Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beer With Me

I'm not a beer drinker,
not at all.

I can't stand the way beer smells or tastes.

Give me Diet Coke with lime instead
or a mango-raspberry Margarita
if I'm feeling especially daring
and someone else is driving.

But no beer please!
I really don't like beer.

But what I do like

is lager, ale and beer bottle art.

How cool are these?


Hog heaven.

Pretty darn cool.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One of Those Days

It was one of those days

the kind when there are little stirrings of wind
and puffy little clouds decorating the sky

and you just know that you're going to see
a spectacular sight
when you get to a certain place
along the highway on the way into town
and you're not disappointed.

Some days there's no haze
and the mountain looks twice as large as normal
and you think you could reach out and touch it
and ooohhhh - wouldn't the mountain be lovely today
with sailboats in the foreground?

So on your way to the Farmer's Market
you take a little detour
and head down to the historic area
so you can see Mt. Rainier
poking its head above the harbor.

The Farmer's Market and Harbor Greens
will still be waiting in a few minutes
and tomorrow might be cloudy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Introducing Jerin Falkner (Northwest Folklife Festival)

One of the artists who shared the stage at Cafe Impromptu
with Mark Ward last weekend
was a sassy young woman named
Jerin Falkner.

Jerin has released four albums,
the newest being Pyro Aesthetic.
I bought her 2007 Acoustic Journal
during her performance at Cafe Impromptu.

During the Folklife gig,
she mentioned that she grew up around Spokane.

She also mentioned that she has a little problem with electricity
and getting electrocuted occasionally.

Like when she used a curling iron
with a frayed cord
and ended up with singe marks on her face
and her hand numb for four hours.

Buy a CD from this woman
so she can afford to buy a new curling iron!
Just click on her name up at the top of this post
and you can visit her website.

And just so you can see and hear how talented she is,
I've inserted a You-Tube video she recorded herself,
walking along with her flip-camera and singing her song,
"Count of Three."

And if you want more,
click here
to listen to some more cuts,
including songs called "More Beautiful Broken"
and "Not a Love Song," both of which are
featured on Acoustic Journal,
the one I bought.

For those of you who live in or around
the Puget Sound area,
Jerin will perform at Jazzbones in Tacoma on Sunday, June 14 (7:00 pm)
Restaurant Le Pichet (1st Avenue in Seattle) Sunday, June 21 at 2:30 p.m.

p.s. I don't get kickbacks for advertising.
I really haven't taken a job as an agent.
(But I'm looking for one.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Object of Art

The object of art
is to give life a shape.

- Jean Anouilh, French Playwright (1910 - 1987)

Art and the creative process
keeps me sane, engaged,
and totally present.

It forces me to look at things
in unconventional ways.

What part does art
and the creative process
play in your life?

And if you're not allowing room
for art or writing or photography,
how would your life change
if you made serious time for creative play?

You won't have more time
in the future.
The only time any of us have
is right now.

Are the choices you're making
shaping your life
in a way that pleases you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Self-Portrait Wednesday: Hats

make me feel
flirtatious and fabulous

and oh-so-proper.

Got a hat in your closet?
Put it on.

Then come on over.
I'll pour the tea.

We'll make an afternoon of it.

Introducing Mark Ward (Northwest Folklife Festival)

One of the Sunday performers at Café Impromptu, a Northwest Folklife Festival venue in McCaw Hall, was a young man named Mark Ward. He's from Spokane, Washington and describes his music as folk rock, acoustic guitar, and indie sounds. For you oldies but goodies, he says he sounds like Neil Young. He was selling CD's with four cuts: Fighting with Lightning; Little Lights; You Are Light; and Meant the Most. I brought one home -- you can purchase from his website (click on his name to go to his myspace page).

I hope Mark doesn't mind me cribbing some of the accolades on his website, but these comments aptly honor Mark's music.

"When you're one person with a guitar, you better have something compelling to separate yourself from all your like-minded compatriots. Ward definitely does-a magnetic, spine-tinglingly beautiful voice." -Jeff Echert, The Inlander (Oct 20, 2008)

" The incandescent crackle of a young songwriter taking the lens of his musical idols and turning it upon himself, finding something sad, hopeful and unique. " - Luke Baumgarten, The Inlander (Oct 18, 2007)

"A finalist in the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival's national songwriting competition earlier this year, Mark Ward is a hard-working (usually solo) performer who frequently surprises audiences by looping melodica lines while playing guitar and kick drum. " - Joel Smith, The Inlander (Jul 17, 2008)

I found a You-Tube video of him singing "Little Lights."


