Saturday, January 29, 2011

hello neighbor!

 A special hello to my online visitors this week from the U.S., Canada, Germany, South Korea, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom . . . and a special hello to you, my one visitor from Norway. How is the weather over there lately?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

a city block

If you live in DC or plan to visit sometime you should definitely make a stop at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery. I've spent a lot of time in here. One building, two museums. This building was originally the Old Patent Office Building and covers an entire city block. During the Civil War it also served as a hospital for wounded Union soldiers. Read more about its history here. If you're coming between February-July you may want to check out this new exhibit. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the road of art

          I first read this passage while I was browsing in a bookstore several years ago. It reminds me that there are different roads we can take in the creative process but if we sacrifice our love for subject, process or people we are missing the point. Love and honesty must be motivating factors. It is also a reminder that creativity is a universal impulse. Some may need a little more guidance than others but everyone can create something beautiful in one way or another.
           "If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something--the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them. And that was all there was to it. 
          When Van Gogh was a young man in his early twenties, he was in London studying to be a clergyman. He had no thought of being an artist at all. He sat in his cheap little room writing a letter to his younger brother in Holland, whom he loved very much. He looked out the window at a watery tw ilight, a thin lampost, a star, and he said in his letter something like this, 'It is so beautiful I must show you how it looks'. And then on his cheap ruled note paper, he made the most beautiful tender drawing of it.
          When I read this letter of Van Gogh's it comforted me very much and seemed to throw clear light on the whole road of Art. Before I had thought that to produce a work of painting or literature, you scowled and thought long and ponderously and weighed everything solemnly and learned everything that all artists had ever done aforetime, and what their influences and schools were, and you were extremely careful about design and balance and getting interesting planes into your painting, and avoided, with the most stringent severity showing the faintest academical tendency, and were strictly modern. And so on and so on.
          But the moment I read Van Gogh's letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others by drawing it."  


Passage from "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland  Image from Van Gogh Museum (unsure if image is the same one mentioned in above description but closest i could find. if anyone can confirm the exact sketch please let me know. i would love to see it).

Monday, January 17, 2011

truth crushed to the earth will rise again

"When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: 'Truth crushed to the earth will rise again' Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right: 'Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' This is our hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow with a cosmic past tense, 'We have overcome, we have overcome, deep in my heart, I did believe we would overcome.' " 

-Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta Georgia, 1967

Saturday, January 15, 2011

we are what we repeatedly do

"Exellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit"  -Aristotle

Friday, January 14, 2011

in four quarter time

i know christmas is over but i just wanted to share this little song micah and camille sent out as their christmas card this year . . . and besides it doubles as a new year's song. thanks camille!

p.s. isn't it fantastic?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

a little death

this is not a place of emptiness, of desert
it is not a wasteland unless you will call it
a wasteland of the false
only true things can survive

there is no rock to hide behind
you will meet yourself
embrace fault as fact
and quickly release it

a quiet hour, a little death
you will not look back
nothing will stop you now
from being new

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Just got back from my trip home to Utah for the holidays. It was nice to see snowy mountains again. Highlights of the trip included my brother's slow-cooked New Year's Eve Tortilla soup, seeing my little sister off to her first semester of college, and watching my three year old niece go to her first ballet lesson yesterday just before I flew home. She is a half foot shorter than all the other girls but unintimidated.