September 29, 2016

A Prayer for Owen Meany

OwenmeanyThis is one of the my favorite passages from the book, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

It's a book that delves into the topic of The Vietnam war, but also topics related to friendship, baseball, love, and faith. It does this as deeply as an author might feel allowed to do, when the particular literary pond for the story is 543 pages-deep. Certainly a deeper pond than those that I wade in in this modern day ... where I wake up in bodies of water so shallow that the liquid feels evaporated before the sun fully rises. Simple sentences everywhere that boil down complexities within 4x4 inch graphics that bottom line it for everyone. No need for critical thinking or in-depth journalism or robust discussion about the ironies, the wit, and the true conundrums of life.

Yesterday, I heard a podcast about research that points to how contrary to the popular notion that  stating our intentions out loud and publicly might help make that intent come true, there is research that points to the opposite. That is, when a person states that "In one month I am going to become healthier" that the brain sometimes tricks that person into thinking that just by having expressed that intention out loud, they actually think they ate healthily and took brisk walks around the block. And because of this phenomenon, the research shows that the person who declares a plan out loud has a less likelihood of doing anything to make that plan come true, compared to the person who just does the plan and declares nothing beforehand.

This particular passage by Irving presents so many non-simple facets with that war ... including those who protested it. Which makes me think of modern times ... and how our brains trick us into thinking that by declaring that "I am against" or "I am for" X, Y, or Z, that not only do we not do anything in support or against it, but that just that lofty utterance can add fuel the fire for the opposite thing to happen. 

I also heard an interview with journalist Bob Woodward who points out how shallow our ponds of discourse are really getting. And that as a journalist, even if he spends any time feeding the simple sentence platforms, it is the responsibility of journalists and writers and thinkers to continue doing in-depth work and presenting deeper ponds of thought ... regardless of whether a single person steps foot in it.


September 28, 2016

365 Pig Newtons and Milk

Pignewtons365 Pig Newtons and Milk

6x8 inches :: original oil painting on linen panel

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Ever since hearing the hilarious bit by Louis CK about how his daughter (in her know-it-all stage) insisted that these snacks are called "pig newtons" instead of "fig newtons," that's what I call them now! I poured a glass of milk into a jelly jar and created this composition ... and though I was tempted to throw in an apple or strawberry to the mix, I refrained from doing so and enjoyed the challenge of using subjects with similar fields of subdued color and paying attention to nuances to create a painting that hopefully contains pockets of distinction.

September 27, 2016

364 Nuance and the City

Flowers364 Nuance and the City

24x18 inches :: original acrylic painting on stretched canvas

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This is another demo painting from my workshop that I taught in Seattle this past weekend. I started it toward the very last part of the very last day and I had fun finishing it back at home. If there's a word I repeated again and again while teaching, it would be NUANCE. And in my opinion, nuance makes not just paintings more interesting but also conversations, relationships, and life in general. When someone says "I love your use of color," I've learned they're actually saying "I love the way you've captured the nuance of shapes, values, shadows, and light ... which makes me notice and appreciate the beautiful colors."

I referenced a photo of peonies in a vase for the work. I had previously reference the photo to do a much smaller work. Referencing it to do this one, which is significantly larger was very fun.

363 Hello

Hello363 Hello

18x 24 inches :: acrylic painting on canvas


This is another demo painting from my workshop that I taught in Seattle last weekend. Sold.

362 Who I Am

Who I Am361  Who I Am

18x24 inches :: acrylic painting on stretched canvas


This is one of the demo paintings that I made during the workshop I taught in Seattle this past weekend. Sold.

September 22, 2016

361 All Night

Half361 All Night

2.5 x 3.5 inches :: oil painting on encausticbord

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I've been so busy packing ... as I get ready to head off to Seattle bright and early tomorrow to teach painting for a couple of days. I was sweatin' bullets wondering if I'd make my painting today ... though I considered doing half a painting, I did a whole whole miniature painting ... of half an orange ... enjoying new ways to create strokes that exude the whole of who I am.

Give me all night
Give me the full moon
And if I can't take the whole of you
Give it to me anyway
Give me all night
'Till the last star fades
And if you can't take my heart and soul
Take it from me anyway ...


September 21, 2016

360 Milagros Brillantes

Brilliant360 Milagros Brillantes

6x6 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord

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A rose in full bloom, coupled with a rose about to bloom. Milagros brillantes.

September 20, 2016

Anna Karenina x 3

AnnaI have not yet read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It's been on my list of things to read ... but it just hasn't made it up to the top yet. In a short story by Haruki Murakami, there is a protagonist who actually ends up reading Anna Karenina 3 times. She does this in an effort to combat her insomnia and with each reading, she picks up totally different nuances that she didn't pick up in her earlier readings.

This situation ... where we humans consume content but are unable to fully notice or fully remember what we've consumed ... has really bothered me. Like there's SO much content. Can I ever come close to conquering it all?! 

My book-loving friend Lorrie was recently telling me that she's been re-reading some of her favorites from the past ... Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, etc., just to see how she would react to them now in this different season in her life. When she told me this, I thought ... "Wow ... imagine that ... going back and re-reading and re-experiencing loved books from the past rather than trying to race against the clock to conquer the never-ending amount of content ... from classics to contemporary.

So maybe I won't ever get to Anna Karenina. Maybe I'll allow myself to remember that I'm a human, not a robot ... and enjoy the process of just interacting with content rather than conquering it. And if I do ever get to it, maybe I won't notice some things until I re-read it. And maybe I'll be able to focus on the best parts of the book-reading experience for me ... the feel, the smell, and the wonder of life-affecting words on real paper. Used hardcover edition whenever possible, please. Tell me, is there anything more wonderful to hold than that?

359 Depth of Field

Depth of Field

359 Depth of Field

10x12 :: oil painting on linen panel

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In photography, when you adjust the aperture to bring an object into sharp focus and then the rest of the frame less in focus, it is the depth of field that gets created. That's exactly what I was practicing with this painting ... to create a beautiful depth of field.

I referenced a photo by @nonihana_ for this work. I also used a new linen panel that my art friend/mentor gave to me and I absolutely loved painting on it. I plan on using linen more, after this positive experience.

September 19, 2016

358 Serious Fish

Fish358 Serious Fish

6x6 inches :: oil painting on gessobord

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I almost bought a whole fish at the Korean market the other day because I've been wanting to paint fish ... maybe I will do that someday but for this work, I referenced a photo from @voguekorea. As serious as Koreans are about our fruit, we are also quite serious about our fish ... the thing I ate plenty of while growing up.

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