September 22, 2014

Painting :: Circus Boat

I can't seem to keep up with keeping this blog up-to-date with my paintings. I paint almost every day. If I had a magic wand, I'd use it to get everything I paint photographed and uploaded into individual blog posts with insightful descriptions to catalog all of my paintings.

And wouldn't you know it: there is no magic wand.

Oh well. Thought I'd show you one of my recent paintings in this post, just because it's been a while. I adore it for many reasons.

Circus Boat
24 x 36 inches




Photo-36To evolution,


September 15, 2014

Announcing :: Oil Painting with Leslie Duke

When I first saw a Leslie Duke painting, I was so amazed at how still life objects could evoke such emotion and energy. Once you take a look, I think you will agree.

I am so very happy and honored to announce that artist Leslie Duke will be teaching the very first oil painting class to be offered in Studio Crescendoh this November 1-2, 2014.

Enrollment is NOW open here.


See you in the studio. :)

September 08, 2014

Open Studio by Heart <3

I'm happy to announce Open Studio by Heart!
A time (almost) every month to paint, art journal, doodle, knit, crochet, sew, quilt, or work on any other creative project in the company of other artists in Studio CRESCENDOh.
Enrollment NOW open here.

See you in the studio. :)



August 29, 2014

8 Things :: Dog Days of Summer

8 things on my mind right now.


8. I'm convinced that most things that need to be done to the house either costs a thousand dollars or 10 thousand dollars. Like we recently had some plumbing work done. One grand. Carpeting for one small room. Another grand. A new bed. Another. Roof repair. Another. Tree trimming. Another. It feels daunting to just keep up.

7. I almost flipped out after seeing our latest electricity bill. And so we've stopped running the air in the house. And this week, I found myself (a person who loves the heat) actually cursing it becuase it was so hot. I also found myself Googling "dog days of summer" because as I was cursing it, the phrase came to mind and I really didn't know what it meant. Well what I learned is that it is the name for the most "sultry period of summer, from July 3rd to August 11th." Sultry. Interesting word choice. Makes me want to grin and bear the heat just knowing that what I'm going through isn't miserable, just sultry. 

6. Speaking of Google ... what's up with people who publically ask questions when common sense would tell them that the answers to their questions are just one Google search away? Hmmmm?

5. Same thing about people who publically ask "where can I buy that?" Uh ... that would be Amazon.

4. I ran into my former cello teacher today at Trader Joe's. She asked me whether I've been practicing. I told her the truth, which is that I've been neglecting the cello and paying more attention to the ukulele as of late. I left Trader Joe's a little dejected realizing how there's never enough time to do everything I want to do. Because the truth is that I've not just been neglecting the cello but I've also neglected a whole bunch of stuff on my "i want to try this at least once in my life" list. Sigh.

3. I was just at a kickoff event for one of my college friends who is running for our local school board position. At the event were some other mutual college friends, one of whom whispered to me "now we have to get you to run for political office." To which I said "Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Dude, I paint boats with vaginas."

2. I really adore Louis C. K. He is so wonderfully dialed into the dark side of life in such a hilarious way.

1. As if I didn't hate toll roads to begin with, I realized a week or so ago that toll roads no longer have the kiosks where you stop to throw payment in. It happened so fast that I knew I passed the usual stop without paying. And lo and behold, the bill for $61 came today. So their new system is this. If you don't have a toll account, you can pay online but only within 48 hours of driving through the toll roads. If you miss that time period, then you get a ticket. That would be me. And as Louis CK would point out, this is complete bullshit.

August 26, 2014

Working Artist with Art For Sale

When I was filling out the customs form during my recent flight to Korea, there was a place to write down my occupation. For the first time in a long time, I found that I did not hesitate in writing down "artist." I didn't write "editor" or "author" or "publisher" or any of the other titles that I'm used to putting down. Titles that have always made me feel more "legitimate."


Actually, the only other word I regret not putting down is the word "working."

Working artist.

That's who I am. I make art and art is my work.

As a working artist, part of the cycle of what I do is to create art, and then market my art, and then if all goes well, sell my art. Creating is nirvana. Marketing is hell. Selling is the step back to nirvana.

