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Natural Symmetry

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A day ends but beauty doesn’t

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Daily Routines are not Always Routine

Monday mornings are an excellent example of daily routines; that little moment in the day where your movements should do what you have programmed it to do without thinking; so you think. The problem with this mindset is that it doesn’t always work. You first must plan in advance what you are not going to think about in the morning. You didn’t know it takes a lot of work to make life simple.

For example, if you don’t place your towel strategically where you can reach it when you finish your shower the next morning, like you always do every morning, you will not be able to reach it. So you have to step out of the shower dripping wet, get cold, wet the floor to get your towel while hoping you don’t slip and have an accident.

Now you have more work to do. You have to mop the floor, or not. If you don’t, you’re going to worry if the next person, if you don’t live alone, will slip and have an accident. Now you have to warn everyone that the floor is wet and to watch it when they enter the bathroom. But you don’t because your morning mentality is to do as little as possible to get ready for work!

Moments like these are what really wake you up, not the shower, because it makes you start thinking, which is what you didn’t want to do in the first place. You would rather start thinking when you step out the front door when you face the (too sunny) world and its expectations, obligations, necessities and duties- geeeeez.

The area I personally need to work on is when to be aware where I park my car at the mall. If my life depends on it, I cannot remember where I parked my car when I step out from the mall or grocery store. I no longer think, “Dude, where’s my car?” but rather, “Not again!” So I spend minutes weaving between lanes looking for it, always conscious of those police-crane-booth-thingy with the mirrored windows looming overhead.

I act normal as people walk by, happy as larks, knowing where their car is parked. Worse is when I have friends accompany me. It’s so humiliating. I pray they don’t have a single idea where it is, too, so we can laugh about it. Sometimes I’m not fortunate.

In the end, we all have to do what is necessary to think less in the mornings.  A routine will do the trick. But if that doesn’t work, try a mug of strong Colombian coffee before you get out of bed and watch what you’re doing.

Confidence can be a Killer Sometimes

another Monday

Confidence can be a killer. As the picture slowly unfolds, you wonder which will hurt more, the malfunction of a pair of $200 skates or the unexpected $200 medical bills he’s going to cough up. From the looks of it, it’s going to be both. Ouch. One will hurt the wallet and the other will hurt, well, everything else. It’s funny that accidents happens when we least expect them. Especially, when we have confidence in the things we buy and the skills we have.

When I was about 10-years-old, I was speeding my bike across a vacant lot down the street. I’ve been there many times and didn’t expect anything except to get to the other side. Suddenly I noticed fence posts lined up in front of me, from left to right. I didn’t slam the brakes. I knew, with confidence, that there was no barbed wire fence on this lot and I didn’t see any kind of wires strung across me.

In my mind I was saying, “Where the heck did these posts come from? They weren’t here yesterday! It’s unusual that there are posts and no wires running across them. Why would anyone place fence posts in the middle of an empty lot and not put any wires?” I was having this conversation with myself in a nano second.

But a nano second later I saw the barbed wire inches from my face. It was not your typical barbed wires. They were much thinner, almost invisible for a ten-year-old to see and ride a bike at the same time. What were they thinking?

No time to react. I braced myself for the contact and hoped for the best. I plowed into the wires like a butterfly in a butterfly net. I still remember swing on the wires for a moment of disgrace before landing on the ground. Luckily, I didn’t get grated by the barbs. I couldn’t say the same thing for my shirt.

Accidents can happen from a mistake in calculation or over-confidence in your knowledge, skills or surroundings. And if it didn’t maim you or kill you, then you can laugh about it and hope you become a little wiser for it.

Get Touched but Don’t Touch

I saw it wink at me!

I love going to museums. I get a warm feeling walking through majestic structures housing famous and priceless work of arts. To finally stand in front of a familiar piece, wondering what the artist was thinking and how they apply their craft and skills based on their life experiences that lead them to this moment of creation. Such an experience, like the gag cartoon on the left displays, leaves quite an impression.

When I studied art history in college, it was called Art Survey. Ms Swanson was an excellent professor. She really made you feel like you were there as she shows slide after slide of architecture, paintings and sculptures. I could listen to her forever, never get tired.

What I am getting to, and setting the scene for, was that a few years ago I visited a Georgia O’Keefe museum in Arizona with my family. I was excited to share my knowledge of art with my son, Kevin, who was young at the time. We came to one piece hanging near a corner. I was fascinated that it was a piece I have seen in books and magazines.

In my excitement in pointing out the details, I didn’t know I was inches away from the artwork. A security officer came up behind me and sternly warned me to please step away and return to the restricted distant. My son with embarrassed and gave me a “that’s dad” look. My son may be humiliated by my action but I think Georgia would be happy that her paintings are still getting people excited.

Cats: Finicky or Overly Confident

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I had dogs all my life and only one cat. And like the gag cartoon to the left, they annoyed each other at times. I had him when I was about 8-years-old. I still have a picture of holding him, or her. He, or she, was a large short-hair marmalade American Tabby. I don’t remember anything about him, or her. He, or she, left an impression on me to love cats.

I understand how cat lovers relate to cats because of their character. They are relaxed, confident and self-assured of their actions, movements and motives. They don’t care about what others think, much less their owner; a sign of overly self-assured manner or arrogance. They are also affectionate with their look and meows, when they feel like it or when they want something. Aren’t we a little bit like them?
Still, we love them and they love us. We are a match made in heaven or each thinks they are in charge of the household. We’re glad we don’t speak each others language, otherwise, well; I don’t know what would happen. It doesn’t matter. As long as they curl up on our lap from time to time and give us that occasional I-want-your-attention meow and we feed them and change their litter box, we’re both happy.

What’s in a name? Or more like, what is the name?

