Monday, August 31, 2009

Creating Masks


Even the most unartistic among us
are makers of masks.

"Carnivale" copyright 2005 Meri Arnett-Kremian.

Because we want to hide ourselves from others
or because we don't recognize our own truth,
we create the impression that
we are stronger
or weaker
than we truly are.

We lead people to believe we are brave
when we are quaking in our boots.

We imply that we are helpless
despite our actual competence,
often to make others feel stronger
and more capable.

We disguise our acute intelligence
with shallow thinking,
with reckless behaviors
that belie our thoughtfulness.

We create masks with layers of misleading words,
inauthentic gestures,
veneers of half-truths overlaying our real selves,
worrying that we're not good enough as we are.

While these masks may be colorful,
they hide our light from the rest of the world,
keep all but those closest to us
(and sometimes even our intimates)
from encountering the gift of our deepest selves.

What would happen
if you faced the world
with your own shiny face
and showed
your wild and beautiful heart?

I wonder.



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Betrothed to the Unknown


Steven of The Golden Fish
recently talked about a meme
in which he decided to participate,
one in which the assignment was to choose a book,
turn to page 161,
find the fifth complete sentence
and cite it on your blog.

He'd been tagged by The Road Less Traveled
who referred back to someone named Susan
at Stony River Farm, who had tagged her,

and
well

you can see

it can get
complicated in this blog world

trying to figure out
where a good idea
originated.

(But it's fun to follow the trail,
visiting places you've never gone.)

Deciding to play along,
though I hadn't been tagged,
I chose a book of blessings
by the late John O'Donohue
called To Bless the Space Between Us.

Here's what I found.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

"At the End of the Day" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

How many of us fight the uncertainty of not knowing,
rather than just accept the disquiet and ambiguity?

The vast majority, I suspect.
Most people seek certainty, not mystery.

How many of us
are evolved enough
to give thanks
for the chaos of
not knowing?

But think of it:
how amazing that your soul and mind collaborate
silently, secretly
to meld your daily thoughts
with the wisdom of your soul.

Leaving you
the gift of gold
if only you're willing to accept it
with hands and heart wide open
and offer blessings
for everything that comes your way.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't You Wonder Sometimes?


Don't you wonder sometimes
about those people up your family tree?

This young woman, Wilhelmina Blomgren,
was my great-grandmother.

She was almost 81 when I was born
and died in her 90s when I was a teen.
She lived in the town where my mother grew up.
a place where we visited a few times a year.

But as for my great-grandmother,
I really have few memories of her.
Except that her hair was white and thin,
she wore old lady shoes,
she wrote phonetically spelled letters to my mother,
giving away the fact that she'd come to the U.S.
as a young woman and gave up speaking her native tongue
to become an American.
Oh -- and the place that she lived always smelled like coffee.

We went to her funeral.
I don't remember the funeral particularly
but I remember the wake that followed,
primarily because my grandmother's elbow got bumped
when she was carrying a lemon merengue pie.
I happened to be next to her
and wore the pie on my head.
I was the only person who didn't think it was funny.

But Wilhemina fascinates me now.
When she was just a young woman,
her uneducated, working class parents
squirreled away money and sent her
to live in the United States, as they had
her older brother and as they later would
a younger sister and younger brother.

Why did they feel compelled to do that,
knowing they might never see their children again?

Wilhelmina was eighteen in 1886 when she made the journey.
She could only afford passage in steerage.
She landed in a strange city where she knew no one.
She spoke only Swedish.

Was she afraid? Excited?
Was her older brother there to meet her,
or did someone send instructions about
the next step?

She made her way to Nebraska, where her paternal uncle lived
and got a job as a governess for a family.
She learned to speak a new language,
the language spoken by her employers,
which she assumed was English,
but which turned out to be Dutch.

So she started over,
learning English, becoming American.

In about 1891
she married a young immigrant from Norway.
They lived in Walla Walla, Washington.
They had three children in just over six years
and then, before she turned 30,
her young husband died of tuberculosis.

