Monday, August 31, 2009

Blinking Cursor Syndrome

So this is what happens when you try to write after a full day of work...absolutely NOTHING! You sit down, type your Title info and then it hits've been attacked by the plague of the blinking cursor. So in honor of this grinchly fellow, I've written a short little poem...

To the Cursor Who Makes Me Curse

There he stands,
Thin and upright,
Blinking and blinking away.
He makes no apologies
In stunting your work,
For forever will he stay.
Heckling, laughing
And mocking your existence,
Blinking and blinking away.
Staring you down
Until thoughts are withdrawn,
And nothing you've left to say.
He dances across
Your blank, white page,
Blinking all BL@I*NK!ITY# day.

Due to lack of creative juices, Paint it Forward will return later this week...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 7

08.27.09 - Day 7-8: Paint it Forward

1 project down, 51 to go.  In the end, I decided that I liked the painting better with only a few words.  But I like the idea that the whole poem is on the canvas...almost like it's a hidden fortune cookie that only my readers and my sister can find.  The poem was the inspiration though, and I do feel like they should coexist in the same space.  So for that reason, when this is framed [it's on a flat canvas so it has to be framed], I'm going to place the painting on one side with the entire poem in a smaller square of the same matte.  I didn't have a name for this piece in the beginning, but the words that kept jumping out at me throughout the various phases were "settle in the light," ...and thus, it is so named "Settle in the Light...for Rachelle.

The past 3 days were the most difficult for me.  There were times when I would paint a stroke here and there...and then wish that I hadn't.  An hour before I put the final touches on this, I actually started painting on another canvas.  But I stopped myself and decided to keep my word and stick with the original.  I'm an extreme perfectionist so there will always be things that I will find wrong with this piece...but as my good friend recently told me, when you finally feel at peace with it, it's time to move on.  And so I am...

On to the next project... I've been toying with the idea of painting a jazz musician series, starting with Billie Holiday and maybe even Charlie Parker.  But I don't know...I may not be ready to tackle Lady Singin' the Blues.  Not sure I could do it/her justice.  Give me a reason to paint this one and you never know, it might end up on your wall.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 5

08.24.09 - Day 5: Paint it Forward, Pay it Backwards

It's the little things. A friend and I started a social experiment last year that I like to call "Thanks a latte!" It started out as Coffee Friday where we would meet every Friday at Starbucks just to end the week on a good note and take turns buying the other coffee. Then, it turned into buying the person behind us a coffee, which I like to think of as "Paying it Backwards." This is still something I do on Friday mornings when I drive thru, hoping that one small act of kindness will jumpstart a caffeinated chain of goodwill...or at the very least, put the person behind me in a better mood.

Today was one of those days where I really needed that extra shot, so I stopped for a Monday cup o' joe. The girl at the window handed me a gift card and said that when I drove thru last Friday, the person behind me couldn't get over how nice it was that I bought her coffee...and since there was no one behind her in the drive thru, she bought me a giftcard to say thanks. Since I'm somewhat a regular, the barista told her it would get to me if she left it with them...and it did. The funny thing is that this has happened before...someone reciprocating my "Paying it backwards" with a "thanks a latte" of their own.  It's amazing what can happen when you tempt human generosity.

Even though I wasn't expecting anything in return from the person behind me, I couldn't help but notice how much "warmer" my coffee was today. It just goes to show that sometimes it's the little things in life that mean the most...even if only for a moment.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 4

08.23.09 - Day 4: Paint it Forward

"Today I am reminded of all that is good in the world." -Kobi Yamada

It's one of those mornings...I can already feel it.  A good, creative day.  And what creative day is complete without...Starbucks?  It's actually my dog's fault today.  He woke me up at 7am, did his business, ate some food and then kept whining at me as if to say, "It's Sunday! Where's my doggy whip [that's what they call whip cream in the drive thru lane at Starbucks], mama?"  So off we went...

Two doggy whips and two dogs who desperately need a bath later, I'm back to staring at the butterfly.  I can't decide if I like the words coming out or if I should paint over them and make them pop out in a different way.  Is this canvas finished and I just don't know it?  That's how the others happened.  I got an idea in my head one night at about 11pm, went down to my studio [otherwise known as the basement] and started painting.  3 hours later, my first was complete: Abstract Flower 1.  I know, such a creative name, right?  But "what's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." It didn't come out of a defined source of inspiration, and neither did my second: Abstract Tree 1.  So that's why they have plain names. I'm not really feeling the flower anymore.  It was my first painting back after a very, very, very...VERY [get the point?] long hiatus.  I feel like I could do it better the second time around...but I promise, I won't paint over it.

