Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Desert Creatures

Pono and I had a magical encounter with a desert tortoise yesterday morning on our hike. I took a video of it with my phone, which I had hoped to share with you. However, I can't seem to get the video to upload. Sorry about that. Photos instead...

Today's morning hike was all clouds and drama. As usual, no rain.

The studio has been absorbing most of my time and energy.

"Talking Roadrunner." Encaustic, thread, and ink transfer, 8 x 8 inches. 

There will be more work to share with you soon.

Thanks for all of your comments and emails! I cannot tell you how much it means to me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Art and the rational mind

You may not know this about me, but my husband and I lived in Hawaii for a few years. We lived on the island of Maui. It was an incredible experience. We loved being near the ocean, where we could snorkel, surf and swim, but I also enjoyed having a chance to learn more about Hawaiian culture. I took a beginning hula class and really loved it. We miss it, but life had other plans for us, and now we are in the desert. Lately, I have been pining for Hawaii, for some of the things there that touched me so deeply. Since the hula was such a big part of living in Hawaii for me, I have been watching videos of hula to reminisce.

Some of you may be more familiar with Tahitian hula, rather than Hawaiian hula. Tahitian hula is much faster than Hawaiian hula. The dancers tend to wear elaborate headdresses, and the movement is focused more on the hips and less on the hands. There are two different kinds of Hawaiian Hula. One is the Auana hula. This is the Modern hula - the one with guitars, ukulele, dresses, flower leis - the one most of us are familiar with. My favorite kind of Hawaiian hula, however, is the ancient hula, called Kahiko. There is a lot of chanting, the dancers are usually adorned with greenery rather than flowers, and the instruments used are mostly the rhythm instruments like the Ipu (which is a drum made from a hollowed out gourd.) I have attached a video of women (wahine) performing kahiko hula, so if you haven't ever seen it before you can experience it for yourself.

It's often interesting for me to think about why I love the Hawaiian hula and chants so much. I don't speak Hawaiian, so I don't know what they are chanting most of the time. Yet it touches me deeply, and sometimes when I watch a hula performance, I am moved to tears. Have you ever loved music that is sung in a language you don't understand? What I have decided is that when we hear or see something that really touches us, it doesn't necessarily touch us intellectually. It touches our hearts. It touches our souls. Visual art can be like that too. There is always this initial desire for people to "understand" art. We think maybe if we understand it intellectually, then we will really be able to enjoy it. I don't think that's true. I think if it's something that touches us, it can touch us without our rational minds. It goes beyond that - it goes deeper.

Maybe the rational mind is a barrier between us and an ability to be touched by art. (Music, dance, painting, sculpture - I am putting all art into this word right now.)

I am curious to know what you think about this. Do you think you have to understand the words of a song to enjoy it? Do you think you really have to know what a painter is thinking in order to be touched by their painting?

"Untitled - arrangement on blue." Oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday's Coyote

If you find that you are sick of trying to find something good to watch on TV or Netflix lately and really want to be inspired, I highly recommend this interview:


I think you will LOVE it. I did. (With a shout out to Elena Ray for recommending it to me - thank you!!!)

Here's a new one from the steamy encaustic studio:
"Trotting Coyote." Encaustic, thread and ink transfer, 8 x 8 inches.
If you don't have time to watch the whole interview, I have cherry picked one of my favorite quotes from it:
"There is no creativity without vulnerability." ~Brene Brown