She continued to live on the homestead land
they were working. Right around the time her husband died,
her middle child died too. She had no time for grieving
because she had two small children to support.
So she cooked in a cook wagon that fed laborers
harvesting crops in the area.

This photograph was taken a few years after that time,
obviously, since it's machine-powered
.

There she met her second husband, another Swede,
my great-grandfather. He had homestead land
nearby in Oregon, but worked the harvest in Walla Walla
so that he could earn money to buy supplies, materials, and food.
They lived for a while on her homestead land
and had the first of their five children (my grandfather).

She became a citizen in 1902
and proved up her land claim.
And then they packed up the family
and all their belongings in horse drawn wagons
and made the trip through the Blue Mountains
to Samuel's land in Wallowa County, Oregon.
There, they made a home.

Did they sell her land?
How did she feel about leaving the place she knew as home,
a place where she'd buried a child?

Wilhelmina and Samuel Miller are in the back seat with Oscar
and Herbert; her son John Nelson is behind the wheel,
and my grandfather Elmer is holding Stanley.
Judging from the boys' appearance, I'd guess this was taken
about 1915. Don't know where the girls were -
Mamie was likely married already,
but Mabel should have been still at home.

Minnie was widowed again before she turned 50,
in the mid-1920s. She never remarried.

She lived through the Depression,
the Second World War,
up through the nascent civil rights movement,
and the early glimmerings of the women's movement.

What must this farm girl from a village
called Algutsboda in Kronoberg County, Sweden
have thought of her life?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Favorites (Self-Portrait Wednesday)


When I looked at this picture,
taken in the "Venice room"
a/k/a my powder room,
called the Venice room because
of the carnival masks and
art on the walls

the words that leapt to mind were:

Procol Harum
A Whiter Shade of Pale.

No particular reason why.
I must have slipped the light fandango
whatever that means.

It was never my favorite.

Here are some of my favorite things:

St. John perfume, followed closely by Hanae Mori and Vera Wang -
having a camera in my hands - soft white cotton hankies with lace -
writing in flow - a delivery from Amazon - independent bookstores -
well-done chick flicks - live musical theater - popcorn with real butter -
Moody Blues tune: Go Now - that soft, silvery shade that
hovers between blue and green like the waters close to the shore
in the Caribbean - sweet peas - reading my blog friends' posts - watching
the neighborhood eagle fish - arranging flowers - Diet Coke with Lime-
Pacific Northwest summers - rocking babies - silver jewelry -
Leona Lewis - books whose language is so rich you could get lost in it -
clean sheets - aha moments - the company of my kids - salads -
Italian food - Venice - wild birds - chai in thin-walled china mugs -
Arcopedico shoes -
finding the perfect present for someone I love -
puffy little clouds - golden raspberries right off the bush -
Seahawks football on tv - Art Wolfe and Barbara Cole's photography -
getting lost in thought - hummingbirds - perfect light -
the sound of laughter - fluffy towels - Haagen-Daz Reserve
Fleur de Sel caramel & sea salt ice cream (sinfully delicious)-
reading children's books out loud to kids - the smell of books -
anticipating my upcoming trips - word play - family gatherings -
expensive fountain pens even though I'm left-handed -
decorating for Christmas - perfectly fitting bras with padded straps
that stay put - light bouncing off water - capturing reflections -
encountering people in love - ornate Venetian carnivale masks -
autumn leaves - sunny winter days - when wishes come true.

And so much more.

We're all so multi-faceted.

Made up of lovely little bits,
of likes and dislikes,
native abilities and hard-won skills.

Tell me what you love.
Don't be shy.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Sign from the Universe


I know a lot of you believe
that the Universe sends us little messages
through ordinary things.

And who knows, maybe that's true.

The other day, I stopped at a bistro
to grab a quick bowl of soup
because I was starving but wanted
to make a film that started in only half an hour
so anything else was out of the question..

The host, hearing my time crunch issue,
said to sit anywhere and he'd grab me a bowl
of the soup of the day personally.


So I headed to the back,
where they display local artists' work
and there's a great view of Commencement Bay.