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Blue Anemone

Anemone

When someone says, ” I’m a painter,” the first media that comes to mind is oil painting, for obvious reason. Oil painting has been around longer than other medium. But what do you call artists who paint in pen and ink with watercolor.  I was first introduced to it as pen and wash. However, the medium is also identified as pen and brush, brush and line, line and brush, brush and wash, watercolor and pen and ink, pen and ink with watercolor; I’ll stop here, you get the point. Let’s not forget our brother artists across the Atlantic who add a letter “u” to watercolour. These “descriptions” from many books on pen and wash.

When you ask an artist in pen and wash what kind of art they do, they would respond, “I paint in pen and wash, “or “I use watercolor and ink” or any other combination above. But this is a description, not a title. So they can’t say, “I am a . . .” I would tell my friends I paint in pen and wash. They would always ask me to explain and I would always say, “I would draw something in ink and then wash it over with watercolor – that’s pen and wash.” Then I would always get one of those, “Ooooooh.”

We have to come up with a name, a title. I doubt the guys who came up with lithographers, sculptors, oil painters and watercolorists aren’t around anymore. I guess we’ll have to do it ourselves.  How about: pen and washer, linear watercolorist, waterinkist, pen and wash painter and atrapingo (latin for ink and paint).I know they sound funny; we have to give it some time to sink in, like 5 to 10 years. I can imagine how the title, watercolorists, was first accepted. In fact, I wonder why the public didn’t call oil painters, oil paintists. Go figure.

I didn’t know it was going to be this hard to find a name for pen and wash artists. Until we find a title, I suppose we’ll have to stick to a description and get funny reaction from our friends, “Oh, you’re a painter? what kind? A what? What is that? Oh, I see. That’s nice. Can you paint my dog, Rufus?”

Mail it!

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Teddie

Aside from creating pen and wash on regular format size, like 8 x 10 or 24 x 36, I sometimes I like to use watercolor post cards. My pen and wash, “Teddie” on the left and “Apple and Flower” on my previous post, were created on Canson and Winsor & Newton watercolor post cards, 140 lb weight. Each took about fifteen to twenty minutes to created once I decided on the composition.

I’m grateful I scanned copies of these before mailing for I know I will never see them again. Why do I say this? I mailed them to a friend I met online from Port Louis, Mauritius. Mauritius is a tiny island 500 miles east of Madagascar; that’s about 10,600 miles away from Texas. I didn’t know the island existed til I met my friend! Fortunately, my friends knows of Texas, USA.

My friend and I were surprised the watercolor post cards survived the beating well going half way round the world in one piece. They are now taped to my friend’s mirror. She looks at them every morning when she gets ready for work. I invite all my pen and wash artists, and watercolorists, to mail an ounce of your talent to a friends across town or across the globe. They will appreciate it. My friend did.

I feel my juices flowing!

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Apple and Flower

I’ve been away for awhile. Thanks for waiting. Part of my absence is because I have been working on a website dealing with art and my favorite media, pen and wash. I discovered pen and wash in college while taking art classes like sculpture, jewelry making, watercolor painting, charcoal, etc. to complete my BFA degree in art. The exposure to all these art form was an education; this and my art history classes. I had a wonderful art history teacher, an elderly woman named, Ms Swanson, with a mind like of a guru. I absorbed everything she lectured and all the paintings she presented on the screen.

It was during one lecture and slide presentation she spoke on watercolor paintings. Some of the paintings, not many, were traced in ink, or rather, pen and ink. I became intrigued with how the dark lines of ink add expression to the composition and compliment the water-based colors. I did further search on this art form and discovered it was pen and wash. I have tried watercolor before and felt it was for children to pass the time away but combined with pen and ink I discovered a media worth getting into.

After college I found a teaching job at a local high school. I taught on many medium but I made a it a point to always do one project in pen and wash. It was fun. After twelve years of the stress of teaching (it was a rough neighborhood) I burned out and left the teaching profession. The experience had an effect on my art-I stopped. I got tired of teaching but will never get tired of art or pen and wash. I just couldn’t pick up the brush again.

While teaching I was responsible for ordering supplies for the art department. I learned so much on art medium and the tools and accessories that goes with it; especially the new stuff that comes out, like water soluble charcoal? Wow. I learned what works and don’t works, quality from cheap and what’s expensive and what’s a fair price.

Despite the exposure to all the new stuff coming out, I still prefer pen and wash. So much so, that I opened a website on pen and wash. It’s www.penandwashpassion.com. I’m still getting the kinks out but it is available to get on. My web designer provided a slideshow on the homepage. This gave me an idea. I can show my pen and wash as an example of the media. Neat! What an opportunity and motivation to pick up the brush again and start painting. And I did.

I guess this is where I say, all wells that ends well. I’m glad I found pen and wash many years ago. I hope some day you give it a try, too.

Writer’s block!

Yeah, I got it bad. I got blogblock. Every heard of it? I didn’t think so. I just coined the condition. But that doesn’t mean people don’t get it. It means sitting in front of a blank post page on your blog site and can’t think of a single thing to write or inform about. That’s pretty bad. Granted, when you open a blog you are under the presumption that you are overwhelmed with statistics, information and thoughts on your particular topic you can’t wait to share with the rest of the world. That’s a great feeling, really.

My blog is on watercolor and me. I have worked on some pieces a few months back but was interrupted by (real) work and, yes, love. It’s amazing how one day painting is the most important thing in your life and then the next moment you worry about your job and how some girl feel about you. I know there are tons of books that teaches on prioritizing your life. But they never had my life. Try to prioritize that. I know I am not a hopeless cause, thank goodness. I’m just in a rut. I’ll get over it soon and provide some interesting information for my watercolorists friends. Until then, happy painting.