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Northwest Folklife Festival (Part Two)

At the Folklife Festival
music filled the air.

In official venues,
in unofficial venues lining pedestrian walkways,
music was the star.

Celtic Bagpipe Band piper playing in late afternoon outside McCaw Hall.

I don't meditate before I play or compose,
but I see playing and composing as meditative acts.
- Steve Swallow

Adam Hurst with his five string cello playing opposite
Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum

(More about Adam in a post later this week!)

Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach

Musicians in an unofficial venue near the Monorail Station.

Music was my refuge.
I could crawl into the space between the notes
and curl my back to loneliness.
- Maya Angelou

A trio entertains listeners while they dine or soak up the sun.

Music is the poetry of the air.
- Richter

Drumming near the Children's Theater.

Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.
- Robert Fripp

Guitarist near the west entrance to the Seattle Center House.

I can't identify many of the talented musicians
who filled the air with music.
Some were busy playing and didn't have time to talk.
And I didn't have anything to write down names
and trying to remember who everyone was would have been
too big a challenge to cope with on a bright, sunny day.

So if you know who any of these folks are,
please leave a comment telling me which photo,
who the musicians are,
and if you have a web address for them all the better!

It seems a shame to have a post on music
without music, so here's a sample of sounds
from posts on You-Tube.

and just for good measure

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute

Today is the national day of tribute to those military members who gave their lives in the service of the United States of America. The day of remembrance, now celebrated the fourth Monday in May, was begun a few years after the end of the American Civil War and was initially identified strongly with the cause of the Union. Because of this, former Confederate states for many years had their own Memorial Day coincident with the birthday of Jefferson Davis. (For more history of Memorial Day, click here.)

Now a national holiday, its origins and meaning are largely overlooked. The day is most often associated with barbeques, picnics, and the unofficial start of summer. The day's sacrificial meaning, however, is still observed with solemnity at Arlington National Cemetery and military burial grounds around the country with the placing of American flags at graves of the fallen.

Whatever your views on war in general, remember that many have given their lives in wars that were considered just and necessary. Take a moment today to honor those who gave their lives in the quest to protect American values. I, for one, remember and honor Steven Louis Hellwig, USMC, who tragically died at Khe Sahn at far too young an age.

And may all of our military members, those living and dead, know peace.

Northwest Folklife Festival (Part One)

This weekend, Seattle once again hosted the Northwest Folk Life Festival. It's the largest free festival of its kind in the world.

Throngs of people siddled onto the Seattle Center grounds to enjoy the fun. There were loads of activities to participate in, if you were so inclined, and dozens upon dozens of opportunities to pull up a chair (if you brought on) or hunker down on the grass while you listened to music. The first "official" musical venue I sampled was the early afternoon event at the Mural Stage.

The music was Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco, such rousing good fun that people just had to dance. I think the group playing when I took this picture was the Folichon Cajun Band. To hear a sample of their toe-tapping, can't-help-dancin music, play the You-Tube piece below.

In the background, behind the stage, you can see a splash of color from the mural behind the Mural Stage. It's a mosaic mural installation by artist Paul Horiuchi (1906 - 1999) done for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

From there I meandered past a variety of crafts vendors and food purveyors, taking note of the Southern Kitchen booth that featured Southern and Cajun cooking. Since I'd just gorged on Cajun sounds, I knew when hunger got the best of me I'd have to come back there for something to eat. Not only was the jambalaya fabulous, Southern Kitchen is only a 20 minute drive from my house the next time I'm in the mood for Cajun food and not in the mood to cook.

The next stop was a dance venue. When I arrived the first time in the early afternoon, I found a caller calling the steps for square dancing

and signs advertising weekly Contra Dancing in Seattle. Who knew? Sounds to me like a fun way to get some exercise!

Later that same afternoon, I circled back to see what was going on and found couples dancing to Cajun music.

After a yummy lunch and a big glass of iced strawberry lemonade, I kept on going. Thank god for sensible shoes!

So I won't overwhelm you -- I was there about 8 hours and took about 400 photographs -- I think I'll make this Northwest Folklife Festival (Part One) and keep you entertained in future posts.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some Days Are Ripe for Film-Going

There are some days, even sunny ones,
when you get an urge to see a film
at your favorite independent film place

a non-profit concern dedicated to
enhancing the cultural vitality of the community
through the art of film.

So last weekend, even though it was sunny
and I felt guilty about spending two hours
sitting in the dark watching a film
instead of playing outside,

I let my desire to see a Swedish film called
"Everlasting Moments"
a film about a woman whose life was transformed
and made worth living despite its hardships
by a camera, override my guilt.