Not too long ago, I was in Eric Silva's studio. He's one of my favorite jewelry artists who I discovered through my friend, Amy Hanna. We were there to take a lesson from Eric. During our time together, Eric shared a story about how he responded to a visitor years ago who asked him how he could stand all the dust in his studio from all the sawing, soldering, and sanding that is involved with his work. He told the visitor that he loved the dust because in the end, the dust is evidence of his process, which is ultimately what belongs to him ... and how the actual beautiful jewelry pieces that result from the dusty process go out into the universe, created by him, but ultimately, not belonging to him.

As I've gradually segued into my reality as a working artist over the years, I've noticed that there is a critical mass of people who ask working artists if their work is for sale ... and they do so in a quiet voice, with bodies tight and steps lightly taken, as though there are sleeping kittens nearby that they don't want to wake up. And I've also noticed that I've responded with a similar quiet voice, body tight, and steps lightly taken to quietly whisper "yes i do ... shhhh ... let's not wake the kittens ..."

There are many who say they "love love love" a painting but that "surely it can't be for sale" because I must love it too much to ever sell it.

Admittedly, there are paintings that I love more than others. But I've never felt a pang of regret in letting even the ones I adore (or even the ones that are extremely personal) out into the universe through a sale. With each piece that goes out, I feel a lift, a lightness, where I feel that others who understand my art are helping me carry my load, as I turn yet another corner to find new and beautiful urgency to create my next. This is where I understand with depth, what Eric was talking about. Working artists create and keep and hone their process and that process includes offering their art (that is always and never theirs) for sale.

A working artist who sells her art does so because that is her work. That she sells does not automatically make her a sell out. That happens when she decides to become a creator of the untrue, the hollow, the compromised, the after-thought.

I am a working artist. Managing the scenes I witness both in nirvana and hell through the sales of the things I sincerely create ... through a beautiful process riddled with dust, splatters, stains and all.

August 24, 2014

Unto One of the Least

I love this photograph. It is of the Wulfekehueler family and the Doh family taken in 1974. It was taken in the home of Ed, Marilyn, Deb, Dave, and Chris Wulfekehuler, in Bakersfield, California. It is the home where I lived with my mom, dad, and my brothers Jim and Jinil for 2 months as newly arrived immigrants from Seoul, Korea.

This photo was presented to me, Jim, and my parents yesterday by Marilyn (who also goes by Lynn) during a dinner that brought our family members together to celebrate our 40th anniversary in the United States. Ed and Jinil are no longer with us but we felt that they were there in spirit.

This photo shows my dad carving his very first pumpkin ... as our first Halloween was upon us.


We shared so many memories.

  • Like how Jim, Jinil and I were so thrilled to learn of America's tradition of Halloween where we were told that if we dressed up and knocked on doors, that we would be given free candy.
  • Like how on the first night in their home, Marilyn made us a delicious dinner, followed by rainbow sherbert for dessert ... a treat that seemed so different and interesting and pretty to me as a little girl who hadn't ever tasted anything like that!
  • Like how Dave and Deb were the coolest teenagers who we all looked up to, in hopes to become as hip and American as they were.
  • Like how Chris was the littlest of them all ... excited and frustrated at times, with the reality that there were five people from a different country living in his home. His turf! What a sport he was.
  • Like how Ed enchanted all of us with his larger-than-life personality and roars of laughter, as he and Marilyn extended the kind of support to our family that even family with blood ties hardly give to one another. They made us feel loved, they made us feel comfortable, and they never made us feel that we were a burden. They made sure we enrolled in the right schools, they made sure we got the right services including speech therapy for Jim, Jinil, and I, they made sure bullies left us alone, they made sure we got proper medical and dental care, and most of all, they made sure that we felt peace of mind as my brothers and I studied and my parents worked and saved to make our way.

And make our way we did. After scrimping and saving and with the support of my dad's uncle (standing in the middle), our family bought our first Der Wienerschnitzel restaurant. Here we are with Ed, Marilyn, Dave, Chris, and an employee, and also my dad's uncle, commemorating the new life chapter.

Our family eventually owned additional Wiernerschnitzels. My parents worked very hard making them all successful, and supporting my brothers and I thorugh college, graduate school, and beyond, one hot dog at a time.

With every pursuit, with every milestone, the Wulfekuehlers were there to cheer us on, making sure that we knew how proud they were of us, even in our most humble steps of wrapping hot dogs and dropping fries in the fryer.

And 40 years later, we gathered ... all of us together, with Ed and Jinil there in spirit, to catch up, to reminisce, and express our love for one another.

