Thursday, February 26, 2009


i am grateful:

~for the brief visit from the biggest star in this universe to my backyard. dear sun, i missed you. not like i did that year you didn't visit vancouver for 28 days straight. but its been many the day since we hung out. thanks for showing up.

~to have a space to create in and to have a wide open weekend day coming up to do so.

~for cyanotype and it's magnificient blue. that color has really been calling me this year and to be able to make art in it...oh my! Also, for discovering sunprint paper and all the experiments that have occured with it.

~for e-courses and the way they are making art more of a part of my daily life

~for the lovely people i've been able to connect with lately.

~for my new (to me) pretty cherry blossom coffee mug. coffee tastes extra good in a purdy mug (it was 75 cents).

~for magnolia trees. my gratitude for them is tenfold. there is nothing more beautiful to me than magnolias in late afternoon light (perhaps you've noticed my obsession). though cherry/apple/plum blossoms run a close second.

~for clarity about the goodness in my life. absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

wholeness braided together

[photo from signs and wonders flickr photostream]

During any of the meditations in the Creative Goddess E~course in which we'd meet our healer, our wise self or even seeing myself in it I noticed a common thread. Each time she would have these two beautiful braids on either side of her head, down to about her chest. I took note of it, and wasn't surprised by it because I've always loved and wanted to have long braids. I remember craving to have them quite early in life in fact.

I didn't really think too much about this common thread as having any symbolism until Saturday when I was working on a writing assignment for the Unravelling E~course (I'm all about the e~courses these days). In the writing assignment we're asked to write a fairy tale of ourselves....once upon a time there was a....

While taking the train downtown for a day of wandering I started writing and then there it was.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful woman with 2 long braids coming down past her shoulders and paint splatters on her worn hands. Each third of the braid held the memory of who she was and who she had been. Her youth and its struggles, her identity as an other, her mothering self and her story of becoming a mama, her ancestry and family stories, her loves found, lost and found again and her artists self. Every morning she retied each braid together, grounding her in her whole self.

The story continues from there, but this is the part I was very struck by. My symbolism of my guide self having braids isn't simply an aesthetic notion, but a yearning to feel whole. I've struggled in my daily life and even here about how to tie all of those parts of myself together. I have my pride for being part of the queer community and also my hope to find love in a fellow and have babies. I have the girl who died her hair pink years back and the woman who still wants to feel seen but not for what she makes people look at but who she really is. I have my Leo boldness and my socially awkward self. My craving for community but my vital need for time alone. It feels endless sometimes how dualistic my identity feels. I know we all have these conflicting sides of ourselves.

When I have my critical brain switched on I get frustrated at all these pieces and stuck in how they seem to conflict. But they don't. They are all a part of who I am. I just need to be willing to braid them all together and trust that they are all destined to be a part of who I am. In reality, when I grow my hair out my braids aren't plentiful, or even. There's hair sticking out and they get smaller as the hair gets longer.

I just have to trust that the braids of my identity are beautiful in their wholeness.

As are yours.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Short Learning Long Recognizing

Dzeju Iziase (Short Learning Long Recognizing)

You have to know
before you can
You have to be able
before you create
you have to find new roads
and short is the learning
and long is the understanding
you have to be able to pass through
a lot of smoke
to see the fire.
~by Aspasija (Translated by Ellen George, my Grammy)

The poet is an anscestor of ours on my mom's side that is a poet, playright and feminist. The poem was sent in a valentine's card from my lovely mom.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

World's Smallest Postal Service

Worlds Smallest Postal Service (WSPS) from Leafcutter Designs on Vimeo.

I'm head over heels about this! World's Smallest Postal Service. Thats just brilliant. I just finished ordering a World's Smallest Birthday Card for a dear friend back home and can barely wait to go see this artist, Lea Redmond, in the city and order another letter (in person they are handwritten). Her other work is equally lovely...I especially love her Earrings for Spontaneous Seeding!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

love day

photo by bloemetje

how to have a valentine's day in which you barely even think about the fact you are single

1. go to an event based on love and compassion.
2. receive at least a dozen hugs at said event. more hugs that you've received in ages.
3. be in the company of wonderful people, both new friends and strangers.
4. cry your eyes out at moving stories about people being accepted, loved and not afraid to be who they are.
5. buy a beautiful book and spent the next few hours reading about authenticity, courage and love.
6. drink an incredibly delicious fancy drink that gives you the most perfect happy buzz and makes your cheeks rosy.
7. follow the droves of people holding pillows to downtown san fran for a pillow fight.
8. immerse one's self in taking photos of said pillow fight. get feathers in your hair and smile big.
9. settle into your rocking chair and find yourself filled with gratitude for such a lovely and unusual day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

cyanotypes and other things of beauty

i've gotta tell ya...i'm making a heck of a lot of art these days and falling pretty head over heels with some of the stuff i'm trying. quite a bit of the art i'm making is with crayon or paint while having further conversations about the intricacies of star wars (of which i still have no clue but really like talking about the force) with a 5 year old. i kinda think this is a pretty great way to explore one's artist self. as saying or even thinking about self-critique just doesn't fly when in the company of someone who is just getting in touch with themselves as an artist. i often hear from us adults that someone once critiqued us or said something about our art that blocked us for years. the last thing i want to be in this world is that person. quite the opposite. i want to make someone else believe in art. and in them self as an artist.

