Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Open house, open life

A few weeks ago, I decided to attend an open house for John F. Kennedy University's master's in counseling psychology program.

Their open house--and the big move to open a campus in Santa Cruz--was covered by the local paper, The Santa Cruz Sentinel. The photo to the right was taken by Sophie Borazanian.

I received a few messages from friends who saw the article by J.M. Brown and mostly ignored looking for it myself. I had gone to the open house for my own reasons (not for publicity) and I'm not particularly excited when I randomly get absorbed into mass media.

However, early this morning when I posted the sneak preview of my recent Original Finger Painting, I had written about the different paths that I was considering in addition or as an alternative to my career as an artist.

So I decided to look for the article and photograph online and found it. There I am, caught in the act of something I do quite well: exploring career paths.

Careers fascinate me and I'm coming to terms with it. I love hearing what people do and what they wish they were doing and what they dream about doing. I love finding out about the careers that intrigue me and enjoy taking time out to shadow a generous professional.

This has allowed me to build up a huge database of career information in my head. I share it often with friends in quandaries and I've shared it with clients of mine when I worked as a life coach. You might even find me on a few bulletin boards across the Internet!

In the end, I may not choose counseling psychology as my next or simultaneous profession. It feels strangely like I'm cheating on my current profession as an artist (and I almost got away with it until I got photographed!) to consider other options, and maybe I am.

You're not your job but boy howdy, is life ever easier when you enjoy what you do!

Invite Beauty,


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Sneak Preview! I'll stop the world

I've had a rough couple of months and my subscribers know that my newsletter--which I've sent to their email inboxes religiously for the last two and a half years, once a week--has been absent for the last two weeks.

I must confess, recent heartbreak and difficult situations have made me question my path as an artist. Sometimes a broken heart opens a floodgate--of memories, regrets, and yearnings.

Perhaps not so much a floodgate, but a whirlpool, sucking one into dwelling in the past.

When I've expressed my desire to friends and family to quit making art and to move on to other dreams, I'm surprised by their strong reactions. I'm not only urged to continue making art, I'm told that I can't possibly stop making art.

I've done a lot of things in my life, tried many careers. I don't think I'm done yet, not by a long shot, although part of the anxiety I had in my youth of finding and following my "bliss" is no longer there. I'm just curious at this point.

Some would say I need to be passionate about whatever I do, or do next. I think that would be nice, but I'm not sure it's necessary anymore. People have asked me if I have a passion for art and the answer is, I don't.

This doesn't mean I don't enjoy making it. Or that what I make isn't important to me or to other people. It doesn't even mean that I'll stop making art if I ever stop doing it professionally.

What it means is, I don't have this burning desire to do it every single waking moment or that I'd rather do it than almost anything else in the world. Some people do and I've met them, and I almost envy them. But artmaking isn't like that for me. It's more like meditating. And I know there are people who are passionate about meditating, but for me, that activity is beyond passion.

I make art because I can, and because I believe that what I make is beautiful, and that beauty is absolutely necessary for well being.

I make art because there are people out there making pain and war and hate.

I don't make art because I think it's important, but because I think it's a good thing to do. Like planting flowers.

I don't make art to be of service, and even if it ends up being that, it's not my first intention. If I smile, it's because I'm happy. If a flower blooms, it's because it's time to bloom. I'm not advocating selfishness and I'm certainly not advocating martyrdom. I've finally learned that I'm no use to anybody if my own needs aren't met first.

So--do I plan to continue making art? I admit--I've been toying with the idea of returning to school for a degree in interior design or counseling psychology or both. They've both been things I've long been interested in, with interior design taking the lead (although if you think about it, they're both about working with interiors to affect psychological states!).

Now there's something I'm actually passionate about--but I'm not sure if I'm merely interested in looking at and discussing interior design (like good food or a movie), rather than doing it. Not every passion needs to be translated into a career.

If I go back to school, I will have to reprioritize my work as a professional artist. There may be fewer auctions and paintings, but my final answer is No, I won't stop making art.

