Sunday, November 30, 2008

Where is my mind?

It's true.

I've had a lot on my mind lately and ironically, all this thinking (and worrying) makes me absent-minded.

Tonight, I'm at a friend's house for dinner and I had planned to bring my textbooks to continue studying.

Where are my books? On the kitchen table. In my home.

Not. Here.

Grand. Just grand.

This leaves me with that restless desire to be productive so here I am, second post of the day, feeling mildly assuaged that I am at least making up for the past four months of scarcely posting with now two posts tonight.

Maybe I'll post again when I go home. It's the eve of December and it would be nice if November had a few more random thoughts echoing through the blogosphere.

Well, how about the sound of lightsabers dueling?

I found this video by Ryan Wieber and Michael "Dorkman" Scott on YouTube a while ago and find it inspiring. Made by amateur filmmakers for the pure joy of it, it reminds me that not only do I wish I had a real lightsaber, but that I admire and respect the creative spirit in all of us, that creates regardless of outcome, audience, or approval.

It's just fun.

Invite Beauty,


How do I feel about that?

I've shared with you over the last few months (jeez, I think it's been almost half a year, really!) my explorations into interior design or counseling psychology as a parallel profession I might pursue alongside painting.

(Apparently alliteration comes au naturel to me.)


I've decided on a master's in counseling psychology. It's something I've wanted to do for a very, very long time and I'm thoroughly enjoying my studies, which began in earnest in mid-October of this year.

This has left me little time to make and list new paintings as I adapt to my new schedule, compounded by the break I took back at the end of August after two successful art shows and nursing the heartache of saying good-bye to a wonderful friend.

I'm finally bouncing back but it's been almost four months now, so I apologize. I'm still here, I'm
learning a lot about psychology and about myself, and I know this will deeply influence how my art evolves. I just want everyone to know that I haven't forgotten about them. Sometimes you've just got to take time to gather kindling if you're going to have a bonfire!

The counseling psychology program will take two years, with a third year spent in internship to gather enough prerequisite hours before I can take the licensing exam. I'm chomping at the bit, but I also know this program will cut into my painting time, even when I do get back to painting.

The intellectual stimulation is wonderful--my art process is so intuitive and silent (except when I write the descriptions for my pieces) that it's a nice change of pace to be studying, reading, writing papers, and discussing ideas with fellow classmates. If art and beauty is the air I breathe, then psychology is the water in
which my merman half swims.

I'm happy. A little stressed, a lot behind, but happy.

Thanks for sharing this next adventure with me.

Invite Beauty,


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Escaping the cageless cage

The Mynah Escapes, limited edition print (5)
Two (2) remaining!

Part of my web site redesign was reorganizing how I offer my artwork to new and seasoned collectors.

In my shop hosted by eBay, I'll be offering all artwork that's available online (Original Finger Paintings, limited edition prints, and collectible greeting cards).

For my shop hosted by Etsy, I'm concentrating on limited edition prints and collectible greeting cards only (well, there's the ever-popular open edition print of Portrait of a Hippo that I love).

It's a strange world we live in, where we often get what we expect but don't know how we got it.

I think it's partially an issue of responsibility (what role have we played in getting or not getting what we want) and as a friend of mine would say, "knowing that you have options"--or having awareness, in other words. You can't be responsible for your role in something if you don't know or acknowledge that you have a role in it, right?

It's like getting marked wrong for a misspelling and chastised for not looking the word up in the dictionary. Oh, vicious cycle: How were you supposed to know you needed to look up the word in the first place, if you thought you were spelling it right?

My point is that if you notice something's not working the way you want it to work, don't blame it and for goodness' sake, don't do whatever you're doing harder. The tried-and-true definition for insanity is "doing something again and again, but expecting different results."

Once you're willing to break patterns--once you allow yourself to see the patterns that could use some altering and understand how ("why" doesn't matter as much, but it could be enlightening) you might have kept a bad thing going--then you've got a chance at accomplishing what you wish to accomplish.

This is what's behind my image, The Mynah Escapes. The cages (patterns, strategies, relationships, etc. that don't bring out the best in us) we live in often don't have doors and if they do, they're rarely locked. We just have to realize it and fly.

