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February 09, 2015


Studying Under the Masters III


I'm honored to announce that I will be one of the six instructors to teach in the Studying Under the Masters III online course hosted by Jeanne Oliver.

Masters1Enrollment is $49.99 at this very moment of this blog post, and it changes to $82 on April 6th. Instruction begins in May.

The artist that I will help participants study under is Joan Miró (1893-1983). It is my belief that through the feelings of clarity that his art could emit, and his ability to work outside the rules of convention, he made art more accessible to all, and demonstrated that balance and complexity can be achieved through a style that some describe as minimalism. 

MiroJoan Miró

I hope you'll consider enrolling and joining me on this journey, along with my artist colleagues, Alisa Burke, Ivette Newport, Kelly Berkey, Melody Ross, and Jeanne Oliver. If you want to. :) Once you enroll here, you'll be shepherded to Jeanne's class site where you will get all situated and ready to begin.

February 07, 2015


A lot of work being done


I am extremely tired.
And it's much later than my usual bed time. And I'm writing a blog post.

After Amy's wonderful day of workshop today, I segued into opening my studio for Santa Ana's monthly Art Walk. Two of the best things I overheard during the art walk were as follows:

IMG_2967
1. Two young girls pointing to works they liked in the studio to their dad, with one saying "I'd like to have that one hang in my bedroom."

Art connects and works with someone or it doesn't. And when my art connects with a tender young person who vocalizes the connection to her father ... well ... it's very special.

2. A cohort of young men viewing and talking amongst themselves about the art with one of them saying to the group: "There's a lot of work being done in this studio."

Yes. There is a lot of work being done. It felt so good to overhear a complete stranger validate the fact that making art, and all the other activities related to making art is work, and that I have been doing a lot of it.

Off to bed I go.
For another full day tomorrow.
Because art ... making it, facilitating it, discussing it, teaching it ... it is my work.
And even in this state of being tired, I am grateful that there is a lot of it being done in my studio.

February 05, 2015


Chopin and Liszt: The whole endless shebang


Whenever I get to practice my cello, I like to look at small notations that are written in the margins of some of my sheets of music. Mostly the notations are by my former teachers reminding me to play the music a certain way ... "with attitude" ... "with melancholy" ... "with playfulness." One of my teachers also had a way of encouraging me to add slides and ornamental additions to infuse a unique attitude and interpretation with the music that was before me ... composed in black and white.

Photo-62

Recently, I listened to a program on the radio about a well-known argument that happened between composers Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt back in the 19th century. After Liszt performed one of Chopin's pieces by adding embellishments that had not be part of the original composition, Chopin expressed annoyance and is said to have said something like "he should play the music as written or not play it at all."

I think Chopin had it wrong. I don't say that with glibness or disrespect because there are certain instances when a person's interpretation of a work might just feel ... I don't know ... not right. And I know that original art ... whether music or writing or sculpture reflects an important essence and intent of the creator. But at the heart of it, if a performer is given music and decides to add embellishments or play something in a mood that is completely opposite of the mood that it was intended, that is the performer's prerogative. And it is the audience's prerogative to embrace or reject the performance and/or composition.

The application of this thought to visual arts is more troubling, I suppose. Because if anyone came into my studio and up to an original painting and painted something over it, I would probably be highly annoyed. But if a person did that after having bought the painting from me, I'm not sure if I'd feel the right to express annoyance. Especially if the altered painting brought the owner great joy. Perhaps how a painting is framed ... in a distressed wooden frame or a leopard print plastic number could also be a point of contention between artist and consumer but ultimately how the art is framed is a choice that the consumer gets to make, to the pleasure or annoyance of the artist.

The application of the thought that I strenuously disagree with is when humans try to police the ways in which reproductions of originals are handled. Like art magazines. Like those who say magazines that contain photos of art ought not be altered because then we are defacing and disrespecting the artist.

Photos inspire paintings. Paintings inspire sculptures. Art magazines get cut up and painted and altered to become collages and other things. These collages and other things inspire photos. These photos inspire paintings. And these paintings inspire sculptures ... and music, and food, and dance, and poetry, and relationships. The whole endless shebang.

As far as I'm concerned, I can throw the magazines I buy (or original works of artists that I buy) in the mud and run them over with my car if I want to. (Haven't wanted to yet, btw.)

It's ultimately about letting it go. Deep down, I don't think Chopin or any composer would want the world to be policed in a way where performers are bullied into playing compositions only if they will do it the way it was written.

Because then there might be a chance that it is never played at all.