when not working with crayon or washable markers, i'm taking this mighty lovely course at the California College of Art called Alternative Photographic Processes, which is working with a few of the techniques developed before the contemporary methods of printing photos. this is old stuff. beautiful archival techniques. and i'm falling. deep. we've started with Cyanotype prints which are this gorgeous blue color (if you're lucky) and heading on to Van Dyke Brown, Gum Bichromate and finally Salt Prints. had their not been a shortage of old polaroid film these days we'd be doing that too.

our first printing class was an unusually grey morning which made developing UV prints difficult, but useful experience for someone who mostly lives in a very grey city this time of the year. we worked hard all class preparing paper, which involves coating them with a combination of two chemicals, and then printing them using the sun. it took vastly longer to make each print (30 minutes as opposed to 30 seconds) so the teacher offered that we could bring the frames and are prepared paper home with us to use on a sunny day. talk about dreamy! the last two days have been sun~city and i found a sunny moment to try it out for myself.

turns out we also had some sun print paper, which is essentially cyanotype paper prepared as an activity for kids. so my art buddy joined in on the process. we prepared our frames, mine with a negative i'd printed onto acetate, and on his some light sabers and we stepped out into the sun.

after a few minutes we brought them both in and rinsed them out with water, then hung them to dry on a vine outside.

the deep blue has me swooning. i'm excited for the other processes too, especially as they are even more archival, as cyanotypes fade (not forever though) when displayed in bright light. i remember these prints from visits to the art gallery when i'd have to lift a black cloth from the front of the old photo to see it. i'd write down the names of these techniques on gallery visits, wondering what they were and how they differed from darkroom printing. turns out i was destined to find out.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

abundant inspiration 2

in these months that could be titled 'finding myself as an artist' i'm seriously blown away by the abundant potential of creative inspiration. my time in internet land feels much more nourishing than usual while i search out inspirations to help me on my way. a random google search led me to the above video about Maya Hayuk, and since watching a whole shwack of videos on her website i pretty much think she's beyond rad...the way she talks about art makes it feel really accessible. plus i love the way she speaks about her favourite medium being the one she's doing at the moment.

its crazy beautiful to finally listen to that inner voice that really wants to be an artist as well as a photographer. who knows what i'll end up making. who knows if it'll be purdy or just a hot mess. i'm incredibly excited to soon be sharing a studio with 2 other lovely ladies for the rest of my time here. i'm trying to speak very kindly to the pessimist in me that attempts to whisper 'but you're not really an artist' in my ear on a regular basis. but oh dear pessimist me...i don't really care what you think. i've seen far too much proof that following your creative urges can lead to great things to listen to you.

when not ignoring my pessimism or taking pictures, i'm busy with e~courses and a really fabulous class on doing alternative photographic printing, an upcoming silkscreening class and i'd like to take every course that RayKo offers, but I'll have to pick one or two in the end! i'm also deeply in love with the East Bay Creative Reuse Depot. Its a big store packed full of everything imaginable to make something out of...yesterday I found an old Holga there for 3 bucks with a half used roll of film in it (needless to say I'm just aching to process it and see what was on the first half).

i hadn't really had any expectations of how life would go down here, i just kind of had a good feeling about it.
i'm truly blown away by what the last month has almost feels like i've made more progress in the last month on truly embracing life than i did in the last year. a change of scene seems to have been the perfect catalyst for this...kind of makes me want to keep on city hoping, but the sweet meow of little kitters far away can't help but call me home. plus i think i want to give vancouver another try!

so, here's even more of what's got my creative heart swooning...the paintings below were all discovered during my exploration of the many floors of the SF Museum of Modern Art.

Richard Diebenkorn, Berkeley #57

Robert Rauschenberg, Collection

Robert Rauschenberg

Christopher Wool

Sunday, February 01, 2009

jedi artists

he tells me i'm an artist. i tell him the same. then we stop talking, pick up the brushes and paint in silence for a little bit. until one of us laughs, makes a mess, a mistake, or he wants to tell me something about how he's luke skywalker and how darth maul killed general grevious. i smile and listen and pretend i'm princess lea with beautiful long braids curling above my ears, as this is the kind of thing luke skywalker and princess lea would talk about.

i really love big kid art time. he's 5 and i'm kind of 5 at heart. we see what each other are doing and try out a cool new way one can make circles with your brush or try out how the other one painted a cool pattern on their canvas. we usually end up having something similar in what each of us made, but each piece is also totally our own. when it is not silent, or star wars dialouge, i find myself talking about how we are artists. how making mistakes is just part of making art, that perfection can be a mess and that all we have to do to be an artist is to just do it. that the moment we pick up a brush and start, we are.

he usually laughs at how long it take me to finish a piece i'm working on. by the time i'm done he's usually done a second one and then gone onto a crayon drawing of yoda fighting darth vader. we're both each others teachers and we're both each others students. our regular art dates are filling my heart up pretty full these days. but i don't tell him that part. 'cause girl gushing isn't really cool if your a jedi. and we're jedi artists. we swing a pretty mean lightsaber and a paintbrush and we've got the force in our hands.