creative energy

Better Than the Last.


Six years ago I was asked to create a short film to accompany a short fiction piece of mine called Life Vest. I had never done anything of the digital kind, except back in film school on old analog slicing equipment. My ideas did not lack. My technical ability severely lacked. Awful, horrible cringe worthy. What I saw in my head was not translated onto the moving substrates. This was my first in digital.

The technical aspects of Life Vest make me chuckle. O, I tried with my rudimentary equipment and microphone sitting in an open house with children's toys at my feet. BUT, I put it out there. Not being the best. It's so modern of me to be clunky. The imagery, however, I loved. I took all of the images with my son's childhood plastic microscope from a bee found on my balcony. (The neighbor had been poisoning the bee population. I lived in California: where flowers bloom! And you're killing the bees? Don't get me started on some idiotic human attempts to coexist with nature. My thriving concern continues, even into a different space and state. See the article here.)

Tricia Louvar created this video to accompany her story "Life Vest." The story first appeared in audio form, in Bound Off #48. An hour-long presentation of Bound Off videos was shown at the Printers' Ball ( ) on July 30, 2010 in Chicago. Bound Off is a free monthly literary audio magazine.

While working in the studio today on stories--starts of a graphic artist essay, a nonfiction article--I came across this beautiful piece of work (see below). A small, perfect masterpiece. This inspires me to stretch myself creatively. Six years ago I was on fire. Then my fire dulled. Attention went to other things. And I vow to get back to that deepest impulse of expression and connection through artful moments that shed light on the human condition.

I read somewhere the other day this small piece of advice: Make the next year better than the last. 

Hammock's "Mono No More."

Collage of Inspiration, Friday Edition (wk 2)

Another fast week down. More good inspirational "stuff" I picked up, as if the world were a flea market of creativity (at least in my eyes). Here are some goodies I will introduce, pass along, share, etc.

Wayne Lawrence. This Brooklyn-based photography is the sh&t in his documentary style, in the subjects he selects, in his framing, in his lighting, in his absolute control of the frame. His direct and centered aesthetic reminds me of Diane Arbus or Walker Evans. His work focuses on marginalized communities, often forgotten or passed by the mainstream media. Kudos to Mr. Lawrence for showcasing the beautiful people in Orchard Beach: The Bronx Riviera. I love the power of the gaze in each of this subjects to the camera.

Ghost Loft. Leave it to SoundCloud to introduce me to new sounds, vibes of the Los Angeles-based musician/remixer. Enter Ghost Loft's "So High." I completed much inking to this song over the past days....

Seed-to-Table Programs. The seed-to-table school programs allow local farmers to include school-age children in the process of farming food that goes onto their table in the lunchroom. Today I was lucky enough to follow along and witness a program in action. I learned about the compost toilet, the amount of heat horse manure produces, how to layer compost, how to use a wide-edged soil fork. The group of environmental twenty-somethings were genuinely engaged and excited to share their passion for organic farming and vegetable making. 

Below are the photos/illustrations from the on an image to start the brief photo essay with little narratives. 

Have a great weekend. Please send me a comment or note about what inspired you this past week.....

Collage of Inspiration, Friday edition

Looking back over the week, here are some things that inspired me. And perhaps you too get inspired by angles, light, color....small quiet moments? Among the photographs I captured, here are some other media greats I want share....

Sally Mann's Exposure (New York Times), enjoy this article and excerpt from her forthcoming Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs. It's so exciting to hear Mann talk about her extraordinary work from 20 years ago. I poured over her images and books throughout the years. To "hear" her voice in prose, rather than photography is another new intimacy.

Tritonal's "Satellite." Just a good spring song, with the car windows down and snow covered mountains shine bright against the panoramic clear sky. I'm a sucker for Austin (Texas) ambient and progressive trance groups....

Stay Still, Stay Silent. Leave it to the cool artistry of a Finnish-Swedish woman to transform webcomics to a new level. Amazing work she has online. This inspiration comes from a teenager I mentor, as we discussed her narrative arch/character development on her own webcomic. She's really pushing the boundaries. Exciting to see her develop....

Click on each photo for a little narrative....

Have a great weekend....get outside.

moleskine non sequitur, No. 1

I'm not sure how I feel about constant back rubbing while waiting in public? It just feels like too much on some basic level of nurturing. For adults, I mean, doing it to other adults. 

Still inking and grooving on this vibe even years later...Boards of Canada, more Dayvan Cowboy!

Find something or someone to inspire you today....and spread the good vibes.

Coffee shop drivel. Personal collection. 

pruning your story (for clarity?)

