Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sayonara! Kyoto Dreaming

Title: Chado (tea ceremony), acrylic, rice papers, 2008

some of my bonsai collection

Flow into the knowledge that
what you are seeking
Finishes at the start, and with ending,
begins.--- Rainer Maria Rilke

Without my journey,
And without the spring,
I would have missed this dawn.

"We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It's just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn't have expected." ----Ben Okri

Actually, I absconded with this quote from Robyn at Artpropelled. She has a wonderful blog which you can find here.
This quote is a perfect way to express my dream of traveling to Japan. I have had this dream for many years. I remember back in 1999-2000, when my son was in high school, I talked him into taking Japanese as a second language. My plan was that he would become my guide and interpreter when we traveled to Japan. Well, he graduated in 2000 and we never traveled to Japan. Every year I would talk about going to Japan. Every year. Well, finally that year has come. It is the year of the Ox. I have never been excited about being an Ox...the steadfast, patient, hard working, plodding up that hill Ox... boring. But this year, I am glad to be the Ox and I decided it is time to go to Japan. I am half Japanese and have always been attracted to Asian things. My gardens, home decor, clothing, jewelry are all Asian. But the main reason I want to go is for my aesthetics-- my art. I want to connect to my heritage in a deeper way. I have been searching for something in my work and I truly believe I may find the missing link in the temples, the stones, the carved and weathered wood in Japan. And Kyoto has many temples, shrines and gardens... and flea markets which will satisfy my love for collecting and shopping. Who could ask for a more beautiful place to fulfill my dream. I leave in a few days and will be home in two weeks. Sayonara for now....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Seduction of Paper

sensual: relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses

"Throughout time, paper has been the mirror of the soul."
----Dominique Bouisson, The Art of Japanese Paper

"........paper gives us a certain feeling of warmth, of calm and repose. ...It gives off no sound when it is crumpled or folded, it is quiet and pliant to the touch as the leaf of a tree."
--------Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

Found on the beach: weathered cardboard discs and tubes from spent fireworks.

Paper is supple, solid, sensuous, yet easily destroyed, weathered, worn and torn. Without it there would be no history, no memory. Writers, historians, poets, painters and photographers owe their livelihood and their public recognition to paper. Paper can be so versatile for both functional and artistic purposes. So it is up the the artist to awaken the spirit to its sensuality of touch, and its visual nuances. Paper can be waxed, crumpled, rubbed, modeled, twisted, cut, shaped, torn, folded, oiled, waterproofed, woven, sewn, glued, cast, or sculpted. Collage artists can manipulate paper to achieve a variety of effects. Using basic design elements like line, color, shape, texture, value and movement, the artist can arrange, move and mix papers until it looks "right". Artists can make their collages personal by using letters, photos, books from their own family sources and history. I am always on the lookout for papers--on the sidewalk, torn off of walls and posts, in antique shops and flea markets. I have even found weathered papers on the beach to my great excitement! I look for old maps, letters, receipts, books, labels, and postcards. The search is endless, and the results are an expression of my ideas and feelings based on my history and memory.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Endless Journey

On Seinfeld, Kramer is talking to Elaine:

Kramer: I was on my way to the store to return this pair of pants, when I ducked into the subway tunnel and fell into some mud.
Elaine: What happened?
Kramer: Well, I couldn't return the pants.
Elaine: You were wearing the pants you were going to return?
Kramer: Well, yes.
Elaine: What were you going to wear on the way home?
Kramer: Elaine, you're not listening. I never GOT there!

Question: Are you satisfied with your accomplishments?
Answer: No, I don't feel satisfaction. I feel: "next." When you used the word "satisfied," I didn't even really know what it meant. John Malkovich, actor

No artist is pleased...there is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us more alive than any other human beings. Martha Graham

"The first 3 pages are a mess, but on that fourth page is a paragraph that works---and suddenly you don't care about the first 3 pages. You'll throw them out. Those are the pages you needed to write to get to that 4th page, to the one you had in mind all along, only you didn't know that, couldn't know that, until you got there." Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott's book is a wonderful, warm, funny, wise book on writing--but as your read it, you realize you can substitute any artist--painter, sculptor, potter, quilter, photographer, collage and assemblage artist, graphic designer, textile artist, and so on.. for the word "writer". As artists we are all faced with the 'blank page'. We all have that big, hard to define "goal" of becoming a better artist. How do you measure such a large ongoing goal? The goal really should be to keep growing, to keep learning, to keep trying something new. We learn new techniques, read books, study art history, go to galleries and museums, take workshops, and experiment. Along the way, we have successes and sometimes, rejections. And we discover that the journey to become a better artist never ends. If it did, we would stop growing. The journey is more important than the destination.

At 22, Dan Eldon was the youngest Reuters photojournalist ever. As he traveled 4 continents, he documented and transformed all his experiences into 17 journals. These notebooks contained photographs, words, paint, ink, and found objects collected in the course of his journeys. In the summer of 1992, Eldon went to Somalia to investigate the rumor of famine. His photographs helped trigger an outpouring of international aid. But in 1993, Eldon was stoned to death by a Somali mob reacting against a UN bombing. The Journey is the Destination is a book about art, but mostly it is a book about the art of life. Obsession. Dream. Goal. Destination. Journey.