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Art & Creativity

When you neglect anything for a while, it’s hard to get back to it. Practice, practice daily and it works better. So here I am…showing up on the page. I love to write, but I’ve been so down on my ability to do anything. At the last meditation retreat I did in Maui, after fifteen years, I figured out the reason I keep at zen practice. Believe me, it’s not an easy one in any way. That was a good thing.

I’ve been reading a lot. Well, actually, I’ve been listening to books a lot. I almost gave up reading because I had such difficulty concentrating. I still do, but listening to audio books has made it easier. The experience is definitely different. I listened to Pico Iyer’s The Lady and the Monk. Mostly I enjoyed going through Kyoto with him. After that, I had to get the book because reading the words makes the images more vivid for me. I just finished Lit by Mary Karr which is well written. I found it hard to get through some of the bad stuff she experienced, but the insights were wonderful. Now I’m listening to Michael Pollan’s A Place of My Own. He narrates it as did Mary Karr and Patti Smith and I love listening to the author read their own work. Ted Kooser reading his memoir, Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps, was one of my favorites. I know, my choice of reading material is all over the place. Anyway, being in touch with the books made me want to practice writing again. So here I am.

Another practice, I’m trying my hand at is drawing and painting. I’ll try anything. I want to try my hand at another form of art practice. Lots of stuff I want to do. I have a humongous collection of art supplies so there is absolutely no reason to procrastinate on this one. I even have images in my head…food, ohia trees and other native Hawaiian plants, dogs and just beautiful things in general. I listened to an interview on Public Radio where the interviewee’s goal in creating work was to give people a reason to be optimistic. It was on Serious Eats and they interviewed Phil Rosenthal. I thought that that was an fantastic goal to have given the current news climate…a perfect goal for me to have whether I write, draw or cook. Looking for the good things is the way I want to spend my life.

My best friend died last year. I still think I can just call or write her about something she would like or think was funny every day. Channeling those thoughts into art would be a way to express those things. She encouraged my writing and watercolor all the time.

So Carolyn…this is for you. I miss you every day.

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This day…Friday…on the Kona Coast. Observing kiawe (mesquite) beans that have fallen onto black sand. Shadows join.

What is this about? An online workshop called Contemplative Creatives Journey. The class is run by Bo Mackison whose ideas and art are aligned with what I would like to present to the world.

This is the first practice: Friday phenology.Definition found

The definition for phenology found online: the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.

Because I travel so much, my Friday phenology when on the road will involve returning to a place. If it’s a place that I will not be frequenting, I’ll find something water-related in the area…ocean, lake, river.

This blog is where I’ll be “storing” these observations.

Having a great Sunday. Cleared out the vegetable bin and made two kinds of kraut.

The one on the right contains cabbage, carrots, garlic, lemon, salt, dill and pink peppercorns. Itʻs a tiny batch…itʻs better that way. I use the entire lemon in thin slices. The salt will preserve and soften the skin and make it delish. I used my momʻs old Japanese pickle pot for it. The other kraut contains red cabbage, beets, carrots, red onion, garlic, lemon, salt, pink peppercorns and horseradish. Just have to give it four or more days to ferment. I love burping them every day.

In the background, are prints that I just got back from the lab. Itʻs the first time Iʻve printed on metal and love the result. Tomorrow they will be submitted for a juried show at the Honolulu Museum of Art…keeping my fingers crossed that one of them will be accepted.

Yesterdayʻs veg bin, todayʻs kraut

Yesterdayʻs veg bin, todayʻs kraut

I’ve been wanting to post about a blog that I love – Spoon and Tamago. It’s based in Tokyo and NYC. The posts that are my favorites are written by the editor in chief, Johnny Strategy…love his name!

The blog shares Japanese designs, art, and architecture. It is so fascinating. Let me share some of the posts. For more information on these, click on the image and it will take you to the original post on Spoon and Tamago.

Postcards for the New Year are huge in Japan and are mostly themed around the Chinese zodiac. So for 2015, it’s the year of the sheep.

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Paintings that spill off the canvas onto the wall.

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The custest tea bag holder ever:

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Amazing bouquets of flowers frozen in ice:

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Cats and sushi…

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Goldfish in bubble wrap:

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Goldfish in bubble wrap

The site also has a shop that carries some of the items they post about.
http://shop.spoon-tamago.com/

This day started badly for me…disappointment with the way a meeting went with a group I cherish. Apprehension about facing a much loved family member with fear. With the help of friends and space, things can turn around. I found this poem by Thomas Merton on the On Being blog .

“There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life, just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts. See within yourself, if you can find it.
I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me. It was magical.
We are already one, yet we know it not.”

~Thomas Merton (via crashinglybeautiful)

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Photo from above Hilo. I love flying above Hilo.