Remember your first career dream? Or maybe you're still having them, working on them, making them up as you go? I remember taking these photographs and finding a storyline--completely opposite worlds--and wondering what the woman in Griffith Park (Los Angeles) with the large tatt wanted for her life compared to what these two little girls were saying mid-conversation with a fence in between them. (Note: As sad as it sounds, this is how I spend some of my a creative nerd.)

I tutor kids/teens and ask them to look for inspiration in all the weird, hidden, and random parts and pieces of their life and the world. Inspiration brings forward a happy self. I like this collection of Psychology Today articles on "psychological spring cleaning." Happy cleaning!

Send a comment or note if you have a happy self cleaning method to share....

looking beyond your nose.

I'm not sure where the saying "look beyond your nose" came from, BUT it's popular with mothers when talking to their children in search of something. In fact, I, on occasion, have used the idiom myself. So, here is an interpretation of the idiom when I stopped looking at my stupid smartphone when I walked into the coffee shop after watching "Song of the Sea" (awesome aesthetically pleasing and original film!) with the kiddos. Thump has delicious homemade chai tea and the kids loved their "real" hot chocolate. (Wow, taste the melted-chocolate-bar-in- there kind of drink!)

Have a great day and look beyond your nose for something new....or with a new filter, at least.

This is the ceiling in  Thump Coffee . Such a nice surprise to walk in and find the ceiling of wishes. It has empty wooden boards and markers next to the barista's pick-up counter for you to write/sketch/etc....and make your desire known! It's like social media for woodsy mountain people.

This is the ceiling in Thump Coffee. Such a nice surprise to walk in and find the ceiling of wishes. It has empty wooden boards and markers next to the barista's pick-up counter for you to write/sketch/etc....and make your desire known! It's like social media for woodsy mountain people.

shine a light on it.

Illustration Friday sends me little blog posts about once a week. This sweet one came early in the morning when I read the newspaper in bed in the dark from a backlit screen and our puppy curled in the center of my back. Must not forget to mention my husband's cold big foot dropped across my ankle. Good cuddly times. However, this blog post discussed selecting a creative career

I have been doodling and drawing for decades. It wasn't until recently that I embarked on doing it professionally. When I went back into my youthful days and analyzed what I loved most about a creative life one thing came up: art supplies. Today I focus on pen/ink, watercolor washes, and charcoal (because I love to etch and smear with my fingers). These are the avenues with which I work, as photography--a first love--hit a stagnant stride. Photography is the study of light, not a device to record all the places you've been. I remember reading an interview with Taryn Simon in conjunction with her exhibit at the Tate Modern (London). She said she never photographs or carries a camera...only when she's working on an exhibit piece. Life as lived, rather than captured. Capturing life with a pen takes on a whole new speed of slow. Meditative. Three hours zip by without even's to getting lost inside a good period of your life.

More out takes from a creative, simple as follows: Drawing model. Floor as my palette. off charcoal all over my wrists and hands and nose in public washroom. Drawing model (yup, different pose).

scraps, leftovers, remains: the creative mind

Here are some creative experimental sketches. One pose, one pen, I call it (left). One pen, curved or straight line (right). And then an interpretation of negative space (bottom). 

Rendered in the AM. Woke to this article. Inspire. Be inspired. Do.

I remember old college days of darkroom photography when a lightbox was a lifeblood to shooting "Chrome" (and that is not a Google reference). Now the light box is broken (this one in the middle image), left in the back of a theater, and uncovered. I still have a relic like this in my studio. My daughter likes to turn off the lights, turn it on, and look at my old slides on it. The reversal film DOES look like little jewels against the box. (Sigh: the old days of analog photography.....)

three (1/2) jobs + a state of creative state of mind.

The work-life balance with three (1/2) jobs and a family offers little free time. I continue working this week on an anthology of essays and a social commentary short, as well as a graphic essay/short story. 

I still find reading graphic novels as part of my "work research" these days. Some of my favorites on the nightstand now.

Lucy Knisley "The Age of License"

Demetri Martin "Point This at Your Face: Drawings"

Ros Chast "The Party, After You Left"

More words, ink, and sweat! And I should say, I love all three (1/2) jobs. Awesome hodge lodge of a creative life. (Note: The 1/2 job is running. It's a must-do.)

sketching works in effect. out takes of "working hands."

sketching works in effect. out takes of "working hands."

I rarely shoot images while running. But it felt needed on this day. Much gratitude for such an expansive view and healthy life.... New shoes , better pace. Who knew? They're moving and working for of right now. Training for the next race. 

