Posts

Showing posts from August, 2009

Creating Masks

Image
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 th

Betrothed to the Unknown

Image
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 fig

Don't You Wonder Sometimes?

Image
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

Favorites (Self-Portrait Wednesday)

Image
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 jewel

A Sign from the Universe

Image
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 "

Moments Fixed in Time

Image
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 a

Wednesday Self Portrait (on Saturday)

Image
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

Speechless with Awe

Image
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.

Transformation

Image
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 whic

The Love of My Life

Image
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

A Plea for Words

Image
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 (Poet

Being Still

Image
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.

Into Every Life. . .

Image
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.

New Beginnings

Image
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

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.

Series

Image
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."

Working on a Series

Image
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 you

Experimental Drawings

Image
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 ar

Back from Painting Camp

Image
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.

Get Schooled

Image
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.

Beautiful Old

Image
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?

Quieter Than Usual

Image
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.

Walking and Thinking

Image
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.