And he brought me a bowl of delicious mushroom soup
and some strawberry lemonade.
As soon as I dipped my spoon, I noticed
"the sign. "


It was a perfect little heart, a mushroom heart.
All the other bits of mushrooms were ovals
or just bits and pieces.

So I thought, "Well, obviously, given my posts lately,
this has to be a sign from the universe."

The question is,
is the Universe telling me

"Take heart."

or

"Eat your heart out."

????

I mean,
it's somewhat ambiguous.

But I didn't eat the little guy.

Didn't want to risk
destroying a sign from the Universe.
Even if it did leave me guessing.

What signs from the Universe
have clamored for your attention?
------------------

ps. I guess it could also mean,
"You find love in the most unexpected places,
when you weren't even looking for it."

Maybe I should write inserts
for fortune cookies.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Moments Fixed in Time


Are there some images
fixed in your mind,
a photo-catalogue of the imagination,
of events that had significance
in your life?

Those split seconds
where you noticed something amazing,

or

in which everything was changed irrevocably?


The instant in which something

changed your life completely:

everything once whole was broken

or everything broken restored to wholeness

The moment a birth changed you
from just a person to "parent,"

the Moon Landing,

the days in which Space Shuttles exploded
either coming or going,
a horror that was replayed in video
over and over again until you were numb
but the images were indelibly impressed in your psyche?

the assassination of political leaders
(JFK, Bobby, MLK, Benazir Bhutto)

a first kiss

news about the death of someone close to you

a marriage proposal

9-11

catching site of the Eiffel Tower for the first time

knowing FOR CERTAIN
that your prayers have been heard and answered
even if in ways you never anticipated

It seems like our lives are full of touchpoints ,
moments in which we take it all in,
instances in which we're fully present to wonder or horror,

no more important cosmically perhaps
than any other moment
except for the meaning we ascribe to certain ones.

What's in your memory bank?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wednesday Self Portrait (on Saturday)


So Wednesday
I was thinking deep thoughts
and didn't really have time
to post another Wednesday self-portrait.

On Thursday, I saw 500 Days of Summer,
a great little quirky romance-goes-down-in-flames
starring Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Zooey Deschanel.
Bittersweet screenplay, aptly cast, great music.

On Friday, I visited the hair salon
and then joined the Ladies Who Lunch bunch.
Since I'm crazy enough to drive almost two hours
to see the same hairdresser I've had for 16 years,
that took all day. No time to post.

This afternoon, I saw Adam, a lovely film
starring Hugh Dancy (of The Jane Austen Book Club)
and Rose Byrne. It's a sweet and tender yarn about
an ill-fated romance between a man
with Asperger's syndrome and a woman without.
The performances are emotionally potent
and the music in the film is amazing, too.

But this evening,
I had a little time to play.

Here's my self-portrait.


Sorry Zooey. I know I'm not a gorgeous 20-something.
But you're out and now
it's all about ME.




Thursday, August 20, 2009

Speechless with Awe


There are moments when the absolute magnificence
of Nature renders me speechless.

The sun sinking toward the western waters,
the silhouetted thistles,
the amethyst hillock hiding in the lower right corner
of the viewfinder.

"No Words" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian.

The kind of exquisite majesty
that causes your eyes to brim with tears
and you to whisper a thanks to Spirit.

And when someone sees you staring wordlessly
towards the sun that looks as if it's a persimmon
floating in a flaming sky,
when that someone watches you
reading the light and tinkering with shutter speed,
and then asks you with puzzlement, "Am I missing something?"

all you can do is gesture.

There are no words for something so spectacular,
something that unobservant someone
didn't even notice.

And quite likely
that person would never understand
your sense of awe.

But you can hope.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Transformation

I read a blog post the other day from a woman who confessed she was having trouble owning herself as an artist. I totally get that. I think of myself as someone who engages in self-expression, rather than as an Artist. But somehow reading her story got me thinking about artistic endeavors in my life and the transformative power unleashed. Creative expression is enormously healing. So for Steven's meme today on Transformational Moments, I offer this account.

