January 17, 2017

462 Petals of Paper

Paper Dreams462 Petals of Paper
6x8 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord
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For this work, I referenced a photo of paper flowers by extraordinary maker, @tiffanieturner. There's something in the air lately ... can you feel it? Things are changing ... eyes opening ... hearts pounding ... flowers blossoming.

Why we march.

Why we marchAbout three years ago, after losing my brother to suicide, I found myself in my therapist's office asking "How do I make the hurting stop?" The therapist said to me, "Exactly what you're doing ... crying ... feeling the hurt, the anger ... not holding it in ... expressing your pain ... letting it all out. Let it out, Jenny. It's ok for you to let it out."

And that's what I did. What I've learned from that experience is that I don't need to glorify the fraudulence of the "choose happy" movement. Authentic happy, and peace, and beauty arrive usually through the hard work of going through the expression of the less bright and shiny ... of not holding it in.

I am joining thousands of women across this great nation on January 21st to participate in the Women's March. The main march is in Washington DC, the day after the inauguration, and there are countless sister marches all across the nation in major cities, including my own city of Santa Ana.

I am marching because I refuse to hold in the hurt of realizing that among other things, the fascist being sworn into office on January 20th:

  • taunts other nations with nuclear capacity in ways that threaten our world's peace
  • brags about sexually assaulting women
  • views undocumented Mexican humans as criminals and rapists
  • threatens women's right to reproductive health, and states that a woman who has an abortion needs to be punished
  • aligns with Vladimir Putin, a war criminal who has murdered civilians and political opponents
  • ridicules with vindictiveness and maliciousness, individuals and groups who either fall short of his definition of beauty or in some way challenge him

The hurt doesn't stop there. There are humans who will be marching for reasons that are not on my personal list but a list that is causing hurt and anger and deep disgust. On my Facebook wall when I posted an expression related to all of this, a person named Li Li Wee posted: "I live in Malaysia. Freedom of speech is restricted. It's difficult to just keep everything inside. You are ... courageous."

Undoubtedly, there will be hecklers during the march. Because there are so many heckling already online. And as the heckles come, I will keep my therapist's words close to my heart:

"Let it out, Jenny. It's ok for you to let it out."

January 16, 2017

461 Rosé All Day

Roseallday461 Rosé All Day

12 x 12 inches :: acrylic on wood panel

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I referenced a photo by @yfbclothing for this work. Sometimes I drink Rosé. But rarely all day.

January 14, 2017

Not my president.

NotmypresYears ago when I was a social worker for my county's child protective services, I had a caseload of children who suffered all sorts of neglect and abuse from their parents. Some were more severe than others. Once when I was talking with an adolescent who had suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of his father, I was asking various things about his dad and he looked me in the eye and said "He's not my dad."

It was a sentence so full of hurt and anger and symbolism. I knew what he meant. He was a smart kid. He knew that the monster was his biological father. But he was saying that the monster would never be considered in his heart, as his dad. You need to be better than what that man had been to earn that title.

In that moment, I had a choice. Either to respect the poetic and nuanced utterance of his pain or to impose a rigid cruelty back to him. A cold and heartless cruelty dispensed to the point of making him cry uncle ... much like the way people like Kellyanne Conway does when she destroys people and insists ... and forces them to say it ... Say it. Say it. He's your president. Say it.

Today, when I utter about Conway's boss that he's "Not my president," I'm not saying that I don't understand what happened on November 8th and what will happen January 20th. I know who won the election. I concede. He will become President of the United States in about a week. I understand. But for me to regard a person as MY president, they have to be more than the victor of an election and more than the vengeful misogynist and racist monster that he is.

Uncle I will not cry.

January 13, 2017

459 Solo Flight

Flower1459 Solo Flight
16x20 inches :: original acrylic painting on stretched canvas
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I referenced one of my dried roses for this work. I enjoyed keeping the strokes loose and free.

I used to be a lot more bothered that no matter how careful, paint finds its way onto all of my shoes and clothes. These days, I'm hardly bothered at all. It's just messy evidence of all the practice.



To Move Mountains

To moveAfter my recent photo shoot with Nick Holmes, I felt like I could move a mountain. It's a feeling I didn't expect but I'm so glad I experienced it. And I'm glad to have finally checked off of my bucket list: the task of getting {partially) nude shots taken. Interestingly, some of what he was saying to me during the shoot sounded much like what I say to people who come to paint with me.

Messages about not over-thinking it. Not comparing myself to others. Focusing on my strengths, not my weaknesses. Of being in the moment. Of embracing my power. Of sincerely exuding who I am.

This type of shoot is what Nick calls Empowering Portraiture. A lot of clients who embark on Empowering Portraiture with him do so before a big project ... like filming a movie, or arguing a court case so the power one feels after the shoot can carry over to the big project.

So ... my big thing?

It's nothing, really. And it's everything, actually. It's nothing, because I remain steadfast in being an artist ... like always. It's everything, because more than ever, I want my art to meaningfully intersect with my activism.

It's whether I will be able to sustain the strength of my spine, my backbone, my voice, my hope, my focus, as I march with women on January 21st to be part of a collective voice to resist against the misogyny, racism and  fascism that will be sworn into our highest office on January 2oth.

These past few weeks as I've talked with fellow artists and women and men who are either marching or supporting the marches in other ways, I feel the power. As I listen to women with strong spines and no fear like Michelle and Meryl, I feel hope. As I listen to President Obama who asks a final favor of me: that I open myself to being a change agent, I think that ... yes, I can. As long as I embrace my power, and sincerely exude who I am, in concert with so many who feel the same.

There will be a post-march gathering that my friend, Shawn-Marie Turi and I will be organizing for people marching in the Women's March: Orange County. It will be in Santa Ana at 1:30PM (details forthcoming here in the next few days), where we can break bread, breathe, de-brief, and organize ourselves as we work together for the long haul ... to move mountains.


January 12, 2017

458 One Up, Two Down

Tres rosas458 One Up, Two Down

9x12 inches :: original acrylic painting on canvas board

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I referenced three of my dried roses for this work. Getting my mind wrapped around flowers as I prepare for my Saturday flowers painting workshop.

January 11, 2017

457 Fur Babies

Brothers457 Fur Babies
6x8 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord
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I referenced a photo of my dogs for this work. Scout is the gentle and adorably cowardly one on top. His brother Toby is the fearless take-a-bullet-for-the-family courageous one on the bottom. Silky Terriers. Can they be any cuter?

January 10, 2017

457 Gethsemanie

Gethsemanie457 Gethsemanie
6x6 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord
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I referenced a photo by @thabitsk for this work.

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did unto me. —Matthew 25:40

January 09, 2017

456 In the Bleak Midwinter


456 In the Bleak Midwinter

6x8 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord

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I referenced a photo by @gettyimages for this work. So cold and bleak things must look to this bunny in this midwinter ... as the beautiful old hymn goes: "In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone ..."

And even so, the bunny surely recalls what John Steinbeck once penned: "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."


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