I want to share one memory about Ed that was shared during this weekend gathering: During high school when Ed was getting ready to go to a formal dance, he went to a secondhand store to buy the cheapest and the most unattractive suit possible. When his date asked why he was doing this, he said that he wanted to make sure that the kid who would be coming to the dance with a crummy suit would not be made to feel bad because Ed would be the one with the worst suit of all. He wanted to make sure that the least among them would not feel the least at all.

IMG_5810The love I feel for the Wulfekuehlers is so deep. And it's deep for Jim and my parents as well. I am grateful that we were able to express the feelings of love to one another during this celebration and I hope that we will find occasions in the future to continue expressing the love.

One extremely vivid memory I have as a child is when my mom asked Marilyn how we could ever repay her for the generosity and kindness and love that she gave to our family. I remember distinctly what Marilyn said to her in response. She told her that the way to repay her would be for us to pass along the same kind of love to a person or family in need with the same kind of love that she and her family gave to us. 

Photo 2-3"Whatever you did unto one of the least, you did unto me." Matthew 25:40


August 21, 2014

Quilts for Uganda :: A Call for Donations

This is my amazing friend Tracy Schultz who recently visited Studio Crescendoh to share with me the news about her upcoming trip to an orphanage in Uganda.

Tracy is an ambassador of sunshine. Salt of the earth.

Photo-16Where is Uganda, might you ask?
Here's a little map that shows this small country in East Africa. It is bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, and the republic of the Congo.

Untitled-1In late November, Tracy will be traveling to an orphanage in Uganda with a group called Hopeline Africa Mission. When asked what they could bring to bring to the 50 children in the orphanage, they requested quilts.

Tracy would like to try and bring 50 handmade quilts, one for each child.

If you want to, I hope you will join me in making one to give to Tracy that she can take to a child at the the orphanage. Tracy will take pictures of each child and the quilt he or she receives and bring them back to share. I join Tracy in believing in the power of handmade and how the children will feel the extra love knowing that someone made them a quilt of their own. Here are some answers to questions you may have:

Q: Is there a size requirement?
A: No. You can make it any size.

Q: Is there a design or materials requirement?
A: No. You can make it as plain or fancy as you like, using traditional motifs or made up ones. You can keep it very very simple like this one. You can make it out of fabric or you can knit/crochet one with yarn!

Q: What's the deadline?
A: November 5th (If you live near Orange County, California, Tracy will make arrangements to go and pick up the quilt from you. If you live far too far for Tracy to pick up the quilt, you can make arrangements to have it shipped to her by contacting her via email at tracyschultz@socal.rr.com

I'm excited to be able to donate to this meaningful project, which I know will be executed beautifully.


August 18, 2014

10 Things :: Floppy hat, cauliflower, art for sale, etcetera

 10 Things on my mind right now.

Photo-1510. After looking for just the right floppy hat, I finally found one. It fits my freakishly enormous head, which makes me wonder if there are other people with enormous heads like me. Because it wasn't sized large. It was sized one size fits most.

9. It's been so fun making earrings and charms for sale! I've been wanting to make bracelets for sale but I'm stuck on how to long to make them. Along with my freakishly enormous head, I have freakishly tiny wrists. So my idea of a standard bracelet size is freakishly distorted.

8. Cauliflower used to be white. And then I saw that it comes in purple. And now in yellow and green. Does anyone know if nutritional value changes per the color of the cauliflower?

7. Andrew starts school tomorrow. Hallelujah. But he doesn't have his license yet so it'll be a new routine of taking him and picking him up. I think I can. I think I can.

6. My thumb is almost all better. So strange that it got all swollen last week where I couldn't move it. Couldn't work out properly, couldn't make art properly, couldn't drive, eat, brush teeth, hold a book ... and other things. All of a sudden my left thumb became the most important body part on my entire body. Now that it's feeling better, it's been relgated back to its rightful insignificant place. 

5. I love the word "etcetera." It allows me to cut short my words and then when I say it, most people nod as if they know and agree with what I really didn't say. It's a lovely word. It makes me feel happy, smart, ...

4. ... etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

3. So there's this big project looming over my head. I am supposed to finish making a catalog of my paintings for this wonderful art agent person who is championing my art so that she can start dialoguing with galleries who may want to hang my paintings. It's been a long process that I've made some headway on but I still have a lot to do.

2. While I make the catalog, the challenge is to continue making quality paintings and selling some along the way of course. This week, I sold 3. A very good week. It makes me feel so happy. No, I don't sell prints. Just originals. It's either dumb or smart of me. I don't know. I don't have time to do everything, that's all.