Oh, so the Original Finger Painting above: It's a tightly cropped pic of two lovers (I'll reveal the whole painting when it's done). Partially nostalgia and an expression of loneliness, but also an homage to Le Lit by Toulouse-Latrec, one of my favorite paintings. (Only his was more colorful and a painting of a prostitute and her john sleeping!)

Invite Beauty,


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Sensual spirituality

May You Find Peace by Troy M.

I recently received a request from the talented Troy M., who goes by montroytana on DeviantArt (an artist portfolio site that deviates from the norm in the sheer amount of talent it attracts internationally).

He wanted to use Mystical Buddha for one of his pieces and after showing me an example of what he intended, I was all for it.

Above, you can see the final version. He has combined my work with that of photographer Andrei Vishnyakov, who goes by vishstudio on DA.

It was an honor and a pleasure to be included in the creation of this inspiring artwork!


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sale! Pod of Mermen

Rest, print on unstretched canvas, 11" x 8.5"

The Return, oil on canvas, 16" x 20" SOLD
Please click on the images to see detailed pics, read the descriptions, and to make an offer on the Original Finger Painting and limited edition print in my Merman Series.
The Return is sold and can be viewed in my gallery.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Redesign your space, redesign your head

My brother's recent launch of his shabu shabu restaurant blog has brought an influx of his friends and fellow foodies to my blog and site. Welcome!

Bound (or unbound) as I am by curiosity, I went to their blogs and was duly inspired. Color, passion, a sense of fun--I felt good reading and seeing their blogs.

In some ways, reading blogs is like having your own personal army of cool people who seek out things you're interested in and report back--often with pictures! I'm a little less bewildered and isolated for having these intrepid bloggers out there exploring things that may be temporarily (or by choice) out of reach or unknown to me, and bringing them back like heroes and teachers.

In response to being inspired (you gotta do something when you're inspired, it's not a gift you return!), I've played around with the design of my blog. Comments are welcome!

I do believe that designing our environment (virtual and real) designs our heads. How we perceive and respond to the world around us--from a web site to a room to the great outdoors--influences how we feel, think, work, play, love, fight, and create.

I am constantly learning how to invite beauty into my life, and I look forward to sharing in the journey ahead.

Take care,


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

New from Ivan Chan Studio! Does July Need a Sky of Blue? SOLD

Does July Need a Sky of Blue, mixed media on canvas, 12" x 16"
Finger painted

Please click on the image to read the description in my gallery. It's the ninth Original Finger Painting in my Here Kitty Series.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sneak Preview! Blue cat in a tree

It's Friday and I'm finishing up my first acrylic painting of a Here Kitty image.

Once again, I've collaged my mother's calligraphy practice papers to the canvas to create both a physical and visual texture for this Original Finger Painting.

Just a few more dabs and I should be done, but the light is failing for me to take a good photograph, so the listing will have to wait until tomorrow. (As will my newsletter! Thanks to all my subscribers and supporters who have been patient with my now-flexible newsletter delivery schedule!)

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody! Oh, and check out the new blog roll blogs I've added. Besides Mark David's (who featured my Original Finger Painting, "Wrestling the Light") I've also added my brother's blog. He's got a great eye for design and he's turning his talents towards opening up a shabu shabu restaurant down in Costa Mesa, California!

More soon!


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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New from Ivan Chan Studio! Cardiorrhexis SOLD

Cardiorrhexis, acrylic on canvas, 18" x 36"
Finger painted

This Original Finger Painting is sold, but can still be seen in my gallery. Please visit my shop for more Original Finger Paintings, limited edition prints, and collectible cards.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

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"Wrestling the Light" featured in article

Wrestling the Light, 24" x 30" SOLD
Finger painted
My Original Finger Painting, Wrestling the Light, was recently featured in Mark David Gerson's article, "Cosmic Puberty, or Living Radical Evolution,"to illuminate the struggle between the human desire for control and divine liberation.
It's a fascinating article on how surrendering to our transformational process allows us to become who we're meant to be, written by author, speaker, and coach Mark David. Enjoy the article and the inspiration he offers!

