is called Arrowhead Dress pictured below. These are contemporary pieces of art; works done for the now and studies of how my mind works, never taking or copying from photographs but are drawn from my imagination. They are a collective body of impressions that are greatly thought about, studied, and reworked to fit my understanding of the subject at hand.
Monday, November 21, 2011
It is hard for me to stay inspired and immersed in the art process. It is a continual challenge and struggle. These trips give me the impetus to remain focused and engaged. Making art connects me to my center and I love the introspection of the studio. There is something about leaving a place of comfort and seeing other cultures, people, and experiencing their ways of doing things. I have always had a restless spirit and need to go and see. Perhaps, staying in Alaska during the core winter months will ignite some ingenious drawings on the other hand.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
1 - My dog Blue, who is a 130 pound Newfoundland lies asleep by the door. She has been around our home for close to seven years. During that time, I have learned how to groom her, clip her gigantic nails and pay attention to her delicate health of fragile limbs and allergic ears. We manage to take walks through the grasses and down to the creek where she loves to cool her paws.
2 - I have learned how to handle a mountain bike and roam the hillsides of Anchorage with fellow bikers. This group dynamic has challenged a different entourage in my life and tested my ability to see people from other parts of the town. Learning to bike on a treacherous terrain too goes with part of the cyclist journey; long winding bumpy grounds sometimes laced with roots, rocks and an odd assemblage of growth can spin you into the air over the handlebars if you are not careful.
3 - I have been able to teach art appreciation and drawing classes at the University of Alaska; being immersed in a learning environment has helped me grow to know more about the art that I do, why I do it, what it really is, and expand this knowledge to the community.
4 - My studio is behind my house and every day I take a short walk behind my home and climb the steps to my sacred place. Never have I had this luxury in the past. The time I can spend on my work has been fruitful, long, thoughtfull periods mixed with unproductive spans of creative blocks while some of it has been ground breaking and other times monotonous. Living here in Anchorage has given me a different perspective of place in contrast to a large city. Big city pretentiousness has begun to peel off of my shoulders little by little.
5 - (Need I mention the incredible setting and nature parts that surrounds my periphery while I drive to places around town and can visit on a daily basis?)
6 - Being able to travel and see parts of the world has advanced my artistic persona. My partner of ten years is a great companion; we have reinvented our home, our lives to fit a fulfilling existence while I envision more adventure ahead.
P.S. - Days ago I was battling with the half full/half empty dilemma. Today, I am in the full mode and recognize how quickly the contents can drain from the glass. Saying that, I feel that I lifted the jinx and can exclaim good times!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Summer days can be all absorbing. I make sure I have time to observe the birds, the heat and the blue in between the spaces of the tree leaves as they wave saying how happy they are. Light chime songs are competing with the sounds of the wind that dominates this occasion. I cannot tell the difference between the beauty of past/present. They melt into one. They are inseparable.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Seven years ago, Ken and I bought one of the worse homes on the neighborhood street in an area of town considered as the old part of Anchorage located on the lower south side. We live across the street from the inlet and do not boast of the spectacular views that our neighbors have across the street from us. During spring time, we wake up to the mating calls and cries of many birds; are situated beautifully with a periphery of mountains and open expanse that is so accessible and minutes within walking distance making a short trip to this splendid area often ignored, forgotten and taken for granted.
The house across the street has been vacant for almost two years and is too expensive for anyone to afford it, I am guessing. I treat this situation as a opportunity, as I wander over in the back yard that leads down to the inlet covered with dense growth of trees and a difficult climb down to the marshlands. Oftentimes, I sit and listen to the roaring winds and take in the sounds of the inlet. The birds come and go and you don't have to wait long for something interesting to arrive; sights contrasted against the starkness of the tundra and immense vistas fill your impatience. During winter months, my dog and I walk onto the frozen flats, another view that constantly changes and readjusts itself.
We consider our home a work in progress and an ongoing art project that is a welding of our spirits and temperaments. My garden is my favorite part of the home though because it turns into a meditation channel during my mornings, late afternoons or early evenings. During the years, I have learned to understand what works best in our soil; the wild flowers mixed in with a combination of lupin and poppies or the shooting star that arrives the first of the season as the lone flower, so subtle and easy to miss in it's solitariness. We recently planted three young, two year old weeping birch for our ninth year of marriage. They stand in the center of our yard combing the rest of the field of green grass into one single unit of togetherness.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Pictured above is an abstract picture of the light rail tunnel. I took this train to and from the airport costing $2.50 each way taking thirty-five minutes to arrive at my hotel destination. Once out of the underground passageway, my room was literally a hop, skip and a jump from the stop. Their bus system is great too. One day I took the local 72 train which landed me to the University of Washington where I intended to visit the Henry Art Gallery. I happened upon a street fair and loved reacquainting myself to the school and it's settings.