Back a few years ago, when I separated from my ex (he of yesterday's post), I floundered as you might expect. My life had focused on loving this man, mothering our children, trying to anticipate and meet my husband's and kids' every need. The "Me" I was intended to be had grown shadowy and vague, like the colors in photographs taken long ago. I had taken all responsibility for the success of our relationship and that meant I had to shoulder all the blame for his repeated misdeeds, at least in my mind which clearly thought I was omnipotent. I was really accomplished at berating myself for not being able to salvage what was for my soul-self so obviously a train wreck. And I have to admit to being amazed that some wise woman who'd been locked inside me for years finally took over and told him to get out, that he'd blown his final chance.

After the shock of my proclamation and his subsequent departure wore off, the obsessive thoughts began. No matter how much I wanted to, I really couldn't stop listening to those malevolent voices in my head, the ones so dedicated to keeping me stuck in feeling bad. Nor could I understand why what was happening was happening and it felt quite falsely that if I only knew the WHY of it, it would be easier to accept and move on.

Some therapy aimed at addressing post-traumatic stress disorder helped a bit, but monkey mind would stop its chatter only for a few hours after a session. Then the racket would start again until the mean monkeys were screeching at a fever pitch. That only gave me a new opportunity: I began to feel bad about feeling bad. Why couldn't I get a grip on myself ? Why didn't I just let go and get over it?

Interestingly, after the crying subsided, I took stock and realized that I had a lot more creative energy. At the time, I didn't understand why it started to bubble up, but I welcomed it with open arms. My concern was how to use it, not where it came from. Unlike traumatic times in the past, writing in a journal held no appeal for me. It felt like wallowing, not healing. I couldn't concentrate long enough to string poems together. I knew intuitively that I had to transform my angst into something else, something healing. But what? And how could I get those damn monkeys to shut up?

I started playing with photographs, teaching myself the basics of Photoshop and Microsoft Digital Image Pro. I learned to manipulate images I'd taken in France and Italy, using filters to turn them into soft, impressionistic recollections. I shared them with my psychologist, who by

"Gondolier Apparitions" copyright 2004/2005 Meri Arnett-Kremian.
All rights reserved. In private collection.


that time, was working with me on learning to honor my intuition and being fully myself. (The image above is all about spirit and guides. Click on the image to see all the unexpected apparitions that just showed up.) Rosalie told me it was time that I had some artistic mentoring and waved a brochure for a painting class at me.

"A Tribute to Monet" copyright 2004 Meri Arnett-Kremian.
Collection of Jefri and Gene Twiner.

So, an already too-long, boring story made longer, through a series of amazing coincidences that worked against my substantial resistance, I ended up painting for two weeks straight. Me, who had never painted anything except a wall. For two weeks, all day long, I was immersed in the colors and shapes of abstract painting, letting my juiciness leak out and play on canvas. And yes, I did a bunch of paintings. Some were even gifts from the universe, like the one at the bottom -- the second or third painting I ever did. But the transformational aspect was discovering that when I was in flow, the monkeys left.

"Orbiting Bodies" copyright 2004 Meri Arnett-Kremian.

They were left brain monkeys. Left brain monkeys are denied entrance to right brain activities.

And though I needed to engage my left brain for logical-sequential functions, making time to fully immerse myself in the creative process and letting it take me where it chose was a way to get a vacation from the incessant screeching of mean monkeys. As I honored the creative impulse more and more, making space for it in my life, I discovered the monkeys had grown quite subdued. They've been replaced by the much kinder, gentler voice of my Soul Self, my intuition.

"Celestial Whispers" copyright 2004. Meri Arnett-Kremian.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Love of My Life


One of my dearest friends made an observation in a conversation not long ago that's bothered me a lot. She said, of my former husband, "He was the love of your life. You completely and totally adored him."

And yes, she's right. I did adore him. Utterly.

I loved his scent, the texture of his skin, the sound of his voice, how gifted he was at working with people. His soft green eyes melted my heart. My heart skipped a beat when he came through the door. He made the best Spaghetti Carbonara, Veal Scallopini, and Fettucini Alfredo I've eaten anywhere, including in Italy. His touch undid me, made me shiver with delight. He provided amply for our family and was generous with friends and family. There were times when he made me feel so loved, though now I wonder if that was just illusion created by a master manipulator because so much of his secret behavior was inconsistent with loving me and actively undermined our marriage. In any event, his good points as well as the intensity of love I felt for him frankly are a yardstick by which it's all-too-tempting to measure other men and find them wanting.
I'm consciously working on that because I need to create new metrics.