 

 

January 30, 2015


Bouts for the everyman


This is what my table looked like after my dinner party last night. One of the most enjoyable nights I've had in a long time. Good food that I had the pleasure of cooking and serving to my boxing friends (three years of boxing together and the bond is quite strong!), and such good conversation ... about books, politics, our past, our present, intriguing podcasts, and the thrill of boxing of course. It was extremely enjoyable. It was a dinner party that couldn't get here fast enough when we planned it a while back but during the day as I was preparing the food, I felt the hours were going too fast as I worked hard to get everything done.

Photo-60One of my boxing friends shared that he is going to get into an actual ring in March and fight an actual fight with a real life opponent. He's enrolled and scheduled and everything!

Oh my goodness!

He pointed out that it's just six minutes in the ring ... the way this particular fight format is organized ... which is three two-minute rounds amongst boxing enthusiasts who are not professionals at all ... bouts for the everyman. His point was that six minutes out of a person's life is a drop in the bucket, comparatively. Part of me wanted to talk him out of it but the part of me that realizes that people do what they decide to do decided to listen attentively ... and cleared plates to serve up the final paleo course of lemon curd cake and banana ice cream for everyone.

So I talked to Coach Tee about this today. He pointed out that yes, six minutes is a short period of time but when you're in the ring, six minutes can be a fucking eternity. But what of it? We do what we decide to do.

I decided that I'm gonna be in my friend's corner on the night of his fight. And if he'll let me, I'm gonna be part of his small entourage as he enters the ring. I figure if anything, I can give him my moral support. Maybe hand him a water bottle between rounds. Just be in his corner, you know?

The time thing made me think about how our emotions make it seem like it's going too slowly or too quickly.

Remember the Hermes that I told you I got on ebay? My daughter will attest to the fact that I lost out on several other Hermes on ebay because I just didn't hit it right in terms of bidding at the right moment. But when I saw this one that I ended up winning, I knew I had to pull myself together and get er done. When I first saw it, I had like 6 days before the auction would end. Six days! What an eternity to wait to finalize the bid, I thought. And then when it came down to the last one minute of the auction, and then 50 seconds and then 40 seconds when I decided to put my bid in, my heart was beating fast and I felt the seconds were going way too fast, as I almost fumbled the pressing of the BID NOW button ... kind of freaking out about the potential of losing the perfect Hermes to a less deserving bidder.

After I won it, time seemed to move at its normal pace again. And I could breathe again.

But of course time moves at its same pace whether we are in or out of the ring, bidding or not bidding in an auction. Relentlessly so.

So my friend will fight in March.

It seems simultaneously too close and too far from now.


You may not need eyes to see


My Hermes Baby Jubilee typewriter arrived today. I got it on ebay recently ... something I decided to do after reading The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. The protagonist in that book writes his story on a Hermes. Every bit of his incredibly tragic and ultimately beautiful life. Edgar Mint isn't real, but I can imagine him. I can imagine his Hermes. I can imagine him sitting and typing on his Hermes.

The story caused me to imagine using an Hermes to type my own story. Maybe not my entire life story but parts of it on a good ol typewriter. The kind of manual machine that I actually learned to type on at Actis Junior High in Bakersfield. Boy, did I love typing class.

Photo-59

Much like the piano, when you are learning to type, you're not supposed to look at your fingers or the keys. You're supposed to feel them and and use the sense of touch and senses other than sight to strike them correctly.

Today, I listened to an episode of the Invisibilia podcast that had something quite extraordinary to say about what and how we see. Specifically, the episode talked about blind people. And how if a blind person is left to develop on his or her own accord, the person will intuitively do this thing called clicking, where with the mouth, clicking sounds are made to help measure the distance of things in life. Trees, tables, walls, people. And if the seeing population can withhold fears and low expectations of the blind, the blind are capable of developing into much higher functioning humans than the seeing population might think that they are capable of.

The podcast went on to present an extraordinary idea that the blind can, through intuition and clicking, not only cross busy streets and climb trees independently, but to also develop images in the brain that measure similarly to the images that register in the brains that sighted people have.

Wowwwww!

I wanted to join the hosts of the podcast when they literally went up onto a mountain top (or a tall building) to shout to the world that "You may not need eyes to see."

Ain't it the truth, though? Sometimes it's the visually impaired who see better than those with 20-20 vision. And it makes me wonder ...

What do I see?
How do I hinder or help others to see?
How do others hinder or help me to see?

January 28, 2015


More please


Today was a fantastic day. Some of my art friends made the time to come all the way to my gym to box with me and Coach Tee. Here's a shot that my friend Josie took during our time together. I love it.