I rarely shoot images while running. But it felt needed on this day. Much gratitude for such an expansive view and healthy life....New shoes, better pace. Who knew? They're moving and working for of right now. Training for the next race. 

Personal Collection: creative sputters

Some have a need for Whiskey. Or cigarettes. I have a need to smear charcoal with my fingers. My fingers (and side of palm) turn jet black. Sometimes, portraits come out of random parts of my creative spirit. Like this one I named "Edgar." 

Personal Collection. Night by the fire with hot tea (and puppy trying to steal my tea bag). "Edgar." Charcoal drawing. 2015

Personal Collection. Night by the fire with hot tea (and puppy trying to steal my tea bag). "Edgar." Charcoal drawing. 2015

the 20-minute pose


The 20-minute pose: most fellow artists around me are perfecting their one 20-minute pose portrait. I am trying many attempts with different styles and methods: erasing, scribbling, scratching, and writing (dialoguing with my sketchbook about why something does or does not work). I thought of this as the radioactive portrait where pieces of her are under a spell of epic light. I'm pretty sure I left with charcoal on my face. Good messy art day, followed with some weight training with the man.

Sketch of Life, 3

Here is a collaboration between my daughter and me, while we sat in the cabin and worked on miscellaneous art projects. This was after I inked parts of my hair aqua blue unknowingly from a broken pen. My face was splattered with ink. She laughed.

"It's even up my nose!" I said when I looked in the mirror. We were in the creative "zone."

collaboration in effect. daughter has studied my book on rothko in front of the fireplace on a cold day. she has to figure out what he was trying to say; she has to figure out for herself how color and the force of a brush stroke equate a "voice."

Sketch of Life, 2

The 48-hour brine is in effect. Morning in the kitchen, finalizing the Thanksgiving menu, boiling the brine to marinate the big turkey (the family carnivores, request). The kitchen smells amazing! See for yummy holiday fixings.....and looking forward to this roasted provolone recipe (i.e., appetizer) I'm making from BonAppetit. Here's to food in good company....

another inspiration at breakfast when the light hit the oozing yoke, just right....

Inking Things Past + Finding Liquid Sounds

A gift from the Renaissance man, my father-in-law....he knows my artistic side. He gives me little gems. Like the vintage anthology of Love Letters I keep and read in my studio as well. 

Snow dump. Studio play. A few shots of a little graphic narrative I've been producing on and off since Spring 2014. I sketched most of it last March-April. Left it. Hid it. And now inking it upon my return into winter. 

Here are two things worth listening to, if you need some audio noise in your work-life. Cooking. Running. Working. Writing. Sketching.Cleaning. However. Wherever.

Spend your time doing things that make you forget time exists...this is a sign of your life's true passion.


TED Talks on Creativity

Consider musical artists VOYAGEUR, LAU3, Jaccoo.....found in the rounds of AirWaveTV, like this contemplative song, Jacoo "A Word of Peace"


Inking page with lap puppy. So tiny. So cute. My wrist.

Sunday Living of "The Art Spirit" (take 1)

Muddy pockets on back dirt road. My daughter and I having a blast.

Sunday Living of "The Art Spirit" (take 1)

Half of a whole day: Peddling over dirt roads pocked with water and mud. "Don't be afraid of the mud," I tell my kids, as I plow through the center of the puddles and flip up dirt on my mountain bike. We find moguls to pump our legs over and descend in succession. "I can wash whatever you've got on." They are resistant until they see me. Then they go for it. Enjoy the now. Wash them off later. A good day in the woods before snow hits this week.

Before the model takes his place, the wall is an identity in itself and is forward.
— Robert Henri, "The Art Spirit"

Self-portrait in loft of log cabin. The wall just was a wall until I gave it another identity. Robert Henri's art monologue came to mind.

Half of a whole day: The destination at the coffee shop for an afternoon of coffee, hot chocolate, egg nog latte, and sweet danish spilt among the children. We read our books in silence, in a group around our table. (I continue to read Robert Henri's "The Art Spirit," hence this is what filters my eyes at the moment while thinking about creativity and my awareness.) There is a great way to finish a long bike ride when the winds are gusty and it drizzles with the sun shining (random Central Oregon weather patterns), only after the huz requested we order nachos and watch football down the street at the Mexican restaurant.  

When we came home, after raking up pine needles and thinking about art going up the stairs the autumn setting sun hit the log cabin's loft. And I thought of Henri's monologue on backgrounds in portraits (hence, his quote above). 

Here's to a good week of creative energy and new output....