"Destiny" copyright 2005 Meri Arnett-Kremian.

All of that's neither here nor there. I've fallen in love with the me I've become. I've blossomed creatively in ways that wouldn't have happened if I were in relationship with him. He's living happily ever after with his perfect woman. I don't have to go see movies where people kill each other and blow up buildings. I've got more closet space. And that's all good.

But her observation rattled me to my core. Not the adoration part -- that's just a statement of fact. It's the other part that pierced my heart.

Was he, in fact, "the love" of my life?

Does that mean that in our whole lives, we only get one chance at great, grand passion and it's all downhill from there? Are there no do-overs?

Does that mean I'll have to wait until another lifetime to know the kind of love I felt for him? Will I never be wrapped in the arms of someone who loves me as utterly as I love him in return? Will I never lie sleeping with my back nestled up against Mr. Right's chest like spoons in a drawer, simultaneously dreaming the same dream?

That hardly seems fair.

Is there hope? Or is she right?

Because if she's right, I need to shed a few tears, cancel the dating services, and realize there's more to life than kissing frogs. Not that I've kissed any lately.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Plea for Words


I have a confession.

I collect words.

I hoard phrases
that catch my attention
as my eyes skim across a page.


I make hostages of word families
that stroll along the paths in my mind.

Like these:

* * * *
dissecting her own demented time
fractured and quivering hearts amplify
dragons at the gate

hope's hostage

soaring aloft on an updraft of love
to the fresh light of resurrection

emerging from the shadow of your darkness
* * * *

When I'm bursting with the urge to write,
I pull them out and let them
arrange themselves poetically.

Right now, I'm running a little low.
I haven't been catching words before they run away.


Do you have words lying around,
not being used, filling up a page or two
in a catch-all journal
that you might share with me?

Some of you pluck such beautiful words
right out of your imaginations
and paste them on the page,
like the Creator hanging stars on the sky.

Like
Rebecca,
Sweetest in the Gale,
Beth, Elk, Relyn,
Deb, Kat (Poetikat)
Michelle (Poefusion)
and Reya.

Please.
Let's trade words and phrases.
Feel free to borrow mine
and see where they lead you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Being Still


Sometimes currents run deep within,
insisting they float to the surface
and leave ripples to mark their presence.

"Still Waters" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.


Other times, I am brimming
with a sweet stillness
reflecting the wonder of the universe.

I float cloud-like
across the sky of dreams
and let it show me

everything
I need
to know.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Into Every Life. . .


Ordinarily, I'd extend an invitation to you to



Yesterday afternoon was an exception.
We had a booming thunderstorm
and my garden was fit only for ducks.




There's a creek behind my house
that flows into a big pond on the golf course.

When there's a rain deluge,
the ducks delight in waddling upstream to the little footbridge
that crosses the stream to give access to the ladies' tee.

They jump in there and surf the current down to the pond.
They were probably having a grand time yesterday.
I couldn't tell.

I could barely see the pond,
the rain formed so thick a curtain.

Could it have been the dreary day
that made me feel so tired and out of sorts?
Gray isn't my best color.

"Into every life a little rain must fall."

I'm just thankful the rain I'm getting is of the wet variety.
Lots of people aren't so fortunate.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Beginnings


Once upon a time,
the lazy days of August were a time
of sharp anticipation for new beginnings.

The opening of a new school year
was just around the corner
and preparations had to be made.

Of course you had to make sure to

and find the newest, hippest things to wear
that fit into your parents' budget for back-to-school fashion
(or that could be bought for what you'd managed to save
from your summer job).

A new school year held promise.

It was an opportunity to make a fresh start
academically, cultivate new friends,
and catch up with old friends who had been away for the summer.