Kick2The reason they all came to my gym is because they had asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and ... though we had toyed with the idea of doing something grand like going to NYC, plans evolved into something much simpler and I said I really wanted all of us to go boxing together.

After boxing, we all met up for a lovely brunch where we ate yummy food and I was showered with presents ... mostly beautiful books, both new and old. My friend Jennifer asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted to have happen this coming year.

"More," I said.

More of what I have right now. Art. Boxing. Food. Family. Friends. Studio. Reading. I think more than ever before, I am able to be in the moment and appreciate the brush strokes when I'm painting. The punches when I'm boxing. The ingredients when I'm cooking. My voice  when I'm conversing with the people I love. The words when I'm reading.

To be in the moment not wanting the moment to be different, or worrying about a past or future moment. It's as good as it gets.

Last night a young gal I know messaged me asking for a book recommendation. She's been through a rough period in her life and is looking for a book that might help her move forward. I told her I'm not much into self-help books but that I could recommend some good fiction. She was open to it. I'm still thinking about what I'll recommend. To me, the subject of the fiction doesn't have to be uplifting per se, to help a person move forward. It simply has to be deeply engaging ... perhaps intoxicating ... so much so that we drink the book in wanting every drop of it to seep into who we are so that we can feel it and we can imagine it, we can get lost in it ... and when we are lost, a moment when perhaps we become separated from the troubles we may have ... to realize how deeply moving a piece of fiction is ... and how our problem about ... you know ... the problem ... now what was that about again? ... starts to fade to unimportance. After all, there are more beautiful books to read, more good food to eat, more boxing sessions to go to, and more deep, beautiful conversations to have with humans who are equally adept at having conversations ... perhaps about the same book that you have read, or a different one that you decide to pick up because their description and the epiphanies they had while reading it as shared over coffee is highly engaging. No, intoxicating.

January 11, 2015


Magical Realism Painting


The magic of reading the written works by author Haruki Murakami is that even though I know that I can't really walk through a wall to get to the other side, the writing sort of makes me believe that I could. If the circumstances were just right.

The writing even sometimes gets me to actually go touch a brick wall to see if I can conjure the energy of the other side ... to potentially enter it.

Recently when I was teaching my Painting by Heart workshop, I had an epiphany.

IMG_1477Painters are frequently asked what type of painting they do. I've usually answered that question by saying that I paint abstractly, or intuitively ... two categories that are fairly well established within the current language that people use to classify painting styles.

Though I don't reject those categories, I think the category of my paintings is more accurately described as MAGICAL REALISM. I'm not sure if that is a category that anyone recognizes within the world of painting but I embrace it and will start using those words to describe my paintings, even if it's not considered official. It's a style where an eye of a girl is also the eye of a blue dog. Where there is more than one moon in the sky. Where uninhibited folded boats with vaginas grow striped legs and walk away. Where a realistic shadow for one object can exist but not for another. Where a mouth is positioned not where it should be but somewhere else entirely.

Where "visible peculiarities" aren't embarrassing but rather intriguing ... as we wonder what is on the other side ... and imagine the circumstances that might take us there.

January 10, 2015


CBP: Crescendoh Bridge Press


Crescendoh Bridge Press (CBP) is a program that provides the following services for those who would like to self-publish a book through Amazon's Create Space program:

  • copyediting, technical editing, and proofreading
  • graphic design and layout
  • photography
  • project management
  • technical know-how

More details about the CBP program are outlined below.

CbpAS MUCH OR AS LITTLE
One of the main reasons self-published books look "self-published" is because frequently, they are produced with one or more elements involved with book publishing that lack the expertise needed for the end product to look professional. The elements usually involve words, and sometimes photography, and sometimes illustration and always graphic design and layout. You may be a professional photgrapher who needs help just with the words and the graphic design. Or maybe you need photography services and you need major copyediting services. Whatever your needs may be, CBP can help as much or as little as you want.

THE PROCESS
If you are interested in using CBP services, you can send an email to mailbox@crescendoh.com. From there, we will ask you some questions about your book project and then assuming that your project is ready for our services, we will create a unique estimate of costs for services, based on your projected needs. If you are agreeable to that estimate, we will develop an editorial schedule with deadlines that we all move forward with.

