Monday, February 26, 2007

More fun and some amazing links.

Have I mentioned lately how much fun photoshop is? Well it's great! Got my years worth of Photoshop Creative eMag on a disk and what will unfold from it? Just wait and see. These two images are altered from images sent to me in emails, so I figure who ever took them originally might not mind too much if I play with them, since they've probably been gifted to lots of other folks in-boxes as well.
Feb. 24 Artella's Link Latte was for Stefan G. Bucher's time lapse video of his daily monster. He creates monsters with black ink and pens and records them. Or at least he did, because yesterday was #100 and I think that's it. Well I wandered around his marvelous website and here's what I found. If you go to the first monster you will find a pdf version of a beautiful book, full of ... yes... monsters. Then wander back to the 100th monster and you can hear him reading the book to his friend's son, Arthur. What fun! You can go deeper into the realms of Stefan G. Bucher and discover more things. Here's his description of heaven:

To me, heaven is a kind of oneness with the universe.
A repositioning of the ego from focal point of worries and neuroses to thankful (graceful?) observer and conduit of beauty.
...Here's what I'm talking about: Most of the time I run around worrying about this and that, trying to figure things out, making stuff happen. But then, occasionally, there are moments when all that goes away and I just marvel at a cloud pattern or a piece of music. At that moment I became important only as being there to experience something wonderful. There is no other obligation.
So I think of heaven less as a place I might qualify for when I die, but as a state of existence parallel to my everyday life that I get to tap into every now and then. As I become more aware of what opens me up to the transition, I hope to spend more of my time there.
Now isn't that exquisite and graceful?

For more on oneness with the universe see the video of Bob Randall, an Yankunytjatjara Elder and traditional owner of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Bob is one of the stolen generation of the Aboriginal people, taken from his family at the age of seven. This video clip is a delight. I think he taps into Stefan's parallel existence every day, every moment.

Want one more? OK, check out Life as Art Practice at
(And don't you love the idea of Life as Art Practice?)
"Each moment of the everyday, every action of living, poses the question: how it might be lived differently, more truthfully and respectfully" is a quote I found there.

What I also found was a series of videos about interactive, daily, creative activities in urban environments featuring "artist-in-service" Markuz Wernli Saitô.
He followed his schedule in the rain or in the sun. Every day, free of charge.

It was an effort to "ignite our streamlined, hyper-functional lives with meaningful encounters and fresh discoveries."

On Mondays Markuz had his outdoor Mobile Tea Ceremony, a simplified version of traditional Japanese hospitality in unusual settings.

Tuesdays were Markuz's "I Love Trash Days." He helped communities express gratitude towards "a service we take for much too granted." He helped them create thank you notes for their trash bags addressed to the heros of the day: Our Garbage Men.

On Wednesday Markuz offered City Canal Tours, where you could explore the canals of Kyoto and discover a whole new perspective, many surprises, and wet feet guaranteed.

On Thursdays Markuz created Coin Mosaics and infused new meaning and a decorative difference in very sterile surroundings.

On Fridays Tree Guarding was the activity. Markuz encouraged a new appreciation for the trees on Kyoto's speediest and grayest street. With his help people discovered how trees are living observers of urban development and human activity.

Markuz spent some time on Saturdays Bridge Sitting. He encouraged the residents of Kyoto to look at every bridge is a stage in the landscape inviting them to sit down and take in the scenery upstream.

On Sundays Markuz had Vending Machine Stories in which he created a culmination point where the folks of Kyoto could meet the artist-in-service, hear the latest episodes of the preceeding week and ask the artist tough questions. This is story time.

To see the video clips of these interactive community art projects, please click here.

Now isn't that lovely?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Spacious Wishes

Lani playing with the kids in Truffaut's 400 blows.

Have you read the UNICEF report on Child Welfare in Developed countries? You can download it here. We are not doing very well for our kids, that's for sure. Take a look. (And then try to find an article in the New York Times about it and I'll eat my paintbrush. "All the news that's fit to print" indeed!) The gist of the UNICEF report is that an abundance of material goods does not guarantee that our children are happy and healthy. The US and England are at the bottom of the list in all aspects and Canada is right in the middle of the developed countries, not too good, but not the worst.

If you are interested in greed, desire, and the whole consumerist addiction cycle there are a lot of interesting papers on about the manufacturing of desire. Buddhists have been interested in the questions of mind and greed for a long time. They even have wonderful cautionary tales about the realm of hungry ghosts, or pretas, which:

...are probably the most vividly drawn metaphors in the Buddhist Wheel of Life. They are phantom-like creatures with withered limbs, grossly bloated bellies, and long, narrow needle-like necks. They demand impossible satisfactions so they have stretched necks---hungry and demanding the impossible. They are searching for gratification for old unfulfilled needs whose time has passed. Their ghost like state is representative of their attachment to the past. They live in past wants and desires.

The modern word for preta is "consumer."
I could go on a bit but I've already written about consumerism and hungry ghosts here in the Journal Articles PDF.

Instead of teaching kids to consume let's give kids what they need, lot's of art making time, puppets of their own devising, story telling, and spaciousness. Lots of spaciousness. See jaihn's spacious blog, look at recent posts and the spacious grove post where little wild pigs will live one day. Learn what is possible.

Inside the altered book Fairy Gifts (see last post) by Lani.