It was a season of hope,
of getting just the teachers you wanted,
of finding a boyfriend or girlfriend,
of learning to find your way along
the path toward growing up.

Once you've made the transition to adulthood,
that feeling of anticipation,
the certainty of new beginnings just around the corner
is a little harder to come by.

How can you create a space for new blessings?

What new beginning would put some pizazz
in your life?

p.s. I just realized that Tuesday, August 11 was
the first anniversary of my first blog post.
How time flies!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Did I Tell You?


Did I tell you that I LOVE
Julie & Julia?



It came out Friday last week.
My friend Jef said she wanted to see it as a girlfriends outing.
We saw it Tuesday.

I went to see it again with Adrienne Wednesday.

And for those of you who can't think of Julia Child
without flashing on Dan Ackroyd's Saturday Night Light piece,
you're in luck.

It makes a great girlfriend outing,
but I think men will like it too.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Series


I woke this morning to a symphony of rain.
It was clattering down, vivace
with the resounding clack of snare drums.

Then it trailed away, pianissimo.
Right now, I think we're entre-act.

But the rain has formed
diamond drops at the points of the vine maple
outside my window
and washed away all the words
that I had saved to accompany my paintings.

So -- without excess words --
here are the paintings
in the order that they are meant to be hung
(left to right) in a show.


As I said yesterday,
I think the name of the series is "Personal Truths."
Well, actually, I said personal truth yesterday,
but today I'm adding an "s" to truth.
Because we all have more than one thing
that we know in our gut to be true.

Any suggestions for individual titles?

I'm lusting for titles
as rich and interesting as Mary Jane Rivers' series
that she called "The Elephant in the Room."


Monday, August 10, 2009

Working on a Series

If you've taken Peggy Zehrings's workshops more than once, after the half-day of drawing blindfolded, you're free to mastermind your own abstract series. You have to articulate and write down a purpose, like "exploring form to form relationships" or "investigating the emotional impact of color." Then you write down the steps in the process you're adopting. The only requirement is that you design a process having at least five steps.

One of the big challenges of painting abstracts is to create a coherent composition that works while at the same time replicating the authentic nature of the drawings. So I set as my goal just that: to do a series that captured the freshness and truth inherent in the blindfolded drawings.

But how can you achieve that authenticity?

I've tried to use a blindfold when painting, but it doesn't work very well. Even though you can feel around to make sure you're staying on the canvas,you can't tell when your brush is dry. If you stick your brush into a jar blindfolded, you're likely to stick a black brush into the pink paint.

When I asked Peggy for suggestions, her answer was "TOOLS." So in all my paintings I used the following tools: a 4-inch brayer, the ridged foam for stamping, a stylus for scratching into the wet paint and various paintbrushes. I applied a thick goopy coat of gesso and after it dried, I inked up the brayer with some perfect grey I'd mixed. Then I put on the blindfold and made random roller marks. Before the paint was dry, I scratched marks into the wet paint. Then I used the foam thingy to stamp on the canvas. After that, I started painting the edges and in the spaces between the stamping and the brayering.

The first two paintings (24 x 36 inch canvases not pictured here) came like magic. That made me worry that I would hit a wall the next day because the first two were too easy. Self-limiting prophesy or intuition?

The next morning, I came in and brayered the remaining canvases. Forgot to scratch into the paint until it was too late. Started on the rest of the process.

And after a while they looked like this:


and this



The more I worked with them to try to bring them in line with the first two paintings, the less authentic they became. They started looking overworked and fussy to me -- the antithesis of what I was after. So I took pictures of the canvases and said goodbye to them. I gessoed over each canvas with another thick, mooshy layer of gesso to cover up the old paint.

Peggy said it was a gutsy move. Surprisingly, it was easy to let go of those two problem children because of my determination to have each piece be as spontaneous and uncontrived as possible.

While I was letting the two gessoed-over canvases dry, I picked up the fifth canvas, already brayered and stamped, and let 'er rip (the creative impulse, not the canvas).

It started like this


and less than an hour later, it looked like this:


It wasn't quite as strong as the first two, but strong enough, so it moved into position two, with the second one I painted as #1 and the first one I painted as #3 (the anchor) in the series. Tomorrow I'll show you how the last two canvases morphed into their final form and took their places as #4 and #5.