(by the way, I loved it. . .
the film, not the guilt)

My friend Jen met me
for the showing (and free popcorn for members)
and then we headed down the street to get a bite to eat
and were lucky enough to score a table outside.

Outside, where we could squint at each other
and worship the late afternoon sun
and have a little strawberry lemonade
and pizza (for Jen)
and pasta (for me).

And Jen could do what she always does
when she's not with her beau --

text messages with Mitch.

Ah, the thrill of new love after the end of a long marriage.

Some days are ripe for film-going,
some days are ripe for falling in love.

I'm still waiting for that bolt out of the blue.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Do You Believe in Magic?

There are magical moments
when the elements combine perfectly,
the color of the sky,
the merest puff of wind,
the tide at just the right place
in its cycles of ebb and flow.

There is a pier
jutting out over the shore that is often submerged,
reaching out beyond the land and over the water,
creating a bridge to a place of magic.

There is a marina
with wind and diesel-powered pleasure craft
that dance lightly in their moorings,
supported by water reflecting their image like a mirror.

Above all, there is a pure white light
with just a touch of golden sparkle.

Camera paintings are born.

Light glorifies everything. It transforms
and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects.
The object is nothing; light is everything.

- Leonard Missone

I am alight with magic.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Refracting the Light of Awareness

Each artist is a facet of God's unfolding infinite vision,

refracting the light of awareness in his or her own particular way.
- Alex Grey

How are you shining the light
of your awareness into the world?

And if you're hiding your light,
then the question is
(as Dr. Phil would say)

"How's that workin' for ya?"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Photos, Zen, and Blessings

One should really use the camera
as though tomorrow you'd be stricken

-Dorothea Lange

"Photo Meditation" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

sometimes the things
that bring you lightness of spirit

are things you never expected
to see in a million years

and yet
there they are

just waiting
for you to stumble upon them

just waiting
to make you laugh out loud

just waiting
to make you dance for joy

and (if you have your camera at the ready)
just waiting for you
to freeze-frame the moment
so you can recapture
the ecstasy
whenever you want

we find the blessings we seek
without even knowing we're looking

we give the blessings we are
just by being truly ourselves


How were you blessed today
in ways you didn't expect?

How did you extend your blessing
to others?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walking to Look (Self-Portrait Wednesday)

On days when I walk
for the sake of seeing,
the act of looking
consumes my consciousness.
- Jan Phillips

Walking for the sake of walking is a zen experience.
The rhythm of left foot-right foot-left foot-right foot
just naturally begs for a repetitive mantra.


works for me.

And when I
settle into my body
and focus on the rhythm of my steps,
my breath and my four words,
I walk my way into a light trance.

In that state,
wisdom and guidance bubble up.
A sense of well-being envelops me.

The landscape around me
becomes part of my meditation,
a contributor to the sense of harmony
emphasizing the whole,
the unity, the energetic connection
of between me and everything, everywhere.

Walking for the sake of looking
is something all together different.

Yesterday, with the "marine layer" of clouds
dissipating and patches of blue peeking through
I felt the urge to walk.

The meditative kind of walk.

But just in case
I stuck my new little pocket-sized
12.1 megapixel Canon Power Shot SX200
in the pocket of my jacket
and headed to my favorite
scenic place to walk.

So much for walking to walk.

The walking to walk
became walking to look.

And that is a horse of a different color.

When you're walking to look,
everything is shouting for your attention.
Instead of settling into a tranquil trance,
you find yourself working up a frenzy of excitement.

At least I do.
The act of looking
consumes my consciousness.

Although the little Canon
has a digital display
rather than a viewfinder,
and I'm really a "through the lens"
kind of girl,

I figure I see everything
through the lens
of my very special way
of being in the world.

And even though I'm showing you
only the three self-portraits,
reflections of my body self,

not the other magical shots I took,
images that may be
the most exciting I've ever done
(from an artistic, painterly viewpoint)

each image I capture
is at its essence,
its very center,
a glimpse into who I am
and how I inhabit my world.

Every photograph
is, in that specific sense,
a self-portrait.

I'll show you some of the "not-me" self portraits soon,
but not today. I need to savor them a little more
before I send them out into the outer world.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Earth Magic

a chill, quiet morning
near the sea

the scent of salt water
and sea grasses

white clouds dancing
airy waltzes,
seagull dance band
playing a song

I sip my steaming spicy chai,
steam escaping through the vents
in my travel mug.

gravel lying atop the rough roadway
crunches under my feet.

I am alone
with all the glory of nature
for company.

