Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Where have you Been?!

Oh my - it's been two weeks since my last post and so much has happened, I'm not really sure where to start. I just returned from a week long vacation at the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Zion National Park. This trip came on the heels of Passover after only one day back from Art and Soul in Asilomar.
This trip inspired a short poem, which I will mix in with some pics:

I Hear You - by Tally Oliveau

Down in the canyon

I can hear you

calling my name.

So quiet

so still,

yet I hear it.

I hear your call.

Down in the canyon

I can hear You

echo on the walls

layer by layer,

so quiet

so still,

yet I hear it.

I hear your call.

Down in the canyon

I can hear you

blue sky reaching

down to caress me,

so quiet

so still,

yet I hear it.

I hear your call.

This canyon that I am sharing these photos - is called Antelope Canyon - and was quite amazing. We took a guided four wheel drive way out into the desert to find it. While hot outside, it is instantly cool and quiet inside. It felt like a stone womb - smooth, dark, undulating walls - I flowed through - following the light to the other side.
What else can be said about Art and Soul that you haven't read already? It was really, really great, I met some amazing people whom I hope to see many times again, and I made some really cool stuff. I took LK Ludwig's two day nature journal class, which was chock full of good learnin'. I really enjoyed taking a two day class, allowing to delve more deeply into one project. Of course, as these retreats go, it's not complete. I also took Stephanie Lee's Junk Drawer Metalsmithing. Lots of good learnin' there too. The class was totally overcrowded, as another jewelry design class had gotten cancelled, and all (well it felt like all) those people were transferred over to this class. So, not much time with teacher, but, again made some cool things that are unfinished. I have promised myself to finish all these projects by the end of the week, and I will share them then. Rest assured, the teachers and the classes were wonderful and worth every penny.

I was also a vendor at vendor night, selling my cards. You should all know, that A&S charges a crap-load of money to have that table on vendor night. Yes, even to the teachers. Apparently, this keeps out the "riif-raff". I was definetely the riff-raff there - some really cool art for sale! I sold lots of cards - so thanks to everyone who bought them!

Here are some pics to share from Asilomar. They can't convey the beauty of the location, or the campy, feel-good feeling you get when you think of the friends you met there. But, at least they are an attempt.

Can you feel the grass glowing in the sunset?

Here are three of the super-cool peeps I met on this journey. There were many other cool peeps, but just don't have the energy anymore to resize photos and load. L-R: me, Rachel, Raquel, and Audra.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Creativity, Step by Step

This is the name of an article in the latest (April 2008) issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR). The article discusses Twyla Tharp, and her theories on creativity. Twyla Tharp is a very famous choreographer, who is said to have changed the face of modern dance. What I found especially interesting were her thoughts on "creative people" vs. "noncreative people" and originality.

She believes that creativity is something everyone can have, not only the "creative types". For her, creativity is a habit (she wrote a book called The Creative Habit), and that creativity must be prepared for, "...with routine". What that means, is that developing a routine of being creative is not contrived, but necessary. Practicing art or creativity, is the way to be more creative.

Furthermore, she advises people who want to be creative, to "get busy copying." There has been a lot of talk out there about everyone copying someone else's work. Some believe that there are just too many party hats and wings on vintage children images. HBR asks, "Should we be worrying about lack of originality?" Twyla replies simply: "Of course not." Firstly, she recommends immediately getting over being intimidated by those you admire - so intimidated that you can not produce anything yourself. Of course your first try at something will not match up to an expert's work - so just start doing something so you can eventually become an expert too.

Secondly, Twyla doesn't worry about originality. "Personaly, I don't worry about originality at all. Has anyone ever done what I've done before? Yeah, probably." For her, "copying is taking somebody else's solutions. Learning is taking somebody else's problems. " Think about that for a minute -it's a good one.

She goes on to describe Braque and Picasso, who at a certain point, were making very similar artwork to each other, but they were two totally different artists, with different backgrounds, values, philosophies, etc. Just because they made similar artwork, does not make them unoriginal. Sorry about not having links to these two artists - I just can't deal with it right now.