Before heading to Seattle, I bought two maps and oriented myself to where I was going and what I wanted to do. I used tripplanner.com and devised a plan to go to the Bellevue Arts Museum one day that would take a thirty minute ride from downtown. I found the bus stop easily and got to see a successful ceramic show done by the Chinese artist Wanxin Zhang. Pictured above is a detail of one of his life size sculptures - his contemporary interpretation of the Terracotta Warriors. The town of Bellevue is odd and very sterile but everything was so green and bright, the day's weather warm that the outing won my heart over. The bus driver was incredibly nice and let me know when my destination appeared. In fact, the people of Seattle are warm, generous and not at all suspicious of taking on a conversation with a stranger. At the museums and bus stops, people were open and friendly. I held several lengthy substantial discussions with a few people I met throughout my journey. Coffee shops and eateries are everywhere, so you can rest, pull out a novel and pass a few hours before you take on your next adventure on the streets.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I was in India late December 2009, in a small village called Benelim just outside of Goa. It was early evening and I was about to prance out onto the dirt roads where Ken and I would find a good place for dinner. My sister, who I had called to see how things were going in the states, had told me about my mother falling and breaking her hip, and how she was in an intensive care unit. My mind couldn't wrap around this bad news and I was on vacation! The village store where I was using the phone was bustling with activity, noise; our conversation seemed surreal and ridiculous. Children were crowded around the store grounds talking and playing with ruckus. Three weeks later, I flew back east to attend my mother's funeral.
During my mother's service, an old boyfriend came by to pay his respects. We dated on and off for a few years; Nathan attended my college graduation, became familiar with my family and we played tennis together. As a young bright attorney, we often scooted around in his convertible MG attending parties and cultural outings. I was completely bored though, his incessant chatter unnerved me, and the relationship ended where I had taken on a new guy and shortly afterwards left for California.
As my old friend and I chatted for a while in front of my mother's open casket, (we hadn't seen each other in close to thirty years), he commented how I was always the restless sort when he knew me and that I had always wanted to leave the east to find new adventure. He wanted to know about my life in Alaska. And then, we connected; there was an understanding, a mutual exchange of recognition on our how lives had become and developed. He questioned and confided in me that he never left our home town. We continued to talk about his sons and we spoke about travels. The years that I knew him in my early twenties I was aloof and fickle but realized a different person in another dimension at that instance. Our lives had been hallowed out with lots of living and experiences. At the moment I write this, I often look back at that point of talking to him as touching and recognizably human. At my mother's death, this was not the occasion for regrets or anger nor dredging up the past. Time had flown by us almost literally as we stood there in a funeral home. I could touch time's wings at that point. Life became transcendent at that meeting with my friend and his gift of openness and genuine sincerity threw me. To me, this was an relevant convergence and oh sure, I have probably had several and meaningful passing occasions (and more to come), but this was an interval that brought me to see how life can be absolutely spellbinding, astonishing, and amazing. You don't have to believe in anything or even holidays as special to acknowledge the symbolic gesture of forgiveness. It is incredibly powerful. I am in another place now, another world and living in Alaska. Who would have thought this? Not me in a million years.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
To skirt the issue, I have decided to include several self portraits.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Ambassador's Pagoda is considered the main centre of Buddhism in Hanoi. Ken spied this temple out in our Lonely Planet book and we walked over to the temple in the blustery cold. I am always thrilled to happen upon these moments; seeing the women coming together before their prayerful meditation, the interior of the space is fascinating with the massive array of offerings and the photo ancestors homages, allowing me to listen to their chanting of prayerful meditation was the plus. I spent some time observing the ladies, all dressed in their winter coats and hats, a communal setting at best, with their prayer books splayed out before them, it seemed to be the place to be in Hanoi. Outside the temple, Hanoians would come by and listen to the prayers, drop money in the offering box or incense in the huge urns. On the streets, vendors sold gifts and trinkets for the pagoda - papers to be burned for the ancestors, beads, fruit and miscellaneous items that I fail to remember. It is a city pagoda by the ongoing sounds of the traffic that you can hear inside the temple; a blending of the outside sensations into the world of thoughtful ruminations making my morning a sensational impact of imagery and delight.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Last night, I rented the film Catfish; an unassuming, independent film that I think all Facebook fans should see. While I found myself annoyed at the precociousness of the actors, I watched it to the end. The film is directed, acted and produced by a team of brothers from New York. One brother starts a online relationship with a women from Michigan. They eventually meet up and the movie turns into a psychological, disappointing, predictable but interesting happening. A very well crafted and intelligent film, the ending is what grabbed me. The star of the film is the almost retarded husband giving the film the powerful message that wrapped up the movie into a fable of sorts. The film turned out to be sad, sweet, corny but redemptive.
Above, is a performance that we saw on our way back from the Bac Ha market; close to the China border, located in the far northwest of Vietnam, we stepped into this temple ceremony. I cannot say what is going on except that it was a delightful entourage of regulars and gawking tourists while this dancer enchanted us. The interior was filled with incense and it made me think of an opium den which was at one time a huge market for the hill tribe peoples until the Communists took over.