The series is called (I think) Personal Truth.

And one of my truths is that when we don't get it right the first time no matter how hard we try, we need to have the guts to let go and start fresh.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Experimental Drawings

Before you get started on a painting assignment,
you always begin Peggy Zehrings's workshops with a half -day
of experimental drawings done with a product called
Charkole on butcher paper.

The drawings are done blindfolded while listening to music,
African tribal pieces or Australian aboriginal tunes or hot jazz.

This one happened to be done while listening to an African beat.

Some drawings are completed with your non-dominant hand
or with charcoal in both hands,
perhaps with your hands behind your back

like this one.

Some drawings rely on tools to stamp on the paper,
textured items to place under the paper,


graters to powder the charcoal, spritzes of water,
or thin strings of paper cement to create a resist.

Why?


If you're blindfolded or using your "other" hand,
you bypass the logical functions in your brain
and get a more visceral, authentic mark.


Those authentic marks tell a story of who you are
at a given point in your life.

The five drawings above are one-third of the total done that morning.

Since five members of the class were on their second week,
they were excused from doing another morning of drawing
unless they really wanted to play. So I've shown you my drawings,
but if you're interested, I'll show you some drawings by my classmates.

Let me know.





Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back from Painting Camp


I'm back from my painting blitz
with five completed paintings,
some soulful charcoal drawings,
starts on five textured paintings that are probably
best qualified as a "learning experience"
rather than a new direction, and
five new pristine canvases
for catching paint when I get inspired.


This is Peggy Zehring.

She's hamming it up next to one of
Kathy Kimball's gorgeous paintings.

I'll show you more of everyone's work
over the next few days, but you can see
more of Kathy's art by clicking on her name.

Peggy facilitates the painting workshop
and helps you figure out whether a painting is finished
or whether it needs a little more tweaking.

She also leads tai chi sessions
every morning for those who want to partake.

The class was small --
seven people altogether,
five of whom were on their second week.

People did amazing work.
Peggy has a knack for creating a safe place
to experiment with abstractions
that speak right from your soul.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Get Schooled


Sometimes when I'm out and about
I find the most intriguing messages
in the most unexpected places,
like in this advertising poster hanging
in the window of the University Bookstore.


When I saw it, my reaction was:

"Isn't that why we're here?"

Don't we all need to be schooled in the things that matter?

love

compassion

kindness

coming to terms with loss & change

meaning

What else goes on the list?

1. Beth's addition: patience

2. Delwyn's additions:

slowing down, letting go,

knowing that we will never know, understanding that

life is chaos but in chaos we can reach

a certain level of security.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beautiful Old


Why is it so much easier for us to appreciate
the patina of age
when we see it right before our eyes


than it is to fully celebrate the patina of age
when it's looking back at us
as our reflection in a mirror?

What's your plan for becoming beautiful old?
And how do you define it?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quieter Than Usual


I may be quieter than usual
for the next few days
because I'm away from home,
partaking in a painting workshop.

"Edge of Passion" copyright 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian.

On the other hand,
I might be able upload "process" photos
on my laptop and publish a few short posts
in the evenings

that is
if I'm not too exhausted
from making all those creative decisions.

I might just go back to the hotel and fall asleep
as soon as I wash off all the paint
and jump between the sheets.

We'll see.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Walking and Thinking


Thank goodness the weather's cooled off.
We're back to a layer of clouds in the morning
and sunny skies in the afternoon.

It's a much more agreeable temperature
for talking walks along the harbor

and admiring the great view of the mountain.

And walking's a perfect thing to do
while mulling over all the choices of classes
available at ArtFest 2010.

The schedule was posted around midnight.

I've already reserved my stay at my cousin Jenny's
guest cottage. It's way more cozy than the dorms.

Woo hoo!

What's got you excited today?

p.s. For what it's worth,
here are my movie recommendations for this weekend
if you can find them:

Moon
Every Little Step

I'm going to try to see
500 Days of Summer
and
Herb and Dorothy
too.