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Sneak Preview! Broken heart

My latest painting is a departure from my usual style in its level of rawness--I may not even paint the sides black. I've kept the drips of acrylic paint that rolled down the canvas; they create part of the visual and ultimately emotional texture of this piece.

I wanted some distortion of the figure, and I may add more color later on, but for now I think the monochromatic (single color) palette works for me. Again, it brings the emotional core of the image to the fore without any distraction, and I would like to think that there is some homage to Egon Schiele's work, too.

I feel as if this piece brings me back to my roots and even preference for drawing and sketching. I do love the spontaneity of those kinds of marks, that look of art. Drawing is usually seen as a foundation for painting, but really, it's an art form and genre that is sufficient unto itself. In this piece, I've used more water and less of an impasto (thick paint gooped onto the surface) technique than previously seen in my art.

This Original Finger Painting is titled, "Cardiorrhexis," which is a fancy and ironic way of saying "broken heart."

Invite Beauty,


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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Heaven & Earth Event Photos

Here are the pics from the Heaven & Earth Art Show (May 31, 2008)!
I'm still collecting photographs from various people so I may update this post with more pics. I'll post a blog entry when there are new photos added.

In the meantime, please forgive the limited number of photos and that I don't have shots of the other artists who were part of Heaven & Earth, landscape painter Brian Rounds and photographer Marnye Livingston.

Michelle, Brian Carr, Ivan Chan, Patrick.
Friends Michelle and Patrick lent invaluable help to our event and helped make it the success that it was! Brian Carr is a phenomenal stained glass artist and photographer. You know who I am and what I do with my fingers.

Mimi's my mom, who flew all the way up from Southern California for my show. This was actually the first time she had seen my Original Finger Paintings in real life, instead of over the Internet!

Judy of Cornucopia Real Estate is a longtime resident, business owner, and supporter of the arts in Santa Cruz, and was the sponsor for Heaven & Earth and the previous art show at we had at The Santa Cruz Art Center, Doorways & Dharma.

Marie is a talented watercolorist whose paintings of birds and nests captured the imagination of our guests!

Ivan Chan and Albert.
Albert is the host of The R. Duck Show and interviewed me about Heaven & Earth.

He's one of the most elegant, well-spoken, and gentle people I had the pleasure of meeting through Heaven & Earth. He served food and drink tirelessly to our guests, as well as conversed with them about the artwork.

Barry was our patient and kind tea master for Heaven & Earth this year. When David from Chaikhana couldn't make it this year due to a trip to China to explore the tea-producing region of Yunnan, we both thought of Barry as his perfect representative.

It was an added pleasure to find out that most of the ceramic teaware were made by Barry himself. He's quite an accomplished ceramicist and sells his work at The Empty Boat Salon (ask David at Chaikhana about that).

That's me, drinking some refreshing tea served by Barry and chatting with someone.

Marie Schwartz and Mimi.
Two beautiful women in my life! Marie and my mom. In the background you can see one of Brian Carr's intense stained glass pieces. That particular piece, "Rope Starburst," debuted last year at the Doorways & Dharma Art Show.

On the table he made for the stained glass window (he's also a master carpenter), you can see the greeting cards he had of his work for sale.

Ivan Chan, Mimi, and Shirley.
My mom, Mimi, stayed with her childhood friend, Shirley, from the East Bay on this trip. Many thanks to Shirley for being such a great hostess and for driving my mom down to Santa Cruz for the show.

The next day we all hung out with another friend of mine and enjoyed the sights before dropping my mom off at the airport.

Orvietto Window.
This is Brian Carr's latest masterpiece, based on the window of the Orvietto Cathedral in Italy. It's composed of 1,001 pieces, all hand-ground! You can see the process of making this window at Brian Carr Studio.

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