Above, are the water puppets, formally called roi nuoc and we saw this performance at the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi. This is a thousand year ancient art form and it takes the puppeteers three years to train for this craft. You can see the puppeteers standing behind the bamboo fence as he stands in waist level water and operates the puppets from long poles. Many of these skills are kept secret and passed down from family generations. This art form was created by the rice farmers and because of the heavy rains, they started using the water as a dynamic stage. In the video, you can see the band accompanying the performances. Several of the vignettes are about pastoral traditions and legendary folklore.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Ken and I do lots of walking around the city of Hanoi; we have visited several of the museums and much of our time apart from this activity is spent observing the street life. It has been very chilly, cold with damp breezy gusts of wind - I would say in the low 50's and today I understand that they closed the schools because of the weather.
Early mornings, I try to get out and walk around Hoan Kiem Lake with the rest of the residents of Hanoi. This settles me for a decent (partial more like it) night's sleep. Our room becomes a shoe box at a certain point if you spend too much time there but it is efficient. The Vietnamese are very stylish; gorgeous shoes, heels, boots and lovely fashions can be seen in the shop windows and the women are usually decked out in contemporary feminine dress. The area where we are staying is called Old Town; with motoring motorbikes, sometimes a clogged nuisance in the streets and to your psyche. Some of the streets get so jammed with these machines, their incessant noise, and they seem to own the city.
Yesterday, I stumbled onto a cool temple with services going on and I caught a lively assortment of the neighborhood religion. At this temple there were five stations of Buddhas, people bringing alms, food, money, many saying their fervent prayers as heavenly and steady smoke plumes of smoldering incenses were sent off; burnt offerings from the huge urn that is usually in front of the temple yard making for a hazy view became almost toxic. These exchanges bring me to patiently sit and observe. I don't connect to their ancestor worship or their Buddha's but I do know, that upon entering this environment, this quad, I do experience a sense of peace and a time to reflect. I acknowledge this spirit world and I find myself feeling indebted to something greater than the surface and to the worldly.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The soft sleeper to Sapa from Hanoi was nice, however if I got any decent sleep it wasn't on this train. The trip lasted eight hours; you received a sweet pillow with an embroidered pillow case and of course the standard blanket. Throughout the night, I seemed to ride along and hear the engines start and stop, pull and grind. It couldn't be considered sleep but more like the thinnest layer of conscious reverie.
Sapa is cold - damp, and a fog engulfs most of the city. Today, it was considerably better with the parting of clouds and I got some rays of fresh sun. The vistas are stunning; mountainous terrains of rice paddies dotted with farming shacks and peaceful to many tourists who make it off this beaten track. Traffic is at a minimum and you can comfortably walk along the large streets.
Sunday, we headed to the Bac Ha Market; it entailed some driving and lots of sitting, but we were amongst other foreigners and I thought that travel is good about that - warm, familiar Western bodies gives you comfort and stamina. A couple of Brits were particularly nice to talk to.
The Bac Ha Market was outrageously beautiful with winding muddy roads and coursing down the streets were the ethnic tribal minorities, all beautifully decked out in their native dress. It was gorgeous to see their embroidered bibs of colors, broad black dark skirts hemmed with multi colored bands. Some wore leggings and on top elasticized with other bands of colors laced with dangling beads. Their head dresses were checked scarves or red kerchiefs. I thought this scene was a brilliant statement and I never came so close to the real thing. Lines of these women were on the streets; some assembled together talking while others were buying from vendors and selling vegetables.
The most compelling sight was above the marketeers on a flat plateau raised above the sprawling village. There were several dozen water buffalo ready to be sold. These docile creatures were indeed sweet, kind and gentle. I found myself weaving in and out of the animals comfortably. There was a small calf nestled to his mother, afraid, shaking at all the commotion. Men and women hung around chatting and it seemed a good mood everywhere. You could make a 360 degree turn and see the magnificent landscape. It was imperial and majestic; the deep dark green from the rains dotted tiny villages inside and outside the mountains, the fog and low hanging clouds added to the charm. The mountains had these jagged formations, curving here and there with sometimes a steep, odd jutting triangular shape that seemed different from other hills that I am use to seeing. This has been my favorite part of the journey so far.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Our travels led us to the south central area of Vietnam to Hue and Hoi An where we experienced warmer and milder temps. It was a relief to experience some heat away from the blustery cold damp winds of Hanoi. One morning, we rented bikes and decided to ride through the village paths. Often, while biking or walking I would look over top of the town and would spot a pagoda and that is how we stumbled upon this beautiful temple. Some of the temples had adjoining monasteries and the ones that we frequented were often bathed in quiet and held this aura of the contemplative world; exuded a gentleness of spirit apart and separate from the folly of daily life.
Upon entry to a pagoda, Wat or temple, there is usually a courtyard of wonderfully sculptured trees called bonsais and the grounds are flanked with a few stupas, a main temple and sometimes surrounding the courtyard is the monk's quarters, their studies, the kitchen, library and other places of worship; some rooms laced with alters held fascinating tributes to the ancestors and other Buddha icons. I was lucky to see an old monk doing his services and lighting incense walking from one room to another. In the main temple, where I filmed this, the monk chanted and worked on the bells making sonorous vibrations. Enchanted, I stood transfixed and captured this visual and sacred jewel.