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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.

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.

IMG_9687Ryan Peters taught a fabulous workshop in Volcano on fermentation. It was a fabulous learning experience and FUN! He took your fear of fermentation away by demonstrating the art with ease. It was interesting to see the variety of kraut chi (sauerkraut/kim chi hybrid) that everyone created from the same selection of vegetables. We selected from head cabbage, carrots, won bok, round onions, green onions, jalapenos, beets, turmeric, ginger, green onions, radishes, turnips…yes, you can use them all…and more!

We all used salt for the initial breakdown of the vegetables. Mashing them with our hands or other available tools (such as a handy carrot).

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We packed our mixtures into canning jars. Ryan said that the type with a narrow mouth is better as it will help keep the veggies below the water line.

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He talked about all the good things the fermented veggies do for your gut…and they are super delicious. The first photo in this post shows the variety of colors, textures and tastes that our small group created.

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For more information from Ryan, check out his blog: Ferment to Be:

http://fermentedherbs.blogspot.com/

He’s got some classes coming up:

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I wanted to learn more so I purchased the Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, one of the books that Ryan shared.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/160358286X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=160358286X&linkCode=as2&tag=robinscanlon-20

IMG_0162 I’m teaching iPhone camera workshops and loving every minute. I promised the most recent class that I would give them a list of apps that we talked about in class as well as apps that we didn’t have time to cover. This is a short list of the apps I use most often. Please feel free to add any that you’ve discovered in the comments. With so many apps out there, there is much to explore. It’s so exciting!

Camera+ (be sure to get the one made by Tap Tap) – This is the best camera app that I’ve found. It’s good for processing (cropping, straightening, correcting exposure and color), has pretty good effects with good controls. I use this app in place of the camera app that comes with the iPhone because it has so much more functionality.
Pro HDR – Best app I’ve found for HDR (high dynamic range). When the scene has a dark foreground and bright background, this app takes two photos and combines them. You can use this for some cool double exposure effects.
Snapseed – Does a pretty good job of an HDR treatment even if you don’t use the app to take the shot. Has some great filters for a distressed look.
Waterlogue – A favorite of a famous football coach who took the class. Turns your photos into a watercolor painting. If you have an image you love that’s not technically perfect, try Waterlogue to give it a different look and forgive the imperfections.
AristaOil – This is good one for an oil painting look.  Maintains more detail than Waterlogue.
Blender – Easy to use to combine two images. Just import the two images to combine and adjust the opacity to your liking.
Photogene2 – For processing – has cool collages and effects. It also will watermark your photos (that makes it harder for thieves to steal your masterpieces).
Book-making apps for the iPhone or iPad:
SimplePrints ($29.99 for 20 pages) or Mosaic ($20 for 20 pages – shipping is $10). Mosaic makes a cool-looking mosaic cover. SimplePrints will give you more control – you can put multiple images on a page.
Lenslight – This app has great flares and colored filters, bokeh lights and the effects are editable.
Instaeffect – Layers rainbows, colors over the photo and you can adjust the opacity. Very fun!
Shapely – Put an image in a heart or teardrop, add texture and color.
Flipagram – make mini video clips from your photos, choose your music and share.
PixlrExpress+ – Free app that has a fun interface. Periodically, it has seasonal graphics packs that are also free – like Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. Use it when you want to add text to your photo.
Tangent – Adds geometric shapes.
Slow Shutter Cam – Use this for slow shutter effects – long exposures and light trail effects.

I also promised a link to the iPhone case with the strap that I adore. It’s http://www.bandolierstyle.com. I wish I had thought of this.

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I love Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. Her posts are so very interesting. This one is one of my favorites.

David Ogilvy is writings are much admired by many (and me.) Here’s practical advice most of us can benefit by.

“The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.

Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize,demassificationattitudinallyjudgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

David”

I’ll be sharing more of my favorite posts from this site..Or check it out yourself for some really interesting reads.