Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Meditations - Trip to Alaska, the Big Alone, Sketching and Just Being

"All Journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." Martin Buber
Trip To the Big Alone and Sketching
We're back from a cruise up the Inside Passage to Alaska. I heard the ship naturalist refer to Alaska as the Big Alone, since he pursues a lot of wildlife and adventure travel that has included 2 years alone on a remote Alaskan island. Cruising is not like being alone in the wilderness, as it feels like a floating self contained good sized village moving from point to point. However the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful, silent and serene, taking me back into my center. Nature does that. I do find that taking a journey into nature, even if it's a walk in the yard or to a local park, there is a fulfilling nourishment to be had...

On this cruising journey, I packed my journal, a couple of pens, and very small watercolor set with niji water brush. I happily captured moments here and there. I sketched people, scenery, objects, etc, here are a few of them... The first set includes one of the "mustering" director going through the safety talk, a guitar player, and an audience at one of the many live shows.
The following includes two scenes as we sailed towards Juneau with the bottom one being a quick sketch of the Mendenhall Glacier. I loved the misty cloud veiled mountains and islands, the cool colors and crisp air. The Glacier had many shades of blues and greens and some browns, and definitely has been affected by global warming.
I may post more sketches later, particularly of some town sketches. Parts of them were overly commercial with way too much kitchy stuff, unlike my first Alaska visits some 20 years ago. But by walking and seeking we found the charming less touristy sections, the historical museums, and nature everywhere. I'm determined to get out into our own forests and mountains again on a more regular basis like I used to... as there is something to the falling away of all the unnecessary noise and things and busy-ness that is so refreshing to the soul.

The Beauty of Tracy Arm and Just Being
Our ship went into the Tracy Arm Fjord up to the spectacular Sawyer Glacier, many icebergs floating everywhere. Literally, this was a passage to another world. So here is a You Tube video from ggg11333 on Tracy Arm alone with lovely singing, a very peaceful serene video.

The You Tube video below "Juneau Alaska Icebergs Tracy Arm Adventure Bound" is a nicely made film copyright by William Duris and I like the music too, though I don't know what it is. He shows the glacier about 4 minutes into it and even got northern lights which I didn't see while there. I like that he includes the rain forests and wildlife.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Meditation - I'm a Dreamer Looking Thru a Window in a Rock

"You may say I'm a Dreamer, but I'm not the only one...." John Lennon
Going back in time here for a visit...... From my archives, Arch Rock from the exquisite Oregon coast. I used pen and ink and watercolors, one of my favorite ways of painting. I'm looking at this painting from a different perspective today. I'm thinking of a teacher I met along the way who said that in martial arts they instruct to "be like water into rock"... Water moves and flows and surrounds the rock, the immovable object. And wears it down. So, as I say, pretty soon, you are looking thru a window in the rock. A crack in the wall. Anything is possible. Imagine.

Imagine, I'm a Dreamer
And I'm not the only one...... And that is the Meditation for today. A night or two ago, I was captivated by a PBS special about Neil Young. Oh, did that bring back memories, still love his singing and music. Those were the days...... So I was cruising thru You Tube and found this wonderful video of him singing a tribute to John Lennon and 911 victims. Wonderful rendition, just love it and many other of the songs of John Lennon and Neil Young.
Namaste, enjoy.....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time Out for Poppies & Irises, Painting again, and Art-A-Day Heron

A busy day and I still deserve time out to enjoy the flowers in my yard...
I just love the beautiful colors and shapes of the poppies and irises blooming in my yard... I took time out from house cleaning today to enjoy them and then pull a few weeds too. Amazing what just a few minutes of fresh air will do, clear out the mind so I can go back in and do what needs to be done.

Painting and Art-A-Day Sketch
I've gessoed some canvases and today am starting a new painting in acrylic and mixed media. Lately my focus has been birds, so I will paint a heron similar to this sketch here in a 16x20 size. I will change it a bit, as after showing it to my friend, she suggested that it looks like the large heron is wearing slippers instead of standing over it's two babies... so I'll move them over. I thought that was funny, and not surprising since she does paint bunny slippers on some of her people. Here is yet another sketch of a heron, such gorgeous graceful birds. This is from my Art-A-Day journal, I find it is useful for practicing what I might later paint.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Meditation - House Collages and Redneck BBQ Painting

She heard the mountain laughing as the moon and stars came out, and crow came to take her for a ride...Art-A-Day Journal Houses
My art-a-day journal has these whimsical, somewhat quirky collaged houses here and there that make me smile. When the mood strikes and I have interesting paper to play with out comes another one. I like combining my journal collages with pen drawing and a few words. My favorite pens lately are the Uniball pens with permanent ink, ultra fine lines, and their gel pens with an even smaller .38 line, and of course, the occasional Sharpie which sometimes bleeds to the other side of the page.

The first collage above has to do with the our interconnection with the landscape, the crow-raven native american story of being the bearer of light and I call it "Crow Came to Give her a Ride". Below, the second one I call "No Dumping" because that's what the label says on the frig in the picture, and it all relates in a way to my continous effort to declutter all the debris I've collected over the years, an effort that never seems to end. Especially true, since I experiment with all kinds of art, my eyes see potential new uses for ordinary things, it's laughable. Doesn't it seem like we all do it, amass physical and mental stuff that eventually is useless to us and in the way of other things, ideas, outlooks? Perhaps collaging lots of houses is a way of remodeling...
The third collage below reflects the pure fun of the Artfest retreat in April, and in fact, is made from remnant candy paper we were given, a nice reminder, I call it "Beaver Brittle House."Sunday Meditation
Now here's a really fun and funny video. I don't think I will be experimenting with BBQ sauce this way, but maybe the point is just to be creative, use whatever you have on hand, you don't have to go buy new art stuff, and probably don't need another workshop either (though these are fun things to do).

So here it is: "Redneck Art made with BBQ Ribs - Speed Painting" from Eclectic Asylum Art. The music is "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" by The Creaking Tree String Quartet. By the way, probably because the original would get moldy, the artist makes prints out of his art and sells them on Ebay, you can google it. I saw an Elvis portrait print done with real cheetos, actually quite good too. Cheers to family and friends in Texas who will love this!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Meditation - Peace on the Stream, Snow Geese, Zen Paintings

Birds never cease to fascinate, with their ability to soar above us on the wind currents...Experimenting with Acrylics
This is my experiment with acrylics and collage, I called it "At Peace on the Stream" (8x10 canvas). It was fun to do, but I find it challenging to work with acrylics. I like their thickness, and the texture I can get, but then I miss the fluidity of the watercolors and having them flow across the page... I also used heavily coated fabric to get dimension, and liked the effect of a piece hanging off the left edge. More experimenting to come.

Snow Geese
Meanwhile, here are some inspirational photos I used, these I took in the Skagit Valley north of Seattle this past year during the time of the snow geese. They are beautiful to watch, and to listen to their chattering honks.Zen Paintings
I took 5 mintues to enjoy the music of this video and a collection of Zen paintings from Rev. Yao Feng Shakya aka "The Sadmonk". I liked the simple renderings, especially the birds. The music is "Chuang Tzu's Dream" from Karunesh. Hope you enjoy.