In the meantime...Phase IV, to be or not to be?

Abstract Flower 1; Abstract Tree 1

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 2

08.21.09 - Day 2: Paint it Forward

Phase 3: Bringing the butterfly to life...

I'm getting there slowly but surely. Sometimes I stare at the things I create and think about throwing a fresh can of paint on it so that I can start completely over. I've been this way my whole life and I'm not sure where it comes from. I actually found my art folder from junior high and high school the other day. Teacher comments said things like, "Wonderful work but it would have been just as good the first time around." Or, "Was this what you originally started with?" One of my self portraits actually had the drawing on both sides...version A and version B. At the end, I actually liked version A better and I couldn't help but wonder [ode to Carrie Bradshaw]...

Why is it that we're always so unsatisfied with what we have -- from the itty bitty minute details to the really important things?

I guess it's the "grass is greener" illusion. I just don't know where it comes from with my artwork. My family has always been extremely supportive and full of encouragement. Yesterday, one of my sister's even came over just to see where I was at with this project [and also to give me a guilt trip about not painting HER anything...yet :)]. But she did say something that stuck with me..."I'm really glad you're finally using your talents again. Sometimes we get so far from our gifts that it's hard to see them." And maybe that's it...I always fear that what I do is sort of "use it or loose it"...and since I 'haven't been using it, maybe I've lost it.

In the end, it doesn't really matter because what I'm doing right now, I'm doing for me...and as I've always said...I could care less if others agree with what I'm painting.

So here's phase III, or what I like to call bringing the butterfly to life. As I was doing this phase, it became very apparent why this part of the poem spoke to me. "I live in a cocoon all safe and tucked away, building my wings, looking forward to the day when my wings will be strong and colors so bright, I'll break through the pain and...settle in the light." Even though I'm doing this piece for my sister, it's somewhat therapeutic for me, as well. It's all about finding peace with what I'm doing...and like the painting, I'm getting there slowly but surely.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 1

08.20.09 - Day 1: Paint it Forward

My sister, Rachelle, is wickedly talented. She writes poetry, music and plays the piano by ear. After years of struggling to have children, she and her hubby decided to adopt and we couldn't be happier for them. They will be AMAZING parents!! Their baby is due in November. Is doing something for a family member cheating? Who knows! But who better to start with than a loved one? Using her words about self-discovery, I started on project numero uno. This will be a multi-layered process but here are phases 1 and 2. Stay tuned for Phase 3...

[Click here to check out her writing blog:]

If I had to choose a symbol that best represented me,
I'd have to chose a caterpillar in hopes of what I'd be.
For now I live in a cocoon all safe and tucked away...
But I'm building my wings, struggling through
And look forward to the day.

When my wings will be strong, and my colors so bright.
When I break through this pain, and settle in the light.
Then I will spread my beautiful butterfly wings
And humbly realize one important thing:
I was beautiful all along.

And in this knowing will come the wind
And my strength to finally fly.

Phase1: Mapping out canvas; Phase 2: Painting the background

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Paint it Forward

So...I recently finished my Executive MBA and have mountains of debt that seem to be piling up around me. I find myself thinking about it all day long - at work, in my car, at home, while I'm standing in line at Starbucks [that was a joke--kind of]. Perhaps this is because I'm used to being debt free for the most part. But lately, an annoying sound, like a tick-tocking grandfather clock [who seems to have Suze Orman's face] chimes, "Show me the money!" over and over again in my head.

I'm in that stage where I want to pare down my life and get back to the basics, but no matter what I do, it keeps getting bigger. Yes, I know...that's the American way. But I'm getting tired of it. Consumerism sucks. There, you have it on record. Spoken directly from a marketing person. We make it look pretty so you'll pay for it. Don't get me wrong--I'm glad you pay for it because otherwise I wouldn't have a job. It's just that sometimes I look around at all the "stuff" that fills my life and wonder how in the heck I acquired so much meaningless shhhhhiiit [sorry, mom!]. Consumption is no longer equating with personal happiness in my life--it's only making it more stressful.

In an attempt to save my sanity, my checkbook and my agoraphobic third eye, I've decided to take on a new project...a creative nourishment project. Perhaps I arrived at this notion after seeing Julie & Julia and one woman's ode to fine cooking...365 days, 524 recipes. Or perhaps I just need some way of being "right" in the world.

So here's my challenge...

Paint it forward: 365 days, 52 artistic/good will/test in humanity projects. Why 52? Because I work full time and already stretch myself one a week is as good as I can do right now. That's 525,600 minutes to do some good with my life...and hopefully, for a few others. Here goes...something.