1. I frequently get asked if my art is for sale. With very few exceptions, the answer is yes. I've struggled with letting my yes be known, though. Like there's this weird feeling I've had that you're not supposed to say your art is for sale. Like I'm supposed to be this person who makes a ton of art, and lives a perfectly well-funded life without ever having to sell any artwork. But I'm becoming more comfortable with saying my yes. I want to find ways to be more explicit about my yes in an honest way. Yes. I make art. Yes, my art is for sale. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

August 14, 2014

Memories and History :: Haruki Murakami

As I write this post, I am enjoying a homemade ice-blended banana-cocoa smoothie, and halves and pieces of cashews (much cheaper than whole cashews but just as delicious). Delectable, after having fasted all day to do blood work, in a hot house that'll cool down in a few hours.

Once the post is done, I'll start reading more of my new book that I got at Barnes & Noble today. I was there wanting to pick up another piece of fiction to read after just having finished Karuki Murakami's masterful novel as recommended to me by my daugher: Norweigian Wood.

The fact that I did this (that is, reading a complete novel) is a pretty big deal for me because I haven't read a novel in like 2 or 3 years. Novels are all I used to read ... and then things shifted a few years ago when all that I read became non-fiction (primarily copy for art and crafting books).

I knew that Murakami had just released his newest work: Coloress Tsukuru Tazaki ... and I loved the idea of continuing with a second Murakami book ... but I wasn't sure if now was the time to move forward with his latest or to move backward with his earlier works.

So I sat down in the bookstore and started reading.

Photo 3There's something about his translated words. Each one so crisp and lucid and engaging. No confusion. No complicated tangles, yet with great depth.

I was pretty sure with each page that I read that I was going to buy this book—with gratitude for having found myself back in the delicious world of fiction. But it's when I got to page 44 and read the 10th line from the bottom that I stood up and went to the cashier to buy it.

"You can hide memories, but you can't erase the history that produced them."

IMG_5395I noticed the receipt listed other books that I may also like, based on my purchase. Not sure how long that's been going on but I noticed it for the first time today. Just five titles fished out as recommendations, out of the thousands out there. I know I can't ever read them all, even if I spent the rest of my waking hours reading fiction. This truth sort of bums me out. But I guess that's how it goes. I read what I read. I don't read what I don't read.

How I choose to read what I read is related to who I meet and don't meet, what I do and don't do, who I love and don't love, and ultimately how I allow myself to get influenced and live.

August 13, 2014

Everybody hurts.

These slips of pink papers, and the words contained in them are evidence of two powerful truths: 

1. Everybody hurts.
2. We are not alone.

Photo 1-1
They are papers that people (acquaintances, friends, and strangers) used to write confessions of loss during my art exhibit honoring my late brother Jinil back in February. They talk about loss related to alcoholism, divorce, accidencts, suicides, beloved family pets who have passed, virginity lost to first loves, a laptop lost after putting it on top of a car and driving off, photos and memories lost, and on and on and on. 

It blows my mind, these confessions.

IMG_5055When I saw the confessions happening in front of me, I realized that it doesn't matter what color the skin, how old or young the age, how rich or poor ...




IMG_5088This profound first truth points to the second truth about the fact that we are not alone. And for me, the key to moving past the hurt to the the light is to spend authentic time recognizing what I've lost, and to allow myself to grieve properly. Miraculously, by letting this happen, rather than strong-arming myself to always "choose happy" I start seeing and feeling the light and love and before I know it, I find happy. It happens to me when I don't force it. I can't sustain happy 24/7 but it's there. And when it's authentically there, it is because I am authentically respecting the other feelings that I allow myself to feel.

Sorrow is not a bad feeling. It's a feeling. Just like happy. And it ought to be respected and allowed to run its course without shaming, harrassing, or bullying it away.

Are you hurting?

If you want to, consider letting it out. Consider grieving it. And when the light starts to shine, consider letting it in. It's ok. The person or thing that you've lost will not feel badly that you are finding the light again.


PS: It is my intent to do a large art project with these pink slips of paper where the confessions can be shared in an anonymous and artistic manner. If you'd like to participate by sharing an anonymous confession of loss, you are invited to do so by emailing your confession to mailbox@crescendoh.com or snailmailing your confession to PO Box 11726, Santa Ana, CA 92711

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