READINESS
Believe it or not, what we do is the easy part. The hard part is actually developing the actual content. The hard part may be something that takes you a lifetime to achieve. Maybe you've already achieved it. Maybe there is a manuscript you've written and it's just sitting there but you just don't know how to get the technical parts done. If that's you, you're ready for CBP. If you haven't written anything yet, but just have a dream, or if you want to write something but you don't really know what you want to write about, you're probably not ready for CBP. We are a program that can take your quality content that you've worked diligently on from start to finish, to the final phase of getting it self-published.

Think of it this way. You're an aspiring playwright. You're at a party and you realize that you are sitting next to a great producer of plays. So you tell the producer of your aspirations. And the producer says "Show me what you've written and maybe I will consider producing it." So ... do you have something that you've written that can be produced or do you not?

ART and STEP-OUTS
If you are interested in making a book with beauty shots of your finished art AND step-outs of your art in-progress, we will let you know how to prepare the art both in the in-progress stages and final stage to ship to us. Once that is done, we will take all the photos that are required to create a project-based art book. Don't worry. We know how to do this. Very very well. :)

MARKETING
One of the services that CBP does NOT offer is marketing. We will offer you tips on how to utilize social media platforms to get your book noticed but CBP will be unable to provide marketing services.

SO
So you want to write and self-publish a book? Go write it. And then if you feel you are ready for us and want the services we have to offer, let us know. We'll be ready.

January 09, 2015


Three Boulders Two Morals One Murakami


There's a story that is told by one of the characters in Haruki Murakami's book: After Dark. I won't be spoiling the essence of the novel by sharing this one story, which concludes with two interesting morals.

The story goes like this ...

Photo-55There are three brothers and each of them are given a boulder. They are told that they need to push their respective boulders up a mountain and where they stop is where they can build their respective homes. They are told that if they can push the boulder up as high as possible, they will be able to see the best view they could possibly ever know.

So the three brothers start pushing. After a while, the first brother stops and decides to build his house where he stops. He tells his other brothers to continue pushing their boulders but that he will be ok where he is at, as he will be able to live off of the fish that swim in the bodies of water near his spot. He accepts his spot and is content with the idea that he will never know the best view.

So the other two brothers continue pushing. After a while, the second brother stops and decides to build his house at a spot higher than where the first brother stopped but not at the top of the mountain. He tells his other brother to go on without him but that he will be ok where he is at, as he will be able to live off the fruit trees near his spot.

The third brother pushes his boulder to the very top of the mountain. He finally is able to know the best view that can only be seen at the top and indeed, it is magnificent, and it is there he builds his house. For sustenance, what he has available is moss to eat and icicles to suck on.

The person telling this story points out that there are two morals to this story. The first one is that "if you really want to know something, you have to be willing to pay the price." The price for the third brother being moss and icicles in exchange for the best view.

The second moral of the story is that ...

everyone is different.

I think that the second moral is so important. We are all different. Even if the symbolic boulders we push are exactly the same (which they are not), our limitations are different, our goals our different, our priorities are different.

This second moral gets to a point that I've been pointing out for the last few years, which is that I reject messages from the universe that tell me to go to the top of the mountain or to "go big or go home."

Because you just never know. Eating fish on flat land may have its own nirvana that those who suck on icicles at the top don't ever get to enjoy. Big isn't the best. Small isn't the best. Medium isn't the best. Because we are all different. And who says real views are better than imagined ones?

December 22, 2014


Announcing My New Book! Fangs and Flaws: FangGrrr Adventures


I am thrilled. BEYOND thrilled, actually, to announce my newest book NOW available on Amazon:

Fangs and Flaws: FangGrrr Adventures. A dream come true.

Fanggrrr

Here's the official description ...

Fangs and Flaws introduces readers to the metaphorical world of FangGrrr, Lion, and their friends, with beautifully simple illustrations and a message that transcends background and culture. 

Readers will tag along as FangGrrr meets Lion, her best friend. The unlikely duo will grow and laugh and play and love, but they'll also make heart-wrenching mistakes along the way — just like the rest of us. In Fangs and Flaws, FangGrrr and Lion will teach readers the power of humility, self-realization, friendship, and forgiveness — with adorable character illustrations that are sure to touch any reader. 

The brainchild of ever-evolving artist and writer Jenny Doh, Fangs and Flaws is the first in a creative and powerful series featuring FangGrrr, Lion, Butterfly, Fox, and all their friends.

Many thanks to the entire Crescendoh Bridge Press team for making this dream a reality.

Order the book here. If you want to.

Advertise with Us!
Self-Serve. Easy Peasy.




 
   
   
   
   
   
   
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Disclosure:

Some links on this blog are affiliate links for which I receive a small percentage of any sales generated by the link.
 
   


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