Freedom (which can be scary) is breath-taking, empty space; responsibility (to ourselves and others) gives us a place in the great wide open, direction of where to soar.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. You have my gratitude for enriching my life and it is my hope that I have enriched yours.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Star Wars" - an a cappella tribute to John Williams by ApprenticeA

I found this video on my friend Michelle's web site, unblunder (isn't that a rad name?), and loved it! You can find ApprenticeA's other videos on YouTube.
I also heartily recommend you read Michelle's blog--if I weren't lactose intolerant, I'd be squirting milk out of my nose from laughing so hard at her writing. She's witty, insightful, brave, and honest--another inspiring person I have the great fortune to know. Her blog will be linked in the right hand menu under the "Blogs to Inspire" section.

Anyway, John Williams pretty much scored the soundtrack to my childhood.

This post is also for a friend who loves John Williams and brought my attention to his work.


Invite Beauty,


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Spotlight on Oriental Poppies and Koi

Floating Vase of Oriental Poppies with Fluttering Koi on Golden Pond
Limited edition (2 plus 1 artist's proof)

I went to a diversity training yesterday where we discussed why people were called by certain names. It's easy to say, "Oh, that's just politically correct ('PC')" and dismiss these different terms as attempts to hide some truth.
The truth is, calling someone or a group of people what they wish to be called is not about being correct, it's about being respectful. It takes humility not to impose your name on someone and to ask, "What would you like to be called?" or "What is the appropriate term for...?"
There's nothing wrong with not knowing, no matter what anybody says. Learning is your right. What causes problems is when people refuse to learn, or are afraid to appear wrong. No one can move forward with an attitude like that, and it's sad to consider how small the world is for someone who resists understanding and curiosity. The world's a mystery and it continues to surprise, delight, and frighten us. That's what makes it so full of wonder and awe inspiring.
So--"oriental" refers to things like rugs, poppies, furniture, etc. Not people. When they were building the railroads in the West, they had supply lists of things such as buckets, dynamite, Orientals, etc. Essentially, Asians were treated as cheap things (slaves), and it's not a name they gave themselves.
Years ago, I joked with some of my friends that I'll agree not to call them "barbarians" (traditionally what the Chinese have called Westerners) if they don't call me "Oriental." We all have names for each other, but it's nice to listen and show some respect. Political correctness for its own sake, without understanding or explanation, appears stupid.
Make some sense, ask some questions!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag (almost)

I had redesigned recently and it looks great!

Shaking things up keeps things fresh and also reflects the growth I've been experiencing as a professional artist. The
Events and Awards & Articles sections were getting a bit big for their britches under the About section (which just houses my bio now), so my web designer gave them their own page under News. A link to my blog, Insight, is right at the top!

Similarly, I offer my work through various venues and these can now be conveniently found on the beautiful
Art page. Here's where you'll have easy access to my Gallery, eBay store for Original Artwork (as well as Limited Edition Prints and Cards), and Etsy shop (for Limited Edition Prints and Cards only).

Lastly, there's a lovely
Home button on every page to bring you to the front entrance of, where there are images of available Original Finger Paintings you can click.

Please enjoy your time there and if there are any questions, comments, and suggestions, send them my way!

Invite Beauty,


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New from Ivan Chan Studio! Meow & Zen limited edition giclee on stretched canvas

Meow & Zen, limited edition (10)
Giclee on stretched canvas

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to purchase this gorgeous, highly limited first edition print of Meow & Zen.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Sunday, November 09, 2008

To the dump

I've never been to the dump before.

I've seen it in movies and on TV; I've heard my friends going to the dump before.

But I, myself, have never gone. Ew.

I'm enough of a clean freak that the idea of going to the land of garbage kind of gave me the willies.

However, Brian needed to get rid of some big stuff that he couldn't recycle on the sidewalk and wasn't going to bring with him to Washington--and he needed help. So of course I agreed to go. If nothing else, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity and I'll be damned if I let my fears or a gross-out factor stop me from doing something.

It wasn't that bad.

In fact, it was fun! We recycled whatever we could and threw away the rest with the help of very friendly and polite staff.

The experience did give me pause, though. This is where our garbage goes. Everything we throw "away." It doesn't just go away, it goes to a landfill like this one. There were mountains and mountains of sorted garbage. People were also throwing away perfectly fine sofas, doors, etc.

So many things.

The next time you buy something, please think twice about what that means. Instead of bottled water, you could use a reusable water bottle of your own. If you need to get rid of something that's recyclable, recycle it instead of throwing it in the regular trash.

Those mountains (or barges) of garbage are not getting any smaller, and it takes more than recycling (or not recycling) to sustain our quality of life on the planet. It takes reducing the amount of crap we bring in and chuck out of our lives!

Invite Beauty,