May you walk between the trees, may you create many celebrations, may you love without fear, may you create beautiful things, be unafraid to fly, and live deliberately.

May you never stop dreaming.

(paraphrased or altered from Off the Map)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Artful Gifts of Inspiration

Fairy Gifts - An altered book (more images to follow) by Lani

Can you ever have too much art in your life? I don't think so. jaihn sent me on an amazing visual adventure, well two actually but more about the second one in the next post. The first adventure included Juju Loves Polkadots and the second was Suburbia with lots of free Photoshop brushes and yes I used a few in the image. I heartily recommend that you visit these two websites.

Over at 14 Secrets everyone is cooking up all kinds of amazing art objects, round robins, and charms swaps. And every so often Lore asks us a question which leads to all kinds of visual and imaginative adventures. This week's was "if you found a little suitcase what would you do with it and what would you put in it?" I immediately thought of altering it to make it portable box of inspiration in which I would put Brian Eno type Oblique Strategies cards (of my own devising of course) and other objects of inspiration (like everything from the last round robin that came home - my word but round robins are inspiring!) In fact, one of the next art challenges in the group will be an art bag round robin. I will consider Lore's gift while I work on my art bag, and I'll take a look at Juju Loves Polkadots again.

I'm starting to get highly excited about ArtFest which seems to be a whole Art-Gift-of-Inspiration-Fest experience. There's a yahoo group for folks who are heading over to the left coast at the end of March for ArtFest and in the group are excited newbies and those who are excited old-timers. Melissa Manley had this to say in a post to the group:

-it has been cool to read
all the newbie excitement. It adds to the build up.
This will only be my 2nd Artfest. I remember how
scared I was the first time. And I was going
alone...didn't know a soul. I however spotted LK
Ludwig in the Chicago airport. I saw the Artfest
folder sticking out of her totebag. It was
thrilling... the whole thing! You will meet people in
the airport, or maybe on a shuttle. Then once at
Artfest - think of it...400 people, pretty much like
you, scared to expose their innermost thoughts on
paper and yet exhilarated to share the experience. I
made it a point to try to sit with different people at
dinner, since I was alone, I wanted to break out of
feeling shy and vulnerable. At meals I heard stories
from people whose lives were changed by collage, book
altering, making things and especially Artfest.
Stories from women who'd saved up all year for
Artfest, come there by themselves to make time to grow
creatively. There are a few testimonies that I
remember that bring tears to my eyes even now. Wish I
could remember their names.... Can't wait to do it
again! You are gonna LOVE it!
Thank you Melissa! Such an artful gift of inspiration. I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy St. Valentine's Day

(more photoshop fun)

Do you know Byron Katie? She has quite a lot to say about learning to love this moment and this life a little more easily. Read some of "Loving What Is" on Byron Katie's website, and love where you are and who you are with.
And here's a sweet link from jaihn for a story about creating a healing story quilt with Katrina kid's art. Really good images and ideas here!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Links and Inspiration

Collage of Boccaccio's Gypsy Girl and some amazing ideas and background from Advanced Photoshop, a wonderful magazine.

My friend Maureen (one of the Lost Sisters) sent this today:

Below is a wonderful poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her "beauty tips."
It was read at her funeral years later.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness...
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone...
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
Renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
Never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
You will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
One for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

Two more quotes from Diane AuCoin and Ned Bear:

If you want to be whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself become empty. If you want to be reborn, Let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up. - Tao Te Ching

"I am only one. But still I am one.
I cannot do everything. But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." -Helen Keller.

And I found some simple doll & clothes patterns
hereandhere. Surprised I'd know anything about Martha Stewart? Yeah, me too!

And then finally have you seen Sabrina Ward Harrison's photography website? This is wonderful. You will get all kinds of ideas percolating when you look at her images!

Here's what she says about her work:
Sabrina Ward Harrison makes images that collaborate with this living world - working with it, seeing into it, being inspired by it and creating for it. The landscape of our living is what she presents – a landscape that unfolds through color, culture, depth of field and slanted light.

These images are created by collections of detail from the subject's surroundings – details and specifics that define who they are and search for their essential spirit. Intimate details and pieces of life, all in harmony with each other - at times glorious, sometimes discordant but always whole.

The essence of Harrison's work is a search for the living human spirit – a quest she undertakes with her hands, her eyes, and her intuitive sensibility. Her work allows a place to unfold, a place to build, a place to reveal and essentially cries the poetry of life.

Harrison creates a sense of openness and breath, light and history. Her images are imbued with a power that is both accessible and universal at their core. As you observe her work, time moves with you and you find yourself in a place where moment and memory meet. The work of Sabrina Ward Harrison invites liberation and inspires a thriving life.

Be inspired by the quotes, have fun with these links, and go make some art!

Monday, February 05, 2007

How to Make Wabi-Sabi Art

Collage made with Teesha Moore collage sheets, bees wax, gold foil and hockey tape (I'm in Canada after all).

The "How to Make Wabi-Sabi Art" zine is done and will be offered on Artella any day now! Learn how to make art from an intuitive world-view in which things are relative, soft edged, ambiguous, contradictory, flexible, and idiosyncratic. Learn the value of one-of-a-kind, personally meaningful objects. Create art with materials gleaned from nature, since wabi-sabi celebrates the fundamental uncontrollability and impermanence of all things natural (ourselves included).