I can't deal with it right now, because I'm leaving for Art and Soul tomorrow! Whoo hoo! I'm still not finished packing. I don't know what to wear. I guess I'll just have to find a mix between my crappy mommy clothes and the suits I bought for the Vegas show. Now, go practice being creative and don't worry about copying anyone else.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Photoshop Is My Bitch

Yah, that's right. I am conquering the beast. I can do some seriously cool sh*t now in Photoshop. It only took me 4 months, but I did it.

One thing that made me feel a little better, was that in the latest (also the first) issue of Somerset's "Digital Studio" they had a big comparison chart of all these different programs, and most of them were "easy" or beginner". Well, I'm using Photoshop CS2, and apparently this is a professional grade program and the learning curve is listed in their chart as "very difficult, advanced". Well, it's my bitch now.

On other art news, I taught a fantabulous visual journaling class on Sunday. It's a new twist on an old concept. I won't get into it - but I actually managed to do some cool art during the class. In the garbage can was a big roll of architectural drawings, so I immediately snagged those and started throwing on some paint. Here's my favorite thing I came up with. It's called Quiet Nest.

It kinda might look like a giant mess. Well, my nest is a giant mess, and it's definetely not quiet. I think I'm seeking some quiet. I actually got the name because I used some paint chip samples in the piece, and one of the colors was called quiet nest. I had already glued on the nest and bird image - so there you go. (Yah, there's a bird somewhere under all that paint, very visible in person, but not so much in this photo). I also did this in about 20 minutes. Trying to think a little less. I really like the sun and the tree branch, of course. Those tree branches keep popping up everywhere for me.

The sun manifested itself again, also - the next day, when I led my 5 year old daughter's kindergarten class in an art project that will be sold at auction as a fundraiser for the school. Here's what me and the kids came up with:

You really can't see the beautiful gold paint that's in the flowers in the photo. This piece is 20"x 24" (approximately). I have a frame for it too. Should look really cute in some kid's room.

We also did altered photos of each kid, so that the parents can buy an altered photo of their own child. Using their school photo, each kids painted over the boring blue background as they desired, then added an assortment of wings, hearts, designs, crown, party hats, and things cut out of playing cards. I wish I could reprint what they did, but as I don't believe in putting photos of children that are recognizable on my blog (including my own), I can't do it. Rest assured, these kids made AMAZING pieces, with very little direction from me. It's nice to see how these kids had very little fear of "doing it wrong" and just dived right in. Happy to have no rules. That probably won't last very long.

Next post - What do Twyla Tharp (genius choreographer) and Harvard Business Journal have in common? Hmmm....I guess those of you who subscribe to this FABULOUS magazine already know, the rest don't need a subscription - I'll tell yah in another day or so.

Gettin' ready for Art and Soul in Asilomar!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Private Concert with Craig Carothers

Last night (Friday) I went to friends' house for a private concert with Craig Carothers. It was beautiful! The location was beautiful. These friends have an amazing home, on an amazing piece of property here in LA, overlooking most of the San Fernando Valley.

Not only is the home itself beautiful, the location beautiful, but, almost every single darn thing in that house is a piece of art. The furniture and its placement, the lighting, the potted plants, the rugs, and oh, the artwork and sculptures all over the place! These people are serious art collectors.

To top it all off, they are really nice people too. Our children go to school together. There's just not a snotty bone in her body.

So, last night, to further fill their home with art, they had a private concert with this great musician that they flew in from Nasville, TN, no less. A small group of us sat in their living room (um...about as big as my whole house...) and listened to witty and wondful music, had wine, a potluck dinner, and just a nice, casual good time.

That is living each day. Taking the time for beauty, art, friends, and laughter. Having some adult time. Putting aside the excuses of how much a babysitter costs, how tired you are after a whole week, how you may not get there quite on time. Putting that aside, and enjoying the good things and people that surround us. Check out my favorite song he sang last night "Angels Never Fall in Love". Scroll down a little and you can click to hear each song. I also recommend "One Revolution" and "She Needs Me". Be prepared for wonderful lyrics, and to have a good giggle.

Do you make time to entertain and visit friends? I bet they wish they were being invited over to your place tonight. It doesn't have to be a private concert, of course. That was so special, I just can't believe my luck. Just coffee and cake. Or a good glass of wine. Or how about a good glass of water? I'd come!