Earth magic.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fully Embodied

How you do anything
is how you do everything.

- Zen proverb

Be fully embodied.

Don't hold back.

Live with zest.

p.s. Welcome to these new followers
artist and designer ennui
joannapettit (is there a blog link for you?)
photographer Clinton Wittstock
artist Carmen Torbus
tokeydreamer a/k/a What's Deb Doing?
Maldives resident and photographer Kamana

Check out their sites.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Soul Glimpse

My photographs are
a direct line to my inner world.

They are the shortest distance
between my soul and yours.

- Jan Phillips (God is at Eye Level)

"The Colors of My Soul" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Can you follow the path?

p.s. You can see Fledgling Poet's soul today too.
It's in her words.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Manipulation - Part II

Besides the trick I showed you
in Manipulation - Part I

What else can you do
to photographic images
to give them new identities?

You remember the original, I'm sure.

in an altered universe,
new options.

Manipulated with Photoshop CS2
Filters> Sketch>Graphic Pen
Increase gamma

Photoshop CS2
Filters>Artistic> Poster Edges
Fine tune with Image>Adjustments>Exposure

Just for comparison
here's the MS Digital Image Pro
poster edges filter -
a very different result!

I made a few changes to the sliders
using enhancements to the Poster Edges filter.

If you like the chalk/pastel look,

this is done with MS Digital Image Pro
Filters> Chalk Opaque.
It's a little softer, but very close to the original
in color and feel.

If you want a more "painterly" look,
we can switch to
Corel Painter Essentials 4
and play with that.

You can "autopaint" to get
a watercolor look

or, if you prefer,
an oil painting look
(a little crude by my standards)

Corel Painter Essentials 4 also has settings
for Impressionist versions (think VanGogh rather than Monet or Degas),
a Modern version (think oil painting with even less detail than above),
various watercolor options, chalk and pastel options.

What appeals to you?
Want to give it a go?

(I'm warning you - it can be addictive.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Manipulation - Part I

Bee wanted to know about the image in yesterday's post and I know many of you artsy-types love process posts. So here's the process.

1. I started with a photo I took at the Pike Place Market on Mother's Day. It's kind of soft-focus and isn't a perfect shot, by any means. But the young woman was lovely, cell phone to her ear, looking wistful and transported to another world. In a perfect world, there would have been a few more tulips visible and the one hanging over her shoulder could have been a hue that didn't blend in to her sweatshirt, but shooting on the fly you take what you get without being able to fuss over the details.

So, having decided that I wanted to play with the image, I jumped in.

WARNING: Manipulating photos can suck
all your spare time into a black hole.

2. In Photoshop, I went to Filters>Stylize>Find Edges. You'll get a really washed-out looking result, with edges showing but the rest of the image pretty light in color. I was looking for something more intense and reminiscent of woodblock prints.

(By the way, this is my Idiot's Guide to Manipulating Photos in Photoshop Without Using Layers, a Skill I've Not Yet Mastered But I Have a Book.)

3. Next, I went to Image> Adjustments>Exposure. I moved the sliders so they were as follows: Exposure +0.7, Offset - 0.250, Gamma 3.50. That basically got the darkened, grainy look I was after.

4. From there, I went to Image> Adjustment>Hue/Saturation and bumped up the saturation to about+.50. That added a little bit of color intensity to work with.

5. I still wasn't happy with the results, so back to Image> Adjustments> Exposure. Because the file had been saved, the new settings were at 0 for each, rather than the settings from step 2. Therefore, I left Exposure at 0 because I didn't want it lightened, moved Offset to -0.0100 to darken it just a bit, and Gamma to 1.22 to intensify the colors.

6. Finally, I wanted to add a little of painted color in. Using the paintbrushes and a purple (R 144, G100, B149), I painted a light wash of the purple over the greyish-purple parts of her sweatshirt (at 40% opacity and 100% flow), adjusting the size of the brushes to keep the wash localized to the greyish-purple parts, while preserving the greens and pinks, etc. Next I sampled the reddish-pink on the left of the tulip hanging down by her shoulder. Using a watercolor style brush, I painted the left half or so of the tulip with that color, then darkened it a bit to paint the right section so it would have some shadow. Then I added a spring green in selected areas to highlight the foliage.

"Arrangements" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

And voila, you have the version posted. Now you, too, can do crazy things to your photos using Edge Finder.

In a separate post, I'll show you some other versions of the same photo, manipulated with filters from Photoshop, Microsoft Digital Image Pro (which is no longer made, so I prize my copy), and Corel Painter Essentials 4.